On Dealing with Grief

Walking down the hallway, looking sidelong into passing doorways, I saw a head bent and titled at an angle that was achingly familiar. For a second, I expected her head to pop up, the mile-wide grin and lit-up eyes accompanying a squeal that could be recognized across campus. But I wasn’t at SMU anymore, I’ve long since graduated and I’m walking down the hallways of my graduate university. And the capped head didn’t belong to my best friend, because she’s been gone for more than four years.

My grief is a topic that I keep to myself. It doesn’t crop up regularly, on the first and the fifteenth to accompany my paycheck. It is subtle, hidden in cues like inflections of the voice and the long-legged gait of strangers who bring to mind all the ways I remember her. It doesn’t feel like a tidal wave of sadness but more like a trickle of pain. I consider where she would have been in life, her career, her love life and the next generation she would have showered in her affections. As more of our cohorts pledge lifelong bonds through engagements, marriages and the production of tiny versions of themselves, I struggle to reconcile how excited I am with the fact that someone who always celebrated with me isn’t part of this journey.

One memory that carries me through is the grace of her family, their heads held high through the injustice of it all. Perhaps they kept it bottled in to release it in their prayers, or during a run ¬†or with a counselor. All I know is what I see, which is almost otherworldly in presence and love. It inspires me, and I’m convinced it’s her spirit being channeled back to the Earth, to give us comfort. And it brings me peace.

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The Black Vegetarian Struggle: Eggplant

I have to give a shout out to a special person in my life on his first blog post. We all have our vegetarian cuisine hatreds; for me, I haven’t found it yet. I’m sure my mom, who said I was such a picky eater as a kid, would be so surprised! Great job, babe, can’t wait for the next posts!

What I’m Reading – July 3

I said it would be semi-regular, so here is the latest passel of books picked up from my local library. I’ve been slightly biased to Black women writers in the recent weeks, aside from Karen Russell – Vampires in the Lemon Grove was excellent – so I’ll be diversifying soon. Perhaps mixing in some historical non-fiction; recommendations welcome! Additionally, I’m here for Octavia Butler and I recommend you get into her as well.

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What’s on your list? My next quest will be for Zadie Smith’s short stories and some Margaret Atwood.

Recognizing Overextension Before It Burns You

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Last week I was on it. Sunday had me at the track, sprinting until the only ones left going were me, my BF/trainer and his cousin. During the week, I managed to get in a day of yoga and two days of total body training. Coming up on the weekend, my legs were a bit tight but I was rocking and rolling, no stopping me now! Even though I knew sprint training was coming back around, I decided that a bike ride – only ten miles I told myself – wouldn’t be too bad on a pretty Saturday afternoon. Mind you, pretty is relative; it was near 100 degrees this past Saturday. After I made the loop, admiring the lake and views along the way, I managed to drag myself back home and shower, all the while questioning my own sanity for taking those hills on my novice legs.

Before I knew it, Sunday was there, staring me in the face. Cool breezes stirred across the red clay of the track. I shielded my face with a hand, took a deep breath and prepared to burst into my first sprint – 200 meters. Pace yourself, said the trainer. Just as I go to “turn over” (another track term I’ve come to know) I feel a cramp in my quads. It’s nearly impossible for me to pump my legs, they feel like lead. The remedy given to me was to try some 40 meter sprints, to stretch out the muscle.

First sprint, fine.

Second sprint, an ever so slight but definitely unable to be ignored twinge hobbles me.

And I’m pissed.

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