taming of the anger

i want to tie a rope around my anger
and hang it from the ceiling’s light fixture
in the bathroom where i work
maybe the friendly maintenance man will find my madness
and discard it
then my anger will be dead

i am my anger


feeling paralyzed:heart attack

blood pumps
through my head's veins

desperately working to move through my body
deperate to not clot
desperately working to be free (flowing)

i see myself
dying of a heart attack

my heart has been attacked
by the disease of my workplace
i might die
of a heart attack

i am desperate
to not be paralyzed


Four months . . . No, I'm not pregnant.

Four months into my marriage and I continue to realize that well, marriage is hard. The things I love about my husband, I also have a hard time with. The things he loves about me, he also can’t stand. What attracts us to our partner is also what we work through together as a couple. My husband has a somewhat estranged relationship with his parents and as much as he will never come to an ideal resolve about that relationship, he likes them, and he wants me to like them even though he only shares all that he dislikes about his parents. Accustomed to suburban living, my husband now has a 20-minute commute into the city because we live right across the Hudson River in Jersey City, but he hates urban living. Have I been so insensitive to his needs that it’s after four months of marriage that I learned these things only after he blurted them out to me in a heated discussion?

It is after the yelling and tears and my not being allowed to cool off and take a walk that I know he feels uninvolved in our marriage because to him, I am “fiercely independent” – his description, not mine. He admits, perhaps he’s needy. I don’t think that’s it. It’s a challenge for me to learn inter-dependence. My biggest fear about having a serious relationship has always been that I would lose my independence, that I still needed to maintain it for fear of losing my partner in the future and I would have to relearn independence and the enjoyment of being by myself. Having not been accountable to anyone since I went to college and having lived alone for almost ten years, it is a huge adjustment to have another person in my space. Of course, I wanted to get married. There’s no doubt about that, but it definitely is life-changing when I worked so hard to be on my own, enjoy my alone-ness, and now, I have to make big decisions with this man who is my husband. It is no longer about me, it’s about us and future us-es.

That’s really difficult for me. I feel the guilt of his unhappiness about where we currently live. I feel the guilt of his feeling obliged to me now whereas previously, he was obliged to his family though I remember to provide him with options. At the same time, I am adamant about being my own woman within this partnership. I am adamant about the ideals that I want to live no matter how much I have to keep on trying. And I am adamant about what I’m willing to compromise and what I’m not willing to compromise when it comes to life decisions.

After some reflection, I realize that our heated discussion probably stemmed from a most recent incident with his family. I couldn’t attend a family outing celebrating my husband’s and sister-in-law’s birthdays because I had a youth training scheduled all day that Saturday. My father-in-law commented to my husband, “Why do you let her work on a Saturday?” My husband shared this with me, which led to our heated discussion about my fierce independence. I suspect that this made my husband uncomfortable and only aggravated some underlying issues that we continue to work
through as a couple.

How do I as a fiercely independent woman effectively negotiate my taking initiative and involving my husband in the decision-making process or rather, my daily life? I guess, that’s part of it, realizing that this man, my partner, is involved in my every day living, not just part of certain components of my life.


for katrina

I watch
the news and listen
to a White man furious
because his home’s basement
in Oakland, NJ
has been hit by flood
and lies in four feet of water

I read the reports and sympathize
with a Black woman in a frenzy
because her elderly mother
in N’Orleans, LA
has not been located
and sleeps nowhere near her daughter

How differently
The water has raged against


on the PATH

riding along
the PATH
which whizzes along
in the tunnel

a life force of its own

feeling as if
the train
will keep going
i will never get off

the PATH
is moving
too fast

this is not the life
i want

feeling as if
i cannot
get off

the PATH


Taming my gremlin

We all have that inner voice that constantly rehashes what’s wrong with us. If we’re lucky, she’ll praise us every so often. Today I believe that I made peace with a gremlin who has been persecuting me the past month about a grave mistake, one that may have cost me a very dear friendship. All because I made the error of defying a friend’s trust by referring to some information (i.e. speculation/gossip) about a mutual friend in a piece that I was “in the process” of writing -- about redefining success for women.

In the past month, I have sent two emails to my dear friend. Today, I phoned her in the hope that we could finally re-connect. I’d been wondering why she hadn’t returned my emails, trying not to take her silence as a sign that she didn’t want to resume our friendship, trying not to take her lack of response too personally, trying to rationalize her non-response as she must have her own stuff going on right now. Surprisingly this past month has been productive for me as a writer, a reader, and a woman trying to remain centered. I’ve been writing more, reading more, and running more. During my runs along the Jersey City waterfront, for an hour I am able to let go of my gremlin who has been beating me up for engaging in gossip. At the same time, I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that I did nothing wrong “in my process” of writing because that’s just what it was a “process” leading to a larger rationale about redefining success for women, but most of all for myself as a woman.

Taming my gremlin has been quite the ordeal what with her mis-validation of my current situation. My gremlin stands tall double my five-foot stature and stares at me with her piercing ruby eyes andpointed ears. Her face is a cross between a wealthy wrinkled white woman and the grinch who stole Christmas. Her skin is diarrhea green and her fingers are long with nails that have gone unclipped for thirty-three years. She scratches her way into my mind and heart by punishing me for being human, for having been critical of another woman. She is unforgiving. She does not believe “in the process.” She is a perfect woman, who befriends everyone, and everyone wants to be her friend. She is the image of grace, friendship, intelligence, community, and professionalism. Yet she is the gremlin who mistakenly judges me frequently for all of my mis-steps in my career, in my community work, and in my relationships with friends and family.

Given my wavering expectations of myself I am always in the process of taming my gremlin. And so the process continues . . .


To be a warrior

As I reflect on the life of Yuri Kochiyama, woman*warrior*activist* advocate*educator*healer (perhaps most unknown for her close friendship with Malcolm X), I am humbled by the creed she created to live by at eighteen years old and continues to live by.

“To live a life without losing faith in God, my fellowmen, and my country; to never sever the ties between any institution or organization that I have been a small part; to never break one link of friendship, regardless of the time or distance that separates me from that friend, even if that friendship is only a memory stored away in my heart and mind.
“To never humiliate or look down on any person, group, creed, religion, nationality, race, employment, or station in life, but rather to respect.
“To always keep in mind, that any opportunities, achievement, or happiness I have had, I owe to someone else; to be grateful for whatever has come my way through the aid of another, to repay every kindness, but should such a circumstance not arise, to pass it on to someone else.
“To love everyone; to never know the meaning of hate, or have one enemy. (An enemy, to me, is only created in one’s mind). Should another dislike me or hate me because of some of my weaknesses, my actions, or what I have said, or how I have felt, or through prejudice, I will accept it without resentment, but all the while I will do all in my personality to better my ways and make myself acceptable . . .
It is my philosophy of life.
Dear Heavenly Father -- Help me live it.”

I am also reminded of the Toltec (“women and men of knowledge” known throughout southern Mexico thousands of years ago) philosopher, Don Miguel Ruiz, who wrote the practical guide to personal freedom adhering to “the four agreements”:
“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
“Don’t make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
"Always do your best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

To be a warrior in today’s world is a challenge amidst a wealth of personalities, egos, and motivations. What is most challenging is creating livable expectations for us, ones that are achievable and within our realm of sensing ourselves, that is, knowing our inner selves so that our self-awareness is its deepest. While I consider myself to have strong principles, it is difficult to live them devoid of any negativity especially when thick hazes of comparisons, acts of wishful thinking, and bouts of self-indulgence surround us. Yet, the very act of living day-to-day can be powerful and successful so long as I can live and act with integrity.

From hereon, I declare my own citizen values that enable me to be a peaceful warrior. As a citizen of the world, I strive . . .
To act with enthusiasm, compassion, and honesty so that every action is one of integrity.
To make no judgments so that I might learn what the strengths are of each individual with whom I interact.
To regret no decision, act, or situation because there is a lesson to be learned from every relationship and circumstance.
To seek answers without vengeance, but for the sake of improving myself, supporting others, or enriching a situation.
To communicate with love and peace so that social justice and community prevail.

It is these principles that I struggle to live by, so that I might be a better person to myself and others and live in constant wonder of humanity.


a new beginning

Having deleted my original FEMINISTA site, I decided that I need not fear writing for myself, for the masses because there's much pain and strength in sharing stories. So here's to a new beginning.




I am engaged in a combination of blog drama, mona lisa’s smile, and sex and the city. I didn’t realize that people actually read my blog or kept up with it. I didn’t realize that I have unfairly and informally imposed my own so-called (I say so-called because to claim that I have a feminist politic is rather arrogant) feminist standards on a friend and her partner. I do realize that I am not a perfect woman, and no one else is either. The very situations that we fear for our friends are because we are afraid that social expectations will prevail. In our own ways, we, women try to re-create those expectations so that they meet our own needs.

I have spent the last few weeks thinking about feminist theories of the 1970s, re-emerging new womanist theories of 2005, and how those theories apply to myself and the women in my life. It’s not an easy task given social/parents’/ friends’/family pressures. I have read articles on definitions of success and how those definitions are changing for all women. As I continue to define success for myself, I have committed a grave error. In sharing my personal aha! moment, I insensitively shared others’ personal lives and in turn, dishonored a friendship.

Every Woman walks on a path of self-discovery whether it’s through particular relationships (partner, other women, children, parents, siblings), her own space, her career, her education, her art or the hardest work of all, the work She does within Herself. Just because I am a woman, I have no right to dictate a particular path. I never thought I had such a right. I have no right to define Her success just as I dislike it when others try to define my success. Her success, Her happiness, is Her own, and no one else’s, especially not mine. In re-defining my own success, I have learned a hard lesson in re-defining friendship.

In friendships with other women, we are sometimes asked not to share particular thoughts, to keep conversations private. Without asking, we might even expect that those intimate chats are kept private. The reality is the act of sharing somehow validates our own anxieties. Yet the caveat -- we should not be talking about other people because it’s not right. We pray to our higher selves that we might stop sharing our fears as they tinker with our psyches in our own lives, in our friends’ lives because sharing such fears only breeds negative energy.

The real success is transforming that negative energy into an act of celebrating Women for Who they are, Who they BE, not for the situations we fear might cause ourselves disappointment.


Re-defining success

It used to be about having it all -- a career and a family. It's 2005, and we, women, are empowering ourselves to re-define success. It doesn't have to be about creating a perfect balance between a career and a family and doing it all. Faced with the difficult of having to make a choice, we have had to choose either a career OR a family. But it's not even about that anymore. It's about being happy, being content, being spiritually okay with who we are. And by okay, I mean that we don't have to put up a front that everything's fine. We have a job, we have a nice apartment, we eat out every so often. What could be wrong?

But all feels awful when I'm not happy at my job and not doing what I really want to be doing. That's when I need to check myself and re-define, re-claim my success. I am a very self-aware woman who appreciates her alone-time, her time with her friends, and her time with her husband. I enjoy writing and know that I need to devote more time to it. I also enjoy working with youth and buildling communities with them. That in itself is my success. I don't need a lofty title or a huge salary. I know that I make a pretty tasty salad, & I know that I watch out for my loved ones. That is success. I have worked hard to work through my issues around my family and my brother's autism, and that's why I can be happy with my new marriage right now. That is success. I know that I take the time to listen and be with my friends, to support them in honest, strong, and bold ways. That is success. I know that I'm working to make a career transition and focus solely on empowering girls and women. This is my success . . . right now.

Can it be all that? Because I am all that.