In the fall of 2015 a fellow Afro-Latina and former full time homeschooler put me on to Sankofa, a DC based African-centered Homeschooling Collaborative.
In October of 2015, Frustrated by math curriculum entrenched in Christian/Anglo-saxon dogma,I reached out to one of the founders of Sankofa, Monica Utsey. Initially, we kept our emails polite, short and to the point about math curriculum. Meanwhile, a quiet voice deep inside me said "It's time; it's time to meet your village."
Visions and dreams I'd had as a child and, then again as young wombyn, came to remembrance...
When I was a very young child still living with my mother and siblings, I would have these terrible nightmares. I would see myself walking through desolate streets with abandoned buildings. The scariest part was that I was alone, completely alone. I knew no one in these streets; in these places. I could not recognize these places that felt so far away from where I lived. The buildings were hollowed out and empty. I hated these dreams because I didn't want to be alone. In 1998, I traveled to Cuba to do an independent study on Afro-cuban culture. As I looked out of the window of a beautiful 1957 chevy in Havana, Cuba I saw those same buildings. I knew no one there and no one knew me so, in that sense I was alone. Except, I did not feel abandoned. Instead, I felt fearless, protected and grateful. Those dreams were an foretelling of my future that I would bring life to desolate places.
I began to speak my community into existence more frequently; louder and louder - until they heard me. Remembrance came and escorted fear right out the door along with every emotional, psychological and physical attachment. In January of 2016 I reached out to Monica Utsey again. Our first conversation was a libation to our shared life, family and community goals. I knew it was time; time to jump back into the cosmic ocean and navigate time and space. After that pivotal conversation, I wrote the following bio.
"I am a time traveler; have been since I was a little girl...
As an emancipated minor in NYC, I overcame stereotypes, dead end statistics, homelessness and poverty. In college, I pursued my African heritage and traveled to Cuba and Senegal West Africa where I completed independent research and a thesis. I am a writer, truth teller, thinker, grass roots activist and curious citizen of the world. I need music, colors and people, but even more, I need the color and music of my people.
Empowering others is my health and wealth. I believe we speak into existence a world that affirms who we are. More than making a living, I want to make a mark. I envision myself part of a vibrant, fearless community where WE garden our highest selves, mentally, spiritually and physically. I believe we are the direct ascendants of the pyramid builders and, master navigators of the world’s waters. For some time now, I’ve been calling out to the Universe for my elders, my sisters, my brothers, my peers…my family fearless in their pursuit of self, family and community.
In the summer of 2000 I interned on the Hill for Dennis Kucinich. I felt asphyxiated by the corporate, handwashing status quo culture. One evening a co-worker invited me to “happy hour” and that’s when I entered the U Street Cardoza world of DC. I found my politics, my reflection in the people’s cadence and stride. I was never the same. I had found the language to describe – me. When I graduated from Univ. of Mass, Amherst in 2003 my immediate plan was to move to Washington, D.C. The Universe had other plans for my personal development.
The last 13 years have been an accelerated program of growth; burying false stories told by the fear that imprisons our people and birthing my truth. Through the birth of my daughter and passing of her father I have learned to doubt fear and trust possibility. Our testimony is strong; it announces our arrival well before we enter a room or a nation and yes, even a mind. Thirteen years later, I am on course to DC.
We are believing for a safe, loving, nurturing and fearless family to share and barter with for housing and support each other in our family and community goals. We are looking to move in by the first of Feb or, as soon as possible. This could be temporary or – we may be the missing branches of each other’s family tree.
Hotep Family." Circa January 2016.
It had been at least 13 years since I had done something so bold - to write my vision with such clarity and confidence, put it on a kite and see if the wind would take it where it needed to go. Some said, I was throwing caution to the wind - but what else flies a kite?
I never met so many Pioneer Valley residents as quickly as I did in this that last trimester of gestation full of purging doubt and fear which, culminated in the selling of all non-essentials. Sold every material representation of comfort and status. So while my daughter and I watched all of our material possessions disappear out of site we became braver and more excited about charting this new chapter in our lives. Some were excited for us; while others could do nothing but look through their own inhibitions. To the physical eye I was gambling a facade of stability for a guaranteed unknown. Through, my Udjat (third eye) I saw a route to the next phase of my life; an illuminated path versus the overpowering shadow, where my daughter and I stood.
So what happened?
It was as if someone (much older and wiser than I) took me by the hand and said "If the mountain was smooth; you would not be able to climb it. Now, don't look down or, back. Just keep moving ahead; you will know when you've arrived to your destination." I did just that. I sold everything I could sell. My daughter and I both were so attached to the rocking chair I nursed my baby girl in and read books to when she only an infant. But, it didn't fit in the car so, I knew, it was meant to stay. So many lessons of letting go, of moving past my feelings, of shedding excess. A lesson which continues to the day of this writing. I did something I hadn't done in a long time. I bent time and space.
How did I bend time and space?
Have you ever pretended? Have you ever daydreamed? When was the last time you did so? To pre-tend is a very powerful metaphysical act; children who do it all the time are fearless and free. Have you ever been so deep in thought (daydreaming) that you couldn't hear another person's incessant attempt to get your attention. When I was a child the teacher would call my name three, four, five times before I snapped back into the room. Where was I? And, why couldn't I physically hear the teacher incessantly calling my name? Because you are wherever your mind is - literally. I was in my future.
So what is time and space?
Some say time is a measurement of rhythm or movement, as in the movement of the Earth around Sun, music, or consciousness, that is, awareness. Space is a measurement of location.
Now, back to pretending...what are you doing when you are pretending?
Pretend: To intend; to design; to plot; to attempt.
Pretend: To put in, or make, a claim, truly or falsely; to allege a title; to lay claim to, or strive after, something.
Pretend: To stretch or reach forward; aim; aspire: often with to.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. pretenden, to lay claim to, F. prétendre, L. praetendere, praetentum, to stretch forward, pretend, simulate, assert; prae, before + tendere, to stretch. See Tend (v. t.)
If you meditate on the breakdown of the word pretend you will become fully aware of its true definition. When you pre-tend, you are stretching forward, (traveling, journeying) to your future, before it's physical materialization. You are summoning your, now. But, if it's only in your mind, how are you physically acting it out? Because, you are where your thoughts are. We are not confined by our physical body; we are light energy. We constantly move between time zones or through space. We are most aware of this when we travel by plane to a different time zone or, via a long distance phone or video call or, in our sleep. But, you can do it - with your thoughts.
I bent time and space because I envisioned my daughter and I living in DC amongst a community of fearless POC who create the family, community and world that uplifts and reflects our highest selves. I saw my daughter playing chess with children she could identify with culturally. I saw myself surrounded by sisters and brothers of the diaspora who are empowered by the truth of their Ancient African greatness and instill this in their children. I saw myself joining a community that actively reaches back to retrieve the ancestral legacy of the Ancient Nile Valley civilizations - master builders of the Pyramids, master navigators of the world's waters, master astronomists, healers and agriculturists. Because I saw myself with them, I pulled them into my existence. I did not know the finite details of how I would meet them. I just knew, I needed to start moving in accordance with my vision.
We arrived in Washington D.C. Thursday, March 10, 2016. My daughter and I still had no permanent or temporary address; we stayed in an Air B n' B for three nights. On Sunday, our third and last day scheduled to be in DC Monica, Nani and I finally had brunch together. I fully intended on proceeding with my contingency plan (to drive to NC, stay with another sister friend and work towards relocation from there). But, what I had spoken, materialized. My plan became obsolete.
Sis. Monica told me about Teresa Price, a recent widow and mother of two college student sons. As if on cue, her youngest son had just left for college..."She's leaving for Spain tomorrow," explained Monica. "We better go see her tonight." I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. I didn't know how it would all work out; I only knew I had to (pre-tend) stretch myself forward.
The whole way to Teresa's house, I did everything I could to overcome fear of rejection - I didn't look down, I didn't look back. Teresa is a seriously happy, tree-hugging, incense burning, animal respecting vegan - she is the real deal. While her physical health is impressive it is her spiritual health that has caused me to be curious enough to break some of my negative thinking patterns and toxic eating habits. Teresa is the wise, patient, big sister I never had; she is the loving, generous auntie Nani has needed and deserved. I stand in complete awe of the materialization of my "village vision" for a nurturing home and missing branches of our family tree.
Nani and I have accomplished in six weeks what we could not do in our eleven years in Western Mass. We are moving at the speed of light. I have inserted some pics to illustrate our journey.
|Spring 2016 Little Genius STEM class|
|Nani's Words Beats n Life Street Art Class|
|Words Beats n Life Bomb Squad|
|Oops! I think we went too far into our future. Lol. Infrared lighting at Sci Fair.|
|Sister Monica is wearing that Sombrero, ain't she?|
|Sankofa's 1st Spring '16 Skate STEM field trip.|
|Sankofa's Zuma Zuma Zimbabwean Circus field trip.|