Mud Bath

Shirley struggled into her swimsuit and waddled down to the river for a quick dip before the children were up and demanding her attention.

She sidled up to the river bank and edged over the rise, descending into a culvert shadowed by tree limbs.

Slowly, she lowered her girth into the cool water, careful to avoid the root tangle pouring from the bank. Sinking blissfully into the muddy waters, she began rubing the mud over her arms and legs, vigorously rubbing to provide warmth and sloughing, grabbing mud with both hands and rubbing it over here face and neck, then plunging into a slightly deeper part of the river, swimming out a ways to wash away all the mud.

Flipping onto her back, she floated freely, enjoyng the vivid blue of the sky, contrasted with the grey slate of the water, too dark to reflect the brightness of the sky.

In the distance, the calls for her floated high and clear over the rise. Reluctantly, she turned and swam toward the bank, pulled herself ashore, and started the short trek back to home, family, love.

Ruby Dee and all the Saints

Slight in physical stature, Ruby Dee was larger than life to me. With her husband, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee was an activist, a fighter for social justice, an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement. I grew up with her. Losing her is quite a devastating blow even though I never knew her personally.

Dee’s acting could be achingly poignant or tongue-in-cheek hilarious. She had interesting diction and could deliver the most wonderful deadpan lines.

I think I loved her most, though, because of her friendship with Br. Malcolm.

I hope all the saints are not resting. I hope they are active, laughing, enjoying wherever they are. That will be the place for me, there with Br. Malcolm, Ossie Davis, Maya Angelou, Yuri, Lena Horne, Beah Richards, Rosalind Cash, Madge Sinclair, Ruby Dee.

Elliot Rodger and AS

Elliot Rodger, the young man who shot and killed several people in Isla Vista CA was reported by the news media to have had Asperger’s syndrome (AS). AS is then linked to mental illness because of the irrational acts of Rodger. This is a misapplied link because AS is not a mental illness. It is a neurological difference that affects behavior at different levels of severity. It is not a mental illness, but can be a comorbidity.

While only briefly looking at Rodger’s video, and noting that I am not a psychologist or other specialist in mental illness, he appeared to be suffering from narcissism, paranoia, and severe delusions of grandeur. He also appeared to have abandonment issues. His high degree of intelligence and verbal ability were the only indicators of possible AS observed.

If I didn’t have a moderate amount of knowledge and experience with AS, I might be led to believe that AS caused this latest shooting rampage. I would have been led to this conclusion by the irresponsible, partial reporting of the news media. This is a problem.

The Miriam of Her People: In Honor of Dr. Maya Angelou 1928-2014

Nessa's Notions:

Remembering our ancestors and honoring Maya Angelou = heartfelt history.

Originally posted on Afroculinaria:

Because we have forgotten our ancestors our children no longer give us honor.

Because we have lost the path our ancestors cleared, kneeling in perilous undergrowth, our children cannot find their way.

Because we have banished the God of our ancestors, our children can not pray….Dr. Maya Angelou,  The Black Family Pledge.

How do you poetically memorialize a great poet? You can’t, especially when her life was itself, a form of poetry.  Mother, daughter, granddaughter, actress, dancer, writer, activist, friend, teacher, mentor, avid cook and cultural luminary, Maya Angelou is gone, at age 86.  A survivor of child abuse,  life on the streets, Jim Crow segregation and the strife of history and circumstance that took so many of her friends—Malcolm, Martin, James Baldwin& others; Maya Angelou was bigger than her hometown of Stamps, Arkansas could hold. She was our Miriam;  our discoverer of oases and maker of wells, a songstress…

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Testing Doctor’s Instructions

The psychiatrist I was referred to by my primary care physician’s assistant told me that all I needed do was say I was an Aspie and that would be sufficient to access services and benefits protected by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). That isn’t true, and I knew it wasn’t true when she said it. The problem for me became why is this woman, who appears to be descended from the Indians from the subcontinent, telling me lies to my face? Does she really think I’m this stupid while she tells me how smart I am in that smarmy, condescending tone other Indians have affected with me. I try very hard to not give in to my prejudices, but I admit to having problems with Indians. At first, it was only with the males, but as I meet more and more women with superior attitudes, I’ve become wary of them, too. Dr. V. Malholtra is to blame. He would regularly compare students from my commuter college negatively with his USC students. Such a schmuck. Then, a four-month sabbatical on the subcontinent heightened my sense of distaste for many of those people. Full disclosure, you know.

Anyway, I visited the Department of Rehabilitation and told them I had AS. Of course, and as I expected, they requested proof. I told them I had none, have been trying to get a diagnosis since 2009, and that I have an appointment to request a second opinion coming up soon. I’ve also put in a call to the Disability Rights group for advocacy assistance. SOS all over the place.

I wouldn’t do this if certain things weren’t going terribly wrong in my life, things I seem unable to manage. I admit I’m not drooling and rubbing feces in my hair, but I am having difficulties that require intervention. Thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to address these issues.

What I observe is that everyone is supposed to fit a predefined criteria. Individuals are not seen as individuals, but as interchangeable cogs in the healthcare machine. If you don’t have Cadillac insurance, you’re screwed. And it seems that even Cadillac insurance is no safeguard against being treated like a cog. Maybe a little more comfortable, but still not adequately taken care of.