For over a century // We have helped hunters and saviors and warriors // We were made to ensure safety // But we are ending up too often in the wrong hands… excerpt from When the bullet strikes by Idris Goodwin
In October 2016 I was part of the Los Angeles team that produced The Every 28 Hours Festival, a collection of 72 one-minute plays centered around a study from 2012 that showed “that every 28 hours a black person was extrajudicially killed by vigilante, security guard, or the police in the United States.” The play festival was sparked in 2014 by the events in Ferguson and created by Claudia Alick “developed with The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The One-Minute Play Festival with over one-hundred artistic collaborators across the country. Collaborators include Tony award-winning artists, activists, family members directly affected by police violence, politicians, cultural organizers, and law enforcement.” In February 2017, my co-producers and I were commissioned to mount another production at Cal State Dominguez Hills. This month, March 2018, we must continue the conversation because it wasn’t just a one-off production for us, but a message and a movement that we must continue, to stand, to march and resist. In support of our youth and the March For Our Lives, we bring you a video collaboration of the one minute play When the bullet strikes by Idris Goodwin, one of original collaborators and writers for The Every 28 Hours Play Festival. I’m looking forward to the year that this is a memory of a festival that we produced and not something we have to continue to add names to.
In memory of Stephon Clark.
You are // made from everything // That I am // We are // made from everything // That the stars are // I can feel // Your heart // beat // Within mine // The rhythm // Of a blood that runs deep // thru valleys and peaks… excerpt from 19th Birthday.
See why I chose to birth at home here.
I never thought that I would want a home birth. In fact, I swore I would never not have an epidural when giving birth. Why would I choose to feel pain? That’s crazy talk. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would have anymore kids. However, I did know if I were to have another baby, it would be under much different circumstances than my first. I was 14 years old when I got pregnant and a lot of, like all of, my decisions were made for me. I couldn’t drink (legally), I couldn’t drive (legally), I couldn’t buy cigarettes (you see the pattern here) and I was told exactly what would happen to my body and to my baby without asking me what I wanted or how I felt. I was induced early, I was given an epidural and I placed my baby girl in an open adoption all by the time I was 15 years old. It was rough, for a very long time. As difficult of a time that it was for me, I do want to add that I’m very grateful for the family that adopted my daughter and the closeness we’ve been able to have over the years. They are my extended family, but it still wasn’t my choice. I had no voice during my pregnancy (which I hid for the first 6 months), the delivery or postpartum. Shoot, I didn’t even really know what postpartum was until my recent birth. I am sure that I suffered from PPD, but I shoved it all down, deep deep down into the crevices and numbed it up with substance abuse.
Fast forward to adulthood and living in Southern California amongst the hippies with homebirthers all around and I’m starting to like the sound of this home birthing business, that’s actually not a business at all, (please watch The Business of Being Born, it’s pretty much what sold me on the whole idea at the end). Having a home birth would mean that I had total say over my birthing experience, the environment, who would be present at my birth, I would be in my home from start to finish, with my delicious home-cooked food, my music and the energy that we’d been creating in the space. I envisioned that after my hypnobirthing experience where I breathed my baby down and out through affirmations that my midwife would shower me and put me into bed with a warm meal and a baby suckling effortlessly at my breast. Very romantic, n’est-ce pas? Is that what happened? …kind of…no not really, but that’s for another post. Although it may not have been as romantic, we did have a successful home water birth and I delivered my big ole, 9lbs 2oz, healthy, veggie-made baby boy at 11:11pm on September 18, 2017 and for that I am forever grateful.
Mornings filled with ritual // chants to protect // Let no harm come to him // my fully realized classic hymn. Excerpt from King of Kings.
Dealing with my baby’s cold here.
My baby got his first cold!!! Wannnh! I know it’s inevitable and his immune system does need to build up its strength, but I was hoping we had another few months before he got sick. Like I really thought maybe around 9-12 months, y’know, because of the super duper forcefield and otherworldly power of my breastmilk! But alas…he got that runny nose y’all and word on the street is, babies can get sick 6-8 times before they turn 1! WTF?!? Seriously. I know I’m living in LaLa Land, both literally and figuratively, but I hope babes doesn’t get sick again for the rest of this year! Praying his immune system has gotten really strong this go round!
Anyhoo. He got sick, I freaked (aka scoured the internet to make sure it wasn’t the plague) and these are the things I found to help and they seem to be working!
- Sauna it out! Go into el baño, run the hot water, put some drops of peppermint oil and *eucalyptus oil* in the bath and let the room steam with aromatherapy! We sat in the bathroom for 10-15 minutes tops. NOT in the shower, just in the bathroom on the toilet, breathing. (This one was hard for me because I HATE wasting water, but it does feel like it helps a lot.)
- Suck boogies! The classic blue bulb syringe BS that we all know and loathe. Every mother receives one through the hospital, their registry or from some well-meaning person and it’s quite frankly a piece of doo doo! It really can’t do anything, look at the teeny tiny hole and long slender nozzle, that hole isn’t pulling in diddly squat and that violent nozzle is going to stab the baby in the brain. PLUS you can’t see inside of it to see if it’s getting anything (it’s not) or clean it, that’s just gross. So… I tried sucking babe’s boogers out with my mouth, yes, I did that, I know, I know, but it is a thing and I was desperate! However it didn’t work well. Then after some more internet digging, I found this amazing mama’s post and immediately ordered the Frida Baby! It basically marries me sucking boogers out of his nose with the blue bulb blob and it’s SO much better! You put one end in the baby’s nose and it creates a suction around their nostril and then the other end in your mouth to suck. Don’t worry, there’s a long ass tube and a filter, so no boogies get in your mouth! Seriously though, it gets so much mucus out! There was a point where I felt like I was sucking his brains out because the mucus wouldn’t stop coming! How would he have lived with all that snot in there? I felt like a hero, I don’t think he saw me the same though. FYI *Do not do a saline flush more than 2-3x a day for over 4 days, you run the risk of drying baby’s nose out too much.*
- Oil Diffuser/Cool Mist Humidifier! I live in California where it’s hella dry! We’ve been running a Young Living Essential Oils diffuser which also works as a cool mist humidifier in the room for pretty much 24 hours a day. I added peppermint oil to it for a menthol-y scent to help open up babes nasal passages.
- Baby’s Positioning! For the first 2 days and 2 nights I slept in a recliner with my big ole baby on my chest. It felt like we were back on his newborn schedule, sleeping off and on every 1-2 hours. I believe it helped the phlegm not pool in his throat and I loved sleeping with him like we did when he was first born! *Memories* He’s back in our bed now and I’ve been keeping him on his stomach or laying him on an incline, his whole upper back inclined, not just his neck, you never want anything to compress the neck area. I also worked from and hung out in the room on these days to watch him breathe, because…mommy paranoia! If your little one sleeps in a crib. Roll up some towels and put under the side of the mattress where their head is so there’s a slight incline, again for that mucus drainage. YUCK!
- Onion! A super holistic mommy friend of mine told me about this, “quarter an onion and put it in every room of the house. It will purify the air of anything airborne.” I trust this woman and what she tells me, so I did it. It definitely added a scent that I believed was taking out all the “bad” with it. I also found this article by a Mama in Indonesia who uses the onion method and adds *eucalyptus oil. She has some other fab tips as well.
- Bath! We took a nice warm bath and afterwards, he got a lovely massage with coconut oil. I concentrated on his crown chakra and the bottoms of his feet in hopes that it will ignite healing from both ends!
- TLC! I’ve just stayed with him all day and all night. I’m there for whatever he needs, whenever he needs it. We haven’t left the bedroom in 3 days. I let him nurse on me as often as he wants and we’re both naked, so he can have the boob whenevs. We sleep, we read books and I hold him, a lot. My lower back is def in need of a good stretch and workout this week, but right now, being here is worth every minute! Now I know how my Mama felt when she would bring pillows in the bathroom and sleep on the floor with me when I was sick. Mommies ARE heroes! 🙂
I hope some of these work for you as they’ve been working for us. He still has a lingering cough that we’ve been told by a doctor can last another 1-2 weeks as the postnasal drip clears. BOO! So we’re still using the humidifier, steams and baby positioning. LET THIS COLD END!!!
Blue bulb of death. Suck them baby boogies out right!
Dream in color / He whispered in my ear / His future baby Mother / He was a puppeteer.
Murder? Murder who?! Ok, Kat Williams and jokes aside, for the past 3 nights, I’ve been dreaming that I’m being murdered, gruesomely murdered and it’s really effing with me. The fact that I’m also trying to conceive got me like “what the f does this mean?!” What are murder dreams really about? Well of course I googled the shit out of it and here’s a quick bullet-point:
- Often considered a positive symbol (sweet!)
- Experiencing your own death usually means that big changes are ahead for you (holla!)
- The killing off of an addiction or bad habit (totally cool with that)
- Repressed aggression or rage at yourself or at someone (yikes)
- Harboring some strong guilt (ahhh the past)
- So in a nutshell: “To dream that you die in your dream symbolizes inner changes, transformation, self-discovery and positive development that is happening within you or your life. You are undergoing a transitional phase and are becoming more enlightened or spiritual. Although such a dream may bring about feelings of fear and anxiety, it is no cause for alarm as it is often considered a positive symbol. Dreams of experiencing your own death usually means that big changes are ahead for you. You are moving on to new beginnings and leaving the past behind.” Thank you holy internet where I can find all the goodies, at least while we still have net neutrality…omgawd, please let us keep net neutrality.
These interpretations totally ease my mind in waking hours but Imma need it to sink into my unconscious while I’m dying in dreamland, good gracious!
Time to dig deep on down in mediation to find out what these murderous signs are pointing to. What in my life or in my behavior patterns need to change OR is changing? I mean obviously I’m prepping to become a mother which is a mega-huge transition and I’ve been making lots of adjustments these past several months (see pre-conception post). So we dive.
Meditation crystals in use today:
- Rhodonite– is an extraordinary stone of the Heart Chakra. Rhodonite is ideal for grounding energies during meditation and dreamwork, enhancing the depth, clarity and meaning of one’s inner experiences so the messages behind the dreams and visions can be better understood.
- Rose Quartz– is a stone of the heart, a Crystal of Unconditional Love. Meditating with Rose Quartz assists one in reaching a resonance with the frequency of compassion, releasing emotional patterns that hold one back.
- Lepidolite– is a guardian crystal protecting you, your family and your dreams! The color, violet (purple), is the color ray of intuition, dreams. It aids in interpreting our dreams, inspiring us to great deeds and accomplishments.
- Tiger’s Eye– is a most ancient talisman, an “all-seeing all-knowing eye.” Meditating with it initiates a wonderful, high-vibrational state that is well-grounded, peaceful, and highly conducive for encounters with others through remote viewing, out-of-body travel or mind travel.
- Labradorite – it is, in every sense, a Stone of Magic, a crystal of shamans, diviners, healers, and all who travel and embrace the universe seeking knowledge and guidance. For self-discovery, it is excellent for awakening one’s own awareness of inner spirit, intuition and psychic abilities. Meditating with Labradorite allows one to recognize humanity as “being of light,” transcending limitations.
- Jade (this one’s going deep inside! *wink wink*)- is said to bless whatever it touches. It is the ultimate “Dream Stone,” to access the spiritual world, gain insight into ritualistic knowledge, encourage creativity, and dream-solve.
*The Rhodonite, Rose Quartz, Labradorite and Jade are all also yoni eggs yay!*
Crystal descriptions from the amazing resource that is Crystal Vault!
All the answers I need to know right now are inside. I got a direct connect with The Divine. We all do. If we just take the time to slow down, stfu and sit dafuq down for a minute or 20, we can tune in. Remember: when you think you don’t even have 5 minutes to meditate, that’s when you need an hour! So, go do that ish bish, be quiet and listen and get yo answers fool! Escucha a la diosa!
The ground shakes // with every step I take // connecting me to Mother // toes rooted in Her // I blossom // never separated // karmically fated // She’s the Light // pouring from my lips // wrapping my hips // healing maternal fingertips // I am home.
When I first went to see Marcia of Women’s True Healing in August 2016 I had no idea that this would be a Divine connection. During my initial intake, I shared with her my history of sexual trauma. Trauma I’ve carried in complete secrecy since I was too young to have had any sexual trauma, not that there’s an age limit when it’s ok, but no child should have to deal with sexual assault. Marcia told me that she offered a ceremony for survivors that she referred to as wrapping of the hips. Needless to say, I was back in her healing center the following week.
I’m not going to share the details of my entire session, it was private and sacred. I cried, of course! What I will say is that Marcia is magical! Forreal though, she blends practical massage mastery with energetic reiki healing and spiritual shamanism. There are crystals, incense, oils, rebozos, music, chanting and calling in of the ancestors. It was one of the most Divine experiences I’ve ever had and I needed it. At this point in my recovery process, I had been in pretty intensive ongoing therapy since August 2015, but I still craved some kind of ritual that dealt with my physical and spiritual being in addition to all of the intellectual and emotional work that I had been doing with my ahhhmazing therapist! I would recommend (in fact I have!) Marcia’s services for any survivors looking for a similar healing, a healing from the inside. It is a healing for our womb from our womb, our temple, which is the creation of all civilization.
After my sesh, I took my vibrating yoni and my three fave yoni eggs (Jade, Rose Quartz and Obsidian- if you don’t know by now!) and spent the rest of the day at Venice Beach with the sound of the ocean bathing me and the sun baking my sweet skin while I meditated and wrote about all that I had lost and all that I had gained. Here I was and here I am.
This is me // Now completely free.
This video almost didn’t make the cut, I’m 11 weeks postpartum and I went back and forth on if I’d post it. See, I’m a little vain and let’s face it, social media adds to the awful inferior feeling of “I should be in better shape by now”, the “snapback”. But I have a goal of finishing up my pre-conception series before the end of the year and some videos didn’t get made before the baby decided to come, so I recorded them today. I really wanted to share the self womb massage from beginning to end because when I don’t do it for a long time, I forget the details, so I thought it would be helpful to others as well. However, when I watched the playback and saw my typically taut belly lookin all jelly, the linea negra still present, my sunken belly button, and the darkened stretch marks that got re-stretched by baby numero dos (who was over 9lbs) and the pubes that haven’t been waxed nor trimmed in I don’t even know how long, I cringed. I thought about waiting a couple of months to film it again after I’ve had some more time to workout, the linea and stretch marks had faded a bit and those long hairs had been weed-wacked, but then I also thought, F that. This is me, right now, at this moment, 2 babies in the game, we’re all healthy, happy and I am getting my strength back on my yoga mat everyday. I want to love the skin I’m in at all times, at every age, at every milestone, because forreal, I want more babies, so I’m gonna need to get used to this rollercoaster of body shapes and be thankful that I have this body and I’m able to create the effin miracle of making and birthing healthy babies, okay?! That run-on sentence rant was kind of just for me. I also like to do shit that scares me and posting a picture or video where I’m looking like I just had a baby and not like I did all the sit-ups, scares me, I don’t like it…so I’m doing it. Sidenote: I loved my pregnant belly and wore it out all the time, pero, it’s empty now.
Anyhoo…here’s the nuts and bolts of the massage and hip wrapping below!
Self Womb Massage:
- Remember the #3, it is your friend
- Clockwise- go 3 times around your belly in large circles
- Clockwise- go 3 times around your belly button, smaller circles, obvi
- Create a star around your belly button, 3x in each direction starting at the bottom 1/2 of your abdomen, going from outside in towards your belly button
- Do 3 cycles of the above
- Then press your thumb into your belly button until you can feel the pulse aka your abdominal aorta or what I like to think of it as, our phantom umbilical cord!
- Lastly, take your fingertips and lightly run up your stomach, it feels ever so sweet and calming.
Wrappin dem hips boos:
- Grab a long scarf, twist it in front of your lower abdomen over your womb as tight as you can and tuck in the edges.
- Extra touch is to keep your abdomen covered and warm during this period too, during your moon cycle and postpartum.
The health of the Woman is the health of the Tribe for all Her fruit is blessed.
Here’s a Snappie interview with Marcia Lopez, owner of Women’s True Healing, a holistic healing center for Female Reproductive Wellness in Redondo Beach, California. Of course it’s in California, e’erything holistic, veggie and wonderful exists in SoCal. I love me some California. #Humboldt. I degress.
I’ve been going to Marcia since the moment I knew we wanted to conceive. I knew I had some things (read “trauma”) to clear out of my womb to make a super loving comfy home for the baby-to-be, I knew he was coming. She lovingly worked on me pre-conception, prenatal and postpartum. I lost a lot of my connection to my body after birth, there were some ongoing health issues that surfaced after delivery and lasted for about 7+ weeks. That postpartum session was everything. She has a gift and Spirit moves through her. I’m grateful for my journey with her and I want to spread her work as far as I can to as many women as I can. I’ve sent a few sisters and they’ve also had some powerful sessions with her as well. Check out her website, call for a consultation, she’s even worth traveling for. If you see her, tell her I said gracias Marcia!