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Posts Tagged ‘affirmations’

Last week I printed out a photo of Detroit’s Joe Louis Memorial, the gloriously enormous sculpture of Louis’ mighty fist. I saw it in an article someone forwarded me and immediately knew I needed it posted on the half-wall of my cubicle. Needed it.

This sculpture is one of my favorite things in the world. The first time I saw it, driving from the airport to a conference at the Renaissance Center, I was so wowed I couldn’t breathe or speak for a minute. It is a thing of absolute, graceful power and beauty. It is magnificent.

Here’s one of the pics I took of it in 2012:

I printed the photo from the article (a slightly more close-up, angled, under-the-fist view) and tacked it to my cubicle wall.

I feel it there, casting it’s dark, black spell, enveloping me in its strength and conviction.

So many times during the days since putting it on my wall, I have hung up the phone after an annoying call or looked up after reading an email that has made me sigh and shake my head, and my eyes go right to that picture, go right to that beautiful bright light.

And I feel myself become calm.

The first time I saw it, I was with the woman who was my boss. She was appalled, thought it was “so violent.” I wondered if we were looking at the same piece of art. Violent? Where? How? Could she really not see the sleek, delicious glory of it, its heavy, soul-filling affirmation?

No, she thought it was angry. Angry.

Maybe it is angry. Maybe that’s why I love it, maybe seeing it then — two years before the finally-and-for-good emergence of Angry Stacie — was the initial push, the moment when my heart felt the vibrating resonance of recognition, felt how completely I would come to embrace my rage.

I don’t think so, though. Yes, to the vibrating resonance, but not in recognition of anger, or not anger as such. Recognition of the fullness, the beauty of being exactly who I was — as big, as loud, as angry, as strong, as emotional, as articulate, as fed-the-fuck-up, as loving, as hungry as I actually was.

Which is what it’s giving me now, too. I have to swallow myself at work sometimes, hold back my honesty, pretend to a version of myself that can be made to fit the space I’m given. Like not lashing out when a superior refers to  formerly-incarcerated youth as “little criminals” and can’t seem to understand the value proposition of creating education and job training programs for them. Like not slapping the hand of the coworker who reaches out to touch my hair.

That fist is a signpost, a reminder that I’m still here. A reminder that, even when I have to walk softly, I can still fight, can still push back. That my voice can still shout, even in the dark, especially in the dark. That fist is my mantra, my affirmation, my vision board all rolled into one.

I need the picture poster-size and on my wall at home. That fist. To wake up to it, to fall asleep under its watch. Imagine.


In 2017, I’m on my #GriotGrind, committed to writing an essay a week … I’ve fallen behind, but I’m still committed to writing 52 essays by year’s end.
I’m following the lead of Vanessa Mártir, who launched #52essays2017 after she wrote an essay a week for 2016 … and then invited other writers along for the ride.

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Stand

why so afraid to stand up?
someone will tell you
sit down?

but here is the truth
someone will always tell you
sit down

the ones we remember
kept standing

— Ruth Forman

_____

Spent the day at a training.  Two pieces of it were quite good.  Oe of those was the pleasure hearing Newark Mayor Cory Booker speak.  I’ve heard him speak before.  The first time I heard him, he was part of a panel on neighborhood revitalization … and listening to him made me know I needed to apply for that big grant we were awarded in the fall.  It’s not so much that he inspired — though he does definitely inspire.  It’s more that he seems to be talking directly from the parts of your heart and soul that get tamped down in the face of all the things you wind up having to do to keep the boat afloat.  He speaks like a charismatic reminder of what you know is right, of the thing you set out to do when you first started working in a non-profit.  I listen to him and yes, of course he’s “on,” but everything he says rings sincere, authentic, true.  He finished speaking and I would bet everyone in that room felt lifted up, felt reenergized.  My boss was almost in tears.  No, it certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s funny, intelligent and attractive, but the thing that sets the room on fire is really his out-loud affirmation of who we are and what we do, of my decision to work in education, in community-based programs.  What a fabulous gift.

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