Posts tagged ‘spirituality’

All things scary come to..

It must have been three weeks ago, I was walking by the seafood-isle at Safeway; which is a store I rarely go to, despite its situation across the street from my building. The creaking floor-boards, the unfriendly sales people and the fact that most of the customer were either Somalis or Ethiopians from my first visit of this store almost three years ago has left a bad taste in my mouth. In the process of passing by the said isle, smiling indulgently to the man behind the counter [the way I do with Child-reach and Plan International canvassers on 4th and Pike], who was asking how he can help me; I felt a sneering coming from the woman who was passing by. I am black, alright? I am pre-wired to sense sneers even where there are not. So I turned to look at her, expecting a white woman wearing a face that says black women’s rightful place is by the poultry isle or at MacDonald’s – pushing a baby in a stroller while laboring under the weight of one.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, upon finding a rather homely looking Hispanic woman. Not your average voodoo-doll sized Hispanic woman, mind you, but just as strange. Jet black hair. Faint mustache. And thick eyebrows that almost made a line, Count Olaf style. The type you won’t ask for directions because her response would be a dumb look and mute smiles.

The big question mark on my face must have made her pause. For she parked her cart next to me and started talking. I was about to wave her away, explaining how I don’t speak Spanish [“Sorry, Doña. Ich kann nicht sprechen sie Spanish”]; when I caught phrases I recognized [“you… doesn’t look good honey.. come see me”]. She took a card out of her purse and handed to me. I took it, still straining to understand what she was saying. When I saw the word “Tarot” in boldface letter on the card, I needed no more explanation. “No thank you,” I said cheerfully, handed the card back and walked away.

I may have walked away. But haven’t gone far before I regretted not making sure what it was about my person that didn’t look good to her. For I am like Dean Keaton. I don’t believe in the devil but I’m scared of him. After all, I grew up in a protestant church. And the devil is pretty much the thermometer with which you measured your spirituality back there. Is your path beset on all sides [“by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men”]? Then, Praise the Lord!, your spiritual life is on the right track! If you, on the other hand, are too content, happy at having things going your way.. then you might wanna take a close look at your inward life and see where you went wrong. Comfort is a sign that you have either gotten too chummy with the Prince of Darkness, or your soul has been ensnared by the comforts of this world. For hasn’t the Lord said “as long as you are in this world, you shall have tribulations”?!. You’ve gotta ask yourself a question: “Am I in this world?” Well, are ya, punk?

So I wondered by the break-fast isle. And I wondered by the check-out line. Then I wondered sitted by my bed, watching a movie while attacking a bag of pop-corn. Could she have seen something in my future, I wondered? In my body? In my surrounding? Do I have some hidden disease I need to have checked-out? Were I being stalked by some one or some thing? Am I gonne lose my job? When texting my worries to Troy, he comforted me by suggesting “Probably your finances; which she would cure by taking your money and telling you what you want to hear”. Babi’s Whatsapp response was “I didn’t take you for someone who believes in Voodoo”; resulting in the whole subject of God – and the post For Babi.

Alas.. how else can they explain the violent dreams I kept having every night ever since?

I don’t know if I have mentioned this about me and dreams. But I don’t dream! If I do, twice a year or so, it would either be my father/brother chasing me with a dagger; or some bizarre jumble a keen to an action movie; fast cars.. acrobats.. men I have no hope of landing.

These dreams, however, are clear as day. They speak of blood. And they speak of gore. They speak of desertion. Of betrayal. Of loss. They have snakes in them. They have ghosts in them. They have all kinds of assault weapons in them. They got rape scenes. Murder scenes. And everything hellish in between. Even when I’m not dreaming, I seem to wonder in my sleep why I am not sleeping so well nowadays; worrying about worrying, so to say, knowing sleep is only a veil I can lift at will to step back into my bedroom — unto my anxieties. So by the time I wake up, I feel like I’ve been “BiQil Mefcheting” throughout the night. I’m exhausted and out of sorts. A mute kicking and screaming, in the manner of Pinocchio refusing to take medicine, accompanies me throughout my preparation to go to work; through the bathing, and the doing of the hair and the making of breakfast. “Get up!”. “I don’t want to!”. “Take a shower!”. “But I don’t want to!”. “You gotta go to work!”. “Do I have to?!”. But more importantly, I worry about what the dreams meant. [If I should call home and get it out of Blen]. If I am ever gonne have the kind of sleep I used to have back when my inner-clock nudged me up after 8 hrs of sleep, on the dot. Should I start drinking myself to sleep? Should I ask for prescription pills? Is it going to age me horribly?

Or is this all part of my punishment for walking away? Is that what she wanted? Am I letting her win?

“You worry too much”, I am sure you’d groan, “Your sub-conscious, fertile ground as it has always been for fear and doubt, is playing tricks on you”. “It’s all the pressure of life in America. The purgatory feeling it gives you, the sensation of hanging in space. The reason why you can barely concentrate on chapters of books nowadays. Why your bones want to jump out of your skin every time they failed to answer when you call back home. Your deep-seated fear of having let your family/your country/that ideal – promising – young you down – by not going to school; or not working 16/hrs a day; or not marching out and setting yourself apart.”


But we can never know for sure now, can we?!

October 24, 2013 at 4:43 pm 5 comments


“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

When I was a little girl, there were a couple of things that were expected of kids:
1. They were expected to help around the house with chores and younger siblings.
2. They were expected to eat what was given them.
3. And they were expected to go to school. And the church.

The closest church to my childhood home of Qebena was “Yeka Micheal Bete Christian”, which was near “Sholla Gebeya” [where me and my would-be-jail-bird little bro Tagel were sent to buy, and carry home, the weekly rations on Saturday mornings with one of my aunts who lived somewhere in between; teaching me the womanly art of home economics and him a consuming desire for other people’s money]. St. Michael’s church had a tablet that “came out” once a year to the famous “Jan Meda”, distinguishing it from your average “bete selam”. It was also home to quite a few renowned birds, like “Aba Solomon”; the politically-minded monk who grew his hair long, wore colorful robs and chains, and called the wrath of God from upon high to low down below every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

So when the time came for my non-practicing Orthodox Christian father and slack Protestant mother to permit me go to this colorful place of worship, I was excited more than a child has the right to be upon leaving the house with an empty stomach. In almost the same manner “yeSama wot” and “watermelon” (or “hubhub”, as China and Mezgebu, our arch-frenemy brother and sister, sang it) affected me prior to actually eating them, I’ve built an appetite for it. I’ve been told of the building, of the serene atmosphere therein, of “Qurban” and it’s constructive effect on my soul, younger than 10 year old though I maybe.

On the morning I had my aunt put a white shash on my head, tie it around my neck, and send me into the world of angels and demons with strict warnings to the older kids not to let go of my hand, I didn’t stop to wonder where her patronizing smile at my feverish enthusiasm came from. That was a lesson I had to learn on my own two days later when, after being allowed to enter the holy of holies bare foot, spend hours pining by the wall [looking at the beautiful paintings, soft carpet, exotic curtains, the smell of incense mixed effortlessly with the sound of drums, tsenatsils and “te’ume zemas” raising and falling from the microphones] I partook of the “siga we’demu” and come out uncovering my mouth long enough to declare just how robbed I felt. “It tastes like bread and syrup!”, I said. I would have probably continued with my accusation hadn’t my declaration appeared to have knocked the breath out of half the teenage congregants of “Keftegna Asra Sidist, Qebele Zero Hulet”.

There was a stunned look, followed by a gasp, which in turn was followed by collective admonishing for my “diffret”, warnings of “Qisefet”s and a general sense of doom-about-to-befall. It was only “BilQat”, older sister to a kid who would chase me across “ginfle” river years later, and daughter to the local “yemender merfe wogi” [the illiterate mendertegna referred to as “doctor”]; who came to my defense. “She doesn’t know!”, she protested, God bless her, “It’s her first time. God would forgive her for speaking without knowledge”. Not many thought so. They watched and waited, with an almost eager anticipation, for me to be struck by a bolt of lightening and burn to crisp. [And when I survived, I could only imagine, bitter Christians were born].

[The cynic, the pacifist and the extremist; my Lord].

Referring to the holy communion as “mere bread and syrup”, however, wasn’t the only thing one wasn’t allowed to say within the gates of the sacred ground. There were many “can’t dos”: You can’t eat before coming to church. You can’t saunter-in without crossing yourself. You can’t run within the church compound. [All offenses punishable by death]. You can gossip about your friends, or their boyfriends. You can make eyes at the deacons, and flirt back when their’s meet yours. You are free to tell stories of two members of another congregation who, one cold morning, stole into the bell-tower and started going at it, until “Melaku Gebriel” appeared on the g-rated scene to meet out divine punishment, in the form of “matabeQing” them together. They were taken, we over-heard, around “Nigs”es and “Beale Kibret”s as a “lantica” for the Angry Angel’s ferociousness. [While the cool-as-cucumber Angel Michael, some observed, would have probably passed them by with a gentle wag of the finger]. You can do all that. But there were things off limit, slipping to the back of the building and walking among the dead, reading scriptures and looking at photos of the deceased, included. (more…)

March 4, 2012 at 2:44 am 7 comments


The blogger tries to think outside the box, or wonder why she sometimes can't.

Life quote:

"I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint." - Antonio Salieri, from the movie "Amadeus"

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