White Hillsides and Falling Into a Leap

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Calming breath as I walk in the cold. The sky cast in a sober shade of melancholy. On the ground a thin layer of snow, lined by my footprints, creating a circle. Feet that have lost their direction. No faith in the journey. My heart blue with evening. My soul in the dark hours. My mind in paraphrase.

It’s a New Year. Time to let go of past regrets, focus on the now. Toss out our bad habits and scrawl a new list. Do I still have use for such things?

Soon January will mutate into February. Hibernation is a kind of conservation, I remind myself. I could live inside, sleep until spring comes. Let my dreams refurbishes and rehabilitate. No longer full of Cinderella wishes, but still wishful.

I’m not as young or as uncomplicated as I once was. My spirit has never been still. The future is an Edward Hopper’s painting, a lost penny on the side of the highway. Perhaps, this is what purgatory is like: the scent of falling snow, the taste of ash, the endless road of what was, the journey to what will be.

As I walk back inside. I catch a glimpse of myself in the living room window. For a moment, I see the reflection of the girl I used to be. Shy. Timid. Meek. She was always happy to linger in the hallway outside her life.

Would I go back to the days before I became unmoored,  before my life accumulate in experience, sorrows, and lessons learned? I don’t think I would. A dust free existence isn’t really living, is it? The artful dodge is only artful for so long.

Perhaps, Purgatory really is where we understand the multiplicity of self. That what’s left for us, is what we make it. Maybe I’ve been trying too hard to remove myself from the syllables. Perhaps, there’s grace in the old nouns, adjectives, and verbs, and hope in the new ones.

As I go to close the front door; I note my footprints, and how the snow looks brighter and softer in the half light. Could it be my steps have purpose, even if the heaven I’m looking for isn’t there?

-Tosha Michelle

Advice to Women

Better to be alone than devalued.

Men are like shoes. Replaceable. 

If you do find a pair that fit. Treat him like your favorite chocolate or mixed metaphor.

Honey and milk under the tongue should always be spiced with peppermint and truth.

You can do better or worse 

There will be seasons of weeping willows and years of cherry trees. Savor both.

So called friends are like your favorite cereal, easy to find.

Real friends more like magic seeds but if found can grow oak trees that will anchor your city for a lifetime. 

Don’t be afraid to strike a match but expect your thumb to get burnt.

The easy way out ends on the last train to nowhere. 

Trust is the taste of sunshine but lightening is always poised to strike, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth. 

Conjugate verbs full of hope. 

Be with the one who doesn’t just praise your face but your soul as well.

Don’t wear out your voice calling out for someone who doesn’t answer. 

Leaves always depart. Let them go. 

Don’t be afraid to climb mountains bare-handed and trees bareheaded.

Better to be a beloved lover than just a lover.

Always dream like a kite gliding over a serene landscape but be aware of diseased branches out to snare you 

A million roses bloom inside of you. Let them spill out onto the pages of the world.

-Tosha Michelle 

Guest Blog Post by Stephanae McCoy.

 

 

I asked the lovely and inspirational Stephanae McCoy if she would be so gracious as to write a guest blog post She said yes almost immediately, because she’s lovely like that :). For those of you who don’t know this dynamic lady ” (Steph) McCoy is a successful businesswoman, style setter, blogger and abilities crusader who breaks the myth that “blind people can’t be fashionable.” As a blind woman who happens to love fashion and style, Ms. McCoy founded boldblindbeauty.com, a successful website that brings women together to share in the beauty of fashion and style, provides a community that encourages empowerment and camaraderie, and makes a connection between the sighted and non-sighted worlds eradicating misconceptions and long-held stereotypes about people with vision lost”. You can find out more here. Be sure to follow.She’s one of my heroes.

About Steph

And do check out the amazing things she’s doing through her on-line store Abigail Style.

From the site:

Breaking down barriers, and giving back are the most important messages of Abigail Style. Empowering blind women to love themselves through the promotion of self-confidence enables them to walk through life on their own terms.

Independent living is achieved through focusing on individual talents and abilities. By supporting Abigail Style’s mission of improving the world, you are also aiding the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh (BVRS) as 10% of all profits are given to the Employment Services Division of the agency. BVRS, known for its outstanding programs, has served people from around the US.

Abigail Style

And now Stephanae’s inspiring piece.

“Shame was the reason I decided to describe myself as ‘blind’ versus ‘visually impaired’ because it was important for me to accept the word ‘blind’. Once I did this I was able to get a grip on my fear and move forward.”

I’m not sure why I felt shame when I lost my eyesight but I think it was closely tied to my personal biases and lack of understanding where blindness was concerned. In walking through the process of sight loss and facing my shame/fear head-on I was able to move forward.
Do you Face Everything And Run? Or Face Everything And Rise? Fear can motivate or repress and your response is a matter of choice.

Choosing To Rise:
The first step is doing an honest self-assessment. Like following a map, unless you know yourself, you will get lost.
The next step is to set short and long-term goals. Goals should always be written, periodically reviewed, revised and once they are met, new ones should be set.
The third and final step is to stay the course. When you get derailed, get back on track and keep pursuing your dreams. Do not let anyone, tell you that you cannot succeed.

When it gets down to it the choice is up to you. You decide how to navigate your path to success.

The Ground’s Lament

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The ground frozen,
giving winter it’s shoulder
not impressed with the cold
or its icy sword and brass
knuckles. It’s nothing the
ground hasn’t seen before.

Soon enough a warm rain
will come, and winter will
have no choice but to retreat.
Let the rain come and cover up
yards, tree trunks
Let the rivers overthrow bridges
We’ll make boats out of
billboards and give everyone
a ride.

The ground shrugs winter or
rain. It knows, when it all ends,
there’ll be nothing left but dust
No place to gather oxygen.
Soon enough there will be
nowhere to rest.

-Tosha Michelle 

Don’t Dream It’s Over

Don’t Dream It’s Over
Crowded House

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There’s a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you’ll never see the end of the road
While you’re traveling with me
Hey now, hey now
Don’t dream it’s over
Hey now, hey now
When the world comes in
They come, they come
To build a wall between us
We know they won’t win

Finding Bliss in The Abyss

Not even the sun saw me retreat.
I swallow my sadness whole.

You may ask what is it good for?
Where can it take me?

I need its darkness to find
the light, to show me the
way toward creativity

I draw blood from its
silhouette, and write
among its shadows.

I walk through purgatory
to find words.
A delicate concoction of arsenic
and ink mark my descent.

-Tosha Michelle

Abstract art by me.