Monday, June 30, 2014


Beauty in the every day. 
Sometimes I have to squint.
But it's there. 

Friday, June 27, 2014


Lately I have felt like the skin on top of warm milk, thin, easily torn and drowned under the surface.

With only five weeks left in Houston I've found myself cowering under the pressure of the to-do lists, the weights tightening up the muscles in my shoulders, craning my neck in awkward positions that require chiropractic adjustments and massages I can't afford.

My body responds to anxiety before my brain. My sinuses fail, my head aches, my muscles tighten. Suddenly all I want to do is sleep, wrap myself on the couch in the quilt my grandma made for me. Goodnight, world.

I have been doing case work for my elderly neighbor: cleaning her house full of horded antiques and plastic spoons; helping her acquire a State ID and birth certificate so she can get her electricity and water turned back on; holding on to all her important documents like the hospital and doctor bills she can't afford to pay; working with Adult Protective Services to get her into safer housing accommodations; bringing her water and food on a nearly daily basis; spending hours sitting on her porch talking about the car she wants to buy, why she shouldn't invite strangers into her house, what a mail scam looks like.
She's still living on her own in a house that is falling apart. She still doesn't have running water because there's a leak somewhere in her pipes. She's still trying to send in money to the mail scams. She still leaves the hot plate on when she leaves the house. Her dog is still infested with fleas no matter how many baths I give him or how much medication I put on him. She still doesn't have a phone or a way of contacting the police if anything happened to her.

For how much we've been able to do, I know I won't be able to get done everything I want to get done for her before I leave. No matter how many people/organizations I get involved with her, they don't seem to have the time to sit on her porch with her and listen.

I cry to my city directors. I cry to my team. I cry into the blanket my grandmother made out of pieces of sari I wore in India.

I leave a piece of my heart everywhere I go. There's pieces of me scattered across the globe: Kenya, Kolkata, Houston, Phoenix. I fall in love so easily.

I will be glad to be in Phoenix, to root in one place, to know I can fall in love over and over again and I will be there to see it through, to walk in that relationship for my whole life.

For now I have to figure out how to get through the next five weeks, loving the way I love, caring the way I care, but without burning out so completely that I'm an empty useless skeleton.

How to stay fully present when I'm wrapped up in worry.
How to stay fully present when I'm searching for a house in Phoenix.
How to love my housemates fully when I feel so exhausted and sad.
How to do my job at the CRC when I feel so anxious.
How to love Celeste and be present for her when I know I'm leaving.

Somewhere deep I feel the Spirit of Light sitting with me, hidden somewhere in my worry, being a point of peace. I wish I could peel away the layers to get to that Light. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Seven Day Summary

Runny nose. 
Lifetime of paperwork to decipher. 
Resource book to create. 
Conversations on purity culture and masculinity. 
Macaroni and cheese. 

Yoga on the balcony. 
Ants in the carpet. 
Ants on the couch. 
Ants on the bookshelf. 
Ants biting my feet. 
Doggie Dog. 

Roaches in the bathroom.
Roaches in the living room.
Roaches in the couch. 
Conversation about women. 
Conversations about oppression. 
Conversations about systematic injustice. 
Father's Day.

Elderly care. 

Self care. 
Deepak Chopra. 

Exactly six weeks left. 
Books to mail. 
Plane ticket to be bought. 
Lost checks to be found. 
Dwindling bank account. 

Knowing it is enough. 


Thursday, June 12, 2014


“Where are you?” She asked, leaning heavily on her cane as she struggled up the stairs in front of me. 
“I’m right behind you,” I reassured her.


“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Yes, Piglet?"
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.” 

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


"No matter how they were started, by whom, or to what end, systems of suffering can only be perpetuated when people fail to tear them down and transform them. Even when we’re not actively building them, even when we’re intellectually opposed to them, if we are not also actively trying to change them, we are, in effect, perpetuating them. When we fail to live in ways that disrupt these on purpose, then we end up feeding the monster on our table scraps and it gets bigger."

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Splash, Then Come & See

A large part of Mission Year is focused on justice: reconciling relationships, disrupting oppressive systems, and shedding light on local and global injustices that impact us all.

This weekend my team was able to put our Justice Project to work. We saw that folks in our neighborhood were not entirely aware of the resources available to them, so we decided to have a Resource Splash Day where service providers and local vendors would provide free and low cost services to residents of Fifth Ward.

The event exceeded my expectations and our whole team was able to engage with our neighbors in a fun and productive way as we stood in line for free snow cones, painted faces, ran through the Splash Pad, and talked with service providers who offered medical testing, pet food, housing counseling, home repair, and a whole lot more.

Swayne, a man of many talents, cut hair in his mobile haircut unit and performed motivational hip hop on the Jam Stage. His story is really interesting. Swayne had a tracheotomy a few years back and was told by doctors he may never speak again, let alone rap. He proved them wrong and went on to record several songs, perform at multiple venues, and is first known person to record over 10 projects with a Tracheostomy Tube in use.Check out some of his stuff HERE!

We had about 200 community residents show up to our Resource Splash Day, and it looked like they all really enjoyed themselves. 

The day after our Resource Splash Day was Mission Year's Come and See art benefit, one of our final fundraisers and a way to let the community know how we have been impacted by these last 10 months in our neighborhoods. 

Celeste accompanied me to the event. I performed poems, we shared some pie and brownies, drank coffee, and Celeste insisted on holding Quentin. 

Most of these photos were taken by Don at Love Is Studios. Check out his Facebook! 

If you would like to continue to help make events like these possible, and get a limited edition t-shirt for donations $50+, check out Mission Year's current Finish Strong campaign by clicking on the banner below and feel free to choose my name from the drop down menu!