Musing #21: It's All In Your Body
The Artist's Logbook Week 3
Hello. This is how a butterfly's wing looks like up close.
⛈️ It seems like everyone I know -including myself- is going through major life shifts these days. I am sensing a strong transition in the currents and it seems like we all have some re-orientation to do. The status quo will just not stand.
Are you feeling the same way? Please let me know in the comments or via email!
✊My goal is to continue creating through life’s turbulence. I am realizing that pain is actually a great motivator. If I can still create something with the pain, then I don't have to suffer with it.
✨I now have my first complete piece of work. A small chapbook of poems that I will announce in due time! Next step is to get it to some beta readers. Working on this and getting it complete has really helped me develop my confidence in being a writer.
🙏 Sunday Gratitude:
I enjoyed Jean Marie's broccoli defense after last week’s post and can't wait to taste his recipe shared in the comments. Thanks for always jerking me out of old mindsets whether I like it or not.
Check out our episode with him from last year and learn more about his work on trauma and growing out of it. 👇
Another big shout-out to Gabe Charbonneau, for his incredible support and for keeping me accountable to health habits. That has been so helpful in keeping my morning routine and pages up. Can't wait to produce a Gumpcast episode with you in it, Gabe.
Check out his work for Medicine Forward's progress in making healthcare a humane place to work at for physicians. I love how raw his substack updates are. Very inspiring.👇
Never miss any Gumption post. Ever.
The Artist's Way Week 3 Update
Continuing the journey from week 1 and week 2.
✅ Morning Journaling: I missed one day but otherwise kept it up.
It is getting interesting.
My grandma showed up in one sitting. We had some things to sort out.
I found myself crying profusely in another sitting. That very rarely happens to me. I'd like more of it.
Overall feels very good to be doing this. It's really opening me up to see myself in a new way and be lighter throughout my day.
✅ Artist's Date:
This week I took myself to Lake Merritt in Oakland and I have a rather bizarre and eye opening story for you.
It was a sunny afternoon, the lake was glistening with bouncing sun rays on the water, and vibrant people on the grass around it.
I was feeling a bit nostalgic and hungry so I got a hot chicken shawerma sandwich that tasted nothing like what my Arab taste buds expected.
Even worse, the nostalgia kicked me back into my adolescence and I suddenly craved smoking a cigarette.
There were four black dudes standing around a speaker playing the most summery tunes of Nina Simone and Jefferson Airplane. I was sure they had cigarettes.
So I approached them. Three of them saw me coming and smiled back at me. The fourth had his back towards me, and took a few steps accidentally bumping backwards into me.
I put my hands in front of me to stop him from walking into my chest. As soon as my hands touched his torso, he turned around was completely startled.
He looked at me like I was the devil incarnate.
He let out a silent scream.
He fumbled for a few steps to the left.
He seemed to realize that I am not trying to harm him, but still could not shake off the state of shock.
“What you did there was real dangerous” one of the guys said as he handed me a cigarette. He said that with a smile. The others were now laughing at their startled friend who was now about 50 steps away from us.
The guy was so scared that he could not come back until I left!
I saw him and tried to make him feel safe again, but all he did was hold his head and pace up and down mumbling words I’ll never hear or understand. I realized that I just needed to fuck off.
As I smoked the cigarette anxiously, I thought about how he must have had a pain so entrenched in his body that he could not help reacting that way.
Perhaps he had been caught by the police before? Perhaps his family has struggled deeply with abuse? Does every black man have this reaction deep down inside of him? How can I be more mindful of how I touch people and what I trigger in them?
How far does our epigenetic makeup play a role in this? Listen to Jean Marie PhD’s episode to learn more.
As I thought about these questions, and smoked my feelings away, the Animals were now playing in the stereo singing:
“Oh, I'm just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood”
I took another puff of carbon monoxide and found myself wondering: What is the pain that lives in my body that is driving me to smoke?
Then I thought about organizations and how easy it would be to trigger people the wrong way, and yet we never get to see the reaction so exaggerated and as obvious as my experience was.
I threw the cigarette on the floor and crushed it into the ground furiously.
🧳I'm going offline to recharge myself and bring new insights and inspiration back to you from my travels the next couple of weeks.
☝️But fear not! I have scheduled a few Musings posts for the upcoming Sundays so Gumption will continue on schedule every week! I will be back on this Artist’s Way Journey week 4 sometime in September.
🙏Please be patient with me on getting back on comments and emails because I'll be away. However they still mean the world to me so please keep em going.
Have a wonderful week,
Thank you, Omar!
Oh Lord don't let me be misunderstood...
I really get that: a few years aag:I was in cashier line in a restaurant when I accidentally pumped into a man, happened to be a black guy, in front of me. But before he had a chance to react, I softly tapped on his shoulder and said I'm so sorry. He suddenly turned and again I said I'm so sorry. But to my surprise and others around us, he started yelling that I assaulted him. I was so shocked and embarrassed but no matter how many times I said I'm sorry it didn't seem helping. I finally moved to another line and that seemed to cool him down.
I like the Animal's song although the Nina Simon's version really expresses my feeling at the time: