Vision Art Faith meet Becoming
During the quarantine I've developed a morning routine complete with meditation, 5 minutes of nothing, reading, yoga and journaling. I literally live by this morning routine because it calms be and really starts my day with intention, peace and purpose. A few days ago, I looked down at the foot of my bed and saw the Becoming Guided Journal by Michelle Obama that was given to me as a Christmas gift. Curious about the journal and motivated by my morning routine, I started completing an entry each day. Every day there's a different prompt or set of questions that uncovers more of what has made you, well... you.
If you could have a conversation with a loved one who has passed away, what would you ask him or her?
I feel like I've reflected on this question before but more so in the realm of celebrities, but upon reflecting on my family two very obvious loved ones came to my mind: my late great grand-father Lee W. Stuart and my late great-grandmother Willie Mae Stuart. My focus was drawn, not to the potential scroll of questions but the ability to merely be with passed loved ones. I'm one of few who was lucky enough to know and remember their great-grandparents. Mine passed away during my freshman year in college both within a year or two of eachother so I have very clear and fond memories of them.
I realize that my great-grandparents were the first to pop into my mind because their role in my life has been directly linked to the spirit and focus of Becoming. My family in general has had such a large impact on my life but my great-grandparents more specifically and subtley set the foundation of my sense of self, ambition and potential.
When I was younger, every few weeks or so my mom, dad, brother and I would take the 2.5 hour ride from Detroit to Kalamazoo to visit Lee. W and Wille Mae. I specifically remember walking into their house and my grandma greeting us so warmly in her soft southern drawl. She was always cooking or had something ready when we arrived. We would sit down in the living room and chat about my dancing or school and she'd proclaim on numerous occasions:
You just so... purr-ty.
She would say, her head slightly turned to the side for emphasis with sincerity in her eyes. As a kid, I was really quiet, kept my nose in the books and didn't think much of my appearance. I was a nerd and focused mostly on my brain than looks and I was okay with that . But every time I saw her I wasn't just smart, I was purr-ty too. I was already beautiful to my grandma. I feel that this emphasis on my external appearance wasn't meant to give me a big head but to simply boost my sense of self as I was becoming a young women while maybe even celebrating the gene pool, lol.
HEY THERE CONDÉ!! (pronounced cond-AY), my grandfather would chime after I greeted my grandmother. Condé referred to Condoleezza Rice, the US National Security Advisor at the time who if I recall correctly worked to bring hard change but, went through it , as Black woman in politics. I guess my grandpa looked up to and admired her for her ambition and perseverance and saw those same qualities in me. He seemed to see or proclaim my success before I did. I was already successful to my grandpa. So every time he called me Condé, he was subliminally setting a standard for me. He was pushing me to continue working hard and to become the best I can be.
In my grandparents eyes, I had brains and looks, potentially a deadly combo that I honestly still don't realize or understand. I've always just expressed myself in a way that makes sense to me but I think this "sense" was nurtured in those monthly trips we took to see Lee W. and Willie Mae.
Every now and then during my creative visualization meditations I see them, Lee W. standing behind my grandmother nestled comfortably in her wheelchair with her hands in her lap and his hands resting on her shoulders, both grinning ear to ear. They are always smiling when I recall them, with smiles of love and joy backed by memories and experiences of a full life. A full life that I wish I could know more about, but thankful I could remember what I do have: being purr-ty and like condé.
As a kid I thought the comments on my purr-tiness and condé-ness were just funny and nice things to say yet they stuck with me. Now that I'm older, I have an even greater appreciation for the wisdom and light within their words as a proclamation of who I am becoming. Thank you grandma and grandpa for your love, joy and prophecy, they will never be forgotten and I hope I make you proud.
Thank you for reading,
And remember to always have faith, keep a vision and make art in everything that you do.