Birds flying high You know how I feel / Sun in the sky You know how I feel / Reeds driftin’ on by You know how I feel /It’s a new dawn / It’s a new day / It’s a new life For meAnd I’m feeling good
I went to bed last night in the not-best of moods, head occupied with matters that were huge at midnight but will prayerfully be trivial in a few weeks time. I’ve learned through years of practice with my emotions and my independence that the best way to heal my heart is to cast out on my own, and to go looking for something that I might not think of until i’m well on my way – consider it the fine art of Selfishness, or self-care.
The High Museum of Art was my solution for Sunday. I told my best friend my plan, and she squealed for me (via text, of course). I fell asleep with a sadness that had begun to morph into a plan of self-preservation.
On selfish days like today, I dress for the sake of impressing myself. Today, that looked like the 2-piece all-white linen set that I had custom made in Nigeria while I was still an iyawo. I buffed my nails and even gave myself a facial before putting on eyeshadow that turned me into a subtle peacock. There was plenty of scented oil, appropriately named “River of Honey”. And while I dressed, I addressed my Oshun and said “YeYe, this day is for you.” When adding the final touch to my outfit – my jade bracelet – I heard a small voice say “No! Put mine on!” So I dove into a box in my closet, full of shrine supplies, digging until I found Oshun’s 5 brass bracelets that I haven’t worn since that year in white.
What small fortune, I found a parking space for free that saved me $12, and the last song on the radio before I got out was “Feelin’ Good” … which I didn’t realize was Ms. Lauryn Hill until the tail end (thank you Shazam!).
“Feelin’ Good” became my anthem as I strolled through halls of cascading light, bouncing off of intentionally bleak walls against works of art older than my great great grandmother. Spotify makes is possible!
There were four works of art that moved me:
I was amazed by the skill of the artist, in the ability to sculpt something so delicate into stone. To birth something that appears so fragile, to believe that it could be lifted.
When I first saw her, I said to myself “That’s me”. I remember covering myself often as an iyawo. Even now, I feel a quaint feminine modesty and in ways, protected, when draped with fabric.
I marveled at the scene, and gulped it in. Inspired, because this is a real place on Earth. Vagabonding is becoming more real to me…
The furrows in her brow!!! Who the heck can carve a furrow!?
This wall-sized portrait of a night sky and constellations over the ocean reminded me of a moment in Vilankulos where I was so overwhelmed with the number of stars in the sky that I was overcome with tears. My traveling companion Aminata, seeing my emotion, ordered my boyfriend Belmiero, to kiss me. But I didn’t need his kiss – the sky was perfect enough.
I walked down four stories of ramp, thinking it blasphemy if I took the elevator. And I walked to the cadence of Lauryn Hill’s voice, because I did feel free. My back felt strong, as if I was wearing wings. And although I haven’t written a new story in a long time, my proverbial pen was refilled with the ink of inspiration. I walked to my car, planning this entry for you, my readers. ❤