Wednesday, July 01, 2020


Like a bird that chirps, I can't seem to stop trying to sort my thoughts and write all about it, here, on Instagram, in messages, as I fall asleep... chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp. These days, my thoughts are racing, so is my heart. There is so much going on in the world, and some of it hurts, deeply. Not directly, not so that I am in danger or daily reminded in my personal life... but I cannot read the news without shuddering, without feeling genuinely appalled. And, truthfully, some accounts do feel direct and personal, deeply concerning. Maybe I shouldn't censor myself... sometimes telling my story makes me feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, and I worry about getting it wrong, being misunderstood. I even worry, "What will ___ think of me?" Here's a funny thing... I've been very aware of the BLM movement, and I've been listening, reading, reflecting, and growing, and I've been deeply concerned about not being a superficial-trendy ally, and my concerns, my empathy, my own experience with bigotry and intersectional issues, inform my genuine interest and activist beliefs and actions, and I've been so preoccupied with doing the right thing, making a beneficial difference, especially in social media, because I am there, Instagram and FB, and here, a lot, BUT! But, I am not a successful social media voice... and that's the funny part for me: How earnest and eager I have been to make a difference, to contribute, but really, I am possibly the single most ineffective, least influential social media person there is, relative to how much effort I give it. (A terribly embarrassing admission.) I am this little Brown bird, standing on a low perch and chirping away, so solemn and wholehearted, likely off-key, certainly incessant, and I... I'll say it: I am not interesting enough to be of interest to the other art-mommy-crafting-gardening bloggers I've courted forever, and I am not worthy of a follow-back from Makers and the Maker movement that I've promoted, and contributed to for a decade, and certainly Black women, the activist and artists I admire, do not need me clogging up their channels (They've got this!)

So. Well. Honestly, this might be ideal. My under the radar anonymity gives me space to have my say, to chirp away! I'm not going to be in anyone's way.

For courage, I think of Richard Feynman, a favorite physicist, and his ideas on living, being, "What do you care what other people think?"

There. I've said all that, and really, I could have just chirped, I have been really sad, possibly depressed, because the racism in this country is disgusting. And people are being such fucking knuckle heads about the most basic, humane gestures, like wearing a friggin' mask, that I wonder if we can ever be decent enough to let Love be Love, to stop hurting Black people, give everyone access to quality, affordable education and healthcare, and secure justice and equality for all.

It is truly depressing to see some people too selfish and unkind to share, to make room, too bound to symbols, and reactionary conventions, to regard the value of human lives, of peace, of love, of compassion, respect, decency. Why should this fight for Human Rights still be raging? Isn't it simple enough to say, we are living, and connected, let's be kind and fair? With that settled, with justice served, and everyone having at least the chance at a fair shake, imagine what we could achieve for all of the other, actually, pressing issues? I don't want to debate whether police can arrive unannounced, kick in the door and shoot someone in their bed. I do not want to wait a year for a district attorney to consider whether it was wrong of police to kill a young man for walking home. I wish everyone would put on face masks when they are in public. I wish everyone would vote in November for the candidates, flawed but caring, who want to restore some common decency. I wish the men armed and paid by our taxes, trained to protect and serve us, that killed Breonna Taylor, and Elijah McClain, were arrested and tried for the crimes they ought to be formally accused of.

I get so sad, I feel useless, heavy, floundering. Which, to be honest, is a luxury. I am home, and have more than I need, and I am surrounded by beauty. Even the tattered roses, and dead things in the garden, the unfolded laundry, and dirty dishes, are all portions of my blessings, my favor. Here is a spiral... sad-->guilty-->apologetic-->embarrassed-->sadder-->guiltier. I want to delete this, and even more I would like to not feel sad, then apologetic, and I am not going to delete it, because maybe someone else feels this way, too. Maybe someone wishes they weren't alone in their feelings. I do care what other people think, and need to be reminded, Don't let what other people might think, stop you from saying what you feel, from being yourself, from changing, from growing. And really, is it so surprising to feel sad? These are not easy times, whether for me, personally, or because I care what others are experiencing.

Roasted tomatoes... apparently I've made them with salt, and without salt. I think without salt works well. I think roasting tomatoes is wonderful.

Baking bread... it's easy, it's versatile. I think this bread is wonderful.

I had been thinking about sharing a whole history of this lunch, from planting apple trees, to tomatoes that volunteered in the yard, and reflecting on all kinds of metaphors and recipes, deep thoughts, other musings. Chirp, chirp, chirp, chirp...


cindy said...

Hi Natalie! I read your post yesterday and was utterly gobsmacked by your words. My own desire to compose a meaningful response kept me from commenting until this morning. you really let it fly, and touched on my own feelings in ways I can't articulate.I do think that those of us with very full lives and the kind of empathic souls that keep us churning, suffer for our abundant joys as well as our deep hurts and frustrations. There is this constant compulsion to be present and helpful. You may feel like you are "chirping" to a vast emptiness, but I bet that many many others like you, like me, are hearing you but we are doing these things in our own worlds, somewhat unaware of the fact that the others exist as we do, feel as we do, and are grateful to come across someone like you. Sorry for all the commas! Keep going, your voice is so terrific!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Cindy... thank you. Thank you.
I like commas, too, but you've probably noticed that, right?
And I've probably expressed this many times, but it's such a relief when at least one person responds, and can relate, because otherwise I'm certain that my rambling is nonsensical. Funny, I only need one ally to relieve me of some of my self doubt... which reminds me how important it is for people to be heard. So, again: Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Natalie,
I love your chirps - I hear you.
You are not alone.
Embrace the gift you have for expressive writing.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Thank you, Marcella!