I find myself on gloomy cold days like today in New Orleans trying my best not to complain of the cold, because I know too well of the fridge Minnesota winters, but that dreariness finds its way to creep in… I’m told I have situational depression. All of my family and I are going through the misery of loss, death, murder. I was told I have every right to be down, unsure, unproductive and etc., but it doesn’t sit well with my soul.
I have always been a night owl, finding that I’m at my best when the roosters aren’t my alarm clock. But I noticed that my sleep pattern has drastically changed. Nor do I feed into the hype of the early birds gets the worm, but no one mentions of the owl. The bird that hunts at night aka “The Night Owl.” Unlike the early bird the owl, hunts and feeds mainly on furry animals such as mice, rats, moles, squirrels, rabbits, and even skunks. They often swallow the smaller animals whole. Owls also eat insects, worms, spiders, frogs, lizards, and small birds. Owls can kill animals as large as they are or even larger. So, ya see I do not mind being a night owl, because when get go out to hunt we gonna eat a fulfilling meal, not mere snacks such as worms and insects…
Typically, I’m up til 3am, maybe 4am, but always waking at 11am and when I’m with the kids I get up with them, get them ready for school and go back to sleep til noonish. Now, I can sleep the day away well waking at 2pm which makes me more depressed. Honestly, most of the time I find myself on social media just scrolling, posting here and there, but I haven’t been able to write not even in my journal which was not only therapeutic for me but my refuge. I feel proud when I blog and see the views and the word of encouragement, but in an instant life has changed and I somewhere in the middle of numb and broken-hearted.
I have been trying to do my NOLA Chic thing more so for my followers than anything. I put on a good face, pick out something fashionable and pray for the best, which typically greets me at the door. As I open my door, I allow the New Orleans sweet, musty intoxicating soulful air fill my lungs. It’s as if I go through this inhale, exhale process in route until it releases all of its goodness into my bloodstream and soul. This is a continual process, sorta like a ritual which changes me from Dee to NOLA Chic. I need to do this to not dump my sadness on my loves who awaits for me at our intended destination. I suck in as much NOLA air as I can without it looking liking I’m having an asthma attack. I would never want to be the party pooper while I’m out having a fabulous time with my friends. I mean, like duh, I am The NOLA Chic and they are depending on me to show them My Nola, right???
If you know me and my love for New Orleans you will hear me describe the feeling of New Orleans to me is intoxicating, but it’s not a drunken intoxication, but one that only I can explain as Beyonce’s lyrics to the song “Drunk in love” that’s New Orleans to me minus the man lol. While I’m in my city, enjoying all the beautiful people, the amazing culture, eating all the delicious food, dancing to the sounds of the city, I feel more than great, I feel exhilarated, at peace and in love with all things that made me, Me and it all ties to NOLA.
But at the end of our NOLA Experience, I kiss and hug my people goodbye then I find myself in my bed with a heavy bleeding heart with pressures mounting on my shoulders and the faint but so clear sounds of negativity have replaced the soulful sweet sounds of the city. I lay my head on my pillows and release a flood of tears that I must allow to flow. I tell myself I have to cry, let it out or my heart to swell in its brokenness resulting in my very own death. I believe people die from broken hearts and I refuse to allow that or any other negative action be my demise. It’s my hope that God allows me if only that. A life of suffering on earth is more than enough, if only we all could allow sleep to rapture us up in death.
I go through my days in the company of others and the type of NOLA Experiences we share while out in New Orleans is dependent on our individual bond, but we always have a fantastic time. Our commonality is that we love New Orleans and we all want to preserve the culture. There hasn’t been a moment while I was out within my city, with my people and have not enjoyed myself. Honestly, being within the midst of it all is what keeps me sane. I must add I’m at my happiest when I’m out in New Orleans with my friends, like out of my house. lol
I have learned to speak when I am hurt, I noticed most have not become accustomed to my voice especially when I tell them how they have hurt me. I used to cry in silence, moving on without allowing the person the knowledge of my pain that they inflicted upon me. I have found that even today some refuse to let me acknowledge their offense which I only use as a way to correct the problem, make amends and move on without pretending nothing was done. I try my best to hide how deeply hurt, damaged I am by yet the murder of another family member. Shana was more of a little sister and friend than a cousin. I miss her and hurt for her children, her mother; my auntie, and her sister. The problem with speaking on this hurt, expressing to the murderer and making amends, there’s nothing he can say to correct this problem… What have him stand up and court and say “I’m sorry for killing Shana and raping your adopted daughter??” I can envision myself leaping across the room and hurting him just enough to allow him to live in pain as long as he lives., the same as he has done us.
Unlike death by illness, old age or accident, the murder of a loved one cuts so deep, and no bandage will ever stop the bleeding, heal the wound. The victim’s survivors are left in control of their destiny of mountains and valleys to conquer while their heart is filled with a void. The cruel reality that on our road to our destiny is that our loved one’s destiny has ended in violence…
In planning my move back home, I never anticipated the suffering I would endure while I was here. From the death of my grandmother a couple of years after she finally made her way back home to New Orleans. The murders of my loved ones in Minnesota to the bad breakup with my favorite auntie and my business partner/ best friend. The sad realization that New Orleans is being taken over by the tourist industry to the point the neighborhoods I grew up in are predominately Airbnb. I thought my move from Minnesota would rid me of the knives to my heart and back and cure me of all my pains and heartache.
I have suffered significant love losses and sacrificed so much moving back home that at times when people question me about my move, I question myself…I’m over a thousand miles away from my family, my children and the family that’s here are slim to none. I took a significant financial sacrifice moving home, living off what little life’s savings I had that’s been eaten away from my son’s college tuition and now these frequent and long trips back to Minnesota to live our real life crime reality show. It’s all a constant reminder of strife, but going through this terrible suffering, this unbearable pain just being here gives me comfort in the midst of all this pain.
It’s the words of my Daddy and Momo that has me here, somedays I feel if I came sooner I would have had more time to be with them, save their legacies and found the help to at least rebuild their homes before termites and weather led to the leveling of them both. Now, I am their legacy, and though it’s lonely, I’m suffering, and some days I do not know which way to turn, but I’m here, because of them. I’m determined to make them proud and create something in honor of all the loving qualities they instilled in me while the sun shines on my face.
My Daddy used to always tell me “Deatra you’re an intelligent girl and even with that baby you can make it in New Orleans, come back I’ll help you. I can’t have a relationship with my grandkids with yall way in Minnesota.” He told me this in 1999 and in 2003 on his deathbed he asked me when I was moving back home. The day before he died on December 28th, 2003 he saw me crying after he was put on the do not resuscitate list after his 3rd resuscitation he called me to him and said “Even when I’m gone the sun will always shine, even while it’s raining outside and in your soul the sun will always shine. Even when you can’t see the sun, it’s shining, and I want you to remember me like the sun. Deatra, I may not be here with you, you may not see me, but I will always be your Daddy, always love you, because the sun will always shine.” He died the next day, and the sun was shining.
As with my grandmother, as dementia ate at her body and brain, it didn’t take away her faith and love for New Orleans. She prayed over our food one day, and she said: “Jean, I want to go home, I want to go back to New Orleans, it’s too cold up here and I love the feeling of sitting on my porch on a sunny day.” As yall know, I’m not Jean, but that’s my Mama, so she was close lol. She was able to get the heck out of cold Minnesota after years of living there after Katrina, and though she couldn’t sit on her porch she was able to sit out on one of her daughter’s porches and soak up this good New Orleans sunshine… So, even while broken, my heart is in distress, and I cry myself to sleep at times it’s all good because I made it back home. Back in New Orleans the place my entrepreneur Daddy said that his teen daughter who had a baby had the intelligence to make it way back when, so I have no choice to make it now. My pain and suffering will only make me stronger and allow my voice to be louder so that my story my testimony of the sun will always shine.