silver linings in a shitstorm

a cinnamon toast crunch cheesecake happened (via alexgottaeat)

I made my first baked cheesecake. I’m a simple gal and tend to fancy basic no-bake situations over the jazzed-up sweet cheesebricks that live in dusty diner display cases, most kitchens, and far too many doomed, doodoo-slinging restaurants. So pretty, so inconsistent. But after my cousin Sha’Londa showed up to our family’s celebration of almighty high yellow becornrowed Jesús Anfernee Christ’s alleged global debut with the best cheesecake I had ever tasted in my thirty-five years of full-time Blackness, I had a change of heart.

I’m getting hot and bothered all over again just thinking about it.

Ask anyone in my family: I moaned while eating it. It transported me to Phloston Paradise and decreased my spiritual ashiness by 32.947%. It was rich and soft and silky and made me feel like, somehow, even with an anusmouthed swampdonkey in charge, everything was going to be okay. It touched me on the inside and made me feel good.

And so a fortnight ago, when I happened upon a pair of springform pans for 8/100ths of a Benjamin while hunting the aisles of a dollar discounthaus for candles, Lysol (still no luck), and multicolored index cards, my inner hungerbeast spoke out unto me.
Halifah (9") and Monifah (7")

He was like, “...get that shit.”

And so here we are.

My third eye was first opened to the idea of a Cinnamon Toast Crunch cheesecake by my sisterfriend and facilitator of Peninsula Social Butterflies Lupus & Fibro Support Group (my mom and I are members), Chas. Hers was glorious, decadent. I jealoused her so hard.

Last week, my cousin blessed me with The Cheesecake Recipe, and told me what tweaks made hers so nutbutingly delicious. More sugar. More vanilla. Letting it cool in the oven with the door cracked. Hers had a lovely berry moment on top with a graham cracker crust. Other plans had I.

Days later, in the heat of the night, I watched someone make a similar cheesecake. She, like me, wanted to capture that taste of milk that’s had cereal marinating in it for a bit. For maximum scrumptiousness. I did the same. My silkiness factor was aspirational at best, and she was not perfect, but I wore that bitch out just the same.

I learned a great many things about cheescakemaking on my maiden voyage, but I reckon that’s another tale for another day in Janet Jackson’s America. Just know that there was no calorie left behind.

And that the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cheesecake is likely better in gluttonous theory and in 
photographs than in real life, since the crunch, she is short-lived.***

upcycled some glorious green sauce-coated pork chops for a pizza-based snack moment. (via alexgottaeat)

part two

I never imagined that trips to the grocery store would be the highlight of my day, but I got more pleasure than I should have out of imaginizing myself tackling the abuela that grabbed the last six cans of Lysol down at the C-Town, with her trifling ass.

part three

When the sky first began to fall, like many forced isolators, I overcompensated for the sudden disconnection and profound uncertainty by overcommitting, overprogramming, and overburdening myself with electronic engagements. I tried to make it to everybody’s broadcast and digital dancerie. As a result, I have hopped on and facilitated more Zoom meetings and virtual moments in the past month than I have in my entire life.

So far, there have been literary readings, birthday parties, writing groups, train-the-trainer situations, plantain frying tutorials, coworking sessions, game nights, strategy circles, and invitations to prayer parties and masturbation meetups alike. And “How to Zoom” Zoom calls. 

And the “How to Zoom About Zooming While Zooma Zoom Zoom Zooming in the Poom Poom” Zoom trainings. Each day is one of a fufillion firsts.

I have spent most of this pandemic worrying about my parents back home in 1998, Virginia: my “high-risk” mother’s dance with various chronic ailments and my “high-risk” always-okay father. And the nice and nasty people he encounters daily working in a pharmacy. And the careless shitbags they may both encounter in the course of their days.

To ease my anxiety about being separated from them and the rest of my family, I have exchanged Marco Polo videos with my mom and caught up with my dad via Facebook Messenger video. I won a show-and-tell battle by reading my original poetry—surrounded by candles, wearing a fried chicken-spangled onesie—to friends also staying the fuck put in their homes.

Not everything is a dumpster fire.

And I’ve begun enrolling family members in my visions for a virtual Mother’s Day bonanza and a virtual family reunion this summer. Looking forward to being program and wellness director for my family’s first virtual gold tooth contest. Win upon win.

Send up a holy heel-toe for your boy and his skrength as the How to Prepare Sunday Dinner at a Reasonable Time for Your Family’s Virtual Blackstravaganza Zoom calls commence.
part four

I lost a handful of workshops and facilitating opportunities once Mister Rona began his reign of gastrointestinal warfare, respiratory hateration, and death. Many schools and businesses closed or locked it on down the week I was gearing up to begin slinging classes and keynotes door-to-door. I took on a book copywriting project as nonessential businesses shuttered. 

I was already freelancing, but being unable to post up and be great in cafes, libraries, and wherever else the spirit took me had me feeling mighty downtrodden, restrained like the hopes and dreams of a Tylerperrian wigworker. My anxiety magnified a thousandfold and I spent a week paralyzed with dread, stuck on all the things I wasn’t doing and the things beyond my control. Not editing. Not writing. Not working towards the goals I’d set for myself as part of my contract with myself for my leadership team. Not showing up.

I’ve been ideating around transitioning my in-person wellness evangelism and work into virtual formats that speak to the spiritually ashy times in which we find ourselves. And other ways that I can promote joy and share wellness resources out in these filthy, Zoom-weary skreets.

But this week, I supported a brilliant chocolatey wonder’s organization in locating, screening, and interviewing and assessing philosophical alignment, capacity, and trauma-informed backgrounds in Black women therapists in South Carolina to make magic with a group of Black women and chirren with sexual and domestic violence histories. I am helping her set up her organization's first virtual wellness program.

And a union for whom I teach Mental Health First Aid in English and Spanish, as well a few other courses, reached out to me to research and develop a grief and loss support group to supplement some upcoming grief and loss trainings for healthcare workers. To provide support for the attendees beyond the group, I'm researching, screening, and curating a database of counselors who accept their therapy and have the capacity for new teletherapy clients, as well as a wellness resource hub for union employees.

And I proposed my wellness facilitation services (and trainings around self-care and wellness in the workplace) to a teammate working with the National Urban League. Hey, Progress.

part five 

After hunting for notecards and compiling notes in my journal as a scatterbrained, analog girl in a digital world, I finally created a form to which I can direct folks who reach out to me looking for therapist recommendations.

If you need an Iyanla to help you scream into the ground and get those demons out, slide on over to this form right here. I'm working solo on the requests at the moment, so I'm trying to get them turned around within 72 hours. 

part six

After trekking through the hills of Camp Kuchi Kaiai, I have located yeast and have begun down the Kool-aid red brick road to overcoming my fear of working with yeast, the breadmaking variety, not the vagisaurus variety. 
Buffets are probably canceled until 2021 so if I want to experience the mouthparty I’m missing being legally separated from Golden Corral dinner rolls, I have no choice but to make them in person. 

Stay tuned.

***: I still wore her out just the same.