Secure Your Mask… First

“In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.”  ~ Most Airlines In-flight Instruction

Can you see me through a field of boteh? I mean really see my truth. Can the waving of palme really hide me; or do you just not choose to recognize? Prelude to Y.U.M.D.
Can you see me through a field of boteh? I mean really see my truth. Can the waving of palme really hide me; or do you just not choose to recognize? Prelude to Y.U.M.D. Part of the PluME/Paisley Coloring Project with Ella van Wyk – Urbane, IL

I have not been heeding this instruction. We have all heard it before; that is if you have ever been on a flight. The truth is if you have been on enough flights you know the script but tend to ignore it. You become immune to it. Metaphorically, this is an instruction that should be adhered to everyday.

Most people know I wear many hats. Sometimes so many that the question in social settings that makes me sigh deeply is… “So, what do you do?”. It is a big part of living in DC, especially now. The city has slowly become a cross section of politicos and artists; always working to find the balance between the two. “So, what do you do?” becomes that question necessary to figure out who is in the room. Mind you both politicos and artists are political, that is if the artist is truly into making art from the soul. But that could digress into another conversation.

The folks in between shuttle back and forth between the two categories creating an interesting bridge between the two. Then there are the folks who get caught in a position of liaison or straddler.

This is the space I currently occupy. 

One foot in the arts. One foot in politics. Mind on social justice. Now how exactly is that working? At the moment, I can’t call it. One this is for sure it is taxing and does not really serve my inner sanctum.

Rewind… Maybe 3 years ago, I asked my mother, “Why?” “Why didn’t you push me into a career in law or medicine?” Her answer simply and unequivocally… “Because you are an artist.”


There are some who spend their lives looking for people who really know them… who really get who they are as a human being. My mother in that moment showed me that the only person who needed to get to know me was me. Because she clearly got it.

This is where the oxygen mask comes in handy. When you have those around you who see you in a certain light or your ability to aid in a particular agenda or further a particular cause, it is important and necessary that you have a firm footing and your lungs are fully operational and inflatable. Otherwise you get tripped up and can easily have the wind knocked out of you.

The agenda of others always seeps into the crevices of those who can fulfill it. A fact that I am not mad at. This is how things progress. However, sometimes it can be obtrusive and forceful, especially to those who are keen on “getting IT” done. You know, those types willing to help, picking up the ball to make sure the goal is scored. It seems like those people are becoming fewer in number, as they are over come by obtrusive agendas and worn out souls. So before my soul is worn out…

What then…?

I create more. I spend more time with me. I create more. I reveal more thoughts through the medium that feels right. Art is… Most importantly, I relinquish other people’s issues and agendas back to them, because there is no more capacity, no more storage for them here. Some time ago I learned that everything happens for a reason. It is no coincidence that “x” and “y” took place, it was all in the plan.

So, cheers to the plan.

I type these words self – centered-ly, though the compassionate side of me hopes it is helpful to someone. The passionate side of me looks towards saving myself because the air in the cabin is decompressing.

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