Space For Me

Self Portrait with Collards

“My voice is small as it asks, What will it matter to them if I make a book? I am one poet. Isn’t there space for me?” – from Silhouette by Ladan Osman

There are many reasons I stopped blogging. For one, I began to doubt that what I wanted to say had any significance. There are so many voices, so many stories. Why should mine matter? And then, my life was changing. When I started Gullahmama I was still actively parenting teenagers. I still identified myself as “mother” first, than artist and performer. And also — parenting was kicking my butt. My offspring were making choices that I didn’t understand. They were having and creating experiences that worried me, but that I could do little about. I began to doubt my skills in the parenting arena. Who was I to share my experience, or the experiences of my children with others? Unlike my persona on Gullah Gullah Island, much of what I was facing could not be fixed with a song and a smile in 22 minutes time.  So I stopped. I shut this part of my life down. I continued to perform, to tell stories, to paint. But I didn’t blog. And in that time (almost 2 years now) things happened: I earned a MA degree and have begun painting portraits. My marriage has blossomed and grown in wondrous ways, and my children — my amazing, brilliant and beautiful children — have also blossomed into adults that I stand in awe of. And yes, I have a smidgen of self-congratulatory pride, that they’ve turned out so well.  (So, it is true what my second mother, Gloria Jean, always said to me: “This too, shall pass.”),

A few months ago, while cleaning out storage sheds and such, I came across a box full of stories and essays I had written. I sat down and read them all. And something in me re-awakened. The first thing I ever wanted to be (besides a candy striper, like Cherry Ames or Trixie Belden — who was also a girl detective) was a writer. There was magic in the written word and I lost myself in the pages of a good book. I learned about the world from the well-written words of others. I browsed library stacks looking for experiences, discovering C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Chaim Potok, James Baldwin and myriad others.  I love the written word.  So I’m back. I may share some of those old essays and stories here, for folk who have the time for a long read. I may just write what comes to mind. I don’t know for certain. But I’m operating on the belief that there is space for me out here. And I’m stepping into it.

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18 thoughts on “Space For Me

  1. So happy to hear from you again and very excited to read your words! Motherhood does kick our butts at times. But I truly believe that it’s one of the most important jobs we have. I appreciate you honesty and it makes me smile to hear that your marriage is growing and changing it wonderful ways. I love to look around and see happy thriving marriages. This old world can be so tough on married folk!

  2. THANK YOU! Really thank you for coming back. I saw your blog as a safe place of wisdom in this crazy world. I have 2 teenagers who are suddenly going through serious problems and a kindergartners and a special needs/medically complex 3 yr old. I am a very white mom of gorgeous mixed race/culture children with a husband from south Carolina. Your blog helps me to adjust and help them to understand that they come from a rich culture not just from thugs and rappers. You are so appreciated.

    • Topaz, what a blessing you are to me today! It is so good to know that even when we are confused/unsure/embarrassed/overwhelmed there is still value in sharing. I appreciate you as well.

  3. Welcome back! I discovered you blog while you were away. However, looking forward to your future wisdom. I am a mother of a 6 and 16 year old. I can use all the wisdom you have to share.

  4. Yay!!! You’re back! I was just thinking the other day that it had been a long time since you had written a blog. I love your writing, your insight and your humor. Please continue. We are listening

  5. Wow. Mrs. Natalie, i discovered your blog some time last year and figured you were done blogging. I read through all of the posts and so badly wanted more! I’m so glad you are back. I may not relate to every post, but you write your experiences so beautifully, it doesn’t even matter. You’re amazing. You’re needed. And yes, there is definitely space for you.

  6. Yay! It’s nice to see you back. We did miss you. I checked back every now and then just in case you posted. What you say has a lot of significance. I believe everyone has something to share if they allow themselves. It’s interesting to peek into someones life, someones thoughts. We can learn a lot from each other.

  7. Please continue to step into your gifting! You are a storyteller, and as all griotes, your voice, please, and life experiences are valuable, and needed! I’ve talked to you before about Gullah Gullah Island’s help in my childhood, and your blogs now help me in my adulthood!

    Welcome back!

  8. Welcome back, Gullah Mama. I’ve missed your words!

    PS I wanted to be Trixie Belden, and coincidentally I was just thinking about her and Honey and Jim earlier this week. 🙂

    • 🙂 The books from our childhood stay with us! You know, the books from my children’s childhood also stay with me. Nothing like well-written YA books!

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