Shredded Colors of Gratitude

Heart between the pages of a bookI’m grateful for much in my life, especially for those thorns that have caused me pain. The gratitude of gratification has carried me on its back. Friends, to distant ones, to those I’ve sworn to never speak to again, have imprinted my DNA, and when dissected, reveal threads knowing who I am and what I’m grateful for.

This time of the year from October to the end of December, the media saturates us with holiday movies, retail mega-sales, and all the decorations we can consume before nausea vomits ‘ENOUGH.’

As an African American whose heritage is knee-deep in the roots of this country, I pause and wonder what the hell do I have to be thankful/grateful for? And what does Thanksgiving mean to my heritage mixed with Seminole and runaway property of a plantation owner? But this message isn’t about slavery or politics, which is an ongoing discuss of “what the hell is going on?”, or a Hallmark card of loveliness full of holiday cheer. It’s an examination of gratitude of myself and what my writing and people who’ve supported me have meant–and for that I’m so grateful–so grateful.

As I look through my old diaries and bound notebooks, from a pre-teen to an adult, there’s much ground that shows shades of gratitude, not just for the picture smiles, but for shades of sadness. I start first with my mother, who was my see-saw partner. When I bounced up, she bounced down. Our fragile relationship was in part because of her mental health, my stubbornness, and us clashing through the older-daughter-mother syndrome. With Mom’s unpredictable behavior, she didn’t realize she instilled in me a sense of fight and survival strength. I learned early on what I could win and lose. I kept these lessons under my skin, next to my heart and branded into my brain. . .  I was strong, fearless of anything coming at me. I have built-in gratitude to you, mom, for a resilience that has kept me above the fray.

I’m also grateful growing up in a small town with gossip twisted like thorny vines entwining everyone’s household and their business to their neighbors. This tight-knit-Peyton Place community made me grateful years after I left home for a larger thriving metropolis.  I took for granted when I needed help in my big city, that my hometown community, even in its ugliest, matted swirl of rumors, showed a tribal protective love. When I first built my circle of friends in my new city, there are two that appeared and stayed and stood by me—Edythe and Teresa.Shredded colors of gratitude

Adult responsibility comes with jobs either you hate or love. I’ve had many a manager I could’ve killed in a darkened parking lot. One, I’m particularly thinking of, is Adeline, a woman I’d labeled the Wicked Witch who had a corner office at a major movie studio. My dream job was self-documented for unjust treatment of not just me, but other team members as well.  When I moved on and became a manager for several prestigious firms, I carried one thing in my expensive handbag—communication, the respectful kind that makes a difference in people’s lives. And so for my gauntlet with Adeline, I’m grateful.

Being aware of one’s energy and strength, and in my case, creativity, has been a tribute to many people, far too many to list. But my conversation this morning with my dear friend Mary and recently with Debi has always made for a better alignment with myself. I’m grateful for them for accepting me for what I represent, which is a bundle of old news headlines and a surprise of un-opened gifts.

I’ve learned moving around like I have through the years, has given me resilience to adapt and reach out to form new communities. This is how I met Susan and Vaughnetta. There’s many more like Donna, and my sister Valerie—both with opposite ideals, but those keep gratitude inside me.

I feel life built on cement blocks has a way of making the shaded grey of gratitude more accessible.

I dedicate this to Tom, Calvin, Gwyllm, Larry, Michael, Phillip, and my father Woodie.

Thank you for always being there.

I am grateful.

I dedicate this to all the people whom I’ve walked away from and never gotten to know. You came into my life for a reason and that gratitude was short lived.

And for those I didn’t mention, we’re bound with our own memories.

I’m grateful announcing two new book projects: one, a compilation of seven years of my witty, soul-reaching blogs. I hope this will inspire, and give a better glimpse of how I got to this
point of creating words that translate into something meaningful and memorable. Project two: I realized to write and finish all the books I want and need to, I’d have to live over 200 years old.
Now, longevity does run in my family deeper than an endless well, but not even I can muster up that much magic! So with that, I’m taking all my unfinished stories and new ones, and squeezing out the fat to master page-turning short stories. I anticipate two volumes. I’m excited about this because short stories are making a reader and audio book comeback—particularly if written in raw threads of realism. There’s also in the horizon (distant, but plausible) script collaboration on my last novel, The Last Merry Go Round.

Gratitude, a ledge we all reach to discover and rebuild who we are. I’m so grateful for the perception.



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Donna Pizzi
1 year ago

As always, dearest Cheryl, your wordsmithing is a delicious way to begin one’s morning as you dig deep into what makes you the extra-ordinary being/writer you are. I was grateful to be mentioned, but would love to know what you meant by “opposite ideals!” Fascinating. You know there is one project I hold near and dear of yours that I’m praying you will bring forth to the public… Whatever you decide to polish & publish will be worthy of a good read. Sending blessings & gratitude for the years we’ve spent together and for the many perigrinations you & Tom have undertaken to make you the couple you are… Big Hugs!

Gwyllm Llwydd
1 year ago

I am honoured!
Big Love Cheryl, Big Love. It all starts and ends with love.

Michael Conner
Michael Conner
1 year ago

Always wonderful to find a fellow traveler on the path where hard lines dissolve and a vulnerable soul opens up to the finer registers of the human condition with love, empathy, and companionship in these more lonesome quarters.