And you may come full circle and be new here again."

From I'm New Here by Gil Scott Heron on his first album in 15 years of the same title. This song came on my i-pod yesterday after a challenging day. A day of some disappointments, some bad surprises, and pure exhaustion. I've been doing much thinking recently about my next choices, where I am going to go and what I am going to do and I will admit, it has been stressful. I realized yesterday that I am at a place where I am new here. I have changed. I am changing. And I have to turn back, to look at where I have come from in order to move forward. I do not know all that much about Sankofa, but I like the idea of "taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge." (Wikipedia) Looking back in order to move forward.

So, I turn around, I look back, I ask myself "Where are you from?" I subscribe to the Journal of Ordinary Thought, a publication by the Neighborhood Writing Alliance, a Chicago based organization that "provokes dialogue and promotes change by creating opportunities for adults in Chicago to write, publish, and perform works about their lives." ( The last issue was based on writing created from the question of where people were from. I was inspired by this and here is an excerpt from what I wrote in response:

I am from Long Island, Huntington specifically, New York in general.

I am from a house that once was yellow, from a family that was expanded to include those who were not blood, from a family that became confused of its identity, of who was in and who was out, which members I could hug, which were work, and which were not.  I am from a home of divisions, of meted out love, of family tied to work, of work confused with life. Of things that mattered too much, when maybe they didn't matter at all. Of control and struggle. I come from a couple that made a commitment to each other, to their family, to others, who work together, who still laugh and love, but who in my estimation don't have too much time for themselves. I come from a house that was never empty, never quiet, that housed many in its walls. I come from car rides to other houses that never felt like home. I come from car rides at 5am to summer vacations, sun and pools, and too much sunscreen. I come from too much.

I come from love, I would not be here if I didn't. I would not have found love if I didn't. I would not continue to search for it if I didn't come from it. I come from a culture of politeness, of not saying anything that will make anyone upset, even if it's the truth. I come from consequences for inconsequential things and eventually consequences from things that matter. I come from dancers (somewhere in the past), from joy, from a people connected to the heavens and the earth. I come from immigrants who shed their cultures to be absorbed by the great whiteness of this country. I come from a mixed bag, from people looking to get away or to find something. I come from a warm and cozy place that was very hard to leave even though I grew too large and it began to hurt. I come from a hardworking people, from people who put the work before what they were working toward. I come from a people that cannot see when their actions shoot them in the foot. I come from folks that drink too much and those who barely drink at all.

I come from New York City. I come from the alienation of walking the city streets. I come from the alienation of unaddressed feelings. I come from an overabundance of thoughts. I come from mistakes and the mistaken. I come from people with a vision. I come from a place that makes me want to be something. I come from being myself. I come from books and words. I come from Charles Village. I come from my yoga mat. I come from friends. I come from some of the most fantastically gifted people I have ever known. I come from a place of support, sometimes - a place of precariousness others.

I come from a working class background. I come from a working class, working to be middle class. I come from a neighborhood we could not afford if my parents had not run a group home. I come from hurrying and frustration. I come from a high school and college diploma. I come from libraries and museums. I come from spills, and scrapes, and scratches...