Marie Tattiana Aqeel
Food, Herbs, and Sustenance
1. Being in Brasil is a practice in conservation. Much of the water for homes and small businesses comes from filtered rain water stored in big tubs situation on rooftops. Many homes do not have hot water, but I can turn the water off to lather my body with soap and not feel cold in the air at all. Flushing the toilet happens only for feces. I am menstruating so I do a little flush to dilute the color of the water. And tissue does NOT go down the toilet; there are tiny covered trash cans for that which also serve as a royal foot stool for those of us who use one ;-). These are practices I think we should all use. They work great on farms. They would work quite well in cities especially in older ones with sewage back-up problems. Quietly kept, DC has a sewage line problem of its own that they're lightly trying to tell the public about by suggesting what NOT to flush down the toilet. But they aren't loud enough about it! Seriously, conservation ain't always shiny and pristine but we can manage.
2. There is only one place to properly wash my dreads- in the tropics.
3. Today reading Ta-Nehisi Coates' book again about claiming control over the Black body, my body, I am remembering two times when I went into a Caribbean restaurant in DC and got treated rudely by the male worker there. His rudeness came out of nowhere but his own ideas at the sight of my lover and I simply being two hungry humans come to get good food. Without speaking he was disrespectful. And the first time I asked him if he had a problem, he just shook his head. The second time I didn't give him the energy but now I would ask him, "Does your hatred toward me because I'm a woman who loves other women make you feel more solid in your identity as a man?" We don't serve the same God, so I can't protest his religious notions if any. This is purely cultural and to him, he knows the extent of what a woman should be based on her body alone. I hope one day his life is saved by a lesbian. When staring into the face of death, one can no longer fight with ideas alone. I learned that during my mother's death.
4. I learned more history of my father's life before me from my older sister. She's seen a lot. Her mother has seen a lot. He was... he was just a musician. That was his life, that was his mind, it was his food, his breath, the good he did. Everything else, sadly, was complicated and unresolved. I've thought that my dad had some version of Asbergers and it probably got worse as he got older. But now, as I learn more about his physical health problems, I'm thinking that he could've had a food allergy. I've heard of cognitive issues on the autism and Aspergers spectrum being reduced and alleviated by a change in diet, excluding certain things like dairy, refined sugars, and processed foods. I'm pretty sure he ate all those things up until he got too sick to eat.
Our organs are not prosthetic and cannot withstand synthetic food without serious consequences. Can't put regular gas in diesel engine, ya know.
5. Oh my God I have to get on a plan to keep the greens comin' around here. They will get made damnit! I feel like I'm going back into my childhood before anyone knew just how bad processed food was for us, but I'm the only one at the table thinking about it. My Aunty told me it's hard to find an organic farm around here. I'm sad and worried that Brazil has traded its most precious resource- land and old world farming- for a westernized model of food production. It's a beast. The most common devil I've seen alongside racism. Same coin. CAN WE LIVE?!
6. These cramps are the realness. If you ever need some herbal relief though honies, try Tankwe Gin. It's not what it looks like. It's a blend of Chinese herbs, honey, and water, comes in a red and white box with green lettering. Find it at the Chinese herb shop next to the Walgreens on 7th St in Chinatown in DC. Wish I could tell ya about my grandma fixin' up some fresh herbs from her garden that cured everything from cramps to severed limbs but I haven't had that experience in this life time. I'm trying to BE that grandmother someday!