I Love Myself When I Am Laughing…

Back in the days when I was in grad school, I spent a lot of time studying Alice Walker. In my research, I discovered that Alice Walker had spent a lot of time studying Zora Neale Hurston. For the title of the collection of Hurston’s work that she edited, Walker selected a Hurston quote that has stayed with me all these years:

Zora Neale Hurston, Class of 1928, Chicago, Ill., November 9, 1934


These days, I feel so disconnected inside that I’m not sure what will come out if I open my mouth–a laugh, something mean, something impressive. I’m trying to love all of that. Make space for all of it.


Today I wanted to scream when Carlos pooped half in the toilet and half on the floor. I resisted yelling, but I gave him a talking to that was certainly mean and impressive. Then 5 minutes later he walked by himself to the car and he looked so grown up, moving so easily away from me, that I reached out silently to let my fingers brush against his hair. He walked into school by himself instead of asking me to carry him and I thought I would have to curl up in a ball in the corner for a while.

He’s growing up–that’s a good thing–but he can’t stay my baby and I love that baby so much.

Loving tiny people this much–it’s mean and impressive.



4 thoughts on “I Love Myself When I Am Laughing…

  1. Chris Antenen

    Sometimes we do things for different reasons, and sometimes those different paths takes us to the same place. I read Uncle Tom’s Cabin for two reasons; my mother called me Topsy because she said I just growed. She was 42 when I was born. As an adult, I asked my sister (14 years older) if she thought my coming along at that age was a burden to my mom and dad, and being the kind sister she is, she told me what I already knew, that they enjoyed having me around maybe more than my older sisters. I always felt special. Probably not a good thing to admit, but I’ll tell you that you have every right to enjoy that boy like crazy. I still think of my parents with joy and gratitude, and loved my sisters, too.

    The other reason I read it was that I wanted to know what being an ‘Uncle Tom’ really meant, what it meant in Harriette Beacher Stowe’s mind. It was a surprise to find him such a dear character, one you came to love because he was so kind, but he was also the Uncle Tom of history.

    Then I read Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, which she wrote when I was five years old. I had trouble understanding it, the language structure, the relationships, the social structure, the anguish that came off the pages. Her life was so far away from mine and yours, but what a life she lead.

    As usual, you leave me with an assignment, because I have not read Alice Walker. I have no idea why. I think I took Oprah’s Alice Walker and made it mine. Now I have no excuse.

    I hadn’t seen that Hurston quote before, and I like both parts of it. I don’t think I’ve been mean and impressive. I’ve liked myself and you laughing, but I think I’d like to be mean and impressive, too, sometimes, wouldn’t you?

    1. WordPress.com Support

      I think you’re plenty impressive and I’m glad I’ve never seen you be mean!

      Please read The Color Purple. Please.


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