Keepin’ It Real


My route to yoga class takes me along one of the saddest blocks in my neighborhood. On one side of the street is a sprawling auto-body shop; busted-up, smashed vehicles, each mangled hood or bumper or smashed-in door telling a terrible story, wait their turn outside its multiple, side-by-side work stations. Across the street, next to a couple of derelict, abandoned buildings, lies a beery redemption center where the poorest of the poor redeem cans and bottles; a nickel per’s the going rate. (A tow truck company shares a driveway with the redemption center—not so much a poignant feature of the street as menacing, threatening. God forbid you’re walking past when one of their drivers pulls out of the driveway without looking or stopping!) No matter what the weather, leathery, bloodshot-eyed Hispanic men crouch between the waiting, mangled cars or in the doorways of the abandoned buildings to pass around a bottle of whatever their pooled nickels could buy. Haitian women, Asian women, scarfed women, mothers and grandmothers of every ethnicity push brimming shopping carts past the drinking or passed-out men; some sling giant-sized, bulging plastic bags over their shoulders as they maneuver the crowded sidewalk.

Last night, while at an evening yoga class, an idling car at a red light right outside the  studio window played “gangsta rap”so loud our teacher felt compelled to apologize for the intrusion. As she were responsible. As if we, her white, affluent students, might be upset or offended by the rage and grating sounds outside—which lasted as long as it takes for a red light to turn green. As if none of us might be enraged that another unarmed black teenager has been shot dead. As we aren’t perpetually grated, horrified by the obscene gap between women like us and the women who tote bulky plastic bags to a redemption center (!?) to feed their children. As if being yoga students automatically means we’ve earned the right to ignore the reality right outside.



Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia! Wow, what a loving, sensitive, caring, uplifting, and empowering blog post article in which you have composed, as well as your other brilliant ones and other writings! As I awaken this early morn, I feel and experience such a burst of optimism and hope toward my upcoming day from your sensitive and inspiring blog post article. As an indigent lesbian black woman, I so, so very much appreciate your love and concern for indigent people of all colors and for people of color. I feel torn between two class income worlds because I grew up in a financially secure environment having been black middle class but now I am indigent being a person with multiple disabilities who receives a low, fixed income in disability benefits. I will for always feel like and be that black middle class girl in my heart, soul, and spirit, however. I appreciate so, so kindly and dearly how you called out how your yoga instructor enacted white privilege in thinking that the briefly loud rap music in the car at the stopped red traffic light would disturb and inconvenience you and the others in your yoga class and disrupt the yoga session. You my white sister as an ally and in solidarity so, so very much are right on in constructively criticizing your yoga instructor and her assumption that you and the others in the class would be inconvenienced. You very lovingly and in such a delightful caring manner in support of your sisters and brothers who are people of color called out white privilege for what it was, Patricia! This means so, so very much to me and means the world to me, Patricia! You are such a gift and a blessing to me and to others, not only people of color but all of your other sisters and brothers as our Beautiful God Spirit’s Creation. I appreciate you so, so very much, Patricia, and I thank-you so, so very kindly and dearly! I so, so love and very much value and cherish you, Patricia, and the other fantastic and empowering white allies in solidarity! Each and every one of you as white allies are right on and do a splendid and an empowering job! Thank-you much!

    You have such caring love and sensitivity toward all people who are impoverished and the means we have to go through just to survive on very little or no money. I can bear witness to you doing so, my white sister, Patricia, even from your wonderful earlier blog post articles. I, too, can relate to the other indigent people which you described. I redeem my pop cans and bottles here in Iowa for five cents to try to scrape up money. I try to be as resourceful and creative as I can in order to survive. I go to the food bank regularly here where I live as well in Iowa City, Iowa. Bless those poor souls and spirits you wrote about who have children. It would be very daunting and scary to be indigent and to try to provide for children. I don’t have children as a lesbian because not being involved with a man I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant, but another reason why I didn’t have children as much as I love and dearly cherish children is because I knew in my heart that I was too indigent to be able to provide for children if I had had any children. I wouldn’t want to be unable to provide for children. So for all those reasons I don’t have children although I love kids so, so very much.

    Patricia, you are such a wordsmith as you compose your brilliant words with such power and descriptive creativity! I can just envision the people and scenes in which you are describing in my mind as I read your fascinating and amazing words. The pictures which you place with your very fine and excellent articles highly complement your wonderful words of wisdom and match the topics of your articles to perfection!

    Patricia, my precious white sister, you please have a very nice, special, and a very blessed day! I am so, so very uplifted, inspired, and empowered toward my upcoming day from you and your inspiring words of wonderful wisdom and with such sagacity!

    Very Sincerely Always,

    Your lesbian black sister in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.