Naked in N'awlins

Life can be soooooo overwhelming. Add a recent breakup, two children, a job that you're not feeling, and a passion for the arts (that has given you mild celebrity), and you have one tired Superwoman. I told a friend that I needed a break, even if I had to go alone. Her response was, “lemme check my calendar.” Of course, I was clueless, her meaning going all the way over her head, until she started sending me Groupons and told me to check Air B-N-B for a place to stay for the weekend. I still missed it, and just thought she was a dope friend, helping me plan my weekend getaway.

My mama already had plans to get the children, so I was for the trip. My destination of choice, New Orleans, Louisiana. The city I call home. WHO DAT! No, I’m not from New Orleans., but that’s where my soul’s from. Me? I’m from Da Gump (Montgomery, AL for those of y’all who live in a cave lol), by way of Selma, AL. Anyway, it took about ten minutes of planning to realize that my friend was checking her calendar to see if she was free to getaway with me, and, as the Universe would have it, she was. An hour later, we’d planned an entire weekend, including a swamp and ghost tour, some shopping and sight-seeing, a drag show, and lots of daiquiris. I was going to get off work, leave for Montgomery the next morning, and we were N’awlins bound.

New Orleans, Here We Come!

I got to my mom’s, my home girl picked me up, and we were on our way to a much-needed vacay. See, what I didn’t tell you was that I’d had the worst case of writer’s block in existence. But it wasn’t because I hit a wall creatively. It was because the job that I loathed, the breakup, and the children, had me stressed to the point that I couldn’t create. I felt like a failure and my friend, who knew how much I loved writing, felt it, too. Hence her getting me out of my element for a little bit. I figure she was tired of not having books to read, and me being all miserable and depressed and things. Lol.

Either way, I was grateful. We got outta the city, talking and laughing and enjoying each other. We were having a blast, right. The black Thelma and Louise headed to the Big Easy. Ready to leave our mark on that fine city. And then… the bomb dropped. I was naked. Not literally, but figuratively. Here we were, rushing to get there in time to make our swamp tour, that I’d just grabbed my suitcase, that was packed for 2 weeks instead of two days (look, I’m a girl, ok. Lol). I’d thrown that thang in the trunk, put my purse in the back seat, gave my homie a hug, and we were burning up the highway.

Thirty minutes outside of Da Gump, and I looked over at her with a panicked expression. I’d left my laptop in the car. I had grabbed everything but the one thing that, other than my children, I had never been without. Granted, I had my phone, and it’s the size of a damn tablet. But it wasn’t my computer, ya know. Ok. So, I left some things out. This will help you understand how I ended up computerless.

A Workaholics Worst Nightmare

Remember when I said I packed two weeks’ worth of clothes? Well, I didn’t have a suitcase large enough. My stuff was in two duffel bags, I’d packed a snack bag for us, and I had my purse. I felt like that was too much to carry on the road. I asked my mama for a bag, and the one she had was even smaller. So, I took a trip to Walmart. I bought myself a larger rolling suitcase, and was in the process of transferring both bags worth of clothing, including 4 pair of shoes (not counting the ones on my feet) into the suitcase when my friend arrived. So, I was the reason that I’d left the laptop. But, when I tell you I had an outfit for everything… I meant every… thing. I was ready…

I told her that I'd left the laptop, and she offered to turn around and drive 30 minutes in the wrong direction to get it. That’s how I knew she was my friend. She knew that I was naked without my computer. I’m sure my face played a part in her question, but it was more her knowing me. She knew that I found inspiration everywhere, and that I would want to write. She knew that I was always working, and that I hadn’t had a real vacation in over ten years… yeah, you read that right… TEN YEARS. Entrepreneurs don’t get paid time off. But, something in me made me tell her no. I said that I would be fine, because I’d bought a composition notebook while I was in Walmart, too. The writer in me can’t go into a store without paying the stationery aisle a visit. And in this case, I was glad that I had given in to that impulse. Checking with me one more time to make sure I was sure, a certainty filled my voice, and we continued on our way. But in my mind, the further we got from the computer, from me working, the more naked I felt. Until I was completely bare, with not a handkerchief in sight.

Butt Naked…

We arrived in NOLA, just in time to get to the swamp tour. Everything about that city spoke to me, even the gators sitting on the bank like they belonged there. Well, because they did. The tour was phenomenal. They did everything from feeding and kissing gators to telling us about the bayou. It was my first trip on a boat of any kind, too. But, it was the most relaxing thing ever. See, I love water. A friend and I have a saying, “Be obedient, like the water.” When I need to be balanced, I go to a body of water, and remind myself to just let things come as they may, because some things are out of our control. Like, me leaving my laptop. Yes, I will be harping on that for a while. But there’s a method to my madness. Trust me.

We left the bayou and hit a daiquiri shop, where I got enough alcohol to last me a week for less than $20. Taking a double shot of mango Patron took the edge of the fact that… I’d left my computer. We went to this cute little white and pink house, nestled in the Ninth Ward, that we’d rented for the weekend, and when I tell you it was dope… it was dope. There was even a jacuzzi tub, again, water in my bathroom. The owner left us cookies and lived right next door. It felt like home. Of course, the desk in my room reminded me that I’d… left my laptop. But at this point, I was making peace with it. And, I am so glad I did.

Feeling Like A Person

Joi Miner and Neicy P

With only my pen and paper, I had to scribble down notes, when I remembered to bring my notebook. We had so much fun, shopping, and talking, and being, that most of the time, I didn’t even think to write. I got to meet one of my pen sisters, and greatest inspirations, Neicy P. I ate good, talked to the neighbors like I’d just moved into the neighborhood, got beignets, people watched. Not once did I miss work. Well, ok, I’m lying. I did think about it once. But it was late at night, I had gone to sleep drunk earlier that day, and woke up at 2am. But even then, I just went Live and sat on the porch and enjoyed the night air, the smell of the rain, and the sounds of the city. I sat in the jacuzzi tub (did y’all know it takes forever for those things to fill up) and read. I laid around, my friend and I shared stories and meals, and I felt like a person. Not an author. Not a mother. Not a publisher. Just a person. I was somewhere where very few knew who I was. I was able to walk the streets without being approached (yes, this happens too often sometimes). I was cute, comfortable, and didn’t have to be “on”. I could just BE… NAKED. It was amazing. Something that I needed. A recharge to my human self so that my super humanity could continue.

Inspiration

A lot of people don’t know that, after a bad experience with an editor, I’d had difficulty writing. Well, y’all knew, because I hadn’t released a book since February, but that, a stressful relationship and subsequent breakup, and a job that I hated, had hindered my writing. I just couldn’t get the book done, and I wanted to… so badly. After this trip, I came home, and even with the stresses of motherhood and a part-time job that was sucking the life out of me, I managed to do just that. I attributed that to the trip. The sites, the company, being home, all helped me to get out of my own head and inspire my muse. See, I find inspiration everywhere. Smells, bugs, thoughts, shows, blogs, posts, ideas, events, people in general, inspire me. But the block that I had, had my muse locked up and had thrown away the key. But on this trip, I found the skeleton key… peace, and the humanity that I appreciated in others that I’d forgotten that I possessed, too.

But most importantly, I feel that me not having my laptop was a major part in all of this. I wasn’t focused on the end goal. I wasn’t worried about word counts, or grammar and punctuation, or deadlines. I wasn’t concerned with dinner or homework or school schedules. I barely looked at my phone the entire time I was there. I left all the things that accessorize my life in my laptop bag, 6 hours away. And it allowed me to sunbathe in the beauty that is the world around me, that I sometimes forget exists, because the shades of my life are blocking their view from my eyes. Gotta pretty nice inspiration tan, too.

Love y’all! Always take time for yourselves, before you lose yourself in living, and forget to have a life!

Til next time!

Check out the product of my trip in this series, that just released today. Click the link above or the image to get your copy! Or click here for a chance to win a free copy!

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