I don't quite remember when I fell in love with tea but I do remember the most special moments of me drinking tea. I was eighteen years old and I went to live with my biological mother for four months. I had just met her months earlier and it was awkward for both of us. She and her ex-husband lived a very quiet life in Boulder, Colorado. He was a professor at one of the universities and she was a housewife. After years of drug addiction and being in and out of jail, she deserved the break. I was homeless so she and her husband agreed to let me come live with them. Each evening my mother and I would find a spot in the living room with a cup of tea and a book.

Now, years later, I'm a self proclaimed tea expert. I start each day with a wonderful English Breakfast tea to get me going. As the day progresses, who knows what wonderful tea I will crown queen. But for sure, I have at least three cups of tea a day. And yes, when I can, I have tea everyday at about 3:00 P. M. I love to invite my friends over for tea and cupcakes and so far everyone thinks it’s a delightful experience. I am always in search of the best blend of tea. Yes, I’m a tea snob, I prefer loose tea but I do like some bags also. I have learned not to judge a book by it’s cover. Some bags can be quite nice. And yes again, any Diva knows, what you drink your tea out of is very important.

Tea for me is a way of life. It's wellness for the mind body and spirit. Here, I will explore every expect of tea possible, with a high concentration on wellness. I will review the best teas, the best places to have tea, the best ways to brew tea, the best tea accessories, what tea goes best with what foods, and the list goes on and on. I plan to share my passion for tea with you. And I've been told, nothing I do is ever boring so be prepared to go on this tea journey with me.

RLT Collection Tea Ball Frosted Clear Beads!

Mint Medley by The Persimmon Tree Tea Company

About This Tea:

Until recently I had never drank Peppermint Tea made with loose leaves. And Honestly, I will probably never go back. The freshness of loose Peppermint Tea cannot be denied. When I open the can of Mint Medley, From The Persimmon Tree Tea Company, I feel as if I stepped into a garden of peppermint leaves. It is a perfect blend of organic peppermint and spearmint leaves grown in the US.

Mint Medley has become a favorite and I find myself reaching for this tea tin almost everyday. It is great for on-going nausea. The health benefits and endless. It relieves muscle aches, headaches, migraines, stress. And now that it feels like someone is sitting on my chest and I have a mean cough, I'm sure it will help to relieve some of this congestion in my chest. Mint Medley has been in my tea cup more than any tea as of late. It has really helped with my winter cough, congestion related to this bout of pneumonia. You can read my full review on The Persimmon Tree Tea Company Mint Teas.

RLT Collection AIDS Awareness Tea Ball!

Welcome to my world of books! As an pre-teen books changed my world. I fell in love with the writers of the Harlem Renaissance period and the more I read the more I wanted to read. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It spoke to my own degradation and gave me hope for a better tomorrow. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

I love to read! Inside a book I escape into someone else's life. There is something wonderful about turning to the next page of a wonderful story. Something intoxicating about the smell of the book and the story it brings to life. Reading brings me joy, and these days with my health in the balance, I find solace in my books.

I spent hours in my bedroom sequestered with the door closed reading the classics from the Harlem Renaissance, Hughes, Larsen, Hurston, Wright and Baldwin. Books became my escape and my salvation. The fiction of this period was powerful and empowering all at the same time. It gave me purpose for my own life and the courage to fight the good fight and never surrender.

Reading is the one thing that the pain of my life could never take away from me. It was the thing that helped to make it better. And even today, living with AIDS, books continue to be the safest place for me. It’s the one thing that belongs to me that AIDS cannot take away from me.The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS.

The RLTReads book club will be books that I choose. It’s me sharing a part of me with you that has nothing to do with AIDS. It’s actually in spite of AIDS. I have read hundreds of books from many different genres and I will pick the best of my reads over the years. I warn you, it will not be exclusively white or black, male or female, fiction or non fiction, it will be all of them.

I’m so excited and I’m grateful to everyone who wants to be a part of this venture. We already have 110 Book Club Members. You can email me @ RLTReads@raelewisthornton.com. The Twitter hashtag is #RLTReads. We can make this book club as wonderful as we want to make it. Who says that Oprah has to have the only ownership to a wonderful book club?

This Month We are Reading In My Fathers House by E Lynn Harris

Read along and join our discussion July 19th at 7 pm CST

For more Tea with Rae "Vlogs" Click here to visit her youtube channel

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Reflection: Crafting Our History -Part One

Being reunited with a former lover has made me think about some of my past relationships. It's made me think about the time and context spent not just with him, but with others. Being an historian, it has also made me think about how we remember relationships not just what we remember.

How we remember and make sense of relationships and recount history is never neutral. While most historians use primary documents to recount history, which documents we use, will determine the outcome of our thesis. For example, if I only read the journals of slave women then I will only have their understanding of their relationship with the slave master's wife. Then there are the slave women that couldn't write, and whose version of  memory in the oral form do I use to help me write that history? And what real meanings are lost in the translation from oral to written history? And then, if I read the slave masters wife journals also, how will that help to shape my conclusions about the slave and slave masters wife? Historians looking for more than one truth will use multiple sources to write the story.

With that being said, the memory of intimate relationships, I contend, more often than not are shaped differently. While they too are not neutral, we don't search for the different truths like historians, instead we craft  that history in the values of society. For example, how I write the history of a relationship with a married man will be quantified based on Judeo-Christian values of adultery in order to meet the values of the society that I encounter the most. For me to say that a relationship with a married man was beautiful and that it added value to my life, without saying it was wrong would cause me criticism in the worst way. If we value what people think of us and our status in that society, then we allow that to drive how we recount the story. We feel a need to say yes- but, and the "but" is for everyone else, not always for you.

I remember when I was writing my memoir Unprotected, Mrs. Jacqueline Jackson said to me, once you have written it all, go back and re-read the manuscript with two lenses, the fall out politically and the fallout socially, and whatever fall out you are prepared to live with keep it in, and those that you are not, take it out. In the end I added more because I wanted to be authentic across the board. If I named one lover in the book, then I named them all that made the cut; there are no aliases in my memoir. I tell it ALL....

 But by the same token, in my memoir, if I couldn't say that no one told me what sex was or that my big brother wasn't supposed to touch me, then there would be no sex scenes with my step-brother. For me, the not knowing told just as much of the story as the actual sex. To wipe blood and semen from my 9 year old vagina and not even know what semen was, was important too. Not as a way to gain sympathy, but to tell the full story on one level and to help people have insight on sexual molestation that they might not otherwise understand.

 Society is quick to label a girl "fast" and the girl has no clue of what it all means. I undressed for my big brother every day at lunch time, but I had no idea what semen, or an orgasm was. For years I just knew that there was some kind of tingle I got when he touched me and I knew that he deposited this wet stuff inside of me that seeped out when I went to the toilet and made my panties wet. I had no idea what it all meant. But make no mistake, I enjoyed my "special relationship" with my big brother. I didn't even know that I was being hurt, even though I could feel the pain each time his 19 year old penis entered my 9 year old vagina.

So for me recounting the history as authentically as possible is important, but it is not neutral, there was an end point for me, to help people understand at minimum what my abuse looked like. My step-brother died years ago, in his early twenties, looking back, I wonder if he would say it was abuse or did he see me as "fast" too? I wonder how he would explain the rights and the wrongs of what he did every day at lunch time to me.

While, I can be authentic with many areas of my life, why do I find myself when it comes to a relationship, sometimes  crafting from what society wants to hear rather than in absolute truths. Now don't be confused I tell a whole lot and I NEVER lie. But somewhere along the line, sometimes I hold onto, simply because of judgments. I also find that it's easier to tell the truths of relationships years ago, but those close to me in history I hold onto. Is it because I want people to say she is no longer the woman that got her to HIV, but in reality I am that same woman that got me to HIV. I can no more cut that section off and expect to live, like I cannot cut my heart out and expect to live. If I box me into parts I will not be whole.

 Is there still a part of me that is trying to meet the standard of "respectable"? Someone asked on Facebook the other day, "Do I have any decorum? Is it always, anything goes?" My answer was I that I live my life informed by my journey and this is true... But today I came to a larger understanding that there are some things I have been bound by, not because I think it's wrong, but because I think you think it's wrong. I'm letting that go today. It I feel the need to name it, whatever that it is, then I will. My journey is my journey, I should not have to explain it in a way that will make you like me. In the end, if I do craft my history for you to like me then you will like me under false pretense anyway because you do not know the true me.

Like my last serious relationship was with a married man and when he moved into my home, I believed that he would divorce his wife and be with me forever and truth be told, I still believe if he could he would, but his life is far more complicated than marrying or being with one woman; but that's his story and not mine to tell. I can only tell where our lives intersect. Yet I have done a blog on the fact that he was a recovering addict without going into his detail, just the impact it has had on me. But at the same time, I have maybe mentioned in passing that he is married. Markeeda say's I keep nothing a secret. That I have mentioned him in a blog.  I can't remember, but for sure I have guarded my relationship with him like Ft. Knox. And in the end, how silly was that? Especially since many people knew that he was married to another woman and living with me. I shared my holidays with his family, they certainly all knew. And then all of his friends knew and my friends knew.  Well honestly, I kept the details from one friend, because she was so fucking judgmental, and in the end that didn't even matter because she stopped being my friend over some bullshit.

And then even his wife's friends knew she couldn't keep it a secret. And then people talked, so there were people who knew that I didn't even know.  So what was the original point of keeping the secret when the secret was already out, it's just you didn't  know the secret because you didn't hang in the right circles to get the scoop. Why didn't I care of what his family thought, or my friends or his friends, but I cared what people thought who I don't even know, but look to me for something. Did I think you would think differently of me? Did I think it would undo whatever goodness you got from your encounters with me, in person or on my blog?

So why do we distort our history to be in relationships with people when in its reality the relationship is crafted out of falsehood?  Just something to think about? What are the truths in your life that you deny in order to be "accepted" by others.

Postscript: Crafting history from our hearts, rather than our truths coming next....

blog comments powered by Disqus
Clicky Web Analytics