Mary Mariah

Understanding Empowerment from a Lived Experience

Misplaced Anger

First, you don’t even know that you are angry.

Second, you don’t realize that your anger has nothing to do with me.

You are angry about the care you never received.

You’re simply looking for an outlet to project the pain that is deep within.

Sweet and Savory

My two lovers.

Representing generic place holders from my past

When the sweet and savory could only match my readiness of the time.

But 20 years later, my pallet has matured

Desiring a different intensity, I am now ordering from the adult menu

The sauce for the grown and sexy

No more 2 for mild… and apparently, no more 6 for medium

We’ve gone straight to a full on 10.

Causing a different kind of truth …a pleasure my taste buds don’t really know how to handle .

But I’ve recently learned that pleasure at that level ain’t really pleasure.

That the ten does me no good.

Yet this is not the aim or intention of showing up in this reflection.

No, in this space, I want to make room for a different lesson

A discovery about desire, passion and pleasure

All on the inside yet unfamiliar to my consciousness.

Until two lovers came knocking on my door

The grown up version

Unlocking that which had been locked deep within.


It’s a funny thing,

Those two lovers

One sweet

And one savory

Me wanting both

Just a little bit of the savory from the sweet

A little but of sweet from the savory

Yet neither could give me the other.


Yesterday, I sat across from one.

After 10 years of flavor

Was reminded of my sweet tooth

Of what I have been craving

But that sweetness was too rich

Too much sugar for my senses

So I sat there trying not to nibble

Because I wouldn’t be satisfied with just a taste… all while being over satisfied in ways I could not explain.

So I just sat there

In the chocolate factory

Basking in the aroma

And working really, really hard

To remember the sugar schock I was left with ten years ago

When the high didn’t prove to be steady.

That was the beauty of my visit

I had the insight that I didn’t have back then.

The sweet can’t be contained.

I know that now.

Yes, it can ooze through me like wet lava coursing over dry land

But it cannot provide nutrients in the landscape of me

Leaving me malnourished

Sending me into the arms of what felt like flavor.



I have never been so preserved

The outside me kept still in one place

Made the inside me come out and play

I couldn’t play in the sugar

Well, I did…

But I got sick

Paralyzed by the sticky sweetness of its elements.

No, savory offered the steadiness I felt I needed.

Sensible pleasure

Close your eyes and let the flavor slowly move through you kind of pleasure

Lean back and exhale because it feels right kind of pleasure

And although savory has a taste

Steady, measured, and purposeful

Sticky sickness a haunted thing of my past

There was still a pressing– not so secret– need for a rush.

But only as dessert

Because I know that my main dish has to be a meal.


Wanting to quench my thirst yet remain in the safety of the settled

I drill a well..

And discover there is no water.


This is the lesson of my two lovers

Too much of one or the other… not enough of both.

Forcing me to decide between the two.

But I can’t. So I don’t.

I took my over simulated self home to the safety I once knew

When sweet and savory were just joint companions of the mind

And not two separate outside choices.

So I’m just gon’ wait.

Until the just-right comes along.

Where unified pleasure

Makes its existence known

In real time.

Not too rich;

Not too salty.

Not too high;

Not too low.

A just right for my right.

Sweet and savory

Not a choice or a dilemma.

Joined with me from the outside,

I am waiting on you.

The Zero-Hour Work Week

Repost from a Facebook Rant…
Zero Hour Work Week
Photo Credit: Igor Golovnov (Flickr)
In thinking about some of my family members, I want to send a special prayer request to all people whose jobs have them on a zero-hour work week schedule — with no wages and no health benefits!! 
I am particularly talking about those in labor-oriented positions where they do not make enough to save for a rainy day like this (#CoronavirusPandemic).  We often think people should save for rainy days. I want to be clear … they (we) should! But, I also want to assert that in today’s job market, many people are working jobs that don’t allow them to even afford rent and live day-to-day.  So really, how in the hell can they save– I mean, save adequately?
I had a disturbing, and unwelcomed, conversation with someone who felt like student loans should not be forgiven because going to college is a choice– not a requirement.  Therefore, if it is a choice and not a requirement, no one should bail you out of a commitment you made to pay back the loans. 
As a person that does fall into the “individual responsibility” camp, I tolerated this conversation at a glance, as I understood it. But, when I asked the person about the necessity of college to get a decent wage or to even be more competitive in a job market that 1) does not require a degree but 2) does require certain *features (wink/ ya’ll know what I am talking about) for employability– then that person wanted to deny that such conditions exist.
I say all of this just to make clear that the job-market is not fair.  Let’s be prayerful (and supportive) of those who have been stuck in unfair markets– where EVERY DAY IS A RAINY DAY- and are not prepared for a zero-hour work week with no wages and no income.  Please and thank you.
My grandmother would often say “The chicken has come home to roost”– about bad deeds coming back to haunt the person(s) who did the deed.  This morning I am not thinking about the person who did not save. This morning, I am thinking about the society who tolerated an economic structure where people COULD NOT save.
I am afraid that over the next few months, the chicken will come home to roost and WE ALL will be paying for it!!

In Line

In Line
Photo Credit:  Flckr

In line

This thing called life

Another one bites the dust

All the good ones gone too soon

Time on earth


As those of us here

Waiting our turn

Hard to understand the movement

A figment in a finite moment

A flicker in an infinite eternity

A me before me

A me after I am gone

My mind wonders

And then ignores

Celebrating the known

In an unknown illusion

I’ve given up trying to write

The script for this side of heaven

Because I have no idea

Of the language used by the other side

Yet we all wait our turn

In line

Thinking of those who have crossed over

And wonder with great intrigue

About those who have just appeared

Where were they before they were here?

Where am I as a stand here and observe?

Tomorrow we will return to work

Write love letters

Pay our bills

Check our lipstick, pocketbooks and stockings

All while not pretending

Just in line

We are


My grief and response to Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s (Gigi) tragic death.


I have reached that point where I’ve realized that life is short.

That the Devine has given us a finite moment in an infinite space.

To carry out our pre-earthly contract

To both add value to the material world and work out our soul’s salvation for the non-material.

I often think about my assignment.

The thing I agreed to do.

When I sat at Her feet and boldly volunteered to that which was meant for me to prove.

Except the me that was there is not the me that is writing these words.

Its the me that sits deep within… watching, observing, collecting bits of the physical world.

To try as hard as I might

To understand what it means to be human

In the social world

Where power is the ultimate currency

And the body is its conduit.

We all have the divinely self living within

Housed in the human body suit

Wrestling between flesh and spirit

God and man

Love and chaos

Survival coveted

Spirit inspired

For the time that is ordained

To learn heavenly lessons that can only be perceived through the earthly mind.

Life is short but spirit isn’t.

Make the most of what is and be honorable to what you agreed to do.


Two years and three days.

We said goodbye.

To sunlight.

And for two years and three days.

We’ve had to confront shadows.


Even if dark.

Thought they were real.

Front porches and kitchens.

Windows and walls.


Smiles and hugs.

Belonging and kinship.

Broadcasts only.

Apparent figments.

Of a collective imagination.


Projected out by the sun.

Now in her absence.


Revealed spaces that don’t exist.

Black holes.

Waiting to pull you in.

To a sea of pain.



Abandonment and rejection.

Cultivated by those left behind.

But there all along.

The sunlight made them something else.


The sun, her rays, our shadows.

Sunset into night.

The Racial Elite

How is it that the people who have everything want more 

And the people who have nothing are litigated for wanting anything?

That passion and desire are shiny entitlements of the haves 

And shame and defeat are residual rewards of the have nots

Celebrated for having everything

Blamed for having nothing


The culprit


The currency


The end game

How is it that the people who have everything want more…

The Righteous 

Jesus gave up everything 

Just so you can give up nothing 

And act like something 

When you have not really done anything.


But off to church you go.


The Social Dilemma 

I am an INTJ and for those that already know what this is, you may be wondering about the irony of my putting social and dilemma together in the title. INTJs aren’t seen as social so what could possibly be the dilemma in not doing it?

INTJ stands for introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging. It is one of the 16 personality types based on the Meyers Briggs typology system (which is heavily based on the psychologist Carl Jung’s work). As a specific personality type,  INTJs are typically referred to as scientists and strategists but my favorite descriptor is the mastermind. We live in a world of ideas and strategy and we have a deep desire to create sustainable solutions. For those of you who understand multiple intelligences, INTJs typically relish in the analytical, existential and linguistic intelligences…in themselves and in others. We play the long game in our pursuit of vision and are considered to be naturally strong leaders (although many of us prefer to not take on leadership positions). In short, we are smart, independent, strategic, creative, determined.

Most of what I described in the previous paragraph is who we are when we are living our lives from the front seat. The front seat (in a four-seat passenger car model) is how many typologists describe the part of the personality that is experienced the most…the 90%. And because it is used the most, we experience a greater level of proficiency with it as well as having a higher skill-set with the competencies in which it is associated. It is what defines our flow state or as a good friend of mine says it,  it is when we are in our shit.

We live in a world of ideas and strategy and we have a deep desire to create sustainable solutions. 

Now, there are definite areas of growth for the mastermind. And frankly, I dare call them down right weaknesses, especially for the immature (or underdeveloped) INTJ not yet aware or convinced of the need for growth. Most of these weaknesses can be attributed to those two passengers in the back seat. For the INTJ, this is where our feelings come into play as well as our connection to the present-day, in the moment, sensations we experience in the external world.

This, our backseat weaknesses, is where the dilemma resides for me as an INTJ, and (as I will later come back to return to the front seat) it is where the irony of wanting to be social presents itself.

What I haven’t discussed yet are the cognitive functions within Meyers Briggs in part because it is here that I lose my mind. As a systems person, I find the systematic treatment of personality as cognitive functions in the Meyers Briggs framework simply delicious. The more of it I consume, the more of it I crave. These functions are what I referenced earlier as passengers, giving nuance and scope to the four letter code of the personality. 

It should go without saying that the four letter code for the INTJ is I (for introversion), N (for intuition), T (for thinking) and J (for judging). For the INTJ, the J (judging) at the end means we present ourselves to the world as actors actively doing (whereas P for perceiving means others present themselves as actors actively  knowing). However, the N in my four letter code dictates that my default is to take in, to perceive–to know– and then to make meaning out of patterns that emerge from knowing. So while the T (thinking) in my four letter code works in partnership with my J, making thinking the preferred way I like to show up in the world, I’m secretly a knower. This secret preference for perceiving,  over my outward drive for doing, is at the heart of the dilemma but I’ll circle back to that later.

“(Cognitive) functions are what I referenced earlier as passengers, giving nuance and scope to the four letter code of the personality”

Being secretly a knower is not the only way that I’m closeted. I’m also a closeted feeler. Like my intuition, my feelings are directed inward and not part of my public presentation. Unlike my intuition, my feelings are in the backseat. This backseat position, along with extroverted sensing (being intensly aware and connected to all data floating around in the external world), means that they aren’t central to my personality. My inward feelings are part of the 10% which means that I have not been all that proficient with them. 

I say have not to intentionality indicate my past. As celebrated on my most recent birthday (discussed here), I have been growing and maturing in those back seat passengers increasing my effectiveness in using my feelings (when I choose to do so) and acting responsibly with the data (and sensations) around me. 

But. And yes, there is a but. An unexpected outcome of this growth is a desire to be more social. I cringe a little as I type this. First, like I offered at the start, INTJs, like many introverts, don’t really have a high appetite for social. And second, it’s possible that I’m actually not desiring more… as in more social that is. I’m wondering if I simply want refinement in how I socialize. 

As I’ve become aware of my introverted feelings (my values, morals and ethics), I’ve grown away from the social life I once had. This has created more isolation and solitude than even my introverted self can handle. As humans,  we are social beings so having no social contact is a challenge…even for an introvert. So, in saying all of that, my bottom line is to say that I’ve been on a mission to restore my social life…albeit this time with people who share similar or complimentary values. 

So now that I have decided to intentionally grow community, I am facing my shortcomings as an INTJ. Before, when I was clueless about my personality type, in terms of my needs in the social world, I connected to friends and lovers simply as a doer. Remember,  as a J, I connect to the world as a doer (and not as the knower I am inwardly). 

As an INTJ (with my knowing and doing), my appetite for people beyond work is short lived.

“As humans,  we are social beings so having no social contact is a challenge…even for an introvert.”

You see, as an Ni, my true appetite is geared for ideas, concepts and knowing. This is where my interest in people begins and as much as I don’t want to admit, it is where it ends. Don’t get me wrong. I love people. I like the idea of them. And, I love how they experience and express their humanity. I just don’t have a high need to experience and express my humanity with them purely on the basis of their experience and expression. 

Truthfully, and it’s important that I clarify this last statement, I don’t enjoy my humanity simply because I am human. I enjoy it because of the ideas I can carry out and the possibilities I can explore (the doing). So when other humans are content on being human alone, void of possibilities, I’m disinterested. I champion their right to be human void of possibilities… I fight for it in fact. But in terms of my motivation to live out the human experience, my passion resides in those experiences with other humans who are principled and pursuant of possibilities. 

This is my attraction to be with others beyond serving, beyond studying, and/or beyond directing. My desire to be with is a desire to journey together and explore the ethos. Me learning with them. Them learning with me. Everything else is boring. 

This limited attraction is my butt ugly honesty. And I will be the first to say that it goes two ways. For many not chasing an idea but resting in what it means to just be, I bore them as well. 

I tried just being. In fact, I’ve written about it (here and here).  But I have never been able to take up residence in the just being camp. I have too much doing to do. My Te wiring for the world won’t allow me to just sit in it.  So the being people are appealing to me but I don’t have much to offer them in return. I cannot perform being with out pursuit –even though I fantasize about it and talk about it as though it were the case.

“My desire to be with is a desire to journey together and explore the ethos. Me learning with them. Them learning with me. Everything else is boring.”

So unlike other INTJs I know,  I do crave social (a certain amount of it) but I need it in tandem with learning… in doing what isn’t yet understood as possible…not being what already is… but being what is yet to be. 

That’s my dilemma. Finding them and positioning myself so they can find me.  

Most people in my world are pursuing a vision prescribed by an externally established authority…their employer, their church, their peers (wow–this point truthfully deserves its own essay!!). But, being a pursuant of one’s internal ideas is an individual endeavor. One often traveled alone.  Not sure how much social is in that. 

But it’s what I desire (in part). So we’ll just see. The social dilemma. Can it be resolved?

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