Hello Everyone! It's been a while since I posted anything and tis the season to make intentions and plans for the year to come. Below are 10 things about me, in no particular order.
1. I consider myself a New Yorker, even though I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. I moved to New York and honestly thought I'd be Carrie Bradshaw. I thought I would write a witty column for a hip magazine and that column would spin into a book deal and I would live out my days in expensive clothes drinking a lot of vodka. The truth is my first few years living in NYC I slept on an air mattress and actually left an apartment I couldn't afford. Like, literally just slipped the keys under the door and walked away. I still miss some of the clothes and furniture in that place.
2. I never imagined the life I currently live. The little black girl from Toledo, Ohio never dreamed she'd be a "Jewish famous" black, lesbian advocate for Jewish communities of color. I never dreamed folks would pay me to help their organizations be more accepting and inclusive and diverse. I never dreamed I'd be working to create the community I want to live in. I never dreamed I'd be able to witness the moment people become parents. I never dreamed I'd have chickens or grow my own food. I did know, sort of, that I would be an entrepreneur. My dad is, so I'd like to say it runs in the family.
3. I have an addiction to growing things. As I write this there are over 6 varieties of succulents perched on a table to my right, a massive money plant and monstera plant just a head of me, a bird of paradise to my left, two new plants on my stairs (bonus is today I realized I could put house plants on my stairs and they stay warm AND get indirect bright light all day - so obviously I'll need more plants) and behind me there are more plants than I can actually identify. Upstairs there are more plants and there are some in both of our two bathrooms as well as in our bedroom. AND I'm always looking for more plants. AND this doesn't count the 7 garden beds in our front yard and the garden bed in our back yard or the entire side yard I dug out on the anniversary of my sister's death to keep my hands, mind and body busy. If I had to guess I would say we have close to 100 (probably more) varieties of green things in and around our house. And I'm always looking for an excuse (and space) to buy more.
4.I'm hoping to deepen my Jewish study in the next year. If I had my way I would travel back to Israel to study at Pardes for the summer again. I'm also applying for a Jewish training program aimed at and for womyn that explores the Divine Feminine in Judaism. I'd love to learn to speak and read Hebrew and I always want to get back into Hebrew calligraphy. In the meantime, I'm working with friends in the Tacoma area to bring a vibrant, diverse and inclusive lay-led Shabbat experience (bi)monthly which has been incredibly nourishing for my soul.
5. I've been a doula for almost 6 years and I feel like I learn something new at every birth. As I approach my 40s it's becoming increasingly important for me to continue to grow and learn, but also to limit myself (so that I can better care for myself). In 2019 I'm hoping to take only 2 clients per month for birth and 2 clients per month for postpartum care. I think limiting my time will actually allow me to have more quality time with the families I serve.
6. I have a love/not hate relationship with Yoga. I became a certified yoga instructor almost three years ago and it was one of the most rewarding months of my life. I was sure I would be the largest body in the class. I was sure I would be the only person of color, let alone black person. I was sure that the "woo" of the American version of yoga would be too much for me to handle. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by 7 other black faces, 1 other POC face and while I was the largest body in the class, the other bodies weren't all slim. I got to deepen my relationship and understanding of the historical and spiritual truth that is yoga and since then I've been trying to suss out my place, my role in it all. It's still inaccessible to so many people. There are so few black and brown faces represented. I recently wrote about my thoughts on my personal blog so I'll stop for now.
7. I lead with my identities. When I was interviewed by NPR this summer I was asked about my self-identification as a black, lesbian, Jewish woman (doula) and I'm often asked this. The person who interviewed me is also a WOC so I didn't find her question off-putting, she gets that when a POC walks into the room assumptions are made. As a black person I cannot ever hide my blackness, nor would I want to. I can't hide the fact that I live in a "female body", though sometimes I wish I could hide that fact. Because of my skin color and assumptions and Christian hegemony I'm often thought to be Christian. Representation matters. Intersectionality matters. I cannot and would not drop one of my markers to make myself anything different from who I am. Whenever I am in a space my history, my experience as a black, lesbian Jewish woman frame my perspective.
8. I'm a writer. I've written for a variety of Jewish magazines and newspapers. I even got the opportunity to write commentary on Torah for a publication. I have a draft of a children's book I've been editing and re-editing (and re-writing) for a long time. I'd love to get to the place where I'm sitting in our house that's both in the mountains and by the sea just me, my wife and a computer to write on.
9. I like to try a lot of food, but I always go back to meat and potatoes. Hey, it's the midwestern girl in me!
10. I have a lot of hobbies. I'm always sewing and throwing pottery and journaling and brush lettering and water coloring and weaving and knitting and embroidering at any given time.
Hi there! I'm Erika Davis and I'm a doula working in the Seattle and South Puget Sound area.