Hi all. I have an announcement to make- I won’t be blogging anymore.
For a few months, before the start of 2021, I debated between two choices I gave myself in regards to the direction my blog would go in. The first was that I start being consistent with my work and content- to post every week and start gaining steadier traffic. After all, ever since I started my blog, many people had questions or comments about what I was doing with it, giving unsolicited advice on what I should do and how I could make $$$ because that’s what is done with many hobbies nowadays (i.e. how can I monetize this???). Part of me really wanted that, to be some sort of “influencer”, to have my words heard, to help people. I could be like my favorite youtubers or bloggers or influencers.
The second was that I let go of my blog completely. I’d been thinking about it for awhile because part of me always wanted to disappear. The thought of that was my sanctuary, but the feeling of writing and completing a post to share was satisfying as well.
There are so many ideas of what I could be. I’d spend so much time dreaming of them and note being them. In January, I chose the first option. And I tried it for a very short bit, but I quickly noticed my creativity suffering. My head went silent and stopped whispering ideas to me. I really struggle to follow the algorithm. And the last thing I’d ever want is for my writing to be a job or work. I am a storyteller, and a lot of what I write I don’t have to think about. It comes to me because it wants to be told. That is what makes writing and creation so magical.
I never started this blog for money. I never started it for any reason other than the fact that it gave me a voice. It was out of pure love for writing. It was a way to share! My pieces come sporadically, are not the length of an average blog post, can’t be forced, and are grown organically in my mind.
There’s a significant part about the writer in me that is reclusive. And to an extent, I honored that in the past few years by posting whenever I wanted. But I went against myself by following someone else’s notion of what’s right- how to write the right way. I’m not an influencer, not a blogger either- that label never felt right in the first place. And I will never be anyone other than me.
I no longer want to be anyone other than me and who I am becoming. I want to keep dreaming, but I also want to do and fully embody what it is that I want with the time that I am on this great Earth. I want rest. And I will create until the end of my days because it is part of why I came here. It’s a part of so many aspects of my life. Writing will always be a part of who I am and what I do- just not publicly anymore. Making this decision broke my heart, but at the same time opened it and what was really needed for my personal growth. Visionary Orchid is part of my identity, but it is time to part ways for now.
For those of you who supported me and read my art- thank you. I hope it touched you in some way and encourage you to keep creating in any way you can. Always do what is right for you in the moment and what feels good. Don’t settle for anything less than what YOU want.
A Reflection of 2020; the Year of Change, and Coming Home to the Self
“Don’t surrender your loneliness so quickly. Let it cut you more deep. Let it ferment and season you as few humans and even divine ingredients can. Something in my heart tonight has made my eyes so soft, my voice so tender, my need for God absolutely clear.”
I don’t necessarily believe in God. I guess my perspective on the subject is a bit complicated. The universe and the universe within us, as simple as being a human may sound, is what I believe in. I’ve not birthed life into everything- it has shown itself to me one way or another, and so, I see God in each of those things. We are the rulers of our own worlds, lives, and experiences in my book. I see myself and you and the next human all as Creator- Creators.
Regardless of what I think, this quote is still relevant. This year has shown me a vast loneliness within myself and spread across the planet. I saw the space between my physical body and soul, the pain and hurt, the memories, all floating around in stillness.
This year threw me into everything I’d been hiding from. It made me revisit all that I thought I’d run away from or solved. It made me feel it so vividly that they broke my heart all over again.
My emotions were so potent that I couldn’t turn away. And I felt so alone in that- like the only person in the world whose life was closing in on them, crumbling. I stood intimately with my own emotions and deeply scarred memories and began to feel the world’s as well. It’s funny- though we were all kept away from one another, it seemed as though we could feel each other’s emotions as if we were standing together. This pain slashed whatever I was feeling and delivered the bigger picture. And when I was faced with that, I wept like the sky on her darkest day.
I sat with more problems than I knew what to do with. Problems that are deeply rooted in our society, ones that affect not just humans, but all living beings on the planet too. It’s not that any of these weren’t there before. It’s that I’d been too preoccupied to pay any mind to them. But all at once, they fell onto me, clear as day, overwhelming me to points that I could not handle. I felt like I was trapped in this endless cycle of darkness, finally coming to the conclusion that the world was messed up, and there was no saving left to do. There was just doom.
I needed that- that moment of being naked in the center of the ring with the truth staring fiercely at me. No more veil. No more hiding behind the curtain. No more lies. I was afraid, but I needed to feel that so I could move past it. From the world’s loneliness, darkness emerged and told us what we needed to hear. It was enough to call out to a greater power to save us. That would make it easy though- to just hand over your problem to the next person and the next and the next. To make it so far out of reach and to disassociate yourself from it, so you don’t feel like fate is in your hands. But honestly, who we need right now is us. We must call to ourselves and to each other. We must build community.
We need to be vulnerable. We need to be open for change to ensue- to heal. We can no longer run away if we want the world to get better and if we want to get better. The reason I was faced with loneliness was because I needed to see what I was made of. There needed to be nothing. Everything needed to be torn down to its core so that I could finally rebuild. I needed to break open so that I could receive and so I could come home to myself. And I suppose the real test there was to see if I could do it.
As we exit this year, we are not beginning with a blank slate. Our slate is overflowing and a mess, and wiping it clean is backbreaking work. I know that I’ve been given the knowledge I needed to excite change, a revolution of the self. And boy is it ugly. Still, I feel that it’s beautiful just like life is. I stand at the brink of a new day, and I get to choose how that will unfold.
This year has been a lot of unlearning and relearning, mostly how to be human. I used to dread life. I used to hate waking up. I rejected the idea that life could be something magical, and I didn’t see the purpose in me. But second chances were thrown at me like they were candy. I thought that I had been hardened by my sadness. And though my outside shell may have been closed off, there’s something about all of it that softened me. I found something in nothingness and empty space. And I decided that it didn’t matter if my life amounted to nothing because it isn’t nothing in my eyes. What matters to me is living. It doesn’t even have to be exciting. The joy in the space between sweet moments. The sun lighting my room golden each morning and the moon staining the Earth blue every evening. My cup of coffee. The gently falling snow. How kindly my bed holds me after a long day. Following my dreams. All of these things I’ve fallen in love with. All of these things valuable pieces of life.
In the midst of the fear, I saw and cried more tears of happiness and fearlessness than I ever have. There was something about this year that tied me back to me. It made me care, even about the little things. I see the importance in the smallest beings and the soul in inanimate objects.
The great return home– I found joy in myself, in my entire being, in the fact that my body can move, that my lungs work harmoniously with the trees so I can breathe. I stop for a second, close my eyes, and try to capture moments with my mind. To feel emotions as if I were touching them, falling from my palm to fingertips. It’s ten times better than a photo. I’m kind of worried that I might miss something so I just have to pause. If you thought you may never see someone again or experience something, you’d hold on. You might treat every moment just like that.
Isn’t there something more we could all hold onto? Someone or something we have a profound enough love for? To pull up from the mud as a collective? Can life be enough?
I find myself missing old hugs- old sweaters and old blankets and creaky wooden floors. I miss the stained glass window at the front of my Victorian childhood home. I hope the people who moved in have left it and appreciate it just as much. I miss playing under the trees and hiding away from the world. I crave old friends and laughs that sound like home.
These memories have aged so sweetly, like candied fruit or apple pie. And I suddenly find myself having a harder time saying goodbye.
As I take my evening drive to the supermarket, my nostalgic and melancholy feelings are quelled by the quiet road. I have the world to myself- no distractions or urgency. I admire the trees that are left with just a bit of shine. They’re changing- following and working to complete their cycle. Yellow are their leaves in commemoration of the sun. I imagine them sending their amber syrup (energy) down into their roots.
You may not notice it in the midst of your scarf blowing over your face or if you’re in a hurry, but if you stop for just a second, you could witness one of the most magical parts of the season. Every so often, star-shaped rain comes down on the earth, creating one big blanket for the ground. It’s sprinkled so effortlessly, carried gently by the wind.
I feel nurtured by these trees and comforted by their resilience through the colder times. Their branches are what I hold onto to keep from sinking. But sometimes I’m too busy to see them. Instead, I see right past them. It makes me feel disconnected from everything, lost in my own race.
I struggle to feel part of where I am. The resentment I feel towards the place I grew up probably stems from it never making sense to me. I suppose it did at one point- when my friend and I would meet up at the edge of the gate that separated our family’s property to convene about our fairy house building operations and makeshift realities. I assume that gate is still there, but I haven’t seen it in over five years. The streets I travel now are foreign, though I know them like the back of my hand. The forgiving nature of mom and pop shops are diminishing, and the unforgivingness of busy, seasonal shore, and city people claims its place more each year.
Everywhere I look is changing. “It’s not what it used to be.” I feel old. No longer does my home look like the lichens growing on the old pear tree or picking ripe cherries while standing in between chipping paint and overgrown rose bushes. We’ve traded homemade quilts and messy living rooms for modern home magazine covers and spotless kitchen tables. We have fences now as borders. We close ourselves off because of computer-generated fear. The puzzle piece gets a little more misshapen.
So I just watch people leave. I’ve watched myself leave more than anyone else. I see the uprooting of family- we all need more water and sunlight now. What’s home without any friends?
The urge to escape grows and grows with vicious desire. And it’s not so bad if you can outrun the everlasting wave of emotion. Each season I find a new way to replace old feelings, to nourish what’s missing.
These desires are pacified by breaking away. Last summer, I traveled all the way across the country to New Mexico with my mother. You could say it was in search of a home that we belong to.
The mysteriousness of desert life called. I had a dream, a few months before, of being in the White Sands, and so the peacefulness of the wind picking up each gypsum crystal echoed through my mind. The allure and charm filled me with promise.
When I arrived, darkling beetles scurried across the sand. Each carried its own message in a tiny glass bottle. I put my feet onto pillowy ground and chased them across the hills. The tangerine sky lit my skin up like autumn’s glowing pumpkins, and the clouds painted my hair lavender. The sun set quickly, and I struggled to say my goodbyes, but right before I left, a darkling beetle stopped to hand me over a bottle. Inside I found a piece of myself (a piece of home). I took it with thankfulness and carried on.
I was left with was a valuable piece of wisdom. As I passed out of Southern New Mexico, through the Texas plains, and back into the sweet Louisiana air, I searched for my reflection in the muddy, stirring water of the Mississippi River with no luck, but found it in the window of the fast racing car against the greenery. My face was made up by a bunch of blurred foliage.
We passed many states on our way back, but none provided the same comfort of the Northeast. Of course, that’s what I’ve come to know, but as I looked down at my darkling beetle bottle, I saw I had roots. There wasn’t a reflection of any other land that could fill the hole in my heart from the separation of me to mine- pieces I’d denied myself.
My heart lies in my chest, but also in the dense forest, something I will always miss when I leave.
On this drive, I begin to recognize my surroundings like never before. I fit back into my shoes, my place. I’ve been running for long enough in ways to cope with my bitterness and depression as a result of my distaste for this place I’ve grown no roots. But truthfully, it is just as much home as all the other places. It’s just as much home as my friends’ faces and my parents embrace, my favorite sweater and a warm cup of tea. I’m home too, and the feathers I dropped to fade into seeds have sprouted as well. I carry these pieces everywhere I go.
Autumn brings back all my souvenirs. All my feelings resurface with vengence. Bygone polaroids scatter along the path, and I pick them up to skip like rocks. I find myself at meeting ends of the whirlpool. Life changes like seasons do.
I was never separate from home. My roots never shriveled. It was just an illusion I bought into. And besides the point, where the birch grows, the oaks stand tall, and the maples sing, is my home.
The bridge between a noisy summer, gatherings and burnt skin, and a cozy and quite lonely winter. Fall is a good time to reflect, to build your reservoir back up like the mighty maples.
This year was different, but not because I didn’t cry- I did. It was that the tears I was shedding were different. The meaning behind them all along came to the surface. A shedding of the past. A whole year comprised of so many memories, happiness and heartbreak, all coming to an end. This was my way of saying goodbye and starting anew.
At the same time, I also realized the expectations I set on myself to have a “good birthday”. Yet again I was seeking some sort of validation to give me peace of mind. It must be extravagant. I must be doing something interesting- even when all I wanted was to relax.
A switch turned on inside me. I had a delicious breakfast that filled my belly with warmth and joy. I was full with love. I treated myself to a sweater I really wanted. I had one of my favorite desserts- creme brulee. And took a good nap, followed by a trip to visit the plants in a garden nearby. In that same place, I sat by a koi pond and just watched them swim to and fro, so elegantly. Simple, but that is what I wanted for myself. To do the things I loved and spend it with people close to my heart.
Over the years I’ve seen myself shed and grow and transform. But 2020 is special. 2020 is the year of unveiling everything, of letting go and learning, of growing and ultimately transforming- both on small and large scales.
I find myself having to completely trust the universe because, to be honest, I’m not sure of anything anymore. Things come and go. The pendulum swings back and forth and knocks whatever it wants out of the way. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that I need to stay positive.
Although I have not been on this planet for a super long time (20 years; a little baby in the grand scheme of things), there are lessons I’ve picked up along the way that I deem to be extremely helpful. So with that, here is the wisdom I carry in my pocket.
20 Life Lessons
Go SLOW. Savor every second of your day. Take the time to be present with everything, and soak it in. There’s no rush. You don’t need to move so fast. Plus, I guarantee that the faster you move, the less you’re taking in, and the less you’re getting out of whatever you’re doing.
Discover What Matters Most. And once you do that, don’t waste any time. Make space for it. Do it. Embrace it.
Say, I love you. Tell the people you love that you love them. Over and over again.
Don’t hold onto fear. When you let fear overcome you, you give away your power. I know it’s a scary time. I know there’s a lot to worry about. But it’s important that you don’t give in.
“Be the Light”. Share good things. No more fighting. Inspire a bright light and cast it out into the world to see positive change.
The Universe Works Around You. Through your decisions, actions, and thoughts. You are constantly creating. What you put out, you will receive, and what you believe is what you will get.
Don’t Make Judgements. Making assumptions about people, or about yourself, will never be good for you. Keep an open heart.
Be Honest. In any way, shape, or form you can- be honest. You will feel better and lighter.
Make the Plan as You Go. There’s no telling what tomorrow might bring. Just be here today. Set goals, but don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
Set Intentions, Not Wishes. When we set wishes, we are hoping for something else to grant it. In truth, we don’t know if those wishes will ever come true because we’re placing the ability in someone else’s hands. When we set intentions, we are planting seeds. We care for these seeds until they’re fully grown. Yes, it may take quite a bit of time, but you can be assured that it will happen.
Work Hard. If you want it, it will come, but you also have to work for it. The outcome of what is thoughtfully put together is much greater than the outcome of what is half-assed and done through a shortcut.
The Way People Act is a Reflection of Them, Not You. This is not an excuse for being shitty to people then wondering why they’re upset. This is saying we need to stop blaming ourselves and feeling bad (and making assumptions) when it’s not our fault. Sometimes people place judgments when they feel some way about themselves. And although it hurts, it has nothing to do with you! Sometimes someone is having a rough day, and they come home upset, and you wonder what you did wrong. But guess what! It’s not you!
Don’t Hang Around People Who Don’t Make You Feel Good. It’s not worth it. You could be taking this time to make new friends or immersing yourself in a hobby you really love.
Stand in Your Power. Standing in your truth is something no one can take away from you. Stand firmly in your decisions. Know in your heart what’s right.
Take a Hike. Align yourself with nature. She will help you heal. She will lift you up. Listen to her, and look for signs. And in reciprocation, protect her. Tend to her. Love her back.
Explore as much as You Can. Within yourself and the world. Take that adventure, big or small. The time is now.
Value Silence. Where there is “silence”, a gift awaits.
Overthinking Won’t Change the Past and Won’t Affect the Future. Your worry only burdens you. It can’t go fix a past mistake. It can’t change what’s already happening. The only thing your thoughts can do is change your perception.
Eat Good. Eat whole foods that were responsibly harvested and produced. Your body and the Earth will thank you. This is another way we can nourish ourselves. (P.S. Cook at home!)
Laugh It Off. Something my friends taught me was to not take things so seriously. Life was not meant to be so harsh. And it’s really not worth your energy to constantly stress or be upset. Just laugh. Laugh hard. Laugh good. Let it out.
***Bonus*** Be Open-Minded. The world needs more people who are willing to listen rather than emit mindless chatter. Being open may help you to understand someone else’s way of thinking and being.
I was driving around one day and noticed the car in front of me had a sticker on it that read, “Change? How’s that working out for you?”
I don’t know about you, but I think that statement is terrifying. Yes, they are “just words,” but there is truth in that among all the people that fight for change and care so deeply, there are still many who refuse it- who are more than comfortable with the way things are in the world and would prefer them to remain the same for their sake.
My mother is the sweetest lady you’ll ever meet. She’s smart and funny and kind. All she ever does it go out of her way to make sure everyone is happy and feels cared for. She meets every person with so much love and gives away more than enough without any need for reciprocation. She deserves the world.
I’d assume that most of you, reading this, feel the same way about your mother or at least someone you love. But despite my mother being a human being like the rest of yours, her Puerto Rican complexion means something different to the world.
While there have been a lot of kind people along the way, there have also been a lot of people who are not so kind…
My mom has been parking on the opposite side of our street for the past year we’ve lived here. There has never been a problem, but a few weeks ago, she found a note on her car saying that that was illegal, and that they would call the police if she didn’t move. There were no signs or indicators noting that this was unlawful. In confusion, she called the local police department to check and see if it was okay for her to park there. She kept them on the phone and made them double-check. To which they replied, it was entirely legal for her to do so. She continued to park there.
The next night, at 10 pm, there was a knock on our door. It was the Chief of Police. He ordered her to move her car because it was illegal, and she was blocking the intersection. When she replied that she had called the previous day, he said it was a “new rule” and proceeded to place police orders specifically in the area she was parked.
My mom minds her own business, so I wonder a lot about why her “improperly placed” vehicle bothered our neighbor and why he sat in bed at 10 o’clock in the evening, dialing the police to have them come over here.
Aside from this, there have been many other instances on our block, and in my mother’s life, where this behavior has occurred and where she has felt uncomfortable, unsafe, and frustrated. For example, yesterday, my mother was walking our dog past a construction area nearby, where a police officer was posted up. As she passed, he proceeded to follow her as she walked until she got back home. Then, later that day, another police officer passed by, watching as she cleaned her car.
Regardless of if you think any of this behavior was racially motivated. Regardless of if you think it’s not a big deal. This is NOT okay. And frankly, it’s fucking scary.
What’s most painful about these situations is the fact that it’s so simple that nothing can really be said about it. “How can you prove that she really didn’t do something wrong?” “Are you sure they were following her?”
If you have ever loved someone or something, then you know the feeling that when they’re hurting, it hurts you. You just want to protect them, but you never have control over fate. Everyone has to go out in the world, but not everyone has a nice, white bubble to float around in- and that’s not discrediting the problems of others. I sometimes worry when I leave the house that something bad will happen, and I won’t get home in time. Or that the weird looks she gets when she goes for a walk will turn into something more grim. Although my mom doesn’t do things that would get her in some kind of trouble, I fear that she will be.
I didn’t always recognize how different my mother’s reality was from mine because I have white skin- how I benefit from the white supremacist society we live in. Hell, I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. Not only was it rare to see diversity in my friend group, in my school, or in my town, but I don’t even remember conversations about racism coming up unless it was a topic of the past. I didn’t want to believe that people could be subtly racist, especially to my own mother.
There is an unfair, disgusting, and horrifying abuse of power within our system. It was built long before our generation opened its eyes to this planet. Not only is it deeply embedded in the police force and the government, but also the people. Whether or not you want to believe it and as ugly and painful as it is, it’s in all of us. This is your battle. I know that these instances don’t happen in most people’s lives. And I know that because of this, it makes it really hard to think about, believe, and to stick with the change. You may have never seen it or realized it or even thought that maybe your own words or actions carry enough weight to really hurt someone else.
When I began to have this conversation with myself, it wasn’t easy. I was uncomfortable because I didn’t understand a lot of the feelings I had buried inside, some of which didn’t even belong to me, but were ingrained. I had to ask myself questions I never did before. So much comes at you at once, and you’re overwhelmed because, by nature, you want to fix it all at once. You can’t. There are things you and I won’t ever be able to comprehend. We can’t tackle everything. But it means something to be conscious and walk through life without rose-colored glasses.
Earlier this year, a chilling video surfaced the internet of a police officer kneeling on a black man’s neck for nine minutes, until he was unresponsive. That man was George Floyd. And that police officer was Derek Chauvin. Seeing that video should’ve shook you hard into your humanity, your mortality and your community. George Floyd was not only a husband, but a father- a human being that deserved just as many rights as the next one, just as many opportunities and respect. And the fact that, even after being murdered by law enforcement on video, there was hesitation to arrest and convict his killer is infuriating. There were many, many others before him. And even more after. How many more lives until something changes?
It’s heartbreaking to think of the people who don’t care enough or who simply just don’t believe it, when this is a reality for so many others. There are people who go out of their way to put the lives of others in danger, who live to see fear in those people’s eyes because it makes them feel high and mighty.
This happens every day. This behavior is everywhere. It’s not new, and it’s not a secret.
Everything that once hid in the shadows is coming to the surface right now. These things are changing right before our eyes, and everything we thought was, really wasn’t. You can feel it when you step outside your door- something is different, off balance, shifting.
The world is bending and breaking and bleeding. It would be a lie to say you don’t see it. We will all carry the weight of hatred on our backs as long as it is still very much running rampant through our country and our world. It lives in the way we participate, our inclusion of certain people and exclusion of others, our gossipping, our choice to support larger corporations while the smaller ones suffer, our pollution, our plastic, our self-denial, our abuse, our lies- everything we give our energy to that is not for the betterment, but instead feeds the negativity and allows it to grow even bigger. I know it hurts to think of these things, but it will always come full circle. No one is off the hook.
We’re all so caught up in our own lives and busyness that somehow there’s “no time” to learn and change. Or maybe there’s no time because it doesn’t immediately affect you. But none of your busyness actually matters- all of this running around and freedom you hold is meaningless, unless we can all live together like that. As Nelson Mandela once said, “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” This not only goes for the people, but the animals, the land and ocean too. We have gone on too long without a sense of community, appreciation, and care.
What I’m asking of you is to just take a second of every day to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Plainly, don’t be an asshole. And I’m not saying you are one, but always check yourself. Keep checking yourself. Check your family members and loved ones. Check your friends and coworkers. Educate yourself.
Don’t be complacent with the system because you don’t have negative experiences. Stop saying you don’t give a shit about anything at all. That’s not cool. No, you don’t have to constantly repost things on your Instagram- I’d hope that’s not the only thing you’re doing anyway. Have these conversations with your family and friends and everyone in between.
Acknowledge what came before you and the truth in everything. Make some room for the truth of others. Begin to see the world and her inhabitants as an extension of yourself. And treat everyone with the same respect, kindness, and immense love that you also deserve.
Hold so much love inside you that it bursts out of the seams. Spread it everywhere you go. Use it to heal. See the light it reaps.
Take the time to learn how to change and to make the world a better place for ALL (and there are no borders or limits or exceptions to that). Your love for humanity is going to have to be much greater than your love solely for your inner circle and yourself to overthrow this. Let go of your ego and your selfishness. Give it up for the bigger picture.
Awakening on a grand and global scale was coming. It’s long overdue. Nothing will live in the dark anymore.
Ignite the fire of change. Let your heart unfold. Meet everyone with the means to clean out a deep wound- lend an open and gentle ear. Please don’t ever be afraid to use your voice. You have one for a reason and I promise it matters. The call to become more conscious asks you to become compassionate, do the work, and listen. Notice. Feel. Discuss. Release. Repeat.
Grieve and rebirth. We will no longer live in a way that is not conducive to everyone’s wellbeing. No more blood will be shed. No more tears when there doesn’t have to be. It will take time. Know you are not responsible for everything, but you are responsible for yourself. You hold the dice and are deciding at every moment which direction this is going to go. Let it be forward.
Moving Forward from The Past and Knowing Who You Are Now
You can come back from anything, the Phoenix rises from its ashes, burns its past in the wake and when it turns its head in fury to peek, nothing remains.
The Phoenix is the opposite of its past, acknowledging the misfortunes and the blessings, but no longer exists in that timeline. Is reborn in spirit, soulful in blood-red fire, no revenge, no uncertainty, her grief peacefully departed.
The Phoenix does not fear, instead lets go, to leave behind its shadow, not to turn a cold cheek, but to offer peace.
Remember that pain is a feeling. It is a gift to feel, tears are a godly gift, sent to cleanse. Become One with the holy, water element, create ponds for yin and yang to bathe in.
The love in your heart never parts, does not yield, no matter how much you revisit your pain or tear open your wounds. A little glimmering light at the bottom of the pool, choose to allow it to fill the voids, let them mend and scar over, choose to bask in the flame’s eternal glow.
Pull great strength from your ashes, tear it from its ties to inferno, dust it off with your wide Phoenix wings and with the immensity you carry, blow the ashes.
They will disappear into thin air, back to their war ground, where others may come for their own battles. This no longer belongs to you, it has served its purpose. It must go.
When I cry, with it comes a storm. I unlock a whirlwind of emotions, tears that lift the veil on years of buried thoughts and memories. They just seemed to stick even when I tried prying them off. I feel the bad filling up my belly, marinating and rising slowly until it hits my heart and burns a hole. I suppose that’s how it creates a way to leak through. But is somehow always a surprise. I shudder at their entry, trapped in a neverending loop, but let them play back like I’m living through it- slipping on my old skin before bed, when the world is quiet and there are no distractions.
They appear in broad daylight too. A look in the mirror a certain way, a song playing in the wrong place, or an interaction that mirrors the past. And I can hear a voice lingering, repeated words of harm over and over. It leaks in the way I behave or something I say. Ways that don’t feel like me. Other times it’s just a weird, empty or eerie feeling. But I always question how it can so seamlessly slip back in.
I feel stupid because it’s almost out of my control. I feel completely haunted by them. It eats at you, the fact that you can’t go back and change any of it. It lies in the way I smother and overthink. In the feeling that I can’t receive the love and care I deserve. The way I fear certain situations or interactions. The reason I expect to mess up, to be pushed away. I fear the past even being brought up in conversation or being thought of in that way. How would I respond? I’m always thinking of what I could say. It’s the reason I spent so long entombing my voice and hiding my expressions from others, letting it all collect inside so I can unleash them when I’m alone. But at the same time, fear that same voice being stolen- when I haven’t even given it a chance to speak. Do I think I am too much?
I have given my past too much power. When you get used to it being a part of you and then try to tread through it or leave it behind, it fights back. How can you rip me from creator? I find trouble in differentiating the old me from the new me, although I’ve put so much hard work into myself. Every day I have to be reminded to let the real me decide how things are going to go, what they’ll be like.
What Starts Every Storm
It would be much easier to run away if there weren’t things that could pull us back in. Triggers can be anything that set off an emotional response within us. They can make you feel disconnected from your surroundings or people in your presence. It can make you all choked up. And you might result in dissociating to escape or feel more comfortable- going to a void place where these emotions can’t get you.
We carry our belongings for so long, we may forget we’re holding them. They brand themselves onto our skin, but there’s no means of treating the burn or fading the scar. And it’s strange when you’ve built a fortress so sturdy and a moat so deep, you thought nothing could pass or topple it over. Layers and layers of walls so thick even the ghosts get tired of floating through each one. But slowly you realize that your fortress can’t save you from yourself. Your ghost is deep inside and locking it away doesn’t get rid of it. Setting it free does.
We hold onto to our baggage or keep things around that drag us down because it’s what we know. And when we don’t know anything outside of that, it feels normal and safe. We may even be presented with something that’s good for us, but instead turn it away because we’re scared and it doesn’t seem right.
As we gain the ability to understand where we’re coming from and our emotions (as we grow older or through the things we learn), it’s OUR job to take care of it. We don’t grieve or allow ourselves to feel it fully because of the notion that going through it is much more painful than burying it, or putting it in a drawer to hide forever. But when you let one weed grow in your garden, or ivy grow on your tree, soon the entire garden is spoiled and the tree- strangled.
We have been through a lot. And whatever is staying with you may be something very heavy. It’s impossible to do all at once. We must be patient with ourselves.
The ego comes into play when we’re trying to understand who we are right now and how that person is separate from the old self. Within it lies the past.
Your ego is the idea of yourself you pieced together. It is your self-image and you may overly identify with it to try to understand who you are. It is the mindset that ‘you are a product of our past’, hiding in the way you think and behave. It desires to keep you separated from the world, making you feel detached and alone. And you can stray so far that your ego becomes you, through your devotion, and you are unable to move past your physical bounds.
What’s behind your ego is your true self, the entity that exists without words or anything to make it up. It is completely raw. And that is who you are. It’s the part of you that’s free from the constraints of your mind. It’s not chained to old memories and only exists in the present. It flows swimmingly through you and cannot be tainted- only your ego can. Your soul exists in simplicity, while the ego is a complex. We can positively use our egos to aim for what we want to be or to build that loving image of ourselves. We can use it for definition, but not to get lost in.
The bridge between the two is vulnerability. It’s how you get to the center and confront. Closing up (or preventing access to the bridge) closes us off from loved ones and from the future. But it all starts with you. Can you be vulnerable with yourself, shed your skin in front of your own eyes, and love what’s underneath? Because if not, how will you share that truth with someone else? Understand what lies beyond your walls so you are no longer afraid of it. We may be harboring things that are extremely painful to revisit. My dad once told me that if we practice enough times, we realize that the challenge at hand is not as scary as it once seemed. We will get there. We choose how our past defines us and have been told for so long that it’s a part of us, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s over and done with, so why does it trail behind? Because we haven’t been taught to let go.
Surrender to your entirety in the way a great waterfall surrenders to its drop into the unknown, but understanding it will enter into a new body of water. Or the sun descending every night into darkness, knowing it will come up on the other side. Feel it so it can fall away, so you can become again. Allow yourself to grieve and allow it to heal you. Acknowledge the misfortunes and the blessings that came from them. Offer peace to your past in exchange for a lesson- that’s what you take with you. Self-sovereign and no longer existing in that timeline. You’re only a product of your past indirectly. You make the choice of what you’ll take with you.
Allow your past self to leave. You’re allowed to leave behind what was toxic. Rise from it like the phoenix. Leave room for the fact that you change every day. Reborn every morning.
Getting to know yourself is like getting to know another. That definitely doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not ‘one day I’ll get there, but for now I’m like this’. It requires time, contemplation, attention and silence. Devote yourself to your self. Put in the effort to change the person you were before. Question everything- it’s a lot of, “why am I like this?”. Be picky and choosy about what you want apart of you. Let go of what no longer serves you or exists in the vibration of who you are becoming.
The complicated part is putting this into practice. The past is very sneaky. How do we draw the line? Can we cut it off completely?
This is what I have as an answer for the moment; we draw the line by stepping into our power. This means what we have control over what is our current self. I know we can divide both versions of ourselves. I can’t promise they won’t come into contact down the line. I know that visit is frightening and possibly disabling. Perhaps it’s a test of our strength. We can take precautions to prevent backtracking and help grow. It’s okay if we fall during that process.
Remind yourself who you are as you’re picking back up. You can let your past be a reminder of how far you’ve come. Be proud and find the light. Every second, every mile, and every effort is a step further away. And it is not shameful to ask for help. Our loved ones, healthcare professionals, and even strangers can be there to lead us to water.
Be conscious of yourself. Listen as best you can. Think before you speak and when you do, speak with your heart. React with care. Be real with yourself and everything around you. You don’t have to hold back or hide anymore. It’s safe to live in truth.
The great thing about individuality and freedom is that you get to choose. The possibilities can be a little intimidating. There’s so much I want to be and many different directions I’m pulled in. It makes me forget that I’m just me. I can absorb bits and pieces, but in the end I am me.
It’s important that I let go of my fears in order to progress. I’m not sure if my worrying is just a side effect of anxiety or if it’s my brain’s general disposition, but it comes before everything. It’s over the fact that I’m getting nothing done in my creative life, although I write almost every day. Even if it’s just random thoughts in my notes- poetry floating by. Even when I write an entire blog and post it. Even when I share any of my creations. Nothing seems to be enough to satisfy my standards.
I stress that I’m not tending to my social life enough, especially when I’m reclusive and invested in my own little writing world. It’s not something I can be very social while doing. I worry that I’m not making my rounds to everyone and pleasing them, making them feel loved and cared for. There aren’t enough days in a week for work, creativity, and all relationships. And conflict happens when needs are not met. Or worse, they aren’t communicated. I can’t go MIA for too long before someone is wondering ‘what’s up with me’. I must answer texts and make sure everyone’s good. I must share a good amount of information about myself so people can be involved.
That also means sacrificing sacred self time. Time to sit and exist and do nothing- to just be, because it is, in fact, okay to do nothing sometimes. It is valuable. Our minds and bodies need to rest. I can’t give pieces of myself away and not be drained. When I do too much of that, I dissociate. It’s supposed to be give and take. I have to tend to my own garden of emotions and let pieces of me regrow. I have to let go of everyone else’s problems for the moment so I can deal with myself. Not letting everyone in all the time doesn’t mean they are uninvolved or that I don’t want them there. It just means that right now, I can’t get to it.
Both parts of my life are equally important. Creativity helps me discover parts of myself. And I find comfort in other peoples words, especially when I can’t find my own. Feeling their presence is healing and being able to share my space- in silliness or seriousness. I can relate. We help each other navigate. Each person ignites different parts of ourselves as we do in them. I shouldn’t have to let go of one aspect for there to be harmony.
Life is moving incredibly fast. It’s like watching a train pass by and everything is blurry and racing past you. It leaves you with this stolen feeling. Time passes quicker with age for whatever reason. We’re too in our heads or invested with work. We stop looking at the people we’re with and instead take our phones out to record them to watch at a later date. We stop running through the backyard and turn the TV on instead. I look down at my phone, it’s 3pm. I turn away for a second, look back, and it’s 8pm. It never stops. It’s fleeting no matter how much you try to wave down the conductor.
I’m so eager to change and learn and grow all the time. So much that in the time I’m supposed to be letting past lessons settle in, I’m overthinking and creating problems for the future. I’m busy over-analyzing. I fail to recognize sometimes that old growth must be put to the test. We are thrown challenges to see if those lessons have actually done their job. And they will keep reoccurring, whether it be in a new form or not, if we haven’t. If I end up in the same rut more than once, I should understand why.
I have to stop worrying about when and what if. It’s a waste of time- trying to anticipate and always waiting. I could be living. Everything has to come as it may. It can’t be done in one sitting. It’s really just too much.
It’s okay to get lost in the current of life’s enormity; to feel without guilt and insecurity, without need for validation.
2018 was a major year for my growth. The end of the summer marked a point where I really started focusing on myself and what I enjoyed. I overcame previous fears and obstacles. I realized who I wanted to be around. I began an honest effort to change the parts of myself I dislike. My passion for writing came to me and I spent whenever I could with it, setting goals and following through. I was motivated.
As the year’s finish line became more visible, I felt like I stopped learning and changing. Being stagnant made me panic, so I forced whatever I had in me to create. I tried making it last in fear that I had lost a gift. But holding on too hard and suffocating my writing set me back even farther than I was before. I began to question my future, my choices, and struggled greatly with self-image. I didn’t want to move backwards, but it seemed like that was already underway.
I am not the best at following New Year’s Resolutions. And I didn’t want something staring me in the face, reminding me how big of a failure I am for not remembering to do it. Instead of brainstorming one big thing, I made a list of small goals that could be accomplished on a daily basis- simple actions to create better habits. I thought of things I wanted to become firsthand.
I made sure to write them down in a place I look in/at every day to make it unavoidable that they are planted in my head. It only takes 21 days to create a habit, so the only thing left is to practice my intentions.
This is what I came up with:
Create A Loving Space For Yourself And Your Creativity
Put Good In Your Body and Feel Good
Go Outside More
Be Kind And Put Your Heart In Everything
Figure Out What You Want To Do- College? Travel?
^I also made some more personal notes about creating a schedule for myself, finding jobs that would help me establish connections with what I want to do in the future, and various skills I want to learn.
In addition to those, I made a list of affirmations- what I want to manifest in the new year:
I am learning myself.
I will take signs for what they are- no sugar coating.
I will not force understanding- people learn at their own pace (if they’re meant to, of course).
I will grow unapologetically.
I will not allow my past back into my life.
I will build new homes.
I will re-pot myself as needed.
When creating these, I had to keep in mind that nothing is immediate. And I had to put trust in knowing that everything would come to me- like my future and what I want to do with life. I continuously have to be patient with the universe and myself.
I fall behind sometimes. I also get down on myself and threaten my growth by wanting to give up. But giving up doesn’t erase ink from paper, so I keep notes. I give myself time to wallow and grieve, if need be. And I’m not strict. When I’m not feeling it, I go out. I do things that make me feel good. No pressure. Then I’ll go back, reevaluate what I’m trying to do, and keep going.
My motivation? If I don’t change, the world won’t. And life won’t come to a halt for me. I deeply want to keep evolving with it. There is always something around the corner. To get to it, I must manage movement. And having people by my side that want to see me at my best, but are able to be there when I’m at the opposite, helps greatly.
Let it come in strides. Do things for yourself. Be good for yourself.
Everything will invariably fall into place- without hesitation.
Lately, I’ve been letting everything move me. I mean, I’ve been letting music saturate my brain, sweep me up, and dance with me every time he plays. He has me engrossed in his thoughts and I lose my train of thought. This is letting go. This is my meditation. I’ve been letting the voices of the people around me hold me through life. I let them sing to me and we laugh together and I stop doubting. I am reminded I am surrounded by divine company. I’ve been letting my hands lead me, so I can feel everything I must. They recognize lessons my eyes can’t. I’ve been letting my feet propel me…because they know if they don’t, I won’t ever get to where I’m supposed to be (wherever that is). And if they stop, I’ll shatter into the pavement. I’ve been letting my heart make the decisions. And I refuse to ever say she’s wrong again…because she’s been making thrilled (ecstatic!). And here I am, back at my conscience, letting her whisper ideas in my ear. What she’s been uttering most often is, ‘take action‘.
I’m at a crossroads in my life, it seems. After trying to categorize each section, I’ve realized it’s just a big jumbled collection of concepts I’ve been feeling over the past few months. So, after hours of trying to put parts of myself each into a special box, I decided I would lay them out, free of any labels. (At this moment) these are the pieces of me:
I often get tangled in my thoughts- lost in them actually. It always starts with a pleasant seed, then it transforms itself in loops until it turns into an overly complicated, dramatic, false piece of information my mind created to get me worked up. And that’s where my anxiety beings, halfway between fully functional and completely shut down. My brain is almost literally composed of parts of Dante Alighieri’s works; Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each day I’m in a different book. And I struggle greatly with controlling my thoughts and trying not to worry so much- about today, about my future. I’d like to think knowing this means I’m making progress; the fact that I know what my number one flaw is. I know what I need to fix first. I’m going slow…with myself.
I (un)willingly dedicate a lot of time to myself. In intervals, I convince myself I am destined to be alone in this life because; the people I care about don’t care about me, or they don’t fully understand me, or they simply don’t have enough love for me. I am lost. And I don’t belong because I think too differently, because my emotions are much stronger than I can imagine anyone else’s being. Perhaps all the things I think are true, but who cares. I’m gaining appreciation for the people around me, whether they’re friends, or people I make casual conversation with during class, or people that test my patience. Without a doubt, they cross my path for a reason. And my uncertainty is fading because I recognize that they have a purpose. I’m allowing their balance, their flow, in and out.
I get up each morning and I wonder why I continue the same routine. Every. Day. I don’t know why I get up to go to a place to pretend to enjoy learning about something I’m not passionate about. Because I was told to. Without reserve, I would like to run straight to the mountains and allow them to embrace me. I am drained from living someone else’s life and I would like to live my own, thank you. I will live creatively, happily, and excitingly. All my dreams and ideas are surfacing. And I will leave my imprint on the Earth because it is my right- a right no one can take away.
My heart is gracious, kind, and open. And for awhile, I told her she was a fool. But she is not and never was. I think she may know better than my mind does. She is not confusing and she knows what she wants. I trust her in gravitating towards the places she belongs and she expands with every distance she treks, every person she connects with. Listening to a logic that wasn’t mine has only gotten me in trouble. You see, in the brain, lies all the things you’ve ever been told, but truth lies in the heart. So, for now, I think I’ll let her lead.
I wound myself into a cocoon long ago and I’m finally crushing it.