A COV(ert)ID Silverlining

When all of this “virus” chatter began, I will admit that I wasn’t fully convinced at the gravity of it all. I blame our government and media outlets for that. They have broken my trust on many levels, so pardon me that it took me some time to believe what was being said. Lucky for me I learned at a young age to look outside of mainstream media sources and to dig deeper when seeking out the truth. Slowly I began to ingest what was truly going on and instead of brushing it off as, once again, another media-driven hysteria, I began to heed what was being warned. For me, it went from being “virus” chatter to serious virus talk.

I am currently on day 8 of our “official” lockdown and although I have been able to see friends and family periodically, it was only in the last three days that I have chosen to completely isolate myself, and not for the reasons that you may think. 

Amid all the calamity this virus has brought to our front doors, I’d like to think of all this as a necessary evil for society and what’s left of this starving planet Earth.

I might get shit for calling this pandemic a “necessary evil”. How could I say such a thing when so many people have died? But like a war, a battle being fought for the greater good, it has its deaths by the thousands of the guilty and of the innocent alike; it is exactly that, war. This type of war, however, isn’t to bring together land and eradicate manmade borders. This war is an internal war, not only physically but spiritually and emotionally. It’s a war to remind us of where we came from. It’s a war for time, because humanity needed time. Humanity needed a break from it all.

The last three days have been filled with a lot of self-reflection. I’ve been taking a look inside myself, asking myself questions, and having discussions that I should’ve had long ago. I limited my T.V time and within the silence, I have found sparks of creativity. I’m able to connect with nature better and I even feel as though the Universe speaks to me louder and more clearly without all the every day static I had grown conditioned to. I have learned to be a little more resourceful and a lot less wasteful. I’ve become more aware of the immediate things I must change to improve who I am.  I’ve become aware of the things I will gradually give up in order to live my version of a better life.

Some people end up finding themselves while lost at sea. Some find themselves after veering off track and getting lost in the wilderness. We have been given the chance to find ourselves within the confines (and comfort) of our own home. We have been given that extra bit of vacation time. We have been given the chance to learn from crisis hoarders, that greed leads you nowhere other than to the land of Overloaded and Nowhere To Store It.  We have been given extra time with our family, with our pets, with our crafts. We have been given the space to work on ourselves; the time to detox from everything that has been pumped into our senses.

I have read that for us here in the U.S it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I also hear that “getting better” still means that we’re going to be set back about a decade.  Whether any of that is true or not, I don’t know. We’ll call it what it is, speculation. I say that if at the end of all of this there is more genuine happiness within homes all around the world, genuine happiness within our own home, and with one’s self than I’ll pay that price. In the end, we are all going to be going through it together and there is comfort in that. This is a covert opportunity to change humanity in wonderful ways if only we begin to choose love before greed. We have the ability to rebuild a stronger and better world by going through such adversity together. I wish that through all if this social distancing and social isolation, after all the souls who have passed on because of this virus, we end up choosing to do good to one another.

“We will have suffered together, we will have fought through it together, and we will overcome together.”

 

 

 

Metal Monster

Powerful and black, strong and sleek, roaring in intimidation while holding memories so decadently sweet. With its back cab open, I easily peer into, and that’s when I see, a smitten young couple, wrapped up in each other, like twisted bedsheets. She lays her head on top of his shoulder, her body is snuggled up close. As the sun sets, the song “Cruisin'” blaring from the speakers, they bask in the love they chose.

In that old El Camino, with its rattles and its shakes, my memories of happiness and my memories of pain are the thoughts that the metal monster contains. My thoughts of you, our love, and those amazing Cali days while living in a Cali daze, only float back once in a blue, and yet once in a while, a metal monster will conjure things up when it roars on through. I refuse to suppress so instead I feel, and as the seconds tic on by, I begin to realize that it could possibly be that that life wasn’t meant to be more than a throw back story.

 

A Love For Fools

Long-distance love?

…run for the hills!

Ok, maybe I am a little bias BUT in my defense, when it comes to my blog posts I am writing about MY experiences, so why not write about this one??

When I was growing up my mother had a boyfriend who was one of her better ones. He was a wonderful guy, or so I thought. It was a few years after their break-up that I came to find out that he had cheated on my mom while on a trip to Colombia but that’s for another story..maybe. His and my mother’s relationship was a strenuous one. I remember my grandmother always telling her, “Amores de lejos, Amores pendejos.” Which pretty much translates to “A love from afar is a love for fools.” My grandmother didn’t hold back. She was a wise one that one and this phrase always stuck with me. Watching my mom have to really plan out her week when it came to her being able to drive off for two and a half hours to go see her love, or even vice versa, I noticed how big of a challenge it was for her. God forbid it was an off week for them and they fought during one of their visits. They would each leave one another feeling defeated. My mom spent every night talking with him on the phone when he wasn’t around. In a way, it was cute to watch her get so excited when he called for their nightly talk. Giddy like a little school girl she would be.

I don’t really recall how long they dated. It was about four years I believe? Possibly longer. All I really remember was that one day he no longer was going to be apart of our lives and I was a little crushed. It wasn’t so much that their love really fizzled out. This heartbreak was a big one for my mom. Neither of them were willing to relocate for the other. He lived in Jersey City, north from our south Jersey home, in a dingy city with great mom and pop style eateries but nothing motivating enough to get my mom away from her pension job and safe neighborhood. Why hadn’t he wanted to move south?? I’m sure he had a level of comfort built around his life in Jersey City. He had a good job, and I also feel that he liked being able to take a break whenever the family life got to be too much for him. A single mom with two daughters can’t be the easiest or most ideal situation. No matter the reason, it hadn’t lasted.

Moving forward about 15 years later, here I was in the same style of relationship. The young man and I had met one night while out at one of the local clubs in my town. Unfortunately for me, he didn’t live locally so then started my first (and only) long-distance relationship. Of course, I had remembered the wise words of my grandmother and, yes, I had remembered what my mother had gone through. Yet, in my eyes, I felt as though I had been given an opportunity and so snatching it up was what I had to do. I began my weekly (at times bi-weekly) commute to the east coast of Florida. It was two and a half hours for me to get to my home from his. Sometimes, if I was feeling up to it, I would leave after work and drive straight there. Most times I would leave on my day off early in the morning and drive back home the next day. In the beginning, it wasn’t such a chore but later on, as life moved forward it took a toll on me and my emotions. There were moments when maybe he had to work late that night or the entire next day that resentment would build because I felt as though I was getting the attention I needed or expected after a long ride to see him. Arguments that sometimes didn’t need to go on for more than a day would go on for a week because there wasn’t much quality time to work on issues. At one point I was even starting to believe I was dating a complete stranger because who I thought I had initially met was now turning into someone I hadn’t even thought existed.

The biggest downfall in our relationship I will say was the fact that we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to really get to know one another before really diving into an official and committed relationship. By week two I noticed that he was no longer in the courting stage. We had become an item so soon that comfortability took over and with that, the “wooing” period went straight out the window. Little by little I began to learn who this man really was and although I cannot speak ill of him I do know that if distance hadn’t played its part, I would have gotten to realize a lot sooner that maybe this man just wasn’t for me.

We made it nine months before our issues got the best of both of us. This wasn’t until after I had already made my move to the east coast to be with him. I won’t lie that even when I was sitting in the moving truck driving across the state I knew that this wasn’t going to work out. But a commitment had already been made and to be honest, I was also tired of the town I was in. I had decided to move forward with the plans, always staying hopeful that maybe, just maybe, by being closer together we would be able to work things out.

Moving in together had only amplified our issues. No shock there, right?

I write about long-distance love because it happens every day. I feel that people are in such a desperate need to find love that they don’t really think about what it means to be in a long-distance relationship and the hardships that come along with it. It is truly difficult to get to really know someone who lives hours away. You seldom get to see each other in one’s natural habitat and the “best behavior” aspect of dating lasts a lot longer. Meaning, that it takes a while to really see what the other person is truly like, what their flaws are, etc

I don’t think I was at his place for an entire month before things began to fully fall apart. We had different ways of approaching life. We wanted different things. What he was willing to settle for was not something I wanted. Not only that, but I soon began to discover that he had habits that I was not willing to ignore. Substance abuse and the refusal for help wasn’t going to be tolerated and so it wasn’t long before I packed my bags and said adios.

Most of what I learned after I moved in with him were all things I would have probably picked up on if we would have not had the distance in the way to slow the learning process down. Love already isn’t easy. You have to work at it no matter how easy it is to love the person. Adding distance to the equation almost dooms it. Don’t get me wrong there are people who succeed in making it work and do end up lasting a lifetime. However, the odds of it working out are slim and the journey will be at times empty and almost always frustrating. I guess when it comes to love, we never want to pass up the love of one’s lifetime. It’s only human nature to try to go after the impossible when it comes to it. If the pros outweigh the cons, then hey, go for it and make sure it’s adding to your life more than it’s taking. All I’m saying is that long-distance love is not for the weak. It’s more for fools in love.

Before It Could Blossom

In a concrete jungle, they had found love, their eyes first meeting the day she had discovered her neighborhood library. She walked in excited to have found a place where she could feel comfortable and at home. Since her move into the big city, she had yet to feel either. There was always something amazing about being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. It was as if you were surrounded by so many different lives, being fictitious or not. She entered the library and walk towards the right heading towards the fiction section comma and that’s when she had spotted him. He obviously worked or volunteered there. His ID dangled around his neck while he sorted away the books on each shelf. Her heart jumped a little. Weird how that happened. He was cute …and tall …and mysterious …but there was something else about him. She didn’t know what it was but it was like a magnet.
Whenever she wasn’t at work she was at the library. What was there to do at home anyways? There was no internet and there was no cable, which meant all she had where her books. Some days he was there. Some days he wasn’t. By the second week of her routine visits, they had become friendly. They greeted each other with a warm smile and a nod, and soon it became a full-on wave with a, “Hey how’s it going?!“
Eventually exchanging phone numbers, they began to get to know each other. Their text messages were more silly than they were flirtatious. She absolutely loved that. They chatted throughout the day about anything and everything. It was not only easy to talk with him but it was also exciting. They could go from cracking jokes one second to a conversation on aliens and alternate dimensions the next. This was why, although she ended up finding out he was 4 years her junior when he asked her out to dinner, she happily said yes.
He picked her up in his old school El Camino. Her heart melted and it was from that night that the two were inseparable. Absolute best friends from the very beginning, they couldn’t have been any more compatible with one another. But sometimes, just because the yin had found its yang, that didn’t mean that their coming together would last forever. Throughout the time that they were building what could have been an everlasting and loving relationship, life behind the scenes wasn’t working out too well for her. Life in the big city had been rough and expensive. The jobs she was able to get hired for simply didn’t pay enough to cover her rent and utilities, let alone make enough for food and savings. It was a real struggle to make ends meet and the stress and anxiety would eat her up alive at night when her thoughts would run around her mind like wild horses. It was only when they were together that she felt something other than pain and heartache. He made her feel good.
They were sitting at one of their favorite burger spots. It was a beautifully sunny day and only she knew how sad of a day it was about to turn into. As they waited for their number to be called, he sat across from her telling her all about the first half of his day. They sat there in the booth on his lunch break, him chatting away while she barely listened. All she could hear were the roaring waves of sadness that were ripping apart her heart.
“Babe, are you listening? I know you’re not because that was funny and you’re not laughing.” He grinned at her. Man did she love those dimples.
“I’m moving back home in 2 weeks.” It came out barely a whisper. He just stared at her, at first making her believe that he hadn’t heard her. She didn’t know if she had the courage to say it once again but she soon realized that she wasn’t going to have to. His eyes misted over and as the lady working the counter called out their number, neither of them moved.

*

We never ate the burgers. We never even claimed them. Our hearts sunk deep into our bellies, heartbreak oozing into our souls. We spent as much time together as we could. We revisited our favorite places together. I went with him on his runs at the park (he ran while I waited on the sidelines). We hugged. We kissed. We cried. On our very last night together we laid on his bed in darkness our heads down towards the opposite end, and while staring up into the ceiling, we listened to all our favorite songs. Both of us being such great lovers of Motown, we listened deep into the night and I will never forget the last song we listened to. As if the Universe knew what we were going through, Kiss and Say Goodbye by The Manhattans came on and as if a switch had turned on, tears pooled into the corners of my eyes and overflowed, rolling past my temples and into my hair. The amount of sadness that was burying itself deep within my throat was overwhelming, so much so that it had sent me into a daze. The one last kiss as I left his bedroom, the one last handhold as I walked out of his front door, the one last hug before getting into the car, the last drive I’d take with him in his El Camino and the last time I would watch him drive away as he waved his last goodbye… I can’t even describe the feeling of what it was like to leave that piece of my heart behind.
I heard the song today and just like any other time I hear it, my heart smiled. Although it was so painful to leave before the relationship had a real chance to fully blossom, I love knowing that I got to experience such love in only just a few short months. I got to experience what felt like an entire lifetime in love and the memories of all that we shared will forever be in bloom, my heart a basket containing every petal.

Discovering YOUR Purpose

Even before being able to form a sentence we are discussed about to family and to outsiders as to what we are to later become professionally in life. Straight out the womb it’s, “Maybe she will become a lawyer like her father? Maybe he will become a doctor like his grandmother?” As we become older the question is always hovering above us, “What’s your life purpose? What do you think you’re meant to be or do here?” Because we are asked these questions from such a young age and then grow into asking our selves these very same questions on almost a daily basis, we are conditioned to give these thoughts way too much importance. We begin to believe that in this life we are meant to do something major or significant in order to have given our life meaning, and how do we even define for ourselves what is “major and significant”? If we don’t succeed in becoming that doctor or that lawyer then we are just a waste of a life. We begin to compare ourselves to those around us, who also don’t really know what they’re doing. Those who are also following this weirdly imposed set of social norms that in reality limit our potential to do the things in life that we actually want to do for ourselves and maybe need to do for our soul.

Graduate highschool the top of your class, attend college, meet your life partner, get married, buy a house, have kids, work, raise your family, maybe travel once they fly the coop, and then you die. 

Now let’s say your life up until now hasn’t followed these set of social standards. Maybe you have done things “out of order” or maybe you totally missed a couple “key steps” in making something out of yourself. You begin to feel lost and the little voice inside your head begins to tell you that maybe you just weren’t good enough for certain things. Maybe you didn’t try hard enough…

But what if…

…certain things in life weren’t meant for you. Maybe you’re actually better than that in other ways and it’s in those ways that you’re supposed to be shining. What if our life’s purpose is actually as simple as being here to shift energies within other people. In reality, such a purpose isn’t “simple”. To shift energies around you is a gift you are born with and its importance is grander than any job title you could study for. Maybe you are that person that walks into a room and immediately people are drawn to you. They lean to you for advice no matter how small, no matter how personal. A light follows you, casting positivity and radiating joy wherever you go. Such a person is a ripple effect, touching and reshaping lives on a daily basis. There is no small feat in that.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and question ourselves why it is that we are so hard on ourselves especially when it comes to things we pursue solely to appease others. Is it so hard to believe that maybe that’s why it isn’t working for you? It could be that while you felt like you were going with the flow of life in attempting to pursue something that would make a loved one happy, you in turn were actually going against the grain and disrupting your true journey.

I feel as though when speaking to many around me, this is a constant internal battle, the fight we have within ourselves about our purpose. So many of us feel so lost but it’s because we are focusing on all the wrong things. We aren’t really listening to our true selves. We are also looking towards others for answers that in all reality they don’t have. What you should count on are the signs from the Universe. Count on the fact that if you start believing in yourself and set aside the negative self talk, the hints and guidance from the Universe will shout to you what it is that you should be doing; what you should be doing for yourself and your genuine happiness.

Ripples of the Mind

One’s mind is as deep as the galaxy’s core and at times can get as dark as the bottom pit of the Earth’s seas. Raging internal wars will occasionally interrupt our external lives making life difficult and at times unbearable. We fight with ourselves, with others, and with imaginary entities.  It’s only when we learn to control it that we can make it calm. Still, that only comes with practice and only after we have even acknowledged that we need to do so.

I found myself swimming in unchartered territory last night. I was watching t.v with my pup when she began clearing her throat and at times, gasped for air as if she was trying to catch her breath. My dog isn’t some young pup anymore. She’s 16 years old so during moments such as these my own breath will catch and my mind begins to wander. Dark thoughts begin to toss around my mind. Images of her falling ill and me not being able to do anything about it. It’s a reality that continuously lingers in the back of my mind. A reality that isn’t far from someday happening. As my mind played the unwanted scenario, my body began to act as if it were really happening. My heart began to beat a little faster. My eyes began to tear up. It was as if I was experiencing a loss that hadn’t happened yet.

This is where meditation and learning to silence the mind comes into play. Where before my mind would have continued to run with the thoughts that began to plague my mind, now I find that I can slowly still it. I relaxed my breathing and the thoughts that swirled my mind and suffocated my heart began to subside. I took myself out of a future; a moment that hadn’t happened yet, and brought myself back to the present moment, sitting on the couch, snuggled with my puppy who had stopped gasping for air and was currently staring up at me with happy eyes.

The mind can be trick There have been many times when I’ve found myself having a conversation with people who aren’t there over encounters and situations that hadn’t happened. I’ve gotten as worked up as I would have if the confrontation were to be actually taking place. Meditation has really been such a great tool in helping me control my thoughts. It also helps when it comes to me being less reactive and when it comes to situations that frustrate me or are completely out of my control. It seems strange or silly when Ii talk about it for I am no meditation expert but over the years of me slowly leaning into the practice I have come to truly understand how great of a weapon it is to have in your arsenal when it comes to overcoming one’s own mind.

If you find that your mind is one vast ocean full of turbulent thoughts, waves of ideas that come crashing down on you, debilitating you when you least expect it, try meditating. Slowly, with practice, you can guide your mind towards the stillness of peace. A place where the ripples of the mind become calm and as still, and nothing but tranquility governing your mind.

Addiction and Its Trickery

“He’s spiraling. I’d talk to him about it but I know he doesn’t want to hear it. He’s been so cynical and fake lately. It’s been driving me crazy. There used to be a time when I could talk to him about anything. Now there is nothing. It’s kind of like when you scream down an empty hallway and the only response back is total darkness.”

These are the words from a girl who lost her partner in crime; her best friend. Addiction can be tricky, and it has tricked me many times. From family members to significant others to my closest friends, addiction has taken the souls of many I love and in its place left me with an empty shell of a human being. The biggest loss of all was the loss of my best friend. It’s been almost an entire year since I first really noticed that he was no longer the same person I met a year prior. He had become my best friend almost from the day we met and my roommate not too long after that. He was like a brother I never had and it was nice to not be so alone anymore. At the time we met I had just relocated to a new area in FL and other than an ex, I knew no one in town. The bond was created almost instantly the day he was hired at my job and after a devasting breakup that he went through with his partner he moved into my one-bedroom apartment.

I learned much about his life as he was very honest and open with the struggles he had faced in life. He at the time was a year and a half sober although he had already started to dabble back into the scene. He had been a full-blown heroin addict and it had been a struggle to get himself clean. After meeting the guy he was with, it wasn’t long before he introduced him back into the party scene. His partner (being the irresponsible pharmacist that he was) was providing him with Adderall, Xanax, coke, booze, all the things a recovering addict had no place in partaking in. When I say it wasn’t even a full year before he was back into getting too intoxicated to even control his bowel movements, I mean it. Before I knew it I was fearing for his life.

The light in his eyes began to slowly fade as well as the love for life. He no longer was excited about the little things. Before we would have our dedicated “Adventure Days” where at least once a week we would go to new parts of the surrounding cities looking for places we had never been before. Now it was difficult to even get him to want to leave the confines of his bedroom. His hygiene at this point was almost non-existant and forget about him even trying to contribute to the day to day upkeep of our apartment.

The day he was no longer able to keep up with the bills was the day I knew he had completely lost his grip on reality. He was engulfed in simply trying to get by. His routine was sleep, work, home, drugs, sleep, work, home, drugs. I started to find random little baggies throughout the apartment. I would run into these baggies more often than I would see him. I’d find my cat playing with broken apart pens and pulled apart q-tips. Still, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. I was obviously in extream denial.

To make an already long story short I eventually had a confrontation with him giving him an ultimatum: either he went to detox or the moment he left the apartment I would change the locks and he would no longer have a place to live.

The entire ordeal ended up being too much for our friendship to bare. He did go and get help but that help hadn’t been more than a tiny step towards a very long road ahead of him. By this point, I had made a choice to move back home to Jersey and we eventually went our separate ways. He moved out a couple weeks before I hit the road towards home and from that day on I hadn’t heard from him again. I reached out a couple times with no reply and even tried reaching out to his mother to see if he was alright. The last I heard no one had spoken to him and sometimes I wonder if he’s ok and safe.

The fact that he is no longer in my life has made it selfishly better. My quality of life, sad to say, has improved because I am not longer fighting an internal battle between my logical side and my compassionate side. I felt that towards the end there was a codependent relationship that had been built between us and I was happy to walk away from that. Years before meeting him I had worked really hard at trying break from my codependency and I had begun to drift back into old habits. This friendship had started taking me back to dark places and all because I was trying to keep someone else from drowning.

For me, it’s a hard thing to accept that so many people in this life are battling addictions. It’s hard to accept because I was left so jaded and to try to build relationships with people who are going through such struggles is not easy. Sometimes I wonder if it was worth it? Did the good times outweigh the bad? Yes. Yes, they did. I miss my friend, I truly do. I hope that he’s ok although my hopes aren’t very high.

One thing I’ve really learned when it comes to dealing with addiction when you lose people you love to addiction, you really are mourning the loss of a loved one almost as though you’ve lost them to death. It is painful. The heartbreak at times more than one can bear. Although it has been a little over two months I still feel the conflict of what used to be following me around. It hides in the outskirts of my mind popping in at odd moments to remind me of who I lost and what I lost them to. Still, I try to continue my days with hopes that someday the pain of this loss will ease and that this will become just another chapter in a long story called Life.