The Land I Loved

The day I left was the saddest day of my life as an adult. The funny part is? I didn’t have anything to really hold me there. In other words, it’s not like I was leaving anything behind per say, only the dreams of my future.

It didn’t hit me as we were placing all of our belongings out onto the curb. My things that I had worked so hard for just out there exposed and left behind. It didn’t hit me as we pulled away and watched as the neighborhood I had called my home for the last year fade away from view. Everything that had become familiar to me that year was slowly fading and with each second that ticked by it was all becoming just a part of my past.

The silence during the first half hour of our car ride was needed because the lump in my throat wouldn’t have allowed for otherwise. It was once my turn signal indicated our arrival onto the interstate, and that moment of me looking into the rear view mirror, that a warm sadness washed over me. California had won. A true and real feeling of failure is what ran through my veins. It wouldn’t be for weeks that I would get to feeling like “me”again and then even still, it was a hurt “me”, a healing “me”.

My eyes welled up, the tears hot and intrusive. I could no longer hide my hurt once they overflowed and ran from the hiding spot behind my sunglasses and down my cheeks. I didn’t even bother to wipe the tears. What for? The pain was real and there was no sense in hiding it. Instead I chose to live through the emotion, actually feel what it was I was going through. I had fallen in love and for me this death was worth the mourning.

I’m sure many reading this will think I’m being dramatic. Only those who have taken risks and failed will understand where I’m coming from and really, those are the people I’m talking to. Only you are the ones who can relate. If you’ve never been through something similar, if you’ve never failed before and were left with nothing more than a a hole in your heart, read this and realize, your day is coming. That is for sure. It’s best you read up so you’re not blindsided as I was.

As a kid I had always dreamed of living in the rural parts of California. I had seen so many pictures and documentaries, the lay of the land in northern California was like a dream. The first computer I ever got that could actually surf the internet, I spent time looking up and researching places around the U.S that had always interested me. Cali was definitely my number one. I didn’t want to head there to be rich and famous. Fuck that. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I wanted to live in California because it was something that had called to me as a child. Those beautiful mountains. The sky which seemed to always look so candy colored. The way the leaves turned to those amazing autumn tones in the fall with bright yellows, oranges, and reds. It was no surprise to anyone who knew me that the second I had cash saved up, off I was. I drove out to the West Coast without a moment’s hesitation. The people in my life dishonestly supporting me didn’t deter me. It was my dream, not theirs, that I was hunting for.

I had been purposely positive throughout the three days it took to drive there. I thought about how quick I would find a job. I thought about how awesome it would be to live in the new apartment, in my new neighborhood, with my new neighbors. I imagined all the cool places I’d finally get to see. Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Hollywood Blvd, the Sunset Strip. If there were any doubts at any point in time, I crushed them with thoughts of positivity. There would be no Negative Nancies in my head bringing me down. No sir. I was (still am) a firm believer in the Law of Attraction so for me, negative thoughts weren’t even an option. It wasn’t until a year later that I looked back and realized, maybe the negative thoughts that would slip into my mind here and there was just life trying to prepare me for what would later be a shocking reality. But like Karma I find Hindsight to be a bitch.

My theory on Los Angeles’ smog problem is that it isn’t pollution, per say, that is floating above everyone’s head. It is my belief that the layer of smog that always lingers are the souls of the innocent who venture out to L.A and never return to be the same again. I mean hell, they don’t call it the City of Angels for no reason. I imagine it being like a trap box for the innocent. The interior of this box looks so appealing. It’s dressed up in opportunities and gold. Shiny things hang in its interior, attracting you like a fly to a light bulb. You get there one way, with a pure and maybe even naive way of being. Before long, the doors to this box snap shut and you are trapped inside, doing things out there to survive that you never thought you’d  have to do.

Yea, as a child I dreamed of going to Northern Cali but the opportunity arose for me in L.A. I figured that I could get myself started in the city. It would be my first foot through the door and then once I saved up a bit I would migrate up north.

I never even made it to saving up.

The California life is expensive. The cost of living was ridiculously high and real jobs were scarce. Just by looking around, the amount of homeless people or those collecting cans and plastic could be proof of what I’m telling you. My story during this time could have gone many different ways. It could have gone better. It could have gone way worse. It’s kinda funny because now thinking about it, they way I lived in L.A was so carefree, it was almost as though I was tempting danger to come dance with me. The streets of Los Angeles, the devil’s playground, and I was out and about living as if I were still out on the Island of Sanibel. I spoke to strangers. I would go out and try to explore my surroundings and many times, during this exploration, I would get lost and wind up on a block a didn’t belong. The drinking was out of control and there were more than a handful of times that in a moment of sheer blackout, would take my car and attempt to drive home. I always made it of course, but that is only because I have the best guardian angel out there protecting me.

There were so many mistakes I made when arriving to Cali. There were also many obstacles that also got in the way, obstacles that prolonged the feeling of settling down. I don’t think that in the year that I lived there did I feel at all settled.  Jobs weren’t working out. Food was scarce. Bills were piling up. The roller coaster of emotions and the stress were taking a toll on me. Secretly I would cry myself to sleep on almost every night. It would have been one thing if it would have just been myself that I needed to worry about. The fact that my sister decided to come along on my little adventure was what hurt me the most. Not because she came along with me but because she was suffering. This was my dream that I was trying to live out and now that it was going horribly bad she was suffering. To look at her face filled with so much anxiety and sadness really broke my heart to pieces and so the day I was confronted with the opportunity to return home, her face was the one I saw. In my mind, I saw her looking at me with the eyes full of hope of going back home, and that’s what made me break.

The decision was literally made from one day to the next and to be honest it wasn’t too hard of a decision to make. We were already 3 months behind on our rent. We had no food except for a bag of rice and a couple cans of tuna. By this time anytime we grocery shopped it was mainly baby food and soup cups that we ended up getting and that was to be split between my sister and I, along with my dog and her cat. Crazy right?

It had just been a few days before our planned departure that I had received an e-mail from our landlord stating that if we didn’t have the three months of rent we owed him within 48 hours, he would be there with police escort to evict us. Instead of leaving as planned, our trip back home was to be expedited. We gave our neighbor’s some of our things. Actually, we were trying to sell our stuff to them but after realizing that they were in no greater shape than we were, we freely gave things away. We then packed the car with whatever we could bring, but my small two door sports car couldn’t hold much, so we just left mostly everything behind. Like I mentioned earlier, the amount of people that are homeless or who rummage the garbage for food or things to help them get by is astronomical in L.A. So instead of leaving much of our stuff inside the apartment when we left, we decided to set what we could carry out on the curb for people to take. I mean for us it was like, “Well we can’t take it with us, so let’s leave it for those who will truly need it.” It was 6 am in the morning when we finished, the sun was just beginning to wake up. Our plan was to get out of there before our landlord showed up with his police escort. To be behind on a month’s rent is bad enough, but to owe three months is ridiculous. The fact that he hadn’t thrown us out sooner was a shock to me and a testament to how kind he was, for he was a really nice landlord, and there was no way my sister and I could face him.

As we got into my car, I noticed that there was already a family going through what was just a few seconds ago our belongings. It was truly a bittersweet moment that to even think about it now tugs at my heart.

I lost a lot on this adventure of mine to California. Not just my physical belongings but I also left behind a sliver of my dignity, piece of my heart, as well as a chuck of my soul. Yet, with my losing or leaving behind a few things I had also gained much more than that. I took with me my experiences of meeting new people, good and bad. I have taken and stored away beautiful memories and also some scary ones. Everything that I have obtained through my journey to and from California has served a wonderful purpose and have also gifted me with amazing stories for me to share. Who knows if I’ll ever go back and attempt at living there again but at least now I know somewhat of what I should be expecting.

There was a post I previously made about how I’ve only truly been in love twice. I’ll go ahead and correct myself by saying that it was three times. California. She is beautiful. She is enticing. She was a ruthless love.

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Art Work Credit: Jet Victory Follow on IG and FB

Feeling Lost? You May Be Living for Others…

My parents divorced when I was only four years old. My sister wasn’t even one yet. It was almost instant that I was thrown into the role as “Mommy’s Little Helper” and although I was more than happy to help, it still wasn’t a role I chose.

Growing up wasn’t easy. Between trying to keep my grades afloat and helping out around the house, while also ultimately helping mom raise my sister, I’ve never really had a true and unique identity. Sure, I knew my name and what my favorite color was but anything deeper than that I could attribute it to someone else. They way I talked, the way I thought about certain things, it wasn’t 100% me but a compilation of everyone else.  It seemed that at that very point in my life I was always trying to please everybody else. The weekdays were dedicated to trying to impress my teachers and friends. After school was the time to really show my mom what a big girl I was and would win her over by helping with the day to day chores as well as serving as an entertainer/baby sitter for my sister. I spent every waking moment with that little rascal once school was out for the day and every summer break was dedicated to being with her from sun up till sun down. For 20 years her and I shared a room. We woke up together, we’d play together, we’d fight and cry, and tear each other’s hair our a few times a month. It’s no wonder how she ended up being my best friend after all these years.

The weekends were rough because that was a completely different world than what I was used to. I had to spend the weekends at my father’s house. Not only were they a different culture to absorb, but the stress that came along with having to deal with him and his new family (5 step brothers and his “younger than my mother by many years” wife) were a burden. It wasn’t long before I began to hate going to go visit him and eventually I would stop going all together. Still, during the time I did have to visit, it was a time in which I had to put who I was on hold just to please them, just to avoid ridicule. It wasn’t until I graduated high school and moved out of state, away from everything I knew, that I began to uncover who I truly was but even still, that too took time. I had been conditioned to be a people-pleaser and that made it hard to live life as I wanted.

I moved to Florida in ’08 and within the year I was signed up to school. I enrolled as a Forensic Psychology student. I had a plan. I was to work 5 days and go to school 3 days, taking 3 classes at a time. I wanted to plow through school while working, graduate, and then enter my career. That was almost 9 years ago and still I haven’t graduated.

One of my truest reasons as to why I haven’t graduated yet is due to finances. The other 95% I wouldn’t discover until just recent . It wasn’t until after my retreat from California, and about two years after I left Jersey for the second time, that I realized what my underlying issue was. I truly was at a loss for I really didn’t know who I was, and in turn, had no clue as to what I wanted for my life.

I look back to most of the decisions I’ve made in my life as a young adult and although most times I felt as though I was choosing to do what was best for me, I realized that instead I was making decisions based on what would make my family happy. The choice to move to Florida and make it on my own was truly my choice but that came after tons of time with my uncle convincing me to do so (Thanks Unc!). The major I picked to study in school was something I picked due to what I happened to really like to read at the time, but what really nailed it in for me was how happy my mother got when I told her what I wanted to study. “Hay Nati, that’s so good!! You can find a job with the government and get great benefits!! You would never have to worry about anything!” She’d tell me with joy in her voice. How could I study anything else when mama bear was so happy??

School wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and I don’t mean academically. Honestly, FGCU isn’t a very tough school to complete. My problem was the level of dedication I had for it. It was hard for me to place so much energy into something that wasn’t giving me immediate payouts. Don’t get me wrong, I loved going to classes. Learning is paramount for me but it was everything else that came along with it. I lived off campus and so when I wasn’t in class or at the library studying, I was working or at home completing my homework. My life didn’t have much substance other than that. I wasn’t making friends due to the fact I wasn’t ever really on campus unless it was to attend class and I for sure didn’t have time to go out and meet people. Basically, all I ever did was work and go to school. I wasn’t traveling nor meeting people. It was a very “blah” time in my life and soon I began to question my purpose for doing all that I was doing.

I took an Ethics class during my last full semester at FGCU before deciding to move cross country. Mr.Mathews’ class was amazing and it truly changed my life for the better. In this class I was introduced to the Law of Attraction, The Secret, and many other life changing ideals like meditation and chakra cleansing. I learned about vibrations within the Universe and how to break away from the conditioning society has placed on us. This class was the end of who I was before and the beginning of who I was becoming. This class was what triggered my self discovery and since then there hasn’t been a day that goes by that I am not grateful for this time in my life.

It’s been about five years since I took that class and since then, finally at almost the age of 30, I have been making many of my own decisions. Some have worked out in my favor while others happened to be nothing more than a learning lesson. Sure, life hasn’t been perfect but I can’t even pretend that it ever will be. Yes, there have been moments in which I may have gone off the deep end a little. You know what they say about idle hands right? Yet still, I am grateful for every rough second I spent, or crazy situation I’ve been in. It has been an aid in my self discovery process and better yet, they have been choices I made because I wanted to make them. How awesome is that!?? Its taken some time but I’m beginning to slowly figure shit out. I’m starting to see what it is I like and where I see my future headed. I don’t take society or even family (anymore) into account when I dream up my future. I’ve done enough of that and look at where it got me. Following others and what they want for me has done nothing but confuse me and slow down my growing process when it comes to life and what I want to get out of it while I’m here.

I’m sharing this because I understand what many people go through when it seems like they’re lost and have no clue as to what to do with their lives. I understand because I too lived my life for quite some time for everyone else BUT for myself. It leaves you in a state of disorientation. Many people are going through this exact situation and don’t even realize why it is that they feel the way they do. If just by reading this I can help one confused person feel better as to why they feel the way they do then this time spent writing this was not time wasted.

Now that you’ve read this and feel that maybe you could fall in this criteria of living life for others, it’s time that you begin to start living life for yourself.No matter the age or the stage of life your in, you can begin to take control of it. Start setting healthy boundaries with others and begin to replenish and take care of yourself. Also, go into your self discovery knowing that there will be choices you make that may turn out not the way you planned. Realize that that is OK and that that is the beauty and purpose of life. No one life is perfect so to have that level of thinking would be harmful to your Self. The world is imperfect and it is in those very same imperfections that you’ll find happiness, bliss, adventure, and life in its purest form. Living this dream we call life in its purest form will aid you in your self discovery and you will live a good and happy life.

In the end of it all, what more could we want than to live out life the way we were meant to live it if not happily and with full hearts??

A Tiny Web Fear Weaves

I’ve heard the same old sayings since I was a kid….

“Patience is a virtue” Or “Don’t look for it, for it will find you.”

Or better yet, my favorite, “What you’re looking for will be right under your nose.”

When it comes to romance, love, ect… we’ve got sayings for days. When giving advice I too have been guilty of spewing out the cliche lines I have just now shared with you, but you know what?? I feel no guilt of doing so because no matter how cliche they may sound, they are cliche for a reason. Truth! Truth is what lies behind the repetitive. They are stated because they are true! Although I have hated these sayings because of how insensitive they are to one’s needs at the moment, I have recently understood. I am in the situation where “it” was indeed under my nose the entire time. I was just too blind too see and too busy to stop and smell the roses. “It” was lying under my nose the entire time and not in an obscure manner but in the most obvious way possible. It couldn’t have been more obvious even if the man was holding a sign made from God with an arrow pointing to himself that read “Here I am”

Yes, that’s right I am talking about finding the “One” (or so I claim…again…) and I guess I shouldn’t say I found him for it was the other way around completely. It seems as though he had found me years ago and I just didn’t want to believe it. In a way I kick myself because I could have been living in this moment of pure bliss for quite a while now, but since I was too busy looking for love in every other person in any other situation, I missed out on extra time.  I’ll admit, that maybe the timing before wasn’t right. Maybe I didn’t see it before because I wasn’t ready to see him for what he was? I’ve done much growing since first meeting this chap, growing that wouldn’t have ever happened if we would have linked up earlier, so I mean maybe that’s why it didn’t happen sooner. All I know is that it is happening now and I am ecstatic even if our situation isn’t the most ideal.

You read right, our situation isn’t the most ideal and why? Because years ago I fucked up. It’s a difficult thing to acknowledge when you fuck up but when it’s the truth it’s better to face it head on than to come up with excuses that will never help the situation. It wasn’t something that I purposely went out seeking. I don’t go out into the world and say to myself, “You know what? I’m going to royally fuck up today and I hope that this small royal fuck up continues to haunt me years down the road.” No. That’s not how it went down then but it’s how it’s going down now. A small infraction of my part and now years down the spirally road I have walked down has it come back to bite me smack on the ass. And Ouch, does it hurt.

Funny thing too, it seems that when I look back at most of my mistakes, they always end up being the same exact mistake I make except in different situations.

I know you’re wondering what mistake I made and I will tell you, but before I do, I want to really express 1) How difficult it is for me to acknowledge my mistakes and 2) that the only reason I am willing to broadcast one of my many flaws in this little article of mine is only to help others who may one day read this. Learning from each other is a part of life and I wish to not take my secrets to the grave but to eventually share each and everyone of them so that someone else may decide to not take the road I have. Or maybe they will want to for maybe in their eyes it was not as much a mistake but as a proper learning curve.

So what did I do? What has been my mistake that seems to be the same one I keep repeating time and time again?? Detachment. Detaching myself from people is one of my most frequently made mistakes and although I am aware of this, it is hard for me in the moment to stop myself from doing it, especially when I feel that the reason for me to do so is a valid one.

If you’ve read any of my previous articles, you know or at least have an idea about me being diagnosed with Co-dependency. One of the conditions set for my probation not too long ago was to seek out therapy. 8 sessions were what I was to complete and thank the Universe I did because I learned so much about who I really was and why I am the way I am. Not too many people get the opportunity to figure out why they tick the way they do and I fortunately was given that chance. So six months ago I was told that I suffered from Co-dependency, which explained a lot and unlike the name makes it sound, I suffer from very high levels of commitment issues (in all aspects of my life). Not only do I fear commitment but I have an unhealthy obsession with people pleasing (explained to me as being an addiction). Some symptoms of Co-dependency are painful emotions (such as anxiety, low self esteem, hopelessness, ect..), problems with emotional intimacy (aka: letting people in), denial of ones own faults in problematic situations, needing to have control in any given situation, dysfunctional communication, obsession with things like taking care of others, instant reactivity, and setting poor boundaries with people involved in your life (friends, family, lovers..). When I began to really do research on what I was being told about myself, I had discovered so much about why I was the way I was, which in turn helped me to realize how much I had fucked up situations even more than I needed or even wanted to. Many times in trying to make my point of how upset I was or maybe simply not wanting to deal head on with the presented situation, I chose to walk away. Cut all ties from the issues at hand and never again face them. This is obviously not the way to go about problems, not in the least bit. Not if you ever want to overcome them because let me tell you, by sweeping it under the rug, the dirt is still there and eventually it’ll be brought back out in to the light. Another cliche saying, yet again because it is true.

He was under my nose the entire time. I had known him for years and never did I dance with the thought of him and I being together. He was a friend whom I could totally be myself around. Someone to share laughs with and make fun of life with. I could even share some of my most deepest darkest secrets with him without a seconds hesitation. I never considered him a best friend even. Just someone I met through a group of friends. Someone who was always there and so connected we became.

Long story short, because it is one hell of a long story, I stopped communicating with this group of friends. I detached. I was hurt by something and instead of dealing with the situation, I made my most infamous move and fell off the face of the earth. In the weeks leading up to my disappearance I felt like no matter what I did, I kept making small mistakes to annoy some of these friends of mine and the anxiety of it all I just couldn’t take. In my mind I figured, “Well if everything I do pisses you off, why be friends with me then??” So before I felt like I was to be rejected by them (which would have devastated my soul) I instead broke away. In short, I left them before I felt that they were going to leave me. That’s my MO. The fear of rejection has always plagued my life. Up until recently that is, since then I have been able to uncover this hidden knowledge of myself and have been working on tweaking a few things 😉 So yes, once I stopped talking to a selected few it wasn’t long before I broke away from the entire circle, slightly having contact just one or two people.

It was years later that this small world rotated back and I find myself facing what I so long ago thought I would never have to deal with again, except for now there is much more at stake. Now it’s not just about me anymore. There is someone else involved and for them this situation is really not ideal. This group that I so casually walked away from for the fear of rejection was too much to bare, are his best friends. Although we don’t speak much of it, I know that if we decide to continue with whatever it is that we’re trying to do here, I must fix what I broke and I have no clue as to how to go about it. Yes, I do understand that an explanation and maybe an apology is due from my end. Maybe it did really bother them they way I handled things. I don’t know because none of us have ever really spoken about it. They were my closest friends at one point and I had shared a lot with them, many firsts and a few lasts. Before this guy and I had even spoken true words between us since reconnecting, I would travel back to the times of all of us hanging out and building memories and I truly missed them. Yet, I never dared to reach out. In that aspect I let fear govern my senses.

I find myself in a harsh predicament now. I may have waited too long and now there is much more at stake. I am at a loss because I don’t know what first move to make. For now I suppose I’ll just allow the Universe to take its course. For now I’ll go with its flow and see what happens. I try to stay positive when I think about every outcome this situation could have. No matter what happens I am enjoying the moment. I won’t be dwelling on the “what happens if..” only on the “what is going on right this minuet”

Still I can’t help but think of life and all its cliches. For example, how life has a crazy way of giving you what you need, when you need it. It also has a crazy way of teaching it’s lessons and changing your perspectives, allowing for evolution to take place, mentally and emotionally. These, and others I can totally appreciate.

Scratch that.

I am totally appreciating them. Appreciating them for what they are, the beauty in truths.

 

Death Under Intoxication pt.2

So I’m a changed girl. It’s true what they say, people and circumstances can and will change you. Situations that we place ourselves in  allows us to encounter beings of another kind. These encounters mold who we are. They captivate our being with just one word or maybe a simple gesture, and POOF, our world is changed. We become slightly different.

Within seconds of getting my DUI (which recently has been dropped down to a reckless driving charge..another story for another time), I met people who with a look, a sentence, or just a simple vibe, altered who I was and how I thought. I went from being an outsider looking in to actually wearing the shoes and walking the path. From the moment the cuffs were placed on me and I sat in the backseat of that squad car, I had become one of “them”. My inner dialogue was pretty calm. I knew I was guilty and the fact that after multiple times of doing what I was caught doing without getting caught, I was resigned to the idea of just taking whatever punishment was going to be dished out. I was laughing at my self because I knew I had gotten away so many times before but yet time and time again here I was pushing my luck. Through out the entire time while heading back to the station I stayed relatively quiet and calm. I had seen so many shows, like Cops or Caught on Camera, where individuals get rowdy and rambunctious, trying to kick out windows and cursing at the officers, and I always thought… “Well, who put you there? Who’s fault is it? Not theirs! They’re doing their job!” Officer Good Heart was a doll. I don’t know if it’s because the moment he pulled me over I was cooperative and respectful or just because he was a good soul, but he definitely set the tone for rest of my ordeal and that is for sure. It wasn’t until we got into booking that it all hit me… the shots, the beers, and the realization of what the future was going to bring. I was cold and there was no way of warming up for I was in a tank top and a long hippie skirt. The inside of the booking station was depressing. made up of just cement blocks painted grey and cold to the touch. Officer Good Heart sat me down in a grey plastic chair that sat at the end of a long  grey table. I picked up on the running theme in this place. Grey. Cold. Depression. On the table sat the breathalyzer, a clip board with paperwork on it, and a couple zip lock bags. I agreed to the breathalyzer because again.. why was I going to fight it? He and I both knew I was intoxicated. So there I blew and his shock was apparent. “Ma’m I don’t know how it is that you passed the roadside tests and are coherently speaking to me. You just blew almost 3 times the legal limit. With your size you should be passed out in the corner.” He didn’t say this in a condescending manner, not rude, or angry. He said it like he was concerned. As if he actually cared. The amazing thing with this officer is that I never NOT looked into his eyes when he spoke to me. His eyes were deep blue pools of warmth. I fell into them every time and never wanted to get out. He wasn’t handsome by any means. He was in his late 40’s and wore a tire around his belly and acne scars on his cheeks. He looked as if he spent way too much time drinking ventie caramel frappaccinos and wasn’t ashamed to admit to having a sweet tooth. But still those eyes were kind and so when I heard him say this comment while at the same time looking back into those big blue eyes, I felt a ping. I actually felt like I had let this stranger down. I remember  my initial reaction to his comment and thinking to myself, “Well that’s because I’ve got a high tolerance. I’m a girl who can handle her booze.” But then thought better of it. Maybe that’s not something to be so nonchalant about.

Next up were the zip lock bags. “M’am, I’m going to need you to remove every piece of jewelry you have on your person and place them right in here.” I did what I was told. I took off my earrings, my necklace, my bracelet, rings, and finally my belly ring. I hadn’t taken out my belly ring in ages. I didn’t even know how long ago was the last time I had removed it. When I slipped it out and placed it in that bag, I teared up. That was when I lost my calm demeanor and went full on “blubbering like a baby” mode. Anyone that knows me, KNOWS that unless it’s a reallllllly sad movie or a bad ass book, I DO NOT cry. Inside I was yelling at myself, “Look at you! Wipe those tears away! Suck it the fuck UP!” But that simple gesture of me taking out my belly ring made me feel completely vulnerable and naked. He grabbed the clip board and began asking me basic questions. Throughout the entire process I was sobbing. I didn’t stop. It was like now the floodgates were open and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it… Except of course Officer Good Heart.

All the questions were over and it was now time to get my fingerprints and that infamous mugshot that would be forever lurking for anyone to see. I was still crying. My cries weren’t that of a beautiful movie scarlet where my tears just flowed down my cheeks, yet I stayed pristine. No. I was gasping for air like a child throwing a tantrum. Boogers were flowing so quick, no amount of tissues handed to me by the officers would put an end to them. I’m sure that by looking at my face you wouldn’t have been able to pin point where the tears ended and the boogers began. Officer Good Heart takes me to where my photo was to be taken and while we’re walking he says to me, “Hey. It’s OooKaaay. It’s not like you’re in here for murder. Think about it. In a few hours you’ll be outta here. You’ll be ok. I promise.” I simply nodded my head back at him but inside those words had meant the world to me. The fact that he wasn’t cold and demeaning about the entire situation was the most touching thing that could have happened to me that night. His words were comforting and almost supportive. Not supportive in the way that he condoned what I was in there for but supportive in the way that truly led me to believe that everything WOULD be alright. It wouldn’t be for another 14 hours later that I would realize not even the friend who had bailed me out of jail would be this kind to me. She who barely talked to me on the ride back to pick up my car from the impound, and when she did speak, the only words that came out of her mouth were condescending and belittling. A tone which not even my mother took with me once she found out about had happened. But that story too is for another time. So there I stood in front of the blue screen with his words echoing in my ear. I had stopped crying and had come to realize only seconds before the picture was taken. “You’ll be ok. I promise.” is what I heard in my head and SNAP..a flash of white light and presto my mugshot had been archived. Officer Good Heart and I parted ways. He gave me a tap on the shoulder and pointed to a holding cell that was wide open, “Just go in there and wait hear for your name. They’ll be calling you in a little bit. Good luck.” he said with a warm smile. I proceeded to walk towards the holding cell, but not before I  made sure  to say, Thank you.

Later on I would look at my mugshot. I can’t say that I was too disappointed for it captured the overall experience perfectly. If I had to pick a mugshot, I would have definitely picked my own. In my photo there are two tears streaming down, one on each cheek. My nose is a little red but down below lies a slight smirk painted across my lips. My eyes look as if they’ve been crying but there on the surface is a glimmer of hope. I believe the photo captured the exact second I replayed Officer Good Heart’s words in my mind.

When I mentioned that Officer Good Heart had set the tone for how the rest of my dealings with this case would go, I meant it. I feel that if those last few words he uttered before my picture was taken would have never happened, I don’t think I would have carried on with the strength I did. It was like his kind words snapped me out of this negative reality that was swirling around in my head. I am a firm believer in the Law of Attraction and feel like I would have just found myself in a thoughtless cycle of desperation and depression. I would have just given in to the feelings of misery and anger for having put myself in the situation that I did. But ultimately he was right. I had made a mistake, Yes. But had I damaged my life permanently? No, of course not. I hadn’t killed anyone. I hadn’t hurt myself. The worse that could possibly come out of this entire situation was a very  healthy learning lesson. I look back on this moment everyday and I think of how grateful I am to have actually gone through all of this. There has been much good that’s emerged from my initial charge of DUI, many experiences and treasures that I will take with me forever, and that would have never happened if it weren’t for this. There are other characters that are waiting to be mentioned. There’s Toothless Tammy, Dirt Ball Joanie, Shawna, and Tamika, who were just a few of my cell mates for those 14 hours I was incarcerated. There’s my DUI School Instructor Andres, a Colombian native who had gone into law enforcement and had been held hostage by the guerrilla for 14 days, and later came to the states to further his career in Criminal Justice. I’ll speak of Judge Handlen, My therapist Mary Sue Jonesie, and even those involved with my community service. Each and every one, making an impact. Each and every one of those characters playing a crucial role in what is to be Natal Galvan’s life. For I am a watcher of people. I soak in my surroundings, every detail, every encounter, nothing goes unnoticed. Nothing happens in vain.