Threaded With Beauty

In the past few weeks women of all ages and stages have been reaching out to me for some friendly advice. In speaking with these girls, young ladies, women, some whom I know, some whom I never met before in my life, I have discovered a common thread so beautiful that it leaves me breathless. This common thread is in our want to find our way through life, that need to find our place within our journey, no matter where we come from, who we are, or what our “status” is in this lifetime.  We each question what our purpose is and if we’re on the “proper” path. We roam around aimlessly at times, with the only knowledge or feeling that all we want to do is to help.

“I’m so lost… Am I on the right path?…I’m torn between doing the things I love and the things that are expected of me….. Most times I don’t know what I’m doing…I truly just don’t know what it is that I’d like to do with the rest of my life…”

These are some of the reoccurring questions and statements that I hear throughout my conversations with these ladies. They are feelings that most of us have but no one is truly willing to be honest with themselves nor willing to share. We all want to make it seem to the world that we know what we’re doing. We want to make believe it is all ok and that we have control of  all our doubts and fears when in reality, it is those very same doubts and fears that control us.

Society, the media, the tangibilities of life all around us, it has all thrown people into a vicious cycle. It’s the cycle of comparison webbed with the feeling of inferiority. We are constantly comparing ourselves to our friends, our family, and even to strangers. What do they have? What do they look like? What’s their status? Am I close to them??? For men I believe it’s more a friendly form of competition and bonding among themselves. For women I believe it to be something more  fierce.

As women, we are always on the forefront when it comes to the gossip. We are catty and unlike guys, we are constantly caught up in a non-friendly competition with one another. T.v shows like Bad Girls Club, Housewives of (insert city here), or America’s Next Top Model, we have infused into the eyes of society that it’s Ok to mistreat each other. We are reinforcing the belief that it is Ok to call each other bitches and whores. That instead of helping each other succeed, we try to knock each other down and use that body as a stepping stone to rise to the top, always trying to one-up one another. Even if we catch our significant other cheating on us, most tend to forgive the cheater and end up going for the throat of the other women, even if she had no idea that cheater was in a relationship to begin with! It’s straight up madness and I don’t understand how it that we got to this point. Yet although I may not know how exactly we got here, I do see how it is that we can crawl out of this well of negativity.

The first step we should take is towards realizing that we are all in this together. The game of life is a tough game to play and not because life is complicated but more so because we humans are. Realize that the woman next to you, no matter what she looks like, no matter her social status or where she may have originally come from, she too has moments of wonderment and at times feelings of inadequacy. It could be in her personal life or maybe her career, but doubt has lingered there even if only for a moment’s time. We don’t always know what we’re doing or where we’re going, and that is totally ok. For those women who have most things figured out, why not help the ones that don’t. A little advice, guidance, and empathy could change the world for the girl standing next to you. It could later on spark the big changes this planet needs if we’re to prevail as a human race.

Behind every strong man there is an even stronger and more powerful woman for we are the ones who behind the daily scenes help shape society through our children and we try to make better of our men. But what good is that woman if she feels alone and lost? No good at all so instead of shutting each other down at the first sign of insecurity, let’s be there for one another. Let’s help reshape society one woman at a time and we will literally see this ugly world morph from this blinding cocoon we have made for ourselves, and watch it turn it into a beautiful butterfly soaring on the wings of change.

10369553_1429684363967982_1987139479_n (2) Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Sirens of Change

I can still here the sirens echoing in the background. The images of hysteria play back in my mind. To think, two decades have passed since then.

A warm and bright afternoon in July, my family from Boston had been in town visiting. It was always an exciting time when they came to visit. My aunt, an incredible cook of Colombia’s finest cuisine, my uncle the funniest and happiest man I had ever known. The two of them had two kids, my cousins, and for the most part we all got along pretty well. Leon was the oldest of the two and was awesome to hang around with. He treated me as his equal although he was 5 years older than I was. He had the humor of his father and the kind heart of his mother. Veronica, his sister, was only a couple year older than me, and by far, way cooler. Growing up, she was who I wanted to be. Anytime our families got together, my sister and I would tag along with her as if we were playing follow the leader. My sister, who was four at the time, followed because it was in her nature to. I followed because all I wanted to do was learn to be cool too.

On this particular day, my cousin Veronica and I were out in the yard laying on the grass, contemplating on what to do with our day. I was never the one out the the two of us to come up with any ideas for I never had any cool ones to come up with. I would take the backseat and follow her lead. This is why I was shocked when an innocent comment on my part, evolved into a moment that would change my life forever.

“I’m in the mood for some sour gummy worms.” I thought to myself out loud. Veronica shot up and mentioned what a great idea that was. “Wait, what idea??” I was clueless.

Instantly a plan was concocted to somehow obtain some money and head over to the store to buy ourselves some candy. Half of our plan was easy, getting to the store. We would just walk there. Sure, it was dangerous. We had to cross an intersection, four lanes of traffic flowing both ways, but all we needed to do was look both ways before we crossed. No biggie. The other half of our plan is what needed tweaking. How would we get money to buy candy? We couldn’t ask our parents. They’d want to know why we needed the money which would lead them to find out we were heading to the store. They’d never just let us walk there.

At that very moment her and I were brainstorming, a neighbor of mine pulls into her parking spot just a few doors down from where we lived. She was the nicest lady ever and I remembered back then I always wondered why she lived alone. That’s when I was struck by another “brilliant” idea. Apparently the second one of the day, I was on a roll. I explained to Veronica that all we had to is get the lady to chit chat with us, we would bring up the fact that it was our friend’s birthday and that we wanted to get to the store to buy her a birthday card and some candy but that we had no money. I was almost sure that the lady would give us some. I wasn’t sure if the plan was full proof but it wouldn’t hurt to try.

By mere luck, or very good acting, we had gotten the lady to donate $10 to the cause. After explaining to her that our parents never had money, her look of pity fell upon us, and due to the fact that she had nothing smaller than a 10 dollar bill in her wallet, let us have it in order to “make your friend happy”.

We couldn’t have grabbed the money any quicker when we heard my mom’s voice calling for us. I stashed the money in the pocket of my neon blue shorts as we walked up to our porch where my mother stood.

“There you two are,” she smiled. “Take your sister to play with you. But don’t go where I can’t keep an eye out for you.” I began to debate immediately. I didn’t want my sister to tag along. This was bull crap.

There’s no arguing with mom… ever. With a frown on my face and heavy stomps of my feet, the final signs of rebellion, the three of us headed down the steps, and only when my mother had gone back inside had we redirected ourselves towards the store.

The walk towards the store, reaching the intersection, those moments feel like a blur to me. Blurry snapshots of events that seem unimaginable, but that happened. One moment the three of us are giggling at nothing in particular, discussing what kind of candy we were all to get. The next moment, we’re almost to the intersection when my sister, who I was holding hands with at the time, pulls from my grasp and darts out and away from of me laughing playfully, her giggles still echoing in my ear.  The world slowed down at that very second.

A small blue car. High pitched screeching. A man runs up to me, he’s so blonde he looks like the sun, and he’s yelling.

“Where’s your mother????!!!…” and he then runs off again. I watch him to see where he runs to when I see the tiny little mound of flesh lying in the street that is my sister. She’s shouting out for my mom, her shouts then over powered by emergency sirens.

It was a miracle that my sister lived. I believe that the fact that she was so small is why she hadn’t been completely destroyed by a car that was going over 50 miles per hour. Her tiny body had been launched almost 50ft. She had broken both legs, lost most of her baby teeth, and had severe road rash to most of her body.

This phase of my life had been full of guilt and sorrow. So much so that today a lot of it still remains in the corners of my heart, shadowing the depths of my mind, only to be felt when I decide to let my guard down. It’s a pain that I will never truly lose for I feel as though I am a big reason as to much of the suffering my sister has had in the past. Even though I feel as though my sister is my twin soul and that our relationship with one another has been lived out through multiple past lives, creating much of the bond that we have today, I know that this tragic even that happened more than two decades ago has bonded us even tighter than we have ever been in any life before.

At the age of 8 is when I discovered tragedy and what it could mean for someone to lose a life. It had been the first time I got to experience first hand pure sadness and guilt knowing that I played a major part in someone  else’s physical and emotional pain. Trauma has made its way into my mind and has camped there for years. Today it’s hard for me to causally cross a street without imagining death lurking there, waiting for me.Today I still cope with what happened all those years ago with flashbacks and anxiety. Still it is a moment in life that I am grateful to have gone through, because no matter how much pain it’s dressed up in, there is a good that is greater than all the darkness it has shadowed. A beautiful light that was bestowed upon a horrific disaster. It took my sister over a year to fully recover. Today she is the most beautiful and loving person I know. She radiates the room when she walks into it with her smile. Today you would never even have imagined that she went through such an ordeal.  Today I am blessed to have her.

040-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: Natal Galvan, Angie M.

 

 

The Three Month Mark

In life I believe that everything has a bit of a probationary period. Some range longer than others. If you start a new job for instance, it’s usually three months before you are able to obtain any kind of benefits from that set job. You take your car to a mechanic, it’s usually a few days before you can tell whether or not they’ve really done a good job repairing your car. You maybe order some Chinese food from a new spot that just opened and within a few hours you can tell if you’ll ever be ordering from that place again.

The same holds true for relationships.

The dating scene has always been quite a challenge for me. Long ago it took me absolutely no time to fall “in love” with someone. I quickly learned that by always jumping in head first that it could be truly painful for the heart. Though the heart is strong and resilient, there is no need to place it in a constant state of unnecessary vulnerability. Slowly I began adapting what I call The Three Month Mark. It was a three month period in which I noticed I would “dip out” of a relationship for one reason or another, the underlying reason being that I knew it simply would not work out. It wasn’t something that I purposely set myself up for. It was more like I slowly noticed what it was that I was doing. I had found my own way of protecting my heart by purely building up a wall. It wasn’t a wall made of pure cement. It was more like dry wall, where it seemed thick and impenetrable, but if given the proper tools one could knock it down in no time. There were a few that came close to getting through that three month mark, but in the end it was intuition that led me to know that to enter a true relationship with that individual would just later lead to heartbreak whether it be them or me who was left broken. The three month mark was a way of me getting to know someone, who they were, their intentions, before getting attached. I started noticing that within three months one could discover so much about a person before it was tragically too late. Before the heart became truly involved that is.

That is until I met the love of my life. My soul mate…

He walked into the dark and empty nightclub, alone and radiating an energy that just seemed to pour out of his soul. His eyes locked me in and I knew that very second that I had met someone truly special. I just hadn’t known how special they would become until later.

The night we met we spent the entire time talking. Just two strangers surrounded by good music, watered down cocktails, and shitty disco lights. We spoke about all good things in life never once spending time on a negative sentence. From that night on our friendship developed past the point of something typical. It was as though we had picked up right where we had one day long ago left off.

Quickly things escalated. We spoke every single day and spent every free moment together. We became exclusive within days, unnaturally quicker than with any other person I had met before.

It wasn’t until recent that I noticed that we had hit our three month mark. We had taken a trip up north to meet each other’s parents. It was when sitting with his mother in their cozy little living room, warmed by a fireplace, and surrounded by the sounds of Jazz music coming from his father’s room that it hit me. The thought had never crossed my mind before that moment. We had overcome that self imposed probationary period without even the slightest hiccup. I had met his friends. I had met his family. I had been thrown into his Georgian culture, engulfed by food, drink, music, language, and tradition, and had not only survived but actually came to love. The same went for him. I knew the very second the realization of our three month mark hit that this was true. I had finally found what I had so terribly wanted for so long and this time I hadn’t even looked for it. He had arrived unexpectedly yet at the perfect time.

I’ve come to truly fall in love with him, quickly and without fear. I had no preconceived attitudes towards him. I felt no reason for a wall to be taken down for one hadn’t even been built. I’ve given my heart completely to this person without conditions or concern and I thank The Three Month Mark for this. It has kept my heart protected for all this time. For when the moment truly came it would be healthy and happily willing, without fear, to love again.

People have asked me, “Well how do you know that this is it?” and all I can answer back is all I’ve ever heard, you just know. It’s a feeling of certainty that no one can confirm other than the true inner self. It is a moment that arrives and it whispers in your heart. A feeling no person can describe. That’s how you know. You’ll know when you realize that from the moment that you met, there was never a three month mark.

img_20161018_103935-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Apologies

It’s New Years Eve.

I guess it’s of no coincidence that I’m here writing. This time of year has always had many people thinking, looking back on their year, analyzing things they could have done better or maybe the things they would have changed.

I happen to think that this year I did as best as I could.

I think back on the four people, for instance, that I wrote sincere apology letters to. Apology letters because I felt that in some way I had inadvertently hurt them and no one deserves to be hurt without being genuinely told “I’m Sorry”, whether the hurt was purposely inflicted or not.

Not one of those four people responded to my letters.

I can’t say that I am at all surprised. It takes a different kind of strength to go back and relive a moment long ago forgotten, forgive, and move on. I was certainly prepared to never hear a word from any one of the people I reached out to. So why spend my time even writing out those sincere and heartfelt letters?? Well it’s simple really. If life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got, then imagine how much easier it is once you receive the apology you always deserved.

I think about the many times I have been hurt by those close to me, by those I loved very much. I remember there was a time when all I would desire was to receive an apology from them and then move on from the hurt, together, and start fresh. I can honestly say that I never once received one and I learned to move on and forgive anyways. I learned to accept that apology I never got and released myself from the chains that grudges had me bound to for so long. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the person who hurts someone and never says sorry. I don’t want for someone else to have to move on from a situation alone when an “I’m Sorry” could be the very wind under their wings to help carry them away from that pain.”

I wrote the letters and when I sent them out I felt good. I felt good because not only was I acknowledging a mistake I made, not only was I reaching out in hopes to make their life a little better, I unknowingly was releasing myself from guilt that I had held onto for quite some time.

I came to realize that in the apologizes I had written intended to ease someone else’s burden or pain, I had released my own. It was a beautiful thing.

I don’t look at it as though my letters were unanswered or ignored. I mean they could most likely have been, who knows, but those letters still served a purpose. A purpose much stronger and even more beautiful than I had ever intended.

I start this new year on a clean slate, maybe not with everyone else, but definitely with myself. As my 30th birthday creeps closer excitement ripples through my soul because of all that I have learned not only in this last year but in the last decade. The biggest lesson being, Forgiveness.

Not just forgiving others, but most importantly yourself.

1389073_399867570145113_1248921031_n-2Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Raver’s Paradise

****** Fictional Story ******

 

The night was dark and mellow. Although the music had stopped for the night, the vibes still carried throughout the cool, crisp air. It was an invisible blanket that enveloped her allowing her to feel safe and pleasant. She hadn’t been ready for bed yet. There was no way she had lied in order to skip work for three days to just simply go to sleep. Work had taken up most of her time these past few months and although grateful she was to have had that as a distraction throughout her ordeal, still she was happy to be here present in this moment. It felt amazing for her to get away. She was out in the wilderness not only camping and being one with the Universe, but she was among her kind. Here she didn’t stand out. She was able to be herself, she was able to enjoy the present without a thing negatively getting to her. Her focal point for this trip was a journey towards absolute happiness and throughout her first night here she was beginning to feel it.

She still had the buzzing of the music playing in her ears so even if she wanted to try to sleep, she knew she wouldn’t be able to. If anything she’d just lay down and stare up at the sky for a bit, contemplate life for a while. He had already gone to bed. How, she didn’t know because she had remembered him taking a bean not too long ago and that was of what she saw him take. Who knew how many he had already bought and popped. Yet when they made it back to the campsite he had gone straight to bed. That spelled one word to her “duds.”She knew who he had bought them from and advised against it from the beginning. Sure, she had been away from the scene for quite a bit now but she still knew the dealers and their product as well as the quality. A schemer never stops scheming and so when he had bought the beans from Valco that had made her laugh a little. Money poured right down the drain.

She was hiding behind the tent popping a squat and couldn’t see very well. It was pitch black except for the fire that was still burning bright, yet its comforting light couldn’t reach where she was. She maneuvered as best she could trying to shift her wide leg Jnco jeans away from the stream she was creating.  She couldn’t help but giggle when she had almost lost her balance, one jean leg skimming the puddle that filled up under her. When she finished, she grabbed the toilet paper that she had left sitting on top of the cooler for easy access. She searched it for bugs and once she was sure there was nothing on it, she tore of a few sheets and quickly wiped. At the same time she felt a bite or two on her exposed thigh. “Fucking mosquitoes..” she mumbled as she pulled up her jeans and made her way back to the tent. It seemed that no amount of bug spray could ever really protect her from the bugs.

Instead of laying completely inside the tent snuggled in her sleeping bag, she decided to leave it unzipped, moved her sleeping bag closer to its entrance, and laid on her back with her head sticking out of it’s opening. She wanted to drift off to sleep staring up at the stars. As she laid there she couldn’t help but feel as though the tent was birthing her. Laying there, gazing up at the crystallized night sky, she let herself get carried away, slowly allowing for the last of her dance buzz to wear off. She went over the night in her mind remembering how comfortably numb she had felt as she let herself get lost in the lights, floating away on the music’s current. Nothing had been able to touch her. At one point she had even taken off her sneakers and socks to totally vibe out, the soft grass slipping between her toes as she danced.

She had almost drifted off to sleep when all the sudden a sense of doom crept in, breaking up the bliss she had created in her mind.

Her cheeks were beginning to grow warm and she wondered that even though she was quite a ways from where the fire pit burned, would it still be close enough to make her warm like this? She sits up and feels her face. She was incredibly warm and oddly enough her lips too were beginning to feel weird. Puffy almost. The doom-like feeling she was surprised with was growing more intense. Her legs were now feeling itchy. She felt under her pant legs and traced her legs with the tips of her fingers, shocked to find raised bumps completely covering every section her slender fingers roamed over.

A slight panic began to rise within her and so she turned into the tent,

“Babe! Babe! Wake up!!” She shouted in a whisper. They had been sharing their camp site with his friends from work and she definitely didn’t want to wake them. The last thing she wanted was to make a crazy ordeal of what may just be a tiny incident. He hadn’t heard her so she quickly began to tap him, harder with each time. Her lips felt as though they were swelling with every second that passed and now she could feel it in her throat. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me babe! Seriously, wake up. Please!” Full panic was starting to set in. She smacked him on his chest hoping this would wake him up. He began to stir, waking up to a look of panic deeply set within her cranberry brown eyes, sheer terror dancing there.

“What’s wrong? What’s going on with you??” He was sitting up right, looking to see what was going on but had noticed nothing other than her freaking out. “What the fuck did you take? You know you’re not supposed to be taking shit babe!” He was frightened it was obvious in his eyes. He thought that she was on a bad trip of some sort and she knew that if she panicked the situation could turn into something dramatic. Still, it was now that she realized that it was getting harder for her to breath. The fear of what could happen crept into the back of her mind. It was like death was standing far off in the corner trying to decide whether it was hungry or not. She began to think about how she should have never come here to begin with.

The weekend of the rave she had been scheduled to work and instead she had done something she hadn’t done in years. She had ended up lying to her bosses to get that weekend off. This of course wasn’t her normal behavior, or at least it hadn’t been for the last 17 months. Once she had decided to get clean things had changed.

Her throat was feeling warm, but worse, it felt like it was thickening, threatening every breath of air she tried to take.

“I didn’t take …anything…” her breath she tried to maintain slow and steady.

“What do you feel? Tell me what’s going on!” He was analyzing her, probably trying to make sure she hadn’t really taken anything. He ran his fingers on her legs, “Oh my God babe!! What the fu..” He placed his hands underneath her pant legs this time, “You’re covered in bumps!” He grabbed her face so that he could get a better look at her. She angled her face up towards him to allow him a better look never forgetting to keep her breathing steady. “What’s going on with you babe? Did you maybe drink something that someone gave you?” He was beginning to feel guilty for having brought her out here camping with him. The situation had been compromising for her and they both had known it, yet they had believed she was strong enough to have keep herself away from anything that would have messed with her sobriety. Now his doubts were setting in and it was unnerving her. Her eyes were closed and her thoughts distant. She was trying to keep herself calm and stayed silent for a few more beats before she answered him.

“All I did… was dance. I went to pee….. a few times. I got you… beers between… bathroom breaks.” This was all said barely above a whisper. She had to try to keep a slow pace when she spoke to try to steady her breathing. Her throat was thick and it was getting extremely hard to swallow her saliva. Quickly she discarded that thought. “Focus on breathing. Stay Calm” is all she could think about right now.

“Should we go to the hospital??!! He shifted around in his sleeping bag as if trying to get untangled from its grip. “Like I don’t know what to do!” He still wore his winter beanie which was in the shape of a bright blue teddy bear face with evil clown-like eyes. The red and veiny eyes, out lined in sharp black lines, were staring directly at her, deep in to her soul.

“No! No hospital…” She closed her eyes hard. She could control this. She’s heard about how your mental state could determine how certain things in your body affected you. This was their first night of the camping trip. She refused to be the one to ruin it. “I can work through this,” she said out loud but mostly to herself. “I just need to… breath.” She remained sitting in the tent for a second until she realized how intensely he was looking at her, his anxiety radiating off of him in waves.She needed to be away from this. It was as though his anxiety was causing for her throat to swell even more. Her entire face felt hot, her cheeks feeling like hot lava cakes. Her mouth had swollen up badly, her lips feeling like a duck’s bill. She needed out of this tent NOW. She lurched to her feet slightly losing her balance for a second, then quickly decided to sit back down for a few more seconds.

“What are you doing?? Sit down.. here drink some water.” He hands her the bottled water, the cap already off, and she takes a small sip just enough to wet her mouth a bit. She takes in a little more, realizing that she’s actually thirsty but could barely swallow it.

“I just.. need to get.. outside.. and … chill. I need fresh .. air.” This time she took her time getting up and made her way through the tent’s opening.

“Yo, are you sure you want to go outside? Why don’t you just lay down instead, c’mon babe.” He pats the empty space beside him. Under normal circumstances she would have found him adorable in that moment. His big brown eyes were full of worry and reflected the dancing flames that continued to burn in the fire pit fiercely.  His creepy bear beanie had slid down, hanging on only half his head now,  a smirk escaping from the raver bear’s lips.

“I’ll be.. back… I just .. need fresh… air. I need to… calm.. myself down.” She turned away from the tent, internally repeating to herself that she would be alright. She believed that the power of positive thinking would get her out of this. She slowly made her way to the chair that sat right in front of the fire pit, making sure not to trip over all the crap that had been thrown around the site during the rave’s chaos, and then plopped right down into it. Her head felt like it weighed a million pounds. She couldn’t even lick her lips her mouth was so swollen. Not being able to deal with the weight of her head any longer, she leaned her head back and stared straight up into the night’s abyss. The sparkles that danced within its void captured her, trapping her gaze, and seemed to conspire in never letting her go. She sat there captivated, eyes locked onto the diamonds of the night, and there she remained. Lost in nature’s trance. She remained there long after the fire pit’s flames smoldered out. Still so as the first signs of the rising sun began to show.

Ben abruptly woke up. How had he just fallen back asleep? He had waited some time for her to return and must have just drifted off to sleep when she didn’t . He crawled out of the tent still heavy with sleep. His eyes quickly squinted against the daylight but he still searched the campsite for Lily. The place was a disaster, riddled with garbage from the night before. He then spotted Lily sitting in the chair gazing up into the sky.Poor Lil. It broke his heart that she hadn’t come back to the tent and more so that he had fallen asleep instead of staying up with her. She probably hadn’t slept at all, too freaked out to.

“Babe?! You feeling better doll?” He kept his voice low to not wake anyone else up. Rubbing the crusties out of his eyes, he made his way over to her. Either she hadn’t heard him or she was sleeping. “Hey, wake up. You’re going to get a crick in your neck lounging out like that.” It was with one more step that he then realized what was really going on with her and stood there too stunned to take another step.

Her lips were the first thing he noticed. They looked like she had spent the night sucking face with a vacuum cleaner hose. They were extremely puffy, dried out and cracked, and instead of their pretty shade of pink they had turned a deep purple. Her chest was covered in huge hives that were no longer red, just puffy. They went from the sides of her neck all the way down her chest, disappearing under her bright pink Hello Kitty zip-up. Her face had lost all color and had now set into a light blue, highlighting the tunnels of veins under her skin.

He had known almost immediately that she had been dead, but it wasn’t until he got a little closer and saw her eyes that his breath caught in his throat, eyes instantly welling up with tears. Her eyes were wide open still, staring up into the sky, and hidden within the corners of her eyes, a slight smile. A smile one could only see if you truly knew Lily for it was not obvious, it was just faintly there. He knew she was gone but her expression looked  more alive now than ever. A desperate wave of sadness washed over him. He reached up to stroke her cheek and the instant his skin touched down to hers he fell to his knees.

“Fuuuuucccckkkk! Lily!!” A groan similar to a wounded animal’s escaped his lips. All he had wanted was for them to get away for the weekend. She had been working so hard on getting her life back together. She’d gotten clean and had held two jobs to keep herself busy and away from temptation. It had taken some time to convince her to get the weekend off but with a little effort she agreed to. Music had been her religion and nature her church of worship. When the rave had been initially announced and he saw it was to be held at the campsite he was convinced that this would be the place to take her. Now she was gone.

Ben looked up and just stared at the shell that had once been his girlfriend. He stared at the face of this girl he now hardly recognized. Her eyes were the only things about her that still looked familiar. He had loved her eyes from the first day they had ever met. A beautiful deep brown color with specks of dark red. Cranberry Eyes.  As he stared at her he noticed movement by her nose. He moved in for a closer look when he noticed a bright red fire ant crawling around her nostril and quickly flicked it off of her. He then noticed a few more crawling on the sleeves of her sweater. As he continued to scan her body, he was shocked as he spotted more and more. Instantly he knew what had happened. The proof was there, what seemed like hundreds of them, roaming over the new territory they had recently conquered. The bottoms of her Jnco jeans looked like they were covered in a moving blanket of deep red. He took a near by twig and carefully lifted one of  the pants legs up to get a look at her legs. Just as he had suspected, her ankle and leg were mercilessly bitten, now severely swollen, from the evil bugs.

It must have been during the night as she danced, numb to the world except for the music, that these silent killers took a hold of her. How hadn’t she felt them?? She hadn’t been high nor drunk, but music to her was equally as intoxicating and so he believed that she truly hadn’t felt a thing until maybe it was too late. Everyone who knew Lily knew she had been allergic to certain insect bites. Her mom had always joked about how the bugs loved her sweet blood. He had seen small allergic reactions with her before like slight swelling around the bite, but had never seen anything remotely close as to what he saw last night. He didn’t even think Lily knew what had struck her last night. Neither of them had. He quickly flashed back to a time when her mother had asked her to see a doctor in order to find out how allergic she was, but Lily argued that her lack of health insurance was what had been stopping her.

“I can’t afford a co-pay visit, testing, and then maybe later on an epi-pen.” She waved her hand in dismissal. “I got other things to work through first.” Now he wished so badly that he would have made her go. If he would have made her see a doctor like her mother had begged her to do, she would probably still be here. Still, she had taken precautions for fuck’s sake! Her zip-up and long jeans in the middle of September in Florida, her four cans of bug spray that she had strategically placed around the camp site for easy access. She thought she had had her bases covered and all for what? For her to fucking die anyways? He sobbed like a ravaged wild animal. She had beaten the drugs but that hadn’t meant she had beaten death. Death had calmly waited for her, watching for the perfect moment to come and sweep her away. It had come during a time in which its prey was most vulnerable. When she had been lost in her religion, while she had been out attending her church. He sat there by her, sobbing, until a stranger wondering by discovered them.

Lily watched as the heart and the soul of Ben mourned for her. This would be his story, his challenge to overcome. His journey here was to put back the pieces that have shattered away from his soul due to this in order to become stronger. From this point on, it would be his story to construct, the ending still unknown. She lingered there for a while listening to his cries, not wanting for them to fall on deaf ears. She, instead, absorbed them, and in return, sent him a current of love, vibes to help him with his journey. She placed a hand on his shaking shoulder, leaned in and whispered in his ear, “I’ll see you later,”  a phrase commonly uttered between the two, for they never ever said “good-bye” Within seconds his cries stopped and she knew that he had felt her there beside him. She would make sure to always be there whenever he needed her. It was a promise she made to him before turning to go. With that she turned towards the lights that had been patiently waiting for her. Colors of red, blue, greens, and pinks outlined the direction she was to gravitate towards. She feels the music’s bass pound to a rhythm she had never heard before and she begins to drift towards the swirling lights.The music grows louder the closer she gets, penetrating deeply into her soul. She feels a cool breeze and it makes its way around her like a blanket, stirring the side of her head with her long hair, whipping it into a mess, and tickling the side of her shaved scalp like imaginary claws slowly tracing the zigzags buzzed into her short shaved hair. A feeling of ecstasy erupts within her and with that she closes her eyes, allowing herself to get lost in beat of the music, and off she carried by the breeze. Her body moves to beat of the after life and just like that she soars off into the clouds of a raver’s paradise.

008-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: Angie M. and Sebas, Location: Day Glow Fort Myers, Fl 2013

Just a Thought, Thank You FB

Just recently I was scrolling through my news feed on FB. As I scrolled through, I noticed a range of emotions flowing through me with each swipe. There were moments of uncontrollable laughter. There were times I was enraged. I felt sadness, and at certain points, I felt extreme joy. I read the names of the people posting just to place a face to the things I was reading. It wasn’t long before I came to a sweet conclusion. No matter where we live, whether near or far from one another, no matter how uniquely different or original we each are, each and every single one of us has something in common with one another. It could be just one similarity, and maybe it’s small, yet still it makes no difference. That’s all that is needed when making a connection, is one single commonality, one small spark.

I then decided to scroll through the names of all of my friends and I chose a name at random. I chose a person that I had not spoken to in years, a person who doesn’t ever even pop up on my feed anymore. I did this to see how true this thought would prove. I clicked on their name and surfed their page. This one took me a second but then there it was. A commonality between her and myself. We both shared a like for Maya Angelou quotes.

This person, like I said, has been out of my life for quite a long time now. Not a falling out, but more of time and distance making it’s way between our friendship. Oddly enough it hadn’t caused such a rift between us that it would terminate our FB friendship. After seeing her quotes listed in her about me I felt a bit more connected to her and that triggered another thought…

Why aren’t we trying to classify individuals in this manner? What I mean is, why not look at people and try to find a commonality instead of always trying to find each other’s differences? It felt like I was grasping onto the thread of common sense, common sense that was long ago forgotten. A common sense simply put, no longer common, such as many.

I chose again at random, but this time instead of choosing a friend, I looked up a complete stranger. Literally made up a name, typed it in the search engine, and picked randomly from the names provided. This time this person and I had multiple things in common the major one that stood out to me being our like for Spirit Science.  Pretty cool for two strangers who have never met to have something in common, especially something so rare as an affinity for learning about Spirit Science (If you haven’t yet, look it up on YouTube. It’s pretty amazing.)

So why is it so hard for us to meet a soul and not prejudge? We know not to judge a book by its cover. We know we should to treat others as we would want for someone to treat us. Yet, what we do is the complete and total opposite. Instead of singling out the differences between each other, we should zero in on the things we all share, and unite because of them. We instead get all sorts of crazy pissed off, or depressed, or irritated if people don’t think like we think. If we don’t see eye to eye on everything than that’s it, we make it difficult to be around others, or worse yet, we make it difficult for others to be around us with our one-way views and our purposely directed indirect comments. We instead of accepting others we shun them and make them feel as if they don’t belong. They’re just not apart of the group.

We should understand how much we can learn from others and their differences. Once we begin to take a step in the direction of trying to accept people for who they are and what they can teach us, we can begin to discover that maybe deep down we are more alike than we are different. The door then opens to a new way of appreciating all life around you. Every soul then becomes important. You begin to treasure the life that each of these bodily shells hold because that it what this body holds, we are a chest full of treasures. By understanding that we are all more alike than we are different, you begin to look past the person and begin to simply see their soul.

There is such a beauty in that. In this little bit of knowledge we can find a little bit of comfort and so much love. Now all we need to do it just apply it to our everyday and then we can begin to watch life on this planet, in this realm of experience, blossom into something more magical than what we could have ever imagined.

10693544_1526854184197010_1415924896_n-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

4am Train Love

Nothing normal ever happens during 4 am train rides, especially when you’re pissed drunk.

I had been visiting old friends of mine in Jersey and during this visit we decided to head to Philly for a night of fun. We didn’t wait to get to the city to start the festivities. No. We pre-gamed  at the house, then of course we took some adult beverages hidden within water bottles with us for the train ride.

The night was going to a wild one. There were about 8 of us all together and just by the train ride to the city alone I knew there was to be debauchery in abundance.

We got to Las Vegas Lounge, a dingy, dark and smelly hole in the wall (just my kind of place) and immediately assigned ourselves roles for the night. A few of us crowded the jukebox. They were to be the Djs for the night, there was no way anybody but us were going to be regulating the music for the night. The guys went over and quickly put tables and chairs together, making sure we had plenty of room for all of us to hang together. My home girl and I went straight to the bar. It was time to open a proper tab, Irish car bombs for everyone!

The rest of the night was a hectic haze of bad singing, inappropriate dancing and socially inappropriate jokes. We were raunchy and wild and as we closed the bar down that night we made memories that by the morning we’d forget. We tumbled out of that bar drunkenly disoriented, not caring that most of the world around us had been asleep now for hours. We made our way back to the train station. We may have even gotten a little lost at one point, I don’t know.

There weren’t many of us that were waiting for the train that night. Not including our group there were maybe another 10-15 people? Most looked drunk, the rest had seemed to be either getting out of or going into work. I’m not sure how long we had waited but it hadn’t seemed long.

The train soon arrived and while we all tripped over one another to pile in I caught sight of a cutie already sitting… all.. by.. himself. Well HELLO there!! I thought to myself.  I pushed my way through my friends and made my way to where he was sitting. Once I got close I slowed down as to not give away my hurry.

“Hey, anyone sitting here?” I grin. It may have been a creepy drunk grin. That’s what it felt like so I was surprised when he said, “No, it’s all yours.” BINGO! That’s RIGHT! It is. I sat down next to him and immediately it began,

“OOOOOOOoooooOOOOO Nati…. MeeeeeOOOWWW!” My pals all chimed in in uproar.

“Don’t listen to them. They’re drunk.” I slurred and then smiled.

“…and you’re not?” He asked, jokingly.

“I was. But now I see things crystal clear.” I hiccuped, “We were meant to meet tonight. The universe brought us here on this train to meet..” What the eff was I saying? I was laughing. I was drunk and this was stupid drunk talk. He knew it too because he was laughing. Was it with me or at me? I didn’t know.

We eventually got to our stop, which also so happened to be his. He walked with us until we got to the car where I then scribbled down my number without him even having to ask. “I normally don’t do this but here!! Call me!!” and I folded up the paper and stuffed it in his pocket. We gave each other a hug, an “it was nice meeting you” kiss on the cheek, and off we were.

038-2 Photo Credit: Angie M, Muse: Natal Galvan, Ry Bread, Santi C.

He messaged me that very night asking if we got home OK. From that point on we kept the conversation going until one of us passed out and then restarted it the very next day. It went like this for months. We spoke on the phone almost every night and spent the entire day texting each other. At the time that we met, I was living here in FL and had only been visiting. Still that didn’t deter us from building a good friendship. Then one day he calls me and says how he would love to take a vacation down to where I was for just a couple days. I loved the idea. I never had friends come and visit me really so I was all for it. Plus, I had found him super cute from what I could remember and decipher from the picture texts he sent me here and there. Who knows what this could lead to right?A romance story out of a movie! I was so excited. That was until, he called me to tell me he had booked his trip…and it was for five days.

Was I freaking out? Of course I was! Like seriously? FIVE DAYS? What were we supposed to do for five days? The trip was to be taken in 2 months so I had 60 days to mentally prepare. When the time came, it was only then that I realized, 60 days had still not been enough.

He arrived on Monday and left Friday. These were the longest five days of my life, and most likely of his as well. Monday hadn’t been too bad. The excitement of seeing one another for the second time since we met was still there. He arrived late in the day so after our initial greet at the airport we headed to a bar to have some food and drinks. The plan was to head to Orlando the next day and have a day of fun at the amusement parks. So we spent some time at the bar and once we saw it was getting late we headed back to my place to rest up for the following day.

I’d like to give a shout out to my amazing sister. For if she hadn’t accepted the invitation to be the third wheel on our trip to Orlando (actually through out the entire 5 days), this day of fun at the amusement park would have been instead the most awkward day at the park. She helped fill in moments of awkward silence. She made me laugh when all I wanted to do was rip my eyeballs out and stuff them down my own throat for allowing this to happen.

He was not only not much of a talker, but also didn’t have much opinion on, well, ANYTHING. He was plainer than vanilla ice cream for even vanilla ice cream had it’s own bit of flare. I would say he was like a piece of grilled chicken with absolutely no seasoning on it, as if just boiled in water. Every answer to any of my questions was either “I don’t know” or “up to you.” Whether it was “what ride do you feel like riding next?” or “what do you want to eat?” or….. fucking ANYTHING, those were his only two answers. It was only day two and I was ready to shoot myself. When would he be leaving on Friday? Early?? Please lord, I hope it’s early…. This was my inner dialogue the entire day at the park.

Wednesday we got up and headed to the grocery store. I planned a beach day but after much debate on whether or not he wanted to deal with the sand or not, we decided to make it a pool day instead. We were going to need food and cocktails (for me mainly cocktails). After what seemed like forever at the store (it takes longer to make grocery store decisions alone for three people than it is for one), we arrived back home with sandwiches, chips and other snacks, and of course beer. It only took about two hours and half a case of beer for things to slowly lighten up a bit. But even then it was like pulling teeth to get this guy to loosen up and have a good time. He spent the majority of his time complaining about life even though he was in FL and supposedly on vacation. He was tired. He hated the sun. He couldn’t get good signal so that he could listen to his sports podcast. So I did what I do best and that is that I just kept drinking. Fuck it right?

I keep drinking, I begin to tune out his presence. It’s not like he was saying much so it wasn’t his conversation I was tuning out, it was him in general. I fell asleep for a bit and when I came to, my gaze had fallen onto his foot. There on his big toe he had a band aid wrapped around the nail. “What happened to your toe?” I had assumed that maybe it had happened while I was asleep. I hadn’t noticed it before.

“Nothing. I stubbed my toe a few months ago and I’m still suffering from it. That’s why I have been so iffy about getting in the water.” It made sense. We had been there for hours and he hadn’t taken a dip yet. His normal pale Irish skin was blotchy and red. He was sweating like a whore in church.

He eventually did get in the water. I did a cannon ball on him. We wrestled for a second. That was the extent of the excitement for that day. I don’t know if it was the beer that got him feeling ballsy but he ended up kissing me right before we got out the water. It was like I expected. Bland. Yes, he had taken the step to kiss me but that was all he did. Have you ever tried to kiss a person who doesn’t know how to kiss back?? It’s awkward. You feel like saying,”Don’t just sit there. Do something.” I pull away and he goes, “I’ve been waiting for that.” with a smile. I don’t know why but that turned me off more than the kiss.

We got back to the house and to be honest the rest of the evening is a little foggy. I know we ended up going to bed, together. As in, in my bed we both slept in. I remember him trying to make out with me, but uh uh. I was not having it. I had had enough bad kissing for the day, so I stayed as far left on my bed as I possibly could until the sun came up, alleviating me from this awkward situation.

Thursday. One more day. It was my mantra for the day. Could he tell how I felt? If he did, he hadn’t let on. Anything that I had to do on this day I tried to do as slow as possible in order for it to take up as much time as possible. I wanted tomorrow to get here and quick. I made us some breakfast. I did laundry. I cleaned my apartment that looked like a tornado had just hit. All the while this guy just sat on my couch just watching t.v not once even asking to see if he could help with anything. Not that I would have let him, but still the gesture would have been nice. I mean most of the mess around my apartment was mess HE made, but whatever. I spent the day running between my sisters room and down to the living room, her room being like a “time-out” from his nothingness. “I just don’t know what to do. This is terribly awkward. I just hate this. I can’t wait for him to leave..” I would tell her.

The three of us headed out to dinner that night. He had spent the last four days hating any of the food we had cooked or ordered. He was a super picky eater. He hated veggies and fruits. He couldn’t handle any sort of seasoning (go figure) because either he didn’t like the taste or it upset his stomach. I of course hadn’t known any of this and therefore had spent the entire week making bad choices due to this lack of knowledge. It hadn’t been until the night before when he was drunk by the pool that he let me in on his eating habits. I found his lack of communication extremely frustrating but had agreed that the next night we would go somewhere to eat more his style. We all decided on going to a little Irish bar not far from my house.

We had quite a bit to drink before ordering our food. The time between ordering and waiting for the food to arrive, my sister and I spent goofing around. He would laugh but not really participate much in the conversation. Our food came and we dined.

As we paid the bill he began to speak of how much fun he had while visiting. He described how awesome it was to have met me that night on the train and that he could really see this working out. That’s when things got a bit more awkward. It was obvious that I didn’t feel the same and once he realized the feeling wasn’t mutual he shut down completely. He barely spoke two words to me for the rest of the night (which I was already used to) and as soon as we arrived back to the apartment he began packing up his things and set up for his getting ready in the morning. There was a slight inner relief I felt once I saw him packing up his things. It was almost a reminder that this “situation” wasn’t permanent.

He slept on the couch that night and the next day we both were up early both ready for this to be over. To be honest, I don’t know what time his flight was that day. I hadn’t really asked. All I know is that once we were both ready, I drove him to the airport. I didn’t do my usual “parking in the garage and walking the person to security” deal that I normally do when people visit. I just drove up the curb and dropped him off with a hug good-bye and a “I’ll text ya later.”

The most horrible part of his entire stay at my place didn’t even happen while he was visiting. Or shall I be clear and say that it did happen while he visited but I was unaware of it until days after his departure.

I had smelled a funny odor coming from my bed sheets and although I had just washed them right before my guest’s arrival,  I decided to wash them again. When I pulled off the sheets to my bed the smell was horrid. Had something died in there? I began peeling apart all the sheets and blankets, the smell becoming more and more pungent.  That’s when I saw it. The band aid.

I swear I almost threw up. He had lost his dirty band aid in my sheets, leaving his exposed big toe out and obviously marinated my bed sheets with the funk. With my sister as my witness, I had to wash the bedding twice and even then the smell still lingered, leaving me with no other option than to toss them.

He and I never spoke again. I did try to reach out once. Honestly, I had just wanted him to return a few books I let him borrow. It was no surprise though when he didn’t respond. Sometimes, when something or someone triggers me to think of this memory, I laugh. I’m not sorry that it happened. I do wonder what he’s up to and if life is going good for him. I mean I don’t hate the guy one bit. I would have liked to have been friends but life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you just meet people for a small period of time. As if they’re tiny extras in your book of life but that hold enough punch to actually teach you something. This situation was a good lesson to be learned. Actually, I learned quite a few. Like, you don’t need five days to figure out whether or not two people click. I say three is good. The one, though, that I preach the most?  Nothing good ever happens after 4 am.

002-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: Rich. R

flAweD.

I forget birthdays and I’m horribly bad with names.

It’s very difficult for me to fake sincerity. For me to have to pretend to like someone is almost damn near impossible. Don’t get me wrong civility is there but that’s the extent of it.

I never anger without reason. It’s difficult to get me angry, but once you get me to that place, I wish you luck in getting me through it. If anger makes its way into my being it will take root and it will stay for a while.

Although I’m working on my stubbornness, I am still very stubborn. If I truly believe in something, it will be very hard for anyone to change my mind. This goes for all areas in life, love, anything with fact or opinion.

I am at times a procrastinator and when I am alone, I can be unbelievably lazy.

Overthinking can be a hobby of mine although lately I have been working hard to calm those negative inner voices.

I laugh when people fall.

I can be unbelievably sarcastic and passive aggressive.

I have almost no will power when it comes to saying “no” to something I really want to do, even if it can be hazardous.

On the inside, I get high anxiety when it comes to having to socialize with people I don’t know, while on the outside I can look as cool as a cucumber and even come off as confident.

I laugh uncontrollably when I’m nervous. Either that or I fidget with my hands.

Sometimes I can get a little jealous if someone can do something really cool that I can’t.

I internalize my problems and always seem to portray a sunny disposition even if I’m sad as all hell on the inside.

I sometimes care too much about what other people may think about me. This goes hand in hand with my co-dependency.

Sometimes I can curse a little too much.

At this point in my life, I trust no one.

I’ve got split ends and blackheads.

By looking at my hands you can tell I’ve been working all of my life. Contrary to the soft dainty hands I’m “supposed” to have for a girl.

I’ve got a light mustache that I have to Nair once every other month. Thank You, dark Latina genes, thank you. But what fucking ever. At least I don’t have sideburns and crazy hairy ass cheeks.

I’m starting to suffer from grey hair and skin tags.

I could have slightly bigger boobs and a slightly thicker ass… WTF happened Latina genes??!! (But I’m not really sure I would call these flaws) And the size of my double chin depends on my mood or temperament.

I’m so far from perfect but I’m grateful for this. I look at these “flaws” and realize they are what makes me different from every body else. My unique set of flaws, along with my unique set of positive traits, creates the inner contents of a special package. It’s tightly wrapped in a strong, flesh-like shell, that holds and protects a special and completely unique being. No one else has been made with these very same ingredients that it took to make me. I stare at these “flaws” listed here right in front of my face, and I smile at them for they are not flaws. They’re not some bad ingredient that you find on the back of food packaging, for instance, like high fructose corn syrup. They are misunderstood.

As cliche as this sounds, without these flaws I wouldn’t be me. Without them I wouldn’t have the good qualities that I do, or at least they wouldn’t be obvious. Without flaws there wouldn’t be beautiful life lessons to be learned or experiences to be had. We would be walking around in a perception of perfection which would allow no room for living and learning. A complete waste this life would be, for that is the exact reason we come here to this realm of living, to live and learn.

I not only accept my flaws but expose them to the world. I believe that if we embraced our “bad” traits  we would end up truly loving ourselves more so than if we just accepted our good traits. I mean, that is what true love is, isn’t it? Having the ability to look past a person’s flaws and accept them exactly as who they are? Wouldn’t it be amazing to have that love for yourself, not just hoping to one day experience it for someone else? You have the ability to experience that Love everyone desires to find. Experience it with yourself first because there is no better person to give you that unconditional love than YOU.

In experiencing that Love for yourself, in accepting those flaws, you’ll discover a completely different world. A world where you have no fear to say the things you feel or think. A world in which you can freely act the way you feel and simply be who you are, without doubting yourself or questioning how others may perceive you. A world in which you accept and love yourself without limitations or conditions.  To have this Love for yourself means that you will have the ability to truly love others openly and that is Love in its purest form.

I bare my flaws and praise them because I accept them for what they are and in turn love myself for who I am because of them. I urge you to allow yourself to do the same because everyone deserves a little true love ❤

 

 

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??

Effing Hormones

She sprayed me. Right in my face. She took the hose that she uses to spray the crap off of dirty dishes and sprayed me in the face with it.

She’s my work hoe. I love this girl. She washes the dishes at the restaurant I work at and her and I are inseparable. Whenever we have shifts together, usually every Thursday, her and I are fucking around the entire day. We gossip. We play pranks on each other. Whatever needed to make the work day flow with fun that’s what we do.

Work gangsters is how I’d describe us. We’re good at our jobs. We never call out. we go hard and play hard….

Except on this day.

I went to sleep the night before feeling emotional. I woke up the next day with a headache, my boobs hurt, and emotionally sensitive. Yes, if you’re thinking that these are the symptoms of a girl’s menstrual you are correct. I hadn’t gotten it yet but these symptoms always start up a few days prior. I knew it would be a long day at work but I mentally prepared myself for it. On my way into work I repeated my morning affirmations that would allow me to positively get through the day.

But then… I get to work and the mood sets in.

I clock in and look around. The place is empty. It’s that time of year where school is back in session and so the tourists on the island are gone. It’s going to be a slow day and if the rest of the week is looking like this I for sure won’t be able to pay my rent on time…again. Normally, this fact wouldn’t bother me so much. Things get paid when they can get paid, but today is different. My “friend” is coming to visit so therefore I’m suffering of multi-personality disorder. There is happy me and irritated me. Right now I’m irritated me.

There are four servers scheduled to work today so we definitely won’t make money. I’m thinking about talking one of my co-workers into letting me close for them so that I can make every dollar I can make while here, when I walk into the kitchen and my work hoe says, “Mija, what’s wrong?? I can tell you’re not you.” and she pulls one of my curls that dangles by my ear. I inform her about my “friend” arriving in the next few days and she understands. I mean it is the one thing that no matter what kind of girl you are, we can all relate on this one issue. So she got me, or so I thought.

A couple hours pass and although I’ve only had a few tables I am exhausted. Another one of the many crappy symptoms of this desired yet annoying monthly visit. It’s 10:30 am and since I did end up talking my co-worker into letting me close (which really didn’t take much talking) I still had about 5 hours left. No matter which way I looked at it, today was a no win-win situation.

I clear the empty plates off my only table and run them to the overflowing bus tub. I do this of course, while getting their nasty, double-dipped, ketchup all over my fingers. One of my biggest peeves at work. I head back into the kitchen and wash my hands. As I walk back to the trash bin, throw out the paper towel I used to dry my hands and turn around,

……..SPPPPPLLLLLAAAAAAAAASSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH……

I am struck in the face with a steady stream of water. I stand there with my eyes closed for what was probably a millisecond but felt like 5. All I hear are the laughs of my co-workers. My work hoe got me good.

Typically I can appreciate this type of prank. Hell, it’s something I would to her. Today not so much. I opened my eyes and saw her curled against the corner laughing. “Lana!” I yelled half serious half jokingly and as I stormed passed her to grab another paper towel I took the opportunity to slap her hard in the back. I head straight to the ladies room to check on my make-up. I didn’t have much on but I figured my hair already looked a mess, Florida humidity does NOT play, my face should at least look decent. I get to the door, locked. Of fucking course.

I walk back into the kitchen to finish wiping my face. Lana is still back there laughing. “You hit me so hard I think you knocked a lung out!” She says through her giggles. “Good!!” I say “I can’t believe you hosed me in the face! The FACE! I still have the entire day to go and not only do I feel like shit but now I look like shit!” She begins to laugh harder, “Oh shut up. You got me back good with that hit. Plus, you always look like shit.” It took all of my strength to not hurt her. I was so annoyed. It was like my blood was turning into little annoyed rage bubbles that were expanding through my veins. I had to walk away.

I spent the next hour refocusing my energy on cleaning and taking care of what few tables I had coming in. I needed to distract my hormone ridden mind and decompress. I knew what I felt earlier was an over reaction. Normally I wouldn’t have cared. Lana and I had joked around like this every day since the day we met. Today was no different. Yea maybe she ruined my make-up and didn’t feel sorry about it. Who cares!? Isn’t that what friendships are all about??

Guilt started to set in. I felt like a douche for reacting the way I did.

I get sat another table but before I head over to greet them, I run back into the kitchen, head straight towards Lana and give her the biggest hug. I seriously squeeze the shit out of her. I then plant a huge kiss on her cheek and say sorry for being a twat. She laughs, “Will you just get your period already!!” she says. I smile back at her and head out to see what measly tip I can incur from my new table.

For the rest of the day I felt amazing. The restaurant never got busy. I ended up walking out earlier than anticipated and even though I still wasn’t my super cheery self, I still walked out feeling alright. Sure my body was getting ready to bleed for god knows how many days this time around, but one thing was for sure, it felt good having someone in my life like Lana. A person who can hose me in the face when I’m feeling down and even through the rage I still have love for. It’s those small little relationships that people constantly overlook and take for granted. The fact that as human beings we feel a  range of emotions, one of them the feeling of guilt, speaks loudly of human consciousness and once we take the steps, human kindness.

I love my Lana. She taught me a valuable lesson that day, or a lesson I had once been taught but she reinforced. Sometimes just simply saying sorry can be the best spa treatment you could ever give yourself.