The Final Act

Panic attacks. I used to get them periodically and what always triggered them, it was never anything else, were thoughts of death. I guess that’s what happens when at a young age you begin to lose people.

The attacks would always start with a small thought, something innocent like seeing roadkill, or hearing a piece of news on the radio about some celebrity’s passing. I would start to think about how they’re no longer able to soak up the day’s sunrays, or ever appreciate what it feels like when a spring’s breeze kisses your face. I’d begin to think about how their loved ones somewhere out there in the world would be heartbroken for what it would feel like a lifetime to come. The thoughts would then trickle into my personal life. What if I lose my mother?… or my sister? What if right now someone crashes into me, T-boned, and POOF! Lights out?

THAT’S when the panic would slowly slither in.

It would start with a slight flicker of the pulse in my neck. It felt like a double click; trigger being pulled. My throat would feel constricted by only a little at first, making it an actual thought to swallow instead of the instinct that it is. My hands would begin to get clammy and would ball up in anticipation of what was to come, and a cold sweat would soon then follow. Thoughts all the while tumbling around my mind, detailing the sudden death, a death that hasn’t happened yet.

This went on for a number of years at times being almost debilitating, but with the help of things like meditation and such, I slowly was able to control these attacks. Instead of having such a fear of what is death, I in turn decided to change my mindset and learned to adapt a healthy respect for it. Regardless of the respect, there are times in which I simply do get caught off guard by what is the final act in this play called Life. Especially when someone so amazing suddenly goes.

It makes no difference the way in which a loved one passes, it’s never easy. I do find it excruciatingly difficult to grasp when someone who is young and full of life dies without one ever seeing it coming. I’ve lost many people in my life this way, more than half of them being when I was still too young to fully understand the permanence of what was happening. Recently however, the ones in my life that passed have really taken me back, almost to those moments of panic because now I do understand the permanence of it, as well as the randomness. I see and logically comprehend that amazingly good hearted people, wise souls that shine a light onto this sometimes dark and violent world, aren’t immune to being taken early. Emotionally I cannot understand it. My heart doesn’t compute why the good ones go so young and as I get older, I don’t think it ever will.

No matter how hard I try to put words to how I feel about my friend’s recent passing I simply cannot. When I tell you that this world lost an amazing person, I cannot describe to you how much I seriously I mean it. An intelligent, compassionate soul who truly did make a positive impact on this world, because anyone who came across him would forever be changed in their most positive of ways. To extinguish that torch was to make this place just a little darker, but if you believe in heaven, it just got a heck of a lot brighter.

However sad and painful, I still try to find the silver lining. I guess it goes to say that I haven’t really lost them, but if anything I now have quite a crew waiting for me to get back. I am in no rush, but I do find comfort in that. Until then, all can really do is clichély live my life in tribute to them and seize the chances and opportunities, living for those who could not.

Metal Monster

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

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

 

Addiction and Its Trickery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unexpected Unpleasantries

Try as you might to avoid certain headaches in life, it is almost certain that your plans to do so may fall short or, simply put, may not go according to plan at all.

One of the many reasons I have chosen to not have children is because I am selfish and other than my own personal issues and struggles (trust me I have many) I do not feel like I’d like to add anymore challenges to the mix. Yet, just because I have decided to refrain from bringing into this world a nondetachable relationship (because I don’t care what anyone says, children are for life) that doesn’t mean that those that are already a part of my life won’t bring in moments of turmoil or heartache. Now matter how cold and selfish I may seem sometimes, the ones I have come to love unconditionally can always count on me for help.

I recently had a friend fall from the high ranks of sobriety down into the pits of darkness. It only took a few months for his life to snake out of control and in that time it began to affect mine. It’s crazy how the mind works because I knew the signs, I had observed the escalation for months prior to me finding out for sure that they had been using again, but still, I didn’t want to believe. Prior to this I had just ended an unhealthy relationship due to the person’s substance abuse problems. After watching what I had gone through with that individual there was no way my friend was about to put me in the same position, right? WRONG. It’s in the nature of this ugly beast to muddy up reasoning, rational, and selflessness. The person tainted by this monster  is no longer the considerate loving soul you once knew but instead the shell and the soul of a stranger is what’s left. My life was full of chaos and uncertainty. I was constantly wondering if the next time I’d see this person if they would be alive or dead. It was heartbreaking for me to have lost such a confidant and friend. The person who was always there for me in the last couple years was no where to be found and instead this unco was left in his place.  Stealing, lying, and self-destruction were now what this individual was into and although I tend to avoid all unhappy and unhealthy situations, this is not one I could just turn and walk away from. How could I? At the end of the day, it wasn’t me they were truly hurting. In fact, their embarrassment and humiliation as to what they were up to lead to him completely avoid me so as to not hurt me any further than our lost friendship had already done.

To make what could very well turn into a super long story short, I recently took my dear friend to a detox center. After a few days he will be moved to an inpatient facility for some well needed addiction treatment and mental health care. It’s been a few days and it is only just now that I realize how much strain this was putting me through emotionally.

Today, I laugh at myself at how naive I was to believe that I am somehow am able to control what crisis I will and will not go through in life. Sure, you can try  to reduce the amount of exposure you have to certain situations. For instance not walking alone in the city at night may reduce the number of chances you have of getting robbed. To say that you won’t form bonds with people in order to avoid unpleasantries in life is delusional. It is my strong opinion that if life wants you to go through a difficult ordeal of any sort, try as you might, you will go through it. These are the life lessons that are meant to help us grow and learn. These moments truly do help us to evolve into much better, stronger, and wiser people. Watching them go through their own struggle and me having to learn how to cope with the situation has allowed me take a look at my own life introspectively.  The only thing that we can truly count on is that the lessons of life will keep on coming, there is no dodging it, and it is up to us how much we take away from it.

Bottoms Up. Lights Out

It was like I had suddenly woken up from a century long slumber. When I say suddenly, I mean suddenly. It was like a loud mental crack back into reality. My eyes took a while to open for they felt to me as if they were swollen shut and to be quite honest my body felt like a sack of cement. My eyes roamed around but nothing to me looked at all familiar. My surroundings seemed and felt odd. I simply felt completely out of place. I slowly tried to sit up but could only prop myself up onto my elbows, I was feeling extremely groggy. I looked around the room,  a pale blue color covered the walls surrounding me. I was in some sort of hotel room it felt like. The area of the room that I was in was covered in very tacky beach decor with shells and flamingos dancing all over the place. I was on a hard couch and directly in front of me stood a balcony with its doors completely open. The white sheer curtains danced in the breeze and if it wasn’t for the fact that fear was slowly gripping me around my throat, it all would have seemed almost peaceful. I was definitely in a hotel room but who’s? I could faintly hear the ocean roaring in the distance, seagulls adding to nature’s acoustics. The sudden voices coming from behind me made me jerk around to see who and where it was coming from. 

This was my initial reaction to waking up in an unknown place with absolutely no memory of how I got there. Although I had tried to forget about this, it all came rushing back when I was watching the news today.

A good looking couple from California have made headlines after being caught drugging and raping unsuspecting women. The pair would hit the streets in search of victims, charming them, drugging them, and then leading them back to their private office to have their way with them. Over 1,000 videos were found on both of the suspect’s phones allowing authorities to believe that there are many more victims than just the two that have come forward.  The two suspects deny any such allegations and are currently out on bail.

These two were not the couple that drugged and raped me, but they might as well be.

I will never forget the duo who charmed me into inviting them to hang out with my co-workers and I one evening after work. It was about 10 pm and I had just finished my night shift at the restaurant. I had decided to wait for my co-workers at a local bar right in between our place of employment and where I lived. I sat alone at a table for six. The bar was busy with tourists. By this time most seemed drunk and those that weren’t yet would be soon getting there. The live band playing had a crowd on the dance floor and I was soaking up the good vibes while I waited. It wasn’t long before I was approached by a pretty girl and her boyfriend. They were visiting from Ohio, a quick getaway for the couple who wanted a break from their hectic family life. They were both beautiful people. She had shoulder length  shiny, black hair and ice blue eyes. He reminded me of a golden boy, with a gorgeous sun kissed tan, light brown eyes, and short golden locks that framed his face. When she approached me initially she asked if I mined if the two  could sit down at the table with me until my friends arrived and of course, me not wanting to be rude, said yes.

From that point on the entire night was anything but normal. Looking back on it, I should have suspected that something was about to go terribly wrong because of the fact that things weren’t panning out as they normally would have. Back then though, a switch of scene and people added a much needed excitement to my life. I, however, was not prepared for, nor wanted, the kind of excitement that was getting ready to present itself.

As we waited for my friends to get out of work, this girl and I were chatting away. She asked me what it was like living in a touristy spot and about my tattoos. I asked her what sort of hectic life her and her boyfriend were trying to vacation away from. We chatted and it seemed natural. I was pleased to have found company while I waited. Her boyfriend offered to buy us a round of beers. I ordered a Miller Light but for some reason I was not in the mood for too much drinking, so I babysat that bottle until my co-worker’s arrival. Introductions were barely made when the couple asked if there was a strip club in the area. They were looking to spice up their last night out on the beach,

“What a more perfect way to end our vacation than with some ass and titties!” He shouted, overly excited. She seemed a bit embarrassed by his question but there was a slight flicker in her eyes that gave way to her also wanting in on this type of fun. One of my co-workers mentioned the low quality strip joint located right before the bridge before heading out on the island and offered to drive us all if the couple paid for his beers, and just like that, we all ended up piling into his SUV driving out to Fantasy’s.

At this point, I was only one beer in and not really wanting to head to the strip joint. I had been there a coupe times with friends before and it wasn’t anything to write home about. It was small and dingy. The girls are a reminder of sadness and instead of enticing a good time all they stir up in you in an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and pity. I wasn’t motivated but I also didn’t want to go home. I wanted a night out with friends and if that meant heading to Fantasy’s for  bit then I would suck it up and go.  It wasn’t more than 15 mins after arriving at the strip joint that things took a turn, which would then land me in this couple’s hotel room, naked, vulnerable, and with no sense of what had happened to me.

We arrived and immediately everyone headed towards the bar to get their first drink, everyone but me that is. I still wasn’t in the mood to have a drink, which for everyone who knows me that’s not in my normal character. I am not sure why I wasn’t in the mood to drink that night. I’d like to think that maybe my subconscious knew that there was something dangerous lurking right around the corner. No matter the reason, I didn’t heed the warning. My friends questioned why I wasn’t drinking and I remember telling them, “Not yet. In a bit I’ll order something..” I felt like I just wanted to be alert for a little longer. I really wish I would have stood my ground when the couple approached me with a shot.

“Cheers! To the three of us! Here’s is to unexpected new friends and a wild night!” That was his speech and although I found it a bit out there, I took my glass and clinked it with theirs.

“Bottoms up!” She said and from that point on, my night a blur, then ended with lights out.

The rest of the evening I can only recall in small bits and pieces. I do not remember leaving the strip club although I was told that we stayed there for about 45 mins. A co-worker informed me that I didn’t want to leave and had even given a wad of cash to one of the dancing girls after she told me a story about her and her kid “just trying to survive.” My memory only holds a picture of the club and then all of the sudden, we are back at the same bar we had all previously met up at. I vaguely remember feeling extremely tired and wanting to go home. I was told that at this point I had told the others that I was going to the bathroom and that I had gotten up to leave stumbling on my way out and never returning. For my friends, it was not unusual for me to disappear like that. I have always hated good-byes and so when I am ready to go home I make my way out using one excuse or another and simply disappearing. What was unusual for them was the fact that I seemed overly intoxicated even though I had only had a beer and a shot. That was not normal for me. I’ve always been known to handle my alcohol so that did raise  few eyebrows, but not enough for anyone to assume that something was wrong.

A couple minuets after me leaving for the “bathroom” the new couple said their good-byes and disappeared into the night.

I have no idea how things transpired from here on out. Considering I have no memory of even leaving my friends behind at the bar, I for sure have no clue how it was that I ran into this couple while on my journey home. My next snapshot of the night is of me in their hotel room standing out on the balcony but barely able to hold myself up. The next snapshot is of me sitting on the bed and the girl playing with my hair. After that? Nothing.

I woke up the next morning feeling like I had been hit by a semi-truck. It took me a few seconds to muster up the energy to sit up and look around and that’s when I discovered the severity of my situation. I was completely naked  barely wrapped up in only a thin bed sheet. I was laying on the couch and when I looked around the room that’s when I saw the couple, each laying on the bed sprawled out and also naked. At that very moment I was overwhelmed with many emotions, embarrassment, violated, bewilderment, sadness, guilt. But before being able to fully ingest all that I was feeling, all I wanted to do was to get out.  I quickly got up and quietly gathered my things. I grabbed my purse, my clothes, my phone and snuck into their bathroom to get dressed. It wasn’t until I put  my shoes on that I felt dread. My work shoes were severely scuffed, the soles of both shoes peeling away  the tops as if I had been dragged.

I left their bathroom and headed towards the door not once looking back. It was as if I just couldn’t bring myself to see the reality of my situation. I exited the room and soon realized I was only two blocks away from my home. I walked the two blocks in a fog. I felt bruised all over. My arms had bruises running from underneath my armpits all the way down to my wrists. My legs felt like lead. I felt soreness on both sides of my rib cage.

Once I arrived at my apartment, completely drained, I collapsed on my bed and slept for hours. It wasn’t until I woke up at almost 5 pm that I really was able to dissect the situation and try to understand what had happened to me. My body felt like a sack of bruised potatoes and that immediately brought tears to my eyes because with how I felt, how could I not remember what had happened to me? I immediately headed to my local walk-in clinic and after explaining what I had gone through got tested on any possible STD out there. The sorrow in the physician’s eyes should have been comforting but instead it made me feel ten times worse. It was at this point, when sitting on the medical table getting swabbed and blood work done, that I looked down and saw on my left wrist a beaded pink bracelet. It was the same bracelet that the girl had on the night before and here I was wearing it, undeniable proof as to what transpired the night before. I still have the bracelet to this day. I’m not sure why I kept it but it is put away in a jewelry box, a small reminder to always stay on alert.

Once I arrived back home from the clinic I messaged my sister and told her somewhat of what happened. I kept out the part of me waking up naked and seeing the couple sprawled out on the bed, also bare. My mother still doesn’t know. I’m sure that soon she will read this and her heart will be broken into a billion little pieces. I was also seriously dating someone at the time and although I did tell him what happened, I also left out the details of how I woke up and what I believed really happened. Do I think they would have negatively judged me? Not really, but I do believe that in their mind I maybe asked for it by putting myself in the situation when befriending the strange couple.

Now that this incident is over a year old, I am ready to talk honestly about the situation and what happened to me where as before I had no strength to do so. The level of guilt and embarrassment one feels when something like this happens to you is something no one is really prepared to talk about. It is almost as if one would rather sew up the lips than to ever utter a detail, and the feeling of reliving it all over again through speech is terrifying.

When I came across the news headline of the couple in California who were going around doing what was done to me to others, ice ran through my veins. All of the emotions I had bottled up and stored away came rushing back and my heart truly went out to the women affected by such trauma.

Sadly, our cases aren’t unique or seldom. What happened to us happens everyday to countless women and men alike. I feel as though one of the biggest mistakes we commit as a society is to cover up any situation that doesn’t seem ideal. We don’t really talk about the dangers that lurk around every corner and if we do, we speak of it as though it could never happen to us, making it that much more difficult to speak about when it does. One shouldn’t feel embarrassed or guilty after going through something like this and it is society that makes us feel this way. Being honest and speaking up over such monumental occurrences is what will allow for healing as well as encouraging awareness. We as a society need to become more aware. We need to start standing up for one another in being protective not only of ourselves but of those around you. Together we are a single unit. When will we start to realize that if one of us hurts, society as a whole hurts? It’s time we become more available to those who need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, without the judgment and give only support needed to overcome the unpleasantries that life sometimes has in store for us.

 

 

Love. It Doesn’t Force.

I had to kick a boyfriend in the nuts once. It was the second time I had ever done that to someone. I mean, I hadn’t kicked him hard. Now looking back, maybe I should have.

Before you go on feeling bad for him and end up taking his side, I’d like to just mention that the asshole wasn’t taking “No” for an answer and had forced himself upon me. The way his hands pinned me down by my shoulders while making sure to spread my legs with his knees sent me back to a time in my life that I never wanted to revisit again. He was full of laughter of course. To him, I wasn’t seriously saying no, was I? How could his girlfriend, or any woman for that matter resist and say ‘no” to him?

It happened in what felt like a blink of an eye. I was 13 again and being pinned up against the wall by my abuser. I was too weak at the time to get away from this ex-marine’s grip and so there I hurt until I remembered to do what I had been taught to do in a situation such as this. Kick and Run.

No matter how fast I ran then, or how fast I had continued running even after all those years, the damage had been done because trauma has a funny way of keeping up with you no matter how fast you run. Here I was with my guy, and within seconds he is now my new abuser. After struggling against him, panic rising up within my chest, after not being able to take his heavy breaths and laughter landing upon my face, I brought my feet up towards his chest and propelled him off of me. He was a big guy so I hadn’t thrown him far. He quickly regained his balance and was again on top of me before I  was able to wiggle away.

“Why are you fighting me..you know you want..” and as he goes to unbuckle his belt, I swung my foot back and landed a strike on his most prized possession.  He quickly went down, “What the fuck, Nat!!..” and as he caught his breath I roll off the bed and told him to get the fuck out. I hadn’t cared if he was in pain. I wanted him out of my sight.. and to be honest I wanted him out of my life.

How is it possible that someone be so selfish? Most of you are probably thinking, “How was he supposed to know that he would trigger such a feeling?” Well simple, because we had talked about what had happened to me. Although within our relationship it was I that would mainly listen to him rant on about his problems, his demons, his life…I had once been given the split second chance to share this moment of my life with him. Not in full detail, his attention span was like that of a chimpanzee, but in enough detail that he knew what I had gone through and the pain that it had caused in my life.

SHOULD IT EVEN MATTER??

Does one ever really need a “good” reason to say no to someone’s sexual advances? Should it be one’s job or duty in a relationship to continuously feed a person’s insatiable sexual appetite with disregard of one’s own feelings?

There is more to the story. Steroid use and drug abuse definitely played a big role in this person’s actions, and once reminded of why I instinctively reacted the way I did, his anger had subsided. Mine had not, yet still I stayed.

Sadly, this incident hadn’t been the only time, just the first. The later times had never ended with a swift kick to the balls. I had just given up fighting but with every incident the anger within me ferociously grew until a fire began to burn and slowly incinerated any love for him I had to give.

We ended badly as I’m sure you all have now assumed. He was discarded in to the pile of ex’s long ago. I take with me from this experience that no matter the role someone can play in your life, if selfishly they behave, you must selfishly leave.  The red flags had always been there. I chose to push them off to the side in hopes that what I was experiencing and feeling maybe wasn’t true. A figment of my traumatized imagination but, no, it wasn’t.

When it comes to people like me who have dealt with certain tragedies of life, handle with care. Selflessly listen and try to understand. No person should ever have to be placed in a situation in which they are taken back to the darkened corners of their minds. Do not try to force something into existence that just isn’t meant to be because to force it will instead repel and always remember,

“That who loves will in turn be loved.”

 

The Sacrifice

When you hand over your entire life to someone it takes the sacrifice of your entire heart to say goodbye. Nothing that you ever touch forever lasts. Sometimes I think we tend to forget that. As quick as it began in the same speed it could end and to dive deep into the dark depths of love is a risky game we all love to play.

Life is precious and within that life lies our individuality. We have a course we each run with our own lessons to be learned. We are gifted with many capabilities as well as handicaps and through these is how life lessons are dispensed to us. A shame it is when we come across another soul, one you believe to be that mate for life. You become engulfed in who they are and how to become a part of them that you slowly begin to handover who you are bit by bit, which could quickly lead to an unhealthy relationship.

In an unhealthy relationship there tends to be one who depletes themselves by handing over their entirety, and there is one who is more than willing to take. Materialism, although it is a BIG part of this dynamic, it is not the main issue. It’s all the intangibles. The love, the genuine vulnerability, the emotional giving and taking, the loyalty, the respect, the honesty. These are all the things that count and far beyond more important compared to the purchases made on a Visa or Mastercard. The lack of balance in the area of  what is the intangible is a far bigger debt than that of the materialistic.

To hand over who you are as an individual is a high risk move and you always hope to receive the same back in return. When it doesn’t happen, there is only so much time before the relationship self destructs. In that detonation all hearts get shattered. For the one who emotionally  gave until their well ran dry, they walk away with a shriveled heart. They feel like a failure because their self seemed to not have been enough to get what they deserved back in return. They’ve lost themselves in the other person and hardly remember who they are, what they like, what they hate. Their entire self has become a mirror image of who they came to love. For the other person, the one who took and took, their greed (or maybe addiction?) draining while hardly replenishing, they too hurt. They’ve lost their control. They lost the one thing they have always needed, a heart who gives without really asking for much in return. That’s the ultimate treasure, one that cannot be bought. A priceless gift handed over, to then be taken away? How could that not hurt?

Love has many layers and for each set of souls the layers are different. We can all agree though, when love is lost or even unrequited the pain is like no other. We are each left with the hurt and the question, was the sacrifice worth it? Was it worth the sacrifice of handing over your heart, of letting go of your individuality? I like to always think that no matter how difficult the goodbyes, no matter the pain, to live through such a lesson is always worth it because no  matter the kind of layers the love was made up of, at the core of it all there was of course Love.

 

A Mental “Feel Better”

When you’re having a hard time in life, boy does it fucking suck.

It did for me anyways. Big time.

I was looking at unemployment, residential displacement, feeling lonely, and ridiculous amounts of internal conflict over external bullshit. The gears in my mind, lubricated in anxiety, were continuously winding and that’s never any help. I am a thinker, it’s what I do. My overthinking at times is beneficial but most times it hinders my journey towards a more peaceful state of mind. During a depressed phase, over thinking can easily creep in and before you know it you’re caught up in a web of misery and the less you talk about it the greater that misery becomes. You drown in these dark feelings and for just a split second, if you allow it to happen, you give into the drowning, letting yourself sink just a little bit. That was me. For a split second, or more like an entire morning, I allowed myself to sink. I felt myself exhausted and quickly began to question even my very existence.

For may people, reaching this moment is almost like washing up onto the shores of the island of No Return. They lose hope and cling onto the sadness for so long that they only feel comfortable there. But that is only because most people do not know of the tools life has supplied us with in order to survive periods such as these. I am one of the fortunate few to have learned of these internal tools that we were given. I am one of the few who believes in these tools and that is the difference between some of those people and myself.

So how did I snap out of this depression that I was experiencing? I didn’t. One doesn’t just “snap” out of these emotions. You don’t just snap your fingers and wala you’re out of the darkness, nor is it a like a light switch you can just flick on and off. No. It’s a process and for everyone it is a slightly different one considering we are all so unique. Our healing process should be customized to our individual needs as well as to every given situation.

On this particular day my process began with a little rage cleaning. It was early in the morning when I woke up to feces all over my living room floor. My dog had apparently gotten a horrible case of diarrhea during the night and had shitted all over the place. I found the smears within minuets of me waking up and it quickly sent me into a tizzy. I frantically began cleaning like a mad woman (I was a mad woman) swearing under my breath as if releasing the “f” bomb was somehow helping me scrub just that much harder. Before I knew it, the living room, the dining room, and kitchen were pristine and once I was satisfied off I went for a deep cleaning of my own.

My shower is my safe haven. I imagine the water rinsing away my worries even though deep inside I know that it’ll only be for the time being. The steam relaxes my tense muscles and I float away..

It’s only once I’m finished and in the mirror getting ready that I begin to remember all my troubles and at this point is when I actually let myself fall away into the depths of my despair. I wail like a child, sobbing from the center of my soul, cries pouring out of me and invading the silent air. Within my normal life, I hardly ever cry, so as I do now, I stare at myself in the mirror. I stare fiercely into my water eyes. I allow to see myself like this. I allow myself to feel all the emotions that run through me, vibrant and strong like an electrical current and shocking my senses. I’m  allowing myself to feel everything that I had been clearly feeling for quite some time but was always trying to hide.

Instinctively I turn and reach for a notebook and begin writing. I do what is called a “Brain Dump” and write everything that comes to mind. Whether it made sense or not in the notebook it went. All my feelings, thoughts, concerns, everything was written down in the pages of my journal, some of it gibberish, most of it not. I purged everything that I was feeling and by the end of it, five pages later to be exact, my soul was feeling lighter. I wanted to keep this going. I wanted (needed) this mental feel better and so taking advantage of the fact that I was home alone I decided to then get myself into total zen mode.

I lay out my yoga mat strategically in front of my bedroom window so I get some of that natural sunlight hitting my skin. The only electronic device that is powered at this moment is my phone which plays nature meditation music, specifically downloaded for moments such as these. I sit Indian style, facing the sun, eyes closed, and focus deeply on my breathing. I sit there like this for whats seems several mins and then slowly begin to stretch my body. Section by section I stretch and while doing so, I speak to each body part, showing love and gratitude. I connect with this vessel my soul is encapsulated in and not only thank it, but also reiterate to it how it is enough. I begin my affirmations and soon all negative thoughts that once thrived, circling around in my mind, dispersed. They became nothing. In its place stood me and all the good that I had temporarily forgotten.

“I am healthy. I am loved. I am in love with everything around me. Money flows freely into my life which helps promote spiritual growth. I am happy. I radiate positivity. I am enough. I am exactly where I need to be. The universe is conspiring in my favor.”

I recite these and more within in my mind letting it penetrate every cell within my body and it does. I begin to feel strong once again. I begin to feel empowered. Before I knew it I was running on a natural high. No, all of my problems hadn’t just disappeared, but I had the strength and the courage to face them without any self doubt. I had replenished my internal oil lamp and it was radiating so much light, no darkness could invade. Suddenly, there was no problem without a solution.

After my mini mental break down and rebuild, it took me a couple days to really feel 100% me again. I made sure to get good sleep and to actually eat at least somewhat healthier. I also spent a lot of time listening to motivational videos and webinars whenever I could. I would play them as I did my cleaning around the house or as I went for my runs. I’d let them play as background noise, trying to soak it as much as I could and it worked.

To many, this all may seem like a lot of hippy hoopla  but in actuality it takes work to be happy and if happy is what we want to be then effort is what we have to put in. To really feel the pain that you’re going through builds your inner strength. It gives what you’re feeling a voice and it helps you to move on. Merely hiding your issues may get you over it for a second but doesn’t allow for you to get through it permanently. Addressing your inner dialogue is highly important as well. It is true when they say, “You become what you think.” Our minds hold much more power than most of us know and it is imperative to our well being to keep our thoughts positive and motivating. We can be our own worst enemy and it begins with our minds so be mindful of your inner dialogue with yourself and stop being so darn hard on yourself! Meditation can help with this. Silencing your mind for just a couple mins a day can help tremendously and allows for you to regain control of your mind when it does begin to wander off into darker territories.

As I previously stated, everyone is uniquely different and so the process of getting back to feeling like oneself after a moment of gloom will be equally as different. I know that this time, this is what worked for me. In sharing this, I hope to help others who are maybe having a rough day find a way to replenish their internal oil lamp and stop them from being overcome by the darkness that threatens their happiness. Whether it’s meditation, writing, dancing around your apartment like a goober, whatever the method may be, find what works for you. Life is too short to be stranded on the island of No Return for any given amount of time, and remember happiness is a choice.

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Bluntly Upon My Sleeves

You are completely mistaken.

It wasn’t because you were doing well and then all of the sudden you weren’t. White Lies. You were never doing well. It just took me a while to figure out that you were badly put together. Taped in lies, out seeped the truth.

The best revenge is that which is written down on paper.

And while neither of us are perfect, never did I try to sweep dirt under the rug. Confronting and communicating is all that I ever tried to do. Giving up is what that led to, for I always found myself speaking alone. All the time alone.

You say that behind curtains I hide but that too is simply not the truth.

Who I wear bluntly upon my sleeves is the heart of who I am. That does not mean that I am not nicked, dented, or imperfect and as time wears on, those who stand beside me find out my deepest stories, understanding each flaw.

Because I was not perfect, as perfect as your eyes betrayed you to see, you retreated in your hermit shell, instead of trying to understand me. Once again running… You ran from who we are as individuals, you ran from who we could have been as a team.

While running you ran into the arms of the exact demons that have kept you in hiding for so long. The Devil’s Brew. There you dance with the devil to the melody of a dangerous song. You have lost yourself over time and now deeper in the hole you seem to be, and although your rants and raves fall deaf to me, through the grapevine your messages have been received. Everything that you say is said because you’re sour. Everything you write is written as a coward because again you hide behind the strength of a bottle.

So yes, disappearing is what I had to do. Why run the risk of coming across this doppelganger you? This venomous character who I am just only now getting to know? Do you now realize that what you reap is too what you sow? All of those uncalled for words have hurt,  so you think I am just going to let it roll, us remain friends, let you say bye to my dog?

You should understand me now enough to know that I refuse to house hostility in my heart. I keep negativity at bay and I always remove any toxins that affect my life. Unfortunately this called for the removal of you.

Someday, once the pain subsides, once your mind is clear, and your soul is back to feeling right, you’ll see and understand why. Until then, if that day were to ever present itself, I wish you well. I pray that you get clear so you can see all that the Universe has for you in reach. I pray for your soul to feel free, and that when you someday choose to shoot for the stars, there you find what you so desperately seek.

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Photo Credit: Angie M. Muse: Natal Galvan

You Know, Sometimes….

Life can really throw you for a loop.

Sometimes “better late than never” is just a little too late. Sometimes it’s brighter before a wicked storm. Sometimes words don’t just bounce off of me and stick to you. Sometimes the grass truly is greener on the other side and the Universe is allowing for you to take a little look.

Sometimes it’s hard to really look at the bigger picture. Sometimes we forget that things that mean more to us, will be hard to obtain, but not impossible. Sometimes it is hard to maintain a cheery disposition, especially when things are tasting a little sour.

Sometimes it is totally Ok to not be Ok. Sometimes is not most times and all we need is a little reminder, that although complicated and tough, life is always good.