Contending With Honesty

My relationship with honesty has always been irregular.

As a kid, I would make up stories even about the most typical parts of my life. I had my reasons, though. It wasn’t because I loved lying. I used to hate to think about it as lying. I chose to think of it as storytelling. I told stories to fit in with the crowd. I used to think that all the kids I met had cool lives. I wanted a cool life too and so I would spruce up certain things about mine just to make me feel like I was like them.

I did eventually grow out of it. It was exhausting, not only portraying someone that you’re not, but it was hard to realize that others would in turn read me wrong. I felt like no one really knew me, let alone understood me, and how could they? I wasn’t giving anyone the real version of me. As I got into high school being honest soon started to become my new addiction. So much so, that I became brutally honest. That began a totally new battle. Instead of before when my battle with honesty seemed more internal, now it was starting to become a more physical battle with others.

I became explosive with my honesty. If I was feeling a certain way about something, I was letting you know whether you wanted to listen or not. There was no sugar coating anything. What for? To add confusion? To allow someone to believe that things were one way when in reality it wasn’t, or to soften the blow? I felt as though that was all wasting time and why do that? Arguments with people would ensue, be it with friends or family. Then that too started to become exhausting.

It wasn’t until my 20’s, once I moved away from home and began to really look into my self, that I began looking at life and how to handle it differently. Soul searching provided me with a different view on how to approach certain aspects of life, especially that of being honest. I learned that it was important to share your thoughts and your true feelings with others so that there would less confusion and more understanding. It was OK to be brutal but just as easily OK to soften the blows, and that there was a time and place. Yet, since then I have come to understand that I now have a new hill to climb. I now struggle with the patience that must be had when it comes to others and their understanding of honesty.

To me, I see honesty as a privilege that we should be allowed to have. It should be our prerogative, as human beings, to want to express it as well as be able to receive it. The thing is, people only see life and everything about it, from their own perspective. Human beings are so self absorbed in their own lives and feelings towards it, that they tend to forget that others that they are sharing this existence with my have a different spin on what they share as the same situation. That’s how feelings get dismissed and how lives become discounted and discredited.

Take, for instance, a “break up” (if we could even call it that) I had about 4 years ago. A good friend of mine and I were becoming reacquainted again after my move back from CA. We began going on dates here and there, which later then turned into midnight escapades. It was fun but only until I started realizing that he was falling hard and I, simply put, just wanted to have fun. I was honest and explained that him and I were on two different planes in life and although everything was fine, I simply did not see him “in that way” and felt that it would only be right to end what was going on. It was difficult for me to do because I knew of how he felt for me. Who wants to break someone’s heart? Yet, I couldn’t lead him on or waste his time nor mine. His reaction wasn’t good. He hated me of course and called me every name in the book. He went on to talk shit about me to all his friends, spewing all sorts of negativity to anyone who would listen. I was in shock. I knew he was going to be upset, but to the point that he had spoken so ill of me? I was in shock because I hadn’t understood what he had wanted me to do. Had he wanted me to lie to him and put up a charade all so his ego’s needs could be met? It took so much patience to not lash out the way I wanted to about that situation and that’s only one example. I see it everyday with the people I come in contact with , the battles we all have with honesty and all the internal and external struggles it comes with. So are battles with honesty that irregular then? Or is it actually more common than we considering human beings and how we think, which is in mainly an introspectively self absorbed way.

I place a high value on honesty when it comes to terms with myself and others. I choose to be a woman of integrity and want for my character to always be able to be described as open, honest, and approachable. I want to be receptive because if I want to be heard, I too need to listen in order to understand.

I guess maybe these aren’t even battles with honesty at all. It’s just learning life.

Yes We Are And This Is Why

I was apart of a very interesting conversation not too long ago which included my boyfriend and one of his good friends.  They were speaking of the best method to clean car headlights.

“Bro, all you have to do is spray your headlights with OFF bug spray and bam! They’re clean!”

“Yeah, you told me that but when I looked it up it said that it doesn’t last very long. It’s a short term fix. I’m just going to buy the special kit and clean them. I can clean yours too babe.” My boyfriend smiles, turning his attention from his friend to where I was sitting.

“Awe, I appreciate that! But don’t worry, I can just do it.” The statement spilled from my lips without a second’s thought. It has always been natural for me to do things on my own. For one thing, I’ve never liked to burden others with tedious duties, especially if it’s something I could easily just do my self. Plus, I’ve always been one to just take care of things on my own. Not so much because I want to but because I’ve been conditioned to. My boyfriend’s friend, who I just met a couple months ago, wouldn’t have a clue as to the reasoning of my reaction though and he quickly starts to lay it on thick…

“Lord.. all you women now-a-days are so independent! Can’t you girls just let us do things for you? I mean, it’s because we actually like to do things for you. It’s how we show that we care, seriously…”

He is not the only man to feel this way. I feel as though the majority of men see women as wanting to be Miss. Independent, yet to be honest, I don’t think it is so much of us wanting to be independent as it is that we have been conditioned to be this way.

My generation is the generation of the baby boomer parents. Baby boomers are the generation to have really started a new trend in parenting, instilling different values and ways of life. Whether you were married and then divorced, raising children that way, or never married to begin with and having children out of wedlock, one of the major lessons taught, be it beaten into you or subconsciously taught, was the lesson of being independent. Doing for yourself so you would never have to solely depend on others. This lesson being especially directed towards females. Men were always raised as being the “men of the house”. Families have always depended on men to bring home food, to help build and maintain shelter and order. Men were always looked as the bosses, the ones who truly ran the household. It has only been in the last 50 years or so that women have begun a new sort of revolution with what they wanted their contributions to be. More freedom to choose what, where, when, and who when it came to decisions to be made in their lives. Even women who have been in a loving marriage for decades will say that they wish a sort of different life for their daughters, one with more leeway to do what they want to do and without having to depend on anyone other than themselves.

My parents divorced when I was 4 years old. At that time, my mother had depended on my father so much that she didn’t even know to fill out a personal check on her own. She had been so utterly dependent on my father that when they split up, she felt as if she had been thrown into a world she knew nothing of. It was a struggle for her to get back on her feet and succeed as a single mother of two young girls. Her mantra always was, “Do for yourself. Depend on no man. You are all you need.” and as a kid, watching and observing, I took this in and applied it to my life. Before I knew it, it was my life.

I am no extreme feminist by any means. Yet, I do understand the thoughts behind those that are, just as I understand the frustrations plaguing men when it comes to the evolution of women and the roles men now play in their lives. But as it is a struggle for men to adapt to a woman’s newly found independence, it is also a struggle for women to find a middle ground with wanting to be independent while also allowing room for someone else to help take care of you. It is a small battle that presents itself regularly in life. One that I don’t ever see being won by either party but one that can be a bit more manageable.

For me it is a struggle to let go of the reigns a bit and allow for someone else to take on  more than what I am used to giving up. I have to remind myself that yes, although I am very independent, I also have to allow others who love me to do things for me, not because I can’t do them myself but because for them, it’s a way to show that they care. It takes effort and awareness to be able to allow for this to happen but it’s a challenge worth accepting if it means bringing a bit of joy into someone else’s life. I hope that for the women who read this post it allows for you to take a step back, however slight that step may be, in order to allow someone else to do for you. Allow them to care for you in ways that they would like to express. Give them that chance to express. I also hope that for the men who read this you may now understand that maybe it isn’t so much that we hate your help. It is that we have grown into independence and truly know nothing else.

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.

 

 

Life Quest

There is us, and then there is them.

Who are they? They are those who live in a world surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people, mostly people they do not know. There is not a minute in the day that doesn’t tic on by without contact with someone else. Every comment, every like inflating that ego; if gone a unnoticed, a pinprick. Alone time scares them. To them, it is an infinite darkness tightly wrapped in an anxious silence. These people have settled in life. They have obtained what they felt they needed but nothing more than that. Falling in a pattern of life that only allows them to come across life’s basic necessities, that to them is enough; content with living the social “norm.” Every morning they wake up and tend to their responsibilities. They eat, shit, sleep, and then wake up the next day and do it all over again. The most they do to spice up their day is to socialize with other’s of their same caliber. No one greater, no one who pushes them to strive for more, just mediocre people who allow them to coast just so they can have the upper hand. These people surround themselves with people, places, and things that do not serve them.  These are people who ignore their inner self. They don’t look to nourish their soul but instead their bank accounts. Instead of filling their homes with love and adventure, they fill it with stuff that ends up collecting dust.

On most days these people complain. They hate their jobs but it provides a way to eat. They gorge while complaining about the food they eat, wishing for whatever else except for what is on their plate. They complain about their “friends” or about the bills they must pay to keep their oversized house that they bought up and running. They complain about the debt they have accumulated for things that they no longer have or care to have. They complain about their closet and how it’s full of last season’s outfits. Most days they complain about it all, while other days they simply ignore the empty feeling they keep stored inside. These people live a daily sham, an unnoticed cycle they cannot rid themselves.

Then there is us. We are the mindful few that strive to be aware that today is anew. We have battles within ourselves because being aware and mindful isn’t easy. It is a struggle but we know the fight is worth every bit. We have limited people around us because we understand that we don’t need a world to stand with us; the world is us. Alone time is precious. It is a time in which we fill up our cups and replenish all that we have put out. We use this time to listen to ourselves for what we need and for what we so desperately want. To be constantly surrounded by others, especially those who don’t carry our best interests at heart, that is punishment. We stay away from the constant because what is constant is numbing.

We are those who like to feel life, whether it is a humbling time, a struggle, a moment of pleasure, we enjoy feeling what it is that we are going through momentarily. We understand that no period in time lasts forever and so we take each moment for what it is and embrace it, live it, then release it back into the Universe. We cherish those small and simple gifts of life. We may not have a castle full of jewels and riches, but instead we are the palace, full and rich. We have a couple trinkets that remind us of a memorable time. Nothing collects dust because we revisit and touch and think and love that little piece of trinket that we cherish so much.

We are those who take on journeys. We challenge ourselves, making sure we are evolving. We know being stagnant is death. We understand that life is a quest, one we purposely set out to be in and we take its mission seriously. We are life’s true warriors.

They are them and we are us.

I Can Assure You This Much

In my 31 years of observing life , one of the many things I have noticed with human beings is that no matter how kind or good-hearted you may be, you will always have at least one hater among the friendly faces.

People will hate you for your honesty.

People will hate you for pursuing a better life for yourself.

People will hate you for going after your dreams and not settling for less.

People will hate you for your happiness, especially if it outweighs their own.

They will hate if you chose to walk the unbeaten path.

They will hate you for putting your feelings and goals above their own.

Maybe you weren’t there for them the one time out of the 80, and because you weren’t a help that ONE TIME, they now hate you for it; stating that you were never there for them when they needed you.

Maybe your priorities are set a little different, different from their own. Don’t worry. They will hate you for that too.

Have you been sharing your stories, lets say, for constructive purposes? Have you been sharing in order to help a greater good? Yep, they will hate you for that too.

Let us take a look at some of the greats: Buddha, Jesus Christ, Princess Diana, Bono, Mother Teresa, all of which are some of the greatest humanitarians that this planet has ever seen. Yet even they have people with a list a mile long stating the things they hate about them.

I am no Mother Teresa I can assure you that much, but I can relate as I am sure you all can (yea, I’ll have a hater for this statement too) . We all have a hater or two (or 20) hanging around reminding us why we are “terrible” people. For many of you out there the need to please everyone you come in contact with is great, but I can assure you that you will drive yourself crazy trying to satisfy the many personalities that roam this planet. No one entity can make every human being happy, not even God, so how could you?

This life is your only life to live so live it to your truth without concern and without regret. You can still be a good person and selfishly live your life. Our time here is limited so the worst thing you could do is worry about what others around you make think of you. Most times they are lost as to what they should be doing with themselves, with their lives. Live your truth. Go after your own happiness. Do not resent those who hate you for what you are doing. Instead show them that they too can achieve the things they want out of life if they decide to one day tune out negativity. Be that example and show the world that no matter what, no matter how tainted and imperfect you are, you are still able to dance among the stars.

 

 

Respectfully Ours

“I find his advances so irritating but there isn’t much I can say, let alone do.”

“His timing couldn’t be worse. He wakes me up in the middle of the night after a long day and I am just not up for it but I give in anyways.”

“I keep telling him that I’m not interested in dinner, but he just won’t let up.”

“I just found out that they don’t pay me as much as him even though I have been here longer. I’m scared to even say anything because if I do. they’ll find a  way to fire me.”

There are moments when to be a woman feels like more of a chore than anything else. Almost like a burden placed on us by our ancestral society. Not only do we carry the weight of our children, but we also carry the pleasure of men. To be a woman, for those who are free, it is a delight. For those who are chained down to the expectations of another, the burden weighs heavy. Yet, the burden weighs on us for simply allowing it. It is about to be 2018 and it is only now that we are slowly starting to demand a right that is respectfully ours.

After being silenced for so long, it is time that we loudly begin to use our voices, and confidently take steps towards changing how the world as a whole view and treat women. There are those who argue that we are far more progressive than women in other countries but I counter them with the thought that just because others are struggling more than we are, does not mean we still don’t deserve to be treated as the beautiful souls that we are.

We once used to be the country that everyone looked towards for instruction or example. I want to be that for the women in other countries. I want us to represent and symbolize what it should be like for women of all over the world. After being silenced for so long, we must loudly begin to use our voices. After many years of being looked as a “lesser than” rather than an “equal to”, we must now demand it. Ladies, the view of ourselves has to change before anything else. That new view point will inevitability get the ball rolling. Our expectations for ourselves must be heightened not simply because we must, but more so because we can and we don’t. We matter and if we don’t believe so, then how will we change society and its distorted view of one of the most precious beings on this planet? Because remember ladies, we are Goddesses and without us, there is no life, no?

We must speak because if we don’t, who will do it for us?

We must fight and stand up for ourselves because if we don’t…who will?

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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