Headed Home

As soon as I publicly voiced my plans on moving back home I had quite a number of people reach out to me questioning why.

“Why would you ever come back here? Why leave Florida to come back to this?”

It’s a natural question especially coming from those who have never left home. For someone like me who has been away from home for 12 years now, the question is a bit silly. My answer is simple. I’m ready to head back home.

I first left NJ when I was 20 years old. I had just gone through a very painful breakup. I was tired of my town and all of the surrounding areas. I had been born and raised in the same area and although I knew quite a few people from all sorts of different backgrounds, I was bored of it all. There was an entire world to see. I would be damned if I where to just stay in one spot my whole life.

I took off to Florida in February of 2008 and I have pretty much lived in every major area of South Florida except for Miami. I also moved within that time to California and lived there for exactly one year before heading back to the East Coast with my tail between my legs (you may have won the battle but not yet the war CA! *shakes fist dramatically in the air*).

I have experienced so many different kinds of adventures, and been on so many journeys, some bad, most good. I’ve gone through many lessons and although life lessons will never cease to exist, every single one I’ve been through up until now has helped me discover who I am. I believe that without discovering and learning about who we really are, not just as people, but also as individual souls, without knowing that you can’t possibly enjoy life for what it really is. How can you enjoy it if you are always questioning yourself, your likes, your dislikes, your boundaries, your desires? How can you create your reality when you barely know your dreams? Not society’s, not your family’s, but your own. Moments of introspection and self-discovery are key to experiencing and living life in the best way we can for ourselves.

I once left home because I was tired of being around the same old, to learn more about myself, and to see what I was capable of. Now I go home because I’m ready to be around all those that know me and love me for me and always have even before I truly knew myself. I am ready to be around familiar surroundings. I can take what I’ve learned about myself and apply it to my everyday life and do something special with with it alongside of the support and love of my family and friends.

I am running towards what I once ran away from. Although I will never lose my itch to discover, that is what traveling is made for. I will always be nomadic. It is in my blood. My move back home may not even be forever, who knows!? I, however, do know that home is where the heart is and I’m headed on back.

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.

Laundry Mat Lemonade

“School bus yellow” is the color of the chairs that line the windows at the laundry mat I go to. They remind me of subway seats except a bit narrower yet, I don’t find them uncomfortable. I sat and read a bit to pass the time and to be honest it was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a while.

I am a bit weird, finding pleasure in the most dull activities. My days spent at the laundry mat are an example of this. The sound of the spin cycle swooshing its contents around cradle my senses. The smell of detergent mixed with the warm air expelled from the dryers amplify the feel of comfort. The soft feel of the newly dried clothes when folding it into piles to be put away at a later date (because I’m not sure why it takes me days to put away my clothes). I find all of that so soothing to me. Sure, going to the laundry mat can take away from the relaxing bit of your time off if you let it, but I try to think of what many people would find annoying as positives.

Yes, it could get crowded with all sorts of characters, and yes you may have to wait for machines, or make small talk with a stranger. Those are all still “not-so-bad” kinds of situations. Yes, you’re hauling your dirty laundry around, getting more exercise than you had hoped for in the process. Still, not-so-bad kind of a situation. And yes, you may lose a sock, a button, or a set of your favorite pillow cases (true story) but doesn’t that happen to you anyways?

I observe. I write. I read. I take moments to enjoy how different it feels to be at the laundry mat. I look at others, be it employees or patrons, and I try to create enchanted lives for them. I may even daydream and create an enchanted life of my own.

No one ideally wakes up with the need and want of spending time at the laundry mat, but sometimes life will throw you a lemon. Don’t just stare at itor make that same old, same old lemonade. Observe it from a different angle and see what else you can make of it.

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.