Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about people I’ve released along the path to self awareness. Not in a mournful or regretful fashion, but in a matter-of-fact and as honest as can be can be way that has allowed me to trace all of my hurt back to one common root; people pleasing. It’s true that people tend to mistake kindness for weakness but ultimately it is me I blame for making my sacred space so easily accessible to outside forces. Paying close attention to all of the ways I unintentionally taught others to treat me by continuously making myself available for them, expanding my energy and sacrificing my resources to help, has allowed me to understand why I kept on experiencing the same disappointments time after time. My logical brain can now grasp the mechanisms behind those dynamics. It’s not to say that I deserved to be taken for granted, violated or left out in the cold but I guess what I’m saying is that it does make sense. I’ve reached a sobering conclusion; being too kind is rather perilous. I’ve had to make peace with the fact that the majority of people I’ve let in both my physical space and my heart space during my adult life were energy drainers and takers who had been programmed by my fervent dedication to them to feel entitled to my efforts. The first friend I made in college was a California native named Paige. We were in different programs but converged during a Panafrican studies course at CSUN. I was a fish out of water. I knew no one at all and was not exactly proficient in English. I was enthusiastic about beginning my academic career and exploring Southern California but I lived off campus and meeting people wasn’t easy. Paige took an interest in me and my background. I thought she was funny and outgoing. We befriended each other and started spending a lot of time together on and off campus. She soon became family to me. Second year of college, the semester was just about to start but Paige was in between places. She needed a place to stay for a couple of months until she could move into her own apartment - the dorms were not a viable option for her and she had no family or close friend in Northridge. I was very lucky to have a one bedroom apartment and was living alone so I immediately agreed to have her stay with me for a little while. She was often at my place anyway. I had just stoked up the fridge when she moved in with me. It was full to the brim so it only made sense to dig into that. We lived off my groceries for a week or so after which she went grocery shopping on her own and began labeling her items. It rubbed me the wrong way but I didn’t make a big deal of it. I took note on how she decided to go about things. I had been raised in a very different context and attributed our habits and inclinations to that. One day, however, she took things a little too far. Back then, neither of us had a car so we’d regularly catch the bus together to get to campus. Not sure how much it is now but at the time the bus fare was $1.50. I had a dollar on me that morning but no extra change so I asked Paige to toss 50 cents my way. She did - reluctantly. Shortly after, she messaged me demanding that I return 50 cents to her. I laughed it off and ignored it. She couldn’t be serious… Well, she was. She insisted that she needed it. I was stunned by the boldness of her request considering I had been hosting her free of charge and sharing my food supply with her. I had been giving and giving without any expectations but that was just too hard to swallow. To say that she needed the 50 cents was an insult to our friendship and my intelligence. My perception of her was forever altered. Paige remained in my close circle throughout college but as time went by and life challenges arose, it became clearer to me that our friendship was one sided. Unflattering comments were consistently being thrown at me when in the company of other people. I was always the one to buy birthday presents, Christmas gifts and travel souvenirs. I’d be there to assist whenever she needed my help with assignments or creative projects but excuses were often made for her failure to show up or contribute in return. There was an omnipresent atmosphere of rivalry I didn’t feel comfortable with. She ended up having an unexpected pregnancy and gave birth to a beautiful boy while I dropped out of college to pursue artistic avenues. Long story short; we drifted apart. Paige isn’t the first or last to have repeatedly bit the hand that fed her. Clearly, I had more lessons to learn on that topic. Not too long after Paige stayed with me, I met Gary on a bus ride from Nordhoff St and Reseda Blvd to Reseda blvd & Balboa Blvd. He sat next to me and started chatted me up. We joked and instantly warmed up to each other. It was purely platonic. No sexual attraction of any kind. In fact, I couldn’t determine for certain what his sexual orientation was when we first connected. He was a manly man, but at the same time his feminine energy was palpable and I thought he could swing both ways. It really didn’t matter. Gary was hilarious, charming and sweet. He didn’t seem to have an agenda. We talked the entire ride only to realize we were getting off at the same bus stop. We exchanged contact information and met up again over food that same week. Gary reminded me so much of my bright high school literature bud and king of sarcasm Medhi. A sweetheart. The yin to my yang. The had very similar energies. The next time I heard from Gary, he was in the hospital at Cedar Sinai. He had been rushed there due to an invasive MRSA infection. I didn’t know what that was but was trying to understand how it had happened. That’s when I was first given a snap shot of Gary’s story. He was a recovering alcoholic who was staying at a sober living home near my apartment. He had left a toxic relationship and was trying to get back on his feet, doing what’s right, staying away from drama, and taking care of himself. He complained that the living conditions at the house were neither sanitary nor safe. Other tenants were sketchy characters. He didn’t trust them. He didn’t feel safe around them. He didn’t wish to stay there and attributed the infection to the lack of cleanliness. Gary didn’t have to say anymore; I immediately suggested that he move out of the sober home and come stay at my place. “You’re staying there Gary.” Is what I told him. “You only need to go back there to grab your stuff.” He relocated to my place as soon as he was discharged from the hospital. As usual; no compensation needed and no deadline. I told him to take the time he needed to recover from his illness and figure out his next move. Living with Gary was a breeze. He picked up after himself. He bought groceries. He cooked. He had an upbeat and graceful personality. He did all he could to contribute and would keep me in the loop as it related to job searches, entrepreneurial plans and other income generating strategies. We talked about my studies. I’d consult with him about guys stuff and he’d consult with me about girl stuff. I’d come home from campus and dinner would be just about ready. He’d greet me with big smile and get me excited about what he had decided to cook that day. We broke bread together and took care of one another. Gary was like an older cousin or big brother to me. He was a white American adult male in his thirties. I was in my early twenties and had been shipped to Northridge, straight from West Africa, but we found common grounds. He was going through a rough patch but was striving to keep his head above water and persevere in manifesting a whole new chapter. He had a mean sales pitch and would spent a great deal of time on his phone trying to close deals. He had this happy go lucky attitude which maintained that everything was terrific no matter what but I believe something deeply painful was concealed behind that cheerful  facade. Gary was quite sensitive and - although I couldn’t identify it back then - suffered from anxiety. I felt for him. I was clueless as to what severe anxiety looked or felt like but, in hindsight, all the physical symptoms were there. He wasn’t speaking on it but was struggling to cope with stress. I could sense he needed nurturing and was rather overwhelmed with worries about the future. I couldn’t necessarily relate to what he was going through but I supported him the best I could. We shared space for four ish months without friction or drama of any kind. We got along superbly well. Gary didn’t make me feel taken advantage of while he temporarily lived with me. He treated my home with care and got to meet my friends who also appreciated his presence. All in all, Gary wasn’t a burden to me. Again, Gary was family. Or so I thought. One day, he finally closed on a deal which awarded him a nice payout. As soon as he received the check, he started browsing Craigslist for a car. Us checking out local car listings and comparing different models is probably the last thing I remember us doing together. Gary bought himself a cool convertible. We celebrated that milestone. Out of the blue, he announced that he was headed to Palm Desert for a couple of days to chase after a business opportunity. I sent him off in his brand new convertible and he never looked back. We stayed in touch for a bit but he quickly grew vague and distant towards me. It was hard to keep up; his plans were constantly changing. Gary was a rolling stone with an effervescent personality - anything was possible. I had a full life, busy with classes, exams, new college friends, etc.  We grew apart. I reached out a couple of times without getting any feedbacks. I let it go, hoping he would find his way in life and remain sober. A couple of years later Gary popped up in my suggested Facebook profiles. That’s when I found out that he had moved to Nevada (I believe it was) and gotten married. Not being notified was hurtful but I decided to write him a congratulatory note to express my joy in finding out that he was doing so great and had tied the knot. He replied. He was shocked but stoked to hear from me after all that time. He apologized. A lot had happened. He didn’t mean to vanish. He wanted me to meet his wife. I accepted the apology but had mixed feelings. Parts of me felt our friendship had died. I didn’t ask for his phone number. I never wrote him again. He never followed up or acted on his statement. I basically sent him my blessings and that was it. Later that year, I met Kaya, marking the beginning of a relationship with great significance in my life. We were introduced to each other by mutual friends who thoughts we needed to connect. From the moment we said “hi” to each other we became two peas in a pod - inseparable. Kaya had just landed in LA and was staying with relatives but it was a full house; three generations lived under the same roof. Although she appreciated them very much, she had no privacy. Naturally, I invited Kaya to stay at my place in case the situation really wasn’t working for her. She took me up on that. Some of our best memories  were created during that time. We quickly got attached to each other and I loved her dearly. She was the first person I could be entirely myself with. Nothing was taboo. Nothing was too intimate, or too cringe. What was mine was hers. I essentially split my monthly allowance to account for her and her needs in the sense that if I were to get something for myself, I’d feel the urge to get it for her as well. Not because she asked, but because I wanted her to be included. It was so important to me that she felt welcome and comfortable. Nothing was really off limit; my food, my clothes… I trusted her fully. I was being fully sponsored by my parents therefore I was blessed with resources my college friends didn’t have. I felt Kaya, whom I perceived as brilliant and kind, deserved all the support she could get. I did everything in my power to lighten her load and she did everything she could to be of assistance to me when I needed help. It was a friendship which served as an anchor for many years and we got to share space several times over the course of our friendship. Kaya had ups and downs that reverberated into her relationships. I often felt I had to walk on eggshell around her, downplaying my joy and dimming my light to suit her comfortability level. Ultimately, some things transpired and caused us to drift apart. There were recurring breakdown in communication. For whatever reason, she really seemed to struggle with cheering for me during milestones and couldn’t show up for me during the most trying period of my life. Our friendship has been marked by hot and cold patterns with periods of estrangement. We are no longer in touch and sadly I do not see a path for reconciliation in the future - the will to med things is no longer there. Looking back, she was the only friend I’ve had in life who has ever resorted to violence against me due to a verbal disagreement. It is was put the first dent in our tumultuous friendship and also why our first attempt at living together came to a grinding halt. It ended awfully. I was incredibly hurt. It took some time but we eventually gravitated toward each other again and decided to repair the relationship. We did. We recovered from that terrible incident and put it behind us but that didn’t last for long; our friendship was punctuated by falling outs.  It’s not until this past week, when I fell ill, that I realized what had been happening in my twenties. I’ve spent my entire adult life subconsciously trying to resolve the oldest conflicts of my existence - those born and bred within the nuclear family unit. All of my romantic relationship had been a reenactment of the dynamics existing between myself and my primary caregivers, that I knew of. What I wasn’t aware of though was that all of my friendships were mimicking my relationships with my siblings. My brother was lovable, charming and funny, but not exactly dependable. He had anger issues. He was flighty and rather detached. There was no sense of duty to care, to truly step in, to be engaged. There was no protective instinct present and very little involvement in my life from a young age. My sister has been struggling with addiction since I was in high school and has been quite a disruptive force in my life. She has been fighting her demons for a long time and our relationship has greatly suffered because of it. She never really was able to set her own trauma and grief aside in order to show up for others. I longed for closeness with my siblings but it was never achieved. We dispersed as adults and all sort of fend for ourselves without leaning on each other. Lies and repeated betrayals have driven a wedge between us and we are at a point where no communication is taking place. I had to check my ego at the door and ask myself, in my heart of hearts, whether or not I desired to extend and olive branch and work at repairing the relationships with each of them. Taking a hard look at the past thirty years, I also had to ask myself what kind of value relationship like these were bringing into my life. Is there intentionality? Is there honesty? Is there respect? Is there acceptance? Is there genuine support? The truth is none of these tenets were being upheld and, although I have great love and compassion for my siblings, I have no tolerance for less than that. At this stage of my existential journey I firmly decline all that does not provide nourishment for my soul and fails to align with my highest purpose. I have no more room for people, places and things that aren’t conducive to my healing, my growth, my prosperity and overall wellbeing. Even if I want to go there, my soul won’t allow it. Despite how difficult it has been, and still is, I had to let my brother and sister go to honor my healing journey, respect myself and protect my peace of mind. I had to let them go to escape a hopelessly harmful pattern of constant rescuing, fixing and enabling. I had to let them go just like I had to do with Paige, Gary, Kaya, and Derrick to name a few. Who’s Derrick? Derrick is a cat I met in college. We were homies. He was a visual artist and a hip hop head. I was also heavy into hip hop back then. We talked about art and design a lot. He was a big black guy with a towering figure and a big bright smile - a friendly bear with a talent for drawing. He was interested in me and I knew it but I didn’t see us at all in a romantic context. The friend zone is where he would stay. Because he didn’t attempt to cross the line, I didn’t question his intentions. We got along just great and so long as he wasn’t overstepping boundaries, I thought there was no reason to be distant. Hah, what the hell did I know about boundaries… In the fall of 2012 I bought tickets to see Kendrick Lamar & TDE crew members Q, Jay Rock and Ab Soul perform at The Novo. I was a Kendrick fanatic - I don’t even have the words to describe just how obsessed I was with Kendrick’s music. He had just started touring and had not yet blown up the airwaves; there was no way I would miss that. Derrick was also a fan. Kaya was staying with me at the time but she didn’t care for Kendrick’s music at all so I offered my extra ticket to Derrick. On the evening of the show, he picked me up early as planned. He had brought a surprise: two marijuana edible cookies. At that point, I didn’t smoke at all but had tried edibles twice. One of these experiences had been fantastic while the other had been catastrophic. I told him about it and we both laughed at my expense but he thought I’d be fine. I thought so too. I wanted to give it another shot to amp my sonic experience and decided to take my chances. I buckled up and grabbed one of the two cookies after watching him swallow his. It wasn’t peer pressure at play or anything like that; I wanted to get lifted. Unaware of its potency I was first nervous to overdose myself and timidly chewed up about one half of it. We were driving from Northridge to DTLA in the evening so there was a good 40 minutes ride to the venue - at least. By the time we got to the parking structure, my naive and impatient self was surprised it had not kicked in yet so I just went ahead and swallowed the other half thinking I’d be alright. It was a grave mistake I was going to be regretting less than half an hour later. I was feeling incredible at first. A nice buzz developed as we made our way into the venue looking for the right spot to watch the performance. We squeezed our way through the crowd to reach the pit area which was starting to get packed. Having arrived at a decent time, we were able to get pretty close to the stage. The more people flooded the venue and the more I started to feel uneasy. I had not eaten a full meal for dinner. The pit area was crammed with folks who were pushing to get closer to the stage. It was hot and humid. Poor air flow. I felt suffocated. The lights went out and the show started but I became overwhelmed with the THC in my system. As soon as the artists hit the stage I started feeling really sick. It was too loud, too hot, too heavily populated. I started wobbling and both my legs gave up. Before I knew it, or could react, I was collapsing on the ground. It is the first time in my life that I fainted. I remember slowly coming back to my senses, confused, trying to recall what I had happened, feeling like I was floating. It was Derrick carrying me out of the crowd to a more open area. I sat down on the ground as he fetched me some water. We ended up witnessing the show from a corner of the venue. I spent the rest of the evening sitting down, unable to exert energy or truly enjoy myself. I was wiped out and dazed. I didn’t want my buddy to miss out on it so I just hung in there, trying to absorb the acts but I felt absolutely miserable. I wish I had not eaten the cookie and was pretty upset with myself for sabotaging the whole experience. I apologized to Derrick who was visibly irritated. He had eaten his cookie but wasn’t impacted in the same way I was. He was feeling fine but was annoyed that we had lost our viewing spots. We didn’t interact much for the rest of the show for he was standing up and I was sitting down. It was too loud anyway. I gave him space and rested until it was over and we could finally go home. On the way back though, he said very little. He was snappy and wasn’t showing much concern for my health. He was clearly frustrated with me and having an attitude. I wasn’t feeling sick anymore. I was just extremely depleted. In his eyes, I had ruined the show. By the time we exited the freeway, I had started to feel offended by his silent treatment and reminded him that I had not purposefully tried to make myself sick - I had made a bad judgment call. Derrick brushed me off. “The show was amazing and we were there. You could at least say thank you for the tickets” or something along those lines, is what I told him. We were on Roscoe Blvd, blocks away from my drop off location. We were about to hit a red light when he lost his composure and ordered me to get out of his vehicle. I vehemently refused, demanding that he drop me off where he picked me up and go pout somewhere else on his own time. It was late in the night and I wasn’t going to walk blocks in a poorly lit area by myself. That was out of the question. I was livid. He was furious too- now raging. He drove past my building, made a u-turn and pulled into the gas station at the nearest intersection, across the street from my building. He stretched his hand past my body and reached for the door handle, trying to push me out. I resisted and shut the door, yelling at him to calm his nerves. Three Latino boys my age or younger were filling up their tank and goofing around when they started noticing what was happening. Derrick got out of his car, circled the vehicle, open the door wide and dragged me out of the vehicle, tearing up my blouse. He tossed me onto the ground, grabbed my purse and sent it flying it in my direction. I was beside myself, crying, trying to cover up while collecting all of my things. My purse had spilled all over the floor in one of the most humiliating moment of my life. How could he react like this? I couldn’t understand. The boys didn’t intervene. They ceased to talked and simply watched. Derrick was twice as big as any of them. Despite being in twenties, he looked mature for his age and could have easily been thought to be thirty something years old. He jumped back in his car and stomped on the gas, fleeing the scene. I walked home and broke down telling Kaya what had happened. She comforted me and helped me get cleaned up but I lacked the maturity to process the episode and so did she. We ended up sort of laughing about it the next day, but it was just me swallowing my pride and carrying on. I ended up burying that incident somewhere deep in my memories and never spoke of Derrick again. I never heard from him either. He never apologized for putting his hands on me or leaving me on the street. Everybody makes mistakes, starting with myself. I’ve hurt other people’s feelings. I’ve done things I’m not proud of, things I wish I could take back. That said, loyalty to me has always been extremely important - almost to a fault. It doesn’t matter whether or not we are in good terms, if you are family, if you are what I consider a friend, I will vigorously defend your integrity and guard your interests. Behind close doors, I’ll say what I truly think and we’ll address our issues, but I will not stand for someone bad mouthing friends and family in my presence. Anyone I would open my heart to would get all that I have to give. I used to operate under the principle that I was happy to give my trust to anyone until that person gave me a reason not to trust them. I can’t afford to that anymore. After investing so much friendship that pulled me down, I’ve learned that trust is earned and built upon through a long established pattern of conscious reciprocal efforts. Today, as a wrap up my third decade on this beautiful planet and carry on with the hard work that is self purification, purging myself of anything and anyone that doesn’t serve my highest good, I am called to reflect on the nature of my relationships with some of the people who have played a role in my journey since I moved to California. It’s been real. It’s been riddled with heartaches and valuable lessons. I’m now ready to close a major life cycle and put the pain of the past behind me, where it belongs, taking only the wisdom it has birthed. Raising my vibrations and establishing firm boundaries has drawn the brightest lights  and softest hearts in my directions. I look at the current feminine and masculine energies in my life and my heart is so full. Time really is an illusion. It’s intention over duration - always. People I’ve only known for a few months or a few weeks have brought remarkable warmth, gentleness and peace into my sphere. I speak of people who are authentically themselves and genuinely of service; people who value the words coming out of their mouths and the impact of their actions. I really wanted to write an entry to honor the blessings that have shown up in my life in the form of kindred spirits. In doing so, I am sending a signal to the Universe to put more angels on my path and unite me with my soul family. Human beings are social animals. We need community. We need support. We need to feel heard and seen. We can’t do it all alone. I’m so very thankful for the relationships I am currently cultivating and making space for. I’m thankful that we manage to recognize, amplify and see each other so clearly. With these people, there is no competition or hostility. Instead we have vulnerability and wholeness. It’s only love. People who triangulate you into chaos, endanger your safety and wellbeing, or abandon ship are not friends. There shouldn’t be any power differential or confusion around a friend’s intention. To feel safe in existing as my truest self and be appreciated for it in all of my relationships is what I pray for.  It may last a lifetime, or a season, the importance isn’t the duration but the quality and depth of it. So long as it is rooted in love and acceptance, and that it is nourished with truth and balance, I welcome it wholeheartedly. Still. it is up to me to set protective boundaries so as to avoid feeling exploited, invalidated, unappreciated or disrespected in any way. Trauma bonding isn’t limited to romantic relationships, it also happens in the context of friendships and these friendships often end abruptly. I won’t be creating anymore monsters out of reckless people pleasing and poor spiritual hygiene. I’m a giver and that’s very unlikely to change but that’s a great thing. I am so proud of and deeply in love with the spirit that inhabits me. I do not seek to harden my heart or alter my core nature. However, moving forward, I’ll do a better job at screening those who have access to it. Not everyone is worthy and that’s okay. I’m grateful to those who value me; they’re the ones who matter.

#Bilan #Introspection #Realizations #Cleanse #Lessons #Gifts #Boundaries #Growth #JournalEntry #PeoplePleasing  #TraumaBond #HealingJourney #HigherTimeline #HighestSelf #SoulFamily #SolarReturn #ThirtyOne #NewChapter #NewCycle #NewBeginning #NoRegrets #InAlignment #DivinelyGuided #DivinelyProtected #HeartOfGold #AllIsWell #ThankYouMorePlease 

Not again.

It’s been an interesting weekend. It appears that Covid has kicked my ass for the third time but somehow here I am, on day 5, doing a whole lot better. Thank goodness for that. I’m not exactly back at my hundred per cent just yet but then again I feel I haven’t really been there in quite a while. The most important thing is that I’m not struggling as much as I was over the weekend. The pounding headaches, which were preventing me from being active, have pretty much subsided. I didn’t leave my house to go get tested but having been symptomatic for Covid twice since the beginning of the outbreak I’m now familiar with my body’s response to the virus. The last time was during Christmas 2021. It came upon me with an avalanche of trials and tribulations. My immune system was completely shot and I remember it being a lot more vicious then. Artemisia and turmeric tea were my best allies during my recovery, but it did take some time. I was feverish and sore, oscillating between hot and cold, with little to no appetite. My latest drift with Covid was a bit different. It started out with a creeping sore throat last Thursday followed the next day by a bit of coughing here and there. I drank lots of fluids and popped a couple of Ricolas thinking it would do the trick but came Friday evening I was feeling ill. An over production of mucus which was quickly filling up my airways, all of my muscles were aching and I had no energy whatsoever. I tried sleeping it off but the next couple of nights were anything but restful. I was so backed up that I’d rise out of sleep every few hours, panicked, feeling as though I was on the verge of choking. I had fever and chills again, but I wasn’t freezing and compulsively shaking like I did before. On Saturday I woke up very congested and exhausted. First thing I did was step outside with the pups to get some sun, armed with jug of water and a hat protect my face. Although I probably shouldn’t have, I spotted a half smoked joint from the night before and finished it. I remember skimming through an article months ago which presented cannabis compounds has inhibitors blocking cellular entry of Sars but, with so many environmental factors coming into play, layered with a subject’s own health history and natural predispositions, I took that with a grain of salt. It is clear to me that the method of ingestion plays a critical role in producing this kind of result. Given that smoking does not support lung health, in the case of Sars I’m assuming other methods of ingestion would be preferable. I indulged anyway. I’ve been purposefully avoiding relying on pain killers to cope with stomach pain or migraines and my head was throbbing. I lit it up, sat on the front porch, did some breathwork and sweated until it got way too hot for me to comfortably lounge outdoors. For lunch, I made Hainan chicken for the very first time - a simple dish I thoroughly enjoy. Soon after I relocated to this part of town I started regularly ordering it from a local eatery that makes it really well. I had virtually all the ingredients required to cook it so I gave it a try. I had used fresh lime juice, thinly chopped garlic, ginger and garlic paste, soy sauce and a little vegetable broth to marinate the meat and left it in the fridge to rest for 24 hours. I was only missing rice wine vinegar and chili sauce but decided to bypass that until next time. While I was poaching the chicken and cooking the rice, Ri decided to take himself on a walk. Maya had been close to me the whole time, eyeing the chicken on the stove, while Rio was zooming back and forth from the kitchen to the front yard. When I came back outside, he was nowhere to be found. I turned off the stove and went around the neighborhood to look for him for a good twenty minutes - without success. A few minutes retreating back to the house to check on Maya, I was sent Rio’s location. He was playing at a neighbors in a building right across the street. I walked over with his leash to retrieve him and take him home. I was so relieved to have found him that I didn’t even reprimand him. By then, I was also too tired to eat or do anything else. The migraine was rather violent and uninterrupted. My head had been pounding since the moment I woke up and nothing I did was helping to stop it. I caved and swallowed to aspirin and buried myself under the blankets. We all cuddled up on the couch. I dozed in and out of sleep all of afternoon. Eventually, I woke up starving and devoured the food I had left on the stove. It gave me some fuel. I thought I was feeling better and tried practicing Tai Chi but I couldn’t focus on the new sequence of movements. Instead of rushing through the program, I elected to put in on hold until I was more energized. I tried watching a Christopher Walken and Johnny Depp movie I had never seen before but didn’t make it past the first half. I went to sleep early that night. Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, except Rio didn’t turn himself into Dora the explorer. I think I found the opening from which he manages to leave the yard. I’m going to have it sealed asap. What I’m using right now isn’t going to last very long but I’m working on a more permanent solution. T is going to help me out. I’m blessed to have in on my team. He lives close by and is always dependable when it comes to work related stuff. He helps with tricky things around the house too. He’s got tools I sometimes need but don’t have. It’s been nice to have support from people who genuinely concern themselves with other people wellbeing’s and are happy to help a friend in need. I’m not just thankful for V and A for reciprocating within the context of our friendships, I’m also thankful for T and G who have assisted me in big and small ways throughout this transition. I wouldn’t have made it this far without their help. Anyhow, I had the house to myself for the weekend. It was wonderful to just be still and rest in silence. Today I woke up feeling significantly better. No more fever, or chills. I’m still a little bit congested but my body seem to have successfully combatted the viral infection. This time, it didn’t require a pile of over the counter medicine to get me through it, only a couple of aspirins + joints - my body worked it out its own. A strengthened immune system and  improved immune response is my takeaway from it; my overall is improving and that makes me really happy. This morning I spent time catching up with mom and dad, but not after Rio had broken out of the yard again… Yep. Again! 

Ri squeezes out through the bushes in certain areas. I thought I had identified all of the weak spots but there is most definitely one left and I need to figure it out before something regrettable takes place. Ri isn’t aware of potential danger - he is also very trusting. He walks up to any dog or human seeking to befriend them. I can’t let something happen to him. Three scares in a week - that’s intense. I panic every time I realize he’s gone; thinking it could be the last time I saw him. I can’t be mad at him for exploring either. He needs more training, sure, but he’s also an animal with instincts and it’s my responsibility to keep him safe. One way or another, we have to come to an understanding. For my own peace of mind, I’m also going to have to re inspect the perimeter multiple times to try and anticipate his next strategy. He is too smart for his own good and not a quitter… I bet he’ll be looking for another way to go visit his neighborhood friends. Both Maya and Rio are napping right now. I took a break to journal but I’m about to get back to work. I have a few more things to do before I wrap my day up. I’m currently staging and photographing my art so that I can update my website. I’ll check in later to give an update on my overall health but so far so good - I’m feeling alright!

Gratitude for all that is and isn’t.

I couldn’t finish that last entry - too much of nothing going on so I guess it will have to wait. Oh but wait… That’s not exactly it. What’s true is I’ll get to that eventually but, for now, I simply have no desire to revisit certain memories. I know just how taxing it is to go there. It’s seven days away from my birthday and I’m in a very good space. I feel strengthened, physically and mentally. I feel great in the skin I’m in. I finally feel rested. The drastic energetic shifts brought along by the last mercury retrograde were experienced very strongly. I was drained, uninspired and foggy. I was ruminating quite a bit too, feeling dragged down and stormy inside. It’s as if a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders since it ended - clarity has taken hold. It’s been such a heavy past couple of months. The more (hyper) sensitive I become to energies, the more I am incentivized to swirl down the rabbit role of extensive research and the more educated I come out on the other side about how my brain and body operate. To better understand is always the goal, which usually comes to pass. However, each quest generates a plethora of new questions for me to think about. It’s an endless game I love to play but it can also be exhausting. Sometimes I’ve got to take a break from overthinking or “doing the work” - inner work that is. Sometimes I just need to do nothing at all but breathe. I’ve learned that it’s perfectly acceptable to leave some questions unanswered. There’s truly no need to have it all neatly sorted out when there’s also intuition to rely upon. Not that I, or anyone for that matter, could ever come close to figuring it all out but some try. Anyhow, it’s about time for a gratitude post. I’ve held this entry in the back of my mind for a few days now with the intention to write it down but my attention kept on being diverted towards other things. It only caused me to amend the list by mentally adding more of the things I’ve been thankful for lately. Listening to Cranes in the sky during lunch yesterday, I was marveling at Solange’s impressive multi-tracked vocals and triumphant melancholia as my heart filled with gratitude. Some perceive this song as a meditation to alienation, addiction, and emptiness. Some argue that it is one of the gentlest, most painfully poignant songs ever written in the history of contemporary pop music. I couldn’t agree more. It’s an ode to all of the distraction one latches onto in one’s vain attempt to numb the dull ache inside of oneself and escape the harsh aspect of one’s reality, if only for a moment. At times we do it consciously. More often than not though, the subconscious mind is in the driver seat, taking us for a ride. Still, Cranes in the sky puts things into perspective, peace of mind being the terminus - at least in my experience. This song, to me, is an echo to the importance of persevering and the glory in giving ourself the time and space to heal. In my opinion, the record’s underlying thread finds its root in self acceptance and self appreciation - it’s where it ultimately leads. A seat at the table is a prized jewel which acknowledges the complexity of the black woman’s growing pains with much grace, like few have done it before. Although it exudes romance and feels much like a slow caress moving across my back, I don’t believe its inherent softness romanticizes pain. It doesn’t dwell in it either. Sure, pain is felt deep in the listener’s guts, but relief is simultaneously provided by the messaging. There’s heightened faith in black people’s remarkable ability to persist in elevating themselves and their community no matter the circumstances. Solange is a treasure of an artist who revels in blackness, cold truth, and warm healing. Both her and her sister have helped me name and process my feelings to the rhythm of their drums. Both are highly introspective visionary and iconic divine feminine in their own rights. I have immense respect for their integrity as artists and could thank neither of them enough for their contribution to Black culture worldwide. They have provided nourishment for my soul. In that sense, artists have done more for me than most lovers and friends I’ve had in this life - real talk. Generally speaking I am so very grateful for artists who lay it all out and genuinely hold space for other people’s emotional healing by simply daring to be boldly and authentically themselves, championing truth and embracing vulnerability with open arms. I think, like Alex Grey, that the primary purpose of art is to heal. If the intention to trigger a response, to reveal, to magnify, to question, to immortalize, to reframe, to denounce, to nurture, to celebrate or to enlighten isn’t there, you probably shouldn’t have any business calling it art… That’s what I think. Talking about artists with unprecedented levels of integrity; I went to see 070 Shake’s opening show at El Rey theater for the series of Los Angeles performances she’s currently doing as part of her 2022 You can’t kill me  tour. The last show is tonight in case you want to catch her magic live. I believe it’s sold out but it’s certainly worth trying to score tickets for it may very well be your last chance to catch her in an intimate setting before she starts filling up stadiums. I give her two years tops to headline The Forum or Crypto arena. I’m not kidding - she’s an otherworldly creature who has made a great impression on me. Her rise to stardom is going to be astronomical - she’s a rocket about to be deployed to space. Well, I have to say, my favorite rapper at this time is this 24 years old woman. I’m very pleased to report it. Dani Moon is what you may (rightfully) call a young prodigy. She’s been on heavy rotation for months now and I just can’t seem to get enough of her potent elixir. In this case, I have my ex spouse to thank for putting me on to her, as well as Massive Attack. Life changing discoveries! Along with a handful of other stellar musicians such as Cleo Sol, Tierra Whack, SZA, Okay Kaya, Little Simz, James Blake, Jhene Aiko and Travis Scott, her sound has gotten me up and out of the trenches of my nasty divorce. She’s got an extraordinary talent for unearthing saturated mixtures of convoluted emotions through gripping melodies, inviting you into the darkest rooms of her mind to then guide you back towards the light of self awareness and unconditional love. I really connected with her music over the past year or so. The bond is of spiritual nature at this point. I mean, the girl is on another level and quite literally speaks for me. Her entire repertoire is now classic material in my eyes and my musical landscape wouldn’t be complete without it. I feel she’s probably too meta for the massed, but I think she has tapped into the gamut of emotions that are most tangible to gen Z earthlings. She has risen as a sort of elemental hood prophet for the youth and it’s quite obvious to see that she’s well on track to become the next rap superstar. The greats have awakened to her potential which is why she’s such a hot commodity for features - they all want a piece of Dani Moon. The greats have recognized that she’s onto something - a magnetic force and a leading voice helping to define the new wave of Hip Hop. Her sonic universe and overall aesthetic is just so fascinating to me. She has definitely taken a few pages from Cudi’s book. She’s so damn raw with it. So transparent. So sincere. So fearlessly unapologetic. The quality of her relationship with her craft speaks to me on a core level. Anything other than radical honesty lacks resonance. I don’t want it. I don’t want pretenders. Show your pain. Own your crap. Be exactly as you are. Lead with heart. Surface level does nothing for me. Despite her young age, she touches on universal emotional cords that encapsulate deep layers. It feels chaotic at times, due in part to the wide range of emotions mixed in, but I respect and appreciate that she honors them all. I can relate to that, especially at this time of my life. Some of these feelings are particularly difficult to describe but she somehow evokes them effortlessly. Not only are her tracks produced really well, she is also very skilled at emoting. It never comes across as well rehearsed and performative. Instead, it seems to be stemming from a place of intimate inner standing and personal experience. The steady use of synths contribute to the ethereal aspect of her body of work - a dance between nightmares and dreams. If you’re going to deep dive, prepare for a voyage into the confines of your soul; she really goes in there with the intent to excavate and leaves no emotional stone unturned. She’s a beast! I had bought tickets when it was first announced, not knowing who I’d be taking with me. I had planned to resell the second ticket and attend the show alone in case I found no suitable +1 as I’d much rather be in my own company for an experience like this one than being followed around by someone I merely tolerate. I got the tickets because I just knew I had to go. I introduced S to 070 Shake soon after we met and he immediately grew fond of her style. We ended up going to the show together and it was better than anticipated. She creatively maximized her resources to make a low budget production pass as a grand spectacle. Nothing wild. Just a great use of lighting, excellent stage presence and an impeccable play with harmonies - she never misses. I’m seriously crushing on Dani Moon but that’s not surprising to me; I fall in love with anyone and anything that bares soul. I’m feeling grateful for a whole lot of things in the present moment. I haven’t yet gotten any attendee for the support group I’m set to be hosting but I’ve received a few direct messages from ladies looking to connect. To be completely honest, I think I’m glad it’s taking longer to grow solid roots. I wasn’t quite prepared to step into that role - too much was happening internally and I had to navigate that ahead of anything else. Energies and timelines are shifting fast though. It feels different now. The house is looking quite nice. I may not entirely be ready but my space is definitely primed for hosting with just a few minor things left to upgrade. I still can’t believe I landed this place and almost walked away from it after months of trying all I could to secure the right spot. There is hardly a better fit for me in this town; the universe handed me the perfect spot to rebuild! I spend time lounging in each and every room in here. Whether it is my bedroom, the den / study room, our kitchen, the dining area, the living room, or the front yard - you name it, I’m hanging there. Not one area of the house feels unwelcoming to me or neglected by me. I occupy the entire layout and find bliss in every corner. Having spent significant time alone here with the dogs, I’ve developed an acute sense of space and can easily pinpoint where any and all things are located inside the property. I’ve taken my time organizing every single drawer and every single shelf, ridding myself of what was no longer needed, so my visual memory is on lock. With detailed instructions, I could pretty much send anyone in to retrieve anything I needed in case of an emergency or any situation in which I wasn’t able to physically access the space myself. It’s great to exercise control over one’s domain by way of mastering order. Being rigorously organized has always been an asset to me and the work I’ve put into putting everything together shows. It brings me satisfaction and calm. This week I adopted a couple of new plants. One is a six feet tall dracaena marginata, otherwise known as a Madagascar dragon tree. I have a younger dragon trees which has taken a severe beating due to Rio’s tornado like zoomies all over house. He jumps on and off the sofa like a mad man when he gets excited and that particular plant has suffered great damage because of it. It first started with one of its three heads accidentally being snipped off. My fault for thinking it was sound to continue placing the tree near the sofa despite having been decapitated by Rio’s karate chops. I liked it there and was being stubborn but I’ve learned my lesson. As of right now, there is one head left standing - the plant itself is hanging by a thread. I capitulated by relocating it somewhere else but, sadly, it is probably too late. The other recent addition to the plant gang is a beautiful monstera. Not the first, but it’s probably the best looking right now. It’s incredibly healthy and is now facing its big sister plant in the living room, framing the fireplace beautifully. It’s starting to look a lot greener in here and I’m ecstatic about it. Lots of new growths - all plants seem to be thriving. That’s probably because the ambient temperature is ideal in the living area. It’s nice and bright inside but the light isn’t harsh; it stays relatively cool as there is no direct exposure to the sun. From the front door to the kitchen, the air flow is amazing. I tend to leave both doors open during the day and burn incense any chance I get with the aim to clear out stagnant energy. I’m so comfortable at home that I hardly want to go anywhere. Honestly, I’m so grateful to call this place home - it is my refuge. I spent my last on these plants… Call it reckless if you want; I call that self care. Per usual, I have no regrets. Purchasing plants is no different to me than buying groceries, books or essentials. Like I often say, it’s more so the plants taking care of me than me taking care of the plants. I consider it an early birthday treat from me to the house and therefore myself for the house is but an extension of me. Anyhow, I’ve been staring at these plants ever since. I suppose it’s better than looking at my bank account which is just about to run out of digits. Being under financial constraints is more manageable for me when surrounded by beauty of all kinds; order and beauty make it much easier for me to meditate and gain clarity as. I spend a lot of my time outside doing just that. Having an outdoor space is in my opinion the ultimate perk of this house and a luxury in itself. I sure make it a point to utilize it. I enjoying caring for it. The beauty isn’t just in material comfort and thoughtfully curated interior, it is also in the dirt, the rocks, the bark and the leaves growing outside. Per our agreement, the unit’s owners were supposed to grow real grass in the shaded portion of the front yard. It took months to witness any action taken on their part but I finally got them to follow through with it. It’s been roughly two weeks since the gardener has prepared the ground and sowed the seeds. I step outside first thing in the morning to hang with the pups and check the lawn. I get too excited about the daily progress - it’s growing and it’s growing fast. V and I trip about it a lot. We bought bistrot lights that we plan on setting up below the canopy. It will soon transform into the most perfect setting for al fresco dinners; simply gorgeous, with all the beautiful plants surrounding the perimeter. I’ve got a couple large ones lined up to the join the crew and seal the left end corner. One is a giant areca palm and the other is a big weeping fig - both are about 8 feet tall. I’ve been tight financially but one thing I haven’t compromised on is my quality of life. Outdoor access and indoor plants of course fall under that umbrella, but another thing that is now a non negotiable for me is good quality food and beverages. I’ve been relying on Amazon fresh deliveries to supply me with the best stuff for myself and the pup. Rio has been licking his paws and Maya has been scratching herself a lot despite regular baths. I’ve put them both on a pro-biotic regimen and feed them a chewy treat on their way to using the bathroom every morning. They love it. It might be too soon to declare the Pet Lab formula effective but I’ve been monitoring their behavior to see if there is long term improvement. I’ll have to follow up on that in a couple of months. They’re both in great shape though. They shower me with love. I couldn’t be more blessed. They love it when we run out of dog food because I end up cooking meals for them using human grade food. They only get to snack here and there otherwise - I’m not as lenient as I used to be. That doesn’t stop Rio though. He steals food from the kitchen counter any chance he gets. He got me good a few times! The wonderful thing about having less money to throw away is that I’m cooking a lot more these day. I made a large pot of creamy chicken adobo last night. Since V is vegetarian, I couldn’t offer it to him. It was so delectable that I ended up eating most of it in one sitting. Large chunks of garlic were so soft that they would melt over the rice like dollops of cream. It was just the right amount of fresh herbs and spices swimming in a fragrant yellow broth. I had the last piece for lunch today and it was freaking delicious. V had cooked some okra  so I had it as a side dish. I can’t express just how much I love okra… Dear lord. There really couldn’t have been a better complement to my eating experience. V is an excellent cook and what’s even better than that is that he loves to share his creations. His eyes light up when he talks about food, patiently listing all ingredients and their provenance. I’ve been learning a lot about about the richness of Indian cuisine and the nuances that characterize each region. It turns out that we are generally limited to experiencing a homogeneous Americanized version of Indian cuisine, here in the US, one which hails mostly from the northern part of India and isn’t representative of other region’s intrinsic gastronomic value and countless specialties. V is from the south. I discovered that sambar, which I had never tasted before, as well as these odd green vegetables called drumsticks that I never knew about make up one of my top three favorites Indian dishes. Likewise, paratha is now my absolute favorite kind of flatbread all across the board - ahead of pita, naan, or corn tortillas! I top mine with just a little melted butter, fresh cilantro and sea salt. It’s hands down some of the best carb loaded thing I’ve ever eaten. V & I catch up daily and have grown closer because of our smoking, dining, and hiking rituals. He is a savvy day trader and kind of an IT genius with an interest in occult sciences. He seems eager to gain a better understanding of things like astrology, geology, visual art and sound therapy. I talk to him about metaphysics and psychedelics. We share experiences with a fair amount of mutual roasting. He teaches me the fundamentals of trading and demands that I be his test subject whenever he whips up something new in the kitchen. We look out for one another. Like me, V is free handed and volunteers to help. He is pretty straightforward and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. We are both active listeners and we both make it a point to speak with clarity hence communication between us is truly great. He mirrors my energy so well that it all flows with ease. No tension or misunderstanding of any kind -  sharing space has been a delight. We shop for groceries and medicinal together. We either split things down the middle or one covers it this time and the other gets it the next - the energetic balanced is usually preserved no matter the scenario. He buys supplies for the house on his own accord and stays on top of things. He showed me how to use the hookah kit he recently purchased and leaves it out for anyone to use. He cooks and systematically cleans after himself. He also keeps an eye on the pups when I’m out for the night or grabbing furniture. Rio used to lash out and chew up everything he could find when I left the dogs home alone to go run some errands, shortly after being reunited with them. It’s been good to be able to leave without feeling so anxious about them doing alright. Having V here has certainly helped wean Rio and Maya off of my presence. Some things are still left to fix from the damage Rio has done on three of the interior doors but I patched up the front door the best I could for now, which was the worst of it, and it’s practically invisible. My bedroom door is another story. Ri unleashed his dragon on that one but I no longer see it when I open the door so it’s not insufferable - yet. Other than that they’ve been awesome. They are arguably the coolest dogs I’ve ever known - I can’t complain. They are sweet as ever and goofy as hell, cracking me p all day long with their shenanigans. They both love to clock as much cuddle time as possible. Even Ri who used to be rather protective of his personal space can’t seem to get enough snuggles these days. He acts independent but he is such a big darling baby. I love them both to pieces. Maya doesn’t care to act tough. She’ll literally throw a vocal tantrum if I don’t give her the prescribed amount of quality time she requires daily. They are my Sun and Moon, this pair of wild coyotes. Ri is starting to give Maya a run for her money at wrestling. I basically start my day playing with the dogs in the yard, drinking water and checking emails. If I’m in the mood I roll up a joint and journal for a bit. The dogs and I have lots of fun together - they keep me active. Rio is too smart for his own good though. He persists in breaking out of the yard. He met a friend across the street, about the same age as him, and it was love at first sight. Maya was lowkey butt hurt by the flying sparks fly. She really didn’t appreciate being the third wheel but their intense chemistry left virtually no room for her to insert herself in their dynamic. I was actually told by another neighbor that Rio was seen walking up to his friend’s porch to try and visit her but given that the mission failed and he couldn’t get it, he just kept on going. Thank goodness the neighborhood is secure and the folks around here are friendly. I got Rio back safely each time. That said, I’m not going to press my luck by playing with these odds. I’ve spotted the last hole that needs to be sealed so he won’t be taking himself out for walks anymore. One thing after another, it’s all getting taken care of. l still got some debts to clear but I’m trusting that will work itself out sooner than later. Not being able to wipe the slate clean and focus on building a saving account has been stressing me out but I’m trying my best to not pull my hair out over something I can’t control. It’s a waiting game; traction will develop. Seeds have already been planted. All I can do is work on possible ways to increase my visibility and improve my formula - if necessary. It needs time to germinate but the work is already done. One thing I’ll say though is that my quality of life has not been compromised. I make sacrifices everyday based on a wants versus needs screening method but I’ve been able to make it work up to this point without feeling too burdened. My body is growing more fleshy and voluptuous as a result of all the stuff I’ve been feeding it and I am more and more in love with myself. Knowing there was a point in time when my stomach couldn’t process food due to chronic stress, having no beef  with my digestive system is wonderful. For a whole year I couldn’t keep any weight on and had become a shadow of myself. Back then, everything hurt. It was hell. I feel so good in this body in the present moment, I catch myself gripping my own ass when I walk - try it, it’s nice! By the way, I finally mustered up the courage to post my first real. Well, not really the first ever - that one was of my newest monstera leaf right before it unfurled. It is the first real of myself though. Naturally, I’m naked. It’s almost scary to think of just how unafraid I am to show my unadulterated self to the world. No clothes. No makeup. No mask. Making reels is going to be fun for content creation. I’ve probably spent more than I should on weed but in my want vs need chart weed is currently labeled as a need so I do what I have to do to budget for it. I just got to stretch things out a bit longer until I can manifest this new stream of income into my life. I know I’ll derive great satisfaction and rewards from the work put into it. It’s something I love and know I can be successful at. I actually encountered my first lead two days ago. A rep for a large non profit got in touch with me regarding a project. My setup was considered as a back up plan in case the original one fell through but I got an opportunity to issue her a quote and build rapport. She described the project to me along with some point of references and said she’d keep me in mind for subsequent ones. It’s good to know that something is happening. Like I said, the work is done so I’ve got to demonstrate patience until it’s time for harvest. I’ve played my part when it comes to laying the foundation for something to grow. It’s time for me to regroup and put my energy into some of the many other things I could be doing in the meantime. I’m proud of the relationship I now cultivate with myself. I can’t emphasize this enough: the more I understand and accept myself, the more I love myself and - coincidentally - the more patience I have for myself. I’m grateful for people who are compassionate, vulnerable and brave enough to go through this shadow integration process openly. Indya Moore posted a sort of open letter recently about the mess that comes with healing in public despite the power that it holds and her words made me feel a lot less alienated in my current posture. Overall, I’m grateful for the people who are entering my life equipped with similar mindset and aspirations, or simply have the desire to fully support and embrace one another. Kindred spirits like Z, A, J, V, of S are godsends. It’s been lovely. My bank account isn’t loaded right now but I’ve got everything I need and then some. I’m at peace and eager to celebrate my solar return in a special way this year. I’m so very proud of how far I’ve come. Above all, I’m grateful for my tenacity, my faith in Spirit and my resourcefulness - this lemonade turned out alright. It’s been real. It’s been challenging. It’s been excruciatingly painful…  But look at me now, I’m so very blessed. No void to fill. I sleep, eat, and smoke good. I am surrounded with positive uplifting energies. I haven’t been all that inspired to paint but that’s okay. I’m not beating myself over it because I cannot stop moving my body and have been enamored with the art of dance. Most times, I have no clue what I’m doing but I just want to do it - the fun is in exploring. I feel so alive. I’m so grateful for the journey. Thank you Gaia. Please allow me to experience more. Please allow me to do be more, to expand, to live fully… Thank you, more please! It’s all been worth it so far; in Her I trust. Lastly, I’m grateful for my nephew’s good health. I’m not sure when and if I’ll be able to meet him but I ask Spirit, my dearest angels, beloved ancestors and ascended masters to look after him and shield him from any harm.

#ThankYouMorePlease #AndSoItIs #SoVeryGrateful #DivinelyGuided #DivinelyProtected #WantsVersusNeeds #HighestSelf #RadicalHonesty #HealingJourney #ArtIsLife #LifeIsArt #Journaling #Gardening #Dancing #Reading #Sleeping #Cooking #Learning #Practicing #Mastering #Alignment #Amen 

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