The large majority of characters in my social media bubble are seemingly happy and healthy individuals, seemingly clocking little time in the severe trauma department, resulting in a seemingly short bandwidth for touchy subjects with links to domestic abuse and struggle with mental health. It is a bit of a shock to be confronted with the grim reality of someone else’s silent battles, especially when things present differently on the surface. It tends to cast light onto shadow aspects we often aren’t all that prepared to look at. To rebuke a counter narrative is a perfectly rational response, unless there is a personal motivation to genuinely understand what’s at play. Social networks are tough crowds to strip naked in front of - I must confess - but at the same time, these are not the sort of topics one wishes for people to resonate with on a personal level. Those who do resonate with emotional and physical abuse typically make themselves known in private, for obvious but nonetheless distressing reasons. There seems to be an enduring, pervasive, opaque layer of hush-hush surrounding such thematics. Shame is omnipresent. From where I stand, I can’t help but think… If only it wasn’t so difficult to talk about, a lot more women - or men - would find their way out sooner. The load just wouldn’t be as heavy. Sadly we don’t, or not enough, for it’s easier to look away. The deed has already been done - what more is there to fuss about? Best to forgive, forget, and press on, they say… What does that mean though? In layman’s terms, what exactly am I supposed to do with it? Swallow it? Passively allow it to metastasize? There’s little tolerance for the raw and ugly in a digital universe ruled by unrealistic societal expectations of sustained toxic positivity, unless of course it is sensationalized. Sometimes, all is not well. Sometimes, we can’t seem to free ourselves from the pressure to maintain a controlled facade. Sometimes, things get out of control and we get really tired. Sometimes, we believe that love will take us the distance and that there is virtue in staying, working at it and hoping for change. Sometimes, we believe we are driven by love when we are in actuality driven by fear. Sometimes, we suffer in silence because we can’t string the words together. Sometimes, we lose ourselves into false narratives of bliss, shifting our focus from what most needs our attention. Sometimes, we lie to ourselves until we no longer can, at which point we may choose to hide. The shame, I feel, is in not breaking the silence and in “keeping it together” until it suddenly comes apart. The tragedy is in pouring into someone else’s cup but not into our own.
By all means, follow the path of least resistance in hopes of maintaining an emotionally balanced and fulfilling life. More power to you if you somehow manage to do away with karmic bonds and integrate life lessons as adequately and painlessly as possible. Love is a mighty powerful force which can move mountains and conquer all obstacles within the context of a nurturing environment. Toxic love, on the other end, will do a number on you, if it doesn’t kill you first. Toxic love will seek to annihilate your trust in others and corner you into fearing love itself - a notion I unequivocally choose to combat. Love is the remedy, beginning with self love. Love is the ultimate currency and the only rational act when experienced unconditionally. It seeks to hold, but not too tightly. It enlightens and edifies. I recently came across the following quote: “Acceptance is the bridge. Understanding is the door. Love is the key.” I saved it and reposted it because, yes, love is indeed patient and kind. You’ll know it’s right if it energizes and uplifts you. You’ll know it’s meant for you to treasure if it inspires you to embody the best version of yourself. For starter - friend, love and honor yourself by prioritizing your growth. Only engage in situations and partnerships that won’t seek to stifle it, ones that encourage you to expand and flourish. When it comes down to it, choose yourself - every time. In my experience, self abandonment is the hardest wound to heal from. It’s a different flavor of pain. Never give up on your own magic; invest in yourself the way you would invest in others.
There is no need to fear judgement. One’s perception of another is merely a reflection of that being perception of the self - the other acting only as a mirror and vice versa. Nothing is ever that personal when triggers are there to reveal the inner work. These things we bury deep, the things we labor to grapple with and attempt to escape from, these things that hurt to think about are all catalysts for liberation. The more we unravel these stories, the more we come to make peace with them. There is no need to fear failure and judgement, nor is there a need to fear the truth about yourself. Adversity delivers seeds of wisdom and very promising fruits to those who cultivate them with gratitude. Unlearning self limiting beliefs is a lifelong journey; it has no end. Harmful patterns cease as we empower ourselves to recognize them. Left unchecked, these negative cycles rush us down fiery pits with revolving doors onto the depths of hell. Here to shed light onto a handful of them and how I found my way out. It’s not necessarily palatable but it is screaming to be flushed out; mind, body, and soul no longer want to carry it around. At this point, I truly have no choice but to do what is asked of me in order to keep on. This is a safe space to unpack, to grieve, to exchange, to learn, to heal, to marvel - free of judgement. This is my sacred haven - a journal of sort - and I welcome you in for radically honest conversations. Happy to lead the way! Lately I’ve been wearing my emotions on my sleeve, telling people exactly what it is I think or feel as if I were to die tomorrow and without regard for how shallow or deep the conversation might have been. If you ask the question, you’ll get the answer. If you don’t ask the question, you may still get the answer. Either way, there is no fluff, no false pretense, no social mask, just what was, what is, and what I hope will be. No room for regrets and what ifs. If it isn’t so, I can also accept it for what it is for all is unfolding exactly as it should. So far it feels like a strange social experiment; most seem to be unsure as to what to make of it - they quickly stop asking questions. Too intense. Too uncomfortable. Instead, they draw their own assumptions. That too, I have to accept.
After doing the math a gazillion times, the cost of not speaking my truth remains notably more devastating than the potentiality of being misunderstood. Keeping silent these days torments me. The way I see it, all that could be lost has already been surrendered to the aether in the form of dust. I feel called to once again step into foreign lands, taking on a role I had mostly been terrified of identifying with for the better part of my life. Worried that I may not live up to my own expectations, I thought to myself that I lacked the credential. What credential is that? I’m not entirely sure… What I do know is that I write on a daily basis and have for years. If putting in 10,000 hours towards mastery of a complex skill provides certification like Malcolm Gladwell claims, I’m not doing too bad here! I’m kidding, by the way - learning varies in terms of format and pace for each of us. I’d be the first to tell you that. If you catch me speaking in absolute, I count on you to call me out on it. My point though is that writing is a vital practice that has become second nature; to inquire, to research, to analyze, is a lifelong commitment and reflecting on what I feel and learn daily is something I’ve grown to love accomplishing in the written form. It is, in fact, one of the things I’ve longed to do for as far back as I can remember.
Since the dissolution of my marriage, facets of my very eclectic personality have been rising to the surface, many of which had long been actively suppressed or simply lying dormant - unbeknownst to me. We all face drastic changes as we swirl up and down this wild rollercoaster we call life, but certain transitions bring about full revolutions. These emerging aspects I’ve been juggling with have been leaking intense clusters of emotions, churning out into ever evolving thoughts and ideas that yearn to be expressed. Some of these thoughts and ideas remain somewhat obscure, others are ripe, eager to ripple out into space and connect with the thoughts and ideas of others. I feel these feelings are valid and these experiences will gain value in being shared. I feel I owe it to myself to release my creative output into the world in a more structured fashion, by providing ample context on how it all transpired. I don’t create out of a vacuum - I don’t believe anyone does. My glorious moments shall be celebrated, and my darkest times - however painful - ought to be extracted from the cold earth to make way for new life. To embrace and better understand the world shaping up around me is the same as seeking to know myself. To create, learn, and grow is all I ever want to achieve. To heal and assist others with their own healing is my very own definition of success, for I am worthy of healing. So are you! Wouldn’t you say so? With lots to share, and even more to excavate, I’m left with tremendous opportunities to land myself in choppy waters. What if I say the wrong thing? Scary… Enough to have deterred me countless times. However, if not now, when? It’s a question I continually ask myself. This new path is pulling me in. Although, at times, I will be misunderstood, I think I’m okay with that. With such a wide range of perspectives, it’s inevitable. Still, I have finally reached a point in my life where I can fully harness my determination to press forward into risky territories. I’ll be fine so long as my actions are aligned with my intentions and are of benefit to causes near and dear to my heart. To be liked or accepted is subordinate to being true to myself. Besides, by honoring myself, I am honoring you too. Whether or not you interpret it that way is altogether a different story - it just so happen to be translated that way for me.
As far as this blog is concerned, I will be tackling a variety of sensitive topics such as emotional wounds and emotion mapping - more specifically shame, guilt, and other low vibrational frequencies. I will reflect on the potent effects of extreme isolation, chronic depression, chronic physical illness, chronic stress and psychosomatic manifestations of internal factors. I will be surveying inner child reparenting, attachment styles and their reverberations on subsequent relationship dynamics. I have a pronounced interest for behavioral psychology and will most definitely go further into personality types, personality disorders, neurodiversity, emotional intelligence, as well as multi-person relationship models - an area which has recently sparked my interest. I will be focusing on trauma bonding and trauma healing, various stress responses, anxiety and panic attacks, CPTSD symptoms, spontaneous coping mechanisms, nervous system regulatory hacks and strategies that have helped me manage or overcome some of these symptoms. I will open up on regular self maintenance and vibration raising practices like sound therapy, breath work, gardening, journaling, painting, drawing, and frequent fluid movements, otherwise referred to as intuitive dancing or movement exploration - a legitimate lifeline for me over the past couple of years. I will highlight a number of esoteric tools from my personal toolbox; ones I deeply cherish for revolutionizing my life and fast tracking my healing in ways I cannot dutifully articulate into words. Those tools encompass chanting, metaphysical prayers and words of affirmations, meditation, sun and moon bathing, oracle cards pulling, as well as various grounding techniques. I will also elaborate on my marijuana use and personal experience with psychedelics during my twenties, focusing primarily on entheogenic complexes, their contexts of administration, common methods of ingestion, and miraculous effects on a subject’s mood, perception, cognition, and overall stretch in consciousness.
I have a vision for a BIPOC oriented and championed space where conscious and sustainable living practices are encouraged and guidance is freely exchanged; a place of spiritual awareness and genuine authenticity that facilitates connections on a soul level. All in all, I feel as though I might have been barking up the wrong tree, bearing my soul to a semi-distracted audience willing only to reflect timid, occasional, mitigated responses back to me instead of what may organically come to mind. If I’m honest, whenever I muster up the courage to confront subject matters that set me ablaze I do expect more than blank stares. I really didn’t think I would be saying this but it now seems even more uncomfortable for those on the receiving end of my truth than it is for me to speak it aloud. A bit frustrating, perhaps even soul crushing, but not enough to abort my mission. NPD abuse, an insidiously toxic trauma bond passing itself as love, practically wiped me out. Now, more than ever, I strive to lean into the fullness of my being and speak with purpose. Energetically speaking, it is a painful sacrifice. The goal clearly isn’t just to speak up and take space, but to effectively dispense a message and be heard. The goal, for me, is to reach through the darkness and touch the heart of women who may be too blinded to recognize their inner worth. I want my words to be received by the right interlocutors and I don’t know that I’ve succeeded so far. Making art allows me to express so much in abstract forms, but it is usually implicit and rather suggestive - not necessarily as straightforward as I would want to be. For me, not being heard is resented as supremely depleting when words are spoken into the world. All the more so when I feel strongly devoted to whatever it is I am attaching my voice and energy in the present moment. I know now that words are spells - they carry the essence of magic within. When the magic is glanced over and ignored, a tiny piece of my heart breaks away into nothingness, and yet I cannot resign. Since releasing all filters I was consciously aware of and radically embracing my authentic self before the world, many were left scrambling to reconcile my current posture with the outdated versions that once greeted them. Others would try to slip me inside some other box, with a new set of labels on it, but I just don’t quite fit. This adjustment period is a lonely one, but I can only understand why I am unrecognizable to most when I don’t feel I am the same as I was yesterday. What about you - ever felt that way? It has been a long three years of uninterrupted purging and intensive self-engineering. I feel I have been traversing the desert in Spirit’s company, diligently reconnecting with my intuition on the way home - to myself. I’ve been clearing space for a while now, subconsciously preparing for this new chapter, and as a major life cycle nears its end, a new one opens up. What is that going to look like? This time, I get to decide - consciously.
As of late, I’ve placed a greater emphasis on my recovery from narcissistic abuse. After a series of tainted relationships that have left their marks, I elected to go public with my most recent experience for three reasons. Firstly, my failed marriage takes the cake. It is quite dark. It is certainly raw. This time around, the wounds must be thoroughly examined and tended to so they do not fester. Who says so? I do. I know better than anyone what is needed for my healing and doing it silently is out of the question for me - I knew I had to switch up my methods. Secondly, experiencing serial NPD abuse came close to claiming my life and deprived me of exercising any real control over it. That’s where it stops. It needs to be purged. Not later but now. Cleanly. Openly. My way. I’m in the driver seat. Thirdly, I understand that being transparent about my path may help someone else navigate a similar situation. That is what tipped the scales for me while I wrestled night and day with the thoughts of speaking out. That alone is worth its weight in gold. The primarily visual format of Instagram does not necessarily lend itself to a symphony of convalescent energies; they scatter rather quickly and appear fragmented. Even for me, who knows what it is I’m trying to communicate, it can feel dizzying. It’s a big mess to detangle - one hell of a mess. Where does it begins and where does it end? Instagram is a valuably tool for connection, but at the end of the day, quick processing is embedded into its generic codes. Healing from NPD abuse is neither linear nor quick. It demands so much out of me. Instagram doesn’t necessarily support deep dives into topics of interest. It is now clear to me that I haven’t been utilizing the proper channels to get my point across. I’m learning and recalibrating as I go but I’m set on eventually getting this right if I am to decidedly affect change. I see Instagram as the arm of a bigger communicative body, woven in a variety of materials. I feel rather boxed in, as though I might have outgrown Instagram and its capacity for expression in the written form. I feel things are about to get strangely interesting for me if I rise up to this challenge; using my voice is the only path of self reclamation that I see. I also foresee this new journey as being a commitment of great value for it is bound to intimately stretch past me and into the larger community in some way, shape, or form. I have lots of ideas on the trajectory that I could be taking in public forums, applying my skills where it counts most. I will not let fear get in the way. In any case, it is a pursuit which pairs itself with great responsibilities - no doubt. With that in mind, I must see it through and find out where this journey leads.
This is a blog about the beauty and frailty of existence, not a blog about abuse. Expect poems, writing prompts, journal entries, essays, and random streams of consciousness. Expect social commentaries and occasional rants about brazen police brutality, the treatment of refugees and undocumented aliens, the surveillance state, the prison industrial complex, attacks on women rights, global ecological crises, looted art and eurocentrism, western medicine and the plague of the pharmaceutical industrial complex, as well as exploitative developing word conflicts - otherwise known as shadow wars - which I am no stranger to, having been raised on the western coast of subsaharan Africa. It will be a warm consommé of my artistic influences, with inspiration spanning from critical race theory, pan africanism, music, architecture, interior design, landscaping design, innovative technologies and craftsmanship of all kinds. Let’s talk about music from the perspective of sound therapy. Let’s talk about the power of photography and conscious documentation. Let’s have a look at visual art and iconic films with stupendous relevancy across time. Let’s talk about art that stirs hope, boggles the mind, and triggers poignant reevaluations of the perspectives we hold about ourselves and others. From geo-politics and social movements, to self-engineering and self-development; let’s talk about it all. Let’s talk about the kind of curriculums, the kind of foods, and the kinds of experience we want to offer our children. Let’s talk about ways to make it happen. Let’s talk about off-grid living and theorize on the creation of alternative communities that could support sustainable, simplified and yet abundant lifestyles centered around healing and cyclical regeneration. Let’s talk about pointing our gun at the rat race. Let’s talk about our urgent need to reckon with recycling, up-cycling, and repurposing as integral parts of well functioning systems. Let’s talk about freedom of press, or lack thereof. Let’s talk about finding long term solutions to crippling issues. Let’s talk about the many ways in which we can amplify the voices of the unheard. Let’s unravel the status quo on media programming, marketing and advertising. Let’s talk about wars being funded in the name of democracy and entire generations being robbed of their future. Let’s talk about displacement. Let’s talk about loss. Let’s show our outrage at the mismanagement and relentless obliteration of our natural resources. Let’s talk about our insatiable collective thirst for mass consumption and other self destructive tendencies. Let’s talk about being cogs in the machine and all the things we subscribe to. Let’s talk about purchasing powers and responsible investments. Let’s flirt with symbology, philosophy, geology, and cosmology. Let’s analyze our surrounding world from the scholarly perspectives of metaphysics and quantum physics. Let’s talk about collectively raising our vibrations… Let’s talk about generating more life. I’ll be sharing my impressions of spiritual retreats, concerts, exhibitions, food festivals, science fairs and all of the socio-cultural events I enjoy attending, as well as recaps of past, present, and future travel adventures. Another thing I’ll do is break down my process as it relates to creative outlets of choice; how I approach them and what I gain from surrendering to them as fully as I possibly can.
As a make my way through the spiritual wilderness, I will be following trails tracing back to theosophy, theology, exotericism vs esotericism, etc. I will be spending a great deal of time on mysticism, hermeticism, as well as occultism which has for some 400 years now been linked with “supernatural sciences” or pseudo-sciences - depending on what you believe in - such as alchemy, astrology, numerology, cartomancy, and so on. All are incredibly extensive topics with immeasurable knowledge to gather from but I’m generally happy to dip my toes in them, ready to toss out everything I thought I knew on the way in. I’ll be exploring various healing modalities, sharing my preference for a more holistic or somatic approach whenever possible. I will explain my dietary choices and revisit my process of getting familiarized with vegetarianism. I will also share my experiences with juicing, fasting, and the urge to resort to self imposed restrictions at times. I will share my genuine enthusiasm for alternative medicine, herbalism and natural remedies for common illnesses, womb wellness practices, as well as my experiences with acupuncture, reiki, tai chi, and hypnosis. I am by no means an expert in any of these fields of study, but I have harvested unmistakable benefits from learning about them and my curious mind keeps me coming back for more. As much as I enjoy internal dialogs, outsourcing these thoughts and aiming them at a tuned receiver is just lovely - it breathes more life into me. What better way to attract a soul tribe than to initiate an open dialog on all of the thing we so deeply care about? I thought I’d do just that! Passion begets passion as momentum trumps challenge. I’m very interested in investigating the ways in which my spiritual journey has informed my art and continues to influence my vision and speech. My words, like seeds blown into the wind, will penetrate the heart and ears of those meant to receive it. The goal is to purely and deliberately commit to my healing through sustained creation and absolute freedom of expression. If sharing my darkest hour and recovery process can help cast light onto someone else’s shadow, my efforts would have been worthwhile and I could rest assured that the right call was made. To be frank, I already consider that I have; my soul is most certain of it.
Let it be known that I have no clear idea how to unknot all of this. I’m simply choosing to work things out as I go, testing different formulas until I find my bearing and figure out what works for me. I’ve been restless for months trying to source the right outlets to best channel my energy. During meditation the other day I realized I had been tip toeing around the idea of starting a blog, much like I did with painting for years, as if I could escape it somehow. How silly it is to try and escape one’s essence… I have thought of it so often, it’s as if the thought was chasing me. Can you relate? I bet you must have had one of these recurring thoughts about yourself that you couldn’t seem to shake, but each time it entered your psychic field, imposter syndrome would kick into full gear and task the ego to talk you out of it. Why? I can’t seem to understand how it is that we sometimes desire something very much but run away from it. Scratch that, I do understand the mechanism behind that - it just puzzles me that I keep on being alerted to ways in which I am holding myself back. I thought I’d come up with a better idea, whereas it’s been the big idea all along. Deep down, I always knew I’d be doing this. I so often claim that I must have been a writer in another life, or that I best express myself in writing - well, what about this life? It wasn’t yet evident until now that I need to just flow with it. I need to part ways with my words, releasing them into the universe with my best intentions. It’s time I branch out and plug myself into the network of communities that truly speak to me. Starting now; I am a writer. I write about the lens through which I view the world. I write about my experiences, my many escapades down the rabbit hole, my fears, my doubt, the state of my mind and heart… What else? Whatever is real to me - I’m ready to set sail. So here I am, hopping on a boat, with no knowledge of its final destination. It’s year 30 and I am gleefully embarking on a grand expedition with the hopes to immortalize my passage on this earth. I wish to connect with like minded souls along the way and deepen my own spiritual knowledge through impactful transfers of energies and information. As stated above, I have no concrete idea where I’ll land and have no practice in sailing, but this one is all about the journey and we all gotta start somewhere - don’t we? Because it will be done in love, I trust that it will be done well. Please, come around and teach me about your craft, your religious beliefs, your wellness practices and mental health regimens. Tell me more about regenerative farming, permaculture, homesteading, eco-tourism, ceramic making, furniture design, art dealing, candle manufacturing, the ancestral art of tattooing, and the legions of activities I have the burning desire to further explore in the future. Tell me about the ones I don’t know about yet but would surely be inclined to fall in admiration with. This blog is a sure way to keep me accountable towards myself and on track with my soul purpose. This blog is also a way to maintain sharpness and engagement in topics I consider fertilizer for my mind, body, and soul - so come on by and nourish me. Tell me your story!
Dear friend - I’m Jihane Sy, a self taught multidisciplinary artist and bonafide over-thinker hailing from the Ivory Coast. I have been living in Southern California for the past eleven years, far removed from all that I used to know. I was uprooted many times, but only to be transferred into more fertile soil. To be here today, armed only with words spoken from the heart and a brain thirsty for knowledge, is firing up my engine and filling me with great joy. My grit is my pride. Two years ago, I was so close to give up on living that I would fantasize about dying. Today, I worship my mind, body, and soul, thanking God for allowing to recognize myself in all things. I like exploring the corporeal body through movements, self portraiture, sensuality, sexuality, self indulgence and self healing. Nevertheless, it is through connections on a spiritual level that my being obtains satisfaction. I seek to redefine my cellular blueprint and live life on my own terms; as free as I can be from external pressures. I bend but do not break. I falter but do not quit. I believe that I can be anything I desire to be. In each and every moment, I get to decide whether to lean into the light or the darkness, cling onto hope or despair, believe in love or fear. With each and every breath I get to co-create my reality, supported at all times by the Universe - life is indeed happening for me. I will preach self love, sovereignty, and conscious living until the day I turn blue. Welcome to my mind, my breeding ground for creation at all dimensional levels. Fair warning: it is full of complexities - colorful, effervescent, odd, unsettling. It can be both magnetic and repulsive. It gives of itself. It’s a thing of beauty. Please know that I am far more interested in your innermost fears, your doubts, your beliefs, and your dreams, than what you do in exchange for monetary compensation. I’m most curious about what keeps you going when running on empty. What drives you? What keeps you stuck? What opens you up and lifts you towards the Heavens? What makes you feel alive? Tell me! Come taste the water from my well - friend. Replenish your cup as often as you’d like. The source is abundant; it does not dry up. In giving we gain even more. In being vulnerable, we end up fortified. I hope that you will teach me your ways as I reveal mine. I trust that you will invite me to drink your water once I arrive at your shore. It’s been a long journey to you - friend. If I’m not yet there, I will be someday. I shall close this entry with a gentle reminder to never knock out something you do not understand; it’s a foolish thing to do. It’s an act of betrayal against the self to reject something from a place of unknowingness. Understanding is the nature of love - allow it to soften you up. Curiosity is the spice of life - allow it to surprise you!