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it’s plain to see, universe was not yet done with me
i begged, pleaded, and often cajoled, to no avail 
laying in the shadows, my heart splayed and impaled
on the fears that rose in my throat to squeeze and to choke me
had handed in my life card, let me go back, oh god, please revoke me

twas naught but the ultimate of my soul’s contractions, preceding
my bid in the underworld, done now, I’m limping, cut and bleeding 
all the priceless gifts and level ups, from my oft repressed darkness
tightly gripped in my fisted hand, stumbling, I made it slowly past this,

this sign, that harbingered my tango danced in the infinite dark
a sign meant to eradicate hope, purporting desperation, so stark
my eyes took it in, once more now from the winner’s side, a shero’s lane
abandon hope, all ye who enter here, no more, I surrendered to residual pain

I focused on the burning, and tears escaping, I was blinded by the dazzling light
my mind, heart and eyes had adjusted to the darkest, the bleakest hopeless night

but now…

tilting my face upward, toward the warm rays of the magnificent sun
I felt it in my soul, now, this leg of the journey was over, it was done
I had made it, I had survived it, a bit wounded, yes, but alive
now all that was left was to embrace self-love, forgiveness and to thrive

there was no more hate, no more pointing fingers at others, with blame
no more hiding from authenticity, no more guilt and no more shame
a rediscovering, ground zero, a blank slate, were waiting for me
I now had to discover, how to return to  me, audacious and free

when you’ve owned everything, and seen into the murky depths
there’s nothing left to fear, grab your courage and take the steps
every reason for me to shine my light as far as I can reach
I will be your friend, sister, lover, to shine forth mayhaps to teach
the pathways through the darkness that I marked now and saved
so I can remember the blessings in the abyss for the rest of my days.  

meant to be here – bravery

We think it’s a sign of strength to build facades of bullshit, to hide behind societal dictates.  We look at those being resplendent and raw, and judge THEM as being weak and not able to conform.  Yet as Jiddu Krishnaurti says, it is no measure to be adjusted to a sick society (Shaharazade. S 2017).

Shaharazade, S. (2017). Meant to be Here. 1st ed. New York.

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integration

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staring my shadow directly in the eye

peaceful now, paused, i realize

it’s not the enemy i thought it to be

just a repressed facet of my divinity

 

we’re taught to label each thing

this is good, no, not that, it’s bad

perhaps it fully depends on

the perspective that we have

 

we’re always hustling, rapidly skipping

on the pebble-strewn pathways of life

absorbing the discord and the drama

distracted by shame energy and strife

 

what if we exhale and surrender

to the balance of universe’s law

integrating all our shadowed bits

grace will catch us if we fall

 

tearfully i’ve thanked my ego

for guarding me all of these years

helped me to keep a brave face on

in spite of my trepidation and my fears

 

she relaxed and stopped screaming

and finally seemed to understand

now that i’m awakening woman

exquisite experiences are at hand

 

what we resist will persist

is what the spiritual philosopher said

he meant to do it constantly, mindful

of the fake fears, the perpetual dread

of doings things, heartfully, bravely

expanding now, every day at will

to turn back to our dead existence

is akin to swallowing a bitter poisoned pill  

 

shedding skin

As I’m approaching my half century mark, I can look back and see the long road from whence I came.  I was in my ‘feels’ today and for those that are close to me; a shrug and a what’s new may have been the response, however; being non-apologetic for ‘feeling’ and not fighting those very powerful emotions is very new.  As a psych student, I have researched, studied, and read about the toxicity of repressing emotions, and I believe blocking and curtailing my darkness is exactly what led me to two years in and out of psych hospitals with suicidal depression. 

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I am so grateful for my time here on this mountain in Puerto Rico, humbled by the opportunity to press pause and let everything for the last 50 years slam into me, ready to be acknowledged and honored, reading for archival.  I have 1000% surrendered to the waves of repressed emotion that has for the most part hit me like a freight train, but I braced for it.  I knew it was coming.  I knew it when I weaned myself off 11 psychotropic medications.  I knew it was coming when I started writing my book, “Meant to be Here” about the 2 years in the abyss. I knew it was coming when I embraced complete authenticity and stopped smiling at jokes I didn’t find funny, or when I stood in the midst of the tsunami, still, and let the storm rip from me everything that wasn’t mine.  I knew it was coming when I gave up trying to fix anyone and just loved them and me as is. 

And, come it did. Massive waves of exquisitely sharp spasms of residual pain assaulted every level of my being.   Feelings of loss and at times, the uninvited feeling of regrets.  The mourning of unlived paths which had died at the hand of my choices.  I surrendered time and time again, resisting none of it.  I surrendered and allowed source/my higher self to soothe me, knowing I am doing this all not just for the love of self, which is indeed primary, but so that I can fully be of service, using every experience I’ve ever had to help and lift the collective consciousness.

I didn’t anticipate how ‘alone’ this time would be, or that I’d miss my grandpeeps so much my arms would virtually ache to wrap around them, longing to kiss their chunky lil faces, tickle their sides and nibble on their toesies.  *sighs*

I didn’t anticipate my best friend dying last month.  I didn’t anticipate Facebook tagging her for me in a post, or that I’d reach to text her, and realize that I couldn’t. 

Here’s the thing.  Feelings are a gift, and are so necessary for the soulful navigation of this very human existence.  It is a way to purge the soul shaking experiences from our being, to know what’s important to our souls, to know what stirs our passion and to exercise empathy.  Repressed emotions lead to a plethora of physical and emotional diseases.  Research it for yourself.  I am leaning into every experience.  Today is my little cousin’s birthday, my deceased aunt’s daughter, the first of my best friends to die.  I held her the day she was born so many years ago, she was literally pulled from my aunt’s stomach and placed in my arms.  I miss her, and I miss my other cousin.  I miss so many people, but there are things I can control, and things I cannot.  I surrender once again. 

I no longer apologize for feeling.  I have the right to feel sad. I’m mourning these very real losses… ummm however;

Don’t get it twisted, a goddess is getting ready to celebrate the FUCK outta the half century celebration..

I made it

I’m here

I’m wiser and more authentic that I’ve ever been before

And well to be quite frank, my twerk is better than ever thanks to Zumba and healthy eating..

So yea..

What else is possible??

I WILL FIND OUT!  

I just shed 49 years of bullshit, it’s time to PARTY!!!

which mask for today?

Her eyes reluctantly opened, a slow easy smile spreading across her face, until she remembered what day it was. Dread began to fill her body, starting with her toes. She sighed and got out of bed. Observing her morning rituals, she embraced the necessity of today’s activities. Sitting in meditation, she tried fruitlessly to quell her apprehension. She was doing it for her son. He had waited a long time to find his happiness and he needed her to be there, and not embarrass him by being ‘too’ anything i.e.. Too loud, too raw, too real, too emotional … and she was often ‘too’-it-all.

Stepping out of the shower, she walked naked the hallway/living room where long, antique oak clothes rack ran the length of the wall outside her bedroom. She surveyed the different suits hanging there. Discomfort filled her belly as she padded over to the chaise and sat down perusing the various suits. One for every occasion, which one should she don. Which one was perfect? Which one allowed the circumstances to unfold the way they wanted them too.

Standing up, she tossed her head, stepping purposely toward the clothing rack, universes, galaxies, and supernovas orbiting and swaying with her hips. Tentatively, she reached her hand toward the rather sedate, monochromatic, persona of middle class, middle aged woman and covering up the splendiferous nature of her true self, she stepped into the dull, proper, uniform, the even, average façade-suit. She felt the light of her authentic being dim, as she zipped up the suit, patting it down in places where it bunched up and wrinkled. I mean why not, she thought, everyone there would be wearing one. It was expected. No-one wanted to see the brilliance of the true being underneath the opaque livery. The empty peg was noticeable in the midst of the four uniforms hanging there. Head to toe wear, dull enough to mute the most wondrous, lit spirits.

She gazed back at the peg resentfully, as she made her way to her door, properly contained, and controlled inside the dismal get up and prepared to fit in.

Sound familiar?

 

what it felt like

I was lonely, and wanted a hug.

I thought the blonde Puerto Rican boy was so cute. Looking at him made me forget where I was.

I mean I was grateful to Covenant House for the shelter, but they couldn’t stop the pain. He could. Things stopped hurting when we were together.

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I didn’t even want ‘home’ at that point. I’d rather be out there, there was a better chance at getting loved, of being around people that hurt so badly that they couldn’t help but FEEL and CRY. I felt normal and accepted around the kids at Covenant House, They were amazing and I trusted everyone. I was young and very naïve. I hadn’t ever been to a birthday party, not a dance, no sleepovers, no afternoon playdates. I was an only child, and the only two people I was ever around were my parents. I didn’t know anything about the outside world. I didn’t understand that people faked who they were, I had no idea people used each other.

Nope, I was naïve. I adored Laura Ingalls and The Brady Bunch and Shawn Cassidy. I lived on PBS, the only channel I was allowed, which was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because PBS surely expanded my impressionable mind, awesome, curse because I didn’t know shit about the world, and that got very dangerous quickly.

So, there I was, an exposed bundle of needy nerves, trying very hard to be something I was not. I was rocking confidence like nobody’s business.

Yea, it was fake, but mostly effective.

It was our weekend out of covenant house, 2-week limit, then we could come back in as a new intake all over again. We had nowhere to go, it was a small group of us. someone suggested the abandoned Trailways and Greyhound bus depot around a block from Covenant House toward 9th avenue.

Kids draped across a few seats, we had a bathroom in the back, it was warm. Good shit.

The next day, coming back from getting cigarettes, we went into the bus station, no one was there. It was just him and I.

We were kissing… going fast. I got nervous when his hand went down my pants.

I was a virgin.

I was sitting in a double seat with him, side by side… one thing led to another and I was trying to push him off of me. I couldn’t breathe, I got scared. He didn’t listen.

I went numb and was brought back to awareness by pain. I still had time.

More pain, burning hotter, feeling as though my skin was being ripped apart. I knew something was ripping inside of me. Excruciating pain, is this what love is? Is this all that life has? I left to get away from pain.

I trusted him.

I had thought that people hurting each other was normal. I don’t remember why, but then he started hitting me, and wouldn’t stop. Eventually I pretended to pass out. I was lying on the floor of a dirty greyhound bus, I can’t even for the life of me remember how I got on the floor, I was in shock. I pretended to be unconscious as he pretended to be concerned.

As I was opening up my eyes he started hitting me again. I don’t remember how, but we were outside. I picked up a coke bottle and broke it in half on the light post next to the deserted bus in an abandoned bus on the block of the runaway shelter. I couldn’t cut him, I couldn’t hurt other people, I thought the street was emotionally safer than home.

I cut myself, he had stopped hitting me as I waved that bottle around. Fifteen times across my wrist, I don’t think I wanted to die, I’m pretty sure I didn’t, but I wanted him to stop hitting me, so I cut myself.

It gets pretty hazy after that, I remember him kind of dragging me to the Port Authority Youth Division. There was a man there. His name was Police Officer Joseph Gonzalez. Both he and Covenant house saved my life out there. He had a heart for kids, and treated me like his own. I didn’t cry while writing through any of this until I got to this part.

Willie got me to Gonzi (that’s what I called him), and just left, he just left me there like crumpled garbage. Gonzie took me to Bellevue and sat with me. I said nothing. They transferred me to Elmhurst General Hospital in Queens, NY. He stayed with me there. I still said nothing. I should have asked him if he had to. Was it his job or did he really care? I think he really cared.

They admitted me into the B10 ward where I stayed for two weeks. My aunt had been in that same unit a few years before me, our bond was so deep.

I was in Elmhurst General Hospital for two weeks, in a room by myself.

With no voice, I couldn’t say anything, I’d open my mouth but nothing would come out. They released me two weeks later, for Family Court, to get placed in another group or foster home. I had lost my voice that day in the bus depot.

I thought it was my fault. Over the years that followed I thought that was love meant.

Then, I learned that it was never my fault and NO ONE deserves that.

There is nothing that the darkness loves more than to grow and fester in silence brought on by shame and blame. I am shining light on my dark facets. I believe if each of us do that, we understand that we were not at fault, it was something that happened to US, then we can shift the collective from darkness to light.

It’s my honor to go first.