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.



I’m learning exponentially more

Humbly thriving like never before

Open, awake, blossoming with love

source shining deeply within everyone

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They may not know it

They may not see

That we are all connected

Me plus you is the universal WE


The gift of this trip is many and deep

To unite our light is no little thing

To shine in our divinity, loving with ease

Gifts of vulnerability noticeably seen


I know we signed that agreement

What seems like a million eons ago

Confident in what our souls needed to grow….


My shoulders relaxed, deep breaths in the now

I welcome the fruits of the impending how’s

Each students and teachers in this magnificent land

We rise higher and brighter when we shine hand in hand.

meant to be here – tiny dancer

Reaching out with her fingertips, she softly touched the face of the free-spirited young child she used to  be oh so long ago.  Observed her dancing, twirling sinuously around the room, her mother’s borrowed mantillas draped around her little shoulders or knotted over a hip. She had felt such freedom and hope in the power of love as she danced. 

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Blinking, she returned to the present and wondered when she had lost the audacity to be herself. She lovingly looked once more at the dancing tiny goddess she had been, residing now only in her mind’s eye and lit another cigarette staring out of the window and the gloom of a city that had, like her, lost its light (Shaharazade, 2017).


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


obsidian gifts

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there was something to this

this aloneness

not loneliness

but aloneness

there were no obstacles

to the passion running


in her veins

for she was

a raw and tender soul

always perceived as a weakness

but she knew…

yes, she knew

that no matter

how she described

hell’s terrain

time in the abyss

no one would understand

what she had conquered

that she had climbed out

the wounds were closing now

remnants barely visible

everything was new

existence a miracle

nothing left of the mundane

nothing without value remained

she would never be the same

and she was grateful. 

torn away

she stood… legs wide apart with one foot slightly in front of the other, leaning forward, courageously braced…   the tornado picked up speed … closer it came.  the urge turn and run surged over her senses, but she didn’t contract, she didn’t resist, she stood her ground, superhero stance as the tornado whipped around her, ripping … tearing…  shredding… destroying… cleansing…

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left kneeling upon the ground, bruised and bloody, she lifted her head and surveyed the annihilation of all that she had known… so much had been torn away… very little remained…


what was left was hers and she reveled in the knowledge of that.   

meant to be here – outcast

I have always preferred that if I had to be hurt, it would be at the hand of strangers and not those who were ‘supposed’ to love me.

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I had never fit in anywhere. It was never more apparent than these two years in hell.  I hadn’t belonged in any foster or group home either.  Too dark for white, too white for dark, too emotional, bright, sullen, inquisitive, demonstrative, introspective… Too intelligent for the street, too street for academia.  All I ever wanted was to fit in, to belong, but not even during my dark night of the soul (textbook definition), especially not then, did I fit in except with other outcasts… the misfits. (Shaharazade, 2017).

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



with not a word

She gazed at the ensemble on the table to her right.  Thought of what it had taken to get here. Suddenly she jumped up and smiled, she’d done it.  Donning her cap and gown, she ran her hands down her much healthier body.  She fixed the laces on her olive colored chucks, and stood up, righting her cap over the plentiful curls hanging down her back.

She lined up with her classmates who she’d never met but understood deeply.  They shared a common drive and laser like focus that brooked  no dissuasion.  They smiled proudly at each other. 

It was time.

They started out on the stage and one by one as they were called, they went up and received their   baccalaureates. She wanted to cartwheel off the stage.  She hadn’t even thought to check and see if anyone had come.  Taking her cap and gown off she removed the tassel for safe keeping.

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She took the ring box out of her pocket and with childlike enthusiasm slipped her school ring on her fuck you finger… She laughed remembering the conversation with her dad that had most definitely been the deciding factor on the placement of the ring.

Looking in the mirror she fixed her shimmering sand and metallic olive half sari she had had made especially for this occasion and checked her lipstick. She couldn’t help but smile.  She resonated in Cheshire Cat energy! 

Walking through the auditorium, though she felt like dancing through it, she spotted a vaguely familiar face watching her from across the room. Cocking her eyebrow, she hugged and congratulated classmates as she made her way closer to him…

WTF? She thought.  She had posted the event on her social media but really hadn’t expected anyone to come.





Close now, maybe 50 feet away from him, she just stopped. 

Just staring at each other, huge smiles on their faces, she flipped him the bird to show him the ring.  He laughed and held out his hand.  Silently she took it and went outside with him.

Early evening in New Hampshire on the first of July was beautiful.  The sky clear. The trees a giant green fence around them.  Warm but not oppressive.

They faced each other.

She smiled not breaking eye contact, he lifted his hand and gently cupped her cheek. A pensive look crossed his face, to which she raised an eyebrow.

He smiled again as he leaned in … they hugged.  Genuinely hugged each other.  He understood how hard this journey had been for her. Unbeknownst to her, he had been reading what she wrote.  He knew the tenacity hidden behind her smiling eyes.  She was just amazed he had come. 

She lay her head on his shoulder.

He smelled so good. She inhaled him. Ran her hands over his back. 

Pulling apart just to look at each other, he lowered his head… s l o w l y… but stopped as their noses almost touched.  He looked at the amber flecks in her eyes… they were almost sharing one breathe.  She lifted her face and oh so softly rubbed her cheek against his. Savoring the feeling of their skin touching felt like worship. It was sexy, in a deeply religious way. He lowered his lips near hers… but just barely touching. 

Their breathing quickened.

The very molecules of air were pregnant with promise.

His hands reached to hold hers by her sides.  

She softly licked his lower lip…barely.

There was a pause that seemed to stretch into eternity…

He reached his arms around her and pulled her close…she stepped into his embrace and the flames engulfed them both as they tenderly but deeply kissed.  Exploring every single inflamed molecule between them, they seemed to ignite the night with their raw expression.

Her arms around his neck, his hands in her hair, they finally and reluctantly pulled apart….lips swollen with eyes full of fire.

Smiling at each other once more, they turned to walk back into the building…

not one word had been spoken.