a test, or sign?
it can be hard to know if a trial you are going through is a test or a sign. sometimes God/the Universe will give you tests to make you stronger, teach you lessons, build your bonds of trust, bring you closer to Him and the people you truly love. and sometimes, a trial you’re going through will be a sign from the Almighty that you need to leave or let go. they can feel very similar —tests and signs— but i’ve learned that there are a few key elements to each. a test is like a plateau; it will dip you down into grief and darkness, but you get adjusted to the dark, grow, get stronger and climb out onto level land with a new lesson in hand. a sign is like a mountain range; it will continuously dip you down into low-lows, with only fleeting and quick highs. and this pattern repeats…and repeats..and repeats with no reprieve. now think about a situation - any situation- in your life that is giving you grief, stress, sadness. a job, a friend, a parent, a significant other — even yourself. is it a test? or is it a sign? will you get through this situation a stronger person? or have you just dealt with the situation for so long that you’ve gotten used to feeling miserable? another thing —you must take care to sit, observe, listen. sometimes i would go looking for signs as an excuse to leave when it was really a trial that would have made me a stronger person. instead, i decided to punk out and leave so i wouldn’t have to face it or deal with it. and other times i’ve ignored signals, turning at the wrong corners and getting lost because i was so use to feeling a certain way, or being with a certain person or thinking it was me who needed compromise; i was comfortable in my darkness.
intuition is a beautiful thing. trials, tests and signs can be beautiful things, too. they are usually pushing you towards something positive.
in the last couple of years, i’ve gone in maddening spurts of feeling emotionally full and emotionally empty; sometimes both at the same time and sometimes full of emptiness. i’ve found that when i was searching without really knowing what i was searching for, i’d stay feeling empty. this isn’t to say that wandering aimlessly doesn’t have its purpose, or that you need to know exactly where you are going. because really, who could know that outside of the Divine? but i noticed that when i started listening to my heart and setting perameters of what i wanted/needed out of life—and from myself— i’ve started yearning less and less for peace and more for understanding, which, inherently gives me peace. in the same way, i’ve felt less of a need to be validated by, and so “connected” to, the world. i still have my days where i feel empty—plenty of them— and there will be plenty more. i think it is okay not to know exactly what fulfills you; that’s what discovering life is all about. but there are desires, needs and goals placed upon your heart for a reason. if you use these as checkpoints in life, even in emptiness, your searching will never be fruitless….
I looove comics! I’m a total superhero fanatic. In addition to seeing Ironman 3, Saturday was also free comic book day. boo thang brought me a whole bunch of comics to read! I’m in nerd heaven!i don’t know why comics appeal to me so much. I think it’s a mix of things i love: the comics feature an alternate world/reality that theoretically could exist (re: Iron Man), many characters have story arcs where they start off an underdog & turn badass (re: Batman) and some have such relateable pressing issues that mirror our society now ( re: x-men and the battle between exterminating a superhuman race ie. genocide, prejudice, self -acceptance). i’m not overly ridiculous with the fandom, but comics can be alot more layered than people think.
so, i spontaneously purchased a ticket to the Dominican Republic. literally, I was sitting at my desk at work browsing through beautiful locations on Pinterest and looking at plane tickets. Sure enough, Living Social had a really good deal:5 days/4 nights in Puerto Plata for two. universes aligning? i think so! i’ve been wanting to go to the DR for a while now. who am i going with? I don’t know! When? haven’t gotten that far yet, either. in the past, i would have been there and come back twice over. but these days i’ve been feeling myself getting more and more cautious as i get older. i’ve been slowly sucked into the demands of what normal people call “the real world”. you know, bills, a job, yadda yadda yadda. that’s a change i made myself make, though. because at one time my carefree nature was borderline irrresponsible. is there a such thing as responsible irresponsiblity?…hmm..well, i think i’m going to try to find that balance. frankly, to me, “the real world” is everything outside of my office building that i haven’t yet been able to explore and experience. and i am long overdue for some trips. this summer/fall i now have Dominican Republic, Tucson, AZ, Houston, TX and of course, Michigan lined up on the agenda. i’m excited to finally use my passport! I feel like I am starting to live in the present again instead of worrying about the future so much and i am loving it.
i’ve started cleansing again; body and soul. after having surgery, having my mother here visiting and eating out alot plus all the booziness of my birthday week/weekend, i’ve more than needed to re-boot my system. i’ve been eating way too much chicken (about 5x/wk which is much higher than my usual 2x/wk in meat terms) and sugar. and my skin is telling me so because it’s been breaking out..smh. i’ve been looking into all natural/organic alternatives to my hygiene products, too. but right now i’m concentrating on the eating part.
i’ve been doing some “soul cleansing” too. i’ve been alone alot recently. i go in spurts. sometimes i’m really outgoing and sometimes i just want to be by myself. but being by myself doesn’t mean i want to be left alone. this is just something i find most people don’t understand or can’t grasp. i have my periods where i will tell you ‘no’. ‘no’ to going out, ‘no’ to doing anything that isn’t related to an emergency in which you need my help, just ‘no’. but that doesn’t mean you can’t drop me a line or text or invite me to do things after my self imposed hiatus is over. i feel like i lose friends over this all the time. working towards self-realization and maintaining friendship in such a dependant, interconnected world is a hard balance. sometimes i just let people walk away because explaining this to them makes me suddenly realize, “wow, i am kind of a high maintainence friend —who really wants that? There is no promise of a bucket of gold at the end of a rainbow or any chance of something beyond friendship like there would be if you were pursuing a relationship. All they have…is me.” And i understand completely why they walk away. but i can work a little harder at maintaining my friendships, i will say that. It isn’t all on them. I could fight a little harder, explain a little better, be a bit more attentive.
boston + “otherness”
i stay pretty apolitical on this blog. i try to leave the politics for other more informative tumblr blogs. seeing as how i am holed up in a hotel room, i have to quip that the media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects is atrocious. why have we not learned that a terrorist can be a white, American born, ‘normal’ citizen? Or are we going to continually grasp for empty lies in order to “foreignize” him to account for his actions? Already i’ve heard this nonsense/bullshit on CNN (which is supposed to be the most unbiased network the American media has): “he’s Russian” as opposed to a regular white American; even though he grew up here, hasn’t been back to Russia, nor does he speak the language. the suspects grew up here but the area their family is from in Russia is “very Islamic” and the suspect is Islamic, which, of course means THIS was the reason why he decided to bomb the marathon and not because he’s just a plain psychopath. A classmate said that the boys were just as American as she was and the reporter bold faced rejected the notion with, ” i don’t completely agree with that, but moving on..”.
the media is a sensationalist leech. I worked for a major network in Chicago and my unit literally had a “hype word” list they used to convey drama in their reporting. Imagine how the reporting of, “the lightning struck a tree, but no one was hurt,” sounds boring next to “the lightning boldly flashed across the sky and struck a tree in front of several people. none of the people appeared to be hurt, but it startled them enough to flee the scene.” news outlets don’t care about unbiased facts, that they are inadvertantly blaming and hurting the “otherness” of people or that they arent doing any “true” reporting. I mean, i’ve been looking at the same damn police cars in the street for three hours now, what more could they POSSIBLY have to say?! it seems all they want is credit, notoriety and the next big thing.
Just be careful of what you let bleed into your cerebrum.
(paris & i, river’s edge)
when i am reminded of my very own fragility as a person, it gives me that much more capacity to try to understand where someone is in their life. most often, the ones that are hardest to love need that love and understanding the most. how many times have we turned away from people just because they were difficult, or because we thought they had too much drama in their lives, or because we just didn’t want to be bothered enough and step up to the friendship plate to care? and a person who is manipulative and intentionally malicious is different from one that acts a certain way because of past or present hurts. a beaten dog is not going to come to the outreach of your hand right away; but with love and understanding, one day it will curl up in your arms. people are the same way. it hurts to get the overflow of what is going on in their lives; and it’s hard to sit there and take on someone else’s burdens when you have your own to worry about. but the universe sends you everything you need - the tools (compassion, love, etc.) & the person (someone who needs you, someone meant to be in your life at that exact moment, someone who needs to teach you a lesson, etc). i’m trying to open myself up to these signals more. but it frustrates me when i feel like i’m not really helping a person in anyway, so i resolve to just leave them alone to sort it out. but i forget that just being there is sometimes all the help they really want or need. just being.
i think your birth order says alot about you. maybe even more so than horoscopes do. i have three brothers. all younger, and all very different from each other. timothy is the manly man - he’s handsome, sweet, will help you with anything, kinda shy and likes to keep to himself. daniel is the “star”. he wants money and fame is trying to do the modeling/acting thing in NYC. garrett is the youngest. he is the “nerdy” type. he’s into cartoons, music and video games. even though they are younger, i’ve learned alot from my brothers — particularly garrett.
garrett is the youngest and he’s also autistic. he was born 8 years after me, so there is a good amount of space between us three and when garrett came along. i was a big sister to all of them, but garrett was ‘my baby’. i loved helping my mom change him and hold him and of course when I reached the age of 13 I was a live-in babysitter. we knew very early that garrett was autistic. i found myself being very protective of him and embarrassed of him all the same. i look back at my experience of watching him grow up and having him in my life as the single most important lesson of compassion. my brother was slow to learn everything, and his mind is that of an 8-year-old even though he is 20. it used to hurt when people didn’t understand him or didn’t treat him the same as they did other kids. when he was younger, i knew that taking him out in public was always going to be an ordeal. he couldn’t convey his feelings, so he’d act out. very musch in the same way children do, but much worse. he didn’t like the feel of clothing, so he’d take off his clothes or cry. when he got angry - he’d throw tantrums, but he’d hit himself in the head over and over again, or hit whoever was closest or throw things until you made him stop. he used to hum when he was concentrating on something; anywhere, anytime (and he still does) . imagine a little boy humming like a loose radiator all day long - in church, in the library, etc. i never resented garrett, but it made me pull away from people. i didn’t like the stares or the looks we got in public. i didn’t like that i always had to explain who he was or make up excuses for him just to make others comfortable. having garrett gave me a first taste of being an “outsider”; but the first twinge of learning how to push against the grain and not care what others thought. he showed me how much you could tuly love a person so much that you’d do anything to protect them; but he also showed me how vain i - and the world- really was. if i felt alone and oustracized by him, then i could only imagine how he would feel as the world turned their back JUST because his reality is different than “normal” peoples. that’s when i started to really embrace differences and why i always feel a strong connection to the ‘underdogs’.
these days garrett is very much a mix of daniel and timothy. he’s sweet, quiet, and stays to himself (he doesn’t like crowds or lots of affection unless it’s my mom - it’s an autism thing) loves music, and will dance at the drop of a dime. he can be a total ham. he’ll probably need assistance his whole life - doing cooking, bills and small errands- but he is as independent as he can possible be. i wouldn’t have changed him for the world. he is love and lesson wrapped into one.
we burned bright, hot, beautiful; we became dark, cold, enigmatic. our love was desert. i was sand and you were breeze. any direction you decided to sway, i’d pick up and follow you —mercilessly. like grains of sand, my love thirst stretched wide and far. i thought being swept up in the current of you would pull me to the cool watered refuge of love. but here i am. you have used me up and sucked me dry leaving me drenched in the sweat of sorrow..
added a goddess to watch over our garden. we actually don’t have much of a “garden”, but we have some bushes and flowers that just happen to grow together. i’ve been having mixed feelings about city life. i want to live in a big city, but i want to be able to afford a nice house and yard for a decent price; i want sprawling land and green scenery but i like tall concrete jungles, too. i like hustle and bustle but i need my space and quiet nights. i’ve been thinking about all of this lately. it’s the main reason i haven’t moved from DC yet — i have no clue where I want to go or where i want to be. but i am so ready to be able to save, invest and - most of all - to buy my own house; none of which you can do in DC at the same time. i can’t wait to decorate the way i want and have beautiful foliage full of goddesses and buddhas, some outdoor showers, open air patios and a koi pond. i know i do not want to be living in a house with 100 roommates or a tiny apartment where i am paying mortgage prices a month for too much longer. i think growing up in the Midwest definitely spoiled me. i am really excited to say that i have paid off all three of my credit cards, two student loans and i only have one more student loan to pay off before i am totally debt free. i will never, EVER, get into credit card debt again. do you know that i graduated college 5 years ago and i was still paying on a card i hadn’t used since then? it’s crazy! and they target college students (Re: Please watch Maxed Out, available on Netflix). i was blessed to have parents who were financially responsible and helped me establish good credit in my teen years. but it was bad, too, because getting credit cards with high credit limits in college was easy for me; too easy. learn from my mistake, college kids! you ain’t thinkin’ bout those 22% interest rates yet, but you will be when you’re trying to pay it off. between buckling down, my mother helping me pay for half of my student loans and my dad helping me wipe out my credit card debt, it’s a new goal to buy or work towards buying my own place in a city i love by 30. I have two years to figure this shit out…