How to Save Yourself (in difficult times)

Hear me out, these are probably unconventional ways, but I’m still going to pass it on because I’m standing tall today thanks to the resilience I’ve built out of it all.

Ever since we were kids, the story (at least for girls) has always been a Cinderella and her Prince type of deal. You poor little soul… don’t worry, your time will come, and by that they mean some dude will come along one day, out of nowhere, and rescue you from all of your sorrows and misery, regardless of what your troubles may be. Cool story, bro.

But what if I told you men actually have been a consistent reason for disappointment in my life. (This is the part when I tell you that sometimes I wish I were gay.) So, no, no one is coming to rescue you. Good for you if someone does, though, but don’t wait up.

My strategy for survival is simple: I don’t have one. I face reality and roll with the punches. I suck it up, woman up, cry a lot, and get lost in my interests and passions. Also, ranting/venting/talking (however you want to call it) to someone never killed anyone (I hope).

Traditionally, we’re told to see a therapist, read a lot of quotes (eye roll), go on some spiritual, healing journey, etcetera, etcetera. That works well for a lot of people, but realistically, not everybody can afford a therapist; not everybody is willing to talk to anyone about their problems; not everybody knows how to express themselves to let off some steam (you’d be surprised). Some people don’t make it easier on themselves simply because they don’t know how to or they can’t afford it.

It is major to first understand what it is that is affecting you so deeply so that you can address the problem accordingly. You have choices; you could keep hammering your head about the what-ifs, the could’ve-beens, the resources you don’t have (as opposed to what you do have and can work with to alleviate the situation).

I also find that distractions are just as important. The goal is not to block the problem completely to the point where you never even allow that scar to heal, through understanding and acceptance, but to give yourself some time to step out of your sad little corner for a moment so that you can see and appreciate things that could be making you happy otherwise.

Distractions can take your mind off your problems and, even if temporarily, provide some mental relief.

My favorite distractions are long walks and dancing. And when that doesn’t work, I just let my emotions be, allowing myself to feel whatever I need to feel. That’s also important — just try not to stay in that moment too long. It can become harmful to the mind and soul.

I believe in this philosophy that I often forget to practice, but which is realistic and doable: “lo que será, será” (whatever will be, will be). In other words, it is what it is. Sometimes, fighting it hurts more than letting go.

We humans…we’re survivors. There is nothing we can’t overcome. Thankfully, nothing is permanent, except maybe for death — and we can’t even confirm that, yet.

Another way you can help yourself is by talking to a friend, a therapist, if you can, or someone you trust. Therapy works for many. We’re not built to bottle things up; we’d explode. We can and we do. I’m lucky to have people I can vent to, but I’ve also been on the other side of the spectrum and I know what it’s like to feel alone and helpless. It’s a horrible feeling, I don’t recommend it.

If it helps, putting it all down on paper can sometimes have the same effect. I’ve been writing about my emotions for years, so I’d say it is another way of taking some weight off your shoulders, a way to stay sane in times of uncertainties.

Do things that relax you. Everybody has their go-to! For me, it’s wine and the beach and music and poetry… But let me say this about alcohol. I know we tend to seek refuge in vices and whatever can help numb our bad feelings, but let me remind you that moderation is key. Find balance and lock it.

Of course, I still believe in meditation, exercise, positive affirmations, optimism, and all that good stuff in our warm hearts. But you have to believe in it and put it into practice for it to work.

That’s it for now. I’m putting this day to rest.

If anyone wants to share more ways to manage difficult times, this space is open! Stay hydrated and sleep if you can.

Another Day in Confusion Land

Homemade noodles and chilled sake, in my eyes the world’s still so foggy. Starving my disillusionment and making magic, what a treat it’d be this year to kill the panic.

One, two, three, four, five—I lost count of all the posted notes I’ve found, written to the world and my now glacial soul. The to-do’s, self-reminders, and must-do’s know their time will come, but for now on paper they look good, dancing to the beat of my drum.

I hear that… Nothing new… Never mind… We’re doomed…” Their comments match the year’s theme, it seems. But people would go far to prove a point, ignoring when the damage’s been done there’s no return. Veil comes off, everyone can see flesh and bones can wound and sin indeed.

Much to my dismay, that whole messy plot never ends. Inspirational quotes can only save us so many times from the routine, repeated behaviors, and the recycled life we live each day. But what a promising future, we say.

For anyone else still living in much confusion, I hear you.

Let’s not lose hope and our sense of self.

Confusion is a word we have invented for an order that is not yet understood.

Signs that You Need a Hobby

And I mean a real life hobby away from technology.

I’ve been wondering lately: do I need to chill on the productivity obsession or do some people really need a darn hobby? Perhaps the answer is both. But right now I’m just writing about the people who have too much time on their hands (like, how?!) when there’s so much to do in life.

The reason I thought about this is because my introverted moments get interrupted quite a lot. No matter how much I tell some people that I absolutely need my creative alone time (regardless of how long), they still don’t seem to understand.

It might sound selfish, but when you know you’re just going to sit there on the phone, listening to a friend talk about how such and such got a boob job, you really start thinking about boundaries. You have to wonder: do they realize I have better things to do right now?

So without much elaboration, I collected in my head a handful of possible reasons why some people should consider finding a hobby.

You spend too much time on your phone

If this is you, I’d like to remind you that a whole world outside of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter exists out there and, for what I’ve seen, it’s a lot prettier. No filter.

You get upset if your friends aren’t available for you at all times

Okay, so your friends are out there doing things for themselves and the world and have no time to answer your “Oh, I was just calling” call, but you think they’re being a bad friend if they don’t pick up? Hey, you could find a passion of your own, too. Wouldn’t that be great? Maybe then, and only then, you’d understand them better; why they like to get involved in the community (or whatever it is they’re doing) and you could even share more in common and have something important to talk about for once. Maybe, you two could even connect on a deeper level.

I get it; sometimes you just want a friend to listen to your ramblings. Trust me—I’ve been on both ends. I know exactly how it feels. If that’s the case, yap away. But this is specifically about the empty conversations, when you’re just killing a girl’s time for the hell of it. Please be mindful of your friends’ time and boundaries.

You’ve watched everything on Netflix

I feel like we all know somebody at this point. Perhaps it’s me who should work on her time management, but still; how can an adult have the time to watch so much TV? I wonder, though, does watching television count as a hobby? Hmm

When I think about hobbies, I think of activities that require getting out of the couch — going to dance classes, learning to play an instrument, walking, working out, going on road trips, creating, just being actively involved in something — but I may be wrong.

All I’m saying is, life is short; make the most of it.

You don’t just call but you FaceTime

This is a pet peeve of mine in recent years. Whatever happened to non-video calls? Ha ha! I don’t know, these times are weird.

I’m someone who literally does a million things while on the phone with others. I may be using the calculator or my notes or texting or checking the weather or writing or (guilty) Tweeting! And I can’t do these things if you have to look at my face while talking to me on the phone.

I recognize I have issues, too. But unless I tell you I’m in bed doing absolutely nothing; unless I’m aware that you’ll need my full attention — and I’m wearing decent clothes — don’t FaceTime me. Thank you.

It’s understandable if someone I haven’t seen in ages wants to video-call — or perhaps it is a crush, hello? But if I talk to you on the daily…I’m pretty sure text will be just fine. I’m starting to miss the 90’s…Shrugs

Last but not least, you spend too much time on social media

This is probably the number one reason you need to find a hobby. How are some of you mates always online?

As we know, social media can be harmful to you and it can be harming your relationship with others dear to you, since your attention is somewhere else.

I, for instance, tweet a lot. Not going to deny it, but I completely forget about it when I’m too busy spending time with people in the real world. Social media just sucks you in and there’s no return when you go on it. I know sometimes we do it as a way to keep informed, but there are other ways to do that (ways that I also should put into practice myself). When you get busy in real life, it can significantly reduce the amount of time you’re willing to spend online, sometimes just arguing with strangers.

So what do you say? Is there anything you’d like to do on your free time, besides all the points made here? 🙂

Election and Selection of Hearts

“What do you care, you didn’t even vote!” he said playfully.

I really liked that boy, so every word coming out of his mouth was a fact in my heart. I think that was the precise moment when I learned about the power of an election, though. If you got the right vote, you could also get the boy. Oh boy!

You see, I wasn’t into politics at all when John Kerry ran for president, back in 2004. I only knew that I liked him because he was in the party of John F. Kennedy and Clinton, and I really liked Kennedy because he was a good man; and I knew I liked Clinton because, well, he was in the party of Kennedy. (How silly was that? I now recall.)  It wasn’t until about four years later that I realized I liked them all because I identified with their overall good human nature values—which I’m glad I did once I found myself and what I stand for.

But forget politics itself. I’m not bringing up Election Day because I want to talk about politics. Not exactly (even though I should remind you to VOTE!). I’m bringing it up because this moment in history somehow now connects me to those bittersweet moments in my love life…or something like that.

From my early womanhood days to now, what I like to call my very grown womanhood stage, I’ve subconsciously only met men who share my values and apparently, during election days, we either really reconnect or part ways. We humans don’t have a say, but the universe sometimes has a really f*cked up way of letting you know what should go and what should stay.

The pattern now seems uncanny. One term I seem to be blooming; the next, I’m withering. Except 2020, being the year that it is, rearranged things a bit and this year could be a repeat. What are the odds…

That’s why this year, I’m wishing upon stars, as a last resort, and the good heavens in the whole wide world to have mercy on my soul.


Ugly Cry and Other Emotions

Let me just start by saying that everybody is a little ugly when they cry, in case that’s stopping you from letting go. And the reason I say this is because I’m bringing up crying — like most of my heavily emotional blog posts and poems.

It’s fair to say that I know exactly what it’s like to juggle multiple tasks at once; multiple gigs, projects, multiple bill due dates, friends with multiple faces…you name it. But it never occurred to me — a woman who goes to war with her different moods every month — that juggling different (simply human) emotions at once could ever be harder than PMS.

Lately, I find myself saying “it’s everything” when asked, “What’s wrong?”

As it probably happened with everybody else, it all started during that weird quarantine stage for me. The lock-down itself didn’t hit me at first because, as I previously wrote, in a very cocky post, I thought isolation would be easy for me because I’d been doing it for a long time.

In a way, my prediction was right since I was basing it on 14 days — not 150+ days of quarantine. But as it turns out, solitude hits differently when it’s not a deliberate choice by you. Even worse was going from a dozen back-breaking hugs a day to zero hugs.  Not to be too dramatic, but that was like going through heroin withdrawal for me. (And this probably makes me sound like a heroin connoisseur…) Anyway, I just like having the option of hugging people when I want to, and the lockdown put all of us to the test.

So much confinement does something to our serotonin levels, but when so many lives have been affected and lost, you learn to live with your minor inconveniences. Our cooperation and thoughtfulness became an essential during Corona time.

So, already there’s the empath part of me dealing with not wanting to cause any harm to any being, while also wanting to get the eff out of the house; then, it got lonely, so there was that; then, it was the job situation — because we all found ourselves suddenly unemployed for a bit there (and I know some people lost their jobs permanently). I also went through some physical challenges there when I broke my wrist back in June, as well as some personal problems. Let’s just say — and let’s not even sugar-coat it — it’s been f’ing hell.

Fast forward to a somewhat reportedly better time in the pandemic meter, and a global disaster meets a national crisis. The two collided. Once again, the black community was under attack. No punishment for police brutality. And there’s so much more going on that just makes it look like the world is about to end any minute now, but it doesn’t, and it all just hurts, to be honest. I still can’t believe it is not fiction. It’s a lot to handle, friends.

I don’t know how many more tests this year or this lifetime is going to present us with, but if our repetitive human history is right again, we can recover and rebuild — and we will.

Now, how do you juggle multiple emotions at once; when you’re in the shower and tears start pouring down and you don’t even know which one of your issues is bringing them out? I say, one at a time. It’s the only way. It can be so overwhelming it will feel like you’re drowning at times, but I think you have to focus on one problem — or else you’ll really drown. And we don’t want that.

So whether you’re fighting for justice, for your life, or both, stay human, stay soft. Let it all out and let it go. Life goes on. Take care of your sanity to go on.

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Words to Inspire the Dead

Today’s post is just to provide a little space to some of the best words ever written — and one of my absolute favorite quotes by the wise and great Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Great words to live by. Enjoy!

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

Drowsy Notes and Sleepless Nights

Have we collectively become more sleep-deprived these past few months or is it just still us, the usual suspects — the insomniacs, the night owls, the creators, the brokenhearted…? 

These Drowsy Notes are a documentary of one of those sleepless nights.

Five hundred twenty-four notes, what’s another one? 4:40 a.m. on the clock and heaviness in my eyes. A news article made its way in my brain about sh*t I couldn’t care less about (I like to pretend). My stomach in crumbles, dinner was a mango and I couldn’t stop thinking how my mom would scold me…like a child. 

Already a working hour for some, this very early morning. The silence of dawn sometimes has voices and they rest in my ears spewing their poison. Why, at this time, must I start worrying about the color of my toenails or the sound of the front door against the metal or my 14k or something unread emails? Sleep on it, I say, save your troubles for the morning.

Sluggish, but the bladder is impatient. A faint reflection of sunrise wants to creep through my curtains at 4:55. How delicious interrupted sleep must feel at five in the morning, when you’d be too REM’d to know it (if you were a normal). But normalcy went out the window six months ago and incertitude is the new standard.

Now 5:10 in the morning and the air is too loud; the sheets are too hot; the room is too dark; the speck of light, too bright; the clock went too fast; the sorrows came back… But the soft music on my phone promises a smooth transition back into idling, until next time — tomorrow at dawn, perhaps?

Here’s to 525 drowsy notes. Good night.

Lessons Collected Gone Unlearned

No fall air was cool enough. No comfort found in words. Every little sound in the soulless night was a sinking hole. But their words… those words against the screen screamed like deep red blood. Seen by the blind, a voice heard by the deaf, mind read by the nescient. A nonexistent heart beat that could be found without a stethoscope.

Disregard. Betrayal. Egotism. Use… All of the above. The kind of feeling no mortal should ever have to experience. How do I know? I’ve lived long enough.

Rubbed all in your face when you’ve been nothing but kind, careful with your own words, hoping to kill not even a moth.

The same questions remain. Above all, how to go on?

You’re supposed to know. The lessons collected on the miles you’ve walked. The time wasted… you wish you could take back, but then again, how would you learn? Not that you ever do, but it’s nice to pretend you’ve got everything under control.

Yet, you still don’t know it all. Yet, you can’t let go. Yet, you can’t mend your aching  soul. Big or small, the wounds hurt the same — how can a life be so?

Into the depths of despair I’ve crawled. Coming out of it alive only to make it so far to wreck my heart one more time and call it a life.  But is it really that? How is it “life” when you’re deader than dead if some things don’t go right. And, f*ck, yes, I’m mad that I drifted instead of getting up and following the clearer path.