Orlando (Pt. 1)

When I moved to Orlando, there were no preconceived notions about who I was or who I was supposed to be. In the city of Magic, there was no box waiting for me. Only…

…freedom.

On August 7th, it will be a year since I have been living in Orlando, Florida. This past year has been one of the hardest years of my life. I have been pushed by life’s circumstances to endure things I never thought I could endure. Everything I thought I was so sure of was called into question. All the masks fell off. All the acts stopped. And all I was left with was…

…me.

The real me. The me I had never really met before. Or maybe I have…I just tried to ignore her. All the unanswered questions about the mysteries of life. All of the doubt when asked to have faith. All of the anger. All of the sadness. All of the depression. The mental health I thought was getting better. The ignorance on important topics. The addictions. The lusts.

All of my wounds finally had the time and space to get fresh air. I can finally see them. At first, it was overwhelming to see the brokenness in myself. Now, I see the possibilities. Now, I see the importance of facing uncomfortable topics and scars in oder to bring about healing.

But not only that…

I saw who I wasn’t. I have been able to recognize what habits were mirrors of the people around me, and what was really me. Turns out, I don’t like to sound excited in my texts all of the time. Excessive exclamation marks just seem kind of fake to me. Turns out, I don’t want to be nice to every guy who gives me attention I did not ask for. Turns out, I don’t like sports, but I love live bands.

In a year’s time, the robot that was created by southern and religious cultural norms was dismantled. Now, I stare at the pieces of what was and throw away what wasn’t really me in the first place.

I am still in the middle of this journey, but in a year’s time, I began to find Juaquina. But it’s only because God led me to this city…where I knew no one…where I had no safety net…where it was just Him and I.

Orlando is the city I experienced both great loss and great gain.

I lost everything in order to find the most important thing in my world:

Me. 

It’s Time I wrote About My Grieving Process, but…

I don’t want to talk about it.

I don’t want to put words to what I feel, because I am scared of what those words will form. The outline they would create of the monster living inside of my nightmares, or my reality. They both seem to melt together these days.

I don’t want to talk about depression anymore. I have said that word so many times, it is starting to become a piece of my identity, and I can’t let that happen. I am me without the sadness, right?

I don’t want to describe the all encompassing fear. That ties my feet together, and puts a noose around my neck. It shackles my heart in the past, so that it cannot reach the hope for tomorrow. I can’t talk about it, because then it would be real.

Parts of me would unravel, and I’m not sure if I would ever come back together. The ocean inside of me is made of black acid, and there is a tsunami brewing under the surface. If I speak too soon, everything would come tumbling out.

I can’t speak on this, because I would morph into a burden to the unfortunate person listening to my story. Their inability to help “fix” me would result in a counterproductive response. They would search their hearts and rack their brain with what to say, and the taped together condolences they offer would only irritate me. I don’t want the perfect response, only an open heart.

I can’t write about this.

But I guess I just did.

And I still am…typing. Because there is more to say.

Like…

I’m scared I won’t ever be the same; that the girl with stars in her eyes died. Hope doesn’t live here anymore, and it’s not even allowed to step on my welcome mat outside. I have taken off my rose colored glasses and refuse to put them on again. I am different. And no one has even noticed. They talk to me as if I am the same Juaquina, but I’m not.

But I’m not. 

A Lesson From This Season

Sometimes it’s okay to just rest. Yes we are a community of creatives. But always remember you are human first. You own your talents. Your talents do not own you. You should not feel like a slave to your gifts.

And it is okay to go through seasons where you are not creating much. It is okay to just be you for a while. You are you and you are enough with or without your gifts.

Alive.

 

Last night I tried to stop breathing, but the beat in my soul would not let me. I wanted permission to escape from the prison I don’t belong in. This confinement was starting to feel like home, and that disturbed me. I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to break down the walls and free myself from oppression.

Suicidal thoughts…

…begin to sound like freedom when you have lived your life in chains. I was desperate enough to answer a call from the devil. I wanted to be happy again. But how can I use satan’s plan to get to God’s glory?

I cannot.

So, I fell into a hole not meant for living. And it is in here, I find what heals me.

The darkness is so deep, it swallows my thoughts and never spits them back out. I am afraid to even move my arm, because I do not know what surrounds me. The light came on, and all I see is blackness. A mysterious hue blocking all ambition and energy. God exposed what I was creating, what I was living. And I realize, I cannot use my own strength to get out of a castle made of sand.

“Be still.”

The duality of the moment is perplexing. Here I am, in my own sin, in my own healing. I quietly wait in the darkness while God does things I cannot see. I thought I had run out of faith, but I guess this is what it practically looks like to obtain it. Running to the ends of yourself, and having nothing to rely on except…..Jesus.

He said all I needed was a mustard seed, but I didn’t have that. So, I prayed for it. He wants all of my heart, my mind, and my soul, but I lost those down here in this pit. So, I asked him to help me find them.

He is taking me through a process that will not be over in a night. I will not bounce back in a week. Nor will I be ready for relationship in a month. No, this takes a commitment so strong, I have to give it a new name.

Covenant.

Something so powerful, it uses time its tool. God will not be rushed. And I will not be moved. We will sit here together.

I, in the mysterious shadows, will be still. I will slowly realize the the chains I could not see. I will hear them rattle every time I try to solve my own problems by ignoring them. Then I will be reminded I am still in the process.

And God? He will be faithful. He will be present. He will be working. For where I cannot see, he knows perfectly. He will bring me what I need. I must only rest. He will give me the key. He will remove the chains I placed on myself. He will teach me to stand again. He will teach me to walk again. He will teach me to live again. In truth. And as a result, I will know that…

He is God. 

And through Him,

I am alive.

Dead.

Photographer: Unknown

I had not realized the rabbit hole I climbed into until I was nearing the bottom. When you fall that gracefully, it leaves you wondering how you got there. I was confused to feel my body hit the ground so suddenly.

The earth shook.

Something inside of me broke off.

I lay there for a while looking at the empty space surrounding me. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. For my body to adjust to the pain. For my skin to adjust to the bruising.

This was my death.

I wanted to stand again, but I couldn’t. I didn’t have the energy to lift myself up. I wanted to search for some meaning. I wanted to find a way out. My mind wouldn’t allow me to delve into these desires. Instead, I just experienced pain.The pain from the fall resonated through my entire being. A part of me was touched that was only meant for the hands of God. And she wept.

For days. For weeks. For months.

An entire season of rain passed through the desert land of my heart, but my soil was not watered. The seeds of love drowned inside of what was supposed to make them grow.

This was my funeral.

I could not open my lips to pray. I did not ask God to save me; I did not have the energy to reach for Him.

Instead, God came to me.

Rest.” That was first word I heard. The only one that sat on my ears for a while. Then more came…

I love you.

Confusion on how a God can love someone who causes themselves harm filled my mind, but my response got lost in my exhaustion. So I rested. And I allowed God’s love to cover me like a blanket.

Except this was not a blanket meant for sleeping. It was one of restoration and of life.


To be continued.

Mixtape Poetry: Self Care

And tonight

I choose myself

Tonight I decide

I’m going to love myself

I have declared this before

Except this time I realize

Love is not a noun

There is action to be taken

Tending to my own needs

Nurturing the soil of my soul

Cultivating the ground for growth

 

Pouring into my cup

Wisdom

Pouring until it spills over

Tenderness

Tonight I choose to pay attention

To the language of my own body

What is it saying?

The foreign tongue of my emotions

What are they reflecting

About the world around me?

 

Tonight I choose me

Under the stars

I see my own reflection

In the faint light of the distant moon

I stand looking for no one

Waiting on no one

Because I am all I need

Sitting in the echoes of my essence

Basking in the ambience of my being

 

Tonight?

I choose me.

A new video is posted every Thursday for my Mixtape Poetry series! Subscribe to my Youtube channel to stay up to date with new videos! This is video 6 of 7

Pittsburgh

“What happens to a dream deferred?”

It grows

And expands

It takes time to decide

Whether suicide is its destiny

Or if life is the only way

 

It lies down and weeps

Rolling around in the possibilities

Of “what if’s” and “could be’s”

Self-pity is the initial reaction

To a dream left in the shadows

Of life’s troubles

 

What happens next?… is not the decision of the dream

But the dreamer

What happens next… is the thoughts

The resilience

The courage of the one who gave birth to such a thing

The one responsible for the care and tenderness owed

 

My dream

Left alone

Tucked away

And hidden

Accumulated dust

Lost it’s luster

But it did not falter

Once discovered again

I realized it

Was the same

Everything inside of it did not wilt

Rather it grew in wisdom

As my life grew in length

 

And now

It lives

Inside of me

A mature version of childish passions

Plays on in the fantasies of my mind

With more room to develop into

The woman who will not forget

To allow her heart to beat

Now the boundaries are being broken

Letting adventures unfold and take shape

 

A dream is not a silly thing

A dream deferred thing can be a strong thing

And a dream pursued is a sure thing

A new video is posted every Thursday for my Mixtape Poetry series! Subscribe to my Youtube channel to stay up to date with new videos! This is video 5 of 7

Journeys Back Home

I wanted to journey across the world.

I wanted to plan an escape outside the state. California, New York, New Orleans. Anywhere outside of where I stood would surely bring me happiness and contentment.

The more I planned to run away, the more I realized I was trying to escape the wrong thing. It wasn’t about where I was physically. The discontent was growing inside of me and taking roots in my mental space.

A mental prison.

I really needed to flee my thoughts. They fly back and forth. They get high on possibilities then roll around in self-doubt. They ridicule and criticize every action I take. Every word that escapes my lips get replayed and questioned. Did I say that right? Did I offend this person? Did I come off as rude? I was on a self-inflicted rollercoaster of mental abuse and self loathing.

Now I am planning a different type of journey.

I am learning what is means to be present. I am understanding the courage it takes to not mentally escape and daydream my life away. I am learning to sit in my thoughts. I am listening to what the monologue constantly playing in my mind is telling me. About myself. About the lies I have chosen to believe. I am learning to be gentle with myself. I am learning to take control over what I thought was holding me captive.

One day, I believe I will travel. I believe I will explore parts of the world I have only dreamed about. But for now? I have to sit still. That is what God is calling me to do. Sit still physically and take a journey within. Explore myself. Learn the languages spoken in my soul I find it hard to interpret. Like why do certain smells bring to the surface old memories? Or why do I like feel a pain when I hear certain songs?

I’m tired of searching for home.

I am going to establish home within myself. I am going to watch how it expands, making love materialize.

 

My Own Heartbeat

Sometimes I don’t trust my own heart.

The desires planted in the soil of my soul, I look at them with suspicion in my eyes.

Ignorance leaves me blinded to the bigger picture. I hesitate with every decision. I chastise myself. I punish myself.

But why?

I am realizing to listen to what these desires are telling me. I am learning that I am growing, and my passions are evolving. I am discovering I was created by an intentional God.

So, why do I find it hard to believe He created me to be moved by certain things? Things that escape others. Things they don’t even notice keeps me awake at night, causes me to remain restless until something changes.

I am learning to allow my heart to beat. To trust the goodness that is was made in. If I trust the creator, why wouldn’t I trust His creation?