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Dreambook Entry 1: I’m with you.

  

Truth is stranger than fiction. 

My memory takes me back to the point where I’m walking across aN old toll bridge. It’s dark and the air is warm and foggy. There’s an iron lantern hanging over me with an amber light, that spreads across the entire panorama, dangling from its head.

I’m walking home, wherever that is this time.

Then my gut begins to stir and I feel like running. 

Whatever it is, I’m not trying to see it. But it seems to know how to talk to me from wherever it is. 

Don’t run. Stop. 

I resign to walking and when I turn around, I see the head of an owl peeking over the top of the slope on the toll bridge. The iron lantern that once stood rooted in the bridge’s shoulder, is now clinched in the owl’s… hand?

At this point, the owl is standing on the peak of the toll bridge slope. Its body in full sight, the figure of a human body dressed in a suit, either black or blue. 

I forget about staying and proceed to run again. This time, I stop myself. 

There’s no point.

You want to talk to me? 

  

I turn to regard the strange figure. 

A voice most gentle and inviting, responds,  

Yes.

I want to talk to you. It says in a laughing tone.

 The voice is not what I expected. And when I look around, suddenly we’re in my home.

Its eyes, beady and intense, stare through me from between dense, white feathers and a lace, white curtain is drawn between us. 

I’m still at a loss for words.

It senses this and reassures me,

I’m with you.

I open my eyes and find it standing in my bedroom doorway, fading away as I fully regain consciousness.

Don’t be afraid.  


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It’s This One Thing: You deserve you, not your problems.

It takes a lot of courage to analyze your life.

In this world, you’re supposed to have it together, right now, all at once. If you don’t, you’re screwed. 

Success is not yours to claim.

And that success isn’t transmutable. It doesn’t come in every color under the sun. In fact, it’s governed by a white picket fence. There is no gradient.

That success doesn’t interest me at all. The shit I’ve seen in life, I’m happy to have a hot meal, a glass, some herb and good- if I’m lucky, live-music at the end of my day. 

At some point, it’s time to look at why it’s so important to get everything done right now

Why right now? 

My life is all screwed up. 

Really?

Tell me how. As a matter of fact, write down how much of your life is screwed up. 

Collect all of your thoughts and analyze your current situation. Concentrate on what areas of your life you need to rebuild. 

Learn to separate the different parts of your life that make you whole. 

Do not allow the temporary weakening of a specific part of your life affect the rest of who you are. 

  You are WAY MORE than your problems.

Let’s look at the definition of a problem: 

A matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with or overcome.

Even if you have more than one problem at a time, your life is not over.

A problem is not greater than you. It is a tool used to rebuild and shape your path. 

…If you are working on it.

What? Some of us fall in love with our problems?

Yeah

There’s this one thing called romanticizing your problems. 

I used to romanticize my problems because I had no faith in myself. I believed that my problems were more resilient than I was and that it’d be useless trying to get rid of them. 

I began to identify with them, even make excuses for having them and fear letting go of the beasts I’d come to know. 

As the Stockholm syndrome commenced, I lost myself in my problems. I was bent and they were holding me up, I’d convinced myself. 

Expectations? What are those? 

I’d had standards and I hated myself for it. In my mind, my problems were bigger than me and I was being foolish in still wanting the things that I felt I deserved. 

You can’t get past your insecurities. Men only want confident women. No man will want you. Ever. 

Rational or irrational, my thoughts gave way to my problems. I was mentally unhealthy and it cost me a few relationships to realize I was in deep. 

I ain’t shit…

The cycle continued and the self-loathing became unbearable. Then one day I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror leading to the front door. I smiled and stood, regarding my face and shoulders. 

My late grandmother’s voice rang in my head, 

I watched you walk from 16th street all the way to the corner because I wanted to compliment  you on your walk. I said, “That young lady has great posture”. Then I said, “Oh that’s Kamila!”

That day in the mirror, replaying my grandma’s words in my head over and over again, I’d decided to break out of the hold my problems had over me. A graceful maiden with a full life and a big heart and a badddd walk could not be denied what she deserved most, her highest esteem.

One thing: You deserve more of your attention and esteem than your problems do. No matter how big they are.

“Life is like a puzzle. 

Sometimes the pieces fall apart, but they can be put back together. 

There are pieces from your parents and friends, pieces from people you like and from people you don’t like that make your life what it is. 

There are pieces from books, pieces of songs, and pieces of things that have happened to you. 

All the pieces of your life affect you, but THEY ARE NOT YOU.”

Remember that today and everyday. Problems are tools that, when worked on, sharpen the person you are and are becoming. 

Mine bow down to me. I’m always on the grind working on myself.

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Transformation Tuesday: What makes a person “a good person”?

I’m rich with references from the past. I kept all of my journals from adolescence and teenhood and it’s been a treat rediscovering my not-so-old self. Today I pulled out my old Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul journal and I realized a lot of whom I was has stayed with me. It’s refreshing to know. 

One of the prompts in the journal poses the question: 

What makes a person “a good person”? 

Here’s my 15-year-old self’s answer: 

  
Okay, so there you have it. I’d seen a lot at this point in my life. I’d just buried my 17-year-old friend who committed suicide and there were a lot of thoughts running through my head on a daily basis. 

Of course, there are some things I want to point out about my response:

  1. I tend to say at their own expense quite a bit in my responses. This is problematic because that was the theme of my adulthood for some time up until a few months ago, honestly. I’d developed this martyrdom that was really hard to shake after a while. It took me six years to finally be okay with being selfish in some instances. 
  2. Being so self-sacrificial was a mark of the point of my life that I was in. I was religiously devout to Islam and still situating my identity as a Black female teen in America; about three or four strikes against my conscious everyday I walked out the door. Over-compensation was a side effect of the pressure. Being obstinately “good” was a form of resistance in a world where I was tolerated and ostracized. My family had been through some things with homeland security because of our background. 
  3. A good person is someone who stands by his/her views even when challenged. I’m all for sticking to your guns, but even “good people” are wrong sometimes and being inflexible can turn a big heart into an ego hammock.
  4. A person who is comforting and reliable and, beyond everything else, honest even at their own expense. –Again, martyr syndrome. 

Considering the experiences I’d had leading up to these journal entries, I was traumatized and not fully processing everything that had happened that year. And a lot happened. That’s definitely for another post. 

What makes a person a “good person”?

I’d say:

A good person is someone who looks at themselves before anyone else. Someone who completely accepts others, even their flaws. Someone who is strong when confronted or challenged and accountable and  responsible when they are wrong. Someone who is comforting and reliable, and above everything else, honest. 

This may all change in ten years too… Ha!

What would you say makes a person a “good person”?

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Last night, I brought my soul out of its hiding place… 


I’m a lover.

That’s my calling.

Whomever and whatever I love will know it.

That’s my mark.

Whomever but me.

Until a little while ago.

I had to make more room in my heart so I decided to do some breathing exercises.

Literally opened my heart up.

We need more love in the world. Love expands when it’s nurtured. Love expands when it’s not. The beauty is that Love expands whoever nurtures it and preserves the hearts of whoever doesn’t.

Love loves Love.

We should take notes.

I have.

I still am.

You expand and elevate the ones who nurture you when you are a Lover.

When you harvest love from within, it is infinite and self-sufficient. Your soul is free to roam with Love there to guide its steps. It is free because Love is the strongest force there is.

I’ve only learned this through trial and error and that it’s imperative to celebrate along the way.  Somewhere during that celebration, my soul has surfaced.

You look like you have good news to tell me!

You’re glowing!

What’s going on with you?! 

Life is to be celebrated. Before you’re a person, you’re a human. And before that, you have a soul. The rest is temporal and conditional.
Before there’s a world, there’s the planet we live upon, Earth. And before that, there’s the universe. But before all that, there’s your perception of those things. Before that there’s a creator of that perception.

What’s that flicker of light that sits at the core of your being? The one that when it leaves your body, unfolds into seas of light and energy? The one that stares back at you in the mirror, governor of that unique stare you recognize that catches you off-guard everytime?

Selfies won’t ever be able to capture this gem because the soul is live and doesn’t conform to time or space.

Your soul speaks through your gut.

Yeah-the one that we’re told should be small, hidden, contained.

That gut that’s too pronounced, out of place in a world of girdles, shape-fitters and liposuction. Tools of manufacturing the suppression of the intuition, the soul.

Damn, what’s up with my soul?

You’re giving her the silent treatment so you can feel better, that’s what’s up.

We were all created out of Love, the original heroine.

Love, the most powerful force in the world, knows how to love Love. There’s no denying the power Love has in the world. There’s no denying the power you have in Love if you listen to her. Love is as powerful as she is because she loves herself.

Your soul knows this and is screaming at you to listen. There is no shine without first hearing the rain pour upon the Earth.

Listening is imperative and Love is a master teacher with an undeniable track record. Can’t really lose, here.

Even more genius, the lessons are tailored to each student.

Set your soul free, dammit.

I’m bringing my soul out of its hiding place. And letting Love guide me.

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When ‘No’ is Absolutely Necessary 

I’m tired. 

Damn, it took a lot just to say that.

But I really am tired. 

I’m tired of dimming my shine for those who unapologetically steal light from others. 

I’m tired of respectability politics. 

I’m tired of honoring codes I never subscribed to. 

It’s tired. 

Tired as hell that in order to build, we need validation and continuous deliberation over simple GP.

You wouldn’t like it, so don’t do it. 

I’m tired of tired-ass talking heads. 

Tired-ass mouth pieces. 

Tired-ass agendas. 

Tired-ass ageism

Tired-ass sexism 

Tired-ass nepotism 

Tired-ass hypocrisy 

Tired-ass passive aggression 

Tired-ass projection 

Tired-ass oppression 

Tired-ass micro aggressions

Tired-ass ulterior motives, that ain’t so ulterior.

Tired-ass hump day 

Tired-ass Monday

That exhausted-ass Papal visit. 

I’m just tired. 

And I’m fixing to say no and hell NO

I originally left the post at ‘hell NO‘, but I figured it’d beore helpful to pose some questions after ward, you know, for the sake of resolve and substance. 

Alright

When you feel your patience has run its course, what are some ways you tackle exhausting your will to endure stressors? 

I spend a lot of time alone. It’s my therapy. Time is a luxury that I don’t share much of if it proves draining to do so with someone.

I believe in real-life vampires, truth is stranger and more colored than fiction. 

Garlic and wood on deck...

How many times have you been moved to say no and didn’t assert yourself? 

Were you thinking of your feelings or how your actions might affect/benefit/disappoint others? 

How many times has that been fulfilling? I’ll wait. 

I seek solitude almost unconsciously because I’ve programmed myself to check my gut whenever it makes a strike. And it does, often. 

We live under a climate where holding your gut is strongly suggested, especially in fashion and posture. 

How do I look?

Nah

How do you feel?

It’s okay to be tired. Especially of the bullshit.

It’s okay to let it all hang out, instead of letting it all hang on you. 

Yes, I love meditation. 

Yes, I love going for long walks. 

But there is nothing quite like a shout!

Wake your voice up!

If you feel like cussin’, then shit, get carried away.

Nobody asks your permission when they demand your time and attention. 

Just know, if you feel like shouting, chances are someone else does too, and you may not have to look too far to find her. 

A slow-knowing nod and smile gives life every time. Try it today when you’re out and about.  


What’ll I leave? What’ll I take?

  
This Friday morning I’m sitting in reflection, contemplating the meaning of all I’ve encountered this week, directly and indirectly, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this is the time of situating and settling, not resigning, but shifting and balancing. 

Taking all you’ve encountered and deciding what stays and what goes into the next season; Fall. What’ll you keep grounded and what’ll you harvest that you’ve planted in your life’s soil? 

Chaos erupts at the beginning and end of Summer. It’s a fiery season full of adventure and experience. You’ve drudged through Winter daydreaming about warm sand, blazing hot Suns, trips to new places and meeting happy, friendly travelers like yourself. 

Spring is a warm-up, full of promise, hope, reward and new life. Spring, the beginning of the beginning. How could you not love Spring? It’s the saint of all the seasons. It starts and ends without much circumstance and doesn’t command much of your senses unless you’re one of the unfortunate souls who suffers from seasonal allergies. Spring is a mild season, here and gone before you know it.

Summer’s grand entrance, usually consisting of a dramatic thunderstorm and a tornado warning or two, is one not to be missed. 

You’ll know Summer’s arrived whether you’re in town or not. There’s usually a severe weather advisory around mid-to-late June and after the scare, flights and travel pick up with the burning wind of the hottest time of the year. 

 

So what about Summer’s dramatic closing? Hurricanes, last-minute, once-in-a-lifetime trips, departing from the comfort zone of adventure and leisure, reeling it all in for Fall. 

Fall, the What have you come away with? season. All things slow down in Fall. Your mind will determine what kind of Fall it will be. Are your crops maturing or are you harboring spoiled fruit? 

Then there’s composting. That garbage you’ve accumulated through travel and adventure can be put to use as well. You’ve got to balance the soil of your life! 

I am looking forward to crisp, laid back Fall. It’s been a busy, charged Summer and I’m ready for things to slow down a bit. 

Think of what the Summer has been for you, good or “bad”. What would you take from it and what would you leave behind? 

Sunday 

gifts are nurtured when they’re indulged, enjoyed, shared, sometimes 

sometimes they fade, no love shown 

Fear

Ego

People

Gifts are meant to be enjoyed