General, love, Personal

Seven Feet Deep

An excerpt from a journal entry written on August 13, 2006 at 8:19 pm, while I was on vacation with Marvs and my sister:

“On Swimming

You wake up sore the next day, wondering what you’d done to be in such pain. It’s sort of like sex that way. Right now my shoulders hurt after showing off my skills in the water. The butterfly stroke is not as easy as it used to be.

I like deep water. It’s more of a test– of my strength, of my commitment. Sadly, I always forget:  the deeper the water, the more difficult it is to come up for air.

[Redacted] was probably only seven feet deep. Deep enough to completely cover my head. Deep enough to drown in. Deep enough that I can’t just pop out of the water and gasp for air. So I shouldn’t beat myself up for wishing that things could be the way they used to be. That I could be here, on St. Maarten, missing him and his grin, while he’s back at home, missing me, too.”

I take great pains to avoid the subjects of dating and relationships entirely. If you’re not my sister, Michelle,  or Johara, you basically have no idea what’s going on in my romantic life. Most of this is just due to my secretive Scorpio nature (“But,” you protest, “you write a personal blog!” I know, I know. Perhaps that’s why I don’t post very often?).  The other part of it is… the more I discuss dating and relationships, the more I have to examine the reasons why I am the perpetually single friend.

I find myself reading A Belle in Brooklyn‘s Ask.FM page nearly every day for two reasons: 1)  because people ask some outlandish questions and 2) her answers are straightforward and often HILARIOUS. A few months ago, a girl wrote in asking her what to do because the dude she’d been dating and wanted a relationship with was flying to another city to visit some woman. She was understandably hurt and asked how to get past it. Demetria told her:

You get through hurt. You don’t pass it by. Sit with it. It’s okay to hurt. Just don’t sink in it.

I read that, and something clicked.  I found my journal from that summer and read the whole thing. And I realized– I allowed myself to sink.

It wasn’t that deep. But I let the crushing weight of my hurt force me to the soft, sandy ocean floor, just yards away from the shore. And I’ve been floating here, for years. I learned how to breathe. It’s nice and warm and peaceful. I am alone and I prefer it that way.

After him, I chose a long string of unavailable men. That worked just fine for me. There was the startlingly handsome guy whose last girlfriend had cheated on him (and humiliated him, apparently. I don’t remember all the details) and so he became an avowed bachelor. There was the artistic guy whose girlfriend had also cheated on him; this one took her back and cheated sporadically with me for revenge.  Then there was the dude who’d been in a relationship for over five years, was newly single, and just wanted have some fun. He was the one who pointed out to me how utterly unavailable I was. He was really into the law of attraction and told me, “My dear, I don’t believe in coincidences. You keep meeting unavailable men because that is who you are. You’re not available at all. You’ve got a fucking fortress around your heart and you don’t even know it.” I’m pretty sure I just laughed at him and brushed it off.

It’s been eight years since that trip to St. Maarten, and a little over six years since I sat in E’s car, and he turned up the volume when Omarion’s “Ice Box” came on the radio and he pointed at me, laughing, saying, “This is so you.” The last guy I dated told me he’d never met anyone as cold as me. I have to admit, it kinda hurt my feelings at first. But I dismissed him, telling myself that he was just mad I no longer wanted to date him, that he was just desperate to push my buttons, to elicit one last reaction out of me before I walked away.

But what if he’s right?

What if I can’t be anything else from beneath this sea?

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An Update

I didn’t mean to leave you guys hanging in the new year.  There’s so much I that I want to write about– I’ve been bookmarking websites and taking notes and telling myself: THIS NEEDS TO GO ON THE BLOG!

But I’ve also been scrambling, trying to wrap up my requirements for my yoga teacher training, which ends in just two months. It sounds like I have a lot of time left, but I don’t!  This morning, I finished my final class with Laurie– which means I’ve attended 20 classes with her since October 18, 2012.  Next week, I’ll resume observing classes; I have to observe fourteen, which I should be able to finish in a little over a month if I observe three classes a week (let’s pray for good weather!!).  And let’s not forget that I have to take eight classes with other teachers, finish my homework, memorize the scripts for Sun Breaths, Sun Breaths with a Lunge, Surya Namaskar A, and Surya Namaskar B.  I still have nine hours left of practice teaching family and friends to complete. Oh, and there’s also the  final exam to study for. It’s a lot, right?

I have no intention of abandoning this space, however. So here’s what you can expect:

I will post at least once a week– every Tuesday by 1 pm, from now until the end of March.

Wish me luck, dear readers!  And please know that I appreciate each and every one of you.

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General

Gratitude, Parte Dos

These flowers have nothing to do with Thanksgiving. I just think they’re pretty and felt like sharing. Found at Bright Bold & Beautiful, via Pinterest.

Not long after I wrote my first post about gratitude, I downloaded the Gratitude Journal app on my iPhone. It is set to open every morning at 6:30  so I can scribble down a few things that put a smile on my face. This year, I am grateful, as always for my family. My crazy mama, Marvs, and my brilliant doctor sister. My absentminded Aries dad, my power-hungry political machine aunt, and both my uncles. My also brilliant doctor cousin and her brand new baby who I can’t wait to meet. I don’t have a  huge family, but I love them and they are mine.

I’m also grateful for soca, which gets me through my days and reminds me to dance and smile my way through life. (Check out my latest favorite by Terri Lyons here).

I’m grateful for yoga, because through the practice of yoga I have learned to love myself in ways I didn’t know were possible.

I’m grateful for hot bowls of  soup on cold, rainy days.

I’m grateful for the sun when it appears, sliding  through my blinds in the morning.

I’m grateful for kale in all its delicious forms– sauteed with garlic, in crunchy salads with grapefruit and pecans, in sturdy stews of butternut squash and chickpeas, in omelets with feta and mushrooms. Yum! I love kale.

I’m grateful for my old car, still chugging along faithfully, getting me where I need to go, after 98,000 miles.

I’m also grateful for Hermes Kelly Caleche just because I smell so sweet right now.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

ETA:

Was it serendipity that caused me to post the picture of flowers above, just for the sake of their beauty? Then to find this lovely TED Talk, Louie Schwartzberg on Nature, Beauty, and Gratitude? I don’t know, but I’m grateful either way. Enjoy!

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After the Storm

Sandy’s only victim on my block.  Thankful it was just a tree.

Just in case you weren’t aware: the northeastern part of the United States was hit by a post-tropical cyclone, formerly known as Hurricane Sandy.  The storm was responsible for the deaths of at least 30 people in New York state alone, and millions have been left without power, or worse, completely displaced.

This was my third experience with a hurricane (or similar storm). The first was Hurricane Isabel, a Category 1 storm which made landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a mere hour away from my university.  Despite the droves of students who heeded local authorities’ recommendation to evacuate, my best friend (at the time) and I decided to ride the storm out.  We spent the first night in the gymnasium, sleeping on box springs. As the storm made its way north, we rode to a nearby hotel where a mutual friend was working and he let us sleep in the room that was provided for him.  After the storm passed, we went back to the apartment complex near campus to stay with my friend’s sorority sister. There was no electricity.  It was September, so it was still warm.  People were grilling in the parking lot, drinking, generally just having a good time.  But after a day or two of sleeping on the floor, I was over it.  My friend and I packed up our stuff, hopped in my car, and drove to her mom’s house in Charlotte. By the time we got there, we got the news that classes would start in two days.  We headed back to Hampton, relieved that the ordeal was over, and I figured I’d never have to deal with a hurricane again.

I was wrong. Last year, we had Hurricane Irene.  My mother is from the Caribbean. She did not appear to be frightened in the least.  But I, remembering how awful Isabel had been, raced off to the Target near my job and bought candles, flashlights, batteries, and snacks. We had plenty of bottled water, canned goods and bread and peanut butter.  I kept my phone and laptop charged, and prayed for the best. Irene passed us with little fanfare, though the next neighborhood over flooded pretty badly.

The worst part about the whole thing had been waiting. The anticipation.  When news of Sandy broke, I wanted to cry. Not again! We live in New York!  Not Florida!  What the hell is going on??????  And of course, the constant news coverage did nothing to help. All everyone talked about was how much worse Sandy was.  How she was much larger, and moved more slowly, and had more wind. She would be landing at high tide, on a full moon. Storm surge would be extraordinarily high.  Everybody in Zone A, leave. Leave now.

I live in Zone C, the zone least likely to face mandatory evacuation. We stayed put.

Sandy was worse. The howling winds came first, before she even made landfall in New Jersey.  Every gust shook the house.  I heard things tumbling down the street. I heard crashes and loud cracks. I heard sirens and wails. I got no sleep until today, when it was all over.

After the winds had died down some, Marvs and I met with her friend Gemma to survey the neighborhood. Many trees had been felled by Sandy’s fierce wind, one on almost every street. Some were blocking would-be traffic. Some rested on houses or cars.  Gemma turned to my mom and said, “Yuh know, it really wasn’t that bad.”

She was right. We still had power. There had been no flooding.  We were safe.

It could have been worse. For many others, it was.  I will keep them in my prayers, and donate what I can.

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General, Personal

What are you afraid to do?

Image[source]

I came across this image yesterday during my daily Pinterest perusals. I’ve been hearing various iterations of this statement for a while now, but didn’t really think about what it meant until last night. Confronting your fears is difficult stuff.  So what am I afraid to do?

  • I’m afraid to move out. I’m afraid I won’t make it on my own and I’ll have to go back to Marvs with my tail hanging.
  • I’m afraid of applying to MFA programs…because I’m afraid of rejection.
  • I’m afraid to lose the weight.
  • I’m afraid of being alone forever but I am also afraid to let anyone get too close to me. Arms distance, always, everyone, even people I love.

Those are the major things.

Will I do them?  Maybe. Possibly. Probably. On my own time.

Baby steps.

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General, Personal

Gratitude

[source]

I drive to work every day.  I’ve been making this particular commute for so long now that it has become mindless. I get in my car, I adjust my mirrors, and pull off. Before you know it, I’m in my parking space, then I’m at my desk, checking my e-mail and monitoring the queue.

Not long ago, I was on my way to work when I noticed the billboard above, hovering over the Major Deegan Expressway.  There was an accident blocking the left lane, and though I was one exit away from my own, it would take me another half an hour to get to work.  I can’t say I’d ever really looked at the many surrounding billboards before– usually I speed past them as fast as I [legally] can, trying to make it into the building by 8 am.  But I was stuck in traffic, frustrated, and bored, and when I looked up, there was a sign: Gratitude.

A few days later, on my way home from work, I noticed another, similar sign.  This one said: We live in a beautiful world.  I will admit, it  made me frown.   I was sitting in traffic– AGAIN–this time on the Van Wyck Expressway, nearing JFK.  I saw nothing beautiful around me, only smog and angry cab drivers and litter.  I just wanted to get home.

But of course, the next morning, here’s this sign reminding me to be grateful.   I thought: well, I’m grateful the traffic isn’t as horrible today. And that made me laugh.  So now I’ve got these every day reminders– what are you grateful for this morning?  Can you find the beauty around you?

I did a bit of digging and found that these billboards are the work of artist Peter Tunney.  You can read a bit more about him here, here, and here.

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Awkward!

Today I was on the E train riding back to Queens. It was rush hour.  An Asian lady with her hair pulled back in a pretty chignon looked at me and pointed to her seat. I looked over my shoulder. Maybe there was an elderly woman behind me. No. Just a Guyanese boy with his fitted baseball cap slung backwards.  I looked back at the woman. She mouthed, “You. Do you want to sit?”

Then it dawned on me: She thought I was pregnant.

Yes, I have gained some weight, as I tend to do when I get stressed. I also just came back from Trinidad, where my aunt fed me five square meals a day.  And my Aunt Flo is due in two days, so I’m a bit bloated. But pregnant?????? I joke sometimes about having a food baby…but never has anyone ever taken one look at my belly and immediately assumed I was with child.

I told her I was fine. On second thought, perhaps I shouldn’t have. We were at 34th Street and I ended up standing the whole way. If I were a dishonest person, I would’ve taken her seat gladly, rubbing my faux baby belly with gratitude.

The moral of the story: I’m joining Weight Watchers on Monday.

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Welcome!

I have a lot to say in regards to why I started this blog, but I’ll start with the basics.

Breathe: because “Yoga found this basic thing, that breathing is deeper than thinking. If you can change your breathing, you can change your thinking. And once you know the key– that breathing has the key– you can create any climate you want, it is up to you.  It depends on the way you breathe.” — Osho

Write: because author Tananarive Due forced me to admit that I am a damn good writer.

Shine: because I wish to emit the light and love I feel growing within me every day.

 

I will be back soon.

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