Battle with Forgiveness

“Healing begins with forgiveness”.

Credit: Diona Leigh

For someone like myself who can hold onto a grudge like life depends on it, forgiving is not easy, which is why I laughed when I pulled the “Forgiveness” card. Through this journey of healing, I hadn’t anticipated this process to be as difficult as it has been. In my mind, I figured it’d be as simple as, “okay, stuff happened. It’s in the past and brought me here to my present day. I forgive it, now I can move on and be done with it”.

All the memories, including ones I’d forgotten (buried), came flooding to the forefront of my thoughts on an endless loop. The more my thoughts continued racing, the angrier I was becoming. It felt like I had a dirty bomb lodged in my chest with the crashing waves of emotions coursing through me. I wasn’t sure when I’d go off. Eventually, I allowed my rage to take control and began acting discourteously toward my boyfriend when all he wanted was to figure out what was wrong to help me. By the time I was semi-ready to discuss things, he had gotten in a mood, too.

“Negativity is contagious”.

For the first time that night, we went to bed without giving one another a kiss. We almost didn’t say goodnight, until I forced myself to say it, then he responded impassively with his back facing me. We went to bed angry, which was something I never wanted for us to do.

As I slept, I had a dream. Within the midst of the chaos, certain things were abundantly clear. I could continue pushing him, and others, away or I can set aside my fears, uncertainties, and pride to allow help into my life. When morning came, I kept to myself as I attempted to garner the courage to explain what was going on. After I made myself a cup of tea to help me relax I asked him if we could have a talk in our room. The moment we sat down and I began to express what was happening, all the feelings and the repetitive thoughts that overwhelmed me, the tears began to flow.

 

Image result for forgiveness quotes
Credit: Quotes Cover

Over an hour of divulging decade long secrets, life-long emotional pain, voicing the difficulties of how hard it is to forgive, not only others but myself as well, I felt broken yet whole at the same time. Getting everything off my chest did help, but it also helped to have him share some of his darker memories and secrets, too. There was no need to be afraid to open up because he understood me more than I realized, he even offered some great advice that I hadn’t received before. “It’s like you’re in a movie theater, but there’s only one seat. It’s just you. And next to you is a projector with all those painful memories, on repeat, and you just keep watching, which makes you upset and takes you to this darker place. It’s called Rumination.” (Down at the bottom I will add a link for tips on how you can stop ruminating).

After his explanation of rumination and how to combat it, it helped me realize that despite what I encountered in my past, what was done to me or what I had done to others, I needed to use those moments as learning opportunities and accept that I cannot change the past. I can address it, learn from it, and let go of what isn’t in my control.

What is in my control is the ability to forgive. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you have to sit with those unaddressed emotions to work through them, but holding onto animosity over the past is much harder to manage. I would rather let go of that pain and negativity to truly heal than allow myself to remain a prisoner to things that are out of my control.

 

*Click here for “8 Tips to Help Stop Ruminating”, if you need it.*

 

Healing the Inner Child

My experience with chakra reading cards has been eye-opening. Not only have I pulled cards on myself that have been insightful, but some of my close friends have asked if I could pull cards for them and the results have been a little eerie due to the accuracies. I should be excited the readings have been accurate, it means I’m on the right path, but I quickly began to doubt myself and this entire process. This made me question why I’m always so hard on myself and why I feel I won’t succeed regardless of how accurate a reading turns out.

After a long night of not being able to sleep, I decided to write about a card I had pulled for myself earlier in the day. The Inner Child. Pulling that card made perfect sense considering the experiences in my childhood that forced me to grow up at such a young age.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes we all have internal wounds that have not properly healed. Some would rather let the past stay buried without addressing it, while others struggle in their day to day lives because the years-old wounds still feel fresh. Unfortunately, I am guilty of the latter and the former. With that being acknowledged, I am trying the best I can to heal said wounds so the inner child within can begin to heal, too.

First, I began to ask myself, “how can I heal my inner child?” I sat with the question for a moment and closed my eyes. Suddenly I imagined my current self sitting across from my younger self. I was upset when I remembered that little girl. She was so innocent and happy, always wanting

Credit: Diona Leigh

to have fun, a joyful child, that is until things came tumbling down. It made me realize how much pain I was enduring this entire time. I had a lot more healing to do than I realized. Even now as I am typing this, my heart is breaking for the girl that I once was.

After meditating and reflecting on how I could heal my inner child, another question came to mind, “Before healing my inner child, what is it exactly that needs healing?” Then the answers began to flow in the form of a letter:

To my inner child,

Regardless of your father not being a constant presence in your life, he still loved you until the day he died. He didn’t know how to be a father due to the absence of his father in his life and his personal struggles he had to endure. You may not get the chance to ask him certain questions you want answers to or get some sort of ‘closure’, but at the end of the day, he was the one that lost out. Not you. That is something he has to deal with on the other side until you’re able to see one another again. 

Don’t be afraid to love people. Not every relationship is painful, not every relationship is doomed from the start. What you saw in your young life, that was not love. You will know what real love is, believe me. 

No matter what, your family loves you, but you have to understand they come from a different time and place in the world. They might bring you down about your appearance sometimes because that’s what happened to them and they didn’t know how to break that cycle. They are stuck in their ways and sometimes people don’t think they need to change. They want to help and protect you, but they are making you co-dependent, not independent. Their hearts are in the right place, but they don’t go about it the right way. You can break the toxic cycles in your family. You just have to keep your eyes open and be aware of what that is to avoid it.

You need to learn to embrace how different you are. You are black. You are Latina. There will be some people who are black who won’t think you are black enough and not accept you, there will be some Latino’s/Latina’s who will think you aren’t “Spanish” enough and not accept you, there will be some white people who want you as their “token” friend or dislike you because that’s how they were raised. Embrace the fact you are bilingual. That is a gift many people wish they had. So what if the “fluent” speakers think you sound like a “gringa” while you’re speaking Spanish. If they understood you, what’s the problem? Also, there will be days you have what some people define as “good” hair, other days you will ignore the fact that brushes, combs, and products were invented. Your hair is no one’s business but your own. 

You can like all types of music regardless of your skin color. Do you want to listen to hip-hop? That’s fine. Do you want to listen to Pop? Salsa? Bachata? Rock? Heavy metal? Classical? Jazz? You can like/listen to whatever you want to. Plus, you might even teach someone a thing or two about something they never knew existed because of your interests in so many different things. It makes you less boring than the rest.

It’s okay to like girls AND boys. Even before you knew what relationships were, you liked them both. You would watch Janet Jackson on MTV and be completely smitten by everything about her, then you felt the same way when an Aerosmith video came on and Joe Perry was on that guitar (very unique taste, to say the least). You felt the same way for them both. Even though you were raised to think that wasn’t “a lifestyle” for you and it forced you to hate yourself for having those natural feelings, I’m telling you that it is okay. You can love who you want to love, as long as they treat you the way you deserve and you remain the good person you are. Live your life the way you like, while minding your own business. Don’t worry about what other people are thinking or saying, they are irrelevant. Make sure you don’t forget to love yourself. And love others, no matter how similar or different they are to you. 

Love God. Don’t forget that God loves you. He knows what your heart says when you can’t find the right words. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise. 

 It might take you a while to understand all of this, but you will get it. Your heart, your mind, and your soul will heal once you accept what I’m telling you. You will go through very rough patches and things will seem dark for a while, but there’s always a light, there’s always a way out. There still is.

Writing this (incomplete) letter to my inner child helped me truly comprehend that some things happened in life to get me to where I am today. I have known that for some time now, but today is the first day I feel the power of that truth. There are still things I need to accomplish this healing process, but this is the step in the right direction.

 

My Spiritual Awakening: Realizations and Continued Struggles

(Before you read: This is just one of many posts I will be making regarding this topic. This was more of an introduction post than anything else. My apologies if I word vomit in this post, I just needed to write this down and publish it or I would have continued to put it off.)

I shuffled my new, large deck of chakra reading cards in my hands as I inhaled a deep

20191026_205034
Credit: Diona Leigh

breath, asking what it is I should write about. I shuffled the cards until I felt it was time to stop, then pulled a “Spiritual Awakening” card. I wasn’t sure how to write about it so I figured I would write what came to heart. Before I begin, I am not an expert in any of this. I have no idea what it is I could call myself, but the point is I’m feeling more myself the more I accept this part of my life.  When I do it is with good intentions. There will be people in life that do not believe in any of this, while others throw themselves into the point of no return. As for me, I’m staying in my lane, doing what I need to do for myself and my improvement. I’m not here to make people believe me, I’m solely sharing my experiences.

 

As a child, before double digits, I would overhear my family members talking about tarot, psychics, spirits, and all of that relating to the supernatural. There was one conversation I overheard a psychic telling my family members that I have a special gift. After that, I get a talk about how I could have gifts when I get older and how these so-called gifts run in our family. It was confusing at first because I didn’t exactly comprehend what was being said, but as I got older, things began to make sense.

There were moments I would feel myself becoming too emotional, so, to cope, I would shut off my emotions altogether. It turns out I pick up on others’ feelings, then I feel what they feel (as well as my feelings) and it would bring me down. There were also dreams I would have growing up where they would make no sense and leave me confused. Now that I am older and able to analyze/reflect on my dreams, they appear to have themes and messages within the chaos. Another thing was my gut feeling. Whenever I had a strong gut feeling, I was always told by family to listen to it. When I did, I avoided awful things such as run-ins with LEO’s when my friends were up to no good or accidents happened that could have been worse than bumps and bruises.

Later on in life, I found out my aunt did things like Candle Magic and could see things that others couldn’t, and my great-great-grandmother was able to read shells and read smoke from a cigar.

I wanted no part in any of these things. It made me feel like a freak for even knowing about these things and I still feel that way at times. It sounds completely ridiculous, but I guess that’s what happens when things are too complicated to understand. Being the person that I am, I prefer when things make sense. But, I have come to realize as more time passes and the harder I fight it, the worse I feel in every way. Lately, I have been more accepting of it and I have been feeling more at ease and more balanced

Credit: Hans Vivek

With that being said, this doesn’t mean I believe or worship a devil or other gods. If others do, that is their prerogative. I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, and I believe that our ancestors and spirit guides play a role in our lives with the help of the higher-ups (haha).

One of the main reasons I had issues with accepting these things was due to Catholic school and reading the bible, and being taught these things so-called gifts were against God. Now that I’m older and have reflected a lot on the matter, I’ve come to the conclusion to stick with my instincts and have a relationship with God that works for me and my spirit in this life journey. I shouldn’t worry about what others are thinking or saying because it shouldn’t matter. What matters is what I do in my life, what type of person I am in this world and how I can use what gifts I have to help find healing in life, whether it be someone else’s life or my own.

 

 

Reflecting on Gratitude

Sometimes we allow ourselves to become caught up in the day to day of our lives that we take for granted the simplest tasks. Eating, bathing, access to decent medical care… There are people in this world who do not have access to those things. Sitting back and thinking about it, letting it sink deeply into my thoughts just messes with me.

Credit: Faye Cornish

Someone out there in the world, having some sort of unimaginable grief in their life could be praying right now to have a life that is similar to mine. I’m over here shouting phrases like “fuck my life” or “fucking kill me now” over something ridiculous and someone could be experiencing immense suffering.

I’ll be the first to admit I forget the fact that my situations could be much worse. They were awful at one point yet most of those obstacles were defeated. I don’t have a perfect life, I’ve experienced more than enough pain and trauma and I’m not where I want to be in my life right now, but I should be grateful for the things I have and have access to.

I have my loving, chaotic family, great friends, an amazing boyfriend, a roof over my head, my beautiful Pitty, food to eat, clothes to wear and clean running water. That alone is plenty to be grateful for.

I hope this helps someone out there if they needed to read this as a reminder. I have to post it as a reminder for myself.

We’re not perfect, but acknowledgement–being aware–it’s a powerful thing.

Depression took charge

photo-1531295915662-53be797fbad5
Credit: Dmitry Schemelev

There were many aspects of my life that were in need of change in order to better myself and my future. I began to make said changes by eating healthier, going to therapy, exercising, and taking anti-depressants. Barely two months in and my depression charged back into my life with fury and resolve. It was as if it knew I was attempting to do things for the better and it was determined to keep me in the dark, where it thrives.
I stopped going to the gym, bad eating habits came back, I stopped communicating with my online therapist, my medication wasn’t being taken daily… I wanted to do nothing. In the back of my thoughts I would tell myself how unhealthy it was to revert back to my familiar habits, but my depression took charge once again. Things got so bad mentally that it was beginning to terrify me.
This week I hit that place (again) where I need to get this crap situated in my life. I’m in my late twenties and I need to look forward, even when I’m being dragged back in the waters of hopelessness. I have an appointment, face to face, with a therapist today that I met with about a year ago. I liked speaking with her, but she was too far away at the time and has since relocated. Here’s to hoping I can get back to where I was and stay on course because I’m really starting to feel like there’s no real way out of this dance with depression.

[The Underground]

This is only a rough draft of something I’ve been working on. I still have a lot of editing and re-writing to do. I’m proud that I wrote something vs nothing. (I was inspired by an organized crime book I read).

From a safe distance, I observed a number of people entering the cathedral to say their final goodbyes to Uncle Mickey. The official report stated it was a heart attack that claimed him, but that had to be a lie. He was probably killed for helping me, which was something that tore me apart beyond recognition. I told the stubborn, old man that this could be the possible outcome, but he didn’t care. In all likelihood, his killer could be among the mourners; it was hard to believe I ever considered these people my family.

I didn’t realize a tear escaped me until I felt it roll down my face, leaving behind a cool streak that tickled against my skin as a gentle breeze made contact.

“It’ll be okay, Mia. I promise.” Jillian reached over to take hold of my hand in an attempt to offer reassurance.

I appreciated the sentiment, but the promise was going to be broken one way or another. Nothing was ever okay. I hoped I was wrong, though I knew better. The Morelli family wanted me dead. Five years in hiding wasn’t going to change that.

I glanced over at Jillian as I felt my eyes stinging with hot tears, silently praying to whatever God is out there that I was wrong.

“Why don’t you stay here,” she pulled down the passenger sun visor to reveal the mirror, “touch up your makeup, and I’ll meet you inside.”

I didn’t want her to go. There was a chance this could go sideways, but the purpose of bringing her was to find out if I was being lied to by a supposed ally. Her going ahead first was the window of opportunity I needed, that couldn’t be passed up.

After swallowing down my nerves and hesitation, I nodded in agreement.

Jillian smiled. “After the service, I’m gonna take you out for some drinks. We’ll meet some yummy guys and have fun. My treat!”

I grabbed her wrist as she opened her car door to leave. “Wait, Jill.”

“Yeah?”

I remained frozen. My lips parted, but there were no words forming.

“Do you want me to choose a spot for us to sit somewhere in the back away from everyone else?”

I nodded while attempting to ignore the pounding anxiety deep within my chest. “Thank you…”

“Thank me later when we’re knee deep in alcohol and men,” she winked as she exited the car.

The closer she approached the church, the more nauseous I began to feel. Sour saliva began to build up in my mouth.

Please, please, please, please, I whispered. Please let me be wrong.

As she walked the steps toward the arched, wooden doors, I noticed Big Lenny exiting as his bushy brows tightly pulled together above the sunglasses that were always too small for his face. Clearly, he was pissed about something.

Suddenly there was a loud bang echoing through the semi-busy street of mourners and bystanders. I looked around in a panic to see where the noise came from, but that didn’t matter the second I witnessed Jillian tumble down the steps she had just climbed. Her body slammed onto the sidewalk with blood already staining the concrete beneath her.

Her deep auburn red hair messily draped over her face after the fall; people either darted off in opposite directions or began to swarm around panicked and concerned, checking to see if she was alive.

I knew she wasn’t. That was the sound of a bullet and it was meant for me. I had to move fast before someone noticed that the lifeless body wasn’t mine.

No amount of rationalizing the situation could make up for the guilt that consumed me. I had begun to see Jillian as a real friend; instead I led her to my fate.

As approaching sirens echoed in the distance, I took that as indication to get the hell out of Valdren while I still had the chance or her death would’ve been for nothing.

I pressed the power button and the car turned on with ease. Thankfully the smart key fob was in the cup holder of the center console. In an instant I climbed over the console to enter the driver seat as casually as it could.  It took everything in my control to not speed off and draw attention to myself.

I pulled out of the parallel spot and I began driving in the opposite direction of the church. Police vehicles and ambulances sped passed me while my bloodshot hazel eyes stole glances of the chaotic scene in the rearview.

At least I knew there was one less person out there I couldn’t trust, even though the way I found out was repulsive.

Only two people I trusted remained. The downside was Mason wanted nothing to do with me. At least Yvette helped out when she could. I understood Mason’s standpoint, but with his skill set, he’s the only one that could help keep me breathing in order to take down the Morelli’s for good. But trying to get him to help me was out of the question.

When I drove a safe enough distance away from Valdren city, I pulled the car over to the side of the highway road.

There was tightness in my chest growing harsher by the second and my knuckles became whiter the harder I gripped the steering wheel. I let out a scream that was hidden in the void of what remained of my soul. Releasing the scream was only temporary relief which was more than I deserved.

Once I collected myself to the best of my ability, I reached into the backseat to grab my purse and took out my burner to call the only person I knew I could.

“Word is already spreading through the underground about the funeral. You okay?”

I sighed as tears began to blur my vision, “I wanted to be wrong, Evie. ”

“I know, but you have to remember that most people forget about loyalty when the money’s right.”

Her words froze me. She had a point. “And what would be the right price for you?”

“Don’t be a dumbass, Amelia. No amount of money would be enough for me to turn you in. Plus, if I need to disappear you’re the only one I know who can make it happen flawlessly on paper. I’m not fucking that up.”

“Wow. Glad to know you’re a real friend.”

“What? You want me to start lying to you?”

I scoffed, “That’s beside the point!”

“Look, when it comes to the businesses we’re involved in, you need to watch your ass before someone rolls up on you. And just because everyone else wants you dead for the cash prize, doesn’t mean I don’t see your worth. Plus…I’d actually, sort of, miss you if somebody took you out.”

“That really didn’t help all that much.”

“That sounds like a personal problem.”

“Damn it, Yvette. Could you please stop being so blunt and just be my friend right now?”

I heard her frustrated sigh and immediately pictured her rolling her soft brown eyes. “I am being your friend right now by keeping it real with you. The last friend you had, knowingly, led you into a trap that could’ve killed you. If that’s the kind of friendship you want from me, just let me know.”

I rested my forehead against the steering wheel and blew out a breath of defeat, “I’m tired of running. I just want this to stop.”

“Then you know what you need to do.”

I shot back up in my seat, “Evie, you know I can’t.”

“If you want to live and take down Conrad Morelli, Mason is your last resort.”

“Mason won’t help me. Why should I bother asking?”

“Will you act like you want to fucking live? A girl died for you today because you looked alike, so be grateful. If you want your life back, and to make sure that girls’ death was for a reason, then Mason is your last shot.” Her aggravated tone wasn’t masked, “If you want to give up, go back to Valdren to face Conrad and see what he does with you.” I opened my mouth to respond, but she quickly cut me off. “Call me when you make a decision.”

I tossed the phone aside onto the passenger seat and pounded fists against the wheel repeatedly, causing the horn to honk each time contact was made. All I could think of was my life over the last five years and how lonely it had been, along with the uncertainty of who to trust. The constant need to look over my shoulder was exhausting, and now people, good people, were dead because of me. The bullshit had to end, but it wouldn’t without help.

After a few minutes of assaulting the car, I was breathless, but it helped to clear my thoughts to accept what it was I needed to do. I ignored the throbbing pains in my knuckles and grabbed my phone, the line rang longer than I anticipated. She was definitely punishing me.

“Did you finally decide to put on your big girl panties?”

I swallowed hard, struggling to slow my breathing, “Do you know where he is?”

I heard vigorous typing on the line, the distinctive sound of Yvette working her magic. “He’s in good ol’ Paris.”

“Paris means he’s probably doing a job, Evie.”

“Which also means you can drop in on him and ask for help without giving him a chance to say no.”

Second thoughts began to invade my mind and she was being too optimistic. “He’s going to say no, regardless of how I ask. I can feel it.”

“Don’t make me hang up on you, again.”

I groaned as I hit my head against the headrest, “Fine…I guess I’m heading to Paris.”

“Good. Now, what identity are you using this time? Abigail, Caroline or Juliette?”

“I’m thinking Caroline. I haven’t used that one in over a year.”

“Okay, Caroline Burke. I’ll send your itinerary in a few minutes.”

“Thank you, Evie… I mean that.”

She laughed softly, “No problem. Call me when you land and we’ll take it from there.”

“One more thing before you go. If he says n—”

“Au revoir, chienne!” Yvette shouted into the phone, cutting me off before she hung up, again.

Bitch.

 

 

 

 

Reverting back does not prevail

Yesterday was a rough one for me. I hadn’t slept well the night prior and my mood was beyond foul. My depression had returned with a vengeance. On top of that, work was full of annoying, trivial issues that wouldn’t have gotten to me on a normal day but I was experiencing unnecessary anger. I tried to keep myself focused on positive thoughts to ease the irritation that continued to build.

As the day carried on I was craving a cigarette badly. I couldn’t stand that familiar feeling of hovering gloom; my skin felt like it was crawling. The desperation for relief was real and I was determined to get that cigarette to help calm me down.

I felt the same the rest of the day until I made my way home.

photo-1495996146452-1737b3678c78
Credit: Ehimetalor Unuabona

I made a mental note as I drove by the bodega near my house that I could buy a loosey, since I only wanted one cigarette versus a pack. The downside was the price went up from $.50 to $1, per loosey. I was genuinely contemplating it.

Once I made it home and thought it over, I told myself to wait before walking to the bodega. I had cooking and cleaning to do, so with my mind made up, I opted to do those things before heading out. I was determined to get everything done in order to leave. That was the deal I made with myself.

After completing my tasks I immediately jumped into my workouts.

By the time I finished, I made my honey lavender tea and felt a hell of a lot better. It was the best I felt that entire day.

After taking my shower, I settled in and got into bed. It was then that I realized I never went out to get my cigarette. Instead of reverting back to my old habits of smoking to escape, I went along with my new, healthier methods and they prevailed.

I need to remember for future matters that just because I was feeling desperate to ease the frustration doesn’t mean I have to throw myself back into old practices. I am moving forward with healthier approaches that are clearly proving to be helpful. Why subject myself to going backward? That’s pretty thoughtless.

Today I can say I am almost two weeks cigarette free.

Oh, and I didn’t waste a dollar!