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.

 

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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.

 

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.

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.

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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!

 

Almost a Week

It has been almost a week since I’ve had a cigarette and I haven’t thought much about it. I haven’t had any cravings or withdrawals, I haven’t experienced any restlessness or mood swings (no more than usual), it has been pretty simple.

What’s been different this time around is I have been keeping myself distracted. Whether it’s doing additional cleaning, keeping my focus on writing/reading, or getting lost in the many ‘worlds’ of Instagram, the distractions have been an immense help. Another difference is I really wanted to stop this time. Before, I knew I had to let go, but I wasn’t ready to give it up, emotionally.

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Credit: Sara Kurfeß

In the past, I would tell myself I needed to stop smoking due to my declining health, to avoid the strong, lingering smell of tobacco on my hands or clothes, and the countless stories (and statistics) of the lives lost to this awful addiction. All of that should have been enough to get me to kick the habit, but it wasn’t.  Now that I’m in a better place and getting the critical help I need, I don’t have desires to use cigarettes as a crutch.

Is this me saying I have quit forever? I’m not sure. I can’t see into the future so I can’t say if I will or won’t relapse again (damn addictions), but I have a handle on it right now and all I can do is live in the present.

 

 

(PLUS, THEY ARE EXPENSIVE AF)

 

Back on Instagram

A few weeks ago I made an Instagram account that was deleted by them after two, or three, days. Somehow, I violated the terms and conditions, but it wasn’t explained as to what I did to warrant the termination. I had emailed them stating I felt it was a mistake and let them know I had done nothing wrong. I still haven’t heard back from them. I was beyond agitated. I was done with them all together at that point, but I felt I should try it out one more time. It was my past experiences with the app that helped me with weight loss, become more mindful of my mental health, and helped me to stay accountable. If it wasn’t for those reasons I would have definitely given up.

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Credit: Mink Mingle

What I can say is, so far, so good. I’ve already ‘met’ a few people and have witnessed many inspiring personalities. I feel this will be helpful to my lifestyle changes. As long as I stay focused, that is. I have a tendency of focusing on one particular thing, then lose track of what I was previously working on. I’m awful at multitasking in my life, basically.

That’s all I have for now. Due to my anxiety attacks last night and lovely insomnia, I barely slept. I’m at work feeling like I am going to slam my face on the keyboard at any second. The last thing I need is to potentially break my nose and have keyboard keys embedded in my face.

Torturous road trip with therapy

“Therapy would be good for you.” They said.

“Opening up will help.” They said.

“Talking to someone could be beneficial.” They said.

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As I sit back and think about it, logically, I can agree due to personal experiences. There were moments when therapy was helpful to younger me and it has the potential to help again. That is if I go through the process rather than persistently hiding things. All I have to do is work through the difficult moments of my past by discussing it and learn to move on. I need to use the tools given to me to dig myself out of this grave of misery. I can get to where I need to be, in time. I need to be open to helping myself.

Again, this is me thinking of it in a logical sense.

The other, more dominant, irrational way of thinking about it leads to a rage that makes me want to quit therapy already.

I am not someone who opens up easily. Anything and everything that has ever caused me minimal or considerable amounts of emotional harm has been stored away in a vault. The vault is like my protection and it remains sealed in the back of my mind until I need to throw something else in. Not only is therapy making me open the vault to re-live the awful moments, but it’s also making me feel them, too.

feelings

I hate feeling. I find it works better not to feel.

That’s the problem. It isn’t healthy.

This is something I need to do, but I don’t know if I can handle it. This is 15-20 years of thoughts or memories I intended to keep stashed away. Right now, logic prevails. I just hope irrationality is okay with giving up the wheel on this torturous road trip that’s in store.