Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Spotting Healers

I can spot healers within two minutes of meeting them. I don't know what it is. I don't know quite how to articulate. Something about both groups of people. I just know. I'm in conversation and I can see clearly the capacity of the person in front of me. Almost, come close to feeling what will happen with them when they heal. I literally feel pain when I sense their hurt. Not in a pitying sort of way, but in an empathy and respect way. Then the awe of their greatness sets in with me. I really firmly believe that I see a persons beauty in a way that is a gift. When I meet them, I struggle not to tell them. How do you explain that at base, you just know that they will not only find their way, but help others find their way as well. It's all very Catholic in the whole "peace be with you" kinda way.

It's funny how the world will send you messages about who you should have in your life. In the last month I have to say I have met more people whom I've identified as healers then I have in quite some time. I've met them in a variety of ways, randomly at cafes, through craigslist ads, my new job, or at the park. It blows my mind. I'm trying to figure out, what kind of message is being sent to me here? For quite a few of these people I have gotten a strong feeling that I am supposed to be in their lives. But really, how do you tell someone you've barely met, "So hey, I think we were meant to be friends, not quite sure why, but don't flip, I know these things." haha.

Am I just being a freak? I mean just because you can see that kind of beauty in the world, does it mean that you have to be or have a right to be an active part of it? Should it just be a comfort to me that it exists in that kind of quality in the world. When the world is in the state that it is in, where there is no more time to waste and healers are needed, what kind of responsibility do you have to them? So many thoughts. Such beauty.

Just a thought for my fellow survivors...

So I was walking down the street in DC tonight. It was fairly late, a few bums, the general ask for money and lude comments about my butt. It's always a vocal assault about my butt or my boobs with offensive men really. Sorry to break it to them, but they are mine, they will never be owned by the cat caller, much as you may think that might work. ;c)

But I digress. So I had a random thought. As one of them shouted an obscenity about my ass, I gave the "Touch me and I'll put a heel in your eye, mofo" look. It reminded me about the anger I had at my attacker when I was boxing.

Your bodies immediate instinctual reaction to violence is to protect itself. Anger will spur you to guard your body and attack another. This instinct for "how dare you invade what is mine"

But as survivors know, as we recooperate, the distance makes us blame ourselves. What did I do wrong? How can I take away blame from the attacker and push it to myself. Why is that? Is it because we are the only ones we can bare to punish?

Maybe a part of the healing process is finding a way to connect with the ass-kicker in you. The person that you become when its not about analysis, but intuition and impulse.

What do you think?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Finding the Path

I've been processing this one for a few days now, I think I'm ready to write about it. It may not make sense, so forgive me.

Being an educator is really exciting. There is something about choosing your audience and giving them the gifts that have been given to you. No matter what I do in the future, I will always remember that my roots were those of someone in education. There are still moments for me though where being that person takes its toll. Being an educator you see is a gift and a 24 hour responsibility. It's about taking moments that could essentially be painful and shifting them, moving them into something that helps people heal and understand.

I found myself in a spot last week, as an educator, that was hard. I was about to sugar-coat it by saying a little hard, but if I'm honest it was a lot hard. I can't really disclose the full details of the incident, but it involved misunderstandings and race and equity and all of those hot button topics that cause emotional reactions in EVERYONE.

I left the room I was in and tried to process things from both the rational and emotional pieces. The things I knew from knowledge and the piece that stung emotionally no matter how much I tried to talk myself down. In a span of minutes, there I was, tears and emotions stuffed into my shoulders and lower back, explaining the difficulties for people of color. As always the lone representative in the room. This was high school for me, college, now my professional and sometimes even my personal world.

Though incredibly productive and beneficial, I gotta tell you, I walked away raw. I left the room feeling alone, isolated and mildly grieving. I held it all together until I left the room. I walked down the street for about a block and only then did I start to cry. It wasn't hurt exactly. It's a little hard to explain.

I wanted to talk to someone who would understand. You see in my dream world, I would have an older latina female, one in management or some education position, that would understand the feelings that I was experiencing. She would tell me it was normal and that she had gone through many similar experiences. She would explain to me how to reconcile the pieces. The ones that make you feel both out of place in a world you launched yourself into and the world you launched yourself out of. I would get books to read, things to think about, ways of looking at the situation that took out a bit of the sting. I would feel at ease because someone would have answers for me. I would know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was going to be okay.

But on a windy, grey day in San Francisco, as I walked home and scrolled through my cell phone, not a single number that I own, not a single connection that I have, could give me those answers. The grief that this walk home left me, was heartbreaking. It was another moment when I realized that I will have to piece together feedback from many different sources to make due with what I got. Now, I'm not trippin, I get that I'm lucky to even have that. But man, would it have been great to have known someone whose taken the path before me. The older I get and the further into the many beautiful pieces of my life I go, the more frequent I find these spots. No comfort blankets anymore. My parents aren't familiar with my world, they don't know its intricacies and to an extent I think they feel it took away their daughter. The ability to turn to them really ended around the age of 15. And as many times as I may try, since then, it just hasn't fit.

Truth be told, since then, I don't know where I fit. It's like I made myself independent knowing that my path was uncharted waters for most. It's an exciting swim, but what I would give to find a coach that knows most of the terrain and understands, at a fundamental level, what it means to fight this hard for what you want. Even when you haven't identified exactly what it is.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rain and lessons learned

So I made healthy decisions last night. Instead of going to a party I had no desire to leave the house for, to dance at a place where I have not been a big fan of the atmosphere, I stayed home. I watched Real Time With Bill Mahr and a Woody Allen movie. Slept at a decent hour and now have woken up at 7, waaaaay earlier then my standard weekend hour. I'm feeling content and excited with the prospects of my day.

Lessons learned this week:

Rain looks beautiful in the morning, when you can sit and enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Choose for you, you'll be happy with your choices.

Making space in your heart is important, it allows you to really sift through what you want.

Anger is okay. You're allowed.

Every once in awhile you can spazz out about work, there is a difference between a spazz and a toxic pattern.

If I don't write, the emotions stay in my body. I am more centered this way.

Just because you can facilitate a situation so that the feedback you give is clean, doesn't mean it doesn't cause an emotional reaction in you. You can be totally productive and functional and still walk away feeling like it hurts.

I spend 9% of my life reading and writing (thanks for the break down Rey), honor that and do some activities that honor it.

It's time to honor me.

I still sing a rockin disco song at The Mint and wahoo for free drinks. ;c) (thats my favorite)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Addiction Backsliding

So I came to a conclusion today, criticizing yourself to oblivion is just as much as addiction as alcohol or drugs. You do real good. You believe in yourself. You see your beauty. You see your grace and magnificence. Then one day you wake up and there is a trigger. An old boyfriend, stress, a lack of validation, a tiring day, a hard week, etc. can send you back to get a fix. For that matter a good week, a triumph, a conviction, a moment of perfection, peace, makes you seek the leveling. I can't possibly be this good. And then I show myself how I am not.

You suck, you're ugly, you're dumb, pound, pound, pound. Until you leave yourself so raw, its hard for even the most loving friend to reach you. It's deceptive. You give yourself just a small taste. "Ugh, don't be dumb Karla." and then before you know it, its an arsenal of assault. Harsher then any parental whip. You start to rehash the painful history, pull out the greatest hits. Your father walking away from you as you cry to explain to him that no matter what you'll love him, being told that they don't think you're pretty, the boys that rejected you, the friends who took advantage of you, the family members who think you abandoned them for pursuing your dreams reiterating your selfishness for being your own advocate. Then it becomes a group bashing. You and your ghosts in a battle to take you out. Until all that is left is a fragment of your goddess presence.

There should be a sponsor.

Then you snap back, realize you are backsliding and fight like hell to give up. But its an addiction. Like any other addiction, it hurts and it feels good. How do you explain addiction to the logical/rational world. How do you find a sponsor?

I don't know. I spend my life teaching the world how to access each other and I struggle to allow for people to give to me. I am figuring out how the receiver, receives and does it without guilt. I'm "independent". AKA Stubborn.

My addiction, more unique and more common then any other. Waking up from it, is like finding oxygen. Reminders of the world you help build to sustain. Thank you for the blessing. For finding my way back quicker every time. Give me peace to learn how to let the ghosts and obssessive reduction of my truest self go. Not because the world needs me but because I need me. I want to be in love with myself so deep, my vision allows me to see myself, the way I see the world. In its infinite majesty.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Contact Boxing, Contact Healing

I just came out of my first boxing class. I contemplated for about 30 minutes whether or not I was going to write this entry. How do you put an experience so personal out for the world to read? And I thought of silence and how it kills more people than any gun ever does. How deadly passivity is. I know too many survivors to not put my thoughts into the world. I honor other survivors with my words and our struggle is so communal, my sisters and brothers, I understand the feelings attached.

I have been assaulted/violated 5 different times. At varying degrees of intensity. The most violent being the last, June 29 of 2005. As early as age 5, small and unknowing of the world, I carried with me scars of another persons illness. Then, at every stage in my life, as if to remind me of the wounds, I was violated again. I have never known a world where I felt safe in my own body. I have not known a time in my life of memories where this passive imprisonment did not exist. And I did not realize or accept until now, how that was a choice.

I say that only to tell you how amazed I am that tonight was my first night taking a class that had any element of self-defense. As I walked in, I felt the feelings of a child going to their first day of school. Naively unaware of the reasons for my own apprehensiveness.

I am very much a novice at this, so forgive the crudeness of my explanations on this sport...

There, with a bag and a set of gloves, I claimed my right to be the goddess I was born to be. I learned basics tonight. A jab and a hook. My instructor said his goal was to sweat us out. I knew from the instant that my gloved fist first touched that bag, that I was going to think of that man. I, of course, use the term man, loosely. I felt in my heart, the anger I usually suppress. You see, I am good at a lot of emotions. I am emotionally verbal in a way that is unique. Anger, for many reasons, has always been tough for me. But there, in a public space, with three other women and one male instructor. I was angry.

The jab was not the hardest part. The right and left hooks however, took me to another place. For a hook you need to place your body closer to a bag/opponent, it is the move you use when you have a lack of space. In my gym gear, near that bag, I was back in a dance club, backed against a corner. But this time, I did not struggle to defend myself. This time was different. I think my instructor saw it. He encouraged me "Who ever it is, keep going, let it push you, not stop you." Over and over again, past my physical limitations I beat the shit out of a predator.

Tonight was so many different things for me, I cannot possibly write them all down right now. I need clarity. What I will say is that I am in a different place then I have been. I would have needed to be to even place my hands into a pair of boxing gloves.

I will never allow someone to touch me like that again. How fucking dare he. I am a goddess and no one has a right to take my light like that. So here, in my fifth go around of surviving trauma. I come to peace. I will not be a prisoner to my own body. I will celebrate it for its utility. How could I ever find beauty in myself if I felt like a prisoner. I am light and strength. To hell with the people that used their size and physical dominance to try and take my gifts. How dare you take your gifts and use them as weapons to disempower. That is it. Never again will I allow it to happen.

Brothers and sisters, you are sheer brilliance. We are worth the fight. Our path will lead us to happiness and that will lead us to freedom. As I sit here and cry rivers of redemption, know that i understand the pain that is attached to all of this, but the prison is self-imposed. You may know the world in a completely different way than you "should" but it does not mean you have to settle for a life that is devoid of your own beauty. Find ways to let go of the anger instead of trying to defeat it. The deep pockets of discomfort will dissapate and you will be left with the truest version of yourself.

I will feel safe.

I wish you peace.


Score! We get another day of sunshine. Amazing what it does for the people here when its bright.

Cheers to the guy that taught me to be a kid!

Number three of the day, I'm on fire! You should see my journal after today, its deep... ANYway...

This is an homage to the guy that taught me to be a kid. Waaaay back in the day, when I was 14 and sure that the world was going to swallow me whole. I met a guy by the name of Eric Gonzalez. He has recieved kudos and thanks on this site in the past but today is his birthday and I feel like its only right to honor him.

Where was I, oh yes, I was 14. I was the kid from the proverbial "wrong side of the tracks" and quite literally crossed tracks to get to school each morning. I would sit in my parents car terrified of going inside the gates. I was alone. I was not accepted and really miserable. I felt seperate and unlike the people inside that school.

Then one fateful day I tried out to be a cheerleader (mortifying when I think of it now) and met a girl who introduced me to a boy, that changed my life. I was such a sad kid. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders half the time. I had a lot to do and had seen no one succeed before me. I was a tragedy that sat next to the trash can near the girls bathroom. Then I had them. And best of all, I had him. The person I would know as my best friend for years. The kid that taught me how to laugh with abandon. To run around and play hide and go seek at 15 (I had never done it), to not take the world so seriously, to figure out what the kid in me wanted first and use that kid as a guide. He helped buy me a yearlong pass to Disneyland because he wanted me to continue to have fun, was my first date to a formal dance, my first love, subsequently the first guy I ever saw come out of the closet and most times, the first person I run to if the need to hear "You're going to be okay Karlita" comes up.

Thank you for showing me that in finding my childhood I would find the truest version of myself darlin.

I love you, Happy Birthday.

Kick Ass

So this is the second post of the day, so you know i've spent it thinking. I was with a peronal trainer for the first time... ever, the other day. It was the most enlightening experience. I don't think I've had that fish out of water feeling with anything in awhile. It's healthy, I thrive on that shit, so it was all copacetic.

The piece that surprised me was when he asked me what my goals were, and you know I thought it would be the traditional, lose weight, work on my tummy, blah blah blah. But I was incredibly surprised when I said "I want to know how to throw a punch." I said it with a force that surprised me. I mean really surprised me. Even the trainer said "Where did that come from?" So I spent some time explaining the assault and how it made me feel about my body. I explained how I barely escaped and how much I longed to feel safe in my own skin again.

Crazy how you don't know what's still issues until something just brings it to the forefront. So you heard it here first ladies and gentlemen, I am going to learn to kick some ass. I want to know what its like to feel totally capable of protecting myself without the need for anyone else. Though I did it once, I feel like I could have done it with less trauma to my body and it just doesn't need to be something I carry around as a worry anymore. So I'm done. Watch out. ;c)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A New Place

I'm happy. It took me a year and a half since the assault to get there, but I gotta tell you, I'm happy. Life is just different now. The predominant thought in my head is no longer the many ways that I need to protect myself, its how much I deserve to enjoy the world around me.

Yesterday was a wondeful day for me, mellow, in the ways that good days are. I woke up early, dressed for me, met some old coworkers for lunch, read in the sunshine of a beautiful park, took notes on a gorgeous book, met up with a really cool guy, had dinner with my roommate/best friend, went out dancing with a great friend and came home drunk more off of my own happiness than vodka (though the vodka did help). Today, I woke up, powered through my hangover, went up to twin peaks, still the best place in the city if you ask me, and let the sunshine dance on my skin.

There is so much beauty in struggle ya'll. It's like all the scars of the last two years are my merit badges. I keep them in my coat and show them to those I believe deserving enough to see. How wonderful to transition from letting them be my walls to letting them be my honor. I feel in my heart the love I have to give to the world and it feels good. I trust that the world deserves it and I give it with joy.

Happy, contrary to popular belief, is not a destination. It is what happens when you live and dream to your hearts content. Even in times when it is dark, the dream that you will see the world as it lights up again, is enough to get you through. As light bearers it is our responsibility to show those bereft of the light, possibility. That journey, helps you find your place in the world. I feel so at peace right now. Though I know its a peak in what is sure to be another journey, I find myself not caring. I fuckin love the ride.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Being Grown Folks

I had this really interesting conversation with my mom today. She was telling me some really tough family news about the health of a cousin. And she started to beg me to inform her on how I was doing more consistantly. She asked over and over again for me to be more open when things were tough. Her insistance and fear broke my heart.

Last week my roommate and best friend of years was pretty sick. In a so sick its almost scary way. We ended up at the ER Sunday while she fought a high fever and a lot of pain. I sat there on the phone balancing telling our parents enough to not blind-side in the event that things went worse but not enough to majorly worry them. It was a tough balancing act. I was peaking in on her ever few hours and to be honest. It was a little hard to sleep knowing how sick she was. It was one of those moments where you go, dang I'm an adult now. There is no mommy and daddy to run to if things go wrong, I'm gonna have to figure this out. I had been running on automatic pilot until I missed my flight to DC the next day. I called a friend and co-worker and my voice broke when I told him. I quickly apologized. He said he understood and would pray for my friend and I. It struck me how great it would have felt to have parents to do that with in that moment. To figuratively crawl into someones lap and have them tell you its going to be okay. See, my parents were never those people. Comfort was not something they offered well, they didn't know how. So I could probably count the number of times after I hit teenagerdom that I have done the crawl into your lap and get reassurance thing with anyone.

So that brings me back to the conversation I had with my mom. Sitting there on the phone, feeling how heavy the last week was. Wanting so bad to break a little with her and seek comfort. But hearing the fragilty in her voice. And I was so close. So close to saying "I was scared" "I didn't know what to do." "I felt like such a little kid." And I couldn't do it. Instead I sat there on the phone tears coming down my face, trying to supress it while I assured her I was okay.

What is the line with independence? When do we cross it? How much of it is underestimating there capacity. I mean I believe my parents to be strong and capable. I know they won't break if I let them in. But if I am honest, I am afraid letting them there, will break me. I'm struggling to figure out what taught me to shut other people out in my times of greatest need.

Don't get me wrong. I am an open person. I would say I access people pretty well. But in times of hardship, trauma, real bad issues... I think I try and handle on my own to an extreme. I'm going to spend some time tracing back the tree on that. When did I decide that being grown folks meant handling solo? When do I reaffirm my commitment to that solitude? I'm such a hugger, isn't it ironic that I am not great at allowing people to hold me.

Can the healer, be healed?

I hope so. I have to believe it.

Haha I was just about to add an addendum that said "This post is much more melancholy than my mood." You know, just so no one would worry. ::shakes head::