» Vessel. Voice. Visionary.

Because, its my time.

Cut the String of Brokenness

Growing up, I had a lot of "friends". It was never an issue to make them because I deemed myself a social butterfly. Talking to people was rather easy for me, and subsequently making friends was too. Being older, the same isn't true. It's not that I've lost my charm for talking to people, it's that I allowed my circumstances to push people away. You don't realize how much things hurt you until you look behind you and recognize the string of brokeness that follows. I had broken relationships with people because of how hurt I was. I pushed those that cared away because I lumped them with those that appeared to but didn't. Now I look around at the lack of friendships I have, and quite frankly, it makes me sad. I want to have friends that I can call and say "get dressed, we're going out" or vice versa. I want to have friends that if my boyfriend goes out or my closest friend/roommate is with her friends or out, I don't have to be lonely, laying in the bed watching tv. I want to have friends that I can be transparent with, have fun, without worrying about whether they're thinking about how "holy" I should be. Going away to college was a great experience for me in that it taught me to be independent and such, but the experience also took me from my home, my friends, and my family. I know I have them, but in Philly, they aren't tangible. I can't go see them or hang out. That's what different about now. My boyfriend and roommate are both "home". Seeing their friends or family is as simple as a drive or train ride. I don't share the same simplicity. My journey takes more than three hours to another state. Maybe that's the saddest thing--when I am most in need of my comfort, it's out of reach. 

BUT, the point of this post is not all about being sad about not having friends- it's about this: cut the string of brokenness. Too often we get so wrapped up in situations and people that hurt us that we go out and sometimes unintentionally, hurt those around us. We don't let people get too close for fear of hurt, or we push away those that care because we don't see why or how they could. We lump everyone together and think the world is out to get us, when in actuality, either a small insignificant number or frankly no one is. Living in hurt hurts. Living in hurt stunts growth. Living in hurt limits the possibility of truly enjoying life and all that it has to offer. Living in hurt continuosly gives control to the source of the hurt. I lived in hurt so long and was so deep into it that I didn't see that I was isolating myself until it was revealed by others and ultimately by myself when it was too late. I realized I had isolated myself when I could scroll down my phonebook, or better yet, look around the room and realize there was not a single person I had an actual substantial friendship with. I realized I had allowed my hurt to consume me to the point where "are you okay?" wasn't even a question anymore--it became the statement of "oh she's just having another one of her days/moments". Living in hurt robs you of the ability to love and I think more importantly be loved. It's okay- you're human. But at the end of the day, you're not the only one who has ever been hurt and you surely won't be the last. The hurt that you're going through isn't unique unto you. Others have experienced debilitating hurts, and yet, they manage to still love and be loved.

Bottom line: Be mature enough to realize that as long as there is life within you, there is life to be lived. Forgive. Forget. Move on. Most importantly, never lose your ability to recognize, receive and reciprocate love. 

Behind The Wheel

I drove. For the first time, I didn't drive in a limo or another person's car. I was behind the wheel of the car that drove in the funeral processional. It was the marker of how grown I was; this time, I wasn't being shielded from the pains of death--I was head-on in it. It felt weird, icky almost. I didn't want to do it once it began. I wanted to relinquish control, be able to give up the wheel and retreat to the back seat where I could stare out the window and imagine myself somewhere else, or escape to sleep. Now, this post isn't all about death and neither is my blog; rather it's about the process of growing up. It's not easy. It comes with great rewards and great pains. Driving behind the wheel made me acknowledge that I had a license, a car, a degree, an apartment, bills to pay etc.---grown up responsibilties. It also made me acknowledge that even when I didn't want to do something, it didn't matter. If it had to be done, it had to. I realized the sacrifices of growing up. It was my boyfriend's uncle so of course he shouldn't have driven, and his little sister couldn't drive so I was the perfect and only candidate. It was the last place I wanted to be, but the only place I needed to and should have been. I had my own battles, but my boyfriend needed me in his so I had to put my adult pants on, and even if it hurt, be present. 

The greatest lesson though, is past the sacrifices themselves--it's the strength in the sacrifice. The last funeral I went to didn't work out in my favor; I was a big ball of mess, and I didn't think I would be able to go to funerals for a long time. Now, I'm sure I won't be attending funerals all "willy nilly", but I made it through this one. And I'll make it through another one day. There is an untapped well of resilience within me. In my process of growing up while getting older (because they can happen independently of one another), I realize that there is more in me than I give myself credit for. I am more than even what I allow myself to be. The sacrifice that day didn't show my strength: my strength showed my sacrifice.

It Was Never Physical....

Growing up, I never classified my neighborhood as the "hood". Up until high school, I believed I lived in a respectable middle class community, with respectable middle class adults and respectable middle class children. I thought it was a far cry from what I knew to be the "projects--a tell-tale sign of the "hood", with its tall buildings with the scent of urine and poverty. I thought I was a bit better than that. But, as I got older, I realized the hood was never really about buildings; it was a mental state of being. Someone could grow up never living with my "tell-tale signs" and still consider themselves as growing up in the hood--and suddenly, I was watching it happen. Respectable middle class children were suddenly gang bangers, drug dealers and muderers. How could this happen in my respectable middle class community? How could I suddenly start barely missing bullets on my front porch? How could I begin to hear stories of those I laughed with be the ones who were hunting for blood? How could I begin to get mail with return addresses of prisons? How? Because, the "hood" became a mindset. All of a sudden, it was okay to turn homes into drug businesses, and streets into territories. While I was busy thinking war only happened in the projects, I was faced with the reality that armed forces lived doors down from me. But all of this angered me, and it still does to this day, almost ten years later. It angers me that the same ones that watched me grow up, from a little baby girl, to old enough to get "hollered at", were killing one another. It angered me that life no longer was viewed as sacred, but rather a trophy or pat on the back once it was taken. It angered me that the possibility of hearing that my brothers were either in jail or dead increased greatly. Most of all, it angered me that a mental "hood" was created where no physical "hood" lied--we did it to ourselves. We created the space where cops had to patrol and where body bags began to line up. We created the fear. We started the war. And now, the war continues. The sad part? It won't end. Not until every one is missing, in jail or dead and even then, the seeds of the "soldiers" will probably continue the disgrace of a legacy. Hopefully, a day will come where peace is a reality. Until then, RIP to the fallen soldiers of the mental war....