Cheer Up, My Brother

I thought I had everything coming towards me. I’d just left my retail job in the outer suburbs of Los Angeles, booked a one-way flight to Auckland, New Zealand, packed one singular backpack, and eventually boarded a flight that I knew would change the whole trajectory of my life. Little did I know, I would be faced with some of the darkest demons and wildest emotions I’d ever faced thus far. 

As most of you may know, I celebrated my 25th birthday announcing my commitment to see the world. Weeks following, I couldn’t believe I found myself alone in the middle of New Zealand’s northern island! (Read  First Month) I was faced with challenges that rewarded me with almost immediate growth that inevitably follows adversity. It was that which fueled me to keep my head up and persevere. I was elated that I was able to have yet another opportunity to see Australia and experience its chest-thumping, heart-racing, community-sensing festivals. Nothing could stop me, I was all the way up! This was all only weeks before my first ever serious relationship and, of course, The Global Pandemic, and very slowly, I came all the way down. During the first few months of lockdown, I heard whispers and saw soft shadows of extreme sadness. Surely it was only the effects of being locked up in a house for way too many consecutive days, right? Right? 

I had begun to cultivate this new relationship with a man who revealed so much to me that I had never known: how to dream of intense passion and understand another person’s body and sexuality. He allowed me to be my truest self without judgment and for the first time, I felt like my womanhood was finally ignited. I saw the beginnings of my own identity, and no longer subjected myself to the ideologies of modern-day society. I wanted to live against the status quo and felt deserving of accepting one’s myself. But in conjunction with extreme isolation from the world, lack of emotional awareness, and low EQ, the whispers became louder and the shadows were beginning to overtake my world. 

Our relationship was hard. Our relationship probably should’ve ended a lot earlier than it lasted. Our relationship was bitter and sweet, and involved way too many arguments than laughter. But I needed companionship. I needed someone by my side or else I’d be alone and being alone meant dangerous things for me. He was the only person on this planet who had seen the raw version of me and still looked me in the eyes, and said “I choose you.”

My interests and passion in writing, photography, human interaction, faith, and existence were no longer. I was spending 12-18 hours laying horizontal because the world was telling me there was absolutely nothing worth getting up for. I found myself in hospital (again) for a reckless injury and couldn’t believe I was living the life I was living. “If this is the best it’s going to get, what the point?” I was physically harmful to myself and refused to nourish my body with nutrients that are vital for a healthy brain. All symptoms lead to depression, and I couldn’t believe, Deenie, was admitting this to myself. I had spent a large part of my life hearing how happy I came across but never confessed how melancholy my soul often feels. I rejoiced at moments of extreme purpose but never really understood why those moments never lasted. 

Every single day was an absolute struggle. My relationship was something I never imagined I could experience (Read I Spent Valentine’s Day with My Ex). I was so far from my family, and I wasn’t working towards my dreams…I didn’t even know what my dreams were. To be transparent, the only things that made me feel somewhat alive were sex and psychedelics. They remedied me and reminded me how much this body was worth fighting for. Fighting for myself was/is the biggest achievement I could ever do. It was an opportunity to be face-to-face with my flaws, admit my wrongdoings, and make a huge attempt at real change. But, the moment I found myself back in this reality, all those lessons became a lot harder to practice. “What am I doing?” (Read The Roaring 20s)

And I still ask myself that every day. But on this side of the tunnel, I’ve cultivated relationships that unlocked more portals in me that I never knew could even exist. Every day, I try to gain more awareness and understanding of one’s self. I try so hard to learn how to nurture the parts of me that need more taming, the parts of me that

need more caressing, and the parts of me that need more healing. The emotions I’ve felt the past 3 years have been the toughest I’ve ever experienced, and I wish I could say those whispers have disappeared and the shadows are no longer…

Standing beside humans who exhibit no criticism and sing loudly and dance hard silences them. The sounds I hear every week of peculiar music, courageous laughter, various accents from around the world, and the voice my own make life worth living for. The brightness of smiles I receive faces I was and can kiss, and bodies I’m able to touch, hold, and hug distract me from those dark shadows. 

I can go on and on about the past 3 years, and maybe I’ll save that for my novel one day, but for now, this is enough. 

I’ve drawn three conclusions this week: 

1. I need to go back to therapy

2. The time for change is rapidly approaching

3. The love I spend so much time seeking for truly resides within myself

Sadness is interesting because it allows you to better recognize when you truly feel happy. It grounds you right back to reality and delivers a great opportunity to stand still while time passes slowly. And while I pleaded for the sun to set today, eager to rest my eyes, heart, and mind, I look forward to being sad tomorrow…and the next day, and maybe even the day following. Life is so fucking hard, but I’m so thankful to be alive to even be saying that. I do have everything coming towards me. Sometimes it may not look like it, but counting my blessings says otherwise. 

28. I’m good. I’m happy and sometimes sad. I long for connection and am way too concerned about human interaction. I drink way too much coconut water which I once used to hate, and sometimes talk to myself. I stand firm on shared experiences, I look out for a lot of people and sometimes neglect myself. But… to be selfless is to be joyful. Right. 

Chins up ya’ll…it never really is that deep, hey? 

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