A Return and a Reflection

The past is only a whisper when you return home being a different person. The joy you have spread mindlessly is only an echo of who you used to be. I read once that when one awakes for a couple seconds they are always the same person, independent of their life circumstances, experiences, age. For a very brief moment they can feel the essence of their being.

Laying in the same bed that cocooned me five years ago, I can’t help but smile at the realization that I’ve survived what once seemed impossible. This mattress has seen my tears and felt my heart tear open. It has supported two bodies, my mother’s and my own, and heard me laugh as she complained that I had elbowed or kicked her in my sleep. This old rustic cabin has witnessed a bond so unusual and invincible through the jokes, arguments, wisdom shared and love given. A mother in her mother’s home with her own daughter felt a mixture of sensations from humiliation for living at home in her 50s to relief for the support received.

My sister was right when she said that over the years I would change. Oh how many times have I admitted that she had been correct with every bit of wisdom and advice she carefully placed in my hands? Perhaps I did not quite understand the meaning of growing and the moments that life would give me. Nothing makes much sense until you plant your feet in the experience of life. My personality has not drastically changed, my perspectives and attitude have. I will refrain from pretending I am the queen of humility but such quality I have slowly learned to incorporate into a life of peace and appreciation. My ambition has survived the years of failures and successes to only leak into my romantic desires. My soul would not surrender to him if the man that owns my heart was not a king and a dreamer.

I return to a place so common yet foreign. I am home, aware of flooding past memories and the contrasting present, which then only seemed like a far future that was bound to follow my five year plan, but did not. As 2014 begins, my pensive state reminds me to never forget the things that I accomplished and learned.

2013 gave me moments full of emotions (good and bad), opened my mind to foreign ideas, and pushed me passed what I once considered my intellectual limits. A rewind of those twelve months would show the back cover of several books as chapters of my life were written, people were forgiven, forgotten, and let go. However, it hardly feels like the beginning of a year as the book placed on my lap has already many pages stained with ink, a story that has begun, a person that I love, a journey that I can only hope continues.

Should 365 days be summarized into only a few words I would say that I learned to let go of people and the past, I loved (and continue to) to greater levels previously undiscovered, and I dedicated my time to exploring my mind and growing. I have observed in myself and others that relationships can create a learning curve with perspective. As we let go, refrain for pitying ourselves, and take distance from situations, we learn the type of person we would like to stand beside and avoid wasting time on insignificant relationships. A wounded heart does not often love to the same depth and certainly not deeper. It takes someone utterly special, admirable, and a chemistry so strong you physically feel the pull from your soul to theirs. It is one thing to spark the interest of such being, so rare, another to found a committed relationship with them and yet another to survive the mountains that rise up as these two people learn to trust, love, and communicate with one another.

Lastly, I cannot end such post without declaring that trust in myself was significant this past year. At times, one ought to avoid telling others stories that do not concern them and with time trust the unspoken words of your soul, it has your best interest at heart and will only guide you to what is meant for you, with honesty and harmony.

I only wish one thing for 2014 and that is not much success, luck or happiness, but rather to discover in 365 days that I have explored further pockets of my heart, unknown to me before, and, with such, that I have loved greater those that I cherish deeply.

Part 2: To Be Free

In an attempt, to help me, he asked me to identify the root causes of my problem. I hesitated as the images in my head flashed back to memories in middle school… Could it really go back so far? The common pattern was rejection. I swallowed and took a deep breath. I hadn’t voiced this out to anyone in a while.

My mind brought me back to the twelve year old me that cried in confusion in the girls’ bathroom of my middle school. I was nibbling on my lunch with no desire to join the lunch room. Let me back track. I had lived in the same town for ten years. At age nine, I saw the destruction of my parent’s marriage, but I never quite understood everything. They only lived about a 20 minute walk from one another, which didn’t make me feel like my own familiar and well-known family foundation was crushed. I had noticed that things were different. It seemed that sometimes dad forgot to do the groceries, there would be a milk quart, some olives, and maybe butter. I only have short scenes in my memory, nothing really made complete sense because no one really tried to explain it or talk about it.

I must have been between nine or ten years old when I picked up the phone to call my dad’s cell number. “Can you come home?” I was almost in tears and I vaguely remember if I ended up crying over the phone. I sensed the confusion in his voice, but there was worry too and without much of a question he came home. And then I had asked “What happened between you and mom?” To this day, I don’t quite remember his reply, it must not have been satisfying or anything I didn’t already know. But I saw concern in his eyes, perhaps he had noticed that everyone feels the rip when a family divides.

Another memory. My sister was dressing me, she had just gotten off the phone with mom who said she would come pick me up. I was not feeling well, a severe stomach ache. My older sister packed a small overnight bag and my backpack for me. Dad wasn’t home and Mom seemed mad about it over the phone. We walked downstairs, Mom waited in front of the parking lot. My sister was still with me, I got in the car, she went back to Dad’s apartment, the one that had been our home for years, and Mom drove off. That night she took care of me, the way my Dad couldn’t have because he was busy, at work, I think. I slept in her beautiful wooden bed with her, an antique I think, the one she had shared with my father for twenty years. It was placed in the living room of her beautiful, new, hard-wood floored apartment. There were only two rooms, one was painted yellow and the other purple, she had prepared them for us, one room for the girls, one room for the boys. Dad had asked about me, I think. I heard Mom talk about it or speak to him over the phone, I’m not sure. I don’t think he was happy that she was mad at  him. Maybe dad hadn’t been at work that night?

Another memory. “I think I’m leaving at the end of the year.” I had told a girl at my new school. “I dont want to be friends with you,” she replied. Puzzled, I asked “why not?” and she responded “because you are leaving at the end of the year.” We had made it to the United States and we were trying to rebuild a new foundation. In France, my hometown, I had left my father and oldest brother, all my childhood friends, and a new boyfriend. I began every morning with a silent tear on my cheek as we sang the National Athem and said the pledge before classes started. Every night, tucked in my bed, often ended the same way because I could hardly bare the separation. At the time, we lived in an RV placed in my aunt’s backyard.

I made some friends in my class, but I was also heart broken and torn from the distance. Our life took another turn when Mom mentioned a return to Europe. I had not built a strong foundation in America, so it was not as difficult to say goodbye because I knew I would be returning closer to the ones I missed dearly. I had no idea it would be so difficult to readjust. In a new school, in Europe, but not France, I tried to give it a shot.

Memory. “No, I don’t want to go out with you!” Luca had yelled, a boy that I liked a lot. “That’s not what I was going to say…” And it was true.. I was calling out his name, but not to ask him out. I knew he had no feelings for me. I walked down the hall of the ski resort, we were on a fieldtrip in the mountains of Italy. The door to his room was open and I saw that he was locked outside, on the balcony, I unlocked it to let him out and left. He had come back that day to talk to me when I stayed on my own balcony, thinking about all the things that troubled me, that I understood very little. “I like you as a friend,” he explained “I just don’t want to be more.” And I replied “I’m not mad. I just wasn’t going to ask you that earlier.” I didn’t really even desire to be friends with him… I was hurt.

Memory. “No, she’s not here, she went to sleepover at Anna’s house,” had answered my friend’s mom on the phone. Oh. My heart sunk. A friend of mine, or who said to be my friend, had declined my sleepover invitation earlier that day or week, without having the decency of either telling me that she already had plans or that she just did not want to. I thought I deserved honesty at least, not hypocrisy. If there is one thing I cannot stand is to be lied to in order to be “protected” from negative hurtful feelings. Ouch. This continued. I heard of sleepovers among the group of friends that I had made at my new school as a 6th grader and they never invited me. Eventually, tired of being rejected and lied to, I gave them a piece of my mind and to this day only one of them has actually forgiven me for my harsh sincere words, and she happens to be one of my best and my oldest friend. However, I was not granted forgiveness until 7th grade. Needless to say most of 6th and 7th grade were pretty lonely. At least I had my older sister and we would bond over how much we didn’t want to be in a school full of fake brats.

At the time, I focused on my studies because if you work hard you can make good grade and feel that sense of accomplishment. It doesn’t matter how hard you work for a friendship, it only works if there is effort on your friend’s side too. But grades never disappointed me, it was in my full control and it made me feel great when I could prove to myself that I was worth something, an A or a 100%. I felt very little satisfaction from social interactions and let myself be a quiet, disciplined student.

Memory. “Why aren’t you like this at school?” my sister had asked me… “It’s like you are so quiet at school and then you come home and you open up, you giggle, and you’re talkative.” I can’t remember my reply, but it is not too hard to see that I was just molding in the position that I had been given. I didn’t want to be popular, I just wanted a group of reliable friends and I didn’t find the comfort among all the insincereness and back-stabbing.

8th grade rolled around and I was well settled. A friend from 6th grade has come back after a year of being back in the U.S. New students from the states had arrived and a new atmosphere was created. Like every middle school, there was drama, but I felt that I had finally found my niche. It was a great year with some of my closest friends at the time and a couple short relationships. I was known as the biker because I biked to school every morning (it had been since 7th grade). By some teachers, I was jokingly feared for beating up a girl that had punctured my bike tires and repeatedly called me a bitch for about as long as I could tolerate it. Once in a while, I still had somewhat unbearable moments of sadness as I desired to see my father, or hoped my mother would return from work earlier. But I knew I could count on her, she made it even to my low profile school plays that happened in the middle of her work day.

And then the change came along. Another foundation crumbled. I was excited to move and even start in a new school, but it is always a challenge to make friends among people who have known each other since age zero. It was also my first experience in an Italian school, taught in Italian, a language I did not master. I could quickly introduce myself, buy a bus ticket and that was it. I was certaintly not prepared to have oral exams on Mitosis.

However, after a year at this school, I felt that I belonged a little more and had a solid group of friends. I no longer felt like an outcast. The end of that first year had certainly had its surprises. Memory. “Who do you like?” We played truth or dare during a school field trip and the guy that I had liked for a couple months was sitting in the circle. I didn’t want to ruin what was then a really good friendship; therefore, I cowardly said “between you two.” Everyone misguessed who I was truly interested in dating, and I was doomed to spend the night with him. I couldn’t say “no I actually don’t want to kiss you because it’s not you that I like.” That would give away my secret, so I caved. We were freshmen in high school, but I didn’t let him get passed second base… The next morning I checked my phone to see a message from him “sorry, you’re not the right girl for me, I didn’t want to be an asshole.” That was probably the first time since 6th grade that my heart sunk again, not because I had wanted to be with him, but because I had been pushed aside and discarded like a one-night stand.

Sophomore year had new and better expectations. In the first couple months, I fell in love for the first time and we spent four wonderful months together.. until.. the day my mother asked “France or the States?” and I knew we were to move again. She held me in her arms as she knew that this meant my world was falling apart again. And she whispered “you’ll be okay!” in such a reassuring tone that to this day it has marked me. Immediately, I told my neighbor, who had become like a sister despite being three years younger than me. We walked together to the stables of the horseback riding center near our house. I blasted the music on my iPod and she said nothing, just walked with me. She was heart broken, as I was. Once there, we walked, cried some, and then returned.

As I boarded that plane, for the first time ever, I considered turning around and refusing to get on, but I knew mom couldn’t afford for me to have a fit. Once arrived in Texas, for the second time, I made no effort to rebuild a foundation. I protested and refused to be placed as a freshman, took all the tests necessary, insisted to graduate a year early and only spent a year and a half in that small town. All my efforts were focused on returning to the foundation I had built in Italy, but 6 months before graduation, the long distance was not working. He had changed. I told myself, he was 17 years old, it was understandable that he was not loyal or committed to me. As he pursued a relationship with another girl, I told him goodbye on my own 17th birthday.

A couple years later, I found myself in the same situation. In 2012, I was breaking up with my ex, ending a two year relationship because I didn’t want to give him a fourth chance. There comes a point where you just cannot trust the person anymore, especially when they do not allow you the time to heal. Throughout those crucial years of development, I had seen my foundations collapse, I had been rejected by boyfriends, friends and I was confused regarding the divorce.

So it all made sense. It wasn’t love, affection, or comfort, per se, that I was truly searching for. It was just stability, a foundation because I have reached a moment in my life where I simply cannot continue to build, destroy, rebuild, destroy. I want a kingdom and it will only be created if the foundation can remain solid and still. The instability from my parents’ divorce, my mother’s career, and the social rejection had taken a toll on me. That is why I spent 2012 and spring 2013 just searching for acceptance, for flattery and temporary stability. I became somewhat fearful of letting people into my mind, especially when it led to being messed with on a psychological level for this one guy’s pure entertainment. I made a few very good friends, and was saddened when I saw the experience come to an end. Of course, it was only a thin foundation, but nonetheless I had a set footprint in Sevilla.

When I returned home, I wanted stability, and for this reason I decided it would be in Houston that I would found my life. Why travel miles away from my mother, when I could enjoy the same success and greater cultural diversity than in most other cities in the States?

To make one very long story short. The root cause of everything was years piled up of rejection, undealt feelings, a divided family, and more importantly the collapse of all my foundations and the fatigue/lack of strength to rebuild emotionally each time.

Yes, just realizing that, frees me on a level I can never truly express. That is enough to forgive myself for the mistakes I made. 

Part 1: The Beginning of Realization

As the thoughts ran through my mind, Griffin House sang Liberty Line on my iPhone. The music played…”I didn’t know what would be waiting there. I didn’t know what I would find. But I knew I had to make it, make it to Liberty Line.” I knew I could only find freedom in my thoughts, in organizing them, making sense of things and until I could see the entire forest, I would always be trapped. And the song continued “They say you can’t see the forest when you’re there among the trees.They say it takes a separation to find some kind of clarity.”

In an attempt to make another person understand everything that was going on, it finally clicked and made so much sense I couldn’t understand why I was missing the explanation this entire time. Actually, I do know. When you focus on the analysis of issues and you treat them as separate, it makes everything harder to put together. Nothing that happens to us is separate of our entire life. Take a puzzle piece and stare at it from all the different perspectives that you want, for hours, you will never be able to understand what it symbolizes, what places it takes in the greater image. Now take all your puzzle pieces, simplify them to where only the main emotions and direct consequences are identified and then lay them all on the carpet. Does it make more sense?

I could have ignored my feelings, heart breaks, and pain, by replacing it with positive things in my life and shifting my focus, but I feared that it would only continue haunting me at the most importune moments of my life. I walked to trail of confusion, trying to make sense of the emotional chaos in what seemed to be a dark forest. I’m happy to say that I finally understood the root cause of what has been years of rejection. I do not utter this word “rejection” in the hopes of finding pity; much to the contrary, honesty with myself and others was the only way to find clarity.

I reflected for days. This was not the first time that I had reached a moment of realizing that I needed to figure out something about myself. However, this was the only time that I faced everything with courage and strength, anything that had occured in the past 20 years of my life and admitted to myself by opening up all thoughts and destroying any barrier of protection or defensive mechanism. I had been clearly reminded that the risk I had taken that past weekend was far too dangerous and could have costed me more emotional/physical harm. I couldn’t continue to allow myself to take risks just because I had been lucky and the total stranger who welcomed me into his apartment (oddly numbered 911) had caused me no harm. I finally came to the conclusion that such experiences were not worth the possible risks, nor were they worth my relationship with my boyfriend.

Clarity! At the end of the day my feelings of rejections were positively correlated with the rupture of the emotional and social foundations that I had built over the years.

A Battlefield After The War

Relax your hand, release the angered fist, and let go of the untouchable, unreachable. The distance you can throw your phone does not represent the miles you walk towards progress. The destruction of a battle lays vulnerable to the ground, but dominated by a silence of desperation, the gasps for a last breath, the hand searching that of another, gripping to the last pocket of dirt. The war is not over, the ghosts of my past had only been searching for a window of opportunity. Needless to say, it took little effort for them to resurface with their shrieking screams, the memory of his demonic whisper, insincere gaze, and judgmental comments. In his palm, I had shrank to the size of a worthless penny and in such way I was treated.

I sigh of relief to feel my heart no longer breaking, at no risk of his evil touch, and reassured that my soul was revived after he rottened it. I had feared this situation, knowing that the negative energy of the memory would travel with me from his country to mine, in silence, through the months, sunshine, thunder, and ice storms. I refused to admit my weakness, and instead chose the bliss of alcohol to make me ignorant of the intolerable pain. I watched my broken self again and again through the scenes, remembering the sick obsession of desiring to be desired, or at least accepted. I whisper to my younger self words of wisdom, while knowing that there was no way to change anything, or cover the wounded warriors of my heart and soul.

The battlefield could always be covered, but with time the disintegration of the corpses would spread the damage of the memory. Another sigh of desperation. I started to feel helpless in my own psychological situation and could no longer carry each body away from the field stained by dried blood and tears, to the abyss of  this planet… away from that heart torn to pieces by the power and control I lost in weakness. Unbalanced, my knees fell to the ground, a rotten piece of my soul in my arms, I begged the door to escape my mind’s suffocating dark room.

The Final Letter: Adapt

You want to know? It’s not the assignment of writing an unsent letter to my dad that was difficult, it was the process that was important. This goal-oriented society forgets to value the process of things, the experience without focusing on the end result. The relationship failed? But what did you learn? She passed away? What words did she used to say that still echo in your heart? It’s been weeks since I was asked to draft the letter and just now I have picked up my computer at my first attempt.

Weeks of stress, immesurable happiness, unfulfilled childhood desires, and a few tears have passed. What did I learn from the rollercoaster? That there’s not a moment of the day that I am not learning, that the snake skin continues to peel and always will as I discover this world, others, and myself. I crumbled at the thought, he was right. His voice over the phone spoke to me, telling me to get it out of my head that this situation would ever change, that a separated family would ever reunite, the way that my nine year old heart has always wished. How often had someone told me similar words? Not very many.

I thought the moment I would start writing my letter to my father, it would be as long as the one for my mother, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. Here it goes:

Dear father,

I find it difficult telling you how it is that I feel exactly. I love you, of course because you are my dad and you raised me most of my childhood. However, my feelings about you are completely dependent on my mood. Every few months I go through a tough moment of denial and confusion. I still don’t understand why my life happened the way it did. I can’t say I’d like to take everything back because I realize that it has made me the person that I am today, for the better, that I have acquired more skills, earned a better education, yet I can’t help but also feel like I have been heartbroken for the past 11 years.

A few days ago I asked my boyfriend “if someone could have helped you avoid the pain that you felt in your past relationship, would you have wanted them to?” And he said no, that the experience made him who is he today. I agreed, there is a lot to be learned from relationships, but yet I kept thinking that if someone could have protected me from the pain that I felt from our separated family, I think I would let them. I have alternated between silently blaming you for cheating on mom, to thinking mom caused my pain by moving out of the country after the divorce. I have cried to the point of exhaustion and left with the desire to just give up, no longer a negative nor a positive thought in my mind, just totally “brain dead.”

Today, I’ve reached a point in my life where I can’t blame anyone for what happened to MY life, I can only choose the attitude that I will welcome change. So I write on my mirror “adapt.” It’s the key. So much misery can happen in anyone’s life, but logical understanding only causes more confusion because, as I am realizing, life is filled with random events and the idea that everything is meant to be or that there is a reason underlined in every action seems untrue. The puzzle pieces will fall as they will and it is up to us to learn, grow, let go, and adapt to change. I heard you say it over the phone tonight, for whatever reasons the past 11 years of your life have been a combination of “maledictions.” One divorce after another, debt piling up on your financial records, distance between your children grow further away.

For the first time today, I saw your view of the situation without even mentioning my own thoughts and it reminded that you are human. You have made mistakes and I’ve tried to forgive, to blame, to let go, and it has been incredibly difficult hot and cold process. My psychology professor said today that people are under the belief that the world should be fair and that is the reason we tend to blame others for our misery. Just a few words that you said finally gave me your perspective of the situation and the compassion to forgive you. I put myself in your shoes and realized the burden that you must hold and the stress you must feel when the end of an argument leaves you feeling that you will always be labeled as a bad father, like nothing is ever good enough. You are not perfect dad, and you lack some skills in communicating. I am not sure if I will ever completely forgive you for cheating on mom, but I am learning to accept it and let go. I will not justify the action or consider you innocent, but I am emotionally trying to stop blaming you because it is not productive.

Both you and mom have made me lose a little bit of hope in humanity by marrying someone not for love but convenience. You didn’t seem to fall in love with your wife, she was convenient. Mom didn’t fall in love with her fiance, she just enjoys his company, they are good friends and she does genuinely love him, but it’s not the same. The thought that two people can be so in love, marry for 20 years, have 4 kids and STILL not desire to be together for the rest of their lives, scares me. Someone must have done something wrong, I keep telling myself, but then I remember that your disloyal actions were not the only reason the divorce happened, it was a consequences of your incompatibility as a married couple. As a philosophy student, I am having a hard time just accepting to let go, just adapting without justifying the actions that have affected me. There must be a reason, otherwise I can’t let go of the thought that it is your fault my life sucks.

What I mean to say is, I will stop blaming you. What has happened cannot be changed. As my brother said, I can only rely on learning from my parents’ mistakes and making sure that I don’t make the same when I am a parent. I understand. You are human. You made mistakes. You hate confrontation. Your actions do NOT speak louder than your words. When you don’t call, it’s not because you don’t care. You’ve always loved us, you’ve always cared, even when you didn’t make the first move to call. This is a relationship like any other one, and dad I don’t mind bending/compromising and being the first one to contact you almost everytime. I’m not here to count, to keep track of all the mistakes you’ve made because quite honestly… I don’t want to end up at your death bed telling you that I spent my entire life trying to restabilize myself from a divorce that happened in 2002, so I choose my attitude today: adapt.

Love,

Your youngest daughter

In The Mind of Another

By random chance, I was there when he came out of the elevator and a casual conversation quickly turned into a deep discussion. He will remain unnamed, but I can tell you one thing: he is a new character in this blog. In any case, it is irrelevant who “he” is, focus on the message, the ideas that were shared with a simple exchange of words, sentences and nods of agreement.

Which road brought us to the human experience, I would not be able to tell you, but yes that was the topic in front of us. By another person, he has been described as a cameleon, the direction of any discussion, the terms of his attitude, is reliant on the person standing before him. My desire to discover the various human minds and his background in psychology guided the conversation.

We discussed people complaining about things, but not acting to make a change. I couldn’t understand since that seemed illogical, the essence of venting. I don’t consider myself innocent of such act, but I still fail to comprehend it. Not all communication is productive, unless we consider release of emotions to be productive. He said if you want to understand people you must know: how they view themselves, how they view the world, and how they believe others view them. Note that I used the word understand and not judge as this is not my place nor anyone’s to use our own perception to negatively shine them on others. Think of understanding as discovering without opinion.

We spoke of the human experience and how rational tends to be thought of as good and irrational as bad. He provided a different way of think, replacing it with categorizing things as healthy or unhealthy, whether they are suited for the situation or not suited. He said “if something is unhealthy for me, I just remove myself from it, from the situation.” A few days following, I made that exact choice. When placed in a situation that I thought was unhealthy, I deliberately walked away from it because no good could come from it. For once, I listened to what my father had said when I was younger “turn your tongue seven times in your mouth before you speak” (a French expression). I had taken a step back from the situation, calculating my options and alternatives until I realized that separating myself would be best.

We also talked about relationships (all types, not just romantic) and I assumed that most humans value them since the world is made of intertwining networks. He followed it with “yet we sacrifice them so often for our own development, career advancement, education, other reasons.” I paused to think. He was right. What he had said was nothing novel, but incredibly relevant to my situation. At the beginning of the semester and end of summer, I had finally chosen Houston as my next destination after graduation. The decision had been made for me only, I had mentally separated myself from my current boyfriend because I thought (as has been repeated to me throughout my teen years) “don’t ever make a decision for a guy.” It’s a risk, but can it really be the worst mistake in the world, to make decisions that strength a relationship, that make it possible for the 1,000 miles to seize existing? Every choice leads to experience, every experience brings about lessons learned. In short, that explains why regret shouldn’t poison past memories.

This nameless man’s military deployment taught him one thing “you tend to get over things really fast (forgive people) when you know the person might not see the light of tomorrow.” The life of a soldier is threatened by greater danger than the one of a civillian, but it is true for anyone and everyone that tomorrow may never arrive. Yet we still complain about things that don’t matter, we refrain from confronting friends, we tend to hesitate when making a decision based on the happiness that a relationship with another person brings. We know, but we don’t remind ourselves that the only thing that’s sure is this moment right now until it ends with no warning.

It was the perfect conversation to have right before I went an entire week without communication technology, with plenty of thoughts to dissect and one message: be present to the moment, cherish those human interactions.

 

Mesmerized by Stars, Fire and Light

A world of stars, fire, and bright light! Doesn’t that sound mesmerizing? Dear soul that is the world you live in. The stars shine in the unlimited free night sky if you dare to step in a dark pocket of your land. The word dark tends to have a negative connotation, but I mean it in the most literal way – dark, without light, distant from the urban life. Challenge yourself to not only see what is there to be seen, but also what will remind you that you live on a planet called Earth that constantly desires your love and appreciation.

Fire! You were given eyes at birth that gave you the power to read the words I write. You were given potential and opportunity to learn. But a crater cannot be a flowing river without water and along the same logic eyes cannot see without light. For one moment, take the invention of light bulbs out of your mind because realistically we do not have enough energy, electricity, and bulbs to light up every inch of this blue and green Earth.

The fire is what gives our eyes the tools to see. It is the fire that rises and determines the beginning of our days, the one that glows with pride and confidence like a woman in total sexual satisfaction and emotionally intertwined with another beautiful human being. That fiery sun sends sparks and joy to each of us even when we don’t pause to consider the importance of its existence. Or do we? If you’ve seen recent drawings done by children you know that the colored pencil or marker is used to draw a yellow circle with straight lines showing the rays usually placed in the right or left top corner of their white sheet.

In observing toddler and these young little angels, you can open your eyes to things you have grown to ignore. They don’t just draw a yellow circle; they see the rays that brighten the green leaves on the branches. Most people do not look to younger generations as inspiration to learn about the world. Unfortunately, development into adolescence and adulthood has made many people incorporate the belief that wisdom comes with age. Children are seen as people that we need to teach and lead as opposed to being perceived as the gems of this planet, travelers from a world we’ve forgotten, pure souls with eyes we have lost. There are not just cute little people with soft skin, genuine intentions, and adorable giggles. The appearance, as it often does, fools us to believe what is far from the truth, a terrible misunderstanding. Do not assume that a person’s lack of communication is a sign of low intelligence, shallowness, or let that discourage you from discovering their mind.

The bright light to which I refer in the first sentence of this entry is the one that glows from every being as they speak, laugh, and love. For the first time ever I saw it, not just with my soul, but with my eyes. Her sentences were not particularly filled with passionate words but her intentions were innocent and she sat at the end of the meeting table with desire to lead the young undergraduate women sitting before her.

I let my mind distract itself to another world while still listening to her words and there I saw it. Her face literally glowed and my eyes stared at her like a hawk. I didn’t dare let the words uttered by my fellow classmates change my gaze. The bright light surrounded the outline of her head and upper body, but it blinked. It appeared and dimmed as I was in disbelief that this glow might just be her aura.

I was taken away by the moment and did not notice my own almost obsession with this light until I realized that I had left the moment of our meeting for a solid couple minutes.

Take a pause in your day and observe rather than just see what lives, breathes, love, and grows among you. Be mesmerized.