Luz y colores mi gran amigo Hector

It’s been nearly 4 months since the unexpected passing of one of my best friends! There’s been many of times I’ve tried to write about him, about our friendship, but to no avail. Never quite strong enough to get through my writing.

They say you never quite know how much someone means to you until they are gone…. So true! I surely knew how important he was in my life when his soul was alive, but with him no longer here, I certainly understand and have a new found appreciation of the “why” he was important.

I’ve always believed that every friend, every person that walks in and out of our lives, serves a purpose! Whether to listen to your woes, to provide sound or even obscure advise (such can be comical or whimsical in nature), others are there to make your boo-boos feel better, to laugh, to cry with, dance, talk, guide….etc (you get the picture) – friends serve a purpose – even the ones that are no longer in our lives (perhaps they were never a friend – but certainly served a purpose). Either way, that’s what my friend Hector was for me – all of the above and then some!

If you know me well then you know I owe some of my inner & outer strengths to him! He believed in the purpose, in the strength & power of a woman. He believed in me and in moments of doubt, fear, confusion and cloudiness – he was there to push me through… To provide stern advise, sensible wisdom, laughter, tainted humor and always a listening ear no matter how busy or strained his day! Whether via call, a text, a meet-up, Hector made time for his friend!

No closure! No goodbye, no closure for me in knowing why he took his life so sudden, so unexpected, so rash – so devilish in nature!

As much as I want to be angry at him for leaving his family, his friends, for no longer having our friendship, I can’t! Mental illness, for no matter how much it appears someone has it together, no matter how smart, wise, rational one appears – mental illness lies deep within the soul; so deeply rooted that while in the outer you sustain, deep within you are broken — feeling like there’s no way out! You are a functioning depressed person until your rock bottom is too heavy to dig yourself out.

He always encouraged me to write! To share my journey because in some form or fashion – we all have something amazing to share, and the idea behind sharing is that someone is inspired or empowered by your story!

Your journey, much like depression and suicide, is never something to be hidden, to be embarrassed about! I can hear him now, telling me that what he did was wrong on so many levels, a gravely ill mistake not fully comprehending the everlasting damage & impact it left behind – a pain that filters the veins….

He would never object to my writing about him, in fact, he would encourage such writings! To tell the world that suicide is never an answer and while it was his answer – it was the wrong answer!

I will never really know why, no one will ever know why – not even the letters he left behind will answer the why… His thoughts and his reasonings were his to have.

Wanting nothing more than to call, to send him a text to talk – just to talk about life, my journey, my woes, to laugh, to cry, to receive guidance, wisdom, perhaps an empowering quote, to talk about life and the human behavior (lol) … but they’d be no response! No response from my dear friend who is no longer here!

I hold on to his last text just three days before his death, his voicemail from just two days before… His words of encouragement, his words of wisdom –

Sad and sorry I could not help him get through his woes, his demons – for they were much bigger than me, then his wife & kids, then him!

My missing him is much bigger than my anger and hurt and disappointment. No closure, no goodbyes, no nothing… Just a text, a voicemail ~

But what I do have is this embodied strength that continues to manifest ~ that’s why I can’t and choose not to be angry no matter how much I miss him!

Allz I know is that this world is missing an amazing man – my dear friend! I do thank God for providing me with his friendship and for giving me amazing friends; for continuing to provide & to bless me with people who inspire, love and build me.

I know Hector is never coming back – yet, I find myself incredibly blessed to have had this man enter my life when he did. I just wish he could see me now on this new journey filled with strength, health, friends and new love!

He’d say he is ok! He’d tell me to continue to live life to the fullest! To be true to self first! To love me first! To be honest, loyal, giving, humble, respectful, and most importantly – to be a woman of my word! To love hard no matter what! To trust in my journey for it will not lead me on the wrong path! That we must cease every moment, that every moment we experience is a life lesson; that we must end each day with a lesson learned and wake up each morning with a purpose / with a goal to learn something knew and to pay it forward!

As I write, my Pandora plays, and on comes my dad’s song…

I have Angels guiding me… I know I do – because I believe, I love and I feel!

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Helps individuals in suicidal crisis within the United States.

Luz y Colores mi gran amigo Hector 🌴

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My quest for soda & chocolate

My quest for soda and chocolate … On the down low…

In an effort to live up to some personal fitness goals, I’ve decided, with the help of my boyfriend – to give up soda! The idea of laying low on chocolate chip cookies was his idea and not my original concept … But, I went for it anyway (temporarily that is – it’s about moderation…right?)

Anyway, I had reached the 1 week mark when a ridiculous craving attacked my mind, body & soul! Yes… it attacked it – because this girl was going through some serious caffeine withdrawal and no, coffee does not do it for me!

Sooooo …. I get off my bus and head over to Target, where my plans were to buy some veggies and fish, and some minor things that I needed. I am now at the cashier station, and directly in front of the cashier, is, you know what?… the concession stand! I immediately thought to myself that if I had a chicken artichoke wrap and a medium soda, it would be part healthy and part sneaky (but the healthy part is what counts…lol), AND no one will know. I thought long and hard about it, playing every scenario in my mind; even thinking that my boyfriend would somehow walk into Target and catch me. After I woke-up from that daydream, I proceeded to go to the concession stand and order me a wrap and yes, the soda. Besides, I knew my boyfriend was not around! To my dismay, they had no wraps. Leaving me, yes, with no choice but to walk out Target without my soda.

Sort of pissed off that my initial idea of sneaking a soda did not work out, I began to think of what else I can possibly drink or eat that will appease my craving.

On my way home, I thought I could stop by this great little café, and pick up the best chocolate chip cookies ever made. Again, no one will know, not even my boyfriend, because I would leave no trace of cookies or crumbs in my car, and I would dispose of the bag it comes in at the dump! Yes, the plan was smooth! So I pay my toll, I proceed to this little café and as I approach the little café to park my car, I see that the café is under renovation. HOT DAMN (banging my steering wheel)!

Needless to say, that at this point I am extremely pissed off, aggravated, I’m really craving caffeine and chocolate & both my plans have failed me miserably! I suppose I could’ve just ran into a local gas station, or supermarket to pick up some caffeine and chocolate chip cookies. But that wasn’t the point, I wanted it to be my way – I wanted soda from Target and cookies from Ella Bella’s!

So, I make a u-turn and head back home. On my way home I think – “wait, I have two Pepridge Farm cookies left in a bag”. I left those cookies on top of my kitchen counter. So I said to myself, at least I can get some of my chocolate craving in, and no one will know, not even my boyfriend, because the bag had been there for several days!

So I get home, unpacked all my groceries, take out the tilapia, put the oven on, and begin to cook. [I know what you’re thinking – “she’s eating cookies and cooking her veggies…shut-it!….] Of course this girl has to eat healthy, but who says she can’t have a little snack before dinner? After all I had been through, I deserved a treat!

So I go to look for my cookies, and they are nowhere to be found. I open up the cabinets, and no cookies! I immediately thought to myself “this man through my cookies out (yes I checked the garbage – but the man emptied it), emptied my soda bottles, and wiped me clean of anything remotely sugar – except for rice cakes….!” I immediately yelled “nooooo, this man has ruined me!” Lol – well I really said something else along with that – but I’ll keep it clean! Lol

With nothing else to do with myself, no sugar, no chocolate, no sweets, no soda, nothing but my tilapia and veggies, I proceeded to do my squat challenge!

I guess that’ll teach me the next time I try to go against the universe, my boyfriend, my gut, and my belly fat!

This is the first time ever, that I have followed through on a no-soda-challenge! I’m proud of myself!

At the end of the day, I know that I could’ve had the soda, the cookies, anything chocolate, if I really wanted to. I guess the moral of the story is, that you should follow your initial instincts and that if you are going to commit to something – stick to it! Because at the end of the day, the only person you are cheating is yourself.

I have goals that I have set, and I intend on fulfilling those goals – being at my fittest, healthiest, most fabulous-self-ever!

So, here is to another week of no soda. I really can’t promise chocolates because that initially was not part of “the plan”, but I am going to try my hardest to limit the intake!

Nonetheless, I will keep you all posted on my journey for soda and chocolate, should they arise.

You can stop laughing and nodding your head now!

Lol – 👍😘

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Only I can write my story….

I have not written a piece in a bit; a little over two months to be exact. Perhaps it’s out of laziness, or maybe it’s because there hasn’t been much time – but I really think it’s because so much has happened, and getting my thoughts on paper (well in my case a notes app) is a lot harder than one thinks!

Last piece I wrote was about living outside ones comfort zone, and not fully living if you’re living within safe boundaries! The piece before that was reminiscent of my childhood…. So it’s definitely time to write….

If you’ve read my posts before, then you know I’m quite the comedian, a realist if you will, an incredibly honest and forthcoming person, and one that truly believes (regardless of opinion) in sharing my journey because in some form or fashion, it helps to reaffirm all that is me, and helps to empower other women along the way!

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A friend posted the quote above on Facebook recently, and while I’ve posted hundreds of empowering quotes, this particular one stood out for me because it reminded me that “I” am the only one who gets to write my story.

Interesting ha? We all say this, know this, encourage others to believe this – but often, we are the ones allowing others to hold the pen and write on our behalf; we allow others to erase and rewrite sentences, change words, erase words, explain our ideas, give their opinions – leaving us with a piece written to the likes of others and not truly for ourselves! Get the picture?

Yes, one could argue that in the real world, whether we like it or not, we must conform in some way or another to that of others (children, partners, family, friends….you get the picture).

But for the sake of argument – let’s just all agree to focus on YOU! The importance of knowing that you are in control of you, that you truly can write your story, that while you can chose to accept the opinions of others – that you my friend, at the end of the day, are the author of your own story!

Like children who are born not yet knowing how to compromise (I know you’ve seen the kids walk the streets with rain boots and a cape in the winter – just because they said so!!) we too must dig deep within our soul, our essence, our innocence and not let our journey be derailed – we must stay true to our ideas, our words, our beliefs, and most importantly, ourselves!

I spared you the details of all that has gone on in my life the past 8 months…
the past three months in particular (I will share the ugly, the bad and the beautiful soon enough); but I will share this much with you now – I “have” been holding the pen and have been writing my story for the past 2 1/2 years!! It has not been the least bit easy – but it has been liberating, freeing, whole, and I tell you my friend that I have not put down my pen, I have not allowed others to use my pen (not even for a second), and I have not allowed others to sway me to write a different story!

I remain the author of my journey…..

I will continue to reach for the top and live as if I’m already there….

I will continues to be led by positive energy and the universe….

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Living outside your comfort zone…

“You live only when you’re living outside your comfort zone!”

A friend of mine recently posted a quote (paraphrased above) and I immediately had an “aha” moment!

I thought this was so on point – at least for me! I find that when I’m not challenging myself, my thoughts, my movements, my work, my children, then I am purely living within my comfort zone; leaving me with a sense of emptiness, a lack of fulfillment and excitement if you will!

Yet, when I’m pushing myself, working, thinking & loving outside of boundaries – it is then when I am most happiest!

Now, most people will tell you that living within boundaries is safe, secure, and the outcomes are almost always known! This is perhaps true… But who really wants to live a life when you know what the end result will be?

Call me a daredevil…

Like a palm tree, I am resilient, nimble & can overcome all that comes my way!

I’m all for surprises….

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105th Street

Good morning!! Waking up to the sounds of chirping birds….and kids yelling, sirens, car horns, school security yelling “let’s go, let’s go”, car doors slamming….did I mention, birds chirping? I think I hear them….or maybe it’s pigeons? Do they chirp? I know they shit…. lmao

As I stare outside what use to be my childhood home window, I am quickly reminded of my youth. My elementary school, my friends (many of whom I still have a relationship with nearly 30+ years later); my teachers; Ms. Tilson (who sent me to the principals office for sticking my middle finger out at her…lmao – still remember seeing my mother walk up the block to get me), Ms. Rivera (the sweetest and most caring 1st grade teacher ever), Ms. Balmaseda (who often used a ruler to smack your hands when you mis behaved – my friend Ernie always got his), Ms. Velasquez (I remember spending the night at her home with her kids; she was so amazing. This was her way of getting inner city kids out and exposed to other areas of the city – she lived in Brooklyn..lol), Ms. Phillips (toughest teacher yet – no words for her, just tough), Ms. Figueroa (2x)….flawless! Funny how I remember all my teachers but can’t remember to finish my taxes!

The park – while it’s had it shares of makeovers to cover up graffiti stained walls & steel swings & slides (I received about 4 stitches in my forehead because of those damn swings), I can’t help to remember the 105th Street Jams. A close family friend would gather up his equipment and with the help of the street lamp post & an extension cord, he’d plug his equipment in. “Let the music play”…..and the break dancing & battles begin! Those were the days! My 1st exposure and new found love of House Music and R&B!

Then there’s Grosvenor Neighborhood House! This is where my love for sewing began. I learned to make dresses, skirts, and to organize fashion shows. I took dance classes with the amazing Denise – i remember her saying: point & flex! I took photography classes with Chuck who quickly gave me the nickname “cheeks”! There was so much to be learned and I embraced it all!

People often ask, would you change anything in your past! My answer is always NO! I truly feel that your past, your upbringing, your experiences, the people you meet along the way – all of it shapes and mold who you are today; and I am a pretty amazing woman if I should say so myself! Why the hell would I want to change that?

#NYC #105Street #mamadukeshouse #myelementaryschoolisrightacrossthestreet #pigeons #memories #childhood #fun

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Scale of Justice – finding balance

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It’s been some time since I’ve written. Life has been super busy! From the daily happenings of a new job, to the daily happenings of life outside and inside of home – it’s been a constant juggling act. As I lay in my bed staring outside my window I realize that life is really about balancing it all, and how well you balance it can mean the difference between feeling stressed, consumed and unsure, to feeling at peace, relaxed & balanced (for lack of a better word).

Much like a “scale for justice”, there are days and moments when certain priorities outweigh others; sometimes there isn’t enough room to add more on the scale – causing it to trip.

But for me, and many others – the goal is often about balancing rather than trying to decide which is more important!

Life the past couple of months have been testy to say the least. My children have challenged me in ways that I often don’t understand but yet I “get”. It’s forced me to take a deeper look into my parenting skills/decisions; in some cases required me to raise my tolerance level, and in some form & fashion – forced me to take a step back and say “I can’t fix or change everything”! I’ve done my best, and some things are just meant to happen – for it provides experiences that shape our thinking, values, and decision making process! It even provides for a clearer definition of “accountability”!

My job has challenged me to think creatively & strategically! To realize and understand my pep peeves; to raise my tolerance level, and to help me to understand my own strengths and weaknesses! It’s given me a new found appreciation of what it means to manage, lead, empower and change. I realize that my skin is a lot thicker, and I am a lot smarter than what I give myself credit for!

Balancing it all is truly an art form. Takes time, practice, resiliency, endurance and even then, there is no perfection! Something will always come up that will make the scale shift! In a perfect world we’d like that scale of justice to stay equal on both sides…. But truth be told – we live in an imperfect world!

Wishing you all inner peace & continued balance ~

L>

To Love All

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I’ve realized that some people do and say things just to be accepted.

They need to tell the world that they are okay, that they love life, that they love you, that they love community, that they love it all – love is the answer!!

For some, this is actually true – kudos to you! These are the people whose actions speak louder than words!

But for many others, however, they are not okay with “self/love”, and this is the scary part because the only disservice they are doing, is a disservice to “self”. Saying and acting otherwise, really fools no one but yourself.

In fact, it can be perceived by others as fake, untruth, not genuine, not a real friend – a story teller.

It’s totally okay to say that you’re not good, you’re not feeling well, and while you want the best for others (love all), that perhaps you’re not in the right place.

This is not about telling the world that life is not perfect, that perhaps there are some things in your life that are not working the way you want them to be, or that perhaps your heart and your life isn’t as fulfilled as you let the world know it to be, but rather being true to you.

Like I’ve stated in other posts, other writings, and in conversations that I have had with some; before we can preach love, act love, live love, we need to “self” love!

I created this blog for many reasons, those reasons are in my bio – those reasons are explicitly stated in the dozen or so writings I’ve shared. But as life continues, and lessons are learned, I continue to grow and experience some real hard lessons – life.

I don’t mask with “love all” but rather challenge you, empower you, challenge the mind with thought, remind you all to be strong, to fight those inner thoughts that can often cloud your judgement, and finally, to love yourself first!

Don’t confuse the word “love” with “self-infatuation”! But more “love” in lenses of reflection, actions, behavior, problem solving…

#lovingmefirst

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