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the rumble where you lay

It’s only been a few weeks, but 28 feels better than 27 ever did. I spent much of the previous year preoccupied with my own mortality – even quit smoking for good and abstained from alcohol for several months; it was a dry summer.

On my way to a job interview, a deer hit me – not the other way around. I did not get that job. I binge wrote 20k words in a week’s time in between babysitting my best friend’s kids and co-directing The Lion King, Jr with a cast of 100+ children. After quitting the tiring and thankless job I had with UPS and spending yet another summer job hunting, I started a new full time job in the city I plan to make my home very soon.

I let go of my past and my past let go of me.

Since I’m a scorpio-sagittarius cusp, sag szn is just a little more time of me feelin’ myself and putting this good energy to great use. Getting a headstart on resolutions for the new year. Expanding self-care/self-love to include self-improvement predicated on only my own validation and wants/needs/desires. Writing with the simple notion of enjoying the craft again. Trusting my chaotic gut because sometimes anxiety is actually intuition I’ve been writing off for far too long.

You know what they say about life and plans, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop. A bish has a bullet journal in need of filling!

took this picture while battling a massive headache after having my tilted cervix scraped to all hell

blog, paper street

i updated my privacy policy

It’s been two weeks since I’ve spoken to the one person I’ve communicated with almost every day for nearly two years.

I’ve never really talked openly about my relationship because I’m terrified of jinxing it. This far into it and, yes, I keep thinking about messing it up. Besides, there’s not much I believe in but of the few things one of them is that a relationship is between the people involved. And I’m selfish. I want to keep the good times all to myself and the not-so-good times… Well, those get buried so deep they’ll never again see the light of day.

Plus, this is the internet and it’s totally passé to be in your feelings about a significant other. No. It’s all “delete his number, eat mangos, and move on with your life”. We romanticize the gooey bits of love and all of its varying forms but reach for the ripcord at the first sign of discomfort. How the hell is anyone supposed to learn how to cope and persevere during turbulent times when all the hip advice is to jump out of the escape hatch?

The one consistent thing I had in my life is gone, halfway across the country on an army base, and I’ll admit I’m flailing a little bit. I’m closing in on myself while simultaneously looking for my own escape hatch. Because this, too, is un-friggin-comfortable. What do I do with all this free floating energy? All these insecurities someone else has regularly assuaged, they’re still here. They’ve always been here and right now they’re staring at me with hands on hips and accusatory gazes.

Here’s a misconception I’ve found: a relationship does not heal you. All those doubts and ugly stories you tell yourself about yourself… It doesn’t matter if you go to sleep with a warm body curved around you. It doesn’t matter who’s texting you good morning or who’s forcing you to watch some cheesy anime on Netflix at two in the morning. You can still smile in a depressive state. You can still have a panic attack wrapped in someone else’s arms. You can have weeks and weeks of really great days, but one bad day can warp how you remember each day before it. Believe me, I know.

You have to heal you – and I have a lot of healing to do.

I know this because I see how it trickles into other parts of my life. I’m currently employed but have been interviewing for other possible opportunities and the job market feels like prostitution. I am selling myself and hoping I get a return on my investment. And it sucks! I’m constantly at war with my self-worth, constantly trying to prove my value in a concise and itemized package to a hiring manager. All this to extend my livelihood just a little while longer. Pay my next bill, get back a few points on my credit score.

And I am a hard worker, a boss ass bitch if you will. I know this by all the responsibilities my supervisor trusts me to take care of myself, by myself. In action, I’m impressive. That’s the exact word one of my co-workers used to describe me just days ago when I was in a full state of panic. I don’t wilt and I’m not a quitter.

But I am only human. A very self-critical, anxious bean who is prone of isolation. I’m a trustworthy woman who has an extremely difficult time trusting others. My love language is acts of service (what can I do for you? how can I help? how can I show you I care?), but I shut down when I don’t feel reciprocity.

Not to mention I’m big on distractions. Blaring music on my morning commutes so I’m not stuck in my thoughts. Hiding myself in my writing because it’s easier to solve someone else’s imaginary problems. But the things I’m feeling and the fictions I tell myself, this stuff can’t be fixed by doing something drastic to my hair and trying a new face mask. If only…

I wrote this all out to say @universe, take it easy on me, will ya?

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age.

i found my first grey hair this morning.

almost two and a half months after i turned 27 and a few days into the new year. i’ll admit i’ve been having a rough go at it, overlap from the previous year. financial issues, relationship issues, life being what it is. but that grey strand, perked up at the edge of my left eyebrow made my entire day.

i’ve never had a fear of aging. getting older, wrinkles, parts of my body succumbing to gravity and bad posture and equally bad eating habits. two untreated injuries to both of my shoulders from unrelated incidents. both from stupid ways of handling heavy things. weight gain and weight loss settling fat and muscle in different pockets than before.

i fucking love it!

(yes, i also carry anxieties of what i’m doing with my life. external struggles i tend to internalize)

that grey hair – really it’s a stubborn white thread – did what a new age and a new year didn’t slash couldn’t. it rejuvenated me. grounded me. amidst a litter of stray brow hair that needed to be plucked, it looked back at me from the mirror and reminded me of all the things i am and all the things i want.

if i have the option of hereditary alopecia or otherwise, i want to go grey young. i want to live a life where i smile so much, i have pronounced laugh lines. i want to show off the stretch marks i’ve had on my thighs since i was ten, ya know, when the weather gets warmer. i want to enjoy body aches and bruises from being so goddamn clumsy.

back in october, i came as close as i’ve ever been to suicide. i had the means. i had the apathy. i had the isolation. it was a long time coming yet somehow crept up on me, and for a while after i wasn’t completely certain i was out of the woods.

that grey hair reminds me – i want this life.

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nothing was the same.

i have a lot of thoughts about a lot of things. situations i’ve been in, people i’ve known, the mountains of feelings i’ve left unsaid… there is so much i want to say, apologize for or justify and not apologize for. i want to publicly talk about things i’ve been harboring so i can cut the anchor on my writer’s block and finally be free. 

i’m not going to, though. at least, not now. not for a while. not when i still wake up some mornings and wonder will my entire day be ruined if i accidentally dwell on an old conversation or past relationship. it can still be too much sometimes. 

but. i did find this. 

arden cho, known for playing kira on teen wolf, posted this on her blog the other day and she says so much of how i feel. about myself and about people who are or have been in my life. so for now, i’ll leave it at that.

p.s. i now know every word to pretty much every song on drake’s nothing was the same album 👌🏽

paper street

that thing you wish you could say goodbye to

forgive the sentence ending preposition, but it’s time i ‘fess up.

i wanted to do this series differently. have articles of varying points of view lined up. share and promote the voices of women i love and care about. crack open the door to vulnerability and show you are not the only person in that dark room. however…

in the span of about six, seven months, my life fell apart. all because of a dream. it’s not so much as i gave up on my dream, but rather it gave up on me…? however you dice it, a piece of my heart broke and i’m having the damndest time mending it.

i grew up in san antonio, texas. as a military brat, i tend toward the idea of having no home. of being a vagabond. but for my formative years, i spent a great deal of critical periods of development in texas. ages 4-11, if you must. my childhood has its share of traumas. many things i, to this very day, do not remember and my mom is never in a rush to trigger a resurgence. here and there i hear tale of this taking place or that being done, but my baby mind either did away with them or has them locked away in a very faraway corner. those “troubles” were a person, not a place.

still, the deepest part of me longs for san antonio. it has every single day since we moved in 2002. so, my new year’s resolution for 2k16 was preparation. do everything i needed to do in order to make my way there. i’d gotten through the harsh years of middle school, high school, and the somehow harsher years of college. i’d formulated a career path that just needed a little bit of experience to forge. i’d recognized and realized my life would stall and stop if i stayed in my small town in south carolina any longer than absolutely necessary. i’m very much a believer in timing and do the best with what you have where you are while you’re there, but it was time to put it into gear.

i wanted to be practical about it. i saved up money, investing in a FOF (fuck-off fund). i made plans. i would need a u-haul – or a trailer to hitch to my truck. my resume was in severe need of updating. i would have to prepare to tell loved ones, ones who would make it very hard to leave them. i worked on how to tell my bosses at both of my jobs at the time. i pro and con’d all the things, people i’d leave behind me. i set aside a week to make my first visit since 2005, simply to apply to jobs in person and look into apartments.

i made lists. i would need a deposit for a place and three months’ worth rent in the off chance it took a while to get a job. i’d need gas for the moving trip there. i-95 south to i-20 w until i got to tx, and then all the way down to the alamo is an 18 hour drive, so save up gas money and room for a hotel. probably in (*shudders*) alabama. a young, black female traveling through the american south by herself? i even contemplated getting my concealed weapons permit for the just in case.

it was happening. i was ready. i was fucking ecstatic.

and then my car died.

not oh, get a new fuel pump here or transmission there. i’m talking no amount of new parts could have me driving my ’98 gmc jimmy halfway across the country in one piece. i was suddenly out of a very crucial part of my plan, the plan.

with the rapid demise of my truck came another chink in the armor. a new car, yes, but guess what cars cost? money. attempting to band-aid my baby had sucked dry my FOF and a new car meant monthly payments and insurance, the former i’d been without for years and the latter had been taken care of.

whoosh. there went deposits and rental fees and gas money. but i was optimistic. okay, this pushes me from january to maybe july. no biggie. texas was now on the back burner but it was still cooking.

since purchasing my new car, which i love, at the end of july, it’d been hard enough to pay my present bills let alone make a bank account draining, life changing decision. and for months, i tortured myself with stories of people who moved to los angeles or new york with 300 dollars in their pockets and, yeah, they struggled for a minute, but now they live comfortably in manhattan as they blog full-time from home and get mimosas with their besties every sunday. i made every concession i could think of and still i was stuck in neutral.

(who are these magic women and why won’t they teach me their witchcraft?)

while i experienced this decline in my resolve, many things were happening at once. my anxiety and depression had reached its peak. i’m talking ithreatenedtoquitmyjobduringapanicattack bad. the election i never, ever want to talk about again ever took its toll on me – as i’m sure it did on everyone. suddenly people whose opinions i held in the highest esteem were lumping my perspective in with literally anyone whose mindset did not match their own. i was getting to know a guy who i liked while i became distant from a friend (well, friends) i loved. admittedly, every year around july to september, i get busy and i get stressed but this was different. this was DEFCON 5.

i fast went into self-care mode. i’m talking social media blackout, medications because it’d become very necessary, the whole nine yards. selah went into recluse mode to preserve herself and her connection to the outside world. i had to get it together and i hoped others would understand.

it turns out age 26 is a liminal space. here i thought it was time for me to go, go, go, and yet i found myself standing stiller than i ever had before. i let my friends move on with their lives without me and was met with resentment. i dealt with a medical emergency that one can’t quite bounce back from like, say, tonsilitis. my future looks a lot different than i thought or hoped or even dreamed it would, and i’m having a hard time reconciling that with what i want. what i believe i deserved.

right now, at this very moment, i know texas isn’t happening. not now, not in five years, and with the way the world is going, who knows who or where i’ll be in ten years. there is a misery in me that i’ve vowed to bring to term, but i don’t know if i’ll ever be over this. in tangled, one of the characters asserts “find a new dream”, but that is hard when a failed dream was your stepping stone to the rest of them.

but – it’s not impossible. it’s a one day at a time kind of thing, and each day has reasons to get better, do better. so i’m starting with that.


google defines “paper street” as a road that may appear on a map but doesn’t actually exist. i’ve always found a strange comfort in the phrase. who we are on paper doesn’t earnestly represent who we are in reality. yet, as writers, paper has been, is, and will always be our greatest medium. so came the thought –

why not showcase the parts of me and the people i know that live beyond the page?

 • paper street is a recurring series consisting of personal and guest posts meant to showcase the varying degrees of experiences we all share •

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breather.

my desk is not nearly as cluttered as my head.


my friend sang my mom happy birthday over the phone the other day – like the giant nerd he is – and i’m holding on to small moments like that. 

the weather’s getting colder and i’ve grown quieter and i’m tired a lot. of engaging and apologizing and not being able to be hurt too. so i fall asleep early nowadays. 

i can make matcha lattes and completely clean out my closet, but please don’t ask me how i am.