Spirituality and Self-help

IDIOPATHIC

I am so…delicate. Twenty-one-year-old women do not often find themselves feeling life leave their bodies. But here I am, feeling somehow thin and dense all at once, sinking into hospital sheets like lead. The grayness of the day stays with me, the silver-scale of all the colors. It is not raining, and I can see Summerville through the fog. I’m so tired. Am I coming, God? Losing blood has a name. It is so long and ominous that hearing its mention tells of the mysteries with it. I cannot even spell what ails my body. All I know is my corporeal being is warring with itself in the most literal of senses. No, my spleen is not moving throughout my body, but it is a destroyer. Senseless with anxiety, it attacks the good and the bad in my blood. But it is unable to cease, so it keeps on going, ins...

THE COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH WOMEN & AGEISM TIMELINE

The complicated relationship women have with ageism timelines is infamous, with no expiration date in sight. There is something innate within us that makes us feel that by a certain age, we need to have experienced various achievements. We need to have an amazing career by 25, be married by 28 (which is usually the biggest one we feel pressure to achieve early), start a family by 30 and travel to different countries by 40. These types of ageism timelines can cause such mental toil in our minds. Then, we become enormously hard on ourselves when our ageism timelines don’t add up to what our current life looks like. Why is this? Why do we as women structure ourselves and our lives in such an intense way? Our ageism timelines start to take effect at a very early age. From the actors on TV show...

RELEASING THE SECRETS

Secrets eat away at the very essence of a person. They devour you from the inside out, leaving just a hollow shell. I don’t know why today was the day I chose to finally break my silence about a secret that’s been eating away at me for over two years. Maybe it was all of the current media. Maybe it was all the brave women coming forward with their stories. I will never know. I don’t feel brave. I feel raw and numb after my confession of what happened to me, but I also feel a small glimmer of relief that I hope will blossom into healing. When I wrote my memoir, I wanted to give the reader a happy ending. I wanted them to feel at peace with the emotional roller coaster ride I had just taken them on—but it is a true story, so obviously my story didn’t end there. So her...

THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING

My beloved Nana Norma taught me a wonderful tradition that became a touchstone in my life.  In her Brooklyn apartment, 303 Beverly Road, Shabbat dinner was always celebrated with her homemade challah. You could smell the sweet aroma of the baking bread as soon as we stepped off the elevator. The smell led us merrily to her front door. When she answered our knock, I’d enter like a cartoon mouse floating towards delicious, buttery aromas.   After dinner, we’d take a large tote and go door to door to collect leftover challah from a few of her dear friends who were neighbors in the building. This was also my Nana’s way of checking in on her friends, catching up on their week, and, looking back, a very loving way to show off her adorable grandchildren (remember, we did not have Facebook back th...

SPIRITUAL ROLLER COASTER BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND THE UNIVERSAL LAWS

My life has been a roller coaster of spirituality as I’ve come to learn how self-awareness, Christianity, the law of attraction, and consciousness work together.  I have felt that Christianity falls short of helping people with tools that are out there (and I understand how extreme this sounds, I am writing from my experience only). The themes of the Bible studies and Sunday sermons fall short to address real complex questions—questions about our wounds, our childhood, our fears, intimacy, sex, our personalities. Questions about pain and happiness. The questions in the minds of people that feel the need to step out of “the fear of really facing their fears” to be vulnerable—of feeling irrelevant, being alone, being in the wrong path. All of these fears happen in spite of ...

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: DEPRESSION IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY

“You’re just having a bad day.”  This was only one of the responses I got when I tried to open up about my depression. For so long I had kept it hidden, but finally, I was ready to talk about it.  During my freshman year of college, I started to feel these sad, negative feelings. There were days where I didn’t want to get out of bed, days where I felt like I had no purpose. I didn’t like these feelings and as much as I tried to suppress them, they only got worse. At the time, I was in a not-so-great relationship, constantly arguing with my roommate, and school started to feel like an unpaid chore. Yet, I still asked myself, “What do you have to be sad about?” Unfortunately, that’s how depression works. It makes you feel bad that you’re having these feelings in the first place.  Because of ...

HOW NOT TO SAVE A LIFE

Today I saw another one of those social media that purports to offer alternatives to self-harm. This time the post also claimed that sharing this information would save lives. I’m just going to be completely honest, this bull isn’t saving any lives. These are not credible alternatives to self-harm. They will not stop an ill person from hurting themselves. They don’t solve the problem of why a person might feel the need to hurt themselves; they don’t even address it. In fact, in some cases they reaffirm the idea that hurting yourself is a good coping mechanism (just so long as you do it in a socially acceptable manner). I’ve talked and written about why these suggestions are insulting until i’m blue in the face. I see others giving excellent arguments against such advice, and yet this sort ...

REIGNITING YOUR LIFE

What do you do when the spark is gone? With work, with life, with love—with it all. When things just aren’t shining like they used to, aren’t syncing like they should, and life is just a lot harder than it needs to be. I signed up for a three-day wellness retreat this past weekend and learned quite rapidly exactly the key to reigniting your life. You look inside, you go within yourself, you get to the root of things.    It’s oh-so-easy to cover up that restless antsy feeling of not quite being happy with your life. For me, that meant shopping trips (all the retail therapy), an endlessly busy schedule, and a million activities and social engagements. So, I was left exhausted and too tired to really think about things, because that kind of thinking was uncomfortable and I wasn’t going to slo...

LETTING THE INSTAGRAM BALL DROP

When I finally launched my pastry blog, I was thrilled to share my experiences with others. For years I had dreamed of building an online presence, but didn’t have the confidence to pursue it. Finally, the idea of creating sweet treats, photographing and writing about them was too hard to pass up. Once I began, I was excited to connect with like-minded people and continue my pastry education at home. I was certain I could fit in the time to work on my blog during my childrens’ nap and bedtimes. There are 24 hours in a day, I told myself. What I didn’t factor in was the perceived importance of social media. Instagram’s rise among visual creatives has become a cornerstone in promoting their work. It connects people who wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise. For this reason, it...

WHEN YOU ARE BATTLING DREAMS VS. REALITY

“If you can think of a goal you want, and if you can see it unraveling in your mind as you visualize it, the next step is to bring it to life. Speak it into existence, feed it life so it can progress into reality, think of a dream as a person who you are one step closer to becoming, the more you start believing it is not as far as your mind makes it be” – H.C  As I write this, life is not a massive rock on my shoulder, as it usually seems to be. Mostly because of today, all the things I imagined and worked hard to make reality have happened.  Dreams can feel like they rarely take the form of reality, but when they do, as J Cole says, “it’s a beautiful thing.” And ever since I heard that song, I envisioned them in front of me. I have sung the song “...

DEMYSTIFYING DHARMA

Life and happiness haven’t always been obvious to me. Rewind a few years ago—my dark years. Why did I feel so empty inside? I had everything society told me should make me happy: a great job, a good circle of friends and family, a partner. So why was my inner being screaming “is this it?” I felt like I was staring down the long barrel of a gun. I could see the next twenty years mapped out for me—marriage, kids, a holiday a year, if I was lucky! It made me want to run away and hide. Then it hit me that there must be more to life than this. My initial way out was to escape, to run away from it as if it didn’t exist, to ignore the emptiness through distraction. This came in the form of drugs and alcohol until my body could take it no more. My breakdown eventually led to a breakthrough and a n...

SPEAKING THE TRUTH

I celebrated my 37th birthday this month, and like the many birthdays that inch us closer to 40, this one had me not only reflecting on my youth, but also building an inventory of failures and accomplishments to find perspective. As a queer, non-monosexual femme and a survivor of poverty and emotional and sexual abuse, I’ve accomplished more than I thought was ever possible: I’m still alive.  There is a weird thing that happens when you live longer than you expected to and have obtained a sense of safety and stability. The future becomes a thing you are no longer fighting so hard to exist in, but rather are being called to create and shape. The privilege of living and the recognition of that privilege makes you feel out of place. You are suddenly surrounded by people whose definitions of s...

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