When you forgive yourself…

People have often asked me if I would change my past and it is a question I have pondered quite a bit.  The answer is always… no. I would not change any of the moments of my life, good or bad. The bad decisions I made that hurt others, including myself, have helped me grow as a person. In the process of growth I spread pain to those I care about by way of self-isolation and bad decision making, but I cannot wish to have done things differently because I wouldn’t be on this current path of enlightenment.

I have hurt and have been hurt in many ways that I wish not to discuss, that is for me to let go as I learn to forgive others and myself. The past year has been full of learning, being present and losing my mind. I had to fall apart in order to rebuild myself in peace. I have people I thank daily for the impact they have had in my healing. There are moments that cause me to stop and self-reflect and realize everything happens for a reason. Every. Single. Thing. Obstacles will always be there whether through your own mental turmoil or the actions of others, the fact of the matter is that growth of self happens when you learn to stop, reflect and give thanks instead of trying to control every outcome of our unpredictable life.

Give thanks even for the negative because they teach you to truly see and be thankful for the positive in your life. That sounds crazy, right? How can I be thankful for something that has caused me harm? Simple. I give thanks for the lesson learned and use it in my growth and/or to inspire others. Those who know my story know I battle daily with the feelings of being tainted, of being unlovable, unworthy, etc. but I have learned to view it from another perspective and give thanks for those moments that bring me low, I see how far I have come and realize I am worth so much more than I could imagine. To be able to see and feel the change inside is nothing short of a miracle. Life is not easy, everyone battles demons, it’s how we bounce back and prove to ourselves that we can persevere that keeps us moving forward.

I used to look back, take 2 steps forward and 4 back until I told myself that life is forward moving and I no longer live in the past. I had to forgive and let go. In the same vein looking forward can be a trap, it can lead you to not see the present moment; this is what I have been working on the past year. Living in the moment, stopping to give thanks, to enjoy the sun on my skin, the breeze in my hair, the changing of the leaves, the smell of lavender, and so much more. That’s when I realize I was living life wrong, I was being swept away by the future while living in the past. Confusing? Hell yes, it drove me insane, until I broke down from the back and forth of thoughts in my mind. I had to change my perspective and learn to forgive.

The person I needed to forgive was myself. When you forgive yourself a new door opens showing you a path of opportunities to move forward. At 38 years of age I am finding myself through self-love and it is beautiful and empowering. I’m no longer looking back, there’s nothing waiting for me there. I must continue to look forward and remind myself to look around at the moment I’m living. Surrounding myself with moments that bring peace, people who remind me to take a breath and live, not merely exist.

My Journey One Day at a Time

It’s been a while since I posted anything on this blog, but tonight I felt like exploring some things that have been living in my mind, I hope you don’t mind as I ramble for a bit.

So, somewhere along the way in my journey I lost myself. My sole purpose in life was to exist. Basically, I would wake up, work, be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, sleep and repeat. I became mentally beat at some point but I didn’t recognize it, I just kept going through the motions of it all.

I gained small joys in little moments of peace or moments with my daughter. She could always make me smile, but at one point, the smiling became automatic as well. When I could no longer find joy within myself I held on tight to my job of being a mother. I wanted to make sure my daughter knew her mom was ok and that I would always be there for her. I realize now how wrong I was to hide my true feelings. My smile stopped reaching my eyes, they used to sparkle with happiness and mischief, but looking through old photos the life behind the eyes had dulled. I didn’t notice.  She saw right through me, she saw that I wasn’t truly happy, I know this now because she told me.She can see the difference in me now.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I didn’t have moments of true happiness, I did, but I couldn’t keep it going. At one point, I blamed others for the lack of happiness I felt inside, that was unfair of me to do.  I came to realize that true happiness comes from within, from loving me, loving life and everything that I am doing. When I realized that, I started to make changes. I started focusing more on me, I began reading again, writing, took up yoga classes, started a meditation practice and my favorite, acupuncture. I focused on ways to make myself feel better emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. I tried a few different things, but I would always end up with an empty feeling inside. I began to question myself, ‘ What was wrong with me?” ” Why couldn’t I be happy?” I reached out to my therapist and began exploring those feelings, not directly of course because at that time, I was still pretty closed off to sharing and feeling emotions. I was afraid of what others would think, I felt I was broken and didn’t think others would get it. I didn’t want to let myself feel the pain, which I needed to do in order to feel the good.

I began pouring positivity into myself, began to love me, part of my struggle was that I didn’t love myself because of a trauma history. I felt unclean, unworthy of being happy. I felt like I shouldn’t be happy. So many negative things went through my mind at all hours of the day and night, I couldn’t stop the negative self-talk. I didn’t know how to give myself compassion. I knew that what happened to me was not my fault but deep down I felt it was. If I had just said “No”, if I had said something, etc etc. I worked through some of this with my therapist, and during a session it finally clicked. I was avoiding feelings because I didn’t want to feel like that shattered person, I wanted to hide that part of me, but one day that section in my mind opened, tears flowed and that is when I began to heal.

As I began to heal on the inside, the life I was living started to weigh on me more, I felt like an impostor and I didn’t know how to break free from the vicious cycle of it all. So, I did what I normally would do, I avoided that and dove into my writing. I was still focusing on me but I was avoiding the biggest decision I needed to make. One night while I was looking for more information about writing I revisited Twitter. I began to see a new world, this was a space I could be my authentic self and I felt safe being me around strangers who would never meet me in real life, strangers that didn’t know my history. I could share my pain, my scars by writing my own poetry.

When I began using my voice via written word, I discovered a part of me that I had missed and on one of those long nights on twitter I met a group of writers that I will forever hold dear to my heart. It was the longest night of chatting back and forth on a thread, one we finally had to take to a private chat because we were getting lost in the responses. What always gets me is that night I couldn’t sleep so I logged onto twitter and the timing was just right for all of us to ” meet”.  If you have ever been on Twitter you know how fast paced it is, so to have caught part of a conversation and kept up with it was a damn miracle or possibly the universe doing its thing. We were all meant to connect. . I love each one of them dearly, each similar yet different in their own ways and it works. The most supportive bunch of people I’ve encountered in social media world and we have not even met in real life yet, its in the plans.

I lost much sleep talking to this group of people, ” The Chaos Crew” as we call ourselves now, after we went through a few name changes, this one fits us much better. We tend to cause chaos on threads. By the universe and her mysterious ways I connected with someone from “The Chaos Crew” on another level. On a much deeper level than expected that was for sure. Talking to him was easy, granted it was via private messages on Twitter at first. I’m still trying to figure this part all out, but I keep coming back to the fact that I was able to divulge such heart-wrenching memories with him with ease. I was then able to use my voice in my real life, not just social media. I felt like the puzzle piece I was missing finally clicked into place. A sense of ” this is right” came over me and I continued to explore. I continued to be authentically me, then… I fell in love. It hit me out of nowhere, the feeling of love. I was terrified of what I felt for someone I hadn’t even met in a real life setting. I told myself I was just romanticizing the situation, because I am a romance writer after all, but the more I explored my feelings, I knew it was real.

I was in trouble, I didn’t know what I was going to do now with the feelings that were swirling in my soul, because that is where I felt them, deep within myself. Like I said, I felt complete and it scared the shit out of me, but I just went with the flow and let myself feel. My friends and even my daughter noticed a change come over me. I would smile everyday and it was genuine, I have pictures to prove it. I went through a lot of changes in a short time but the ease I felt with the biggest decisions in my life (divorce,  selling my home, living on my own) let me know that this was all  part of my journey. It was as if I was building to this moment of meeting these people, and this man. I’m still working out some of the thoughts in my mind about all of it but for the first time in 18 years, I feel whole. The feeling is insane but the happiness I feel is genuine. I feel like myself again, I feel like the person I was becoming before my life took a turn into the darkness. I see light, I see the beauty in things big and small, I enjoy gazing at the stars again and just being. I enjoy my daughter completely and she sees the change in me, she tells me all the time which brings me greater joy.. I want to hold onto this feeling,  now that I’m able to feel different emotions at once, when before I didn’t let myself feel any.

I will continue working on myself because it is part of the journey, every day new experiences and new challenges present themselves and I will get through each of them one day at a time.

— Jae Vel

 

A loudness in my mind (Jae Vel)

A loudness in my mind (Jae Vel)

A loudness in my mind,

A restlessness at my core,

tangled lines, low key vibe

need a pick me up!

come on by,
knock on my door
come on up, fly high
let the storm take over,

 

untangle the disarray in my soul,

quiet the blaring static of my mind,

elevate my vibes,

soothe the restlessness,

come on by,
Knock on my door
come on up, fly high,
let the storm take over!

Loudness in my mind!

Restlessness at my core!

Disarray of my soul!

Tangled lines,
Disrupted vibes!

Unhinged!

Touch me,

 the storm roars,

 the little death shall claim me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Late night reflection

Today, I was overcome by emotion, those that know the real me understand I feel deeply but rarely show it. At times, I feel so deeply that it overcomes my thoughts and I’m unable to move forward until I let it out in writing.

Today, I chose to get out of my comfort zone, to try to find an answer to what has been plaguing me as of late. Today, I attended a seminar regarding Latino talent retention in the work place and then later in the evening an event for the Latina network. Both events left me with more questions within myself but also with a spark. I took an interest in both of these events because I have been going through my own personal identity crisis. I’m struggling to decide if I want to fight for a cause or throw in the towel. I’m struggling to decide where I stand amidst the chaos of the world.

With the political climate and the state of the world I have been feeling at a loss. I feel, in a sense, like I have lost a label. A label that I never truly viewed as such. I am Latina but I am also an American. I am also a daughter, a mother, sister, wife, cousin, aunt and a friend. I am many things, I am a nurse, a writer, a lover of music and more. Yet, each of those aspects of my life are labeled. Example, I am a Latina but look Caucasian so often I am labeled by my own culture as “gringa”. Is it wrong to be offended? Because in actuality that is what I am. I was born and raised in a predominantly white community. I had privileges by simply going to the schools I attended. I was labeled one way by my culture and another by my surrounding community. It’s a miracle I made it this far without having an identity crisis!

I feel that I am in a minority of my own, in a sense privileged by the opportunities I had growing up and the choices I made for myself. Yes, I had choices, an abundance of them and among those choices, I chose to work serving the community as a nurse. I have a privilege or many privileges and I am unsure of what to do with that knowledge and that essence of power it represents.

I struggle. Some days more than others trying to choose the right path for me, for my family and for that sacred legacy we all wish to leave behind.

I am pulled in many directions, often to the point where I feel I lose control of who I am. And, who am I? Technically, I was labeled at birth with a name but I’ve always known within myself that my name should be different, I feel that the name I would choose would have a whimsical connotation and I feel it suits who I am. Yet, many who see me or greet me do not see me, they see what they want to see or maybe what I inadvertently portray.

I am a female struggling with the multitude of labels that have been placed upon me throughout the years. At times I struggle finding my place, I go about my day to day but in the back of my mind, I ask myself; who am I really?

The answer is actually very easy, I am all and none of the labels that have been placed upon me. I am everything and I am nothing. I have as much power as I chose to believe I have. I have as much a voice as I chose to have. I can be anything I want to be. I am Latina, I am Puerto Rican, I am American, I am a very proud mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a nurse, a writer, etc the list is quite long but most of all, I am human and I am me. There is a place for me in this world and though I stumble across it on a daily basis, I know I am a combination of all my labels all which make me uniquely me. I know what I want out of my life and what sort of legacy I want to leave behind.

Simply put, I am me. I will continue on my journey with an open mind and fight when I need to fight and know when it becomes too much for me to handle but standing strong within myself. Leaving behind that legacy for my child, that I know who I am and helping my daughter find who she is and help her to see that what she dreams, what she believes in is possible.

If I leave my daughter with something in this life I hope it’s with the certainty in her heart that she is loved and that she should always be who she is inside, never letting someone dim the light within, even when this chaotic world tries to confuse you.

I should be all out of words…

I should be all out of words

by Jae Vel

I should be all out of words by now

I have exhausted so many on my journey

I used the words to cleanse, to heal

I thought the store would deplete

yet,  the words continue to sprint across my mind

some days my fingers can capture the racing words on time

grabbing on with clenched fists as some words fight to hide

while others beg to be set free

round and round from the light of day to the dark of night

I spent so many years of regurgitating the never ending refrain of words that revolve around you

At times losing the true story, the hidden messages to myself within each spilled line

Yes,

I should be all out of words by now…

Does our music choice reveal our true inner self? 

Do we live fully for the happy moments and die a little with each heartbreak? 

As individuals we walk this earth alone, we all see the world differently, even though your bestest of friends will understand your meaning 99.9% of the time.. there is a still a part that is alone, private just for you..In those quiet moments of solitude, well, if you are lucky these moments are quiet, giving  you the time to reflect. Reflecting on the good,the bad and the “the way it goes” events of our lives and the world around us..

 I was introduced to yet another side of music yesterday and I have immersed myself in this music for the past 24 hours to gain a better understanding of the artist Gillian Welch and if I’m honest with myself to better understand the person who led me on this path. All the songs I have heard have such a soulful sound, so much sorrow reflected in the strumming of the guitars and the hypnotic voice of Gillian Welch, a few times I found myself in a thoughtful trance. Even with the more upbeat songs I can hear an underlying sorrow,  making me reflect on the other side of the person who introduced me to this music.

I  feel that after so many years of talking to this person I never really knew them at all.  The inner self, as they said, if it is anything like the music   I have been drowning in these past 24 hours,  is that of a very deep soulful individual who I thought I knew but really only knew a minuscule part of. I have only known the piece  they would share or maybe the only part I would allow to be shared with me..But the side that was revealed yesterday has made me think; this is the closest I will probably come to seeing the inner workings of my friend..As a music lover myself I find I gravitate towards the music of individuals that I can relate to, mostly the lyrical story baring their heart open for the world to open their ears and truly hear the pain inside..some individuals listen to melodies and going by this musical choice both the melody and lyrics are full of pain.. is the person who shared this with me in pain or maybe once was in such pain that it has scarred a part of them? Maybe I think too much.. But I find myself wondering, do we die a little with the heartbreaks in life? 

We all have 2 sides, some many more, the one they share with the world and the other only shared in private moments or unintentionally…does our music choice reveal our true inner workings? Maybe to better understand others, we should Listen to their song choices, their musical interest and when someone speaks, listen fully, not superficially barely scratching the surface of what is being said, but find a way to dive deeper and maybe realize we all have a side we rarely share and that it may be one full of sorrow hidden behind the facade shown to the world… Maybe just maybe one can learn more from the music choices of an individual than by  the words they speak..