A Matrimony Amiss

Lets talk about marriage these days. Maybe how it’s turned into a hunting sport more frequently than not. Or how far we will go to be able to achieve marital status quos. Does anyone ever even stop to think what it is by definition? What its suppose to signify?

Marriage is a vital part of the societial depictions of the ideals of the very definitions and norms of a life. And yet marriage is often misconstrued imagery for what we actually want in a relationship. We look at it like it’s the “next mile stone” to commitment, a commitment of loyalty, of devotion, of monogamy, of unbidden insecurities and unveiling trust. Isn’t that why people get married? To have that? And here I thought marriage was supposed to be symbolic of commitments already acquired.

So many times I hear or see stories where marriage was sought out for the title and not the act. And what is most befuddling of all, is the couples that seek to get married when they can’t even maintain a healthy relationship. Why? Do people really believe that getting married is suddenly going to fix the crippling issues people already have?  Marriage isn’t a fix all, it isn’t a social title to aspire to attain, it’s not even a validation of a promise if the promise isn’t already there. Which is not to say that there are not couples out there that seek marriage for pure reasons, I am merely pointing out the alarming chaos of those who do not.

But inevitably, we are all enthralled by the illusion of it all. Religion aside, because let’s be honest, I don’t have the energy to dive into that depth, but will say this. When people attend church for their very first time to join as members just to be able to get married, I would say there is something very diluted with the idea that this is a marriage out of holy matrimony.

Then there’s the pressures and expectations society puts on us. Society puts implications on women and marriage at a very young age, as little girls we are given Barbie’s and dolls that depicts brides and wedding days as a day that every little girl dreams of. A dream that continues to be egged on by society as you grow up; only to feel the sharpening pressures from society the older you become. Almost to the point of outcasting women the older we become, whereas men are not held to the same social implications.

Sadly, it’s turned into a sport almost at times; by women mostly. Ultimatums are given, pressures are applied, expectations reinforced. I have seen it, I have watched it unfold by my very eyes.

Though I may never understand it, I guess the question remains. Why would you want to embark in a marriage that required convincing and manipulations at time? Isn’t that a sign in and of itself? Is it the title you want so badly? Does it not matter how you get it, as long as you get it? For I believe that when you are with the right person, you will want to give them things that you might not ever wanted to do before, such as a committment, such as marriage, simply out of love.

Just as there is this stigma for women to find a husband, to start to plan for this utopic imagery of a life, I find that men have feelings of obligations and expectations rather than wholesome desire when it comes to asking for a hand in marriage. Its as though they are conforming due to pressures. Then there are those men who seek out a trophy wife, typically more seen in the men with perceived power, wealth and ego. Those are the men, who exploit marriage as a means of selling the title for a price, a price some women will pay for the illusion of the lifestyle, for a price of their soul. What part of that seems dreamy? Are we really so vested in the act of marriage that we are willing to do anything? To be anything?

I won’t even touch on the topic of the capital gain our economy flourishes from marriages from the very first engagement party to the cost of the venue, and for some, the costs of divorce. Yes, our economy is quite dependent on the flow of revenue when it comes to this industry. And yet we do it, the cycle continues; we heed warnings and red flags and press on. A clue to our incredibly high divorce rate we have, a rate more successful at failure than achievement in terms of marriage.

To me marriage is suppose to be symbolic of someone saying that they love you, now and forever. That they will love without condition. That they will be there for me; always. That they want me for all of me, the good and the bad, just as I am, and only me. But that’s my thoughts, that’s my perceptions. I guess the better question is, what do you think marriage is symbolic of?

A few years ago, I would have never believed I would be capabile of envisioning a happy future without marriage, but I can now. It was so engrained in my mind that having a marriage was a pivotal part in having a life that was complete. Society has a way of making women feel inferior for being single, especially as they age, and though I am not what I consider to be old, I am old enough to not have many friends that haven’t settled down.  Being married is so expected in society that most strangers typically feel comfortable enough in asking if one is married in the first five minutes of getting to know someone. Why is that knowledge more sought after than knowledge of say character or individuality when getting acquainted with someone.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that its okay to want to find someone to spend your life with, but do that. Find someone who you want to be with. Find someone who enriches your world and adds value to your life. And if commitment is something that you choose to have in a relationship, then don’t wait for marriage to have exclusion, to have trust, to have friendship. Marriage isn’t a social status to achieve, it’s not a sport, its not simply a title, it’s a commitment. A commitment that is meant to stand the test of time.

More importantly, what I am saying is, marriage isn’t what it once was. Maybe it never really ever was what society eluded it to be. But what matters is that we understand that marriage doesn’t define who we are, it doesn’t even define what a good life is. Living a life without marriage shouldn’t be shameful either, in fact, maybe it should even be as courageous, especially for women.

Lets exploit the delusion that because people are married life is automatically better. That’s a lie. Lets exploit the delusion that just because you are married monogamy is given. That’s a lie. Lets exploit the delusion that marital titles makes you more socially acceptable. Thats a lie. Lets exploit the delusion that in order to be happy you have to have marriage. Thats a lie.

For those of you who want your happily ever after, I hope you find it. I just hope that you find it for all the right reasons. And for those of you who may never find your glass slipper, understand it was never needed for completion of a wholesome life. Marriage isn’t a necessity, its a choice. Choose wisely.

A Motherless Mother’s Day

This is the letter I never could write you. This is my story to you.

Lets take it back to when I was five. I remember you worked nights so I rarely saw you for when you were home you were mostly sleeping. There was this one night where you were happy and excited for once. I asked you to play with me. I so desperately wanted you to play with me. You just looked there at me without a word and walked out the door for your date with your next man.

Lets fast forward to when I was twelve and you were given an ultimatum to finish raising me or continue onward with a relationship. You choose him, without a doubt. A decision that terminated any remains of the childhood I was fit to have. A decision that forever changed the course of my life.

We can painfully skip over the day you dropped me off on the way to your new life. Or the abrupt silence that descended between us over the next decade. We can even overlook the selfish acts you and my father took that later led me to finding the courage to draw civil suit as a teenager. No we needn’t talk about the emotional damage you two caused or the insurmountable courage and strength it took a teen to come together to stand up for righteousness out of spite for morals.

We needn’t talk about how your inability to love me, to protect me, or to care for me led to becoming my own at the ripe age of twelve in every capacity. Do you ever even stop to consider the amount of courage, resilience and strength it took for a child to fight for their life like that?

Even now, after you’ve lost everything for every man you have ever vested your life for. It was them that mattered to you. It was men who you invested your time, energy and money into. I begged you to work day shifts so I could see you, but it wasn’t a consideration until a man asked you. Do you ever see that? Can you?

Lets fast forward to five years ago, when I bought you a car, just to be done. It was blood money, not for you, but for my conscience. It was my departing gift so that I didn’t have to feel guilty for no longer trying. For the only time you ever called was when you needed something. So lo and behold when I finally do cut you off I never hear from you.

When I provided you the option of the best life you could have ever had again you choose a man. I am 32 years old and know by now the cause is lost. Even after last year’s mother’s day, I swore I would never ask you again. Do you remember last year? I asked if I could take you to brunch and a movie and you asked for money instead.

But this year felt different, I felt drained from ever trying or caring and for once I didn’t think to care any more. So when it fell upon my shoulders to let our side of the family know that another one of your aunts died, it was I who had to call you and comfort you. I felt bad for not even considering you and asked to take you out for Mother’s Day. So it shouldn’t surprise me when I asked you if you wanted to have brunch, if you want to spend some time together for mother’s day, that you can’t because you have a date.

And yet every time I talk to you, you leave me in a manic state leaving me questioning the reality of my childhood. Even seeking validation from siblings at times just for my own sanity. You have diluted reality and fantasy. You justify your actions with excuses like I was a bad child, I was rebellious or I was a terror, when it couldn’t be the furthest thing from the truth. How would you know? You were never there. You were always too busy with these men.  Instead of the lies you coat your ego with, invest in some gut wrenching truths.

You left me high and dry in every facet of every capacity. You gave me no moral, emotional or intellectual direction. You gave me nothing. But that nothing fueled an energy, a passion, a desire in me to be so much more than the life that you gave me. So much more than the life that you dared me to have. And yet, I am utterly grateful for it. Because I don’t know that I could stand the person I could have become had you actually tried to give me guidance, had you tried to love me.

So should you ever read this, which I doubt you ever would, know that I am grateful you provided me with life. Understand that I no longer care what you think of me, good or bad, I will no longer seek to hear your opinions of me. I will no longer reach for a love that you could never provide. But recognize that I wouldn’t change it if I could, none of it. For this is the person I was meant to be, and I could only become through this whirlwind of a life. Thank you for everything you did and didn’t do for me. I will always love you I just no longer need you to love me.

All my love.

She

We all know that one woman, the one who changes everything. She is strong and independent, turning heads the moment she walks into a room. Dominating anything that she sets her mind to; she is the definition of success. Refusing to be backed into a corner or forced to conform. She is the very definition of what you often refer to.

Known as the alpha woman in so many lights, she is the one everyone looks up to. From the outsider’s perspective, there isn’t anything she couldn’t do, anything she couldn’t be. Handling whatever it is life throws at her with grace, poise and confidence, she makes it look easy.

In many cases, she may have had to face a life far more difficult than most. Life dealt her lemons, testing her strength and resolve, daring her to give it all up.  Seen as an inspiration to many who know her; she gives the impressions that there is little she can’t handle.

When she is alone, however, there is another side of her that she never allows others to see. Underneath the strong, bold exterior, she hides away any ounce of vulnerability; burying away her pain, struggles and qualms. It’s not to say; she doesn’t feel them, for feeling them is the very core of who she is. She experiences heartbreak, failure, betrayal and disappointment every day, possibly more so than those near. But history has taught her to tuck away these feelings.

When life has ceased to be and it comes crashing down on you, she is the one you call. She is the one who is always there, without hesitation, reaching out a reassuring hand or shoulder to cry on. She speaks in wisdom and understanding. Listening to you share all of life’s struggles, nothing scares her off. She will never complain about your need of support, instead, she encourages you to reach out. Yet despite all of this, she will never tell you her own struggles or the tears that rock her to slumber.

She refuses to let life keep her down; she faces critism that inevitably follows a woman of strength and independence.  She’s been called a bitch, a whore, a liar, she’s had her authority questions, and been told to change her ways to better fit society’s expectation of women. Shrugging frivolously, she holds her head high and continues to move forward, motivating women in her path to dream a little bigger than before, to see things more clearly as they believe them to be.

What you don’t see however, what she hides from you, is the insecurity and doubt that lurks and tugs at her very being. That she secretly questions and doubts herself nearly every step of the way. She second guesses her abilities, and even entertains the idea that she may not actually be good enough. She is haunted each and every day by her inner voice, tearing her down and reinforcing her insecurities. However, she understands her role, and she recognizes the countless eyes that are on her; She is the type who refuses to let people down. Dowsed in a confident smile, she buries her fears and anxieties only to be released when she in the the safety of her own privacy.

Even her partner, should she have one, doesn’t truly have a sense of depth of her struggles. For her concern for other’s wellbeing and happiness supersedes most priorities. She is the one who will go out of her way to be there for her friends and family, through thick and thin, showing love, support and compassion. She refuses to be a burden with her own qualms. For she loves to a fault and fears that her pain will bring others down. Wanting nothing but the best for the ones she loves, she wants to shield them from even her own woes, for she understands the pain her stories bring.

There are days, where she wonders how she will keep going. Where she questions her strength, as she is entangled by the overwhelming burdens of her pains. She will long to cry out for help, to cry out to the people around her, yet her mind wont let her utter the words aloud. For in doing so it becomes the core of her vulnerability, and though it’s not that she doesn’t trust people, it’s hard for her to trust to show herself entirely in the presence of others. Instead, she tucks it all safely out of sight once more, and stands up, brushing aside her fears and struggles, ready to face another day.

She is strong

She is broken

She is intelligent

She is defiant

She is courageous

She is pure

She…

Lost At Sea

And suddenly I just couldn’t stand to care for one more moment. The draining of my very soul was the cost of flesh paid in pounds. This isn’t living, this is breathing; one moment at a time. These motions in life that are habitual, that are time consuming and full of bareness are the ones that wear down the very core of my soul. So I did it, I booked a flight and embarked off to my next international exploration; The Grand Cayman Islands.

Desperate to get away, to be away. Can you envision it? The crashing of the waves as they violently kiss the shoreline before returning to sea. The taste of the salty air as the sea breeze comes wisping by demanding to heighten both your sense of smell and taste as you inadvertently lick your lips. The feeling of sand squish between your bare toes as you move closer to the shoreline further grounding you to the divine energy of it all. As you take in the sight, it becomes magnetic to the eyes; beauty so vast and serine it’s now painful to look away. Suddenly my entire being has been overtaken by a calming effect that only can be found at sea.

This is the place where my heart swells and my soul heals. This is where I lose all of my woes and heartaches. The everyday stresses of life cease to follow me here as I make my descend to my next island runaway.

This is where I go to lose myself in the only way I know how to. Away from the societal demands, the ignorant hierarchies, the self serving mindsets and the fallacious judgements that have taken control and poisoned the very society we reside in. The ocean is where I run to. It’s where I’m reminded of how beautiful and organic life truly is, how pure beauty truly is, how precious life is.

It’s here on the shoreline that I find myself in the most basic form. For the ocean has taught me how to drown out all the things bigger than me. It’s the ocean that I turn to when I need to find solitude in my life, when I need time; time to think, time to feel, time to hold, time to heal.

I can sit on the shoreline and breath it all in for hours or even days at a time. I can find peace here with all the woes that I’ve held on to. Here, I can lose myself in the very process of it all. And even though the waves know my story, I can’t stop here, I want more, so I become one with the ocean.

I dive into the blue world of unknowns. Where my fears and aspirations collide as I swim further away from the shoreline to the crevices where the puffer fish come out to play. Watching the various species of fish pass by only ignites my excitement as I silently try to recall which species is which. To be lost in the beauty of their vibrant colors and curious faces. Constantly fascinated by each new pop of color as I continue to pass by the corals and the sponges.

To be awestruck when you find yourself freely swimming side by side with a friendly sea turtle or even the sting ray directly beneath. To find yourself at the center of the same school of fish all afternoon as if to be properly welcomed under the sea. As if to signify I am one with them. To swim so closely as to be intertwined with the school that you can’t help but to graze a fin with the tips of your fingers or the thick of your toes as you continue to swim deeper into the wild blue. This might be one of the most indescribable joys I’ve ever experienced, to feel so interconnected, to feel so raw, to feel that wild. This is what it’s all about. These stolen moments in life that touch the very core of who you are and rejuvenate your heart with utter and pure bliss.

The waves know my name, the ocean devours my story and yet every time I return, I am lost in the raw beauty of it all. This is where I belong, this is where I break down to the rawest version of myself. Where I break the barriers of the iron clad walls I’ve instinctively put up to protect myself from the haphazards of life.

And when the sun starts to fall and you notice the rays of light penetrate less and less through the waters below, it’s a welcoming sight to find the shoreline. To return to the world and land you so desperately fled from. For the ocean has taken you and swallowed you while leaving you with nothing but the best parts of life. And it’s only when your skin breaks part from the waters and the air takes ahold of you as you descend upon the shoreline that you feel the difference. The person you were is no longer the person you are, even if in the smallest form. For the ocean has changed you. Unbeknownst to you, you took your woes and sent them out to sea, only to return without them. You lost yourself in the very essence of the sea.

Sitting on the shore both physically exhausted and emotionally rejuvenated I take in the very last gift from the ocean. I let my eyes devour the hues of pink, the brilliant tones of gold and burnt ambers, the stunning variations of blues as the sun sets on the ocean. It’s in this moment that I’m reminded to live in today, to lose myself in the very wonders of the world. People always hold on to the idea of tomorrow, but the truth is tomorrow isn’t promised to anyone, for life is fleeting. Natural disasters occur, health dissipates, extinctions devour, time becomes stolen and the next thing you know, tomorrow is gone. So today is all any of us truly have and once you start to live in it and for it, you begin to understand the very essences of living. To be lost at sea is all any of us can ever truly hope for.

Green Gluttonies

Money. What is it? “Money is the root of all evil”. Correction, “The love of money, is the root of all evil.” We all know this and yet so many of our lives are consumed with the desire to have more, to live at a higher financial perspective. We all know the sacrifice we pay for this insatiable desire. We pay with our lives. We give up all of our time; we redirect the very livelihood of our lives for our careers in the chase. We lose sight of what living is really about. But we’ve already sold our souls to the devil, we have already indebted our lives ten folds with financial obligations, further ensuring that we will continue to sacrifice the very meaning of living.

Is it worth it? Is it really? You get one life. What do you want to show for it? What do you want to make of it? Do you want a life full of materialistic symbols of all you have achieved? Or do you want the moments in life that touch your soul and challenge you to go beyond your normal boundaries? Time; we know we sacrifice it but do we truly understand the core meaning of it?

Humble me for a moment. Imagine a time before society has developed into this well-oiled machine and think back to when we were hunters and gathers. Think back to what the meaning of life was then. Money was known as a trade good, it was used to bare the necessities of life.

Somewhere over time we lost sight of this concept and have become enraptured by wealth and all it stands for. The allure and lust of it all entrapped the very direction of our lives, the very delegation of our time. Even now, money is only a trade good; it’s only our perception that has changed. We trade our lives and souls for the very idea of it. We give up all of our precious time to live for this cycle. Even if we don’t think about it, we sacrifice truly living to some extent, to some varying degree.

Money is all I know. I live it, I breathe it. It is the core of my career. Stocks and bonds: the very foundation of what society signifies as wealth and financial prosperity. I see so much monetarily movements slip through my fingers that I only see it as the very numbers that wisp by. There is divine discipline in rendering the idea of money powerless. Acknowledging that it is mostly our love for money that engulfs our lives in consumption, greed and continuous desire.

It’s the idea of wealth that we want; its merely money that provides the materialistic symbols we seek. But do you ever stop to see the cost at hand? What if we thought in measures of time rather than money when purchasing something?  Would you still commit to this desire if you had to acknowledge the amount of hours, days, weeks, even months of your time it might take to render this transaction paid in full? What if you viewed monetary purchased in forms of time rather than financial costs.

We need to change the perspective in which we see and have regard for money. We shouldn’t invest our life’s time towards working for things that don’t add true value to our lives. To me, time is the most valuable thing we have, each and every one of us. Collectively we fail to truly appreciate the very essence of the time we have, often getting distracted by the absurdities life creates.

Take back the power, take back the perspective, take back your life. Money is a trade good, nothing more, nothing less. Everything else and in between are a result of your perspective and desires. And even if just for a moment, I hope you appreciate all of the time you have. I hope you see worth in the life that you have in its barest form.

Hate

Hate, a word we all know, a word we all understand is wrong, and yet it is a vibrant part of our society, of our everyday lives. Hatred is intelligent, it’s destructive and it’s invisible. It doesn’t have a color, it doesn’t have a race, it doesn’t have a religion, it has no politics. And even though, we all know what hate is, we all embody it to some degree. We all fall victim to hatred, and even worse, we sometimes play key parts in the act of hate.

As children we see hate in the form of black and white, we understand definitively what is good and what is bad. But as we grow up and advance as members of society, we no longer see hate in black and white, there becomes dilapidated hues of grey. We begin to lose sight of the deep rooted morals that define good versus bad, we begin to justify hate and find tolerance in the acts.

Regardless to if we recognize it, there are varying degrees of hate. And as the degrees vary, so does the shades of grey. What we, as a whole fail to recognize, is as hate divides us, and breaks us down into smaller and less powerful groups, hate is winning.

We all recognize and understand the velocity of destruction hate can cause but we fail to react or become intolerable to the diminishing acts we ourselves pay party to. We justify our actions and intents redeeming ourselves for hateful acts only feeding to the fallacy that “we” are not part of the problem. But is that really true? Are our hands as clean as we believe them to be?

The point to all this then? It’s not to direct blame or to shift guilt but rather to change perspective. To amplify your ability to have the power to be part of the change. For nothing of great stature happens over night, it happens in small steps that gently amplify through the night.

Remember, hatred is intelligent, but so are you. The choice is yours, it always has been. It’s all about perspective and how you choose to see and own hate is how you contribute to the cycle. Choose wisely.

The beginning. The end.

Ever get stuck, somewhere between the beginning and the end? To know what it feels like to know, that you can’t go backwards nor forwards. I imagine it feels much like someone stuck in quicksand; unable to struggle, unable to fight, unable to move. Weighted by the powerless ability to do anything but succumb to the idle wait the world has shifted upon you.

To open your eyes to everything you already felt to be true but you rejected with hope. They say that expectations are the root of all heartache, but have you ever tried to have zero expectations from the people you love? It is nearly impossible. For hope is a powerful thing, and it is often in times of desperation that we hold on to the ideas behind hope rather than see things with absolute clarity.

Then one day you wake up and you see it clearly. The world that you have always lived in but have never truly seen, for you blinded your sight by hope and aspirations. What are you supposed to do then? How do you proceed when everything you have ever known to be true is suddenly in question?

Wants and desires leads to actions and efforts and when blindly followed they can change the course of our entire life’s direction. They can change the very person you become. But how were you to possibly know that one little thing had the ability to change your entire life until it was too late? Hindsight is a funny thing. Sometimes the very thing you go after isn’t want you get, or worse, isn’t what you thought it to be.

But life never works out the way you expect it. Life has it’s own agenda and plans for how it will unfold. And it is when we are caught in the tidal wave of accepting what we don’t expect that we begin to feel it all. We begin to see clearly how far our paths have steered from then to now.

The truth is, we all think we know what we want, but honestly, I am beginning to wonder if anyone truly understands what they want. For the very moment we get what we want, we no longer want it to the degree in which we did before attaining it. When we don’t get what we want, we keep circling back to the loss of our desire. A ongoing cycle, if you will.

Somewhere between the beginning and the end, we need to find clarity. We need to see truth. For we live in a world, where people are used and things are loved. We abide by a society that encourages us to go after anything we want, to become anyone we want no matter the cost. Yet we live in a world where we are afflicted by loss and gain. Where we are constantly pushing to move forward or backwards, but what about the middle? Why don’t we acknowledge the abiding effects of floating in the middle between what once was and what will become?

Its the unknown. Its the part of our life that dictates whats next to come. And the unknown is often scary, so we fixate on what we want/wanted. We hold true to what we know rather than letting go of what we thought we knew. What we fail to recognize, is that its the middle that defines us the most, for the beginning has already passed and the end is yet to come.