How to Establish Boundaries In Your Relationship

W h y Y o N e e d to  S e t

B o u n d a r i e s

I always like to begin my writing in sharing what inspired me. I started thinking about what it meant to love someone unconditionally. I started thinking about how I really don’t want to be a ride or die. My love does come with conditions. My conditions are my boundaries. A person without boundaries is a reflection of a person with low self-esteem and a lack of self-awareness. Setting boundaries is not only necessary but required for the function of a healthy relationship. If you are already in a relationship where you have not yet set boundaries- and you’re hesitant to do so because of the fear of your partners reaction, that is indicative that you may already be in an unhealthy relationship. It’s also possible that your boundaries have been compromised or have weakened over time- but it is important to strengthen them, and in this blog I’ll provide ways in which you can implement these boundaries.

I always like to use this metaphorical allusion when trying to explain boundaries and subconscious human behavior. Imagine yourself in your car, and you have empty water bottles, papers everywhere, and all the crumbs from everything you ate last week. When someone gets into your car, and they’re eating McDonalds and they drop a fry, or even spill a little of their drink, they’re not going to really care, and they might not even tell you. Now, if your car was cleaner than clean- they might wait to eat their food until you get to the destination, or be very careful to not spill anything. This exemplifies the concept that, people will treat you based upon how YOU treat you. The boundary exists without verbal expression of how to treat your car, because they see how you treat it.

S i g n s  T h a t  Y o u r 

B o u n d a r i e s  A r e 

W e a k

  • You have a difficult time saying “no” because of fear, rejection, and/or confrontation.
  • You feel responsible for your partners happiness.
  • You allow others to make decisions for you, instead of expressing what it is that you really want.
  • You have excused behavior that has been abusive/uncomfortable for the sake of ‘peace’.
  • You compromise yourself and the things that are important to you, in exchange for ‘love’.
  • You’re known for ‘caring too much’, and ‘saving’ people.
  • You feel obligated be sexual for your partner, and not for yourself.
  • You either trust no one, or trust everyone.
  • When someone is saying something that makes you uncomfortable, whether it’s about you or somebody else, you don’t know how to respond.

W h y  B o u n d a r i e s  C a n  S a v e  Y o u r  L i f e

When you have self-assurance and you know who you are, setting boundaries comes naturally. Okay, I crossed-out that sentence because most-likely you are a 20-something like me, and we don’t completely know ourselves yet. I am still learning about who I am everyday- so how can I still set healthy boundaries without knowing exactly what they are for me? Trust your instinct. Setting boundaries creates respect. Setting boundaries doesn’t allow for abuse. Setting boundaries is your power. For me setting boundaries has helped me dodge bullets. Once I announce my boundary, and communicate why it is important to me, and why it need not be violated- I’ve experienced nothing but respect in return, and also an understanding. Boundaries have helped shaped my relationships, and in dating, they’ve made me more aware of what I will and will not accept.You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting. You are only responsible for communicating your boundary in a respectful manner. If it upsets them, know it is their problem. Some people, especially those accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might test you. Plan on it, expect it, but remain firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing.” – Katherine, Anne. Where You and I Begin.Boundaries Blog 2

M y  O w n  P e r s o n a l 

B o u n d a r i e s

Touching/Personal Space– This is probably my biggest boundary, because I think I’m confronted with it more than anything else. I know I don’t need to explain why, but I’m going to anyway. When a person touches you without your permission it is a physical way of communicating that you have not considered if I want to be touched, and you also don’t care. If I am at the club, and you would like to speak to me, please speak to me instead of grabbing my waist. I have almost had to break the fingers of several men for touching me without my permission (okay, not really, but seriously). Every time that I’m in that setting, there’s always one person who thinks that coming behind me and dancing is okay. How hard is it to ask a woman her name without touching her, and how hard is it to ask if she would like to dance? And lastly, don’t touch my hair.

Communication- I won’t accept poor communication skills. I won’t accept manipulation (and you can’t manipulate me into thinking you’re not manipulating me). Knowing how you will solve disagreements, and arguments is really important. When things start getting heated, I am the first one to say “listen I don’t want to say anything I don’t mean, I want to take some time to think, and then we can talk again, but for now, I’m disengaging”. By saying that, I’m respecting my boundaries, and also boundaries I might cross because my emotions are high. At the same time, know who you’re dealing with, some people want to yell, that’s how they behave when they’re angry. Tell them that you’d like to talk, but over dinner at a restaurant. I’ve always found that this creates a control of emotion, simply because of the setting.

Happiness- I won’t be responsible for anyone’s happiness, and I won’t let anyone be responsible for mine. I think a common misconception is that you are supposed to complete your partner, and I don’t want to complete anyone. I would like for them to be whole when I meet them, and I think they’d appreciate the same from me in return.

Space- This is also big for me. I really like my space, and I need my own space sometimes. One of the ways I practice self-care is through solitude, and I need that peace.

Social Media- I’m really not into posting who I’m dating on social media, especially when it’s not exclusive, and/or too early. That’s a boundary for me. It’s not personal. It’s just that I like a little privacy. The push back that I usually get, is that they want to be ‘posted’ to feel secure in our relationship, and to me all that is saying is, “damn, we got work to do”.

Privacy – I won’t accept anyone going through my phone and I won’t accept anyone going through my journal. I also vocalize when I am uncomfortable when I’m being asked personal questions. I used to have this idea that I had to answer questions that felt invasive to me for the sake of seeming ‘easy-going’. Now, I simply say “I’m uncomfortable answering that, or I would rather not talk about that, let’s change the subject”.

Q u e s t i o n s  t o  A s k  

Y o u r s e l f 

(Let these be journal prompts, and refer back to them to check yourself)

  1. Who am I ?
  2. What drains me the most?
  3. What people/things would I leave behind if there was no negative reaction?
  4. What is my worst fear about saying no?
  5. If I am allowing behavior that is not representative of my boundaries, what is this saying about me?
  6. Does my relationship make me feel good about myself?
  7. What’s working in my life, and what isn’t?
  8. Behaviors that I will never again tolerate are …
  9. Do I have enough courage to love myself even when it means that I may disappoint others?
  10. What do I need to do to become comfortable setting boundaries ?

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Thank you So Much!

 

20 Self Care Habits for the New Year

Related imageWhat Inspired Me to ‘Self-Care’

A Seat at the Table by Solange Knowles was an ode to the black woman experience. It was immersed in femininity; intersected with the weight of racism, sexism, and classism. It was thematically specific toward black women in the way that we experience life. It spoke of our struggle and our beauty, and for me it was the most ‘womanhood’ I have ever felt in an artistic illustration. It felt specific in that it accounted for the common-rage that we as black women feel, when black men and women are murdered at the hands of law enforcement, when we are not afforded autonomy when someone touches our hair without permission, and when we ‘weary of the ways of the world’ after all of the pain, and horror it has caused us. This album is not just music for me, but an important resource of self-care that reminds me that I am not alone.

 

I start everyday in self-love by affirming who I am every morning by saying:

“I am worthy, I am blessed, and I am powerful”

 

How do I practice self-care when I have the time?

 

 

  • I’ll get my speaker, turn it up all the way high, and just sing and dance!Image result for black girl dancing
  • I listen to my favorite podcasts- them being Alex Elle (Conversations with Empowering Women) , Myleik Teele (Being a Girl Boss) , Rob Berger (Financial Podcast), and Joel Osteen (Christian Preaching).

 

  • Taking a long bath with lavender essential oil with the lights off, and Sade playing.(my absolute go-to when dealing with f*ck shit)Image result for self love black girl

 

  • Doing things I love by myself, because there’s a necessity sometimes for isolation, right? I started going to open-mic nights, restaurants,  church, and shows by myself and it feels really good.

 

  • One of my favorite things to do when I’m just not feeling it, is doing my makeup, putting on a good outfit, doing my hair really nice, because looking good makes you feel good right?

How do I practice self-care in my decision making ?

  • Creating boundaries– not tolerating any forms of abuse, disrespect, or over-stepping- AND STICKING TO THEM WITHOUT COMPROMISE. Image result for boundaries iyanla
  • Ridding myself of anyone/anything that is toxic to myself- and understand that that can sometimes be myself, and my own thoughts.
  • I pay attention to my mental health with a magnifying glass, I sometimes go through intense depression, and periods of anxiety, and I have to be self-aware. Sometimes this can mean going to a therapist. This is a website link to licensed black women therapists : Therapy for Black Girls. I really recommend therapy strongly.
  • I practice clear communication skills to avoid any ambiguity that could lead to my disappointment.
  • I choose to spend my money on things that support my goals.

Small ways to practice self-love daily :

  • Write down everything that you are grateful for .
  • Meditation (I’m not there yet, I can’t quiet my mind, so if you’re like me just opt for quiet time)
  • Prayer. I start everyday in prayer in my car when I’m on my way to work, and if I’m having a particularly rough day, I listen to gospel & gospel only, because sad songs can really put you in a dark space.
  • Cleaning your space! I find that when I clean, reorganize, and de-clutter- I feel amazing afterwards, like I cleaned up my life.
  • I go to my favorite place, which for me is the beach. So during the winter I go to the closest dock, bring a book, turn off my phone & enjoy myself (sometimes for hours).
  • Watching a movie/series. I am so big on sitting in my bed with a bowl of ice-cream watching Law & Order SVU until I can’t anymore! A greeeatt binge-worthy series is ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ on Netflix.

Please subscribe to my blog via email & let me know what you think, or if there’s something you practice that I left out .

Thank you, Lakota

 

“I have come to understand that caring for myself is not self- indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.”

Audre Lourde

 

 

The Unwanted Editors

My writing is identity expressive. No matter what I write I can’t escape my gender, my race, or my sexuality. Mostly everything that I write and say wreaks of my politics and my reality- and I will not filter, and I will not backspace ‘black’ for ‘all’, and I will not worry about what someone who is not me thinks, because they are not me. My writing is unapologetic, and it has to be to preserve the authenticity of my story and my world. If you can’t understand that, and if you don’t like it, then it is not for you. Not everything has to be politicized and challenged- sometimes it is best to understand that you don’t live in this body, and you don’t live in this world- and no matter how strong your desire is to understand and to learn- sometimes you never will. You will never understand what it means to be black; To be socially and politically aware, to be the resistance, to be a voice – where everyone would rather you be silent, you don’t know the rage that lives inside me and how I am still trying to figure out how to balance my disgust and love that I have for this country. It is a difficult thing you know? For everyone to want your opinion, your voice, your writing- sometimes for ventures of plagiarism, sometimes just to be ‘the devils advocate’, sometimes to breathe victim-theory down your throat, sometimes just to tell me ‘we are not all the time same’, and like I get it, but you don’t get me.

Why I Chose Myself 2018

bLOGThere are times when I feel I am being too strong for a man, and so I try to weaken the parts of me that have grown outside the lines of a woman. I have tried to shrink myself small to make them feel taller. I have compromised everything about myself, my values, my faith, my needs-in hopes that less of me, the watered down version of me-will be easier for you to swallow. How could I, I mean how could they, ever be comfortable with me being so God damn comfortable, and they, they haven’t even measured up to half of what they said they would be, and still it is me who is not enough?

To be a woman, or particularly to just be me, a strong, vocal, out-of-line, type of woman- I have found that men will either react as intimidated or fascinated-neither emotion do I regard to as more suitable because I believe that all women are like me, but men silence them. Historically they have and presently they do-systemically and innocently- the by product of American culture. Because of men, because of patriarchy, women like myself have often shrunk ourselves to please men. When I stopped shrinking myself, when I stopped diluting myself, there was a realization. I found that I only fit well with women or with men who are secure within themselves, which is to say, I do not need to remind them that ‘I am mine before I am anyone else’s“, and I don’t need to remind them that I can be more than one thing: an intellectual woman, a spiritual woman, a sexual woman, a funny woman; I am so many different things, women are so many different things, and instead of us being celebrated, too often we are ridiculed and trivialized. I subconsciously seek out men who already have an ingrained femininity, and unconditional respect for women. This profound reverence needs to come with no restriction, because women do not come with restrictions.

My relationships, and experiences are my frame of reference for what I want in a partner. I have found that mostly everything I want is encompassed in maturity. It has become of trend for women to practice self-love, self-care, and all things ‘black girl magic’, and it is unfortunate that the same has not become popular for men. Women are more powerful now than ever. We are coming home to ourselves. We are re-claiming who we are and what we want, and we are unapologetic for it. I’ve never seen sisterhood so strong, I think, ever. Just the other day I was at the doctor and the girl behind the counter says to me ” how do you do your eyebrows?”. and I was like “Giiirlll”, and I proceeded to tell her how I do them, and before you know it, two other ladies are listening, and we’re in a freakin’ circle at the doctors office talking about eyebrows. I know it might sound insignificant to you, but it brought me so much joy to see women uplifting each other in real spaces, outside of social media. It is rare that I see another woman in passing and smile, and she does not smile back – whereas before the response may have been ” Is this b*tch tryna be cute?”. Maybe its only me having these experiences, I don’t know, but I do know that women are killing it, and I really need black men to meet us at the finish line.


-Back to My Point-


I feel like when I meet men my age there is this feeling I get, and the only way that I can describe it is by saying, “I feel like we are talking two different languages“; Not that I don’t know the language they’re speaking- yes, it is recognizable to me, but I don’t speak it anymore, and so when I speak- I feel uncomfortable in knowing that nothing I am saying is translating. It feels like I am always trying to get them to learn my language, and then its like “nah I don’t got the time”. So I had to ask myself, well, what can black men do to meet us at the finish line? I think it starts with a cognitive decision to resist the American culture of patriarchy, and more specifically letting go of the demeaning view of black women that is mentally infiltrated through Hip-Hop & Rap music (a strong influence that can affect perception) I feel strongly that the overt sexism and misogyny in the lyrics of Hip-Hop music has created a comfort and space for black men to mistreat black women in the defense of ‘black culture’ (that topic may be another blog). I just want black men to do the work in the same way that women have to do/ have done the work. Black women are big on self-care which is taking care of ourselves in a healthy way: physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. We know the resources to help ourselves- and too often, we ourselves, become a resource for men. Men need to be their own resource, in the way that we are.

I think I am going to conclude this by telling you what inspired me to write this. I was at brunch one day with some friends, and a friend-of-a-friend, was pretty tipsy, and she said to me “don’t settle”. She said it to me probably 35 times (okay maybe she was more than tipsy), and she kept saying it. And then she kept telling me how special I was, and how much I should never settle for anything or anyone (I think she knew that in my past relationship I was really settling, so it was like a “Girl” by Destiny’s Child kind of moment) .Long story short, she was really drilling it in my head, and now every time I’m out, or even in relationship conflicts, I see her face in my head saying “don’t settle“. I was inspired because I don’t tell that to myself enough, and I always find myself compromising myself for people when I’m dating, and in a previous relationship I was told that “I am never satisfied”, and I thought that was a bad thing. The truth is, it wasn’t that I wasn’t satisfied- it was that, what I was being given, wasn’t what I needed. Sure, expensive dinners, dates, and gifts are all nice, but if you’re cheating on me Monday-Friday, of course I’m not going to be satisfied. Now, I’m at a place where its like, I’m not guarded, but a relationship is no longer a priority for me. On the grocery list of things I want to accomplish, falling in love is finally at the bottom.  I finally don’t care. I’ve seen too many women go through hell over relationships (like myself), and I always wonder what I could’ve done differently with that time and energy. Well, this year I’m about to find out!

My Girls Trip to Phuket, Thailand !

maya_bay.jpgPhuket, Thailand

I think a lot of times people have this idea that they need to ‘getaway’, or that by going away they’ll find an answer to all of the problems in their lives. I too have done that- thinking, all I need to do is getaway and clear my mind. This time was different- I didn’t go away with the hopes that there would be this ‘aha’ moment or this epiphany that would bring me clarity. This time I knew I would really need to do the work which I’ll talk about in another blog, but I say that to say this – stop going on vacations with the hopes that there will be some self-discovery miracle, it doesn’t happen.

Planning this Girls Trip

Girls Trip

 

…literally us, everyday.

 

 

 

 

Flight – from New York – Phuket,Thailand

We paid $700 each. This was STUPID. When we first were looking for flights we found it for around $450, and slept on it. We were like ‘eh it probably won’t go up, its been consistently $450‘, yeah we were wrong. December is a popular month to go on vacation/holiday so the hotels/flights/everything in Thailand is more expensive. We flew Cathay Pacific Airways

To book my flights I always use Kayak because I can set up an alert on the flight I’m booking, and also my favorite feature is the ‘Explore’ option. You can put in your budget, the amount of days, and your home airport, and then it will give you prices of where you could go all around the world at the lowest price. That was how I planned my trip to Barcelona.

You can choose your meals after you book the flight, I suggest you do that so you don’t have to eat whatever two nasty meals are there to choose from. On my flight we had 3 meals & snacks- which weren’t peanuts, they were a cup of noodles, so they really keep you fed.

Prepare your body for this flight. Don’t drink alcohol at least two days before the flight. Drink a lot of water before hand. Get some ginger to encourage the release of toxins in your body- and it will also help with motion sickness. Bring toothpaste & a toothbrush in your carry-on with face wash, its a long flight and you don’t want to be crusty. Your feet will swell- try compression socks, and make sure you get up every couple of hours and do some laps around the plane. Buy some vitamin C ! A lot of people get sick after being on the plane for such a long period of time.

Download podcasts, movies, bring books, bring a journal, etc. This really helped me so I wouldn’t get bored.

All in all, the flight is not that bad.

Hotel

We stayed at The KEE Resort & Spa for the first 5 days, this was the best for the location. We didn’t have to get a taxi or anything, it’s literally a half a block away from Bangla Rd, which is complete  MAYHEM. At most hotels/resorts in Thailand, your room key is also your energy card, now what that means is- when you leave your room, the energy in there gets cut off, so you can’t charge your phone and leave, and whatever other scenarios you can think of. So bring a charging case. Also make sure you have a charger adapter to charge your phone, they don’t have American outlets- I would suggest getting a universal adapter, so you can use the same one every time you travel. This hotel was great though, it was like $100-$150/night, I’m not sure of the exact amount. We booked our second hotel the day we checked out of the resort, through booking.com. I use booking.com for hotels because usually it doesn’t require that you pay until you get there- which I like so I can inspect the place once I get there, and if I don’t like it I’m under no obligation to stay. I booked the Baycliff Residence in Patong Beach which was like an AirBnb. This place we got for a really good rate, it was like $95 a night, and we stayed for 5 nights. It was a two bedroom, two bathroom, Jacuzzi on the balcony, kitchen, living room, etc. I had no complaints. I like how we stayed at a resort first & then an AirBnB because we got to know people and got familiar with the area.

Transportation

This is probably the most annoyingest thing. They want to negotiating for everything here, which I can’t stand, like please just give me a set price without trying to rip me off. They will rip you off, so just stick to how much you want to pay and say that. Once you get into a taxi the first time- check in the backseat pocket thing to see if their is the rate chart for how much it is for distance. For example, 100 kilometers might be 800 baht, but they will tell you 1000 baht. Check that sheet, and take a picture of it. To go anywhere, tuk tuks & taxi’s start off at 200 Baht which is $6 USD. Let me tell you how annoying a taxi can be ——>


[Story Time]

Leaving the Airport we got a taxi van to go to our hotel which was an hour away. In our van was a bunch of other people who also were going to hotels that were nearby ours. About 30 minutes in the taxi stops the car. Now, I’m half sleep with crust in my eyes wondering what the hell is going on. A lady slides the door open like a raging bull and is like okay get out with a smile on her face. I’m sitting here looking at my sister like “wtf is going on”- but you know when you’re half sleep, and your brain is half sleep too, so you just go with the flow, yeah so I damn near fell out the van, like okay. Then I’m like nah are they finna rob us, I felt like I was in some kind of sick movie. No, we were just at a Tour Guide place, somewhere we never agreed to going. The whole group got out of the car and went into this place, and they sat us all down at different desks to book excursions. Once my brain woke up, I was just looking at this lady like dawg, you must be crazy. I just got off a 21 hour flight and you’re really trying to run my pockets at 11:00 PM. So I was just like no thank you, I booked all my excursions (lying), but that was the only way I could spare her. She said ” okay get back in the van”. Son, I almost lost it. So now we’re in the van waiting for the whole group, mind you , they might want to book some excursions- so we would have to wait, thank God, no one wanted to book excursions, and we left. Moral of the story, they do this a lot-so before you get in, tell them I am not going to any Tour places, no tailor shops, no nothing.


 

Planning was the most difficult thing, and I probably would not plan anything next time. I legit made a 14 day itinerary that did not serve us at all- if I could give any advice when planning is to really do your research as to where you are going and what you definitely want to do while you’re there. Make sure you communicate with your group the top 3 things you must do. Make a list of activities, opposed to a day-by-day schedule, because that jet lag is real, and most-likely you wont be immediately ready to do everything.

Things to Do (click on them for links)

  • Patong Beach- its nice to relax, they have parasailing and jetskiis for like $50 USD.
  • Bangla RoadPatong Beach - Bangla Rdthis is the mayhem, this is the fun part. Go here. The best clubs are Seduction & Illuzion. They play Hip-Hop, R&B, and Pop. Illuzion is really big, and when we went Tyga was performing so that was cool.
  • Similan Islands ( its an 8 island tour, definitely worth it, the views are crazy, bring sun screen- the speedboat ride is a little bit more than an hour)
  • Phi Phi Islands- duh, its so beautiful.
  • Kathu Phuket Shooting Range– I don’t remember how much this was, but definitelPhuket Shooting Rangey one of our best days! they don’t have you fill out paper work or anything- it was cheap and you get to choose from a lot of different guns, and the girls that work there are so much fun!

 

 

  • Tiger Kingdom Phuket – you really get to chill with the tigers, and the people will take a lot of pictures of you. I really felt like I was on ANTM with 200 frames- they were really getting theirTiger Kingdom Nigel Barker on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Kapong Nature Tour Tubing– this was the definitely mTubing Tour.JPGy favorite day! With this tour you can ride & bathe elephants and after that you do tubing, which was the best !!
  • Bangla Boxing – we were supposed to go, and didn’t, and I really wish I did 😦
  • Ping Pong Show – you just have to see it, its on Bangla Rd. I’m not even gonna tell yall what I see because I can’t even believe I seen it, and I almost want to forget it, but at the same time I’m happy I experienced it.
  • Massages– they have massage spots every 13 steps you walk, try it out.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Hand

  • GET BUG SPRAY.- I did see people post about how bug spray was a necessity but I was being stubborn, and didn’t buy any, because I hate the smell. Bug spray is very necessary for every time you step outside. I don’t know what kind of super-mosquitos they got, but they are BITE-TING.

 

  • Those waterproof bag things you put your phone in, are not reliable, especially against salt water. So don’t be cheap, just get a life proof case. After day 4, my phone fell victim to the ocean, and I had no phone 🙂

 

  • There’s no wifi/service anywhere but restaurants and the hotel.

 

  • Bring the travel size packs of tissue- a lot of places don’t have tissue in their bathrooms.

 

  • Bring a lot of snacks- you may not like their food. I thought I could buy protein bars and stuff while I’m there, they don’t have protein bars, only thing American they really had were pringles. Oh and shop at 7Eleven, so you don’t get ripped off.

 

  • Bring the travel raincoat thing- you know what I’m talking about, get one of those. When it rains, honey, it rains. We left the club one night and basically had to go swimming back to the hotel with one umbrella- stay prepared.

 

  • They only have bullsh*t liquor. There was nothing top shelf.

 

  • Bring Advil, and lots of it. For some reason all of our teeth were hurting days after the flight. I did my research and because of the air pressure on the plane it creates like air pockets of pressure or something in your teeth.

 

  • Make sure your neck pillow ain’t cheap. That lil beany bag neck pillow aint gon’ work, I had to buy an elite neck pillow for $43, and it broke my heart to do that, but I was so thankful for that neck pillow.

 

  • Dress in layers on your flight, you never know if its going to be freezing cold, or hot. They have small blankets, but I am always very cold, so I brought my own throw blanket (very dramatic) but everyone was tuggin on my blanky with they cold ass.

 

  • Don’t drink their water.

 

  • People don’t stand in lines here for the bathroom, I noticed that I got cut on about two occasions, and I was ready to throw my elbows.

 

  • When going to the temples, make sure you are covered. (elbows & knees)

 

  • Last but not least, learn how to say thank you in Thai. For women you say “Kob Khun Kha”, and for men it’s “Kob Khun Krup”. I am big on gratitude and respect, so it was important for me to learn that early on.

Expenses

It ain’t thattttt cheap unless you’re really gonna be on some scavenger sh*t for the lowest price for everything. I spent about $1500, but that’s really good because we were there for 2 weeks, and that includes what I spent for hotel, food, excursions, souvenirs, etc.

 

Remind yourself of why you came here, whatever the reason. If you came here to learn- learn. If you came here to see-see. Be present. Put your phone down. You don’t need to take all of the pictures in the world, you’re not a photographer, Instagram is not paying you. Be in the moment. The best thing that happened to me was dropping my phone in the water on the fourth day. I really spoke to the people there, learned their views on things, met amazing people from all over the world, and didn’t miss one detail.

On Healing- Part Two

I would like to talk about healing in respect to healing within your family. I thought to myself, should I use my own personal experience again ? Or should I use the experiences of others through an interview style conversation. I think that what triggered me to question what to do was from my last post, wherein a few words I mentioned the absence of my father and the way it affected me. You must understand this, I do not have a relationship with him. He texted me after I posted the blog on my Instagram (interestingly enough) and said that he was upset that I denounced him, and in short- called me a liar and said our lack of a relationship was my fault. He said and I quote ” You didn’t have to put that out in public though”, and I responded ” I think it is really sad that you are more upset that I wrote about your absence on a public forum, than you are about actually being absent“.

It was a disappointing conversation, and I think apart of me wanted there to be some miracle within it, where there was an apology or a breakthrough, but there wasn’t. The hardest thing for me was accepting that, and coming to terms with not having that relationship. I was opened to the idea of restarting a new relationship with him, even at 23, but he was very manipulative and antagonistic. Sometimes no matter how clear you are in communication, and no matter how mature you are, and how opened you are to understanding other people- sometimes they are not good for your space. Before I could allow him to be even more manipulative and deflective, I just blocked him. Simple, blocked. You have to know when to pull the plug. You have to know when someone has crossed a line. If people do not know your boundaries, they will cross them undoubtedly.

When women are mature, and ‘wise beyond their years’, there is this kind of “WOW” factor that comes along with it, and people think it’s great. But I feel so sorry for all of the people, especially black women who were forced into maturation because of compromising childhoods. I want to end this idea that being mature at a young age is a brilliant thing; I think women who have found themselves needing to grow up faster in order to survive, wish they would have had the normal teenage experience. I spoke to a few people via email with interview style questions regarding absent parents, and I’ve included their experiences within my writing.

Parental Substance Abuse

Two men that I spoke with had parents who were addicted to drugs. I thought this was significantly relevant to include in my writing because of the opioid crisis in the U.S. One of them described their parents as emotionally abusive which fueled a toxic relationship. If I could offer any healing here it would be this: Parents are people. People who are addicted to drugs/and or alcohol are sick, and should be treated as such. Imagine this: instead of your mother being addicted to heroin, that instead she has cancer. Your view of her immediately changes because instead of resentment, you feel sympathy and compassion. Once I shifted my perception of someone being an alcoholic, to them suffering from alcoholism, I felt an immediate peace come over me. “Everything that we experience from another human being is either love, or a call for love.” Which is to say, we need to give those people love- the ones who are suffering, the ones who treated us harshly, the ones who are unapologetic.

Dad-less Daughters

My mother did everything that she could and I don’t know how she did it to be honest, but the absence of my father played a much bigger role than I really thought. I spoke to a few people via email with interview style questions regarding absent parents. I asked if & what effects did their absence have on their relationships. Women without fathers in their lives described how they felt scared of being alone, scared of feeling ‘abandoned’, and felt like they overcompensated in their relationships. There needs to be a deep emotional catharsis (expressing and releasing your deepest emotions, whether positive or negative ) that I feel is essential to real healing. For example, everyone has their “story”. Your story is not the one that says “he wasn’t there for me, he left me, he didn’t show up for my games”, the real story is the one that is deeper, that is in the pit of your stomach which is ” I wish I had a father to fill the emptiness I feel”, “the absence of my mother made me feel worthless”, “I want to mend our relationship”. That is the difference between emotional reflecting and analytical rationalization. You have to dig deeper past the ego, to get to the vulnerability which will heal you. For the women who are ‘strong’ who have had absent fathers, they’ll easily say “I don’t care”, or “It didn’t really affect me”. You need to vent, you need to let out all of those emotions. You have to grieve. At some point you will need to confront your wounds in order to heal, and at some point you will have to stop picking at them.

Acknowledgement is your first steps towards healing. Acknowledge the relationships you’ve accepted because of you felt unworthy. Acknowledge the terrible decisions you’ve made because of your pain. Acknowledge that you’ve done drugs to fill a void, and drank heavily to numb the pain. Acknowledge the abuse that you have done to yourself- and *now* acknowledge that you have a choice.

Forgiveness is what liberates us from our hurt. Don Miguel Ruiz says ” Forgive those no matter what they’ve done to you,  because you don’t want to hurt yourself every time you remember what they did. When you can touch a wound and it no longer hurts, than you know you have truly forgiven.” Forgiving is an act of self-love. You have to love yourself enough to let go of the trauma, to let go of the pain, because it is not helping you or serving you any good. 

 

Long Beach

 

                            “let it go so that you may be free to feel something else”

 

On Healing – Part One

ewzhcymze6rvvbogu68jtuxguyrzdxgWhen you talk about wounds in a spiritual/emotional way, the process is fundamentally the same as the physical body. An emotional wound can be caused by the ill intentions of others, the good intentions of others, and even the actions of ourselves. We are not always responsible for the wound, but we are responsible for how we care for it, how we respond to it, and whether it will build our character or whether it will pull us further from our best self. Sometimes I think the way we hurt ourselves the most is by allowing someone to hurt us.

The main difference between physical and emotional wounds is that your body will quickly begin healing itself without your permission, with emotional wounds and trauma, it is up to you to mend and acknowledge what is deeply rooted within you that may be hindering your growth. You have to confront what is in that depth, and you are the only one who knows what it is.

I have a friend who is a very good-hearted person, and probably one of the nicest people I know. She is in a relationship with someone who is definitely not the nicest person I know. Her heart is so big that she is convinced she can change the behaviors and abusive nature of her partner. It is important that I be honest here. This idea that you can change an abrasive person by giving them love, is child-like and self-destructive. By allowing someone to ‘wound’ you, incessantly, based on the presumption that this person will miraculously change is ridiculous, to say the least. If you are consciously aware that you are in an abusive relationship, whether physical, emotional or mental, you are responsible for how you handle that. I was once in a relationship where I knew I was being cheated on the entire time, but I really believed it would change, even after years. I know, I get it, it’s not all that black and white, because love is a powerful thing. Love will really blind you, and if you get the right kind of bastard, love can be brainwashing. Or maybe it’s not necessarily ‘love’, but it is the way that people will use love to be manipulative, and controlling. It is so difficult to leave those kinds of relationships but what I wish someone would have said to me was: “Lakota, stop acting like a child! Be mature and move on!”. I think that would have made all the difference for me because for some reason, when you’re 17,18,19 years old, someone attacking your maturity, surely puts you in your place, because the lasssst thing you want to do is be 17 years old and immature (haha!).

So what did I do after my relationship to begin the healing process? I got with someone else duh, the best way to do it! WRONG. This is the worst thing you can do, and I did it. That mistake led me to years of being a cold-hearted bitch to say the least. I formed relationships with people as a coping mechanism to a bad break up. In looking back, I think unconsciously I just needed someone to ‘want me’ which would be reassuring to my ego that says “yea you the shit, you can get anybody you want”. This brings me to the quote that exemplifies this kind of behavior precisely, “hurt people, hurt people“. I would literally pray every morning to just be able to feel. I went through a long period of being unable to write because I didn’t feel. I was numb to everything. It doesn’t matter so much that I didn’t mean to hurt people, but that I knew I was doing it, and did nothing about it.

Much of my healing came from not hiding the fact that I was hurt. Healing for me came from writing, therapy, art, and being more vulnerable than I have ever wanted to be. Vulnerability meant that I had to dig deep into my self and find the source of this numbness, this pain, this ” I don’t give a f*ck” attitude. It meant being uncomfortable, it meant letting go, it meant being emotionally naked. It meant crying in public, it meant not holding it in . Healing meant that there would be days I would rather just not exist but, *this is the revolution*, I would go listen to Joel Osteen, or listen to gospel, or paint, I never let the pain consume me to a point where I could not function. I am at a point now where I look at myself and I say, Lakota, you have a decision to make, you can cry and waste your day, or you can cry for 5 minutes, and end all of the girly sh*t and get back to fighting for your destiny. It  is all a decision of how you want to live your life. It is a choice.

I look at it like this, I am still coming home to myself. I am not there yet, but at least I am on my way.

Can Fear & Faith Co-exist?

Someone asked me to write on fear and faith and how the two can co-exist. They can’t. Faith is having total spiritual dependency on a power that is greater than your own. This is not to say that you rely solely on God for your desires to come to attainment. What faith means to me is that I have done everything that I could do to make something happen, and now I am placing it in Gods hands. Faith is surrendering a situation to God, and our thoughts about it. Living in fear is not an atypical and uncommon disposition that people want to believe it is. More people live in fear than those that live in faith. Fear is comfortable.Fear is essentially our ego. Fear is our natural/instinctual way of thinking. We must train our minds and our thoughts to be of love and not of fear. That is the real work. In this writing I will use examples from my own life to describe to you the forms that fear can show up in your life. I will also take these situations and show two ways of responding- one that is of faith(love) and one that is of fear.

I started dating someone who was also dating other people. Our relationship began to get more serious, and we agreed it was time to date exclusively. He had told me that he was dating a girl who was very much emotionally invested in him, and he didn’t know how to cut their ties. This is the point in which I needed to choose love or fear. My ego said ” Okay, that’s none of my business, cut her off and stop being a care bear, you sucka ass n*gga” (inserts hand clapping emoji). That was my immediate reaction in my head. I really wanted him to just block whoever the girl was so that we could move on in peace. I knew that I had to take this reaction and turn it into a response. The best way for me to respond was from a place of love. I told him to call her and go see her, and tell her how you feel. I knew that she had been calling, I knew that she was upset, and there was no way I could be at peace knowing that another woman was crying over someone and has no idea why he stopped picking up the phone. Respect is very important to me. I could not respect him or myself by suggesting he just “cut her off”. I think he was surprised that that was my advice to him – for him to really call and go see her, but I really wasn’t fearful at all. Maybe a day or two later, he told me he went to go see her, it wasn’t easy, but it was the right thing to do. Now I could be at peace, and so could he.

So in this situation I stayed true to myself, which is :

  1. Women need to stick together in every situation, not only when it is convenient and obvious.
  2. Not giving fear a voice or a place in my life by consciously making every effort to change my thoughts/perspective to see things from a place of love.

On a more personal level I suffer with anxiety which makes it difficult for me to recognize when fear has complete control over me. I write poetry- a lot of which is ‘spoken word’- which requires me to actually speak it aloud. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve performed my poetry. I go to a lot of poetry events with the intention of performing and then my anxiety takes a hold of me, and it starts off like this. ” What if I forget the poem?”, “What if this poem is too sad?”, and the thoughts spread like wild-fire in my mind. It gets to a point where I even get nauseous, and then it’s at that point where I decide being in the audience is just easier. But lets talk about the times where I did perform. When I did perform, I would tell myself, everyone here is human – no one is better than me, I am okay, I am talented, and if the anxiety did come I would say ” Dear God, please let me see this differently, please let my thoughts be replaced by yours”. It would be in that moment I would feel empowered. After I performed my poetry, people would say “thank you” or ” I really needed to hear that”, and it was so reassuring that, that is where I needed to be. It was important for me to recognize that my best thinking got me on the stage. It is not that easy though always, but you must try to surrender your thoughts to a power higher than your own.

My best advice to anyone who suffers from anxiety or who finds themselves making decisions based on fear is to speak loudly to God, and to make daily affirmations that you want to live in love, and respond in love, and see things differently. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE FOR YOUR DECISIONS! You can say everyday “Well I have anxiety so…” You can say that everyday or you can make a decision to heal and live fearlessly. The best days I’ve ever had were the days I lived fearlessly and did things that would normally be uncomfortable for me. Also sometimes you can’t always depend on your own thinking. My sister is someone who always lets me know when I am living in fear. Just yesterday I was telling her:

“Yeah I have a photo-shoot today but the guy never called me so I’m not going to go”

She responded simply by saying “that’s fear talking, just call him”.

It really put me in my place because she was absolutely right! My thought process was:

“Lakota you’re not photogenic, your body is not in the shape you want it to be in, this is going to be so awkward, etc.”.

The last thing I wanted was for him to call me; it was much more comfortable for me to just go have drinks with my friend- and that’s exactly what I did. I am still a work in progress, and even when I know I am making fear based decisions, I still make them sometimes because it is the easier thing to do. Recognizing you have a problem is all great & dandy, but you must do the hard work by unlearning what you have taught yourself.

 

What we give to others, we give to ourselves. What we withhold from others, we withhold from ourselves…to the extent that we abandon love, to that extent -we will feel it has abandoned us“- Marianne Williamson

” you should write something on loneliness…”

I’ve always had this idea that loneliness and happiness cannot live in the same house.

I told myself, this time I will try to be comfortable with the idea of not being in love, and not being in a relationship. I told myself I would take this time to heal, and to grow, and to learn how to love myself even in the absence of a lover. That time came and went before I even truly had it. I met someone…an amazing person actually, and started building an intimate relationship with them. I told myself there must be some divine timing or universal synchronicity  to this – I told myself too eagerly, to let it happen.  I listened to that voice. I listened to my comfort zone. I allowed this person to stay in a my life when I didn’t need them, when I  needed me more. But I continued to live in this lie, because the truth- the truth is scary to me. The truth is uncomfortable. The truth is that I am terrified of being alone, and I am terrified of being left, and unwanted. This pattern isn’t new; It is consistent in my life, and I’ve always defended it to the graveeee, of why  *this* person was absolutely necessary.

Some childhood trauma is definitely the root, and I am aware of that, and have been aware of that for more time that I would like to admit to. I am aware that I never want anyone to leave me because then, it proves my unworthiness that I feel. The root of this is my father leaving me, and then my mother. The two relationships that I feel are most important, have been disappointing and hurtful to say the least, and I’ve carried that experience with me through all my relationships. Loneliness seems more detrimental to me now, than ever before. Loneliness feels like loss, emptiness, and vulnerability. Of course there are days when I feel like I can grow from this, and I can be strong and powerful in this moment of uncomfortability and uncertainty; I could say that, I could post on my Instagram about how “nothing ever grows from your comfort zone”, and I swear I could be this voice of only positivity, and “good vibes”, but I would be lying to myself. I would be contributing to this movement that can only project positivity and happiness (that is often falsified, forced and exaggerated). I don’t always want to be a light, or *correction*, I can’t always be a light. Loneliness is draining and dangerous. Loneliness has caused me – too often – to set fire to myself, thinking… anything would be better than being numb.

I say that loneliness has been much more challenging for me now than ever, because it is very easy to see how past lovers are doing. It is very easy to see how they’ve moved on without you. It is very easy to see them “happy”, in pictures that are too easily accessible. And although we may think, “well, they aren’t really that happy”- whether they be past lovers or strangers, the question still exists, ” well maybe they are and if they are, how come I’m not?”, and the thoughts never end. Everyone just seems so happy, emphasis on *seems*, and it easily allows for feelings of loneliness and exclusion. Loneliness feels a lot like rejection and failure to me. If I’m not “dating” or “talking” to someone, then I must be unworthy and undesirable. I know that that is not true, but there’s a voice of fear that screams louder than the truth sometimes. Because of this “fear”-this fear of being unwanted , I make sure to never be alone. I’ve often been single, but never alone. Loneliness would be a depth too deep for me to feel safe in. I struggle in wondering if how I feel is at all normal because normalcy is just “happiness” now, and in order to be accepted, in any social capacity, you should be happy or at least pretend to be. Even if today I can’t be a light, even if today I am filled with so much sadness I feel like I could suffocate, maybe there is someone out there that just needed someone like me, to write this, to let them know, they are not alone.

I’m not saying that I am anti-light or anti-growth, what I’m saying is I’ve never witnessed any light without darkness, and I’ve never witnessed any growth that didn’t start beneath the ground. I crave the authenticity of people, I crave the good and the bad, and this world has taken truth and silenced it, and it deemed it as unattractive.There is this obsession with creating a picture perfect life on social media and it is draining people of the best thing that God has given us -which is the ability to connect and relate and feel as human beings. 

So heres to some truth, I’m fucking lonely and bored as shit.

Is there a space for ‘T’?

What triggered me to write a blog on trans-relations initially, was a conversation I had overheard between two nurses where I work. So basically, one day I was at work minding my business as usual, and then I hear a conversation ensue about a transgender patient. I don’t want to give details about the person who made the forthcoming comments, because I’m sure people at work view my blog. Why is his identity necessary for the narrative? Well, he is a person in charge of overseeing staff/nurses- and he is also a gay (cis-gendered) man. So lets get right to it.

There is a trans woman who is being seen for depression, and he begins to say to his colleague ” I don’t understand the whole new transgender thing, like you’re either gay or straight…everyone wants to be transgender now”. He continues on to say, ” I’m not calling him a ‘her’, whatever he was born with is who he is” and he repeats it again, “I’m not going to call him a ‘her'”.

In that moment, I got very emotional. I couldn’t believe that a health professional had just said that. A person who’s job and career focus is to be non-bias and care for people.There were so many things that were wrong. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were trans, and I realized I’ll never know. This person came to a hospital for help, and they’re not even safe here. But what I did know was that the people who speak and use the analogy ‘LGBT’, are rarely speaking for the ‘T’ in the community. “LGBT” has just become a standard analogy of false inclusiveness in politics and in social relations. It is clear to me, as a bisexual woman that trans-relations are often overlooked within the community, and extremely ignored, rejected, and ridiculed.

I want to define what it means to be transgender, as I know that not everyone is familiar or well versed in this area. Being trans is described as your gender identity differing from your anatomical make-up. Your gender identity is your internal sense of feeling like a man or a woman (some fall into a gray category that is defined as gender binary). For a transgender person, your gender identity does not match the sex you were born with.

This morning I awoke to see the hash tag #transrightsarehumanrights and I was nervous to find out what ensued for that to become a trending topic. The President of the United States, Donald Trump tweeted out these tweets :

t-1t-2t-3

Trump has said that he will not accept Transgender individuals to serve at all in the US military, his defense being: it would cause ‘excessive medical costs’ and ‘disruption’ . There is so much ambiguity in ‘disruption’, but if I am talking about Donald Trump then I must know that the vagueness in that statement is just a ploy to spew hatred, trans phobia, and bigotry. Trans people are not a disruption. This ban is dehumanizing, and I think what people will miss from this, is that this is opening the door for more ‘legal’ discriminatory practices. If the POTUS can ban trans individuals from the military than this will undoubtedly become more systemic than it already is. He is promoting a comfort in being trans phobic; He’s creating a ‘space’ and a ‘culture’ that is of hate. America is supposed to be a place that ensures freedom, and the ‘American Dream’.

I seen someone tweet that it wasn’t a big deal, and “who wants to go into the military anyway?”. Many LGBT people seek the military as a career path because of discrimination in their regular work place. To put this into perspective, the Department of Defense is the largest single employer of trans people in the U.S. In terms of the health of the trans individuals, the cost that he is saying would be too much, is actually extremely small in proportion to what the Department of Defense spends on healthcare a year. For example in 2014 the DOD spent 49.3 billion in general health care and it is estimated that at MOST it would cost them 8 million for trans-related health services.  The action made by Trump is the epitome of what is means to regress, and it is a major set back for the United States and the trans community. Everyone should be angered by this decision, everyone and anyone who fights for equality. 

” Complacency is a far more dangerous attitude than outrage” – Naomi Littlebear