Remember that one time I had an existential crisis on facebook?

Lol just kidding it wasn’t the first nor will it be the last.

They say misery loves company but I say it likes an audience.

I’m waiting for the bus, it’s the evening. The weather is perfect tonight in Bordeaux, (thanks global warming) and I’m emotionally hungover for what feels like five weeks but I know really it’s been 3 days because I have a mood tracker because I have no concept of time right now. Or…often, really.

I’ve written out a tangent on Facebook after 3 days of crying. You’d think I’d get exhausted of them.

But if an existential crisis just means that I’m growing or devolving or however it does what it does, that brings better peace of mind, then I’m going to keep wanting to do that thing.

And so another great thing about me turning my life into some kind of dark sitcom (in my head. Where my audience is. You understand.) and for the entertainment of whoever might be on Facebook,  is that it also starts a conversation.

I’m having a conversation on four different platforms right now. Facebook, instagram, whatsapp, and….get this…A face to face conversation with a good friend. (Crazy right? My entire world ISN’T online.)

If I don’t voice it, it doesn’t come out, and it stays closed up in my brain cave where it can get dark and murky if I don’t let the light in through the cracks.

So I posted a long thing on Facebook. Because I overshare and that’s my claim to survival. Here’s the tangent in case you missed it:

And the second people started to reply, I felt better.

First off, it isn’t an uncommon thought.

I legit thought I was the only one who hadn’t gotten past that level. (Video game metaphor now let’s keep up.) If was comforting to find others that I value and respect be on that level as well. Also I laughed at this, because how often do we reach out to people and be all, “I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL” but you’re stuck too. Compassion is my best friend.

Friends engaged thoughtfully

Which in turn got my mind running another direction that isn’t downward spiral.

There was a long conversation that happened with the two different people of the two different messages above. I also am having an ongoing conversation about this with my mom over whatsapp.
But the cherry on the cake was the engaging heart to heart I had with probably my favorite person of the week. He listened thoughtfully but also offered paths that I agreed with which was validating. I am ok sharing a common truth with people I respect.

No image caption of that because it was a moment in real life with no record of it except how I feel.

And while I have no answers, I do have a path I’ve decided to take. Again.

Spirituality is necessary.

At least for me. My friend commented the above text and i knew i choose the spiritual framework because its the closest to truth that ive come. Whether that happens through a connection to nature or self or a god type or religion or art, it’s all a language that essentially explains something we all know but can’t comprehend as humans. So I just try to talk to it through all means.

Or at least that’s the truth I’m using to appease the cognitive dissonance of existing.

My friend who I talked to yesterday say that if we spend too long asking ourselves these questions, it only leads to heartache. I agree. But if we never question where our values come from, how can we know we are truly living by our own values and not those that have been put there for us? How do we know we’re living our own lives and not just the life we think we’re supposed to be living?

In speaking with my mom, we mention God. We use the word God sometimes to explain what we mean, but I am more of a “The universe” type person because I think if there is a god, there’s probably not just one. She doesn’t mean god either. But it was the word we chose for the moment.

How do you trust? How do you take another step forward?

For me…it’s about doing what I want, because what I want is to be of service. To be a vessel of goodness. And that feels like it’s an ok thing for me to trust.

This is by no means the first time I’ve been here but I guess it’s where I go when I go dark. “What’s the point of it all?”

We decide. And sometimes that’s too overwhelming.

But thanks to people who stepped up to the plate and had this conversation with me (shout out to: mami, Marste,  Arthur, insta life coach friend who’s name i don’t know, and Kini.) I chose a path…for now. Of day by day intentional living in service to others, and to myself.

Until the next existential crisis. 😉

This is why I’m judging you.

We all judge. We have to. If we can’t judge then we can’t judge a situation as being dangerous, we have to judge a book by its cover sometimes or we might talk to someone who might do us harm.
What I don’t want to do, is let that get in the way of me practicing compassion and respect for someone. For me to let them do their thing, and be happy, and maybe make a friend in the process.
I try not to judge someone and put them in a box that they can’t get out of.
i try not to judge someone in a way that doesn’t allow them to show me who they truly are.
However, my core belief is that we should all be able to share this world with abundance in everything. I have been angry since the day I realized how much we fucked up this world, and I haven’t stopped being angry since, because to me, solitary joy and abundance is not real. If we can’t all be free, then my freedom isn’t real.
And I love humans. i LOVE Americans. So much more than I realized. And their pain has become my pain. And people that contribute to that pain, do get judged.
People that are selfish get judged.
People that are hypocritical get judged.
People that obsess over politicians and not people get judged.
People that lack compassion get judged.
White people that don’t acknowledge their racism get judged.
People that can’t open their minds to other forms of beliefs get judged.
Harshly. And that sometimes means you, friend.
That sometimes means my own family. That sometimes means finding myself alone in my head, feeling crazy and misunderstood.
That sometimes means being judged myself. By others. By myself. 
But everyone has got a moral compass, and that’s mine. The purpose of my life is to do everything to add to the goodness on this planet, and that’s how I’m doing that.

And due to me being a complicated person, I also need to know that people are going to be willing to either gently call me out when I need to be called out, or they’re going to act with humility when I call them out.

The only people that might get a pass at this type of behavior, are people who are family, and even then it’s just an adapted version of this truth.

But I’ve adapted and made myself small to fit into people’s boxes, that end up serving me not at all, and I’ve stayed quiet when people say hurtful things too many times.

There comes a moment when being disagreeable is a matter of survival, boundaries, and safety. If ya can’t handle that, then ya can’t handle me. 

The privilege of not dwelling on the past

I was going to say, that like any average youth, I grew up not really dwelling on the past. But that isn’t really true, is it? As I thought about my own context, and then those around me that has similar contexts, I also thought about those younger than I, still within my generation but that are fiercely dedicated to the improvement of their context. Those are the ones who have normalized the world “decolonization” in my mental vocabulary. Not older educators and philosophers who seemed disconnected and somehow still caught up in the very fabric they were trying to dismantle, but the younger voices, who had grown up in a context that was not my own. In other words, who could not afford to not “dwell on the past.”

So I grew up not thinking about it. About where I came from, who my family beyond my parents might have affected me, and even less caring about my ancestors. But that is because I had the privilege on not needing to know anything. To feel like history is irrelevant.

But what is history, if not stories of who we are, how we got to the problems we’re facing, and how to solve (or not) solve them? How could that ever be irrelevant?

To me, it all just feels like a part of a society that normalizes anything that distances you from your roots, and your community. The less stories we know of our greatness, the more stories we know of failure, and the leadership of others that are unlike us, the easier we are to control. It’s been working, because it was easy, it’s all we wanted to do.

And now? Whatever this is that we’re living in? Is clearly unsustainable. Those of us who think we’re sustaining a life of stability and wealth without any kind of true hardship or suffering, are doing so while others live a shattered life of hardship and suffering without any kind of true stability or wealth. And to me, that doesn’t feel real.

If my safety is an illusion provided by the powers that be due to my skin color and social class (or whatever) then it isn’t real safety. And in order to understand the rules of the game I’m being played in (because 99% of us are very much playing someone else’s games with someone else’s rules) we have to look at history.

I may be on a giant Monopoly board just waiting for the table to be flipped over, but I don’t have to spend every tic-toc waiting for the inevitable explosion and for me to get swiped away. Everything feels so apocalyptic right now. We didn’t need a virus to turn us into zombies, our own greed is toxic enough, our world is dying and there’s some kind of severe humanity issue going on in every continent of the world. (I didn’t look that up but I’m feeling fiercely confident about that statement, so I challenge you to prove me wrong.)  Instead of sitting around and wait to see how many more freedoms and rights we get taken away, how many more loopholes are made to keep us from accessing freedom and pursuing happiness, I have decided to better understand the things that affect me personally based on the identities placed in society. And I don’t want to do that by playing it safe and staying within the confines of who I know with people that think and look like me because that’s never going to help me grow.

I also need to learn more so that I can be useful in fighting for my community and the people I love. I can’t fully respect someone that doesn’t actively try to figure out how to constantly be a better human. I don’t respect lack of compassion for others though I can still be compassionate for those that lack it themselves. But I don’t respect it. I think it’s lazy, boring, and shallow. Unfortunately I am close to a lot of people that lack compassion, and tragically, it’s a huge chunk of good friends of mine that are white Americans. I use the frustration to fuel my desire to want to work harder at being more active with what I provide for others, and I know that I can never point a finger at anyone before pointing it at myself so mostly, I try to just put my mouth where my pride is and walk the walk.

And in learning where to step and what to do, I’ve been navigating the waters by following my activist leaders: Shaun King, Franchesca Ramsey, Luvvie Ayaji, Priscilla Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez founder of Latina RebelsPorochista Khakpour, Nik Hampsire, and Ashley Fairbanks just to name my current favorite few. I follow them all on Facebook along with other people and newsfeed which keep me humbly learning and up to date on what is currently going. In case you didn’t know, currently, EVERYTHING is going on. We’re being bombarded on all sides. And the best way that I have found to connect to proactive anger and efficient self love is by listening to those who live with their history still affecting them every day.

Next week I will be traveling to Spain, and as a Colombian woman, I think it will be a fantastic time to think about history and my past, why it matters and how it actually still affects us all. I know it does on a heart level, but I’d like to be able to further explore it as I wish to have a better understanding of the topics of conversation that come up.

Because not dwelling on the past is a privilege, and privilege is a lie.

Stay tuned and let’s have a conversation about this.

Art by Madspeitersen