When You See What Others Don't


The memory is hazy in my mind and I think it's held up by the scaffolds of my mother's telling. I must've been 5 or 6. It was early morning and my parents were set to go to Connecticut without me. Mami would tell of how I was not happy and how I asked her to please not go. Papi wouldn't hear it. He's the guy that thinks that kids are born conspiring against their parents and that somehow everything that's done is done in order to squash any and all plans of kidless fun. What can I say? He was very dismissive. Mami, not so much. She was used to these things and had learned to read me a lot better than the person I'd just started living with a year before. I don't know how long it took or what caused her to not only change her mind but let my father know she wasn't going anywhere. My dad left without her.

He came back without a car. There had been an accident on the way there. I don't think he ever addressed the incident. At least I never heard of it.

I have countless stories from childhood. The time I begged to stay home from junior high and a big ol' gang fight took place at dismissal. Folks got stabbed. I think one kid died. It was mayhem. And I'd missed it.

Or the time I dreamt about my brother and told Mami about it and she played the Dominican "numbers" culled from the info I gave her and won a few thousand dollars.

Things slowed down as I gained "conocimento" and became less naive. In college, now a psych major, it was hard for me to look at things without thinking of the driving force behind it (brain and fact related, of course).

During my senior year, I took a sociology class that introduced me to some anthropology topics that made my head turn sideways and wonder about what I learned and what I really knew.

[Tweet "Sometimes we are placed in the right place at the right time and still miss the blessing because we refuse to open ourselves up in some way."]

There have always been ebbs and flows. But always, there was a strong certainty in faith. In something outside of me. A greater power. Call it what you will. But this thing grew stronger after my challenges and wider after my struggles.

It's something I always carry and something I RARELY speak of publicly (though I am speaking now as instructions came that I needed to). Those that know me can usually expect "abnormal" conversations with me when they're recounting a particular problem and I provide them with insight that I shouldn't have or some nugget that they weren't expecting. Usually my statements begin with "I don't know why I'm saying this but, I'm just going to say it". Needless to say, the convos usually end with something akin to this:

And let me say this right quick: I am NOT a psychic. I mean, I do own a tarot deck from Miss Cleo but a tarot deck does not a psychic make!

Most days go by without incident. I've learned through the years that there are times I need to shield myself from all the suffering in the world because it takes so much out of me. I have learned (the hard way) to scroll past certain articles on my newsfeed while attempting to occupy my mind with a different topic so as not to absorb what I read. Some topics are more triggering than others.

[Tweet "Everyone might not be responsible for what has happened to them but everyone is accountable to how they respond."]

Life generally goes on. Until it doesn't. Until someone I know and care about is going through a major life issue. Until there's some type of revelation that I can't just scroll by.

I've learned to compartmentalize. I've learned that I can't hold it all in as well. My girl Negra speaks about the need to let it out and not hold it in. I think of it like keeping rotting food in your fridge. Even though it's decomposing slower than if it was outside, it's still stinking up yo damn fridge! (Was that a stretch?)

As with everything in life, everyone is on their own path. In their own space and place. I do not believe in coincidences but I also have a very clear understanding of free will. 

Sometimes we are placed in the right space, at the right time and still miss the blessing/lesson because we refuse to open ourselves up in some way. Does that make sense?

I've been blessed to hold the hand of people I love and care about as their loved ones have left this earth, for example. Imparting practical knowledge (specifics on what happens next, the special time clock of the dying body, etc), as well as spiritual thoughts.

In my 43 years on this earth I've managed to walk next to people as they experience their own spiritual awakening and that is humbling and honor-filled all at the same time.

But, I have also been there when people open themselves up to the experience, the insight, the unknown, only to fill the void with doubt, shame, stubbornness and who refuse to do the work.

There's never a magic pill. This ain't the matrix, boo. There's always work that has to be done. In dismantling your thought process as a human that has been scarred by experience and breaking the generational cycles that have moved with us as the waves on to the shores. It's work. Physically, psychologically, spiritually. Fucking. Work.

There are no easy ways to make it through the things we have to work through. No jumping to the "I know everything" part of the quiz because we Googled something. There's no expert level overnight. No quick cure.

Example: I had a 6-hour surgery in January. The doctor continues to remind me how long my surgery was. And she continues to calmly point out that it took my ass YEARS to get to the state that I was in when she cut me open and systematically reconstructed parts of me that I didn't realize were invading other parts that were meticulously eating away at themselves. YEARS. She likes to also remind me that it's going to take a little more than the 6 weeks that I took off from work for me to recover.

TRUST ME when I say I get it. One has to be open to the time it's going to take to heal. But, if I'm honest, one of the most infuriating things to witness is the demise of someone you care for after you've provided this insight and put energy into seeing something beyond the here and now, held their hands, stroked their hair, only to have them refuse to do the work, question what was said to them (and seeking advice from others - folks love to get second opinions when the first didn't line up to their reality), and then proceed to do exactly the opposite of everything that's been divined.

And then, show up at your doorstep like you didn't just tell them and requesting help once again.

Part of this is on me. I need to be able to put it out in the universe and let it go because ultimately, it's not about me. But I'm human and it's disheartening and heartbreaking all at once.

Y'all. Life is short and some things take the type of energy that some of you don't want to expend. If you cannot trust the process and what others see for you, don't. But also: don't waste our time asking the same question over and over again and expecting a different fucking response. It's an insult to my gift and my intelligence.

Everyone might not be responsible for what has happened to them but everyone is accountable to how they respond. They're also accountable once they know differently. Mama Maya said when you know better, you do better.

Whether you're talking to a spiritual guide or a therapist, be accountable for doing the work. Cuz...