Sunday, October 15, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 30

I've written so much about the process of losing myself in the shapeshifting grief, the experiences, the coping, the loss of so much. This post is a reminder that when you come back to yourself you are not like you were before this all happened.

I've lost more of myself and have been shook in a way I didn't expect. I've been so confused and having limited clarity and wild experiences and long times in the bed just thinking about death, dying, cannibalism, fear, mourning, survival.

I came back to yourself eventually. I may not be the same,  I may not know who I was and need to ask myself "who do I want to be today?," something I wish more of ya'll would ask yourselves, it really gives you a period of time to just take a breath.

I came back and I'm not the same, and I'm still here.

I'm still here.

I'm still here. Today. I'm still here. For now. I'm still here.

Read post 29 here.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 29

Making choices is a challenge in the middle of all the grief. When you come out of it and get clarity from time to time you spend lots of time processing and figuring out whats the best choice. Maybe that was all the virgo in me, but I still can't make decisions at times.

Most of my concerns were about how other people would receive or experience the decisions I made. Decisions were things like what to get at the grocery store for guests, where to go for dinner, what to order to eat; really basic and regular decisions.

Then there are the other decisions to move, make/end friendships, quit jobs, reexamine fertility, and the like. I worried so much what other people would think that I packed up my apartment and moved to another coast in less than 2 weeks and didn't tell many folks about the move. I worried about what people would think of my work if I quit my job to take care of myself and my grief.

Then it got to a point where I HAD to make the final decisions about something and each time I did I chose myself. I asked for the exact help I needed and the advice that was required and I made decisions that benefited me and only me. Many of those folks who I was worried about for a moment don't even contact me unless they want something from me. Most of those folks have no idea how to be friends for a variety of reasons. That's their problem and not mine.

I learned that choosing myself was easier than I thought. Choosing myself meant instant gratification.

Read post 28 here.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 28

This post is about cannibalism. It's a longer read.

There came a time when I craved the act of sinking my teeth into someone's flesh, feeling their blood and fluid (spit? sweat?) drip down my chin and neck and me wiping it off with the back of my hand to have a smear over my face. I wanted to sink my teeth into: masculinity, freedom, and into myself.

I'm still in that time and place.


via GIPHY


I don't know when exactly that time came. It was after the skin hunger consumed me. After the numerous failed attempts to find lovers. After the consistent and frequent "No" I heard from friends who couldn't imagine a "homieloverfriendship." All the "no's" that nobody teaches you to value or appreciate when they talk about "consent." All the "you're so beautiful and amazing and it's intimidating to date/fuck/play with you." The "we can play/fuck/date in 8 months!" All the ways people are scared of touch even by people who they claim to love and want to experience love from. All of those broke me all over again. And again. And again.

And I pieced myself together through a curiosity and fascination with cannibalism. I watched my favorite TV show Hannibal, about the life and times of Hannibal Lecter; a show so decadent! I had homegirls who welcomed this curiousness and welcomed viewing of other cannibalistic films like Raw and who shared blogs and images with me. Homegirls recommended books to me too, like Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoertocism in US Slave Culture by Vincent Woodard.

When I finally went to the doctor during my grieving and they checked my blood sugar that had elevated so much because I had been constantly grieving, consuming soda pop to feel the "burn," and just not having anyone show up to help feed me something other than a bodega sammich and gummie bears and reeses peanut butter cups, I had to start testing my own blood sugar levels on my own. This requires needles and a stab to your finger to get the blood drops on the thing to measure levels. It all made my palms sweat and still does. And the first thing I do after I get that bit of blood on the thing is suck the hell out of my bleeding finger. I suck hard too. I like tasting the blood a bit. Just a taste on the tip of my tongue. It reminded me I AM ALIVE. It's not the same as the blood that flows from my core once a month, that blood has a different consuming desire.

Things always get rough when I'm bleeding from my core. I crave touch so much more. I've spent the last few cycles isolating myself because there is no one to touch. There are no outlets for this type of grief. This type of touch and experience for me isn't present in too many places. And I'm fucking exhausted hearing "no" and having to ask and advocate for myself and all the things. I'm tired of being my own top and topping others if I do get some tail (which isn't often because lots of people don't find grief and mourning erotic). T.I.R.E.D.

I'm supposed to check my blood sugar at least 3x a day. I only do it in the morning. Sucking my finger three times a day would be SO MUCH.

I'm already consuming parts of myself. While I remain without lovers or any touch beyond a hug, those who have never experienced this life in this way (grieving your mother, grieving alone, grieving with limited community, grieving and isolation, grieving and no touch, grieving and no sex, grieving constantly) have a lot to judge me on. Folks happily have judged me during this grief. Those folks still have their mothers alive. IDGAF. I laid in bed plucking my rubber bands, listening to my erotic death and dying playlist, daydreaming about being touched. I started to bite and suck on my own arms. I gave myself bruises with my mouth that nobody ever noticed and if they did they never said anything. I watched how long my teeth imprints would stay and how long they took to fade. I took inventory on the bruising of my body and the blood raising to the top of the layers of skin. I debated taking fotos of what I had done and share it under the #FemmeInMourning hashtag. I didn't do any of those.

I did this routine often. I still do this when it gets real rough. Rough is my usual these days.

Folks who know me well know that I talk about how big my mouth is all.the.time. My mouth is huge and a blessing (and no gag reflex!). Yet, it's a challenge to find folks who have as big a mouth as me. Folks with smaller mouths who are into your girl mean that I get a lot of their nose or chin in my mouth. I'd have to shrink some of my best features to accommodate them. I've been shrinking myself for years for others and this grief didn't allow for any of that! Ive felt like Ive been eating people's faces the entire time I was making out in this life! When I find someone with a mouth to scale that's closer to mine it's MAGIC! It's MYSTICAL. It's exactly what I need to experience. My last lover with a big mouth like mine was in 2006. I last saw this lover January 2016 and I spent the majority of our time together just feeling the glory and vibration we created as our mouths and tongues and bodies remembered each other. Kissing and making out for me is a full body contact experience. This I'm reminded of when I have someone with a comparable mouth to mine. I don't remember or feel that way with someone with smaller mouths. They don't get full body contact.

Rememory in kissing. In consumption.

Today I'm not chewing on anybody other than myself which is more like a sucking of a finger. But I'm hyper aware when a part of my body brushes against someone else by accident or forced shared space. It's often my forearm or hip brushing someone else's body part that probably doesn't get touched too often in public. A side of the hip, front of the belly, side of the breast,

What I'm realizing now is this desire, craving, it's about consumption without a doubt, and it's about consumption to be fueled and energized. Consumption to stay alive. Consumption to remember I'm alive and fighting to stay here.

Read post 27 here.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 27

This post is one I'm writing not only for this practice or to share, but especially as a reminder to myself! This is the lesson I have taken so long to learn. Each time I need to learn this lesson I've pushed it away. The more I did it growing up the less and less the lesson showed up for me. Now, as an adult I need to really learn this lesson.

The lesson is patience.

I'm not super impatient, but I am very much realizing how my resistance is rooted in having limited patience. I think a lot about how fast I move to make things happen. People know that when I'm on their team and side, shit happens and gets done! I'm a mover and a maker and a creator. I rarely ever agree to something I cannot follow through with. I take pride in knowing my word and reputation is rooted in my verbals and non-verbals matching.

Yet the patience I'm talking about is the patience with yourself. With this grieving and mourning process. Today is my first day out of my home since Sunday night at 8pm. It's Thursday. I got to be patient with myself even when it means isolating myself and hibernating for an undisclosed amount of time.

All I wrote for this entry in my journal was "be patient, clarity will come."

For me the clarity of the world is what I was completely disconnected from. When I do start to reconnect and pull my head up there's more death, more violence, more fires, more landslides, more flooding, so much more. And that's the life threatening ish, not to mention the petty ish people expect you to respond to for them. The people who expected me to show up and verbally box them were quickly knocked out because I have limited capacity.

This is probably why I've isolated myself at times during this process; I know I can do deep hurt with the truth of my verbal communication. I know how to be so clear and accessible and honest that folks are not ready or that. I'm also not ready to coddle people and it's too much care taking when I got to care for myself!

Sometime the clarity that comes are reminders: you were right to try to keep that memory or reality blurry; you were right to protect yourself in those ways; yet the only way to heal is to go through them not around those painful truths and realities. There's pain here, and hurt, and deep deep loneliness and there is also clarity. It feels like your whole body takes a breath and a sigh and is still here. 

Read post 26 here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 26

I cope often by writing love letters. I was better at this in the height of my grief. I wrote people love letters to stay connected and to crawl out of the deep lonely abyss of grief. Everything about writing love letters I adore! Picking the right stationary, crafting the best message, using the fine point pen, sealing it with a wax stamp, finding the best stamp, and the sound of the mailbox as it closes. 

That sound I miss as there are not as many mailboxes in New Orleans as there are in other places. 

I'm behind on letters. It's overwhelming. Often those who write me I write back. If you haven't written me there may not be a letter for you for a while. If you have hold on! I'm working on it! I try to add something special to my love letters so it's not only a note but something else, a sticker, image that reminded me of the recipient, a recipe for them to try. Something fun and enjoyable.

What better way to remind someone you care for them than using the ways we can connect to send letters that may shift our entire day? That's what happens when I get your letters. Let's do that for each other. Ask me for my address.

Read post 25 here

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 25

I got, and get through the roughest times of my grief and mourning because of technology. Texting saved my life numerous times. I just started texting, ya'll. Seriously, I started about 6 years ago in 2011. My first smartphone was in 2013.

When I started to get texts from folks during my mourning I didn't respond to them all. I probably still haven't. Things are a blur still. To say they were is not true, they are less blurry now, but there's still a constant intense blur. I didn't have the capacity to talk to people on the telephone let alone on facetime or skype or a google hangout.

One thing about my isolation is that my vanity is still very present. I don't want folks seeing me post-hysterical meltdown chaotic presentation. It was a huge move to document my crying tail in the Instagram #FemmeInMourning posts I made. Nonetheless, some folks did see me in those times. Anyway, texts became a way for me to still remain social and not have to bathe or put a mask on to act like everything doesn't feel plastic.

We put those masks on for ya'll who are not mourning or grieving in the same way. It got exhausting quickly. It's still exhausting and required because we don't have spaces for non spiritual ritual ish to grieve and mourn. All those spaces are used for ritual in a different way and it rarely was what I needed. Mourning in non-traditional and non-linear ways can be scary. When I wasn't my full present self, like I still am at this time, it was texts that allowed me to respond and share or seek grounding.

Folks have no idea that when I reached out to them what it was that I was really needing or doing. I kept it to myself. I didn't share that I needed specific help. I just sent those "checking in on you" texts to numerous people and who responded responded. Sometimes I got responses quickly. Other times I got responses slowly through the day that I'm glad I was around to respond to.

I still don't respond to texts quickly on hard days. Those days are becoming more limited but also becoming longer in duration. I'm still here so keep texting me.

Read post 24 here.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 24

Tell people that you love them.

I can't remember who it was that hugged me each time she saw me and would whisper in my ear that she loved me. The feeling of a warm body against you holding your back and putting their mouth to your ear to whisper how they love you is deep and warm and affirming. I wanted to do the same for others. We all need to be feeling that way as often as possible.

I started to hug people and tell them that I love them. I would do this often, and now each time. Even when I don't hear it back I let people know. It's important to me that they know I care for them so much that it is a form of love. Sometimes I can't show up for us the way I would like, yet I hope people know and remember that I try to find ways to show love to so many people.

Each time I chose to send a "you good?" text or a "checking in on you" text that's me showing love. I hope people feel that love when they receive those texts. Sometimes I use these texts as a way to lift myself up when I'm overwhelmed or just stuck in the despair of what is next.

I'm unapologetic with my love because why wouldn't I be? If love is this thing we all are craving and moving towards and grounded in why should I be embarrassed or cover up what I'm experiencing it fully? It's the same with my experiences with grief: I'm not hiding them or embarrassed when they arrive. I chose to love and grieve publicly. That's how this life is going to be and I'm ok with that for now.

Read post 23 here.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 23

When the IDGAF stage meets you at your grief a lot of things can become clear. For me I realized the things that I was good at and then I realized the things I needed to do because that's what I was best for. They were not the same things. I was ok with that and I had a clearer focus on what I needed to do.

I'm good, even great, at a lot of things that people need help and guidance with. However, where my life's work and goals are focused upon are not the same as what I'm good or great at all the time because these forms of labor and gifts are essential to my survival. I must do them because they will bring me life and revive me again.

I quit a toxic job led by a white woman who was a second wave feminist and who only listened to other second wave white women. Her white supremacist ways were rooted in her founders syndrome (has anyone written on the toxic levels of founders syndrome for employees and how it is a form of violence?)  I advocated for myself and what I know my worth to be so that I could grieve the ways I needed to without worrying about having to show up for white people to watch me.

Earning the largest consulting contract I ever have happened during this time too. Because I only found myself "working" on what I  knew would keep me alive. I helped to continue to build up WOCSHN and dream bigger when I had the capacity to do so. I poured so much of what I had left of myself into projects that gave me life and allowed others to have a life too.

One of those bigger dreaming moments while I was grieving is coming to life. WOCSHN hosted our first Curriculum Lab on Thursday October 5, 2017 in New Orleans, LA. Ten people participated in the first collaborative POC written curriculum. I created and implemented the Lab and know what is needed for when we do this again in Chicago in January! We will have a curriculum of at least 10 lesson plans ready to distribute in PDF format by mid-November (crossing fingers editing takes time!).

These are the things I need to be focusing on and the ways I can support those in our communities to "put their shit on paper' and get published and paid! Join us in Chicago, see the flyer below!





Read post 22 here.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 22

My parents raised us agnostic. They had a very traditional and rigid Catholic upbringing. When they arrived in the continental US they were both shocked when they met people of various faiths outside of Catholicism and Christianity. They felt lied to about there being "only one path."

When death comes religion provides a comforting ritual that your numb and in shock body and mind can easily just follow into the ritual. You know the steps, you've probably done them before or seen them in media. Nonetheless, what I learned sitting shiva with a homegirl several years ago after her mom died was that ritual, no matter what it may include, is comforting at times.

I chose to make my own rituals.

This isn't anything new. So many belief systems have rituals and many of us who fled organized religion still practice ritual. My rituals were about me choosing to stay alive because thinking and talking and dancing to death and dying and the erotic of the state of the body shifting to another space does something. Sort of like knowing you are being called for or by something and you must go and do and answer the call!

I made ritual for all the things that got me out of bed. While showering my ritual became touching parts of my body and really looking and feeling them. I would touch my hands and remember the freckles on my hands are from my mom just as the freckles on my face and shoulders are from her. The body parts that don't resemble my biological families I chose to think of who in our family, which ancestor was enslaved that I resemble the most? I don't know their names and I try to connect with them. I never found comfort or connection or myself in the faces or bodies of family members I grew up with.

When I had the energy to eat I chose to focus on reminding my taste buds what they were missing as ritual. What have my family and ancestors been forbidden to do that I can honor doing now to nourish my body? I did the same with choosing clothing, changing bed sheets, applying makeup, and reading books. I did sex magic again and made fucking others and myself a ritual.

I had to be reminded that ritual allows for release and also for comfort. I did what I could as I could and it was enough.

Read post 21 here.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 21

Grief is a shapeshifter. Keep repeating it to yourself.

Once you get that reality of grief, then giving yourself permission to be living fully in that grief can you get to a space of melting down in public. This may happen more than one may desire, yet it happens. It may be that the big ass Target you hauled your tail to is out of your favorite toilet paper and because you are a bear bottom and not an angel it pisses you off next level style.

I did.

And I lived to tell the story. I learned a new way to give myself permission to show up fully and that was to tell myself again and again grief is a shapeshifter and i am a human being. To meltdown is to be human. To cry as you survive this planet and all the shit that comes with it is some small form of freedom at times. It was for me. To just not hid or put on a show for others comfort was something I allowed myself to experience.

It wasn't always a welcomed response. And I lost some 'friends' over such actions some times yet for the most part the people who deserve and are invested in this full human experience remain. That's, to me, the sweetness of grief and humanity and permission and acceptance.

For the rest of my life I know it will be ok if I meltdown in front of a McDonalds because they don't have a working ice cream machine, or the server thought there's no difference between chocolate syrup and hot fudge, or when you lose your favorite earring at the airport; I'll survive it all!

Read post 20 here.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 20


When I landed in Puerto Rico I went directly to the ocean. I sat at the water and spoke to my mother. I walked through the seaweedy water until it was up to my chest and I lifted my feet and let myself float.

I was weightless.

I chose the ocean as my lover. Who else could make me feel weightless during the shock and trauma of the cellular disconnection on the planet? I felt held and protected. Home.

I've always felt this way but this time felt more urgent and grounding in the reality and knowing that this open ocean water is always home and always loving me. Going to the ocean is a coping mechanism for me. It has always been. Something about going to place where each bead of sand and the vastness of the ocean is a reminder you are something smaller in a massive planet yet your shine is bright.


Read post 19 here.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 19

There's a theme that comes about when there's grief and shock: loneliness. It's overwhelming. No matter how many folks you are around the deep consuming feeling that nobody understands what this type of loss does is intense. It's a feeling not a fact. Those feeling's matter and so does understanding the loneliness.

It doesn't always stay. Yet sometimes it shows up and sticks around longer than I'd like. My loneliness showed up in specific ways because I did a lot of self isolation. When you have a particular status or role in your communities this gets difficult. I am a founder of two ongoing and powerful projects and organizations. I'm well known in my field, I'm a leader in the sexology field and one of the few women of color who have a comfortable space to hold in our field because IDGAF in the ways other or more green folks may in the field. I've paid my dues and I know the majority of white people in our field are not down to retain or support us so we have to show up for each other.

Then your momma dies and you can't show up for yourself. Even as I type this there is a major conference happening this week. I will have house guests with me for the first time since I moved! I have no food in my home because haven't gone grocery shopping. I haven't cleaned anything other than a few dishes, the tub, and toilet. And I'm already bugging out because I know folks will expect a particular experience with me, yet I'm not up to performing leadership. The fact that I have to walk around with clothes on is foreign to me!

That's why I quarantined myself for so long. It's rare when folks really understand what is going on or even try to. Everybody has their own ish to manage and when they look to you to support them it's a role reversal when you need their support and it's not in a professional way. Those relationships are important and when I think about how I isolated just enough to get by I am proud of myself!

During my first year of grieving I did the following:
1. Traveled more than I had at any other time in my life
2. Secured my highest paying consulting contract with the NYC DOHMH
3. Created and implemented consent trainings for educators in NYC
4. Wrote and completed a discussion guide for the NYC DOHMH Reproductive Justice video (published in 2018)
5. I presented at national conferences my curriculum and work I've created
6. Saved all my money
7. Quit my day job that had a toxic white woman running it who had founder's syndrom
8. Completed a coast to coast move
9. Co-created and implemented my first SAR (Sexual Attitudes Reassessment)
10. Survived.

I definitely chose some lonely work and it was worth it most of the time. These bursts from conferences are nice, yet overwhelming at times too. Being a member of the Dead Mother's Club and welcoming new members in is rough. And it's also a reminder we are not as alone as we thing we may be.

Read post 18 here.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 18

I made a lot of agreements with myself to stay here. To survive this grief that amplified all my feelings. I would do a lot of internal self-talk to figure out what I could show up for that day.

It started with makeup. I used to never leave my house without mascara, liner, and something on my lips (usually chapstick or gloss). When I was grieving and had to show up to work five days later I told myself I would beat my face because then I couldn't cry at work or in front of others. I would hate to have my mascara smear in public like that! Nobody really deserves to see me in a mascara smeared face unless they are really taking care of me!

There were lots of selfies. I started taking selfies the day my mother died and posted them on IG with the #FemmeInMourning hashtag. On March 9, 2016 I posted my first selfie of a full face, red lip, deep black liner, mascara, and it being my first time since mami died I put on makeup. Makeup became the way that I mourned and took care of myself and paid homage to my mami, the first femme who taught me red lipstick is appropriate at all times and a Puerto Rican cultural artifact.

I still believe makeup is a form of media making. I was developing the message of I'm still here. It wasn't an act of covering up my grief. Instead it was a ritual I had developed under my mother's guidance that was familiar and firmly grounded me in having pride in my appearance. Pride even when I was completely destroyed. Pride that I was still here. Sometimes showing up with your grief triggers folks who are ignoring or can't hold their grief. Sometimes people get scared and stare in awe or are curious. Either way I let them have it most times.

Agreements: If you beat your face you don't cry until you are either alone or home!


Read post 17 here.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 17

One of the things about not having the skill of driving because it's always had a cost attached to it that you cannot afford is that traveling takes a while. Traveling as in running daily errands. Traveling as in going to social gatherings. Traveling as in figuring out a plan to/from an airport. This was one of the main reasons I chose NYC to live in at 20 years old. Sure NYU had one of the only programs in Human Sexuality in the country at the time, and who doesn't want to "go study sexuality in NYC?" especially since I had been awarded the Token POC Scholarship titled Dean's Opportunity Scholarship.

Here's the thing: when grief comes and all of your homies live in Brooklyn and 98% of them don't visit you who lives in the Bronx unless of course they have to be in the Bronx for work or a paid gig already to consider seeing you, until they realize how large the Bronx is and what they thought was the Bronx is not where you live. The Bronx is massive and I lived off the 1 train in the west Bronx, Kingsbridge, take the 4 train and get on a bus to get to me. At least an hour and a half ride to Brooklyn if I transferred to the A express or the 2/3 express. NYC and a lot of places where you don't have reliable transportation (and busses are not reliable according to all those job openings I've seen...) means travel is intense and sometimes a social event even when you don't want it to be.

I had to remind folks to invite me to things even if I wasn't going to attend. As my grief kept shifting so did my mood and capacity to show up for and with other people. It comes and goes. Right now I can manage to get out of my home a few times a week on my own. Yet I'm not really going anywhere that I cannot be productive because I'm not being productive at home. Plus all this writing I'm behind on doing means I can be social and out/about but also quiet with other people!

The other part is that when I did go out to more social events I had to do it with homies. I needed a handler. Someone who was my point person, who would make sure I had a cup of something to drink and was comfortably situated in a social enough environment watching people and thinking nothing.

Sometimes I had a more present experience, but mostly I still feel like I'm a shell, some kind of person haunting others like a ghost reminding them how fragile we are because if this is how I look and I'm a strong ass broad in all the ways, their tender tails are gonna really get it hard! And sometimes I show up and leave the house to remind folks they too will survive it even if they dread it and we just may have less to offer others.

And other times I feel fuller and can be around more than two people and try to soak all of that experience up. It drains more quickly but it helps remind me what is possible.

Read post 16 here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 16

With my skin hunger constantly growing and my desire for impact play with someone who cares for me and wants to see me survive not available, I had to find coping mechanisms as none of these needs were being fully met.

One of the things I did is a longtime act that many folks who have cravings for things like nicotine practice. I put several rubber bands on my arms and would pluck one as I needed sensation and touch. I would move some of the rubber bands up my forearm for more sensation or more sting.

The thinner rubber bands leave a sharper sensation, similar to a riding crop. The thicker rubber bands leave a deeper impact that is not as sharp, similar to a paddle. These rubber bands left some marks that were red and lasted at most an hour, depending on how often I plucked these rubber bands. Sometimes the red marks turned purple or deeper red and that made me happy.

When there were deeper reds I would push my finger into them to feel the ache. To feel something other than numb. I walked around with these rubber bands on both arms and no one asked or really noticed. The plucking of rubber bands was an easy and accessible way to cope. To feel. To remember I can now control the amount of pain I choose to experience and how much and often I wish to mange however I choose.

Read post 15 here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 15

This post is a hard one. Mainly because I don't have the language to adequately explain exactly what this experience is/was/will be. The term that psychology and health providers are using for this phenomena of the need and desire for touch as "skin hunger."

Skin hunger shows up differently for a lot of people. When you are grieving sometimes people only offer one type of contact. However we all know what it feels like when our bodies go without touch for extended periods of time. Now amplify that by infinity and then shrink the access to almost zero. It's one of the most overwhelming experiences. It's incredibly lonely.

This is another experience folks who have lost a mother have experienced almost exclusively. This is the cellular part of the grieving. The part where you realize how the first relationship on the planet you had is gone. This is hard to explain because skin hunger is really about the nurture part of our lives and also stops when it becomes too sexual. Folks don't use the term "skin hunger" in the psychology field because it's too close to all the ish that is going down with discussions of "sex addictions." I mean what do folks call it when your largest sensory organ goes without and why sex got to be its own category?!

Our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are SYSTEMS in our bodies! They communicate in our bodies with our respiratory system, reproductive system, digestive system, etc. These all play a role in human sexual response. If the autonomic nervous system, which manages our unconscious actions (breathing, sweating, etc.), is ignored, so is the sexual pleasure.

The skin hunger conversations also focus on "how great a good hug feels!" Which is great until you realize you are a 6ft tall fat femme who doesnt have many tall peers to hug. See hugs from shorter people are so uncomfortable at times; for both of us. I'm sure folks don't want to smell my armpits and I'm sure they don't want my their nose slammed against my chest (unless they into that). See grieving and knowing there's at least a foot difference between you and the person hugging you means I didn't take the time to bend or contort my body too often to comfort others. I needed comfort that could hold my frame. It rarely came.

I have no solutions on what may result from all of this. I've only experienced the drop of not being touched as often as I needed. I would pay for massages with a body worker a homegirl suggested in NYC once a week for the first six weeks of my mom's death. To this day when I visit Emily in NYC she finds the parts of my body still holding the grief: that joint where my ring finger on my right hand is holding grief, the part of my hip, the section of my neck and head. I did the same as often as I could in New Orleans with my homegirl Aesha. I remember showing up to her studio a few days after mami's death day first anniversary and crying hysterically that I just needed her to touch my face during our massage. And complaining we don't live in the world where I can get the healing touch I need.

Then there's the "meaningful touch" part that complicates so much. For me I didn't want just anyone touching me. I wanted people who cared for me and who understood this ache and imperative need to survive to touch me. When your folks are tapped out this gets really hard. I had two lovers who were complete strangers with me for my first six months after mami's death. They helped and required too much care for my tender heart. I sought lovers, partners, and cried over the fact that I live in a world where people are so fearful of touch and can't imagine fuller relationships of homieloverfriends.

One homegirl who has this homieloverfriendships told me it took her years of asking people an hearing rejection and now she's living the life she wants. She lost her mom over a decade ago and it took her almost as long to get to where I want to be right this second.

There's lots of healing work in the grieving process. Finding people to help assuage your skin hunger are rare. When you find them hold onto them!



Read post 14 here.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 14

Part of the side effect of the IDGAF space grief brings you to is the difficulty in making decisions. There's some saying that you make the large life decisions quickly and take more time making minor decision. Perhaps this is based on going with your instinct when you are given an opportunity.

I've learned that it is a challenge for me to make decisions about everything at times. I struggle with deciding what's for dinner, which route to take, what chore to do first, which person to text next, all so much! It was hard making decisions. To the point that when something felt good I just went and did it.

Like moving to New Orleans for four months to see if I wanted that life for me or if I wanted it only with my ex. It was sometimes easy for me to see how I didn't have a particular experience that would help me make a decision so I had to first get that experience to make a decision. That's how I ended up making the decision for a four month stay, then packing up my place and making a cross country / cross coast move.

And yet, I still can't decide what to wear, when a good time to say something may be, or how to best recycle something. What I've been able to do is focus on top 3 options and hope someone else makes a decision. There's so many decisions we have to make as we mourn, it's easier to let other's make a decision, especially if it means they understand how decision-making is a form of care.

Read post 13 here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 13

I learned how to ask for what I wanted. This was beyond what some may be thinking. Grief allowed me to hone in on the ways I was communicating what I needed.


People always say they want to help you or let them know if you need anything! And my response is "I always need something." Basic living and daily acts were a challenge and they still are because when you're lounging in your bed butt naked all day thinking about death and dying you don't eat much you don't always shower and you don't do laundry or much else besides scroll social media bc it makes you feel a safe distance from being social. This shit is rough!


So I made lists of what people could help me with and allowed others to pick and choose what they could offer. I was too exhausted to say yes or no I just needed the ish I needed to show up so I could access them.


Making lists was exactly what helped me and it's what I tell others to make when they are grieving. Here's a list I made early. And here's a handout I use and have on my refrigerator. Best to complete it when you're feeling supported.

These things made it easier for me to get what I needed and to be clear about it all. This is what helped me stay alive.

My List (I removed people's names)
I NEED:
Consistency and a schedule and dates bc wtf is time?
Money in cash (t $500 for PR until new bank card comes)
Airline miles (flight to/from PR:NYC 2x)
Airport rides (to/from JFK ~65$ each way)
BK to BX rides (until it’s safe to go home and leave T’s)
Weed (Reina has tincture, high CBD to calm me the fuck down)
Beach trips (Rockaway, LI, etc; others to plan and just take me (Sara)
Better Health Insurance (therapist, bereavement help)
Alzheimer’s gene testing
Cocoa Butter
Touch
Good travel water bottle (keeps cold for hours)
Laundry (done/folded/put away)
Dark sheets (mascara stains)
Food (delivered via Seamless: Riverdale Diner; Bunni Deli; that pizza joint)
Food (grocery shopping: ready to eat foods bc im not cooking, cereal, fruit, PB, granola, nuts)
Food Dates (spicy not sugary sweet)
Dante to do my hair
Ouidad hair conditioner
Service Top
A handler when I’m in public or at new places (I got lost that time in CI)
Figure out a line to tell people and practice it (my mom died march 1 and I’m struggling)
Water in fridge
Coke (to feel the burn)
Metrocard (monthly)
Massages
Taxes help (Nick, inheritance, mami’s house, etc.)
House cleaning (sweep, mop, dust, bathtub, life)
Energy work (Jini)
Stationary (love letters, thank you cards)
Stamps (Love, POC)
Travel cords: phone, computer
Ibuprofen
Tampons and pads
Pedicures
Someone to shave my legs (service top?)
Waterproof mascara
MAC mascara primer
Tissues (soft not w lotion)
Wipes (everybody’s hands dirty in NYC)
Consistent Frequent Lovers over 30yo (wtf am I still quarantined bc of t?!)
Help packing 
Help sorting
Help trash shit I don’t need 
Donate ish (how to get the dontions to sites? 
New pillows (mascara stains, firm/full)
Music (that missing DOOM album, Mariah Carey remixs, da brat greatest hits, vico-c
  
1.1.17 I NOW NEED:
NO MORE LAVENDER (UGH!)
Massages 
Tricycle
Rides (stop being embarrassed to ask)
Grocery store rides (not always need to be social)
Dental help (pull this tooth, crown, implant $4k)
NO more tinctures w/o instructions
Update emotional emergency plan

To see the kids/babies (learn to tell them apart)
Touch/affection in all the forms (there’s no backup plan)
Service Top
Avoid Papi and Linda
Explore new neighborhood
Heal this knee (wtf happened? Pool time to stretch? arnica)
Fitted for new bras (grief changed my body)
Wtf am I going to do for mami’s birthday? 1/6
Get out of bed (make work/play dates w ppl)
  
2.22.17 I NOW NEED: 6 days to 1 year
Lovers how to find them when no energy to court or search or do the bs logistics to get some tail
Impact play/experiences/reminders (rubber bands)
The ocean
Eat better food
Drink much more water
Tell people when you want to hurt yourself every time
Remember people love me and want to help
Dead Mother’s Club Members to contact
Figure out Dead Mother’s Club homies in NO (so far I’m only motherless of crew)
To learn to drive!!!
Decide am I moving to NO
Better sunglasses to hide puffy eyes (not red like before puffy around)
Reminders to bathe, brush teeth each day
Death and dying playlist songs (Rosana may know that song “happy bday I hope you die”)
My face touched
Someone to talk to about my dreams/fantasies
Plan for my skin when it feels its on fire
Ride to/from airport 
NYC return plan 



Read post 12 here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 12

I became really good at saying and asking for what I needed when my mom died. I have been pretty solid in directly communicating. A lot of people don't like this communication style. I learned a lot of people also think they have capacity to give you what you need, but actually they don't.

This is a hard place to be. Because you can see how someone wants to help, that intention. Yet, when they cannot do what is needed or requested they end up requiring care, care that I just don't have the capacity to offer or provide. We are both in need.

Sometimes people like being needed. Other times we feel good when people ask us for help because it's our opportunity to give them a gift of allowing them to care for us. Both of these are legit in their own way and at their own time. Yet, when people say they can bring you food, do your laundry, clean your tub, drive you somewhere and then don't and cant find a proxy, it really fucks you up. It also really made me reexamine my ideas of consent. Because if you're asking people for things they get to say "no." And sometimes our homies don't feel solid saying "no" to us when we are in such a tender state. Consent is still there. And holding that boundary for others may still feel too much when they can't hold it for themselves. It's so much energy to care for others when you are so clear you need to be cared for and need and want it. Being cared for by others was the life saving care I required.

I'm here because people care for me and cared for me then. It's ok to say what you need and ask for it too. It's also ok to remind people of that and that your capacity is minimal for their bs trickster tactics. This may be so much easier when you are emerged in the numbness of grief and the state of IDGAF is ever present than how it may feel reading it now.

What I learned in seeing people who said they could but couldn't is thank them in an internal way, for me it was positive self talk about our relationship. Thing's like "They really love you and want to show up and it's hard for them now, it's not about you;" and "They got out of bed, showered, put on clothes, got on the train/car, and came here to have breakfast with you. If that's all they could offer that's enough because they are still here too!"

If I want others to recognize my human experience of shock trauma grief and mourning I got to recognize their human experience too. That, I feel, is as much compassion as I could muster. Reminding yourself people are human is a great coping mechanism.

Read post 11 here.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 11

We had to go to Puerto Rico to get my mom.  I was on a plane by the end of the day to meet my sister. I landed and went to the hotel that I had booked that was across the street from the beach. I had immediately went to the beach to sit and talk with my mom. I didn't realize my bank card had been deactivated because I rarely used it to purchase items as I had purchased most travel on a work credit card.

I had no money and no way to pay for items outside of a paypal transfer. I had also been living at my ex's house in Brooklyn as a man in my building who had sexually harassed me for 10 years started to touch me as part of his harassment and I needed a safer place to stay while I put together a safety plan for my return home.

My ex gave me $500 to travel that day, brought my 5 homegirls who had come by to eat with me and send me off. dinner, and paid for the cab ride to the airport. I reminded myself that there were lots of reasons why my ex and I did not last and there are lots of reasons why we are drawn to each other. My ex shows love via money because that's what is available to give and is easy. We loved each other the best way we could and it just didn't work out.

Traveling was the beginning of my mourning process and it's stayed as part of the entire process. I invited myself to other people's homes. I invited myself to stay with them and shadow them with their everyday lives and daily work. I just didn't want to be alone! I traveled to LA, San Diego, New Orleans, Portland, Chicago, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Northampton, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando, Aruba, Houston, Miami, Oakland, Colorado Springs, and Washington, DC.

I wanted and needed folks to take care of me. My friends were generous and shared their homes, beds food, resources, and love with me. I have met children who love me and who I would not have met so young had I not chosen to travel. I've swam in oceans I didn't think I'd have access too and saw night sights I wouldn't have known about had people not welcomed me to heal with them. I wouldn't have had homegirls to comfort me as a cried about talking about my filing for divorce from my ex, or babies to step on my thighs as they learned to walk, or witnessed a homies child learn to swim, or taken a homegirl away from her sabatoged plantation job for ocean healing! In my grief I was able to see others grow from my presence as I grew too. We all connected even if we dont want to be all the time.

Traveling taught me about myself, about my community, and it brought us all back together in a new way. Even though I still cry when I look out and see clouds and me above them, there's a comfort in knowing anywhere in this world I have people who love me. My next stop is welcoming my homies to my home in New Orleans in two weeks! Then planning a trip to Brussels (and Paris and Amsterdam).

Read post 10 here.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 10


There came a point a few weeks before the first anniversary of my mother's death day that I couldn't sleep at all. I also had been thinking about death and dying for so many months for hours a day. This eventually turned into a desire to want to not be alone in discussing these topics. So I turned to music.

It started with my own playlist on iTunes. I titled it "Erotic Death & Dying" as I was very interested in the erotics and pleasure of dying. My mother had been naked and held by someone who loved her as she was being bathed. It's such a human and erotic experience, one that shows love in a way that we often summarize as "care taking." Yet I found it to be beyond care taking. She was my mother's death doula and that is an incredible role to fill.

I tried to tap into my mother's pleasure and I found that in music. I then started a Spotify account and created this list again. Here is my EDD (Erotic Death & Dying) Playlist It has a variety of songs about death, hell, dying, and the like. There are dark songs and there are love songs! Everything from Björk to The Ohio Players to Alien Ant Farm and Zap Mama.

This list will keep growing. I like that it begins with Björk's "HyperBallad" where she sings "I go through all this before you wake up so I can feel happier to be safe again with you" and it really touches on how my coping practices became rooted in taking care of myself so I could show up for other people or be social. This is an expanding list. It has songs others have shared as well but not all the ones folks have shared with me! What would you include for your death and dying playlist?


Read post 9 here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 9

In many communities there are rituals for death and dying. Much of these rituals center around mourning and preparing a body for whatever customary passage the dead are to follow. My mom donated her body to science and to the University of Puerto Rico. It was a small office, everyone had the same telephone and email address. The forms had not been updated in at least 60 years as they asked for information about our four grandparents! In short, it's rare people chose to donate their body like my mom did in Puerto Rico, but she had convinced a man at the hospice where she was at her last years to do the same. He told us this when we went to gather her items.

Wearing black was something I already do as someone in their 13th year living in NYC. It's also somewhat expected for mourning wear. I didn't have it in me to constantly wear black or really think about wearing anything other than what I already had on! Seriously, if ya'll saw the suitcase I packed to go to Puerto Rico when I was in shock you'd know I was in shock! I had polyester dresses and two more bad choices for 95 degree weather.

Anyway, I decided to use the way I adorn and decor my body to firmly demonstrate my mourning. I chose to have "mourning nails." For a year I began to get acrylic manicures with black nail polish only. When I moved to New Orleans, I found two Black women nail artists and the second one, Morgan, I have been with ever since. Thanks to Yvette and her niece who sent me her way. Check Morgan of M.A.D. Nails out!

I love supporting Black femmes making art on a regular basis. Each month I make it a priority to save money to pay for this wearable art. It's been an amazing experience because when folks see my nails I get to share they are my mourning nails. It was a nice subtle way to begin talking about my grief. Art was one way that allowed others to talk with me about death, coping, and hear stories of my grieving process.

My mourning nails were one of the best coping mechanisms I was able to do for myself. It costs money and I happily gave what I had for the services. I'm not sure how much longer I may be able to afford this practice that is helping me to find my way back to myself. It's really been an amazing way to remind myself of the beauty of my grief and the ways I'm surviving the best way I can right now and showing others the same thing!

Here are fotos of my mourning nails and my nails post-mourning, because I've continued them!









Read part 8 here

Friday, September 22, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 8

When people die those of us that are left behind to grieve and mourn we find so many ways to cope. One common way is to "look for messages" from those who have died. So many people in my inner and outer circles use this language and thought process to discuss their grief or mourning. They looked to find those signs as examples of their loved ones showing up for them or reminding them they are present in some way in the universe and especially on the planet we find ourselves on.

This didn't happen for me. 

I felt like, and still feel like, the only one. I got mad I didn't have a "sign" from my mother. I got jealous by those who do have signs. I asked questions of them often. I changed my alters in hope I'd get some kind of sign. Nobody ever wants to admit that for some of us those signs never come.

I had friends offer to open up to receive messages and those folks had a LOT of wrong messages to share. Not only do people interpret things differently, yet those who don't understand the work I do, don't understand the ways that the middle passage impacts the Caribbean, who don't know my mother identified racially and passed racially as white and ethnically as Puerto Rican and raised a LatiNegra baby girl. A lot of people don't understand Spanish, my mother's first language. And then other people think their knowledge of spirit work or connecting to the dead outweighs your relationship and your power and your knowledge. Guess how many of those people understand anything about rememory, memory, or colonization. None. They thought they did. They had no clue.

This happened to me again and again. And guess what. No signs came. At least not from my mother.

Signs came to me for me by me and the ways I found the path back to myself. I have so many unanswered questions for my mother, ways she harmed me, and ways I don't fully understand what my leaving at 17 meant for her and her parenting. There's so many parts of me that I know she now may see in the ways I needed to be seen. 

One friend offered to receive some messages from her and share them with me. Shared with me was this: "Her physical form, how you remember her is hard for her to regain. It's a painful memory for her and feels limiting now." This really clicked quickly for me. My mother's last 2-3 years on the planet were exactly what she did not want. Of course this returning to me in a particular way or form or essence on this planet hurts! And just as I believe there is no expected behavior for people who are experiencing shock or trauma, there's no expected behavior for those who have died and left this planet to return to us. 

Read part 7 here

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 7

As I've shared: grief is a shapeshifter. One of the many ways I had to learn to cope with my grief was to find ways that helped me feel and stay alive. There were so many things and ways that I tried and asked for advice from others. The things that worked for others definitely did not ever work for me. This is why I know it's ok to recognize how grief shapeshifts, how we need to work on suspending expectations for those in shock and trauma.

I'm going to share some of the ways I cope with my grief. Today I am focusing on my coping via sensation. The shock, trauma, and grief is so encompassing and overwhelming that you become numb. I hated being numb after a while. I looked for ways to feel something, anything besides the numbing sensation. It felt so foreign to not feel anything but overwhelming and consuming grief and pain.

I needed to feel other ways and sensations. The most accessible sensation to me, as I am single, no potential partners or play partners (because dating while you are grieving is SO MUCH), was via spices and stings.

I reunited with coca-cola. There was a sensation that made me feel alive again because I could feel the burn of drinking the soda going down my mouth and throat. It made me feel alive. It made me feel something other than grief. IT MADE ME FEEL.

All the while I knew soda in this way was not "healthy" and I wasn't and don't think about health in that sense. I wasn't thinking "these behaviors will kill me" because I have come to a space where I was comfortable with death and do not fear it at all! This is what thinking about death for hours at a time every day may result in, for some. I thought "my momma's dead! So what if I drink this soda today to get me to feel something?!"

It was affordable, easily accessible, and was everywhere I was and needed to be. I would chug gulps of coke to get a rush of the sensation. I would hysterically be crying and tell myself "you can calm down enough to open a bottle or can of soda you can calm down then." Drinking soda at these times became a way for me to get out of the constant pain or numbing impact. Drinking soda again made me social at my lowest time.

I didn't do this all day. This was like one of my back pocket, strategies for coping. I would drink coke when I was needing to be social. I would drink coke when I was at home alone lonely and feeling myself slip. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone of course. Allowing myself one soda a day helped me come back into my body and feel something in a part of my body that nobody ever touches that I was here.  I am here. Cheers!


Read blog 6 here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 6

I haven't had health insurance for 95% of my adult life. When my mom died I had insurance but never went to the doctor because who has that kind of time when you work a 50 hour a week job? When I finally did 14 months later my doctor told me that grieving increases your blood sugar levels.

All the stress and increased cortisol levels means an increase in other ways too: insulin resistance, craving processed grub, and chronic stress which kills people. I did not eat well while mourning. Making meals felt like too much and I needed people to care for me. It's great those first few weeks/months with trauma and shock where everybody shows up for you. Yet, there comes a time when folks disappear and think it's been long enough you should be over things.

Those were times when I just ate whatever was available without real consideration. The grief was too much to make a better decision. And I was only impacting myself. Then as I found my way out of some of the deeper foggy thickness of grief I had vertigo.

And I had a yeast infection for the first time in my life! The doctor told me stress and high blood sugar helps maintain a yeast infection along with other ish that I didn't realize my body was experiencing. So, I had to unlearn all the ways I had taught my body to manage the grief and digest the grief. It took a while and it's still taking time, but it sure beats taking medicine as often as they wanted to prescribe me.

Coming back to my body was an important part of my grieving process, especially as part of the healing aspects of the grief. If you are grieving and it feels constant, drink lots of water. Just do it because it will help keep you hydrated if you cried like I did often. As much as processed foods are craved and affordable, try to mix in a few vegetables or something. Even as I write that I'm like "who the fuck are you to say that to people" but for real baby steps. I started with celery sticks and peanut butter, baby carrots, and when times were super rough I opted for the pizza vs the pancakes because pizza's not that rough on your blood sugar levels and kept yeast infections in check more than those pancakes with coconut flakes and maple syrup do.

Read part 5 here.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 5

When my mom died I stopped caring about a lot of things, people, ideas, and overall ish.

There's something distracting about shock and grief. It's all encompassing and it's overwhelming and numbing. Sometimes you think you can show up until you do and you're like "idgaf about what I'm witnessing bc my momma's dead." At least that's what has happened and continues to happen to me.

I've lost all levels of caring. Today I've healed to a place where I can care enough to pay my rent, shower, communicate as best I can, get some work done, and be social a few times a week. AND THATS ALL FOR NOW!

Well for the most part. I'll share other spaces I'm at in other posts but for now I learned how quickly we realize it hurts too much to care. I say this to folks all the time when they tell me they don't care about something. I say it often to young people. I say it often to myself too.

Now, the idgaf sense of time and place and current events didn't mean I wasn't clear I could hurt others, it meant I didn't care if my curtness was a form of discomfort. And when I did hurt people it took me a minute to realize that is what I had done. I chose to apologize. Others who have lost their mothers who I have spoken to about such instances, decided it wasn't really critical to apologize because real homies understand. Yet not everybody is a homie. Not everyone is really who they think they are, including me.

And when your communication gets tighter and clearer and more direct and you are open about your state of grief and shock, thats when folks are reminded they don't have what they need because you are doing such a good job asking for what you need.

For me, the "not giving a fuck" situation meant that I became a lot more curt and direct in my communication and saying exactly what I needed and wanted. I had no shame and had no focus on privacy or being acceptable in my grieving. Instead I focused on my needs unapologetically. It made a lot of people uncomfortable. Good thing IDGAF.

Read post 4 here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Latinx Heritage Month: #FemmeInMourning 4

When I lost my mom on March 1, 2016 it was expected as her health had deteriorated quickly from Alzheimer's; the disease that would take both of her parents and one of her older sisters in Puerto Rico.

Even with all the planning and expecting this time to come still fucked me up in a way I wasn't and still am not ready for. During that time, and still today, one of the things I struggled with was my mother's denial of the hurtful, racist, queerphobic, and fatphobic shit she had done and said to me growing up. It was my feminine identity that we still could connect over and her newfound you-don't-need-a-man ideology that guided her last decade on the planet.

Lots of friends gave me tinctures for healing and for my broken heart. It was a mixture of a femme healer, Dacia high.moon.femme tarot reader, and my energy work with my NYC healer Jini Tanenhaus. Dacia came from a visit by way of Utah via San Francisco via Philly to NYC.  Dacia gave me a tincture of Mother Wort and Osha while sharing with me ways of coping and mourning with mother relationships. Reminding me that none of us has only one mother, we must choose to tap into the Universal Mother that holds and cares for us and that we learn to do the same through.

My work with Jini was similar. Jini guided me to understanding that my mother was the one I needed to be the woman I am now. I needed a mom to be hands off and not compete with me yet allow me to grow and be my full self. That is what my mother offered and gave me.

Does it mean I had to experience all the -isms of my moms humanity and what she was/not experiencing-yeah. By understanding the Universal Mother and thinking of what Universal Mother looks and feels and smells and tastes like I've found new ways of loving my mother, loving the mother in me, and loving the mother I've had to become to mother myself.

Read part 3 here.