thoughts

Chasing Dopamine: LA

I’ve purposely avoided writing this for the simple fact that I did not want to write this at all. There were a lot of things that I wish I could have re-done, so many more places I wish I could have visited, and most importantly, things that I wanted to do by myself.

I’ve avoided writing this because I knew that it would bring back feelings of regret and disappointment.

It still stings to write this NOW – after having landed back in Toronto over a month ago… But I do realize that these are the things that have happened and that I absolutely cannot change. Therefore, they have become lessons for myself for the next time.

I definitely realized I still fall back into bad habits… I got distracted in LA. That is the perfect description of what had happened to me in my time here. I got distracted. Maybe it was the “glitz and glam” of the city, maybe it was because I devoted parts of me and my time into someone – maybe it was both. I got lost in the land of dreams, forgetting that you get lost in yourself too.

LA is so beautiful but it certainly does not wash over the fact that it is still nitty and gritty underneath the surface – (perhaps I am wrong, but this is my outsider view of the city). I’ve heard one too many stories of the city being so fake and it really made me wary of the people I would meet out there. Though I hadn’t met as many people out in LA, the very few I did meet, highlighted a lot of things about myself that I am still trying to work on/develop.

My “distraction” showed me that I still harbour trust issues. He could see it in the ways that I interacted with him, in the ways that I would question a lot, in my tone of voice… Well, of course, meeting someone in a completely different city has you cautious but he felt I was overly cautious (which I did see). Of course I had to be, however, I did see his intentions and he really did look out for me even though we had a short amount of time together. Though our interaction was not “deep”, I was grateful for the moments where we shared our art, shared our experiences, and shared laughter. After having told him the real reason why I left Toronto, he was very humbled (I’m crying as I type this) and told me that he was happy to be the one to put a smile on my face after having gone through what I did. There were a lot of little things that he did and said that made me feel (dare I say it) beautiful – that word included. It may not have meant much to him, but I appreciated it.

I missed out on an open mic in the city (ugh) HOWEVER, I was able to sit in on a book reading and Q&A from this poet that I follow on Twitter. You already know that THIS sole event put me back on my frequency and it was exactly what I needed and wanted to experience. From these few hours, I learned a lot about digging deep into the self to find the root of my issues and also learned (am still learning) about letting go. I was more than humbled to get to share a few words with the poet himself (and maybe I bought his book and got it signed too). My heart and soul were full. And yes I left the event in tears. Being in this space among other writers reminded me of the balance I was looking for – it reminded me that my heart stays replenishing itself of love and fullness.

Though I got to experience the few things I wanted to truly do, I will say that feeling the waves in motion, feeling the waves of the water, and most importantly, feeling the waves of emotion got me to to appreciate these rare opportunities of new environments. The one thing I truly wanted out of both trips was the space to breathe – the space to escape whatever I was feeling in Toronto. With LA, I felt the strength of the waves, the calmness of the breezes, and the vastness of the scenery. I don’t know what it is about LA that has me hooked but I managed to remain inspired by my surroundings at every waking second.

I left LA with new poems and a greater understanding of myself and how my heart operates with others that may need my love. I left LA with a greater understanding of my selflessness – although I would say that I am becoming more selfish, I feel like I need to dedicate my entire essence into myself when times of selfishness arise. I left LA with a greater understanding of my purpose – I am a source of light and healing. I left LA with a greater understanding of my time – I tend to give it to those who are unsure of it and don’t know what to do with it. I left LA with a greater understanding of my sense of direction – I may not know where I am going, and I know I may get lost on the way, but I will always find my path. I left LA with a greater understanding of my relationship with the universe.

I came back with a stronger heart, a more understanding mind, and a more balanced spirit.

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thoughts

Chasing Dopamine: Las Vegas

My first city all by myself? Of course I was terrified but I was more than ready.

There were so many last minute changes to this trip in specific but I rode the wave and it took me on the most spontaneous of journeys.

I’m not gonna lie – I had no idea what I was doing. I was literally planning out my week during my first night in my first airbnb. This spot was a good 30 minutes away from the actual city so I had decided I would go about planning for the two nights I was staying in the burbs so that I can execute the rest of my week in the city.

Which is exactly what I did.

Monday

  • Open mic night
  • Walked to the mall (10 mins away) and the GoodWill
  • Walked to get tacos and horchata
  • Walked to downtown Las Vegas
  • Went to an open mic
  • Walked The Fremont Street Experience
  • Tacos/horchata
  • A mess of an adventure of a night – driving around Vegas and ended in a strip club

Tuesday

  • Walked around the area again
  • Went to another open mic
  • Checked another thrift store
  • Went to a pool party/club (Surrender @ Wynn)
  • Enchiladas/tacos

Wednesday

  • Went to The Richard Steele Boxing Club
  • Used Vegas transit for the first time and bought a 24-hour pass
  • Went to Fashion Show Mall
  • Hung out with some new friends

Thursday

  • Used Vegas transit again – commuted around the city
  • Tacos El Gordo
  • Went to Fremont Street during the evening to kill time
  • Went to another club (Intrigue)
  • Enchiladas/tacos/horchata

Friday

  • Authentic Thai food
  • Hotel party @ Planet Hollywood

Saturday

  • Strolling the Vegas Strip

I met so many wonderful artists and creatives during the Monday night open mic and my soul was already content. Not even that but just the feedback from the audience and feeling support was just… amazing. I really had no words. But this open mic opened the door for many friendships which carried on throughout my week in Vegas.

By my third day in Vegas, I already felt like I had found my purpose. I felt FULL. I felt personally fulfilled. It wasn’t until I had a conversation after going to the Richard Steele Boxing Gym where I felt this. Well, my events leading up to this day definitely contributed to this feeling for sure. And just meeting people in general and feeling their energy made that difference.

I was thanking the person that brought me to the gym. I thanked Richard Steele himself. I was honestly so grateful. All because I was able to step foot in that gym, watch my new friend box for a bit then I was able to learn a few combos from one of their trainers there. What got me is that their trainer (who was also in the military) saw “it” in me. I told him I started studying Muay Thai and after having shown me a few new moves, he was telling one of his fighters and the other boxing trainer that it’s in my blood. That’s when I felt like I was on the right path – like I was supposed to be doing this.

In my conversation with my new friend, he told me that I have this certain energy about me – it’s genuine. I can pick apart the bullshit and negativity – I can sense that in someone. I nearly cried in his car lol. We just met a couple days prior to this, and if he can sense this about me already? This just shows my personal growth and the type of energy I have been exuding.

And he wasn’t the first person to tell me this either. The many folks I have met throughout my time in Vegas have said the same thing about my energy.

It’s not like I didn’t know this already – people from Toronto have told me this as well.

So why does it matter what they think and feel from me?

This whole entire trip was supposed to be this journey of re-discovery. It was supposed to be the journey of me finding myself again.

However, I don’t think I was ever lost… I let cloudy thoughts take over, storming away what I already knew about myself. I just needed that extra boost of sunshine to clear the path I’m walking on. I needed that extra sunshine to guide me back home. Back to me. Back to who the fuck I proudly am.

My energy is the same, but stronger, after having spent some time alone. I’ve tested my waters by putting myself into new experiences and situations. I’ve tested my waters by trusting individuals that I have just met. I’ve tested my waters by trusting myself and my capabilities.

My self-awareness levels have definitely heightened while in Vegas. Though I surrounded myself with people, I had to fully trust in my senses and solitude. I had to be 10x aware of not only myself but of those around me especially because anything could happen. But let me give myself some credit because I have become more cautious with my energy and more aware of what I should and should not give my time to… Meaning, I can no longer force myself into situations where I do not feel fit.

With all that being said, back to that question.

People that don’t know me, people that are from a completely different city (hell, even a different country) telling me this solidifies what I already know and who I am trying to become. This is just confirming that I am on the right path of who I want to be and who I am already becoming.

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thoughts

Chasing Dopamine

It’s been a week since I landed back home, in Toronto, and I still feel like something is missing… like something is off with my energy.

I’m talking like I don’t know what it is but I know damn well that my head ain’t on straight. I know that my internal clock has adjusted to something far from my grasp (not unattainable, but difficult to attain).

I knew I didn’t want to leave just yet. I bawled the entire shuttle bus ride to LAX. My heart would have been content if I had missed my flight (and I was close to since I mixed up my flight times – silly, high me). But I couldn’t do it for a multitude of reasons…

My plan was poorly executed in a way but my circumstance was simply out of my hands.

Once I landed, I was furious. Happy to have landed safe, yes, but furious in a sense that I KNEW I did not want to be back home. I wasn’t ready because I felt that my journey was not yet complete. Let me rephrase that – my journey in LA was not yet complete. There was so much land I wanted to cover, so much energy I wanted to feel, so much air I wanted to breathe…

But I should have known that I would get caught up in its atmosphere and stray away from the reason why I needed my solitude. It was so easy for me to get lost, so easy for me to get lost in someone other than myself.

Of course, I got distracted in LA but I feel like I needed that to remind me of where I’m supposed to be and where I’m supposed to be going. It was humbling in a sense. For that, I do not regret this decision.

However, I have this dire need to leave again – to go back to LA. Or maybe even go elsewhere. Just, away from home.

As I said in my Instagram post, I’m running towards something greater than myself. I feel like my purpose is beyond my home…

I feel like my home is wherever my heart lies.

And that is why I decided to name my whole experience, “Chasing Dopamine” – happiness also lies everywhere, especially outside of my home. I just have to get up and chase it.

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