Poetry

enough (performance edit)

Curves full of body and soul,
are your hands whole enough to hold her?

Are they strong enough to not let her slip through the cracks of your fingers?
Do you see how much she carries between them?
How much power she holds in just the spaces?

She leaves them open
for you

But are your hands ready?
Are you willing to have knuckles crack at the expense of freedom,
willing to get your fingernails dirty,
willing to risk breaking bones
Are you willing?

Are you enough?

Are your hands delicate enough to cradle her heart
letting it pulse in your palms
transferring energy through your fingertips

Can you feel her pain?

Can you feel the number of times it has broken before you
its tears still in the process of healing
can you feel them too?
its beat emulating the syllables of lies she has heard before you
following a basic algorithm

Are you the one to solve this calculation?

Can you process her through a multitude of equations
or is she just another addition to your problem solving
and if she is,
are you smart enough to subtract her before she further divides you from your formule of manhood?

Are you?

Are you smart enough to decode her locks?

Maybe you can unlock her walls
revealing the bareness of something real

But will she let you?

Unknowing of the weight of it all
are you ready to catch her when she falls?

Are your hands bold enough to hold her back when she wants to chase danger?

What if she wanted to chase you?

What if she wanted to keep chasing you into tomorrow,
making each tomorrow better
so it feels like you’re forever living
today

Do you still want to hold her then?

What if forever is not enough for her
what if she wanted yesterday

So how about now?

Will you still be there to hold her tomorrow?

If she brings a tsunami will you offer your hand
or do you watch her drown in her own faults

But what if she brings the sun?
Do you hide yourself from chances at burning
or embrace her radiance

Can you handle it?

Endless possibilities with predictable reason
her energy fed with passion unlike another

She will always be more,
never empty
a continuous refill of might

A woman with such power holds the nerve
has the audacity to make a man question if he is
enough
to hold
her

This power held not with her words
nor actions
but with a simple glare
that gleam in her eyes that asks,

Are you scared yet?
Are you enough?
Are you love?

But are you man enough
to let her know,

You are
You are not
You…

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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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Chasing Dopamine: A Conversation

My friend had DM’ed me while I was on my Greyhound bus from Vegas to LA and this was the [edited] conversation that had transpired:

“What have you gained from this experience?”

Thus far? Knowing my capabilities.. My limits..

Funny bc everyone Ive met has said the same things about me which basically reinforces what I already know but Ive never owned it. Im owning me and what I do and who I am, especially as a woman. That’s one

Two, Ive had convos with folks who have also told me to do fuck all before settling. Make sure I got me before anything else. I feel like I already do in a sense lmao but there is so much of me I have yet to learn and experience and love and change/grow. Like, I deadass forget Im only 21. I have the world ahead of me especially with the opportunities I am taking and making for myself

Im meeting hella people, yeah, but that shit never mattered to me unless I leave some type of imprint or I learn something from them and vice versa

Energy never dies nor lies, yo. Shit is hella real lol

“Expand on ‘as a woman’”

Im still trying to deconstruct that tbh

But I feel like this whole self awareness thing plays a huge part in it. Im getting more in touch with my emotions, my mind, and my body and being comfortable with who I am. But also comfortable enough to know that I have to step out of that zone in order for me to progress. Words mean a lot and hold so much power so I try my best to think about what I say. I think how I portray myself is also important. Lmao Ive cleaned up over the years and Im just hella growing from here. But yeah, Ive grown to be comfortable in my shell. Im built different but Ive also built myself differently, if that makes sense


 

I can’t find the right words for it, but as I was typing all this to him, everything started to feel in place. Like I was supposed to be there in that exact moment. The serenity in me finding myself while on the way to my next destination opened another path for me, showing me that this is what love is supposed to feel like. This is what peace is supposed to feel like. This is what happiness is supposed to feel like. So best believe I was crying while typing that. It’s been a long ass time since I have felt in balance with my emotional, mental, and physical being. With those three in sync, I feel like my spiritual being has become more full than ever.

I am content with my journey. I am satisfied. However, that does not mean that I am not hungry for more.

This just means that I have taken that step towards that sense of more. This means that I am no longer afraid of who I am becoming – who I am supposed to be. Am I afraid of the journey? Best believe I am. But with every day comes new lessons and a stronger sense of preparedness.

I have grown to love and live within my solitude. And that’s all you really need on this journey. The comfort of being by yourself, the comfort of being in your head, the comfort of knowing you will be in uncomfortable situations. All of this is a part of a process.

In knowing that, it’s up to you on whether or not you want to ride.

But for me? I’m already riding my waves. And I’m grateful for the fact that I know how to swim.

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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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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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An Open Reflection: Views

If you’re reading this, I still hope that you are doing well… I hope that you no longer find refuge at the bottom of every bottle… I hope that you are taking care of yourself… I hope that you have found the love within yourself that you have been longing for.

It’s the one year anniversary of the release of Views.

Nothing note-worthy to most, but to me this album brought a lot back into my life.

I was in this toxic cycle with this guy for two years. I say toxic because it did a lot of damage to me emotionally and mentally yet I kept going back; I don’t know the repercussions he had to go through but I can imagine they were somewhat similar. (I eventually found out about the things he had to go through, but I’ll get to that later.)

I will start by saying this: we were both young and had no intentions, period.

Yet I managed to fall first and fast, and somewhere along the line he did too. But here is the catch (ironic of me to use this word), we never talked. We never once spent the time to get to know each other – it was only trivial. We traveled distances yet never took that same effort to start a conversation. It was a constant back and forth of days of lust and only hitting the surface levels. I misunderstood our connection for something more and so I craved it because it felt good to me at the time. I thought that because we vibed so well and knew each other without words, it was something deeper. And once upon a time ago, I thought he was my soulmate because he just got it. He simply understood my passions and saw them, too. He played the right music to get into my mind… He knew what to do to get into my soul.

This went on for two years. Yeah, two fucking years. Though I met people in between, I was always looking for him in the men I sought. It was pieces of him, whether it was his knowledge of music, his passion for the music, his humour, his gentleness… I would always search for his name in others’.

I laugh as I write this now because I have learned so much from my experiences with him but what broke me almost entirely is what unfolded last year.

I remember a lot of things, most things – I remember the things that hit me in the heart… Sometimes they haunt me, sometimes they remind me of how much I have grown, sometimes they remind me of what was lost. Nonetheless, a remembrance of a learning experience.

I still remember the day that he finally asked me out so that we can get to know each other better. This conversation was a whole entire 6 hours of him implying I was his dream girl, how I can be his tour manager and how we could fuck up the world together, (me reflecting on this now) him feeding me nonsense… But I remember how happy I was because this was what I was waiting for, for two fucking years. We were to go before he left for vacation before the end of the year.

What crushed me was the fact that it never fucking happened. I even gave him the benefit of the doubt and waited until he came back in the new year. Days turned into weeks until I got fed up. So fed up that I deleted him off of everything. Mind you, during the two years of back and forth and all of the others in between, he was the only one I had kept on my social media – everyone else was deleted, blocked, or simply forgotten.

I wasn’t hurt until one night (months later) I went to a party with my cousins and he was there. I’m smiling as I type this because I remember the night so vividly. His attempts at trying to catch my attention were petty but I noticed them, just paid them no mind.

Then I went back to that same party the next week, this time with just one of my cousins. And yup, he was there. And yup, he came back with full force, this time grabbing my full attention by drunkenly serenading me to Bryson Tiller’s Don’t.

God, that night was a drunken hot mess.

We ended up talking in the back of the venue – him going on to explain EVERYTHING. How sorry he was for putting me through the whole ordeal, how it crushed him when he noticed that I unfollowed/blocked/deleted him off everything… How my action put him in this state… How he should have told me he wasn’t ready… How he suffers from anxiety (at this point I told him I was diagnosed with depression)… How he felt lost… How I didn’t deserve any of this…

Then I let him kiss me. If you got this far, you’re probably screeching HOW COULD YOU?! I didn’t let him just kiss me, though. It was one of those it’s-been-forever-and-I-really-wanted-this type joints. Those I-crave-you type joints. Them I-love-you type joints. Maybe it was love, maybe it was lust. But it was definitely the liquid courage that powered all of this.

And I left with his number in my phone again. (My mistake, right?) (You say, Right.)

And my mistake that definitely was because when I reached home (aka my cousin’s place for the night) after this scene, a lot more happened.

We ended up talking until the sun rose…

We ended up talking about Views because it had dropped that week, and well, he dedicated the album to me. Told me he thinks of me whenever Redemption plays. Said he wants to get to know me to Fire & Desire. Said I was his muse… Said he has so much love for me… Said it’s been me all along…

And of course I gave him another chance (this is where the audience sighs in disappointment). I wanted to see what would happen – what finally could happen.

Fast forward to present day, I can say that you can take a wild guess at where we stand now.

We don’t.

We talked everything out, some more things occurred… And, well, at least we are okay with each other. No bad blood, no animosity between us.

The biggest lesson here is to obviously not wait for no man – EVER. I knew I didn’t deserve to be used for convenience yet I still stayed. Why? I guess it’s because I wanted that partnership no matter how faint it was. I guess it’s because it was all I really knew so I settled for that. I guess it’s because I didn’t act on knowing the true value of who I was as a woman. And it took me two years of this shit for me to accept it and move on, knowing that it was not meant to be. That we were not meant to be.

I knew I didn’t deserve it at all. I knew he didn’t deserve what I had to bring to the table. I knew I deserved to be treated better. I knew that there was more for me out there. But I settled for the thrill, the temporary high, the almost enough.

Almost is never enough.

And the day that I finally let go of our possibilities was the day that I felt freed.

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Music

Alicia Keys – A Woman’s Worth

 

[Verse 1]
You could buy me diamonds, you could buy me pearls
Take me on a cruise around the world. (baby you know I’m worth it)
Dinner lit by candles, run my bubble bath. Make love tenderly to
Last and last. (baby you know I’m worth it)

[Pre-Chorus]
Wanna please, wanna keep, wanna treat your woman right
Not just dough, but to show that you know she is worth your time
You will lose if you choose to refuse to put her first
She will and she can find a man who knows her worth

[Chorus]
‘Cause a real man, knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

Mm Hmm Mm Hmmm
Mm Hmm Mm Hmmm
Mm Hmm Mm Hmmm, Hm

[Verse 2]
If you treat me fairly, I’ll give you all my goods
Treat you like a real woman should. (baby I know you’re worth it)
If you never play me, promise not to bluff. I’ll hold you down
When shit gets rough. (baby I know you’re worth it)

[Pre-Chorus]
She walks with a mile, makes you smile all the while being true
Don’t take for granted the passions that she has for you
You will lose if you choose to refuse to put her first
She will and she can find a man who knows her worth

[Chorus]
‘Cause a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

No need to read between the lines, spelled out for you (spelled out for you)
Just hear this song cause you can’t go wrong when you value. (better value)
A woman’s (woman’s) Woman’s (woman’s) Worth

‘Cause a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

‘Cause a real man knows a real woman when he sees her
And a real woman knows a real man ain’t afraid to please her
And a real woman knows a real man always comes first
And a real man just can’t deny a woman’s worth

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