Solo Panama

“‘For the Benefit of the World’ [Pro Mundi Beneficio] proclaims the motto of Panama, referring to the canal which divides the country physically but provides it with a substantial portion of the national income.

Thank you google. https://flagspot.net/flags/pa).html

Back in October, I decided that I would stay in Central America for the winter break. I decided that I would live up to my reputation of being a free spirit and I would travel the world to a land unknown and simply: explore. So, I did. After celebrating Navidad, I packed and relaxed and packed as I awaited my flight. I woke up on time made it to the airport without a hitch. I purchased a sim card as a friend had suggested and I was ready for world…only thing was…my phone was dead.

If you know me, you know my phone is dead or dies 89.9% of the time. And I learned that when you take a solo trip out of the country and rely on GPS for directions, it is important that your raggedy international phone stays charged. It was a lesson that would be solidified repeatedly over my vacation. If I had to give a count, I would say my phone died 28 times, an average of 4 times a day. I would also say that I spend 45% of my driving time praying for Divine navigational intervention. I should have seen it coming because, as I pulled out of the airport parking lot into traffic, my 15 minute charged phone…died again.

Through rain, rough terrain, highways, and uncertain turns I learned a very valuable lesson. Solo trips are not solo trips. I depended on my memory, my intuition, and my pleas to God to get me to and around Panama City. If there is anything that I learned, it was that God loves me, he keeps me, and he has to have been the inspiration behind rechargeable batteries.

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Gabby’s book

I’m just going to be honest, okay. I was a Gabby almost hater before I read her book. I think many actors are a lot like the characters they play and I just wasn’t a fan until Mary Jane. I know…Mary Jane put me on to Gabby. The lost wandering wanting to be in love and falling in love with the wrong men Gabby, I mean Mary Jane.

So anyway, I love Mary Jane and so I decided to give Gabby a chance. I’m in a bomb Book Club with my girls Toy and Monica and this book was next on dock. I was apprehensive at first. I wanted to support Mary Jane and Gabby, but I didn’t know if I was ready to give up my idea of the latter.

I fell in love with her honesty. The book left a lot still in question. She at points seemed very objective about her life, which I feel is not for me to judge. She told her story the way she wanted to and the world is lucky to have a glimpse into her world. I appreciate that she was real, raw, and uncut…its a way I tend to view myself.

What I learned for Gabby that it is okay to be yourself and to reinvent yourself when you realize life is not working in your favor. We have a lot in common and in a very selfish way that allowed me to like her more. I wrote a book myself hoping people would low key understand me and high key like me (more).

Shameless plug, go read my book Grow…or read Gabby’s. https://www.amazon.com/Grow-Cassandra-Vonesha-Bruington/dp/1547158247

 

 

Focus on Me

This is a revelation. Even typing this blog is a little bit of a backslide. I have to rechannel my energy. Writing a book, starting a blog, starting a vlog, using twitter, starting a new job, moving to a new country, designing curriculum, planning daily lessons, joining a dance class, purchasing artwork, becoming veganish…I keep doing new things and then putting my energy into: making friends, support people, calling and checking in, showing I care, changing my classroom, giving surveys, planning trips and events, stalking Uber drivers (don’t ask)…o m g.

I wasn’t me, here’s the advice I would give Cassandra.

 

Sit down and be with God.

Be with God.

Be.

 

There is probably this same theme strung along my blog posts. Calming down and focusing. I am a dreamer and a thinker and a planner and a doer. And I love people. And sometimes I love to please people or at least to try to please them above my pleasing of God. Its sad and true. And if you examine your life…I’m not the only one. We have to create space for peace. Only God gives peace, so we must create space for God. So what’s got to go? My reaching out. Not like for help…and not the natural reaching out but the REACHING to be seen, heard, applauded, pursued, etc. Its exhausting. And I’m exhausted. Not all of my students will like me. Not all of their parents will like me. My coworkers don’t have to be my best friends. And I don’t owe cute guys who speak Spanish and take me places (Uber drivers) anything but a “gracias, adios”. So, I’m starting today to focus on me…believe it or not, the first thing I need to do is schedule a doctor’s appointment and get my thyroid levels checked. Something is off.

I feel like writing

Its funny that I don’t have anything specific in mind. I’m just going to begin typing and see what comes out.

Dance. I joined a contemporary class and its challenging. If I walk into class with heaviness in my heart it shows up in my movements and in my patience with my progress. Last class I was pissed. The instructor was moving too fast and I didn’t remember much as I was expected to run through with a group of two- the other two in my line.

I was irritated. I didn’t remember. I needed more time. I wasn’t ready and I hadn’t mastered these moves, so why on Earth would I want to “run through it with my line”? I struggled through after two suggestions to “feel the movement” and do what I could remember. Still sounds absurd, but I’m trying to apply that to life.

 

  1. Feel- be in the moment.
  2. Cast off the concern of perfection.

Story.

Of.

My.

Life.

 

One day I’ll get there. I’ll dance like no one is watching. Like the steps are mine to create. Like each movement is perfect without rehearsal. And until then…I’ll check the mirror but look at it less. More feeling, less thinking. More in the moment, less planning. More living, less analyzing my life.

Starting now.

Hair

“You change your hair everyday”. False, but I understand that I do maximize the freedom and creativity my coils provide me with- I can switch thing us quickly. In fact, I’m headed to the states soon and I plan to purchase hair and stuff it in my luggage. Braiding hair, Marley twist hair, a latch hook, widely misrepresented as a “crochet hook”, and few hair ties, curl formers, and bobby pins. Whew! Thats a lot- I might need gel, too. We shall see.

Anyway…this post is a confession. A few days ago I resented and was ashamed of my natural hair:

it shrinks

it requires constant care

it falls out when “protective” styles are taken down- although I hear this is typical, it hurts my soul seeing the collection of coils looking like a lambs wool along my shower, counter, and sink.

I had to take out my last style a little early. I can’t have my fake hair looking nappier than my natural curls. So…I was faced with a decision, wig and switch (cause its hot) or natural hair. I focused on potential reactions and if my wig laying didn’t require braiding, which is time consuming and sometimes hurts AND my wigs weren’t blonde and black/red (hella bold), I probably would have rocked them. Instead, I did a wash and go and today a bomb twist out.

 

But thats only after contemplating:

dreads

weave

braids

cutting

and….wait for it…

RELAXING MY HAIR.

My coils LITERALLY WILL NOT stay straight enough to showcase my length and this makes me look and feel different than I want to. I look more less conventionally beautiful. No big hair to wear as a crown. I feel more naked and exposed, less masked and “protected”. I’m just being honest.

I named my hair some years ago and Shea has to be offended that I’ve spent more time with her clothes than with her. So she’s been free for a few days now and we are relearning one another. Last night twisting wasn’t so bad. And I found out she HAS grown, she’s ACTUALLY REALLY TALL…she just wears flats that hide her long legs. I am falling back in love with my coils one moisturized twist out at a time.

“You change your hair everyday”. No.

You Change. Your hair everyday.

 

Smile

I hate being told to or asked to smile. Its annoying. And its unnatural to force a smile. I am content. And happy. And pleasant. And I show my emotions when I feel necessary. I don’t smile 24/7. And I certainly don’t smile more simply because I’m asked to – so stop.

Stop asking.

Loveless

Love less

Love less

What a way to heal?! You’re saying for sanity sake I should love a little less. Give a little more sparingly. Pour out slowly. Look within and turn ever so gently.

Love less

Love less

God, I pray this doesn’t make me loveless.