Guardian

I stood atop the 32-story building overlooking the city. It was a place I would call home, if only for a little while. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, concentrating on the source of the Light I felt situated in the city streets of Toronto, its flashing lights and booming sounds.

Focusing my energy on the Light, I blocked out everything: sirens blaring, horns honking, the low rumble of engines, the chiming of bicyclists weaving in and out of traffic. The arguing of two co-workers below at the bar; the sound of passionate love-making coming from the building across the street; the steady stream of jazz music playing within the club. It all just started to fade away.

I had reached a point of complete and utter stillness.

Squeezing my eyes tighter, I focused solely on drawing in the energy I searched for. At first there was nothing and I began to feel frustrated. Although as a Guardian, I wasn’t supposed to feel frustrated. We weren’t supposed to feel anything, really.

But that was besides the point.

I was feeling what would be described as “frustration” when I finally noticed it.

I smelt chocolate.

It was the scent of rich, smooth cocoa filling my nostrils to a point that caused my mouth to–I could almost taste it. It had been some time since I had tasted chocolate. In actuality, I didn’t recall the act of ever eating chocolate before but it seemed so familiar to me.

So I must have, right?

I attempted at focusing on my other senses instead of the deliciousness of chocolate wafting into my nostrils. I began hearing the chatter of voices, followed by a vision of people conjured in my mind. Everything was hazy at first but the first thing I could distinctly see was the pulsating rhythm of Light coming from one person in particular. It glowed brightly, its ray of beauty within the essence of the being, as if winking back at me. The being was sitting off to the side, alone.

It was almost as if they were waiting for someone.

Snapping out of the vision I opened my eyes and a sense of calm passed over me. Placing on my sunglasses I smiled to myself, pleased.

My mission had finally started.

…………………

Excerpt from Bless, unpublished work.

Advertisements

In the Shadows

I was five when I knew something was different about me.

My first memory.

I had no recollection of who my parents were or what they even looked like. All I knew was that I was alone at the orphanage, disconnected from the outside world. I picture it even now, almost like an oil painting: the thick bristles of the paintbrush created the bright blue sky as it connected to the shockingly white snow. The snow blanketed everything around me, as if protecting me, the green forest displayed at every angle.

The orphanage was out of place in such a nature-infused environment. A large, two-story building, its windows seemed to cover almost every surface. I remembered the brightness of the sun as it hit my sleepy face through one of those many windows. It would instantly warm my body, greeting me to yet another day.

Vines covered old gray bricks as they coursed over the external surface of the orphanage. I had nightmares about those same vines making their way into my room as I slept. They’d appear ominously as their shadows pounded against the walls, taunting me as a storm brewed on outside. Venturing toward my bed, the vines would slither across my body, trapping me in place. One would wrap around my neck, squeezing tightly, as I struggled for air. Rendered frozen, the feeling of fear would take hold, bubbling up deep inside my chest. And as I felt the burning pain in my throat, a thought would flash through my mind of thismoment being my last. It never was, though, as I would instantly wake up.

I always did have a wild imagination.

To chase away the terror, I would stand before my windowpane the morning after. Sighing in relief, my eyes would be drawn to the vast forest off in the distance. It surrounded the orphanage, like a gatekeeper, the leaves of the trees bristling in irritation. The wind blew right through those tall structures, whistling, as my ears picked up the all too familiar sound.

I somehow found myself standing directly in front of that very forest. My memory was hazy on exactly how I got there but I recalled waking up, after one of my many dreams, to the feeling of immense hunger as my body stirred in discomfort.

Then suddenly I was at the foot of the forest.

I would not describe the sensation as simple hunger. I would almost describe it as a feeling of starvation, like there was some essential component my body was missing. Whatever it was, this need was so powerful I was weak in the knees with the pain; my belly contracted and released, contracted and released, continually. Food provided temporary relief for me, but there was always this presence in the corner of my mind as my brain searched for the one thing my body craved.

I ignored that nagging voice in my head, the one whispering for the one thing I needed. It was something unfathomable yet inherent. I paid it no attention and just openly stared at the forest beckoning me. Taking shallow breaths, the cool air blew in and out between my cold, chapped lips.

It was at that exact moment I realized the forest isolated me from everything and everyone outside of its confines—almost like a hungry bird circling its prey. Even young, my instincts picked up on that, immediately telling me something.

Eyes were watching me.

…………………

Excerpt from Dahlia, available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.

Habits: Breaking Old and Creating New

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit.

I have no idea who they are but it must be true, right? Because every time I try to create a new habit, I seem to self-sabotage myself way before the three weeks is due and BOOM, habit never quite reaches its full fruition.

I’ll give you a few examples:

Quit coffee. I think I lasted a week before I realized coffee makes me way too happy to deprive myself of it, and that I will continue to drip my cuppa (or two) to bring a little bit of joy into my life. The withdrawal symptoms also didn’t help.

Exercise daily. This lasted maybe four days before I told myself that Monday, the first work day of the week, should always be a day of rest; Friday should not include any exercise because it’s well, Friday; and errands occur on Saturday so that clearly counts as exercising.

Get rid of 5 items daily. Weird, right? But in my journey of minimalism, I have this strong urge to discard of any and all things. And it worked, for a while, a long while actually. I was easily picking 5 items out of my collection of things I own and either tossed, gave to family and friends, or donated. But now it’s been a couple of months since I’ve actually thrown out an item that wasn’t a cardboard box courtesy of Amazon, and I realize that I’m starting to… collect things again.

Ugh.

I have the best intention to improve my life and well-being but it’s almost like I’m afraid. Of what? I don’t know. There’s obviously something blocking me, something I haven’t quite tapped into, that makes me want to run away and hide at the notion of change. Like change is a bad thing.

But not all change is bad. Some change is good… great even! And it’s not to say that I’m failing at all of the new habits I’m trying to form. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise.

I’m drinking water. Lemon water, but water, nonetheless. Yes, I was one of those annoying people that would say they hated water. What kind of blasphemy is that? you’re thinking. Well, in my mindset, water tasted like nothing so what was the point? This mindset lasted the majority of my life until a minor case of strep throat put me in check to the point that it’s now mandatory for me to have a water bottle at arm’s length at all times.

Water: 1 | Christina: 0

Water’s not the only habit I’m succeeding with. I now get up at 5AM daily. Okay, I lie. Sometimes it’s 5AM, sometimes it’s 6AM, sometimes a little something in between. This is a huge improvement from rolling out of bed at 7:30AM and rushing to make it to work. Or sleeping in until 9AM or 10AM on the weekends. I now love being the first person to wake up. I relish in the moment when the house is silent except for those odd house-sounding sounds. Where I can just sit and contemplate life, drink my coffee, and just be.

So yeah, I may never quit coffee. I will eat a chocolate bar here and there. Sushi is life.

But I also enjoy being a minimalist newbie and learning about what minimalism means to me. I love not having so much excess in my life. I love making life simple. I enjoy getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose or bring joy in my life, and it is a habit that I will continue to work on.

I do enjoy exercising. When I’m in the moment of sweating my butt off on the treadmill listening to 50 Cent or Justin Timberlake, I feel invincible! I might not be doing it daily, but I try as much as I can, and that’s all I can really do.

I have learned not to stress when implementing a new habit in my life. How? Well, below are a list of a few things I tell myself, or do, whenever trying to break those nasty habits or start new ones:

Guided meditation. Meditating is new for me and I find that guided meditation is a great way of introducing me to it. After a session, I feel great! Content and relaxed, I feel that I can take on the world and it leaves me in a better mindset to tackle my goals.

Write it down. I’m a post-it note, agenda-writing individual, and I find that writing things down hits the spot. It makes it more real. By not attaining the goals that I have written down, it only makes me disappointed in myself. And that’s the last thing I want to do! As a result, habits are created and formed.

Take one day at a time. Remember to breathe. It’s okay if I have that piece of chocolate (it’s dark!) or decide to ditch the exercise routine for a movie… with popcorn. Tomorrow is a new day and a new day equals RESTART!

Healthy habits will bring me nothing but joy. It might seem like work at first, but the more I do, the more it’ll feel like second nature. Look at my love of drinking water now!

I drink water effortlessly to nourish my body.

I exercise and move my body freely.

I only eat what brings me joy, and feel no regrets.

I remove things in my life that no longer serve a purpose.

I write everyday, whether my blog, a story, scripting, a to-do list. I write.

I write the above in the present because I am affirming it all. These are my habits, and a part of my daily living that I will continually work on.

When I find my self-sabotaging creeping in, I reset by applying my list of guided meditation, writing it down, and taking one day at a time, and it pushes me to try and do better. But like I said, I will no longer feel bad about my so-called “failures” because to me, they’re not failures. It’s called life. Enjoy it. Feeling bad about not eating a certain amount of calories a day, or not hitting the gym on the daily defeats the entire process. This is a journey, not a race. This is my journey, and the only person I’m competing with is myself.

Because in the end, isn’t that all that really matters?

My Happiness Equation

I used to think happiness was something you strived to become, like a profession.

When I was in grade school and my teacher would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer wasn’t the standard, doctor, teacher, engineer. No, my answer was to be happy. I think I may have even written a blog post a few years ago about my goal in life being that of happiness.

Now, even at that young age, I knew happiness was the key to living a great life. But by stating I wanted to be happy, that must have meant that I currently wasn’t.

On the outside, my family, peers, and friends may have perceived me as happy. On the inside, I was anything but. I was already battling self-acceptance, faced with the notion that you had to be X, Y, and Z to be “accepted” in today’s standards of beauty.

Qualities I thought I had none of.

I grew up in a time where there was no body acceptance or embrace your natural hair communities. At least, none I could recall. I vividly remember my mom relaxing my hair as I sat in front of her, crying my eyes out because my head felt like it was on fire, being burned by the chemicals that would solve all my hairstyling problems by making it bone straight. But I had to sit still to make sure she got all the kinks out. It wasn’t like I could blame my mother. Her own mother did the same. That was just the way things were.

Same shit, different decade.

I remember going for jogs with my older cousin, might have been ten or so, wondering why she was so thin and yet I was so fat. I mean, we generally did and ate the exact same things. Why did life have to be so unfair?

My daily internal thought was that I was not acceptable. I went through life with the whole woe is me mentality. Yet I told no one. To everyone else, I was the girl with the resting bitch face but if you got to know, was actually quite nice (and shy).

My defence mechanism was to show that I didn’t need anyone. That everything was fine, and life was something that you just had to suck up and do. That it was difficult for everyone, and we all needed to get over it.

Work your butt off at either school or your job (or both), pay your bills, and enjoy the weekends. Two blessed days just relaxing at home, unless you were working your second job, of course.

Then someone close to me died and life blew up like a bomb detonating inside my head. I don’t know what it’s like with other families but in mine, the solution to the loss of a loved one is to “stay strong”. In my family, crying is something you do not do.

So I didn’t. Unless I was in the privacy of my own space, of course.

I began to go through the motions of life again. I got up, went to work, came home, slept. Got up, went to work, came home, slept. Got up, went to work, came home, slept.

You get my drift.

I was on autopilot, and even though I didn’t want to admit it, I knew I could drown in my sorrows if I wasn’t careful. I stopped going out–not a difficult thing to do when you’re inherently an introvert. I stopped writing. How could I when the stories I love to write so much were pretty much a grief-fest of tragedy? Instead of writing, I transferred all my anxiety and heartache by focusing on the art of decluttering my life.

Oh, and I decluttered. Threw out, donated, gave away items like nobody’s business. It felt good to just let go of everything, like having less stuff translated to less stress and less things to worry about.

So I released it all.

And I relished in my introvertness. I mean, now I had a legitimate excuse to not see anyone. I started to feel okay about saying “no”. But then weeks past, months past, and more months past, and I remember talking to one of my friends on the phone. I recall her saying something and being 31 years old, and in her trail of thought–

I froze.

Because the age she was saying she was didn’t make any sense to me. I was that age, and I’m a year older than her, so how could we possibly both be 31 years old?

While she continued to ramble, I took out my iPhone and calculated my age as I stared dumbfounded at the screen.

I was 32 and didn’t even know it.

Almost an entire year went by and I remained stagnant, just going through the motions of so-called life. Not actually living at all.

This was then followed by a mini mental breakdown in front of my mother.

I feel like all this had to happen, though. All these emotions had to come up in order for me to realize that I was in charge of my life. I was responsible for how I felt. And that I couldn’t continue to feel like I was this victim in this tragic story of my life, like all the characters I like to create so much.

It was okay to grieve but I had to move on. I had to take ownership.

So enter the world of YouTube and the art of self-help books.

I started binge watching videos about motivation, positive affirmations, meditation, and the law of attraction.

I re-read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Read The Four Agreements. Put a crap-load of self-help books in my to-read pile.

And I slowly started to practice what I was learning. I meditate. I get up at the crack of dawn to relish in me time. I sip on a cup of coffee and think of all the things I’m grateful for in my life. My family. My friends. My cozy bed. My future dog. Instead of just rolling out of bed as the alarm sounds and rushing to get ready for work.

I belt out to awesome music while driving to work instead of complaining of the traffic, or the asshole that just cut me off. I walk outside, appreciating the beauty of nature. I give myself a break and try not to be so hard on myself. Like damn, we’re our own worst critics. We all need to get over that because if we don’t love ourselves, who the hell else will?

I smile more, I hug more. I show my appreciation for the people in my life more. It’s more about seeing things as a glass half-full mentality as opposed to the dreaded near-empty glass. It’s about living in the moment and appreciating the things I have in my life, and doing all the things that bring me joy.

If I want to have bubble tea, I’ll have bubble tea.

If I want to rock out to Black Velvet or lip sync to Imagine Dragons or Drake songs, I’m all about that life.

If I want to go on a hike to see all the nature’s wonders, damn hell I will. I will pant my way up any trail, name the time and place.

And through it all, I started to feel good. Dare I say, happy? And I started to realize that you attract the things you focus on, and that happiness is something you choose to be. You either are or you aren’t, that’s up to you.

I choose to be happy.

That statement is huge for me, and the years that have gone by have only made me that much stronger and appreciative of this precious thing we call life.

So this space is a fresh start. A place to script out my life, a place to share my stories, both fiction and real, and a place to just ramble about whatever comes to my head. Because it’s what makes me happy, and I hope you enjoy being along for the ride.