#No New Friends

I remember a few years ago seeing quite a number of people post #nonewfriends on Facebook. I thought it was a bit absurd at the time. I now understand that it was from a song but because I am not always hip with the times, I seldom know where these new phrases and sayings originate. My initial thinking was to question why someone would close themselves off to new friends. Is not meeting new people and making connections an unavoidable part of the human experience? To be alive is to be human. To be human is to connect. To connect is to open oneself to the possibility of inviting others to share in this journey of breathing and being.

But it isn’t absurd. Opening up to new people and new friendships is like playing a game of poker. There is only one certainty and that’s the cards in your hands. You wait to see how others play the game. What bets they make. You pay attention to their facial expressions and body language. Are they honest? Are they bluffing? Do you go in a little more? Do you fold? Is what you hold in your hands good enough?

Is what I hold in my hands ‘good enough’?

Up until a few weeks ago, I held this belief that I was disposable. Not consciously or intentionally. It was a hidden yet powerful un-‘truth’, camouflaging itself as anxiety and fear of rejection. Bred during childhood, it bore offspring of low self-love and fear of abandonment that has continued into my adult years. Its DNA twined into behaviors, thought patterns and the way I perceive and interact with the world and people around me.

Surely, it would be understandable if I did not want to open myself up to new people? I can’t see what cards they hold. I don’t know if they will stick around. Why take the risk when I already have people who love me and have been a part of my journey? I have a few friends. I love and care about them all. Two are people I consider to be my best friends. They have both been in my life for over twenty years. They are loyal, supportive, honest, kind and I am about 99.99% sure they aren’t going anywhere. They have seen me in both my darkness and my light. They have witnessed much of my humanity. Its brokenness and its beauty. They understand my vulnerability and sensitivity. They don’t judge me or have expectations of who I am ‘supposed’ to be. They don’t attempt to mold me into what they want or need. They love me and I love them. They are dear to my heart. Dearer than anyone who has yet to walk this earth during the same time span as I.

Opening up to new people can be a vulnerable thing for most of us. It takes time to build relationships. To see what’s in each other’s hands and hearts. To know if it’s safe to trust. We take risks, little by little, because there’s no way of seeing the full picture. Sometimes you discover a person who is authentic and open and the connection becomes a positive part of your journey. And sometimes you find out a little late in the game that a person is dishonest or that they were hiding cards under the table and only showed what they wanted you to see. And the reality is that many of us, at one time or another, have been both of these people.

I do open myself up to new people. But it gets exhausting at times. It would be easier, I believe, to have a motto of no new friends. Safer, I suppose. Less vulnerable. Less risk. Less grief. I love hard and feel deep. I am sensitive, kind, expressive, intense, raw, a little rough around the edges and sometimes a little too honest for people’s taste. I will let you in if I feel that I can take a risk with my heart but in many settings, such as work, and with some people (dishonest), I will erect a wall so high and strong, you couldn’t penetrate it if you had a hundred grenades. I am finding it more difficult than usual to want to be vulnerable and connect. I am doing an immense amount of work to undo much of the damage done from years of childhood abuse and trauma. This means facing fears, challenging old belief patterns, showing up to therapy and being vulnerable when what I really want to do is cancel and never go back. It means sitting in yoga class doing poses while everything within my body screams ‘what the fuck are you doing?’ It means allowing myself to feel grief that I have suppressed for years and not rushing the process to get over being hurt and betrayed by someone I trusted and allowed to see me. It means not judging myself when my Scorpio claws come out. Admitting that the anger and claws are really just a way to avoid the grief and making genuine efforts to forgive. And I am a MAJOR work in progress when it comes to forgiveness. Minor offenses, sure. (maybe lol) But in some instances when I trust and truly allow myself to be vulnerable over a long period of time, the hurt of their betrayal can feel like being stabbed in a wound that was just beginning to heal. And knowing that it’s not just about this wound. But the wounds that were already there before they ever came along, doesn’t make it any easier to heal.

What I discover is that some people want the sunshine but not the rain. One of the things that always baffles me about living in California are the people who incessantly complain about the weather on days where its not the perfect amount of sunshine and in the 70’s. And that’s how some human beings are. They want charming, funny, kind, adventurous Kai. But the reality is that I have complex ptsd and still lots of healing to do. It does not define me and until a few weeks ago, I truly believed that my wounds made me disposable; that somehow I was broken and damaged by my past. That it was understandable for a person to invest in the easy and back away when they see the pieces that are ‘not so easy.’ Or when I don’t fit into the picture that they painted of me. And my trauma has been a major source of the shame that I have been carrying. But I refuse to believe that I am disposable. I have a lot of work to do but I am showing up and truly doing the best that I can. I am facing what feels impossible and moving barriers that I once believed were indestructible barricades. What I now understand is that I have no control over another person’s perception or actions. If they walk in on chapter eleven of my journey with no understanding of what has come before or interest in what will come after, they can choose to put the book down. Or they can keep reading. And I am learning to be okay. I am realizing that I am valued and loved and that my scars don’t make me disposable no more than anyone else’s. I have never looked at a person and thought they were less than because of what they have been through. Why then did I hold that belief of myself? Am I not just as human as the next person? I am not an expert on being vulnerable. But what I know is that vulnerability is needed for me to heal. That within my humanity is the capacity to be vulnerable and I get to choose whether or not, I want embrace it.

I think of humanity and vulnerability as an onion. Cutting into an onion… peeling through its layers is not an experience that many enjoy. Who wakes up and exclaims “I can’t wait to peel this onion later when I cook!” Now an onion in and of itself, uncooked, does not do much for me. I would be hella shocked if I were to encounter someone who goes around snacking on onions. When added to a recipe, however, it enhances the flavor. It is a necessary ingredient to some of the most savory and well loved dishes that many enjoy: Chili, stuffing, burgers, an array of soups and stews and the list goes on. Some of us truly enjoy cooking and we find pleasure in not only the finished product but the process itself. But when a recipe calls for an onion, we don’t look forward to the peeling, the tears, the unavoidable sting as it reaches our eyes. We attempt to shield ourselves from the discomfort. abbreviate the ache.

look away. cover our eyes. move faster.

I have even gone so far as to try to ‘psych myself’ into trying to control the affects of cutting an onion. I kid you not. I made a serious effort to convince myself that ‘this time’ I will not let this onion get the best of me. Laughable right? Surely, it is an inescapable by-product to which I cannot avoid if I want the full experience of the dish I am preparing.

The same can be said of vulnerability.

To be vulnerable. To open up and allow someone to see the hidden, beautiful, complicated, raw and sometimes deeply scarred layers that exist within…

Is hard. uncomfortable. scary. almost grueling at times. It carries with it an unavoidable sting that penetrates the soul in a way that makes us want to take cover. We attempt to shield ourselves from the discomfort. abbreviate the ache.

Look away: We distract ourselves with things and temporary solutions that numb our need for love and connection. We spend hours on social media and more time looking into a screen than we do looking into each other.

Cover our eyes: Truth is light, so we wear shades every chance we get to make ourselves more comfortable. We filter things through these lenses without wondering if perhaps, there’s a better view.

Move faster: We take on a lot of ‘projects’ and responsibilities and pride ourselves in ‘being busy.’ We don’t slow down because to slow down is to feel.

But there is more than just discomfort when being vulnerable. There is freedom. Growth. Healing. There is light and love and an inexplicable beauty. When I am vulnerable with someone who is safe, I feel empowered. If I am able to move beyond the ache: the shame, fear and insecurities, I become that much more closer to being fully who I was born to be. And in doing so, I am able to hold a little more compassion and love in my heart for not only others, but myself as well.

It is an inescapable by-product of humanity to which I cannot avoid if i want the full experience of being human and truly connecting to myself and the world around me.

Love and be loved, dear ones

See and be seen.

 

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

 

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Into Me See

“Intimacy means that we’re safe enough to reveal the truth about ourselves in all its creative chaos.” – Marianne Williamson

 

                 “Intimacy means that we’re safe enough…”

Intimacy is not easy.

It is beauty and brokenness

it is heart and soul and

Tears that are safe to flow

It is smiles and laughter and

Hugs that make you feel at home

It is love moving

love         shifting

love         healing

love         giving

love         taking

love         building

love         breaking

It is wonder. adventure

exploration of the unknown

humanity exposed: into me see.

 

                    “… to reveal the truth about ourselves…”

I am Kai. I am vulnerable, honest, compassionate and highly sensitive. I am a strong, resilient person with a resolve to heal, grow and become as free and light as I possibly can. But sometimes. Sometimes I feel broken. Sometimes I feel unlovable. Sometimes I feel unwanted. and intimacy can be difficult. When someone is getting close, seeing into me, I become afraid. Fear so powerful, it vibrates throughout my body. Fear so powerful, I feel like a little child.

To a child, safety and security is everything. It is life and death. It is survival. When a child encounters loss. death. abuse. trauma. it breeds abandonment and becomes embedded into the subconscious.

Embedded into my subconscious. Working its way into my awareness, my emotions, my body and my relationships. Sometimes, I think it would be much easier, to hide. To have relationships that fill time and space but neglect to replenish my heart and soul. To run when the discomfort sets in and stay on the surface where its safe. avoid the challenges. the heartbreak. the shattering. But I want more than what meets the eye. I want to connect to those around me, build relationships based on honesty and authenticity, sit with the discomfort of being seen and move through the fear. Into me see.

 

                             “…in all its creative chaos.” 

My soul is a museum;

past and present interwoven into a space that both reveals and conceals

moments and memories sculpted behind skin

love. loss; people and places

a gallery of forgotten faces

delicate pieces behind glass cases

“I don’t love casually. When I love it’s fierce. It’s my soul ripped wide open and raw. It’s my whole heart on display. It’s all I have and everything I know, handed over to you, like a gift. And I hope you unwrap it gently.” – Stephanie Bennett-Henry

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# love and be loved friends

 

Photo Credit: gift- Kira auf der Heide

 

Hearts that could see

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Within each of us lies the ability to love and be loved. Children possess this love in its purest form. As adults, this love can get clouded. Selfish. Messy. Underneath the surface, we want to love. To connect. And in the brokenness that can sometimes occur, our inner child still reaches…

They reach even when we cannot.

 

I miss her. I miss my friend.

 

Five year old within. Familiar feelings. Coming alive again.

Ancient messages of old. ‘Everyone leaves. There’s something wrong with me.’

The memories. Repeat. Pictures I won’t delete

Being silly and card games

Sharing music and heartache

Adventures on birthday

Hugs that felt safe

Two souls. We embraced

Hearts that once could see.

Hearts that once were free,

ache

And here we are again.  A reality that is not real.

Tears that wait until night…

then overflow into my dreams.

Mourning.

Hold on. Here comes the light.

 

 

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# love and be loved friends

 

 

(1) Photo by Gerome Viavant on Unsplash

(2) Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Adventurosity

 

 

After camping in Cuyamaca, my friend and I decided to take an impromptu drive to Mount Laguna. I had never been and was curious. Plus, I am always down for an adventure. I had no idea what the drive would be like and I must admit, if I had known, there is a very high probability that I would not have gone. I have driven up mountains before. But I had never experienced driving up a mountain where the road is a few feet from the edge and there are no barriers or rocks to prevent one from falling. I looked in the rear view mirror at my friend who was driving behind me. “What are they going to do if I accidentally fall off the edge?” I was freaking out, to say the least. 😳

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love being in the mountains. I love looking out and feeling like I am a part of this great big world. I love the instant peace that accompanies it. But I HATE driving up mountains. The first time I went to Big Bear, I refused to drive the mountain part. My friend did the driving. I was actually thinking about this person before I reached this point in my drive to Mount Laguna. Thinking about our trip to Big Bear. Thinking. Grieving. The sadness hit me like a wave right before I realized Mount Laguna was where my story would potentially end. Okay. Okay. ‘maybe‘ I am being a bit dramatic. 🙄

The thing is, even though I was afraid, I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t go back. I had no choice but to ride it out and keep moving forward. I kept breathing. I reminded myself that my car does not have an auto pilot so as long as I stay focused, I should be okay. And I was. I made it to Mount Laguna and it was beautiful! Oh my god! The trees! Orange. Yellow. Yes! I moved to San Diego from Tennessee in 2015 and one of the things I miss the most are the colors of the trees in the fall. (And my friends, of course.) My friend was looking at me with a weird expression and I explained to them how amazing it was to see trees with colors other than green. I was grateful. I am grateful. I have a hidden child-like wonder about me and I can sometimes find joy in the simplest things.

Wherever we are on our journey, there will always be moments of fear. There will be times we have to take risks and we can’t always know what will happen. As a matter of fact, we can’t ever really know what the future holds. But there is one constant that will always remain. Beauty. There is always beauty, should we choose to see it. I don’t know if I would have gone to Mount Laguna if I knew about that drive. I do know that if I had not gone, I would never have gotten to take in the beauty of the trees. It was worth it. Now had the trees been just a regular green… I would have given Mount Laguna the side eye. 😕Just kidding.

Take risks, my friends. Our journeys will take us to places that bring up fear. grief. sadness. joy. wonder. Beauty

#love and be loved

Climbing Trees

I was on a day trip with my friend and we saw a kid who had climbed up a tree. My friend told me she used to climb trees when she was a child and then one day she stopped. She had climbed a tree, as she had done many times before, but this time she was overcome with fear of falling. She called out to her dad to help her, which he did. That was the last time she climbed a tree.

I didn’t understand. Why would she stop climbing trees because of that one time she felt afraid of falling? She had climbed trees numerous times and not once had it resulted in her experiencing pain. The fear of falling was greater than the joy she experienced from the climb.

I guess that is how fear works. It is so strong at times that it paralyzes.

I have never climbed a tree. Well, there was that one time I shimmied up a huge branch to take a picture while visiting my sister. I don’t think that qualifies. It was pretty close to the ground.

No. I have never climbed a tree.
But I know what it is like to take a risk. To open myself up and become vulnerable to the unknown. To learn to love and be loved. I did not learn how to express my emotions as a child. I was too busy surviving. I was well into adulthood when I began to identify my emotions. I only accomplished that as a result of being given an emotions chart; my therapist helped me begin the journey of connecting to myself. I had no idea what it meant to be vulnerable. To be seen. And while I have been on the journey of healing, restoring and reconnecting to the beautiful and broken pieces of me for quite some time, it is still very difficult. Have you ever been around a child who is meeting you for the first time and instead of coming fully into the room, they just kinda peek around the corner first? That is how I feel sometimes. That five year old me is peeking around the corner of human relationships trying to get a glimpse but too afraid to enter fully.

I don’t want to be hurt. I am afraid if I show you my soul, you will hurt me. I am afraid that I will uncover my scars and you will dig into them. or you will leave. or you will judge me. or you will leave. or you will betray me.

Or you will leave…

I am like my friend. So afraid of falling, that the thought of climbing that tree one more time feels paralyzing. I just want to stay on the ground where it is safe. Where I am safe.

I have taken many risks with my heart. I have allowed people to see me. I have chosen to trust and believe and experience true intimacy. And I have made wonderful connections with people who love me. I have also been hurt. Each time I am hurt, I want to stay on the ground. I want to hide. And that is where I am at this moment. My anxiety and fears are at an all time high and I really want to retreat behind my walls. At least they are familiar. I know what to expect from them. They have never let me down or betrayed me. I don’t want to pick up the phone. I don’t want to go to happy hour. I don’t want to go hang out with people who I call friend or people I barely know. I don’t want to go to that trans group or reach out. I don’t want to do these things because I am SCARED.

but I still do them. I push through  my fears of rejection and abandonment. I lift my feet up off the ground and risk falling. The thing is, unlike my friend, I have fallen many times. But not EVERY time. I have seen things that my eyes would never have seen had I stayed on the ground. I have felt things my heart would have never known. and I have experienced the beauty and healing of connecting with other human beings who see me and allow me to see them. I think it’s worth the risk.

I will keep climbing trees. Scared. Hurt. Vulnerable. Sometimes still bruised from the last time I fell. I will climb. Maybe slower this time. But I climb.

#love and be lovedforest-on-a-sunny-day

Caution tape around my heart

I lay still in a body bag. Will I awaken from this sleep? The sidewalk stained with red. from wounds that cut too deep. Warning signs: Do not come near. I must protect this space. Warning signs: Don’t get too close or better yet, just walk away.

This invisible barricade. I carry it everywhere. It is hidden from your eyes but I assure you it IS there. I really can’t remember but there must have been a time when it did not exist. Five years old. Big eyes and chubby cheeks. sex was introduced. Ten years old. This feels wrong but I think my dad loves me. Thirteen. They think I’m bad. there is no escape from this. Sixteen. Two grown men. Took even more from me. Knife to skin. I pretend. The scars they don’t exist.

I am afraid. I barricade. The world’s not safe for me. I am afraid. Must barricade. Cannot. let them hurt me. I am afraid. I barricade. No one! is getting past this line. I am afraid. Must barricade. It is here, where I will hide.

Then when you appeared at the scene. You wanted to take a peek. Vulnerable, I took a risk. Slowly showing parts of me. I removed this barricade. Hoping I was safe. I  let you see. Into me. My insides screaming. Please. Do not hurt me. But you stabbed me where I was already bleeding. pierced the skin covered with stitches. trampled on bones that were already broken. The heart has no insurance. I pay no premiums for my soul.

They say people leave imprints on the heart. Well, sometimes they leave holes from pieces they collect. Sometimes they love. Sometimes they betray. And in that moment. that time in space. that memory keeps replaying and there is nothing to replace… Can I please have my pieces back?

There is no undoing. No ‘take backs’. The damage has been done. It will never be what was. Infatuation or illusion? This ambiguity of love…I will never be who was. Can I please have my pieces back?

To trust is to be seen. To betray is to deceive. To trust is to believe. To deceive is to mislead. To trust is to be seen. To betray is to deceive. To trust is to believe. To deceive is to mislead. To trust……

I lay still in a body bag. The sidewalk stained with red. There is blood that wasn’t cleaned. My heart pumps blood. Does that mean ‘it’ bleeds? Am I alive. Am I dead. Asleep. Am. I. Awake.

I lay still. My heart beats; I lay still. My heart speaks;

Put out the caution tape.

Kai Love #loveandbeloved

Call me Kai

“I had to face a lot coming through this journey, a lot of sacrifices, difficulties, challenges, and injuries.”Gabby Douglas

Where do I start?

I am not sure there ever was a beginning: It is almost as if I was breathed into existence with no beginning or end. I am here. I exist. I am a living being moving about in this world with vials of emotions and experience kept securely within the vault of my soul.
I am on a journey with no road-map, no GPS, no ‘turn left’ or ‘keep straight’ signs.

But I am not lost.

Who am I?

Call me Kai….

I was born in Memphis, Tennessee; the fourth of five children.
I don’t remember much of my childhood and teenage years. I remember a lot. And I have forgotten a lot. I am not sure ‘forgotten’ would be the truest expression of my lost memories. But there is information; information that contains moments, fears, joys, and spaces of time: Lost in the black hole of my subconscious. I am like a puzzle with missing pieces.

So here I am on my journey. Living, breathing moving. I am building, rebuilding, taking down and making room for something different.

Brick by Brick. I am reconstructing my walls of secrecy. wounds. past. pain. fear. hatred.
I had to and am facing a lot coming through this journey. And I want to share with you not only my sacrifices, difficulties, challenges and injuries. But my healing, my hopes, my failures, my success, my explorations, my dreams. My words.

Join me on this journey @ iamkailove.wordpress.com.

#Love and be Loved