The Road I Travel

With Mother’s Day hours away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to say goodbye to A Righteous Revival. I began this blog back in the summer of 2013 when it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong in my life had gone wrong. It served as a platform and medium of therapeutic outlet. My dedicated readers – you know who you are – have been supportive and encouraging these last almost four years and I hope that you will follow me on to bigger and better things at my new project.

I recently launched The Road Linds Travels to merge my two passions of writing and travel. Similar to A Righteous Revival, I continue to share my personal growth through candid stories, anecdotes, and memories. My dear Mother is still very much a large part of the motivation and subject of my posts. I believe she’d be very proud to see how far I have come since laying fetal position on the floor of my bedroom in Eternal Sunshine. I am very proud of myself.

Much of my strength is innate and learned but much of it, I got from my mama. She stressed how important it was to be a self-sufficient woman, never relying on a man’s emotional or financial support or anyone’s support for that matter. She showed me what hard work meant – the literal kind and the figurative kind that comes with simply living life. She was why I was able to remove myself from a toxic marriage, to pick myself up off of the floor that night, and keep on keepin’ on. She was a much-needed reminder in the form of an electrical wire when I wanted nothing more than to just give up. She’s forever my deepest inspiration.

With that being said, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the comments, dedication, and energy you all have put into following and reading A Righteous Revival over the last few years. I do hope you’ll make the transition with me and subscribe to The Road Linds Travels, as it is sure to be one hell of a journey! Much Love and peace.

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#ICANTKEEPQUIET

My face was half an inch from a gentleman’s armpit as two Italian nationals used me as their subway pole and the entire car sang “Three little Birds” by Bob Marley. We were on the red line from North Hollywood to Pershing Square, the starting point for Saturday’s Women’s March in Los Angeles and we were packed in like sardines, reminiscent of my New York City commuter days during rush hour.

It’s moments like this I wish I was taller,” I commented to my friend who began singing Skee-Lo’s one hit wonder as the unusually tall man behind her chuckled. Bob Marley turned into “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and a young man standing near the doors began feeling faint. Strangers all around him started fanning him with their makeshift signs, offering him water, and making certain of his wellbeing.

When we finally reached Pershing Square and the peaceful crowd exited the train, this man escaped onto the less crowded platform, making his way to a bench where he could breathe a little deeper. My friend and I approached him to ensure that he wasn’t alone and that he didn’t need anything. His friend arrived shortly thereafter.

Upon exiting the subway, we were greeted by a large chunk of the Los Angeles population – 750,000 strong, we marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles chanting, “My body, my choice” while the men responded, “Her body, her choice!” Creative signs and costumes abound from a colorful drawing of the vagina with the words, “GET vagucated” to “Make the White House black again” to simpler and more to the point signage including one of my favorites: “EQUALITY is better than great!” I have never been more proud to be an Angeleno or a woman than I was this past Saturday. The positive energy and motivation was palpable and it instilled in me the kind of hope that I needed after the last couple of months of this tumultuous, political climate.

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My friend and I walked a mile each way to and from the subway that day. We stood on the train platform for an hour and a half before cozying up really close to perfect strangers, and we trudged through an excessively muddy lawn in Grand Park along with thousands of other human beings that day. We conversed with eighty-year-old Herb from New York and his wife who used to actively work for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) during the civil rights movement. She felt very passionate about defending what she fought so hard for decades ago.

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The following day, I called Paul Ryan’s office to profess my opposition to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only to be met with an automated “this mailbox is full” message and I proudly donated to the ACLU. This is only the beginning and just as Bob wrote so many years ago, “Rise up this mornin’ / Smiled with the risin’ sun… / Don’t worry about a thing / ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright…”

If you want to call Paul Ryan’s office and declare your opinion regarding ACA, call either (202) 225-3031 or (202) 225-0600 or if you’d like to donate to the ACLU, please click on the link below.

https://action.aclu.org/secure/make-tax-deductible-gift-aclu-foundation-0

And I’d like to leave you with this performance that took place at Washington D.C.’s women’s march organized and written by Los Angeles based artist, MILCK. #icantkeepquiet

http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/01/23/511186649/a-flash-mob-choir-at-the-womens-march-turned-this-unknown-song-into-an-anthem

All about the Journey

Almost two years ago, I sat at my coffee table eating Christmas dinner, alone. Not only was it Christmas, but it was my thirtieth birthday and I vowed from that moment on, I would do something extra special each year even if it meant I’d be doing it alone. I had spent holidays with friends and in what essentially seemed a foreign place to be celebrating the holidays before but that particular Christmas was the fourth I was spending without my parents breathing somewhere thousands of miles away. This loss only added to the heaviness of being alone on my thirtieth birthday, on a holiday that is better spent with loved ones.

I tried driving to the movie theater with the intent of distracting myself from the solitude for a couple of hours. I only ended up making matters worse when I found myself surrounded by hordes of couples and families with similar intentions. I promised myself that day that I’d write a different story thereafter.

Last year, I explored, ate, and drank my way through California’s famed wine country and this year, I head to Peru to check off the bucket-list worthy Machu Picchu amongst many other adventures including learning how to make chocolate! Peru has always inexplicably beckoned to my wandering spirit even more so than more obvious tourist destinations like Paris or London.

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Eating oysters along highway 1 at Tomales Bay, Dec. 2015

2016 has had its ups and downs like every year – thankfully not as many downs as some previous years. Nonetheless, I’d like to reflect on the positive of this year and enter into 2017 with that gratitude in my heart and mind.

I began 2016 vigorously hunting for a new job only to be promoted at my current job and assume a management role with a team of Disney loving artists. I look at Mickey Mouse’s face all day – hard to complain about that. In May, I found myself on a beautiful, rural island in the Pacific Ocean, a Hawaiian Island by the name of Kauai. I found much deserved rest and relaxation there as well as a great affinity for island life. I watched the sunset and the sunrise over the crashing waves of the sea, collected sea glass on a beach covered in it with my mother in my heart, and I ate all types of seafood like it was my job, even experiencing a mild allergic reaction to butterfish when my mouth became itchy and my lips swelled up. Thank goodness it was only mild!

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Last Sunrise in Kauai, Hawaii

The month of June brought life changing decisions and a serious surgery that was followed up by an epic eight-hour round trip hike to the top of Kearsarge Pass, an 11,760-foot peak overlooking stunning Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Forest. This weekend of camping and hiking in good company led me to a newfound love – the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range! The “range of light” as John Muir so accurately described them, left me in awe of their vast beauty, chanting “emotional pain is worse than physical pain” during the grueling climb to the top of the pass, and perhaps masochistically pining for more.

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Top of Kearsarge Pass drinking my celebratory cup of wine

While July brought loss, leaving me grieving in its aftermath, it also brought me back to the Sierra Nevadas. I took off for a solo weekend getaway one Saturday morning, ate breakfast on the banks of a pristine lake, and eagerly visited the wonder that is Mono Lake and its tufas. The following morning, I got lost on my way to a trailhead of an intended hike and when all was said and done, it didn’t feel like I had ever truly been lost. In fact, I think I was going the right way the entire time when the beautiful deer pranced out in front of my car, briefly paused, and then disappeared into the dense, dark forest.

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Convict Lake where I ate breakfast

Thanksgiving found me surprising my family in Kansas City for the holiday and what a nice treat that was to spend so much quality time with everyone, especially my eighty-six year old grandma. From listening to Elvis Presley Pandora, my grandmother’s favorite, to assembling her Christmas tree with my aunt and cousin, I was reminded just how important the family we don’t get to choose is. Happily finding a jazz lounge and touring a distillery with my best friend of eighteen years was time well spent and will certainly be a part of the memory books of our minds for years to come.

People have come and gone and I am reminded that no matter how long each person was a part of my life, be it for years or for a moment, they were all equally as important and purposeful. It’s most certainly about the journey and not the destination, nothing is an accident, there are no coincidences, people are rarely ever “joking,” and the Universe always has messages for those of us looking for them.

And here I am, one week away from a trip that I have looked forward to for so long! I am proud of my hard work, my candor, my strength, and my drive – I am proud of the loving, bold, and compassionate woman I have always been and I am unashamed of the endless hopefulness that burns brightly inside me. But you’ve seen so many disappointments in this short life, says that child’s voice inside of me that’s always seeking to protect, and to her, I respond, but my dear, without hope, we wouldn’t put one foot in front of the other, we wouldn’t look forward to or get excited about another day and all of its possibilities. Therefore, I shall always have hope.

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I am looking forward to the Peruvian journey and to thirty-two! Cheers, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, set your life on fire, seek those who fan the flames, and a Happy New Year to all of you!

Truth Crusades

My head and my heart are in what feels like constant war, as in opposing magnets on opposite sides of a spectrum, consistently contradicting one another to the near point of absolute insanity. This could also be known as anxiety but I wanted to be descriptive in order to drive the point home, to paint the picture of anatomical organs jousting to a bitter end. This battle usually takes place within my stomach thus ensuing relentless stomach pains and strange physical ailments without any tangible explanation. Sometimes the battle takes place in my shoulders or back, too, but nine times out of ten, my gut will take the brunt of the attack.

Early on, I learned that it is my responsibility to ensure everyone is happy, that par for the course I give until I have nothing left to give and even then, I can’t stop. My brain is so angered by this selflessness, understanding that such action leaves me vulnerable and open to being taken advantage of. Thus, I am left feeling utterly drained. My heart explains that it’s my duty to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to whomever is in need of it even if said person is not going to believe the truth. In the case of denial of the truth, I must not give up my duty in making said person understand. Again, my brain becomes enraged because cognitively, the idea that I have to deliver truth like I’m a part of the fucking truth crusade when that truth is being repeatedly rejected is insanity in and of itself!

All of my heart’s irrationalities are centered on this idea of never feeling like I am enough. You didn’t try hard enough. That person believes something false so you must be a terrible person for allowing that to happen. If you loved hard enough then this person would never believe such a fabricated narrative. This person is hurting so it must be your fault. If you had tried harder then said person wouldn’t be hurting.

Lest you fickle fucking heart forget about your own fucking feelings, shouts my brain from the rooftops!

But one of the people who gave me life, who made my heart beat, hated his life so I must not be good enough, replies my heart.

Well, then, what’s the point in even fucking trying, my dismayed brain, seemingly defeated, asks.

It’s fucking madness!

Amongst the battle, I am diligently working to change this narrative, so not to be a product of such conflicting, untrue, and unproductive thoughts and emotions. I am working to break the cycle so to speak. For the sake of my well-being, I can no longer be host to this war zone. Sometimes, my brain has valid points and sometimes, my heart does. I need both my brain and my heart to work together, to dwell in harmony, and compliment one another. I’m not sure how to get to said harmony but I know I’m on my way and at the end of the day, I believe it’s more about the journey than it is the destination.

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Open Books and Carry-on Baggage

I wish I could say that I’m just now learning or that this next part is news to me but if I’m going to be honest, then it is being brought to my attention again would be a more accurate description of the fact that I cannot talk to everyone. Not everyone gives a shit nor does everyone listen without passing judgment. There are countless times when I can utter these words but particularly in this case, I can say with great emphasis, I miss my mother so much.

I could speak to my mama about anything and everything. I could do so confidently, securely and without feeling like I wanted to take back everything I just revealed to her afterward as I have felt with so many others. It doesn’t take rocket science to notice that I am an open book and I often wear my heart on my sleeve, and I do so with candor, humility, and frequent eagerness.

I think this could stem all the way back to that “golden rule” that was drilled into me from a young age, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” I suppose it’s also the idealist in me believing that everyone will respect my willingness to share, will see that my intentions come from a pure and almost childlike place. As I admit that, I immediately call bullshit, the inner voice viciously scolding my naïvete.

Some of which I choose to share are things that most thirty-one year olds have never experienced. And some of the things I choose to share are choices I made that maybe I’m not necessarily proud of but by no means, do I regret. I rarely ever give myself credit where credit is due but in the last few months I have begun learning how to do so and I’m not about to let someone’s insecurities or fears spoil my progress. Simply put, I have to work on remembering that I owe no one a single explanation for why I do the shit I do or why I did the shit I’ve done.

My past is my past. I come with lots of heavy baggage, baggage that most people my age have yet to experience the weight of. I find it incredibly sad that so many are so quick to judge having never carried around an ounce of what I have carried. So many are so willing to dismiss me simply because I exceed the maximum allotment for a carry-on.

Today on my way home from work I was almost side swiped by a car. My take out tacos went flying across the seat landing on the ground as my brakes stalled my vehicle just in time to avoid a wreck. I escaped thankfully unscathed, though wholly shaken. I needed someone to empathize and tell me it was okay – That I was okay. I crave days gone by when I could pick up the phone, dial my mama’s number and confidently confide in her knowing full well that when we got off the phone, my carry-on might just receive the green light – at least for this flight.

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