Perspectives: ME & WELLNESS
Trial & Error: The Art of Experimentation

April 19, 2009 Print version       Other articles by this author

I'm sitting in my bedroom with lots of stuff around me. Everything, most of the things that are here I've placed around me for a reason. My collection of old soul & jazz albums are to my left, and I'm listening to old albums by Natalie Cole, Deniece Williams, & Teena Marie (all of which are directly connected to memories of my childhood). On the floor underneath the record player is a picture of me and my mama and a picture of my father. I have candles, oils and incense burning while I'm writing this. I'm like a mad scientist in the lab right now. To someone on the outside, it might look like chaos but there is a method to my 'madness'

I don't know where to begin, so I'll begin here: I'm thankful. I am thankful for all of the twists, turns & bends in the roads that I've traveled in my life thus far. It never ceases to amaze me how inter-connected things really are in life. In most cases with me, I'm rarely ever able to see this until after most of the happenings have unfolded. This is the case with where I currently sit, 4 months into the year 2009....

The year started off one way, draped in drama and residual bullshit from the end of 2008. At a point when many were celebrating, rejoicing at what was about to happen on January 20th with the inauguration of Barack Obama right here in DC, I was pretty much broke, miserable, and in fear. As I sit thinking back to the beginning of this year, I can remember thinking that I didn't know what would happen but I knew that whatever happened would be for my greater good, spiritual, mental, & emotional benefit. I was confident of that fact mainly because of how last year started, which was not unlike the way this year began; slow to start, confusing, and challenging. All that transpired in 2008 however, was sacred to say the least. Therefore earlier this year, I was armed with a sort of trust that the lack of clarity I was living in was indeed by design. That didn't help me much at the time when I was trying to figure out what my next move would be with regard to my career choices & matters such as how my rent would be paid. Additionally, I was experiencing for the first time in my life something that scared the living shit out of me. I was NOT living, functioning, and growing ALONE as I had become accustomed to. There was, (as there still is as I write this) a beautiful young man who stood by my side throughout all of the stuff I had become so familiar in 'dealing' with. I wrote in depth a couple of months ago about Doing The Work of being in a relationship and as the year began, I was knee deep in fear and confusion about what the fuck I was doing, who I was, where I was going, how the hell I got here, what I wanted, and why this other person was here with me, witnessing all of this chaos.

See here's the thing---I'm used to 'singing solo' (so to speak) and as January came about, it had marked just about a year since I had met this other young man who turned my ever so comfortable 'solo' into a 'duet'. Well songs start one way, and if it's a song I like, I know it off the bat. Other songs have to grow on me, and wind up being timeless songs that I love listening to and remain inspired by every time I hear them. What also tends to happen sometimes though is that after awhile, the newness and novelty of a song may wear off and eventually I stop listening to it because I'm on to something else. One of the other things that happens sometimes is that I revisit music that I used to love for whatever reason and begin to hear it in a whole new light. Things that may have gone over my head before, lyrics that didn't resonate during prior listens oftentimes speak directly to me in a whole new way. All of these things happened during the course of the first year of being involved with this person. The way I speak of it, you would think that was eventful enough but as was the case last year, PLENTY of things unfolded while all of these matters of the heart were going on. It helped to have someone there to assist with much of what unfolded last year. Conversely, other times it was a downright challenge to have him be present as I was in the process of doing my work and figuring things out...

One thing that brought all of this to the surface is the fact that I started seeing a therapist in order to have someone to 'talk to' about much of what I was going through. It is a known fact that life in general for anybody can be strenuous. Everyone experiences stress of some kind, and everyone deals with it differently. Last year, as I neared four years of living with HIV (without the absolute need to take any kind of antiretroviral drug therapy/treatment/meds) in addition to constantly keeping myself busy working "making a living", I slowly began to come apart at the seams, so to speak. And that was all before I embarked on yet another busy several months of hosting BSC events, performing, traveling, etc. At the gentle insistence of my former physician, and a couple dear friends, it was suggested that I consider not only beginning some kind of HIV treatment options to maintain optimum health but also that I think about 'seeing someone'. As life continued to unfold, I started case management through an organization that allowed me to have access to seeing a therapist 'FREE OF CHARGE'. Now one would think that would be enough to send me running to schedule an appointment, however I was anything but looking forward to doing so. As life would have it, I was embarking on something I had said I wanted for years (a relationship with a sane, decent, loving brother), beginning an HIV drug regimen, working, rehearsing a show, planning upcoming BSC performance events, and starting therapy all a the same time. I say again---it's pretty characterisic of how things tend to go for me in my life. I either have A LOT going on all at once, or very little at a time. As I think about it, in both instances I tend to shrink & I get scared...

As I sit in reflection of the past years, months, and days, I realize I have patterns. Many of my patterns, routines, and ways date back to my childhood, upbringing, and my past in general. I don't imagine I'm too much different from anyone else in that way. What I recognize now is that the way in which I tend to deal with things is unique to say the least. It's ever changing and evolving and for that I am grateful. I realize that if I didn't allow myself to change, examine what works and doesn't work, I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. One thing that being in therapy has allowed me to do is have an outlet that even many of my artistic endeavors hasn't. It's forced me to really, truly, dig DEEP back into the recesses of my mind and past. Much of it is painful. Even more of it is joyful. Some of it is neither. It just is. I am still currently seeing my therapist once a week as I have been for the last year. It's 50 minutes that I cherish and look forward to-MOST OF THE TIME. Even though it goes by like a flash of lightning (fast), it is always useful. Even when I wind up leaving there feeling unsettled, exposed, and downright confused, I find that if I just 'wait for it' IT ALWAYS COMES. The IT of which I speak is the breakthrough, or the purpose and meaning behind whatever has occurred in both past and present. We are creatures of habit; complete with wounds, battle scars, layers, quirks, tricks, lies, hopes, fears, dreams, talents, and infinite possibilities. I know now that it's possible to heal from any and everything. The most important element necessary for me has been willingness. In fact I sometimes feel as if I'm too willing if there is such a thing. My mind is always going. I'm always on, even when I'm not. I can't change that part of myself because it's a part of my makeup and who I am as a spiritual being living this human experience.
I can adjust, and adapt to situations and stay open hearted and minded enough to remember that there's always MORE for me to uncover. In this way, I realize it never stops. For that intricately designed piece of the puzzle, I'm forever grateful.

Thus, I come back around to where I sit right now. Four months into the year 2009 and I'm on the verge of embarking on yet another whirlwind journey. There have been crossroads & roadblocks, and miraculously, like clockwork, pathways have been cleared for me to remember the truth about who I am. A sensitive & complex artist. This is my lot in life. These are the shoes I've been given to wear in this life and I walk in them with grace, proudly. I do still trip, stumble & fall but I get back up. In the past four months I've walked in shoes that didn't fit me by working a job that was paying great money (in a time of recession) that caused me to feel downright miserable and unhappy. I have prayed, meditated, sat still, listened & surrendered.
I've had to TRUST and then stand up for myself to those closest to my heart & whom I know love me the most. I have had to communicate. I have been wounded and hurt, and I have cried. I have chosen to forgive, and am continuing to heal. I have been given the gift of OPPORTUNITIES. As I move forward, I remember to always FOCUS ON THE LOVE because after everything has been said and done, that's all that will remain. Instead of just being functional, I'm focusing on being FULL & WHOLE.

I'm no scientist, but I know that it takes a heightened level of focus, determination, concentration, and skill to arrive at any kind of conclusion. I know there are variables to consider. I know there will be times when things work, and other times when nothing works. In that way, for me, my life is a sacred experiment that I'm committed to continuously working at...and most importantly, what I'm realizing is that it doesn't hurt and is downright NECESSARY for me to enjoy the work I'm doing---literally & figuratively.
Though that might not be possible ALL the time it is still what I aim for...AS MUCH & AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE.