don’t give up…

Things I know to be true:

It is natural to feel hurt or anger for a short time – it’s normal – there is nothing wrong with you.

You can love.

You can trust.

You can allow yourself to be vulnerable in love.

You can bond.

You can invest yourself in someone or something.

Pain is real. It is okay to allow yourself the gift of feeling it, completely. You don’t have to mask it or rush through it.

Acknowledge all of your feelings – hurt, grief, pain, anger, mistrust, doubts, GUILT, betrayal, insecurity, RELIEF – allowing all these emotions some space and time will help you.

You can endure the pain. You HAVE to endure the pain. It hurts like heck. It is raw. Nothing, I mean nothing or no one will make it hurt any less. Endure it. With time it begins to hurt less. And yes, there will be days when the sting roars back and is almost unbearable. Acknowledge it, again, recognize the antecedent and tread carefully next time, you will be stronger next time (and yes, there will be a next time).

You will heal.

You have friends who love you.

You have family who love you.

You can talk to someone.

You can talk about the pain, the hurt.

Someone will want to listen to you.

Someone will care about you.

Someone will love you more than anything.

Someone will want a lifetime with you.

You are not alone.

ALL that you feel is real.

You have to live. Do something. Get out. Be with friends. Be with family.

Give yourself the gift of time. Time to heal. Time to be good for yourself.

Your challenges do not define you.

Your pain does NOT define you.

Write. Write. Write. – See the truth in your words. See the tears that stain your journal. Get the words out of your head, somehow, get them out.

You can take responsibility for your actions.

You can forgive yourself.

You can learn from your pain.

You can be thankful.

You will grow stronger.

You will be kinder.

You will be more mindful.

You will learn.

You will hope.

You will dream.

You may ask how do you know this to be true? I know this to be true because this is my journey. I am real. I am genuine. I am being honest with myself. I write what I feel. I write what I live. Living with struggles or challenges is different for different people. There is no right way to get through pain (physical or emotional). Each of us will have different reactions. What is important is that you know; YOU ARE NOT ALONE, YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE GOODNESS and this world NEEDS YOU.

Wishing you endless peace, joy & love with all that I am.

-J

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Listening and Yearning for My Homeland

A dear friend sent this to me today. Little do they know just how much I needed it.

A dear friend sent this picture of Tse’ Bit’ ai’ (Shiprock) to me today. A picture snapped to capture the beauty of my home right after the rain. Little did they know just how much I needed it.

Farming, herding, walking, running through the valleys and mountains of the Navajo Nation, one can smell, hear, feel, and see the life and endless possibility of Dinétah. The wind, the life breath of the land that lies between the four sacred mountains maintains the connection between the Navajo people, no matter where we reside and our ancestral home.

Dinétah has always been a source of strength and pride during my struggle with violence in the form of rape, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, reproductive control, murder, and the trauma of history. As a Diné woman I am surround by countless Diné women who have their own stories of colonial cruelties and internalized abuse. Each of these women’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual survival in spite of severe trauma is testament to the courage, power and inner strength of us all. It is from the struggles of my ancestors that I learn the importance of going back to the beginning in order to go forward in a healthy way. There will always be a time when you HAVE to “GO BACK.”  The acknowledgement of past trauma and heartache is integral to my personal and collective recovery. It allows me the opportunity to lay the foundation for a healthy future by learning from my personal traumas of the past and from the history of trauma suffered by my ancestors. It is my responsibility as a Diné woman to understand the historic and systemic nature of my wounds. I have to learn how to think for myself and not rely on others to think for me. I have to hold tight to who I am. Who I am is – Diné, Navajo ceremony, land, what I write, the words I speak, the kindness I carry in my heart, the love I give, the way in which I care for my children, the way in which I honor my community, the way in which I honor my family, and the everyday acts that allow me to be able to maintain hózhó.

I allowed my hardships to disconnect me from my true self. I allowed my hardships to disconnect me from my ancestors. I have to “go back” to go forward. I have to “go back” to RECLAIM my traditions. I have to “go back” to RESTORE  & REBUILD my RELATIONSHIPS. I have to “go back” to REBUILD who I am. I have to “go back” to have the strength to RESIST. I have to “go back” to RESURGE to LIVE and ACT! There is no other way to heal but to un-become what I am as a result of denial, avoidance, repression, and the impact of colonialism. My RECOVERY is painful and will continue to be for some time BUT it is healing, it is my RESTORATION.

With love and deep respect,

– J

Coyote and the stars…

This is just how life works. Time needs to pass. Time needs to pass to set straight the train wreck of emotions. There is no other healthy way to learn from the pain of a cracked heart. In the last few days I’ve learned things about myself. Most notably, when I love, I love deeply and completely. I’ve also learned that there are endless things that are still reliable in my life. Growing up Navajo I’d always heard the story of Coyote, First Man and the placement of the stars. I was told that First Man took great care and patience with building several constellations because he wanted the results of the work to be perfect, forever lighting up the night sky. Coyote watched and eventually grew impatient and gathered all of First Man’s mica and threw them up into the air. They instantly stuck in random bunches. To this day I can count on looking into the night sky and be reminded of the reliable disorder created by Coyote and his impatience. Stars are reliable. There is always a story in the stars. I need to allow myself to be patient, still, and open to all the stories that are out there and in me. I got so caught up in a whirlwind of love and like Coyote was reckless & impatient with that love and it had the potential to be an everlasting disorder. I’ve learned that I cannot count on someone to know me better than I know myself. I lost sight of the fact that they may not always be around. I’ve learned that I am the only one who has power over my life and I have to take the time as First Man did and patiently build the constellations of my heart. With time and patience I can work to make sure that commitment, communication, warmth, goodness, consideration, respect, honesty, sex, intimacy, passion, romance, love and trust will ALWAYS be secure in their proper positions even when surrounded by the complications, randomness, trials, and struggles of life and love. I am learning that with patience and time there is nothing in my life that cannot be renewed, restored, or remade.

With love and deep respect…

– J