Happy Anniversary

Happy Three Year Anniversary.

I remember how I felt when I first met you, how happy you made me feel, wanted. With all of me, I trusted you, blindly followed you, felt butterflies when you said I was beautiful.

Three years later, I’m shocked to see how our relationship has changed.

Three years later, I can still feel your arms as they press against mine, your hair roughly against my face. I feel your breath, the smell so foul with your stench, your body odor mixing with mine. I scrubbed myself for days to rid the stench, a mixture of you and what used to be me.

Three years later, I can still taste the way your mouth felt on mine. I brushed my teeth for hours, desperate to get the taste of you out of my mouth, enough scraping to make my mouth bleed.

Three years later, I can still hear myself and still can wake up in a sweat hearing your laugh in my ears. I still sink into myself, stare at myself with contempt, with guilt, shame, and attempt to hide it with false confidence and pride.

Three years later, I change my number, still shudder when I hear your name, when I think I catch a glimpse of that dark hair across a train platform. I still cry at the thought of another touching me, feeling dirty, tainted.

But three years later, I look at myself in the mirror and still find moments of beauty, in the curve of my smile and the wilderness in my hair. I see strength, wisdom, and great courage, to get up each day and defy you, to stand up for what you’ve done to me.

Three years later, I have forgiven myself, for the pain I have caused others because of my own. Three years later, I mourn those I have lost because you made lose myself.

I have not forgiven you, but I am learning. I am struggling to love myself, but I’ll get there. And I thank you for the pain, the resilience. It has made me a greater person than I ever thought possible.

I Think

I think you still love me.

I think you still love me because you answered my phone call today, and asked what I needed.

I think you still love me because you snap at me when I check up on you but are mad when I ask you what’s wrong. I think you want me to care.

I think you still love me because my pictures are still featured on your Facebook and Instagram (and please, don’t ever take them down).

I think you still love me because we spent too much time in each other’s arms whispering all of our secrets.

I think you still love me because you haven’t shut me down and out. You could’ve said that you didn’t love me, but you didn’t. You could have ignored my numerous texts, but you didn’t. You could have said to not contact you, but you said “I’ll always be here”.

I think I still love you.

I think I still love you because you are still the last person I think of before I fall asleep (if I sleep) and the first person I think about every morning. I can still feel your breath in my ear as you sleep and hear your voice in my head.

I think I still love you because I pray for you every night.

I think I still love you because as much as I want us to be together, I know that what you need or want does not coincide with me.

I think I still love you because our breakup was not rough, but the thought of us not being together was the tough part.

I think I still love you because I hurt when I know you’re hurting, and I hurt when I know you are pretending to not hurt.

I think I still love you because you are doing something that makes YOU happy, and I want nothing more than to see you be happy.

I think I still love you, because I have hope for us in the future. Though you may get married, and I get married, and have a bunch of kids and are long time friends, I still hope that you are the person I get to say my vow to, to raise children with, and to grow old together.

I am always here, and I will always love you.

“You Are My Person”

It’s difficult to begin a blog post with Grey’s Anatomy, my least favorite show, but the quote, spoken by Christina Yang, is the greatest way to describe a particular person in only four words.

What does it mean to be someone’s person?

Steven Anthony Vigil-Roach and I have known each other for over 7 years at this point, and been friends for about 6 (he claims to have been friends with me before but I don’t recall), and my person before I was even aware of it.

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I am convinced that God has connected our souls. When he is upset, I feel it in my heart, even 1,000+ miles away. Even when we don’t talk for days, a text or a call from him brings me a sense of calm, a sense of peace, realization…I am often not aware that I needed to hear his voice before it happens. He is my piece of home, reminder of the things that bring me happiness, but also remind me that I am not missing much (family drama never truly disappears, even thousands of miles away).

He is the embodiment of strength, facing adversity in aspects I will never understand, and taught me the importance of allyship, of solidarity. It may not be the same struggle, but struggle nonetheless.

He is my anger when I feel calm, my calm when I feel anger. He understands, a trait that many believe they possess but are usually wrong. And when he doesn’t, he is honest, but ensures that he can learn to understand.

I could go on and on about Steven, but there is one instance I recall that consistently reminds me of the gratitude I feel knowing he is in my life. In my second semester of my first year of Loyola, I experienced many moments of trauma that I felt I could not heal from. I was ready to transfer, to drop out and “figure it all out later”.

I walked into my building, and there he was, standing there, his face asking “where have you been?” Every fear, every ounce of sadness, was drained in that very moment. Only God could interfere in an instance such as that. In a way, I should thank God too, for allowing us to be so aware of each other in a way I am with very, very few people.

Not often do we meet people whose mere presence is a comfort. His greatest sin is that he is too good of a listener. He has the ability to heal my emotional wounds that I thought could never heal, and remind me of the strength I possess to keep going, to keep trucking along.

Thanks for being my person. I can’t wait to grow old with you and bitch about our husbands over red wine.

Challenging Love

There is not much I can say about Romell that won’t seem super cheesy, as well as extremely personal, and I usually strive to keep my relationship private,  but this post serves as a platform for all the things I say in my journal but hardly to you, Romell, and I admit, I should say them more.

I often joke with Romell that the Universe was trying to tell us something when he put us both on the trajectory to meet each other. We are completely opposite people with completely different paths, so I can only thank the universe for deciding that we needed to be in each others’ lives in some way. We both have some of the strongest personalities that are often hard to miss. We come from different backgrounds. We don’t even like the same foods. Our first interaction wasn’t smooth; I yelled at him over politics and vowed never to speak to him again. And here we are, just over two years later…I never thought that I would ever get here, and yet I now can’t imagine my life without you in it, Ro.

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Romell, you are the most selfless person I’ve met. You’d give your shoes to a stranger if they needed them. And you have used that selflessness on me and on our relationship. Even when I felt like I didn’t deserve it, you made sure that I knew I was worth it, deserving of that love and generosity (and let’s be honest, sometimes I really don’t deserve it). You never stop pushing me, and I will never stop pushing you. You are so hard-working — one of the hardest working people I know, and your determination to fulfill each and every one of your goals, as well as the patience to fully achieve those goals is inspiring. That commitment is in yourself, but in our relationship too. You possess the potential to become an even greater version of yourself, and it has been a gift to watch you discover it, as well as begin to embrace it. Even in those moments of insecurity, of uncertainty, I see a light in you that has been present since I met you, and serves as a reminder of why I love you.

As my partner, you are my #1 support. You have an innate ability to make me feel like the most treasured person on this Earth, whether that is rubbing my back when I’m sick to making me laugh uncontrollably when I am feeling sad. Even when you don’t have the right words to say, you make me feel better in other ways, in ways I never thought would work. You challenge me to understand love not as self-sacrificing, but as a team effort. You taught me compromise, and patience, and you taught me how to not only understand those who think differently than me, but to accept it. You are a physical depiction of my opposite, and that is what makes us so strong. You challenge me physically, emotionally, and mentally, questioning my every belief, my every habit. That cannot be replaced.

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In a way, love can be selfish, and this letter of gratitude has definitely proved it: The things that you do for me and the way that you have affected me are significant. However, what has been most surprising, and yet challenging, is my growing ability to be selfless for you. You have made me a kinder, softer person. You have made me realize that I don’t have to do everything by myself, that it is okay to ask for help, to ask for time to take self-care. You remind me that having fun is OKAY, that I don’t always have to take life so seriously and work all the time. You have challenged my concept of love and what that means for you. You challenge me. And I will forever be thankful for that.

There is so much more I have to be grateful for when it comes to you, but I’ll keep this short. I love you so much Romell and can’t wait to see where our next journey takes us (Loyola!). I am so grateful to be your crazy partner in this crazy world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days of Gratitude

For the month of July, I will be challenged. I honestly have trouble being grateful for the simple things in my life. I often stress and worry without thinking about the things I do have. While some of my daily struggles are justified, I really want to add more positivity in my life.

DAY 1. First day goes out to the OG. Mama.

My mom is quite literally, the strongest, most humble, most giving human I may know. One of them, at least. From giving me life, to giving me knowledge, she has always been my guardian angel, whether I knew it or not. These are the reasons why I love her:

  • She educates me.

For years, my mom sent my sister and I volumes of books that I had no interest in reading. From Borderlands to Life of a Slave Girlshe was determined to make sure I was as educated as possible, and not through the lessons taught in school, but in the lessons I would never hear about: slavery, systematic oppression, colorism, police brutality. Before I had a name for these issues, I had an awareness for them, and I can only thank my mom for that.

In my mom’s house, she has a book for every thought I have ever had. Whether I have wondered about spirituality in business, or Sikh women and relationships…there is a book, and she has read it. Every statement I make is a learning tool for my mom, a way to challenge me, to think critically, to understand the deeper meaning behind each of my actions and the power behind each of my words. No other woman has done that for me.

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  • She taught me forgiveness.

Since I began to live with my maternal grandparents at age 5, I have always battled with severe abandonment issues and anger issues, wondering why my mom and dad did the things they did. It took me years to understand and truly come to terms with those circumstances, and my mom continued to love me unconditionally despite every dramatic moment of angst. She never retaliated when I said mean things, when I told her she was not my mother…not once. She continued to state her love for me even when I was sure it did not exist. That moment alone made me realize that forgiveness is not about the other person…but for yourself. And forgiving my Mom for things she could not control was the greatest thing I could do for myself.

  • She gave me great genes.

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All seriousness aside, HOW HOT IS MY MOM?

  • She taught me the importance of knowing where I came from.

My Mom practices Yoruba, a following of faith that ties back to Africa prior to the slave trade in the 1700s. When first hearing about this years ago, I really thought my mom was crazy. But learning about these things through her eyes has helped me understand that while I may not practice Yoruba, it is important to know where I came from in order to determine my future. My surname is Honor, a name an ancestor took after slavery that exemplified their hard work and resilience. The name fits well with the family. I come from a long line of strong, independent, and resilient women who have sacrificed their lives for their family, their partners, and their Earth, to be better and so others could have better lives. That sacrifice lives within me. I would not be the same without it.

  • She keeps me grounded.

This woman knows every spell in the book when it comes to feeding the mind, body, and spirit. She makes the greatest food, that practically steams with love and affection. She knows every elixir (no matter how gross) that will nourish my body ravaging after a sickness. She has used an avocado to make my hair feel like a baby’s bottom. She fills my head with the women of my past, present, and future, to inspire me, to challenge me, and to allow me to reflect on my purpose here in life.

Thank you, Mama, for all that you have given and continue to give me.

The Balance between Independence and Commitment

My whole life, I have been non-committed to romantic relationships. I am committed to my family, friends, my passions, sure. Partners? Relationships? No thank you. I love to hook-up, to meet and talk to different people.

Despite this lifelong belief, I have been in a on/off relationship for about a year, something I NEVER thought I would say.


Said partner in Amsterdam with me this past March.
Said partner in Amsterdam with me this past March.

We have spent the majority of our time apart from each other, and it has been an extremely difficult process. We have had more than our fair share of trials and tribulations, each different than the last. But we have matured greatly and our love for each other grows with each day we are apart.

This time around, the problem is where I am: I have spent the last four months in Italy, and he has stayed in Chicago, working. Living in Italy by myself has more than boosted my independence: I have grown to be a much more confident person, both in daily life choices and my future career goals and relationships. I have also learned that one of the things I value most is my need for space, to be myself and process.

What is the balance? When do you become too independent for your partner?

I know that my partner and I often clash because one of us needs more attention that we simply cannot give at the time. Lately, my partner has been seeking attention that I not only can’t give, but also don’t seem to want to. I am here for one more week; I am trying to make the most of my experience before I am forced to go back home (I say forced because I never want to leave Europe). Am I selfish for wanting my space? Am I a terrible partner because I want to do my own thing, have my own space, and that is something I inherently value? When does compromising come in?

All these questions I feel I cannot answer by myself. I only hope that the pieces fall where they may. I love the kid, I do. I just love my space too.

Ci vediamo,

Hannah