I've had the same number since 2003. So here at the end of 2017, when I hear you say, "where did you go? Is your number the same?" I hear "this ghosting culture this generation is a part of says that when you did not pursue me the way I thought you would, I'm going plant that seed in your head again." 

Mercury is spinning backwards and I've seen so many ghosts. So many reminders from the past and the nostalgia that others have that makes my head and heart spin backwards. For just a moment. Retrograde moments are a time to be more creative. To trust our intuition over our logic because as someone who gets too literal sometimes, when met with phrases like "where did you go?" I want to say everywhere.

I want to say that I've been to the dark side of my moon more times then I can count when folks are more concerned with their follower counts. I don't know what it is about this incarnation of communications, and this is not an accident that I'm feeling this way on the heels of the net neutrality vote, but something has to be said about the ways in which we consume people. 

The consumption of others at the sake nourishing ourselves so that we do not starve for love. So that we know what it is when it does come and to stand firm until it does. No matter how many quick fixes come around. It's a snack but it's fleeting. It's a fling but not a thing. It's all good until it's not. 

Somewhere on Instagram I've seen a quote that warns us to make sure that the people we interact with like us for us and not for our energy or what we can do for them. The ways in which this has flared up in my life is how I navigate spaces of my work. As I outwardly and publicly step into the fray as just me, flaws and all, and how the collective has responded. The response has been overwhelmingly beautiful and has been filled with streams of supported that I knew existed and in wells that I did not realize that I had access too. And for this I'm grateful. But what this has also facilitated is that there are moths that are coming out. 

Laced with flowering words, masking ill intentions and carrying the weight of the past, moves are being made in this movement scene in the dark. As if I don't have night vision. As if this isn't my season. As if this isn't my time. Intuition over logic says that doing the work to understand my needs means I can see through the facades that others put up - both online and in real life. 

Flexing for the gram as opposed to sharing the flow with your fam is something that needs to be left in 2017. We cannot afford to do put out false narratives and shame others for exposing truths, and pointing fingers without making sure that the person that we're speaking at isn't holding up a mirror. To illuminate what the other needs to work on or what they see within themselves, and since they haven't navigated it, they take it out on people that the perceive as "having it all figured out." 

Being a mirror is exhausting because you can be set down, broken, and discarded, only to be picked up again later. That's when the ghosts have rejoined the land of the living again. When dams are broken and the waters can flow again. As if the water does not have the wisdom to cleanse and create. But then again, some of us end up drowning. Drowning in the expectations of these ghosts, that they can push and pull as they please like the tides of the sea, without actually learning how to swim. 

I'm learning how to float after realizing that I've been out in the ocean, near the horizon, waiting, hoping for others to join me.  I'm writing this as the person who brings others together, but also wished that people would do the same for me sometimes. As someone who has been marooned but someone who cultivated that land. Now I have to defend it. To honor that I have the agency and the magic to respond how I want to with the lessons that have been brought back to my feet. Something like a message in a bottle, except I'm the one that put most of them out to Yemaya, praying for compassion where I felt I could no longer give it. 

Because being a healer and being spiritual does not mean that we have to be "on" all the time. That we do not reserve the right to say no to holding space of any kind for someone. That, Black women in particular, do not have to save everyone at the expense of themselves. Science is catching up to the fact that while we age well outwardly, the wear and tear of others shows up in our veins. In our hearts. In our wombs. In our bones. 

So when you ask me "where I've been," try asking me where I want to go next instead. Then ask yourself the same thing. I no longer force anyone to be there for me in a way that I do not have the capacity to be present for myself. Leading as opposed to following blindly, but learning that charting the path can be lonely. As the last dark moon approaches, I challenge us to divine these expectations that we have of ourselves, for ourselves, especially for those of us whose mission is to be in service to others. 

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