Doors and paths.
Climbing up a wall without stepping back to see what it’s much easier to go around. It’s a lot less time and energy to circumvent disappointment and be preventive when it comes to how we show up in relation with one another.
I did something tonight that I’ve never done. I fully shut down my phone. Intentionally.
It’s not dead. It had around 65% of juice left.
I just had to shut down because my main tool of communication and how I document my life was buzzing while being on silent.
The only sounds as I write this are my fingers stomping across the keys of my computer the same way that I walk through spaces. With intention, being aware of the steps and the paths that I am gliding, often seeing the road or stream of words before or during the journey.
It is in this form that I am able to shape the future and (command) shift my world and how I navigate my relationship with it. I’m realizing I’ve gotten far too comfortable with the silence of sliding along my phone as opposed to the cadence of my words and my thoughts being typed out. The same way that something gets lost in the technological translation of us swiping, something has been lost for me. Up until now.
No is a full sentence until it means someone who is used to you saying yes is included. That someone lately is me.
The more that I have been saying no to opportunities and invitations, well intentioned and completely in alignment with who I am in this moment, the more that I realize I have the highest responsibility to ensure that I hold myself to that same firmness. That warm but firm that gets used in the education field but I struggle with learning that lesson time and time again. Like I don’t know the ways in which I can identify with being deeply rooted and grounded, but also am a kin to a volcano. As if my babalawo didn’t remind me to be careful with my words and to be extremely strategic in how I bring them to market given I am the lightning across the sky and on the ground.
Somewhere between I want to be seen and held in community but I also want to be fully present to do that. Somedays that means I want to sit at home and talk about the day with my roommate and some days I can multitask and do that at the local spots across the boroughs with my favorite DJs and creatives. Lately I’ve been reading more and more and writing less and less for the joy of it. Embodied personifications of how we can be transactional in our relations with ourselves and each other.
A lot of my roles require me to critically read and decipher messages to the point of having personal hard drive malfunctions in the name of trying to survive in a hyper-capitalist culture. In working with youth to do this, I have had to set clear boundaries and expectations on how they speak to me when they are in need. Our insta culture has and continues to shape how they interact with others, and I see it most often in how they speak to myself and other administrators in the school, demanding support without checking in or acknowledging all that we’re doing. A colleague literally said to me, “Veronica don’t mess around and have an ulcer because of them, some of these kids are so used to folks giving things to them on demand...you’re going to have to just say no.”
Full stop. Revisit, edit, try again.
The way I communicate it has shifted because of my relationships with my students, but I have been much calmer in saying no and inviting solutions to ensure that they get supported. “I can’t right now because I’m busy, but you can ask _____ for their opinion/help.” “Can you write it down for me so I remember because that sounds important and I don’t want to forget.” “Hi. How are you? Can you try that again and say that first before you ask something of me?” “Yes, I’m always busy, but if it’s that important, tell me what it is so I can tell you very quickly if I can or can’t help you. If I can’t and it’s urgent, I will find a path for you.”
But as I receive my tools to hold myself accountable to my work in my counseling role, I realize that I have to fully activate them in the other spaces and communities that I am a part of. To not do that would be, to me at least, to fail at holding enough space for myself in the vastness of the iteration of the question, Who Heals the Healer. AKA who shows up for the people who show up for everyone else and do we have an answer for this because I’m tired and the people who are always tired are still tired.
Finding freedom and liberation in naming that I cannot show up the way that folks have expected me to allows me to be seen and held without physically being held and seen. When I list out things that I need and hope to accomplish on the giant 3M posters in my room, when I color code my Google Calendar, when I take a breath to name and honor my needs by interpreting the languages of my body, mind and spirit - I am able to stay true to my name. What I've written is read with clarity and not much is left up for clarification or debate.
So it is written, so it is done. As it's spelled, as it manifests. As it is read, it is comprehended.
As a Sagittarius, folks will read this and think “that’s such a Sag thing to say,” which is true on a surface (ego) level. The deeper I dive into the lessons of my Saturn Return however, the more I understand the ways in which my Capricorn stellium (meaning 3 or more planets in the same sign) expresses itself. Mercury and Venus alone dictate how I communicate and how I love/show love. It is very much a placement that comes out when I say “name your needs and I’ll tell you how I can be in service.” One rooted in exchange and being reassured that the exchange will be equitable with a foundation of love.
I have this fear that the more I step out in community alone, the more readily accessible I become, I have to simultaneously turn folks away. That I have to go back to the drawing board and (self)start the fires that drive this work by exerting less and less kinetic energy. Crying and releasing through water enough to replenish the wells.
But I’ve written this all before, in different combinations of syntax, colloquialisms, and speech patterns. I’ve heard my voice when I share these thoughts with folks who have held space for me while I navigate holding space for others. I’ve seen the circles under my eyes grow darker, no matter how much Fenty I slide over them, and the concern in my father’s eyes when he notices them. I’ve felt the vibration of my mother’s voice tell me to take care of myself and that I do not owe anyone any explanation beyond no. I’ve read emails and messages from messengers that remind me that I have not done as good as a job of communicating with all of the senses, known and unknown, what I do and do not have the capacity for because I stopped checking in on myself as often as I would like.
I’ve scanned my own inventories and am fortifying myself from the anxieties that I’ve created around being able to do all the things. Again. All the things all at once for others folks out a place of love, but that love nearly stopped prioritizing that love for myself enough to forgive myself for no leaving that loop of trauma and anxiety in the name of “doing the work.” Of being just the persona Veronica the Healer and not Messy. Problematic. Growing. Queering. Conjuring. Alchemizing. Weaving. Veronica.
Persona means mask and while folks are picking them up in the name of needing valid support, I keep finding myself taking off mirrored masks that I catch the projected reflection in. I don’t know that Veronica right now. That party girl, even though she wrote about how it’s not “just a party,” is charging. That venting girl, even though she wrote about how she can’t be a steady resource right now, is charging. That busy girl, even though she wrote about how it causes her anxiety when folks show up in her phone without asking if she has capacity first, is overbooked.
She/I/We will be back. All of the multitudes are charging on their ports so we can be free. Like we always imagined we would be. This is not personal. This is deeply personal. As you read this I’ll see you on Saturn’s rings. As you read this it is not about you. As you read this it is all about you. All of us. We.