My Darkest Reflection :: A Dance of Shadows and Mirrors

It was just a few nights ago when I had encountered a reflection which both deeply disturbed–and magnetically shifted me to step into the woman I am becoming in a more conscious way. This is my re-telling.

It had been a long, glorious Saturday. That day–marked the first day in several months when I had truly taken the time to truly invest in my self-care, my wellness, and luxury. It was the first time in a long time–that I felt abundant enough in all manner of ways–to do so.

I began my day with a clear decision to allow myself to do whatever felt good to me. At 6:30 a.m., I awakened and treated myself to my Sensual Dance & Yoga, and a slow walk of Gratitude through my neighborhood with plenty of Kitty-Worship amidst a glorious mountain view. I prepared Kale Salad for breakfast, and adorned my body with a Sensual Shower.

The day slowly crescendoed into a luxuriously-curated trip to Santa Monica, filled with deep tissue massages, aromatherapy, pedicures, thrift shopping, magical gardens, yummy vegetarian lunches, pleasant conversations, and unabashed kisses blown to my mirror reflection.

I was full and fulfilled.

It was a celebrate-myself-for-being-me day. It was a Boss-Lady-off day. It was a This One’s On Me day. It was a do-nothing and have anything-I-want day. It was my ME day. I had lived it out fully…and I deserved every last bit of it.

The sun’s deep yawn reminded me that it was finally time for me to re-visit the very reason why I came all the way to Santa Monica from my tucked away retreat of a home in the arid deserts of the San Fernando Valley, where I had hobbitted myself indoors for whole week due to the intense heat and my disciplined, yet graceful saunter between my Werk schedule and Pole Dance Training…

To be softened by the gentle winds and waters. To be one with the ocean. To feel my own starlit presence beneath a sea of stars.

The eve was setting in its course by the time I had arrived at the beach. I sat just above the edge of the waters, taking in the space. Unlike the last couple of times I had visited Santa Monica Beach on weeknights, I was now in the company of families, surfers, and babies running about, creating fun and games from the purest sands of their imaginations and the ground beneath them.

I gazed ahead and above, wondering why the sky was so vast, so clear, and so blue. It seemed as if the sky in Los Angeles was more tangibly vast than where I was before. “It must be because I am that much closer to my dreams,” I thought.

The words skimpered across my mind’s landscape, entering just as quickly as they left–as I re-established presence in my surroundings, taking in the mountains, the vague sunset barely peeking behind the clouds, casting a diffused colour of cool blue and pink onto the beach sand. The Ocean was just as vast as the sky.

After some moments had passed, I decided that I wanted to observe more from my own little nook of a space.

I bundled myself in my light sweater and walked over to the boardwalk to take in the rapture of fellow beach-goers more consciously. The continuous stream of Skateboarders, Roller-Skaters, and people with colourful, lit-up bikes, booming old-school hip-hop engaged me in an instant. I watched couples, families, and groups of friends walk by from my little side bench. I wondered about their stories. I made up stories. I felt their stories.

I made eye contact with a few people whose eye I had caught. They looked at me, and I looked back at them, watching them drift off into the abyss of the never-ending stream of passersby. In the back of my mind, I wondered if there would be a man who would approach me, as I sat alone on the boardwalk, looking single.

And so it was.

A trio of young black folks casually rolled by on their bicycles, and the young man in the back fixated his eyes on me. True to form, I gazed back at him, boldly–more intrigued in the curiousness of the gaze itself than in creating a physical connection. As I saw his bike turn towards me, I instantly looked away.

“Please don’t come over here,” I groaned inside. I did not intend to invite him over. Yet still, within minutes, he appeared, feet planted on the ground in front of me, straddling the wheels of his bike.

“Hi”, a voice spoke into the night, ever so softly.

I looked him over, silently, without speaking.

I read his presence, carefully. I wish I could describe him in detail, but I am uninspired. The truth is that everything about his physical presence was average. He gazed at me with softened brown eyes and a quiet smile on his face. He was intelligent. It was as if he read my energy and packaged himself accordingly to match my momentary vibe.

The one thing which glaringly stood out to me were the oversized slides he wore on his sock-covered feet. The exposed rubber backing looked tacky, as if his feet were pushed forward. He looked slack. It was as if he didn’t care. It was a bad sign.

Yet still, I took in his presence further, intrigued as to who had fallen at my doorstep. He had a quiet, subdued presence about him. Eyes delicately squinted, I smiled at him with curiosity. Nonetheless, I was deeply guarded. Somewhere inside, I knew that the silence exchanged between us was just a cute performance.

A Dance of Shadows and Mirrors.

“Are you just going to abandon your friends?” I said, referencing how he just wheeled off the path to meet me.

“I didn’t abandon them,” he said, still straddling his bike. “I just kinda went off on my own way”.

He pointed at my right wrist, asking what my tattoo meant. I was a bit surprised that he even noticed in the darkness of the eve.

I remained silent, staring at the being in front of me with curiosity, maintaining the air of mystery. A few moments later, I uncovered the inside of my left wrist, which was embellished with a similar tattoo–covering the faint, decade-old scars from knife marks and slashes.

“This is the feminine,” I said, factually referencing the inside of the left wrist. “And this is the masculine”, gently holding up the outside of my right. “They are actually symbols of royalty from Nigeria…”

I am used to sharing my stories with both myself and others–it was nothing particularly revealing. Yet at the onset, It had taken a little extra effort on his part to get me to open up. I was sharing with a deep sense of reserve and safety inside of myself. Nonetheless, I sensed something inside of him that I was curious about. I was curious about what inside of him was curious about me.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“I’m originally from New York,” he said.

“Hm. That’s good”

“Why? Because of our awareness?” he asked, knowingly.

Ahhh…awareness. I whispered inside myself. Interesting.

I said nothing. He continued:

“Everywhere I go, I’m alone. And so everywhere I go, it’s the same thing. Just alone. I mean… I’m not a regular dude. That’s how it is when you reach a certain level of awareness. You just don’t relate to most people. I mean people are attracted to you, and you can connect and give them advice. But nobody to really like–be friends with on a continuous basis, you know?”

My heart warmed. I knew. I knew exactly what he meant. He was speaking to an experience that I was currently struggling with. An experience I had struggled with off and on for years.

Like him, I was a Loner. I had been a Loner my entire life. I had often found myself ahead of my peers, quickly out-growing friendships, or sometimes going long periods of time without friends at all. I always had people around me to connect with in some fashion–but most of the time, those connections were distant.

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