CIMARRON FILES #004:
I deleted the first version of this. When I decided to write about love I knew it was already ambitious. Love is the origin point and the axis of my life, my work, lol this website domain. The grand experiment that I convince myself I’m always failing at. Mind you there are no rules in love.
I was much more comfortable writing in political metaphors. Speaking from a collective voice, you know dropping a quote from Bell Hooks’ All About Love, crafting reflections in spiritual ecology, and finding new words to funnel all of my felt wisdom into one memorable quote about how plants are the cosmic love consciousness — essentially leaving my own personal experience right out of it.
That was the first version. But I couldn’t ignore the big topic in the room. February 10th is my father’s death anniversary. A man I love so darn much but and try my hardest not to, because the pain is still unbearable. It’s also the anniversary of my death. Feb 10th unlocked a series of traumatic shitstorms that sent another part of my soul flying into the outer corners of the universe (don’t worry they’ve returned).
Love hasn’t felt like poetry. Love is my sword. Love is how I’ve chosen to fight. Again and again.
Love is what teaches me about living. It whispers to keep going.
My father felt more like fantasy than a real father. Manuel “El Sober” Feliz was a rolling stone in my early childhood. Traveling back and forth a lot between the islands of Manhattan and Dominican Republic for business. He was a money lender in the underground economy, lending people and businesses money who didn’t have access to institutional capital and he had accounts all over.
He was a genius with numbers, was health conscious before anyone we knew even knew what it was, and literally got it out the mud as a true rags to riches story. The wealth never reached my brother and I as we lived in section 8 housing on my mom’s $11 an hour income after my parents split when I was six and we began to see him less and less until he moved back to the Dominican Republic permanently to start a new life and family. I never picked up 95% of his phone calls. The other 5% of phone calls left me distraught at not being able to make sense of his chronic mental condition.
By the time I got to see him again I was 24 and he was clearly on his way out. He was now less than half the size in stature and weight from my Olympic man memory of him, very sick, leeched upon, and would often drift away into another reality. I grieved yet again, except that this part of our saga was for yet another version of him being taken away from me.
In his eyes I could see all the answers I was seeking staring back at me. Yes he loved me endlessly but he just didn’t know how to be with me under these conditions. Yes he’s an incredible psychic channel and by not having proper guidance he feared it to be demonic. Yes he’s incredibly familiar with the often debilitating experiences I know of — depression, sui***** ideation, questioning reality, being wired differently (perhaps it’s what we know call Autism).
It still feels difficult to love those parts of myself. Just like it feels difficult to love someone who isn’t able to love you the way you need to be loved. I’m still opening up to myself, to us, though I fear it might hurt me. And it took me a ton of healing work to even get here. Poison plant spirit healing in particular has felt like a life saver for me. Allowing me to see and begin to shift the relationship patterns in my life that was sucking the precious life energy out of me.
Like a gravitational pull,
This weariness sinks down everything.
I don’t think it’ll always feel like a battle,
But right now it is. And the fight is all I’ve known.
Romance is the promise and love is the practice. Both for me are essential.
My parents are freaks of nature. Two people who beat (I’m tracking the quotidian war metaphors in the english language) every odd stacked against them, met and (I believe) decided to try and carve out gentle lives for themselves. And in some ways failed. And in some ways came out victorious.
I love them but I don’t understand them. They came of age within a harsh and unforgiving reality. They ate hand to mouth and heard traces of our languages still erased from the world, they lived as adults while still children, they were enslaved by relatives, they sacrificed decades for people who continued to see them as undeserving, they were made lonely with their sensitivities, they dreamed and they journeyed to that imaginary land called the US and assumed new identities. So they learned to shut down parts of themselves to fit in and to survive.
As an artist with a Leo in Venus I’ve always understood romance and beauty to be a tool. Fantasy is powerful, it drives us into the uncharted terrains of our lives and our hearts. Beauty opens us up to seeing darker but necessary truths. Think the Bernie Mac Show, Wangechi Mutu’s paintings, and Octavia Butler’s novels. Would you scoff at their operatic visions? Then don’t scoff at yours. Romance is needed to get us there. And love is the practice of staying, the magic of being when the ecstasy wears off.
I didn’t get to know and receive from those parts of them either. And I fear I may be just like them – obsessive, self-sacrificial (overly-altruistic), distant. And I love that I may be just like them – innovative, wise, sensitive. So loving them is teaching me to accept. To accept all of them and all of me without the ideal of anything ever changing. After all this is the origin point. And everything else exists in variation of this. And now I know how I want to be victorious. In love.
The serpent weaves our being.
Our DNA fabric glitters with starlight.
Life isn’t a puzzle to be figured out.
Being human is a masterclass in love.
The plants are master teachers in love. The plants all squirmed in unison at my mention of the title master (but that is the best word you and I together currently have to describe this)
Maybe I’ve told you this story before, but I had this dream once that shook me to my core and that I now carry it like a sermon in my back pocket, painting my experience of every challenge I encounter, plant spirit healing session and divination session I serve as channel for, and my vision for our future world.
The sky is a blue black dusk and I’m a lieutenant in an army. I’m in the midst of the greatest war I’ve ever witnessed and it feels like we’re on the losing side again. The smokey streaks of fired cannonballs light the air. The cacophony of screams fall on deaf ears. An insurmountable grief for the loss fills my heart and I collapse on the ground where a Morning Glory flower is glowing as bright as the full moon.
They envelop me in a vision extending towards me like a corded phone. They confide in me of the battles raging in the plant kingdom as well. How silly of me to think we’re the only ones at war. They show me how the heart connects us to all that is and all that ever was. We merge and become the messengers.
That is all the love I can offer others. No drafting of treaties to end all wars, no lauded career achievements, no self sacrificial offerings. That shit doesn't count. That shit doesn’t account for anything in the story. I’m in devotion to creation through the vessel of myself. To reflect the divine back to you in case you forgot. To be, so you can have a fighting chance too.
The answer we seek is already here
So simple, so gentle, and so true,
We might mistake it as only
Reserved for the gods.
We might mistake