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Chronology is Grounding AF

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

One of the most impactful things I learned from Ta (auntie) Phyllis while in Senegal is that chronology itself is grounding. Well, that and how to effectively cut a super pretty mango.

Discovering that there is grounding in chronology makes so much sense to me, especially in my story-telling. I’m the long-story-long, back-story to the side-bar, make a four-course meal out of a story from scratch and give you coffee or tea after dessert- kind of story teller. One reason—my long-windedness aside, is that I feel that EVERY detail is important in a story. I genuinely find significance in fastidiousness. Fastidious is the act of giving entirely too much attention to the tiniest of details. It is the literal wanting of everything to be accurate and unflawed. If that definition ain’t just drag me by my entire hip-length ponytail braids, I don’t know what did. I feel like my first memoir is literally about why I sought perfection in the tiniest ways during my earliest adult years. I be fastidious AF.

I speak often about grounding and the various ways I ground myself because--sis be in her head. Grounding for me, is literally forcing myself out of my brain (any neurotic folks in the house?) and into my physical body. It is the practice of focusing on something tactile, or absolute. For example: when spiraling emotionally on life coaching calls, my coach invites me to readjust my body, place my feet on the ground, feel the wall or chair on my back holding me up, take a couple deep breaths, and to name where I feel whatever “it” is in my body. Tactility brings me back to the present. While alone, journaling is especially helpful to get out of my million-miles-a-minute-mind.

It's important to know there are simple ways out of the complexities and depth of my brain; especially when my mind begins to feels like a labyrinth of thoughts I cannot escape from. At times, I feel like I am drowning in a raging sea of what is or was or could be. Grounding techniques are how I swim out of that shit.

I’ll share some traveling experiences by intertwining excerpts from my travel journal into this blog. I thought I was going to be the kind of blogger that could do weekly or monthly updates—but the work I do requires a lot of processing, detachment, and reflection. Life be happening and to tell a good story—sis gotta live it first.


So, ya’ll remember the situation with dude that sorta led me to Y-rehab in the first place?

Okay, bet. We’ll start there.

March 19, 2021 6:48am Amarillo, Texas

“I’m leaving Amarillo in about an hour and I’m so glad I came. I love seeing people in love and following their dreams/passions. Sabrina is such a sweetheart, she always has been. When I leave here, I’m headed to Fucksville to see Somebody’s Son. (Names and locations have been changed to maintain privacy.) I’m going to be open and honest and myself. The pursuit of love and romantic interest is feeling less daunting. So far, I love the idea of Sombody’s Son but I know that I will align with who I’m meant to be with.”

Following that journal entry, I drove HOURSSSSSS to Fucksville to see that man. That evening proved to be a difficult one in where I found myself forcing a connection with a man I was wildly incompatible with. He had no real interest in who I was as a person and I allowed myself to shrink into something more digestible for him. The shrinking of myself was painful and rooted in something that had nothing at all to do with dude.

The next day I had a phone conversation with my homegirl and she told me to stop playing with my potential. She didn’t try to offer advice or console me about the guy I’d just cried over because to her, he was a nonfactor. So, she let me vent and then asked me how I would take actionable steps in creating a life for me in which I thrived. Our conversation was the only push I needed to go to West Africa to realign a bit.

In the subsequent weeks; I packed up, sold, donated and got rid of all the things that made my apartment in Spring, Texas mine. In the process, Ta Phyllis was a WhatsApp call away; encouraging me to be open to what was to come and allow myself to surrender to the process. Ta Phyllis’ voice had become an integral voice in my physical grounding practices, as she had recorded a guided grounding audio for me to use following a traumatic experience a few years back. It was the same recording I played before difficult times working in an office or other times I needed to feel particularly grounded when completely overwhelmed. Having her a WhatsApp call away was super assuring.

One day I called, and before asking me how I was doing she said, "First, place your feet on the ground..." and proceeded to lead me through a guided breathing mediation prior to our phone conversation. I couldn't wait to be in her physical presence and to have that kind of support in person. I couldn't wait to be around her and squeezed tight by her hugs and reassured by the sound of her voice. It takes a special person to trust when uprooting your entire life to begin a healing journey abroad. I'm often in awe of the dynamic people who make up my support-system and chosen family.


The moving process wasn’t easy for me. I felt a lot of anxiety in what I was giving up. I’ll make a blog post of the magic in my spacious little mitch-matchy apartment oasis one day. That place was the first safe home I had created for myself and having it was really important to me. Letting it go felt a lot like letting go of my sense of safety and security. That apartment was my proof that I could thrive alone, that I could create and write and build a life for myself that felt good to me. I knew though, that me holding onto it was only out of fear. I didn't want to hold onto something out of fear, ya know? Releasing security was a difficult concept, but throughout the process I used various grounding practices to get me through. I took it slow, cried a lot, reached out to who I needed to and enjoyed my last moments in my first home alone. Before I knew it though, my time in the US was up and I had begun my first leg of the trip.

Over time, I learned that I gotta be the main person hyping me. It feels good to hear kud0s from other folks sure, but when I'm really feeling myself--I let me know.

May 11, 2021 10:02am Dulles Int’l Airport (COVID test)

Wow. Just wow. Carmalita, you are THAT BITCH. Without a question. I haven’t hyped myself in a little minute so here we go. Bitch, you are moving to Africa! It took you no time to decide, plan, and execute this trip/move. You did that! Babes, you are embarking on an incredible new journey. YOU ARE PROOF! You are your own motivation. You are the standard. There is no one doing it like you are and that is to be celebrated boo! You’re doing it! You are living your wildest dreams. Let’s fucking gooo! Good fucking job girl.

In the week after my arrival to Senegal, I struggled to settle into a new routine. I thought that because I went to take time out to write, every waking moment was supposed to be used to write. Instead, I spent almost every morning for a week straight crying at the breakfast table, using my shoulder or t-shirt sleeve to wipe my snot. Uncle Eddy and Ta Phyllis sat with me as the tears streamed down my eyes. They offered words or welcomed silence when needed. They gave me the space to just be. In the very beginning, I slept a lot. And felt guilty for sleeping. I emotionally exhausted myself for giving myself permission to rest. Capitalism is always at fault. Everything in Sebhikotane, Senegal was much slower than my Americanness could grasp. The women sashayed in a glide with their heads up high and shoulders straight, no matter if carrying a tray of cashews or walking with a large baby tied to her back. The men leisurely drank tea and enjoyed one another's company during Ataya. The concept of "when" and physical time was much more fluid. I take pride in taking things slow, but, Sebi is a small city about 30 minutes away from the capital city, Dakar and the hustle and bustle is different. The hustle is there--the grind for sure, but the bustle is nonexistent.

May 17, 2021 10:12am Tangor House Café—Sebhikotane

My stomach is a little uneasy today—I’m not sure why. Today is my first Monday in Senegal. What do I want a work-week to look like? I don’t. “Work” is not my favorite. I have rested and shared gifts now, I’m ready to create…I now have the time, space, and energy to do so.

And the very next day...

May 18, 2021 2:40pm

I’m so damn tired of breaking up with people I ain’t ever been in a relationship with. I’m sitting here writing and pouring my heart out to Somebody’s Son, for fucking what? That man do not be thinking about me. Clearly. The gas-lighting, the bread-crumbing, the cryptic messages. All of it. He is showing me exactly how he feels about me. There was a time I didn’t have to beg or ask. I didn’t change. Also, nothing about me depends on his (or anyone’s for that matter) opinion of me. Love is easy. It will flow. Love will come to me because I am love. Anything that says otherwise is programming that does not belong to me. Carmalita, you are worthy of a beautiful, grandiose, LOUD LOVE. Anything less is not for you. You have permission to cry and write and feel about this in whatever way is healing for you. You are a master manifestor—so lean into that shit. Okay!!”

Self-love, just like loving another person is a choice. It is work and takes dedication and commitment. Sometimes we gotta give ourselves the talks we so desperately think we need from other people. We be knowing, it's just a matter of what we do with our own knowing when we're ready.

10:41pm 5/30/21

Today I started off kind of fucking rough. Tata gave me a whole damn lesson about how to harness my power and find home. She’s the truth for real. It was a tough conversation because I felt like, “Damn, I have so much more to work on.” Like, I feel so fucked up sometimes. I was hella grateful though. I needed to hear all of it. Now its time to apply what’s being processed. I am worthy. I am enough. If folks don’t like it—oh well. Really though. I was cut off at the root and this is me finding my roots. Or re-connecting rather. This healing shit aint no mutha-fuckin joke. At all. But I’m doing it and I’m grateful to have a safe space to do so.

10:30 am 6/4/21

I have been feeling A LOT. Just a lot. I am trying to process everything that has been coming up. Yesterday, during our coffee chat, Tata asked, “Who is ____?” Because I speak about him a lot and I try to highlight his redemptive characteristics however—he was my abuser. That was tremendously difficult to hear and begin to process. Hell, even now. I feel like I don't want to take on any more personal information. Shit. This has all been a lot to process. Not in a bad way at all but holy hell, I’m emotionally exhausted. And that’s okay. This is where the “reps” come in to play. I want to get back in bed. Eat chips and continue to watch incarceration shows on Netflix.

--Carmalita here is your reminder that there is no limit on the time it takes for you to heal and process all the things that come up in the healing process. You’re going to be fine love. You have all you need and then some.

I wrote previously about Mami Wata.

Mama Wata to me, is the wide ocean, the sea, a river, lake—any body of water that holds the power and strength of a woman. Mami Wata is whoever you believe her to be—strident and limitless or a simple tidal wave.

8:33am 6/6/21

I feel like I’m…I can’t even finish the statement because I caught myself about to write down some bullshit. Yesterday, we drove to Dakar. We did a Mami Wata ritual and she was responsive. Uncle Eddy said, “She took it.” He watched as the water rose while Ta Phyllis prayed for me. She asked Mami Wata to take my feelings of unworthiness—I don’t remember what else. I just remember the tide coming way up. The water rushed passed our knees. Ta Phyllis held me tighter. –In this moment— I’m having a bit of a moment. The feeling passed but I got all teary-eyed thinking about how I need to call my mother but don’t want to…

I spent four months in Senegal.

In my time there, I felt stripped bare. To the bone. I feel like I shed every piece of skin I had and had to lie there and watch while each layer grew back. There were times in Senegal where I experienced the most peace I’ve ever experienced. I ate the freshest mangoes and lamb, I squeezed on the cutest kids, and I drove a Jeep for over an hour fearlessly. I popped popcorn by flashlight on a gas stove during a rainstorm power outage. I experienced bliss. There were other times I genuinely didn’t think I’d make it to live the next day. My trip was about restoration while submitting to what occurred naturally. My trip was about forgiveness. My trip was about healing. My trip, was a trip.

More to come.

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