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Back in Bali
Hi so, yes I’m back in Bali because I love it here.
I’m not gonna sell you some embellished and filtered romantic imagery of the place. It’s beautiful, yes. It’s remarkably cheap – cigarettes are $2 USD a pack, yes. It’s an island so, everyday I beach, yes. And the people are hella chill and super friendly, so I’m constantly absorbing all the best vibez, yes.
But you should also know it’s humid and always sort of damp. Staying here economically means I must forego the usual Western comforts found in more resort accomodations (don’t spaz, I have AC). But I don’t mind living simply. This is what I came for.
Specifically I came to de-stress and reset and write. I needed to find the intersection of simplicity, peace and quiet, beauty, and warm weather. Because I know what I like, and I know where, when, and how I thrive.
Writing is such a torturous endeavor on its own that I have to set-up the most optimal conditions in order for me to persist.
It was a constant struggle for me to achieve them in New York. Let’s talk about the last few months in New York and how I took the signs to follow my dreams, and come back here:
After I got let go from my sales job, took my unemployment, and took over the lease on my apartment I decided to give my other dream a chance – Nineke Publishing.
I want to create websites and promotional material for artists, yes. I just love artists, and encouraging people, and helping them find ways to follow their dreams.
I got a few clients early on, but then had a dry summer.
Over the summer I invited my half-brother to come live with me. I must be completely honest.
I had a gig in California and didn’t want to leave strangers in my apartment. I figured having my brother in my place he could keep an eye on things and keep the house running smoothly. In a way I was using him.
Additionally, I’ve carried guilt over him (for years) that wasn’t mine. It was my mother and father’s guilt to carry, but since neither of those fuck-ups knows how to own their shit or even attempt proper reconciliation or amends I internalized their conflict.
I’d held this image of my younger brother as he was when I first met him, seventeen or so years ago: a disheveled, little boy – inside the clutches of an abuser – who needed to be looked after and rescued.
I was far more dramatic at 15 than I am now. But also, I saw myself in him.
I was suffering my mother. He was suffering our father. I can’t remember the exact words, and I don’t care to repeat or paraphrase what cruelty I witnessed my father speak to a child, but it made me promise myself that as soon as I was able I would bring him to live with me.
My little brother is not a little boy anymore, or perhaps maybe he is.
But we’re adults now. Unfortunately, God love him, no one ever taught him to be a man. And I wasn’t equipped to. (Because men don’t listen, but that’s a whole other post, yeah?)
I wanted to pull my brother from the hood life.
I wanted to show him that turning his back on our fuckery-filled family history, and creating positive goals with determination could get him somewhere better. I wanted to encourage him to find and really pursue his passion, to become a better version of himself.
I wanted him to let go of the street, and selling weed, and riding around the boroughs with a gun in tow. I wanted him to envision a future where those things were non-existent, trivial, beneath him.
I wanted to fix my brother, and I wanted to show up my parents for their stupid selfishness which had kept a beautiful boy away from his siblings. But now I know I was selfish to want that.
It’s not my place to want to change or fix anyone.
I’m constantly learning that the only person I can change to my vision is myself.
We talked a lot. About a lot. But it was all talk.
It doesn’t hurt me anymore that my brother saw my guilt and took advantage of it. It doesn’t hurt at all. It just is what it is. I do this with people. I do this to myself. I go in with too many expectations and I’m learning/trying to curb that shit.
When my apartment subletting scheme fell apart I wanted to point all the fingers at him. But he was just a 23 year old kid, living rent free on his older (guilt-ridden) sister’s couch.
Why should he get and keep a job? He knew how much I wanted him in my life. Why should he keep his word to me, and not have kids I don’t know smoking weed or drinking in my house? Why should keep his distance from the shady roommate I told him I didn’t trust? Why should he get off the couch and take a room for himself like we discussed? (Because then he’d have to pay for that room. At a discount, but why pay when you can live free on a couch?)
When I ran out of rope to throw him a line there were tears. On his part. I didn’t like it. It didn’t sadden or anger me to see him crying. It disappointed me that this was the way he dealt with being dealt with.
It was just disappointing that he didn’t understand that a man is only worth his word when that word is kept. It disappointed me that he thought I was stupid, that he thought with ten years on him that I couldn’t see through his buckets of bullshit.
Around September/October it was seemingly impossible to get the last room in my apartment rented. It didn’t help that he wasn’t working and in my absence had rearranged my living room to look like a storage garage. It was like everything I was trying to teach him about the apartment hustle had fallen on deaf ears.
I was behind on rent, and desperately job hunting. I’d cashed out my 401K, and now I wish I hadn’t (I could really use that money to stay afloat on upcoming travels.) I pawned jewelry to pay rent. I borrowed money.
I’d turned into my mother again (Every 30-something’s favorite recurring predicament). My scheme was crumbling and I was scurrying to keep it together.
The only thing my brother had to offer was “That’s my word on everything, sis.”
And his tears.
Eventually I had to put my brother out. I called the police and filed a report against him stating he’d used threatening language and tone with me. Which he did.
Look, I don’t care. When things are going off the rails you have to play the cards you absolutely know other people don’t want.
My brother is a street kid. Calling the cops was the only way to make a point. Did I honestly think he would harm me? No, and maybe. We’re Guyanese. The tempers are real. My father beat my mother and my brother’s mother. I can’t say for certain whether his mother’s second husband hit her.
I don’t chance the uncontrolled tempers of men who’re screaming/not operating by logic. And I was not about to tolerate being screamed on and spoken roughly to in my home by someone I had invited into my home, to be a part of my life. No sir. No ma’am. Nuh-uh-uh. Not me.
I did what I had to do. And I left my brother’s gold chains, which he gave me to make November’s rent, in the Diamond District.
Sometime later, around Thanksgiving I realized I was in no position to keep my apartment – with that shady fucking roommate – much less get a new apartment with my unstable credit. Additionally, my landlord was being a giant fucking prick.
Ultimately, the entire situation was untenable.
I could not maintain the apartment, encourage/guide/protect/support my brother, earn income, and pursue my dreams at the same time. Ultimately, I had to choose myself, my dreams, my passion, and my truth. I literally had to drop every other thing and make my purpose my priority.
Sounds heavy and woo-woo, and a little bit cunty too (or nah?). But it’s just what had to be done and who I am now: Heavy, woo-woo, low-key cunty, and about my path.
I took the signs, and listened to my heart.
All I want to do is write. I want to write poems, and blogs, and love letters, and a trashy soap, and self-help book (lolz, right?), and dark themed, but colorfully shot screenplay about abuse. I want to write code, and press releases, and social media copy.
All I want to do is write, OKAY?
I still want to love people too, sure. And I do, but I can’t with the majority of y’all. Because once I start loving it’s bleeding heart city and no one is giving me blood transfusions or supplying me iron. I’m tired and I’m drained.
I like to believe I’m a healer. I think I have fundamentally good energy and I have it abundance to give out. But sometimes a bitch needs to recharge.
So, I’m back in Bali. I left my old life behind. Now I’m putting down the pain, and you can read all about it.
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