I knew I wanted to make the hike up Monserrate. I hardly planned anything on this trip, but I knew I wanted to do that. It was on my very, very short list of “must-dos.” I didn’t know when exactly, but I knew it would be done on my two-week Colombian adventure…eventually.
I woke up early on the last Saturday in Colombia, threw on some hiking attire and headed down for breakfast. Where ya goin? My Bogotá lover asked. I’m hiking Monserrate today! Bug-eyed and bushy-tailed. Partially because I was really excited for this hike — but, like, also because I was, like, totally in love with this guy lol.
I sat at the bar and waited for my yogurt and fruit bowl. Granola? The server asked. Sure! I connected to WiFi and started the research on this hike precisely 15 minutes before I was actually going to hike.
Some random travel blogger told me to pack light (check), a LARGE bottle of water (check), comfortable shoes (check), and a little cash to eat at the top (check). Based on her blog post and some other random sites, I was informed that the hike would take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. Cool, not bad.
The hike was only about a 15 minute walk from my hostel, but it was sort of like a hike to a hike. The incline was pretty steep and I had started to regret eating a diet focused on arepas and Piña Colada diet on this trip (totally worth it though).
I saw the super long line to access the train car that brings you up and took a left to access the trail — well, it was more like cobblestone. I was a little confused seeing women pink kitten heels for a hike, but whatever, maybe it was really easy. I briskly walked by them and continued up.
20 minutes rolled by…UMMM WHAT THE FUCK? Shitttttt was I mistaken. I cursed this random travel blogger under my breath for not warning me of the “hike” that was to come. This motherfucker was a handicap rail of death. You know how Zeus eternally punished that guy to roll a boulder up a mad steep hill in the depths of Hades? It was kind of like that. Ok, maybe not so bad — but it was hard as fuck.
Like, yeah, sure the views were beautiful on the way up, but I was so focused on the view going UP that I was kind of blind to all the cool stuff going on around me. The woman in pink kitten heels who cursed her husband in Spanish. The vendors selling handcrafted bracelets and jewelry for an overpriced rate to target tourists like me. The fellow pro hikers who had their ego shot to Hell REAL quick.
30-45 minutes MY ASS! Your average hiker is not an American Ninja Warrior!!!! A little over an hour later, I made it to the top. Shaky legs and sweat beads all over my body.
But man, it was worth it. I hated to admit it as I cursed the travel blogger under my breath, but shit, she was right.
It was truly breathtaking. It’s hard to make me speechless, but in that moment, I was at a loss for words. You could see all of Bogotá and beyond with a single glance. I will air my grievances about the bathroom you had to PAY FOR at the top, but that was minimal in comparison to what my eyes had the privilege of seeing.
I was at complete and utter peace. Like, not that ~meditation on my IKEA couch peace~ I try in my apartment a few times a week — it was liken nirvana??? Idk, man, I felt my body like…floating???? There were hundreds of tourists around me, attempting to capture the perfect selfie (hey so did I, #noshame) but this was the feeling I knew the British guy on my Headspace described — the feeling of sitting in the middle of traffic, cars rushing in either direction and acknowledging these things happening around you (normal life), but choosing not to interact. Being so comfortable in your own space that you don’t feel the need to.
When I go to put 2019 into words, it reminds me a lot of my hike up Monserrate in Bogotá. challenging, painful, a lot of ‘why the f*ck’ didn’t i just take the easy way up?’ i found myself avoid calling it my ~hardest year yet~ to avoid sounding hyperbolic, but it was just that. It was my hardest year of my life.
Let’s just list the things that went totally wrong — this is blunt, but I think it’s important to be honest and face these things head on to avoid sugar coating. I’m also going to avoid saying “I know people have it a lot worse,” while true, but I believe that thinking is counterintuitive when aiming to better yourself.
— I was raped.
— I found out the man who raped me will be back on the streets next year after a long and painful legal battle.
— I developed an eating disorder (well, finally admitted I had one after years of pretending I didn’t).
— I started a partnership that ended within 6 months.
— I was hospitalized.
— My skin went to shit.
— I let my diabetes take over my life and define me.
— My body image problems worsened.
— The doctor found tumors in my ovaries.
— I let my mental health snowball, leading to depressive habits.
— I fucked up my finances.
— I stopped believing in myself.
…to name a few
Depression and anxiety defined a lot of my experiences, my panic attacks, my ‘why the f*ck am i not choosing the easier path?’ I learned the value of taking care of your mental and physical health — but moreso the idea taking care of your body as one entity. A holistic, beautiful and spiritual temple.
I learned that i’m really bad at accepting the fact that people do believe in me. I think, ‘why me?’ ‘out of everyone, why ME?’ I learned that i really suck at believing in myself.
I learned that I don’t own my body — or at least I don’t feel like I do. Giving up men for 90 days and allowing myself to explore my sexuality in other ways certainly helped, but I found myself backtracking into a pool of feeling unsexy. Not feeling I truly owned the space I occupy.
I learned that world doesn’t owe me shit. That the justice system in this country will beat you down until you feel nothing but another specimen on the spectrum of “rape” and how THEY choose to define it. I chose to fight, but even that wasn’t good enough — which happens all of the time in life. Sometimes, you just have to hope that your voice, while small, will make some sort of difference.
I grew selfish. Selfish as fuck, and not totally in a good way. I started doing what I wanted to on my own time — but never anything that was actually serving me. Instead of going out, I stayed in and binge ate. Then purged it out in disgust. This “occasional” pattern turned into regular behavior. Not just binging and purging — the selfish, self-destructive behavior.
It started out small. Not texting my Dad back when he just asked how I was doing — in fact, leaving my text message inbox grow to over 100 unread texts (this wasn’t laziness, this was an act of anxiety). Avoiding brunches with friends because I was up until 5am crying whilst binging stupid Netflix shows. I know they say it’s ok to ~be selfish~ — in fact, it’s something that I preach myself — but it’s different when the selfishness turns into something toxic, and in my case, it was toxic to myself.
I blamed a lot of these toxic habits (binging, not sleeping, staying in bed til 11am, avoiding laundry, doctors appointments and other acts of basic self-care) on the fact that I was raped. That was my scapegoat. Yeah sure it was fucked up and I don’t discount that — nor am I trying to define other’s experiences — but for me, that was the reason for everything.
It was the reason I lost my “spark,” my intense and electrifying love for life that was intoxicating in the best ways. It was the reason why I stopped giving a fuck. About anyone. Anything. Relationships? Fuck ’em. My body didn’t have the capacity to feel anything serious with anyone. I became a pro at casual — simply because I didn’t care.
It was the reason my eating disorder started to take over my life. Food was all I thought about. It was my escape — my way to avoid feeling anything. Y’all know that I have type 1 diabetes and how fucking dangerous this is. My rapist’s fault. I didn’t feel connected to my body because of this prick — at least that’s what I convinced myself to believe.
This blog started out kind of funny and light-hearted and it took a dark turn — sorry about that. I mean, there was cool shit that I did this year too.
You’re probably sick of me talking about Colombia — but even if it was temporary, that trip was everything I needed and more. I knew it was a band-aid — I was very much aware of that. Two weeks vacation doesn’t fix all your fucked-upness. I knew I had reality to face when I come back. But at that time — the time where that man groped, humped and stuck his finger inside me in the back of that car on 10am on International Women’s Day — fuck, I needed to get out. Alone. And I was damn proud of myself for that. I need that solidarity to feel myself again. To feel, well, anything.
I was sober from alcohol for 90ish days. That was really awesome. I was able to attend social events sober, own who I was without the liquid courage of booze. I think that was the most empowering part — I was able to just be me, something that I’m actually really bad at. Well, I’m bad at acknowledging that I’m cool and interesting enough company.
I emphasis from alcohol because it also forced me to face the truth that I indeed have other addictions — food, how my body looks, work, etc. I wouldn’t say it enabled me to face these problems head on and work on them, but it helped me to acknowledge them. The first step.
Then I gave up men for 90 days. Fuck, that was awesome and another highlight of my year. That was a healthy selfish move. I realized how much I had spend thinking about them, waiting for that text back, feeling self-conscious when things didn’t work out my way. The mental space they took up was just unhealthy. While some may have seen this as a “I hate men” crusade, it was actually quite the opposite. I wanted to learn how to appreciate them and fit them into my life in more of a constructive and healthy way.
Something else that was really fucking cool was that I grew more in tune with my sexuality. After my “man cleanse,” I went back to dating men, but also started dating women. And as of last week, actually slept with one. *GASP* For several months, I didn’t allow myself to explore this side of me because honestly, I never wanted a woman (or man) to feel like I’m using them to explore my own sexuality.
After some lesbian-driven advice from my friends, I decided to go for it. I switched the preferences on my apps to both sexes. I felt kind stupid and nervous. Idk how to flirt with women!! I told my friends. Just fucking go with it. They told me.
So I just fucking went with it. I started going on dates with women and decided to be honest with them about my “experience.” I could feel my face turn red. Most were cool with it, some were a little turned off — which was understandable.
I was still dating men simultaneously — which was so freeing. I was allowing myself to be fluid with my sexuality and just…go with it. I’ll be honest, this kind of ties back to the “not giving a f*ck’ mentality that I had picked up this year (I guess it’s a blessing and curse).
Idk, more on that in a different blog post. I have lots of thoughts.
So, like I said, 2019 was overall, shitty. Like, real fucking shitty. It’s 11:49am on New Year’s Day and I am trying not to beat myself up over screen time late at night. I think it’s justified, because, damn, does this feel good to write about. It’s hard. But good.
It has been an emotional rollercoaster of a year, and I know I left out a lot of good and bad things — like realizing how disappointing my grad school program but also being able to reminisce on being SO CLOSE TO SOPHIE TURNER AT THE JONAS BROTHERS CONCERT. But, I digress.
When I hiked Monserrate, I avoided what was around me. I focused on the uphill battle ahead — one that seemed to never end. I kind of jokingly cursed the world for this hike, but my entire 2019 was dedicated to cursing the fucking world. Like, seriously. You know I curse a lot, but FUCK 2019, AM I RIGHT?
I depended too much on myself to solve all of these problems without utilizing the resources that are there to help me — therapy, medication, family, friends, literally anything that would bring me peace (like simply making my bed every morning).
One of the biggest takeaways (well maybe two), was redefining mental health terms that I kind of pigeon holed into a ways that made me avoid defining them for what they actually are (lol, no idea if that made sense).
Depression is multi-faceted. It’s not a banana left on the runway in Mario Kart that you can just ~swerve~ around. It’s more like those ghosts that fills your screen with ink for what feels like forever. It can be a looming fog of sadness. It can be anger. It can be laziness. It can be anything that doesn’t serve your life that you just can’t shake. It feels uncontrollable and helpless. My depression in high school consisted of sadness and anger, suicidal thoughts and cuts on my wrists — so that’s how I defined depression.
I can’t remember the last time I had suicidal thoughts — it was probably back in high school. I don’t cry until my eyes simply cannot produce anymore tears. That’s not the kind of depression I have anymore.
These days, I just feel numb. Going through the emotions. Not giving a f*ck. It took me. months to realize that, this too, is depression.
Self-care. I’mma say this real quick. CAN WE PLEASE DEMOLISH THE SELF-CARE INDUSTRY AS WE KNOW IT? Fuck man. I can’t afford that moon powder shit nor do I feel like dealing with the clean up of putting a bunch of petals in your bath just to take a good ‘gram pic. Self-care is making a doctor’s appointment when your anxiety is telling you not to. It’s picking up after yourself and putting those damn dishes away rather than letting them sit in the sink. It’s saying NO to ordering Uber Eats because you gotta pay rent in a few days and don’t have the funds right now.
Self-care can mean a lot of things — but I think the pressure we put on ourselves to fit the mold the the ‘grammable self-care is more damaging than helpful. Sure, take an epsom salt bath if it genuinely makes you feel good — but lest we forget the less-pretty stuff leaves more of an impact on our overall happiness.
I feel like I should end this blog post with my resolutions going into 2020 — and mannnn do I have a list. But, I’d rather you think introspectively and create one. It’s good for you.
I know very well that time is a construct, and you’re silly to believe that a Time Square ball drop will change your life. Let me hit you with a cliché — dreams don’t work unless you do.
I have a lot plans for 2020. Not just, shit I pull out from the air — like actionable stuff that I plan to put into practice. It’s not easy to write this down, in fact it’s time consuming as fuck and I refused to use the excuse “I don’t have time” like I always do — because, I repeat TIME IS A CONSTRUCT. You always have time, pick what matters and do it.
Remind yourself that everything in life that people share (online or in-person) is a highlight reel. Even this post is.
In this moment, I feel optimistic about 2020. I’m manifesting some good shit and even just today, I’ve had some good things come my way.
I’ll preach this now and forever. Celebrate the small wins. The small wins will almost always turn into big ones. Then, you can really celebrate and invite me to the party. 😉
Happy New Year. Let’s manifest this shit.
Time for bed, I have boxing in the morning — and let me tell ya, I have a partnership coming up that encourages me to hit hard and dodge the bad shit. I can’t wait to share.