All Hail

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After her death they called her a Queen. She was loved by all, yet she’d not always been easy to love. Not when substances blinded her and her subjects, reducing them to heartless cannibals. Their souls sold to a moment of ecstasy, kush, white lines snorted from tables, bottles drained like their bodies. Pushing back at all those who could not bare the weight of their house sigil. Nor the toxicity that had shackled them to the castle walls. I was never respected in the eyes of the people around her. I resent that. More than I can stand. I’ve lost sleep over it. I’m angry that her people who were once mine see me as a worthless beggar, a villain that began an era of hate and anger, unforgivness. I did nothing to deserve it. I could not save them from themselves and thus I am the only one who does not bare ink in the name death christened her with. For I did not know the one they named Queen. I loved and missed the girl I knew hidden deep within. The one who’d disappeared a long time prior to the reapers call. The one I once called friend. Her name now an echo in time.

The Storm (Air)

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Deep blue of the universe envelope this mind
Fill up its cracks and broken pieces, help it find
that little bit of stillness that takes away the noise
Make a once crooked thing graceful with poise
Those ragged shreds filled up with static
Those wires short circuiting ecstatic
Put them at ease, please
Allow them to sleep, the thoughts like tea to steep
Freedom comes in bouts of silent refuge
Worries nonexistent in the tongue of the wind
Blow over this wayside station,
Make clean this gasping inhalation
By way of force or pure desperation
Make it stop

My Gender Bending Amputee Kitten & My Mother, Snow White

Cat in the Cosmos

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve seen my mother, who I will refer to as Snow White for all intents and purposes in this post, take in all sorts of animals. Exotic animals and pets you’d find in swanky pet shops would show up on our doorstep and back porch. We’re talking snapping turtles, frogs, lizards, beta fish, goldfish, ducks, chicks, Love Birds, Cockatiels, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, chinchillas, dogs of every breed, snakes (though those have been mostly uninvited due to their possibly threatening nature) and more recently a cat.  Like a scene straight out of Snow White who attracted animals just by stepping out doors and belting out a melody, my mother simply needed to be present and they’d show up.

It got to the point where neighbors seemed to notice. Perhaps they believed we were good enough people to take unwanted pets in, for on several occasions some unforeseen force would leave fish in cups and baby turtles in bags on our front porch. While trying to not think of it as some strange Santeria being cast on us we were never able to leave them to die. We’d take them in too. Don’t get the wrong idea here. Although my lifelong dream has been to own a farm our household does not resemble one. Strangely enough it’s as if the universe gives us time between animals before delivering new ones to our care. Like a yearly subscription to the animal kingdom. And yes through old contacts I’ve also had the gift of cuddle time with baby wolves, tigers, leopards, bears and have even been able to do research on marine life, specifically dolphins. (I swam with them once and vowed to never do so again outside of their natural habitat. Shame on you Miami Seaquarium, Sea World and Taijin, Japan. Watch The Cove and Black Fish people.)

Many animals that come through our door are injured. We nurse the wild ones back to health and let them back into the world once strong enough. My mother has stories of reviving birds she’d find on her stoop during winter in New York, frozen and seemingly dead, as a little girl. She’d take them inside and witness the miracle of the animals starting to breathe again, flutter their snow crackled wings after being incubated, warmed by her hands and prayed over for hours. She’d feed them, keep them until they looked like they could stand on their own again and would release them back into the world. After she moved down to Miami in her teen years she retained this gift of caring for broken things, people and animals alike really. I guess it’s her God given gift. Though sometimes she bites off more than she can chew and that’s where I come in. If mom is Snow White then consider me a sarcastic and at times cynical Florence Nightingale. As oxymoronic as that may seem I have a soft spot for animals and people, specifically the broken ones too. Maybe that’s because I feel some kind of kinship with them and in helping them heal feel a bit of my own cracks fading.

Luna is our latest foster baby. Luna the kitten was found in front of our house one night, underweight, feral and with a broken tail. She was way too young and sickly to survive on her own. My mom took one look at her and did what she always does. I’m usually left to research the cares and needs of the animals we take in. Which is exactly what happened one morning when my mom was away on business in Washington D.C. and I found Luna with her tail hanging off of bloody matted fur and bare bone. Mind you my boyfriend and I were getting ready to go on vacation. My bags were packed when I discovered our newly adopted kitten in worse condition then we’d ever seen her in. A giant adult cat was caught slinking out of our yard when I discovered her this way and our vet says it was most likely a bad fight that got our kitten in such a bad state. My boyfriend and I were delayed from our vacation two days and took our now personally adopted animal with us on the trip to administer all the medication the kitten needed. No one else could take care of a cat that’d just undergone a tail amputation and who’d been neutered on the same day. Yes, we discovered she was in fact a he, though he retains the name Luna and all his things are still pink. (Thanks Dr. Claudio for clearing that up.) Taking care of animals and pets is a huge responsibility that takes time, money and attention. That is why I tell you now, before bringing a pet home please educate yourselves on the health and needs of the animal and its breed. Some animals are not for everyone. Unless you are Snow White and Florence Nightingale who have a habit of biting off more they can chew.

P.S. Luna is doing just fine and had his stitches removed this week. He is finally gaining weight again and has become the most playful kitten. See clip below for a glimpse at his progress.

If you and your family want a pet consider adopting. There are many animals waiting to find a caring home. Click on the links below for great adoption agencies, hospitals and vets in the Miami area.

Fairy Tails
Humane Society of Miami
Banfield Pet Hospital

A Journey of Self-Love Through Belly Dance

 

 

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(Though the show just recently passed I still wanted to share this blog about my little journey of dance and how it inspired me to feel whole again. Enjoy. It was written prior to showtime but with all the rehearsals and running around I present it to you now). Photo by Bradley Marshall or dancer hubby.

I’ve never felt so included and so part of a team as I do now. I have been belly dancing since I was fifteen years old, that makes it ten years since I fell in love with Egyptian dance. I learned all I could from my early instructors, Samay of Mid-East Performing Arts Company and then for a brief time once I left Florida with Alexandra Smith of the Alexandria Dance company in Knoxville, Tennessee. Several workshops between by instruction of either school helped me to gain more of a respect for the art form. I went on hiatus for a few years after this due to medical issues. Once healthy enough to try to pick up where I left off I joined the students of Belly Motions in fall of 2015 after having moved back to Miami, Florida. I was so nervous to start again. Getting to know new people, being afraid of overly competitive dancers, and trying to keep up when I was so out of shape felt like a giant weight on my shoulders the first day I walked back into class. Though I’d been at advanced level years prior I forced myself to start from beginners again and work my way back up (as I’ve done every time there is too long a gap between training).

I attended several classes held by Miss Alexandra on the weekend to try to catch up and although terrified couldn’t pass up a challenge that presented itself only two weeks after I began. I was told choreography programs were soon to commence for a theatre production being held in spring 2016. Taking a leap of faith I signed up for an advanced level baladi choreography knowing I’d been two years out of practice.
This is how I came to join eleven other dancers under the direction of Yesenia, our instructor and choreographer extraordinaire, who has drilled us for the last six months. Alongside them I was able to prove to myself I could still step up to challenges, face them dead on, make new friends and be humbled by amazingly talented people. I was stunned at the inclusivity  I felt from the other dancers and staff and can honestly say I have never felt so appreciated, so part of a team as I do now. My expectations of diva type dancers who degraded others were bashed. My old conceptions of the dance community in Miami were re-aligned to a more positive frequency. With the guidance of our instructor the students and I were able to learn an advanced level choreography we are due to perform only three days from now on stage. It has been such a humbling, positive and strengthening experience. I’m a more mature woman compared to who I was years ago when I first started Egyptian belly dance. I still have a lot of studying and training to do but I can finally say I am proud of myself for falling back into something I love so much while battling bouts of depression, anxiety and medical issues that kept me out of commission for so long. I have Miss Yesenia, the Belly Motions team and the wonderful students I dance alongside to thank. Your strength and dedication were and continue to be an inspiration. (One of our girls showed up to rehearsals with I.V. needles taped to her arm so she could receive treatment before &/or after dance when she discovered she had Lyme disease. Talk about dedication, strength and drive. You go Nancy!) Thank you all for helping me believe in team work, art and myself again.

Raks On,
Kat
If you live in the Miami area and are interested in taking a class at Belly Motions click on the link below or stop by the studio.

Belly Motions

Moving Forward and Other Things Humans Resist

I have to admit to having been a little sluggish as of late. Not so much with writing per say, as I’ve been prepping articles for the upcoming issue of UNIQUE ME magazine, but with other goals and dreams. Throughout our lives certain situations and circumstances may arise when least wanted or expected. When this happens we as human beings have the choice of being completely derailed from our main focus or surmounting the obstacle by better balancing our lives and moving forward.

I must admit to having been completely derailed. The fact that I am sharing this of course means that I am now trying desperately to get back on the horse and continue after my own aspirations of completing my middle grade novel and degree while keeping a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I’ve been able to strengthen my relationships with friends, make new ones and visit places I’ve never been to or seen over the past couple of weeks. Locations in Midtown, the Art District, Brickell and Indy hangouts in South Beach and Coral Gables were great places to explore and have adventures unfold. They were part of a healing process really, trying to move on from a very difficult first half of the year while keeping as busy and distracted as possible.

I’ve written about balance in this blog before. The last post was on this very subject, as a matter of fact, which is why I’ve been missing in action. I was anything but balanced. My emotions turned into individual whirlwinds, I had no job, no appetite, dealt with the one year anniversary of a death in the family and other personal matters I’m not even willing to share that were piled up on me all at once. I slumped under the pressure for about two weeks. My book was left on the back burner and I was soon tipping the scale on play much more than work. As I said before it was part of a “healing process” I’ve been undergoing until I recognized how completely unbalanced I’d become. I’m not the type of person to abandon projects related to my life purpose for fear of manning up and moving forward from whatever issues I’m facing.

I forced myself to start doing things independently as I’ve always done. I shifted my mindset again in the direction of publication, education and well balanced meals and exercise. Color came back to my face, the dark circles under my eyes disappeared and I started writing for pleasure again. The last catalyst for manning up was attending boot camp for the first time after having surgery. I completed the entire training session and have been sore ever since. It helped the warrior archetype that was lying dormant within me resurface. Back came the drive to want to succeed and to make my dreams a reality. And what once felt debilitating feels like a dull pain. It’s true that time heals things, but so does will. Having the willingness to push forward and wanting to heal is what prompts positive change. Resisting this is what causes human suffering. Make the right choice.

P.S. While I did run amok in the city I found some local spots you might enjoy.
*All these locations have their own FB/websites. Can be found through a search engine. All have a bar/live music/DJ’s/karaoke. Some restaurants)  Check them out, have a little fun ; )

Brickell
Blackbird Ordinary
Brickell Irish Pub
Fado Isrish Pub
Club 50 at the Viceroy Hotel

South Beach
Radio Bar
Kill Your Idol
Automatic Slims
Fox Hole

Mid-Town/Art District/Downtown
Shotz
Wood
The Corner Bar (Looks like a saloon from the 1800s/awesome)
Art Walk (2nd Saturday of the month)

South Miami/The Gables
Titanic Restaurant and Brewery
Bougainvilleas
Ra
Open Stage Club
John Martins Irish Pub
Red Koi