I came to the bay area alone. I leave the bay area alone. Packing alone, cleaning out my Oakland apartment alone, seeing myself off. I guess I didn’t come here so much to develop roots, although in some fundamental way this occurred. I came to really understand what roots are. It is a hard lesson to learn. I came to love so many people in the bay area and I learned more about myself by loving these people. I cannot move on without making note of this. Otherwise the pain, struggle, and tears would have been in vain. Although we won’t be living or working within the same physical community, there are very few loved ones who are deeply rooted in my heart for life.
I have learned the importance of loyalty. Being loyal and learning to identify and appreciate those who are loyal are essential to building fam. Loyalty is a major aspect of how a person’s character is determined. Loyalty is defined by the ability to be consistently reliable in their word and action. A loyal person is selfless, yet not foolish. A loyal person does not express companionship only when it is convenient, but understands the importance of sacrifice and giving in moments of need by another. A loyal person who is wise does choose carefully who is considered a loved one, but does not fool others into companionship under the pretense of friendship. A loyal person respects the time, energy, and effort it takes to build trust, and does not allow others to invest in something that does not or will not exist. I am still learning how to identify those who are loyal, and those who seek superficial companionship. Patience, time, and trials are determining factors. So are a person's actions. How do I seek deeply rooted friendships without involving myself in risk, without allowing myself to become vulnerable? I don’t know if there’s a way. And perhaps this is why I’ve found myself alone for most of my life, why I seem to overcome most obstacles that push me to the very edge of life itself- alone. Somehow this strength is a mystery. If it weren’t for purpose- a purpose for living- I wouldn’t have my life.
My faith lies not in religion, but in purpose. Purpose is a spiritual concept. I know that there are meaningful reasons for having come across the people in my life, the conflicts I have encountered, the blessings I have embraced, and the pain I have learned from. I find it truly a miracle to continue to be alive- to choose life. Without purpose there would be no living- only meaningless pain, destruction, disaster, and undermined luck. But with purpose, I am understanding the depth in every course life has taken me, and I choose to find the courage to learn from it- even when it could be easy to give into emotional sway and say “fuck the world” sometimes. So every conflict, no matter how ugly it is, is a jewel- an opportunity to grow and become stronger, to understand the meaning of overcoming.
Life is a war. The victory in each battle is to see where love is hidden and develop a knowledge of self. Understanding the act of loving others and myself in a colonized world is the most challenging aspect of this war. Because so many aspects of colonization are deeply engrained in each of us, the way we develop relationships with others, and how we choose to go about the course of our lives, loving is a decolonizing process in itself. Once I began to see that, I realized the different ways that love can manifest itself in a twisted world. Love with no trust. Love with anger. There are people today who I love, feel a sense of loyalty and respect towards, yet maintain a distance from. Some of them may not know that I love them and recognize their beauty. They may not know that despite their trespasses against my trust, there is still a love that exists despite what I may want to feel.
A deeply rooted relationship then consists of an appreciation and loyalty toward that love- but also toward trust. I may love those who have disrespected me, but developing roots cannot occur in a relationship where respect is lacking. My challenge then is to seek wholesome relationships that contain all the qualities necessary to become sustainable- loyalty, trust, respect, and love. I believe I have grown to understand the weight of such an investment, and so I must invest wisely. I have also understood that I have to expect from myself what I expect in others. I have to be conscious of my own actions as well.