Mar ’02 – entry 2

Conversations with Grandma

The unhappiness and dissatisfaction with my life became totally unbearable this week. I was seriously thinking of how I could do something as simple as go to a nightclub to meet someone new. Well, I would first have to wait until I was done with my iyaworaje, then I would need to go to the club dressed all in white, not be able to drink and then I would have to filter through all of the kinds of men that I CANNOT ever have a relationship in order to find the one that was appropriate, and then hope that he is intelligent, single, clean, a non-smoker and emotionally available for a relationship. Basically there was no chance in hell for me ever finding a modern gay man that would be ok with all of the spiritual things I had to uphold, and two of the ones that I had hit it off with in the last year even came forward and were honest enough to let me know that the only reason they walked away from any possibility of a relationship with me was because of my oppressive religious requirements. They felt it would affect their lives too much. You know, it is sad, but they are right.

So I went to bed that night pissed off.

I slept rather erratically that night. I tossed and turned a lot, my alarm went off the next morning and I felt as if I couldn’t get out of bed. I was too depressed and really had nothing to look forward too but another day of awkward living. I remember shutting off my alarm and going back to sleep. This time I really did sleep and VERY deeply. I dreamt that I was living at my childhood home, I was dressed in white and I was late for work because I could not find any clean white clothes to wear. My grandmother was in the dream too, but there was something different about her. See, my grandmother died from Alzheimer’s Disease about a year and a few months ago – she died just four days or so after my birthday. I prayed over her rather lifeless alive body and performed last rights for her hoping that she would be able to let go and pass on to a happier existence. She was my second mother and I still have her very close in my heart. But every time that I have dreamt of her she has been healthy and totally mentally intact in my dreams, or if I dream of her with Alzheimer’s type dementia, she is cured by some miracle in the end of the dream and I awake crying. Well in this dream, she had Alzheimer’s type dementia. I was asking her to help me go through piles of laundry to try to find something clean to wear, but she was so disoriented that she couldn’t help me. She was totally lost, and I was freaking out because I was late for work. Then suddenly in the dream, she grabs me by the shoulders, turns me to face her and says very clearly and with total mental awareness, “Wear whatever you want to work! As long as you are happy you will always be protected. The rest of it is all just a human construction.” And I instantly awoke!

I was greeted by the call and response of buoy and oil tanker foghorns in the harbor. It was apparently a foggy morning. I was so disrupted by my dream that I laid in bed for a while, totally floored by the profundity of this experience and the message that my deceased grandmother brought me in my dream. Eventually I got up, saluted Shangó that morning as I always do, but when I was down on the floor, something different came out of my mouth. I said, “Babá, please guide me in my heart and in my head. From now on I will only follow what you tell me in my head and in my heart. What anyone else tries to manipulate me into doing I will not do. I will only pursue my happiness and allow you to guide me directly, because as long as I am happy I will be more protected than any amount of white that I wear, any foods that I deny myself or anything else for that matter.”

I went to work that day and could do absolutely nothing. I was processing the impact of what was said to me all day. Finally I got home and my godbrother called me. After talking to him and sharing my experience I realized the importance of what I was told. I was unhappy and it took a message from my DEAD GRANDMOTHER FROM THE OTHER SIDE to snap me back in line. I needed to do whatever it took to be happy. The rest of it is nothing but a limited human construction. The joy that God gives me in my heart is the real experience all of the rest of it is a puppet show, paper dolls and shadow animals.

I called my godfather that night and asked him what I had to do to finally cut my Greg Brady hair because it was no longer acceptable to wear at work. (By the way, my punishment for having stepped “out of line” in January was that he forbid me to cut my hair at my 3 month mark, so I had well over 4 and a half months worth of hair on my head.) He was incredulous that I would even ask him. Finally he told me to go ahead and cut my hair, and seemed very pissed that I would even dare ask him if there was anything I had to do before hand. So I went to the local Fantastic Sam’s and had my hair buzzed down to a 1. I was warned that if I did this that I would go mad, or that Shangó would possess me and he would not leave until my godfather were to come from NYC and dismiss him. Well guess what? I cut my hair, had a nice lunch, spent time with my mom that day and went home that night PERFECTLY FINE. I AM PERFECTLY FINE as I write this two weeks later. It was all a very cruel punishment that exceeded the faux pas that I made. And I know from my experience that this type of behavior is totally unacceptable from any type of leadership, save maybe a drill sergeant.

I am being totally honest and open when I say all of this. I have decided that when this year is done, I will no longer participate in the public aspect of Ocha because I do not want to have anything to do with the drama, the manipulation, the greed, the people and the corruption. I will keep my orishas for myself, but I will go on living a life of normalcy when my year is done. I have no desire to be a big santero, nor an obbá, nor even how to read diloggún. You can keep it. I prefer a life of coffee house visits with great conversation, nights at the gay nightclub watching a drag show, dancing, eating at fine restaurants, dating and screwing like mad and enjoying every aspect of live in all of its beauty, flavor and colors as God intended it to be.

Next Chapter >>> Conversations with God

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