It was March 15, 2021 when I hopped aboard the plane with two suitcases, a backpack, and a one way ticket to Costa Rica. So much has happened over these last 12 months.
As I scroll through pictures, taking a moment to review all of the funtabulous things that have gone down over this past year, it’s hard to put that on paper. The amount of growth, learning, living, and enlightenment, spans lifetimes, and needs to be put in a book and/or movie. One of the most memorable moments though, is that I met my Tribe here. There is a wonderful Black expat community here in the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Yes there is fun, but there are also times I don’t think I’ll make it, but this community and its support keep me thriving. I won’t go as far as to say this is my forever home, nothing is forever, but I know that this is home for now. I keep thinking we need a camera crew to follow us around, cause people won’t believe some of the fun, crazy shit that goes down here.
I was going to make plans for what I want this year to look like, but whenever I make plans, God comes along and smashes them to pieces, only to present me with a bigger, better, more masterful plan. So I won’t bore you with empty promises and a list of things I may or may not accomplish. You’ll just have to keep up with me and join me on the journey, cause it's more exciting that way anyways. Follow my links at the bottom.
I’ve recently joined the Black Writer’s Group, a local gathering of other writers that get together weekly to support and encourage each other's projects. This week I am the WOTW (Writer Of The Week) and was given a list of questions to answer to share in our weekly newsletter.
Well like the writer that I am, I could not just answer in a few simple words. I had to share a story. So keep reading if you want to know the deets on my current writing projects, my latest reads, why I really left the states, my spiritual awakening and more.
Introduce YOU; give us some of the backstory. Any fun facts or unexpected twists in your personal story?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, Ca (Inglewood/Long Beach). I grew up with a single mom, and have never met or known my biological father. I was the president of my elementary school; got good grades and was an all around good girl. I was an only child until I was 7 years old; those years were bliss, lol. Then my little sister came in like a storm and has been keeping us interesting as a family ever since. Single motherhood took its toll on my mom, and us, so it was authors like Judy Blume and V.C Andrews that kept my head buried in books and out of trouble. I realized at a young age that I was not like the rest of my family. I always felt I had a greater calling in society. So I moved out when I was 18 years old, to find my place in the world, and what I found was the party crowd. Ages 18 to 29 are such a blur, but I do remember I had a blast.
When the fog began to lift, I decided it was time I got serious about my life, so I got married at 29. And divorced at 30. I got married for all the wrong reasons, the main one being loneliness. I was surrounded by people, yet never felt so void and lonely. I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, which is definitely why I hit the party scene so hard when I left. But after my divorce I turned to God again, and became an overseas Christian missionary. I served in Mexico, the Philippines, and Algeria. Those years were life changing, but at the end of the day I decided that going into other countries to convert people, just like the colonizers did to my people, was not the kind of life I wanted to subscribe to. So I left the church (not God) and stumbled into my spiritual awakening in 2017. Today, I feel more free, more true to myself than I ever have. I am living my best life, and I don’t have any regrets. I do wish I could have been a mother, and I have a desire to try marriage again, but in the meantime I have no complaints.
In 2020 I was finishing up school in Arizona, when George Floyd was murdered. I was one of the few Blacks on campus and several incidents took place there that reminded me of the fucked up world we live in. Going to school on a campus full of conscious people should have been a safe place, but it was anything but. I was fed up and decided it was time to make my Blaxit (Black exit) and find my tribe, which is what led me here to Costa Rica. I’ve lived in other countries before, but none of those were my grand exit. None of those exits were caused by the racial traumas of living in a country that still has no idea how to embrace the Black community, our culture or any other cultures for that matter.
I’ve been here a year now, and could not have imagined a life as beautiful and blissful as this. I know, that I know, that I know, that I know that I was led here by my higher self. My Soul stepped up, showed out and took over. And I didn't relaize it at the time, but coming here helped to heal the sister wounds I once I had. When I left Arizona, I subconsciously packed light, and only kept clothes for tropical weather, yet I did not know that I’d end up on the Caribbean side of the country. I had a list of other places to check out, but on day one I knew that I had arrived home.
And one year later, my days look like this: wake up to howler monkeys, meditate, journal, teach yoga to my tribe, cowork in the afternoon at a local hangout, meet with clients to guide them on their spiritual paths, then head to the beach for sun baths and playing in the ocean, pick up a cold coconut on the way to a local eatery, take a puff of whatever one of the homies is passing around, head back home to watch the discovery channel live and in person from my hammock as the monkeys climb trees in the backyard, and finally fall asleep to the sounds of mother nature and all of her sons and daughters as they sing to my Soul. Not everyday is like this, but on days that they are, I remember why I came here. And I remember the visions of this place before I even knew it existed. God willing I’ll see 48 this year, and it only gets better from here.
What is your favorite genre to read? Has that changed? Who is your favorite author?
You can always find me in the self help section of any bookstore or library. Personal development was my calling way before I ever realized it. I have been on the path to personal and spiritual enlightenment since reading books like, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, “The Four Agreements”, “The Secret”, and “Awaken the Giant Within''. I do enjoy a good fiction book here and there. Believe it or not, I love trilogies like “Twilight”, “Hunger Games”, “Divergent”, and “Fifty Shades of Grey”. And I was one of those nerdy adults standing in line waiting for the next Harry Potter book to come out. I love books that turn into movies, but I have to read the book before I see the movie, otherwise I’ll never go back and read the book. And I only read books once, and likewise, I only watch movies once. There’s too much out there to read and watch for me to repeat anything.
I’ve been blessed to be able to meet some authors in person, and I giggled like a nervous school girl when I got the chance to meet and take a pic with John Maxwell “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, and Francis Chan “Crazy Love”. I used to work at Moody Publishers in Chicago and almost fell out of my chair when I got to meet Gary Chapman “The 5 Love Languages”. And of course I love my Black writers and their works like; James Baldwin “If Beale Street Could Talk”, Toni Morrison “The Bluest Eye”, Maya Angelou “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings”, and Alice Walker “The Color Purple”, the only book I read after seeing the movie.
Has your writing been published? If so, where? Where can we buy it? Where would you love to see your work published?
I have done lots of guest blogs, you can check some of them out here: https://www.yougotmel.org/speaking-engagemeents-articles
And here is my business/personal blog: https://www.yougotmel.org/blog
When I finally do publish my books, I want to see them everywhere online and in the hands of the people who want and need them most. And if I am lucky, one day, maybe I’ll make it to Oprah’s Book Club list.
What writing projects are you currently-or would you like to be working on? Is there anyone with whom you would like to collaborate?
I have three books written, but that’s as far as it goes. I’m manifesting them all to be published one day soon. The first is a children’s book I wrote with my host sister (Mariam) when I was a missionary living in a refugee camp in Algeria. It’s about a princess lost in the desert called “Princess Lamira”. Lamira means princess in Arabic, and the book is named after Mariam’s sister. Once I find an illustrator to collaborate with, this is edited and ready to be published.
And then I have two self help books (surprise, surprise). One called “Happy To Be Here: How to Make Your Workplace, Your Happy Place”. This will be a quick read so most likely an ebook. I want to use this one for my coaching business. Many of my clients are unhappy at work, so I plan to use this as a resource, to get them through the work days until they decide to make the big leap and do the work that will give them more fulfillment. And the other is “I’m Not From Here: A Relocation Guide To Living Your Best Life Anywhere and Everywhere” I share quite a bit about myself in the book, so it’s a guide/biography. I’ve lived in 7 states and 4 countries and want to encourage others to get out and explore the world, leave their home state/town and live their best life and purpose.
What are you reading? Print or digital? Do you have a preference?
I prefer print to digital, but I can fit my whole life into two suitcases, and there’s not a lot of room for books, so digital it is for now. I just finished reading “Conversations With God '' by Neale Donald Walsch. There are several books in the series, and I read book 1 and 2. Don’t let the title fool you, this book affirmed who I always believed God to be; man and woman, femine and masculine and not at all like the image the Christain church paints God to be.
And I just started reading “The Ultimate Guide to Channeling: Practical Techniques to Connect With Your Spirit Guides''. I met my team of spirit guides a few years ago, and have been connecting and communicating with them ever since. And I have been aware of my spiritual gifts since I was on the field as a missionary, they seemed to be a little more advanced than some of my colleges. I was always super sensitive to energies and very aware of spirits, and after leaving the church, and having my grand awakening in 2017, my gifts were reignited and harder to ignore. Since moving to Puerto Viejo a year ago, they have become even stronger. This place is a vortex, and I’ve been low key dancing around and avoiding fully embracing my power. I got a taste of how powerful of a manifestor I am last year when I first arrived here; this is the year to unleash my full power. I continue to have people recognize how powerful I am, so I’ve held myself back from the world long enough.
Do you have a writing process? What is (has been) your approach to writing?
Words literally just come to me. I’m never at a loss. Words are my life. Speaking them, reading them, hearing them and writing them. Even in the silence, my mind takes images and turns them into words, conversations, blogs, books, affirmations, intentions, manifestations, encouragement, letters, whatever/whenever and all the time. It can be overwhelming, but for the most part I embrace it. So my only process is to sit down and write. I’ve always been told writing on paper is better, but my mind moves fast, so I need to use a laptop to get it all out at the speed in which it comes.
What are some of the challenges you are facing now as a writer?
I have tons of writings in my vault, and I need to release them. To be honest, I completely forgot that I wrote and finished “Happy To Be Here” until I was preparing for this Q&A. So my challenge is me getting out of my own way and releasing my stuff to the world. I write many pieces for my own healing. I wrote “Happy To Be Here” after I was fired from my dream job. My boss told me that she was firing me because I wasn’t happy, WTF. So of course I felt some kind of way about it, and writing that book was healing to my Soul. I know that others need to hear the lessons I learned from that experience, so I am manifesting that one to be out this year.
Does writing energize you or exhaust you? Neither?
Writing gives me life. I imagine myself like Maya Angelou who would escape to a hotel room for months at a time to write. But I can also sit at a coffee shop, with people around, having their own conversations, and in the same moment tune them out and put pen to paper.
If you have read this far, thank you! I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment, and if you have any questions about how to work with me, in person for retreats or virtually for spritual life coaching, visit: https://www.yougotmel.org/