This week marks my one-month anniversary since moving to Dallas. The move represented a big step for me. I spent over 40 years in New York, and during that time, I learned to blame myself for the hostility, standoffishness and snideness that I encountered.

The problem, as I see it, is that New York is a mecca for competitive, ambitious people who have big dreams. There’s a huge divide between the physically fit, well-dressed, sharp and driven people who populate the $3K/month apartments in Carroll Gardens, and the misshapen, sweatpants-wearing single mothers who balance three jobs and live in roach-ridden apartments.

During my time in New York, I came to realize that I would never feel comfortable around the finance-and-fashion and media types that made up the city’s high-profile residents. I also felt deeply uncomfortable around the radical leftists in the New York underground. There seemed to be an alarming degree of groupthink among them - everyone seemed the same.

When I first arrived in Dallas, it didn’t seem much different from New York. My first stop was The Wild Detectives, a coffee shop/bar/indie bookstore that sold a wide variety of leftist literature. I had to turn my headphones up at full volume to block out the obnoxious reggaeton and nu-soul that they were blasting.

As a card-carrying freethinker, iconoclast and witch, I was afraid that my controversial perspectives would not be welcome here. Several racist incidents that took place shortly after I got here, at the hands of both black and white people, left me thinking that I would be left alone with my feelings of deep hurt and rage. Since then, race has been an issue in many of my dealings with people here. I’m often shit-tested, gaslit or just plain abused by others.

Being biracial has been an issue for me here. I often find people staring or sneering at me. I’ve noticed that people often seem hyperconscious of what I do, reacting defensively at the slightest twitch or turn of mine. I’m often positioned as an outsider and not extended the slightest bit of human compassion for my shortcomings. That’s stressful, especially on a professional level.

But that’s not much different from what I was going through in New York. There, my heart was slowly being broken by the sheer number of people who put me through the same nonsense. What I love about Dallas is that here, people have no problem being honest with me about their feelings. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable being around me, they make it clear.

And the culture of the city has been influenced by Texas’ history of racial violence. There’s a conscious effort by residents to make up for that, and this has led to a city culture in which diversity is honored and respected. While most people are somewhat liberal, there’s an active effort to make sacred space for all people - no matter their politics or orientation. Texans value diversity - there’s a strong “live and let live” culture here that I love. As long as people are well-meaning and kind, they are respected here.

I even felt comfortable enough to start wearing my head wrap in public. It’s a huge, Erykah Badu-style piece that I learned not to wear in New York because people, especially brown people, didn’t like it. In Dallas, blacks and whites alike embrace my appearance and I sometimes start random conversations with strangers that end in exchanging numbers.

Posted 61 weeks ago

Moving to Dallas has been both good and bad for me. When I first got down here, I didn’t know what to expect. I’d heard stories about virulent Dallas antiblack racism and wasn’t sure whether I’d see microaggressions and insensitivity, or if the warnings were simply overblown.

I haven’t met enough people down here to know exactly what the picture is, but I can say for a fact that both black and white Dallas-ites seem to despise me on sight. The number of people who sneer at me on the sidewalk, stare stonily at me in retail stores, and icily rebuff me in social situations are legion. In this sense, the “racism” is much worse than it was in New York City.

However, it’s refreshing to see people being open about their feelings. It’s nothing new to see blacks and whites united in their contempt for biracial people. That’s been the case for a while now. And nobody has ever been reticent about owning the fact that they find my misshapen flab, soft frizzy hair, and disjointed features repugnant.

I’m just relieved that people tell me how they feel to my face. In New York, I always assumed that my freethinking nature, lit nerd accent, and marks of isolation were the problem. In Dallas, it’s become obvious that I’m just different, and that this is the root of my problem.

Posted 63 weeks ago

I’ve been contemplating how to approach my next steps for my journey of healing from child abuse, sexual assault, racism, etc. I feel like I’m embarking on the path of healing a decade too late, but I’m happy to have made it! I want my path to involve:

travel to many countries

work with both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans

permaculture and work with the Earth

journaling and fiction-writing


herbalism and alternative medicine

I want to start with a year in Baja California or coastal Mexico, renting a room and spending the time detoxifying and healing my body from twenty years of psychotropic medication. I’ll bathe in the ocean, eat wholesome food, and write. It can apparently be done for under $600 per month, so I’ll even be able to accumulate some savings. 

From there, I’d like to do work-trade in Latin America, Asia and Europe. I can work on permaculture farms, teach English, housekeep at oceanside resorts, and so on. There are apps in the Apple Pay and Google Play stores that help you find such opportunities, and I’m hoping to make the most of them! 

Do you dream of traveling as part of your healing journey? Feel free to comment below on your own hopes for future travels!

Posted 203 weeks ago

A New Way To Burn Incense

I took a trip out to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn today to check out the Islamic clothing and curio shops out there. Today was an idyllic day. Not only was the sky free of rain clouds, it was a rare, brilliant blue. It reminded me of the years before chemtrails and pollution leached the sky of all vividness and left it a discolored, sullen grey.

Atlantic Avenue was bustling, people hurrying back and forth purposefully with packages and bags filled with merchandise. I sauntered past the clothing stores with vibrant abayas in gauzy fuchsia and embroidered ebony hanging outside, and stopped to peer in at a buffet of smoky halal curries and stews. A display table of books on Islam drew my attention; I picked up a couple and paged through them airily. 

Madina International was packed. I started at the newly-installed automatic sliding door and stepped inside, overcome as always by the abundance of inexpensively-priced spiritual goods. I gawked at the beautiful wooden incense holders and shelves of dark incense sticks and got lost in shower fantasies while checking out a gallon of liquid black soap for $20. But the real kicker was a pound of Indian or Sudanese frankincense, and myrrh, for $4 each! 

My next stop was an unassuming little store tucked in between an abaya shoppe and a mosque. I walked in and perused the offerings indifferently, not expecting to find much of note. The proprietor of the store didn’t seem very friendly, and the store didn’t really seem to have much of a spiritual emphasis.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I looked up at the top of one shelf and saw a product that I’d only heard about before - an electric incense burner! These marvels plug into the wall and, when turned on, burn incense just like charcoal does - without the expense and mess of charcoal. The ones I’d seen cost a minimum of $60, but I knew that this one would be cheaper because everything on Atlantic Avenue is priced at least 10% off. And this didn’t look like an expensive product.

After bargaining with the proprietor, I walked away with the incense burner for a grand total of $15. I was over the moon! I burn a lot of incense, everything from star anise to palo santo to powdered kyphi to rock alum, and one of my huge pet peeves is that I waste so much money on charcoal.  This will completely change my game! I’m sitting at the Marlton with the bag at my side 10 hours later, and I’m still high. 

Posted 203 weeks ago