For the lover in you, the heartbroken heartbreakers, the healing, the wondering wanderers, and everybody in between those things. This is the formation of my memoir, functioning as a love letter.
I’m Ra Yukawa, the author of this book, and my relationship with myself is most important to me. Self-love is the best love. Like Eartha Kitt answered to the question Are you willing to compromise within a relationship?, “To compromise? What is compromising? Compromising for what? Compromising for what reason? To compromise? For what?! To compromise. What is compromise? Stupid. A man comes into my life and I have to compromise? You must think about that one again. A man comes into my life and [I] have to compromise? For what? For what? For what?! A relationship is [something] that has to be earned, not to compromise for. And I love relationships. I think they’re fantastically wonderful, I think they’re great and I think there’s nothing in the world more beautiful than falling in love. But falling in love for the right reason. Falling in love for the right purpose. Falling in love, falling in love… When you fall in love, what is there to compromise about?” Isn’t love a union between two people or does Eartha fall in love with herself? “I think, if you want to think about it in terms of analysing… yes, I fall in love with myself and I want someone to share it with me. I want someone to share me with me.” Has that happened? “Many times, in many ways…”
Yet, I’ve always tussled with this notion of loving myself, and learning how to thrive in doing so as my top priority, because falling in love with myself is a natural proclivity, yet it’s typically put me at odds in my relationships with my significant others. It was like our relationship was oil and my relationship, with myself, was water. They just wouldn’t mix. An imbalance whilst walking a tightrope between the complexities of human connection and a flow-state of solitude. And I love being in love with someone other than me. So much so, that I felt that the all-encompassing solution to the opposing nature of being myself and being with another, was to just neglect my relationship with myself in order to sustain and progress my bond with my person (or to find my person, if single). I would completely dissolve my identity within my relationships, within my girlfriend’s sense of self.
For years and years, something in my heart would continuously prompt me to go about my life as if my relationships with my lovers were more important than my relationship with myself, and I would justify it by saying, “We all mirror one another — especially in terms of romantic relationships. So falling in love with my person and learning how to love them, shows me how to fall in love with myself and love me, and vice versa.” It’s that vice versa that I was missing.
I was missing.
But I was merely a symbol, an icon, a logo, to something more. I would come to realise that the idea of loving myself was an English translation, losing the true and pure essence of the original meaning. There was this very serious, deeply rooted and rapidly expanding void that I was trying to fill with my romantic relationships. A void that existed beyond me, but I was the one and only key with which to reach it. A healthy dissolution of ego. It’s like, I had to go through me to get to me to transcend me.
The Alkhemey Of Temptation (TAOT) is my creative memoir and love letter to myself, to my past self, and to you as a mirror of me — for you to see yourself in me and heal through me. But most of all, TAOT is your invite into, and journey throughout, my Void. It’s a message urging you to, see yourself in you and heal through you, turning the lock that hides away your own void. A tool with which you can use to cut your own key, sculpt your own mirror, to your inner-worlds.
This will be an autofictional body of work, full of childlike imagination, with elements of spiritual concepts, cultural references, and surrealism. It’ll be mainly, if not completely, told from the first-person perspective of 33-year-old Lord Rasquiat Almighty (my likeness), in the form of journal entries. He’s writing, in the journal, an official account of his life, to give to someone…
Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first. (Murphy’s Law, a corollary)
I set out on beginning this book back in December of 2015, when I was about to get married. As I said before, love was the centre of my world and I judged my growth as a person by how I showed up as a partner. To me, being ready for marriage was the pinnacle of growth. It was eldership. And I was heading into a personal year seven, full of reflection and spiritual solitude. I felt that I had reached a revelational nexus as far as my romantic relationships were concerned. I thought that I knew what, or who, I wanted. I thought that I had mastered myself as a lover. I was content within my relationship that I was in at the time. I had it all figured out and was ready to write a spiritual sort of tell-all about the unbelievable journey I took towards my newfound enlightenment.
I fell out.
I fell out of love hard. I realised that I wasn’t ready for marriage at all. But I had this amazingly thorough outline of all of the relationships and situationships that I’d been in. I’d done all of this metaphysical reflecting on my journey thus far. I was enthralled by the idea of writing this book and I felt that my failed engagement said nothing as to how much I’d thought I’d grown at that point. I was still sagacious enough to write my book with elderly poise. So, I continued, and I continued, to write this book, especially when, after the aforementioned break-up, I went through two seriously tumultuous relationships — of my own undoing. I figured, “This is just more wood for the transformative fire that this book is about.”
I had two more lovers after that, and I finally decided, “Okay, let’s really write this book. No more romantic involvements for me until I finish this book. I need to regroup. I need to focus. I need to finish.” Because I was done. I was over it all. I was emotionally exhausted and I just wanted to purge it away onto the secret “pages” of this newsletter. So, I started XXXALKHEMEY, here, in February 2021. Same original outline. Same story. Same premise.
But I had changed so much since 2015.
It took me exactly two years, in February 2023, to realise that I wasn’t the original person who started this book, that it was never my book to begin with, because I was never truly me. The book that I started writing 8 years ago was about the full-grown impact that my parents’ relationship had on me as a child, which I was going to illustrate through detailed stories of my exes and my experiences with them. An interesting, valid, and relatable storyline, but I started to feel like I was looking outside of myself too much, and giving energy to people that were no longer relevant to my journey, people whose stories and involvement in my life I shouldn’t have been talking about (even with their names being altered). It was too much soul, too much intimacy, too much love being given away to my past, when I needed it for myself, for who I was becoming in the now.
I needed to visit my Void.
That’s when, and where, I gave birth to Lord Rasquiat Almighty and his infinite world of Alkhemey, telling my story in a way that somehow seems more vulnerable and truer than non-fiction . . .
As the story unfolds, be prepared to unfold with it. It’ll be far from human-linear in its recollection, as spiral upon spiral is the way that time moves in the spiritual realm of which this book will be written. Swinging, swaying, sliding, shifting, moving in an s-motion, a zig-zag-zig, jolting, hopping, skipping, dancing… Stomping on your screens, saying F^<% YO’ BOOK. It’ll do all of those things. And you may just fair better throughout the entries to continuously let go of whatever notions you may be holding about what to expect next. All of the wilderness will gradually, or suddenly, begin to connect, in a beautifully abstract way, deeply understood by the ones who are meant to understand it. So, simply vibe out with me along this journey and don’t ask where we’re going. Trust that wherever it is, it will allow you to shift just as much as it will shift — if not more.
Trust the unfolding.
And go tell your friends about it! Keep up with TAOT together — feel free to make it social.