Spirit Interview 11 -Dre Cleveland

Andrea (Dre) Cleveland
Age: 32
Birthday: September 21st, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Saturn: Virgo

As if a back to the future episode, I interviewed Andrea a few days before her birthday.  In the process of throwing a party of celebration, she was also launching her new novel.  Let’s see what the eve of a large day can sound like, as we travel away from our Saturn.  Happy Birthday, Andrea, to you.

HSR: What made you decide to do this interview?  If you are turning 32, it seems like you are at the tail end of your Saturn, yes?

Dre: I was reading your blog, Her Saturn Returns and I was deeply intrigued and inspired by the presence of Saturn in this stage of life and how on target it all was for me; it just made sense, and i wanted to share.

HSR: Well, it sounds to me like your Saturn is in Libra, but I can double check.
Tell me about how the past four years have been for you, can you recall that far back?

Dre: Laughs… gee Shawn, I’m not that old.  Yes, I can remember that far back

HSR: Laughs, I can’t remember last week, so I would understand if you couldn’t.  Name me some milestones.

Dre: Four years ago I was married to my son’s father.

HSR: Wow!  Okay, that’s a good start

Dre: I know, right?

HSR: And how did the marriage go?

Dre: Well, it was interesting. I knew I would be married to him before I knew him, but the marriage wasn’t built on a real foundation of profound love and commitment.

HSR: Huh, and how did you know… sounds like you got married at 27 if my math serves me correctly.  What was it based on if not profound love?

Dre: It felt like a nice friendship with someone you definitely love but that’s it.  That deep connection was missing though we do love each other. I can say I’ve only experienced that deep connection twice in my lifetime, and I think that is a basis for a relationship that can be sustained over time because things, even the person you’re with, will always be growing and changing, and the only thing, I believe, that will keep it together is that deep love for one another, and the commitment to the relationship.  Ours was based on a strong compatibility in business because that’s the framework we met inside of.  We didn’t really know each other outside of a business structure and we got married fairly early into the relationship.  Barely a year.  I believe I was still 26 at the time because we got married the month before my birthday.

HSR: So almost to the day four years ago, you said “I Do!” And then you had your son, or was that before marriage?

Dre: He was born two years into the marriage.  He’s 5 now.

HSR: 28, with a husband, and a child, a business… and then what happened?

Dre: I started to realize that it wasn’t working, and we took steps to do coaching with a friend of mine who went to coaching school with me, which only worked for a while.

HSR: You weren’t working, or the two of you?

Dre: …and yes that’s a good question.  On a mundane level WE weren’t working, over the last few years, I realize it is all me.  It is always all me.

HSR: Sounds like classic Saturn; what was going on with you?

Dre: He was who I made him out to be.  I mean that on a fundamental human level, I really got that I created him as someone who was not affectionate and quick to blame, etc. And as a result i fed into it, so we never had the opportunity to even really develop that connection that didn’t come naturally to us, and I didn’t know what I know now about standing inside of commitment to the relationship and willingly creating him in a more empowering way so that he shows up that way for me.  I got that AFTER we divorced.  We were married for 4 years.

HSR: So, is that how or when you realized that you were queer?  You knew I was going to ask!

Dre: Laughs.  Yes, I did know that.  I knew since I started having sexual feelings.

HSR: Oh, okay, so you didn’t have a realization during the marriage?

Dre: No but the realization that I was missing a part of who I am became stronger as the marriage started going south.  I had never been in a relationship with a woman until after the marriage was over.  I was not willing to “go there” with myself fully.

HSR: And so, once you got a divorce… tell me chronologically, what happened.

Dre: The divorce was the catalyst.

HSR: How was it once you finally “went there”?  And about “the catalyst”, would you say you are you on a journey?

Dre: Laughs…which question would you like me to answer first?

HSR: Whichever you like.

Dre: Ok, well I feel like I’m always on a journey…and I’m certainly on a journey of discovering myself, my wants, my needs, my desires and embracing all of it.  It has been an interesting ride to say the least thus far and I am enjoying “finding myself.”

HSR: What have you found, who are you? Tell the people about what you are up to now.

Dre: Laughs…Well, people..I’m up to a lot. First of all, I am learning to be incredibly patient with myself…and open with what is there for me to learn in this.  I find I am drawn to female energy though I deeply love and can engage with both sexes in all ways, and I feel like that is something sacred.  I am embracing that statement in the way that Sobonfu Some talks about the gatekeepers in her book, The Spirit of Intimacy.

HSR: I’m going to ask you more about what you mean about “sacred”.

Dre: And thank you for sharing Sobonfu at Rivers last month.

HSR: You are very welcome. How do you identify with that chapter on gatekeepers? What is it about the sacred and the spiritual that speaks to your core, your journey, your inner self?

Dre: The thirteenth chapter: Gatekeepers, spoke very loudly to my core actually.  I feel like that is exactly a huge part of what my purpose is on this planet and I am aligned with that.  The author talks about how the gatekeepers have their feet in many spiritual gateways at once and their ability to ride the line between sexes is what has the access to those spiritual gateways be possible.  In this world, I am naturally able to receive information from source in different ways and transmit it here in many ways as well, especially through the art of coaching.

HSR: This sounds powerful.  What is your definition of the source? I’m curious.

Dre: Source meaning all things..and nothing. The space from which everything is created.  That’s it to put it simply.

HSR: I like that definition. So I interrupted you to discuss spirit, but you were going on about your current life changes.  Aren’t you also publishing a book? What was that process like?  What made you decide to write?  And how long from the moment you began did you decide to put your words to paper? What is it all about?

Dre: Let me tell you, Saturn is working over time on shaking up the life I’ve known it to be and tearing EVERYTHING down so I have the space to create from what my life’s intention is.  So, yes I am writing a book too.  It will be in print in October but we are launching and introducing it at my party on on Wednesday.  It is a young woman’s journey to self love through a relationship that doesn’t work for her…and against the backdrop of college life, a representation of “real world” issues like sexuality, racism, and spirituality.

Laughs. Let’s just say there is a bit of drama surrounding that relationship and the conversations the minor characters find themselves in are interesting and eye opening in terms of handling those issues in ways that are not handled that way everyday in books.  There is a strong gay male figure..two (in two different skins).  You get introduced to the beauty of the Yoruba tradition…and Oshun.

HSR: Oooh!  So, is it fiction?  If it is, I’m assuming there will be some autobiographical content in there too.

Dre: Yes, it’s fiction. I like to say it plays fiction on TV.  That’s because I took elements from everything I’ve experienced in life and relationships and put them into the the story on different levels.  So many of the characters are me and many of them are people who had a great impact on me.  You can say on some level, all of them are both me and those people.  We are all one.  A reflection of each other.

HSR: What is the most challenging thing that you are either currently overcoming, or found was a point of recurrence for you since the end of your marriage, especially now as a single mom?  I’m assuming you’re single.

Dre: Yes, I am a single mom, but the most challenging thing has been being confronted by Saturn’s wrath.  (And I wouldn’t have called it that all this time before I read your blog…but that is it!)  I have had the extremely challenging experience of watching my entire life deteriorate right before my eyes, on EVERY level!  There has been so much “death” around me the last few years…both figuratively and physically.  Relationships, jobs and career, housing situations, money…all of it.  Just everything that I have known..and everything that made me comfortable got swept away from me and I am now left in the aftermath of it all.

On one level dealing with the harshness of “death” and yet standing in the possibility of rebirth.  It gives me chills because I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that who I am requires the appropriate matches..and the CREATOR is saying…NONE of this was who YOU are. I know who YOU are…  It is time to step fully into your purpose baby girl…and you can’t take none of that with you.

HSR: Wow, so you are picking up some pieces that have fallen.

Dre: I’m not picking them up..they down there for a reason.  I’m going to create a new puzzle!

HSR: How do you go through it all, and know that you will make it, and not repeat the same mistakes? What gives you hope, motivation, reassurance?

Dre:  I’m not feeling prepared for all the changes.  I’m not excited about all of them..not most of them. I’m not even looking forward to some of the days ahead and what has to be accomplished, but one thing I do know is it always seems to fall into sync with what my purpose is at the end of the day, and that is to bring healing to the SPIRIT, love, light…including my own.

HSR: It sounds like your coaching is helping yourself as well as others.  What would you offer to other queer women of color currently going through their Saturn?

Dre: What I would offer to queer women of color going through this period is a sense of peace and clarity that ALL that is happening is that you are being prepared..rigorously…for who you are destined to be.  We are in the time of our lives where things are moving and shifting in accordance with our “return” not only to the time of our birth, but our return to self.  Who we really are underneath the daily issues we face…there is more to us than that and I recommend using this time period as a time of healing and purification as you let go (sometimes by force) of things that are not going to serve you and who you are becoming.

HSR: That is true, the idea of cleansing.  And lastly, so I don’t forget, how can someone hear about your book if they are interested?

Dre: They can ask my son…he’ll tell them all about it!  Laughs.. no seriously, It will be available on Lulu.com in October as well as Barnes and Nobles and other online vendors.

Title: Love and Payne
Everyone can visit my page at for my other book, God Is A Woman: 7 Keys to Self Love and Empowerment for Women (written under Kioni Carter) as well, and Love and Payne will be up there soon.

HSR: I can’t wait to read it!

Dre: Good night beautiful lady. Thank you again.

HSR: Ok. Goodnight!

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2 Responses to Spirit Interview 11 -Dre Cleveland

  1. joi says:

    Thank you both for doing this interview.. I’m smack in the middle of my Saturn, and I’m exploring so many avenues that scare me. Its reaffirming and refreshing to read the story of someone who’s been through my same road and make it through for the better. Thank you for sharing your story Dre and thank you Shawn for committing to tell such diverse points of view.

  2. Pingback: Lesbian, Bisexual, and Two-spirited Pride -June 1st 2012 | Rivers of Honey

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