How Do You Eat An Elephant?

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This question was posed to me after Jorge, one of my BFFs, responded to one of my previous blog entries on turning thought into action. “…so the question is, “how do u eat an elephant?” answer: one pinche bite at a time, y con ganas!! i love this, what, idiom or expression. this is how i choose to do life; one glorious, delicious bite at a time y tranquilito” (JC 2016).

Now that I’ve made the conscious decision to see my life through MY eyes instead of through someone else’s eyes, I feel like half of my brain has opened up. Letting go of this drama has been profound for me, it’s like there is so much for me to do, and I feel like I am 5 years behind in my goals and in my life. Starting from zero is not fun from a financial standpoint but, on every other level, it’s exciting to know that I get to take time to think about my next move, to make and work my plans.

In speaking with my sisters today, they reminded me that everything is happening now for a reason: had I been tethered to a person or a company, I might not have been able to take the time to work out my life in this fashion.  It is so fitting that the ultimate comfort zone and my ultimate safe place has always been here for me, The Ranch.  I foolishly spent too much time running from it, running from myself, running from my familia, running, always running…

For now, I’m doing things like packing up all of my stuff, which is spread out in all kinds of different places, and consolidating it all into one place.  From there, I will start purging things that I no longer use or need like clothes, housewares, furniture, you name it.   I’m also on a mission to lose this ever-present lonja, I know that working out will make a positive difference for me, especially as it has everything to do with getting rid of extra weight and purging all of the negative body image thoughts that I am ready to do away with.

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Key to my tackling all of my new projects and goals has to be time-management, breaking these projects down into monthly, weekly, and daily goals…that way, it’s much more easier for me to embrace change as I create the life that I want.  It will not be easy.  I may not be hoarder-status but I am a pack-rat and it’s very difficult for me to throw things out.  Working out and taking care of myself has not been the priority for a very long time.   A big part of this will be channelling my InnerChingona:  the only way to keep myself calm and focused as I deal with all of the negative and destructive words that were thrown at me, that defeated me for so long, and to get into shape and break that cycle.

For many many many years, I had no trust for things that did not happen ‘right now’, I moved waaaay too fast and felt that I had to catch that crazy ride of life.   Now, I have so much faith in taking time with the important things in life.  My plans will be formulated ‘de a poquito/a little at a time’, change takes time, and I must take life one “pinche bite at a time…pero con ganas!”

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Solo Son Palabras…Life Through Another’s Eyes…and Words

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We all deal with the struggle of having to see ourselves through another’s eyes:  our mothers, fathers, family, significant others, children, boss, friends, you name it.  Nothing can give your confidence a boost like a word that you need to hear at “just the right moment”.   Conversely, nothing can bring your world crashing down like a word — be it “as a friend” advice, criticism, or observation that, whether it is well-meaning or not, can bring on a negative effect and rock your world for minutes, days, months, or years.

Part of getting your CONFIDENCE back is to find the courage to sift through all of these words and to toss those that have no meaning for you, that were given to you in a destructive manner, and keep those words that will help you live in the most positive way possible.   I warn you now, this post will be graphic and sometimes negative.  These are the types of words that I have had to look at for five years now from one individual, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week:

-I don’t want to take out every bit of anger I have on you.

-I’m going to lose it carmen.

-You know how I get when I’m frustrated and pissed.

-The holidays are here is bullshit necessary?

-Really. Do not fuck with me carmen. You really need to answer me. Hello. (repeated hundreds of times in separate text messages).

-I can tear you up carmen. You and the peeps you love

-Im your enemy until further notice

-Apparently you haven’t lost enough‏

-Bitch call me later

-I live to make you eat your words

-Run my money bitch, give me my cut fat slut

I have waited a very long time to make this blog post.  I guess it was either too difficult or humiliating to take a look back.  Five years are a long time to have to deal with someone’s else’s view of you and your life.  Much of this time was spent with my head down, trying to minimize the damage, trying to control the situation, trying to change the words that spewed every negative thing imaginable.   Abusive words that, in the short run, damaged me and my view of myself, compromised my trust of people, of situations, of life and in myself.   To give you an idea of what type of mess I deal with to this day, this person has sent me over 30,000 text and email messages which are 99% negative, filthy, abusive, obsessive, demeaning, disgusting, perverse, and straight-up crazy.  To top it off, this person did not stop with me.  My family, friends, colleagues, bosses, and acquaintances were all in the line of his vicious fire.

Although I never stopped writing, it was difficult for me to imagine ever saying, much less writing some of the words that have harmed me.  And you better know that this is just a very small part of the words I have seen, there is so much that is so graphic and deranged that, out of respect, I cannot include them into this post.

Below you will see my monthly summary of texts and calls that have been sent to me – I may have been dealing with this mess for five years, and, amazingly, it never seems to let up:  this picture is from August from one week of THIS year.    If you do the math, that is Four Thousand, Three Hundred, and Fifty Seven text messages in ONE week from different phone numbers.  The emails number in the thousands, the Facebook messages that some of you may have received number in the hundreds, all include my phone number.

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God, Jesus and the Virgen of G were watching out for me constantly, I never had to endure any physical abuse.  However, verbal abuse is no joke and I have since learned that words can feel like a slap in the face, a punch in the stomach, a shove into the wall, and a painful kick when you are down.  All physical violence starts with words.  What I struggled to realize was that I had the power to stop this damage.  I had the law behind me, I had my family and friends support, I had my work.

He always said that he would wear me down, and, to a point, he is 100% correct.  When I thankfully, started coming out of the fog, and I realized that, NO, this shit is far from normal, this person does NOT have my best interest at heart, that much of what he writes to me is either to destroy me, my reputation or a reflection of what is happening in HIS life, or lack of a life, that is, when he is not blaming me for his current situation, typical behavior for an abuser.  That I was able to make things happen, move around like I did to different cities, shows that when I need to, I can survive and work it.   I never needed this man to secure any type of job and, as it turns out, I never backed down, I never stopped working, I never stopped working it para que se le quite.

However, survival is a little different from getting my CONFIDENCE back.  In survival-mode, you are just trying to dodge the bullets and get through the day.   Now I want to BELIEVE that I can help make things great in my life and on my terms.  Therefore, reading through these words are necesssary.   I knew that this was what I had to do, and there was soooo much to read through, that it was overwhelming so I kept putting it off.  That is, until this morning, when I received yet another text message in which he discussed my physical appearance in filthy, vulgar, sick detail.  Something broke through in me and I knew that it was time.

Why now? How do I get my point across? How to make a negative into a positive?   There will never be a better time than now.  I was not ready to look at this mess before, mucho menos, talk about it with anyone.  I had to be sure that I wasn’t putting it out there so that people would have pity on me, those days are gone.  Changing HIM or his stupidass behavior is simply not possible.  You cannot fix the one who broke you:  God, life, karma, and the legal system will deal with him.  Putting his words out there allow me to rid them of the power they once had over me.  I can show others that, yes, there is life after madness.  The way I see it, words are my biggest ally, there are millions and millions of words that I can use to describe myself, my body, my life, my work, my family, my friends, and my goals —  I don’t need to live or die by his words any longer.  That said, I’m not stupid either, I am always careful and have people help watch my back.   Confidence starts with me, and, I sum this post up with these seven words:  he is not welcome on this journey.

To be Continued…

 

Ya Es Hora: Turn Thought Into Action

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It seems as I’ve been on a constant journey to find my place in this world, to find something to achieve, to climb that mountain, to walk that mile. I always remember how I could move forward, from a very early age, to get what I wanted. While the tactics have changed dramatically with every ‘logro’. I could always see the big picture. Once I had achieved goal 1, my eye was always on finishing goals 2 or 3.

So, to come to a point in my life where it all stops has been straight-up scary, emotional, crazy, and unbelievable, not to mention humbling.  Getting myself from Point A to Point B, which used to be ‘asi de facil’ now seem so overwhelming and insurmountable some days. My process has always been to turn inward and basically hibernate as I figured things out. This was easier when I was living on my own, I could be in my own house and think, see, feel, say, do whatever I wanted. No one has ever seen that side of my life, until very recently. Dad worries about me when he sees me like this, “mija, go somewhere, you need to go be with your friends”, I know he cares but what I need is to be comfortable in my “safe space” these days.   There HAS to be a reason why I’m left to figure out my next moves in the place where it all started:  at the Ranch, in my home, in the “girls’ room”.  This was the place where I first started to dream about what I wanted for my life.  Full circle.

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A lot of women of a certain age hit this ceiling – been there done that, where you feel adrift, lost, not-cool, not ‘in’, washed-up. I was relieved to see that I am not the only person who goes thru this. Lots of women “are less likely to share their opinions in a group of people, most likely to apologize for things that aren’t their fault, less likely to take risks, more likely to take criticism personally and less likely to consider themselves competent in their work” (Allison Fallon, 2015) Who hasn’t had these thoughts? Have you had the courage to voice these thoughts, even to yourself? I want this back:  it will require a lot more than wishful thinking. I love this quote:

“CONFIDENCE IS THE STUFF THAT TURNS THOUGHTS INTO ACTION”                                            (Richard Petty, Kay & Shipman, 2014).

To live the kind of life I want to live now requires mega confidence. I want to work when I want, how I want, on projects I want – easier said than done. Making things happen is what I’ve always done my entire life. The difference being that I was making things happen for s o m e o n e  e l s e. Easier because it wasn’t my money, not my resources, not my problem if things didn’t go as planned, I could always walk away and continue with my life. Now that I’ve come to the edge, the ‘now or never’, the fork in the road, the ‘do or die’, it is time for me to do some major work.

Not everything or everyone is invited or welcome on my journey, I have got to take this time and get those things, situations, and people weighing me down out of my life, my thoughts in order, my plan worked up, and I’ve got to get through my lack of self-confidence. It’s time to stop thinking that I’m “lucky”, like I haven’t worked my ass off to be here, it’s like I’m ready, but my body and mind don’t believe me yet.

Therefore, the remaining 2016 posts will be dedicated to getting myself in training to receive 2017 opportunities,           and to B E L I E V E that this is how things are gonna go. I will be driving this car, once and for all, back to Confidence. There is no way that I’m going out like this, with no fight. But the first task is to stop seeing myself through someone else’s eyes …

TO BE CONTINUED

Elections 2016: Hopeful or Hopeless?

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Woke up. The sun is shining. The world did not end. Disappointed? Yes. Devastated? No. Hopeless.  No.  Hopeful.  Yes, especially for our lil ones.  Our history shows us that nothing worth changing comes easy. Determined? More than ever. Justice, fairness, and equality is worth the fight. This was not the time, but, make no mistake, quieran o no, the time will come.

All one has to do is turn on TV, Radio, or Social Media and the barrage of ‘whys’ are overwhelming.  Why did people do this?  Why didn’t people do that?  Why did this happen?  Why did you vote this way?  Why did you vote that way?  The way I see it, we all had a right to vote in this election, we all need to own our decision one way or another.  I’m glad that we live in a free country where we can safely think and vote however we want to do so.

One feeling has dragged me down during this entire election process:  the feeling that the “movement” was based on fear, racism, discrimination, sexism, and negativity.  I also had the feeling that the “movement” was a place where I would not be welcome, that the “movement” was angry that a person of color was running this country IN SPITE OF fear, racism, discrimination, sexism, and negativity.   The cultural divide of this country is real and I’ve never seen this anything this bad in my life.  I would love to say that it doesn’t exist and that the “movement” will be inclusive but the jury is still out on that one.

What the “movement” should know:

  1.  No one can hide racism, no matter how subtle.  This campaign was straight-up in-your-face racist and so many other things.   I will be watching to see how the “movement” embraces national unity eso si.
  2. The numbers do not lie.  No one will be able to stop the inevitable fact that this country is, increasingly, a country of color.   Latinos came out to vote this time around and, in some state precincts, the numbers were off the charts.  Latinos are younger, still having babies, many of our elders registered and were proud to cast their vote.  Latinos will need to keep organizing and stick together ESPECIALLY as the “movement” will make the road to progress and justice a very rough one.
  3. I have seen and worked with people who are misguided and very afraid of the changing colors of this country on BOTH sides.  The “movement” folk cannot handle the beauty of vibrant colors and, for the folks of color, it’s just another day.  For them, this is the way things have always been:  fear, racism, discrimination, sexism, and negativity rule the day.  The misguided approach usually involves name-calling and lashing out in negative ways which hurts everyone.  Change is scary.  I believe that there is some truth to Van Jones’ theory that this election was a “white-wash against a changing country” (video clip below).
  4. Latinos WORK it and do not give up nor do we give in easily.  We are completely accustomed to working from a disadvantage.  Therefore, we are completely adept at working our way out of ANY type of situation.  Throw it at us, we deal with it, we work it, especially if it will affect the lives of our families.  Resilience and stamina is something that the “movement” has yet to show me.

Is this a hopeless situation?  No.  A political tornado has hit.  As we go thru the mess, piece by piece, we will find our bearings, we will find that foundation and resilience that has served our parents, grandparents,and  antepasados so well, we will fight for our families and our community.  I remain inspired…inspired by the fact that raza got up and registered to vote and then they got up again, and, more importantly, VOTED.   I am hopeful that, while this was not the time nor the person to lead the fight for justice, equality, fair play, and positivity, that the time WILL come.  Our country will get it right, eventually.  Aaaand just in case it doesn’t, I pledge to be part of the solution, and not the problem.  I will do this for my littles especially so that they KNOW that they have every right and freedom available to them, to live in this great country and that they are empowered, confident and not afraid to have an opinion, that their “voto es su voz” even if it does not resonate with any movement.

Si Se Puede, Mil Veces, Si Se Puede.

 

 

Gray Days

img_20161024_155332_editFor many years, Mama used to say that ‘gray days’ really brought her down.  Como no?  No sunshine, the house looked scary dark during the day, if there wasn’t anything good on TV or if no one called or visited, the days and the nights seemed to run into each other making things seem interminable — especially sad for Mama as she spent many of her days/nights at home instead of being out and about.  I was always very impressed that Mama was able to work it on most days to combat negativity.  There is no way that she could have survived so long with her physical challenges had she not found the motivation to get up and make things work for her life.

I used to think that this was just Mama’s imagination until, a few years ago, it started happening with me too.  I always trip out on this especially as I’m usually very busy and, one would think that gray days wouldn’t affect me.  It almost affects a busy person more because it is easy to say, ‘I’m just tired, burned-out, it’s been too many days without a day off’, but one can only disguise or stall the inevitable for so long…and when it hits, it is real and it has a name:  Season affective order also known as SAD.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) starts every fall for some people and continues through the winter. The decreased light can disrupt the body’s natural clock. An upset circadian rhythm can leave one feeling depressed. Serotonin and melatonin levels may also decrease with the season. Both of these neurotransmitters affect mood. Their absence gives rise to or creates depression. SAD can cause irritability, tiredness or low energy as well as oversleeping. Sometimes people have trouble getting along with others or are more emotionally sensitive.

Mama, God love her, was an advocate for antidepressants and would try to ‘diagnose’ me to see if I was a candidate for antidepressants LOL.   While none of us can diagnose ourselves (or each other) and it is always important to get checked out by a mental health professional;  here are some tips to get you through a gray day.  Please note:  If the symptoms last longer than the gray day(s), you really should consider having a mental health check-up.

All I know is that yesterday was a heavy-duty gray day for me.  Thankfully, I did not need to take any medication and, no it was not PMS.  However, it actually physically hurt to get myself going and I was one step from tears the entire day.  I took these pictures as I was sitting in the Jeep trying to will myself out of the car and out into the world.   I consider it a personal triumph when I am able to fight off negativity and take steps, albeit small steps, toward positivity.  The picture above was taken before I took action if you will…

Here are some tips to get you through a gray day by Dr. Christina Hibbert:

  1. Remind yourself that depressive emotions are a state, not a trait (just like the weather).The definition of emotion is “a state of feeling”. This is hopeful news, for it reminds us that: 1) our emotions are temporary, 2) they can be changed, and 3) that the emotions we feel do not equal who we are. In fact, since emotion is so easily influenced by temporary states like fatigue, stress, and hormone shifts, many of the depressive feelings don’t really mean what they appear to mean. Thoughts can cause feelings too. So start by changing your thoughts to remind yourself, “My emotions are not me.“
  2. Accept how you feel. Accepting “what is” is a simple yet powerful tool. If you’re feeling fearful, accept the fear. If you’re feeling hurt, accept the hurt. If you’re feeling depressed, accept the depression. Label it, call it what it is, and do whatever you can to stop pretending it isn’t there. This helps identify what’s really happening and externalizes it from who you are. Remember that “accepting “ how you feel does not mean you “agree” with or “like” it.  Just let go of the fight for what isn’t by accepting what is.
  3. Feel the emotions that comeSometimes fighting depressive feelings or trying to “not feel depressed” is what’s making things worse. Instead, let yourself take the time to feel what is really there. When you’re able to sit with a powerful emotion and really feel it, you’re then working on releasing its power over you. Sit still, focus on the emotion, and let it fill your body. Breathe deeply as you allow the emotion to rise and speak. Notice that you are not the emotion but rather, you’re behind the emotion, observing it. It can help to do this with a trusted friend or partner who can sit and feel it with you. You can also put a time limit on feeling the emotion if it’s very powerful. Even in small doses, the process of experiencing the emotion can help it begin to let go.
  4. Focus on the present moment—right here, right now.  We are often caught up in the future or the past and this leads to greater suffering. In the present moment, you will usually find that you’re OK.  Practice noticing the present and all the good it holds.  Use all 5 senses to take in the sights, tastes, smells, sensations, and sounds around you. Focus on nature or your family to remind you of what matters most to you. If you find yourself drifting back to depressive emotions, take a deep breath and use your 5 senses again. After all, life is only lived and loved in the present–you don’t want to let the rain make you miss it!
  5. Get your body moving. Physical activity is one of the best ways to feelings of depression. Cardiovascular exercise, like walking or running, is particularly good for overcoming fatigue, low energy, and stress, while weight lifting is great for anxiety, tension and self-disparagement. Getting your body moving not only improves your body, it distracts you from the emotions and also generates positive chemicals called endorphins that can make you feel much sunnier. The next time the “rain” sets in, get out for a walk or bike ride, try kickboxing, go hit some golf balls, or hit the weights at the gym. Your body will benefit, and so will your mood! img_20161024_155338I took the picture above once I got my sad butt out of the car and into the gym.  I laugh now as I remember the words I said to myself, “I’m going in and will do 30 minutes and that is IT” LOL   I ended up doing 35 minutes on the treadmill (hey algo es algo), in front of the window and spent the time looking out at the rain and could see that it was cleansing all in its path, including my gray mood.  I left the gym feeling much better about life and proceeded with my day.  You’ll note that this second picture even looked a little brighter and less menacing.

I also like to think that Mama was working it to get her girl back in the business of getting her ish together and showing up for life!  Thank you, Margaret, for your help!

Bravery: From Miedosa to Chingona


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MAKING THE DECISION

Ever since I made the momentous decision to make business cards, I’ve been a bundle of nerves. Business cards mean that there’s no turning back for now, it’s putting yourself out there.  Checking the mail every day and asking ‘Are they here yet?’ Then I sat down and thought, ‘what business do I have tryna start a business? especially when I am not together?’ I am completely out of my comfort zone, gone are the ‘comfortable’ things that I always had and took for granted: salary,, benefits, resources, safety net.

I’ve always said that my life is not for everyone, But some days,, I have had to push on, even when I do not feel like handling the business that is my life. The biggest challenge for me has been that, when I see that the four walls are closing in fast, instead of empowering myself, I find that my mind is on overdrive with crazyass thoughts and all of my fears are being brought up to the surface.  If I am going to make it in business, and in life, then I must find a way to survive and thrive within in a new comfort zone.

How do I make my new comfort zone?  I cannot be the only one who is trying to make positive change in life so I started looking for information to ease my mind, my fears, and to learn how to channel this energy so that I can work it and make it happen.

THE CHINGONA NETWORK

First thing I did was turn to my network of familia and friends;  I sent out a text a few minutes ago and asked some of you to tell me in 10 words or less what bravery meant to you:

“Having fear yet surging forward to a triumphant successful outcome”
“Finding your ‘ovarios‘ and proudly showing them off”
“Getting things done even when you’re terrified por no quedarte con el “what if”
“Being able to stand up for what is important to you even when you’re scared”
“Acknowledging your fears and doing what you KNOW needs doing”
“Bravery means wiping your tears and picking yourself up to handle the next round of BS”

Love the responses!  These powerful statements allowed me to see that all of us struggle with some type of fear that we all throw to the side when we need to make changes in our lives, no matter how small. I didn’t need to know exactly WHAT scares you or what motivates you to move forward, although I could definitely sense the intensity in all of these statements, and I found that acts of bravery can be large or small, and can occur many times in our lives.

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THE ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT

My question is how do we know what to do when life pushes us forward to do something new? How do we channel our fears and motivate ourselves to ‘handle it’? Have any of you ever told yourself any of the following statements?

  1. “I can’t make time for this. My family needs all my attention.”
  2. “I don’t really have the money to invest in myself right now.”
  3. “People will think I’m crazy for doing this.”
  4. “I’ll feel guilty honoring my own dreams and doing something for myself.”
  5. “I’m not sure this will do anything for me.
    –Kathy Caprino

I’ll put myself out there and briefly answer these questions:

1. I have no children or husband, I love my family but they are all grown folks, so, no excuses, I must make time for this.
2. True, I have no money to invest in myself right now so I must find other ways to invest: free training, find a mentor, an investor, review my talents and find new income in the meantime.
3. True. What else is new? LOL.
4. This is probably the hardest of the five questions to read and fulfill: my struggle has been honoring my dreams, taking care of myself, and more important, TRUSTING myself to make good and positive decisions. It’s been Dad, Familia and trying to stay out of the line of fire in my personal life. Not easy but it soon will be!  Once I get over this hurdle and let go of negativity is when I will truly celebrate!
5. When I feel all of the fears of living life without a net is when I’m all ‘freakiada’ and I wonder if I made the right decision.  What I must do is embrace the fear so that I am able to see how much being brave really does it for me.

omg! love this great attitude adjustment! Bottom line, I do want something different in my life and I know that I do not want to handle this new phase of my life alone, that deep down, I do need help and support (so hard to admit LOL) and love it when y’all respond to my SOS text messages! Thanks.

I guess that there never is a good time to start something new than NOW, is there?  Time to work it and have fun!

WORKING IT FROM MIEDOSA TO CHINGONA

When I saw this quote below, I felt as if I had to share it right away!  But more important, this quote took me out of my ‘four walls closing in miedosa filled with fear’ attitude today, it got my butt out of the house and out into the world so that ‘La Miedosa’ could pay a visit to ‘La Chingona’ along with the merry band of chingonas who sent me the text messsages LOL.  So as I end this week, I leave you with this quote…

“Bravery is the ability to move forward to a goal, to take action that is in your highest interest and in the interest of all mankind, even in the face of all your fears, anxieties and insecurities, and in the face of your core belief that you’re not good enough or strong enough. Bravery is the very thing that makes us bigger than ourselves, and changes the world for good.” -Kathy Caprino

…and I’ll also leave part of my business card! which I’ll gladly give out ONCE I get them in the mail!  LOL

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Juan Gabriel 1950-2016

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My godson MT3 calls me this afternoon with this news: “Nina, Juan Gabriel died. Just wanted you to know.” WWWOOOWWW.

One of the giants of Mexican and Latin music, gone.  He was at one of his homes in Santa Monica, CA and had a heart attack today 8/28/2016.  Juan Gabriel was currently on tour and had done his final concert at The Forum in Los Angeles, CA on Friday night.

Once I got home, I went straight to the TV hoping that I had not missed news coverage on the passing of this icon.  Fast forward, four hours later, and there is still coverage on Spanish TV about Juan Gabriel’s death.  What struck me was the astounding amount of songs that this man composed in his lifetime.  Every story would have Juanga’s music playing, “Amor Eterno”, “Yo No Naci Para Amar” “Abrazame Muy Fuerte” “No Tengo Dinero” “Querida” “Noa Noa” “No Me Vuelvo A Enamorar” “Hasta Que Te Conoci” and the list goes on and on and on.   My social media has blown up with every other post on Juanga’s passing.  So much of my radio and event fam has a story to tell about him.

Throughout my entire career in radio, I have been surrounded by Juan Gabriel music, all of his MANY hits I have played on the radio, to so many of his concerts, I have taken winners in to “Meet & Greets”, given out concert tickets, and I remember one time that we were taking winners to take pictures with Juan Gabriel, who, at the time, was not crazy about taking pictures.  So there I go making sure that my winners get their photo, and my crew and I each take a picture with him.  When we got the pictures back, we were told that they had been “damaged” during the processing and everyone’s pictures with Juanga came out fuzzy, grainy, and dark.   Sera cierto?  My picture is somewhere in my storage unit, so I have not included it in this entry.

Another time, I took winners to LA to see a concert at Universal Studios, it wasn’t Juan Gabriel🙂.  My BFF Maria GarciaRIP and her friend went with us.  As I was flying to SFO with winners and Maria was flying to Sac Airport, my flight left first.  Later that evening, I get a call from Maria saying that her flight had been delayed.  While they were waiting for their flight, they decided to go to one of the airport restaurants.  Once seated, to their absolute shock, guess who was at the next table?  None other than Juan Gabriel!  You better know Maria checked it all out and proceeds to tell me that Juanga had iced tea and a salad with Thousand Island dressing, and that he kept asking for more dressing LOL

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Juan Gabriel was one of Mama’s favorite artists EVER.  One of the joys of my life was to have been able to take her to see him in concert, she loved it.   I was very excited when Rocio Durcal (Mama’s #1 artist) and Juan Gabriel were on tour TOGETHER.   When they sang together, it was pure magic.  And, as Rocio became an international star by singing songs written by Juan Gabriel, including my mother’s favorite song, “Amor Eterno”, everytime I hear either of these two legends, my thoughts go first to Mama and how much she enjoyed their music.  Here they are “a duo” singing “Fue Un Placer Conocerte”, straight-up perfection.

Out of all of the many, many, many songs of Juan Gabriel, I have always been a fan of his straight-up, in your face, tomacabron songs OF COURSE accompanied by mariachi.  His phrasing, his fast-paced style of fitting so many words in one line so they sound like one lyric is second to none, I would sit in amazement wondering when this man took a breath.   Juanga felt every word and every note of the song, his interpretation was, many times, more than a performance, it was a tour de force.  Juan Gabriel was fun, flashy, emotional, divo, authentic, original, gifted, prolific, and would leave it all on the stage, every time.   Check out the video below and see for yourself!

My all-time favorite Juan Gabriel songs are “Se Me Olvido Otra Vez”, “Insensible”, “Te Voy A Olvidar” and “La Diferencia”… here is Rocio Durcal in what is my very favorite version of “La Diferencia”

I could go on and on and on.  Juan Gabriel was already beloved in life for the music that was the soundtrack to people’s lives.  His influence on future composers and musicians will be felt for many years to come.  No habra otro igual.  Que En Paz Descanse Juan Gabriel.

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The Power of ‘NO’

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I’ve written on this subject before so that means that I still needed some work on the word ‘no’.  So many times, when I have said ‘no’, I was afraid. Afraid of the power of the word, afraid that people wouldn’t like me, afraid that I would mess up the status quo, afraid that someone would get mad, afraid to use my God-given mind, afraid of the sound of my voice.  Hoping that my voice wouldn’t betray me by shaking, afraid that my tears would fall out of my eyes and that I would appear weak.

Then, last week happened. Suffice it to say that all hell broke loose, every fear came at me face-first, humiliation, defeat, death, weakness, sadness.   Everything manifested itself physically with me violently ill vomiting all over the car while driving on the freeway.   As I sat at my friend’s house, cooled off, and calmed myself, I had just enough energy to get in my car and drive home slowly.   Nothing really hit me until the next day…here I was physically sick and still trying to control every part of my world, trying to keep that lid on tight.  Well, of course, that didn’t end well.  I was still throwing up and still trying to do it all myself, trying to control the rage and action of others.  Then it hit me, by letting go and by saying ‘no’ and meaning it, I could get myself back in gear.

I had an assignment in a support group I belonged to a couple of years ago:  our assignment was to say ‘no’ and mean it, with no apologies, no ‘I’m sorry’ after that ‘no’.   I was all big and bad in my group and then promptly went outside to get gasoline, when someone came up and asked me for money.  First thing out of my mouth:  “I’m sorry but no…” Fail. LOL.

Fast forward 3 or 4 days, I’m still a little shaken up but my resolve is stronger than ever.  For me and for others, for the good of all concerned, it is time to say “no” and mean it, no apologies, no excuses, no rage, no anger, and most important, no fear.   I am sifting through all of the crazyass madness that took place in the past week, I am sorting out the good and bad, the things I must say no to, for my own good.  It will not be easy.  It will not be pretty,  It is necessary,  It is time to say no to drama, to anger, to rage, to control, to keeping things in, to keeping quiet, to letting myself down time and time again.   Saying ‘no’ will allow me to heal, to stop living in fear of what others want, think and/or do.   I can now see that I have been through worse and, at the end of the day, when I thought about it, it was when I said “No” that things truly changed for the better, it’s all in how you look at things.

I have lost so much in the past few days, but I have gained something too:  thanks to the grace of God, I’ve been able to gain perspective, which I really needed, I was able to see that, things happen, no one is perfect, and that no one should live life with a pit of negativity in their stomach.  NO is a complete sentence and respecting my boundaries will never lead me wrong, no matter what happens.

Maria Antonieta Garcia: BFFSisterFamFriend! I Will Miss You.

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Said my final goodbyes to my friend Maria during these past couple of days.   It has been a sad time for me.   I have been blessed to have friendships that have lasted years and years.  Maria is the first of my group of BFFFamiliaByChoice friends to leave and, as I drove thru her town today, all I could do was cry for my friend.  The one thing that she had asked was that we remember her with a smile, but for that minute, I could not.

When I got to her reception, I was able to see so many friends that we had in common, so many people that I have met thru Maria, so there was so much to talk about as we remembered our friend and so many ways that we honored her:  one friend catered with Maria’s favorite foods, one friend described that everything she wore that day had been gifts to her from Maria – from her jewelry to her clothing;  sooo many teachers were present (as Maria was a teacher) and it was very cool to see/hear the impact she had on their lives.

I sat with friends who had me laughing (and crying) as we talked about adventure after adventure like:

  1.  When we used to go out to the clubs, guys used to come up and ask our guy friend’s permission to dance with us LOL and el muy cínico used to answer “dos dolares por favor” LOL
  2. How I publicly thanked Georgia, Maria’s friend, who used to let us ALL stay over at her house in SF after we’d close down the clubs.  I didn’t remember that it was a studio apartment until today.
  3.  The time my creative friend dressed up as “Miss Zanahoria/Miss Carrot” for a Halloween party and she made her kickass bouquet of carrots and made a CROWN out of baby carrots — sooo awesome and I remember telling her, “WHO could top that?”
  4. The many times we got kicked out of the Student Union and various other places on campus por desmadrozos.
  5. The time Carlos had the nerve to ask Maria why women got so irritable during that time of the month LOL  Girl broke it down for him about half of our insides coming out of this little hole, etc. in such graphic detail that I still laugh about it and get serious asco too.
  6. Then there was the  time that there was an enano/midget who was dancing right near Maria’s chest — Hilarious and we never let her live this down!
  7. The time we all went to the Mariner’s /A’s baseball game with Maria, and we sat on the Mariner’s side and kept cheering for the A’s and checking out the fine ball players.  Girl was a serious game-watcher and we really tried her patience that night LOL.

There are soooo many more that I will save for when I meet up with all of my friends when we hang out together in Maria’s honor.  In fact, we’ve already started planning our next get-together.  You know there be great food, algo para tomar, chisme, chisme, chisme, music, tears, and, of course, laughter.

One of Maria’s aunts saw me sitting there, laughing and crying, and she told me to keep doing that, to keep honoring her niece forever.  It will not be hard, Maria was one of my greatest friends.  Below please find my thoughts the actual day that my friend left us … Saturday, July 23rd at 1:30pm:

 

My BFF Maria Garcia left this world earlier this afternoon. I’m very sad that Maria has left us so soon, I’m very proud that my friend fought until the very end, I’m so grateful that she wanted to be my friend for all of these years, I’m blessed to have had Maria as a member of my BFFs, a sister that I chose for myself and my familia, and I’m very hopeful that Maria will be reunited with her beloved Mama and maybe she’ll see my Mama as well in her eternal home. Thank you Jesus Lord Virgen of G for allowing me to have such an awesome group of BFFs, we are missing one now but we will be able to remember and honor Maria always: fun-loving, hilarious-funny, could talk to anyone anywhere anytime, major baseball and sports fan, great dancer, loved fine dining, always had her makeup and nails on point, love it that we could share makeup always being the same color LOL, creative, great teacher, kind-hearted, giving, patient with me:  her non-sports loving, non-animal loving, non-adventureous foodie who always wanted tacos or papas instead of trying out new foods. I will miss you sooooo very much, I was always happy to be your friend, and will never forget you Maria Antonieta Garcia, love you sister.

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