The Minute I Mop the Floors…The Eternal Battle

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#52essays2017

Whatever went through this family’s mind when they decided the the house needed WHITE floors has dumbfounded me for years.  I understand the reason for the floors, it was easier and much safer for Mama to walk on, as she had been left partially paralyzed from her stroke.   When she was alive, it was difficult to come in and clean the house.  First, she did not like us getting into her “stuff” and so it felt like I was always cleaning around the stuff.  Second, I was here once a week or so, not that much, as we Torres5 had our schedule of cleaning/cooking for the folks.

Fast forward to now.  Dad and I are roommates and he is fun to be around.  I still am not the greatest housekeeper but I feel that I have, respectfully, stored a lot of Mams’s things after her passing thus cleaning around things doesn’t happen that much anymore.  Our house has become a very social house and I try to keep it relatively clean and presentable in case anyone wants to stop by anytime.  Thus I find myself cleaning constantly to try to keep up with the mess.   Mopping floors is a given.  As we live on the Ranch, you better know that dust, tierra, leaves, lodo, are all up in that mix.  If I let the floors go more than a couple of days without mopping, it is not attractive.

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I do everything to let the fam know that it’s “no ins/outs for 20-30 minutes” – tell them, yell it out, text them.  Everyone gets the message except for Dad.  The minute I put the mop into the bucket, and I hear the sound of the mop sloshing the hot water around, I think, “there’s no way he’ll hear it”, as I hear the sound of the plop of the mop onto the floor, I think, “he better not decide to walk this way/go to the bathroom/get up out of the chair/get out of bed”, even after I tell him I’m mopping the floor.   Sure enough, I will have JUST finished one side of the house, or just finished mopping the bathroom, and I’ll hear him moving about.   First word in my mind is usually ‘chiiiiingado‘, and then if I happen to catch his eye, he has to hear me go on and on and on with ‘DadTeDijeWhyDoYouAlwaysDoThis?‘, and then I just have to shake my head because yavaliomadre and he has tracked all over my clean floors to go to the bathroom or whatever y ya.

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By the time I mop once more, I’m still shaking my head, but my rage is gone.  I have always taken care of my father – I’m partly to blame if he’s chiquiado.  Daddy’s girl here has always made sure that he eats, that he’s taken care of, that the house is presentable so I’ve enabled him for sure LOL. While I could sit there and talk it out with him, which I have done many times, I know that I am dealing with an 81 years young man who will not change overnight, he does things MikeTorresStyle, in his own way, in his own time.    As I mop the floor again, I wonder HOW is it that he KNOWS when I am going to mop the floors LOL?!? I tell myself, ‘NEXT time, I’ll do this or that, say this or that” and then I have to smile — I’ve “lost” this round, and look forward to being able to brag on the day when I can mop the floors of this house uninterrupted.    And then I hear it…Oh no, there goes the heater on full blast again…..Sometimes you have to pick your battles.  Gotta love Daddy.  #52essays2017

My Friday Night Luces

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Fridays.  End of the workday.  End of the Week.  The sunset always looks different to me on Fridays.  As the sun goes down, and as dusk settles in, I love the way it looks when the street lights start coming on when it’s still light outside, the color of the green, yellow and red of the stop lights seem to jump out that much brighter on a Friday.  Friday Night Lights are usually associated with high-school football games and, as I’m not that into sports, my lights are known as FridayNightLuces

As anyone who works in the Bay Area knows,  Friday traffic is usually very heavy, people trying to make their getaway for the weekend,  parents rushing to pick up children and get into their warm homes, folks going out to games, concerts, dinner and more.  The roadways are jammed in all directions and one is always listening to traffic reports to hear the conditions of the road.   I do the supercommute from the Bay to the Valley so I’m always doing the ‘ pleaseGodpleaseGodpleaseGod’ that there are no accidents because then it’s all about grrrrrr! and a parqueadero atmosphere on the freeway.  Most nights, I stop somewhere to wait it out: dinner, shopping, writing.  On this Friday night, however, I had to be home so, ni modo, I had to be all up in that mess.  As I drove, or should I say, as I did the stop and go thing, I started noticing the different types of lights — my FridayNightLuces.

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I first saw the brilliant reds, reds of the hundreds of tailights in front of me.  I knew that I was going to be on the road for a long while.   I then looked into my rear view mirror to see the shiny, bright, lines and lines of white lights of the cars who were behind me on this journey, all trying to move forward.   To my right, on the hills,  I saw the warm, inviting lights of many of the homes and could imagine comforting things:  a fireplace, dinner being prepared, people enjoying a meal around the table or in front of the TV settling in to watch a movie, the sound of a doorbell where pizza was being delivered yay no-cook mode, and, if I looked up and saw second-story lights on,  my thoughts would go to someone getting ready for date night, music playing, a glass of adult beverage nearby, the smell of perfume, smiles as they look forward to the evening.

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I then see the orange-ish color of  lights along the freeway that always reminded me of when I lived in  Denver because I loved seeing the world covered in snow and those orange-colored lights put such a cool glow onto the fallin snow.  The orange-colored lights also took me back to a couple of places where I made out with a certain gentleman LOL for some reason, I could never figure it out, he always found the glow of those lights romantic and there we would end up!

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As I moved farther down the road, I would see the dreaded lights of the sirens which could mean highway patrol – so it was all about get off of the phone LOL! Police in pursuit of someone, ambulance and/or fire trucks – and after doing the sign of the cross because it usually meant someone was injured or in pain.  I would always breathe a “yes!” if the lights were on the other side of the freeway and hope that I wouldn’t be on the road that much longer.

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On this Friday night, I saw the full moon rising.  One of my very favorite lights is moonlight,always has been.  Moonlight on the hills, peeking in through the trees, reflecting on my black Jeep.  On my commutes, I get the privilege of seeing the moon rise and set many times.  I finally stopped trying to take pictures of the moon as I drive because I can never get a shot good enough to do it justice; that, and it drives people crazy that I take pictures as I drive and upload them on the road LOL  The skies were clear so you know that moon gave off an awesome light!  A great view especially when I’m blasting music in my Jeep.

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Two very comforting signs along my commute are as I look to the left, I am able to see the “Jesus Saves” and a huge cross all made out of lights,  which tells me that I’m getting out of the Bay and into the Valley and a few miles later, I love seeing the HUGE American Flag flying in the wind a todo lo que da surrounded by lights – I always feel thankful that I live in a free country and things like that when I see the flag.

By the time I get to the last part of the commute, it’s as if all one sees is the flash, flash, flash of the signal lights.  I hear a lot more honking horns and always joke that this is when the real road rage sets in, when people, me included,  have like HAD it with driving with two hands on the wheel, teeth clenched, stressed because they have to be somewhere.  Me, I have no patience for traffic at night so all I want to do is get off of that road and I can often be heard exclaiming out loud, “que vas a hacer? que vas a hacer? what. are. you. going. to. do? ‘get in there! no ves que te estoy dejando entrar?’  The lights lose their peaceful quality, I actually get irritated seeing the lights when, a short time before, I was completely entranced and lost in thought!

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Once I get to my exit from the freeway and make that left turn down my road to the Ranch, where we grew up with my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins on my father’s side, everything starts to calm down.  I again see the comforting lights of the homes as I go down the road, the lights over empty parking lots at the warehouses near the Ranch and then finally, at the Ranch, I turn into our fenced-off dirt road and smile because, of course,  all of the houses are dark or almost dark, that is, all of the houses except ours, my fam are nite owls.  All lights on, doors open (if it’s not cold), music or TV on, and I will usually find my Dad:  writing, playing guitar, or as I found him on this Friday night, in his chair covered with a blanket watching flamenco guitar videos on “YouTube”  — I then put my stuff down on a chair, smile and think that the light of ‘all is right in the world’ is a great one to come home to.  #52essays2017

 

The Power Of Writing: OMG Dad is finding his Inner Chingona

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Dad and I have spent all week thrown down sick at this house. All it has been is puro coughing and misery. For the past few days, neither of us had the energy or desire to do anything.   One of things I’ve started to notice is, that lately, Dad and I have the same tastes on lots of things, including writing.  I took these pics of us a couple of weeks ago, he was writing in one room, and I was writing in another. OMG Dad is finding his Inner Chingona!

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Dad’s been wanting to write his life story and for YEARS, he had been using his typewriter, yes, a typewriter. Well, yesterday, he decides that he’s going to use his laptop to put his story down so that I could review and edit it later. It was transforming. Dad was INTO it, into using the mouse, into learning the keyboard, into putting his thoughts down, sitting down at the table, happy, into it. As it was, after all, the middle of the night, I went in to check on him and almost told him to go to bed and then I stopped myself. I stopped myself when I saw his face deep in thought, eyes glued to the keyboard, I saw “it”. When one is in the I “have” to write mode. Where one is in that zone of pure creativity, on it, focused, working it. Where your fingers are working completely in synch with your mind and where your work is at its most authentic. Maybe when this creative surge is over and we review his work later, we will find that some things may need to be revised or removed, but there is usually always SOMETHING salvageable from creative surges of writing. Therefore, it was very important for me to let him be, to let him finish his train of thought.

I know this feeling well and, for many years, I would suppress my love of writing as something boring or something that people with no lives do. Once I got to that space where I decided it was time to embrace writing, I started making more and more time for it. Now writing is a permanent part of me, an expansion of my voice, much more than a hobby. I think to myself with a lil bit of sadness, “how long did Dad want to write and dismissed it? I also think about Mama and about people no longer with us who left without doing the things that they wanted to do, things that would have made them feel more whole, things that would make them happier.

So now it’s all about me embracing the fact that Dad “needs” his writing as much as I do, maybe more than I do, he’s 81 years young, and he wants to get so much out on paper.   Making things easier for him will be what I am supposed to do, help him work the laptop, teach him Word so that he can save things easier, showing him that the computer is nothing to be afraid of.  I think that it’s fun to be able to share something with my father.

#52essays2017

De 2016 al 2017, Happy New Year!

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2016 has been my year to embrace my new reality and to make serious changes in my life. Gone was the drive for “been there, done that” projects and jobs. Sure, my wallet is feeling the loss of revenue but I had a straight-up blast doing all kinds of event stuff: training people to work booths this event season, watching them get into having fun with people and bring in sales. Loved working new festivals – a challenge with entirely new audiences and much bigger ones, man I learned a lot!  I had so much fun coordinating Vanessa and Erick’s wedding this fall, and when I translated documents for folks, I watched people’s faces turn from fear into straight-up relief as I helped them find their power and get some justice from their issues, and the one event where I told BFF Lisa, “girl, you know that I am your friend” as I helped her coordinate a walk for dogs and their owners at a winery…and y’all know that I am not an animal person LOL. Working events for my Latino community is something I will a l w a y s  do and it’s always fun to be amongst the raza.  The key for all of these events is that I was ready to do things differently, to take charge of a different aspect of an event, to get those nervous chorros that make me more prepared, to learn how to be more effective. Sometimes, you have to shake things up and shake them up I did. I had the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire professional life.

One of my 2016 goals was to work it for my familia. Very happy to report that we remain as close as ever and my roommate Mike Torres and I still get along. My Dad is an original, he does things his way, when he wants, where he wants. The days at the Ranch start at night – Dad’s drilling, hammering, doing the laundry, working on his papers, and playing music. While working an event, I get a picture texted to me of Dad in his new convertible, all I could do was shake my head and smile.

I am the one who needs my space and quiet time – the space I’ve found in our “girls’ room” and the quiet time well…I’m just happy that my 81-years-young Dad is still running around, doing his projects, playing music, and helping to keep us together. We Torres5 are finally getting back into a routine, each taking a day to be with Dad, and it’s so funny when a bunch of us are at the Ranch when it’s ‘not our day’ LOL   Torres Babies, old and young, are the JOYS of our lives. The little ones are all doing all of the firsts, talking, going to school, playing together, etc. So much fun.

We still get together to pray for Mama on the 11th of each month, I didn’t know if Dad would want to keep it going and, he’s cool with it, so you will find the Torres Fam praying together which keeps the family united.

So many milestones in 2016: Our STE2 graduated with his Master Degree from SFSU, Our Antonia celebrated her Quinceanera, Our Lucia was baptized in Texas, our Olivia started preschool at 1-year-old and was ‘promoted’ to the next level because she’s so smart, Jami and Michael got married, Sabrina is helping take care of us and the nation somewhere in the MiddleEast,  we celebrated Mother’s Day at the Ranch taking “serenata” to all of our mothers, we celebrated Mama’s birthday at Jackson Rancheria, one of her fav places, we had a fun Ranch Día de Los Muertos/Halloween party and we celebrated our 14th Grijalva Girls Christmas Reunion and this weekend, we celebrate our Christmas/Dia De Los 3 Reyes.  Sadly, at the very end of the year, we lost our cousin Chella in Mexicali and our prayers go out to our cousins.

I just got my results of the State Interpreter Exam and I passed THREE parts out of four, y’all know that this is an all or nothing exam so no passing, and, once I get over the disappointment and the urge to analyze every little thing I may have done wrong, I will be back at it studying.   This is a pride thing now LOL.  I’m all over this MF after the New Year LOL!  I will be so happy once I pass this test once and for all.

My BFFs and I have tried to meet once a month all year to catch up on the chisme, love them. It was a very sad time during the summer as BFF Maria Garcia was battling cancer and I was very sad the day that she left but grateful that she was no longer suffering. She gave me so many little things that I randomly come across: purses, makeup, clothes. Miss her.

My writing will move more front and center in 2017.  If I am to call myself a writer/blogger, then I will be much more authentic and work it like I never did before.   I will be participating in a year-long challenge to write one essay a week in 2017 and am very excited about starting!  I hope you will enjoy what I am putting together, and, if you do not, I hope that you will still read and let me know what you think! #52essays2017

So much has happened in our world in 2016, especially during the last weeks of the year.  It feels as if disappointment, uncertainty, sadness, and hate have taken their place front and center.  As Mama always said, “this too shall pass” and I believe in the goodness of people, of this country and this world and pledge to be part of the solution and not the problem.   There will be many changes in my life in the upcoming year and I fully intend to “buscar el lado amable”, look for the good in people and situations,  and strive to come out of 2017 happier and healthier.

I have lots of plans and lots of ideas for how I intend to spend my 2017. Gone are the days of living head down without any joy in my life. It took me many, many years to start living my life rather than watch my life go by. I don’t know where I will end up next and I have a lot of faith that GodJesus&VirgenOfG will lead me to the people, places, and situations where I need to be. Thanks for your help and support this past year, thanks for visiting my blog and reading what I write, thanks for loving me and my familia, and I hope you all have a Happy New Year.
#52essays2017

George Michael and The Year The Music Died

 

quote-you-ll-never-find-peace-of-mind-until-you-listen-to-your-heart-george-michael-19-84-19I was so blown away by the sad news of George Michael’s death that it was difficult to put it into words at first. Another one gone from the soundtrack of my life.  So many of the greats left us in 2016 and it really did feel like una tras otra.

I was living in Sacramento when Wham! first hit the airwaves and MTV.  While I thought they were handsome,  what really captivated me was George Michael’s voice.   I had all of the Wham! cassettes and forgot all about them once George Michael went solo.  Such a stellar, spectacular voice — I have always gravitated toward the singers, lead and background.  To hear George Michael’s music was to hear flawless vocal arrangements in his songs.    On many of the songs, I know the background vocals just as well as I do the lead ones.  George Michael’s voice seemed to get better with time — he never lost the power of that voice, no matter the scandals, no matter the substance abuse, no matter the age — he was blessed vocally as well as being a great songwriter.   Another thing I really enjoyed was listening to him cover songs, all kinds of songs, his vocal range could reach the notes to cover Freddie Mercury, as he did with “Somebody to Love” – not easy to match.   Or his distinctive version of The Police classic, “Roxanne” – we saw Sting in concert a few years ago and he still raved over it and said it was the “grown-up” version of the song.   Like all of the great vocalists, George Michael could unleash the power of his voice and then bring it back down to the basics.  Sooo glad that his music will live on forever and very sad that I will not be able to see him perform live — there’s always YouTube.  One of the best singers I have ever heard and right up there in my Top 5 favorites of all time y todavía guapísimo.  Rest In Peace George Michael.

My absolute favorite George Michael song, “Kissing A Fool” with the lyrics as I asked my godson STE2 to learn this for me, no excuses papa! LOL

I was in Denver, stuck in a blizzard and completely snowed-in and I saw this performance by George Michael on MTV and kept saying the f-word in amazement when I was able to hear/see this powerful version of Freedom 90.  This is the best version of the song in my opinion, love how they WORK it vocally.

I am a huge Queen and Freddie Mercury fan and I remember watching George Michael sing this song on the tribute show and praying that he wouldn’t eff it up and was floored when he, of course,  killed it on “Somebody To Love”

My sister and I went crazy over George Michael’s CD of cover songs, so many good songs!  But this one knocked us out as we were also huge fans of The Police.  This jazzy slower version shows how George Michael could work different music styles.

Sooooo many musical giants left, Bowie, Prince, Merle, Emilio, Sharon Jones, Juanga, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Leonard Cohen, George Martin, and more. I will feature a few of my favorites below…

JUAN GABRIEL:   The ultimate showman, he always left it all on the stage, one of Mexico’s most prolific composers ever and there are so many songs but my favorites remain the “rancheras” with mariachi, I would always yell back comments when he would perform live, ask Natalie LOL.  His phrasing is incredible, watch and wonder when the man breathes.  Of course, his mannerisms are hilarious and second to none.

 

EMILIO NAVAIRA:  I started off my radio career playing Tejano music and I remember first hearing EMILIO Navaira as part of David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, loooove them.   I was on-air when Emilio went solo and he had the voice, the looks, and Raulito (his brother, who sings some of the best “segunda” ever) and this was filmed right at the peak of his fame…love his version of the classic “La Rama Del Mesquite”.  Love the energy of Tejano music!

SHARON JONES:  I have always loved Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings…her powerful voice blends well with Daryl Hall on “Do What You Want, Be What You Want”

MAURICE WHITE:  One of the greatest bands of all time, the elements of Earth, Wind, and Fire led by the great Maurice White.  We Torres5 were heavily into this band.  Thanks to our cousin Yolanda, who had this album.  Many many many hours were spent listening to this record in the ‘girls room’ and, once we bought other EWF albums, they did not leave the turntable for months on end.   This was the first song I remember hearing from EWF and I still say it’s one of the most hopeful and positive songs ever.

GLENN FREY:  Loooove the Eagles and especially loved to listen to Glenn Frey’s badass lyrics and personality.  I loved watching them in the older years because NO one harmonized like they did and they sounded great after all of these years.

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.