Bring the Darkness into the Light sez #InnerChingona

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I was asked to translate a story that I told a few years ago about how to get your power back when you are going through any type of abuse.  This kind of situation can be so complicated, hurtful, volatile, confusing, and so full of drama that it is very hard to think clearly.  You are reduced to constant damage-control and to trying to take care of others at the expense of you — when you need rest to recharge and energize yourself back to health, safety, productivity and peace.   I told myself that, if I ever came out on the other side of this crazyass situation, that I would always try to help others find their power.    As this story was written three years ago, I have updated it a little to reflect my thoughts now as I translate it.

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I am done hiding. I am done making excuses for this person. I am done acting like I am the only person in the world that this has happened to. Most of all, I am done giving power to people who only want to humiliate me and everything I’m about.

Part of giving power to someone else is to hide, to not let anyone see how affected you are. In the beginning, it is very hard to face anyone because you are ‘sure’ that they know what you are going through, that they can see it on your face,  and the last thing you want is for everyone to know your business, your private drama.   At this point, you are controlled by that person and your circumstances.  It is very hard to think straight and all you can think about is, “I’ve got to keep it together”.

It soon becomes apparent that this is only a facade.  NO one can control the actions of another person forever and I saw, first-hand, how things were completely getting out of control.   We all have that person in our lives to whom we turn to, especially when things are dire.  In my desperate state, I went to my sisters for help.  Scared as I was, I began to feel like my power was slowly returning.

Every time I felt my power come back, I was humbled and thrown down again because this person would do one sinister thing after the other, all in the name of “love”.  I would think, ‘there’s no way he could do this or that…’ and then there would be these sick emails sent to my employers and co-workers one week, and the other, all kinds of crazy postings on my social media, and when that was done, all kinds of weird calls and deliveries would come to my home and office.  Even after all of that, my mind could barely get around this, how could this person want to destroy me, my family and my livelihood?  That I still thought, ‘he’s a complicated person but he can’t REALLY mean what he says/does, can he?’ further shows just how much turmoil and drama was in my life and that I still had a ways to go.

 

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It was a roller-coaster of emotions and withdrawal and hiding out from friends, family, the world.  I was still trying to ‘control’ things and I still couldn’t see, or should I say, I could not yet accept that I had to “let go and let God” help me.  How did I finally figure this out?   Mama was still with us and I finally sat down with her and told her, straight-up, what was happening with me.  What did Margaret do?  She told me that we all make mistakes and that she would pray for my safety and that ‘this too shall pass’.   Still very scared, I felt much more empowered that night.

A few weeks passed from that night and things escalated big-time when, after I refused to answer my phone, I get a call on my mother’s phone saying, “you gonna talk to me now bitch?”   All of the humiliation came back but this was the first time that I got really angry — my mother did not deserve to be brought into this hell.   At this moment, I knew and understood how many women feel when they say, “that’s it”.   I love Mama forever for not judging me, all she said was, ‘he is sick and we need to keep praying for him and I pray for you every day to be safe’.   Little did I know that, on this night, I would receive over 300 calls from both phones as well as text messages.  I will never forget Mama holding the house phone so that I couldn’t get it and telling me to turn my phone off and try to get rest.  Margaret held that phone with the resolve of a mama bear protecting her cub.  I didn’t dare try to get that phone from her, Mama was the strongest super-heroine EVER that night!

The one thing that I learned that night:  bring the darkness into the light and you will see your power come back big time.   I don’t know what I would have done had I not told my sisters and my mother what was going on with me.  To know that someone had my back 100% was the most empowering feeling ever.   Even though my situation did not end that night and so much has happened and I’ve walked into many walls since then, I often refer to that night where Mama really took care of me, sick as she was, and it allowed me to rest and recharge enough to get through the night and the days to come.   Thinking about that night is always  enough to bring me back to where I need to be for that moment, power restored.

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As I translated this into Spanish, I cried all over again.  So many of us Latinas grow up thinking that we are not all that, that we exist to serve and service others.  As we learn to love ourselves a little, we can work on breaking this vicious cycle of hiding, holding things in, taking it to keep peace or to control someone or a situation.   My family is a peace-loving family and I was not brought into this world to live with my head down and not contribute to my familia and my world.   Try to find someone you trust now.  Learn the difference between being used to using a bad situation to benefit you.  This road is long from over but you can prepare yourself for better days and for days where you are not part of someone’s sick game.  Do it for YOU.  I’ve seen with my own eyes how things can and do get better.  Bringing the bad out into the light makes it lose some of its power and, if you’re lucky, you can gain some of that power for yourself.  My goal is to keep my sense of ‘aventada-ness’ and my ‘mevalemadre’ attitude in check so that I will be no one’s ‘sonsatontapendeja’ any more.  Thanks Mama and mis hermanas for showing me that I needed to keep the faith but do my part as well.  Let Go And Let God.  Amen.

 

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Loss: It’s Amazing What You Find After Profound Loss

 

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Experiencing a profound loss is overwhelming and I have found that, by sharing stories with others, I have been able to find great stories of healing and hope and  things that allow people to keep on keeping on…

At the very beginning of loss, it’s really hard to deal with sharing — you’re just trying to get thru the day without crying or withdrawing.  I found that for all of the people who have shared with me, they lost their loved one around the time Mama left us or before.  The one thing that my control-freak personality had to accept was that I was completely lost and without the energy to find my bearings for a very long time.   It has been really strange to have had to literally stop everything I was doing and start doing things another way.  When I’ve shared this with others, I was stunned to find that they ALL felt the same sense of loss and I love and relate to some of the stories…I felt a lot of comfort by hearing others share their grief with me and thought you’d like to hear how some of these folks have dealt with loss, here are their thoughts in no particular order:

Dreams:   “I kept seeing and dreaming my mother after she passed away and, while it was nice, the one thing that I noticed in the dream that I could not feel or hold my mother.   One day, I just prayed to God asking Him to let me feel ‘el abrazo’ from my mother.  A couple of days later, she comes to me in my dream and holds out her arms to me, and when I run to her arms, I could FEEL her!  She rocked me like she did when I was a little boy and then I woke up…happy!”

Things I Miss: ” I miss her ‘tortilla-scented hands”

Special Places:  I have a special quiet little spot in our home where I have his ashes, old pictures, things like his car keys, etc.  I always stop there and say a few words of hope.  Time heals.

Priorities Change:  “You change your priorities, almost without thinking about it.  The little things start to mean a lot, spending time with your loved ones who are left become your most treasured gifts.   Everything else becomes ‘segundo plato’, takes second place.  That you submit to these changes willingly will surprise you the most.”

You Lose Patience for BS:   This one had me laughing the most because I was so invested in other people’s drama and BS that I had a difficult time living my own life.  To hear others tell about how they don’t give a sh&% about things that they cannot control and people and their drama issues had me saying one big “Yup!”

Live Your Own Life Your Own Way, Let Others Do the Same is the main thing I have learned during this past year.  The crazy thing is that Mama had been telling me for YEARS that I needed to take care of myself first and to stop the madness of running on empty all of the tine and still keep going.   Now I get it!  As I embrace change, it is so much easier than I thought to live in a more concise manner:  loving, remembering and mourning Mama in my own way, learning to be there for my loved ones and learning to love and have patience for myself.

It’s very comforting to know that I am not alone, that my familia and friends have either gone thru, are going thru, or may go thru this type of loss.  Life goes on.

 

Radio Presets Move Inner Chingona Forward

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For well over a year, life happened to me so I had not really listened to a radio station aside from talk radio or Catholic radio…all the more amazing because, working in radio, we radio peeps tend to listen more than regular folks. Ask anyone in radio, every single radio space on the dial is usually completely preset and you better know that all we do is punch the preset buttons constantly. I always have to tell folks in the car what I’m doing, that it’s “work” or “research” or “monitoring” so that I don’t completely drive passengers insane with the constant changes of station.

Ask any radio person what they are listening for…every person listens for a different reason LOL. The Marketing and Sales side of me listens for the promotions – what are they giving away, how can people win, what concerts are they exclusive for, what are their upcoming big events, are my clients’ commercials running right? Are they running at the right time? Is there a competing client/business running right before or after? It’s madness for sure and attention to this madness will indicate whether all is well or whether I will be laying over a serious “lumbre” (fire) shortly!

So on this morning’s drive, I finally got tired of hearing talk radio or no radio at all and started listening to regular music radio in both English and Spanish. Out of pure instinct, I started punching the ‘preset’ buttons and, within minutes, all of my preferred stations are preset. As I continued driving, strangely, I started to relax and breathe easier if you can believe THAT! I felt as if a fog had been lifting over my body, I started to feel connected to the world and, dare I say it? Motivated. Motivated to do what? I do not know yet.

The way I see it, I’ve got a bunch of ‘presets’ to push, to find which station I stay with the longest without punching the next button, to figure out what it is that I want to do next. Will I be speaking or writing in English? Spanish? Spanglish? I’ll keep pressing until I find what it is that inspires and motivates me, this is the ONLY non-negotiable for my future: to support projects and people who inspire, empower, and motivate me.

It’s never too late to start over, to do precisely that thing that scares you, to do the right thing, to take care of yourself, to listen to YOUR Inner Chingona, to make your own set of preset buttons for your life! Work it today!