A Joyous Moment

#52EssaysNextWave 15/52

Just looked on my drafts, unwritten posts, unfinished essays, and find that I have over FOUR HUNDRED of them.

Every one who writes has a perfect situation where inspiration and creativity flows like a cool breeze or a gentle stream.  No drama, no craziness, no rush, no interruptions.

Here is my Joyous Moment:  Right now, here I sit, alone, in the living room of the house, all windows and doors open at this hour, music blasting, with only the light of Mama’s table, the TV, my laptop and a little flashlight, and me writing.  I’ve been at it for a few hours now and haaaaaappppy!

Especially as event season is upon me, I tend to write a lot every day, but I write proposals, copy points, event timelines, etc.   My mind is beyond busy with constant ‘to-do’ lists, what needs to get done, what has been done.  Granted, this helps me immensely to keep things moving and in order, and while it is joyous when events go well, it does not give me enough of these kinds of joyous moments, where I am ‘me’, at peace with the world, recharging my batteries, doing things that I love to do.

It helps that the house is completely quiet this weekend, as Dad is out-of-town.  Usually all of the lights are on, he’s working on some project or another, his music or TV shows blasting, and it doesn’t feel like a girl’s house LOL.  This type of night reminds me of almost every night when I lived in my own place.  While I still come and go as I please, it’s different with roommates and you know how it is, it’s a little harder to find those “me time” moments.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s no where else I’d rather be, but sometimes, it’s the BEST to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

So tonight, I will sit back and enjoy this Joyous Moment, Me Time, Girl Time, blast MY favorite music, and write until I get sleepy…or write all night like I’ve been known to do.

I must make time for these Joyous Moments (and writing) more often.

 

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Aretha

#52EssaysNextWave 14/52

Aretha Franklin passed away this past Thursday, August 16th. Her influence on the world of music was monumental, the first woman voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the first (and undisputed) Queen of Soul, the first women to successfully fuse gospel and soul, winner of so many accolades and awards, an activist, a musically integral part of the Women and Civil Rights Movements.  Her songs were full of pain, love, and hope.

Being that I was raised in a musical household, I remember hearing Aretha songs from waaay back and I was proud of myself when I learned how to spell R.E.S.P.E.C.T. But I didn’t really get into or appreciate her music until later, when I was heartbroken and trying to find music to match some of the moods that I was in. I remember hearing Bonnie Raitt saying that “I learned more about men from listening to Aretha Franklin than I could have ever learned from any man”.   So I went back and listened and many times, closed my eyes, and said a silent “yep”, because I could totally relate.

Needless to say, the Aretha songs that really got to me on those times when I couldn’t think of how to move forward from a heartbreak are the ones that remain my favorites.


How many times have we walked straight into a wall (sometimes time and time again) when we were all into some man?  Take “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You”,  I smile today on the birthday of a certain man for whom this song was tailor-made, and when I was convinced that everyone was wrong, and that we would be together forever.  Yeah, yeah, I told myself this many many many times and, at first, I’d listen to this song with straight-up defiance, and then I’d only listen to the title of the song, as if to will him to straighten up and respect our relationship.   As reality began to hit, I slowly realized that he would never change, ever.   For a time, that was enough.  But it took me listening to this song over and over and over, maaaany times, alone, not talking to Mama or sisters or friends or anyone, to get me to finally accept that this was over.

So many of Aretha songs STILL stop me in my tracks at certain times:  “Ain’t No Way“, “Daydreaming” , “Oh Me Oh My, I’m A Fool for You Baby”, “Baby I Love You“, “Chain Of Fools“, “Until You Come Back To Me” along with the super classics “Respect“, “Natural Woman“, “Think“, “Dr. Feelgood“, “Do Right Woman Do Right Man” and so many more.

One of the greatest to ever sing it like it is, Aretha’s classic music will live forever and likely serve as Life Education for so many of us who are unable, or too embarrassed, or too messed up in love, to put their feelings into words…that is, until they can get their power back and most important, get their R-E-S-P-E-C-T back.

RIP Aretha Franklin.

 

A Lil Bit of Cafe and Whole Lot of Jesus

#52EssaysNextWave #10/52

Saw this on a cup this morning — “All I Need Is A Little Bit of Coffee And A Whole Lot Of Jesus” and I’m totally relating about now!

Earlier this morning, my beloved Blackberry screen gave me the boot. I’m constantly teased about having a Blackberry…’do they still make Blackberry?’, ‘so do you like have a fax machine too?’. I don’t even trip when people tease me, I figure that, if I’m going to put money out for a smartphone, then it WILL be the kind of device I want. Blackberry girl por vida.  Some might say that I’m terca, and resistant to change  LOL.

I honestly do not remember the last time that I was without a phone. In radio, I always had use of phones provided by the company, for my past events, I’d activate a Metro batphone so that I wouldn’t mix my projects up. Not the case now and I’ll likely be without a phone for the next couple of days.

Me, who conducts the majority of my business on that Blackberry from my real oficina, my Jeep. I actually had to ‘serenarme/calm the eff down‘ when I realized that, in order for the insurance I pay on the thing to kick in, that it wouldn’t be right away.  I walked that parking lot starting to freak out  in the crazyass wind almost ready to throw down the cash LOL.  How am I going to live without my phone?

When I got back on the road and literally saw traffic in every direction of the freeway, I decided that I didn’t need to deal with that mess and got off of the roadway.  I also decided that I needed to see the ‘lado amable’ of the situation…getting myself out of the day-to-day grind and back into my positive frame of mind at my favorite happy place:  Writing. Listening to Music. Writing. Inhaling the smell of coffee. Writing. Calming down. Writing. Getting Inspired. Writing. Feeling grateful.  Writing.  Getting my prayer on.  Writing.  Realizing that not only Jesus, but God and the Virgen of G, have my back and that everything will be alright.

Disconnecting from the phone, Blackberry, email, social media is a good thing, a great thing.

That is, unless I go straight to the real ‘DT’s’. 

Or maybe I’ll get a good night’s sleep for once LOL

Si Se Puede Carmen!

What? QueQUE? Dreaming of a Jorge.

#52EssaysNextWave  6/52

The other night I had a dream…here’s what I wrote right after I woke up: “OMG my dream last night. I was all in love with a lil man (short, not tall) who was a gentleman, who did what he said he was gonna do, who respected my fam including Mama who was there and his name was Jorge. I remember his face in the dream and it’s no one I knew or recognized. So Jorge, come out, come out, wherever you are LOL”

Some of the responses to this post were classic and made me LAUGH:

*** Someone told me that your mind can’t make up faces, so people in your dreams that you don’t recognize means that you have seen them somewhere recently, even if you don’t remember like the store or while driving so we should go to wherever you were yesterday working and look for him.

***All the Jorges please line up. Your presence is required immediately.

***Good luck Carmen! And if he has a brother let me know!!

***You remember his face . You have to have an artist draw his face.

and my favorite one…’where you at?’

It’s just fun to have a dream that is not a nightmare, nothing scary, nothing stressful, nothing heavy-duty, no self-help stuff, just something fun.  And you know what folks say, you gotta write those dreams down if you expect them to come true LOL.

Since Mama was in my dream, then maybe she can “mover sus influencias” up there with Him.

A New Day. A New Opportunity to “Teiquirsi”

#52EssaysNextWave  4/52

A new day is here.

I have always been a notorious night person and rarely see anything good about the morning.  I’m usually incoherent and have nothing to say to anyone until the afternoon sun is high above me.  So for me to even be UP is an accomplishment.

Lately, I’ve been up so early that I’ve been able to see the sunrise most days.  In those few minutes as I watch the first sun come up, it is then that I feel the most hopeful, wearing my positive face and, dare I say it, smiling at that moment.

It’s not easy to get up early but I’m starting to feel more productive in most aspects.   I get up and try to pick up the clutter from throughout the house, make myself some breakfast, and, if I need to travel, I’ve made a very conscious effort to take a train versus driving.  Love it! Especially when the train goes by the thousands of cars bumper-to-bumper on the roadways happy not be all up in that mess.  More than anything, I want to travel smarter, not harder.   Once on the train, listening to music, writing, going thru work assignments, catching up on the morning news, and sleeping are the order of the morning, depending on the day.   More than that, my mind is freer to think about what’s going to happen during the day.  By the time I arrive, I’m usually much more alert for meetings and I get thru my “to do” list that much faster.

My glorious view from the train

I love that “new day” feeling and have decided to challenge myself to keep this vibe going throughout the day.  I haven’t yet mastered it but I like that this goal is moving to front and center in my mind.  Here are a couple of tips I’ve found work for me in the mornings:

Take It Slow In The Mornings:  I find that when I ease into my day versus all of the drama and rushing around, that I am able to maintain that “new day” feeling for a little longer.  I’m calm, open-minded, and ready to work it.  Henrik Edberg gives insight on “How To Stay Positive:  11 Smart Habits” (The Positivity Blog.  https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stay-positive/):  “So be careful about how you spend your mornings. If you get going at full speed, lost in future troubles in your mind then the stress, perceived loss of power of over your life and negative thoughts will ramp up quickly.”

Stay present and mindful as you move through your day:  “When you spend your time in the present moment then it becomes so much easier to access positive emotions and to stay practical about what you can actually do about something in your life.  When you get lost in the past or future, your worries become very big very quickly. And failures and mistakes from the past being replayed over and over in your mind drag you down into pessimism.  By moving slowly through your morning and hopefully through much of the rest of your day it becomes easier to stay in the moment you are in.” (The Positivity Blog.  https://www.positivityblog.com/how-to-stay-positive/)

Sounds like moving slow in the morning is actually a good thing.  And for someone like me, who runs hard, moves fast, worries, and says una que otra pendejada at the wrong time, moving slow is just what the doctor ordered, and to do what Mama a-l-w-a-y-s told me, “sloooow down“.

 

Buenos Dias from the Ranch

Where To From Here? Y Ahora Que? #52EssaysNextWave

#52EssaysNextWave   1/52

New Year. New Challenges. New Resolutions.

I’ve gone back and forth on this challenge.  Should I sign up?  Should I take a break?  Que hago?  What do I have to say that I didn’t already say in #52essays2017?

Everytime I think about starting up again, I realize that I don’t want to do the same ole, same ole.  I want my 2018 to be different and I want to keep challenging myself in my writing, in my personal growth, in my professional goals.

Let’s put it this way.  I want to live 2018 like I did the last month of 2017, a la brava, without a net, working it, not knowing what was going to happen next.  I want to take that confidence that I gained, those huevos that I somehow found, and live my life with a little bit of “chorros”, nerves, or excitement of not really knowing what is going to happen next, where I’m sweating it out, saying to myself, “can I do this?  can I make this happen? HOW will I make this happen?”

As I move toward living my life with more “aventada-ness” than ever,  I am jumping on a plane tomorrow night to one of my “hometowns”, do I have a plan?  Not really, just want to visit my FamFriends, as many as I can in one weekend.  I’m actually nervous about this believe it or not, why?  Because I tend to have everything planned out all of the time and while I have the very basics planned, like a flight and a car, I have no clue what I am going to do for the weekend, I haven’t even packed my bag yet.   I do want to travel light this time, basic clothes, my own pillow and blanket, a book, and my laptop.    And driving?  what if I get lost?  what if my gps/phone doesn’t work? how will I deal with black ice?   Jeez, I’m getting on my own nerves.

Turns out, this trip is key for me starting off 2018 with my “mevalemadre” attitude front and center.  I look forward to this time to THINK, to think about the first chapter of my writing, to think about my events, to think about my place in the familia and how I intend to manage things, to think about how to use my energy to my advantage, not in burning out.  Now that I write this, I almost wish that I wasn’t flying, I wish that I was taking a road trip in my Jeep LOL.  Looking at life from a window I used to see every day will help me to remember how far I’ve come — that feeling of ‘OMG, can I do this?’ when I first moved there, knowing NO one, daring myself to “do it” so that I would never be able to say that I didn’t jump when it was time to make a move for life.

Older and wiser, it’s so easy to look back versus looking forward.  So easy to become complacent, so easy to say “been there, done that”, so easy to stop yourself from doing new things because you “know” it will be a lot of work, hassle, drama, etc.   But for me, complacency is like death.  So I push myself.   I always try to learn how to do something better, or to work it more confidently in my business, to become more efficient/effective, to find balance in my life.   I hope that I never lose that sense of ‘aventada-ness’ and, now that I’ve put my fears in writing and in the light of day, I’m now excited about 2018 and am good with not knowing what comes next, not knowing what I’ll write next.

For now.

 

2017

#52essays2017 52/52

Yay! I made it thru the #52essays2017 Challenge  — writing one essay per week. For the most part, I kept up really well but you know how life is, it really gets in your way some times.  I gained more confidence as a writer and always look forward to the time when inspiration hits.  The best part about this challenge was that I finally see the value of FINISHING WHAT YOU START. I was able to do this time and time again throughout 2017 and it is one great feeling to commit to a project and finish it!

I’m one day away from the big day: putting on my first New Year’s Eve Gala. It’s been all about flying without a net. Scary. Yet invigorating.  As I sit here reviewing everything, I see that I’ve done pretty good in getting the major stuff paid for before the event starts.   Yes, I’m still in “light the candle” mode because I’d love to break even with the event, maybe make a lil extra.   We had a couple of WTF freak-out moments earlier today and there are a few things that I cannot have because we cannot afford them – yet.  All that’s left for me to do is to find my peace and visualize everyone coming in and having a spectacular evening.   Last year at this time, I couldn’t even THINK about doing something like this, I was completely down and out.  2017 taught me that things can and do change for the better … if you’re willing to clear your decks of negativity, pendejadas, and close-mindedness.

I still have a way to go health-wize but I did a number of fitness challenges one after the other and saw my health improve, my lonja go down a little, my clothes get baggy, and my attitude began to change and my confidence started to come back.

In events land, you have to be confident and move forward even when others say that “we’ve always done it this or that way”, “we can’t do that” or “how are you gonna make that happen?”   I’m living proof that having your sense of “aventada-ness” and a “mevalemadre attitude” front and center when you need them, that GodJesusVirgenOfG can help you go farther than you could ever imagine.  I needed good things to happen in 2017 and they finally did.

For part of 2017, I worked with special needs kids and lil pre-kinder bebitos and had the time of my life.  I left happy and TIRED every day.    I now know that God puts you where you need to be and, let me tell you, I gained more respect for teachers and parents.  There is a reason why I have no children of my own but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a NinaCarmen, AuntyCarmen, a mentor, or a friend. All they want is a little bit of your time and attention.

In no particular order, here is what I’d like to happen in 2018:

What I’m happiest about:  TorresBabies, Torres5, my life with Dad Mike Torres, my writing, my events, our monthly prayer nights.

What I need to work on:  Making time with friends, working out, owning my power, learning to say ‘no’, not going OFF, making peace with the past

What I’m hopeful for:  A better world, Immigration Reform, patience, justice, successful events, change in Washington

Sad that we lost:  family friends Bernardo Santillan, Neftali Orosco

Personal Goals I’d like to accomplish:  Pass State Exam, Bring my Personal debt down, help keep our family together.

 

Have a safe and Happy New Year!  More to come in 2018…

 

 

 

Inner Chingona’s Heartbeat …”La Corazonada”

 

 

#52essays2017  49/52

 

For better or for worse, I’ve always had a very strong sixth sense.   My family noticed it before I did.  When I was really young,  I would go somewhere and if it didn’t feel safe or I felt scared, I would just cry.   As I got older, I would do one of two things:  I would feel the negative or scary vibe and say “no” and I wouldn’t go there or, more often than not, I’d ignore my sixth sense AKA Inner Chingona, thinking that it was nonsense, that I had no reason to feel fear or trepidation of people and situations.   9 times out of 10, I walked straight into a wall por SonsaTontaPendeja, what I got for not listening to the alarms going off in me.

 

As I didn’t grow up speaking Spanish at home, I had no concept of “la corazonada“.  A “corazonada” is a hunch, presentiment, foreboding, courage, an impulse of the heart to encounter dangers.  Imagine my relief when I heard a co-worker say, “ay, tuve una corazonada“, I knew that I wasn’t crazy, that I wasn’t the only one whose body felt what was going to happen before my mind could wrap its arms around it.  My family swears that I’m “corazonada-prone” because I was born prematurely and lived the first 3 months of my life with little/no physical contact, so I was forced to develop my other survival skills.

 

I can go into an event, any event, and usually know whether it will be successful or not.  The longest days have been the ones where I’ve known the event was a bomb yet had to stay there the entire time “just in case” things changed.  Like the time, we gave away tons of free tickets to a water park for Cinco de Mayo, and it R A I N E D or the time that I put on a beautiful event, did everything right, and the crowd did not show up.  Where do you hide?  You’ve got to put the brave face on and keep moving … and praying the clock goes faster!

 

There were a few times when I just knew that it was destined to be a bad night with a certain gentleman.   Every time that I would stay thinking that things would get better, I was always wrong and ended up with a migraine or worse, one time I threw up in a car while I was driving from the stress of a bad situation.   Each time, I would be kicking myself for walking right into these situations.  I’ve since learned that you can only see what you want to see, where you become more “educated” in life and see that there is more to the universe than the four walls you continue to bang your head against.   Once I’ve seen the proverbial light, it is almost impossible for me to take any steps back.  It’s like my “corazonada” practically pounds out of my chest to ensure that I don’t take a certain road, walk back into a situation or deal with certain individuals.

 

It’s all about embracing “la corazonada“.  It’s better than any thump on the head, slap in the face, flashing red light, danger alarm.  The trick is be still and listen, listen to your mind when it says, “I’m scared“, or “this doesn’t feel right“, listen to your body when you get that stomach ache, those “chorros“, that headache, those chills, and not just listen…move out of that place, away from that person, out of your own way.

 

The thing is, that, if you don’t learn how to listen for the negative things and deal with them, HOW will you ever be able to listen to your mind and body for the GOOD things when they happen…things like successful events, fun times, positive people, and good “corazonadas“?

 

It’s your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ya Mero! Almost to the Finish Line #52essays2017

 

#52essays2017  46/52

When I asked to be part of the #52essays2017, I thought, “oh it’s gonna be easy as I love to write”, and here I sit with 7 essays to go and, if I look at the calendar, I’m about 3 weeks behind, as we are to submit our entries on Sundays/Mondays of each week.  Some weeks, I’d have blog entries stockpiled because I’d be so inspired, others I’d be trying to find my voice, trying to find something legit to talk about, and then there are times like these, where I’m slammed with projects and trying to find the time to write.

This writing challenge has mirrored my life in a lot of ways. I’ve got goals that I made for myself at the beginning of 2017, some completed, others not. I’ve got a ton of projects for which it is “crunch time”. Lots of things that “need” to get done by December 31st.

I’ve never been a fan of December 31st. I tend to focus on what did not happen, what did not get done, what I was unable to do.  It takes me awhile to get into January 1st too as the upcoming 52 weeks always seem to overwhelm me, so new, so big, what do I hope to accomplish?

This year feels different.   Yes, I’ve got 7 more blog entries to do by December 31st.  Yes, I’ve got a busy month of events that end on December 31st.  Yes, the pressure is on big time to get stuff done.   The difference is that getting it all done somehow feels possible.  Possible because, once I started writing #52essays2017,  I was able to keep better track of my goals and the writing forced me to revisit them throughout the year.   I may have a lot of task-related goals that need to get done but, more important, I was able to work on life goals, things like putting family first, getting some of my demons out of my system, trying to work smarter, not harder.  And looove that I’m sitting in clothes that fit much better and in some cases, are too big.   Before I think I’m all that, my health goal, especially, will remain a priority for me.

I’ve taken my writing much more seriously this year,  I’ve started to own it that I’m a writer.  I’m more confident in my writing and can take it better when I get constructive criticism LOL.  I have my habits:  music opens up the creative side of my mind so 9 times out of 10, I’m listening to music – at present The Beatles blast through my headphones.  I work very well in warm places with good light, a roomy table, and the smell of cafecito so I can often be found at a Starbucks and especially love the ones where they know my name and know what I’m going to order.  I’m still trying to find the best way to write down/record/type out an idea so that I don’t forget it, I still haven’t figured it out!  I am learning how to find that balance of putting it all out there no filter versus keeping it a lil discreet so that I can protect the names of the innocent (or guilty), and to keep some things protected/close to my heart.  And then there are moments like these, when I get inspired when I should be sleeping and I “have” to write.   I’m finding my writing style, “Slice of Life”, it doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me…and I have found that so many folks relate to and have a good laugh -or cry- on some of the things I write about.

I’m very happy that I have been able to be part of #52essays2017 and will celebrate the day that I finish the challenge!  I’ve grown as a writer and as a person…looking forward to more of the same in the upcoming year.

One down, 6 more to go in 2017.  It’s all about accomplishing my goal of #52essays2017.

How Can I Help? Inner Chingona Has the Answer, I Just Know It.

#52essays2017  33/52

So much has happened in our country, from disasters natural to disasters straight-up unbelievable.  There is a definite ‘us versus them’ vibe, divisiveness, and negativity seem to be the order of the day.  I try to keep politics out of writing because I do not like to go on and on and on if I don’t feel completely informed.  I really do try to stay informed and I watch a lot of news and also get a lot of my news by listening to You Tube, yes, listening (as I drive) to msnbc, CNN, and other news outlets to see what this Administration comes up with next.   Every Friday night, it seems as if one bombshell or another is dropped.   I love Ana Navarro, she may be a Republican 🙂 but she is one Latina who is fearless and will call anyone out on their pendejadas – Republican, Democrat, and especially anything – policy, executive order, or otherwise, that comes out of Washington.  How I wish I could put it out there for the world as she does.

A lot of what comes out of this Administration is so offensive, it’s straight-up racist and it is so obvious that there is no love or support for my Latino community.  While I don’t expect red carpet service, I do expect fair treatment and it is disheartening to watch every single pillar of civil rights being torn down in front of my eyes, my community is demeaned, discounted, and defeated on a daily basis.  My Dad and I watch a lot of Univision news and, some days, it’s downright depressing:  deportations and discrimination are the order of the day and almost the entire newscast deals with this new, sick, normal. Spanish media HAS to talk about this, because it is rare to see these stories in mainstream media.  No matter how mentally exhausting the news is, I feel that we must not let this fatigue get us down, we must be informed, we must be ready to change the world.

I know that my anger hit the roof when all of the business with the Arpaio Pardon came out.  I’ve been screaming out this question:  WHAT will it take to get the Latino community galvanized, to stand up and fight all of these daily pendejadas?  It’s all around us, HOW can we just sit and take it?  I’m seriously pondering this question because I want to be part of the solution.  It just feels so overwhelming that I have no clue of where to start.   I’m going to start on the things that are important to me.

Culture, Familia, Musica, Art, Food – these have always been what has brought us together and invited others to learn about us.   I’ve always trusted “slice of life” things and values.  There has got be something in there that I can contribute to the world and learn how to change things…I need to keep looking for that little opening of the door, where I can do some good for others.  In order to accomplish this, I have to keep looking inward, keep living life, and looking to my InnerChingona for guidance.  How?  Quien sabe?  The one thing I don’t see in my future is running for office, I’ve always functioned best as an advocate for Latinos, promoting my culture, and things that may not seem heavy-duty to some activists, but that have always been important to me.  Somehow, someway, I will find a way.  Ya es hora.