Rest In Peace?

#52EssaysNextWave 12/52

Today’s is my lovely Mama’s birthday may she RIP.

I’m known to post regularly about Mama: random memories, how many months it’s been since she’s left us (44 months in a few days), pictures that I find around the house, pictures of her table that we update with each holiday, her tradition of giving treat bags to her friends (which, by the way, I’ve passed two holidays because my life got crazy-busy, yes, I feel guilty) and more.

More than once, I’ve had folks tell me that I should let her go, that I should let my mother rest in peace, that I have separation anxiety issues.

Having gone through the trauma of losing my mother, I’ve realized a few things:

  1.  Everyone grieves differently.
  2.  Everyone honors their loved ones in their own way.
  3.  The greatest gift that Margaret gave us, her familia, was sitting us down and telling us how she intended to live out her life, that she loved us and knew that we loved her, and that she knew that we would always be together.

Mama was right.  When she was gone, we would have each other to hold on to, we would know that we were loved, and we would know that she was going to be happy in her eternal home.

So the fact that I celebrate my mother constantly does not necessarily mean that I want time to stop, that I want her back, that I want things to stay as they always have, that I’ve not accepted her departure.  Wrong.  Margaret told us she would be alright, that she was ready to leave, that she would be happy.  There is no way that I would want Mama to be sad or suffering here on earth when she was clearly ready to go HOME.

It took me much longer than my siblings to accept this harsh truth when Mama first told us what was what.  However,  I became so convinced that Mama was right as we took care of her those final weeks:  no food, no water, no medicine and she didn’t look weak or emaciated or sad or suffering.  When it was time, it was time.

When she was with us, we Torres5 would always marvel about the crazy positive reaction would be on social media to anything we posted about Margaret, she would be a little shy when we’d tell her or read folks’ birthday wishes or comments to this or that post, but then you would see her famous little quiet smile.  Mama used to always tell me, “omg, this isn’t a competition!” to which I’d answer, “Of course it isn’t, you always win!”

Happy Birthday Mama/Mother/Mom/Negra/Prieta/Marga!

 

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The Phone Call

#52EssaysNextWave 11/52

Marisa ran toward her desk when she heard the phone ringing.  “This is Marisa” she answered.  From the line, she heard the words that she had been dreading, “You Gonna Talk to Me Now Bitch?”.   Marisa could feel the color drain from her face and then shoot back up, her heart felt as if it would jump out of her chest, she could barely keep her composure, she couldn’t completely go off as she was, after all, in her office cubicle and others would have surely heard this conversation had she ‘gone there’.  Marisa’s mind raced a million miles a millisecond, “whaaat? how? hoooooow? OMG! what do I do? chiiiingao! what do I do? omg.  How? HOW? Hooooooooooooow in the f@#$ did he find me? What do I say to him?”

“Answer me bitch!  Did you think that I wouldn’t find you? Noooow talk your shit bitch!”  Marisa was taken aback, stunned.  “I really can’t talk right now” was all that Marisa could get out of her mouth and she hung up.  A few seconds later, the phone rang again…and again…again…and again.  After finally turning the ringer off and saying a silent prayer hoping that no one in the office noticed what was up, Marisa gathered her things and left the office for an “appointment”.

Once in the “safety” of her car, Marisa was completely in disbelief and shock.  Should she cry? scream? call someone? call him back? quit?  what?   Ten minutes seemed like an eternity sitting in that car, completely unglued and uncertain of what her next move should be.

It was apparent that Marisa’s getaway plan had not worked as she had hoped.  This was job number FOUR and, for this one, for the first time, Marisa had to change cities.   If he was able to get to her direct work line, then he HAD to now know where she was working, did he know where she lived too?  Taking deep breaths, looking right to left, searching for signs of her coworkers, for anyone strange, for him, she put her head down, trying to hide the tears streaming down her face, and quietly drove away, unsure of where she would go next.

Sadly, this is typical when a woman finally finds the nerve to remove herself from a bad situation.  She leaves thinking that ‘things will be better’, almost hopeful, almost positive that she’s done the right thing.    No one tells her that leaving is the beginning of almost uncontrollable drama.  There are still more roads that lead to  fear, anger, humiliation, shame, sadness, and sometimes, violence before it’s all said and done.  No one tells her that the madness will come at her from any/all sides, with sometimes double/triple/quadruple force.    That this will the most difficult and dangerous time of all.  That there are no guarantees that she will come out of this journey intact, much less alive.   Life truly becomes day-by-day, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute where all she does is question herself and her decisions.   Everything gets even more complicated and overwhelming.   For every time she puts her head up, she must continue to put her head down in order to get through the day, to show her family and friends that she is alright, to strive for some semblance of normalcy in a world that has come crashing down in front of her.

These stories are part-me and part some of the women whom I’ve met along my journey of finding my way back from similar abusive situations, these women understood me from minute one, and helped me to regain my balance and my sense of self.  From time to time, I’ll share a story in hopes that someone reading this finds the courage to say “ya estuvo”, get their power back and change their life.

 

 

 

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!

Just Say Good Morning Already

#52EssaysNextWave 9/52

5 years old.   I was getting ready to start kindergarten.  Everyone telling me how exciting school would be, how many friends I would make, how many fun things I would do.   I was having trouble with this, I didn’t feel excited at all.

That first day, I remember being dressed in my blue dress with the white sweater, white socks and black mary jane shoes.  I don’t really remember anyone bringing me into Mrs. Brunton’s class.  I remember that I was just there.   I don’t want to think that I was just put on the bus to face it all alone.

Because that’s exactly what it felt like to me.  Like I was left all alone.  Without Mama.  And how were the kids doing at home without me?  This place seemed too big.  This place didn’t feel nice.  And why do I even have to come here?  This is what I used to tell myself every single day before and after crying tears into my little white sweater before hanging it up on the little hook.

Circle time.  Circle time was a nightmare for me.  First, I was afraid.  Second, I was almost in tears and didn’t want anyone to see me cry.  If I spoke up, people would see my fear and hear the quivering of my voice like I wanted to cry, who wants to be known as a big baby?

My teacher, Mrs. Brunton, was not kid-friendly, and to this very sensitive and scared little girl, not one kind word, not one nod of understanding.   She lost patience with me that first day when I did not answer “good morning” to her during circle time.    On that first day, she punished me for not speaking during circle time.  I had to stay inside during recess time, trying to understand what I had done wrong.

This went on for many, many weeks during that first year of school.  I remember being able to breathe and feeling so relieved “having” to stay in the classroom with the lights turned off during recess.  I was in there with the “bad kids” – always two or three kids.  But I did not have to feel the wrath of Mrs. Brunton for those blessed few minutes and my little mind would think and think about how to get the nerve up to be able to say “good morning”, how much easier my life might be, how much happier I might be — at least that’s what Mama and Daddy would tell me almost every night at home about saying “good morning” the next day.

Once the kids would come in from recess, I’d feel a little stronger.  And then this woman would have something negative to say.  Always something negative.  And my resolve to say “good morning” would crumble.

It finally got to the point where I was over being labeled one of the “bad kids”,  I wasn’t a bad person, I was a good girl.  There were a couple of kids who had not yet spoken up, and who had finally said “good morning” to the teacher and, when I saw that nothing bad happened to them after that, I started to think that, maybe it was time for me to say “good morning”.

It amazes me how, at that very young age, that I was able to watch things around me and find the safe time to use my voice and improve my situation.  One morning,  I shocked Mrs. Brunton and delighted the entire class when I finally answered “good morning”.

It would have been so much easier had the lady been a little more understanding and treated little Carmen with a little more care in those first weeks of school instead of losing her patience and being judgemental.   Little Carmens of the world need to be empowered and reminded of the rules for the classroom instead of being told that she is a bad girl.  All I remembered was feeling this intense pressure all of the time to say “good morning” – from home, at school, to the point of having headaches.  Now I think about…Who was right?  Who was wrong? How could this situation been handled in a more positive manner?  Why was it so hard for me to say “good morning”? why was this person so mean?

Shortly after that first “good morning”, the school year was, thankfully, over.   My parents received progress reports from Mrs. Brunton stating that I was withdrawn and would likely have learning issues throughout my school years.  Fast forward to first grade, and Little Carmen was happy, outgoing, and learning a lot.  I had a great teacher who was much more kid-friendly and I was able to thrive.  I also remember being happy to show my lil sister starting kindergarten that I wasn’t afraid or unhappy anymore.

Many years later, I heard that Mrs. Brunton was no longer teaching.  I felt a little vindicated, that 5-year-old Little Carmen was not crazy, that her instincts WERE right, that this was NOT a good person, especially not one to be in charge of the education, physical and emotional security of babies just starting out.  I was still a little angry, as I felt as if I got myself through this traumatic experience.  Even though it was the only way to relieve the stress from all sides, I spent many years trying to move past that fateful “good morning”.

I always harbor the hope that little ones have an easier time of their first days of school…that their little spirits are not broken as mine was, that they have positive people in their corners to help them see that there are more great teachers than bad ones.

I also know that this was one of the first times that my InnerChingona helped me get through it, even though, at the time, I had no clue who she was.

Reaching For the Stars from the “Fil”

#52EssaysNextWave 8/52

This morning, I had the opportunity to listen to Astronaut Jose Hernandez speak. We are from the same area and, while I knew about him going from farm worker to astronaut;  I confess, I never really knew his story. Now granted, I have never had aspirations of working it as an astronaut, but, as he spoke, I found that I could totally relate to his advice on the importance of having goals and making a road map to get you where you want to be.

I really enjoyed his storytelling as well. I’m always looking for authors whom I can relate to, who can tell my story. Just as I search for authors, I always listen to any Latinos who speak to see if they tell my story. I’ve heard many many many Latinos and Latinas speak yet no one came as close as Dr. Hernandez did this morning. He was funny without really even trying, he broke out the Spanglish as many of us do, and proceeded to talk about the important things we all share: familia, education, goals.

Familia is key to keeping you safe, on an emotional level, as you pursue your goals. Who else can you trust enough to tell you straight-up truth, keep it real, and support you at the same time?  Hearing the stories about family as he spoke in Spanglish were hilarious, heartwarming and they hit home for me.

As in his house, for us, college was not an option but an expectation. Our parents told us to try college for one semester and, if it wasn’t for us, it wasn’t for us. Part of Dr. Hernandez’ plan included putting in the work, no excuses, to get what you want, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.  I kept thinking about 2 or 3 unfinished life goals that I am now inspired to revisit and ‘get on it’ to make these goals a reality.

My father only needed to take us to work the fields very few times before we knew that it wasn’t for us, and that, like both our parents, we were destined to study and earn a living another way, not in  the fields. I’ve learned, thru my education, that my job is what I’ve worked for…radio and events are not for everyone and there is no way that I would have known that I could make a living at it had I not gone to college, university and got all into clubs, campus radio, events and taken the classes. I always joke that I get now get paid for what I had always done for free since I was a child.

Our world today needs role models.  Role models are not just for the very young or those young people who are just starting out; they are also very important for those of us adults who tend to get stuck in our ways, in the way it’s always been done, living in “I can’t”, “I don’t have time”, or “I shouldn’t” mentality, who need an attitude adjustment along with a kick in the ass to get moving.   The most important thing I learned was that we never stop learning and, if we can work through our fears and insecurities, that we can achieve more than we ever imagined.

At least, that’s how I want to do it.   Once I get out of my own way.

I’ll have to thank Dr. Hernandez for this much needed “patada” the next time I see him LOL.

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.

Making Salsa: How Brava is Too Brava?

#52EssaysNextWave  5/52

Have you ever eaten salsa that was too hot? too hot to enjoy the flavor hot? angry hot?   I’ve heard folks say, “I hope that it’s not too “brava/hot” because I was “brava” mad as hell when I made it!”

Making salsa when you’re angry is not the smartest thing to do.   Although now that I write it out, I can see how it does help get you out of a bad mood.  Some of us like to make salsa in the blender, easy enough.  However, anger and making salsa can almost render the blender useless…why?   It’s much more cathartic when you put that knife in your hand and chop things up or if you break out the molcajete, put the food in and smash it, literally, between a rock and a hard place as you prepare it.

Take onions.  Chopping up onions automatically make your eyes water.  Sometimes this watering of eyes works when you want to try to hide your tears, “freaking cebolla! it’s the onions making my eyes water, I’m not mad, I’m not crying, no…hmmmmm!

The feel of chopping tomatoes is so cool as you push it into a pile or into a bowl as you cut it up.  Chopping up that tomate may just help you get your anger out and then literally helps to cool it off that quick.

Chile – chopping up one, look how nice that looks, will it make the salsa hot enough? Let me try chopping up another chile and then, after the fourth or fifth one, it’s hard to tell if that little green pile of chile is too much or too little, so you just stop.   By the time you actually get to cutting up the chile, you’ve got to think about cutting out the seeds (or not).  Taking out the seeds takes a few minutes and that might be a good thing, because taking out the seeds takes a lot of the fire out of your salsa.

Cilantro – chopping up cilantro as small as possible is never a bad thing, especially as lots of people can only take cilantro in small doses.  Garlic – same thing.  Both possess pungent odors that can have you doing that “uff” thing wrinkling your nose because the smell hits your senses immediately.  Kinda like smelling salts LOL, intense smells can make you alert, and sober you up and out of your mood for a moment at least.

Then again, it’s been said that food made with love tastes amazing and satisfying.   I wonder how food made while angry must taste like.  With salsa, it’s hard to tell because it’s supposed to be spicy hot.    The only takeaway from this post is, if you’re angry and making salsa, to chop up the chile peppers last, and do not forget to take the seeds out, and, maybe,by that time, after that work, you won’t be mad anymore and the salsa will be nice and spicy, not angry hot.

Now I’m craving salsa…wait…I better check myself, what kind of mood am I in? LOL

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

And NOW Inner Chillona Shows Up? Getting Your Cry On

 

#52EssaysNextWave  3/52

Sitting here on a full train on my way home.   Not only are people sitting all around me, they’re standing as well getting ready to get off at their stop.  Everyone around me is pretty much doing what I am:  headphones on, either on social media, listening to music or watching video or You Tube, anything to de-stress.   I can sit here and practically stare everyone in their faces and they are all lost in their own world, their own thoughts.

So why am I sitting here tonight fighting all types of emotion:  laughter, tears, sadness, anger, melancholy?  A song has just come onto my shuffle which hits me big time.   The person singing those lyrics inside of my head, my headphones, without knowing it, is singing my life, is singing exactly what I would say to this person were he in front of my face.  From the back of my mind, the back shelf, the back of the room, with her crybaby self, Inner Chillona has arrived.

NOW she shows up?  I am sitting here, not knowing where to hide my face, my eyes, the tears welling up in my eyes, it’s getting too dark for sunglasses, my Kleenex is in my bag under my chair, chiiiiingado!   Can these people see and/or sense my life flashing before my eyes?  It almost feels like those dreams where you’re walking around naked, trying to hide, looking for anything to cover yourself.   Maybe the folks sitting and standing all around me can see me visibly react as each word stuns me into silence…with the truth.

Moco rag aka used kleenex

The song is in Spanish and me, well, being a translator 😊, offer my rough translation of a couple of verses of the song, ‘MEJOR QUE A TI ME VA”  — hope it doesn’t get lost in the translation.

…What did you THINK … would happen?

…That I’d be thrown down, crying in some corner on the ground?

…That I’d live as if my life has ended?

…Not the case…

…I survived…

…I confess, starting over wasn’t easy …

…Lots of people say it’s karma…

…I swear I never wished you harm…

…But this is what you get …

…I watch as you pay for it all…

…Things are better for me than they are for you…

 

I sit here wishing that I could have had my chance to say this once or twice RIGHT when I wanted to. To have my emotions in check enough to be elegant and say “I’m out”, instead of screaming out “f%$* you!” at the top of my lungs as I drove off beyond angry and disgusted in the rain.    Isn’t it how we all want things to end?   Closed, clean, tidy in a box.  How I wish, brincos diera.

Then I realize that tonight’s music shuffle is probably not a coincidence either.  Maybe hearing these songs after so much time after drama gives you the power to be able to say what you need to say, even if the person is not in front of you, maybe years later, better late than never, when you’re ready to accept things as they were, as they are.  When you are safe enough to let these emotions out FINALLY.   How many times did I hold in rage, tears, coraje, emotions just to keep the peace, so that I wouldn’t have to deal with all too-familiar dramatics and consequences?

Your Inner Chillona may choose the most awkward places for you to react in tears, but, in my case, it always feels like it’s the right time, that I need to get these emotions out.  We need these types of songs to get our cry on sometimes, and as my fam friend Jorge says, “to cry like a lil bitch”, to remind us how far we’ve come, to remind us what’s left in our journey from ‘chillona‘ to ‘chingona‘ AKA getting our head straight(er).

If all I must do now in order to get my power back is to reach into my bag for Kleenex to wipe my tears and mocos, then I must not be as jodida as I was way back when LOL.   I just wish that Inner Chillona and all of her emotional moments would hit when I was in the safety of my Jeep or in the bathroom where no one could see me in all my tearful glory.

So when the NEXT song on the shuffle comes on, I have to smile:  it’s a song about nothing being a coincidence, everything happens for a reason, love, success, people in (or out) of your life…all very positive and moving forward.

Standing side to side with your Inner Chillona, in your own truth is powerful (and healthy) whether you set it to music or not.

 

 

My Inner Chillona song for the evening is featured below, complete with lyrics.

My Trip of Normal: Going from One Comfort Zone to Another

#52EssaysNextWave  2/52

$29 for a one-way ticket? Unbelievable.

Should I take advantage of this? Where should I go? When should I go?

Back in the day, it wouldn’t have even been a thought. I would have just picked a place and went. That I even had to THINK about it, made me think. When did I stop being spontaneous? When did I lose my sense of fun?  My sense of aventada-ness? When did I start feeling square and un-cool? and dare I say it, as my comadre says, become all old and churrida?

Life happens. In these past few years, so much had happened in my life that it took all my energy to keep afloat, that was all that I could do, the day-to-day, survival, only the necessary.

I decided to travel to one of my hometowns: Denver. It had been a long time since I’d been back and this time, I knew that, if I went, that all I wanted to do were normal things like drive around and reconnect with my ‘fam-friends’, friends who became familia. This trip had to be postponed twice because I was sick with flu/bronchitis. So, when I finally started preparing for my trip, only a couple of days before I was set to leave, I was nervous and excited.

I was excited to see snow and be in the freezing cold air – I was nervous as I had been so sick a few weeks earlier and doctors forbade contact with cold weather. I was excited to rent a car and drive around to see everyone instead of being driven around. I was nervous – how would I get around; would I get lost? I was excited to see friends. I was nervous thinking that I wouldn’t have time to see anyone, what would they think of me? Would I be able to hold a conversation? Would I be a good guest? I was excited to travel alone, as I had done many times before. I was nervous, what if something happened to me? Should I make a will? Will Dad be ok? What about my work projects? Would things get done?

The minute I got off the plane in Denver. I was happily surprised to know that it all felt like I had just been there yesterday, I laughed as I walked to the train to take me to Baggage Claim, como si nada. As I waited outside for my shuttle, I was loving life, gone was the doubt, the sense of aventada-ness BACK front and center. I felt energized, ready for fun, cool, and proud that I made it safe and sound.

Snow? Cual snow? I was outside in fresh air that was warmer than California and carrying my coat, as they say, ‘de adorno’, for decoration only, as there was no need for it. Everyone was saying that the first snowstorm in weeks was on the way…

As I took the wheel that first day, I was exhilarated. It was like I knew where I was, but I didn’t know where I was. So much had changed yet so much was the same. As I started visiting that first day, I was thanking God for GPS which got me door-to-door – just like it does for me every day. All my fam friends live in the many suburbs of Denver, which to my delight, I was still able to navigate with ease. The snow started late that night and, when I left for “home”, it was coming down hard.

Now I was nervous. Snow and the freeways, SOLOS. Freeways are rarely empty in California. Colorado freeways are lonelier and don’t have as many lights on the roads in California. Even though I knew where I was going, I still had the GPS on. Snow hitting my windshield, me using the wiper fluid to break up the snow and hoping it wouldn’t freeze over.

Nerves turned to joy once I neared my hotel. Snow, snow and mas snow at the hotel and no parking LOL. I couldn’t open the windows to smell the snow air because it would have been all in the car. However, once I felt the crunch of the snow on my feet, that first rush of freezing air that makes you shiver out loud, this was one happy girl and I finally felt as I were home.

As you can imagine, the morning was beautiful. It was snowing and, as I went out to put gasoline in the car, I noticed two things: I forgot my gloves and how in the heck was I going to get the snow off the windows? Driving felt as I did the very first time I drove in snow…I drove slowly and in the tire tracks made by the car in front of me. That is, until ‘costumbre’ kicked in and I was back to driving as I always do, minus the ‘ilegalidades’ – crazy u-turns, taking pictures as I drove, talking on the phone, etc.

Best thing about my trip of normal: Feeling as excited, nervous, scared, as when I found the huevos to make the decision to move from everything that I had ever known, to a totally different world, where I knew no one, where I could make a totally new start in life. Opening my mind to all things new. No boundaries.

Also, it was great to “live on my own” again for a few days, to walk around in bra and chones or without bra and chones LOL. I didn’t realize how much I missed living in my own place, coming and going como me diera la gana. I was able to think about so many things that needed attention in my life and make plans accordingly without work or personal distractions, without people in my face, and blessed to look at life out of a new window.

Changing it the eff up was what I desperately needed, and I didn’t realize it until I stepped out of my comfort zone into another comfort zone.  That sense of A-V-E-N-T-A-D-A-N-E-S-S breaking through the mundane, out of my own way, the haters, the nay-sayers, the ‘no’s’, allowing me to do things another way, not the way ‘it’s always been done’ .  So much fun.

Sometimes you gotta go there to find yourself again.

And again, and again.