Aaay! The Showers of Change

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This happened earlier tonight:

“The time has come to change Mama’s shower curtain. Tried to find something Daddy would like. As I was looking, I started telling the señoras working there what I was doing and, like true Latinas, they do that “aaay” thing, hug me and tell me their stories of throwing things out/saving things that their parents left behind and we were all almost crying. It did feel nice to be completely understood tonight.”

It’s a kinship borne of sadness, bittersweet memories, of feeling like there’s a hole in you – some days, it feels all-consuming, others it’s more of a dull ache.   And then when you finally are able to laugh, feel happier, able to move forward from your loss, you still miss them.    Once you lose a parent, you 100% understand what a person is going through when their mother or father passes.   No words are necessary.  And, yes, you really do feel that “aaay” in your heart when you know that someone has lost their parent!

It’s so hard for us to throw any of Mama’s things out sometimes.  I had to text the Torres5 to gently let them know that we would be changing the shower curtain, I feel like, if I don’t tell them or “ask” their permission to make changes, that Mama won’t be right with it either.  And knowing my mother, she would be all for my changing the shower curtain.   Her shower curtain had circles of green, blue, and lavender so I chose more “guy” colors – black and gray with his own circles.  Dad really liked it.   Even though I feel like “aaay”, it really is time and Dad has really been working on beautifying our bathroom lately so he’s excited to change-up the look of the place.

Dad is so funny.  Right away, he starts working on one of his “home-improvement” projects and typical me, “OMG Dad, que haces?”.  Turns out he’s making me a little shelf for me to put my “jabon” on, a soap dish, that no one else can use.   Big smiles that remind me how blessed I am to be able to enjoy the simplest things in my life with my father, that it’s sometimes OK to move forward and keep living life.

We all do change in different ways, at different levels, on different timelines.  Sometimes, those “aaay” moments are a good way to track your progress (or not), the “aaays” certainly keep you honest and, if you’re lucky, you are able to feel your feelings instead of backing them up, holding them all in.  What a relief to be able to feel sadness, joy, anger, uncertainty, pain, loss, blessings…isn’t it funny how a simple shower curtain or a soap dish can change your outlook on life?

To be able to share your “aaay” moments with people who understand is even better.  Thank God for those women in Walmart who “got it” and helped me see that, sometimes, change is a positive thing for me, for Dad, for my siblings, and for Mama.

 

Mike Torres, my father, working on my soap dish for my “jabon”… aaay!

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Ya Mero! Almost to the Finish Line #52essays2017

 

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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.

What? Que QUE? Car Clutter and Boundaries

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There is clutter all over the place in my world.   Dad is doing some major work in our bathroom and there’s stuff all over the place, the kitchen is still in Thanksgiving-clutter mode, one side of the living/dining room looks like Dad’s workshop has exploded, my “apartment” looks like an event mess – one box, or basket, or bag belongs to one event or another, and my Jeep also has my event stuff and junk all over the place. Es un desmadre.

This is not good.

I almost don’t know where to start clearing the clutter as it feels like it’s everywhere.  So I am going to start with the one place I spend the most time:  my Jeep.

Found some great information in the article, “What Does Your Clutter Say About You?” (TheDailyMail, 20Aug17):

YOUR CAR 

Emotional issue: No boundaries.

What this means: Letting clutter pile up in your car means that no space is left for yourself, however personal — you’re letting things and people encroach on every area of your life. Clutter in the car is often the first sign of feeling overwhelmed, because this should be your own space, not a dumping ground. Ask yourself: are you keeping your calendar full so you can tell yourself you’re too busy to make changes in your life?

OMG.  What? QueQUE? This is not for the faint of heart.  Who KNEW that a cluttered car showed a lack of boundaries, that I have no space or peace because I’m not living my life for me, I’m living it to please others, to put projects and people in front of my personal space and health?  Since August, it has been one project after another after another after another.   It certainly shows in my Jeep – cajas y papeleo por todos lados,  while I feel like tossing it all out, I know that I need to go through it to see what I need.  Things like receipts:  I just remembered that I’ve got my receipts all over the place in one bag or another, and I need these receipts for reimbursements, taxes, etc.  You’re better than this Carmen.

I had also been trying to live healthier and it had worked for a long time.  I’m so off of the wagon that I’ve actually had to go into “one day at a time” mode so that I would take better care of myself so that I do not completely erase all of the good that I did for myself.  Una soda tras otra best describes me this month, yes, I still drink a lot of water but I’m back to Cokes with ice big time thus the clutter of cups with straws all over the Jeep.  Setting boundaries will especially help me in the health area:  making time for exercise, saying “no” to soda, back to enjoying water and the total empowerment of taking care of myself, it’s like I got complacent, no denying that anymore.

I find that, increasingly, I need more and more time to think and strategize and organize my many projects…and THEN, when I have the time, I don’t know what I should think about first so I end up not thinking at all, and not having my necessary personal-strategy sessions…so then I struggle with solving problems, with doing extra work and backtracking because I didn’t think things out.  Making the necessary changes has not happened either.

It’s all about going back to the beginning, starting over, thankful that I haven’t completely messed up but recognizing that I am in danger of reversing all of the good I had achieved for myself.

Maybe occupying your time in this way protects you from taking some risks. If you feel compelled to say yes to everyone who asks a favor, ask yourself why. Learning to sit with the discomfort that may come with disappointing people is crucial to your happiness.

This really makes me mad this minute.  I swore that I was going to have the “huevos” to take care of myself, to ditch the people-pleasing stuff, and to have the courage to put my needs up there along with everything else.   A perfect example was taking an important meeting last week when I was fighting the flu.  While I did well working at about 40% of my energy, can you imagine what I could have done had I been at 100%?

Taking stock will not be easy but it needs to be done, some projects and people will not make the cut and I will need to be ready to face it.   Looks like I still have some work to do.

What to do about it:

1.  Practice setting boundaries by saying ‘no’ in lower-risk relationships; a co-worker rather than a family member, or a stranger instead of your boss.

2.  Working on boundary clutter leads to cleaner relationships, less stress, and deeper connections with the people in your life.

Sometimes you need to get hit on the head by reality.  The clutter in my car brought an issue up to the surface that I had no real clue was going on…until it bit me on the @$$.   This week, day by day, I will work on cleaning the clutter in my Jeep while I work on making boundaries.  The time has come for me to serve order and let order serve me.   I like the fast pace of my life, and working smarter is the only way that I can survive and thrive.

Looking back, I have been struggling with this pit in my stomach for weeks now.  I’m quite relieved that THIS strategy thinking session came down the way it did.   I can change my life … one “no” at a time, and by throwing out the trash!

 

Inner Chingona Visualization: My Event in One Minute, Fourteen Seconds

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We all have one.  Anyone who plans events as I do has at least one.  That one song that will help you visualize, conceptualize, and see your event happening before your eyes.  I have many songs to walk me through an event:  set-up, event happening, tear-down.   We event folk, those of us who really work it and want to make an event successful, ALWAYS do some type of imagining/thinking about/visualizing…I just happen to work it better to music.

Maybe it’s because I started doing events at such a young age, I was still in the 3rd grade, but, at that age, I was already visualizing what my friends would think about this or that, what would they think of me doing this kind of stuff, how could I put in something they liked, that would impress them, into an event or program.  I trip out on how important working a crowd was to me, even waaaay back in the day.

As the majority of the events that I did (and do) seem to take place outside, the movie taking place in my mind almost always takes place at an outdoor venue.   I tend to respond to Classic Chicano/Latin Rock (Malo, Santana, El Chicano, War, etc.) when I need a soundtrack for my future event.  Usually I’m in my Jeep driving when inspiration really hits and I start thinking about how an event will look, sound, smell, and feel…I imagine who will be attending my event and when they will get there, I imagine how the view will look from the stage, to the stage, everything.

While I have a bunch of songs to choose from when I’m in visualization mode, this song always seems to get me going big-time: The classic “Nena” by Malo.   Once I break it down, you may want to listen to the song as you read this (a second time) so that you may see what I see…

 

Beginning Percussion:  This song starts off with straight percussion and what I see in my mind is the very start of the day, we are just driving onto the site, sometimes we have to drive very slowly through the entire festival site to get to where we need to be, no one is there but the folks unloading their booths, setting up the stage, event barricades just going up, people drinking that first, and perhaps only, cup of cafe for the day.  We finally get to our spot, step out of the vehicles and check out the place…

First guitar riffs:  We are now unloading our vehicles, delivering tables and chairs to clients, helping them set up, getting banners up, setting up sound system, making sure that our tents are set up, getting the backstage and VIP areas set up, we are in serious work-it mode, we are movin’ fast, we are on a deadline…

First horn sounds:  Almost time for “Doors” (for the event to start).  Time to take stock of the entire set-up, are we missing anything, ice?  send someone for ice;  trash cans for the backstage area, send someone to get to the event organizers for what we need, quick check of all of our booths and stage, first entertainers ready to jump on stage,  are we all good to go?

Second horn sounds:  Doors open.  People starting to come into the festival.  Which way do they go?  left to the booths, right to the food booths, straight-ahead to my area, the stage area.   There’s usually a Ballet Folklorico starting things off on-stage, warming the crowd up, we have officially passed GO, the event is ON.  People selling their stuff, people at the door checking thru bags, purses before entry, lines starting to form at the food booths…

The first “Nena” sounds and the remainder of the song:  I envision people enjoying the music, kicking back in the grass and sunshine enjoying their food and hanging out with each other, walking around, the looks of surprise “heeeeey!” before the big hugs after seeing familia and old friends, many now with beer in hand, some dancing going on, lots of folks watching entertainment from the stage, thinking to myself, ‘how can they be out there in this sun?”,  bands coming into the stage area, bands getting off of the stage, us trying to make sure no one makes off with someone else’s equipment, our folks enjoying food in the VIP Area, all going smooth.

The final percussion:  We’re an hour away from the close of the event, people are starting to pack up and go home, final act is on stage, partyers still out en force, booths running out of food, last call for alcohol, we are starting to try to get a head start on getting all of our stuff together ready to pack into the vehicles, and kicking back at the backstage area of the event, happy that all has gone smooth, “man my feet hurt” and doing that loud sighing thing as we sit down, likely the first time we have sat that long all day.  Event day over.

Most of this all happens within the first minute and 14 seconds of the song.  This is all I need to see and hear.  I am no rocket scientist but, if I am unable to visualize any event within 1:14, then it will likely not be a successful one.  Once I’m able to see the event coming together in my mind, I’m able to see the big picture, start getting that energy rolling into the right direction so that I can work out the small details in between the lines.   This formula rarely fails me and my method has helped keep my madness in check, kept me focused, and kept me “on it”.

Find whatever you need to motivate you through an event or a project or a workout or any steps to a better you…if it’s music, you’ll  KNOW when you’ve found the right song or mix because work will not feel like work anymore, it will feel effortless, it will feel like this is that way things are meant to go, it will feel like they will be a success…all it takes is opening your mind, finding your sense of ‘aventada-ness’, and using your imagination.  Try it!

 

Embracing Death with Love FELIZ DIA DE LOS MUERTOS 2017

 

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Dia de Los Muertos is such a beautiful Mexican tradition that has done the one thing that no one had been able to do: take away my fear of death. My fears surrounding death were related to things that I could only imagine: suffering, pain, leaving suddenly, violence. My imagination ran wild, I would imagine zombies walking about, people moaning in pain, screams of fear. Maybe it was all of the Halloween monster-type stuff in the movies and TV. Lots of the Halloween stuff is based on that, el Dia de Los Muertos is not…el Dia de Los Muertos is a great time to remember those you love who are no longer with you and shows you how to honor your loved one by getting their favorite things together and making them an altar.

Mama’s altar is on display 24/7.  We change it up for the holidays and the sentiment is the same:  we honor Mama and our good memories of her.  It’s so comforting to see her near her favorite window in her house.   I soooo love this tradition and love to see how my friends celebrate this special time of the year.   The holiday offers the hope that our loved ones will come to be with us one more time, the altars, the candles, the flowers, their things, their favorite foods are meant to guide them back to us.  Folks decorate altars in their homes, in the cemetery, at festivals, at celebrations.

I thought you would like to see altars created by my friends…so unique, so cool, awesome:

Ninel & Karla & The Cortez Fam honor their Mama and their loved ones…

Gracie and the Solorio Family honor their recently departed mother…

BFF Trini and Daddy’s Girl Trini honors her father along with familia…

Part of the Mejia Family’s awesome setup – this altar is dedicated to mariachis


Anna’s tribute to her father and departed familia…

My lil cousin Jami and Michael’s very first altar honoring their grandparents and Mama and their familia… loooove it!

And, here are a few pictures from the Ranch Dia de Los Muertos celebration honoring Mama and all of our fam who has departed…

 

Rest In Peace:  Margaret Torres, Edmundo Torres, Adela Melena, Prudencio Melena, Baltazar Perez, Neftali Orozco, Willie Herrera I, Juan Lucio, Mama Lupita Lucio, Joe Hernandez, Freddy Hernandez, Alfonso Grijalva, Albina Grijalva, Louie Rodriguez, Eddie Rafanan, Jenny Rodriguez, Jennifer Rafanan, Elio Rafanan, Robert Grijalva, Vera Espinoza, Ralph Espinoza, Joey Espinoza, Jess Grijalva, Rosa Sylvia Grijalva, Martin Prieto, Mark Prieto, Connie Cruz, Beatrice Hernandez

RIP Friends:  David Navarro, Joe Nieves, Maria Antonieta Garcia, Rosa Salinas, Rene Garcia, Roberto Vallejo Pantoja, Gabriel Rangel, Jr. Rangel, Cora Rangel, Marina Beltran, John Beltran, Susan Casillas, George Casillas, Ernie Gonzalez, Rosie Gonzalez, Rosita Aragon, Guillermo Prince, Salvador Sierra, Bernardo Santillan, Jose Gutierrez, Neal Sanchez, Ms. Gwen … I know that I will need to edit this as I’ve likely forgotten to list someone.

 

Gone. But never forgotten.  Feliz Dia de Los Muertos.

Inner Chingona for the Block

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Social media and I have always gotten along.  I love keeping up with people and learning new things.  I’ve never been too “pesada” and gotten into any heavy-duty arguments or anything, I’ve always tried to keep things light.  Sure I love the chisme but I never straight-up wish harm on anyone.  So to see that I had been blocked by a certain person had me doing my ‘QueQUE?’ face?

Why do people block others from their social media pages?

Por pesados.    

Por latosos.

Por drama.

Just like in real life, the instinct is to back off from folks who are ‘pesados‘, that is, super negative, bad attitude-having folks who rub people the wrong way.  “Latosos” are the ones who exist to bug and frustrate you and the world, very stubborn.  “Drama” – putting ALL of their business out there.  I’m of the opinion that some things just do not belong in writing and that includes arguments and stuff like that.  Not attractive.

Add to this list, safety.  If someone doesn’t feel safe on social media, imaginate how s/he will be in person.  As regular readers of this blog know, I have dealt with cyber-bullying/stalking and telling me to “just ignore it” when seeing certain posts and reading sick, filthy, derogatory, demeaning, vulgar, angry, sadistic messages doesn’t work.  They are impossible to ignore and they DO have an effect on you.   And like I’ve also said before, knowing that someone is out there hassling friends, colleagues, and acquaintances is a mind-boggling, embarrassing, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide experience that can sometimes have an even worse effect on you, your peace, and your life.

So to see that I had been blocked by someone, someone I do not even know personally, someone who I’m a fan of, someone whom I’ve never spoken to or written to, really brought me down a few minutes ago.  My mind is going crazy thinking, “how did this happen?” “what exactly was said or sent to this person to make them press BlockCarmenTorres?”

And the minute I ask the question, I answer it as well.  There is only one person who can be pesado, latoso, drama-ridden, and unsafe enough for someone to block him.  Who knows what sets him off?  Who knows why he gives off such negative vibes? Who knows how to make it stop?  I surely do not know.  The saving grace:  the person who blocked me is not really an acquaintance or a friend, therefore we do not run in the same circles, and it is very unlikely that we would ever meet face-to-face.  That moment of “aaay here we go again” and the feeling of dread lasts only minutes now, thank GodJesusVirgenOfG.

Got me thinking that, maybe,  InnerChingona is dodging a bullet for me, a bullet filled with shame, embarrassment, despair, fear, and anger that threatens to throw me into emotional chaos.    That madness has no place in my life now which happens to be filled with positive people, projects, and prospects.  I’ve got to keep listening to InnerChingona so that I’m able to keep my hard-won peace and joy.

If Inner Chingona says “Keep on keeping on, Di No A Las Pendejadas”, then I better handle it, do my part, and listen!

 

 

Que QUE? I thought WHERE did this come from?

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Sunday afternoon.  A very hot Sunday afternoon.  I decide to head to the beach with some of my familia.

As we got to the exit on the freeway, I was envisioning that I would only have to make two right turns off of the freeway and we would be on our way to the beach.  I have gotten off of that exit and made those two right turns thousands of times.

On this Sunday, however, there was construction all over the place and, instead of doing my two right turns, I would have to venture into another very familiar neighborhood, in order to get to my desired street thru town.  As soon as I drove onto that very familiar street, I started doing something that I just do not do EVER:  I started biting my nails and biting the skin on the sides my nails.   I said nothing as I “calmly” got the car thru town and to the street I needed to get to.  As we were driving,  my sister asked me how close were we to his house.  Turns out that we were two or three blocks away.  Sooooo much had happened within that 3-block radius.  Every time I think that I’m over it, something random takes place to remind me that, while I’m good, I’ve got a little way to go.

As sisters do, this girl noticed my sudden and almost-vicious biting of the nails a few moments before.  I was just as surprised as she was and remember saying, “I never do this, huh?!”  I was physically reacting to some of the crazyass things that went down on those very streets, when I still felt powerless, dressed in misery, trying to act like all was normal and ok.     Only thru counseling was I able to discover that PTSD is real.  PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can hit anytime, anyplace, or any way.   These are called PTSD Episodes.  People associate PTSD with being in combat or in prison.  I may not have been in the military at war but fight a battle I have, and I may not have been incarcerated but I never felt free until I started dealing with my life.  Everyone experiences PTSD in a different way.

The symptoms can include scary nightmares, flashbacks or dissociation (acting/thinking as if you are living the trauma all over again), you might worry that you are going crazy.  The problem is not that you are crazy.  Rather, the problem is that you have anxiety because of a traumatic event that you have experienced. (Anxiety BC:  Self-Help Strategies)

PTSD and Anxiety go hand in hand.  Anxiety is a normal and adaptive system in the body that tells us when we are in danger.  This means that dealing with your anxiety NEVER involves eliminating it, but rather managing it.  Anxiety can become a problem when our body tells us that there is danger when there is no real danger.   (Anxiety BC:  Self-Help Strategies)

Where I could usually get thru a PTSD episode by crying, writing in my journal,  saying things like “calmate, todo esta bien” or asking GodJesusVirgenOfG for help; I did NOT want to ruin the mood or frighten my TorresBabies who were all excited to be on a road trip with their Nina.   I guess that, unconsciously, my stress and discomfort had to come out SOME way.

 

There are 5 strategies for getting yourself back together when this type of anxiety hits:

#1: Learning to calm anxiety by slowing down your breathing

#2: Learning how to calm your anxiety by relaxing the muscles in
your body

#3: Grounding techniques

#4: Getting back into your life

#5: Facing your fears

Calming down and breathing deeply will help you immensely if you are in levels #1 and #2.

I was, however,  in level #3 during this episode and the best thing is to ground yourself:  keep your eyes open, focus on the present, and describe where you are, what you see, what you feel at that moment:  I was driving, eyes open, felt my hands on the wheel, the sound of the turn signal, the color of the red light when I was stopped, the color of the green light as I moved forward, the sound of the GPS chick telling me where I should turn.  I know the area very well yet felt the need to put on the GPS to navigate out of there as soon as possible, breathe, breathe, breathe.  I could feel my mind and body struggling for those eternal 10 minutes.  My fingers were in pain after I tried to chew them off minutes before.  It was a trip to watch myself try to eat them off.  Should an episode happen to you, however you decide to ground yourself, remember to take in and describe everything around you at that moment.  Just taking stock will calm you immensely.

Once I got to the beach and helped get everyone situated.  I went straight to the edge of that beach, put my feet into that water, felt the cool water calming me down, watched and felt the waves go back and forth, breathed in the ocean air, and got myself right again.  Thank you GodJesusVirgenOfG.

It’s been all about lotion on my hands today to soothe the rough parts and cuts.   I’ve also spent the day counting my blessings.  Here’s to learning how to face my fears.  It’s easier and less painful than trying to chew my fingers off.

 

Challenge Out of the NoLonjaZone, Phase III and Week 30 of #52essays2017

 

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Took one look at this lonja and realized that I was way off of my wagon. Last week was my birthday week so I decided that I would have “just a little bit of soda” and “just a little bit of ice cream” – not one day, but almost the entire week.

The combination of crazy heat and my birthday week were conspiring against me LOL.  While I have been doing great, my daily exercise has been inconsistent. Add to this, people are starting to notice that some weight is coming off…no reason for me to get all volada and cease almost all activity, but get all volada and cease I did.

It’s so easy to self-sabotage your efforts by doing what you should not be doing: not taking care of yourself health wise. I was so angry last night when I ordered that soda, I drank it but without much joy. I was also disappointed in myself for trying to open doors that must remain closed in my life: people, situations, unhealthy food, talking myself out of working out.

It’s like I got all volada with things running smoothly and then there I go, dandome en la madre a cada paso, shooting myself in the foot. Like an alcoholic thinking he can handle one drink no problem, like a drug addict thinking that he can handle that extra hit, some things are better left alone.  It’s like I forgot that I’m on a journey, not at my destination.

In order for me to get back on my proverbial wagon, I need to remember that I decided to make many changes in my life for the better. Soooo much good is right around the corner and I have to walk through this insane discomfort of actually getting what I want finally. It’s easier to take myself back to that place where nothing was going right, where I was unhappy, unhealthy, living in fear and misery. It was my “comfort zone” for such a long time. Part of welcoming positive situations, projects, and people into my life involve me actually taking care of myself, instead of giving others my time, energy, money and my nervous system.

Health Challenge officially starts on August 1st.  Just enough time for me to get myself back in gear.

After I eat the last lil bit of chocolate ice cream in the freezer…

>>A note about my #52essays2017 challenge of writing one essay per week this year.  I am at Week 30 and very proud that I have been able to keep up with the writing.  In fact, I’ve written more in this year than I have in my entire life.   It has been this particular writing challenge that showed me that I was indeed able to commit to something, anything.  The confidence gained by keeping this writing commitment has started the ball rolling in fixing other areas of my life.  For this I’m grateful to Vanessa for accepting my into the #52essays2017 challenge and I’m grateful to GodJesusVirgenOfG for putting the right people, situations, and projects on my path.  I’m learning how to take care of myself finally.  Let’s see what life looks like at Week 52.

Song from my Past: Do I listen or do I skip?

 

#52essays2017  29/52

Stopped dead in my tracks when I heard one of the songs of one of my past lives. When all was beautiful, cool, love all up in the air. I love music so when a song randomly comes on that gets me, I do what I did today: stopped working, looked straight at my computer monitor, closed my eyes, shook my head in the good way, thinking back to the great times that I associated with the song.

Then, after the song was over, I opened my eyes, and shook my head again, this time with lips pursed, because I then reminded myself of how bad things got, and how there was no way to go back to that romantically awesome time. Ever.

There are very very few songs from the soundtrack of my life that will take me back in an instant and render me senseless for a few minutes. Where I’d get all nostalgic and volada in the past, now I go back in time for roughly 3 to 4 minutes, the length of the song.  Going back to the land of “what if”, “maybe it will work out”, and “let’s try again” is no longer an option.  I’m more than ok with that.

Regrets? Maybe a little, but not enough to make me walk that road again.  And, like any good music, I never skip to the next song, I always listen.

 

The Breeze Through Mama’s Window

 

#52essays2017  27/52

It’s Sunday afternoon, between one and two in the afternoon, and, as I sat down to eat my lunch, I looked down at my plate, glanced at the TV, and looked out of the window, I had to smile, then I had to laugh.

I am eating mac and cheese, watching some movie on Turner Classic Movies, and enjoying the breeze from the window on this hot day. Why is this funny, you ask?

This is so something Mama would do.

This is Mama’s time of day.

This could almost be her sitting here eating her favorite macaroni and cheese, watching one of her classic movies and looking out of her window. As I sit here, I can hear myself asking her, “Mama, what do you feel like eating?” if she didn’t know, I would read off a list of her favorites…fruit and cottage cheese, tostadas, mac and cheese, salad…and 9 times out of 10, it was mac and cheese.

The breeze from Mama’s window is the BEST in all of the house. I remember, many times, how Mama would give a little sigh when we would open her window as she sat in her chair or was in her bed. At first, I was completely mortified that a hospital bed would take residence in the living room – especially when Mama had a perfectly good bedroom. Now I get it, the great breeze and being in the living room allowed Mama to keep calm and cool, to stay connected in her part of the world, and to live life with all of us instead of being holed up in a room in the back, in the back where the window was higher up and with no breeze.

This was the time of day when Mama would really rest.  It was usually quieter, and once I opened all of the windows in the house, the breeze would kick in, and she could relax and sleep knowing that one of us was in the house.  Even now, when I notice Mama’s time of day, I try to keep things quiet JUST in case she wants to stop by and visit us.

The day the folks came to take her bed away, the big sister in me kicked in when I saw my siblings faces filled with sadness. I made them bring in a table that minute so that I could set up a table with Mama’s pictures and things. We still have that table all of these months later, the table is right against Mama’s window and my sister changes it and blings it up throughout the year. Mama’s chair is in the exact spot where her bed was right next to her nightstand. If you sit in this chair facing the window, it’s all about “aaaaah” the minute that breeze hits your face.

As a family, we did everything for our mother and, for the most part, this family has decided to mourn “happy” – we miss our mother so much and we like her right there in the mix with us as we go about our lives.   It is very comforting knowing that, in some way, she is still in her favorite spot of her house.   Maybe the breeze is her way of stopping in to say hi to us.

At least I like to think so.