What? QueQUE? My story of Awe #52essays2017

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#52essays2017

AWE:  a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.  Synonyms of AWE:  filled with wonder, wonderstruck, awestruck, amazed, astonished, lost for words, reverential

Another Friday Night.  I’m sitting in major traffic trying to get home.  I’m listening to the radio and the host is talking about “Awe” and the listeners are calling in with their stories.  As I sat in my Jeep surrounded by cars on every side on the roadway, I started thinking about times when I was awestruck, when something completely stopped me in my tracks, when I was stunned into silence, when I was certain that it could only have been God behind it.

Back in the day, I was going out with someone whom I was totally crazy about, I hadn’t been this happy in a long time.  I just couldn’t believe that my parents did not like this person.  Oh, they had reason to feel the way they did, I accept that.  I was the one who was blind in love, I was the one who was going to change their mind, I was the one to change a negative into a positive, things would work out in my favor.

Well, things did not work out in my favor.  After too many nights of having to deal his drama with alcohol and viejas, I decided that I needed to get out of this mess and I left him.   I had estranged myself from my family where he was concerned, and so I really didn’t know who I could talk to about how sad and devastated I was.  I thought that no one would understand me and that they would just be glad that I had come to my senses.  I was not in any mood to be judged, I just wanted understanding.  I kicked myself for living a double life and for keeping things from my family and friends.  So now I had this intense drama going on in my head and I started beating myself up MORE for being with this person than GIVING MYSELF PROPS for being smart enough to walk away from a bad situation.  So, as often happens when one is overwhelmed and battling every kind of emotion, I became very depressed.  I also thought that, “there’s no way that anyone knows how I’m feeling because I haven’t told anyone anything.”  Yeah, right.

Mama knew.

My mother had always been pretty religious, very Catholic.  She would always say things like ‘Let Go And Let God‘ and told us to “pray about it” and “believe” and things like that.  I’d sit there rolling my eyes saying, “ay Mom” and things like that.  But Margaret, always persistent, never gave up and, one day, she tells me that there was a Healing Mass coming up and that we should go,  Healing Masses are done all of the time in Catholic churches, it’s a time where you can receive a great amount of prayer for whatever illness or sadness you are going through.  I’m like “yeah, yeah” rolling my eyes and thinking, “she’ll forget about this”.  Well, forget she did not, and the day came for the Healing Mass.

I remember going into the Mass, still with some of my attitude on, thinking about “what will this do for me?“.  At one point during the Mass, there came a point where I had to go up to the altar where there were people standing in a circle who would pray for whatever I asked them to pray for.  I went up to the circle and told them how sad I was because of a breakup and they all started to pray over me.   I went back to my seat, a little confused and thinking about how this was going to help me because I felt the same as I did before.

After everyone else had gone up to be prayed over, we had to stand up for some reason.  As the priest was speaking, don’t ask me what he was saying, I put my hands on the pew in front of me.  As I stood there, I started to feel my body moving, like something was trying to get out.  I closed my eyes and, to my astonishment, I started to feel like my body was actually rising up, that I was starting to levitate, and I remember holding on to that pew for dear life, because I was sure that I was going to start flying.  I started crying because I didn’t really understand what was happening and because I didn’t know how to fly.

Once I realized that I was fighting this too much, I figured I would relax and let go – after all, I was in a church, what harm could come to me there?   As I relaxed my hold on the pew and just surrendered to the feeling of levitation, I started to feel something making its way out of my body, and making its way in color, I saw a dark gray film rising before my eyes and, as I looked up, it was moving up as well!  After seeing this, I sat down and tried to get myself together.  I was completely floored, exhausted, and at peace.  I remember looking over at Mama and, as we locked eyes, and we both knew that I had come through the other end.  I never knew if she ever saw what I had felt and seen just a few minutes earlier but I know that she understood that something profound had happened.  Now that I look back, how cool is it that I was able to share this with my mother?  Just like God, she never left me ever, I was not all alone.

I hadn’t really thought too much about that experience in many years.   In fact, as I listened to the radio on that Friday night, as others spoke about AWE, I almost hesitated as I dialed the phone number to tell MY story of Awe.  I was shocked that the phone actually rang and was answered by a call screener.  I would be telling my story to the world in a few minutes!   As I told my story of Awe on-air, I realized that AWE moments should not be forgotten, that reaching back to this moment in my life might have helped me to see the roadblocks, stop signs, signals that would cross my path in the future.  I cannot explain, to this day, why God chose that precise moment to personally bless me with peace and love.  I have learned that it’s important to talk (or write about)  about these wonder-filled moments to help me/us reflect on as heal and move forward from life’s disappointments, sad or bad times.

What is your moment of AWE?  Embrace, heal, and learn from this moment.

#52essays2017

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Bring the Darkness into the Light sez #InnerChingona

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

2015

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Before September, much of my life revolved around the care of my mother, the familia, and my work.   I was able to watch our kids working it and growing more independent:  Our Diana was back to work full time and being the great mama to Ruben, Angel, Aliyah and King.   STE 2, our Stephen, received his BA Degree from San Francisco State University, got his first real job and is at SFSU to finish up his Master’s Degree.  Our Yazi also graduated from Pre-school into Kinder!  Our smart bebita loves school.  Saw our Nicolasa end up the year with THREE jobs lucky girl as she figures out where she will focus her career.  Mikey 3 got a new job as bass player for Little Joe y La Familia, which made us all proud!   Angelo’s rough year ended up the most positive way possible:  with the birth of our lil Yesenia in October.  Our CC brought our lil Olivia into the world in November and, after a rough delivery, both of our girls are doing well.   Went to my papito David’s first School Band Concert and our Antonia asked me to her Nina for Confirmation in Spring 2015, you know we will wear green LOL.

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Mama’s health took a turn for the worse at the end of September.  I never imagined that it would be time to say goodbye to her but it turns out, Mama was ready for the next phase of her life.   It took me the longest to accept this new reality; I was so against everything that meant that my mother had to leave me.  However, once I  saw how much at peace she was with ‘going home’, I finally saw the importance of letting our loved ones be happy and that if letting go of Mama had to happen, well then it had to happen.

To have been able to have been with Mama for those final weeks was the best gift that I could have received.  Mama knew how I felt and she would tell me that she was praying most for me so that I could accept her new reality.   Mama was also able to comfort me a few times when I was so tired that all I could do was cry to her.   We were all able to, in time, see that Mama and God had made the best decision that Mama would not suffer anymore, that she would be free of all of the physical limitations and all of that medication, that Mama would be at her eternal home.    The saddest time for me was when they had to pick up Mama and take her out of our house for the last time.    However, I was very happy that we were able to give Mama the most fitting, poignant and awesome send-off ever!  I’ll be writing thank you cards well into the next month, eso si.

While our lives are completely different now, the only way that we have been able to survive is to keep up the traditions that she started for us:  Staying together always, watching out for Dad, praying together and saying “I love you”.       I feel her absence the most when I’m on the road.  I used to call her almost daily from my many commutes over the years so it’s all been about crying as I learn to talk to her now whenever I feel her spirit around me.

It was one trancazo after another for me in 2014 at Entravision Radio.  People always told me that if I survived the first 6 months of radio sales, that I would be ok.  Happy to say that I have just completed my second year in radio sales and I feel accomplished because I have learned to better manage the highs, lows and trancazos of my industry.  I enjoy my work and I am looking forward to a fun 2015 in radiolandia.

Now that I have more time, I intend to focus my energy in a positive way toward my health, family, friends, and my writing.  I send tons of emails to myself with writing ideas, it will be fun to start developing these ideas into stories/articles for my blog.   It’s all about appreciating what I have around me instead of always looking for the next best thing in 2015.  Mama always said that, as long as the important things were in a good place – family, health, faith, – that the rest of the positive energy would follow.    Here’s hoping that Mama moves some of her ‘influencias’ up there to keep me on track.

Take time to connect with those people important to you in your lives, take pictures when you are together, and, when confronted with decisions large and small,  as Mama always told us, “Let Go and Let God”.  Have a blessed New Year!   Love this foto of us taken a few days ago at Ranch Christmas.

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Turning the Tables: Letting Go

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It’s here. We are that point. The one thing that all adult children fear. The one phone call that adult children are afraid to receive. The one conversation that we all dread. This is the day where we struggle between feeling hopeful and feeling hopeless. The day that our parents are getting ready to leave us.

Within the past 24 hours I have vacillated between screaming out in frustration because I want things to go a certain way, let’s get to a hospital, let’s get extra help in the house, let’s figure out a plan, let’s, let’s, let’s, LET’S do something to right now:  beyond sad and struggling to find resignation and acceptance for the inevitable.   I’ve always been afraid of goodbyes – and some very important people in my life passed without me able to say goodbye to them, much less say what I wanted to say to them.

Our collective hearts were broken today at 3:20pm when my mother told us how she wanted to continue living out the rest of her life on this earth.  On the one hand, she was so peaceful that it became impossible to fight her decision.  So, as I sit here calm one minute, crying the next, I realize that my mother has given us an incredible gift:  the chance to be with her as she goes on to her final journey.   I am so afraid of letting go of her, what if she wants to come back? what if she gets scared? what if she feels lonely? what if? what if?   The best part of it all is that Mom is completely alert and completely sure of what she is doing…she sat us down and told us her wishes and told us all that she loved us.

So many people go thru their entire lives without feeling a parent’s love, respect, and approval.   My siblings and I KNOW what our parents think of us, they have both told us how proud they are of us and how much they love us.   Their love and support will get us thru the very hard times to come as we learn to accept Mama’s wishes and to, as Mama always says, to let go and let God.

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