Fighting Words #52essays2017

#52essays2017

A few years back, when I went to court to confront him for harassment/stalking, the DA had asked me to get statements from anyone who had been directly affected by his actions.  These statements would be presented to the judge to show the level this individual had gone to in order to get to me, get my attention, destroy me, destroy my reputation, to break me.

I had completely forgotten about all of this until I found a SIX page letter written by Mama.  To see her compelling words took me completely back to that time in my life, Mama was partially paralyzed and had to learn how to write all over again with her left hand.   She had always had beautiful handwriting and it was difficult for her to look at her handwriting ever again.  I, on the other hand, had so much admiration for Mama and the strength and committment it took for her to start over from zero.   Aside from learning to write again with her other hand, Mama also had to write much slower and would have to position the pages just so in order to be able to put the words onto the page — for her to be able to write one page could take hours.

Having a stroke might have slowed down Mama physically but not mentally, thank God.  Where Margaret may have been quiet, even shy, when in front of people, she was so eloquent and could WORK IT in writing.   I remember that, sometimes, we Torres5 would be hesitant, almost nervous, to tell Mama about anything we were going thru, at first, because we knew that it would be ON.   But then, we would watch in wonder after turning in one of Mama’s notes to a teacher or to an office.  In spectacular fashion, Margaret handled it for her Torres5 and it was thrilling to watch her, unafraid, fight racism and discrimination, apathy, and more in attempts to get justice for us.   It was very apparent to all of our teachers that NO one messed with Margaret’s children.

So once I saw this six-page letter, I was amazed because I know that this had to have taken her days to write it.  Then the tears came, tears of anger that my mother had to go thru this stress in her own home because of one stupidasspendejo.  Mama always respected my privacy, never got into my business, and deserved to live her life in privacy and peace.  That this tranquility was taken from her, albeit for a short time, saddens me to this day, she never asked to have her life disrupted, never asked to be involved in this mess.

Through my tears, I started smiling.  Because, in writing this letter to the judge, my mother was doing what she had always done for me, took care of me, stood up for me when I could barely lift my head, had my back, made me stronger, got me through many a day, and made sure that she would contribute to my receiving justice.  More important, seeing this letter made me happy:  it was like Mama was reminding me to get a hold of myself and know my worth.  It was also a confirmation that Mama a l w a y s  had my back and HOW blessed am I to have this in writing?

I’m always grateful for signs:  I needed to see/feel my mother today.   Mama’s words were always powerful and today she reminded me of how far that I have come…and so thankful that I do not live this drama 24/7 anymore.  Because on one fateful day in 2013, one Margaret Mary Torres decided to pick up a pen and put it to paper, to use her words instead of her fists to fight, once again, for justice for her child.

#52essays2017

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April Writing Challenge, Day 4: Ten Things About Me

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April Writing Challenge – Day 4
Ten Interesting Facts About Yourself

These are always fun…

In no particular order:

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1. My favorite color is GREEN. Always has been. I especially like how being around green in nature can soothe me in seconds, how wearing something green makes me feel cool, anything looks better in green.

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2. I am a preemie: I was 2 pounds and 5 ounces at birth 3 months before my due date. It’s also the reason I am named Carmen, no one was sure that I would make it or not so I was baptized and they looked at the Mexican calendar on July 16th – the day of Nuestra Sra. del Carmen thus my name. I was on my own for the first few months of my life in an incubator without a lot of physical contact and since then, I’ve always been very ticklish, I’ve never been very touchy-feely-huggy and I’ve always been able to sense when something is wrong or dangerous in places or people…

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3. I am a great cook with simple dishes, just ask my Dad. I am no gourmet cook but I can work it with carne/chile, beans, rice, simple salad, eggs, fideo, papas – the basics. All of the years that I lived by myself, I laughed because my cooking was just ok so I must have always liked cooking for others.

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4. I love my godchildren niece nephews like they were my own. Different ages, shapes, sizes, all shades of brown, some light, some dark, all beautiful. I really do try to be there for them, they’re all perfect said this Nina always.

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5. I have worked for 13 different radio stations throughout my career. Every station has been a big part of my life and so many stories come with each of them, I’ve been blessed to meet and work with sooo many great people, some legends, some legends in their own minds! One day, I’d like to get all of my crews in one place and take a picture – now THEY were the best and my favorites! I spent more time with my crews than my own fam and friends – there is nothing we have not seen and I know that anytime I get with my radio fam, it will be ON: chisme, laughing, crying, etc. Love my industry. Once in radio, always in radio.

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6. My favorite city is San Antonio. I remember the first time I went there; I did not want to come back LOL. As my familia was not one to go back/forth to Mexico like a lot of my familia and friends did, and we did not speak Spanish at home; going to San Antonio was great – I related and felt at home right away. San Antonio, after all, is, as one of my friends from Mexico tells me, “no es Mexicano, es Mexican-American”, and love how he says it with an accent ‘mes-i-can, am-errr-i-can’! You can feel the vibe of this city, very Latino, Mex Am, Chicano, everyone looks like you, everyone speaks English or Spanglish, and when I heard Tejano radio for the first time: where they speak in Spanglish – I was like ‘whaaaat?’ loved it. I’ve been there many times throughout the years, and it’s still the same feeling. Great place.

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7. When I went to meet the man who would be my boss at the Charter Way Denny’s, I sat with the wrong ‘white man’ LOL I still laugh when I think of the first time I met Mike Murphy. Who knew that he would be my first mentor and champion in radio. I learned so much from him about this industry and about how to conduct myself – no school could have done it better. I miss working with him every day.

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8. Once I owned that I loved to write, my writing got much better. I was very much of the school that to do things by yourself was not cool so, for many years, I did not do them.  Now it is different.  I can get lost in my writing and am trying to write stories that I have never seen or heard before, which sound like me, where I can speak like I always do: in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, which celebrate family, friendship, culture. Part of becoming a better writer is to get to know yourself, working on this every day!

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9. I am trying to pass the State Interpreter Exam for what feels like the millionth time. This past time, I was so close to passing that it really depressed me. But then again, I thought to myself, ‘you got this close/far on your own, by yourself, you can do it again’ When I think of all of the people I know who are working in the field without certification, I think, I should just do that and be done with it. But it is all about closing the circle and finishing what I started on that day that someone dared me to go to the orientation meeting at SFSU, saying that I’d probably not get in … not only did I get in, I was able to hang with my colegas, and I was not afraid to try it ever – even if I messed up. You better know I’ll pass the exam eventually.

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10. I know how to get to a Starbucks in almost every city in the Bay Area, Stockton, Modesto, and Sacramento areas and all ranchos in between. I work very well in these places, they are just loud enough for me to do my Interpreter Drill Exercises, and, once I put on my headphones, I am able to get into a good writing groove and work my ideas out. Sometimes the stars line up and I get a good table with good lighting and it’s not too low or too high or too wobbly and I can get so much done. I have about 10 regular places where they know me, know what I am going to order, and they are always very nice about letting me stay while they close up when I’m on a roll.

Day 8 of 15 Days of Hispanic Heritage Photo Challenge: Pasion/Passion #HHM15Foto

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The one thing that brings me a lot of joy, brings me a lot of peace, allows me to be creative and inspired, keeps me connected to others in the most positive way, embraces my ‘chismosa‘ side, saves me money on a psychiatrist as it is an excellent form of therapy, and something that has “forced” me to get up out of dead sleep and get out of my comfort zone, something that I “have” to do. My passion is WRITING. The only time that I truly stop writing and lose my inspiration is when I forget to listen to my Inner Chingona. Whether I’m at a laptop, tablet, or writing old-school style with a pen into one of my many journals, I am happiest when I am writing! ‪#‎HHM15Foto‬

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My Lost Voice: Inner Chingona Helps Me Get my Shout Back.

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SonsaTontaPendejaMensa yo.   The minute I started to actually talk myself OUT of what I should think, say, or write, with each passing month, I began to lose the most powerful part of myself. My voice.

Ever since I can remember, I have always had an opinion. Even when I was told to shut my big mouth, which was often, I never could. It was like I just HAD TO get my voice heard.   I was never afraid to speak up.

For the majority of my life, this was always the way I lived. My voice (with Inner Chingona’s help) was able to open so many doors for me, walk into any room, do whatever I wanted, go after any goal. Nothing could stop me.

So if nothing could stop me, que paso? Someone entered my life and, instead of appreciating my opinion, made the decision make me pay for having an opinion and for having family, friends, opportunities and goals. This person used everything that I had ever said in confidence against me and told anyone who would listen. It was at this moment that I stopped thinking for myself, stopped having my opinion, stopped writing with conviction  — I started holding things back in efforts to protect others. At the time, I thought that this was the thing to do. I spent months and months blaming myself for what this person took from me and, once I began to heal, I realized that all of this drama was NOT mine.  Ironically, this person was trying to find his voice, at the expense of mine.

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One short month ago, I made the scary decision to say ‘vayanse a la chingada to all of these demons, real and imagined. After a couple of years of holding back, holding things in, shutting down and, more important, when I realized that I hadn’t written ANYTHING  in three months, it was finally time to gather my tears, fears and carry on Inner Chingona style.

Now I feel like a baby who is learning how to say her first words: everything is hesitant, nothing is coming out right, who knows how it will sound? can I do it? I also ask myself the following: will my words ever be used against me so viciously with others? will I ever be able to shout again with confidence? will I ever be able to write with the passion that I once had and, more important, write for ME and not for, or in spite of,  others?

Today, the only thing that I know is:  I am a good writer;  I love to write, I “have” to write, it is an essential part of my voice
and I’ve missed it with a passion! So with some fear and a lil bit of ‘chorros’, I am back LOL.

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION, whatever it may be,  everything else will fall back into place.