Until recently, I had been extremely unfamiliar with death. The last death in my immediate family happened 18 years ago when my great grandfather died.
I used to live in fear of getting a phone call where I am informed that a loved one died. It was a phobia more than anything. I had no idea how I could cope with someone that I love no longer being physically present.
I want to play a drinking game where I take a drink every time I hear the world "alien" but I can't because it is only 10:00am on a Monday and I am in a federal building
This topic isn’t really about me. Yet it is.
I am sitting on the 14th floor of a courthouse for reasons that go beyond the scope of this post and reasons that are not really the focus of this piece.
I hear a well-known federal judge, “Alien this aliens that. Alien-Alien-Alien-Alien!”
I cringe at the thought that this educated and trained man chooses to employ such unacademic language. But is it really ignorance? Is it just the way the law is worded and there is no point to updating the jargon? My initial (and lazy) reaction when somebody, formally educated or not uses “illegal” and/or “alien” to refer to a human being who is an undocumented immigrant in the United States is to say, “They’re ignorant. Don’t mind them, they don’t know shit.”
"A meltdown later, I resolve to begin addressing painful experiences that I have put aside and to truly make the transformation to and commit to healing my soul, body, and mind. I know I need to make so many changes and I begin to feel overwhelmed because I have no idea where to start or how to start making all the changes I want to make. I have another mild panic attack and realize that I need to change my strategy. Consistent panic attacks and meltdowns are not good for the soul nor body.
I begin with a list. I begin to write a list of specific things that I can transition into…”
It’s been a little over 2 months and I am proud to disclose that I have achieved the following items on said list:
1. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night 2. Exercise (not really, but I do take my hyper dog on really long jogs every day) 3. Yoga (Ginseng has this awesome new student deal 10 consecutive days for $20, I’ve been trying out all sorts of classes to see which ones I like best. I like them all! Monthly membership is $115 which is kind of out of my budget. I am trying to figure something out so I can continue after my trial is over) 7. Eat more fruits and veggies (Cherries are in season! I fucking love cherries. Also, the farmer’s market is a few feet from my house every Saturday. How much easier do I want it?) 9. Meditate (goes hand in hand with yoga) 10. Drink more water. Goes hand in hand with me being more physical 15. Go outside. (One Saturday I was REALLY outside. Going on walks every day and realizing that I take my neighborhood for granted. All of its lush trees, plants, flowers and trails) 16. Open the blinds. (Although my neighbors hate us because our dog would bark during the day and they don’t have jobs. I should really hate them for having a crying newborn baby. Don’t live in an apartment complex in Golden Hill if you are trying to quietly raise your offspring.) 18. Get rid of things I don’t use/need (Here you go, Goodwill!) 19. Reorganize my house. (I can actually find shit I am looking for now!) 21. Wash my face (I have to wear eye cream now! AHHHHHH. But seriously I used to go straight to bed with full-on makeup after going out. No more dirty pillowcases!) 22. Moisturize. 23. Wear sunscreen
That’s 13 out of 31. I definitely feel so much better. I no longer get headaches, Don’t take allergy pills anymore, and feel more calm and at ease when handling challenges either at home or at work. Plus, my alcohol tolerance has gone way down and I no longer need to drink 5 IPAs to feel a buzz, but 2 suffice. Hell yeah. It’s also pretty awesome to rediscover the crazy awesome shit I can do with my body through yoga.
Next steps: getting an eye exam, finishing unfinished projects and finding a therapist I can afford.
You have a peculiar way of unfolding yourself for me. In some ways all too obvious, in other ways it takes some work out of me to get the hint.
A few weeks ago, I was having a drink with Kat and through processing and talking, I reached (with her help) the realization that the main men in my life have been polar opposites. Abusive and/or abandoning or extremely nurturing ones who stick around for the long run. There’s no in-betweeners.
Which explains why I have such a fucked up relationship with men, most of them I never reach the point of being able to trust them. Men freak me out y’all.
The past few weeks have features a series of events where I have faced past abusive men. A meltdown later, I resolve to begin addressing painful experiences that I have put aside and to truly make the transformation to and commit to healing my soul, body, and mind. I know I need to make so many changes and I begin to feel overwhelmed because I have no idea where to start or how to start making all the changes I want to make. I have another mild panic attack and realize that I need to change my strategy. Consistent panic attacks and meltdowns are not good for the soul nor body.
I begin with a list. I begin to write a list of specific things that I can transition into. I open my purple Slingshot planner and out pops a business card. it is the card of a woman whom I met in my playwright workshop who is a Reiki Master/Healer/Reader/Life Coach. Ah-ha.
I contact her and we spend an hour on the phone and she is reading my energy. I notice how extremely intuitive she is and I begin to tell her where I am at emotionally, physically, spiritually. She also shares some of her experiences with me which enable me to trust her.
I will be working with her as my guide through my healing journey.
It’s gonna be an intense one and it’s gonna require me to take more risks than I have ever taken in all my 26 years of my life, it’s gonna be scary, and I am going to allow myself to for once feel vulnerable. It might also mean less public writing, since I am so scattered and my writing is going to be shit, and not make any sense to anyone but me. Also, because I am strong believer of not disclosing every insignificant detail that might trigger some people who might be struggling with something that I may not know about (eating disorders, body image issues, thoughts of suicide, sexual assault and rape survivors, etc.) I will only disclose what I feel is necessary for me to share with loved ones (both on and off the internet). They will reflect my thoughts about myself and my own process and in no way are they intended to reflect on others, their choices, or their lifestyles. I will be glad to share any resources I have been utilizing should anybody feel like said resources will benefit them. I promise you I will not post pictures of some sadass salad or pictures of my belly or disclose explicit fitness details. What works for me, might not work for you.
For lent I am giving up comformity, and not just for lent but for good.
I am not what you would call an “ideal Catholic” but I’m more of an “I was born Catholic” Catholic. There are certain elements of the Catholic faith that I truly believe in. For example: being kind to your neighbor, not judging, caring for others, being humble, the spirituality aspect that is so comforting about a loving God. But then there’s the non-conventional Catholic side of me where my definition of God is not a patriarch, but a loving deity with no human semblance. As God as a higher being but not a “sole” creator because I believe in evolution. It’s complicated.
What I really just cannot see eye to eye with Catholicism are a few things:
Most Catholics are anti-choice. I firmly believe in every woman’s right to choose to do what she pleases with her body.
Priests are getting away with rape and child molestation. Now there’s some down priests who would never commit such atrocity, BUT the ones who are doing it, are getting a slap in the wrist. Those dudes need to be kept away from kids.
The gay-bashing. People who identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gay, queer, transexual are demonized by most Catholics. Totally contradictory and fucked up. I’m not down with that. Be kind to your neighbor, that includes LGBTQ (and everything in between) neighbors.
I also just straight up reject the hypocrisies that take place in the church.
There are things about the religion that I embrace (love, compassion, humility, striving to be good people) and things that I reject (hate, ignorance, hypocrisy, patriarchy).
That being said. I will give up something for lent and actually for life I am hoping and that is comformity. Comformity is when we don’t give a fuck about anything and remain stagnant. I want to take more risks. I want to truly believe in myself to continously strive to become a better and more wholesome person. A better educator, a better scholar, a better friend, a better partner, a better sister, a better daughter. I want to continue to be critical of myself and how I communicate, how I do my work, how I treat others. I want to push myself to take more risks, because I am worthy of employment or grad school admissions consideration, I am a loving, caring, passionate being who strives for social justice. I will give up my comformity and always push for more, not in a greedy way, but in a way that benefits my community, my environment, and my character.
So for lent, I will not give up tangibles like a food I really like, or candy or even drinking (although, I do not recommend binge drinking or excessive junk food intake). I will give up comformity and not just for lent, but for good.
Let’s talk about rituals. Usually when I hear the word “ritual” I think of some BBC documentary on bulimia and how the subjects of the documentary are engaging in “rituals” in their bulimia.
I want rituals to be brought to a more positive light. Rituals can be a good thing, in fact, they can be an amazing thing that holds your friendship together and makes it so damn meaningful.
The other day I was in the shower and I was thinking about my friendship with Kat and about how 80% of it consists of various rituals. Only the most amazing rituals!
In the spirit of Sunday, (technically Monday, but eh) let me tell you about
I don’t even remember the origins of lady brunch or even the first lady brunch we ever had but it is a strong solid every other Sunday here and there ritual.
It starts at around 10 or 11, depending on how late we stayed up the night before. I put on my most comfortable (holey) sweatpants, a t-shirt, my black wool Uggs and an oversized sweatshirt with a hoodie to hide the fact that it’s Sunday and I refuse to pass a brush through my hair and walk down the street to Kat’s house. Sometimes I drive, sometimes she drives, and we head to Trader Joe’s for champagne (typicalle Chandon, but the last time we tried Proseco because TJ’s told us it’s a “crowd pleaser” and let me tell you, if you are not having Proseco mimosas with fresh squeezed tangerine juice, you are not doing mimosas right!) juice, and fruits. Sometimes I save a trip and buy my groceries. Then we trek out to Whole Foods for Fakin’ Bacon (smoked tempeh bacon), wheat English muffins, and to see if Earth Balance soymilk is on sale.
We head back with our ingredients to Kat’s. Start cooking. I usually take the potatoes, wash chop chop chop, season with olive oil, rosemary and paprika. Sometimes I go a little wild and add green bell peppers. Kat is in charge of making the “tofu eggand the bacon. I chop fresh bananas, strawberries, apples and oranges and toast the muffins with shredded cheddar Dayia “cheese”. Kat brings a pot of water to a boil and we used to have Italian pressed espresso but now she got this awesome French press and we have the most delicious coffee ever. Sometimes we make sangria using Trader Joe’s blood orange italian soda, La Granja merlot, frozen mango and pinapple chunks and berry medley, and the juice of one lime. MMM. We used to get these awesome vegan little cinammon biscuits from trader joe’s and were disappointed they no longer sell them. Not cool, Trader Joe’s, not cool.
The entire time we are cooking, we are sharing stories, laughing, making jokes and trying not to burn ourselves when we pull out the potatoes or the tofu eggs. Sometimes we play Calle 13 and dance while we cook, other times we let the soothing sounds of reggae fill our soul cooking. One time a bee snuck in through the back door and took us nearly sabotaging the entire meal to lure it outside. Once all the food is ready, we bring it to the living room where we have set up a table, sometimes we have a nice little flower arrangement, the spread is layed out and we carefully select a movie to watch while we eat. There was huge disappointment at the lack of variety among “lady buddy comedies”. Not a lot of those sadly.
We eat while going, “Mmm…yes…mmmm-mmmm”. It’s great when lady friends come out of town and join us for lady brunch because sharing traditions is even more amazing than just the tradition itself. After we take over an hour eating all the food we made, we laze around, finish watching the movie and carry on with Lazy Sunday.
Having that amazing positive lady space and treating ourselves to a delicious meal is something that has become so important and valued in my life and I am very thankful for that. As I navigate through a myriad of friendships, some unfortunately shallow, others deep, some disappointing, it is great to know that there are real people out there who are down for the friendship and truly believe in putting the time to make it work and to make it exist in general.
Cheers to lady brunch and to hopes that other women catch on about the value of female spaces and friendships and develop their own special rituals.
In the new year all that’s ever gonna really change for me is that I will jot down the date with 2012 as the year. I will grunt and have to re-write 2013.
I began 2012 at the Baeza residence eating S’mores, shooting tequila with Manny’s mom and sitting by the fire. I can’t remember Valentine’s Day, oh wait yes I can. I think we went to Ruby Room to see a band play. We all had too much to drink and on the way out, there was a scary military guy looking for an after-party at 2:00am and he started yelling at us at some point. I was very scared. I actually went on vacation to Vegas for the first time and I hated it. It was cold, it smelled like fart and grape blunts. There was sadness everywhere. I wanted to stay in the hot tub and drink generous amounts of Jameson. I exchanged a few shallow meaningless words with Michael Jackson’s dad Joe Jackson about a Rolls Royce before he went inside the building I was staying at. I actually went to more weddings than usual. They were all very beautiful and moving, for somebody who is very skeptical about the institution of marriage like moi. I got a dog and named her Penny, she turned 1 today. The worst moment of the year was when I walked into every classroom at the school I loved to work at to tell the kids I no longer was going to be working there. Making that difficult decision to leave a workplace turned hostile that I was so passionate about to take care of my mental health that was becoming affected. Being an adult can really fucking suck. If there is anything I learned in 2012, is that love requires work from all parties and how to make Star Wars snowflakes. I turned 26 and my birthday consisted of a series of events taking place during a week filled with delicious beer, Moscow Mules, dance moves, Thai massages, and homemade vegan brunch. My plans and hopes for 2013 are not quite defined yet but I really hope I don’t keep writing 2012 on the date. I saw the new Tarantino movie and I was really surprised there were no close ups of feet. I got hooked on sparkling water and Thai massages.