10 Year Cycles

Nostalgia has always been a haunting presence in my life. Too often let my mind wander into the what ifs and I hone in on key moments, key people. At age 41 you’d think I get over this nasty little habit, stop feeding the bad spirits so that they recognize they can’t have a home in me but then again at age 41 you see the cycles so much more clearly.

Tragedies, history, trauma – I have come to believe are all cyclical and I wish that all the therapy and self care in the world would wipe that truth away – allow for clean endings and even neater beginnings pero la vida no es asi.

10 years ago I was writing about politics from a somewhat safe distance. My (measly) paycheck depended on it but in a different way than now. I could write about who was running for president, family separations at the borders and within, the politicians on both sides of the aisle talking out of both sides of their mouths and the nonprofits that propped them and their policies up – the same nonprofits that were once in lust with the likes of media makers (ahem bloggers, err journalists) like me with little repercussion except for counter posts, canceled contracts, blocked access to alleged insider information.

10 years ago I was equally as careless (or carefree?) about writing about my romances, my motherhood, my lack, my want, my desires. It was the the death knell for relationships but also the opening of other realizations about what (for better or for worse) I was capable of.

10 years later I have become capable of things I only dreamed of – I fantasized about moving west with/for a chain of lovers and here I am, in a house in Los Angeles . 10 years ago, the same non-profits ,whose practices I disparaged , are now part of my day to day.  10 years ago I imagined what it would be like to not fund raise (now crowdfund) for basic needs. I don’t have to imagine but there are still basic needs unmet.

I still haven’t written that damn book(s) -although I’m working on it. I still haven’t finished school – although I’m working on it. I still haven’t found that safety that romantic/sexual love was supposed to bring. That I think I’ve given up on. I’ve provided a decent life for my daughters but have also put them at great risk and now I seek a different type of safety. A different kind of security that can only come through deep heartache and learning from that heartache.

I’ve always given few fucks about certain things like rules, expectations but now from a place of precarious comfort and privilege I give even less fucks. I still have deep desires, deep hopes, and deep expectations of what I am capable of. I have proven to myself that jumping in the pool ( to steal a baby daddy’s quote) , holding my breath and hoping I will surface yields some progress but also costs so so much.

So 10 years later- the first day of a new month, when the veil between this world and others is transparent I don’t just ask the spirits, what they would do, but I ask my past self. And the answer is clear – as Audre Lorde said – it is better to speak. We were never meant to survive and yet here we still are. IMG_20181027_170314715_HDR

Danger

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The other evening, on my bus commute home from work I was reading the Parable of the Talents and suddenly I recalled how my mother understood the danger my work/life puts me in before I did. I burst into tears on the bus

When my little apartment in Corona was broken into and ransacked, around the time I was writing about minutemen, she was the first person to suggest this wasn’t a regular break in. Nothing was stolen. My laptop was on my bed where I left it. I didn’t want to believe my words, actions, being had power or could perceived as a (counter) threat to a revived white supremacist movement. Now as doxxing, harassment, and other forms of digital turned real violence has become more commonplace, it’s easier to believe, even for me.

But there are other betrayals, violences, violations that our parents, our families don’t warn us about directly. Over the holiday break, on our last evening together between wine, cheese and the Real Housewives of somewhere, I confessed some of the challenges I was facing in my cohabitation. This felt like a huge admission as I moved cross-country to be in this relationship, leaving my family, my support networks, my city behind. She became emotional and I wasn’t sure if it was because she felt bad for me, felt sad for me, or if she was being empathetic. She said that after her own marriage with my father ended, she never trusted men again.

“ I know this is wrong,” she admitted but it was what it was.

I fought back my own tears. I felt sad for relationships she could have had and didn’t, relationships she did have and maybe never gave them all they deserved, and the relationship she thought she had but in the end didn’t.

I felt like she was crying because she was afraid for me. She doesn’t want me to end up like her. I worry that it’s too late – for both of us.

Volver a Empezar (2018)

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I am actually writing this as 2017 is coming to a close. It is the night of the last new moon of the year and I have a horrible cold that I swear was my body and spirit detoxing from a hard hard year.

The cold came a day after a day of hangover symptoms even though I didn’t have alcohol. Peeps in my office had me convinced that office yoga moved some energy in me. I also could have just been exhausted from two weeks of travelling (LA to Chicago to NY to LA to San Fran and to LA again). Did I mention I traveled with my 10 year old?

2017 was an intense year that screamed at me that things needed to change in my life. The outside world was doing its own screaming. We have our 45th president. I turned 40. My personal/family life was a mess so I began therapy. My adult child moved out. My partner and I started couple’s therapy. Two exes told me how wonderful I was for them because of all I did for them and all of this left me heartbroken and feeling like, to quote my 10 year old, my cup of care was empty.

There are a few things that did manifest themselves at the end of 2017 that seem to me like breakthroughs/visions. One of those things is how much I miss writing and performing and that the veil that I think exists between me as a “professional” and me as a media maker is an illusion. People in the NPIC where I now draw a paycheck knew me (and resented/disliked me) as Mamita Mala. No one talks about it because in the Los Angeles NPIC very few people are direct about anything. There is a lot of chisme and talking behind people’s backs. I prefer to be direct.

In December when my dear amiga brought me to an open mic and I read a piece almost as old as my older child, word got around quick. It felt good when I read at make/shift’s closing and it gave me the opportunity to reclaim and stand in my role as media make/writer. So I will spend much of 2018 figuring out how I reclaim and hold that part of me alongside the rest of me.

I’m not leaving my job anytime soon – as I – much to chagrin of many – am good at it, and I actually enjoy working with the people I work with and there are goals that I have for the org I serve that I would like to see achieved.  However I’m under no illusion that I will be in my role forever. That’s not healthy – not for the org or for me, and honestly while Los Angeles has been so good to me, it also has broken my heart and left me feeling very very lonely. I suspect I will also figure out a path that will eventually bring me back to New York. Again this will likely be a long path but it needs to be drawn.

Also I have recognized that for much of my life I have sacrificed too much of myself for the care of others – especially lovers- in the hopes of someone, someday eventually offering that much care and attention to me. It has proven a fruitless war with myself thus far – although there have been many beautiful moments of love, affection, beauty, sweetness and yes – good sex. There is something however to the words of lovers who have called me nurturing and even a doormat, all at my own expense and perhaps even at the expense of the well-being of my children.

So much of 2018 will also be about learning to put myself first, get my needs met first and not externally. I can take care of myself ( I have made it thus far – a little wounded but alive) and I need to put a more concerted effort in mothering myself, my work/writing, and my children.

The ever present exhibitionist in me invites you along for this journey

Welcome 2018

Pa’lante

 

 

Slipping into Solteria?

Expectations set me up for heartbreak every time

and it’s not the fault of the other

it’s my fault

my poetic temperment and wanting to hold out hope for the best in people

thinking egotistically that I bring that out in people.

Pero no.

It never seems to work that way.

During one of our “talks” over vino on how we were going to move forward he surprised me,

surprised me by saying his ideal was for him to stay in what seems to be the cheapest apartment in Queens

and for the chicas and I to move out.

My reaction?

First to get physically sick and vomit.

The next morning I was angry.

I have now moved into scared and depressed.

And alot of this these seems to hinge on my status of soltera/single.

He asked me during that same “talk” if I was single,

meaning if I was dating/seeing/fucking anyone else

cuz if I was, he seemed to be saying, I would be out on my ass sooner.

Funny thing is I couldn’t really answer if I was single.

I mean I’m here living with my daughter’s father but we are broken up

and there are a whole mess of other factors that I dare not write here

that demand the question of my status be answered.

And I know some are reading this smiling a little

saying it’s my karma for the way I’ve chosen to live my life

pero the poeta in me still holds on to a little hope

still has some expectations

that it will all be ok.

I’ve been Away

I took a vacation. A time away from the craziness that is the logistics of a breakup. A time away from the need to post a certain number of blogposts per day in order to reach a certain number of hits, a certain amount of money. A time away from the constant demands of mami’hood and responsibilities to communities.

Vacations are pure escapism yet my vacation in a super secret location was also about living painful realities, sitting with them, hiding from them, and facing them again. It was about sleeping in and witnessing patterns of daily life you dreamed about. It was about long walks under moonlit skies, wine, coffee, nakedness, food, familiar sounds coming from unfamiliar places, breathing in new air, mourning and then hoping again only to mourn some more.

I made a game about not telling people where I was going, about being all clandestina when it wasn’t a game at all, rather a request, a courtesy, a respect for myself and others and I guess a need. A need I still am not content with and resent the same way I resent all the compromises i make. I have started to question when consideration for someone else trumps your own path to happiness and if it should.

Now I brace for the long winter of change, emotionally sleep and hibernate, using my stores of knowledge and experience to survive and wait for the spring hoping it will remain true to its promise of new beginnings and rebirth.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do Pero Does it Really Have to Be?

When I entered the relastionship that is now ending, I did so with so many expectations and anxiety. It’s not like I had great examples of healthy relationships growing up with lies, egos, infidelities, edible crotchless panties and suicide attempts all as shining lights of what a heterosexual marriage like life could end in. No wonder I never wanted to get married or even live with someone. I liked my mother’s post-divorce life, even if it meant socks with holes and dinners of mashed potatoes and long hours working while I helped raised my little sister. Cuz it was also filled with the example of a Latina woman who worked her ass off and gave her kids an amazing education (and I’m not just talking school) and she dated. She was a damn good mother and dated. She would go dancing with Manny the Colombian. Sometimes Ed, the tall white one would take my sis and I to chucky cheese. There was Mahmoud with whom I would get into debates with about religion and women and the one man my mom let move in, Terry, probably the one I disliked the most.

I never saw my mom upset over a breakup after the one with my father. Although I’m sure she was. Pero no se. Maybe there also was a realization, that relationships are fun, beautiful things, hard things pero we don’t always need to be in one.

It’s funny, as my current relationship closes, it’s happening in a healthy way. That’s not to say that there aren’t fucked up things about it (mostly my fuck-ups, I will admit), pero el Chileno and I are doing what we should have done when we got together: asking questions and answering them with full self-knowledge about what our personal needs are. We both need spiritual guidence and the fact that we find that on different paths was an issue that should have been explored before we got serious, especially since he was taught that my path is Satan!!! We have different privacy needs. I for example need to pour out my life on a blog. It’s part of my identity pero I’d rather you not break into my Facebook account and read my paper journals that fill the bookcase. My politics are a way of life, not a hobby or a job. They are my values. They are how I raise my kids, how I love and yes how I fuck. This doesn’t mean I’m perfect pero that I try to live my life a certain way and I will and do fuck up. I’m passionate and impulsive, sometimes to a fault. I mean there is a reason I’m Mamita Mala.

Pero I’m grateful for this opportunity. As much as I will complain about how much talking I’ve been doing and how sometimes I’m just damn tired of so much talking, el Chileno and I have three years of talking to catch up on.