Fork in the Road

fork-in-the-road2I’m standing at the tip of the road trying to figure out which path to take. Both roads have a certain predictability to them but I would say an equal amount of uncertainty as well. I keep saying I will do a pros and cons list but I haven’t because I’m afraid. I’m not even sure what I’m afraid of, but it’s been the reason I have delayed this exercise. Because the probability of me actually doing this is very unlikely I will just write it out here in a very informal manner.

Situation: I submitted my application to go back home without being certain I was ready to actually move back to LA. I have a second interview this evening and the likelihood of me getting the job offer is HIGH!

Self: Why would you do that if you were not 100% sure that you were ready to make the decision to move back?

Me: Well, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to move back when the chance presented itself. I thought that the process would be longer and I didn’t think I would be so hesitant. Maybe I should tank this second interview and then … end to worry! But what about when I’m actually ready (the way life works no opportunity will be available). *shakes fists to the heavens*

Who/what has weight/impact on my decision? My boyfriend and our long distance relationship. My mom. The fact that I care about what I’m doing where I actually am. That I still feel I haven’t done everything – or close to half the things – I thought I’d do while away from my home city and family. That being where I am feels right. But I miss being around my family; I feel I’m missing out on them.

What if I go:

What if I stay:

What does this mean?

Fears:

To be continued …

Latinas For Latinas

Back when I started this blog site my intent was to speak on my Latina-ness. That may sound odd or perhaps broad yet very specific. My first post was on being a Revolutionary Girl. Here is a link to the post: The Revolutionary Girl. The following posts were more or less along those lines of speaking to being a Revolutionary and on topics that I felt contribute to my greater being but with ties to my Latina-ness. Somehow I lost focus and it went to posts about me and my personal life. If my intent was to create awareness of the issues that are important to me or perhaps particular to me and my intended audience is women like me, I should have at least tagged my posts with latina blogger, latinas for latinas, mexican-american. I believe these tags help us find each other, much like how when I searched for these tags I found other Latina women posting and writing and doing outreach and spreading awareness. The beauty and amazingness of tags led me to read and in essence listen to voices that sound like my own.

Today one of my life’s mentors linked me to this: Latinas of Influence Conference 2016. March is Women’s History Month and Hispanic Lifestyle will be highlighting Latinas for each day in March. Amazing, right? Well this conference has a special meaning to my mentor. Her cousin Irma Ramos has been nominated and will be present at this year’s conference. My mentor asked me if I had noticed anything about the site. When I made the connection I felt so much joy. I know how much Irma means to Rose (oh my God! I have revealed her name). I’ve met Irma and she’s a wonderful person and when Rose speaks to me about her I know that she respects her as a relative, a friend, and as a professional.

Here is what the highlight of Irma Ramos means to me:

I am in the Human Resources line of business and so is she. Her official title is Vice Chancellor of Human Resources for the North Orange County Community College District (NOCCCD). Rose has given briefs every now and then on her career path and it’s impressive and commendable. But for some reason to see her being honored and acknowledged by way of nomination did something to me. In no way do I dismiss her work prior to this mention, but I saw my reflection in her in that moment. The work I am doing now is very important to me. The “added duties” that are outside my position description are welcomed and I am enjoying every part of my job.

Back to how I saw myself in her… The closest people around me tell me how great I would do in a position of higher rank and how well I would do managing people because I genuinely care and present integrity and character in every situation I am in. As much as it’s nice to hear such things, it’s also hard to believe. It seems so far fetched and sometimes too crazy of an idea or thought. There are not many women around me that hold high level positions and there are even less women that look like me- Latinas with brown skin and Spanish surnames that also speak and relate to Mexican / Mexican-American culture, that have a connection to and with a minority background, etc. So, not only learning about these 31 women that will be presented at this year’s conference, but actually knowing one of them, albeit not really personally, is so inspiring. I finally believed that I can be the person Rose sees I am. I can believe that I will be the HRO one day. For the first time felt that I could stand among those “executive leadership” types. The even greater part of experiencing these emotions was that I know I will one day be well qualified for such a position. I never thought it possible until now.

I scrolled back through my posts and came across this one: Direction. At this point in my life I was lost. The job that I was in felt like a dead-end. I remember not wanting to go in and I was constantly late and barely meeting my performance measures. That’s when I realized how important it was for me to get back into HR. In all honesty it’s a truly rewarding career. There are many that warn me about what it can do me physically and emotionally, but I now feel I have the skills to make it work for me. Again, I may be naive and very much green in this field, but the best part of it all is that I believe in myself now. And you know what, it’s not only that she’s also in the same profession, but that she’s faced adversity and overcame it. I don’t know her personal struggles, but I know part of her general family history and that’s enough for me to relate.

The Dichotomy of Control

I’m in a better emotional state than I was from my last post: An Analysis of My Recent Situation  written a couple of months ago. I feel very proud of myself for allowing the insight of two special individuals concerning my confirmed metamorphosis. Noticing my struggle one of my life mentors (that sounds about right. That’s what I’ll call my two go-to people), referred me to William B. Irvine’s A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy which is based on a branch of Hellenistic Philosophy particularly Stoicism as taught by Epictetus. Whew! That was a mouthful.

In recent years I have been unconsciously, and most recently consciously working on myself in regards to increasing my quality of life. I’ve been removing myself of material pleasures and separating from the feelings of insatiability due to constant desires of things that I’m either not ready for or that are not in my control. I probably wouldn’t have worded that in that specific way before reading this book, but I’m happy that I am able to point to something tangible in a sense.

Before I dive into my reflection on the Dichotomy of Control chapter and the techniques to becoming invincible I will, in my best terms, describe Epictetus. Epictetus is a Roman Stoic Philosopher from like over a thousand years ago. His philosophy was this: analyze the why of life. He was an early Cynic or had Cynic principles/lifestyle before being described as a Stoic. He had two requirements for his students: 1 – wanting to benefit from philosophy (meaning he didn’t want no half-assed efforts from them because this was a lifestyle to be taken seriously) and 2 – understanding what a commitment to philosophy entails (meaning the student had to be aware that philosophy was not a joke, that he/she needed to take this seriously in order to make life worth living and to find purpose). His ideal pupil is someone who will be satisfied if he can live untrammeled and untroubled. I had to look up untrammeled; it means not deprived by freedom of action or expression; seeks to be tranquil and free from turmoil. His belief was that students of his should be leaving his school feeling bad about themselves because treatment likely to cure a patient is also likely to cause discomfort. Here it is again: treatment likely to cure a patient is also likely to cause discomfort. He taught dialectical lessons (e.g. examining yourself) and the art of living, what your cosmic scheme role is, and to live out the functions of being a human.

Here is what the dichotomy of control is: it is to ask ourselves if we concern ourselves with things external to us or things internal? A Stoic reflects and looks for the benefit and harm that comes from within himself. A Stoic gives up the rewards the external world has to offer in order to gain tranquility, freedom, and calm. Part of working to become a Stoic is to change our desires – to not be frustrated by what we cannot attain in order to decrease anxiety about whether or not we will get what we want. Some things are up to us and some are not up to us. For Epictetus it’s foolish to spend time thinking on things that are not up to us because they’re not up to us and worrying about them is futile.

So, what IS up to us? According to Epictetus opinions, impulses, desires, aversions, and our goals are up to us. What is NOT up to us? Possessions and reputation. Internal versus external controls. Internal goals affect our external performance. Our goals have an impact on our emotional state. Internalizing goals leads to preserving our tranquility. We have control of our values and having such control we choose the genuine value of things and be indifferent to things that lack value.

How does this all apply to me and what I’m going through? Oh, it applies perfectly- in my personal life as much as it does in my work life. All of this goes back to what is in my circle of influence. What are the things over which I have complete or some control? I have control over how well and efficient I do my job by doing the proper research, applying the knowledge I’ve gained so far, and to always have and ask questions. I have control over my career goals and the focus I place on achieving those goals. I don’t have control over the perceptions people around me have, but I have the satisfaction of knowing I worked hard and did my best.  I have complete control of my character and how I carry myself. Knowing that much leads me to tranquility and a life free of anxiety, anger, and sadness. So, what about my personal life? I don’t have control over whether people will love me the way I want them to, specifically my s/o. I do have control over treating him well, and loving him the best way that I can. I also have the control over ending something I no longer want. I don’t have control over his feelings or actions, but knowing that I did my best for him and by him that should lead me to tranquility. I have control in maintaining relationships by paying attention to them and continuing to appreciate them by using the Negative Visualization technique of a Stoic. I have some control of my financial situation. I can save and manage my spending, but I don’t have complete control because there is the unexpected rainy day. I have control over the things I place value in and that has shifted from the material to intangible experiences. I want to be at peace and not have to stress over what I don’t have. Remember this post? I Have A New Favorite Quote  One of my quotes is: Happiness is Wanting What You Have Not Having What You Want. Wow! I’ve been a Stoic without even knowing it.

The thing that for a while I wanted to make people listen to me. To listen to my ideas and make them change. Pretty much I was forcing my ways onto people and then I was angry and frustrated because no one was buying into it. Then I re-focused on just “doing me”. Putting my ideas into action for me. The results started to speak for themselves. I had questions on how am I able to manage my time so well? How is it that I know the exact status of every action? How is it that I can reply with the right references and resources in a timely manner? How is it that I’m able to live so far away from my familiar friends and family and explore new things and places without needing to be with those familiar to me? How have I not lost myself by living on my own so far away? All of these things come naturally when the focus is re-centered to things that you can control. It’s not easy, it’s something that takes time, but I’m glad that unconsciously the new me was going through that process. Maybe it was the books I was reading. Maybe it was my Main Mommy, Christina P. Maybe it’s the universe aligning itself for me. Maybe it was my awareness of self. I just wonder and hope that those struggling to find tranquility find it soon. I’m still working on it and still reading The Guide to the Good Life and looking forward to the other techniques.

Below are some episodes from one of my favorite Podcasts: That’s Deep Bro with Christina Pazsitzky. Listening to her has been an awesome experience so far and she never fails to make me laugh on each of her episodes. The below relate to the above and the philosophy of what it all means to be Me (i.e. You).

  • Episode 43 What do you really, really, really want?
  • Episode 36 Find Yourself Then Get Over Yourself
  • Episode 29 Expect the Unexpected and Whenever Possible Be The Unexpected
  • Episode 27 The Illusion of Control
  • Episode 20 Compassion, Anger, and Control with Dhaya Lakshminarayanan

 

 

An Analysis of My Recent Situation

A couple of posts ago I wrote about how I was told I create my own problems. I was really hurt by that conversation and I have been thinking a lot about it lately. Am I creating my own problems? Am I being irrational and illogical?

I have a friend that I go to for everything. She’s been my rock for as long as I can remember. She’s been through my fails, my falls, my victories and everything in between. It’s beautiful to know that I have someone like her in my life. I spoke to her about what I’m going through and this funk that I desperately want to get rid of but can’t seem to shrug off. I told her about the okay-ness I feel with not talking to my mom, or my sisters as often (which wasn’t frequent to begin with), and the sense that I am losing what I thought I had with my BF. I was so glad she called me. She listened.

Today I spoke to someone else about it. He is a very unlikely person for this type of insight into my life but very much approachable and I’m happy that he was there and offered to be here for me if I need him to. In no way am I diminishing my dear old friend, but it kind of makes a difference speaking to someone about what’s going on in person. In different words but similar lenses and voices, they told me the same thing. It seems as if I’m going through a change. This change is one that is bound to happen to a person my situation-away from family and the usual friends, a new job and career path, a new state, a greater sense of self realization due to living on my own (again), etc. But there is something I am not letting go of… allusions of past, present, and future. These allusions have instilled a fear in me creating guilt and resentment of myself.

Yea, I guess that can be it. In one my favorite episodes from That’s Deep Bro, Christina Pazsitzky talks about letting go. That episode has been resonating for a while and it deserves another listen. And then here he is, my unlikely confidant, talking about letting go of these allusions and accepting the metamorphosis that is happening to me. And here she is, my guardian angel in the flesh (well, over the phone) telling me it’s OK to feel alright with myself for not wanting to talk to my family. I guess the guilt I feel is because they haven’t done anything wrong for me to want to feel like I need distance from them (which to be fair, sometimes there doesn’t need to be a reason other than this how I feel). I have to remind myself that my feelings are valid and no one should feel entitled enough to denigrate them.

Now, for the feelings about the BF. It’s so painful to write these thoughts out, but it helps. I had a dream last night and I love dreams. I’m a believer in the sense that they are subconscious thoughts and feelings making themselves known in order for us to deal with them. Anyway, I had a dream in which I decided to stop waiting for him. As he angrily accepted me walking away from him he decided to leave himself- I mean, that is what I was implying right, for him to be gone? As he rode off in his bike with his hiking backpack on and a blue-green mullet I wanted to chase him. But like in most dreams I couldn’t move. As much as I wanted to I couldn’t run after him so I thought that maybe running backwards would help (go ahead, laugh). Then I woke up! In my Five Years From Now post I speak briefly about where I see myself with him. It goes much deeper than that, but I don’t want to get into it. So what does it mean?

I’m afraid that I am becoming more and more OK with the distance between us. I am also angry with him for … for … things I cannot bring myself to write out. It hurts me to think he’s not meant for me, or worse that I am not meant for him. I don’t usually have set timelines in my life, but I want to do something about this distance and I am expecting to hear the worst come this next month. There goes the allusion of the future- of what I want it to be and what I fear it can be and what it will be. The present? Well, I’d like for it to be better between us, but like I said in another post “as the worst saying in the world goes… it is what it is.” The past? Well, the past has shaped notions of what the future can be and mean.

I suppose I am maturing and I just haven’t come to grips with my new self. This maturity process that I am going through means that I have become a new person willing and able to lead a different life than what I originally thought. So what’s my life line? How do I manage to put aside all these emotions and continue to be a capable person? The brain is tricky that way. I suppose this is how compartmentalization works. It’s work. My job is what I feel I have control over right now and I’d like to keep it that way because if I lose that control I fear it will be the end of it. There is stupid Fear again. But it’s the honest truth. I’m going to write “I know” in my next sentence even though I really don’t. I know that if I let go of going to work in order to deal with all of this I will go down that spiral I was in six/seven years ago. I don’t want to, but I also don’t know how to deal with this metamorphosis if this what it is because it feels like depression.

Playing Video Games Even Though I Suck

I like playing video games. I also suck at them.

Growing up my sisters and I weren’t really allowed to play them even though we really wanted to. I say really because my mom would allow us to and would always make it known that it was okay, but that we just had to respect the decisions of Dad. My dad used to tell us that they weren’t for girls. *GAG* I’m not really sure how my sisters feel about that time in our lives other than how fun it was to play with our cousins and run back into the house when Dad got home from work. Now, in my late twenties I’m going all in.

When the Nintendo DSi game out I bought one because that’s when I was able to without any mental reservation or fear of my dad. I got a puzzle/trivia game and of course the must-haves. I also got a PS2 with the usual racing ones, basesball, boxing for some reason, DDR and the like. Then I got an iPhone. All those gaming apps? I was all about them. Crossword puzzles, sudoku, endless point based games, competitive multi-player, single player mastery (I just made that up, but I hope you get it), etc., I’m not saying that’s all I did or that I had them out while socializing, but when I had me-time… you’d find me playing. Before the mobile versions, or before I discovered they were in app form, I actually had the books and a pencil or pen. Sometimes before bed I take out my iPad and I’m playing a game or two.

Recently I got myself an Xbox One- much to my BF’s chagrin. To him the PS4 is superior and even though I kind of agree, I stuck to my purchase. So, what’s the game of choice? Destiny – The Taken King. It’s awesome! But, I suck. I suck so badly at these types of games and I don’t care. I also downloaded Tomb Raider because … Lara Croft that’s why.

Playing allows me to laugh at myself and also to sharpen my sense of observation and strategy. I’m constantly getting lost and unable to find my way back to starting points. I run into walls and get stuck in caves and die at unmentionable rates and frequency. Let it be known that I am not ashamed of my gaming repertoire.

My favorite thing about online playing is that it gives me the chance to be openly frustrated with myself and occasionally experience that feeling of achieving those small significant victories from the storyline. It’s also taught me patience and determination. I used to go in charging in at the enemies and trying to punch my way through (still do at times). Thanks to my online buddies and seeing how they play and approach the mission I’ve gotten a little better. There are moments in which I surprise myself when I stay alive longer than five minutes because it means I learned something valuable. It may seem trivial and maybe even obvious to some, but if you know me then you know that I have a hard time staying back when I know there is an objective to be completed.

I wonder sometimes how playing video games consistently or on a not-hiding-from-my-dad basis would have shaped me differently in any way. I mean I’m an adult with a full time job and a college education and video games have been helping me in many aspects of my personal and professional life… even though I suck so badly at them. Let another thing be known: I don’t consider myself a gamer, but I do like that I am a girl who loves them and a Latina at that.

7 Ways Video Games Will Help Your Kids in School

Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games

5 Life Skills That Video Games Can Help You Develop

When You Create Your Own Problems

Maybe I should title this post “When I’m Told I Create My Own Problems”. In a twisted way this is a solid thing to hear during an episode of mild hysteria. But, on the other hand, it’s also the shittiest thing to be told. This goes back to the whole thing of talking to someone just for the simple fact of knowing (sometimes wrongfully expecting) that the other person is there for you. Most of the time during these venting sessions I’m not looking for a solution, or for a diagnosis. I’m just looking for a bit of validation, a little sympathy, or maybe just the opportunity to say the crazy shit that runs through my head out loud.

I didn’t get that today so I’m writing it out as I enjoy a cigarette. Yeah, a fucken cigarette. I’m not proud but it’s been relaxing me this last month and a half. I said today that I am not in a good place and it’s the truest statement I’ve made about myself in a while. These last couple of months I have not been eating well- no food in my fridge, not eating at all, eating fast food, smoking, and not working out. That is the perfect combination for someone to not be in a good place mentally. I put on a pretty good act for people not to notice. The last time I went through something similar was about six years ago. That was straight up depression.

Going through depression sucks fucken balls. I knew I was in it and as much as I told myself that I could get up and do things I couldn’t. It’s a mental fatigue I would not wish on my worst enemies. I fear that’s what’s happening to me again. I wish I knew what was bringing this on so that I can do something about it. Is it my relationship and my SO? Is it that I feel horrible for being OK with not being physically active and eating healthily? Is it that I am ashamed of how much I am OK with not talking to my family? Could it possibly be the stresses of my job but dealing with them all because I really love it? Is it my financial situation? Everyone and everything annoys me and has been for some time. All of the above?

Well, like I said, I put on a pretty good act.

Super Moon 

A few months ago I missed the blood moon and I was pretty bummed about it. I had read online that another one was scheduled but I didn’t set a reminder so I almost missed it last night. In speaking to the BF to confirm our Fear The Walking Dead G-chat date I remembered. He also happened to mention the super moon and said he might go out on a late night hike to catch an unobstructed view of the moon. I knew he wouldn’t, he’s not that cool,  but I thought of how EYE would get a glimpse of it instead of listening to his plan.

After we hung up I went on Google to search the times for the best peak. I was right on the money if I wanted to see it within the next hour. I looked outside and my dumbass couldn’t spot it so I decided to go out and drive to look for it. Later after getting home I realized that it was right outside my window. The drive was much better, though.

I’m getting a little more familiar with back roads and mountain areas where I live so I headed out with confidence. I drove and curved around the hills and steadily headed to the top of the mountain. I was speaking to the moon asking it to make itself seen, which in retrospect is silly since it was a lunar eclipse. Anyway, I was in a clear area and as I turn left to see above there she was. I almost wanted to stop right there were I was to admire it. I finally found a spot to pull over and I found myself in complete awe.

The night was silent and I was away from the city so the night sky was extra dark making the red of the moon that much more vivid. I stayed there staring at it wanting to be able to reach my hand out to touch it. I wanted to be with the BF at this exact moment because I know he would appreciate this beautiful piece of natural … I don’t even know what to call it. But, alas I was on my own. In its own way it’s equally amazing to be able to sit in silence thinking of the grandeur of the universe.

I drove back and kept an eye on her. When I got home and realized she had been outside my window I laughed at myself and at her. I was fooled. I take complete fault for not looking closer in my initial search for her. I left the blinds open and throughout the hour I saw her make herself seen again in all her moon glory. I know there are better pictures out there of her but here she is.