If You’re Reading This It’s Because I’m A Coward

I’m a lazy friend. Plain and simple.

Friendship is a give and take type of relationship. What I give is what I take. I don’t give much so I don’t expect much. My earliest memory of friendship was back in elementary. It’s a bit fuzzy yet vivid on some days. 

I don’t know how others perceive my outer persona but lately I’ve been fixating on it. I find myself telling Pablo again and again of how I (playfully) hate how easy he makes conversation with strangers. He had a full conversation with the fedex guy (or was it the usps guy?). He even got his name. He got the life story of a dude that is twice his age with no hesitation. There are countless examples. I told him he’s like my mother; there is something about them that just attracts easy conversation. Is it his vibe? Is it his lack of fear of what people think? Perhaps it’s his openness to accepting all that is unknown. Whatever it is about him it is what I love the most. His way of being is everything to me. Note to reader: i apparently have a big ego and I don’t take criticism well. But that doesn’t mean i can’t relate nor that I’m not open to new friends. I’m also not really looking for them but damn I want to be approachable. I also let go very easily so if someone wants some type of validation from me he/she probably, most likely, won’t get it. WELP! 

In elementary I felt like an outcast. Wait, outcast is very defining… I was very normal, but always trying to fit in. Just ask my oldest sister. I dont remember really having friends like friend friends. You know, the type you’re always with and the ones (or one) that you told everything to? It never really happened so I was the girl that would play kickball and pachuco with the boys. I played tetherball and volleyball and handball with the class but I wasn’t part of any alliances happening around me. For the record I was an average athlete but I was competitive. 

In middle school I was the lame ass that ran to the fucken nutrition and lunch lines and after I ate I walked around campus. I finally made a friend but it was shortly lived. She left me, that bitch. She left me to be friends with another girl that was as boy crazy as she was. Then I made another friend and she took me in with her little group. It was nice and fun, but I only really connected with the one that took me in. The thing is that I thought I had friends in many circles… the reality was that I only connected in the classroom. I was funny, I made people laugh and I seemed to have something that pulled people in. I realize now that those relationships only lived in a controlled environment. If it required actual energy I wasn’t readily putting it out there. 

In high school I finally felt a part of something. A smart group of girls that shared common interests took me in. But then I found out I wasn’t part of the rituals of secret sharing or the phone calls girlfriends have or the inside jokes. I tried it but in retrospect I only did it out of desperation. Eventually I started hanging out with a different group. The same thing happened with these girls. The same thing happened with me and them. I let it be. I felt sad about it, but I didn’t put any effort in salvaging or maintaining the friendships. I give them credit for continuing to make an effort to include me in things but it isn’t the same when I was putting my part in the mix.

It wasn’t until after high school that I finally met someone that was/is awesome and a great friend. I now consider myself to be low maintenance and I love that with her I don’t feel guilty. I want to do more and have more but looking at my past experiences it seems I either don’t know how or I’m too lazy of a friend. I like how when we reach out to each other it never feels like too much time passed us by. However, I do want something that surpasses that. I’m writing this out because I want accountability on my part. I want to be able to look back at this post and think of how this used to be me. 

I rest easy now that I know it’s not the number of friends but the quality of the relationships that counts. I have to work on the quality of  my friendship, tho. For really, girlfriend. 

The Ultimate Mexican Party

Identity as defined by the Oxford dictionary is: the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.

This post is brought to you by inspiration born from listening to episode 23: Chamoy Fountain of Larinos Who Lunch, by the way. Continue…

Note to future self: at the wedding have a Chamoy fountain. No me importa lo que diga la gente. 

Every so often my bad hombre and I talk about having the party of the century here in Oregon. I know for sure I want a Banda so if you know of any traveling bandas for hire let me know. Drop me a line in the comments. We’re going to serve carnitas, birria and tacos with all the fixings. And for the morning after we’re going to have menudo because we know that party is going to be fire. FIERRO! 

Most of the conversation you can imagine us speaking as if we’re already there, as if we just lived that experience yesterday. We’re full of nostalgia for what we don’t have anymore, or at least for what we don’t live day in and day out. I miss that. He misses that. The last time we both visited home we didn’t spend one cent on food. Every family we visited fed us. Estábamos como marranos.  

I’ve told a couple of coworkers about the ultimate Mexican party and I’m excited they’re excited. I work with a white majority and I’ve made a couple of great relationships. Mi hombre has made some ok connections and we both like to say we’re inviting every white person we know.They’re going to have front row seats to the mariachi and the Banda that’s gonna play until 3am.  

Ideally this party is in July (22nd because it’s my birthday) and on this year because I’ll be turning 30! Treintona y con picardia. This party will make America greater! 

Controlling Emotions

It’s always been easy to not take complete ownership of how I react to situations. And you know what makes it easy? That I can relegate it to astrology. I’m a Cancer; actually, more of a hybrid of a Cancer and a Leo. My birthday is July 22 and it’s the last day of the Cancer calendar so, technically a Cancerian, but have many attributes and characteristics of a Leo.

My family has always called me moody and I blame it on the Moon. I say I’m like the tide; ebbing. I don’t ignore the fact that sometimes I’m out of line or that I could have handled things differently. I’m actually working on it and giving credit to one of my mentors guiding me and pointing me towards Stoicism. It’s so amazing, you guys. I really recommend reading into it. I didn’t have a perception of Stoicism before, but philosophy has always interested me and this has been a wonderful experience.

So what have I been doing? I’m still a huge work in progress, but I’ve learned to do better reflection of the self. I’m learning to accept this as they are, to accept that I don’t have control over the actions of others. And going through this process I’ve been working on challenging myself to take control over the things I do have influence on. And this applies to all aspects of my life – personal, professional, and recreational.

In my reflections I have come to understand that my reactions have an impact. That I am creating a perception of myself to other individuals. And with these perceptions I can either be casted off or be welcomed. Stoic philosophers are of the idea that we are not to banish emotion from life but to banish the negative ones. They are also of the belief that our ultimate goal is to reach tranquility and constantly work for it while acknowledging and recognizing the forces that work against attaining that goal. For me, I have to work on controlling these reactionary emotions and practice negative visualization to better prepare for situations in the future. Has this been working for me? Sometimes. There are times I’m in the middle of my negative emotion and reacting – sometimes and most of the time – unjustly, but I let pride get in the way and keep trudging forward fully knowing I’m headed in the wrong direction. Other times I react and stop myself. I take a deep breath and let it all play out, staying silent and truly think of my words, my body language, and my thoughts. At this point, I go back and reflect. I literally sit down and do a play by play to pin point where I lost it, where I stopped myself, and how I could make a similar experience different in the future.

In all, practicing Stoicism has been rewarding.

– M

Writing Out My Dream(s)

Lucid [ˈlo͞osəd] Adjective. 1. Expressed clearly; easy to understand. 2. Literary: bright or luminous

Dream [drēm] Noun. 1. a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep. Verb. 1. experience dreams during sleep.

Lucid Dream – any dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may allegedly be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment.

Every once in a while I experience a lucid dream. I don’t know why, but they are always fun to tell and remember. One of my most recent lucid dreams has revealed and mirrored a lot of what I’ve been going through. Think of it as … part of my continuing metamorphosis. I don’t really want to write about the last dream I had but more about the dream I had in which my Nina was dying. I’ll list the characters in my dream.

  • Nina: my grandma, mi abuelita that doesn’t like to be called Abuela or Abuelita. She’s always said that name was her mom, Abuelita Goya. I spent every summer, weekend, long weekend, etc. with her and learning from her. She’s the one that gave quince minutos mas de dormir three times making it 45 additional minutes. The one that would wake me up with breakfast and the one I would take her cafecito to in her mug. I remember pouring the coffee and then taking it to her and she’d be like: pa’la otra me llenas la taza hasta arriba y caminas mas despacio.
  • Mami: my mom. Mother of 4 girls. She’s selfless and unselfish when it comes to caring for Nina and her girls.
  • Sandy: my oldest sister. The one that can make me laugh and the one I can share the dumbest things with. The first one of my sisters to become a mom and the one that doubtlessly underestimates her hard work as a momma to my two wonderful nieces.
  • Martha: the oldest female cousin, second oldest of all my grandmas 30+ nietos.

This dream was colorful and full of my Nina’s scent- you know that old abuela smell that is unmistakably your grandma’s smell? Yep, that one. Well in this dream I was taking my Nina to the store and on our way back she asks me to take her to the hospital. A bit odd, but I thought that no matter where I go with my Nina I know it’s special and she’s always with a purpose. She ends up checking herself in and in her hospital room I’m sitting crossed legged on her bed. She begins to tell me that she’s known for a while that she’s going to depart this earth and this life and that she’s OK with it. Pero, que le tengo que traer unas cuantas cocitas de la casa. I’m looking at her and noticing the details in that damned ugly green beanie she likes to wear and asking myself why the hell she’s so calm? Tears start rolling out of my eyes and I keep wiping them away telling myself that if she’s OK with this I should too and I should get myself together for her.

When I talk to the doctor she’s explaining everything she’s already explained to my grandma and I keep telling myself to focus because more than likely I’ll be the one to have to tell all of this my Mami. Me dice que hace tiempo noto un tumor y que aun no maligno, es causante de muchos sintomas que han afectado la salud en general. I’m standing there and I look over my grandma and she’s just chillin’ on the bed knitting and whistling softly. The doctor’s voice fades away and here comes my Mami rushing with a look of confusion and desperation. She holds it together as I tell her what the doctor just told me. And even though she wants to talk to my Nina I tell her we have to go; we need to get some stuff from the house to bring to her. She acquiesces and we  drive to my Nina’s house.

The drive was silent. And unlike other dreams, I’m able to move in real time; there is no slowing of movements, no blurry or fuzziness of anything and I’m following traffic signals and look both ways before turning the corner. When we arrive at the house I tell my mom what my grandma wanted us t get and she begins searching for it. The whole time I stand by the doorway observing my mom shuffling through drawers, clothes, and papers. She looks over at my and gives me that look, the are-you-serious-this-is-happening look of sadness. I smirk at her and shrug my shoulders. Defeated by her thoughts she slumps on the edge of the bed and begins to cry slowly covering her face in shame. I walk over to her and tell her it’s going to be OK. I bend down to hug her and clearly, without any doubt she says, “I hate this, Mona. My mom can’t die.” We’re hugging and her chin rests on my head as my arms are wrapped around her waist. Then I posture up and hold her face and tell her that it’s out of our control. That’s when she hugs me, tightly (I felt it, in my body as I slept and knowing this felt so weird), and she begins to sob. Now it’s me resting my head on hers and softly petting her head as I, too cry, silently. She asks quietly: what am I going to do with my days, Mona? Que voy hacer ahora? Mona, what am I going to do with my days?

At that moment Sandy walks in laughing with Martha. Unknowing as to why we were hugging and crying Martha politely steps outside the room and Sandy jumps on the bed in an attempt to lighten up the situation. I tell her that Nina is dying and that we have to be OK with it because she’s okay with it. She starts to cry too, but with an understanding that we have to now look out for our Mami because she’s going to fall apart without Nina. #end

What woke me up was my own sobbing and the feeling of my body reacting. The tears were flowing, I tell you. I look at the time and it’s 8:24am. 24 minutes after I’m already supposed to be at work. I immediately call my timekeeper, still crying. Then I call my boss, still crying telling him that I’ll be in as soon as I can. He asks me if I’m okay and I tell him that I had an incredibly realistic dream about my family. He tells me that I should take my time, but most importantly, am I okay? I assure him that I am and that I’ll see him in a bit.

In a deeper analysis of this dream my boss and I have determined that I have taken an archetype role of wise old woman. The grandmother typically represents the sage, wisdom, etc. I became the mother to my mother. Literally in my dream we switched rolls. And I explained to him what the death of a grandmother means in Dream World: the death of an old self [read: my old self] and the birth of a new self. It’s a telling of how I have come to take control of the things I can and affirm the decisions that come from that control. To be OK with those decisions… isn’t it all crazy? I mean… the change that people go through is not overnight. And I am proof of that. It’s been months that I have been struggling with defining me, and who I am, and wearing the different masks but all in play with my true self and leaving any false selfs in the past. I am maturing in front of my own eyes.

My Nina means so much to me. When I face tough decisions I go to her. I ask her what I should do and she never speaks in terms of finiteness but in terms of not doubting your gut. She’s asked me before… y que te dice to mente? And when I tell her and she usually responds with: entonces no es mal. Si es algo que tu quieres hacer tu sabes lo bueno de esa decicion. Mira, tu sabes que aqui estamos para ti si no te va bien. I don’t know why but I love that as she continues her advice she keeps knitting. She never stops only when I lean in to hug her.

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.

Where Are My Selfies?

I used to take a lot of pictures of myself. Now, not so much. I’m confused as to why. Perhaps I’m not happy so subconsciously I’m not projecting love (yes, I believe selfies are a form of loving yourself). Or do I feel happy and I’m just not advertising it (yes, I believe selfies can be a way of ignoring some internal conflict). You see the dilemma?

Many times throughout my day and cumulatively my life I feel happy, content, joyful, beautiful, and smart. Other times I feel stressed, uneasy, ugly. However, I’ve always fluctuated this way and still managed to fill my phone with selfies. Much like Beyonce, I always seemed to be feeling myself. As many pictures as I took I wouldn’t post them or share them- they were for me; for my self preservation. Then later when I would feel down or not particularly pretty I would look through them and smile because I felt my happy-meter rise.

What’s going on? That’s what I’ve been asking my inner-self lately. But she doesn’t know.

I just finished sorting through my phone to possibly share a selfie in which i feel and look pretty recently (the last six months). There was none. Yes, there are selfies in there but none that I have been able to see and say, yes… I was feeling beautiful, smart, and strong here.

OK I found one…
image

Yea… I haven’t been feeling particularly happy. But at the same time it may not be unhappiness, but just… free. I’m not surrounded by constant societal pressures or the need to please/impress through my social media. So then why haven’t I been taking pictures of myself as often? I don’t know, man.