My Hair

Sometimes I laugh along with people that seem to think it’s funny that I do not shave my legs or my underarms. I fell like staring at them and asking WHAT THE FUCK IS THE BIG DEAL?

But I get it. I used to be like them (those inferior beings) that bowed to the standards of beauty that have demonized hair on certain parts of the body. HAHA… I laugh at YOU, you lame-ass.

Nah, I’m just fucking with you. But I have come to love myself on another level. I’m fat right now (that’s another blog for another site), and I assure you it has nothing to do with that.

*queue harp music*

It all started when I moved to Oregon… no really, it did. There are some cold ass winters here that my delicate Southern Cali skin barely survived. The first summer I was all about shaving my legs for no other reason than it was the normal thing to do. Then I thought… hey, the BF is not here and I’m cool roaming my house and the streets in my semi-hairy, very prickly legs. Shave, shave, shave! Shave my legs, shave my pits, trim the hoo-ha, and wax them brows. I was all for hair removal. Then that practice started to slow down for various reasons, none of which included laziness.

After some time I started to not mind my hairy legs. And then I stopped shaving my armpits. I fucken ran a half marathon in my hairy legs (which maybe that was part of the reason I had a slower time this year… hmmm… should have worn running pants). Because all of this is fairly new I sometimes sit and stare at my legs and touch my hairy pits like… who said this was gross? How come hairy legs and pits are not shamed on men? Why do women or people that want to shave in general, that see it as a chore continue to do it? Okay, okay. The  “I don’t shave for you I shave because I want to” type people can shut up. I was one of you. Then I started looking deeper into this practice and realized I was doing it because I didn’t want people to tell me I was hairy. Fuck those people. I’m having as good a time as you and I don’t have to worry about the last time I shaved.

Laugh it up. Continue to think it’s nasty and gross. You’re GROSS! You shave and tap that razor on your bathtub rim and stare at the nasty blob of hair. Continue to shame yourself every other day and remove that hair from your pits. HAHAHHA… okay, that was rough. I’m fucking with you, again. All I ask is that you leave people, such as myself, be… HAIRY! *insert boom sound*

Swarm

This is about my vanity, my egotism, my arrogance and how I have ignored all of it for a long time now; longer than usual. My thoughts are swarming and I have been seeing them come at a distance and now they are all over me. I can’t ignore them anymore.

I hate to make this about appearance but it’s the first thing I see every morning after I walk my fat-ass into the bathroom and the huge mirror reflects my visibly fat ass back at me. It’s not a nice fat ass, it’s a ginormous fat ass that indicates my lack of self-care. I don’t know what’s more important anymore – my mental health or my physical appearance? Maybe they are both equally important and I just can’t do both. Excuses. A swarm of excuses. I wave them off violently because they are a distraction of my state of not giving a fuck.

This is my header quote on my Instagram page: It is more necessary to heal the soul than the body, for to die is better than to live a bad life. – Epictetus Enchiridion

Then why am I being swarmed by these thoughts and emotions? Is it because I don’t feel I’m living a good life that I am focused on how I’m not healing my body? And because I’m focused on how I’m not healing body that I am feeling defeated and gross about how I look? What comes first? What should come first?

Goal: happiness

via Daily Prompt: Swarm

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.

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.