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.

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz – Book Review

this-is-how-you-lose-her

I read the book in one day. If it were up to me it would have been in one sitting, but well, life happens.

I’ve had this book in my eyesight for quite some time and I even forgot I had bought it. I was separating my clothes to do laundry and I found the Barnes & Noble bag under my clothes rack. I pulled it out and took the book out and thought: I guess I can start this today. *Remind me to take this off my Christmas wish-list.

Oh, Yunior. What a life he’s lead. What is it about some men that just don’t value something good when they have it? I felt transported while reading his life- as if I was there living it. Could it have been because I related to the women he was treating like shit? That’s probably not a good sign on my life, but there were some similarities.

Being Mexican-American I was happy to read dialogue different from the Spanglish I’m used to. Dominican, but not really Dominican as one his many told him. He came to the States as a young boy with his mother and older brother. Growing up in the East Coast he was barren to the cold winters. It pained me to read about the adjusting his mother never truly realized and the shit his brother made him go through; and the abandonment of his father.

Despite the diaspora of Dominican, I felt he never realized his either. As a professor he’s asked for an ID as he walks through campus. He makes references to his skin color- and the skin color of the mamis- which to me signifies the importance outer appearance has in the assimilation into Americanness. His brother, the light-skinned one, I don’t like him. I don’t care that he had cancer and died of it- having cancer doesn’t make you immune to people not liking you, just feeling bad for you.

Then I didn’t like Yunior either. He questions if he’s the way he is because of his brother, his father, his Dominicanness… No, Yunior, you’re just an ass. The women he had long-term relationships with he fucked them up because of maybe, perhaps, the ingrained subconscious mentality of the macho man- to conquer all the pussy he can get. Well, maybe that behavior was learned, but whatever, he could have learned to love better. His brother would bring women to their basement room and because their mom had no clue and him being upstairs would sound alarms he stayed in the room while his brother banged away. He was aware that his father would work late and sometimes stay working for days, but it wasn’t really work, it was fuckery.

I’m not sure in whose voice the last chapters are written in but they were my favorite. I envisioned a woman’s voice sounding sad and pitiful on his behalf. I felt sorry for Yunior as much as I felt sorry for the women he fucked over. I wish I knew what happened to him at the end. Did the book he wrote about how he lost her open doors to other women? The woman, that finally replaced la Negra?

Can a cheater ever be forgiven? What if it was 50 sucias he fucked with like Yunior did? Would you still try to make it work? Yunior is a cheater, a liar- and, well, no one wants to be the villain of their own story, so he tries to redeem himself in his narrative. But for me it doesn’t work. I suffer for the women. I understand the science in the biology of men, but I feel the emotions of the heart should not be played with- and so does he,  but he realizes that a little too late. So he can take his self-pity and loathing and stick it up his ass.

I feel sullen and numb at his suffering. I’m not suggesting that the women he fucked over were perfect, we’re all human, but dammit if he ever took them for granted. At one point I was rooting for him, that maybe he and the current girlfriend can make it work, but it didn’t.

The power of emotions I’ve come to feel because from this book just shows how great it is.

Aside from the love story- or lack-there-of- this book brings to light the intersectionalities of an immigrant. Great points to take into account and I think it would be a great book for a book club discussion.

Son Las Cosas Pequeñas/It’s The Small Things

Every year I plan this amazing and extravagant birthday party in my head for myself. And every year it doesn’t turn out that way. I don’t know why it has taken me years ((26 to be exact)) to appreciate the small things that actually tend to happen on my birthday.

Maybe it’s part of my insatiable need to be accepted or my flawed view of what my life is supposed to be like. As I write this post I’m accepting how much I do tend to compare myself with others. I want what I perceive to be their blessings to be my blessings. I am never truly satisfied with the outcome of the things I plan or the way I feel things should be. In all honesty, it’s a pretty horrible thing to live with- to never be 100% satisfied? I mean, c’mon. If there is one thing I despise the most is when people around me compare me with other people- so why do I do it to myself? I want to make this birthday a turning point in my character. But, before I make a list of the things I promise myself not to be because those things really hinder my true character, I’ll tell you what happened on my birthday.

I took the day off so that means I slept in and if you know me you know how valuable a good sleeping-in is to me. Woke up to some grilled cheese sandwich and a milk shake from my mom which I enjoyed with my sisters, mom and grandma. Headed to the gym because being fit has no days off in my calendar- except Sundays as my little sister pointed out. Was invited out for lunch so I got ready and went and enjoyed some spicy shrimp and chicken at the Elephant Bar with a very special friend of mine. As an added bonus, she asked me if I still needed some running shoes and if I did, that was her gift to me. Off to the shoe store! Got a text from my mom saying to be home because she was having a little cake and a BBQ for me. Splendid surprise! Had some aunts and uncles come over, spent some quality time with my cousins and sisters and nieces. Had my MTBF come through and then extra delighted to have P share a little bit of my day with those dearest to me.

.:Laughter. Joy. Happiness:.

Instead of getting that overly priced birthday party I got what my mom said to be “algo varatito, pero con mucho cariño.” Instead of having to split my time with multitudes of people I got to share group conversations that brought knee slapping laughter to everyone. Instead of having the possibility of strangers being a part of my special day I had the most important people in my life whom I know will be with me through it all.

What To Be:

  • Not so whiny
  • More bad ass
  • less serious about jokes at my expense
  • self-loving
  • confident
  • a bit mysterious
  • accepting of what is
  • appreciative of MY life
  • … more to come