Isn’t too bad when you have some things in your life to make it easier. Like a heat pack! My back and shoulders are constantly in knead of a massage. Bah! I know stupid. But a heat pack helps. I feel asleep with one on my shoulders last night and I feel absolutely amazing today. I massaged some kinks and knots and although only a professional could get them out, the attention I was finally paying to myself paid off. Hm, what next? A little self tlc goes a long way.
A friend just posted this on Facebook. I recently cut out someone from my life, Cigarette Lips. It took him a while to say the words, “I don’t feel the same for you as you do me,” even after asking him 4 times to say those words aloud. With his hesitation, and his hysterical begging to still talk to him afterwards, I realized he was full of shit. A part of me still wants him to admit how he feels, but he said what I asked him to instead. In the end, I’m left having to take those words and act on them. I know I’m terrible at getting over him since I definitely failed the first time around. But this video, this small reminder that I can at least be okay with being alone. I forget how valuable I am, just me, alone. My thoughts and work and actions and singing and dancing and all my ability and love. I have so much to offer, I forget to offer it to myself.
So although I can’t control who I end up falling in love with, I can remember to keep my love for myself burning strong. Because I should, I can, and I deserve it.
“Okay, now let’s think about this. Come here, sit with me,” The Bullfighter said to me, motioning me to the floor.
We both sat on our knees, staring at eachother, waiting for the other to say something.
“Face the other way, put your hand together,” he said, “and ohhhhmmmmmmm.”
I tried not to laugh but did what he said. I put my hands together as if to pray to some non-existent being.
“Ohhhhmmmmmm,” I repeated, halfheartedly. He knew.
“No no no, like feel it in your being. Ohhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
Then we changed hand positions.
“Ohhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm,” we said in unison.
“Now come back here, and sit like a frog.”
“Um, yeah, I don’t think I’ve done that since I was five,” I said, struggling to switch positions.
“Yeah, um ok me, too. Scratch that. Ohhhhmmmmmmmm.”
I tried not to laugh, but my smile was way too obvious.
“Okay, now lets search in the sand.” The Bullfighter moved on to grabbing at the beige carpet, acting like it had more weight and volume than it actually did. He grabbed a handful of sand and tossed it at me. And for some reason I almost felt it.
So I followed. I reached out my hand and took hold of some sand, then held it up and watched it pour slowly down in a straight line. The wind picked up some sand dust and spun it around us. I spread my fingers and ran them through the sand, “I’m searching for an answer. I see something dark, and bold. Dark and bold. And I see something real.”
“Will I be ugly?” asked The Bullfighter.
“Sure, if you want to be.”
“I want to be just real, myself. Just flat out ragged.” He explained.
“Well yeah, you. Whatever is you. As real as you can be.”
Just barely before I finished talking, another band member brought over a magnetic board with word magnets. So randomly necessary.
“Oh god, I’m glad there aren’t any kids around,” The Bullfighter said.
“Because I’m about to write the most inappropriate sentence ever.”
We dove into the word magnets, pulling them off, sticking them back on. Arranging, rearranging, borrowing from one another. I got so into my word play that I didn’t even notice what he was trying to spell out.
“Do you have the contracted word ‘don’t’?”
“I don’t see one,” I answered, not really trying to find one. “I’m picking out words to describe the shoot.”
“How does it make you feel? How do you want others to feel?” He asked.
We fought over words and stole from each other. It felt like a race against our own minds and creativity. I stopped only because I ran out of words to describe what I wanted.
“Bold, black, dark, inspired, raw, photo, emotion, true, creative, tattered, anger,” The Bullfighter read my words aloud. “Yeah, I see you.” We then stopped, and looked at each other, into our inner workings. “Hey everyone,” He said to the group, “Listen up! She’s got something to say.”
Everyone quieted down without a fight.
“Everyone is going to take this plain white paper, and a marker. Go into that room alone, and just write. Whatever. Just write. About the music, about your day, about your life or philosophy on life. On anything that moves you.”
The Trombonist got up first, grabbed his necessities and left the room. Music blared through the hallway and we turned down the lighting. Somewhere in the midst of silly banter, The Bullfighter took my camera and told me it was my turn. This is rare, but when it happens I try to set the example of a good model–not that it always works, but why not?
We went into the kitchen, and my clothes happend to match the scenery so perfectly. He swung open cabinets and centered me in the room.
“That look you did earlier, do it. Now clench your fists, like you blew open the cabinets.”
I did what he said at first, with a half an ounce of doubt. So this is what it feels like. Shit, this is hard.
“Yes that! Right there! keep that.” The Bullfighter said, stepping back between the refrigerator and the table to get a better angle. “Yes! Right there!”
I occasionally turned the camera to fix the settings, resulting in occasional photos of me reaching out. In the end, bright, tungsten-tinted portraits in a wrath of kitchen supplies and alcohol bottles. Teal, orange, yellow, brown. Young, alive.
And all in a matter of minutes.
I sat there looking at him, and he looked at me. For a split second, our artistic minds seemed to switch. Music was on my mind and photography was on his.
One of the best part of being an artist? Collaborating with other artists, to the point that brainwaves sync up into a harmony of sounds and colors. Ultimately high from the experience, it reminded me why I do what I do.
We laid in the hammock, The Thinker and I, underneath the ceiling of a welcoming home to friends and those we didn’t really know. Just minutes before we walked down the street around 1AM, planning to call it a night, when we heard yells from a porch across the street. “Hey you guys! Come hang out with us!” We had no clue who it could be, but for some reason couldn’t resist. A huge hug from a cuddly friend, and an embrace from a new one. More followed as we entered the house. Hula-hooping, hammock swinging, singing and dancing and kissing and laughing. New people to get to know and a few friends who probably knew my middle name. Such a random, yet meant-to-be encounter. After we talked a bit, then danced and sang a bit, we laid a bit in that hammock. As we swung slightly from side to side, your arm under my neck, we talked about absurd things I can’t even remember now–and probably some serious things. All I knew, and know, is that it felt so right at that moment. The swinging and laughing in the background, and the fact that it didn’t phase anyone if we hula-hooped, danced, chugged 50 beers, or just laid together apart from everyone else enjoying only each others words. All of it was surreal, with a hint of truth. The mixture of it all, and your eyes, kept me consumed.
Me: I like hearing things and locking them in, strangers.theres so much back story to what people say.
The Thinker: What do you like and dislike about it?
Me: it depends on the mood i guess
Me: some days i feel apathetic and dont care about the backstory. Or some days i want to know every detail and will spend the rest of the day wondering about it
The Thinker: I get that.
Me: as long as you take from your mistakes and others and dont hurt anyone on purpose in the process. Nope. You’re a thinker. Not a studier and regurgitater. Maybe you just feel youre not balanced
I find it quiet hilarious
that one of the things you didn’t like about me
you ended up doing
not as easy as it looks, is it?
Okay, maybe not hilarious,
but ironic that the heatheness in me
only spread to you
all while you were trying to save me
from my love of affection and hate of its opposing factors
I enjoy the seconds and years of my life I have spent
exploring beautiful beings Mother Nature created
Save me mother from the nature of the beast
Save me from yourself and the fake attitude you call believing
while believing is not knowing fact
is not always victorious when written by men many years ago
So listen here
Listen and hear the voice of a victorious woman
Living a life of love and affection
Saving the life of the little girl she used to be
A woman proud to have failed and lost
Failed at her highest and lowest
Only to rise and greet mother nature once more
Save me mother, save me
But don’t save me for the wrong reasons.
One thing about the Midwest, it’s usual dreaded flat land leaves room to see the sky. I love that I can see the front of a storm, and showers concentrated in only some areas. Walls of grey and dark blue and hints of a peach sun behind them. Peach was my nickname once.
My grandmother moved to the United States from Mexico when she was in her 20’s, looking for work to feed my mother. She gave up everything she knew to start a new life. However, immigration told her she could only choose one, a life in Mexico, or one in the Unites States. Under her agreement, she was not allowed to declare residency in the United States, and even if she did, she was not allowed to travel across the border. She did both. My grandmother couldn’t go two years without seeing her daughter.
My mother crossed the border with a student visa when she was 9. She excelled in school, way more than any other kid. The education system here has never been the best. She grew up in an era of racism, gang wars, and through the second wave of feminism. She bought mens 501s and sat in bathtubs of blue waters to fit them to her female curves. She sewed her own prom dresses and wore her hair long and wavy like a true Californian. And through it all, she never got along with her step-dad, who treated her like a servant–demanding the world and more from her. And although I wish she had it easier, as no one should wish hardship on others, it made her the strongest woman I know. Her nurturing raised me, my sister, my friends, and children we have never seen again since their grade school years. She taught us all how to hold pencils and ride bikes, how to be polite and how to stand up for our own beliefs. She’s a powerhouse of a being who isn’t afraid to admit her faults and never feels the unknown. And I love her so.
Recently, my mother told me a story about her crossing the border. My grandmother had illegally crossed back to Mexico after illegally declaring residency so she could visit my mother, numerous times. On my grandmothers cross back to the United States, with my mom’s small hand in hers, the immigration guard checking their papers said to them, “I knew it. I knew there was a reason you kept crossing back over. I’ve checked your papers each time and something told me not to turn you in. She’s your reason.”
There are good people in this world. Sometimes they don’t know it, and most of the time the rest of the world doesn’t see it. If it weren’t for that guard keeping it silent, I may not be here today, my mother probably wouldn’t either and my grandmother could have been in huge trouble. But here we are.
And the strength of the women in my family. They are all so beautifully strong. I can only hope I have a sliver of that strength in myself.
Happy United States Mother’s Day!
Last night, I sat in a room surrounded by some of the most talented people I know. I sang along with musicians from Colorado and then hugged and kissed familiar and new people. I talked about my origins and they talked about theirs. And either the wine enlightened me to a point of drastic appreciation, or it was always there and there was never an opportunity to relish in it. But I sat there, and looked around the room, listening to acoustic guitar and a voice that gave me chills. All I could think, wow, what a great life I have. I’m so glad I’m staying. I’m so glad to be a part of a group that encourages my art, and I encourage theirs. They don’t need to take part in my everyday. They don’t need to know where I am at, every second of my life. They don’t want to either. And they don’t forget their strengths or weakness, or mine. And best of all, the conversations are real. Real people, real problems, mature outlooks on life, with the balance and energy of child’s play, and a balance between the harsh realities of this world and their ideals in fixing it. So much talent, so much strength and fragility. I’m so incredibly glad to be a part of it. My friend always says to me when he hugs me, “Welcome home.” Home I will stay.
If you find the answer to your life’s question,
please let me know.
The world could use a little wisdom from a man with long hair and a harley.
You, lone wolf, come back to us in the leaves every spring,
because you never failed to remind us that life was worth living. and you come to us in the bare trees in the fall, because you never failed to tell us that death is never pretty.
A door with clippings of veterans long and recently passed
while your name remains on the black wall along with the deceased.
Why did you have to leave?
Vietnam was no way to go, but neither was your way.
If a motorcycle crash can evoke the emotions of hundreds of people,
then bombing the innocent could crash our
humanity into the cloud dust of hell. And don’t wait for the silver linings to show themselves, for they are only reflections of the flames.