A girl can hope right?

Or maybe I should just let it go? I like this girl, I can’t deny it. But it’s all about timing. For about a week I hadn’t heard too much from her, until I told her I for reals want to hang out before she leaves for spring break. I felt like I was even annoying her, because she had midterms that week and l was probably the last thing on her mind. But she tried to reassure me that she also wants to hang out and “see where we are at.”
Welp, I guess in the end my mind had changed a bit, and hers went the other direction. She doesn’t know what she wants and I guess in the end neither do i. But I never do. All I know is that everything just kind of melts when I’m around her.

Like when she sang a Corinne Bailey Rae cover at this open mic a couple weeks ago. I had to turn away for a second…melt.

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People tend to leave

My dad left last Saturday, refusing to tell anyone where he was going. Before he had left, and before I knew about it I texted him telling him to stop trying to contact me. I blocked his number and deleted him from Facebook. Today was my first normal feeling day since, although that underlying uneasiness won’t ever go away. I’ve recently realized that I’ve had many people die in my lifetime, all 24 years of it. I know, I’m old. I first took notice of it almost a year ago when one of my best friend Michelle’s grandpa died. She had such a difficult time with it, and although I empathized with her, it felt so normal to see someone in a casket. I knew him, too. He was a phenomenal man with an awesome track record and national recognition. So I could imagine that constantly being reminded by newspaper articles and her grandpa’s fans wasn’t easy. But one night she just broke down, which led me to ask her if she had ever lost anyone. She said it was the first time and she didn’t see how I could have handled it. All I could say to her was that it gets easier.
And now I think, is that morbid? That death just gets easier? That something so life changing could become just another event that you learn to get over quicker and quicker. And I understand that it could be a defense mechanism. Maybe our bodies can’t handle anymore stress so they just don’t react.

A few years ago I was head over heals for this guy who turned out to be a robotic fucking asshole. He avoided me for two weeks at the end of it all, then when he decided to suck it up and talk to me, he told me he had never loved me and all those times he had said he did were lies. You know that feeling that your heart is being torn into tiny little pieces then spread all in between your ribcage? Yeah, it was one of those. It so happened I had a scheduled visit with the shrink that week, and what started as an attempt to get over daddy issues, turned into nonstop tears over a robot. Miss Margaret told me that losing someone in that way was like having someone in your life die. And yeah, I realized I had to morn just the same.
I’ve seen more caskets than I would have imagine I’d see at my age, and I’ve had many close people die or just leave voluntarily. And although I know death is a part of life, deep down I can’t help be fear that heart wrenching feeling again.
I’ve been hanging out with someone lately, let’s call her Erin. During one of our late night, couch laying talks we asked each other our biggest irrational and rational fear. My biggest rational fear used to be people leaving my world without knowing that I loved them, like really loved them. When she asked, my rational fear switched to being my irrational, and a new rational fear moved in its place. It turned irrational because no matter what I did for my dad, he always tried to guilt trip us, acting like he wasn’t loved. And the reality is that if it weren’t for us in his life, if it weren’t for my mother, he’d be a single mess probably living in a dumpy apartment in East LA. My rational fear turned into people leaving me. Death, change of heart, friendships. And because of this newfound fear I’m starting to realize this constant push and pull between letting myself be vulnerable with people, and hiding it all.
I can’t seem to find a balance, and I’m starting to wonder if I ever will.

Realizing my “Daddy Issues”

My mom called me a couple days ago. I prepared myself to hear the usual updates on the father and his everlasting alcoholic condition. 

“I confronted him again about not talking to you. He said that you made it very clear you didn’t want to talk to him. So I asked, ‘Are you sure about that? Because from what I understood she wanted you to contact her when you were ready to stop lying.’ Then he said to me, ‘Well haven’t you thought maybe I’m not ready?'”

There was a droning pause between us. She knew that hit me hard in the gut.

“I told him he was selfish. I said, ‘Really? You’re willing to risk losing your daughter because you can’t stop lying?’ I told him that my opinion hasn’t changed, and it won’t until he makes it change. Then he got down on his knees and begged me, as if that was going to change anything.”

I always knew that the Latino Machismo attitude was very prevalent in my father’s personality, but never did I think it could get this bad. I almost convinced myself that he honestly didn’t understand my long email back in January, or my straight-forward texts messages. But he had. He understands them to the core and still refuses to do anything about it. He literally admitted he has been lying, and also stated that he isn’t ready to stop lying. 

My doubt in my decision to stop talking to him almost took over. I was so close to giving him a call to tell him how stupid he was and that I missed him.

Something I have learned from this that I never realized before: my “Daddy Issues” are a lot more serious than I had thought. In romantic relationships, I always end up coming back. I don’t stay true to my word and always hope the second time around, things have changed. They never do. My last girlfriend happened this same way, and this guy I’m now interested is going the same direction. I let him in again and I probably shouldn’t have. People don’t take me seriously, they think I’m too much of a softie and I’ll come running back. I usually do, but it’s not because I’m a “softie,” it’s because I always see the good in people.

That ability to see the good in people has been skewed to mean that I’m naive and too optimistic for my own good. Recently, the man I’m interested in now (and again) said that the first time around he saw “red flags.” I asked him what he meant by that, and he said I was naive and optimistic. This assumption that I’m naive drives me crazy, and makes me laugh at times. It usually comes from a lack of actually knowing my experiences, a lack of understanding how my Mother raised me to be, but most importantly (and more oftenly) the fact that my optimism scares the shit out of people that fear failure. It leaves me questioning who is the one in the situation that is truly naive. I’m not scared to fail, because that just proves one way things shouldn’t be. I’m scared of never trying, then laying on my deathbed cursing at the moon and the stars “Why didn’t I just try? What the hell did I have to lose but maybe some more heartbreak?” I can get over heartbreak, I have before. 

And I will again. 

My list. What the hell is going on?

So Evangelista made me realize the other day that I now have a list of interested people. Why? I do not know.

One time, an old friend told me that personalities like us need to be careful. We are charismatic and open minded, so people automatically feel a connection with us because we don’t judge them.

That statement was confirmed when two of my close friends, The Beatle and The Mixer, both told me that they have never felt so comfortable around one of their friends. “You make us feel loved and accepted.”

Ok. So that must be it, right? My lack of judgement on people creates this idea in peoples heads that I want them for more as friends.

At this point, I’m not really sure what I want. But the list is growing….

(In the order according to my fiery red-headed friend)

0. The Pharaoh

1. Aries

2. Smitten Kitten

3. Handyman

4. The Thinker

5. The Beatle

6. The Cozy Jew

7. The Historian

What the hell just happened? Foreal.

We moved sand with our hands

“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.”
“Ohhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”
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.

“What? Why?”

“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. 

Brilliant.

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. 

 

Hammock eyes

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 and the Thinker

Me: I like hearing things and locking them in, strangers.theres so much back story to what people say.

The Thinker: To everything.
Me: and i may never know that story. I like that and dont but, meh.

The Thinker: What do you like and dislike about it?

Me: it depends on the mood i guess

 The Thinker: Elaborate.

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: Why? Examples?
Me: I don’t know, when im emotionally exhausted i can be apathetic

The Thinker: I get that.

 Me: Or when im happy and remind myself at the beginning of the day that we only live once so to take in every detail like i used to when i was 5. Ill wonder about peoples stories and meaning behind what they say, study all the wrinkles on their face or some days im happy not knowing anything. Theres beauty behind being human and not super human, just knowing what we know without digging deeper. The simplicity of it.
The Thinker: There is depth in simplicity I suppose.
Me: yeah, but the depth doesn’t always have to be known. Like the sky. Its the same for humans. Theres also no possible way to know 100% of a person because were all our own centers of our universe.
 The Thinker: I don’t study very much. I have a pretty simple outlook, and I’d say most of my knowledge is in my intuition. I trust it.

 Me: I like that

 The Thinker: It has its pros and cons I’d say. Working to be more of a studier.

Me: Theres a balance
 but also, people spend too much time studying, i think, taking in information that is wrong half the time then regurgitating it using big words to sound more intelligent than the person next to them. People forget to critically analyze the information they get and ask questions. or just think for themselves completely.
The Thinker: Everyone is just trying their best I suppose. In reality we all suck
Me: no we dont, we are all just changing and learning about ourselves, its all good
The Thinker: Dammit. I guess I just suck then.

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

The Thinker: Haha, I’m working on it. -my favorite phrase. I feel great about myself lately actually, so no need to be so nice. I appreciate you calling me a thinker, I think you are too.
 Me: Im not just being nice, I just think you dont give yourself enough credit and just because we are all different in our process doesn’t mean you suck over someone else’s process. Fuck it.
The Thinker: No really, I think I give myself a very fair amount of credit!
Me: mmmmk…..MMMMMMMMMKKKKKKKK
The Thinker: gonna kill you…
 so hey, my computer is dying and I am sleepy and I have an interview tomorrow morning so I’m gunna sleep.
 YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WITH THAT TOO BAD!
 Anywho, let’s talk more tomorrow please. For now, goodnight and may you have the most beautiful dreams. Further more, I hope you wake up with a smile on your face and something to look forward to. Good evening madame.
 Me: I look forward to talking to you again. Because you always put a smile on my face. And if you don’t, its because you meant to annoy me only to make me smile later….goodnight you. And good luck on your interview.
The Thinker: Gracias chiquita. Buenas noches.

Howdy Doody

On the phone with Ms. Irish Fire.

Me: Hey you awake? I’m coming over to get the keys.

Ms. Irish Fire: Ok I’m up!

Get to the house and go up to her room.

Me: Here’s some yogurt…(setting it down on her desk, then realizing a used condom is right next to my hand. She doesn’t notice it’s there.)

Me: Goddamit, Ms. Irish Fire. There’s a used condom. Well, there’s some yogurt. See you in a bit! (leave non-challantly)

Ms. Irish Fire: (as I walk away) Oh Goddamit! I thought I cleaned everything up!

Me: “Closed for season” my ass.

conversation with Ms. Irish Fire during a 3 hour car ride from point a to point b.

1 hour into the drive:

Me: I don’t know what he wants. I mean I do, like all men they just want to get in your pants. But he may want more.

Ms. Irish Fire: Well do you want more?

Me: No. I can’t do that right now. He’s great but I’m not ready for that. And I don’t want to just sleep with him. I can’t do that.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yeah, well. Just go with your gut feeling.

Me: Yeah I will..

1.5 hours into the drive:

Me: I don’t know, maybe something will happen. I guess I have to talk to him and see what’s up.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yeah, ask him what he wants first. It’ll give you an idea of where he is emotionally. You are going to say the same thing no matter what anyway. You aren’t ready for a relationship.

Me: I just don’t want to hurt him, but we’re already in too deep and people will be hurt. But I don’t know, maybe something will happen.

Friend: I thought you said it wouldn’t.

Me: I don’t know!

2 hours into the drive:

Ms. Irish Fire: I’m just in some kind of mood!

Me: Oh my god! Me too! I just want to make out with someone. I mean you’ll be doing that tonight won’t you? Oh dang girl! He be all up in your goody snacks!

Ms. Irish Fire: Naw I won’t be giving him my goody snacks, just making out.

Me: Yeah right…”Closed For Season” my ass. I found a condom on your desk this morning and you said you weren’t having sex!

Ms. Irish Fire: I know! That was hilarious! Goddamn!

Me: Yup! Wasn’t even surprised and I didn’t even skip a beat.

Ms. Irish Fire: I know! We’re at that point in our friendship where it doesn’t even matter anymore! You were so casual! Well I’ll be seeing The Neighbor tonight, and I swear we’ll just be making out! He asked to have sex, and I was like “Nope! You ain’t getting up on my Howdy Doody.”

Me: Howdy doody?! What the fuck? Goddamnit, the shit you come up with.

(silence)

Me: Damnet, now I’m feeling some kind of way. Goddamit.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yup, now you’ll have him all up on your howdy doody…

Me: Stop calling it that!

Ms. Irish Fire: ALLLL UP in your HOWDY DOODY!

Me: Goddamit. Making out with someone could be nice.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yup, all up in your howdy doody.

Me: Nope, not having sex with him. Maybe just making out, I mean it’s not more than we’ve already done.

2.5 hours into the drive:

Me: Goddamit! Now I’m all feeling some kind of way!

Ms. Irish Fire: Right?! Now we’re both in a mood. Howdy Doody and shit.

Me: Fuck it, why not?

Ms. Irish Fire: I thought you weren’t gonna have sex with him.

Me: Yeah but he’s hot and makes me feel some kind of way. And you have no room to talk!

Ms. Irish Fire: Um no! I told him to back off my howdy doody. Back off my howdy doody! Back off!

Me: Stop calling it that!

2.45 hours into the drive:

Me: Fuck it. I’m having sex with him.

Ms. Irish Fire: Yeah I thought so. Godammit. Howdy doody!!!

5 minutes later:

Ms. Irish Fire: (pointing at a billboard of weird looking sausages, and sounding unsure) That billboard makes me feel some kind of way.

Me: They look like dicks!

laughing

Me: Damnet, how old are we?

Ms. Irish Fire: Howdy doody! Howdy doody!

Pulling into the driveway:

Ms. Irish Fire: Notice what happened in a 3 hour span of time. You went from saying no completely, to making out and having some fun, to having sex.

Me: Fuck, you’re so right. Welp, at least I’ll enjoy it.

Get home to find our water is shut off because the water company fucked up our account.

Ms. Irish Fire: Well I need to shower, I’ll probably just go to The Neighbor’s house.

Me: So he’s gonna be all over your howdy doody?

Ms. Irish Fire: No! just making out!

Me: You’ll be naked and in the shower, you really don’t think he’ll be all up on your goody snacks?

Ms. Irish Fire: No I won’t let him!

Me: Yeah, uh huh. Well let me know how that pressure is in that shower….

awkward silence

Me: Yeah, you know the water pressure. Not his. But that’s what you were thinking so that means you’re totally having sex.

Ms. Irish Fire: No I’m not! Why don’t you believe me?!

Me: bullshit…

And now we wait and see.

Small talk with a stranger

Stranger: hey there ladies, what you doin over there? You tubing?
Friend: no writing papers
Stranger: oh yeah, cool. Papers on what?
Friend: Shakespeare.
Me: misogyny
Stranger: oh that’s cool. I like that kind of stuff. Knowing about popes and Egyptians.
Me: those are two very different things.
Stranger: yeah, I like that stuff. So I’m just trying to make conversation while I wait for my friend who may or may not be coming. That’s a big house you have there. You have a lot of roommates?
Friend: yeah
Stranger: how about bills? How do you split them?
Me: equally
Stranger: psft, well yeah. How much does this run you? A G a month?
Me: yeah something like that
Stranger: (looking at the house like he was counting rooms. And seeing through walls) that must mean you have lots of roommates.
Me: a ton
Stranger: I mean I don’t want to get into or anything but I don’t do that technology stuff. Like pretty ladies like you should be looking at each other and smilin at each other. I don’t do that Facebook shit or whatever. You ladies haven’t talked to each other once since I’ve seen you guys.
Me: oh trust me we did plenty of that.
Stranger: oh I bet you did, I just haven’t seen it.
Me: because we don’t need to talk out loud.
Stranger: oh! You do that girl shit where you talk with your eyes! Ooooh I see
Me: (pointing at his BMW convertible) what about your car and that technology?
Stranger: well I’m selling it! You wanna help me post that shit on Craigslist? Ill give you half of it.
Me: yeah right
Stranger: “yeah right” she says! She’s given an opportunity and she doesn’t take it! By the way, you’re beautiful! Like, I’m just gonna speak my mind, you’re beautiful. (Yelling to his friend) hey homie! You ready? I was talking to your neighbors over here but they don’t seem like they want to talk. They’re all into their technology and shit. Alright.
Friend and I: (laughing and not hiding it anymore)

The strength of the women in my life.

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!