From Me To You

Some words of wisdom from me to you, and possibly back to me in the future.

Stop giving up. I mean, just stop. Finish what you start. Give it your all.

Am I saying you’ll never fail? No way. Failure is inevitable, and mistakes will happen, but I believe that mistakes aren’t mistakes and failure is only fatal if you come out learning nothing, and not changing a thing.

I’ve heard that life is not a sprint, it’s more of a marathon, but I see it more like 752 marathons in a row. You think you can’t, but you can. You have been training for this your whole life, because everything you learn has its place and has a lesson to teach. Each lesson takes you to the next place, the next adventure, the next fall-flat-on-your-face moment. And so what you fell? So what you have to start over? At least you have that chance. I know of a few parents this year who are having to celebrate Thanksgiving without their children. Violence took them. Oppression took them. A system that disregards them took them.

And you are still here.

Don’t give up. Fall and get up. Try and practice love until you get it right. Learn from the lessons that come. Make it right when you are
wrong. Be grateful. And never, never give up.

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Poema

Quiero que crezcas dentro de mí. Como una flor que nació antes, y finalmente encontró su sol.

Quiero que me busques de nuevo, amor.

No soy la chica de aquellos tiempos. Ya se mi valor.

Ya respiro ganas, con pedacitos de sentimiento y sonrisas.

Todas las lecciones que he aprendido, me han llevado a este punto, cuando te puedo entender completamente.

Ya se que el temor que cargas siempre en tu alma…nunca fue mi culpa.

Yo no fui la que te rompió.

Y por fin, perdono a todo.

I’ve heard you should write about what you know

Here’s what I know.

I know how to be single.

I know how NOT to be single, which curiously, is not the same thing as knowing how to be in a relationship.

I know that in gay years I’m 375 years old and I’m on the 6th or 7th incarnation of myself.

I’ve got a long way to go.

Yes, I keep coming back as me…a nuanced version.

Like the new and improved Iphone tadaaahh!

Or sometimes like the New Windows that has to be sent back for glitches that can’t be fixed, not this time around. Live with the glitches.

I know that each new me looks a little different; smells a little different, depending on who’s touched me, or held me in their arms.

I know that I’ll pick up a new word, forget an old song

and not be able to place why I hate peas now, when I used to love them.

I know that I know that I know that I know how to be single now.

I’m not afraid to admit that I like it…

Especially when my clothes pile high in the corner of my room and there is no sign of me lifting a finger to fix it

I like single when I can go to bed at 8 pm or 8 am and no one will frown at me in disapproval.

I like it when I sing too loud or want to stay silent for days.

I like single because it CAN be all about me

Or it can be all about giving         all         of          me           for something I love.

I know I hate single because I have to fold the sheets alone.

I hate single ’cause there’s no one to help with the dogs.

I know  how    to    be     single though.

Now, this time around

and I’m good at it.

I know how to be the only single person in the room and still have fun.

I can go to a new restaurant sans company and leave full and proud of myself.

I can challenge myself to do something I’ve never done before but always wanted to try

and be my biggest fan when I succeed.

I can fall flat on my face

lose my mind just a little

and see

that I am good enough anyway.

When in pain…paint

Somewhere along the way, I developed a couple of healthy coping mechanisms to accompany my very unhealthy ones; one of which is painting. Around the age of 19, I realized that I could draw a face and body that amounted to more than just a stick figure.  I had recently moved to California, and didn’t have many friends. I lived about a five-minute drive from the water, and so I would take a journal and pencil and draw the faces of my friends from back home. I missed them. I soon bought some paints and canvas and trusted that my hands wouldn’t fail me.

Ever since, I have used painting as a release. It’s a gradual release after all. It takes time to imagine the image, pick the colors, project the pain from inside of me onto the canvass. Afterward, I have a visual timeline of my trials. It allows me to look back; see how far I’ve come.  I’ve painted happier things for others; joined an art show here and there, but my painting has really been for me.

Here are a few.

This is called Ten Cuidado Con Mi Corazon. (Be careful with my heart)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never gave this one a name. This is a self-portrait. I am obviously angry and sad, and I remember wishing that memories were flammable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is called Gravity. The words on the side are the lyrics from the Sara Bareilles song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Inside Out.The textured pieces on the right of the painting are dried flower petals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wasn’t actually painted during trying times…well fully. It began as a gift for my ex. She was moving into a new house, and wanted art for her walls. She returned it to me after we broke up last year. In hindsight, it may not have been the best idea to paint us as calaveras…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is called Rebirth.  I painted it in the last year as a reminder of the journey back to sanity that I have made since my ex and I broke up. I purposely made her pink (some would say bruised) and weak, because in my head, that’s how one begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below is my most recent work.  It is unfinished. I look at it every day and think maybe one day it will be finished.  It’s called Lady In Waiting.

Moment of Reflection

It’s never easy to look at one’s flaws, mistakes, and wish-I-could-do-over’s.

The sting of “Why did I do that” causes anxiety and depression, at least for me.

Often times, throughout the past year, my dreams have rummaged through hurts and insecurities and madness without my conscious permission; left me worn and confused, and wanting to correct mistakes, yours and mine.

I remind myself that your mistakes are your own.

Many times I have reminded myself that I have only ever had the power to correct mine, to climb out of the strange depths of “love” induced madness healthier and happier, with a greater sense of joy.

I have long since forgiven you.  I only recently have forgiven myself.

I hear you are healthy, happy, and dating.

One year later, it doesn’t sting quite as much, the dating part I mean.

I would be lying if I said the thought of you enjoying close intimate moments with someone else doesn’t prick just a bit…

I have never been good at letting go. We talked about that, you and I. You knew this.

I have many times pouted and cried to close friends, “This is different.”

Was it?

There was the rush of instant chemistry, blush of vulnerability, and a vision and immature reach into a future of forever.

There were signs you were not for me…the disapproval of friends who have known me for years, the secrecy of a love I wanted to shout about…the recognition that I could not, no matter how hard I tried, understand you. And no, you never understood me either.

I sat one day, and listed all of my mistakes and ridiculous behaviors. I had to own them, one by one, no excuses.

This isn’t to say that I think myself a horrible person, or less worthy of love, trust, and happiness.

It was instead a necessary part of healing, a part of letting go.

My very best friend and I had a brief discussion about all that has happened in the past year.  She marvelled at the fact that, still, a year later, I twitch uncomfortably at the mention of your name.  She came to the same conclusion I had come to long ago. I was really in love with you…

It WAS different.  I can say without a doubt that you are a part of a short list of great loves (2).  It was a great love, if but brief and chaotic. It was a great love, for all the painful lessons.

It was a great love, that I many times tried to forget by consuming every bit of alcohol within my reach.  It was a great love that I remembered even on hazy, panicked, regretful hangover mornings.

It was a great love, that I now carry with me voluntarily.

It was a great love, and perhaps you would disagree.

But then, that would fit perfectly into the story of you and I, wouldn’t it?

Just here…Washing my hands.

A tap of the microphone, some unnecessarily loud feedback, and people screaming announced the start.  That’s what I heard when I first saw her. She was petite, white to the point of translucency, with raging red hair and the most confident look on anyone’s face I had ever seen.

The others noticed. Band mates elbowed me. “Go talk to her.”

“Never.” I replied. The thought seemed ridiculous. Why in the world would I do that?

“You are just like her here, a musician about to play.” I heard someone say.

“No, I’m not”, I thought to myself.  I was a waitress who got lucky playing her highschool instrument. I still waited tables when the tour season was over…quite a humbling experience might I add.

I watched her as she walked to the restroom, and felt myself rising to follow.

I heard a burst of teasing laughter behind me and shot the finger above my head back at them. They laughed harder.

I walked slowly. I stopped by the food bar and passed the disgusting looking pate, picked up a slice of tomato and mozzarella, (I was a vegetarian then) and waited.

I walked into the bathroom and was greeted by a whirl of a toilet flushing.  I turned on the water, reached for some soap, and pressed my trembling hands together. “What the crap am I doing in here?”, I thought.

Just then she walked out of the stall singing, shot me a smile, and a brief hello in her accent. I smiled back, told her I couldn’t wait for her set. I was such an admirer of her music.

I was suddenly aware that I had been washing my hands for an inordinately long period of time. I shut the water off.

She handed me a paper towel, thanked me, and wished me a good show.

I watched her leave the bathroom and cupped my flushed face in my hands. I laughed at my silly starstruckedness, and stared in the mirror. Yes, I’ll have a good show.

So I hear you think I’m Gay…

So I hear you think I’m gay?

I had just stepped down from the karaoke stage, beaming with self importance and knowing the bar tab prize at the end of the night was mine. (I was underage) I high-fived some fans on the way back to my vodka sour when a man stepped in front of me. I glanced at my vodka drink, just over an arms length away, and willed him to step aside.

He didn’t. Instead, he offered to buy me another drink. I hesitated, knowing my acceptance could lead to an evening of uncomfortable conversation and awkward silence.

I pictured him standing in the bar alone, wondering why I had never returned from the bathroom. I said “yes.”  He smiled. I immediately regretted my reply.

Oddly enough, he didn’t turn and walk the ten steps to the bar to get me a drink of his choosing, nor did he ask my preference. Instead, he posed a question I haven’t forgotten, one that sent my life spinning in the direction it still follows.

“So,” he said. “Before i get you a drink, I need to ask you a question.”

“Ask away”, I replied, not really caring that my annoyance showed through my fake smile.

“Are you gay?” he said.

My brain snapped to attention.

“Excuse me?” I replied. “What kind of question is that?”

I mentally placed an invisible mirror in front of me, scrutinizing my choice of outfits. Red and white striped shirt that showed off my teen-aged midriff, jeans, black boots…hmm Nine West’s version of combat boots, maybe that was it. It couldn’t have been my perfectly applied make up, my long straight Indian hair. Lesbians didn’t look like me. Did they?

“The reason I ask”, he said, interrupting my self scrutiny, “is because my ex wife left me for a woman. I’m extra careful now.”

I looked at him, really looked at him for the first time.

He was in his twenties(I guessed). He had a premature receding hairline he was obviously sensitive to (He had combed his hair forward to minimize its impact on his ego). He was Caucasian, blue eyes, not at all unattractive, but for his belly that pooched out over his khaki Dickies, and perhaps the fact that he was not only wearing khaki Dickies, but that his plain, brown, boring loafers peeked out from under those Dickies. I was too young to know if I had a type, but there, in that moment, I was sure that this man in front of me, was not it.

“Oh”, he said, interrupting my thoughts. “I also asked you cause my sister said you’re gay.”

I looked up at him, and could only ask, “Who’s your sister?”

He pointed to the bar where a woman sat at a stool with her back to us. From where I stood I could see her flannel shirt, (no joke) her tight jeans, and her REAL combat boots. I laughed. “Does she know she’s gay?”, I smarted.

“She’s not gay,” he replied.  I immediately thought of his mystery ex wife. He was not a good judge I would say.

I excused myself, forgetting that I still had not received the drink, remembering I had never answered his question. Drinks with conditions didn’t seem worth the trouble.

I walked up to the bar and planted myself next to her, deliberately staring at her profile, knowing she could no doubt feel my presence. If I kept staring, she would turn soon enough.

When she did, just a few seconds later, straw in mouth and in mid drink, I said, “So I hear you think I’m gay?”

She giggled, a reaction I didn’t expect, given her combat boots and brown flannel shirt.  I immediately softened, and smiled, felt flutters in my tummy I didn’t expect.

We closed the bar down, talking about everything and anything. I sent my confused friends home. We continued our conversation outside, long after the bar staff had turned off the last light and dumped out the last box of clanging bottles in the nearby dumpster.

I had my first kiss that night. Not my first kiss ever. I had kissed a guy, but this was my first real kiss, the first kiss teens dream about, with imaginary magic fairy dust floating in the air around you. I thought of her brother’s earlier question, and smiled as we kissed one more time before finally sitting in our own cars and driving away. I answered his question under my breath, “Yes, I guess I am.”

17 years later…We are friends. 🙂