Passion

Passion- any strongly felt emotion/intense desire, ardent affection, or enthusiasm
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I’m busy, and I like it that way. Once in a while I like the opportunity to kick off my shoes and silence my mind, but there are to do lists zipping by and tasks that beg to be checked off. All the while, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s why.

I choose it. Yep. I do it to myself, and I do it for myself.

A long, long time ago (ok not that long ago, maybe three years, two months, and a few days ago) someone told me she didn’t see that I was passionate about anything. It didn’t seem to matter, that at the time, I was quite passionate about her, just FYI. (See definition)

That sort of hurt. By sort of, I mean it sort of hurt like I imagine getting run over by a car sort of hurts.

You see, I have always thought of myself as a passionate person. Oh yeah, I have the actual word tattooed on my back. Well, it’s a symbol actually, Japanese. I was young, and perhaps it was a bad decision, but you get my point. Don’t judge.

I had always been the girl that never needed pushing. I pushed myself. If there was something new to try I’d do it. I was the girl who did math for fun. I was the girl who practiced the dance till exhaustion cause dancing was amazing, and practiced her violin to relax, because music. I acted, I played, I sang, painted, geez, I wanted to do freaking EVERYTHING, and I did.

Ok. Then college, then grad school, then believing in something, then protests, then voting, then Chicana power, then gay rights, then EVERYTHING! Ehem, passion.

Phew, and here was this woman, standing in front of me, telling me that she didn’t think I was passionate… about anything. Blink…(silence) blink, blink.

The sad part was, she was right, if just for that moment. In all of my ridiculous passion for her, I lost the passion for me, and all the things that mattered most to me. Cliche? Perhaps, but it’s cliche cause it’s a common occurrence that happens to lots of people, which then sends it to the realm of unoriginal cause it is, which
makes it cliche. I’m going in circles here.

So…I went and started being everything I knew I was. Now I’m awesome again. The end.

Not really. But really, after a while, (a long while, consisting of over consumption of alcohol, under consumption of food, and months of over analyzing and reflecting)I realized she wasn’t really talking about me, not the real me. She couldn’t be, and finally, I understood that it didn’t matter that much anyway. What mattered was that she didn’t and couldn’t see me at all. She had no idea who I was or who I wanted to become, and had no interest in finding out.

That brings me to now. Why on earth am I still thinking about this and her and what impact she made blah blah blah. Who cares already?

I do. All of it matters. She was a kind of backhanded motivation after all. Applause. The applause are for me. Whatever the motivation, positive or negative, (and we’ve already seen that it was quite on the negative side of the spectrum) I have fully come back to myself. I am me, the me who pushes herself, who is adventurous, fearless, and fierce. I am who I want to be, and all the tasks on my plate are of my choosing. Now, passion is a conscious choice. It’s where my groove is. It’s my jam. It’s making choices one after another to do the things that matter. It’s me, being fully present in every moment possible. It’s who I’ve always been.

Yeah, so maybe we all need a break sometimes, me included. But for me, I know that break will only be long enough for me to reflect and refuel. Then, it’s up and at ’em. There’s lots of life to be lived, and only so much time to live it. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself in my 37 years, it’s that I’m passionate about life, all of it.

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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.

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?

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. 🙂