“Baby, I’m going on an airplane..”

.”..and I don’t know if I’ll be back again.”

It’s 12:17 am.

My flight leaves in the next 6 hours. It takes me an hour to get to the airport (traffic permitting). About the same to get through check-in, security, and head towards the gate.

My Mom always asks about weight limit for luggage. Seeing if I can squeeze another two pounds in my suitcase.

Una sueter para tu Tia. A sweater for your Aunt.
Una falda para tu Abuelita. A skirt for your Grandma.

A new toy for someone that just had a baby in the family. Don’t forget that each pile is for each family. She continues. I am lucky enough to fit an extra pair of shoes in my suitcase. She does this every time. If I am allowed to take three pieces of luggage, I’d take them full to the max, with a carry-on packed tight and personal bag. But all just two pounds below the weight limit. With all the restrictions there is to fly and each airline charging for luggage, I make it always two pounds below the weight limit. 1 suitcase per ticketed passenger and a small bag for carry-on.

All packed tightly.

Going to the mother country takes months of preparation. Figuring out dates, budgeting costs, meanwhile securing the best deal possible. Of course flights based on luggage allowances doesn’t hurt either. An extra cushion to bring something for someone you love. If the months prior of shopping for each family member hasn’t prepared us, its the extended family members as well. She does this without even flinching. If she had her last dollar on her and found something that reminded her of someone; she would buy it.

That’s my Mom. Always thinking of others.

Then you have the special requests. Various family members asking for items that are too expensive in their country but cheaper and easy to come by at home. Never giving you notice. Always when your bag is packed and you’re ready to go; that your whatsapp sends you an alert.

Hola, te puedo pedir un favor? Hello, can I ask you a favor?

Sometimes I want to throw my phone out the window. Why do you wait until 3 days before I leave?  When you’ve known for months I was coming. But still, I always oblige. It’s what my Mom does. It’s what I have always been taught.

I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been to Ross, Marshall’s, Target affiliate stores to prepare for this trip. Or the countless times we’ve been to the Segunda. Not including the countess times I’ve complained, begged, pleaded with my Mom to stop buying things. Nobody needs anything. They have more than enough. Remembering a Prima that just came back from the states and went on a fancy shopping excursion. Or mentioned about a family member that always cried about being broke, yet has money to vacation everywhere. I am always told to be quiet malagradecida, ungrateful.

It’s 12:37 am.

I’ve watched as she unpacks then repacks everything. Remembering a hidden shopping bag of items she had bought for my Abuelita. She’s had this suitcase packed the minute after I purchased my ticket. Confirming that it wasn’t as much stuff as last time. Tu Tia a ayudado mucho (Your Aunt has helped a lot), reassuring that every item had it’s reasons.

I am lucky if I could fit my own stuff in the suitcase. A pair of shoes, a book, something.

If it were up to me, I wouldn’t pack anything. Puros malagradecidos. No one ever says “Thank You” anymore. It’s as if they expect something every time the plane lands. Especially after the last time. Where everyone pointed a finger at my Mom, that she was the dramatic one. Too sensitive, too passionate, always wanting everything in her way. She’s been away for so long, she doesn’t understand how we do things here.

I remember thinking. You try living miles away from your mother. Not in another state where you’re just a bus or plane ride away. In another country, where you have to adapt to a new language and completely new customs. After the last time, I wondered what they think. Do we seem better off because we live in such a glamorous country? Because honestly, I don’t feel better off. Traveling back and forth isn’t easy with just a swipe of a credit card. Including when you have no money, including when you haven’t worked in a few months. But the glitz and glamour of gringolandia makes people believe otherwise.

I sit starting at the suitcase wondering if she remembers what I do. If that even matters to her. I harbor grudges. I become angry. If they only knew the things we have suffered here with no sense of family. If they only knew the things we have been through being miles away from people we could trust. But I am the ungrateful one? Malagradecida. I wish I could put everything back. Return everything. Get my Mom something she really deserves. Because she of all people deserves a suitcase full of everything she loves. Not them.

I remind my Mom about the many times our family members come to the states, without thinking twice about coming to visit. Using the pretext of shopping in bigger states, going to awesome theme parks, and how it’s just not easy for them to travel like its easy for us too.

How easy going to Vegas must be then the extra miles it would be to fly out to SFO. How silly of me an American to understand spending money in the most expensive country in the world.

My mom thinks of everyone. Even after they have yelled at her. After they have talked behind her back. After she spends a few days in silence after some new bullshit arises.

Remember this bag is for your Prima.
Don’t forget to tell your Abueilta, this sweater is for when she goes it temple..

I wish I had my mothers heart. Able to forgive people as easily as they have hurt you.

It’s 12:55 am.

I go over my flight itinerary, who’s going to pick me up, who I will hug first and what I am going to say when I see my family.

I know she’d rather go in my place. That I am in no position to be going anywhere with my current financial state. I should be home instead of boarding a plane and enjoying every moment being somewhere else.

I sit with anxiety and wonder what awaits me. Will I still be angry? Will I learn to forgive?

When I wake up I’ll forget everything. I will board the plane, sit in my assigned seat and watch the plane take off into the clouds toward Benito Juarez International. I’ll sit and fidget the 4 hours it takes to get there; wondering why I make this trip at all. I think about going back. Taking the trip back home and sitting in my miserable state.

It’s at that moment I wish my Mom came on this trip with me. How she would be sitting by the window, making her plan for the whole week. Going over ever last detail of the contents of the suitcase and how happy it will make everyone to see what they will receive. I think about how happy it makes her to see the people she cares about happy. How happy she was for me the minute I purchased my ticket; knowing I will be spending time with my Abuelita. It’s at that moment, I do feel like a malagradecida (ungrateful).

I shouldn’t be here. I need to stop being angry. I need to get over this feeling, just as my Mom does the moment she comes back home to the states. Because out of all the people in the world, she deserves to be going on this trip. She deserves to spend time with her Mami, my Abuelita. Not an ungrateful person that holds grudges such as myself.

I know the moment I land in Mexico, it will all be different. My attitude will change and my anxiety will lift away. The moment I see my Abuelita, every feeling I had will disappear. She deserves to be here where I stand, not me. But I promise to be grateful on this trip, just like she would want.

But I can’t help but wish she was here. Because she deserves to be here more than anyone. Not me.



A clove of Garlic on my window.

My Mom always had a thing with putting a clove of garlic on the window. As far back as I could remember, it was one of her little superstitions. Like having a glass of water by the bed before you sleep. Eating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The garlic clove on the window became her little quirk.

She had been doing the garlic thing for so long that when I was younger I believed all windows came with a clove of garlic. When I’d see a window without one, I’d assume the window was broken. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I understood it was one of her many superstitions.

“Para la mala vibra.”, she would say. For the bad vibes.

When you’re 15, you think anything your parents do is crazy. Everything they do is just weird, off, and super Mexican.

“Mom, you sound crazy. Who would want to give us bad vibes?”, I’d say.

“People. Not all people know the vibra they put out”, she’d respond.

Just another thing to add to the we are different pile. We mexicans are a rare breed of crazy. Superstitions, bad vibes, all of the cosmic universe hocus pocus.

We have a superstition for everything in my family:

Do the sign of the cross before you start a journey. To ensure your journey is blessed.
A St. Christopher medallion to ensure safe travels.
A glass of water by the bed, to trap the bad dreams.
Never place your purse on the floor, that way you will always have money.
A clove of garlic on the window to suck out the “mala vibra” before it enters your house.

I didn’t believe her at times. I didn’t want to. I refused to believe that anyone would want to harm us. Who could want to put out a crazy vibe like that? What would they gain? But I obliged her wishes. I wouldn’t mock or say anything. I just allowed her to work her brujeria  and hoped for the best in everything. Keeping a “buena vibra”, a good vibe going.

Two weeks ago, I had a crazy spell of insomnia. Something I have never experienced. My body would collapse on the bed but I couldn’t shut my mind off. I would find myself falling asleep only to wake up an hour later in a panic.

“Something is wrong. Something happened.”, I would think.

I would look out the window and see my street, black as night. For two weeks, I couldn’t get it together. I tried everything. I took baths with essential oils. I slept with lavender on my wrists. I would watch tv until my eyes felt heavy but nothing worked. I would have resorted to sleeping pills, had it not been my mother handing me 3 cloves of garlic.

“I’m sorry, mija. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t changed your garlic. Here, put this garlic on each of your windows”. She instructed.

I haven’t told her I hadn’t been sleeping. Just briefly in passing. I didn’t want her to think it was serious or that I needed to go to the doctor again. But somehow, without saying anything, she always knew.

I haven’t slept right in a few days. I find myself staring at the ceiling at night, praying to sleep. I hadn’t spoke to God in a long time and these past few days, I’ve been having long detailed conversations with Diosito. I refused to believe this is a coincidence. That this garlic clove is going to solve anything. It’s just a vegetable on my window. Everything has an explanation, a scientific answer. But I could hardly keep myself awake anymore. I wanted to cry from all this stupid exhaustion. I am not sure how much longer I can keep this going.

I replaced each clove of garlic, one clove for each of my windows. The first garlic looked like a raisin. Completely brown with the life sucked out of it. Nothing out of the ordinary, it’s how they usually look when my Mom changes them. I find myself doing exactly as she would do when she would change the garlic; saying a prayer to each garlic, something only she would understand. The second garlic started its stage of regrowth. Equipped with a sprout of life inside of itself. My mom always said when a garlic sprouts life, you have buena vibra, good vibes.

Upon replacing the second garlic, I didn’t understand why I had a third. The only rooms I occupy are taken care of, maybe she miscounted? Then I remembered that nothing my mother ever does is without reason. Handing me 3 garlic cloves for each of my windows, means something. I was too tired to ask her; another lecture of why we do this and what it’s for, etc. It wasn’t until I remembered the third window, that I remembered why the third clove. A window in a room that I don’t normally occupy. A room I only go into to throw miscellaneous items away. The room has always been too warm, too cluttered with objects, old relics of the past that I haven’t had the time to clear out. I never go in there, I tell myself. But it’s worth a shot.

I walked toward the window and see the shell of the garlic. I pick up the shell and start replacing the garlic. I say my final prayer, my wish.

“Please allow no harm to me and my family. Please protect us from negativity and harm from the outside world.”, I said.

I start walking toward the trash to throw away the last dried up clove. Upon inspecting it the clove started disintegrating to ash. As if the clove of garlic held on enough just to become a pile of dust. I didn’t know what to do. I just stood there, with the skin of the garlic and felt every emotion inside turn to dust.

“They can’t hurt me no more. They can’t hurt us anymore.”, I found myself saying.

I didn’t wanted to just throw it away in the trash. I wanted to rid myself of that “mala vibra”. I flushed the ash and the garlic skin in the toilet. Walked toward the sink to wash my hands from what happened. Its through that, that I felt a weight lift off my chest and completely off my shoulders.

Was this the reason why I stopped sleeping? Was this the reason of my insomnia? There’s a reason for everything, right?

I walked toward my bed, turned off the light, and covered myself with blankets. I didn’t have a chance to look toward the ceiling before falling into a complete deep sleep. It could just be coincidence. Just my body finally giving out and allowing me to sleep. But I tell you, I have never slept more soundly then I did that night.

Brujeria, superstition, or not, I will continue to change the garlic on my window. As long as it guarantees me a good night sleep.






Amor Eterno.

When I think of home I think of the music of my childhood. The music that blared every weekend morning before starting our day. The songs of Pedro Infante, the harmonies of Steve Wonder, and the tender voice of Juan Gabriel. There isn’t a memory that doesn’t include a song of Juan Gabriel. Every car ride to school and every family gathering. Even a distant memory of being in Mexico and seeing mariachis strumming the first chords of his songs, before belting out the beautifully tragic lyrics. A man with such a vibrancy for life; who captivated the world with his songs of love and heartbreak. We invited this man into our home to remind us of what we have. To remind ourselves to love, to embrace heartbreak but not give into it, and to understand we are never alone.

I can’t help but think of a lifetime of memories that his songs bring. Songs that we’ve all sung at family gatherings, birthday parties, and even sitting in your car thinking of the one person you told yourself you wouldn’t think about. Of all the songs that he has written, Amor Eterno is the one song I can’t help but grab my heart and cry. Crying for lost loves. Crying for people who have passed. Crying for people whom we miss and wish to have one more day with. Another day to say everything we needed to say that we couldn’t say when we needed too. Then the tears start to form at the corner of my eyes as soon as the strings start playing. I hear his voice so clearly. Dedicating the song to every mother, including his own whom he lost long ago. A loss he felt so deeply that her passing is immortalized into this song.

This song reminds me of a family who’s son passed away in route to Acapulco. Forever bringing to light the tears as soon as the line “El mas triste recuerdo de Acapulco” is sung. Of my strongest prima that never lets anything affect her and catching her singing the lyrics softly with tears in her eyes. Her own loss for words and deep profound love within her heart. I think of the countless times my Mami has skipped over this song because it reminds her of my Abuelita, her Mami. How much she misses her and no matter how many postcards and phone calls she makes, it is never the same as seeing her face to face. How I have seen her sing the same words over and over, and trying to hold back her own tears.

I can’t help but think of the the last time I saw my Abuelito. Looking out from his favorite window over looking the street below.  Then later holding his hand at the hospital in Mexico City and knowing this would be the last time. I feel myself breathe a little harder. This deep feeling in my chest as my heart begins to break. I think of my Tia who recently passed and a memory of her in her home filled with warmth and love. A home filled with all her relics and accomplishments. Every conversation I had with them, forever remembered and returning through this song. I think to myself, I should have tried harder to keep in touch. Let me have one more day to make amends.

Yo he sufrido tanto por tu ausencia,
Desde ese dia hasta hoy, no soy feliz.
Y aunque tengo tranquila mi consciencia,
Se que pude haber yo hecho mas por ti.

I sit in disbelief that a song with the simplest words and such a powerful melody could fill the spaces of your veins and tug at the heart. How no matter how many times you hear a song after that, this song will forever haunt you with memory. With a feeling of nostalgia and your only response is to think back at that memory. No matter how many times you want to stop the tears from forming, you can’t help yourself.

I hold myself tighter. Refusing to give into the song, even though I am watching as my surroundings become blurry. Slowly I lean into the melody. Into the words that I have found myself repeating before the next line. This aching lump in my throat when I try to sing. This pain. This sadness. This memory I have tried to forget. I sing louder as if these spirits could hear me. As if they held my hand and sang a long with me. This song overtakes all my emotions and I watch as one by one the tears start to fall. It’s been a long time since I have cried like this. A long time that I let this heartbreak be a reminder of how much I am missing. Because I miss them. With every inch of my heart that beats to the words of this song.

Its only until you have lived through the words of his songs, that JuanGa opens his arms out to you. And like a familiar friend, you outstretched your arms to this man. Taking comfort in his words, and sing a long to the melody. Forever I will be grateful for this man. Who opened his heart to the world and allowed us to take a part of his journey.

Even after the song plays out, I still cry out for one more day. I scream out how much I am hurting and missing, until my cheeks hurt from sobbing. Its been minutes since the song has stopped playing. I slowly start collecting myself and watch as I wipe away my tears and pick up the remaining pieces of my heart. Thank you, Juan Gabriel. Thank you for these cherished memories and for always feeling like home.

Obligo a que te olvide el pensamiento,
Pues siempre estoy pensando en el ayer.
Prefiero estar dormida que despierta
De tanto que me duele que no estes.


Self portrait with Chopped hair.


We grow our hair like weeds for people that will never love us. To later chop off all the dead weight, once they leave us. This time, I wanted to do the leaving. I wanted to cut the man at the source, and resort to every dramatic episode I could think of. Because it was never his choice. It was my choice, my decision, and it was my turn to leave this time.

If you cut your hair, I will leave you.

How I watched every strand of hair grow to the middle of my back. How happy he seemed as he ran his fingers through it, paid no mind to the person before him. It’s when I think I have him, that he leaves without notice. His ghost that trails behind then lingers once he leaves. It’s when I think I have won, that I have lost everything before me.

When you believe you love someone, you’ll fall for anything. Even something simple as leaving every strand of hair on your head, just as they like it. I loved him, from the deep parts of my soul, to every long strand of hair that fell across my back. I watched as my hair became my shield, my armor from the world. My way of hiding these feelings of doubts and worries. My hair continued to grow into a tangled, tousled, mess. I continued to listen to his threats, as empty as the love he gave me. No matter how long my hair grew, he never came back.

Frida Kahlo - Self Portrait with Cropped Hair - 1943

I wanted him back for all the superficial reasons I hated. I wanted to stop this numbing suffocated feeling of being alone that drugs nor alcohol could fill. My hair continued to grow and I continued to wait. He said I was perfect and to never change. If I cut my hair, he would only leave me. He would never come back. And I continued to wait. Until the weight of my hair became the weight of my worries. Until my hair became heavy, that I could no longer hold my head up to the sky. We do these foolish things for love but at what cost does it love us back? At what cost do people understand that we are people underneath all that hair? That our hair doesn’t make you love us any less. There were days I wanted to rip every strand from my head. Tear apart the existence of what I believed he wanted. Because for a brief moment I was perfect to you, don’t I ever think of changing.

I watch as the strands of hair fall to the ground. Inch by inch. The memories of you and the ghosts before you. If you cut your hair, I will leave you.  I try to keep myself composed. Hold the tears back. Love was never what held us together. The strands of dead hair that laid before my feet; bear witness to this change that comes over me. I am more exposed to the world without my shield. I am showing the world who I really am, beneath the hair.


When the final strand of hair falls, I will forget you. Someone will come in and sweep away the memories scattered on the floor. It won’t be me this time. For the first time, I have stopped listening to ghosts.



He was easy to talk too. Someone, I could come home too. Come home from a long day and talk about everything. He carried a charm about him, that I found myself enamored by things he would say. Every minute became easier to be around him.

Could he really be this charming? Or is it all the drinks I am consuming?

I didn’t love him. Maybe, if anything, I had tiny feelings for him. At this point, who don’t I have feelings for. I would have feelings for a lamp post, because it gave me light. But thats just who I am. I love people only to disappoint them in the end. If anything he just made me feel safe. Like I could be honest about everything without judgement. Some part of him would be familiar, as if I had felt these sentiments before. I just couldn’t pinpoint where.

“Stop looking at your phone. Everything you need is right here”

He didn’t mean it condescendingly. Some parts of it is a corny drunken slur. And yet, I believed him.

I don’t want to go home. As dark as it was at the Bar, I could have stayed here for hours. Maybe I did, I can’t remember. I found myself drinking this ache in my chest away. With every sip, I will cut you out of my heart.

Maybe not tonight.
Tonight, let’s just think of something else. Anything else.

With every sip of his beer, his words would slur into something more meaningful then the next.

I didn’t buy it at the time. At the time, I couldn’t think of anyone else but someone else. Someone I should have left in the dust of my memories. Someone I should never have brought with me in my new life here. The same person that made me check my phone dozens of times, instead of realizing “everything you need is right here”.

“That’s not what you’re looking for”
“What am I looking for then?”

I could have kissed him right there. In my drunken haze, in this dimly lit bar. I could have.

But I didn’t.

No amount of drinks will rid the person that hurt you out of your heart. No matter how many boys you kiss, its not going to take the taste of his lips away. No matter how many times I cut myself, its never going to get him out from under my skin.

I feel stupid drowning out my sadness with someone else, thinking about someone else.

Everything I need is right here.

And I know better now.

Burbank, CA 2009


Do me a favor and don’t reply.

He wasn’t a character I normally liked. Then again, I fall in love with people so fast it’s almost a joke. A slight change in the weather, a smile in September; before I know it, I am hooked.

I knew it wasn’t love, it was nothing like it. He had a way of making butterflies flutter out of the dark caves of my soul, and I liked it. I had closed myself off of male attention for so long, that any attention made my heart skip a beat. The more I tried to place him, the further he would get away. I wait too long for people that don’t exist. He was no exception. When you wait too long for things to happen, you start making up stories in your mind. Maybe thats what this all was. My crazy mind getting the best of me.

I am crazy. I am absolutely crazy. I know nothing about him, but I can’t stop thinking about him.  This is how crazy people think, right? This is how it starts when your mind starts to go? I can’t stop myself. I find myself jumping right back in, after I promised myself I would keep myself 10 steps back. Here I am standing on the ledge between reality and make believe. I am a rational person. I am crazy but I am not bat-shit crazy. I know the difference between whats right and whats completely stupid/foolish/wrong for me?

Here I am standing in front of the man that could possible change my whole life. The man that ignited the spark after the years of broken solitude and sadness.

I can’t help but look at him.

Boy, is he something. It was a spark, a break in the melody that I would die to hear on constant repeat. A drum beat that kept my heart in constant motion.

I should have known better. Should have seen all the red flags, paid absolute attention to all the signs, but I didn’t. You never know who you will open yourself up too. Never know who your heart will decide gets the keeping. I am crazy to think that stupid sparks mean something. Including when everything feels one sided.

I always end up the girl in the pretty dress that cries at the end of the story. The girl that makes up all these weird scenarios of “what if” and breaks her own foolish heart in the end.

But maybe this was different.

I mean. Why else did he keep coming back?

“I just need to be alone for a while”

Of course he does. He wants to put an end to the narrative that hasn’t even started. Everybody needs to be alone for a while. But nobody really wants to be alone, right?

I feel myself screaming on the inside.

“Give me a chance. Choose me! Look at me!”

Now I am sitting in the pretty dress, wondering what I did wrong. If I did anything wrong at all. If my crazy fucked up mind got the best of my reality.

Why is it when shit starts to get real, men just want to back track. Like they weren’t hitting you up at all hours of the night. Like they weren’t asking all these personal questions, pretending to be invested. Only to need to be alone.

“You understand what I mean right? You’re alone”


I seem to bring that out of men. This breath of honesty that men can’t help but exhale out, and I can’t help but inhale in. He just happened to be no exception. It becomes natural for men to be so brutally honest with me, like we are the best of friends. That talking with me is like talking with one of their bros. I wonder if thats what they think of me. Just one of their bros, their friends, their buddies. After a while, I don’t know who to blame anymore. Is it my fault for being quiet about how I feel? Or their fault for assuming I am no different then they are.

Its been months since we’ve talked but I couldn’t rid him from my brain. I keep replaying the same image of us. Me the dreamer, him the realist. Me, believing that he would see through my armor. He, just feeling this need to be alone. I knew it was a lost cause. I knew deep down inside that everything was a no-go. But curiosity got the best of me. Because why are people that are not meant to be together, keep coming back together again. Even if it means nothing, why did the spark hit me like a lightening bolt?

It had to mean something.

Then the water works start to form. I become the girl I have come to know and fear and hate and just can’t stop myself from becoming. What in the fuck is wrong with me that men feel the need to be alone to find themselves. That I am some sort of stop on the way to their destiny. Are they aware that the manic-pixie dream girl died for men years ago; that we as females can be the heroes of our own story??

I don’t want to be the girl that got away.
I don’t want to be the girl you marry at the end of the day.
What in the fuck is wrong with the “right now”?

This “alone” time ends up being everyone else but me.

I start seeing images of him with someone new, every few weeks. I am not a factor in his mind until it doesn’t work out. Then like clockwork, he comes back. Maybe a second look would do the trick. Maybe, I am what they want in the long run, but just not right now. Not right away.

Meanwhile I sit here, miserable. Asking myself, what did I do wrong?

Everybody wants everybody else.
Someone prettier with their shit together.
Someone thinner.
Someone imperfectly perfect to their own liking.
Is it too much to want the same thing everyone else wants?

Seriously, why the fuck not me?

Yeah you go ahead, be by yourself.

Me too, dude. Me too.

Oakland, CA. 2013

Shake it out.


I should have written this a long time ago. The minute my heart changed, and we went our separate ways. Like a broken record, I yearn for the tragic melodies of yesterday. The pain that cuts you straight down to the core. Bleeding through your veins and making your heart beat faster. I love the hurt, I need the pain. This sick desire for self destruction never leaves. But at this moment it has started to escape me.

You can take everything you want from this. Every letter, every word, every sentence, every verb. Everything. Let it manifest itself into what you want to believe. Because if I cared even an ounce about you, I wouldn’t feel the need to rid myself of you.

I do not break for you.
I do not cry for you.
I do not love who or what I believed you were.

You’re the needle that scratches my record player, wanting to hear only my favorite song. At this moment, everything sounds differently now. Even you look different now. The past always stays in the past, no matter how many times a ghost haunts you. The ghost lingers then drifts away, just around the same time the melody ends. Ending with the memories, ending with the sadness and all the tears.

Its through this pain that I thought a million things about you.

I thought I loved you.
I thought I missed you.
I thought I would self-destruct without you.

Thinking only leads to dreams that never truly existed. An end to our story. Waking from the blissful dreams into our badly lit reality. Its then we find ourselves back at the start. Back to the beginning.

Scratch that.

We can’t take things back to the start. We have maxed out our ideas of new beginnings. What’s done is done and every girl after me is just filler space. Because men like you hate the voided vacancy of present tense.

I will shake you out from underneath my skin. Out from every inch of my bones, into the dusty mist where you belong. Because I am doing just fine without you. Every night is another night to forget you. I watch as memories turn to dust and leave behind all these scattered thoughts about you.

I am doing just fine.
I am doing just fine.
Just you wait and see.


It doesn’t hurt, I am okay.
No duele.

Jump to your feet.
Dust yourself off.
Pretend it doesn’t hurt.  While the tears are forming at the corners of my eyes.

No duele. No pasa nada.
It doesn’t hurt, everything will be okay.

Be strong. Fuerte. I am bigger than my cuts and my scrapes. Bigger then my falls and failures. Bigger then the embarrassment of the hurt I feel inside.

It doesn’t hurt, no duele.

It hurts. Straight to the core. In the deeper depths of my soul. I could paint the wound any color, but it never stops hurting. How strong am I suppose to be? How strong am I suppose to allow the world to see?

Levantate. No pasa nada. Pero todo duele.

Everything hurts. From my skin to my bones to the very depths of my soul. I have been programmed to make every scrape disappear. Every broken blood vessel nonexistent. But it hurts. It hurts every inch of my skin and I am too afraid to say so. I was brought up to believe that if you can’t see pain, the pain doesn’t exist. Cover up every cut, bandage every bruise and broken bone. If it’s not there, it doesn’t exist.

I will lie through my teeth. Clinching my fists to stop the tears from forming.

It doesn’t hurt.
It doesn’t hurt.
It doesn’t hurt anymore.

No duele tanto. Pero, duele suficiente.


Somos Mas Americanos.

Me gritaron mil veces que me regrese
A mi tierra por que aqui no quepo yo,
Quiero recordarle al gringo yo no
Cruce la frontera la frontera me cruzo.

To the man in the expensive suit, who thinks he knows my story. Who has walked a mile in my shoes. Worked the jobs that I have with the variety of diverse people I have known. Whose idea of hard work is barking orders and instilling fear into his colleagues to do his own job.  You do not know me, you do not know my story. You haven’t experienced my failures nor my struggles. You look straight into my vulnerabilities and believe you know everything about me. Everything you say is right, everything I do is wrong.

To the man who has told me to not speak my native tongue. Who has bullied my family, my friends, my peers for speaking in the tongue that comes naturally to them. Who has made speaking a foreign language  a burden more than a blessing. What gives you the right to judge a person by the language they speak? Who are you to create a burden of a language barrier, because you fear change. My language has nothing to do with you. My language is my way of communicating with my peers, my friends, my family, and in no way is it threatening or offensive. You have no right to take that privilege from anyone.

To the man in the expensive suit who believes that screaming out scare tactics will get a point across. That fear and hate will drive a wedge between my past and my present. Who believes building walls will separate ignorance from fear. Your fears are becoming more juvenile then a toddler’s tantrum, and I just won’t stand for it.  You are nothing more than a boy that cried wolf. Screaming every single one of your ignorant fears to anyone and everyone that will listen. People are listening, but they are also ready to stand up for what they believe in. No amount of screaming and crying will stop the truth from coming through. The truth always comes out.

To the man who has told me to go back to my home country. For I am a criminal, a trouble maker, a hoodlum, on the basis of my race and last name. This is my country. This is my home. I was born here, 33 years ago and you cannot take that away from me. You cannot take away the struggles my parents have gone through to have a better life. Do you think it’s easy to leave everything that’s familiar to you? Do you believe it’s easy to move miles away from your home country, to learn a new language completely foreign to you? Do you understand whats its like to speak a tongue completely foreign to you, to have native speakers looking at you as if you are slow or stupid? I have worked hard to prove who I am to far more fearful people then yourself. You will never know the struggle to have to prove to multiple people that you are more than your last name. More than your struggles and your failures, without having to use scare tactics to get a point across.  I look at you in your expensive suits, driving your expensive cars and expressing your hateful rants. Your dream of making America great again. The same man who is a by product of living an american dream. Whose family is a product of immigrants who fought hard to obtain their status and dreams reality. The same dreams we share. I would gladly go back to my home country, because my home country is here in the United States of America and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The American dream is the ultimate underdog story, based on immigrants of all different races. People who have done everything in their power to make a life for themselves regardless of circumstances and setbacks. Neither of us is perfect but we all strive for the same dream; to make a better life given the circumstances we have been raised in. I am proud to be an American, but I am also proud of my roots that grow deep into the Mexican soil. The same soil that raised my parents into the hardest working people I know. No man can ever take that away from them. No man can ever take that away from anyone. You cannot scare a spirit that has been broken before. You cannot take away our past because you are fearful of the future.

So I say, to the man in the expensive suit, who is a by product of living the american dream. Whose own family is a product of different nationalities. Are we not the same instead of different? Don’t we all deserve the same right? Are we not all americans in our own right and reason?

Piénsalo, Mijo. I am sure you would realize that in the end, we are not so different after all.


…Somos mas americanos que
Todititos los gringos.



Hotel Chelsea.


She was easy to lie to. I don’t know why I did it, but I found myself lying to her a million times. It never phased me that it was wrong. The way I figured, I was protecting her from something.

I have learned that with people, if you tell a person everything, they will use everything against you. All your secrets, all your dreams, everything. I loved being secretive, being able to keep something for myself. She just never understood that, instead I was a liar. I defied everything she stood for. I led her to believe I was someone else, when I wasn’t. I did this to myself, this I know. I lied, I made myself into a different person for different people, and often forgot who I was. When you make a mockery of yourself, you become the caricature you create instead of yourself. Just a fragment of a person you’re suppose to be. With her I only gave her a fraction of who I was. I could never be myself around her and she was my best friend.

It had been years since we had actually been friends to each other. We were more like acquaintances that tolerated each other. We lied to each other constantly, that it felt like nothing at times. She could lie about everything, but no matter what I did, I was always the liar. I found myself distancing from her. Becoming my own person with my own life and voice. Maybe it was all the lies we told each other. Or maybe we were just finally growing apart from each other.

We had gone to New York before. We made up stories of living in different boroughs and meeting in the middle. Talking hours about our dreams and made up lives of the future. Childish dreams that never came true. Every time we stepped off the plane, we had different experiences. She craved this indie celebrity that came with the internet world, and I just wanted to be a complete nomad. I wanted to hide from the world underneath every skyscraper, write in a million notebooks from tiny hole-in-the-wall cafes. Anything to get away from the boring and mundane of my tiny hometown.

We may not have agreed about a lot of things, but the one thing we could agree on was New York, and The Hotel Chelsea.

My apartment in LA, held photos of my New York.
A New York she never knew.
A New York she never saw.
A New York that she had never seen with me.
Where we weren’t looking up 5 star reviews.
Where we weren’t seeing who ate where.
A New York that felt New York to me.

During a visit is when she asked me about those photos, I lied. Those photos weren’t mine. I had never been there, I could never go without her. When talks came about the Chelsea, as she held a photograph of the Hotel, I told her I had never been.


I should have been honest. I should have said everything I felt at that very minute. I don’t know why I did that. As she stood there looking carefully at each photograph, I couldn’t help but continue this stream of lies. Something inside made me believe that had I told her, it would just break her heart into a million pieces. This fear of missing out before it became the moniker “FOMO”. We were suppose to do everything together. We were suppose to share our hopes and dreams, and here I was defying those thoughts.

For all she knew, The Hotel Chelsea was her thing. New York was her thing. Even if we shared the same hopes and dreams, it was always her ideas. Her wishes, her dreams, and everything I loved came in at second. She would speak enthusiastically about things I had already heard about. Films, I had seen a decade prior. Bands I had known about for years, songs I had heard weeks before she did. She would make these elaborate mixes of bands I had heard, and bands I had never heard of. Sometimes she would play songs I had heard weeks before she did. If I made a mention of liking any of the bands or any of the songs, she would complain that I copied her, that I was being her. All of the lying had made me into someone else.  I had lied to her multiple times that I didn’t have the heart to explain. Every thing was her thing. From the men she loved, to the people she obsessed over. If I spoke up about anything, I was her carbon copy. How could I, a person of my stature know these things? My character was making her believe what she wanted to believe.

I was ready to move on and grow up. To pack my bags and leave to bigger cities. To fall in love with people that I didn’t make up in my mind. But I waited for her. While she was afraid of being alone and paralyzed by self doubt, that she locked herself into her room and dreamed about life in a big city.

“New York could save me. The Chelsea will save me.” she’d say.

I couldn’t help but feel the same way too. As if she had taken the words out of my heart and spoke them out into the universe. This idea that a big frightening city could change everything. But all of it was just a dream, and reality was living in cities closer to home with people who made us feel at home.

I wasn’t allowed to go to the hotel without her, let alone New York City. It was an unspoken, unwritten word, among our friendship that we wouldn’t go without each other. I would watch the months go by and realize I was waiting for the dreams we shared to start. Start over as different people in a completely different city. I was waiting as the days came and went, as each year we toasted to the future. Every birthday card lined with false illusions of what our future would be. She was the star and I was the assistant. She pulled the stings and I made the things happen.

Still I waited.

I knew it was wrong. I was becoming the fraud, a mere caricature of myself.

The photographs scattered around the apartment were mine. Had she been someone else, I would have recounted all the stories. With her, I didn’t have the heart to tell her anything. That every inch of the hotel I wanted to keep for myself. That I still had tiny shampoo bottles hidden in my dresser drawers, underneath the ticket stubs of our scattered youth. I wanted to keep this New York for myself, my story. I have waited for my life to start that I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to keep that part of New York in my story. Keep every inch of the hotel for myself. It was just another lie, amongst all the other lies I’ve told. Lies about everything. Hide every inch of the hotel’s memory deep within the confines of my apartment. Even through the lies we couldn’t hide from our reality. The truth was we were growing up and growing apart, and neither of us had the guts to tell each other.

I was the liar. I was the carbon copy. Because someone like me, should never know the greatness of the Chelsea Hotel. I should have never grown up with stories of artists being inspired by that very hotel. A hotel so grand and majestic, with it’s ghosts trapped inside every inch, crack, and scratch. I never understood how lost I felt, until I walked the hallways of the Chelsea. How sitting on window sills, looking down at the lights of the city, made you crave warmth from people. How cold February nights made you wish for people that no longer existed. How being deep inside the bones of a hotel can play tricks on your mind and your soul.

She would never understand. How my needs of comfort and growth, could ever surpass her loneliness and self doubt.

I grabbed my camera and took photos of every inch of that hotel. The famous stairwell, the beautiful bohemian art, the beautiful architecture of the building, everything. I wanted more than just a mental memory. I wanted something to look back on. Something that was mine. A memory of sitting in an empty bath tub and crying over boys that break hearts and friendships that are going no where. This fear of growing up and being everything that I hated. Realizing that adulthood is frightening and sometimes, you have to fly halfway across from the familiar to find yourself.

I could never explain to her, how I slept with the big thick drapes of the hotel shut and wanted to breathe it all in. Breathe the hotel deep into my lungs and take a piece of that hotel everywhere I went. How haunted it felt in my soul, and how I left a part of myself in that hotel and still want it back. People are so afraid of missing out that they forget, we are all missing something too. Sometimes you need to fly across the country, on a weekend where it’s suppose to be about love, and cry in the tub of a dusty hotel.

I was a liar. For the first time I didn’t care. I felt no sincerity in apologizing in my life. She would never understand, like she never truly understood me. Because in the end our friendship was nothing more than two people lying about who they really were.

I found everything I was looking for at the Hotel Chelsea, and I’ll never be alone.


Los Angeles, CA. 2009