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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tonight.

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?”
“Me”

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

 

Sorry for the things I said when I was drunk.

I don’t know why I say the things I do. Or if I mean them to begin with. The little green monster comes out to throw everything upside down. Throw salt on all the wounds, to feel bitterness through the sweet. Sometimes I just want to say sorry for the words that slur out wrong. The words that come out in anger instead of love. I wouldn’t be so bold if it wasn’t for things beyond my control. Wouldn’t be so bold if it wasn’t for every last sip of this never ending cup. Its the liquid courage that makes me so courageous. The magic feather of bravery inside every bottle, can, or glass.

How much of what I say is really how I feel inside. How much of what I think is based off of ignorant bliss, hidden inside every tall can or glass. I cannot be this crazy. I cannot be this truly hurt. I cannot be so brave in my skin when I am frightened by my actions. If I mean what I say, what does it mean when I’ve had a helping hand at this.

I don’t mean everything I say, do I?
Not every word of it.
Maybe I do.

I can’t help but feel slightly embarrassed by my actions. A simple drink can turn to three or four, and you find yourself telling secrets to people you shouldn’t. Sometimes I don’t want to keep so many secrets. Sometimes I just want to write them all down for everyone to see. I want to say “I miss you” when I can’t bring myself that sense of honesty. With this drink I feel a powerless power. A sense of normalcy amongst all the crazy conservative feelings. I could do anything, say anything, and yet, I find myself wishing that I hadn’t. I don’t like the way my drink tastes so bitter with my own sour thoughts. Yet, I polish off this drink and beg for more just like it.

You don’t realize how much you drink until you stop.  You don’t realize what you’ve said until the flashbacks come back to haunt you. Nostalgia has a funny way of coming back to remind you of things you’ve long forgotten. In a familiar song, in a familiar scent, in a familiar drink, as you watch yourself continue to drink to forget. But I never forget. Everything always comes back, right after I said it wouldn’t hurt anymore. I watch my demeanor change from bad to worse. Watching how my speech changes and watch how easier the words go from my tongue to my lips. Its my actions I want to reconsider, its my words I want to forget. Its everything I’ve said that I can’t help but apologize for. We all want to be accountable for our actions. We all wish we could take back all the nasty things we’ve said.

Maybe I truly am sorry for all the things I have said when I was drunk. In the end what I have said will finally set me free. Allow me to be less bitter, allow me to be less hateful, allow me to stop being such a fucking bitch. Liquor doesn’t make monsters, it just helps the monsters be more vicious. I am tired of being a monster. I dedicate this last drink to you. This last moment, this last taste, everything. I am sorry if I have ever hurt you. I am sorry if I said any nasty things about you. Above all, I am sorry if I was never sorry to begin with.

I am sorry. I truly am.

12.13.2009

 

His name starts with a…

Patience is a virtue.

So I’ve heard.

Everyone is in a rush to get their lives started that they often forget to live in the moment. We rush to grow up that we forget to have a childhood. We rush to jump start a career and forget to live our lives. We jump through hoops, take shortcuts, all for this impatience to see what the future holds for us. I know how that goes all too well. I find myself fixated with this idea of who I am going to be 5 years from now, that I forget to focus on this person in my present. I am looking toward the future instead of focusing on my present. Looking ahead and not seeing whats in front of me. I am guilty, I am aware of that. Every once in a while I like to poke fun at myself and my impatience. I start looking toward the universe to give me a sign of whats to come. I look into superstitions. I look into signs. I basically look into every aspect of the supernatural to get a tiny glimpse of what is coming toward me in the near future. Deja vu is real people! Coincidences don’t just happen! There’s a meaning and explanation behind everything. Because of my impatience toward the future, I tend to put my amusement and sometimes trust into things I normally shouldn’t. Whats the harm that can happen right?

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I have always been fascinated by people’s ability to sense emotions. This unseen way to read people. I know it sounds crazy but stories have to come from some aspect of truth. Which is what drew me to the allure of seeing a Psychic. That and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (even though she was bogus). Sure a lot of what they say is just things you want to hear. Personal growth, moving from the past, and finding the trigger that makes you feel something. I am not saying that all of it is bogus. If you go into it all in good fun, you leave just with what you needed. Psychics/Spiritual Advisors/Readers/Prophets, whatever they are calling themselves these days, I’ve seen them all. The first psychic I saw was in a fair the summer of 2000. No big deal, $5 dollars for a palm reading. Whats the worst that can happen? I went into it all in good fun. To humor myself, it can’t be that bad. The reading produced a lot of the same generic answers: “You will move to a big city”, “you will make lots of money”, “you will meet the man of your dreams”, etc.  Of course at 17, I was extremely gullible. I was moving to a big city. I wanted to make lots of money and of course I wanted to meet the man of my dreams! After paying $5 dollars for a palm reading and another $20 dollars for a crystal (that would attract the man of my dreams), I was hooked. It’s all in good fun right? Just an entertainment to cure my nerves of the upcoming future. Months passed and I was hooked. I started believing in signs. Believing things were coming to me, I just had to be patient. The future showed all the great things to come, I just have to wait for it.

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For the next 15 years, I’ve had my palm, cards, shells, and aura read. Always going into the situation with a grain of salt. I shouldn’t believe these things. I shouldn’t put any power behind what I am looking into. Then a crazy coincidence would happen, that I would count as a sign. A silver lining development into what I have heard. Maybe it was the positivity they give you after a reading. This rush you feel, that you could do anything. Every reading comes with a disclaimer good or bad, its what the stars have in-store for you. How does someone not feel suckered into that? Its what I took away from the readings, good or bad. For better or worse. Whether it was something that I needed to hear or something that I needed clarification on. Sometimes we need a little push to get our gears in motion. Sometimes we need a little clarification on things that are troubling in our heart. So I went against my better judgement and looked to signs, the universe, and waiting for things to happen. I knew what I was getting into. I knew with every reading a piece of myself stayed there. That I would move to bigger cities. Live by elements of water. Find everything I was looking for once I started looking for it. Then in 6 months life would change once I started living it. That a few years from now, my situation would change and I would ease into my new transitions. Truth is I loved hearing about the future. I loved it so much that I dragged my feet in my present because I knew my future was gonna be amazing. 15 years later, I am 30 and broke, still waiting on these signs that the future its going to be swell. I wanted this reassurance of the future. This pat on the back that everything was going to be okay. I needed a complete stranger that I paid to tell me things about myself that I already knew. I needed someone to save me from this feeling of failure and tell me that good things were just around the corner.

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Truth of the matter is life changes in 6 months. Good or bad. People have the capacity of change from days to weeks from where we started. While I loved humoring myself with this supernatural hocus pocus, none of it was really real. The signs are everywhere, you just have to give everything a shot and do things yourself. You’re not the same person you were 6 months ago and 5 years from today who knows where you’ll be. I was so fixated on the idea that I needed to know who I am going to be, instead of preparing myself for who I wanted to be. It’s all in good fun and what I have learned from seeing all these different types of people is to remain positive about the future, good or bad. Go into life like you go into the psychic, all in good fun and with an open mind. Life isn’t suppose to be perfect, it isn’t suppose to be easy. While I don’t know where I’ll be 5 years from now, I just have to focus on the person I can be tomorrow. The last psychic I saw told me that 3 months from now my life was going to change. She was right. 3 months from now, my life will change. And like all the others I won’t be the same person I was yesterday or 3 months from now. But I don’t need a psychic to tell me things I already know about myself.

In the event any psychic are wondering, his name doesn’t start with a “J”.

I’m single. Thank you.

Mean.

Anger has a way of eating away at your insides when you’ve been hurt. It cuts away at every positive vibe you’re feeling. Taking away every civilized thought you could possibly think of. The more it boils inside of you, the more upset you become. You start picking up your ammo, ready to fire your shots with every possible thought you could ever think of. Because I know all your secrets and I see through all your lies. I know everything about you to use everything against you.

I could cut you down to size, if I wanted to. I could spew out every ill will feeling, if I wanted to. I could hurt you with just 4 words that would spin your whole head around, if I wanted to. Because I know every deep dark secret. I know everything that nobody else knows. I could hurt you and watch your world crumble to the ground, if I wanted too. You’ve lead me no choice but to hurt you as you have done to me. Point out all your flaws and break your heart into two. Words can be just words, but even words can cut you to the core. Words can find a way to hurt you without drawing out your fists. Hurting you would show your weakness and pain, and trust me I want to hurt you. Hurting you would show you how it feels to be me.

None of that would make me feel better, it would only make everything feel worse. I once believed that to defend yourself, you had to hurt somebody. Hurt somebody that they felt it deep down to the core. All I’ve ever wanted was to show people how much they have hurt me. To show them that words aren’t always just words. Words are the ammo that they shoot out to their targets and rip them apart. When people hurt they do everything in their power to harness that hurt onto anyone they come across. Everyone is the enemy when you’re hurt. To justify the pain, you hurt everyone that you come in contact with. Innocent bystanders have no chance against you in your quest to express your pain. Its the pain your want to get rid of, the pain thats eating away at your soul.

I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to hurt. As much as it pains me to be this hurt, I can’t push this emotion on someone else. I know all your secrets. I know all your lies. I know everything that can hurt you and make you stop in your tracks. But I won’t use that against you. I won’t allow myself to stoop down at your level. Because eventually your pain will be your downfall. Eventually everything that you spew out to hurt people, will one day come back to haunt you. No one deserves this pain, not even you. But I won’t use this hurt as ammo to shoot at you. I won’t use this pain as a blueprint to destroy you. Instead I will overcome all this pain and manifest it into something else. You can’t hurt me anymore and one day you will give up the ghost of all this pain. Being mean doesn’t solve anything, it only makes you into a monster of yourself. You’re better than that.

I won’t hurt you with words. I won’t hurt you at all. Instead I’ll live inside this hurt and find a way to love. Because love is bigger than any mean ill feeling you could ever think of. I am bigger than this, just wish you could be too.

8/23/2010

Before they turn the lights out.

There’s always a moment where your life seems to change. You don’t believe it at first. Maybe after all the years of being in darkness, you finally get a glimpse of the light. Anything to break you from this broken feeling of yesterday. It happens in an instant and before you know it, something inside of you clicks. In a moment it changes. In that moment you don’t want to disappear you just want to draw yourself closer to the light. It sounds crazy but the moment you feel it, is the moment that your world opens up differently.

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There was always this part of me that wanted to believe this broken feeling would last forever. That I would use this feeling as a badge of honor, that I lived through the bullshit of prior relationships. People always said that one day it would be over and still I refused to believe it. When you’re ready, you will know it. You will feel it in your bones and the past will just be a memory. I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to live in this bitterness and hopelessness. Just use every aspect of this hurt to shield away every part of myself. They say when you know, you’ll know. It’ll hit you when you least expect it. Hit you straight into your heart and flow through your blood stream. I knew it the moment you stepped into the room. It was at that moment that everything I felt from the past disappeared. In the moment that I saw you, I knew that everything was going to change. Even if it was just for a moment.

We don’t have forever
Ooh, baby daylight’s wasting

I didn’t have to know you, but for a moment I knew everything about you. In some cosmic soul racing against time, I knew everything. There are moments you want to capture in slow motion and I found myself doing just that. It wasn’t love, it wasn’t a crush, but it was something. If there was a way to explain it, I would formulate the words to describe that night. Sadly, I can’t. Just as easy as night falls the day light started coming up. We could have wished for more time, took more time to see things as we saw them. It would have ruined the moment. It would have taken apart every first to last look and time would have ran away faster. I couldn’t blame feelings on the drinks, I couldn’t blame how I felt on the bewitching lights of the city. For that moment I forgot what it was like to feel broken. Forgot who I had been before for a chance to change it all around for the night. All of my mistakes of yesterday vanished the moment I locked eyes with someone completely different from my past.

Emotions change over time. People we think we are in the night are different once the lights come back. As we hide our shells in the dark, turning the lights out only made it easier to hide ourselves. I’d be selfish to ask for something out of nothing. I’d be crazy to think that what I felt was love or anything like it. For the first time, I didn’t cry when songs came on. I didn’t remember the past scars and placements they held on my skin. It was in that one moment, I felt something change. All the bricks that had been thrown onto my heart, were finally coming down. Through the crowds of people, I finally saw someone as I wanted to see myself. In that brief moment, anything was possible. I’d be a fool to say that it would last forever. I knew it we were just moments away from the lights coming back on. Moments away from reality and our dreams turning to dust.

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I’d like to believe somewhere between the streets, that our souls are running through the sidewalks and in between the streets. That our souls found a way to be trapped in the night beneath the lights. Everything was darker and brighter with the street lights and the stars. Emotionally dimming in their own night settings. I’d give anything to return to that moment. Moments that seemed to last forever and trapped in a time and place. But as most things vanish, you did just the same. Just as the lights went out. Thats how life happens, bringing people to help you place the last fragments of your broken pieces into place. Its what you did and for that I could never feel anything more than I felt that night.

Before they turn the lights out.

9/6/2013

Liebster Award.

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Imagine my surprise when the lovely Jessica Lynn of Wildflowers for Brunch nominated me for a Liebster Award. Not only am I totally stoked and extremely honored, it made me feel downright special. I absolutely love reading Jessica’s twitter (we are totally twitter friends!) and her blog is equally amazing. If you don’t already follow her I highly suggest a follow to her blog/twitter!!!

The Liebster Award is a great way discover and give recognition to new blogs!

Here’s the deal, once nominated you must:

  • Write 11 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 5-11 bloggers for the Award
  • Answer 11 questions provided by the presenter, then write 11 questions for your nominees

 

11 Random Facts about Me:

1. My name is Martha Elizabeth. However I do not like my first name. Therefore I usually go by my middle name or my family name “Ellie”.  My oldest friends still call me by my first name but I cringe every time I hear that name.

2.  I drink more iced tea than humanly possible.

3.  My birthday is on Halloween. However I never celebrate Halloween. I’ve always celebrated my birthday first then Halloween second.

4. Baseball is one of my favorite sports. My favorite team is the Oakland Athletics. Yes, I do have baseball superstitions. Yes, they are real.

5. I have a weird connection with the number “5”. Its a number that always pops up randomly. Either my change will be in all 5’s or I’ll be at register 5, or just weird little occurrences with the number.

6. Being of Mexican descent, I am very picky about Mexican food.  I can’t eat just any where and anyone’s food.

7.  I have 5 tattoos. For personal reasons only 2 are visible and 3 are hidden.

8. I believe that if you do not like 90’s hip-hop & r&b, we cannot be friends.

9. I am a magazine hoarder. TRUST when I say, it’s bad

10.  Breakfast food is the best food. Especially waffles and pancakes. Yeah, I said it.

11.  I have a huge fear of being abandoned. Which is why I don’t camp or do anything with the outdoors. I’ve watched too many of those wilderness survival shows and that will not be happening to me!

 

Jessica’s Questions:

  1. If you were a tea, what flavor would you be? Is it wrong that I’ve actually thought of this? I would be Ginger Peach and I would be Iced. If you haven’t tried it before, it’s magical.
  2. What is the first song you ever fell in love with? “If I fell” by the Beatles. It brings back so many childhood memories.
  3. What book most accurately expresses your viewpoint on life? Mindy Kaling’s “Is everyone hanging out without me”.  It was like everything I was thinking put into print. Word for word.
  4. In one word, describe how 2014 is going so far. Relaxed. Its less chaotic, no drama, less bullshit, just spiritually in a better place.
  5. What is your favorite perfume scent? Marc Jacobs “Cotton”. I try not to use it often but honestly it’s one of the most cleanest and happiest scents
  6. Invent your ideal milkshake. What’s in it? Chocolate and peanut butter. Two of the best combinations ever.
  7. Are you a fox or a hedgehog? SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
  8. Which FRIENDS character are you? I used to believe Rachel until I started a complete re-watch of the series. Now I just think I’m the female Chandler.
  9. Describe your ideal lazy day.  Without a doubt have to be large consumptions of food, coffee, tea. Either reading a great book or watching all of my great films. That’s as lazy as I get.
  10. You get to re-invent the rainbow with seven colors of your choosing. What are they? it would definitely be just variations of the color green. Just a rainbow of ombre greens!!!
  11. What is your favorite Wes Anderson movie?  The Royal Tenenbaums. For many multiple reasons but mainly because of Margot Tenenbaum.

 

Now that I have answered, I would like to nominate the following:

Lily – I Want to be the Girl with the Most Cake

Hilda – 30 Into the Three-Oh

Nina – The European Redhead

Katzi – She Loves You and So do I

Crystal – Imakesht

 

These are my questions:

 

1. What is the last purchase you made?

2. What is your favorite article of clothing?

3. Is there anything you have left to accomplish before 2014 is over?

4. What is your current favorite album at the moment?

5. What is the one song that always reminds you that everything is going to be okay?

6. What and where is your favorite hometown hangout?

7. If you could give one piece of advice to people, what would it be?

8. Favorite quote that motivates you:

9. Who would you cast to play you in the movie of your life?

10. What is your guilty pleasure snack?

11. What is your favorite TV sitcom of the 90’s?

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the lovely Jessica! Do yourself a favor and head on over to her blog!!! http://www.wildflowersforbrunch.com.

To my favorite lovely people that I have nominated, have fun! Don’t forget to send me the link of your finished product 🙂