superstitions

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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12 Uvas de Ano Nuevo. 12 Grapes for New Year.

 

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12 Grapes of Destiny. SIKE. 12 Grapes/Uvas of the New Year. 2015

 

Every New Year’s Eve, it is customary in my household that we eat the 12 grapes of destiny at precisely 12am. Okay, they’re not reallllly called the 12 grapes of destiny. It’s basically an old superstition, that after consuming the 12 grapes (that represent each month of the year), that you make a wish for each grape (month). It is to ensure good luck into the upcoming year, along with many other superstitions. It’s a practice that we as a family have been doing for years.

While I am all for superstitions, I never really gave much thought to them. Most of my wishes always seemed far fetched. Just something to pass the time before everyone cheered to the new year.  Some realistic, some outrageous, and some just the same thing I ask every year. This year I wanted things to be different. I always had resolutions but wishes always seemed to run along the lines of Unicorns and Wizards (which are both AWESOME). While 2014 was my year of change (which I will get into on another post), 2015 is going to be the year of progress and productivity. It is rather cliché to say anything about resolutions but wishes?

Wishes are boss and I’m going to talk about what I wish for in the upcoming 12 months.

1. Travel.

Travel is always number 1 on my wish list. I believe travelling is one of the greatest experiences anyone can do in their lifetime.  It’s no surprise that I love to travel. In 2014 alone, I travelled to a few more places that I never imagined I would visit. Of course I visited my same sacred haunts but experiencing different places is always magical to me. Everyone needs to travel some place completely different and my wish for 2015 is to travel to different far off destinations. There is so much of the world that I want to explore and so many experiences I could only dream of discovering.

2. Get out of my Comfort zone. Try new things.

I am a creature of habit with a minor in insecurities. I have a tendency of doing only the things that won’t cause me any stress or anxiety. It’s really hard at times to get out of my comfort zone, when my comfort zone is very comfy. Over the course of 2014, I slowly started dipping my toes out of my comfort zone. I don’t mind trying new things but I’m so used to my routine that I never stray away from it. 2015 will be the year of trying new things and putting a full foot out of my comfort zone.

3. Stop making Excuses.

Here’s the thing. I make an excuse for everything. I’m good at making excuses. If you need help getting out of any situation, call me and I will make up an excuse for you.  It’s just what I do to get out of anything. It’s absolutely terrible but I can’t help myself but do it. For the past couple of years I have made excuses for everything, this year 2015, it stops. I’m tired of making up excuses. I am tired of delaying progress. This is the year that things happen, instead of making an excuse as to why it didn’t happen.

4. Be Healthy.

This ties into #3. I am the most unhealthy person. I know my young hot body will fool you, but I’m severely unhealthy. While I am not as bad as I used to be, I’m still not where I need to be. I make up excuses as to why am I not being active and most of them (okay ALL of them) are lies. It’s part laziness and part fear, and a huge part of just one big excuse of not wanting to do it. 2015 is the year that the excuses stop, and the getting healthy begins. While I know that I will never be some crazy health nut,  I just want to get to the point that I feel better. I have been the most unkind to my body, and it’s about time I started treating it right.

5. Stop being negative. Stop hating.

One of my most unhealthy qualities is being negative. I am my own worst enemy. It doesn’t stop with how I treat myself but my opinions of others. Instead of being positive, I find myself just being downright mean. I don’t know what causes me to do, but it happens all the time. I should be more positive. I should  stop caring about what other people do and start focusing on my own life. I’ve spent years just nitpicking everyone that it’s driven me to be a hater. I love talking shit but hate when the shit talking comes back to me. Who am I to judge people? Honestly, I am nobody. I don’t have my life together, I am not any close to where I need to be, and still I sit and judge people. On top of it all, I handicap my own life with my negativity. Instead of being proactive with my life, I sit and dwell on my own personal bullshit. Time to stop being negative and stop being a hater.

6. Get my life together.

I wish for this every year. Every year something happens and just when I think I’ve gotten ahead, I fall 17 steps back. Stop spending time wishing and start doing. I have spent the past few years just going through the motions when I should have been saving, planning, doing. Last year was an awakening. I don’t just need to get my life together, I will get my life together. I have been waiting for people for years, when I should have been doing things for myself. This is my life and I can’t wait around for opportunities anymore. Once I see an opportunity, I need to start taking them.

7. Letting go of people.

This blog has been my dedication of letting things go. There are some things I can’t stop holding on to. I have a problem with letting people go. The people that have hurt me, the people that have used me, and even friendships with people that haven’t been around for me. I hold on to these people in the hopes that they will change. That somehow they will comeback and be a good friend to me. Truth is as much as I expect people to change, most people don’t. Everyone is on their own hustle and as much as I am happy for their hustle, it leaves me in the dust. I’m tired of being everyone’s “break in case of emergency” friend. I am tired of waiting around for people that will never change. On top of that, I am tired of putting the effort for  people that don’t put the smallest effort for me. I understand that friendships work both ways, but why am I always the person to have to contact people? Why do I care more about a friendship when other people don’t? This year, I just need to let those people go. Stop with communications, stop putting out the effort, and eventually stop being a friend. I know who my friends are and I am content with that.

8. The Great Outdoors.

Here’s something you may or may not know about me. I hate being outside. Unless being outside revolves around a BBQ, baseball game, or outdoor mall, I just can’t do it. I realized after a lifetime hiatus of not being an outdoors person, I needed to go outdoors more. I needed to be one with nature, see the sights, and of course be outdoors. While I still get a tiny anxiety being outside, I know that in the end it will do me some good. Sunshine is good for you right? So, I’ve heard.

9. Be kinder to myself.

I am my worst critic. I have done everything and anything to hurt my body. It’s taken years to fully appreciate my progress and be in love with my body. Not only my body, but be in love with myself. I am always clouded by other people’s judgments or even my own insecurities. I have a hard time understanding that everything is a work in progress. I may not be 100% the person I want to be but I have to be okay with the journey.

10. More conversation, less social media.

I love social media. I love social media for the aspect that people get a personal glimpse into my life that they seldom ever get. My problem is I rely too much on social media that I forget to have real conversations with people. Social media has increased my anxiety around people and decreased my level of interaction. If I am uncomfortable in a situation, I text someone. If I am insecure about something, I fidget with my phone and take pictures. I have such a hard time interacting with people that I turn to social media to help me interact with people. While social media has helped with meeting new people, it hasn’t helped me talk with people in real life. I told myself I was going to start being more involved. While I will still be on social media, I will take more time to talk to people. More real conversations with real people. Less small talk and more real talk.

11. Read more Books.

As many know, I have a problem with spending. Therefore, I tend to spend on millions of things. Some of those  millions of things, happen to be books. I can’t tell you how many piles of books I have. Books, I have started. Books, I am half way through. Books, I haven’t even started. 2014, I made it my goal to read 10 books before the new year. I was very proud when I realized I had read 12 books, 2 more than my quota! YAY ME! However, I also purchased 10 more books (I KNOW but I said I was “Getting my life together” OKAY!). We will see where this goes. Hopefully, I will finish all the books, as well as the books that still need to be finished. 15 books for 2015? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

12. Learn more about my culture.

If you don’t already know, I am of Mexican descent. For the past couple of years, I have made it my mission to learn more things about my culture. Whether it be about my own family history, learning about Mexico’s history, or even learning to cook different recipes. More importantly, I want to learn more about my family. I have a very large family on both my mother and my father side, I want to learn as much as I can from each member of the family. I want to see life through different people’s perspective. I want to get to know my family both culturally, as well as personally. There’s so much you miss out on with family living in another county. Which is the reason why I want to learn as much as I can from family. What better way to get to know your culture then by your own family, right?

 

These are my wishes for the upcoming 2015 year. I intended to make this list more realistic than I have in years. Things I can make come true and accomplish in reality. 2015 will be my year of progress and productivity. I will be more creative this year, I will go on more adventures, and I will fully let things go. 2015 feels different from all the other years. It’s a year of getting things done!!

Here’s to a brand spanking new year and well wishes for 2015!