writer

One last look.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for.”, she said. As I slowly walked away from her desk. Life is all about last looks, this one was no exception.

I imagined myself doing different things with my life. Going on different adventures, then what was happening before me. I never imagined coming back home. I never thought that failing was an option. As I always do, I picked myself up and started over. Starting over by going home until I come back to this fucking city.  I am going home to regroup then come back to this town to be somebody. Anybody then the person I was before. Not the broken person I was when I came here.

Big cities don’t take to kindly to lonely hearts. Broken people don’t always find what they are looking for. But I will be the exception. The exception to the rule.

I walked away from her office and watched the room glitter with the sunlight. The same golden color. The same sparkle from the afternoon sun. What I would give to be outside  but instead, I am saying goodbye to everything that was familiar.

Life doesn’t prepare you for goodbyes. Life doesn’t prepare you for last looks and the words that haunt you after. Instead, you move forward and hope for the best. Praying, wishing, hoping, that all of this will be a distant memory. Just another story to add in the book of life.

It’s been six years since I have been back. Six years and I still feel like like a visitor in my hometown. This doesn’t feel like home but neither did that big city. Which is why I felt the need to burn my bridges and watch them crumble behind me.

Yet, those words haunt me.

“I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

As I make another last look through the glistening rays of the sun behind me.

One day I will. Someday soon.

Advertisements

Golden Hour.

I feel like I have lived a thousand lives. Ones more tragic than the next. Then the sun hits every inch of my skin and I feel born again.

Different.
Brand new.

It’s the shadows from the golden rays that peek through the blinds. Straight from the outside, for I am always inside. It’s neither cold nor warm, just this glittery feeling of gold etched in your face and every parts of your skin. It’s what photographers try to photograph and emulate. With artificial lights and colors. Holding still until the light is just right.

It’s through the shining of this magic hour I think of everything. Every sun drenched memory. Every crazy golden moment. My breathing gets slower and my eyes start to well with tears. Each tear sparkling with the effervescent sun.

If I loved you last, I would love you best, I kept telling myself. I say this to the shadows that wave with each motion of the words. I don’t know what love is anymore. We are all rose gold and amber in this light. We are all love in this glittery way of speaking. We are all warmth in this sunset of light that we see before us. Yet, I don’t even know who the “you” is anymore. At this moment is could be anyone. I could have loved you more. I could have believed every single word you said. Instead, I find myself talking to shadows to keep away all these ghosts.

We were once all silver and now we’re gold. In this golden hour, one of the loneliest moments. As the gold sprinkles across its flecks on ever inch of the white room. When you’ve let everything go, it’s when you start all over again.

If I loved you last, I would love you best.
The sun sets and the darkness overcomes us.

Two First Names.

My Mom has two first names. Not a first and a middle name like we do in American culture. But two first names. She rolls them off her tongue with such ease that it intimates people around. She hates when people  use only one name. She hates when they call her “Rosa” or “Rose”. The names that remind her of being reprimanded by her Mami or reminded her of family members with the same name.  The way people over enunciate the name once they see her last name. “Row-za”, just the thought of it shoots a shiver down her spine.

That is not her name.

She speaks clearly and firmly, and repeats herself often. It’s uncommon to have two first names. Even though there are names like Anabel, Isabella, etc. Names that look so beautifully together. It’s almost too hard to comprehend that she was so special she needed two first names.

The name field is never big enough for her. Always cutting off half way through the second name. Having to remind every person she does business with that her name is composed of two names. Not first and middle name, but a full strong fuerte first name.

I didn’t understand it when I was younger.

“Why does it matter what they call you?”, I would say.
“Porque no es mi nombre”, she would reply.
Because that is not my name, she would say.

I didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. She is “Rosita” at home in Mexico. She is “Vieja” or “Honey” to my Dad. She is “Martha” to people who know her best. Why one name made such a difference. Why was it so important.

It was in the way people say her name. In the way people hesitate and question as soon as they read off her last name. They way people break down each name into individual entities. How people acted forgetful when they said her name. Then later annoyed when she corrected them. It became this battle between what was right and what was culturally correct. Another chance to Americanize her with what they think is right. It was taking something away from her that was a part of her. Taking away her name that she fought hard to protect all these years.

When she got sick, I understood. It was me correcting the doctors. It was me telling the nurses to re-do her paperwork correctly. It was correcting people who called her by one name as she walked into the office and watching them roll their eyes when I corrected them. It was correcting every single one of their hesitations and even correcting how they enunciated her name. Something that for years I thought wasn’t important, until I understood what it was like in her shoes.

Stop calling me by a name that is safe to you.
Stop trying to correct me as if I don’t understand you.
Stop hesitating the minute you see my name written in front of you.

I think back to the times I would argue with my Mom about it. How she needed to let it go, that people would never understand. Now that I am older I realize how important it is to her. How much it truly means to her.

My Mom has two first names and everyone should be okay with that.

 

 

 

It happened to me.

He says he’ll leave me if I cut my hair.
So I wear it longer on the days I see him.
When all I do is hide behind a curtain of hair to hide every scar I am feeling.

He doesn’t like it when I wear that color. It reminds him of her. So he bans me from wearing it in order to please him. I don’t hesitate. I don’t say no. I just do as I am told. To avoid an argument. To avoid the words that he holds still and strongly behind his tongue.

I am afraid to speak at times. The outcome outweighs the lasting effects of anything I could ever say. I don’t know myself at times. I was a smart girl. I was a strong girl. Now I am letting someone else dictate my thoughts and actions.

I don’t know who I am anymore, I tell myself.
I am not me without you, I say out loud.

It’s not the fists I am afraid of. It’s this unseen power a person can hold over you with the mountain of words that follow. How easy it is to say how you feel and mean what you say. How easy it is to cut down a person without giving it a second thought.

I found myself saying that I’d wish he’d hit me. Something to show the world of the vile person he was. Create the villain among the sinners. All they see is my reactions to every one of his actions. All they see is my skin burning red and my tongue lashing out at everyone that defies me. All they see is my anger and his calm demeanor. Because he was always too cool and too good of a person to hurt people. He was always the cool guy in his nice kicks. He couldn’t hurt a fly they’d tell me. How I wish he’d hit me just to prove them wrong. Just to show them that I was right and they were wrong. Then all these feelings would be real not under the surface.

People always say “That would never happen to me”. I hate that. As they see a girl cover her face or hear a story of a girl who just couldn’t take it anymore. They don’t know what it’s like. They don’t know what it’s like to hide from your friends and family. To pretend your okay when your whole world is falling apart. How it feels to cut your arm in places because the words were too big of a burden to keep to yourself. So you punish yourself for being the sad expectation of who he wanted.

I was the dead weight he refused to carry, he’d often said. If I was skin and bones he would love me more. Hold me tighter. I believed him. I was stupid and I believed him.

I used to say “It would never happen to me“. That I would be one of the lucky ones to fight until my hands were red and my throat was raw. They don’t know that sometimes when a man loves too much they just ignore you. Tell you how worthless you are. How every time they see you it makes them sick. They don’t know how sometimes it’s more than physical. That words have a way of leaving bruises and scars on every inch of your skin. But they’ll never see it. They’ll never know.

They’ll never know that the reason you stopped dating is that you hear his voice in the back of your mind. That nobody will want you after he has had you. That nobody will ever love you as much as he had loved you.

Nobody.

It would never happen to me, they’d say.

But it happened to me.

Tracy, CA. 2015
#ThisishowIletgo

I can see your aura.

A psychic came up to me in the mall today. Which sounds weird just saying it right off the bat, but this isn’t the first time. I always wonder when stuff like that happens, if they could read everything in your mind. What you’re feeling, who you’re thinking of, and everything else in between. It caught me off guard. When I was busy thinking of people I thought were long forgotten in my mind. I know it’s a hustle, I know it’s some mind game, then I start thinking, “what if?“.

What if she knows something I don’t know? What if everything isn’t just some bogus hustle and she really sees me.

“Your energy is very strong…I see good things coming your way but something is holding you back”, She tells me. Hands me a card and then walks away.

I’ve written about psychics before but something about today made me think back to the first time. I remember it so vividly to the clothes I was wearing and the deep cigarette smoke of a crowded Vegas casino. I was in Planet Hollywood and a lady looked at me and said “You look like you need someone to talk to..” I wanted to cry right then and there because she was right. I sat and listened to her talk about my life at it’s current state. The people who have hurt me. What I was doing to myself. How I needed to stop being in love with people who would never love me back. How my Aura was bright but I lived in a state of complete darkness.

I don’t talk about my problems. I talk about my dreams, my ambitions but to talk about what’s hurting me, I don’t talk to anyone.

At that point in my life I was keeping a variety of secrets and dealing with my own personal demons and self destruction. I’ve had people tell me “If you need someone to talk to, I am here”. Which I am grateful for, but I am stuck in a memory of my problems aren’t half as bad as everyone else’s. This isn’t a pity party. It’s easier to hear everyone else and fade softly into the background. But here I am, seven years later and someone tells me: “Your energy is strong, good things are coming your way but something is holding you back”.

I know what’s holding me back. I am holding me back. I am holding back everything I can to not let people in. I am holding back my life in order to let others feel happy. I know this all too well.

He used to say he could see my aura.

“I am looking at your aura”, he’d say
“No you can’t. If so what color is it?”, I’d reply.

He would fidget and laugh, then never answer. Always changing the song and tapping his fingers to the beat. Songs that I never understand until long after he had gone.

“I can see your aura”, he’d say. Over and Over, again.

Many times I wondered what that meant. Just another ploy to make me believe he cared. That he was the only person that could see me. The only person that saw straight through me. He always gave off this impression that he knew me best. That he knew better than what I was putting out into the world. Telling me that I wasn’t living up to my full potential. Words that have remain triggers to my self-esteem, after I swore that I was letting go of everything that belonged to him.

Seven years later, my heart stops when someone says “Your energy is very strong..”. Because I don’t doubt that my energy is strong. I don’t doubt that I need someone to talk to. I just can’t help wonder how these people find me. Is it through the cosmic energy I put out into the world? Is it my big dopey sad eyes that go looking for them? I know it’s all bullshit. I know it’s all some hustle for money. Still I nod, smile, and take their card. Tracing the number on the card, over and over, until my friend returns. They always find me, just when I am ready to let go.

Sometimes I wish I could tell you about this, where in some universe we were still friends. Still able to talk about things as if nothing had happened. But then I remember that you’d always turn this around like this was my fault. That I asked for this to happen. Always my fault and it would end in an argument where I was the one apologizing. This is where I should be angry, this is where it still hurts. I can’t help but think that you never saw my aura, even though you said you did. You lied to me when I thought you were being true. I am tired of letting this sadness hold me back.

It’s at that moment, I completely forget you. Completely let you go. I fold the card in half and stuff it in my pocket.

I can see your aura“, you would say, but could you see me?

This is how I let you go. This is how I let go.

 

 

 

Daly City, CA.
June. 2016

 

 

 

 

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside of Me.

Ten years doesn’t seem like a long time. When you still refer to everything in the past as 2006. Ten years ago, man. Ten years ago. 2006 was such a pivotal year of growing up for me. I find myself going back to that year in photographs, nostalgia, and through listening to albums that seem like came out yesterday.

Ten years ago, I sat in my parents guest bedroom, staring out the window. I laid in my bed watching the clouds go from grey to slate. Hearing every cloud rupture with anger and sadness, as the rain fell from the sky. In a room I didn’t grow up in. In a room, I felt like I kept coming back too. I was in-between places, still trying to figure out what I wanted. This wasn’t home but Fresno wasn’t home either. Where do I belong? Where do I fit in?

Ten years ago, I didn’t want to go back to school. Even though I knew getting older meant it would be harder for me to do things. My odds were against me. I was finding myself fearful of people and a fear of my peers is what always told me not to go back to school. It takes me 10 minutes to get out of my car to do simple tasks, without feeling like the world was against me. I didn’t realize I was sick. I didn’t realize that this wasn’t normal.

11229380_10206497929340448_518303879411814703_o

Ten years ago, I let the wrong people in. I let people hurt me. I let people use me. I let people cloud my judgement of what good really was. Instead I harbored a pain so great that caused me to cut open my outsides, to understand what my insides were feeling. I was burning in this vessel of a body, with this need to please everyone. To be there for everyone, while people have done nothing but watch me fade in the background.

Ten years ago, I thought I was going to marry a variety of different people. A drummer in one band, a bass player in another. Plotting how one day they would look at me differently then they had in the past. That I wouldn’t be self-conscious. I wouldn’t be awkward. They would look straight into me, as I have looked up at them, many times before.

Ten years ago, I feel in love too easily. Always someone different. Always people I shouldn’t have loved. But I wanted to love as I always felt in the deep depths of my heart. How they play out in movies and we see on the big screen. I was hopeless in wanting something I wasn’t prepared to understand. In a way I used people. I just wanted what everyone else had. A hand to hold to keep themselves from falling apart. Because sad was better than lonely. And now I can’t remember the name of the first boy I kissed.

Ten years ago,  I wanted amazing things to happen to me. I wanted to stand in an open place and watch life happen to me. In a big city, miles away from my mediocre small town. Far from the same people I see every day. Maybe if for once instead of running, I would finally allow things to happen. Watch love open doors, see my careers unfold, watch myself change from strange into something beautiful. I waited forever for things to happen. I waited for people to move. I waited for things to happen. I waited too long and feel as if I am running out of time.

12247691_10206497929260446_2812972046394740269_o

Ten years ago, an album came out that changed my life. I didn’t think it would. Many albums come and go and still I remember this as if it was yesterday. From the weather changing from the warm fall days to the chill of cold of the soon to be winter months. How it felt wrong to buy it from some mass production corporation, how I needed to purchase the album how I had purchased all their albums. Straight from the band, straight from the source. How I ripped open the package and watched my life change in front of my eyes. No one understands how that feels. How something so simple as opening a padded envelope could change your life in so many magical ways. How I needed to get out of my house and play every song loudly. Loud enough to where my insides would wake up. How every cigarette I smoked, I exhaled out the smoke and watched the smoke slowly leave my lungs open to the cold air. The rain kept falling, as this soundtrack continued to play. How perfect this seemed. My favorite band, playing the songs that for that moment I didn’t understand. It didn’t matter how many times the windshield wipers wiped my windshield clear, the rain still managed to leave a mark. Which is how I feel about this album. No matter how many times I try to wipe this away, a small mark still remains. I could write forever about every line in the songs. I could. I have. But today, I want to live in it’s memory.

Ten years ago, I didn’t understand. Ten years later, I finally know. We are not suppose to fit in. We are not suppose to be normal. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you’re hurting until the years pass and you become someone else. Someone completely different then the person you were ten years ago. Its hard to come out of the darkness and back into the light. It’s hard to understand that even though we feel completely alone, we are never truly alone. Even when you think you can’t start over, life throws you something completely unexpected.

Today, I watch the rain fall from the sky to the tops of each tree and rooftop, from some place far from home. I think back on those memories. I think back to my sentiments and feelings.  Ten years ago, I had no idea where I was going. I stopped believing in love. I stopped believing in myself in the years in took to get here. I stopped wanting to marry the boys that would never love me. I stopped dying for a hand to hold. Ten years ago, seemed like such a long time ago. Now, I sit here wondering what happens next.

Ten years ago, man.

10 years.

“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.

 

 

 

 

 

Self portrait with Chopped hair.

IMG_4079

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.

 

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