So let me tell you about something that happened the other day.
You know those days where you’re overtly self critical and overall down on yourself? Well, I was having one. Welcome to the world of the anxious mind, where even the smallest thing can send you down the spiral of over-critical thought.
I have days where I look at my artwork and think it is mediocre as fuck. I know it isn’t but it’s hard not to fall down the basis of comparison, especially when there is so much goddamned talent out there. It’s an odd balance cause I can be confident about what I do, but sometimes you still go through phases feeling like you’re the Mayor of Phony Town.
My sciatica has flared up something mean in the past week and my body has been in a world of hurt. It’s one of those things that I am motivated to be active, to get out and work it cause this shit isn’t getting any younger. And I’m in this place of the will and the way aren’t on the same page. It’s frustrating as fuck.
On top of that, it was one of those days where you get tagged in a photo that was just not flattering, to me anyway. As someone who has struggled with self esteem related issues, you can imagine the doldrums that sent me into. Being self critical is a motherfucker. I know that my perception isn’t always the case when it comes to reality. This is a convo I have had countless times with several of my people and can you imagine how much more simple, radiant and glorious life would be it would be if we could see ourselves the way others that love us look at us? Shit. Bottle up that feeling and sell it. It would fly off the shelves.
Anyway, I was in the middle of getting one of Josh’s pep talks, which always manage to bring me off the ledge. But then I got a private message request on messenger. I thought, “Well, is this the day I get the dick pic from some random asshole? Wouldn’t that just be the cherry on my shit day sundae”. My skeptical self mulled over even opening it cause it’s usually dudes wanting “make friendship” (read: get their rocks off) with you which I really have no time for. I decided to accept the message… and this is what it was…
This is where I proceed to. Lose. My. Shit. It’s not even about the compliments about my work. It was the fact this complete and total stranger, with zero connections or mutual friends, managed to find me and took a bit of a leap to reach out and take the time to SAY SOMETHING NICE. Fuck. My mood went from ouch to the little band aid that just got placed on my paper cut. There is no way she really had any idea, how at that particular moment I was needing something. A little push from the universe if you will… and there, on my fingerprint encrusted screen, at the most perfect of moments, it arrived plain as day:
“Don’t get swayed or give up”.
I know people love to rip on social media and the festering ass boil it can be, cause let’s face it, it truly can be an awful place. But then in between the cracks, somehow, the water still manages to find its way to flow and build a small stream or a river… it has the ability to forge friendship, a place where we can experience the humanity in connectivity to something a little larger than ourselves. Or in cases such as these, it helped turn the page into another day that didn’t feel quite as dark as the one before it.
Send and accept. You may be so surprised when you do.
The hits arrive, usually on weekends. They come in all shapes and sizes and can feel anywhere from a faint scratch to what I have to imagine a sledgehammer to the ribcage would feel like. They come when I don’t want them to. Or, they come when you know they will and every one will be more heart wrenching as the the one before it. And they keep arriving at speeds you cannot halt.
Nothing could really prepare me for the day she looked at me and said, “Y tu quien eres?”. But just like a lot of the things in our lives, a good portion of the time we aren’t prepared for their arrival and we just have to learn; kind of like those parents that throw their children into the pool in an effort to teach them, sink or swim baby, sink or swim. Then the day came and it destroyed me in ways that I still can’t truly put into words. I wish I could but then that would mean you could possibly feel what’s inside me and fuck, this is a feeling I don’t wish on my worst enemy. Not that I have any I’m aware of, but you know what I mean.
The other day I was reminded of a moment where I wasn’t the best person to her. I thought about it and I am so far removed from who that person used to be and now I am in this position that no matter how much I have grown, no matter how much remorse I have for things I have said and done, there is no taking that back anymore. I can’t say I am sorry and have it heard or understood. I try not to carry a lot of regret up in here, but sometimes you can’t help it or yourself. We’re human after all. I’m dealing with the motions of watching her from afar, slowly become more and more less of who she was and who I remembered her to be. Sometimes you get quick flash of radiance, a nod, a twinkle in the eye, a reminder or a laugh… but for the most part, a good portion of who she was has left already. It’s a slow and painful walk to the docks where the ship of mortality will eventually set sail.
We take the slow walk besides her, even from afar and hope that the loss of dignity and cognizance stays at a minimum. I’ve seen what’s more than likely coming and it isn’t pretty. But fuck man, it is so incredibly difficult to manage the anger that arrives when you ask yourself “why her?”. You see and hear of so many people living to ripe old ages and they were for all intents and purposes, despicable human beings… and then you have someone like her, who was just a kind and gentle soul, get dealt with the most atrocious of hands. You see people squander their health, their relationships and connections with the ones they love, you see people who are an absolute waste of oxygen and you can’t help but want to get angry or punch something. Why. Her. I’ve never felt the need for physical aggression mind you, so I take my pain and sadness to my my blades and paper, or mold it into words in hopes I can turn it into something constructive. This is the most heaviest of cinder blocks on my ankles and I don’t want to be angry. Or afraid of the possibility that one day this could be me.
And another round arrived, a little sadder than the one before it. I sat in it and allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel. I’ve been doing more of that these days. I said what I could bring myself say, holding on to what little I could to make me feel comforted and safe. The rest goes here.
There is no happy ending here.
Water and salt all over again.
+/- I finally saw Coco. *NON SPOILER REVIEW* I am not a movie reviewer but people have asked me about this one so I am putting it here. I had my apprehensions about this one cause if there is something I cannot stand is watching my culture get butchered, especially Dia De Los Muertos stuff which has become a white girl halloween punchline that I am not even having. With that in mind, I would say that Pixar hit a home run and were incredibly smart about hiring some solid cultural consultants to make sure they didn’t pull some stupid Gringo shit. There are a lot of nuances that frankly, you won’t get or understand unless you’ve grown up Mexican but none that were uncomfortable enough to miss the mark for non-latinos. The family dynamics, scenery and character personalities are pretty on lock. If you’re Mexican, chances are one of those characters is like someone you know. The famous Mexican cameos were dope. They mixed in some Spanglish enough to keep the flavor. It’s a good movie, don’t get me wrong. My problem with it is that there are so many parallels to the plot in The Book Of Life. Too many to ignore. Some inevitable as they are borrowing from the same folklore but others, not so much. I won’t get into those as I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it. In any event, I enjoyed it and had I not already seen The Book Of Life, it would have been a much better film as a whole. On the other hand, I am not going to knock the landmark that was seeing an entirely Mexican cast and the cultural representation it stands for especially considering we come from places of being depicted as poncho wearing and sleeping under a cactus types. Oscar nods for this and Guillermo Del Toro this year are pretty amazing to see. I am going to watch the Spanish audio version because something tells me there will be a lot more there that was lost in translation.
+ Went back to Pilates after a week of being out with the damn plague. It’s amazing how one week feels like a set back. I don’t know how I spent months of not exercising ever. The shit feels good.
+ Updated my damn website.
+ Getting off meds has been going smoothly. Smoother than I expected which has been a total relief. I went down the CBD tincture route and I feel infinitely way more comfortable with this decision. I’m managing being anxious pretty well and I for one am welcome to see the return of my Libido Overlords. Subsequently, if you haven’t set foot in a dispensary since CA went legal, what in the holy hell is this Green Disneyland witchery?! It’s mind boggling.
– My computer is acting stupid and slow as fuck. Josh deleted my profile and I have to start from scratch. I know I need more RAM but I cannot part with my machine to leave it for god knows how long at the Apple store when I’m about to start working on some serious work. Like, a lot of work (what the fuck was I thinking)
– I am so ready for this stupid “under 70” weather to go the hell away already. I try not to be one of these people bitching about weather, even more when other parts of the world still look like the damn tundra but hell, my body is ready. I can already start feeling the switch weeks away from daylight savings. This is my one first world complaint for the week.
+ This Andrew Cunanan Making A Murderer show. I watched one episode and I definitely need to watch more. “Is he being portrayed accurately?” has been a common question I am getting. I can’t make that assessment off one episode but the guy they cast does fit the part, has some of his mannerisms pretty on lock, the rest is to be foreseen. Thing to keep in mind is that I worked with him. People have two sides: business and party. He kept it pretty “business” at work so I don’t think I got the full spectrum of his personality despite getting to spend 30-40 hrs a week with the guy. Also, it’s not like you just assume that the people you work with are raging sociopaths, even more when they’re incredibly nice and pleasant to be around.
+/- Getting sick really through me for a loop. I found myself crunching to make a submission deadline and the closer I got to finishing, the more I hated it. So much so that I did an internal flipping over of my desk and scrapped it. And then I went to my bedroom to wallow, cry and pout in my “you’re a phony” headspace. I’m one of those “artists” that cannot stand sending in mediocrity so I would rather graciously bow out and than look at it over and over again and know I could have done better. I really need to stop getting so close to deadlines. There is a rush and accomplishment that comes from pulling a brilliant white rabbit out of my ass under pressure, but that also comes at a cost where if and when things don’t work out (and they haven’t) then the disappointment comes down to a crippling place. So maybe, just maybe, I have learned my damn lesson this time. One would think.
+ It has been good to be “writing” again. It’s one of those things, like going to the gym or getting your ass in therapy, where you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I do that SOONER?”. Yeah. That.
Ah yes, the pesky memories function on facebook. We all love to hate it. Sometimes it reminds me of what a dumbass I was, it shows me art I regret I ever made, moments of laughing and having fun with people I love and then, sometimes, it reminds me of things that were not so great.
It’s been years since my brother passed away. I use the term “brother” lightly because for all intents and purposes, to me he was a stranger. And the month of February blew right past me and I didn’t even remember the anniversary of his death, shit, I cannot even tell you how long it has been. 5 years? I truly don’t know. Anyway, what was kind of shocking to me is that the reminder came up and I felt nothing.
I know every January that comes and goes, I always get the same reminders for Kevin and I spend that day a bit on the sad side, reflective and then the inevitable pieces of anger that follow, wondering why someone so rad could be taken far too soon, yet when it comes to my own flesh and blood I felt nothing. It was like, oh, ok then. *clicks to open another application*
I take it back, I did feel something but it wasn’t for him really, because he was a victim to his poorly made choices, but the one thing that punches me in the gut is that his departure created this domino effect that would forever affect my family: watching our parents go through grief of child loss and the subsequent trigger of Mom’s illness that went from zero to overdrive. This is time with her we will never get back.
We live our lives, selfishly, not thinking that our choices affect those around us and in his case, he totally did. So much so that there was always this vacancy that couldn’t be filled in and now never will be. I’m trying to view his place and choices with a different set of eyes because in going through therapy the way I have been, I came to realize that while we were provided for and had a “good childhood” we were also victims of emotional neglect, a constant state of dismissiveness and a weight of expectations that none of us were able to fill. Or better yet, didn’t even fucking want to. I know I certainly didn’t, I won’t speak for the rest of us. But I have to figure that maybe his distance was a bit of wanting to have a bit of self preservation, a place where he could be himself and not be reminded that somehow he didn’t cut it or quite fit the mold made for him. A mold he didn’t want. I wouldn’t know anything about that.
In any event I am trying not to feel bad about myself, for having another year go by and not really being deeply affected by it anymore. It’s hard because we’re supposed to feel something when a friend or family member leaves this plane and yet when I see photos of him, it’s like looking at a stranger that happens to share my genes and eye color. I’ve shared deeper connections with complete strangers who I have never met in person, or with the many men I have not-so-deliberately had around to help me fill the male vacancies in my life. Took me a while to admit that to myself. Shit, no one wants to be the girl with fucking daddy issues. Or absent brother issues.
Yet here we are.
I guess I did feel something after all.
I can’t do this anymore.
I made a decision to get off meds yesterday*. I haven’t been on them very long (5 months) but it has brought on the most terrifying yo-yo of feelings. For a while it was up and down, then it leveled, then I felt nothing, then they got changed, then it hit me like a pillowcase filled with bricks. Try breathing when your ribs feel cracked.
I tried it, even against my better judgement, but I had to exhaust all options to see what would help. I tried… and it’s not working for me.
I am *very* sensitive to all types of medication. I am pretty self aware and intuitive to my body, it’s kinda exhausting at times. I was told most people take 20mg+ and I was on FIVE. Five made me feel out of body, high, foggy and like I felt nothing good. I hate being out of control and fucking with my chemistry was sending me down this path that only made me more worried, anxious and doubtful of everything and everyone.
I am coming out of a week-long fog right now where I wanted to do nothing but lay in bed and cry, actually, I did. I would look at myself in the mirror and didn’t recognize who I was. The people around me probably don’t either. They’ve stood by and supported me and loved me patiently as I drove this car recklessly, knowing I would probably crash it into a damn wall. They knew it and had to let me because I can be far too stubborn for my own good. I had to get there when I was ready.
So I got off the train. I just can’t do this, I can’t live like this and if it means feeling all the things vs this anesthetized version of a person I have become, I am jumping off. This isn’t living.
*Note: this is being done with medical supervision and is not an anti-meds post. I know for some people it is a necessity and works for them wholeheartedly. I am just realizing that this isn’t a path for me.
I don’t care what anyone says. The macadamia nut is the greatest of nuts.
Over-thinker zone: Have you ever wondered why fingernails and toenails are perfectly ok until you lop them off your body and all of a sudden they’re totally revolting? I have.
Papaya is disgusting. I blame the smell and those weird, furry seeds.
I pick things up from the floor with my toes.
Everyone pees in the shower. Anyone who says they haven’t is a liar. Same goes for masturbators.
Why did it take me this long to fall in love with bar soap? I blame it on people who always leave hair on theirs. That shit is nasty.
Pro tip: stop spending your cash on stupid shit and do it on decent skin care. As someone who got on it a little later, trust me.
It’s 80 today and I’m already looking forward to the Spring/Summer beach walks and sunsets I am ready to soak in. I promised Jason we’d go to the beach this year and we will.
Awesome is the moment when you see photos of those who did you wrong and you feel absolutely nothing. I unblocked some former friends and it didn’t stress me out, make me anxious, sad. Nothing. It took me a great while and a whole lot of therapy but when that moment arrives it’s like the door opened to the chocolate river room in Wonka’s Factory. All of a sudden it’s my world of pure imagination. I’m free.
The other day I had a whopper of an emotional day. I wrote all my thoughts out on paper, the things I can’t even tell myself, the good, the ugly. I took that sheet and burned it. It was pretty helpful. Needless to say, I’ll be doing more of this. Next time I take the ashes to the sea.
Speaking of the sea- I can’t wait to share the Pacific with Catherine and Bosch. It’s amazing to share the slices of your magical corners with good people.
There are times when I just know how you feel. I know you love me. I know you miss me. I know you’re proud of me. And even though I know, it’s still nice to be reminded and told. Sometimes I need to hear it. On the flip side, I need to do more of this. I can’t let anyone I love ever have a shadow of a doubt how I feel about them. They could part tomorrow and not have that certainty. That just cannot happen.
I have to say, it’s been nice to write more again. It’s an awful, disjointed mess but it feels good. It’s like I’m recapturing a part of myself that got lost along the way.
I don’t know how many times I have to say this to myself but I find myself having to do it, yet AGAIN.
Relationships involve work and effort from all parties involved. Both people. Not one doing everything while the other just receives. Not one doing all the reaching while the other does all the pulling, grabbing and ultimately complaining about it when it doesn’t go their way. Not one where the recipient places standards and expectations that I can’t bring myself to live up to. That’s not a healthy place to be and all it does is make me want to bust out the scissors to cut more thread.
It doesn’t work that way. Not with anyone and certainly not with me.
It is so fucking beautiful outside. I can’t. Actually, I can. I’m ready for real Spring, not this crazy weather bone throwing of 70 in the middle of Winter whatnot. Butterflies, breezes and bees. I’m ready.
Josh took off to Kansas City to see his family yesterday. He went into the tundra, forgot his shampoo and will regret passing on the wool socks I offered. Beehive balls are imminent my friend. My voice of “te dije” will linger for the remainder of his trip. That’s “I told you so” in Spanish for those of you non-Spanish speakers. I miss having him around but the break is also necessary – a time to connect with his people and space from the crazy that is living with two opinionated women. The patience this man has comes in spades. Plus, I am enjoying some quiet, alone time. I need it
So he is gone, Reza FINALLY went back to school after what seemed like the longest break EVAR and now I am sitting here with my thumb in my butt (well, not literally) wondering what to do with all the time I have on my hands. I have plans mind you, I am just taking the time to breathe and reset. I had some changes take place with me that have kind of made me feel like I took a massive step back on the path of emotional progress. The brain is a tricky place and when you’re fucking with chemistry it can fool you into believing all kinds of shit that just isn’t true. I am so eternally grateful for the legs that hold my table up, a constant reminder that I’m loved and that this is only temporary.
I’ve cleaned the house all morning like a crazy person, gearing up to clear some space for new artwork. I can’t deal with having a crusty house while trying to produce. It makes me really uneasy and I have a lot of work to produce over the next few months. So here’s to hoping the muse sits on my face and gives me no recourse but to handle her business. Emotional upheaval while having to make artwork is a blessing and a curse but considering some of my favorite pieces I have made came from deeply personal places, well, I can only hope it works in my favor once more.
That said, I need to get back to it.
That is how many times I wrote in my blog last year. Four. Times. I went back and read my whopping recap of a year, it didn’t take long and it’s sad to me that I didn’t take the time to share throughout my year. Well, I did on the fb vortex and a whole lot of instagram. Sometimes photos say a lot more than words ever can. But it’s bothering me that a year went by and somehow I only brought myself to document it four times.
2017 was a motherfucker of a year. We all went into it with this somber feeling, kind of like when you need to be around relatives that are bad for your bones. I couldn’t name one person that walked away from it unscathed. The sheer amount of blood, sweat and tears that emerged from 2017 were enough metaphorical fluids to fill jars.
It was indeed one of the hardest of my life for a myriad of reasons that I am working toward leaving behind me so I can look onward, upward and on to somewhat greener pastures. We are in a drought though, so who knows how green they will ever be. You can’t move forward if you’re constantly looking behind you after all.
But amongst the turmoil, discord and absolutely gutting parts that life put in front of me, the year didn’t come without its joys like seeing my family, traveling to Japan and getting to scratch more parts of it off my bucket list, Mexico, reconnecting with old friends, getting small glimpses of the person my Mother was despite the fact she’s leaving us, increasing my artistic voice despite being met with tapped out rivers of creativity, sunsets and moon rises, 3 weeks of constant insect symphonies, solidifying bonds with those who matter most and feeling like I am a part of something much bigger… despite when I have those moments of feeling a little too small. Microscopic even.
One thing I do know is that I fell victim to things that were against my nature. My anxiety swallowed me whole. I stopped writing. I stopped sending letters. I stopped finding joy and pride in the really simple things that used to make me light up like a canopy of stars when you finally leave city limits. I got caught in the absolutely toxic wheel of our current state of affairs. I slipped into the pool of vapidity and self serving nature – that while at times was done for well intended self preservation, still left me feeling like I have the ability and capacity for more. I retreated into this cocoon that has become this shell of who I am but I would like to think it’s because the metamorphosis has yet to come.
That’s not one thing. That’s a lot of things.
So maybe this is what I need to do. Write more, put it out into the world more no matter who sees it and if it gets likes or not. To reach out a little harder, not because I want someone to grasp back but because it makes me feel complete again.
I like this idea. I’ll be here more.