roses on your doorstep

a purring familiar on your ribcage

our simultaneous laughter

lunch break naps

the roar and smell of the sea in the dark

a slice of pie in bed

couch cuddles

handwritten sentiments on personalized stationery

the right song coming on at the most necessary moment

my name in his flourishes

homemade cookies with the perfect balance of chips

climbing into a fuzzy blanket that feels like home

the comfort of pretzeled limbs that make you feel… safe

consistency

a trip to the art store

conversations that feel like translucent nudity

water that feels like blood

 

A couple days ago I read something that I haven’t been able to shake. Not sure where I saw it, so I can’t give credit where it’s due, but there it was and it read so loudly…

“Grief is love that has nowhere to go”

I touched on the fact that we learn to carry things, like grief, in different ways than before. It hasn’t been easy because for so many reasons I have been carrying the weight of so many different facets of it. I never really thought about how complex that emotion can be and how much of it is attached to physical death and not so much to what it is really meant for: something coming to an end.

This time of year has always been a complex one for me because it is a reminder of times in my life where I was met with a lot of wonderful beginnings, but also a lot of moments I wish I could soon forget about. My nightmares continue to remind me of those and I can’t Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind this shit, no matter how hard I try. It’s getting more difficult to remember there was something beautiful in the house at one point, when you know the couches are covered with sheets and there’s dirt caked on the window panes. You get to a point where you just stop trying to peer in because you already know what you’re going to be met with. It’s like listening to that one scratched record from your collection that will inevitably skip when it gets to *that* part. Again. And I just can’t do that to myself anymore.

I have been finding a lot of peace as of late. Maybe it’s because I have been choosing to be a lot more intentional. That grief I have been carrying around? That misplaced love? They’re finally finding places to go, because I want them to.

I direct it towards my vulnerability, acceptance and ownership. Into my kid, friendships, connections and how all of us are just trying to find our place in the world that makes us feel a little bit more whole. The world is slowly starting to open a lot more doors… and windows that don’t have dust on them – the air fills my lungs in their entirety.

I used to be face down in the ring, tears in my eyes and blood in my teeth from my shattered spirit. I have since gotten up and gave that misplaced love to someone new.

I just didn’t realize that my greatest love story was under my nose the entire time. And I’m learning to love and accept Her every day.

 

Two years ago I was released from the legal confines and shackles of marriage. I won’t say it has been an easy journey, in fact, it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do and one of the most painful experiences I have had to endure. In ways, it still is. Grief and trauma aren’t things you just forget about, or let go, you just learn to carry them differently, especially when it’s something you do for more than just yourself.

I have learned so much about myself in the past 3 years… lessons of trust, loyalty (or lack thereof) and even amongst the rubble of a destroyed home I managed to find my capacity to endure, love and overcome. A better version of the woman I am and will continue to become. A cluster of gemstone hidden in the mud that needed to come to the surface and a lot of polishing to feel seen.

The calm that arrives after the storm is worth sailing enraged seas. Sure, there will be casualties along the way, but I tread on because sometimes we elect to change the course for the life we want and deserve, instead of settling for the one we had. And We are so fucking worth it.

Happy Anniversary, to the beginning of belonging to myself.

 

A list of March goodness…

When that “yes” feels unequivocal

Leaps of faith that are reciprocal 

Icelandic incense paired with morning coffee

Nurturing my Self with all kinds of really good things

Actions instead of just being thoughts or theory

When hope feels larger than despair

Ravenous alchemy

When an image of you is responded to with poetry

Nipping away at that list of procrastinations that haunt

Snail mail packages that hit the mark

Men that can express their vulnerability and take accountability without as much of a flinch

That really huge bucket list item paired with someone I look forward to

Making soup from scratch while singing along to rock en Español, then to English and back. Bilingual shit is cool as fuck.

When the thought of you doesn’t hurt anymore

That they still ask me if I can make them a “sanny” (mom sannies just hit different)

The feeling of laying down a hard boundary that old you would have totally tolerated and not feeling bad about it in the least

My body as a canvas

The magic in the edges and corners of a pop-tart

The evening murder of crows that flies by the house every day

Fragrance as a love language

Promising physical parts of yourself as altar-like offerings

A sense of accomplishment from handling *all* the adulting

Planning visits from friends

When the chaff weeds itself out

Feeling the crack in the dam of blocked creativity. May those waters rage

Taking myself out on a date

When former parts of me become unrecognizable, in a palpable and revelatory kind of way.

The unwavering love that Rez + I have for The Princess and The Frog

Being woken to feline biscuit making on my back

When you’re consistently shown signs that you chose the right path and direction

New music Friday delivering all kinds of unexpected gold

The news I get to see my sister I haven’t seen in almost 3 years

Antique store dates

The squad of unwavering female nazgul

Spring and that extra hour of daylight that is so welcome

 

Euphoria Sunday with Them.

New ephemeral accoutrements ~ and the hands I know they’ll end up in.

When people come back and thank me for the introduction to their new favorite thing(s).

Difficult conversations that flow from a place of vulnerability, honesty, care and locked limbs.

Being referred to as exquisite and rare.

Arranging my own Valentine’s roses cause love is more than just for others. I’m giving it to myself too.

When you catch those old demons trying to surface and bait me – and actively choosing to not be the version of myself I outgrew a long time ago.

The way He laughs and calls me “Ms. Garcia”

When I took that long ass paragraph I hastily wrote, erased it and sent one line. Because I am better than that.

Saying what I feel, mean and doing so without fear or hesitation.

Receiving a photo of a gift I gave a past love and observing that even now, decades later, there is a still a piece of me that harbors that wide eyed, romantic innocence.

When you discover another layer of commonality and something special in the least expected places. Sometimes in something as simple as a shared love of baked goods.

Sunday morning chisme session phone calls with friends over coffee.

The secondhand excitement when others in your life get a taste of joy.

Learning to be ok with uncertainty and not needing to know everything.

When you can feel the smile that the mask is concealing.

When you’re reminded how small the world can be by chance and coincidence.

Laughter clad Mario Kart battles.

When the new mantra is “you don’t owe them shit”

Breaking patterns I was conditioned to accept as normal when they sure as fuck weren’t.

Shared understandings, deepened connections and new rituals.

Earnest exchanges in the form of words of adoration.

Repotting my plants on the kitchen floor without a care of how dirty it got me.

Strolling in an empty, flower clad garden center with nothing but my music in my ears.

Scoring a free soft serve cone that was consumed in the open trunk of my car as I fed the parking lot crows.

Feeling peace even when you have to make rights that feel wrong and knowing you’re right in them.

Huddling over the one menu to decide what we’re going to order.

The Friendly.

When the growth is palpable… and I’m reminded just how far I have come despite the unspeakable grossness I’ve had to endure.

Daydreaming about plots to new and far away places… and what it will be like when we share the same set of stars.

Drawing boundaries like swords in battle because I will not tolerate unkind, uncalled for and disappointing behavior.. from anyone. That’s what worth feels and looks like and I deserve better.

How goddamn proud my kid makes me. Every day.

Taking the baby steps towards being better no matter how hard a step it is to take because life is such a gift and I need to let it expand in my lungs.

Picking out paint swatch colors for my room.

Knowing the cord is still wrapped around His wrist.

Making wishes on the same shooting star.

Black cat snores and the claws that hang on to me.

 

because when it comes to these matters
when you get to know, have or experience even a fragment of me
you will unequivocally know I am…

 

A comfortable silence

When they know how you take your coffee, perfectly

Being accepted as you are, without hope or agenda

A handwritten letter

Knowing when something smells distinctly like someone you know

Warming your hands in their hoodie pockets

Attention to detail

Going somewhere that instantly feels like home

Having your hair washed by someone other than you

When you reach for the same thing, at the same time as someone else

Letting someone try your beverage met with eye contact

“I saw/heard this and it made me think of you”

Waking to your cat sleeping on your chest

Shared understandings that require no explanation

Uncontrollable laughter through tears

Pressing lips into unconventional places

Crying with company

Hearing “I miss you” in a manner you can feel in your bones

The blanket being pulled over you after you fell asleep

Plucking an eyelash off their face so they can make a wish off of it

Wearing a garment that doesn’t belong to you

A hand on your back as they walk past you

Inside jokes that no one will ever fully understand besides those in the know

Enthusiastic consent

Simultaneously cracking the sugar on the crème brûlée with our spoons

Sincere gratitude

Meeting, giving to and rewarding yourself

Your name in their penmanship and escaping their breath

Wearing your bruises like an intentionally painted canvas

When you part ways with something you love… for the final time

Knowing they’ve changed you forever in the best of ways

Hearing “message me when you’re home so I know that you’re safe”

Deliberately ordering different things so the table can taste everything

My art on your walls

Surrender

The wide-eyed wonder of experiencing a first time ever

Sharing books

Getting ready in the same space

Deep, platonic love

Not having to keep score

Splitting one slice of cake, multiple utensils

Sharing an umbrella in a downpour

A door being opened for you

Knowing we’re both thinking the same thing, but it goes unspoken

The loyalty of a kept promise

 

If there’s something I am shown time and time again, is that there will always be light in the darkest of corners, if we allow ourselves to open the windows and doors enough to let it in.

Everything reveals itself when you no longer accept mediocre exchanges and baseline efforts.

The planting of seeds in glorious beds.

An entanglement that unravels its threads.

A bloom surfacing and being pried apart through ashes and earth to unfold into her Self.

A revelation: flowers attract bees, instead of flies… with… well, you know.

This moment in Venus has been something else.

 
  • Detoxify from the noise. Watch, read and follow what and who contribute something toward your growth, progress and happiness.
  • Water and cultivate the things that bring you joy.
  • Don’t hold out on the nicer things just for special occasions. You deserve special all the time. Give them to yourself.
  • Support establishments and businesses that align with your ethics and ethos.
  • Give to the ones that show up. No more real estate to tenants that aren’t in escrow.
  • If there is no return on your investment, it’s bankruptcy for the soul. Your time is worth gold.
  • Cull that “friends” list. Unfriending and/or blocking is vital to protect your peace. Not all of those “friends” want the best for you and social media connections are not a unit of measure for quality.
  • Don’t wait for it or them.
  • Speak to and about yourself in a kinder manner.
  • Give yourself the grace you give others.
  • Write the unsent letter. Burn it and release the ashes to the sea. Rid yourself of those feelings they didn’t deserve.
  • Amplify your sense of gratitude.
  • It is beyond ok to say no without an explanation or apology.
  • Foster a greater sense of empathy and compassion.
  • Focus on your part of the equation, it’s the only thing you have control over.
  • Kindness is free. Use it often.
  • Sit with it before you choose to respond.
  • More living, less apologies.
  • When you’re projected on, remember that’s their shit and you don’t have to take it on. Their behavior will always say more about them than it ever will about you. Your truth will always be a shield from misplaced blame.
  • Ask for help when you really need it. The right ones will show up for you.
  • If you have to tell them how you want and need to be treated, they’re not the kind of people that belong in your life.
  • Pay compliments often.
  • Tell them you love them…. more.
  • Honor: your space, what your body and mind implore for, your integrity, her/their space and growth.
  • You don’t owe anyone shit, or your silence.
  • Read and finish the books on your nightstand.
  • You don’t “have to” do anything you don’t want to or don’t feel comfortable with.
  • Don’t believe in empty apologies with unmatched behavior.
  • Better yet, don’t wait for apologies that will never arrive. Forgive yourself instead.
  • Say “thank you” and “I appreciate you”. Often.
  • Scratch off a couple items on the “I always wanted to do/try/go there” list.
  • The relationship with Yourself will always be your greatest love story.
  • Have the days you deserve and the nights you want.
 

And just like that 2021 comes to a close. It’s interesting how a year can go by so fast yet drag at tortoise speed. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t yet another challenging year but I seek comfort in the fact that a lot of those feelings were collective. A whole lot of fight or flight and survival mode. Adjustments to new ways of life on so many levels.

What a timeline to be living, pandemic year two. And yet despite the hardships and force to adjust to whatever our new reality is, I still managed to make the best of what and where I could.

2021, A Recap

A roof over our heads, in a city we love that continues to grace us with spectacular sunsets and wonderful neighbors who look out for us like family.

Grateful to have work that allows me do so from home.

We were lucky enough to have our health, for the most part.

We welcomed our danger noodle Lucifer into our home

Covid vaccines, too many covid tests, more than one close call for my own comfort.

We celebrated her 15th and my 47th year of life.

Reza graduated middle school, got their septum pierced, went back to in person school for Freshman year of High School at a school we really wanted them to go to.

The medicinal nature of being able to see and hug friends again.

A last minute visit from Catherine.

Sharing meals and Chicano Park with my birthday twin.

Car rides for slushies filled with laughter, singing and attitude

So many beautiful meals.

The long time e-friends I got to meet in person FINALLY. The deepened connections with existing ones. The new friends I’ve made and the ones that sloughed off like dead skin.

Finding beauty in so many of the often overlooked little things.

Exercising boundaries like a motherfucker.

A short trip to NC that ended in a heinous visit to the ER for a kidney stone. Painful as absolute fuck. But I got a piece of Sara + James to take home with me.

Overseas exchanges of laughter, exquisitely worded banter and worship.

Fell in love with the use of color, caring for plants, arranging flowers, journaling and making a home.

Another solo art show called Encanto and all of it was incredibly well received. You have no idea how hard it was to create this one throughout all the struggles of the year.

The cats celebrated their 10th birthday with Us.

Continued but not surprising disappointments.

Went out on some really beautiful and fun dates.

Made my name change official.

Found a deeper value in the quiet of my own company.

One too many jokes about ass with the Heaux. Shai Hulud Ronald.

The taste of shared truth, vulnerability, accountability, new connection dynamics, mutual respect and admiration

Liberty Station in the rain.

Knowing I can care about and miss someone but not have them be in my life anymore because they’re just not good for my healing or growth.

Watching R mature and grow into a pretty exceptional person.

Raised the bar.

Singing Selena on a pulmonia with Liz

Tears that encapsulated so many different emotions and for so many different reasons. And allowed myself to honor those feelings.

The awareness that arrived when those blinders really came off.

Road tripping, singing, camping, hiking and crying in Death Valley with Ginny.

Deleted old FB accounts for good.

Accepted and practiced the art of present living as best I could.

Our monthly couch session of re-watching Disney favorites.

A trip to Mazatlan to see my Parents that was hard, necessary, grounding and perspective giving (this is a whole other post that I am not quite ready for just yet)

The strength in Coven numbers that surround me with their excellent friendship, support and loyalty.

Missed Bee way too much and it sucks that we just don’t know when we will be able to travel. It is the longest I have gone without seeing her.


Favorite Albums:
De Doorn – Amenra
Engine Of Hell – Emma Ruth Rundle
Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
An Evening With Silk Sonic – Silk Sonic

Songs That Were On Heavy Repeat:
Smokin’ Out The Window – Silk Sonic
Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish (what an anthem)
Hand Out The Drugs – Kite
Ogentroost – Amenra
American Money – Børns
Brain – Banks
Running Up That Hill – Meg Myers
and more…

Scents:
Riding Crop by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Fantabulosa on his letter
baking bread
Jonny Cota Parfum
cedar + balsam
anything Sleepy by LUSH

The weather thwarted my usual pilgrimage to Sunset Cliffs to see the last sunset of the year. However, I do get to spend my NYE alone, at home with my cats. Being out doesn’t feel comfortable or right to be honest. Now, a ritual bath and the writing of my intentions for 2022 on the other hand? Absolutely.

If there’s one thing that pandemic life has taught me is that everything can change often and exponentially. Let’s see where we go from here, day to day, hour to hour. Right here.

xo