Mi Jefe is from the old school. Mexican with roots of Spanish blood. Virgo. One of 7 children. And if you knew the personalities he grew up around, you would know about the bolt of cloth he was cut from. He’s a complex man… stoic, stubborn, set in his ways and guards a lot of his feelings like his life depends on it. A treasure trove of secrets with no map to X marks the spot. He’s softened up in his age and every once in a while we get glimpses of that soft, tender man that was never allowed the opportunity to be such.

Men of his generation were raised to be providers, backbones, tough and god forbid you ever show anything that could perceive you as “weak”. He has known hardship and struggle. An immigrant who came to this country, that built himself a something out of absolutely nothing, hustling multiple jobs, helped raise 4 kids and still to this day does the best he can with what he was given, even from where his now 83 year old frame stands.

When I became a parent was when I really came to understand and respect a lot of the things he (and my mother) did for us. I came to see them as humans, flawed and complicated with secrets and struggles of their own. From families riddled with expectations, anger, ignorance, toxicity and broken parts, just as much as there was love, even if shown in very bizarre ways. The Garcia Way. He, like many of our parents, built lives from what little they were given or even allowed to have.

It’s Father’s Day… and he is home right now, caring for our ailing Mother. Watching the love of his life deteriorate on the daily and still managing to do it with as much grace as he allows himself to show. Mourning the living for years. How I wish things ended a bit differently for the both of them but such is life and the cruel hands she deals out to play. We endure.

I will say this. I have learned a great deal from Him, far more than he can ever possibly know or understand. It’s from him I got my absolute warrior mechanism from… the one that defends, supports and prioritizes her child above anything and anyone else, just as much as he taught me there are ways not to be and where I can be better so those generational curses are cast off for good.

This is how I like to see him… sneaking that cigarette he knows Mom hated him doing, taking us out on camping adventures and him standing en Su Tierra, where he feels most at home.

Feliz Dia Daddy, y gracias por todo.


(note: this was written last year on a fb post… needed it here, for posterity)

 

(a random collection of disjointed thoughts)

Coffee with cinnamon + honey and bearded irises are a whole ass mood.

The catharsis of the unsent letter (do more of this). Or even better? Maybe just send it so they know, even if they don’t deserve the gift of my certainty.

Things that I find irrationally unsettling: hair on the shower walls, the stringy white things on oranges, socks with the seam across the front of the toes, signature elastic and having to stick my hand in the garbage disposal.

I can listen to Nothing’s “A.C.D” on repeat and every time it makes me feel different things… but what it reminds me of most is having my hand warmer peeled back to have my bare hand held as I drove. It’s wild how some songs, paired with the right moment or company, can imprint so hard in your memory bank.

..and I will leave you with a bad taste in your mouth…

It has been pretty disheartening how this country seems to be shifting into this blatant culture of misogyny, violence, racism and fear. More than usual. I won’t even get into the serious man and gun problem either (please go to fuckin’ therapy). Anyone that says the USA is a great country, is clearly someone who has never left it. The quality of life here just diminishes on the daily and sometimes I wonder if this is the right place for me (or R) anymore. Looking forward to crossing the borders this year, even if for the brief stints I am planning because this wanderlust is at an all time high and I really need to replenish this unsettled feeling that is looming.

Been taking some steps. Little ones but in the grand scheme of my personal journey to healing, they’re huge. I have pushed so much of myself and my needs to the wayside, tending to the fires of others as mine wane. I am not getting any younger here and even though 47 isn’t a bad spot to be from where I am standing, I know I can be better and kinder to my flesh vessel. Taking care of me is essential and never is it more apparent than when it stares back at me in ways that I know I have the capacity to change.

I doubt I will ever finish unpacking some of the proverbial shit I have gone through in my lifetime, because some of it has been downright awful and heartbreaking. Things come up often more than not, especially when someone inadvertently steps on the land mine you didn’t even know you had placed. But sometimes you see the lining of the suitcase here and there, and I can’t help but be grateful for my therapeutic journey and the open eyes it has given me, even if it started at the expense of a round of gaslighting. 4(ish) years later and I have learned so much about me, life and how to be a better person and parent. I tread on.

The raddest feeling is knowing I am surrounded by relationships and connections that don’t fill me with doubt. There’s a freedom in knowing I can give and expose all these facets of me and they’re received without judgement or that they won’t be weaponized against me. There is so much liberation to be uncovered when the accountability finally starts to take hold and seep into the bones of my humanity – I am just choosing a lot more wisely now.

long gone are the days
of drinking from chipped cups filled with broken promises
not when there are goblets of lustful earnestness
to be wide-mouthed for
and get insatiably drunk on
may it drip
down my chin

*cheers*

 

Sometimes the thoughts to peer in arrive – especially in those inevitable passings when I am reminded of things that would only sing to your ears. And I look. A window shopper in a store that has since been shuttered. That’s just how it is now.

The death of a muse. Daydreams about sighs under the bridge, chasing moonrises, finding beauty in the often overlooked and the most comfortable of silences. Moments that felt like safety as an empire crumbled around me. And you just watched it happen while hiding the dagger behind your back. A back turned away from mine. Judas.

Your silence and absence resonated. Perhaps that departure was necessary, even if it left me broken, bleeding and without explanation. However, there is something I have learned: Wounds heal better when left to their own devices and aren’t being prodded. A lesson I had to learn the hard way. And that is how I know I was right to let that door get so callously slammed, even when my fingers were still clinging and clawing to the frame wishing it could have been something different.

Solitude can be a place for resurrection, redemption and in many cases the most beautiful and rewarding. I know we both are getting our tastes of it and for that I am utterly grateful. We didn’t fall prey to masking our respective struggles with human shaped band-aids. I know I am better for it because flowers don’t bloom in old Earth – you just couldn’t help but look for the warning sign and ran while I painted images for you in my blood.

We are not the same.

I’m translucent like water, authentic and fearless. I speak truth. I’ve lost so much already, so what more is there to lose? That’s just who I am. I would be amiss if I denied there aren’t fragments of me that miss it and you – and I know you do too… more than you were ever brave enough to admit and I just don’t open the drawers of my heart for cowards. Not anymore.

It’s a shame, friend, because this is the best version of me yet and you’re missing Her.

 

+
The splendor of purple landscapes from the jacaranda blooms

The sorcery of the mochi donut

When the work put in pays off

Mother’s Day/Bats Day at Disneyland with my witchlet where far too much fun and laughter were had. We needed it on so many levels and I’m pretty certain some core memories were made.

Cinnamon clad doorways and the way those asks just ripped off the bandaid

Tiny flesh galaxies

Being witness to their butterflies of twitter-pation

Lessons of vindication

You ever been told that you’ve set the standard for elevated levels of interactions? I have and damn did that feel good.

Filling the calendar with friend dates

The way certain things would have just sent me over and now they just don’t. The growth is there and I’m so in love with this version of who I am and will continue to become. 3 years ago me would be hella proud.

+/-
The power in saying “no”. But then I think about what it took for me to get to this point. This was not an easy skill to acquire.

Solidifying passage for another voyage home. The sand in Mom’s hourglass is running out and it arrives with a lot of complicated logistics, feels and maneuvering. On the bright side it bought me more time with family even though it’s gonna be hot as balls and heavy in nature.

When I am thanked for sharing really private things, like it’s a gift to be privy to. This is a new feeling and I don’t know how to let it sink in that there’s actual appreciation for me without agenda or expectancy of return.


The continuous increase in cost of living is brutal and it’s frustrating because there seems to be no slowing down. Time to trim some more budgetary edges off.

Uncertainty that I am just not comfortable with yet

The reality of aging parents, the mortal coil and the multitude of really complicated feelings it brings with it all while trying to navigate very different styles of communication and grieving processes.

Covid anxiety creeping back in as things are changing. Again. This shit is just… *sigh*

Being pushed to unpack luggage that isn’t mine. This shit is tired and I will not mop up blood for messes I didn’t make.

Dental work and the state of insurance that doesn’t cover shit.

This country just gets more and more whack

Is it ever the right time?

 

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…