we will always have spells and gravity
gazes from across the room
grey skies parting 
to rain 
traveling sideways

 


My annual birthday post comes late. It was my party and I will cry if I want to. I did. Truth be told it was a hard day – life doesn’t stop, even for special days and it’s not every day your birthday ends in a rare lunar eclipse. I am such a fucking Scorpio.

46 left me with so much…

Happy reunions with loved ones I hadn’t seen in far too long, an undiscovered vertebra that told me to take none of that shit, being kissed mercilessly, revelations that plummeted disappointment to lower depths, friendship that continues to be loyal as fuck, solidified and deepened connections, songs that cut me deeply, art that moved me, endless amounts of laughter with my kid and watching them be a god dammed warrior, tribe, tested comfort zones, being met, seen and accepted for nothing less than I am without agenda.

I got on a plane again, met several e-friends for the first time, passed a kidney stone (not recommended), too many covid tests, got vaccinated, had another successful solo art show, fell in love with taking care of my plants and arranging flowers, saw Nothing, went to Death Valley, reclaimed my motherfucking name, saw the world with a more amplified sense of wonder, wrote and wrote and wrote some more… and shared it all because I have nothing to hide. And a really big one? The out loud admittance that my previous life was abusive and unkind in many places – only to be packaged and sold as “love”. It wasn’t. I am not ashamed of Her, she didn’t know better and really wasn’t sure who she was just yet. I thought I did. I like who I am becoming so much more.

46 showed me that my truth continues to be the sharpest knife in my arsenal, that fear and insecurity are poison and I don’t give a fuck what people think of me. The greatest love of my life will always be Me, I enjoy my own company and that being wanted is far more meaningful than feeling needed. Because if there’s something that 46 gave me in abundance is choosing to not settle for mediocrity and bare minimum efforts from anyone. To tell those ghosts that come knocking again, “thanks but no thanks”. She showed me how to say “go fuck yourself” with silence or a gaze, how to stand my ground, how my peace has no price tag, that I enjoy being and feeling utterly free to live a life on my own terms, how to truly be accountable when I needed to be and when to hold others to the same standards because I deserve the world.

The most valuable lesson? Self worth. Every inch of my Olympus is not an altar for mortals to pray at, much less reside in. I am not a liner note kind of woman, I am the whole leather bound anthology and only the worthy will get to be a part of this story. And if they’re lucky? Turn. My. Pages.

*licks fingertips*

Hello 47. Let’s see what you got.

xo



 

I sensed it in the air from the second I woke this morning. A fragrance of Earth, salt, sea and magic. I could feel it coming and it has not been disappointing thus far. A clap so loud the house shook, the aroma of soil, asphalt and renewal rising into my lungs.

My missives are usually scrawled in ink on paper these days… sometimes for me, sometimes for those I know care to read, or when asked to, just because he loves seeing certain things wielded by my hand. And what would have been a hand written entry has surprisingly found itself in these dusted off parts of me. Maybe I will scan those scrawled pages so those revelatory words can be felt, just as much as seen.

Maybe.

Nonetheless, on a whim I opened this page several days ago and re-read the very few entries that remain public. Sparse, but colorful and jagged, like a rare piece of sea glass. What a ride it has been since then, since before then, and never in a million years did I expect to be where I am now. So much has happened.

I cannot even begin to list out the amounts of things, beings, experiences, emotions and wisdom the last year has given me. Treasures and revelry with those who are willing to ride this ride without fear or abandon. Willing to slam the brakes or step on my pedals just to see how fast she can go.

I have fallen in love with everything around me. With words, scents, prose, poetry, art and flora. Every day I am shown selfless care, truth and wonder from places far and wide or sometimes in my own back yard – a welcome revelation from the least expected of places. All a journey to being the Me I always knew was within, but they didn’t want me to be. Unapologetically raw, devastatingly sensual, brimming with peace in my own truth.

This hasn’t been without its hardships, that’s for sure. Painful lessons of violations and eye-opening disappointments that felt more like nails holding my eyelids open than the gentle light coming over the horizon. All while living through the most bizarre of unplanned timelines filled with death, ignorance and abject cruelty, some of which arrived in the places I least expected them from. Add trying to guide and shape not only my life, but the one I brought into this world? Ouch. A perpetual juggling of daggers and every once in a while, a little blood is inevitable – but I do my best to make sure it isn’t at my own hand. I am not in the business of wounding and I have a lot of scars, what’s one more?

My space is brimming with the sound of water hitting concrete, the trains wailing by and the occasional laugh from the couch by the light of my life – who continues to make everything so very worth it.

The veil thins and I can feel my intuition searing through my veins. And if what she is telling me is correct, there are a lot of really incredible and wicked things working their way to find and savor me.

I just need to open the door, sink my feet into the water and let the sky pour her majesty onto my skin…

And let the storm in.

 

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and I already have the best gift I could have asked for. I’m so incredibly grateful for what they brought into my world. Not sure what I did to get this winning lottery ticket of a person in my life. Don’t pinch me because being their Mom is a dream come true. 

The bond we have will never be superseded. Not time nor space. Nothing and NO ONE will get between us and fuck, have I worked HARD for her and us. Of this you can be assured. 

We continue to teach each other about growth, resilience and resolve – through laughter and tears, mistakes, profanity, awesomely bad music, balance, indulgence, adventure, acceptance and honesty.

This perfect, not so tiny human gives me drive, intention and fight. Tooth and fucking nail. They deserve the world and I will do everything I can to make sure they get it. And I will remind them of it till breath stops filing my lungs. It was always just us anyway. 

Happy Mother’s Day to us, Reza. Thank you for choosing me to be yours.

 

Never do you feel more small and delicate when you’re hit with yet another sense of loss. Grief arrives in many forms: loss of loved ones, watching things go in a direction you didn’t them to, being embraced by memories of your former life. And they all sting.

Today that humility arrived in the form of a friend passing on. I can’t help but be angry how Charon keeps paddling across all these wonderful, kind and inherently good people. It’s beyond unfair.

Yet I try to find the purpose and meaning in it all. Sometimes things like this happen cause the Universe is a cruel bitch, but sometimes they’re the Universe slapping you upside the face, kinda like Cher in Moonstruck, “SNAP OUT OF IT!!”

You see, the past 24 hours have been a bit of a mindfuck. I take it back, the past month has. Another round of what feels like dog years, blow after emotional blow where I feel like I cannot come up for air before something else is tying itself to my ankle to sink me back down.

What was that? It’s early February? 2020 is gonna be aces? Shit. I am not throwing in the towel by any means here. Me? But look, I was having a real “woe is me” moment. A “can I catch a break? Because I am fucking exhausted!” pity party moment.

And then I read the news and boy did I feel like such a first world problems BABY. I’m not going to diminish my struggle by any means. It doesn’t mean that some of the things I have had happen to me in the past year aren’t absolute fuckery, cause lord knows they have been. But damn…

Another friend’s heart stopped beating… another set of lungs took their last breath today.

And I am sitting here squandering those moments.

Every day I strive to be a better, stronger, more authentic version of myself. It’s a journey that will always continue because arrival is for people lying to themselves. We are never there.

And yet here is another reminder knocking near my door….
Life is short. Life is fleeting.
Why and what are you waiting for?
Don’t be safe. Be bold. Be brave. Tell fear to go fuck itself.
Want it? Then get it.
Don’t have it? Then ask for it and be ok if it isn’t the answer you hoped for.
Say what you need to say. Be authentic to yourself . Be true.
Answer truthfully when your best friend starts questions with “You need to ask yourself why….”
Allow yourself to be vulnerable and trusting even when both of those things have been absolutely decimated.

Rewiring old thoughts, habits and behaviors are hard as hell.

Recently a close and long time friend said to me…

“Remember, you were the gold Ivonne”


kintsugi.
 
Days old / thirteen

We have been talking a lot about gratitude lately. 

Having to be a single parent, who really has to prioritize time and money is a huge change for us. I try not to feel bad about it, but it gets me from time to time when I know I just can’t. When you want to provide the world, the experiences and having to restrain.

All things considering, I think I am doing pretty ok despite it being less than a year since I moved out. They have had to watch me rebuild my life up from next to nothing. Ground zero. Blood, sweat, scars and a fuck ton of tears. Through minimization of the struggle and sacrifice like its been easy. To see almost half of your life, love and efforts brought to a close like it was a seedy back alley business transaction. To having to hear “What DID YOU DO in those 12 years?” in a job interview and have some dude look at you with the “oh that’s cute” face when you tell him you were a stay-at-home Mother. If you only knew, sir. If you only knew just how much I did, continue to do and am capable of. I am guts, heart, truth and spine.

I protect them from the burden all while showing them my vulnerability. Safe-guarding them from the reality and weights I lifted, far more than I should have had to. The stress I carry within, working to heal my broken heart, while simultaneously holding them up, imparting the lessons I have learned from arduous paths, building them and us into this new normal that our lives have become.

I remind them of what we need to revel in. To focus on what we do have instead of focusing on what we don’t. Focusing on needs over wants. That we have a great roof over our heads, in a city we love, the basic needs are met, we’re healthy, breathing and surrounded by an amazing tribe of support. Oh and let us not forget our two cats who know when we need it the most.

I don’t know how much longer this will last. She still comes in for hugs, climbs in bed for snuggles, reaches for my hand while we watch tv or falls asleep leaning into me. Those years of being home got me them. This amazing person I call my kid. Our bond.

This is what those 12 years got me. 

And I would do it all over again.


 

A friend shared this yesterday and it hit me hard, especially when you’ve been labeled and perceived to be in the “too much” camp. 

I’ve always said that I would rather try and fail than not try at all. Some of the best lessons I have learned have been in my failures. My mouth gets me into trouble, I say what I mean and feel – sometimes to my detriment. I extend, bend, gesture, show up, reciprocate and sometimes I don’t but I try to keep things honest and not leave people feeling like it was them.

But you know, there are people out there that want to buy into and like my kind of brand. Shit, someone will want to stock their shelves with us “too much” people. And that’s where the gold is, surrounding yourself with those who see you for your brand and love you for it.I’m not “too much”

I would rather be “too much” than “too scared” or “not enough”.

 

Boundaries.

There’s all this talk about them as of late. For those of us acknowledging our internal work and process, a lot of us are learning what these are. I have been in boundary boot camp for the past couple of years, learning to have them because for all intents and purposes, I just didn’t. I was silent. A doormat. The empty well pulling buckets of water it didn’t have to give.

The past year has been what feels like a giant SAT test of what my limits are… except there are no multiple choice answers where you can just close your eyes, point and hope it’s right. When you have no hard lines, no borders, it is really easy to allow yourself to be pushed, prodded, manipulated and ultimately, violated. Repeatedly. And never is it more apparent than when you remove yourself from the front lines of toxic fire.

I have this air that I am a hard bitch. The “she’s so fucking strong” persona that a lot of people point out. Yes, I can be strong but those who have the privilege of knowing me and my inner workings, also know I’m a half frozen ice cube, hard on the outside but the center, still water. One right word or question and I am a flood. I have that dam. I need that wall. And when my limits are pushed and tested, that is when the need for it surfaces.

There is a fragility within me that came at the expense of some very hard lessons. Some of those lessons were classes I didn’t sign up for but in order to graduate to some other level, I went through that prerequisite. Some I entered willingly, realizing that the class and professor were not what I thought or hoped they would be. So you drop the course. I’m learning to accept my frailty, trust and vulnerability as bricks of strength instead of seeing them as a weakness. I am not ashamed to have or expose them. I just need to learn to practice hesitation on who I surrender that trust to, because as I have arduously learned, not everyone is worthy of it, or me.

I’ve had some boundaries tested recently. A former friend trying to re-open doors I closed for a reason, a violation of my personal space and then one I swore to myself that I would stick to and would never subject myself to, again: Emotional manipulation, finger pointing, blame and deflection ultimately ending in inability to accept choices and behavior. Add it being accompanied by a half-assed apology as if “I’m sorry” undoes the damage. Those two words, vacant as fuck, a reaction instead of a response that mean absolutely nothing to me anymore. A hard line I will not tolerate.

Oh. Hell. No.

And then I did something different: I pushed back. Honestly and brutally. I fought for my wall. It felt good to do but then, when all was said and done I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. I literally felt like throwing up. It was uncomfortable and adrenaline inducing. My body, feeling all kinds of inexplicable, heated and awful. If it was what I fought for and believed in, why did it feel so wrong?

“That feeling? That pain? That discomfort? That’s your body rewiring behavior it isn’t used to

Pre-conditioning I had learned to normalize, now being broken down. I sat in it. I let it move around in my ribcage and then I found myself doing something constructive to release it.

Holy shit. Is this how it happens? Is THIS what healing feels like? Fuck. Ok.

This is where the real work is: Implementation over theory.

 
church

Never does one feel so small than when you stand at the prescipice of nature’s wonder. That is where I ended the last year and started the new one. Same sea, different latitude and longitude.

I almost didn’t make the pilgrimage home for a variety of reasons but I knew that seeing my Parents was important, even moreso my Mom, whose health deteriorates more and more with time.

There’s something incredibly grounding in returning to the place of my formative years: the flood of memories, flavors, sights and the walls that housed me. A culture of warmth and carefree attitudes. It is here I felt my calling to be art, fell in love for the first time and learned to see the water as my God.

Setting foot upstairs, knowing fully well what awaited me felt like the final walk toward execution. My feet heavy, my heart pacing… and there she sat. Reality and truth. Recognizable, but not herself. The light in her eyes dim but she looked up at me wide eyed and speechless. It took everything in me to not collapse into a puddle of tears. I don’t know if she knew it was me but I’m going to believe she did.

Since my arrival we’ve exchanged glances and held hands. I’ve wept and sang 50’s songs to her, got her to laugh more than once but nothing could prepare me for the brief lucid moment of “hi mija” and pursed lips asking me to lean in for a kiss. I. Lost. My. Shit.

There’s so much I wish I could have said and told her when she was still all here. I wish I could have leaned on her for comfort of my broken heart and shown her how I have put it back together. Or how absolutely brilliant and beautiful her granddaughter has turned out to be. I’ve said it out loud and sometimes to myself as I have sat by her bedside and that is the peace I choose to give myself. In the end all we can hope for is the ability to do our best with what we’re given. I’d like to hope she knew these things of me as I’ve come to understand her more since becoming a mother myself and opening my eyes to deeper understanding.

This trip has been nothing short of transformative and life altering in ways my words will not be able to describe. When you look at mortality staring back at you, in the form of the woman who so selflessly brought you into the world, it gives things an entirely different sense of purpose, perspective and meaning. Even in her silence she still teaches me more that I need to know. Louder than those with voices and full capacity. I’m just listening with more than my ears.

It is an indescribable, painful yet beautiful process that while far from over, will send me home more grounded, determined and inspired than I have ever been.

To be a better mother, person and human being. To build the life I’ve wanted. To be met and seen in ways that make my heart want to expand out of my ribcage and never settle for anything less than I deserve. To view life with an immeasurable sense of humility and gratitude. To create, provoke and evoke with what gifts I’ve been given. Time is so unbelievably fleeting and I can’t squander it. There’s so much more to learn and accomplish.

It’s a strange lullaby. A reflection. One more step… forever musing near the edge of the deep, blue sea.

 


It’s Thanksgiving morning, the skies are windy and stormy. Water in the sky. It’s a bittersweet lullaby, the silence of solitude and the light echoes of feline paws touching the floor… and the thoughts race, not so silently.

Never is the morning more silent than when the first of many different firsts arrive. They say these are the ones that hurt the most. You know that saying “that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” – It’s true but it’s a bunch of bs…. and boy has life kicked me in the proverbial dick this year.

A great deal of things have transpired since I last was in this space. Too many to list, too chaotic to relive, too painful to endure all over again. Some spots have seen so much destruction, immeasurable heartbreak and disappointment. Some have been lights in dark rooms. One thing I have learned and am actively trying to engrain is that I will never move forward if I am constantly looking back. I’m bound to trip over something. It’s all a part of the learning process. Fall, get up. Hit the floor, stay there a bit. Finding the will to rise and completely demolish the broken home in hopes that you can salvage the foundation and rebuild into something stronger, better.

I don’t expect you to know or understand me, my decisions or my space. I am not in the business of proving anything to anyone and I am sure there has been plenty of misguided judgement and blame thrown in my direction this year. Have at it. At the end of the day, I know my truth. I live my truth. I feel my truth. And some of it is heinous and cruel and despite everything, I carry it within me, more silently than I should at times. Even amongst the maelstrom, I sleep peacefully on most nights… because when you walk away for the right reasons, with the best intentions in your heart, when you know your choices are an act of love or mercy or thinking about someone other than yourself… you don’t give a fuck what anyone wants to say, do, or assume about you. I know me better than you ever will and SHE is untouchable, fallible, delicate yet steel strong in ways you will never know or have the privilege to understand.

I’m desperately trying to learn about forgiveness and surrender. The repair of fractured trust. Tending to one’s own fires instead of putting out everyone else’s with water you don’t have to spare. All while learning to stand on your own feet and build pillars for the not-so-little in the middle of it all. It’s like juggling daggers… which can be fun, exhilarating but one wrong move and you’re bleeding everywhere.

November: The month of gratitude. I try to be grateful every day… and I make those lists often and year round. And I’m so fucking thankful to have air in my lungs, a wonderful space over my head that I call home, felines who know when I need it the most, the love and respect of my radiant Daughter, my amazing Sisters, the Coven of support, love and friendship that has held my hand, wiped my tears – from far and wide- forever reminding me of who I am when I don’t see her in the fog. You know who you are… it does not go unnoticed.

I celebrated my 45th birthday last week in what ended up being one of the hardest weeks yet. My trip around the sun anniversary is like your New Year’s Eve. I look back, overthink, reflect and resolve. Boy, has my life turned up over on itself in the past year, that’s for fucking sure. Change is some tough stuff, and the best lessons never arrive easily. Healing does not arrive without discomfort.

I will say this, I go into it with more security in myself, more confidence than I had, a hell of a lot less fear and maybe just a little bit more hope that better is on its way. It already is.

Forever, North.