While everyone is happy

31 Oct

When depressed, its hard to see other’s so damn happy.

I really dont like Halloween.

My grandmother past away at the end of October in 2002. I flew to Guatemala to bury her. Her death changed a deep part of me. One that did not allow me to drop out of college. The month she past was the month i meant to drop out of college.

I never went to a Halloween party again since her passing. While i mourned yearly, everyone got dressed up, dressed happy, went to party, dance and drink, and i stayed in. alone.

Some years ive gone out, but i always feel out of it.

I followed up with Dia de Los Muertos and appreciated that date because at least i could remember her in a good way, in an intentional way. Ive appreciated and been part of making altares since 2002.

Since moving back to LA, I have attended the event at Hollywood Forever a few times. But every single time i went i was surrounded by hundreds of people and i felt completely alone. I would always end up walking away and sitting by myself in the darkness somewhere. Alone and ignored in my thoughts.

This year, the feeling is no different.

All of a sudden everyone and their mother has an altar or a dia de los muertos party.

I dont want to celebrate muertos.

This year, my father’s life was unjustly taken away and now i wake up every morning knowing that he’s dead.  I am not happy that he has gone on to the spirit world. That maybe he can see me. That he is now an ancestor.

One holiday celebrates and make believes. Costumes include blood, death, ghosts, and racist insensitive ass holes.

The other holiday makes death trendy.

What the fuck?!

For anyone whose ever dealt with murder in their life, i cant imagine Halloween not being a triggering day. And for anyone that simply wants to mourn and grieve in a good way that feels healthy or genuine, hearing about how much people want to party up with dia de los muertos is at the minimum, annoying.

So while everyone is happy tnight and for the rest of the weekend, i have no where to go where i wont feel alone.

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From preschool to healing

25 Apr

I find my self continuously analyzing myself  because I am currently enrolled in three psychology courses. During lectures I  diagnose my moods and my family members “disorders” … its kind of silly. In my developmental psych class i have been reading and reflecting on attachment. In the context of newborns and parents, attachment is important for the child’s positive development.  A new born begins to feel a sense of safety and assurance if the parents are consistently and continuously attentive to the baby’s wants and needs.  Such attentiveness does not spoil the child, rather it helps them trust the world they are growing up in. This positive reassurance transforms to a sense of security, self worth, and self esteem for the child.

In my case, it was kinda the opposite.  In my very early years, i was growing up with violence in the home. There was verbal and emotional abuse and probably some depression thrown in there. We moved homes a lot when i was a kid, and my fathers aggression and abuse was internalized. I feared him and had nightmares of him. I have learned that indeed my parents tried their best, they have their own traumas and they acted the only way they knew how.

I was confronted with isolation when I went to pre-school. I was deeply saddened and afraid when i was left alone at school. I was the kid that cried endlessly when getting dropped off. According to my mother and older sister… it went on for weeks. I also have memory of this. There was a huge window that faced the street and i would run to it after i was forced to stay. I would watch my mother get into her green car and drive away to work. My mom has told me how much it would break her heart to see me go through this pain.

Eventually i adapted to this thing called school. I learned to swing, tie my shoes, count apples, identify shapes and my pinkie… Children can surpass baby traumas, there is still an opportunity for resilience to develop. I spent most of my childhood alone when I was at school. I was a pretty independent child. I entertained myself and still played handball or foursquare. I just wasnt part of a group of friends. I didnt bother to make any friends. Maybe it was too much effort, maybe i was afraid of rejection. Maybe i accepted my isolation, but i didnt feel alone. I felt like a normal child… except I told other children to leave me alone. True story, i had a friend in high school tell me of her first impression of me. She came up to me while i was in line for foursquare.  She mentioned she was in my class and told me her name. Apparently i didn’t care, and i told her to leave me alone. That was in the 4th grade.

I did eventually make friends of course. Sometime around 6th grade i began to make friends. Today I have many beautiful friends in my life. In my journey called life, I have found different ways to heal from my past. Some of those ways have been through conversations with friends. Traditional ceremonies that have survived such as Temezcali/sweat lodge and Teepee ceremonies have been incredibly healing and powerful to my spirit and my heart. My ancestors and my willingness to be a better person have been my guide. I am so grateful for the communities that invite me to heal through meditation, counsel, art making, dancing…

A few months ago I was in my room cleaning and i heard a couple fighting outside my window. The guy was calling his gf a “hoe”. He was shaming her and making her feel worthless. He called her a bitch and a hoe and told her he was not ashamed to call her that. When i heard the verbal abuse i looked out the window. The couple was a high school boy and girl. She still had her backpack on and she was crying. He was pulling her hair and calling her names. I walked outside and tried to intervene. I was filled with anger, and i tried asking the girl if she needed any help. He didnt let me talk to her and told me to leave them alone, he didnt get into my business, so i had no right getting in their business. Apparently he was “old enough” to know what he was doing… Yes, he was old enough to be an abuser. It was that week that I began to train at Peace over Violence. An organization that provides services to victims of violence. I am now a volunteer as a Violent Prevention Specialist (still in practice) and had my first presentation at a middle school last week. I wrote down the address and took off to find the middle school.

In my presentation we were going to talk about teen dating violence and learn to identify the cycle of abuse. It was also important for me to talk about what healthy relationships look like, so I had an activity in mind for them. , and have activities that engaged a group of twenty 8th grade girls to have a conversation about what healthy relationships look like and how to identify teen dating violence.

The school was in Gardena, the town i went to school in when i wasnt moving around. When i arrived at the address, I couldnt believe my eyes and my gut. I parked in front of what use to be my old preschool. I starred at the building and the huge window was no longer there.  The swings were taken out. And a bunch of middle school kids were hanging out behind the school gate talking and playing around. My preschool was remodeled and turned into a charter middle school. It had only opened a few weeks prior to my arrival.

I acteen p&c wheelcepted the moment and went inside. I met about 20 girls who seemed shy at first. I asked them to write down words on a piece of paper identifying what they would want a healthy relationship to look like and they scribbled words like trust, open mindedness, and kindness. We had positives to work with, and then we identified power and control. We finished by writing down “the relationship bill of rights”. One of my favorite rights someone shared was, “I have the right to make mistakes and its ok”. 

I finished the presentation, walked out, got in my car, and drove away. I cried. I gave thanks. I felt blessed. It was magical to have the universe tell me i was exactly where i was suppose to be. A journey almost 3 decades long that took me in so many different directions and brought me to a place i had begun. A place where I replaced my trauma with a new memory for hope. I am thankful. And i pray. I pray for the power of young men and womyn to practive healthy, mature, beautiful ways of loving and living.

The Longest Dream (12.30.09)

27 Mar

Part One: Lost

I was lost in the wilderness,
Attempting to escape claws and tangling ravines.
A wilderness that held my true colors and passions,
But my colors faded away into everything else.
I needed to stand out,
I had to stand alone,
By myself.
 
Lost in transitions,
I ran in multiple directions.
My own path was windy,
Filled with distractions,
Filled with guilt,
Filled with curiosity,
Filled with doubt.
 

Part Two: I Want To Be Art

An October day offered me new colors. It placed a brush and pallet in my hands.
I was gifted a magical wall and the love flowed out of me.
My colors blended into the concrete, becoming one.
And I became a little girl again.
Nothing mattered, except the present;
You didn’t matter.
He didn’t matter.
And neither did she.
It was just me and the colors of life.
Colors of creation.
With Mountains and Oceans,
The Lightning and Fire,
The Rain Drops and Snow Flakes,
The Clouds and the four Winds,
The Rainbow and the Seashells,
The Flowers and Trees,
I danced cumbias with them all.
 
Somehow it made sense,
This is what everyday should look like…
This is what life should be…
Creation and Art.
 
A wish, a want, a need was born!
I wish to paint like the wind does, all across the sky.
I want to be movement the way the mountains rise.
I need to reach my dreams and the passing clouds.
I want to create.
I want to be Art.
 

Part Three: Doubt

But I doubted myself,
I doubted my destiny.
Unknowing where to begin or continue,
Love laughed at me,
Love made me feel ashamed,
Love made me want to disappear,
And yet I held onto love with all my strength.
I doubted who I needed to become.
A daughter who could be responsible,
A writer who could be infinite with words,
A painter who could paint walls around the world,
A friend who could listen, give time and compassion.
A woman of wisdom who flies with the owls and speaks only when needed.
A woman to share love with all who are worthy.
I was drenched in confusion,
Distracted without a core.
I could not be there for myself,
I prayed for my solitude.
I yelled at the past,
I made a mess of the present,
I denied the future,
I denied myself.
 

Part Four: The Need To Know

I needed to leave.
All these questions and doubts needed an answer.
I needed to know what my destiny would become.
So I flew off,  over pink mountains, past superstitious roads, and crawled up a mountain of Turtles.
I arrived and I prayed,
For everyone.
Myself,
I could not forget myself.
I thanked the ancestors,
I thanked the Hawk, the Crows, and the Ladybugs that joined me on my journey.
The Rock held me up,
The Sun began to set amongst the most expansive Sky I ever saw,
Dusk lasted a lifetime.
And the Cold moved in amongst the heat of the Fires.
 
I descended into the Arroyo,
The smell and dampness allowed me to remember.
I walked into my dream,
The Eagle and the Bat were one in the same
It was me, it was I
 
I was in the middle of my spiral,
my own transformation.
I felt lost searching for a place to call home by midnight.
Then a stranger showed me the way,
A stranger like an angel.
He shared love stories with me,
I shared my stories as well.

“There are no guarantees.”
“Stop being afraid,
Let love be love”, he said.
 
It made me nervous so i walked away.
 
Outside the cold went thru my spine,
I shook it off and starred at the tree.
Completely leafless,
But filled with spirits,
We looked up into the branches.
Two little love birds gave each other warmth.
The Tree did not protect them from the weather,
They just had each other.
This is all they needed,
Love.
 

Part Five: The Longest Dream

I dreamt the longest dream,
I met the older me.
She held my hand and answered my questions;
You are a painter.
You are a writer.
You are a daughter.
You are a dreamer.
You are a lover.
You are magic.
 
In my dream I had wings,
I glided with the Clouds,
The Road below was umber,
The Hawk was my guardian,
The Sky above was every yellow, orange and blue that ever existed.
I Woke up with the sun and chased it all the way to the ocean’s side
The west side, the wild-west, the concrete jungle that waits…
 
As the sun set I realized I was ready
Ready to love, forgive, be challenged, be blessed…
I am ready grandmother.
I am ready grandfather.
I laughed and cried with the wind.
I am ready.
The greatest me has arrived.
Into the city of angels,
I return to join you.
I am not waking up yet, I am living my dream…
 

Letting go of “things”

7 Sep

Letters, phone calls, and hang out time are the original forms of communication. If you want you can add telepathy. This week I left facebook and it already feels like one of the best choices i could have made for myself this year. Its a website with an overload of information that has crowded my thoughts and blinded me from insights. I feel much lighter already and ill keep celebrating this weight loss.

I want to thank my friends who have reached out to share their love through phone calls, emails, and text messages. I genuinely feel people’s good vibe, energy, and words that are being shared with me in ways that existed before infocrak (fbook).

This summer I have given up a number of material possessions such as clothes, books, shoes, unused art supplies, kitchen ware, everything and anything that has not had a function in my life except to crowd space. It was not easy at first, i really feared letting go of things I thought had a deeper meaning or value. Now that I have begun this process, its become easier and easier to continue letting go of things. Its been a surprising process that has rewarded me by making me feel more free. Im learning that as i let go of these material things, i make room for my emotional and spiritual growth. We are attached to “things” because we feel they give us some sort of certainty of our existence. Things provide a memory, e.g., a pair of shoes can remind you of the time you trekked across an unknown city and discovered delicious food, amazing musicians, and dancing floors. I thought that if i threw something out, i was throwing out the memory and meaning of things. But memory is ultimately within. It still exists. And that’s all it needs to be.

I have gifted things too. And this has been the most special. Because once i threw out meaningless things, ive been left with more meaningful items. And giving those up have open my mind and spirit. One, i get to share something beautiful with someone else and this feels good bc there is intention and even prayers within these items. Two, these special items get to go on an adventure and have a new life. And three, it creates possibilities about who I can continue to become. Im realizing that keeping things is maintaining a stagnation of being. Like chi, energy, water, wind, everything has to keep moving and flowing. Like fire and earth i can keep transforming myself to a better me.

Yes, this is good. Let go. Release. Detach.

Gone with the Breeze, color pencil sketch 9.7.12

Sharks that Climb

3 Sep

9.3.12 color pencil illustration thumbnails: spicy shark climbing gently (random words picked from a hat)

Bare Bones

3 Sep

8.29.12: skeleton, pencil sketch 1

I just got dropped off here

8 May

“Just because i was born here, doesn’t mean i have to stay here”

That’s what i keep telling myself. There are hardcore loyalists to the city of Los Angeles. And i love my home. But in the larger timeline that exists amongst my family and ancestors… i just got dropped of here. My mom and dad dont even live here anymore. They both retired and are kicking it in Guatemala. The cost of living is more affordable for them over there. And I just happen to be born in Los Angeles, CA.

So since i returned from college in 2006, I’ve been trying to assemble my life, my home, my friends/community, family connections, career, etc. Its been a cool little journey so far. Ive found some really cool friends along the way. And I also found the person im in love with here. But I cant shake off the feeling of flying somewhere else.

A couple full moons ago, Olivia Chumasero of the Farmlab, reminded us during a gathering about how we are just visitors to this land. This was placed in the context of acknowledging the indigenous people of this land, the Tongva,  who were displaced off this land we now inhabit and call L.A.. I thought back to my ancestral land and I fully identified with being a visitor here. And that’s why i dont have to stay here.

A tree has several roots. I have a stubborn root that stretches all the way from Central America, then another one stuck in the Southbay/South Central. I even had a tiny root growing while i lived in Santa Cruz, but I had to yank that one out and take it back to L.A. Now im contending my next growth.

As i consider my future, and the generations to come, I realize that I have an opportunity to give my children a different home where they can grow there own little roots. Then i realized that they are just wanna head out somewhere else too and grow roots in some other corner of the world. Before I knew it, my mind traveled into the future and i saw my child deciding to move to New York for his/her career move. And so before Ive even given birth, im already aware that I have to say good bye.

I put myself in my mother’s shoes. All her daughters spread out across L.A… and she brought us here. The irony is she cant completely afford to stay with her family. Its a struggle. And its hard for her and for all of us. She’s coming back though, and my nephews and nieces are gonna have a grandmother again for a few months. Then she’s gotta go back. Ill probably go back with her to Guate for a few weeks. This is the root that needs lots of watering.