Another day to celebrate Mom!

I wish people would say things to my face instead of running their mouths behind my back. Toughen up and be real. Intimidated much? Then do not say anything in the first place, and certainly DO NOT act as though you want to be my friend otherwise. That is unbecoming of people our age. C’mon now.

Mama taught me early on to stay away from the likes of you. Gente podrida. No te llegan a los talones y no valen la pena.

Mother knows best. She is the reason I am writing again tonight.

I wanted to write yesterday, but the weather won me over. It was a gorgeous day – clear, sunny, and warm, with skies such a sweet blue, I understand why Bryce Avary croons as he does. I spent the majority of the day indoors, unfortunately. From the moment I stepped into my work at 7:15 am until the moment I stepped out at 5:15 pm – not a single second was spent outdoors. It was too hectic, but such is the field of medicine. It is what we signed up for.

When I was able to leave, I went straight home. I changed out of my filthy scrubs, grabbed my pup’s leash, and headed right back out the door with him. I took him out on a mini-hike along the creek and wooded area that lie between our apartments and the animal shelter. Wooden crates strategically placed in the shallowest parts of the creek serve as crossing stones for us adventurous city dwellers. I learned that Pup is not apprehensive about being in water (yay!) and that having him fully vaccinated was definitely in our best interest (since he decided to have himself a drink). We splashed a bit, he sat and allowed me to take photos, I was able to soak up some rays, and all felt well.

We were out for at least an hour, until we started losing the sun. I repeat, I emphasize: I am thrilled that Daylight Saving Time is upon us! More light! More adventure! Happiness!!!

Back home afterwards: dinner, packing, shower, bed. No time for writing about…

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

Hence me wanting to write about Mom. The woman who has empowered me since I can remember.

The woman who bragged about her first-grader who learned to read and write in both Spanish and English. The woman who set me up to be a brainiac by enlisting me in my schools’ math and science teams. She displayed my trophies (and those of my brother) all in the living room, and dusted them carefully as needed. She saved all the certificates and awards we ever received. Where are our high school diplomas and college degrees? Her house, of course, because in a sense, she earned them. They belong to her, too.

When I was a teenager, she would go on and on about how unique and creative I was because I would piece together one-of-a-kind outfits from thrift store finds. Did she annoy people when she talked about how I could pull off any outfit and how I wore clothes well, like a model? When people complimented my hairstyle back in my college years, she enjoyed telling them that I saved money by cutting it myself. If I ever post a photo of myself on Facebook, Mom always comments that I am gorgeous, even if I am purposely making an awful face in the photo, a habit I picked up from Dad.

Years ago, I let her know that I will never have children because I don’t want to. She responded by praising me for knowing myself well enough to recognize that motherhood is not for me. She commended me for not bringing a child into the world if I am not going to be 100% devoted to my role as a parent. She said there were already many children who looked up to me and loved me, kids to influence, and there would be more (she was right). She instructed me to live my life and be happy.

When I came out as an atheist, she quickly claimed that I am a better person than most people who call themselves Christian. She encouraged me to be myself and to continue on helping others, especially the little critters I love so much.

I informed her I was going vegan… she had seen it coming and took it as a challenge to learn new recipes and modify her dishes she already knew I loved. She researched what to be wary of, found replacements for common ingredients, and obviously bragged about my willpower to stick to such a limited diet. She even started shopping at Whole Foods. My sweet little frugal Mexican mom!

To this day, although I have done it for over a decade, she loves telling folks that I save animals for a living and do much more for them outside of work. She tells that it shows I have a huge heart. She says that with immense pride, I can tell.

She loves that I am passionate about social justice and civil rights. She reminds me of this often. She asks me who she should vote for and why… adorbs!  She admires my sense of adventure, my youthful spirit, and my unrelenting humor, all traits she acknowledges I inherited from Dad and not herself. She is happy I have them regardless.

I did pick up plenty from her, mind you. My compassion and empathy, my want to help others: gifts from Mom. I still do not feel that I am as selfless as she is, and doubt that I ever will be. My goodness, that woman does not know how to say no to pleas for help, even when she should! I continue to strive to be as nurturing as she is, and to be as great a friend. People love my mom. She is adored and respected.

I admit I am stubborn like she is. Perhaps I should not be proud of this, but I get it from my mama so fuck it! Oh, my potty mouth. Yup. Got that from her as well.

¡Daisy, cabrona!

In short, she is the woman I admired first and she is the woman I admire most. I grew up with a wonderful role model right in my home! Now, here I am about to take on a new phase in life, and I am undaunted. How could I be with her in my corner, her hugs and words of encouragement readily available to me? Her protective nature ready to strike if need be?

Do not mess with us chingonas. ❤

Happy belated Women’s Day, ladies. Much, much love.

Ten minutes

Free writing. Just for kicks, until 6:00 pm.

I have twenty minutes.

Today, I decided that as soon as I get home – and as long as Canelo Dog is not desperate to go for a walk – I will sit at my desk and simply see what happens. I love my desk. I love all the treasures its single drawer holds: multiple flash drives, paper, colored pencils, cameras, markers, a scrapbook, a stationary set, photographs, old mail. Just underneath it, books are stacked neatly just to the side of where my feet rest. Books about photography, writing, calligraphy, drawing, mindfulness, and more. A basket with a plethora of acrylic paint tubes and a plastic Texas Rangers cup holding a variety of paint brushes sit between the right side of my desk and the wall that isn’t much of a wall. It is almost entirely window. I also love windows, because I love natural light.

My desk is inspiring. I want to create or learn every time I sit at it. I reflect. It is my own little space, the most personal space that exists for me.

I need a more comfortable chair for my desk…

How am I?

I am well. It seems that almost daily, I am asked how I am doing, feeling, holding up.

Uh oh. Canelo Dog is up. Time to go. So much for twenty minutes.

He is my favorite priority.

On the road again.

There is this calm feeling of relief that has resulted from having honest and open conversations with people I fully trust. The usual suspects – family, mentors, and old friends. Newcomers as well, oddly enough. How can I be so trusting? No, the true question is – How can people so worthy still exist and, even more puzzling, how do I keep finding them? This month, I have spilled so much, overshared, exposed myself, and it has all been quite cathartic, like starting fresh. What perfect timing, too.

There is no denying that January through March of every year is my period of inactivity, my season of uninspiredness (is that a word?). Actually, March is always promising. March is when the awakening tends to begin, when my rational mind begins to prep itself for all that my imagination allows itself to concoct. This is why clearing it through spoken word has been so relevant!

The process of re-discovering myself is going swimmingly, I am happy to say. No, wait… I am happy. Period. I have reflected and been reminded of all that is positive, all that makes me feel alive, all that makes me feel that, yes, my life is purposeful. This has induced happiness.

I am reverting to my old ways, something that may seem like a backward step, but no, it’s not. I can remember my happiest year very well, and all that made it so. It was 2009. I was twenty-four. This is what made me:

  • Family. I lived with my Mom on a street that my Grandma and two other aunts also live on. I saw my little cousins nearly daily. I ran around outside with them, would take them to the park at the end of the street, sometimes even go on bike rides (this was before the Santa Fe Trail was completed. Ugh. Life would have been so much easier for us if it had already existed then). At any given time, I could step out the front door, take a few steps and be with my favorite people. It was incredible.
  • Health. In 2008, I became a pescetarian. A few months into that venture, I went full vegetarian. My body thanked me, and when 2009 rolled around, I was the healthiest I had ever been in my life. What a way to start a year. With my new found energy, I started running and started cycling. I got out more…
  • Getting out. Geeze, I spent so much time outdoors. Even if it meant simply sitting on the amazing porch at my Mom’s place. I have already mentioned taking the kiddos to the park, running, and cycling. I was outside ALL THE TIME. I took in doses of fresh (“fresh”… I do live in the city) air and sunshine constantly. Such awesomeness.
  • Making a difference. I was still working at the SPCA of Texas at the beginning of the year. When I left that job to do an internship at a veterinary hospital, I got a part-time job at The Humane Society. My heart belongs to animals, and shelter animals are some of my favorite. My being felt so fulfilled from loving on those critters every day. I almost felt heroic.
  • Falling in love. For the first time in my life, I fell in love. I fell fast and hard and so did he. We did not hold back. It was such an astouding rush, completely unlike what I had expected. Better! Who knew I had it in me to love like that? How could I ever guess that this cute guy I met on Facebook could make me feel like the most important person on the planet? Damn.
  • Cementing friendships. This is when I started forming lasting friendships. Not the type that were fleeting because oh, we aren’t in the same classes this semester, we don’t work together anymore, you have a boyfriend now, you moved to the other side of DFW, etc. At this point, I started going out of my way to maintain my friendships, to stay in touch and decidedly make an effort to spend time with my pals. All worth it. Those people are still my ride-or-dies, as they say.
  • Achievement. I got another degree and became an RVT, yo! Go me!

Obviously, I cannot repeat many of these things. I will not be moving back in with my Mom, I will not go back to working at an animal shelter, I cannot go vegetarian again. I can mimic some of those moves, though. Spend more time at my Mom’s, start volunteering at the shelter again, clean up my diet. I can continue to build strong friendships, I can continue being active, I can fall in love all over again, I can take some sort of class somewhere, I guess, and continue educating myself. Why not?

Yikes, I’m sleepy. This is not my cleanest of posts. This has been a bit of a free-write entry, but it may be just what I needed. I have been getting so much of “just what I needed” as of lately, sometimes it seems unbelievable. I am so excited for next month, for how much further I will get on this road to wherever it is I am going.

It is good to be me.

Life beckons

How do I even begin? Ugh.

Last week, an old friend of mine, one that I met in middle school and remained friends with until high school graduation, passed away after battling ovarian cancer. We met because Rosa was friends with my friends, so we fell into the same crowd back at J. L. Long Middle School in good ol’ East Dallas. Honestly, I was intimidated by her, which was ridiculous because she was actually one of the friendliest girls I could have met, and although I felt that we had little in common, she let me be her friend. I will be forever grateful for that. There is no doubt that the rest of my school days, all the way up until graduation, were filled with much laughter because of the friendship we shared. She was a hoot. There is a reason she was voted “Most Spirited” in our graduating senior class. She certainly earned it!

[sigh]

Sadly, I had no idea she was sick, and so I never offered her words of encouragement during her fight. I never extended my love to her. It was not until after she passed that my sweet mother, who is friends with hers, called to tell me everything. My heart sank, my mind raced to places it has not gone to in a long while, and I wept. What the fuck. What the actual fuck.

My thoughts are still all over the place, but the one that continues to reverberate resoundingly is, “This is not okay. This is not okay.” She was my age, so young. Selfishly, I think about all I feel that I have left to do and experience, and then I hope with all my might that she was fulfilled and at peace. Would I be? If I were to die right now? What is it exactly that I have left to do and experience? I do not put much value into marriage, nor owning a house, nor making a vast amount of money, nor any of that cookie-cutter bullshit. I certainly do not want children. What do I want?

What?

So here I am, contemplating everything. Just when I thought life was smooth sailing, I am once more trying to rediscover myself. Am I being my true self? Am I nourishing my mind and my spirit? Am I orchestrating the perfect path towards my own happiness? I am in control, right? Maybe not of external circumstances, but I am in control of how I react to them. Although I cannot predict what changes or situations I will be forced to face, am I at least controlling all that I can and doing so in such a way that makes life what I want it to be? Am I adulting okay? Life is obviously not guaranteed and much too short to be fucking it all up all the time.

Oh yes, life is short but mine is also simple, if only I change my perspective. I can see that I certainly have had things pretty darn easy throughout my thirty-one years. I have never suffered a tremendous illness nor gone through a medical scare. Thankfully, amazingly, I can say that I have led a healthy life and rarely find myself in a doctor’s office (other than the one I work at, but that’s for creatures much more noble and cuter than me). I have never experienced any traumatic events, either, unless you want to count not making the grade a few years ago (Pfft, that was nothing. I bounced back from that like a total champ!). I have never been a victim of abuse, I have never had anyone take advantage of me, I have never been degraded nor belittled. Hell, I’ve never even been dumped. Lied to, misled, and rejected, sure, but never by anyone I loved or had invested in.

Still, I know and readily admit that my life is not entirely perfect right now, but it is definitely not in a state of desolation. Not even close. I can deal and live with the present state, no question. So I suppose I may be overthinking matters and being much too dramatic about “finding myself” and such. I have a tendency to do these things.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs actually keeps coming to mind as I continue to type this. Physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, and esteem. Check them all off. I truly am the girl who has it all. I have my health, I have a home and feel financially secure, I am constantly surrounded by people who love me just as I love them, and I have a great sense of self-respect (hence the not allowing degradation, disrespect, abuse, etc. to occur to me). It’s nice! Real nice!

Again, don’t get me wrong. Not all is perfect. I am not a portrait of ideal health, I am no model athlete, I eat way too many Oreos and drink too many beers. I am not loaded with money, I shop at thrift stores and in clearance sections, my abode is in fact quite humble. The people I love are not always around me, they are not always able to spend time with me no matter how much I try to make it happen, and I sometimes miss them very much. That’s the damn truth. Still… I am good in those areas. Honest.

And so I reach the top of the hierarchy: self-actualization.

Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.

There! I am not crazy, I am not being dramatic, nor am I overthinking. All the questions that I asked myself above are legit. I asked them because I should want to reach my personal potential and continue to seek personal growth. I should want to be the best version of myself and have amazing experiences. I should not only want these things, but need them as well. This is all “normal”, if normalcy even exists. As Jordan Baker said, “It all makes sense. It all makes sense!”

Lucky for me, my sweet friend Slow J recently recommended a book to me, one that Audible also suggested based on prior purchases: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Two endorsements within one month? I had to get the dang thing! I’ve only read one chapter, but the gist of it is that we are all badasses and can live fucking awesome lives if actively choose to do so. Perfect, right?

That’s not all. Through lengthy conversations that we have shared, my other friend Che has filled my mind with stirring ideas, gotten philosophical on me, and shared his own experiences with self-discovery with me, all of which has also been largely inspiring. Not only that, but he encourages me to head out on the road to self-actualization, tells me not to hesitate, and does not think I am a complete NUT for wanting to devote my time and focus to this. I think it may be because he is also on his own journey… Ugh. I wish I was as helpful to him as he is to me.

Womp womp.

Anyhow, all of this has just been the kick in the butt that I have needed to get something going this year. I will likely write about whatever it is I discover, what changes I make, what joy I find. I am being optimistic here, I feel that good things will happen. If not, well… It will be my own fault. I hope that I do not become distracted, nor that I get frustrated and impatient. I hope that I reach new, epic levels of happiness and make others happy as well. I hope this makes me the badass person that I know I should be.

This could be good. We shall see…

_________________________

Rosa, rest easy, you sweet and amazing being. I hate that you are gone, but will always be grateful to have known you. ❤

All good?

Oh, life. What are you doing to me now?

I knew that changes were imminent, I could sense it, strongly so, and this is saying a lot because I do not usually have a feel for such things. I am building new relationships, while others are getting weak, and one is oh so steady, but being thrown a curve ball.

I found out a couple weeks ago that one of my best friends – who had also been my coworker for the last two years – landed a new dream job that will actually take her back to her home state of Colorado and, obviously, away from me here in Texas. Blagh… No. The truth is that I am thrilled for her and very proud of her, of course, but it is also inevitable for me to throw myself a pity party because of how much I’ll miss her, both at work and outside of work. The fact that she was offered the job and has to move almost immediately – like, this month! – has not made things easier. [sigh] I am confident, though, that we will remain best friends regardless of the distance and regardless of not seeing each other practically every day (like we do now). And, um, hello! Like I needed another excuse to fly out to Colorado? I am going to visit her ASAP and often! I cannot wait!

Anyhow, I now find it odd to look forward to the remainder of the year now. My marathon, the new Star Wars film, shows featuring some of my favorite musicians, festivals, this holiday, that holiday, the next holiday, and the holiday after that? I won’t be sharing ANY of those experiences with my best friend. And looking forward to them means looking forward to a time when she will no longer be just a few blocks north of me. She will be 800 miles away! It’s so strange. Can we just freeze time? Or at least make it slow down? Please?

If you know me or have read earlier posts, you can likely guess that this is not the first time this year that I have made this wish. 2015…

2015 has been a tricky year filled with many changes and many questions. I am somewhat nervous to start thinking about 2016. I gave myself a deadline, one that will arrive early next year, and I fear that I am not ready to meet it. I get distracted by focusing on other aspects of my life, because they are much more entertaining. More enjoyable. Isn’t that what life’s about, though? It’s not meant to be complicated, I don’t think. It’s meant to be lived and enjoyed, especially when you, by both chance and by the circumstances you have created, find yourself with the means to do so. Right? That’s what I’m choosing.

The changes to adapt to, the decisions to be made, the challenges to face? They never stop coming, do they? But I’ll be good. My foundation is strong, and if I keep my heart well-nourished and my mind well-conditioned, I’ll be good. That’s all there is to it.

That’s all there’s to this entry as well. Toodles.

And the time, such clumsy time

I think I may need to slow down a bit. These last few weeks, I have become a bit of a social butterfly, accepting invites to just about everything, having my weekends planned in ridiculous advance with little room for wandering. It may be getting a little out of hand…

Last Friday night, I got very inebriated on what was meant to be a quiet night of drinks with a small group of girlfriends, but turned into a long night of cab rides, a random house party, interesting strangers, and drunken actions that I do not remember (and would likely regret if I did). My friends have actually filled me in on all the details that I do not recall. Why do these people keep hanging out with me?! Man. No more double IPAs for me. And no more accepting shots from friends.

Anyhow, this past weekend was more mellowed out, thankfully. The gals (they keep hanging out with me) and I made a trip to Oklahoma where we stayed in a beautiful cabin for a weekend of both relaxation and adventure. There was a lot of talking, as you can imagine. Plenty of venting and emotional pouring and mind spilling. We related to one another, gave each other advice, and expressed our love and admiration for each other. It. was. wonderful. I needed that. I am overjoyed that from my failure a few years ago came these marvelous friendships that I strongly cherish and hope to keep forever. It’s funny how life works itself out like that.

At some points during the trip, I admit, I stopped both talking and listening in order to let my mind wander. My brain started calculating and brainstorming, selfishly ignoring whatever was happening around me. The thing is that lately – all month to be exact – I had felt that I lacked the desire to do. Do what? Do it all. Create. Learn. Grow. Help. Move. I knew that I was lacking inspiration, motivation, and energy and I was desperate to find it anywhere I could. So there I was in the middle of nowhere this past weekend, being reminded that life is as beautiful as you allow yourself to perceive it and as simple as you decide to make it. What more do I need than a lovely and peaceful life to do things?

I need time.

That’s the next step: delegating time to what is most important. I do not have to have to a full calendar to feel that I am truly living. It is okay for me to politely decline invites. I can do what I want and only what I want. This year is almost one-third of the way through. In the words of Jimmy Eat World, “If not now, when?” Oh. Listening to For Me This Is Heaven is definitely what I need right now. Thank you, music.

I love my parents.

My parents came to visit me last night. Not for very long since my Dad had to wake up very early this morning, but they drove an hour (thirty minutes here and thirty minutes back) just to spend an equal amount of time with me. Isn’t that sweet? I’m smiling about it as I type. I hadn’t thought about their visit all day, but now I am finally home and sitting here with my thoughts. Now, I’m recalling the visit and just how special it made me feel.

Work was exhausting again today. We’ve just been so busy lately! While standing in the operating room during a lengthy surgery this afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a pigeon hopping around outside and thought, “want to be outside!” Work is so time-consuming! It’s life-consuming, for just about everyone. Sometimes I feel as though we can’t all be our true selves because we spend so much of our lives working (I’m not only referring to myself here, but all humans in the work force). My true self would be outside with that pigeon being an absolute weirdo. It’s frustrating that I can’t always do exactly what I want to do because of consequences, because such is life.

Just when I was on the verge of lamenting, I thought of my parents’ visit. My parents just remind me about how simple life can be. They are so humbling. Maybe it’s because they remind me of my childhood. Maybe it’s because they have loved and respected me since I was a nonproductive human being (a kid). Maybe it’s because I know that I can fail miserably and find them welcoming home with open arms, ready to take care of me as if I had never left. Whatever it is, they make me forget all that worries me or frustrates me or angers me or annoys me. I just forget and then… Then I’m my true self, just like I want to be.

Oh, I love those two. I needed their visit. And I needed to remember their visit. I can’t wait to see them again.

New decade

Today is the last day of my four-day weekend. A nice break to reward myself for making it to thirty.

Last week, five days ago to be exact, when I made my last post, I decided to read my old blog posts. I posted on MySpace back in the day (what a joke, right?) and unfortunately, MySpace Blogs no longer exist. I had to download all my old blog entries as a zip file because they no longer exist online. So now, they are all on my computer for me to access one by one.

Anyhow, I posted on MySpace up until I started this blog, which was in February 2011. It is where I blogged through most of my twenties. I sat here and read entries from long ago and all I could think was how badly I wish I could go back and hug that younger version of myself and tell her that things would be okay. I wish I could tell her that the negative people in her life would make their way out and stop taking her joy away. I would tell her not to worry about what others thought and to focus on making people who matter happy.

Oh, I was just precious back then. The things I thought were important! Simply adorable.

Right now, I am happy that my life is drama-free. The only drama I am ever involved in is when I argue with Dustin, which is hardly ever. Our last argument was over two months ago and we hugged it out the following day. I avoid drama and confrontations at work because ain’t nobody got time fo’ that. Friends and family? Love them. Would never fight with them.

This flow to life, this smooth sailing, it allows me to focus on my altruism and I love it! Last month, I went to a City Council meeting to speak up for Dallas Animal Services. Earlier this month, I protested animal testing. In two days, I will be protesting the circus (eff them!). Also, now that my knee is better, I can start volunteering at the animal shelter again! I even bought a new leash today! I am so ready to start helping out with the big doggies.

This decade is off to a good start! I cannot wait to see what is in store for me.

Stay young at heart, folks!