Me and My Crew

I had read somewhere that we are not our thought and in some way it had made sense but recently, talking to Nina and her having me name my thoughts has really helped make that message clear, that we are not our thoughts. Let me explain. So this is what I’ve done: I’ve named my thoughts and their names are some of the Chespirito characters.

For example El Chavo is the fearful one, he feels lonely and misunderstood. When I talk to him, I let him know he’s not alone, that he’s got a family that loves and cares for him and most importantly that he’s got me. I have to remind him that it’s okay to be happy. It’s all gonna be okay 🙂

Then there’s Doña Florinda, she thinks she’s better and criticizes everyone, including me. Talking to her is a little hard because I tend to want to put her down so she sees that she’s got flaws too but then I remember that by putting her down she’ll only scream louder. What I try to do instead is to tell her that I love her. I hug her and tell her she’s got a good eye for detail and to please help me see all the pretty things she can find. She loves doing that.

Don Ramon is the angry one, he gets angry very easily and the only way he releases it is by throwing a tantrum. He thinks he’s tough but in reality he feels very scared. In Comm 103 I learned that anger is actually rooted in fear: we are either afraid of losing something we have (i.e. respect, family, house, etc.) or we’re afraid we won’t get something we want (i.e. respect, family, house, etc.) So when I talk to him I have to ask a lot of questions. I ask him what it is he’s afraid of and why. Whatever the answer is, I try very hard to reason with him because most of the time, it not all of the time, his anger (fear) is not rooted in reason. Then I tell him I love him.

El Profesor Girafales, he’s cool but he thinks he knows everything, he has a hard time asking for help. I still have a hard time hearing him when he speaks but I’m practicing.

All these characters can be very stubborn, especially because I just started talking to them, they’re not used to it. It’s a conversation I have to remember to have when they start speaking up. Sometimes I forget and they slowly start taking me into their world where it becomes a little hard to get out. Once I’m in there I have to really put my conversational skills into practice so that they’ll let me out. Other times, I catch them just as they’re starting and as stubborn as they are, they do eventually listen. I threw Cantinflas in there because he translates for me so that I don’t take them too seriously. When Cantinflas translates, things seems funnier, like not such a big deal.

And then there’s my baby, Lancha. I love her. She’s the one who loves to sit and read a book, she likes to draw and paint and take quiet walks all by herself. She has a very wild imagination which is why she loves to write, so she can get all her ideas down on paper. She’s not held back or worried about what people think. She’s just happy to be herself. Lancha has a very big heart, she makes me feel tender and loving, I feel like hugging her all the time. Sometimes she just feels like singing and dancing but she’s still a little shy about coming out of her cocoon so I have to gently give her a little push. She does come out but only where she feels safe. I remind her that the world is safe, she can be Lancha or Sexy-Chimoltrufia-Lancha whenever and wherever she wants. She’s practicing.

With all of these, I’m practicing on being loving and patient, it’s a practice, it’s hard work but it’s very worth it.

Love,

Mom

 

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What I Believe

This is what I believe about you:

I believe that you are a woman whose dreams are worth fighting for, whose dreams are valid, and whose dreams will come true. Why I believe this to be true is because I understand two things. My first understanding is that God has sent each and everyone of us with a job, a mission, to fulfill in this world. My second understanding is that if we don’t believe this about God, ourselves, and humanity, then what else is there to move us forward?

I believe that you are a strong and beautiful woman. Why? For the simple fact that God created you. And created you in that amazing and unique way that is you. I know this to be true because through every tough moment in your life you have and will continue to make it through exactly because of that beauty and strength that God gave you.

One last thing that I believe is that God=Love. You, all of this and everything in this world is fueled by love simply because that is what God is. I know that this might sound cheesy or fufi or whatever but I really believe this. I believe this even though we are constantly tripping, stumbling and picking ourselves up on our way through life. I guess any other way would not be as interesting right?

Oh yes, and don’t forget that you are Loved. Period. Not because, not when, not by, not at. Just Loved.

Sincerely,

Tu mamà

 

Tomorrow It Will Rain . . .

And then the earth will look cleaner and clearer.

We have passed the shock of the election results. Shock is a time for outraged stillness. you sit and you ask no one in particular: WTF?!!!

But then you wake up, your eyes start to blink and you begin to see the bigger picture. All this looks big, too big. And it is. Its bigger than any one of us. But not bigger than all of us. I think that now – this moment – is the time to realize and understand who it is we want to be. What kind of person do you want to be? What message do you want to send out into the world? Maybe if you don’t know what you want to be, you might at least know what kind of person you do not want to be.

You know? It is easy to react when we are angry. It is easy to say things that hurt, it’s easy to point fingers and blame the system, the politicians, the racist, and every person in between. That is the easy way out. It requires not much thought and not much action. Someone who knows a lot told me that in a time of joy and love, we have to let ourselves be led by our emotions. However, in a time of anger and rage, we must let our head lead us.

You are a very intelligent person and if you use it, you can achieve so much. You can change, if not the system, then at least your impact not the people you meet. I think it is time for us to show our best side, it is time to show who we really are as a people. Not as black or brown or white or whatever shade, but as humans. I choose to believe that the world is  composed of mostly well meaning people and I hope that you will too.

My Hair is Falling!

My hair is falling and I’m scared, worried, freaking out. Yes, “freaking out” better describes what I’m feeling.

I stand in the shower and softly lather shampoo into my hair because it hurts and because I don’t want to rub too much hair out of my head. But no matter how much I try, when I finally get the nerves to open my eyes, the tub floor is always full of hair. It reminds me of a hair salon but there’s no one behind me with scissors in her hands, I’m not sitting on a chair and there’s no black cape wrapped around me.

What there is, is a mirror and when I look into it sometimes I don’t like what I see. Sometimes I want to cry because I want to see my hair the way I used to see it, I want to rub shampoo into my hair without being scared, without feeling pain. In the mirror I look strange, my eyes seem to be out of place. I know it doesn’t make sense but there seems to be some kind of connection between my hair and my eyes. Or maybe it’s that in my eyes is the sadness of seeing my head with less hair. You know? I didn’t think this was going to matter so much to me, after all it’s just hair right? Is it too frivolous to worry about my hair when there’s other things to think about, other more important things to consider right now? Maybe it is but I think about it and I think I’m in all my right to feel freaked out about this. How can I not freak out? I’ve had hair all my life. Actually I’ve had a lot of hair, you know that. Every time I’ve gone to get my hair cut, I’ve always received comments about how much hair I have (or had), about how black it was. Now I see black and white speckled with bald spots and it’s painful to see.

I haven’t cried over my hair though. Not because of lack of desire but because I’ve talked to God. I told Him it was okay if He decided that I had to lose all my hair. It was okay if it was meant to be that the bones in my feet hurt every once in a while. It was okay if I couldn’t walk fast the way I like to walk, it was okay if I felt constipated every once in a while, it’s all okay. The only thing I asked him was to please not allow my mouth to hurt so much that I could not eat, that my mouth burn as if everything was spicy. Out of all the side effect I’ve felt I have to say that the hardest was the pain in my mouth that did not allow me to eat peacefully. If He’ll grant me that wish I don’t know, all I know is that when I spoke to Him about this I spoke to Him with all of the faith I carry with me today. So, my falling hair even though it’s painful to watch, I’m willing to accept it.

You, your dad, my oncologist, other cancer patients have mentioned shaving my head. I won’t do that. I won’t do it because I feel like it would be like losing hope, like giving in to chemotherapy. What if not all my hair falls? What if I’m able to keep some of my hair through healthy foods. What if God decides that I only am supposed to lose some of my hair. I’ve promised Him that once I get my hair back, I will not longer complain about it. I will love and take care of it the way He would like me to. That is my promise to Him and to myself. I think back and remember how much I’ve complained about my hair, how many times I wished my hair to be curly or to be thin and straight or to be a lighter color or to not have that cow lick. I was never able to appreciate the blackness of my hair, the ability it had to hold curls if I took the time to put curlers on them, the capacity it had to hold volume all day. I had beautiful hair and I could’t see that but like I said, my promise to God and to myself is to love my hair in whatever form it decides to come back to me.

I know the it’s hard to learn to live one’s own life through other people’s experiences but I hope that with what I’m going through right now you will learn to love and care for the beautiful hair that was granted to you. Appreciate it for what it does for you and give back to it the way it gives to you everyday. Think about how every day it frames your pretty face, it protects your scalp from the heat, it warms your head in the winter, and it gives you something to get creative with. Just like everyone else you have your own kind of beautiful hair, love it the way it loves you. I would love for you to do this.

Have a peaceful and beautiful night!

Love,

Mom

Mercy and When the Forgiveness Lightbulb Flashed

I had already been diagnosed when one day you came home excited because you had talked about cancer in one of your classes. You said, “Basically, it’s like your body is mad at you.” That thought, in a slightly different form, had already begun to slowly try to sneak up on me. It was gonna be one more thing to add to my list of things I had done wrong. But that little line was like a big neon sign shining in my face. Not because I didn’t like what you said but because it was true. You know what neon signs do, don’t you? They make you act. Like a picture of a pink neon girl shining – never mind…

Anyway, I had to act upon that sign instead of taking it as a straightforward accusation of some sort.

I thought about that line over and over, wondering what the answer was. Even though it wasn’t a question. I was making myself mad at those who had hurt me but really, if I boiled it down, I was mad at myself.  So I came to the conclusion that– as duh as it may seem – I needed to not be mad at myself and in order to do that I needed to forgive myself for everything: the times I had hurt myself, the times I had allowed others to hurt me and the times I had hurt others (especially my children).

So yeah, your line is kind of what turned on that self-forgiveness lightbulb for me.

I haven’t for a minute thought that God is punishing me with this disease. So when your uncle’s wife (or girlfriend) has told me more than once that I should ask God for misericordia. I don’t say anything to her because that is what she believes and for me to try to explain my beliefs to a Mexican sixty-year old woman would be like trying to shake a tree from where it has spread its roots with my bare hands, it’s not happening. I think of a way I might be able to explain this to her, it might go something like this

Okay, listen lady!

Just kidding :l

Seriously . . .

Ummm . . . . . . . . . I don’t really believe that I need to ask God for mercy because I don’t believe He is punishing me. One asks for mercy from someone who is punishing or hurting one in some way and I don’t believe God punishes.

Do you think that would work? Or do you think there would be a Pero…

Anyway, so yes that is why I do not ask for mercy.

I asked for mercy enough times in elementary school. My friends and I used to play a game called “mercy.” The way it worked was we interlaced our fingers and one of us would put the pressure – as hard as possible – and other one had to yell Mercy! when she couldn’t take it anymore. The point of the game, of course, was to see who could take the most pain. I remember crushing a few fingers 😉

That game was fun!

So Goodnight from this comfy hospital bed that bends in all the right places. May your dreams be beautiful dreams filled with unicorns and mermaids and gnomes.

Love,

Mom

 

 

 

Mystery and Magic

Yesterday I went to the beginning (or the end) of the rainbow!

I  wasn’t looking to do that, it just happened that the rainbow landed on the left side of the street I was driving through, on an empty lot filled with growing weeds.

And because I want to keep this magical and mysterious for you, instead of telling you what I saw, I’ll tell you what there I didn’t see: there was no pot of gold and there were no leprechauns dancing around or CareBears sliding off the rainbow. But what I saw left as much in awe as any CareBear or leprechaun or gold would have.

I wanted to take a picture but I was driving and I couldn’t and when I went back (because I actually did drive back to see it one more time), like magic, it had disappeared.

What I did take a picture of though was this:

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You see the light on the three flowers? That’s what Gael and I come home to every day after I pick him up from school. Everyday. The way the light hits those orchids is so pretty and when it’s at the same time everyday, it’s really beautiful!

I also took this picture of Gael and his ladybugs which he said were him and Nauj but Nauj said nooo and instead named them Red and Dot.

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Red is the one on the top leaf and Dot is the one on the bottom leaf. I know you think I’m making this up but I’m not. I actually did get to know them a little bit. Red is bigger and from the very beginning he was the one climbing to the top of the jar trying to find a way out. Dot, on the other hand, stayed at the bottom, just kind of walking around the edge. At first I thought that it was because Red was, like his name, louder and more extroverted and Dot was more of an introvert, thinking things through first, like a typical introvert. I don’t know, I could’ve been partially correct but I’m not sure because later I noticed that Dot had a broken leg and that was why he was mostly staying at the bottom. But even with a broken leg look where he walked to…

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almost to the top! It took him a while but he made it, he’s a very strong lady bug. And you’ll be glad to know that Gael has already let them go, they’re somewhere in the backyard happy to be home, I’m sure.

So there you go . . .

Rainbow beginnings, glowing orchids and persevering ladybugs. Little things we take for granted as we grow up. But believe me, we always return. And it feels pretty good when you let yourself believe in magic and mystery every once in a while. So with that being said, I wrote this song for you:

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance . . .
I hope you dance
I hope you dance

Okay, okay, so I didn’t write it, Lee Ann Womack did, but she does say a little bit of what I want to say to you so here’s the rest of the song ( I hope you like it) 🙂

Plants, plants, plants!

Look at what Gael and I are growing! Can you believe it?

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Okay, so this is what happened. A couple weeks ago I wanted to make some pinto beans for dinner so I left the beans to soak for one entire day before cooking them – ’cause you know how long pinto beans take to cook, and then we’re using that little stove right now – and when I got ready to cook them I realized I had soaked toooo many beans. I only ended up cooking a little over half of them and the rest I left in the container because I didn’t know what to do with them and because I was too lazy to try and figure it out.

A few days later, the beans were still in the container, still waiting for me to see what I was going to do with them and that’s when Gael noticed they had started opening up and growing little roots (or whatever they’re called)! He was so excited and honestly, so was I. So I got a little pot of soil with a plant I was trying to get to relive (yes, I really thought I could relive a plant), I pulled out the dead rosemary roots and had Gael put three beans under the dirt. I had him do it because I think he really might have a green thumb. And now look! a little bean and we’re waiting for the other two so cross your fingers.

Oh and look at the gladiolas I got at Trader Joe’s. They’re so pretty!!! I love that fuchsia (for fucha) color! And I really like the little altar which, to me, is more spiritual than religious even though all the images are Catholic. But I’m still waiting for the Buddha to show up : )

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How about you? Are you taking pictures everyday? Practice, Practice, Practice!

The more scared we are of the work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. -Steven Pressfield (The War of Art)       (P.S. Not to be confused with the Art of War)

 

Love, Mom

Sooo . . .

Let’s pretend I’ve been here all this time, that I didn’t stop writing in this blog for you and let’s start all over again.

Did you notice I changed the picture? I’m sure you did. I was going to use the one you took (which I like better) but that picture is yours and I don’t want to take it from you : ). I love this picture too though. I love the colors and the rusticity of it and I realized that this is the kind of art that I love, the kind of pictures I love to paint (a cream rustic background contrasted with strong punches of color). Have you noticed that? In my writing too is the same (a backdrop that recedes with characters that make everything come alive).

But you know what I love most about this picture? It’s that it reminds me of our mini mother-daughter trip. I had a lot of fun and I hope you did too. I don’t know but I have a feeling it changed a lot of things for you and what you thought you knew about yourself. Like where you come from (meeting new family) and where you want to go (your choice of career). I’m sure, as exciting as it is, it’s also very confusing. And that’s okay, I guess it’s kind of supposed to be that way, otherwise it wouldn’t be fun right?  You might make the right choice or you might not. But really, I don’t think choices are supposed to be right or wrong, what they do is they take you to places that are either good for you or they’re not. Drugs and alcohol -> addiction, unemployment, homelessness.  Education and hard work -> passion, a job, a home. When you decide on your career (because that’s probably one of your main concerns right now) make that decision based on what makes you feel alive and excited, angry even, not on what you think will bring you a higher social status or a nicer house. Those things will come to you all by themselves if you work hard and with passion. Don’t follow the rules, there is no order of how things are supposed to be. There is no first things first. First is what’s inside you. What’s calling you? You’re in a good time right now, you have no responsibilities other than yourself. You can choose to take whichever path you feel is right for you right now. Will that guarantee that everything will be perfect? That your future will be forever bright? No, not really. But at least you won’t be left in the “what if I had . . .” zone. In the “hubiera” place that is so horrible to live in.

Do. Act. Move forward. Have you made mistakes? Yes. Are you making mistakes? Yes. Will you keep on making mistakes? Yes. There’s no way around that but forward. It’s okay to be afraid and angry. Go ahead and be afraid, be angry (anger can be a propeller, but only if you act). So, make choices and act.

I love this quote by Sandra Cisneros:

“. . . anger when it’s used to act, when used nonviolently, has power.”

 

Love,

Mom

Death and Time and the Lack of Words for it . . .

There are so many things I want to tell you about I don’t even know where to start.

Let’s see . . .

There’s yesterday when I made the mistake of making fun of Gael exaggerating his knee scrape (you know how he likes to overdo his little scrapes). When I picked him up from school he had a band-aid on each knee because he had been running, tripped and scraped both knees. He held his shorts up all the way to the car, we went to the market and he kept walking and holding on to his shorts, at home he complained even more. By dinnertime he couldn’t even handle getting up on the chair. Your dad was home by then and I made the mistake of saying that he was dying (of pain) only I didn’t say “of pain,” I left it at dying and he took it literally. He thought he was really going to die and I kept saying no, he wasn’t going to die but he kept crying and I couldn’t figure out what to say to fix what I had already said. Fortunately, after a few minutes he was okay but when I was dressing him after his bath he remembered and began to cry again. This is kind of how it went:

“I don’t want to die! I’m not old. I’m not old ma?”

“No, you’re not old,” and then of course you know me, I try to keep it real with you guys and of course we’re all going to die and I couldn’t lie to him and say he wasn’t going to die, so I said, “It’s going to be a long long time, one hundred years.”

“When? Tomorrow?”

“No, not tomorrow, a long long time. You’re a kid –”

“I don’t want to! I don’t want to be old! I don’t want to die!” he was ready to cry by now and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it so I said I had to go to the bathroom and left it to your dad who, of course, had no problem telling Gael he wasn’t going to die just to get him to stop crying and go to sleep.

“I don’t want to die,”

“No, you’re not going to die,”

“Nauj is going to die? He’s old?”

“No, he’s not going to die either.”

Tú estás viejito? I don’t want you to die!”

“You don’t want me to die? Okay, I’m not going to die.”

“Y mamá? Y Mayerlin?”

“No, tampoco. None of us are going to die, we’re going to be eternal.”

“Why everyone gets old? The house too?”

“Yeah, the house too.”

“Why?”

Now, how do you explain this to a four year old, life and death and time? So your dad just says, “because that’s life.”

“Oh . . . when we go to the new house this house is going to be old?”

“You don’t want the house to be old either?” (Your dad asked this like he was walking on glass)

“Yeah, it’s okay.”

(Relief!)

“Ok.”

That’s when it was finally safe for me to get out of the bathroom and go to bed.

“Daddy said I’m not going to die. Tu no?”

“No, we’re not going to die.” (If you can’t beat’em, join’em right?)

“Read me a book. The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” (Ironic don’t you think?)

“Okay.”

. . . he was a beautiful butterfly!

The End

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

There’s also this morning that I was listening to the radio and they were talking about parents using iPads to replace teaching their kids the basics like abc’s, colors, shapes, etc. Is it okay or not?

There’s also the Lila Downs concert I never wrote about.

Then there’s Tia Pilar’s birthday party which I know I already told you a lot about but the one thing I didn’t tell you was how all the kids, rather than run around and play together, were all pinned to their phones or iPads and how Gael fixed that just a little.

And finally there’s this little poem and picture I want to share with you, can you tell what story it is?

But all this will have to be on some other posts so until then . . .

Love you and miss you,

Mom

OMG!

I AM SO TIRED!

I’ve been cleaning, drilling, ripping off cabinets, painting, cutting wood, and even installing flooring. You name it, I’ve done it or will do it!

Oh, yeah, your dad helps too 😉

I like it though, saves me from having to cook too much. haha!

We’ll probably be painting the living room this weekend. So excited about that.

Oh and can’t wait to show you the office, it’s red, turquoise, and yellow. You’re gonna love it!

Oh, and tomorrow we go to Lila Down’s concert at the Pantages. So excited about that too. I’ll make sure to take lots of pictures for you.

Our neighbors are some little blonde girls that Nauj made Gael say hi to. And then I heard them talking . . .

N: Do you like a girl?

G: Oh a girl? Yeah.

N: What’s her name?

G: I don’t know.

N: Oh. . . Me too

You should’ve heard them. It was so cute.

Watch out with Nauj, he’s growing up.

I haven’t taken any pictures lately but here’s this one that we’re going to buy . . .

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Just to make you laugh a little : )

Love,

Mom