Feel Me.

I used to pride myself in being able to write what other people felt or thought, but could never quite articulate. I struggled for a while to find validity in my writing, wishing I had real talent. Something quantitative, like being able to play the guitar by ear or effortlessly snowboarding down a black diamond. No one tells the room to quiet down, so people can gather around – eyes gleaming as they watch you type on your laptop. No one gives you a standing ovation and tosses you flowers after writing a blog. But that’s not why we write is it? Enabling sympathy and empathy is a talent, even f I still have to convince myself it is from time to time. Now more than ever do I have to convince myself it is.

I’ve been experiencing a new kind of writers block. One where I feel like I’m no longer relatable, because I’m no longer relevant. What do I write about? No one’s breaking my heart in a volatile fashion. My life is no longer messy in an entertaining way. I’m not dating different men with new dicks and new antics. 

I don’t have kids, so I can’t relate to parents. I’m no longer young and dealing with fuckbois, so I have nothing in common with 20 year olds. And I’m not married, so why would someone with a ring on their finger listen to me? I’m not a successful entrepreneur or business owner, or even “Insta-famous”.  

Then, the other week someone reposted a blog I wrote from 2009 saying that even after all these years it still makes her cry. The minute I read the post, the memories came flooding back. I remembered who it was about, why I wrote it, and the pain flowing from my heart and into my veins that fueled that dark time in my life. “Same girl, same” I replied.

You see, people with kids once only hoped for them. People who are married fucked a few frogs before finding their king/queen. And every successful person has sacrificed before they flourished. We always remember our first love. Our last love. The moment we found out we got cheated on. The moment we realized we were in love. The times we almost gave up. The people who made sure we didn’t. 

We may forget certain details, like the exact words that were said or who hung up first. Maybe even the who what or when, but we never forget how we felt during these times in our lives. We will always remember how sad we were even if we’re happy now. How low we were, even if we’re on cloud 9 now. We will always remember the feelings, I just hope that I get to be one of the people who helps you remember. Writing might be a talent, but it’s also subjective. I’d like to think of it more as a gift, meant to be shared and given.

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Murder She Wrote.

She is a writer and she is a warrior.
Carrying a machete full of metaphors and shield of similes.
With her pen, she can blow minds and slash tongues.
Make men rub their chin, make women clutch their heart, and make black hearts bleed
Blood – black and blue, spilling my guts and my heart out to you.
Staining coke white lines darker than doubts.
With her fingers on the keys, she can start fires or soothe sleeps.
In your bones, rubbing salt in wounds you thought healed long ago
And kiss cuts you thought would never feel good again.
She will make you feel things.
Tickle your brain and whisper all the words you never knew you wanted to hear.
Thoughts that can’t escape you.
No rebuttal.
With a flick of the wrist and lick of the lips, she will suck the words out of you.
Do not start a war with a writer, because she will never let you forget
The electricity of your first kiss, or the agony of your last heartache.
Periods and apostrophes razor sharp.
She spits fire. Wordplay daggers penetrating your limbic system
YOU WILL BEG FOR THE STICKS AND THE STONES.
Even the Devil doesn’t want to dance with her.
And when all is said and done,
She will write your ending, so that you could relive it over.
And over.
Again.

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How A 3-Day Juice Cleanse Landed Me in the ER.

After eating a dozen cookies and having a conversation with my friend about eating the dozen cookies, she gave me the “great” idea to go on a juice cleanse. Unbeknownst to me, when most people say they’re detoxing, they usually mean only for a day. I honestly think it was an adverse effect from being all sugared up and under quarantine for so long, because nothing else could explain why I was so excited to starve myself for three days. In actuality, I’ve been wanting to try a juice cleanse for years, but I didn’t have the patience to keep cleaning a juicer and I didn’t have the funds to spend on something so frivolous.

Alas, these are weird times and I forked up the money to buy a 3-day juice cleanse from a local SF company. I figured it would be easier under SIP since I didn’t have the temptations of eating out or free snacks and lunch at work. I looked up side effects of a juice cleanse just to be safe, and felt like I could handle the headaches and feeling hungry. I chose the Classic Cleanse, which comes with the following juices at the following times. This is what Day 1 looked like:

8:00am Lemon Ginger Juice: Tastes like the lemon, ginger, turmeric water I used to make in the mornings
9:00am Green Juice: One of the better green juices I had, but still green juice
10:30am Nettle Tea: Not bad, but the color was an off putting dark green/black
12:30pm Carrot Ginger Soup: I opened up my fridge excited for this bland carrot soup, because it almost felt like I was about to eat real food. Before closing the fridge, I looked at the eggs, veggies, cheese, fruits and various other solid foods inside and in a singsongy voice said, “I’ll see you all soon my pretties!” It was about this time that I started to feel fatigue.
2:30pm Grapefruit Mint Juice: This was delicious! I could easily drink it on a hot day while tanning on my lawn next to my pool that doesn’t exist. The fatigue hit harder, and I decided to take a nap. I rarely take afternoon naps, not even when I’ve only slept for four hours.
5:00pm Green Juice: Again, not too bad. However, I started feeling extremely fatigue and my headache was turning into a migraine. I started to watch Contagion on Hulu, but my head was pounding and I started feeling nauseous, so I laid in bed instead.
7:00pm Cardamom Almond Milk: I was really looking forward to this one since Rach said it was delicious, and it was. Too bad I threw it all up shortly after. In between the green juice and almond milk, I started having the BGs, chills, and threw up several times. I felt like I was hungover with a migraine and food poisoning. I felt so weak, I drank the almond milk on my bedroom floor.
8:00pm Chamomile Ginger Tea: I managed to move from the floor at the foot of my bed, to the floor next to my nightstand where I could only drink half of Juice 8 before running to the bathroom once more. I fell asleep soon after.

Day 2 was thankfully better. No throwing up, but it still felt like someone was punching my brain behind my eyeball. I took a sick day, but continued the cleanse with caution – I ate a piece of toast for breakfast and then ate a handful of nuts throughout the day. For dinner I added a shake.

It’s Day 4 now, and I’m typing this fresh out the ER. On Day 3 of the cleanse I drank up to juice 4 and couldn’t stand to look at my laptop screen. My never ending migraine seemed to have increased in intensity, and I went to bed around 5pm with the chills. My temperature was 100.4°. Thirty minutes later it rose to 101.4°, so I took some Tylenol and went to sleep. When I woke up, I had a heavy 0-1feeling right below the middle of my chest and above my stomach. It didn’t hurt, but it was a bloated feeling and extremely uncomfortable. It just didn’t feel right. I got up to go to the bathroom, and a wave of nausea, cold, sweat, and pins and needles came over me. I’ve had food poisoning before and this wasn’t it. I pooped, and it was solid but very small. I threw up, but nothing really came out and when I got up to rinse my mouth, I felt the wave again. I must’ve passed out, because the next thing I remembered was being on my hands and knees on the bathroom floor. I got up to throw up again, and the same thing happened. This time, I landed butt first (I only know this, because my left ass cheek is still a little sore) and then on my back. I started hyperventilating and I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. I yelled for my boyfriend who was in the living room, but when my hands started to cramp up (think of how someone looks when they’re having a seizure) I asked him to call an ambulance. 

I spent the next 17 hours in the hospital, during which my fever peaked at 104°. They ran several tests on me including one for Covid (Negative btw, and the swab test wasn’t so bad. Just made me want to sneeze). Everything was fine, but they ran a CT scan and saw I had an inflamed gallbladder. They diagnosed me with acute cholecystitis and said I needed to have surgery that same day to get it removed. WHAT THE FUCK? I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR SURGERY. I thought they were just going to pump me with fluids and let me go home. I’d never had surgery before and even though this was a simple one, I was terrified especially since no one else was allowed to be there with me (thanks ‘Rona).

Luckily, they ordered me an ultrasound first to check for gallstones. Oddly to everyone, it came back not only negative for gallstones, but negative for inflammation as well. At the same time I was getting my ultrasound, the OR called to admit me into surgery. Had I not gotten the ultrasound, I’d be sans a gallbladder and still in the hospital right now. Both the surgeon specialist and ER doctor couldn’t figure out what happened. I wasn’t in pain, had no blood in my urine, or abnormal discharge, which trumped all of their other prognoses. Since they couldn’t determine the reason why I had such a high fever, the doctor didn’t feel comfortable releasing me, and wanted to keep me under observation for the next 12 hours. Since I was feeling no pain and my fever had gone down, I chose to go home, which is where I’m typing from right now. 

IMG_9473

So what the fuck actually happened? I think it was either a) a bad batch of juice or b) my body had an extreme reaction to a hardcore juice cleanse. I found it weird that no one that worked at the hospital seemed to think the juice cleanse had anything to do with it. I was completely fine prior and almost immediately felt sick as soon as I started it. I even read about other people who’ve had similar negative experiences, which is the reason I continued the cleanse against my better judgment. After getting sick, I found this excerpt in an article about acute cholecystitis and it adds up.

“However, low-calorie, rapid weight loss diets should be avoided, because there is evidence they ca disrupt your bile chemistry and actually increase your risk of developing gallstones. A more gradual weight loss plan is best.”

It’s been two days since I was in the ER and I’m much better, but still feeling pretty weak. This crushes my soul a little bit, because I just found my stride with yoga, boxing, and feeling healthier than I’ve felt in a while. I can’t even eat all the yummy things I was looking forward to eating post-cleanse like Julie’s coconut passion-fruit cookies, or Tita-Ella’s bicol express and adobo, because I have to eat bland food for a while. The irony of it all. Imagine doing something to boost your health, only to have it do the exact opposite. 

“If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”

Above all things, I’m feeling grateful. Grateful that it wasn’t anything worse, that I have health insurance, that Ryan was there for me, and that I’m back home. But I’m not going to lie, I also feel really, fucking STUPID. I paid hundreds of dollars to get myself sick and in the hospital, and will now have to pay even more money in medical bills – when nothing was wrong with me to begin with! I also feel defeated. This is petty, but I still had three more juices to finish and now feel like I’m weak for not completing the cleanse. I now feel incredibly dumb writing that thought out loud. 

I’m not telling you not to ever try a juice cleanse (well, kinda). There are plenty of people that have successfully completed them without any crazy side effects. But I hope my gnarly experience reminds you to:

  • Do extensive research before doing anything extreme to your body. When I Googled “Juice cleanse side effects” I only found stories about headaches, feeling hungry, and diarrhea. Once I searched for “Sick from juice cleanse” I found a whole bunch of other stories that probably would’ve deterred me from trying the cleanse … had I found these articles sooner.
  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Don’t let your ego or pride decide anything in life.
  • Believe them when they say that a well balanced diet lifestyle trumps any diet – PERIODT.

I wish I had a more triumphant, inspiring ending for you, but this is my story. The silver lining in all of this, is I have never been more proud and protective of my body. I now know my limits, and am excited to get back to my regular scheduled program of yoga and veggies with the occasional sleeping in and lemon-raspberry cookies in between. I am even more focused on my health journey and taking it day by day. I might’ve failed the juice cleanse, but my mind has never been more clear. 

 

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Day 43 – The Isolation Journals: Say It New

Your prompt for today:
Write at least one full page of prose or a poem. It can be a made-up tale, a scene, a thing you’ve just done or seen. It can be a dream. But the one thing you can’t do is use a word that’s more than one syllable.

Huh? Wait? What! No way! Come on, it’s fun. Trust me, it is. And, sure, it is tough. At least when you start. But your voice will jazz in new ways. The beats of the words will pop in new ways. You will have to walk this way and that and bend and stretch to find your way to say the thing you need to say. Which means you will write in new ways. Which is cool. It will not sound as odd as it seems. (Just look… the one word in this whole long prompt that is not one syllable… is the word “syllable.”)

P.S. If you need more of a boost, here are some more words to use: wood, whir, first, red, brush, trace, friend.

Do the write thing.
Just don’t stop.
Keep on and on and on*
Let your words flow, this way and that.
There is no way to go back*
So run and leap and jump and fly with your pen.
Then do it some more*
You. Got. This.
Trust the heat in your heart*
Start now.
You are a Queen. You are a King. You are a work of art.*
Paint and sing.
A dream now real life.
I knew you could do it.
You did not give up.
Sing. Dance. Play. Cry. Laugh.
Put the pen down and sit in your joy.
Then, rise the next day like it is the first day.

Author notes:
Couldn’t say “keep going”
I couldn’t say “no going back”
I wanted to write “then do it again”
Couldn’t use the word “fire”
Wanted to say “masterpiece” or “soldier”

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Day 39 – The Isolation Journals: The Badder the Better

all over the place.
no smooth transitions.
bad grammar. not on purpose.
fluff. pointless. empty words. nothing heartfelt.
stuck. writer’s block.
frustrating.
forced. fake.
unsatisfying. unfulfilled.
nothing quotable.
no witty ending. no gem drop.
i even feel bad when i hit “published”.
failed. giving up. why do i even bother.

Your prompt for today:
Write a bad poem. What does a “bad” poem mean to you? Interrogate that. Is it a poem that sounds like a sappy greeting card, starting with “Roses are red,” or “How do I love thee?” Maybe “bad” means something about form to you. A poem with too much rhyme in it, so every line is a singsong. Or maybe a bad poem has no form at all, so the lines wander across the page, maybe in your least favorite font (Comic Sans?), the tackiest color (neon purple?), or the worst pen (blunt Sharpie?).

Or maybe “bad” isn’t about the shape or the quality of the writing at all, but about the content. A “bad” poem might mean saying the things you shouldn’t say, or feeling the things you’re not supposed to feel, or copping to your pettiest, dumbest, most embarrassing complaints. Let your “bad” self say the thing you don’t let yourself say. If you want to swear, swear. If you want to write the word “NO” over and over for twenty lines straight, then—yes.

The badder the better. It might be so bad it’s good.

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a day like today.

some days it’s no snooze button and not being distracted during meditation. it’s a matching yoga outfit and hitting every pose. it’s a well-balanced breakfast and mushroom coffee. it’s shaving your legs and even brushing your hair, a vitamin-c serum and clear, dewy skin. it’s laying in the grass while the sun kisses your face, a warm breeze tickling your tummy, and no shoes on.

some days it’s zoom happy hours with hats and scarves and sunglasses and even makeup. it’s Babyface vs Teddy Riley (can you hear me now?) and a luxurious glass of wine. it’s uni pasta and sushi grade tuna. it’s a clay mask and a furry robe while sipping on bubbles.

other days it’s ramen. a hard boiled egg, or nothing at all. it’s making excuses and not answering any calls or text messages. it’s a messy room and messy head. an unmade bed, and made up mind to be miserable. it’s wilting flower petals and dirty dishes piled up in the sink. unopened mail and a reflection in the mirror that reminds you of all the things you used to love to hate.

other days it’s waking up in a daze because you only had three hours of sleep. it’s keeping the door closed and blackout curtains down even at 1:30pm. it’s forcing yourself out of bed only to lay on the couch. it’s wallowing in misery and finding comfort in your resentment. it’s neglecting your responsibilities, and ignoring the fact that you are still stronger than your worst day. it’s refusing to choose joy, because the anger almost empowers you.

like i said, we have our good days and we have our bad days. but even on the bad days, you can still find something good.

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Shelter in Guilt.

One of my biggest regrets in life – yes, even more than answering a certain phone call or returning that text, is credit card debt. It all started in college when I used my credit card to book a trip to Miami for me and three of my friends. They gave me cash, but being 20 years old and dumb, I didn’t use it to pay my credit card bill *Insert downward credit card debt spiral here*. Since then, I have always been in debt for one reason or another. When I paid off my car, I still had my credit card bills, and when I paid off my credit card bills, I still had my school loan.

That is, up until last week. Your girl finally paid off her school loan, and is now completely debt free. Paying off debt is probably the only time it feels good to lose money. While it cost me thousands of dollars, the peace of mind I received and lesson I learned was priceless. So then why did I almost feel bad about it?

Having the luxury of being able to spend money during a pandemic when small businesses are closing and friends and family are getting laid off, is bittersweet. I went back and forth about posting the accomplishment on social media. It wasn’t necessary to tell the world, but had it been any other time I wouldn’t have thought twice. I don’t consider myself empathetic, but I wanted to be sensitive to people who might be watching my stories and struggling. I already felt guilty for being employed and able to safely work from home. I told my best friend instead, and she was my biggest hype man. I shared my achievement on Instagram the next day. 

I’ve learned that being proud and being compassionate does not have to be mutually exclusive. Just because you post a photo of your kids, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel for those who can’t have any. Working hard and being disciplined is not something you should feel guilty about. It’s OK to be happy during a not so happy timeit’s OK to be happy PERIODT. Besides, the world could use some good news right now. 

 

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