Anxiety.

we met in the only childhood room I ever had to myself. Teddy-bears and other stuffed animals danced above my head, and Luther Vandross’s Here and Now played softly on the radio. I was only 5, maybe 6 when yo told me my gradparents I just visited in the motherland would soon get old and die. I cried.

and here you are more than three decades later. keeping me up at night, then haunting my in my dreams. squatting in a vacancy in my head that does not belong to you. a monster under my bed. in the car. at my desk. on the bathroom floor. tears on my pillow. struggling in my soul. i wish you would go away.

anxiety you are the twin flame i wish i could extinguish. you are relentless. you are manipulative. i hate you. i resent you. i want you to die. but. if you die, i die too.

so instead, i will sit with you. i will nurture you. i will understand you. i will take care of you. i will empathize with you. i will learn from you. i will teach you. i will thank you. i will wish you well, then wish you away.

no longer my twin flame, but a spark of light. a reminder of how extraordinary it is to feel things, and a reminder of how far i’ve come.

#writingwithRupi Today I participated in my second, online poetry workshop with the amazing Rupi Kaur. In this exercise, the initial prompt was to think of something you were struggling with. Each stanza then had their own prompts. We weren’t allowed to stop, or make edits. The whole process was stressful yet cathartic, and I was humbled at how many participants were such amazing writers. I hope you enjoy this little poem from someone that is not a poet. Keep in mind I’m artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit #shoutoutBadu.

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Happy, Hurting, Healing.

I am happy.
Because I have grown.
Because I have meditated.
Because I have loved.
Because I have lost.

I am hurting.
Because I have grown.
Because I have meditated.
Because I have loved.
Because I have lost.

I am healing.
Because I have grown.
Because I have meditated.
Because I have loved.
Because I have lost.

Happy, hurting, healing. It’s all connected. It’s all the same. This is my story. This is life. This is the beginning, and this is The End.

#writingwithRupi Today I participated in my second, online poetry workshop with the amazing Rupi Kaur. In this exercise, the prompt was to write the title for the story of our life. We weren’t allowed to stop, or make edits. The whole process was stressful yet cathartic, and I was humbled at how many participants were such amazing writers. I hope you enjoy this little poem from someone that is not a poet.

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Dear Simone.

Dear Simone,
I’ve been dying to tell you how you’ve changed my life before even having life.
How your eyes light up an entire universe inside of me that houses people and places and feelings I’ve never felt before.
How your beauty reminds me of a childhood I never had.
A jewelry box containing my most prized possession.
My little peanut turned lemon turned mango turned melon in my little then big belly.
Green with envy when we go to the park, because everyone wants to look at you, to love you, to hold you, to be loved by you.
And I could never wind the clock back to a time I never knew you.
Your tiny  fingernails feel like butterflies against my face when I kiss you goodnight and you hug me like I am the moon.
In your cotton onesie I watch you sleep as peaceful as a glacier stream on the first sight of spring.
Hoping to keep these memories in my head like a video replaying over and over a highlight reel of the highest point in my life.
Because you are my blood – a sickly, sweet mix of all the good parts of me and none of the bad, because you will be better than I could even fathom.
I will carry you and your laughter and your sorrows and your tears and your dreams and your troubles on my back with the strength of a thoroughbred horse.
So I tuck you in, and say good night. I can’t wait to see what unfolds as I put these thoughts in an envelope and send it to you now, in the future.
My Dear, Simone.

#writingwithRupi A few days ago I participated in a poetry workshop the amazing Rupi Kaur hosted on Instagram live. We wrote three different types of poems with the first one written in letter form. We all started with the words, “Dear [insert word here], I have been dying to tell you …” We free wrote for a few minutes, and then she provided 10 random words we were to incorporate into the poem. We weren’t allowed to stop, or make edits. The whole process was stressful yet cathartic, and I was humbled at how many participants were such amazing writers. I hope she does it again, and I hope you enjoy this little poem from someone that is not a poet.

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March Madness.

Day 1.

I never thought that I’d be writing a blog from my living room due to a “shelter in place” law prompted by a pandemic known as the Coronavirus. Yet here I am, WFH as most of the country is in an attempt to “slow the curve”. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK?! Before the lockdown, I joked to myself envisioning a scene similar to Will Smith playing golf in an empty New York City in I am Legend. Except I’m laying down and soaking up the sun in an eerily empty Dolores Park. It’s like we are all living in a chapter of some weird dystopian book. 

Like, a really weird dystopian book. One where palettes of toilet paper are worth more than gold, and people are selling hand sanitizer in exchange for their souls. There’s a spike in gun and bidet sales – two things I never thought would be in the same sentence. Everyone has to stay at least six feet apart, or the odds will not be in your favor. Humans are acting erratic and participating in activities like reading, intimacy, silence, and patience. In this new world, museums, libraries, amusement parks, shopping malls, movie theaters, and clubs are closed. The canals of Venice are clear enough to see tiny fish swimming in it (imagine that, fish? in the water?!), and air pollution in China has dropped. Told you shit is weird.

Thankfully, I’ve always liked dystopian books. The truth is, I’ve been prepping for the zombie apocalypse for over a year now. I even bought plastic packets of water instead of jugs, because I figured it would be easier to carry while running away from the undead (your girl has a vivid imagination and ZERO upper body strength). Since I’m a paranoid-hypochondriac-planner, I started slowly stocking up on necessities and stopped going to crowded spaces for leisure the first week of March. I also learned the importance of washing your hands and covering your mouth when you cough when I was in elementary school.

Despite the shitshow outside, I’m feeling more calm than usual on the inside. I wouldn’t say I enjoy being confined to my apartment and I definitely don’t prefer it, but I’m absolutely fine with it. Matter fact, I’m chillin #bigflex #humblebrag. This isn’t because I’m in good health and not susceptible to the virus. It’s not even because I have MREs on deck. It’s because I enjoy time alone. I love the sound of silence. I relish deep, slow breaths. And I  still find beauty in nature I’ve already seen before. It’s because after years of trying and failing, I can now meditate in the middle of a burning building. It’s because I am grateful than a muthafucka and this has only made me feel more gratitude despite all the temporary inconveniences.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say  that the right mindset can cure cancer or anything like that,  but apparently it makes a huge difference during a pandemic. We all process things differently and there isn’t really a right or wrong way to feel about things right now. But there is a way to be informed and prepared without being hysteric. I was able to do this by finding stillness inside amidst the craziness outside.  I would still grab a gun before I grabbed a bunch of sage if some shit ever went down, but it’s that mindfulness that prevents me from living in fear until that time comes.

“How you gonna win when you ain’t right within?”~Lauryn Hill

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So Close, Yet So Far.

Day 1 of the official shelter-in-place policy is almost in the books, but the truth is I’ve been social distancing since the first week of March. Since then, the world has joined me and I’ve Facetimed with my best friend who lives 10 mins away (that I rarely see) twice in one week. My group text thread of girlfriends has never been more lit, and I’ve already had two virtual Zoom happy hours.

I finally picked up a book that was indefinitely stuck on Chapter 3 since October, and finished it in two weeks. I got back into the habit of cooking at home, while subsequently saving money. I have three blogs drafted. I HAVE THREE BLOGS DRAFTED. I learned how to play backgammon and opened up a dusty box of dominoes. I won’t lie, I’ve watched a lot of TV, but have also sat in silence more. I’m (unsuccessfully) learning Spanish. I’ve saged my apartment. I’ve meditated twice a day. And I’ve taken more walks and hikes in nature than ever before. 

In actuality, social distancing in a back-handed compliment kind of a way has actually brought us all closer. Closer to each other, to ourselves, to our spirt, and to the Earth. It will soon be over, and we’ll be back to taking our regular routine. Our 7am BART ride to work and eating  in a cafeteria buzzing with people who complain about free lunch. The kids will be back in school, and tatay will be back at the casino. Hand sanitizer will be plentiful, and people will stop hoarding toilet paper. The gyms will be crowded, and you will once again be able to enjoy your matcha latte at the coffee shop you only go to, because it’s more photogenic on Instagram. 

And when this happens, I hope we will all remember that one time we went the distance for one another by staying 10 feet apart. 

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The Adult Break-Up.

I’ve been wondering what an “adult breakup” would feel like. Would we wish each other well, insist the other person keeps the most expensive piece of furniture, and then embrace before leaving?

Would I walk around the house that I spent so much time, money and thought into and take note of who gets what? Would the idea of separating our things and packing it all up be unbearable?

Will I sob? Since I’m an adult now, I suppose I’d still go to work. A grown ass woman doesn’t take the day off because her heart hurts does she? In between combing my hair and getting ready, I’ll probably bawl my eyes out while listening to Lizzo’s “Good as Hell”. I must feel pretty bad if I’m crying to a Lizzo song.

Would I replace my daydreams of wedding vows, an award ceremony for my husband where I’m pregnant, and the vision of my baby-girl’s curls with the reality of a studio apartment almost in the ghetto and corny messages on Bumble?

Would my girlfriends force me out of the house for a girls night out and stay up past 10pm, so that I can dance until my feet and soul went numb? Would they push me towards the cutest guy even though they know I’m too awkward to say anything? Will I sleep with him anyway just to fuck the pain away? Adults know better – right?

Will I stalk his Instagram stories? Will I check to see who’s paying him on Venmo? Will I feel a type of way when he takes our pictures down? Will I even stay friends with him on social media?

Will I be able to apply all the meditating. All the books. All the quotes. And all the exercises I learned in therapy? Or would I revert back to being in my twenties, call myself names and peel myself off of the bathroom floor at night?

When I was in college, I legitimately – not to mention naively, thought that once you turn a certain age (30 sounded like a good number) you are magically immune to getting your heartbroken. As if it was a rite of passage or some shit. If you’ve been reading my blog, you see how well that theory played out. Now that I’m even older, am I even more dense to think that I’d be able to handle a break up better?

Breaking up is hard to do regardless of how you do it, when you do it, where you do it, or how old you are when you do it. And asides from airing out dirty laundry on social media, throwing all of his Jordans out the window, and causing a scene at the club – an adult break up is just like any break up: HARD. And painful as fuck.

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Comparison is the Thief of Relationships.

I remember when knowing someone who was divorced was unheard of. Now, I’m in the age of second marriages. Safe to say most everyone I know has been through a multitude of relationships and because of this, it’s so easy to compare partners and partnerships.

My ex was a “mans man”. He was tall and covered with tattoos. He drove a muscle car, rode a motorcycle, was good in any sport he tried and could learn how to play an instrument just by picking it up. Other men wanted to be his friend and other women wanted to fuck him. Needless to say, he had hard shoes to fill and my “Next boyfriend list” was for the most part – superficial. 

  1. Tall.
  2. 6-pack.
  3. Funny.
  4. Athletic.
  5. Drove a stick shift.
  6. Rapper/singer/musician.
  7. Thoughtful.
  8. Can dance.
  9. Can ride a motorcycle.
  10. Has nice, clean shoes.

I’ve dated a few different men since then, many of whom I shouldn’t have. Just like many of you, I learned the hard way that most of that shit up there doesn’t matter. So as I got older and more cynical, my list got shorter and shorter until it looked like this:

  1. Doesn’t cheat or beat me

There is a way to not be “picky” while also not lowering your standards. One way is to not compare your current relationship with your last. Your requirements for a healthy relationship should not change based on the person you are with. So do not give your man excuses to not love you the way you need to be loved. Do not accept less than you deserve just because you had a lesser man before. Do not justify his actions by thinking, “At least he doesn’t cheat on me like so-and-so”. It’s great that he doesn’t cheat or beat you but that’s not a bonus. That is a non-negotiable. 

The point I’m getting at is you know how you need to be loved, and you deserve to be loved this very way. So don’t let your past relationships determine how happy you are in your current one.

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