“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

Sometimes I think I am the worst person to be friends with. I have a hard time allowing people to get close to me and as a result I form one sided relationships. Many of my friends have even tried to break through that shield that I’ve put up. I know they are waiting on me to let them in. But I am still refusing. Even as I write this, one of my friends as been asking so where this is post. But I haven’t finished. I’m afraid of knowing what’s inside my head. I am afraid of them knowing my thoughts and feelings.

I do know that I love being available if they need me. If they want to go out for coffee I will make an effort to clear my calendar for them. I love to listen to what they have to say. I love getting excited with them and for them. I have a friend in a PhD program who I root on. If she needed help with databases and things like that I would help. I want to help. I have a few friends in their MA programs. I help them with edits.

But there is also jealousy in my part. A few of my friends have lost weight but I haven’t gone to see them because I’m scared of what I might look like in comparison to them. I already have my own body issues that I can’t take on additional self-comparisons. I know that we carry our body weight differently but I don’t see my weight loss but I can see theirs. I am jealous of those who are learning and getting their MAs (I already have my masters but I am greedy and selfish I want more). I am jealous of my friends who are out seeing the world (even though I travel every year).

I am very passive with the friendships that I build. I’m afraid that they won’t want to hang out with me if I ask or be interested in what I have to say if I want to speak. I even asked a few friends out to go camping. They said “sounds cool.” But I panicked and never planned anything. I hate being vulnerable. I hate asking for help and I have this idea that by establishing two sided relationships that I become dependent on them for my happiness and success. I’m afraid of them not being there when I need them but really they never know when I need them. Several of my friends have asked me to go hiking but I’m afraid to be alone with them because I would open up with everything that I am thinking and feeling. It’s not that I don’t want their support or ear but I am afraid of being judged.

I also know that I am flaky. And it’s not intentional at all. For example, my friend Crystal has had two parties that I’ve been invited to. Both times I have looked forward to them. I have been excited and shared that I am going to a party but when the time comes I allow myself to get inside my head and I end up not going allowing other stuff to come in between. It’s always work. I put work above everything else. And this is something that I am addressing when the time comes. And that time will come. I guarantee it. But that time is not now. So back to my friends. What many of them don’t know that I have to amp myself up to be able to go see them. I have breathing techniques that I practice before getting in the car, in the car while I’m driving, and that sometimes I sit in my car, outside their house just walking to myself and letting myself know that everything will be okay. But when it’s not okay, I question myself and the roles of friendships. I self-sabotage the friends that I’ve had for many years because I don’t know what else to do with them. I don’t understand how to establish new relationship boundaries with them.

In all my friendships I often saw myself as a hermit: coming and going as I pleased within the circle of friends. For example, with the Riverside crew I would see them maybe once or twice a year but they were my closest friends. I really don’t know them. I know that some have siblings and went to college. No idea where they went to college what the names of the siblings are. Some have pets but no idea what the names of the pets may be. I’m lost within the circle of friends. I am pretty much on the outskirts at this point because I don’t know how to rebuild/maintain these friendships. I wouldn’t even know how to ask for help if I tried.

I’m often asked why I was ever friends with the people from Riverside and it’s so funny because I could never answer the question. It was the same way I couldn’t answer the question as to why I ever dated Kevin… but now I can. Back then I was insanely jealous of their freedom, curiosity, laughter and passion. These are four things that I seriously lack. Even today! I’m scared of my own laugh. I rarely hear it. Most of the time that I laugh I’m with Andrew and it’s in secret. I don’t have the freedom that I desire because it’s still very abstract. I don’t know what my freedom looks like and I have a hard time understanding how to achieve my own freedom. I’m stuck. I no longer have, or maybe never had, that spark for life that I see in other people. I’m not passionate about anything and it feels pretty empty. So many people ask me don’t you wake up in the morning and feel happy and alive? Sorry but the fucking answer is no. I just wake up and start my day. I’m not happy or sad. I’m indifferent. Many of my friends are also curious beings and while I’m curious, I am not adventurous enough. I’m too quiet. I’m my fucking worst critic.

I realized a few weeks ago that I was riddled with resentment towards my friends and then later on with shame for resenting them. For the longest time I wondered why no one was there for me during my pregnancy. It was just my mother. I felt very abandoned. But how could anyone be there when I wasn’t talking about it? No one knew what was going on because I didn’t know how to open up. I laid in bed for almost six weeks and no one came. I think my closest confidants at that time were Crystal and Ciara, who is in England. But I couldn’t tell them everything and I was detached from it as well. How do you fix a problem when you are part of the problem?

I tried explaining this to my mother and that’s when it hit me. She yelled at me for expecting friends to be there for me. She said so herself, “You can’t count on friends. Friend’s don’t exist. I didn’t have friends. I have family. You always have family.” But that’s not true because even the few friends that I have and even if I don’t tell them everything they are closer to me and more accepting of them than family ever has. So what the fuck do I do now? I want to meet new people but don’t have a clue as to how. I want to mend my friendships but I don’t know how.

Do you think, at your age, it is right?

Another year has passed by and it’s time to look at how I did in terms of my 2014 resolutions.

#1) Learn to shoot a gun. -> Success. A big awesome thank you to my boyfriend and his friend Nick. Boo yah!
#2) Read at least 30 books. -> Failure. I have 6 books in my currently reading list and I think I only read 6 complete books. Gah.
#3) Let go of the credit card. Failure –> I’m a little under $12,000 in the hole.
#4) Learn to look at photos of myself. Or maybe take better photos of myself. — > Look at my previous post and see how happy I am. Success
#5) Discover Southern California. –> Failure. I got a Disney Pass and I’m discovering Disney =) but I am happy.
#6) Run those 10Ks!! –> Success.
#7) Write. –> Failure.
#8) Workout more. –> Success
#9) Cook more. McDonald’s less. –> Success
#10) Dissect self-hate. –> Success but I still have a lot of self-hate so I don’t know what to do with that. I see it. I acknowledged it.

So for 2015, I want to work on the following.

  1. Finish a half-marathon. I will be using this guide. I am exciting! I want to compete in the Coast to Coast.
  2. Pass the FSOE. I will be using this guide.
  3. Get a new job.
  4. Tackle the credit card bill.
  5. Sign up for a gym membership and attend the gym. There is a Fitness 19 near my house and grocery store. I pass it every time I go to Starbucks. So instead of going to the Starbucks, I would like to go to the gym and then go get my groceries.
  6. Finish quilts.

I know something interesting is sure to happen,” she said to herself, “whenever I eat or drink anything.”

It has been over 100 days (it’s been 210 days) since my last post. I wanted to write about some profound thing that I discovered in those 100 days of searching but I really couldn’t. I stalled, I would sign in to my blod, start writing, then read what I wrote and then say fuck it and delete it. So now it’s almost the end of the year and I have forgotten what I wanted to say. Oh well… Instead I will write a short recap of what happened from June to now. Photos included.

  • I started working on my PhD applications again. I also recently submitted them all. 4 of them to the following universities: Carnegie Mellon, University of North Carolina, Michigan State, and Indiana University. I spoke with Andrew and I told them that this time I will not be holding my breath. I will not use the PhD as a way of escaping my current work situation.
  • I am applying to new jobs. Any jobs. They don’t even have to be in museums or education.
  • I have started to study for the Foreign Services Officer Exam.
  • I discovered this amazing website: Seventeen Moments in Soviet History.
  • I can hang out with friends and not feel like an outsider or a wallflower.

  • I have been condensing my friends circle, refining my friends circle, and saying good bye to friends that just aren’t the people that I need/want in my life.
  • I was honored in June for all my hard work at the museum. Instead of accepting it. I cried and felt like a big, fat phony. Ugh… the struggle for acceptance.
  • I went shooting for the first time and it was fantastic!!

  • I finally feel like I am part of my dance group.

  • I turned thirty. As a result, my hair decided to straighten itself out. That’s right. I woke up one day, began losing my hair, it became thin, and its now just blegh…. I also I have horrible migraines every day during my periods.
  • I am a Republican.
  • I smile more.

  • I got to see the Ballet Folklorico De Mexico De Amalia Hernandez. It was amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better performance. I loved it. I cried. I realized on that day that I was a performance artist. I might not be the best, the skinniest, or center stage but I am out there giving it my all.

  •  Andrew bought me a Disneyland Pass for my birthday. I love it. I love him and everything is awesome. Because of the Disneyland Pass we have been able to hang out with my friends, his friends, with little Grace. Again, I smile a lot more than I used to.

  • Falling in love has been one of the best feelings in the world.

  • This year was the first time I was close to weighing less than 200 pounds. I was able to get down to 201 on my birthday. Right now I weigh 208. And I’m okay with that because I am happy.

Let this be a lesson to you never to lose your temper!

My life is stagnant and I am having a hard time coping. I feel like I am battling a war inside my head, mostly emotionally, because I don’t know what to do.  As a result, my emotions are in full swing towards negativity and I can’t seem to come out of it. When I look at myself in the mirror I think of Linda Blair from The Exorcist. I see all the horrible demons that I suppress just out in the open for the whole world to see. Every horrible feeling that I can possible have comes out and is in competition with each other. It’s so exhausting and demanding.

The last two or three weeks I have been waking up with anxiety, not anxiety attacks, but it feels like something bad is going to happen. I get out of bed exhausted. It’s impacting the way I get ready in the morning. I move very slowly to the point I am running late by 15 to 20 minutes. I don’t care at first but then it hits me… I am running late! Adrenaline pumping through my veins forcing me to make rash decisions. I am annoyed at my parents as they stop me because they are asking me questions. I want to scream at them to just stop talking to me. I don’t care what they have to say. I just want them out of my way. Can’t they see that I am late, again?!?!

I am constantly being on the verge of what I consider an emotional breakdown. I want to cry in the car on the way to work but I don’t. I hold it in because I’m afraid of the tears making me lose my eye sight and them BAM I cause an accident. So instead, I become an aggressive driver. More than once I have had to slam on my brakes because I wasn’t fully paying attention.

By the time I get to work I want to be back home. I don’t want to work on anything because it’s not important. 90% of the work load I have is not important. I doubt anyone would notice if I stopped working. I haven’t even bothered putting on a smile for the kids that come in. I don’t want to hear the words that are coming out of their mouths. I can’t tell them to simply shut the fuck up. I want to tell them go ahead scribble on the walls. You see that pedestal go for it buddy, just knock that shit over because who gives a fuck. That “piece of art” is just horse shit. As much as I try to “catch up” I just feel like I’m getting further behind in my work. As much as I am working and trying to pull my weight, I no longer believe that I can. I don’t care about customer service because I am trying desperately to take care of myself but failing miserably.

Then by 3:30PM I feel horrible. I see myself as a bad role model, a shitty employee; 5PM comes around and the adrenaline hits me again. I am attempting to finish a whole day’s workload. This is my life five days a week: feeling like a failure. I have all these “extracurricular” activities happening Tuesday through Friday as I try to advance in my life: wanting to retain my heritage, wanting to work on my health (mentally, physically, emotionally), and working on acquiring an additional language. It’s exhausting when 75% of the time I don’t even want to get out of bed. I stopped going to dance and working out with my trainer. I just don’t care. I want to yell at them. Not for any particular reason but yell at them. Thankfully, my senses have allowed me to retain my therapist. For six hours on Thursday, I am able to relax.

I feel so aggressive and yet ultimately powerless. It’s just a strange mix. I am angry, frustrated, annoyed, critical, ashamed, destructive with everyone: friends, parents, siblings, Andrew, and the world.  I am so self-critical that I beat myself up. This is just adding to the exhaustion that I feel. I go to bed reminding myself just how much I screwed up throughout the day. I’m a horrible worker, girlfriend, daughter, if I really want a low blow I remind myself just how much of a shitty parent I am. I wasn’t even able to save my daughter. This is just the icing on the cake when I am in need for self-humiliation.

I am angry for the negative feelings that I have. I know those around me are angry with me as well. I am angry at myself for not being able to leave my job. I am angry for not getting into a PhD program.  I am angry for losing my necklace. And I’m angry for believing that my feelings are simply mundane. Other people tell me to stop feeling bad or being so selfish or self-centered. People tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself. There are worse things in things world. I shut up and leave myself to my thoughts and emotions and I’m right back to the exorcist. 

Andrew let me know that he is refusing to feed into my anxiety, depression, and anger. He wants me to stop dwelling and being so serious. But that is exactly who I am, I dwell. I am a serious person. I can’t even have a simple meal without thinking I made the wrong choice. I don’t want to pull away from him nor do I want him to pull away from me. I don’t want to bring him down because of my failures and emotions, but I am very sad and upset. I want to be comforted but I have no idea how. I wish I could say Andrew, I am sad and because I am sad, I need you to hug me, kiss me, buy me ice cream, a cup of coffee, take me to the movie, etc, etc…. I don’t know if any of that stuff would actually make me feel better or simply annoy me. I’m afraid of being an ungrateful and horrible girlfriend. I’m afraid that he would simply be mocking me even though he might genuinely want to comfort me. I shut up and leave myself to my thoughts and emotions and I’m right back to the exorcist.

How do you ask for help? Everyone I know is battling their own demons or are trying to celebrate their successes.I don’t want to rain on their parade. I keep thinking I am being left out of what life has to offer. It’s hard to accept. I am removing myself from situations because I don’t think people can handle me right now. This is me at my worst (and no, I don’t think anyone should have to handle me at my best because my best isn’t good enough either <– see what I mean?!?!) . I’m trying to contain everything so I don’t bother anyone.

I shut up and dwell on my thoughts and emotions. I’m right back to battling demons and praying for an exorcism.

So you think you’re changed, do you?

Have any of you ever written a letter to your teenage self? I think I did… maybe… when I was 21. I can’t remember. Oh I found it! Yes I did. I wrote a letter to myself when I was 24 years old. I was living in England thinking that maybe, just maybe, I had gotten everything right. I thought I was doing the right thing but man, was I fucking wrong. So wrong. My Facebook note was titled Letter to teenage self: well more like pointers. I wrote this when I thought I didn’t have anything to hide. I had no issue making everything public. I was an open book. I was afraid of being judged and wanted to be judged. I wanted to scream, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I wanted to be one of those crazy ass people who wear sweats with the words juicy on their ass but are offended when you try to read what it says. I don’t mean actually wear that stuff, but just be crazy confident. I was living my teenage years in my mid-20s. Man, that must have been horrible. I can’t seem to remember everything that I did because I have blocked it out. Oh, trauma… I thank you and alcohol for my repressed memory.

Fuck it since I already have written a letter I’m simply going to edit it. I’m allowed to do that primarily because I’ve changed. I’m not the same girl woman that I was when I was 24 or 18 or 15. I’m more unsure of myself then I was at those ages and it’s one of the most liberating feelings in the whole wide world. I have no boundaries. I’ve gone from thinking only in black and white to shades of gray.

Breathe in and Repeat after me. I’m almost 30 years old. I have no idea what I’m doing in the next six months, next year, or next five years. However, today I do know that I’m editing my letter. Let’s begin:

1. Stop wearing all black. It doesn’t make you invisible. Enjoy wearing what makes you feel good, despite, what other people and the fashion police tell you.

You started wearing all black when you were mourning for your sister. You weren’t allowed to deal with her death when you were eleven and you certainly haven’t dealt with it almost 19 years later. It’s become intertwined with your own child’s death. That isn’t the problem anymore but you continue to wear black. The problem is that your mother wants you to stop. She remembers this bright-colored little girl with pigtails. But shit happened, you don’t even know or remember that little girl. Through the years you fell into a depression that no one could help you get out of because they don’t believe in depression. The depression you had and will continue to have is no one’s fault but the chemicals that your body produces. Today, I tell you to keep wearing black but only if you want to. You like jeans so wear them. You buy one pair of converse every three months. Awesome. Enjoy wearing what makes you feel good, despite, what other people tell you.

2. Your sister is on crack and doesn’t know everything. Your sister’s life choices are not your life choices.

Your sister isn’t on crack although it might seem that she is on occasion. It is true though, she doesn’t know everything. You both have similar personalities but the age difference really makes it hard for you both to bond. You are at different stages in life. You grew up with two different set of parents. When she was raised your mother was submissive, your father a drunk. You don’t understand how and why she would marry a drunk as well. But it’s not your marriage to understand. You had an entirely different set of upbringing. It doesn’t make either of you bad people. Over the years, your arguments have escalated and been blown out of proportions but keep taking the high road because there is no turning back from that Mexican grudge.

3. Don’t forget that you are your father’s daughter and therefore cheap. Being frugal doesn’t mean being poor. Just wise.

You used to be so money savvy. But things spiraled out of control. You wanted accepted so you bought your friends. You gave your “at the time boyfriend” the best graduation present possible, only to recognize months later that he never graduated.

Now that you have no money many friends have left you. It’s hard to accept. It’s hard to accept that you would rather buy your friends than to feel vulnerable around them. It’s hard to accept that sometimes money doesn’t fix the problem. It’s hard to understand that money doesn’t buy happiness for you and instead you are enabling others.

The first step of recovery is to admit you have a problem.

4. Don’t worry about not liking boys, you will soon enough. You are not a lesbian. I repeat you are not a lesbian.

Somewhere along the line, family members started questioning your sexuality. You were twelve. You weren’t interested in anyone because you had your nose stuck in books. It was that simple. In college, friends questioned your sexuality because they were confused about themselves. They deflected on to you. Naively you accepted that maybe they knew what was best for you.

You felt obligated to show that you can be in a committed relationship even when the relationship had run its course. You stuck around with one boyfriend because it was better than being accused of something that wasn’t you. But you pleaded the fifth. How disappointing and how ordinary to simply be heterosexual.

5. Don’t run out of the room when you have sex for the first time, it’s just rude. Intimacy doesn’t always include sexual encounters.

I still say blame your parents on this one. This is just a real case scenario of “this is what happens when you don’t have the sex talk.” I’m almost 30 years old and I haven’t figured out what intimacy is.

If I could go back in time, I would still want to lose my virginity to Kevin, at least I think so). But maybe not for the sake of losing my virginity. Or the sake of defying my parents. Or for the sake of having Latinos not come anywhere near me. I was told that Latin men would only want me a virgin. So I denied them that right. Hell I even chose to lose my virginity to a white guy. TAKE THAT!!!

Why anyone would want to judge a female based in her hymen is beyond me… Women have so much more to offer than a thin sheet of breakable skin. Sadly my parents scared me into thinking Latin men would only want me for that little piece of body. Til this day the thought of sleeping with a Latino makes me cringe with horror and self damnation. I blinded myself with rage and discarded an entire group of men as filthy savages.

6. You are a nerd with weird passions someday people will enjoy that. On the nerdy scale, you are pretty tame.

You spent so many years trying to hide who you were. You let those pesky insignificant friends rule what you thought was cool. You just wanted acceptance but why from them? They were and continue to be just as insecure as they were twelve years ago.

You have followed your dreams and passions and its left you in a state of alienation. Yet 80% of the time it doesn’t feel bad. It feels good. Its like losing hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

How many people can you truly talk to about history? How many people understand your infatuation for Joseph Stalin? How many people do you know would want to spend a day at Disneyland? How many people do you know that feel happy for you when they see you light up when you talk about Thrall or Vol’jin because they understand being different. Or why being a shadow priest is representative of who you are in real life?

Not many. But for those that can recognize when you bright up when talking about these topics, these are the people who really matter. You don’t have to hide from them.

7. Your achievements are on merit and you deserve them no matter what anyone else says. You deserve to be successful.

You had a bad relationship. His insecurity played into yours. Your insecurity was that you needed someone to love you. You still do. He would often make you feel like you didn’t deserve college. Somehow you surrounded yourself by those who want to pull you down just so they may rise.

You are seen as a threat. But why? This has been in your mind since you were seven! You were hated because you had a dad. You were hated because you got to go to Disneyland. You were hated because you were smarter. You were hated because you got to travel. You were simply hated. They compared themselves to you. Not the other way around. But still you tried to get them to like you. in order for them to like you, you had to hate yourself.

You tried so hard to be liked but they never understood the underlying reason for your success: Sacrifice.

8. You are a conservative. It’s okay, not everyone has to be a liberal.

Your friends think you are conservative. Your boyfriend calls you a dirty hippie. You are simply trying to be better than you were yesterday. Everyone is trying to label you and you can’t be bothered any more. Hell your closest friend has called you a bitch for not agreeing with them. People can you Chicana or Latina or Mexican American. But who cares? I love Russian things despite not being Russian. I love folk dancing despite not believing in a day without a Mexican or Cesar Chavez. You’ve learned to accept and love the Virgin De Guadalupe without the need to worship her or pay her homage.

You are you. And there is no label for being you. It’s not unique or special or dirty hippie or complex. You are Angie. That’s it.

9. You will cheat on boyfriends. Remember no ring, no commitment.

You no longer believe this which shows how much you have grown. You can commit even out a ring. But only if the other person is also committed to you.

I can only say I wish you the best and I hope that if one day you fall out of love you can do the right thing and break things off before you hurt anyone or anyone hurts you.

The act of loving someone deserves respect.

10. Don’t be afraid of telling on men who physically hurt you.

11. Death is inevitable. Death is very much a part of your life.

So much has happened since you were 24. You lost a child and that heart-break has never fully healed. And you don’t want it to heal. I think that’s important to accept. It’s a battle wound that you carry but don’t want to advertise it to the whole world. But, sometimes you need help.

It’s hard to understand and then explain why your life becomes so chaotic during anniversary dates. But then you remember. You have to work on letting people know that those hard days are coming up and that you need comfort or distance. Sadly, it varies.

12. You are not a lesbian no matter how many times people say you are. Despite not being a lesbian, it was a woman who taught you to not be afraid to love and show love.

Thank you Susan! Susan once told you she loved you. And that scared you. Not because it came from a woman but because it was said. Hearing those simple words causes anguish because you rarely hear it. She saw you cringe but then explained why she said it. It wasn’t so much for you, in receiving it, but it was for her who felt and acknowledged and accepted her feelings.

You went through your entire life afraid of telling people that you loved them because you feared it would never be reciprocated. But honestly who cares? This is about you and your feelings and it’s okay to have them despite others. Because of Susan, you have no trouble telling Andrew that you love him. And it doesn’t matter if he tells or not because it’s about how you feel.

And that is the greatest thing that I have learned going into my thirties and I regret, YES, regret, not knowing in my teens and 20s that I am allowed to feel and accept how I feel.

Happiness and Success 2014

After reading and then re-reading my post about being depressed, I realized that I needed help finding myself. I had been doing really well until I started comparing myself to other people. I kept asking myself why my successes were constantly being over looked. In a pathetic need for validation I decided to read two letters of recommendation that were written for me at the end of 2013. Both authors of these letters said I didn’t have a desire for praise. Over the years this assumption has been made, more than once: “She doesn’t need praise or recognition. Her humility speaks volumes.” This isn’t true. Not even close. I fucking LOVE praise.

My problem isn’t that I don’t want the praise. I don’t know how to receive it. My body language is to cringe whenever someone takes notice. If someone says, “hey I had a great time with one of your programs” I always  say it could have been better or thank you but I didn’t do anything and someone else did all the hard work. WHICH IS A LIE!!! Ugh, I’m hating myself right now for even admitting this. I don’t like to be praised because I’m afraid of it going to my head. I have seen so many of my friends become cocky and arrogant. But if I don’t take credit for my own work,  someone else will. It’s time to end all that cringe worthy reaction  because I would like to be able to communicate effectively as to how I want to be praised. Someone saying to a big ass group of people how fantastic I am isn’t going to make me happy HOWEVER if they say hey let me buy you a cup of coffee for that hard work, I’ll definitely say yes, please buy me that skinny vanilla latte (baby steps, my friends, baby steps and I don’t care that they said coffee I want my damn latte).

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon of happiness and success for 100 Days. I doubt I will actually participate in any of these communities but I can take what I need. So I will post pictures on my own blog (about what brings me happiness or the feeling of success on that particular day) because it’s a journey, my journey through a different kind of wonderland but a wonderland no less! My beginning date will be Wednesday, May 28th because of the end date: Friday, September 5th AKA my 30th birthday! So stay tuned… What will make me happy or successful on May 28th. Instagram

Bad Ass Lenin, Even with Mittens

Bad Ass Lenin, even with mittens

When I see this picture, I see a bad ass Lenin. He is going to fuck you up. Or he is simply too fabulous for you! I find this encouraging. I have yet to hear from my last application to a PhD program. I’ve been feeling low. But today, today I said fuck it. I’m searching for new schools to apply to again in September. So here is the list of schools I am considering because they focus on Russian history:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Michigan State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Ohio State University
  • Ohio University
  • Queen’s University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Arkansas
  • University of Miami
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Washington
  • Yale University

PS if you took this picture please let me know and of course you should be credited.

I’m quite tired of being such a tiny little thing!

My therapist had suggested that I write about how I pictured my typical ideal day so that I would be able to understand what I wanted from life: career, hobbies, fitness, relationships. You name it. So I did what I always do with such a monumental task. I avoided it like the plague. I didn’t want to face the fact that I may not be doing what I actually want to do. I may have wasted years on higher education. It’s scary. But then today happened. Today, on my day off, my boss called to yell at me because I chose to not work a seven-day work week without getting paid for two of those days. I feel horrible when I get reprimanded. I feel guilty and such shame. Why don’t I bite the bullet and just work unpaid? BECAUSE IT’S FUCKING ILLEGAL!!! I have to remind myself that he wants to manipulate me. Being a team player used to mean something to me. It meant acceptance even though I felt alone. Fuck it, I’m ripping off the band-aid and finally figuring out how I envision my ideal life:

I wake up at 6AM. Refreshed, happy to be alive, and can see without the need of glasses. I put on my running clothes, walk downstairs and let the dog out. I brush my hair and teeth. The dog comes back in as I put on my running shoes. I grab the dog’s leash and step out the door. I forgot my iPod, again, but that’s okay. The dog and I walk towards the end of the housing compound. The gate is locked. At the corner I see a small supermarket, a coffee shop, and a bar. The dog and I continue to walk towards the park. There is a historical building on the side and I can hear running water. As soon as I get to the path near the water, I start running. It’s a fun and easy run, one that I do every day; the dog is used to the routine.

After three miles, we walk back but not before I let the dog charge at the ducks. At home, I give the dog food and water before I hop into the shower. My routine is simple: shower, clothes, hair, no make-up (I’ve finally accepted my lack of make up without shame), clean up bedroom, let dog out again, pack my lunch and then finally breakfast: a nice homemade smoothie with a spinach wrap. I’ve mastered how to make a fantastic wrap! I wash the dishes before I head out the door with my heels in my bag.

I walk towards the coffee shop getting my daily dose of heaven, just a small cup of coffee in my personalize cup. No more lattes, etc. Simply coffee. I don’t have to worry about the morning commute because I don’t drive anymore. I sold my car years ago. If I need a vehicle, I can ride the moped or rent a car. But I usually take public transportation or I bike. I’ve mastered the bicycle. Today I choose to take public transportation because I bought a coffee and I remembered to bring my book that I bought at the second-hand shop. Another one for the library collection.

Work isn’t too far away, maybe 30 minutes. At 10AM, I’ve beaten most of rush hour. I have less anxiety because if I’m five or ten minutes late, no one is breathing down my neck. I’m trusted. I feel safe at work. I’m appreciated. I’m working on a variety of things: researching a cultural identities to better understand the community that I will be serving, writing thank you cards of appreciation for the donations that came, learning a new language because I want to be able to communicate with the community, working with contractors on designing new projects and brainstorming new ideas about how to better serve underrepresented communities. Maybe we need to build another school, train teachers in first aid, or help parents learn new train skills while retaining cultural identity. Maybe a holiday is coming up and we just need a festival. I’ve learned to be sneaky. Slip on shoes under my desk and heels as well, just in case I have to get up or make a presentation.

I rush off to lunch in the building’s cafeteria. I have my food but I need a place to heat it up because I still refuse to eat sandwiches or salads. BARF! The cafeteria is always busy and after several failed attempts, I find a seat near a window. I sit and savor my food. I’m no longer confined to the thirty minute lunch schedule. I’m not reading during lunch. Instead I save the book for the ride back home. Instead, I people watch as the sun shines on my face. I hurry back to work because I am excited about writing new proposals for the ideas that were thought of in the earlier brainstorming meeting. I like my job. It isn’t stagnant.  The mission and direction are clear. We are there for the betterment of the people. Everyone is on the same page with a “we can do it” attitude. Office gossip exists and is tolerated but everyone is too busy working that gossip doesn’t run wild. At four o clock, I take a quick snack break: tea, cheese, fruit, and a few crackers, before I leave for on-site visits.

On-site visits, to see how well projects are coming on, are my favorite part of the day. Seeing projects come to fruition are always fun. Finding loopholes and potential hazards are welcomed. I’m not afraid of getting my hands dirty so if I have to paint, I will paint or sweep. Whatever. I’ll do it. I enjoy doing real work and collaborating for a better future. I don’t have to wear heels for potential donors. Instead I can wear sneakers and an old torn t-shirt. 

I come home roughly around 6:30PM. After a quick pee break, it’s off to walk the dog one last time around the neighborhood and to the supermarket. I stopped buying food for the week. Instead of relying on preservatives to keep it fresh, I just buy it everyday. I learned to do this while living in England. The dog manages to stay outside.  

Dinner is another quick meal of chicken, rice, hummus and veggies. Don’t forget my wine! I’m really boring when it comes to food. I have my go to meal that I can eat everyday for the rest of my life. I know it sounds horrible but I find comfort in the ordinary. If I can eat my food then certainly my dog can as well. Dogs can eat veggies, right? I know not onions but other veggies.

My relaxation varies. I like to read, scrapbook, dance or sew. I learn different dances because I learn about a culture. I learn what survives and what evolves over time. I don’t have dance practice today so I decide to sew. Sewing has a purpose. I need purposes to do things. This time my sewing is making blankets for homeless/refugees/survivors to keep warm. My friends think I’m crazy but will often join me by making one or two especially if I can provide the material. Sometimes I like to sew the costumes for dance groups that can’t afford them. I’ve learned over the years how to write compelling letters asking for donations for material.


Bedtime is at 10:30. I want to read some James Joyce, Rudolfo Anaya, Michele Serros, or Henry James but I am too tired. Maybe after I finish the book I am currently on. My bedroom is nice and dark. I’m no longer forced to have a television in my room. My computer and cell are somewhere downstairs. My bed is for sleeping only. The dog jumps on the bed and finds his place near my feet.


Another peaceful yet successful day.

This is how I picture my life but there are a few holes.

  • Where is my significant other?
  • Who takes care of my dog while I am away?
  • Why don’t I talk to coworkers?
  • Why do I barely mention friends?
  • How do I rest my brain for my recovery?
  • Is this just another form on codependency, by helping everyone out?
  • Are there men out there who are willing to adapt to this life style?
  • Will my career choices ultimately keep me single?

 

Disneyland with Gracie: Using the New Disability Pass with Recommendations

Grace, Age 3

Grace, my niece, was born in 2010 with Down’s Syndrome. At the time, my sister and I were not on speaking terms so my mother had to “break the news” to me. Over the years, my sister and I have been able to bond a bit more and that is because of Grace. My love for Grace has manifested into a yearly trip to Disneyland to celebrate “El Día Del Niño”. Unfortunately, for me, Grace started school; I had to expedite the trip as my sister and I differ in parenting styles. I would have taken her out of school and just had fun. But my sister vetoed the idea so we went during my niece’s Spring Break and opted for a nice Saint Patrick’s Day trip. My mom even pulled a quick one day drive to Arizona to pick up my other niece and nephew.

The McReyes clan on their way to the yearly pilgrimage to see the mouse.

Disneyland works well with special needs. They go above and beyond for families with special needs, regardless, of what news media might say. I recommend that if you want to go, do your research. It’s so sad to see people take disabled children and not understand the layout, the way the new passes work, and the insane amount of visitors. You will be upset and disappointed if you don’t read up on what’s happening. Disneyland is constantly changing.

A month before our trip, my sister got a doctor’s note for Grace. Visually you can tell that Grace has Downs but that doesn’t really speak volumes as to why we would need a Guest Assistance Card. The note let Disneyland know that Grace overheats really easily and that she was on medication. We can’t even have the heater on in the winter because her body temperature is higher than most people. So the guest service coordinators allowed us to get the card. The card allows all of us (6 total) to get on a ride after a normal waiting time. You can only pick one ride at a time and you can’t use it to meet the characters. Your photo’s or your child’s photo will be taken and printed on your “passport.” FYI it makes a neat souvenir as it shows you how many rides you got on and which ones.

On Storybook Land Canal Boats

For Grace, we opted for Storybook, which was a 50 minute wait in the sun. While we waited for one ride, we got on Astro Orbiter. This line was a 40 minute wait time. We had no problems standing in line because it was under some shade so Grace didn’t complain. While the family waited in line. I went to get a fast pass for the bigger rides. The Guest Assistance Card only works if the person who needs it will be getting on the ride. Grace is still too short for the bigger rides like Star Tours, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, etc. so I went and grabbed fast-passes for the older kids. Disneyland allows one fast-pass ticket per person every two hours. After Astro Orbiter, we went into Fantasyland because we knew were the restrooms were located and that the area has Village Haus Restaurant with nice shady tables. We didn’t buy food from this place because it’s too expensive for the quality/quantity so instead we brought our own snacks and water (at least 2 water bottles per person). Grace will eat fruit snacks, bananas, gold fish, and snap crisps so we tailored our food choices around her. We ended up packing 20 fruit snack pouches just in case something went wrong.

On Astro Orbiter

After Storybook Land Canal Boats we had to go back to a Guest Service Coordinator. You will be able to find at least one person helping out families with the assistance cards for each of the park areas. The one for Fantasyland is right in between the Dumbo ride and the Storybook Land Canal Boats. The employees are under green tents and they have iPads that tell you how long the waits are. Since we were already in Fantasyland and going to grab a snack, we chose Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The line was out in the sun (psst, it’s exactly like Astro Orbiter!!). The wait time for this ride was another 50 minutes. This gave us plenty of time to relax, use the restroom, call my dad, take some photos, and window shop. I went back to guest services to ask about using our stroller as a wheel chair since my niece can’t walk very far or stand up very long. And yes they do that too!  So we opted to using the stroller as a wheelchair and ended up using this service instead of the card. This allowed me to get on the rides and/or do a rider switch. A rider switch enables you to experience an attraction while another member of your party waits with the Guest who does not ride. You then “swap” to enable the other party member to enjoy the attraction without having to wait in line again.

Casey Jr. Circus Train

We stayed in Fantasyland getting on the rides that we could while we waited for our allotted time for Star Tours. If you want to rest up your feet, I recommend you get on Casey Jr. Circus Train as it’s a nice train ride and younger kids can still have fun. The handicap access is right behind a churro stand. And did you know, if a churro breaks, sometimes the employee will give you the churro for free? My niece and nephew shared a broken churro! After the train ride Grace was ready for her nap and was getting way to hot. We decided to make our way to the Star Tours ride since it would get all of us out of the sun.

While the other kids got on Star Tours, my mother went to get a fast-pass for Space Mountain and proceeded to find us a table at the Plaza Inn for lunch. It is listed as pricey but it is not. The portions are huge and you can share with people. My mother and sister shared their meal, my niece and nephew shared theirs, and I took half of my food home. Yes that is right! I took my food home because I carry Tupperware in my backpack. Another recommendation, at these sit-in restaurants, the soft drinks come with free refills AND you can fill up your water bottle for free. Most of the time, visitors think these meals are super expensive but it’s not. We paid less than $90 with salads, meals, and drinks. The quality of food is way better than the hamburger place that’s in Tomorrowland or the pizza place. There is air conditioning inside, shade, and nicer seating area.

After lunch, we decided to make our way to Toontown to see Mickey Mouse. We waited in line maybe 30 minutes before we saw Mickey only to find out that this year, Grace was scared of him. We didn’t pressure her to go and hug him so we left to see what other things she might be interested in. Turns out she loved Outrageous Outside. This is the “garden” next to Goofy’s House. It’s for kids under the age of five who need a play area with sliders. We spent at least an hour here, allowing her to play, while the older kids went to ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. My mom took a power nap.

Grace was afraid of the mouse.

Towards the end of the day Grace was pooped. We focused on the older kids. I hate to admit it but we still haven’t mastered the whole time management thing with who needs what attention and when. The older kids are beginning to be patient with us so we thank them as much as possible and we try to reward them whenever possible. We were able to get on to Pirates of the Caribbean (nephew’s choice) and The Haunted Mansion (niece’s choice; nephew’s dismay). Grace was able to get on them as well but she wasn’t “into” them. Going to New Orleans’s Square gave us enough time to for the Space Mountain fast-pass allotted time. This was our last ride at 6:40PM. The park closed at 10PM but we decided it was in our bet interest to leave early. We didn’t want to push Grace any more than we had to. My mom waited with Grace at the front of Main St which was fairly empty even though the parade was about to commence!

Smiles for the parade

This is my final tip!! The first parade at 3PM starts near It’s A Small World and ends at the beginning of Main St (essentially the entrance of Disneyland). It’s always crowded at this parade. The 7PM parade is fairly crowded except for at the entrance of Main St, which happens to also be the exit. The 7PM parade goes vice-versa!! The roundabout in front of City Hall is one of the best places to see the parade and it’s less crowded than the castle. And if you want to leave after the parade you can because the exit is right there!!  Avoid the crowd and leave right when the parade ends. We left after Donald Duck’s appearance.

Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

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At last the Dodo said “Everybody has won, and all must have prizes.”

Poop. Talking about poop. Imagining other people pooping. The idea of pooping at a stranger’s house. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than poop. I’ve had this discussion with Susan much to her amusement as I cringe every time she brings up the topic of poop. But I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone the creepy, almost traumatizing situations in regards to poop and how the act of pooping became synonymous with me crying at the sound of a bathroom lock being undone.

I know I shouldn’t worry about poop because pooping is a natural process of the living process. But recently or maybe since the beginning of time I have been told the following:

This is fucking crazy!!! And I know I’m not the only who received this message. Ever watch Sex in the City? I mean the show is about smart, career-driven women who frown at the mere thought of pooping near a boyfriend. One of the females, Meranda, even went on vacation with her boyfriend and would run downstairs to the hotel lobby bathroom so that her boyfriend wouldn’t notice her pooping. FUCKING CRAZY!!! Yeah okay that was fiction. BUT Hell… on Los Angeles radio, there is a talk radio host who talks about how in the last eight years of being in a relationship she has never pooped when her partner is in the house. She would rather suffer through agonizing stomach pain that to release her bowels.I know that there are men out there who freak the fuck out at the thought that their significant others might poop. Guess what boys!! THEY DO!

Is this really what our society has come to? Something so natural is so taboo. What the hell is wrong with us? I’m included in this whole situation. I don’t know why but I became uncomfortable with the act. It started innocent enough, I just refused to go. This was my way of making a stand against authority. You can’t tell me when I have to go to the bathroom! My dad overcame this small hurdle by forcing me to read while on the toilet and he would turn on the faucet so that I wouldn’t have a choice but go. Talk about not being environmentally conscious. This eventually became the norm. I would run to the bathroom, lock the door and then yell to my dad, “Dad, I need a book.” He would slide it under the door and walk away. I would sit there until I would finish the book OR my legs went numb.

This behavior was then escalated further by only pooping in respectable restrooms aka grandma’s back restroom in Mexico (never the one in the living room that had the HUGE window looking out into the patio, seriously grandma, wtf, who designs a bathroom with a window that can overlook the entire patio) or at home. Just imagine the 21 hour car ride and not pooping. My inners slowly getting bloated and hard while I fought the urge to fart and cry. I’m sure everyone has done this once or twice but I did this every single day, sometimes twice a day.

I never pooped at a friend’s house, at an aunt/uncle’s house, somewhere cool like Disneyland. I just couldn’t. I always thought I had to concentrate. I conditioned myself that I had to be away from civilization in order to poop that if anyone was around me, I’d just hold it. Peace and quit are what I needed. I have no idea how I survived for so long. I was once accused of going through my aunt and uncle’s personal belongings because I was caught coming out of their master bathroom. I’d rather face the consequence of being a registrona than admit that I used their toilet for pooping. I’m sure that in my older age I’ll develop some sort of cancer that will be attributed to this behavior.

I went off to college with this terrible behavior and somehow managed relationships. There were multiple times when I would lay in bed waiting for Kevin to go to class just so I could rush to the bathroom. And I would cry because by the time I’d make it to the bathroom. My stomach would be in so much pain that I just wanted to curl up into a ball near the toilet. I suffered in silence. I did this to myself and I have no idea why.

But the worst pooping incident featured Chris the Sailor. One of the times that I was pooping, because I just couldn’t hold it any longer, he unlocked the door and started taking pictures. I’m talking flash photography people.  I have no idea why he thought it would be funny. But in the midst of going, I got off the toilet and just fell on the floor and shuffled in between the toilet and bathtub. I just cried while he took photos. I let out a scream. It might have sounded like he was killing me but I didn’t care. Survival mode kicked in and I started throwing up and I was covered in filth. I didn’t press charges but I didn’t understand him.

And of course there were the dreaded pooping accidents. Again, I’m sure people have suffered these once or twice in adulthood but I think I take the cake. So many times, as a kid, I would be laying in the truck-bed in pain, realizing I was just not going to make it home. The crying and shame only aggravated the whole I shouldn’t poop. This escalated as an adult by pooping during a sex session and then getting explosive diarrhea at Burning Man. I honestly thought I could hold it in for the 10 days that we were out in the desert. How fucking stupid. And it was at Burning Man that I fucking learned to poop and to love it. No longer would I care who heard me or where the fuck I was at.

And so I thought I was over it until this weekend, Valentine’s Day Weekend, when I was about to poop and Andrew had the nerve of unlocking the bathroom door. Survival mode kicked and I started crying unable to poop and on the verge of vomiting. I thought I was over it. Andrew didn’t come in nor was a camera involved. In fact, he just unlocked it and walked away, laughing then realizing that I was crying he stopped. It didn’t take me long to compose myself, at least somewhat. But my heart raced for another hour while I fought the urge to hide under the covers.