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Category Archives: relationships

Re-Adjusting: Resurrection and Transformation

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looking back.jpeg

Source: pexels.com

If you have ever experienced the death (or loss) of a loved one, you know that your life becomes a series of firsts. First birthday without them, first holiday, first year, and so on. So here I am in my first month without him.

These last 30-days have been a slow drip through the surreal. My emotions have ranged from acceptance to anger, but mostly I just want to be in silence. My hospice grief counselor says I am right on schedule for feeling all the feels. She mentions that after 2-3 weeks the shock usually wears off and the emotions begin to rise. This feels about right, because it has only been recently that I have felt more anger and irritability mixed in with the pre-existing sadness.

I wish I could go on retreat, somewhere in the hills or forest, and just be in silence with every emotion that arises. This feels like the ideal thing to do, but instead I go to work, and mostly it has been okay. After a full day I am exhausted and do nothing (and I am grateful for the ability to do nothing). Sometimes I get a burst of energy, but as quickly as it comes, it slips away (I guess that’s why it’s a burst).

Being in my grieving life, and “old life” has had it’s consequences. One day, I came home form work to suddenly feel a horribly paralyzing anxiety that left me feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally agitated for hours. I realized that being in both my grieving life and my “old routine” life felt like a schism, and that living in both worlds was/is probably too opposing for my psyche.

The flashbacks have been the hardest. At times I can’t stop thinking about my father’s last days. I remember the lightness of his thin body, his agitated body movements, the pained expressions on his face, and the sadness in his eyes. The inability for us to verbally communicate haunts me as I wonder if he was in more pain that we knew. I wonder if he was scared. I wonder if dying was scary for him.

Then there’s the wondering. Wondering if he really had dementia. Wondering if there was something else going on and that we could have helped him more. Everything happened so fast that we didn’t get a chance for a decent second option or tests. This helpless experience has made it easy to feel guilty for not doing more, especially before he became symptomatic.

On most days, it’s the experience of a routine that no longer is. I never realized how much my dad was on my mind. Like an idling car, he must have been a constant hum in my subconscious. I still wake with the thought of calling my dad to see how he is doing, or spontaneously have the desire to tell him what I saw that day. If I have a really good cup of coffee, I think of him and sending some to him. One afternoon I sat in a medical lab waiting for a blood draw. I imagined the many times he did the same. Even though he was relatively healthy, he had routine blood draws and doctor visits to monitor his health. I imagined how this must have been so tiresome for him.

Despite all this, I trust that both he and I are well. I trust that I will land in my new normal. I trust that dreams of him are our way of staying connected and I trust he is with me in my waking life.

With today being Easter, I find myself more aware of resurrection. It’s everywhere all the time! A resurrection is an awakening, and re-birthing, a renewal, and a transformation. On my dad’s final days, I was well aware that he was in his own transformational journey. It was intense to feel our lives changing and falling into deep stillness. At that time I wondered what both our resurrections would look like.

Today I still wonder, and yet know, that resurrection and transformation is happening in it’s own slow and gentle way everyday. Anxiety attacks and all.

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Body-Mind-Spirit: A Tale of Disconnect

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First, I want to be clear that, although some of this may sound like a pity-party, it’s far from it. If you decide to read through this, you’ll see what I mean. Now let’s begin.

When I chose to live a vegan lifestyle in 2006, I felt like an outsider for the first year or so. Most people hadn’t heard the word vegan, and it took some detective work to navigate restaurants and grocery aisles. Over time this became much easier as I became familiar with products, options, and most importantly, other vegans.

As veganism gains increasing public attention, I notice that it does so, mainly from a health perspective. Most people touting veganism’s health benefits do so claiming that you will lose weight. Although this may be true for many people, this was definitely not the case for me. My weight has always been an issue for me, and continued to be so after going vegan. Talk about feeling like an outsider among outsiders.

This experience resulted in feeling a complex mash-up of emotions including: Guilt, fear, anger, and sadness. Each time I read about someone claiming the amazing weight loss they’ve experienced from going vegan, I felt like a failure. I wondered what I was doing wrong. I wondered if people doubted my being vegan with thoughts of “she must be sneaking in dairy”. I also believed that I was a bad representation of veganism. Oh this mind of mine can spin, but I also know that I’m not far off the mark here. This society fat-shames and objectifies women. Add veganism to the mix, and you have a setting prime for being picked apart.

Now, weight itself is no stranger to me. I was a chubby baby, who grew into a fat kid, and chubby teenager. Growing up, I had no safe place to go. Home, school the neighborhood, family members houses, birthday parties, everywhere I went, people felt the need to reference my weight. “Hey fatso” (chubbo, tub of lard, butter ball, etc.) What 5 year old can defend themself from such verbal abuse from adults and peers? If I became visibly hurt, some adults would say “I’m just kidding”, but a child’s brain can’t discern such semantics. A child’s brain understands things literally. Children also learn who they are by what adults’ project onto them. I wondered what I did wrong, and why I was so “fucked up”. Where were the adults who were supposed to protect me? As years passed, this mindset would manifest in many ways. One of which was the cycle of self-abuse known as dieting.

Like many women I compared myself to the women placed on pedestals by the men in my life. I hated my body and tried to eradicate it through every diet and exercise plan imaginable. It’s a well-worn story, you know, go on a diet/fitness plan, lose weight, and gain it all back (plus some). It’s an old path that many women have travelled down. When all efforts have failed, we blame ourselves for being weak, stupid, hopeless, etc. It’s a horrible thing to go through and more abusive than we allow ourselves to believe.

So here I am again. All 41 years of my life stacked in me like nesting dolls. This morning started off no different, with me dreading the task of trying to make myself presentable to the outside world. I beg my closet “Please, work with me here!” I made my selection and as I began to undress, I could hear the familiar voice in my head. “Ugh, I hate my body. Why do I have to have THIS body? Why is it so hard for me to lose weight? What’s wrong with me?”

Just then I realized that I was talking to myself no different than the adults and peers around me did when I was a child. This defenseless child inside me, who is still hurting from past harm, was being bashed by none other than myself. In short, I was abusing the shit out of her.

You still with me?

I immediately felt like a bad mom. Luckily, before I could go bashing the adult in me too, I remembered that what I needed was compassion and forgiveness towards myself and my little girl.

Afterwards, I debated about posting this experience. What would people think? Insecurity can be such a turn-off. But the idea would not let me be. So, why go public with this experience? Well, I know I’m not alone, and I also know that where light is shown darkness fades. I don’t want to keep me or my little girl in the dark anymore. I want light and love to be here in us. I want this self-inflicted war to stop. I truly do have to rebuild my love for myself.

You see, I know and really love me. Me being the Mind-Spirit me. I know my strengths, my growing edges, my gifts, and character. I know I’m as valuable and beautiful as any other living creature on this planet. I know who I am and look forward to getting to know who I am becoming.

Paradoxically, I don’t like the body that this “me” inhabits. So what I have is a disconnected relationship between “me” and my body. As a child I learned my body was “wrong” so I discarded it by leaving it through disconnecting from it. Ways that I could feel “in” my body were through food, starvation, or excess exercise.

So I’m attempting to heal this relationship as I have healed other internal relationships with myself; slowly, compassionately, trusting, with mindful insight and reflection, and safe people. This body deserves love and recognition and as I begin to heal this separation, it’s important that I stay connected with those who can see the beauty in me as well.

After drafting this post, I found this newsletter message by Louise Hay in my email. Quite appropriate don’t you think?

“Little babies love every inch of their bodies. They have no guilt, no shame, and no comparison. You were like that, and then somewhere along the line you listened to others who told you that you were “not good enough.” You began to criticize your body, thinking perhaps that that’s where your flaws were.

Let’s drop all that nonsense and get back to loving our bodies and accepting them totally as they are. Of course they will change—and if we give our bodies love, they will change for the better.”

“If You Can’t Love Yourself…” and the Gift of Being Single

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I’ve noticed that, despite not liking being a singleton, I’m getting very picky about dating. Specifically on-line dating. The messaging stage is my common filter. I don’t respond to 98% of the messages I receive, and if I do, I’m quick to end any pursuit once I notice a red flag. Well, I call them red flags. I may just be too picky, or traumatized, or a combination of all three.

This is a list of things I don’t respond to:

  • Any message that starts with or has any resemblance to, “Are you DTF?”, “Hey Sexy.”, or “Call me”. I’m sorry, did I accidentally post on Craigslist?
  • Anyone whose message consists of just one word. If you aren’t going to put any effort into your first message to me, then what kind of effort are you going to put into a relationship?
  • Any profile of a person that is hyper critical or has any hint of homophobia.
  • Anyone who can’t accept my being vegan and/or pansexual or wants to argue/debate about veganism and/or pansexuality. There’s a huge difference between asking to understand and asking to argue.
  • Anyone who rushes into wanting to meet AND I’m not feeling much of a connection with. At least try to win me over. Plus it reeks of desperation and/or booty call.
  • Anyone who messages me and doesn’t ask me a question or reference something I have in my profile. This gives me the impression that you don’t really put much effort into knowing who you’re talking to.
  • Anyone without a profile picture. C’mon now. If I can put my mug up there for the world to see it can’t be impossible. What are you hiding? Secrets and/or insecurity aren’t exactly a good way to start any relationship.

And this is just the first message stage. There’s a whole other set of hurdles once you meet and have a few dates. Jeez, dating is exhausting!

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not someone who is sitting up on her throne demanding that suitors prove their worthiness. I just have a better idea of who I am and a better idea of the type of person I want in my life. I also have a better idea of the silliness that I’m no longer willing to put up with.

An old boyfriend told me that “guys will get away with as much as you let them”. This may sound like blaming the victim, but in my case, I own the fact that I chose partners who were not good for me. I put up with a lot of bullshit when I really didn’t have to. But when you know better, you do better. And it may take a few rounds to really get that routine down.

So I don’t necessarily believe that “guys will get away with as much as you let them”. No, I believe that immature people who aren’t able to own their shit will get away with what they can.

So as it stands I’d rather be alone than bounce from one ill-fated relationship (or casual sex partner) to the next. I use to be jealous of people who seamlessly went from one relationship to another. But now, I understand that solitude is gift that many people are too afraid to open. I mean think about it, if you don’t want to be with yourself, then how can you expect others to want to be with you? If you’re so great to be around, then why are you so repulsed by your own presence?

Staying in an unhappy relationship, or rushing into relationships, out of fear of being alone only results in self-abandonment. And the repercussions of those choices will be felt no matter how hard you try to turn a blind eye.

So what does all of this mean?

It means I’m more willing to do this:

Than this:

Killing Me Softly

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Assassination by Groupthink

Every once in a while a song and/or video (sometimes a film, photo, painting or other art medium) comes along that captures what I’m going through. When this happens, it always moves me to the core, brings me to tears, and creates in me a shift in consciousness based on a raw synchronized connection. Yeah, it’s that deep and I live for those moments.

I had heard about the “controversy” surrounding Erykah Badu’s latest video “Window Seat”, but being a skeptic, I knew that there was a deeper meaning to her video that was being overlooked. I just didn’t expect this.When I saw the video, I have to admit, I cried.

First, because as the lyrics rolled out, I felt like I was hearing my soul cry out in words it previously could not find. Talk about “Killing Me Softly”. On the surface it’s a song to someone else, the one I call my shadow, but on a truer level, it’s a song to myself.

Second, because I identify with the image of her exposing herself and being assassinated for it. I think anyone who takes the initiative to show others an authentic part of themselves risks being rejected and alienated for it. It’s been a lifelong lesson for me, but not as painful as in recent months, and one that feels like such an injustice. People want others to change what is uncomfortable for them to accept rather than let others be their true selves.

There is also something about the image of her walking in public, so raw. It was like she was screaming out and very few people acknowledged her. Those that did either looked away in discomfort or stared, unsure of what to  make of it. People do not want to be made uncomfortable with truth.

To see the video in its original (official) and reexamined versions go here: http://www.erykahbadu.com/

Erykah Badu "Window Seat"

Window Seat
So , presently I’m standing
Here right now
You’re so demanding
Tell me what u want from me
Concluding

Conentrating on my music , lover , and my babies
Makes me wanna ask the lady for a ticket outta town…

So can I get a window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
A look around
And a safe touch down
Window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a chance to fly
A chance to cry

And a long bye bye..

But I need u to want me
Need you to miss me
I need your attention
I need you next me
I need someone to clap for me
I need your direction

Somebody say come back
Come back baby come back
I want u to need me
Come back come back baby come back
Come back come back baby come back
Come back come back baby come back

So , in my mind I’m tusslin’

Back and forth ‘tween here and hustlin’
I don’t wanna time travel no mo
I wanna be here
I’m thinking

On this porch I’m rockin’
Back and forth light Lightning Hopkins
If any body speak to Scotty
Tell him beam me up..

So can I get a window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
A look around
And a safe touch down
Window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a chance to fly
A chance to cry

And a long bye bye..

But I need you to miss me
Need some body come get me
Need your attention
Need your energy yes I do
Need some one to clap for me
Need your affection

Somebody say come back
Come back baby come back
I want u to need me
Come back come back baby come back
Come back come back baby come back
Come back come back baby come back

But can I get a window seat
Don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
A look around
And a safe touch down…

I just need a chance to fly
A chance to cry
And a long

Bye bye……..

Revisiting Leo

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It’s no secret that I’m a romantic at heart. For years I tried to deny it, but it’s authentically who I am. Growing up as a PBS kid I was exposed to shows that explored science, nature, storytelling, etc. Every once in a while I would catch a great presentation, and Leo Buscaglia happened to be one of them.

Recently I decided to look him up on YouTube and in hearing him again, I was surprised to realize that so much of what he said is what I believe to be true today. As a kid, hearing Leo speak was much needed. I didn’t realize it then, but I now see that he provided a piece of hope for me to hold onto.


He passed away in 1998, and I so wish I could have talked with him. I miss his presence in the world.


Classic Leo. I absolutely love this poem as it sums up how I feel and try to remember live.

Memories – of the smelly kind

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I was out with at the Farmers Market last week with a friend. I was looking for some greens, some rich lush veggies, to prepare and enjoy. Instead, I found some unexpected memories. It’s amazing how the sense of smell can trigger the strongest most vivid memories. Not just images, but memories filled with emotions.

The first scent came from a box of guavas. My friend bought a few and as he was selecting them, I inhaled the smell of a ripe guava. Immediately I was transported back to Mexico. I was 10 again with my family standing in the Mercado in Juarez. I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to bottle the smell so that I would never be without it.

Yummy Guavas

The second scent was bittersweet. As most farmers markets have, there were buckets of flowers for sale. I decided to take a look at a few and saw a box of Hyacinths. I wondered if they smelled like the ones that grew in the yard of my old house in Washington. I leaned over, and again, was transported to another time. This time it was long summer days filled with the smell of fresh cut grass and mixed emotions. There were Grape Hyacinths growing in the backyard that my (then) boyfriend planted. He had an amazing skill for landscaping and the yard never looked better. Smellling those Hyacinths at the Farmers Market almost made me cry. I could feel the thick cool grass below my feet, the smell of the soil, and the strong emotions I had at that time almost 13 years ago.

Hyacinths - full of memories

Hyacinth – full of memories

Bloggiversary

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This Blog is a year old and I have to look back and see what progress has been made and what needs to continue. Originally, this blog was created to focus on being vegan, single, and living with two dogs. Well, I’m still vegan, still single, and only live with one dog.

Los Dogs
BabyGrrrl did not welcome Minnie at all. For a year BabyG kept bullying Minnie and after a particularly nasty fight (which left a bite mark near Minnie’s eye) I decided to call her old dad back to see if Minnie could live with him. You see, Minnie’s dad was supposed to be stationed in Florida, but plans changed and he stayed in California. He was able to get his other dog Marley back and the timing couldn’t be better. he was ecstatic to have Minnie back and we met to get bring Minnie back home to his dad and old doggie friend. It was a sad and tough task and I miss her still. But I know that she is much happier living in place where she has a friend who will play with her instead of bullying her.
On Being Single
Being single has had it’s ups and down. I’ve had a blast taking advantage of my singledom by traveling and exploring interests freely as well as dating and meeting new people. But by the end of the year I began to feel more loneliness than ever. This year I have decided to back off from dating and to just relax into what the future may bring. I’ll be moving soon, which will bring new opportunities to meet new people, build new friendships, and have more time to invest in those things that are important to me.
I learned that I need to re-connect with me and break free from those people and thoughts which cause me pain. I need to be as giving to myself as I am to others. What I didn’t expect was that this shift just may mean a new career path or location.
So a new year is here and this blog remains one of a vegan and single Chicana. Let’s see what this year brings…