Friday, October 20, 2017

To all the women in paper gowns and no men...keep ya head up.

We sat there. 23 black and Hispanic women, 4 white women, 3 men. Ages ranging from early teens, to late thirties. We all woke up, brushed our teeth, showered (well, most of us), maybe we grabbed coffee, maybe we dropped our kids off at school. We all had a morning before. And then we had a MORNING. A mourning.
Once you got past the protesters telling you that you were basically going to Hell, a large man with a body full of tattoos ushered you in. Checked your name off of a list. Like this was an ultra exclusive industry night at Tao. But, you know,that was another life.
In this life, you're herded in, branded, and stuck in the coop with the rest of the chickens. Or cattle. Or whatever animal gets tagged and tossed into an assembly line.
We sat there, everyone carefully avoided eye contact. Everyone isolated by whatever mental hell they were currently trapped in. Staring blankly at everything and nothing all at once. A movie was playing in the background (white noise ) as names were continuously being announced. No one looked up. No one smiled. My mind drifted to methadone clinics. To dark alleys. 3am motel room lobbies. Everyone there for the same reason, but nobody daring to admit it. Nobody wanting to be human. Pride. Embarrassment. Fear.

Oprah magazines from years far gone. Encouraging us to be our best selves. To live our best lives. To find our truth.

5 hours. I was there for 5 hours with a room full of beautiful, sad, hopeful, shamed, loving women and nobody said one word.

Maybe that's why I felt the need to tell this story. I want to tell every girl (because in that moment, we are all just scared little girls) that it was ok. That even if it wasn't ok at that exact moment, that it was going to be ok. That this too shall pass. I wanted to tell them that life is a crazy journey, and in this moment, if they really listen, they could hear their future self saying "it's ok baby. it's ok." I wanted to let them know that it was ok that they were alone. That men, well, men try. But they will never truly understand us. They can be flighty, and distant, and cold. But they're struggling with the same fears we are. We're just more equipped to handle it. That this choice is yours. And yours alone. That your parents might not speak to you for months, but that it's still YOUR choice. That it's ok to cry. And it's ok to smile again tomorrow. That you don't have to wear a scarlet letter. But then again, they had the Oprah magazines for that,so, I'm sure that was enough.

You go through a screening. Health history. Allergies. Previous surgeries. Blood type. You sign a bunch of documents that basically amount to "bitch if you die, you's dead, don't sue us."
You make a choice from the price list. A menu of endings. Like a vacation sublet brochure, but for your vagina. I, being poor, chose the least expensive. And just like with Florida timeshares, cheaper was indeed, shittier.

Another hour passes and I find myself in a freezing cold room. Hair net, paper gown, personal belongings in a plastic bag next to me. Two other women, identically outfitted, staring at me. Paper wristbands with our vital information. My mind drifted to internment camps. To human trafficking rings. To shelters. (I hate my brain sometimes, so dramatic.)
Nobody. Said. A. Word. We just sat there and waited for our names to be called. I wanted to start a prayer circle. Ironic in that, well, I don't normally pray, and also I'm pretty sure I'm going to hell (as the very nice white protester told me earlier.) But it felt like, something was needed in that room. I mean, they did try. They had some inspirational Maya Angelou quote, printed out, hanging on the wall in a cheap ass plastic frame. It made me more upset. Dr. Angelou needs a solid wood frame. But, I digress. Something needed to be FELT. In your soul. Something needed to be DONE. I (being the oldest, most seasoned one in the room, felt guilty again, that I didn't provide comfort). I should have said something. I should have held someone's hand. But we sat there in metal chairs, with hard nipples and paper gowns and looked at our feet.

Once you finally get in the room, it's all but done already. I don't remember the name of my doctor. I didn't see his face. I don't remember the nurses. I remember the pain. As I mentioned before, I took the cheap way out. Which meant, no anesthesia. Which meant, I felt everything. I felt, each, and every, movement of the instrument.

I won't gone into graphic detail. Because that was my choice, not yours. And I already have to try and sleep at night with the memory of that pain, and those sounds I heard.And I don't wish that on anyone.

Afterwards, you're given graham crackers, ginger-ale and a heating pad.
I listened as one of the nurses complained about her trip to Spain with her husband. Apparently, they lost her luggage, and her stroller, during the layover.

As soon as I could move without vomiting, I left.
But you never really leave a place like that. That shit sticks to your soul like a thick pot of corn chowder. Just, heavy and oppressive and thick with regret.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

6 Train

I can't remember the last time I was on the 6 train.
But then again, if I'd known it was the last time, maybe I would have paid more attention.
I guess that's true for most things in life.
You recognize your firsts so easily. First job. First apartment. First car. First kiss. [I will ALWAYS remember this moment!!!!]
But lasts. Lasts are tough recognize. Especially if you're super optimistic like me. I never think anything is final.

I read a quote once that said "everything I let go of, has claw marks on it."
Rings way too true. I'm trying to get better with that. Trying to let go easily. Not rush things nor force them. Not holding on to things that clearly aren't meant to be held.

Any first year psych student can probably trace that back to moving around so often in my youth. Losing friends, and beloved toys in the rush and madness of big brown boxes and oceans between continents.
Any second year psych student would bring it back to my dad somehow. The emotional unavailability. The physically unavailability.
But that's so boring and overdone. I refuse to be so basic.
Anyhow, I digress.

Seems they're doing a lot of rebuilding and *gasp* gentrification in the Bronx. It feels somewhat unfamiliar. But, it's also been 16 years since I've been to Parkchester. I've basically lived 6 lifetimes since then. My retinas don't even capture the same light rays.
I remember the first time I rode this train (always remember the first....)
So full of naivety and happiness. My boyfriend made me little index cards, with subway directions to everything I wanted to see. Mostly landmarks of places I'd seen in movies.
F.A.O. SCHWARTZ (6 downtown to 59th st.)
Central Park (6 downtown to 68th/Hunter College)
Chinatown (6 downtown to Canal St. )
*special note that if I ever get lost, every train stops at 42nd St. Times Square. Go there and start over.)

Things I remember about my boyfriend:

Way too much gel. Like, layers and layers of gel in his hair. Like a helmet.
Shaved chest that left weird stubble behind.
Pacing back and forth in the apartment reciting his "sales pitch". He was a stock broker. Wait, strike that. He WANTED to be a stock broker.
In retrospect I realize he was basically one of those dudes in Boiler Room. Cold calling old men to get them to buy penny stocks and such. But, at the time I suppose it was hot.
We went over his lines all night.
He was possessive. He walked me to work each morning. He monitored every phone call I got each night.
He worked out incessantly. Big heavy oppressive weights. The noise kept me up at night. Grunting and steel crashing together.
He called me muñequita
He made me feel very beautiful and loved, and very subservient and low in the same breath.
His sister stole my clothes when she moved out and sold them in the DR.
His mother thought I was too fat.
He always wore black v-necks. I suppose to show off aforementioned shaved chest.

These are the things that remain when you leave someone. Random traces of a person.
How they treat you. How you felt. Random things. Scents. Habits.

So here I am, sweet and innocent and learning how to make the perfect pot of Dominican rice from his momma. Learning how to serve. Planning dinners out while at work. Jogging in central park. Charmed life.
I was so sweet I quite literally used to wear flowers in my hair. Like, some little fucking garden nymph. In the south bronx. Idiot.

One random night, I witnessed a shooting outside of our apartment and instantly got freaked out. There was this little nightclub right across from our window called "The Riddler". Apparently, something happened with someone's girlfriend, and a group of cars drove by and after a few minutes of fist fighting, someone in the car had apparently had enough and got out the car and just shot them. Just, fucking shot them. Like it was nothing.

I was so scared. As much as I tried, I just never really felt comfortable after that. Most of our neighbors spoke very little English. And since I look Spanish, they often yelled at me. Thought I was being snobby by not answering.
It just never felt like home. I never "embraced" the culture around me. I never found the "charm". I was just basically freaked out and ready to go back to Jersey.

So my big strong handsome loving boyfriend, promised to move us out. Promised to take care of me. Promised to protect me.
So this dick stopped paying rent.

The last day in that apartment, NYPD came banging on my door. They told me we were evicted and I had to get out immediately. I ran around frantically trying to pack clothes, jewelry, photos, personal belongings.
I was crying. I called my boyfriend, because I just knew there had to be some kind of a mistake. But he was so calm. So calm. He just kept saying it would be fine. Let them take the stuff to city storage. We'll get everything back later. Relax relax. He's coming soon. I didn't recognize it was the last time I'd see any of that stuff. I didn't didn't realize it was the end of that chapter.

I sat in front of that building waiting for him to get home for about 6 hours, with a box full of random shit and clothes and shoes, and all his fucking suits, packed in trash bags.
I lost the diamond earrings my mother gave me at graduation. I'm sure they were auctioned off somewhere with the rest of the things we never got out of storage.

We ended up living in a nasty youth hostel near grand central for about two months. I think it was about $50 a night. I lied to my mom the whole time and said everything was fine. Called her from phone booths pretending my cell phone was not getting reception. I wonder now if she had any idea.

We ate hot dogs from the street corner guy every night. Or pizza. Dollar slices of pizza.
I don't remember how we washed clothes. I'm assuming we just didn't. I do remember showering down the hall with the other homeless population, mixed with weird Eastern European tourists.

I never left him. I never thought about leaving. Even though I was blamed for putting too much "pressure" on him to move out. It was my fault he HAD to stop paying rent. It was the only way he could get us out there. And that was what I wanted. He did this for us. I felt guilty. And loved. The things he did for us. Us. Us. Us. Us. Just sat next to him on the subway as we went to look at all these different apartments around the city. Not saying a word. Agreeing with whatever he wanted. Letting him lead, as a man should.

We eventually found a mice infested basement apartment in Queens. Waking up each morning to at least 4 dead mice of those little glue pads. Desperately clinging and fighting to stay alive. Realizing that as long as they kept moving they had a chance to be free. Fucking mice were smarter than my complacent, stagnant ass.

My boyfriend putting them into a bag and crushing them with a hammer.
One of those images that would be flashing in the background of a Rob Zombie movie. Sadistic.

These are the memories left behind. These are the scars that keep you up at night.

Monday, May 23, 2016

God Bless the Child that's got his own.

Ok this is a quick post just because my daughter made this seared salmon salad the other night that was straight out of a Top Chef elimination round.
I'm quite fucking proud.

My mother is really not a good cook at all. No, no don't get me wrong. Everything she cooks is delicious! And I love her. And all 156 lbs of me bears witness to the fact that she kept me fed and happy my whole life.

But there weren't things like "searing" going on. It was more of a, "mix this hamburger helper packet into the ground beef" and indulge my G, kinda of cooking.

So as I"m sitting here, not only trying to make myself a better woman, but to make my DAUGHTER a better woman, I went ahead and bit the bullet and paid for a Blue Apron subscription. So we can both learn. And grow. And have fun. Together.

I was talking with my friends the other day, and it's really amazing in life the journey that friendship takes you on.
Everything I know today about being a woman, someone taught me.

I picked up so many habits and tips from my friends and relatives that the lines are blurred.

And I think that's exactly how life should be.

You should pick up little bits of goodness and genius from everyone you meet and become better.

Gardening tips, all from my mom. Which, she got all from my grandmother.
Hostessing tips, all from Emily.
Decorating tips, that's all Desiree.
Motherhood tips, Monica all day.
Wife Tips, all Esther Dorsey. RIP.

You can see little influences of the people you are around, reflected in your every day life.

So much so, that when I went to pick up Olivia at her dad's house the other night, she had a vase full of fresh flowers on her dresser.
The only fresh living flower in that whole house. What 11 year old is spending their allowance on flowers from the 7-11 to make "nice" bedroom like moms. I mean really.

And I almost cried. Because that is OUR thing. That's all me right there.

It's very true that children don't listen to what you say, they listen to what you DO.
And I'm so happy that I can sleep well at night knowing that my child is learning from me. And growing with me.
And isn't that just the point of all this? As long as I keep coming up with this damn rent payment, we gonna keep on prospering.
That's the stress of adulthood. That's the pressure of single parent. Money doesn't buy happiness of course, but it sure does keep you comfortable enough so you can actually enjoy life, and not just exist.

One day, there will be some fine ass mixed girl, serving up a dope ass cheese plate and champagne offering, listening to Billie Holiday and wearing a kimono. And motherfuckers are gonna call her fancy and bougie because they are intrigued but scared. Because she's gonna be deeper than anyone you've ever met in life. And there will be layers to unfold, that only the most intelligent, worthy man will have time for. Just like her mother.
The legacy will never end.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

it was written....

Basically my life right now:

5 am: Alarm goes off to get my fat ass to the gym.
5:10 am: Snooze.
5:30 am: snooze.
5:40 am: Thinks I snooze, actually turns off alarm
6:45 am: FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. *hastily throws on some semi-clean clothing and rushes out the door*
7 am: Begins commute to NYC for work. Listens to depressing news radio about how Donald Trump could actually be president. Makes mental note to never stay at one of his hotels. Unless, obviously, I find a dope Groupon.
9 am - 5 pm: Works tirelessly and never checks cell phone, or social media, or takes too many personal breaks to wander aimlessly around the city. (sarcasm obviously. I do work hard as shit though. I"m just slightly a.d.d.))
6 pm: Contemplates the amazing work out I'm going to have. Plans out outfit.
7 pm: Passes liquor store on the way home.
10 pm: After 2 hours of binge watching Netflix original programming, finds self in front of fridge wearing a hoodie and socks eating gouda and drinking wine.

10:30 pm: writes blog instead of calling dude for random regretful sex, because, mature.

12 pm: passes out with unread messages and weird Tinder dudes sending photos of their abs. which, hey there, is always welcome.

Rinse. Repeat.

34 years old. 5'6, like, 150ish.

Life is pretty mundane right now. It's winter, so I'm basically Robb Stark guarding Winterfell and shit. Just lots of fur, and boots, and unnecessary hair growth.

Ok, the real reason for this blog is because it's been an actual year since my grandmother passed away. And I made a promise, a fucking year ago, to write my book. Just like the same promise I made the year before that, and the year before get the picture.

So this blog is just to go ahead and begin. So, here goes.

My idea, (which I already know is pretty similar to High Fidelity, but I think it's going to be ok because I'm not British, or a man, or particularly smart so I think the voice will be totally different.)

SO anyhow, the concept is to track down all my past loves. Since, according to google, I'm a love (and possibly) sex addict. I didn't even know that was such thing. But, you know, the internet.

A huge majority of my time on this planet has been spent either looking for love, being in love, being heartbroken, or rebounding from a heartbreak, I figured now that I finally can just stand still and be alone, I can tell my story from an objective manner.
So I would track down, and meet up with all these "great" loves of my past.
And eventually, the book wouldn't be about the particular story (I think starting off with Sean getting kicked out of the abortion clinic for peeing in a trash can while I was in the back room recovering) but about the tracking down of the person.

So starting tomorrow, I'll begin at the place where I basically came alive. Parkchester, BX. Leland Avenue.

I'll be on the 6 train with my notebook and my Timbs. Just like it was 1999 again.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Same year. Same me.

Crying is so weird.
For example, I'm having a normal boring night here. Which consists of me, scrolling through instagram, being envious over fake lives, searching for flights on Orbitz, trying to master my "eating chips in bed without getting crumbs in the sheets" skill, when suddenly I felt it.
I felt this strange sensation overcoming me. Like, somewhere deep in my gut.
I'm not sad. In fact, I've had quite a lovely weekend. I think sometimes, my body just absorbs all of this emotion and stress and craziness of life and I need an outlet.

So I got myself a glass of wine and sat by the Christmas tree and allowed myself to cry for a little bit.

Among the thoughts that crossed my mind:

A. This tree, and home, are beautiful. My parents really did spend the past 35 years trying to build a ridiculously perfect Hallmark card of a life for us. My dad is retiring next year, and he can sit down and actually look at his life and be proud of what he's built.

Which led to....

B. I'm going to be 35 this year and haven't quite done shit for my future. So much of my life has been spent simply trying to "survive" that I never actually planned on what to do once I made it through those "struggles." This is going to have to be the year that I begin creating my legacy. Something to leave my daughter. Something to be proud of. Besides some REMARKABLE tales of love, loss, and drinking. (No matter how entertaining they may be.)

which got me to....

C. Speaking of drunk stories, I hate texting. Texting is great for "hey, I'm on my way" or "I'll call you back after this meeting." But on a night when you're a bit too emotional, and you have a bit too much time on your hands, your brain can talk you into texting some really risky shit, that sounds good TO YOU. But upon further review, is actually some realllllly dumb shit.
First resolution for 2016 : Whatever you feel like texting, that you THINK may be a little "controversial", write it down first. Then read it back to yourself a few hours later.
Writing has never let me down in the past. Good old written words. That you can't delete and pretend were never sent. Letters that you actually had to seal in an envelope and make an effort to send, instead of just pushing one single button and having your whole soul exposed in less than 5 seconds. Writing actual letters made you REALLY think about what you were sending.

C 1: If you're reading this, just text me because, all my texts to you are probably currently sitting in my top drawer waiting for review in the morning.

D. And then that gets us to, " if I were thinner/prettier/wealthier/younger, I wouldn't be sitting here waiting for texts" thoughts. And that's when I know its time to go to bed.
I am aware that there is a whole gang of 20 year olds that I can't compete with. I am aware that I should go to the gym more than once a month. I am aware that I should drink 86 gallons of water a day.
But, I also am aware that I'm not going to get anywhere harboring all of these negative thoughts. You become what your thoughts are. And normally I am super confident and happy and full of all kinds of esteems of self. But you know, on certain nights, it just hits you.

So - in conclusion - I am excited to see what this new year brings. Actually, strike that, I'm excited to see what I can create in this new year.

(starting with daily blogging, even if most of it sucks (like tonight) i just need to force these feelings out somewhere. And hopefully by the end have a book. Or a movie. Or a therapy journal. Better than sitting around watching reality TV no matter what becomes of all this random venting)

Goodnight, from Day 1 of forever.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cheat sheet to stealing my heart.

So it's been brought to my attention, that in addition to not writing often enough, I also only write about very tragic issues. LOL

I guess, it's just more interesting to hear about the dirty, ugly, struggles in life, than the happy, light-hearted shit. But, in an effort to show ya'll ALLLL sides of me, I guess I'll bore you with some happy shit.

10 Random Things That I Fucking Love. [In No Particular Order]

1. My daughter's laugh. It's loud, and honest and beautiful.
2. Red nail polish. It's just clean, and sexy and classic. See also, red lipstick. [Also I feel like it gives off the perfect "bedroom vixen" vibe without actually being half naked]
3. Any John Cusack movie. In particular, Say Anything and High Fidelity. He is my perfect movie boyfriend.
4. Water. Literally any body of water. If you're dating me, and I"m being a total bitch, just throw me in the car and drive me to somewhere where I can sit and gaze out on a large body of water. Lake. Ocean. River. Swamp. LOL There's just something about it that makes me feel at peace, and one with earth.
5. Cologne. There are honestly men I still think about just because of the way they smelled. Well, I should say, Cologne, mixed with normal manly sweat, and fineness. Well, I guess, just men. I love men.
6. Art museums. I love every fucking thing about museums. No matter what city I go to, I make it a point to check out whatever they have to offer in terms of galleries/museums. Bonus if you're on a date. Extra bonus, if you hold hands while looking at Matisse.
7. Live music. Kind of the same thing as museums. I don't care if it's a festival, a huge concert venue, or some local coffee shop asshole, I just love it. The sounds. The notes. The way you can just close your eyes and tune out everything in the world, and fell each and every cord [or pre-recorded electronic beat] in your soul.
8. Hotels. Tiny lotions. Tiny shampoo. Clean white sheets. Room Service. I love all of it. I would totally live in a hotel the rest of my life if I could.
9. Used bookstores. Especially the grouchy, really intelligent, socially awkward people that own them. They are such a wealth of random information. I love the way books smell. I love the really old classics, with yellowed pages, and smeared ink. When I die, bury me inside a book store.
10. Old movies. Black and white. Think Casablanca. Think every movie where the women are ridiculously dressed up in beautiful gowns just to serve dinner to their drunk ignorant ass husbands who terribly overact in every scene. You know, the one where they say something really deep and profound and then gently tip the fedora on their head and walk out the room in a very solemn dramatic fashion. I love the shit out of that.

Shit that went quickly. I"ll leave it with that because obviously those are the first things that popped into my head are some more random things

Food, especially sushi.
Liquor, especially whiskey.
Family, especially my momma.
Fashion, especially oversized cable knit sweaters.
Love. Falling in love, being in love, losing love. Hating love. Everything about love.
Jewelry. Turquoise and silver in particular.
Fucking everything.
LIfe is grand.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Storage Wars

I had to stop by my storage unit today.
I've been driving around with a trunk full of my old life. I guess I just haven't had the metal energy to go and deposit 5 years worth of love into a 12x12 concrete space. Until today.

I was in there, sweating, digging through boxes, flushed with the memories of my past lives. Tripping over the physical representation of all the love, loss, anger, happiness, that has all piled up in my heart. And in my storage unit.
A little living mausoleum.

RIP Old Christina.

See the thing we always forget about the past, is that as long as you're holding onto that shit (physically or mentally) you can't even begin to have room to add new things.
New love. New stories. New books. New treasures. Even new hurts.

My past and my future collided this week.
Sparing the gory details, I was left at the end of it, literally alone. Just looking around. Wondering what the hell happened.

I spent most of the week angry. Mad at my ex-boyfriend for bringing his very special brand of desperation and hurt, into my new relationship.
I was angry that the little bubble of "happiness and light and love" that I was creating with someone else, was overshadowed by this dark gloom of raw emotion.

But then I realized, that the "bubble" was the lie.

If it hadn't been this, it would have been something else.

See we're always faced with unpleasantness. Nothing is really as perfect as some may like you to think it is. Don't be fooled by social media.

Real humans are terribly flawed. And make mistakes. And say things they shouldn't. And do irreparable harm to others.
And when that happens, it's up to you to move forward.

Clean out your trunk. Forgive them. Place your memories into the storage unit of your heart and make peace with it.
Then drive away to begin anew.

I wish you luck in life. I wish you love.

And I hope to find someone who will love me. And my storage unit. Because that's what made me who I am today.
It ain't pretty. But its real. And that's a rare commodity these days.