How I decided to go on a date, with myself

After a long hiatus, I knew I needed to get back to my one true passion, writing. That effort would need to take various forms, including connecting with other writers and improving on my craft. That’s why when I saw a meetup for creative writers in Miami and a workshop coming up, I had no doubt that is where I needed to be Sunday night. I signed up and added it to my digital agenda like I’ve done with so many other events, the difference being I don’t end up attending many of the other events. This, though, I had to attend no matter what.

20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

The Movie

To make my commitment even harder to miss, I bought a ticket to go watch War For the Planet of the Apes, which I enjoyed, but I realized quickly I need to brush up on the other movies for context. Anyways, the movie was scheduled in one of those Dolby theater rooms with the very comfy, techy chairs. Unfortunately, I ran a bit late and was not able to get as comfy as I hoped. I mean, I never thought a movie theater would be full at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday. Lesson learned, go to the movies early regardless of the time of day. The movie theater was in the same shopping mall as the workshop, so it was extremely convenient and absolutely necessary.

See? I often miss out on movies, concerts, and events in general for a lack of company. It is not often that I want to go somewhere my friends would prefer to be. I honestly blame it on my eclectic taste in outings. Plus, I often want to stay home (something I plan to change in the near future, just bear with me). So, in an effort to break the cycle, I took myself out. Yes, I added the movie to the agenda after RSVPing to the workshop, making it convenient since it was in the same place, removing a movie from my “to watch” list, and making a conscious effort to spend time with just me. The only problem was my math skills. I didn’t plan it right, so I was now 30 minutes late to the workshop and had to run out of the theater, feeling both embarrassed about being late to come in and quick to get out, and having to deal with now walking in late to the workshop. “Must break this lateness cycle” I said, for possibly the 100th time that week.

The Workshop

The workshop was taking place in a cute spot called Teas & Poets. It was quiet, to the point of making me feel I had missed the whole point of that day. Towards the end of the shop, there were tables filled with people, notebooks, and laptops. I still find it so hard for my creativity to run wild on an electronic device. Even this post is hard to type on my computer without getting technical about what I’m writing, my body’s position as I type, and wondering if my environment is the best environment possible for my writing.  Pen and paper beat writing on a computer all day, every day. I quickly grabbed a chair and tried to listen closely to the instructions. I want to say the person giving the workshop didn’t recognize me, though she kept looking back trying to make out where she’d met me before. For clarification, we met at a networking event. They’d started writing based on her prompts, and it was impossible to catch up. It was, however, much easier to start based on what they were sharing, and take it from there. I could still write something more original later.

They’d started writing based on her prompts, and it was impossible to catch up. It was, however, much easier to start based on what they were sharing, and take it from there. I could still write something more original later. Someone shared a line about someone (her) realizing that the movie theater was farther than she thought and that it was distance she would not want to cover on foot. I’m paraphrasing. Given my interesting experience going to the movie by myself just moments earlier, I quickly grabbed on to that idea. Now, this wasn’t the first time I had gone to the movie by myself. But, it was the first time I had done it as a regular client, and not as an employee. Yes, I had once worked in a luxury movie theater. And I went in for free during non-peak hours. But this was different. It still made me feel like I had accomplished something.

We were given the prompt to write based on something we had written (which I had nothing at the moment), or something we heard. We were given 10 minutes to write without stopping to fix or overthinking. I’ve done these before (for 20 minutes) and I have to say they’re my favorite exercises. Wonder what I wrote? Here it is:

she learned to appreciate the voice of everyone else, so much so that she forgot what her own voice sounded like. Once in a while, she’d hear a whisper, a lovely whisper. She knew she’d heard it before, but she couldn’t recognize whose it was. She’d hear it every time the other voices became too much. It’d always remind her of how special she was. It’d always tell her how lovely, kind, virtuous, and rare she was. It’d often speak of better times. Times she couldn’t remember. The whisper would, more often than not, counter the voices around her. It would often come in, opposite of her judge. That internal judge that lived inside of her. It would tell her that anything was possible, like going to the movies by herself and enjoying it. Like loving her new do. Like losing that toxic judge she kept as a friend and took everywhere she went. It filled her with dreams, it drowned her in songs. They would tell her she was crazy for listening to this whisper, for it would do nothing for her, and in the end, all it would do would be to ruin her. But she stopped listening to them.

The clock stopped, the pencil came down. It’s interesting to read back on what you write when there’s no end goal in mind, just pen or pencil to paper and let your mind run. I’m sure other artists can understand that. It’s a different way of creating. It not about creating some new masterpiece, all that matters is that you don’t stop working until the time is done. I something very personal, while pulling inspiration from something someone else wrote. That can happen sometimes. Inspiration can come from anywhere. As I read back, I’m just always amazed that something so small can become a story of its own.

The workshop continued and I got to write some more interesting stuff. Stuff you might get to read, you may not. You never know where creations will go. Musicians write songs that get archived, become hits, or are never released. I had the opportunity to meet new people, which is always a plus, and my creative muscles were slightly stretched.

The End of the Date

I have to say this past Sunday was definitely one of a kind since I don’t tend to go out by myself much. But it can definitely become a thing, a very regular thing. Though I love the people in my life, sometimes you just need to take yourself out on a date and show yourself some love. No one can speak to us like we do, no one knows what we need like we do, and no one has the responsibility to you like you do. Go do the thing you enjoy most, and show yourself the best time possible.

Then, come and tell me all about it in the comments section :). What has been the best date you’ve ever taken yourself on?

Birthday thank you to her

So my birthday was today and I couldn’t have had a stranger birthday. So different from what I imagined. But that’s what happens with expectations, they usually let us down and leave us disappointed. Last night I got into a car accident that although wasn’t bad nor left anyone injured, it depleted me of any energy for today, and so I decided to stay home and relax. It’s 30 after, not that eventful of a day.

Lately I’ve been looking at my baby pictures and pictures of my childhood. Before I really had a hard time connecting with those pictures, I didn’t feel they were me. I didn’t remember the occasion or how I felt in those pics. The last time I did though, I couldn’t help but notice how happy of a child I was. I really was happy and bubbly and though many could say it’s very similar to how I am today, there’s no sign of an analytical, obsessive, meticulous person in those pics.

I’ve also, in my time of prayer, spent time praying for that little girl. To make it easier, this is a time where God is really taking me to connect to that little girl and reconcile the two as one, healing all that made me want to keep her locked up and consider he someone else’s memory, not mine. In all honesty I feel, or felt, like her life and mine were so different, and in order to connect with her I would have to connect to what separates us in the first place, and I didn’t know if I was ready. I wasn’t sure I wanted to think, let alone relive, the events that caused me to want to forget how I was or lived before. It was better if she never existed.

But in her and she is me, and if I want to heal and live the life God prepared for me, I needed to see myself in her and vice versa, because God deposited purpose, calling, gifts, talents, abilities and more at the time He formed and created me, not once I was born. So connecting to my God-given life meant looking at her and realizing she’s not at fault, she was a victim just like me. And she needed me as much as I need her.

So I wanted to write to her on this, her day, and help her heal as I heal, from all that has tried to kill her memory and keep her caged. My childhood was great and remembering that will soon be a good thing and lose its sorrow. I can see fire in her eyes and my hope is that the fire will come to us both. I was never responsible for my pain, my only responsibility is to release it and this is part of my work towards accomplishing that.

Here’s my message to her:

I want to say thank you to and for this little girl in these pictures. For so long I disconnected with her and saw her as a far away memory, a different person from who I am today. I struggled to relate and to see her in me or myself in her. I have to say though that I admire her. She’s been through some tough stuff, the world has tried to keep her trapped and to steal her dreams, to erase her smile. And yet, I’ve seen her fight harder every time to get her smile back, to not lose her groove, to dream bigger. She’s feisty and sassy and got some style… She wasn’t created for cages, she’s wild and her best when set free. She keeps fighting because she knows God fights for her, she believes because she knows God believes in her, even when the world wants to make her feel small, her heart beats faster and harder knowing God created her with a spirit bigger and greater than any physical manifestation of who she’s to become. She turns your world upside down and breaks the barriers in your mind. She believes anything is possible and if she were to have a middle name it’d be faith, because when her world crumbled it was the one thing that kept her alive. She may have had little faith in herself, but she’s never lost faith in who created her unique self. Today baby girl, that changes. Today I also have faith in you, as you learn to have faith in yourself. Today I tell you how special, loved, cherished, and desired you are. Your every quirk, your naive soul, your hopeful heart, are all cherished. The world couldn’t break you and it cannot contain you, because what you carry is so overwhelming, God decided to have some humor storing it in a small container, in a little girl, and that girl is you. You keep me going, and one day you’ll see all the seeds you watered with your tears, and you rejoice in the fruit of your sorrow, a fruit of joy and fulfillment knowing it was who created you who made it all possible. The best is NOT yet to come, but coming and running towards you. It’s been running behind you for a while. But now, you get to enjoy it, now you get to receive it and enjoy every bit of it. Happy birthday my little one, you deserve all this love and so much more.

A Simple Game of Trivia Crack

So the other day I started a game and doubted myself to know the answer, only to choose the wrong one and the right one was my original option.

Then it happened a second time.

By the third time, I decided to not question myself and ended up getting 4 of the 6 crowns in one turn. I landed everywhere and only lost when I decided to answer too quickly and didn’t really analyze the question. 

I thought to myself “how silly… Doubting yourself only caused you to fail… Stop second-guessing yourself!. It actually took me longer to say that to myself, than it did to win the game.

Now trivia crack is nothing but a game, so nothing happens except for a little ego bruising and the death of my battery. But how many of us treat life the same? How often do we second-guess ourselves in every aspect of our lives? For YEARS, and I mean YEARS I disnt trust myself to make good decisions. It was so bad that i became completely dependent on what others said about me. My mistakes had created in me an inability to trust anything and everything in me.

It affected my relationship with God, family and everyone around me. And it helped no one, not even me. I wanted to break free so bad but I knew it would cause rupture and I would lost a lot of people I cared about, and possibly all. 

Who do you think is benefiting from doubting yourself?

No one! Not even you! If anything you’re only hurting yourself. Depending on others is telling yourself “you are not to be trusted, you can’t make good decisions, is best to leave your future in the hands of others because you’ve resulted to be unreliable”. How dare you think and speak to yourself like that! And that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re silencing the voice of God inside of you be trusting the humanity of those around you.

I get it. Your past mistakes, heartaches, disappointments have gotten you there. Been there, done that, planted the flag, got the Tshirt and bought souvenirs on the way back. But you don’t have to.

Depending on others and not trusting yourself is not trusting you, nor trusting God, and it’s not fair to either of you. But you can change that.

 It has taken me so long to get here, but I’m finally in a different head space. Im walking this season alone, not because I don’t have friends I love and care about, not because I’ve decided to part ways with God or my home church. I’m walking alone because it’s time I tell myself “you’re smart, you have God’s wisdom in you, you are loved and saved and creates for greatness. You’re going to mess up and make mistakes and your heart might be broken again. But you have a Dad who loves you beyond all of that, and you can learn to love yourself like that. You can learn to love your mistakes and your flaws and all that makes you YOUnique. This time you won’t fight for others, this time you’re fighting for yourself.”

Fight to love yourself, regain control of your life because only then will you be able to give that control to God. You cannot give what you don’t have. If you’re seeking the approval of others, if you trust their decision-making as opposed to yours, if you’re constantly waiting for others to rescue you, you don’t have control of your life and neither does God. He never intended for you to depend on others to speak into your life. 

He can do it all for you, you only need to trust that He’s working IN, WITH, FOR, and BECAUSE of YOU. 

I can’t believe…

If you wanted to question my decision, the steps back in my progress you took me back on are proof enough to show that thinking of myself is EXACTLY what I need to do. Can’t get over how bad my anxiety got… I want out, and this time I’m not asking, I’m not doubting, it’s happening. It’s sad to see how those who are supposed to help are the ones that hurt you the most. Can’t believe how careless we can be with others’ hearts and minds. And like in court, ignorance is not a form of defense. If you don’t know, don’t try to act like you do.
I just ask that if I’ve ever hurt anyone, made them question themselves and/or affected anyone negatively to forgive me.
Ahhhhhhh can I just scream and go to bed? ?… I feel like I’m back like 6 months ago… Not fair… No bueno… And I need to go to bed and be productive tomorrow. The Holy Spirit is my only hope for a good day tomorrow ?
Oh yea, I guess this is as good as time as ever to let you all know, I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety… And I couldn’t be more certain about God’s love than I am right this minute. He LOVESSSSSS me, and is with me in my struggle. Can’t say that about everyone else, but who needs anyone else when you have God? Not loving this instance but this too shall pass. Just wish it did real quick so I can go enjoy my comfy bed ?

Her Faith

My grandma’s faith confronts mine. She doesn’t have this big ambition towards God. She doesn’t believe in Him hoping to get something great out of Him of their relationship. She finds rest in praying her rosary, believing He listens and somehow that’s enough to soothe all her pain. </p> <p>She’s not trying to preach to the world, save thousands for Him, she just hopes to pray another “Our Father”. She’s not out looking for anointing, or platform, or conversion. She just believes, she has enough mind to ask Him to take away the leg pain that torments her without questioning Him if the pain never goes away. She’s not doubtful, she’s not confronting Him, not scared, just a faithful believer of a God she may not completely understand but fully follows. How lovely, such uninterested, unaltered, unfailing love.

That’s who my grandmother was. What a lesson that is. In a world un satisfied with that is given, asking for more constantly and desiring all it feels it deserves, she was happy with her portion. She belived for more and better, but that didn’t stop her from appreciating what she had at the moment.

My Princess

So I realized I made a huge mistake. I shared the reality of who left without really telling you who she was. See, she wasn’t like any other woman you’ve met. She was old school, but  better. She was like that vintage dress you want to hang in a special casing, have it protected, untouched, but on display because such beauty should be shared without being messed with.

A smoker since her teenage years, grandma got to enjoy the toxic pleasure of cigarettes until the age of about 90 (if I wait until the details arrive we’d be here forever. Yet another negative of living away). She started smoking the non-filtered, less toxic cigarettes. A past smoker myself, I could imagine her  cool demeanor as she smoked, showing off to her younger sisters, cousins, even friends. I can’t say this for sure, but knowing her now I can imagine I have a lot of her characteristics and I would even say we’re pretty similar in personality, character and temper. Therefore, she would have been a magnet, the kind that people are drawn to for no apparent reason, all they knew is that they had to be around her. I could see all that slickness my aunts carry and that sass personified in her. She was a force to be reckoned with, up until her last moment. One of the first signs that it was her time, was the absence of fire in her eyes.

She smoked until she was forced out of her home in order to smoke. Her first great-grandson, Andres Camilo, was born with tons of allergies and one of them was smoke. Therefore the house, where grandma, my cousin Lina and her son lived, could not smell like smoke. So she had to sit on the stairs outside her own apartment in order to enjoy a very bad habit, one that was part of her by that time. She puffed and yelled and made angry faces, but yet every time she wanted a cigarette, she went outside. That’s how she loved, loud and almost against her will, but still loved a lot.

She was both rough and soft, sweet and yet feisty, she would have an opinion about every bit of you and still love you overwhelmingly. I liked her ways so much, I took some pages of her book.

She loved to play “table games”. So my afternoons in her house consisted of dominoes, card games, Parcheesi (parques), “Damas Chinas” (if you know the name in English, help is appreciated). But this transcended to our family times during the holidays, as everything else she did. I remember a game that lasted for over 5 hours of Parques.  Maybe it was around 8 hours of playing JUST ONE game, I forgot who won and I hope it was me. And she was there, from beginning to end, fighting every injustice and giving us some referee-like looks, so you best believe we played on our worst behavior.

She was 98 and for 98 years this world was hers. She had friends and a very active social life. She had a husband who gave her 9 children, 3 of which didn’t make it past days of life. She had one male child who was the apple of her eyes. She had 7 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren who added to her joy. She gave life a different aroma, one full of natilla and buñuelos, of festivities and homemade birthday cakes, of colorful dresses and tons of good times, of which the best were right by her side.

Her silver hair was her best accessory, in my eyes. It complemented her, it enhanced her beauty, it made her softer and lovely and so much more feisty. I love every bit of her. And I’ll miss every bit of her, but worst than missing her would have been had I never met her, I wouldn’t have all her wonder to miss.