When I Close My Eyes

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A rickety old stand sits in the center of my subconscious. Its planks are weathered by time and climate—years of droughts, years of storms and entire clusters of years played out like a single spring day complete with rain, sunshine, blooming flowers and bee stings. At the top of the stand a plank reads: FREE THERAPY. This is where I come to meet myself in every twilight, far away from the earthly judgment of myself and others, but mostly myself. What happens here is a truth so ethereal only the absolute bravest can live it with open eyes and a conscious mind. As for me, I’m a carnal coward, mostly; but this weathered stand in the center of my subconscious in the shelter of twilight helps. If only a little.

I come here to finish fights. I say the things I didn’t have the courage to say, or the quick wit to say it in time. I punch, too, and kick. The anger at my subject—whomever it may be for that day—so intense that I am not beneath an occasional bashing of their head on the pavement. It’s not pretty, and I’m not proud, but I can open my eyes in the morning and say “I forgive you.” The blood on my hands cleaned up by dawn’s light.

I come here to fly. To feel the freedom that was exchanged long ago for anxiety and responsibility. I run a few paces, push my weight upward, and when I’m no longer grounded, I feel as light as ever—like my body stays where bodies stay, and my soul is flying home.

I come here for the worst-case scenario. So I can stop being the little mouse in the maze of my mind and finally live it out and carry on.

I come to face the villains. I never run. I go straight to the monster and say, “You don’t have to kill me. I’m on your side.” It’s a lie and a form of manipulation on my part—an attempt to preserve my life in ways I couldn’t before.

I come to know God. Sometimes He’s there disguised as a love interest or a peaceful fog over the ocean. Its feeling is familiar and serves as a reminder that I do have an ultimate home.

I come to travel. To see places I’ve always wanted to see or create places I’ve always wanted to exist. Nostalgic wanderlust takes me to back to Germany, and the old haunted house we lived in, and Arizona mountaintops and sneaking sips of my grandmas coffee in the morning.

I come for the message. Your friend’s husband is cheating. Something is bothering your child. That building will be built on that street.

Science suggests that unborn fetuses dream in their mother’s womb. How is that possible, I wonder. How does a freshly developing mind muster images they’ve never before seen? Emotions they’ve yet to feel? Maybe it’s the time for planks and nails…the unborn prepping its little stand in the middle of his subconscious, getting ready for the thousands of twilights he will need to weather each waking day.

Snow Daze

 Last year when I knew we were moving to the east coast, I had these grand notions of having our first white Christmas. The entire package—the ultimate Christmas experience—would be ours, finally! My kids grew up in Texas and then Hawaii, suffice to say our Christmases were usually sunny and temperate, a far cry from the fond memories of snow, hot cocoa and Christmas movies that I had when I was a kid living in Colorado, Washington, Germany and then Virginia. I want my kids to experience that sort of festive joy at least once while I still have them under my wings. The clock is ticking, yo. My oldest just turned 14!

Much to my chagrin, our first east coast Christmas turned out to be a record sunny 70-something degrees. Womp womp. When will I ever learn that expectation leads to disappointment? Did I not learn anything from my days studying Buddhism?

Well, we didn’t get our white Christmas, but mother nature overcompensated by dumping a massive amount of January snow on the east coast via Winter Storm Jonas. It was fun to watch it unfold beginning Friday night when the snow lightly dusted the earth and then wake up on Saturday morning to see over a foot of snow had already accumulated. And it continued to fall, sometimes blowing in in gusts like the blizzards you see on television. It was a sight and sound! When it was said and done, we measured out at well over 30 inches of snow.

Unfortunately, with such beauty comes tragedy. There have been a number of deaths related to the blizzard. People who were shoveling and went into cardiac arrest to a mother trying to keep herself and her child warm in a car only to get carbon monoxide poisoning. My heart breaks for the families of those people!

My family and I spent our time in pajamas watching movies, reading and eating all the while. We had a lot of leftover cake and ice cream from my husband’s birthday, and it was just plain hard to be disciplined when you’re stuck in the house with all the sugary kryptonite. Yesterday, when the snow settled, we took our little snow sleds and rode the hills. It was a blast:)

Maybe one year this will happen for Christmas. A girl can wish, right?

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Just look at Apollo’s face! Joy!

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Unfortunately, after sledding earlier in the day, Asia came down with a headache and stayed inside the house while the rest of us played. This would have been a great photo if she wasn’t missing!

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DO YOU HAVE ANY GREAT MEMORIES RELATED TO SNOW?

English, please.

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The sound of salsa music danced in the air of the new little Mexican restaurant off the freeway. Never mind that salsa music isn’t even Mexican; the foray of papel picado that hung from the ceiling and little Mexican trinkets on the clay-colored walls almost compensated for the inauthenticity in sound. The Modela and Dos X neon bar lights didn’t hurt.

A petite blonde girl approached us as we hung around at the hostess stand.

“How many?” she asked.

“Three,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy was Jean’s husband. Jean was my supervisor —a kind woman, grandmother and hard worker. Jimmy, sometimes he did some business at the dealership as well, though I don’t recall ever knowing what it was exactly. He seemed nice enough though, this big, pink man with thick, leathery skin. Honestly, he looked like an oversized piglet personified; but that’s neither here nor there.

It was a big deal that Jean invited me to lunch with her and Jimmy. I exalted her as I tend to do with people of authority, and I felt honored that she would want to spend her only working hour free from me, with me.

Our hostess guided us to our table and we sat down and browsed the menu for the first time.

“I’m gonna get the fajitas,” Jimmy said in his Texas drawl, and he closed his menu.

Our waiter, a lanky middle-aged Hispanic man with dark circles under his eyes, came to take our orders. Ever the gentleman, Jimmy insisted the waiter take our orders first, so I ordered whatever I ordered and then Jean ordered hers.

“I’ll have the fajitas,” Jimmy said. “Can I get an extra thing of sour cream too?” and he motioned his hands to indicate a small ramequin.

Our waiter smiled, sort of shifted his weight from one foot to the other and just mumbled something to Jimmy while he shook his head.

“What?”

“Ehhh…I’m sorry…” and he leaned in to look at Jimmy’s menu as if to get clarity on what Jimmy ordered.

“More sour cream. Can I get some extra sour cream?”

“Ehhh…I’m sorry…uh, I don’t understand.”

Jimmy turned red in the face and started sighing and rolling his eyes.

“Sour cream. Can I get some extra sour cream?”

Blank stare from our waiter.

“Where are you from!?”

Jimmy didn’t give our waiter a chance to answer before he asked again.

“WHERE ARE YOU FROM?”

“Eh, Puerto Rico.”

By that point I was pretty sure Jimmy thought Puerto Rico is a place in Mexico and I wanted to interject to clarify it for him, but I didn’t have an ounce of courage at the time so I sat in an uncomfortable stupor while I watched a grown ass man fumble his words and body language in front of our big, pasty Texan.

“Do they speak English in Puerto Rico?”

“Jimmy…” said Jean.

I’m sure she was embarrassed. Embarrassed. Not surprised or anything like that. This was the man she had been married to for decades, and surely they had discussed things like this is American and we speak English here. But  he was showing his ass in the company of a Mexican-American —one, I believe, that she really liked like a granddaughter or something.

Flustered, Jimmy said “Nevermind” and, in essence, shooed him away like you do when flies are circling your summer barbecue.

We sat in an uncomfortable silence until our food came and I stewed over his treatment toward our waiter. Number one, Jimmy. Puerto Rico is not in Mexico like I know you’re assuming it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re thinking This is why they shouldn’t let Mexicans in. They can’t even speak English and I can’t even take my God damned order. Number two, yes. Many people in Puerto Rico do speak English as it is an unestablished U.S. territory; however, the official language is Spanish, which means they are not required to learn English though they are completely welcome in the U.S. Number three, do you really have to be such a jerk about it?

Sometimes I wonder how people expect non-English speakers to learn the language so quickly. They complain that they don’t speak English, but then they roast them for trying. Are they allowed room for error? To learn? To get comfortable making mistakes in their new language cause that’s the best way to learn anything?

Jean was my homie, but if Jimmy would have broken bread with me today…

Kiss the Babies

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I wasn’t planning on blogging today, but I had a dream last night that continues to haunt me well into the afternoon. I tried to recount it to my husband this morning but was so emotional I could hardly express it. My dream life can get pretty intense.

I dreamt that I was dying. I had some sort of terminal illness that would cause me to suffer, so my doctor gave me a pill that would allow me to die painlessly and peacefully within hours. I was with two other ladies in the same circumstances, though I can’t recall if I knew any of them. We laid in hospital beds in a room and waited to drift into our deaths.

I somehow knew in my dream that I already said goodbye to my family and made peace with leaving them behind.

All of the sudden, our room was in a school setting and outside of the room door I could hear Amaya’s voice (my second-born) as she walked with friends. I thought to myself, I just want to hug her one last time. 

I opened the door, and when she saw me she ran to me and gave me the sweetest embrace. I held on tight and inhaled the smell of her hair as if I could take her smell with me to the other side. I gave her a kiss, told her I loved her and went back into the room.

When I laid back in my hospital bed, the baby monitor that we use (in real life) was on a little table next to the bed. In the monitor I could see my husband rocking Apollo (my baby) to sleep. He was crying cause he wanted to nurse to sleep (as he does in real life), but obviously, I was not there. My heart broke into a million fragments.

Somehow, the room I was in was running distance to my house, cause I got up, ran and arrived to my room with my husband rocking Apollo. I took him into my arms and just held on tight, never wanting to let go.

In my dream, I felt helpless. Like, I do NOT want to die and leave my family—I will miss them too much—but I don’t have a say as far as death is concerned. 

And then I woke up.

There are many reasons why this dream is bothering me:

  1. My babies. I love my babies.
  2. Sadly, this is people’s reality and could be mine at any point in my life.
  3. It brings to surface one of my ultimate fears: that what we’re taught as Christians, and specifically, Catholics, about death and eternal life is not true and nothing happens and we forget everything and everyone. I can’t imagine any existence without my family. It just hurts too badly to think about.
  4. How can I ever express to my children the depth of my love for them?  Will they ever truly understand those depths and the joy and terror that comes with it? But never mind the terror. Will they truly know how much joy they brought me?

I keep crying sporadically whenever I think of a scene from last night’s dream, but typing it out was cathartic. So thank you for reading❤

Do you have dreams that affect you this deeply?

 

Lucid Dreams (Or, I do what I want.)


I am riding an opal-colored unicorn through an infinite field of marshmallows. I look behind me cause I feel someone’s arms wrapped around my waist, and it’s my 3rd grade teacher, Ms. Squires. That is, until she turns into my husband. But I’m not hanging with him for too long either because now the scene has completely changed.

I am on a cliff with a beautiful view of the ocean in front of me. There is a blanket of fog draped over the water, but I can see the heads of whales peeking above the haze and it gives me a strange sense of peace.

Then all of the sudden, Chris Hemsworth is there. Oh, hai, Chris.

He leans in to kiss me, but I say, “I’m sorry, Chris. I’m married and I can’t.”

I am overcome with guilt and hoping and praying that my husband does not show up to this cliff with the ocean view and Chris Hemsworth trying to kiss his wife. I am aware that this sort of thing causes divorces and revenge of Othello proportions.

I begin to walk away, but an even stronger consciousness comes over me. It’s my voice:

“This is just a dream, V. It’s not real. You will not break your husbands heart, and therefore will not have any consequences. You will wake up and none of this will have really happened. Now get to it, lady. Mr. Hemsworth ain’t got all day.”

Yes. Yes. Yasssssssss.

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Lucid dreaming is one of life’s most interesting, mysterious, and sometimes, elusive treats. When I was a kid I had lucid dreams all.of.the.time. I thought it was something everyone experienced, until I found out from a friend that I was some sort of bruja for having the ability to manipulate my dreams. Well, double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble, bitches. I’m keeping it.

Okay, I’m not all that special. I’m sure many people experience lucid dreams. And in all actuality, the older I get the less and less I have them. I need to get back on that Inception life though, cause truly, the fun to be had.

So what about you? Do you have the ability to manipulate your dreams? What sort of trouble do you get into?