Wake up and paint

Take a moment, a minute, a second even to realize what surrounds you. Take it all in, breathe and be thankful; there is always something to be thankful for, it’s important to find that something and hold on to it…

Today I am blessed to be sitting at a small round, light-almost-white table, on a balcony of the 14th floor.  This balcony faces an opened bay of city and beach, to my right the beautiful shades of aqua-green to dark-blue of the Atlantic, to my left the lucky houses with the bay as their back yards.  Most have small boats sitting at their back-door docks.  The wind is rather chilly on this beautiful November afternoon.  The brick-like-red of the streets matches perfectly most of the roofs of the city. The crisp wind caresses the leaves of the trees and the surface of the water as it breezes over Miami.

I feel at peace.  Not because I have accomplished everything I want to accomplish. Not because I have reached my mental, spiritual and fitness goals.  Not at all, though I am definitely closer than I was before; it truly turns out to be an “every day” thing.  Truth be told, I am a freelance writer with scattered clients, I have a hefty student loan to repay, tons of laundry to wash; a mouth to feed, other than my own (yes, I count my dog-child as a dependent), many books to write, places to live in, food to eat (an eating disorder to constantly challenge)… A whole life to live and experience…

But I am at peace. I am happy. Despite not fully having figured out how to be a functioning adult, by functioning I mean one that fits perfectly within society, despite being 30 years old.  Thirty, in all honesty, has not turned out to be as bad as many made it seem.  Once you admit you don’t know shit, and the shit you were supposed to know by now is just starting to make sense, you realize that being 30 means that you’re just starting to truly experience life (bills, loans, figuring out where to live, how you fit in the professional world and all).

Yes, perhaps many others have reached this “so we are all just figuring it out” point of their lives a bit sooner… Regardless there is some sort of relieve to know that it’s ok to not have things figured out and still be blissfully happy.

Life, or rather that socially constructed ideal of what life should be; i.e. going to school, graduating, getting a job, a house, a family and spend, spend, spend. Is not necessarily the only way to live.  That mold is far too rigid for the misfits of the world (turns out there are many of us), for those of us who don’t have defined edges, but rather we edge on everything.  Life, as I’m finding out, is a beautiful feast of experiences, a collage of ups and downs.  It’s the canvas on which we use every color, even the dark ones, and we paint our story as we please.

Sadly that rigid mold inhibits many to see the canvas as a colorful possibility.  Society’s mold has turned the canvas into a template, with pre-determined shapes and rigid lines.  You cannot paint outside the lines, you only use dull, limited colors.  Sleeping and disconnected, gawking at shiny screens.  The canvas loses meaning, it becomes repetitive. Sleep and wake up to repaint the same pattern all over again. Most colors are put away; forgotten…

But I, I am peacefully blissful because I live on the outskirts of society, I paint with all the colors; they dance outside the lines…

Take a moment, a minute, a second even and go paint outside the lines…

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Getting acquainted: Crossing over to the Apple side

A very light-almost-airy-tap is audible as my fingers make their way through my new keyboard.  My lap is hardly aware of the new device that sits on it.  Each key is as smooth as the next. The characters on each key, however, are not as symmetrical; as far as silhouette goes.  The silhouette of some characters are barely noticeable on some keys, on others they are somewhat more defined. The “j” for example is not noticeable at all.  Since it is a new computer each character is, of course, clearly visible.

About a week ago my previous laptop, a 15″ Toshiba Satellite, got attacked by spilled tea.  The key board stopped working, some files wouldn’t open. It was dispiritedly saddening.  I was proud of myself, however, for having actually done a back-up of my information a few days prior to that; I’d say that counts as “adulting”.

After a good two years of long nights writing essays, articles and doing research; we had become rather close.  I figured I’d have it for a while, more than three years at least.  I ventured to Best Buy in search of a new replacement, only to be disgruntled at the fact that Toshiba is no longer a brand one can easily find. Dell, Acer and Lenovo didn’t quite do it for me; they never have.  My options averaged around $750-900.  For a few hundred dollars more, I felt a pull toward a silver glimmer that caught my eye.  Soon there after, I was walking away from Microsoft all together.   Now a silvery-thin and shiny new 13″ MacBook Air is sitting feather-light on my lap. We’re getting to know each other.   As a former PC user (for three decades, joder I swear I was 22 just the other day), I’d say we’re getting along quite well.  Never mind that it was a long and tedious process to change the greeting from my full name to a nickname. Or that I deleted an entire paragraph without being able to get it back by pressing control+z; a mini heart-attack. Or that there are no “home”, “end” or “delete” keys.  The “home” and “end” keys would allow you to move either to the beginning or the end of the sentence you were typing; respectively.  On a PC there is a “back-space” key which equates to the “delete” key on a Mac, as well as a “delete” key which allows you to delete a character that is to the right of the curser.  No need to move to the end of a word or a sentence to erase something.  Never mind that I keep leaving finger prints on my screen because I keep thinking Nymeria (yes, I’m a nerd that names things) is touch-screen.  It has indeed been a process of getting used to the different buttons and commands (I can tell it’s not an over-night process); over all, it’s a process of re-wiring a previous conditioning.  As I learn my way through the apple system with frustration and laughter, I already begin to acquire a taste for the (slight) differences of my new Mac. I can’t help to admit that Nymeria is more comfortable to type on.  My hands can just rest on either side of the TrackPad (mouse on a PC, I guess fancy terms is another slight difference), my fingers reach each key with a lot more ease than they did on my PC.  I’ll still admit that it is a bit weird to catch my reflection on the mirror and see myself with an apple product.  My teenage self would be rather upset with my thirty year old self.  Mainly because I thought that apple products where specifically designed to increase the consumeristic tendencies of the average U.S. citizen. I still hold this believe as true, but it’s not until you actually own an apple product (past the hurdle of frustrations on the confusion of that Pc-to-Mac transition) to understand why it would be justified to purchase a product that promotes so much spending and acquiring.
How are apple products designed to motivate or even require, a constant phase of and positive reinforcement on, consumerism?   They are delicately and intricately made with specific purpose, so that you are inclined to buy a specific product.  Hence the lack of touch-screens on laptops and desktops; why buy an iPad when your computer already has touch-screen.  Or the lack of USB ports on a laptop, for which you must buy an adaptor in order to connect to and transfer documents from and to your laptop.  Nymeria’s processor’s capacity is, quite truthfully, much faster and sharp; despite how much I loved my Toshiba.  Aesthetically speaking there is no comparison between Macs and PCs.  Macs just have this je ne sais quoi about their dainty-foxy look.  PCs are a bit more harsh and bland to the eye.  The exterior on a Mac is not plastic, hence, it gets scratches and bumps rather easily.  To avoid a scratched up look, apple has every accessory you could think of to protect your silver-shiny product.  Products such as a hard plastic case, a keyboard cover and a screen protector; which I recently acquired for Nymeria.  She’s so pretty I wouldn’t want her to get beat up; particularly given my ability to destroy any piece of electronic that I manage to obtain.  Getting hired to test the durability and over all function of electronics, would be such a perfect job for me.

Despite the conspicuous incentives toward consumerism, I have to admit that after taking a bite of my new apple, I’m hooked.  The extra couple of hundred dollars for a lighter, faster, aesthetically pleasing and delicately more comfortable laptop are definitely worth it.

Nice to meet you Nymeria, I am excited to see what we create together…

A silent farewell

It’s amazing how many thoughts can go through your mind and yet your body can remain ever still.  Breathe, more like gasp for air. Silence. A tingling sensation from the back of my neck, down my spine. Piercing silence in my ears. Breathe. Rushed thoughts.

Just open your laptop and start writing.

I’m extremely aware of my body, of a deep empty hole in my chest.  A heavy-dense-pull towards the pit of my stomach. Deep breath.  Not too long ago a friend that moved to Mexico for medschool sent me a picture of a Facebook post.  As I opened my What’sapp window, the world stop.  A small picture of a friend’s face was staring back at me-I had been waiting to hear back from him- and there he was…  The picture was positioned at the bottom of the post, below small black letters, announcing the death of Nicholas Williams, a dear friend of mine.  The picture belongs to an article by “Wins abc” news website.  This article reported the death of a Boston college student.  wisn.com/…ton-suffolk-university/12008224
As I read and re-read the words… I still can’t believe it’s him.  A few weeks ago we were making plans to go for coffee.  Our schedules made it difficult to agree on a time… And you always think you have time… Him leaving this world would have been the last possibility I would have imagined… So we kept postponing our meetings.  How much does it hurt to know that we were in the same city and I didn’t make enough of an effort; I thought I’d have time…. Even in his parting he taught me a valuable lesson, one of many…

I look at the picture again.  His black square glasses, thick bushy eyebrows and brown eyes. I remember his husky voice and his graceful signing. His kind and sweet visage is apparent in the picture; you can just tell he was a beautiful soul.

A part of me is still waiting to get a text back… Maybe it’s not real? And yet, of course, I know it is…. A heavy deep pull towards the pit of my stomach. He’s gone. I didn’t get to say good bye. I didn’t get to see him… I didn’t get to say to him what a beautiful soul he was…
Having faced harsh lessons early in life, he always showed a positive, full of love, “it will workout in the end” disposition towards life.  He was smart, sweet, talented, sassy; he was full of life. He had great strength within him; along with his contagiously beautiful smile, he would gladly help others through their hard times…  He spread his love, support and kindness… He was a shining beam of light… And such an accomplished young man. Maybe he was too good for this world; he was only 25.

It’s so surreal… Yet, the acute weight of his absence is so very present….  It’s not an “I can’t see him because he is in Boston”, I won’t see him again; not in this world, not anymore.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul in a world that didn’t deserve to keep you… Thank you for all your kindness, your support, your encouragement, your example… Thank you for being a little ray of light, I guess it’s time for the rest of us to try continue your work… You leave really large shoes to fill

I know you are in a better place, where ever that may be… But I miss you terribly, I’m sorry we didn’t get to see each other… I’m sorry I thought I had more time…

Rest in peace my dearest friend, you are for ever in my heart…

Until we meet again

At the border

I make my way to the cafe. I caught a sight of myself in a window reflection… I rather ignore it, no point in allowing her to ruin this moment… Once I reach the person I’m meeting up with, I cannot ignore her any longer.. Instant regret on the outfit that-in my distorted mind- makes me look bigger than I already am… Silence her, Silence her, Silence her…

I ventured out today without thinking of triggers, weight, how much sugar I have consumed and how little I have worked-out this week.  I met up with a young girl I met at my recovery group without ever thinking she could be a trigger too… To be fair I,once again,  thought I had it under control-.
Seeing someone sit across from you in a group is not the same as seeing someone next to you- duh! of course-.
She was much shorter than I thought-already started feeling like a giant (couldn’t help the thought that he might like me more if I was her height)- She was much thinner than I remember-started feeling like a shapeless blob-…
I am, however, happy to say that I am still standing strong…. Holding my space at the very least… Not crossing that threshold where Ana waits for me with open arms… Calling me, tempting me back… Making promises that I want to hear and believe, but by now know to be fallacies. My knees may be quivering, my urge to jump back to old habits may be stronger than two days ago… My mind is filled by her shrill voice-joder, she is rather loud now-; I chose my keyboard.

Must not listen to her, must not listen to her, must not listen to her…

Nothing new about this situation, I can handle it(or try my best at the very least), take deep breaths, reground, find your center, clear your intentions, reconnect with your soul. Understand the gut-wrenching-self-destructive thoughts… Don’t ignore them, deal with them; counter act them.
Easier said than done.  Seeing her and catching up with this sweet girl was quite worth the unexpected trigger.  Getting out of one’s comfort zone is definitely a way to grow, break old patterns and face your deepest and darkest fears; Ana is one of them for me.  I have come a long way, and it is rewarding to realize it. At least I was able to enjoy my time catching up with my young acquaintance.  Once I was alone in my car, it became much more difficult to ignore her already gushing voice.  He would definitely prefer you smaller, thinner, less flabby and more active.  blah, blah, blah… On she goes with the hurtful comments…
How to counteract, how to remain away from her?  Breath, just because she is louder does not mean she is 100% back and in full control.  A small part of me still wants that, beware of that…
Get home, feed and nurture yourself with food; positivity and self love, definitely a priority.  Do not allow that urge to out-do yourself working out… Remember that exercise compliments a healthy nutrition for mind, body, and soul. Keep clear and self-loving intentions.
Over all remember that this is an on going battle… An every day thing…

AAAUUUMMM…

At the brink of change

“And you don’t have to change a thing the world could change its heart” -“Scars to your beautiful”, Alessia Cara

I stumbled upon this song by the time it was starting to be over played by the radio stations last year. I’d say the lyrics are somewhat relatable, in a general sense; when I heard the song the first time, they sort of spoke to me.  As a woman in recovery from an eating disorder, the lyrics truly do more than speak to me, they somehow described me; sometimes they still do.  Earlier this year I was struggling to fight off an over-a-year-long depression (and 16 years of torture) that was slowly embracing me into an abyss of negative uncertainty, doubt and fear.  I was, however, ready to change.  I was determined to be able to be happy.  I clung to this song as a form of positive mantra, a form of guidance towards a new mentality…
Nowadays the song is not as over played, it’s a random chance to catch it on the radio; at least for me.

Interestingly enough the song triggered many flash backs to excruciating moments; most I’d much rather pretend never happened.  Denying these moments doesn’t seem the right thing to do either, though… I wouldn’t be where I am now had it not been for those mainly self-inflicted-painful-moments… But still… sometimes it’s easier, less embarrassing, less painful, to forget.
During my darkest and deepest moments into my Anorexia, I had managed to completely disconnect from myself…. My thoughts were consumed by her, that distorted, self destructive perception… I was hurting my body, my soul, my mind… I was lost in the darkness of myself hatred…
Today it’s different. Not because Ana’s voice is gone. She’s always there.  It’s different because I found myself.  And it’s an everyday beautiful and daring challenge, to learn about oneself… To truly see my soul in the mirror and learn to love it. It’s even more challenging to see my self, full body, in a mirror; naked or not, I feel exposed regardless…  As I shed old patterns and exchange negativity for positivity, peace and love… I feel a sense of growth, an inner peace to which I’m growing use to… My soul resonates warmly within myself, and I’m peacefully happy. Alhamdulillah.  I don’t take it for granted, it has taken me a long time to reach this point…. I can now smile at the reflection in the mirror, she looks back trusting, happy…

Still, some days are easier than others…

As I continue to write I suddenly realize that I am a month and a day away from my 30th Birthday… Joder, when did I grow up???

Big change… “I still feel as I did when I was 21” jajaja In all honesty, it is somewhat a lie… The truth is I have come a long way since I was in my early 20’s. Mentally, physically, emotionally, intellectually… And to be honest, my body has changed-despite people telling that I look exactly the same- jajaja
True, I do look young for my age- I think me being almost flat-chested and my lack of fashion have a lot to do with that misconception-, but I do start to see where my wrinkles will form as my skin ages…  Natural platinum highlights begin to appear-I see you grey hairs! welcome-… Well, my grey hairs came around my mid 20’s, I blame school for that… I did not accept them back then, instead I decided to dye my hair black.  Now I kind of like them, kind of… jajaja
I definitely do feel the difference in energy and stamina, in my early 20’s I could go out dancing for the weekend, and I’d still wake up at 7:00 in the morning, work out, and then study.   At 29, at the cusp of the third floor, round two of being an adult, one cannot simply attempt to do such a thing.  I have learned to appreciate sleep and rest way too much… Early-possibly-chronic-aches begin to make themselves noticeable… The lack of sleep is more detrimental than before, and it is definitely tougher to pretend otherwise… Over all, I have learned to care for myself, something I did not do in my 20’s… I stretch more, do more yoga, I make it a point to nurture myself, my body and my soul…

Again, some days are easier than others….

Being more conscious about an issue that one has, or the goals to reach, is only the first step… Actually doing the work to getting there, is another story… Time is the best excuse to not do the work, somehow there is hardly enough time. Well, at least the way we measure it is not enough…  Next year is only 4 months away… somehow it’s August already… and I will be 30 in a month…. Joder.

But since I am being honest, am I really upset that I’m on the third floor? Not fully.  It is crazy to accept the fact that we do actually age… and that 30 is actually not that old (jajaja or that’s what we say once we approach/ reach it)
I am at a much better place going into my 30’s than I ever was during any of my 20’s… I feel myself at the brink of change… of adventure…
As I slowly slip out of my 20 year old cocoon and I’m ready to be better, happier, healthier, wiser… and continue to be so… Je vois la vie en rose… 

Addio Ana…

 

Malena’s torment

Malena sat by herself at a small cafe on a warm summer evening, she chose a small round table next to a bay window; the last rays of sun-light seeped through the clouds, they left a light warm yellowish trail across the blue sky.  A light warm breeze  plays with her long dark hair, bringing the smell of gardenias with it; her long red dress follows the curves of her full hips.  As she inhales the warm sweet smell of gardenias, she goes back to her letter.  Should she mail it? Maybe she would just burn it, or something corny like that.  She fiddles with her black pen, her right hand cupped behind her neck, and she continues to write.

My dearest Rafael, 

I’ve been staring at this page trying to think on how to start.  Or even if I’ll show you this letter.  Then I figured I’d just tell you that I didn’t really know what to say.  I wanted to avoid an awkward start. We usually can’t avoid those, mainly because I’m weird and partly because you are too. It was one of the things I loved about us…
I wanted to tell you that I don’t blame you for anything, things got weird and we fell apart.  We didn’t know how else to work together, how to pull to the same side. These things just happen, maybe you were right, we were still too immature to handle what we were trying to build. Truth is these things are not just one person’s fault, and they do not happen over night. I have come to learn that sometimes things just fall apart and that’s ok, we keep the good memories, let go of the bad ones; we start again.
I also wanted to say thank you, thank you for everything we shared.  All of it, the good and the bad; even the ugly. Thank you for being there for me, for spoiling me, for putting up with my craziness. Thank you for trying so hard to make me happy when I had no idea how to be happy on my own. I’m sorry for all the hardship we put each other through. Thank you for all the time we spent together, all the experiences shared.  Thank you for bringing me into your beautiful family, for teaching me how to write a check, about cars and bikes; for venturing in the kitchen with me… Thank you for our lazy Sundays-when we were able to have them- for staying in bed until noon.  Our bodies gossiping for countless hours, enjoying each others’ souls… 
I miss you often, what we had… I miss knowing how you are, seeing your smile, your deep brown eyes…  Over all, and to this day, I miss our friendship… I’d like to know that you’re well and happy.  I want you to be happy.
I picture you getting uncomfortable as you read this, emotions are always a challenge to you.  My intention is far from doing you harm, or trying to make you feel uncomfortable.
I just had to tell you-regardless of how long it has been- thank you for the adventure we shared together.  Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul with me, for taking the time to create the magical moments we managed to create; even within all the negativity that surrounded us…
Lastly I wanted to remind you to not inhibit yourself from everything that you are capable of, you have the potential to achieve everything you set your mind to. I have always seen it, I hope you allow yourself to see it too.  Though things are a blur and you may be “re-routing”, don’t sell yourself short and lose sight of whom you can be.
Good-bye my love, my best friend, my ex-husband, you will always have a place in my heart and a piece of my soul will always be yours…

As she wrote the last words on her paper chest-she was determined to let go of it all- she felt a tear sliding down her left cheek, she reached out with right hand and wiped it off; she let out a deep sigh.  As Malena stared out to the busy avenue, her eyes were almost yellow in the buttery sun light of the evening, she got lost observing the people that walked absentmindedly down the side walk.  Most of them on their phones, some of them talking to other people.  She could hear the loud chatter of the busy restaurants, the noise of the cars driving by.  And yet the sweet memories of her first love made her smile quietly, she would keep and treasure those.  She would remember his deep brown eyes fondly.
Malena closed her eyes and felt the warmth of the  evening on her face. Warming up her body.  Warming up her soul.  She would go to the ocean.  Stand at the shore. Dig her toes into the wet sand.  Feel the sand in between her toes, up to her ankles. Let the water surround her.  Nurture her soul.
She took the letter and held it to the candle on the center of the table, once the paper caught fire she put it down on the empty plate she had asked for-just in case she decided to burn the letter- and watched it burn; she liked the sweet smell of burning paper. There, she said what she had to say.  Her words incinerated to ashes, her emotions renewed. She reassured the nervous waiter, nothing was wrong, she just burned a chapter of her life.  He gawked at her beautiful smile, unable to say much.   She thanked the waiter for the tea-on the house-, got up and headed east. She walked toward the beach, she could feel her heart longing for the salty breeze and the freshness of the water. The waiter watched her walk away, enchanted by the swing of her hips.  The wind blew away the last pieces of burnt paper, with them, Malena’s torment.