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.  

On the other side of the door

Click, click, click… The familiar sound of the keys, funny enough, sounds a bit foreign… It has indeed been too long… I like to feel the smoothness of the keyboard, the sound as I press down on each key begins to feel more comfortable, inviting even… As if they want me to continue typing, writing, sharing…

It seems to be a pattern for me to start my blog by sharing how much I have missed it… If I love it so much, why do I not blog more often?  Quite truthfully, I just don’t make time for it… I started prioritizing my focus on academia…  Over all, however, I was prioritizing my focus on Ana… (Yes Ana, I am talking about you… shut up and leave me alone)…  As soon as she notices that I talk about her, her voice fires up and she opens  the door to all the dark places in my mind… The beauty of it, nowadays at least, is that I am standing at the opposite side of that door (as oppose to being in there with her, at the edge of that door, wanting to get out but desperately clinging on to her)… On this side, further away from her, I see some light…. I don’t really have the urge to venture past the door (or the urge is not as latent) and lose myself in the deepest corners where she resides… As I sense this new feeling of authority over her, I try to remember how I got here, how did I manage to cross that threshold… To be honest, corny, cliché… I crossed that threshold with love… Love for life, love for my hobbies, love for my time… Love for myself.

It’s odd… It’s difficult to express it… I figured it’d be easier now, now that I can say it out loud… Say it without feeling selfish, ashamed, embarrassed, self conscious or guilty… And yet, I still feel hesitant to write this…

I look back to when I started my masters degree… That’s when I started to feel her getting stronger, I couldn’t fight her, I let her win… I thought she would help me… She always seemed like the best and only option… Two years later- sixteen years later, if I’m being honest- I am finally breaking free, we’re in different sides of that door… that premise where she has taken residence and refuses to leave… where she encompasses all my insecurities and holds all my fears and triggers … Though I am further away from her, we are still holding hands… She still calls to me, she still lures me to where she is… I don’t listen as much anymore, I am stronger and better able to keep her where she belongs… Away from my happiness, away from myself… So what has changed? The answer to that is, again, love… Self love.  To most people it’s obviously simple, I suppose… For me, however, it has been harsh and complicated to accomplish, to admit and to continue to practice… It turns out, as in other relationships, self-love is an everyday practice (an everyday battle for me)… As I continue to type, I begin to feel awfully exposed and vulnerable… as if all my nerve endings were exposed… naked and raw…

I use to hate the reflection in the mirror… I’d be disgusted by it… And her voice would start (still does) to attack that reflection, making me hate it even more… It started as a joke really… A “what would happen if I told myself that I love myself” moment… I plucked up what little courage I could manage to approach the mirror (she gets louder the moment she sees that reflection)… after a few failed attempts to get myself to say those words out loud… I was finally able to say them “I love you, I love myself”… The world stopped, that deep dark hole that consumed me-that filled me with an emptiness that became an abyss within myself, where I felt lost, alone and disconnected- finally began to change, to repair itself… I felt complete, I wasn’t empty anymore… I continued to say them out loud… to my reflection, to myself… And I felt every crevice of my soul healing a little… After so many years of self loathing, self torture… I am finally able to see myself… I was able to breath and not feel like I was becoming undone (as how it felt back then, with your absence, when our story ended)… I can breath in deeply and come back alive…My soul is not empty anymore… And I figured that was it, the end of the drowning darkness where Ana resides, from where she still calls to me… It turned out to be the breaking point of self discovery…
I still struggle with Ana… It’s hard to say no to her, to not listen to her… over all it is quite difficult to stay on my side of the threshold, and keep her at a distance.. She can be so tempting and inviting… But it is a beautiful thing to know that I don’t need her, I don’t want her… To know that I want to break apart from her and discover this new journey of self love and self acceptance… To embrace the defects she hates and constantly points out… To be able to look at myself in the mirror and admit that I love myself, is such a sweet feeling… And though I have just started, and I am aware of how easy it is for me to fall back.. Knowing that she will always be there to catch me, she is always hoping I will go back… a weirdly twisted form of loyalty… As I stand on the other side (scared, excited, hesitantly venturing towards self discovery and self love) I smile, take a deep breath and I realize that, in deed, “to be free is very sweet”…

Giù con i trattini

 

Non ho mai pensato di avere un “trattino”, ne meno due, e prima di une delle classe che prendo questo semestre, non ho propio pensato su questo concetto come  un concetto di “trattino”.  Finora tan solo pensavo che sono nata equadoregna con ascendenza italiana, sono cresciuta in Ecuador fino alle 16 anni, e nel 2004 i miei parenti ci hanno portati algi Stati Uniti; dico “ci hanno portati” perche i miemi fratelli ed io non volevamo venire a questa terra strana.  Tredici anni dopo, comunque, la terra strana è quella che abbiamo lasciato; non conosco le strade, non riconosco la cità.  Il mio spagnolo è spruzzato con un accento americano, il mio inglese invece con quello equadoregno, e l’italiano lo sto ancora svillupando.  La cosa più strana però, e che oggi non mi sento ne equadoregna, ne americana, e ne meno italiana.  Semplicemente essisto in una realità miscelata di tre culture diverse: equadoregna, americana e italiana; l’ultima però è la più recente.  Non ho proprio una identita nazionale, e le lingue che parlo sono pure “standard”; non ho ne meno il dialetto equadoregno.  Ma se devo pensare a un trattino, direi che ho due trattini, ma poi mi chiedo, perchè trattini? Personalmente penso invece in un concetto di diffusione, dove le tre culture si mischiano ogni tanto, trovando un balance tra di loro, e io mi reinvento.  Comunque sono nata in Ecuador, cresciuta in USA e il mio cuore appartiene all’Italia.

Just before the storm

Once again it has been some time since I let my fingers glide through the key  board with no other intention than to portrait my thoughts…
Hot sip of tea, mint tea, I told myself, to soothe the  nerves that will soon come… as four o’clock slowly approaches… Or well, I think the nerves will come.. I find my self weirdly calm before the first part of a three hour exam… Is it shock, tiredness, under or over preparedness?? Am I at peace?
It’s a feeling similar to when you stand at the sea shore, you feel the sand under your feet, in between your toes as you start to dig them deep into the mushy sand…. As you stand and breathe in the salty air, and you feel how the waves softly break at you ankles as they make their way to shore…You feel the wind playing with your hair, as you take another deep breath of salty-humid-air and far away in the horizon you can see the storm approaching, the wind starts to gain momentum… but the feeling of calming peace just doesn’t go away.. It’s weirdly difficult to explain..

I guess simply put, I just don’t give a fuck… jajaja it is a relieve to say so. Why do I have to worry about an exam that I have been preparing for, for so long?… and yet, far away in the horizon… the fear starts to form.. Maybe the storm is not the three hour exam per se, but rather the fear of that exam…and the consequences, should I not pass the exam… It’d make more sense that way… and yet the calming-peaceful-feeling still remains… I take a deep breathe, not of salty-humid-air… No, unfortunately I am not at the beach, or near to it… I am making time, sitting in one of the cubicles available to the TA’s with in this program.. Another sip of hot-minty-tea… ugh.. hot and a tad bit bitter…One should remove the slice of lemon after a while, particularly if no honey is added..
I look at the time and that storm is only two hours away (be it the nerves, the fear, and the exam it self)… I look at the pile of flash cards that I have and feel a sudden rush of awe.. I have condensed so much information into 3 by 5 flashcards, one must include only the essential… and let the brain do the rest… I trust you neural connections…
As I go through a mental list.. Psychoanalysis , structuralism, deconstruction, reader response, feminist theory, post colonialism.. Such a variety of ways with which people attempt to understand… people and what they create, and the reason why they created it… More tea, definitely better without the slice of lemon… still tongue-burning-hot… One must remember to sip slowly… crap, I’ll probably get blisters…
Unloading the mind is such a relaxing process, how many thoughts do we carry within ourselves… Or at least I do, I think way too much, analyze things for way too long… and soon come to realize that Derrida was right.. No center is anchored within meaning.. it is ever changing… does this mean that Saussure was wrong in saying that the relationship with signs and meaning is arbitrary but constructed anchored units, and unchanging meaning?  I hardly doubt that.. Perhaps both perspectives are individual facets of a multifaceted concept of perception…. And in the end that’s what it really is.. the concept of reality, hyper-real or otherwise, is just a construction of multifaceted aspects.. Aspects to which we each have limited access to, based on our background and “consciousness derived from the material of our society”… We all try to convey and interpret the discourse surrounding us, and within ourselves… Some aspects of reality are more prominent than others… white elite male perspective and that of the subaltern or the marginalized… Thin threats of thoughts, opinions, concerns, desires (erotic or ambitious)… All just waiting to be interpreted, discussed, assimilated, rejected or accepted… Similar to our human desire to belong, be accepted, understood and at the same time remain different… but not inferior…

Thank you key board…always a pleasure… I have missed you so…

When she gets home

The sun is setting, she must be coming home…  I’m lying on the fluffy white feathered comforter, looking out the window, I enjoy how the shade changes once the sun begins to go down, there’s a subtle shift from clear to dark; hardly noticeable for most people.  I wonder if they pay such meticulous attention to the little shifts that go throughout the day.  Can they see the warmth of the sun light when it’s at its highest?  Or feel the freshness in the shadows when the sun goes down?  I doubt they notice, most people are often lost into their shiny screens.  Another lizard walks on the other side of the window, and I’m pretty sure it just ate something.
Sigh, she’s been gone all day, I wonder if she thinks about me; she left in such a hurry this morning, she hardly said goodbye.  I miss her terribly.

Did I hear that right?  I feel my ears go up, the subtle grumble of tires on pavement.  Is she home??? I hear her steps approaching the door, can she hear me?  Scratch. Scratch. Scratch. I try to open the door.  I must wait for her, my heart starts beating faster, I start to shake, and my tail is going to fly off. Pant. Pant. Pant I hear the keys turning, and the door opens.  Yes!!! It’s her, it’s her.

-Hi buddy!!!- I hear her say, and I can’t contain any more. I launch myself to her, my body trembling with pure joy.  It bubbles up all around me, she holds me and I am home.
Having her with me, hugging me, petting me, holding me, and of course feeding me; what else can a pup ask for?  Blissful-happiness, that heart-warming-feeling of light-plenitude that we find in the little things…