Category Archives: experience

at the core of existence

Hope exists as something similar to magic.

It is embedded within nearly every human interaction; it lies at the heart of everything we do within our lives, aside from the basic and innate actions. We work hard because we hope for more money or that promised promotion. We dress nice and groom ourselves in hopes of gaining the attention of others. Most of us even try to live moral lives with high hopes of somehow being rewarded in the end.

So often, we even hope when all rational thought tells us that we should not. Even as sane, reasonable adults, we let our hopes drive us to dream of the improbable and impossible. I have met a few people in my life who give the persona of not holding hopes for anything, and even then I have to wonder how much of it is true. Is anyone really capable of not holding out hope for things? I’m compelled to think not.

Hope tends to be a really dangerous thing for me. I tell myself not to think about something I desperately want; getting my hopes up to only have them shattered leaves me in emotional turmoil. Maybe this reaction is due to my struggle with bipolar depression, but it is there nonetheless.

How do I keep myself from hoping? I become so singularly-focused that it is borderline obsessive. I over-think and analyze every aspect of a situation, attempting to mentally force my will on the Universe (real Jedi-mind-trick type of wishful thinking).

This past week has been a prime example of how I can get carried away with my hopes, even as I tell everyone around me my rational response to a situation. I wanted something that is practically impossible for me, and I really let my imagination get carried away. I considered something life changing, hoping that mere wishful thinking from me and my husband could make it happen. I spent time researching; reading and learning anything that could give me the answer I wanted. Even as I jested with my husband and others, I was an internal storm of emotion.

Halfway through the day, I had to face harsh reality. It was clear as day in front of my face that things were not as I hoped, and even then, part of me still ached for the impossible. Even as my husband seemed to have gotten what he wanted, I found he felt lacking as well. We both hoped for something that wasn’t going to happen, and recovering from it will be a little painful.

How do you climb back from that when you were the one to put yourself there in the first place?

So, as magical as hope can be, it can be just as dark and excruciating as most things in life. It guides us, it drives us, it molds us, and it even serves as the only thing holding us together sometimes. Still, it can be the force that wrecks us in the end.

Is that a reason to give up all hope? Definitely not, but it would probably be wise for me to restrain myself from going down this same path of fruitless hope ever again.

for the non-road-rager

(Warning: serious explicit language used here. I’ve got a potty mouth and I like to use it!)

If any of you have followed me on Facebook for any length of time, you will know that I go seriously aggro on bad traffic. And it’s not that I am a bad driver, or that I am unnecessarily pissed off at everyone on the road… No. It is that I cannot stand to be driving near idiots. I typically drive in heavy traffic screaming the Ludacris lyrics “Move bitch, get out the way! Get out the way, bitch, get out the way!” My kids have heard every cuss word known to man because of my screaming at idiots. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Traffic jam because there is an accident on the opposite side of the highway? I’m irate. People who fail to use signaling? Oh, you bet that I’m fucking irritated. I have lived in this border city (El Paso, Texas for those of you who don’t know) off and on for 17 years. The most maddening thing about this city is that it has grown exponentially, only to be left with roads that are inadequate for the growth and in constant repair.

So, I thought that I would write up some rules of etiquette for the non-road-rager. If you are the calm and patient driver, these are the rules that will help you avoid the wrath of people like me. These are the rules that you need to follow before I ram my car into yours.

bad-drivers_o_2230905

1. Don’t be a cheeky twat. There is no need for you to look into my car at a stop light. I will immediately assume that you are either a bitch, just trying to size me up, or a perv trying to check me out. It’ll give me the creeps, it will be awkward for us both, so it’s just better that we keep our eyes in our own car. Plus, I don’t need you seeing my messy kids in the back. I don’t need your judgment.

2. If you insist on being in the fast lane, remain the speed of the cars in front and behind you. Don’t want to speed? Fine, then get the fuck out of my way. It is not your problem if I get pulled over or die in a fiery crash, so don’t try to control my speed by trapping me behind you.

3. Don’t be a cock-blocker. This rule of etiquette is really kind of an amendment to the first. If I am stuck behind a slow person, don’t come up on my left and keep pace with me. Yeah, I get it, you are getting a kick out of boxing me in and denying me passage through you fuckers… but I am an impatient woman and I just can’t handle that. I get claustrophobic, I need to be freeeeee.

4. This one is important. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, USE YOUR GODDAMN BLINKER! I don’t care if you are in a ‘Turn Only’ lane. I don’t care if there is no one directly behind you. Those annoying little clickers are there for a reason! Use them!

morpheus-on-driving

5. I only mentioned this briefly before, but don’t slow down for an accident that is on the opposite side of the highway. Don’t be a fuckin looky-loo. You don’t need to see what happened, and you’ll only make me wreck my pretty, gorgeous blue Jeep in the process. And then I’ll be pissed. And I’ll be super pissed if my kids are in the car with me. You have been warned.

6. I don’t know if anyone told you, but it’s illegal just about everywhere to hold a phone to your ear while driving. And there is a good reason for that. You are crap at driving with that at your ear. Use a goddamn bluetooth like everyone else.

7. If road work signs tell us a mile back that the left lane is closed ahead, don’t pull a douche move and stay in that lane until you have to squeeze your p.o.s. in front of me. Don’t pretend that you didn’t see that sign. Everyone saw that sign. And you are a serious asshole for ignoring it, only to cut me off later.

merge

8. Whether you are merging onto the highway, or you are merging onto a busy road from an access, move your ass to the same rate as everyone else. Don’t try this bullshit where you get on at 40 mph in a 60 zone. I, as the driver who has already successfully entered the lane, should not have to slam on my fucking brakes because you decide to be a dillhole! Speed the fuck up, people!

9. Another amendment: when merging from an access area, don’t swing into the far lane. The first lane is always the appropriate area. If oncoming traffic is able to change lanes to make it easier for you, they will. But don’t make them lose control of their shit because you are a fucking moron. Either speed up or slow down and get the fuck in as safely as possible.

And finally…

10. For you road-ragers like me: don’t fuckin tailgate. I’m a bitch who lives in a state where the person in the rear of the accident is always at fault. I will slam on my fucking brakes just because I am tired of you being up my ass. Defensive driving says to keep a distance of 4 seconds for 60 mph; back the fuck off.

bad-drivers-bad

I know I seem overly angry or resentful in this. I am really not. I am just tired of licenses being handed out to any motherfucker who can study and answer a few questions.

Get it together, people.

On a side note, I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!!

the burdens we carry

It isn’t often that I feel helpless or useless. It isn’t often that I feel like a burden, either.

(My post today is ironic when compared to the last, but I guess that just goes to show how the tides can change for someone who is bipolar.)

It is amazing how someone can seem so calm and unworried on the surface, but be a ball of stress within. It can be even more amazing when someone shows you that anxiety and cracks the facade that they keep at all other times.

My husband is a remarkably strong man. He works without complaint to be the sole provider of our family, but I never realized until yesterday how much that eats at him. He has an amazing amount of ambition, but that ambition may be more of a burden than a gift.

And this is where I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. There is so much that he wants for our lives, but there is nothing that I can really do to help at this point. Yesterday we talked about everything, and he said that he had a lot of goals to meet before we reach 30. The first and largest stressor right now is finding a new job closer to his parents. He misses his family, and if we move closer to the East Coast, we will be able to be a bigger help to his parents. There is so much more that he wants, too. He wants to buy a house, he wants to be at the top of his career, he wants to be settled and secure with everything we need and want. That leaves five years, and he is worried that he won’t meet his goals.

“How can I help?” I asked, “What can I do to take some of this from your shoulders?” I asked if I should find a way to go back to work, but he said that it was all on him.

I have to ask myself if I am part of the problem. Did I give the impression that I need all those things? Did I put those burdens on him? That makes me sick to my stomach with guilt. I never imagined myself as a materialistic person, but a materialistic person is the exact kind that would add those types of hardships on their loved one.

Maybe there is something to this. But who can blame us for wanting to own our home? Who can blame us for wanting to stop making someone else rich by paying their mortgage plus some? Who can blame us for wanting the same regular goals of most people?

I don’t know how I can help my husband. I am a student, I have a 4 year old still at home, and daycare just isn’t worth the cost. Working on an opposite schedule than him seems like it would only drive a wedge between us. Honestly, I won’t be worth a damn until I can finish with my business degree and start a lucrative business, and that is a big MAYBE. Even then, I will have a boatload of student debt to pay off.

I wish that I could skip 4 years in the future, when my debt is paid and my cafe is open. I want to take those burdens from him. I want to become successful so that he doesn’t feel like it all rides on him. Is this so wrong?

This is where the different sides of me collide in an all out war. Part of me is shallow and wants all of those nice things for us, and the other part of me is absolutely disgusted. I want to be that progressive person that wastes little, wants little, and finds happiness with what they have. I want my children to be appreciative of all they have and realize that they are richer than they know. So, where is the happy medium?

I know that accumulating things will not bring us happiness, but I do think that it might bring us comfort. Without the stress of daily life, without having to worry about bills getting paid and food bought, we may be able to enjoy the little things more.

I am still at a loss for how I can help now. Maybe the answer lies in budgeting like crazy or becoming a coupon fanatic. Maybe having a little more in savings will ease his troubles.

I have to do something, because I feel like I am the root of the problem. Though I rarely spend money on myself, there are always things that I want for the family. I have become materialistic, and it adds to the burdens he carries. I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want to be that wife.

(Luis Quiles)

Adulthood feels like an obsession with money. Need it for everything in American life. Don’t have enough of it. Need to get more of it.

How do I help carry his burdens without becoming a slave to money?

the struggle.

Sometimes, there are days when the universe tilts in your favor. Days when everything is affirmed for you. Days when it is proven that you are doing something right.

Today was one of those days.

Today came at a perfect time, too, considering an argument that arose earlier this week on Facebook.

A few days ago, my oldest sister wrote a post on her Facebook page asking how to handle someone who argued that White people should be stolen from and attacked because their ancestors enslaved Blacks.

After pounding my head a few times at the ignorance and audacity of some people, I felt the need to speak my mind. There was a lot that was said, but I basically maintained that a “thug” mentality would only perpetuate stereotypes, which would then make it worse for her children who are mixed. I also mentioned that every race has been enslaved at some point throughout history, that it is an evil and vile part of our history, but that using it as an excuse to justify criminal acts negates the work of civil rights leaders completely.

There was much more to the conversation, and eventually someone decided to personally attack my right to argue the point (multiple someones, actually).

One person in particular took a look at my profile picture and reviewed my comments before he decided that we were on different planets.

I was the person holding him back.

I was the person who watched while he and his people struggled.

I was the person to waste my money while people like him need help.

I was the one who only knew good things in life.

In this man’s mind, I was automatically the enemy.

That’s fine. Taking a look at my picture, I can see why he’d think that. I was smiling with curled and braided hair. My Facebook had some inspirational posts on it. My words were educated and proper. Who could blame him for believing a stereotype? But he was friends with my sister and didn’t realize that we are related.

He said that he would steal from any race and hated the world. My response was that his attitude wouldn’t get him anywhere. Apparently, this was secret code for “I hate Black men” (I do not, by the way). I argued that hard work brings you good things in life, and that a crappy attitude will only bring on bad karma.

This response did not appease him.

Now, there are a lot of things that I will just allow be said. There are a lot of things that I just brush away. However, I will not ever let someone give credit for everything I have in my life to anyone other than my husband and I. We have pulled ourselves up by our teeth from poverty. We have sacrificed time and again, made the hard choices, and went without. And this is something that we have both done our entire lives because our families were poor, too.

So when my sister responded to him and properly notified him of our hard upbringing and our incredibly strong single mother, he took back his words. He said that we were like him. He shared a picture of a forearm tattoo that read “struggle”. He even tried to ‘friend’ me on Facebook. I never answered it, but not because I begrudge him. I really just don’t like having strangers on my feed.

The entire situation really humbled me, though. It made me realize how far we have come.

We started out at 17 years old, with a baby on the way, living with family, and working minimum wage jobs. We lived on welfare. We sacrificed continuously. We were stolen from. We hit rock bottom. We climbed back up. Most importantly, we did not settle for ‘barely making it’.

Everything we have, really, is because of Will’s killer ambition. The man has a vision for how he wants his life to be, and he does not sway.

And today, well today we were pre-approved to get a new vehicle. We were offered a new credit card. We were given options.

Driving home, we discussed how much extra money we had to finish Christmas shopping. We were both a little giddy over the fact that there is extra money at all.

These things probably seem so simple. They are mundane and normal, which is something that I do not usually subscribe to.

They are also signs that we are doing something right. They are signs that working our asses off is paying off.

And that, well that is a beautiful thing.

i dreamed a dream

Last night I had a dream that I was dying. I had a brain tumor, it was my final day, and I had no one. Those closest to me had more important things to do, and could not be with me.

I was so angry.

I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to die. Most of all, I didn’t feel like I was finished. There were so many things that I had decided I still needed to do.

I woke up with a deep ache of loneliness that is hard to describe. I immediately wanted to take action, but it was barely after 3 in the morning. How could I make my life worthwhile with my family still deep asleep?

It is not often that I consider my future in a serious way. Honestly, I have never been able to picture my future at all. For as long as I can remember, there has been a block in my mind that did not allow me to imagine myself in any sort of positive situation years from now. I can daydream, of course, but beyond a few years, it all goes blank for me.

This has been true in all things except with my writing and the cafe/used book store that I will open. Writing is something so innate to me; it’s a craving that I have. I am constantly thinking about story lines and characters, but it can be extremely difficult to get them all down and written. Most of the time, they just stay stuck in the recesses of my mind.

The cafe is different, though. I am pushing myself to get through earning my business degree because it will hopefully give me a boot up with acquiring business loans. The atmosphere, the selling points, every detail is figured out for me. I have never wanted something so badly.

It was the idea of my ideas going unrealized that made the dream so awful. I felt like my potential was being thrown away, and that alone tortured me.

As I grow older, I am realizing more and more that my biggest fear is to live a mediocre life. To live in a monotonous manner where I repeat the daily tasks of everyone else. I want for so much more, not only for me, but for my kids and husband as well. Am I alone in this? The problem is that the only way that I know to live wonderfully, the only way that my family can be successful and free at the same time is to work up to it. We have to live in monotony now, we have to live the repetitive and boring days now.

Pulling through being normal and regular and just like everyone else is hard, especially for someone like me who swims against the current and refuses to stay up to date with trends. It feels too much like shoving a square peg in a round hole; there are parts of me that just cannot assimilate.

Maybe I am naive in thinking that I am somehow different. Maybe everyone craves for individuality and a lasting mark like I do. Still, there is so much ahead of me, but I always feel like I’m running out of time. I have this internal feeling of doom. I cannot get past it, and I feel like I need to rush through this school part to get to my reward. It feels so close that I can taste it, but I am still years away….

the things that own us.

‘Tis the season for gluttony and overabundance.

I am as guilty as the next person during the holiday season for overspending and buying crap that we don’t need. Unfortunately, this tendency has passed onto my kids. Leading up to the holiday season, I have not once heard what presents they would like to get other people. Not once have I been asked for money to get something for a family member or friend. Not once, until I informed them that they would get into the giving season.

How did I manage to raise ungrateful children? I mean, they have their basic manners and everything, but when did I forget to instill a sense of thoughtfulness for other people?

I have never been anywhere near a perfect parent, but I feel really disappointed in myself for this.

I just found that there is a campaign to create Giving Tuesday, a day of charitable actions to follow Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Why has this not been advertised in a more aggressive manner?

I live in a country that is known for its gluttony. We buy new cell phones each year. Our inability to make do with the old is clear after one visit to a local thrift shop. The amount of waste that we produce is unreal. So, how do we find a sense of humbleness and modesty in a world of abundance? How do we live a full life while still embracing a little reserve?

More importantly, how do we correct a generation of children that are only concerned with what the world is giving to them?

While I want my children to have nice things, to not know the struggle of living poor, I refuse to raise kids that do not understand the concept behind the giving season. I will not contribute to a generation of selfish humans.

How do I find the balance?

I challenge anyone who reads this to nurture a giving spirit in someone of a younger generation. This world is cold enough without a new line that only thinks about what they want without considering others. We cannot fix the problems in this world without people who have an innate and natural sense of helping others. Whether you simply “RAK” it, or you donate to a reputable charity, do something.

Personally, I a going to make #GivingTuesday into a new family event. We will donate old clothes and toys, and maybe even get a few things for Toys For Tots. I will also consider minimizing the amount of toys that the kids get this year, and opt for them to earn money to buy/create gifts for others.

our masks

masquerade

there is something that i have always found very provocative about masquerades. a group of people gather, all elegantly dressed, all seductively masked. it is sensual and beautiful in such a dark way that it appeals to our humanity in those secret ways that no one talks about.

the masks as delicately crafted, an effort to hide the truth behind them.

it is almost erotic.

eye_mask

it is beautiful, is it not?

as i was earning my psychology degree, i began to view the social world as a large masquerade. we wear our masks, present our best selves, and dance those rehearsed moves until it is all over.

the masks that we put on for the world hide our shame, our guilt, our deep dark secrets that we want no one else to be aware of.

what are the secrets that you are hiding behind your mask?

are you the guy that seems so cocky but is terribly insecure? are you the charismatic beauty who feels so absolutely alone? the smart woman who constantly feels stupid?

wouldn’t it be nice to lay it all out in the open? no more hiding behind the front you show others, but to show who you are completely and wholly.

wordsn on skin

i realize my own hypocrisy in this post. as much as i’d love to say that i am 100% upfront with everyone, i cannot. there are people in my life that really do not know me at all.

i hide my memories. i hide my experiences. i hide my opinions. i hide my aspirations.

and despite how much i hide, there is so much that i share, even when i shouldn’t.

venetian mask

i really wish that my mask was as beautiful as this, though.

all the parts of me

the plural inference of the title for this blog was not just because i think the word ‘elixir’ sounds cool.

i mean, that is part of the reason, but not the whole shebang.

i wanted to imply that there is more than one mind at work here, in the way that my personality is multi-faceted.

i tend to keep myself subdued in front of most people in my life, so my children and husband are the only ones who get anywhere near the full spectrum of personalities that i have going on.

storm with skin

lately, it seems like the free-spirited side of me has been the most present. she likes fleetwood mac and steve miller band. she wears lots of dresses and writes whenever and however she can. she craves to move and travel, for change to be a constant in life. gaudy rings, lace, and braids are an everyday thing.

this is the me that hits the gas when she drives down the curves of the mountain, holding to the wheel tight and refusing to brake. she holds her hand out the window, running her fingers through the wind just to feel connected. she is wild, and loving, and deep.

she is my gypsy soul.

boho

the girl who resembles a 16 year old me, pieced together with tape, chipped at the edges, and dipped in shadow- she worries me. she listens to korn, deftones, and slipknot as loud as it will go. she looks at the floor as she walks, hides from the world and hates it as a whole. she needs change as much as the gypsy, but in a desperate way that shouldn’t be indulged.

she grasps at whatever will pull her from the wreckage of her mind, but is willing to pull everyone else down on her way up.

this is the me that is gone now, at least for now. hidden deep in the recesses of my mind, she waits to come out again, to pull me back again.

black

there is another side of me. the one that tries to fit in. the one that goes to play dates with moms she has nothing in common with to try to find a clique. she wears nice, subdued, preppy clothes, she holds her head high, she flaunts her education. she is the know-it-all, a therapist for others, but she will let everyone walk all over her just to keep them happy. she wants to be trendy, she wants to be the connected parent, she wants to have the beautiful home with white picket fence.

this side of me can be so suffocating, so monotonous.

there is the book worm, the science geek, the hateful wench, the judgmental prude, the health nut, the day dreamer, the entrepreneur.

these aren’t just characteristics of my personality. they each have their own space in my mind. they appear when they see fit, they crowd the space in my head.

strangeness

for now, i’ll enjoy where the gypsy soul takes me. the winds can take me where they please, and the rains can wash me clean. the other parts can peak out, make small appearances, but the gypsy can have this life as long as she wants.