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Worst foe

“I been movin’ calm, don’t start no trouble with me

Tryna keep it peaceful is a struggle for me” by Aubrey Drake Graham

 

To all the fake traitorous former friends in my life and those of my loved ones:  You tried it!

 

Let go when a friendship falls apart

Can’t let it hurt your heart

Most friends who turn out to be false aren’t worth grieving

 

I gave you my time, my energy

I cared for you like I cared for my best friends or for my family

You played me

This is how you paid me

You betrayed me

How am I supposed to feel sympathy for your stupidity?

I have no pity left  

I don’t care about the hours spent giving you advice through conversations, through phone calls, through text messages

I care about myself which is what I should have been doing instead of looking out for your fool self.

Go lose yourself in your addictions, your questionable relationships, your time wasting

You need help, not my health.

I will pray for you but I won’t speak to you.

You took.

You damaged.

You go.

I will be tempted to be vengeful but I know that is not me. That is my anger against you. I refuse to give in to it.  

I have wasted enough of myself on you.

I will leave you in peace and I expect you to do the same.

Don’t speak on me

Don’t speak to me.

Do not come for me.

 

An enemy is an enemy

but a friend turned enemy is the worst kind of foe.

Please go or I will have to let you know.

That’s a side of me I don’t want to show.

I know better now

I know who you are

You’re not going to get far if this is how you do those that show you love

Now go on.  Go do you.

Let the universe handle you

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those damn Ides of March 

Betrayal

From Dangerous Liaisons

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Blue Monday

bluemondayThose who came before me lived through their vocations

From the past until completion, they’ll turn away no more

And still I find it so hard to say what I need to say

But I’m quite sure that you’ll tell me just how I should feel today, “Blue Monday,” New Order

I had a rough day at work earlier this week.  It was overwhelming. It wasn’t so much the written work that I was having to do because I finished a huge project on Friday. It wasn’t decision-making because yesterday’s events didn’t require anything too difficult. I was short-staffed, down three key employees. It was the  level of need that I sensed or that was needed by parents and students. Credential programs never teach you about self-care, how to strike a healthy work-life balance, and how to handle the emotions that arise when families are sharing their needs and problems with you. Those lessons you learn from experiences or if you’re lucky, good mentors.

I have made a career out of being patient and professional no matter what challenges I’m facing. This has been especially true as an administrator. As a teacher, I often wore my heart on my sleeve.I can’t justify everything I did because it was often dependent on my mood; there were times I was self-involved and less focused on best serving my students and their families. As an administrator I have learned to be more thoughtful about my decisions and actions. The criticisms I received as a teacher,  specifically about my inability to hide how I really feel, were helpful as I transitioned into greater leadership roles. However, it has been inwardly challenging to be calm in many of the situations that I face. Embodying grace under pressure often means internalized pressure. So I broke down once I got home. Rambo and M comforted me with reassurance of their support and love.

I did make it to the gym that night. I had been tearful. By the time I walked into the gym I had pulled myself together. My coach gave us quite the workout. It was physically grueling. It was exactly what I needed to remind myself what I am capable of doing. When things get rough, I can push through them.  What is important is to keep moving and to breathe. As I do with most of my workouts, I lift all those weights in my life and from work. I crunch, step, swing, and power through each set. Though I am nowhere near my previous levels of strength and fitness, I got through the evening and felt better for it.

I told Rambo I wanted to quit my job. I have to take it one day at a time. I will rely on what won’t fail me. I am blessed to have my health, my commitment to myself, and the love of my family. As my running coach once told me, tough times don’t last but tough people do.

The Mystery of El Cucharón Quemado

 

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another Nancy DelaCruz mystery 

Because our weekdays tend to be busy, I like to cook several meals on the weekend.  One spring weekend, we did well. I made a pasta dish with M; she enjoys cooking with me. We also put a chili in the Crockpot.  The plan was for me to prepare another dish on the stove. I opened one of the drawers to look for my favorite cucharón. I found it, burnt in half.  Whodunit?

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I was more amused than irritated (yes I was upset) that it was placed back in the drawer as if I wouldn’t notice.  Though I have small hands, I wasn’t going to be able to cook with it.  I imagined it was left on the stove and the rubber tip started melting and/or the whole thing caught fire.  I didn’t know if my mother in law had asked Rambo to cut it in half but it wasn’t a clean cut. M had no idea. She thought it was strange it was put away looking like that.  Rambo was apologetic and offered to pay for it. He looked into the mystery himself. His mom tried to argue that it might have been my daughter and her friend during their playdate. M has been hurt in kitchen accidents during cooking camp so she has firsthand knowledge of kitchen hazards. My mother in law also offered to replace the cucharón. I was hoping I would get an explanation. After snapping a picture to document this hilarious moment, the cucharón went out with the trash. The mystery remains unresolved.

Living with in-laws is never easy. But my problems with my living situation are minutiae for the most part. I might find a plastic bag or container in my compost bin. A dish might still be wet when I pull it out of the cabinet.  This week, I located my misplaced library card in my child’s toy box. These are simple, silly matters that can add up, especially on a busy day.  Keeping a sense of humor and a knack for detective work is a must.

Fighting temptation

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Mama Mary will knock you out

The devil is busy.  Ash Wednesday was unbelievably tough.  After a challenging day, I was pushed to my limit at the very end of the night.

I am involved in an ongoing and tense correspondence which is a direct result of someone else’s actions.  The person responsible for the mess is someone who has created lots of problems for me in recent years.(An epilogue) While this person is no longer physically around me, I’m resentful I have to resolve the aftermath. In the latest exchange, the person affected by the poor decisions told me (and two colleagues!) how we should handle the situation. Though I was livid, I responded in my usual way. I was polite, clear, and firm as I clarified my understanding of the problem and how I would be handling the situation. I didn’t reveal that this was that other person’s fault. Why shift responsibility when I’m being held accountable? The good news is that my message seems to have been received both literally and figuratively.

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I’m often tempted to take the low road. There’s a part of me that fantasizes about telling people off and putting people in their place in the most explicit, vehement, and aggressive way possible to really mandarlos a volar. Yet that type of behavior goes against my nature, my upbringing, and the values I hold dearest:  integrity, compassion, community, altruism, and mercy.   I try not to be petty and passive-aggressive; this is one of my greatest sins. It’s very hard for me to express my anger with someone. I struggle to come up with a way that’s going to be in line with the rest of the way I live my life. So it’s kept under wraps.  My true feelings get expressed in my writing or my body language, the side eye, the tone in the email or in my voice.  I vent with others who may be removed from the situation but that type of venting (aka gossip, another of my sins) goes against the values of community, compassion, and mercy. I have to stay true to myself.  I can’t give in to my worst self. My evil Kermit may seem hilarious but in real life, that side of me will wreak havoc. Though I have struggled through years of emotional and spiritual work, I wrestle with this temptation every day.

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Lent reminds me of my mortality, my weakness, and my need for a clean heart. It’s my will power and my willingness to be part of the solution. I am here to do right.  There’s a whole lot of wrong in the world. Each day, I experience misplaced, misdirected, misunderstood, and misguided pain and anger that those around me do not know how to manage. Sometimes I don’t know how to handle their emotions or my own. Yet every day, I see love and compassion. I stay strong. I remember that my focus is to be a better version of myself for my own well-being but more importantly for the growth of my child. She has so much potential to be an amazing woman someday. I need to do what I can to help get her there. The Lord is testing me this Lent as He should. I am challenged to be strong and brave, and to take comfort in the Lord.  Miracles don’t happen without faith and discipline. That’s the truth about many tests that I have faced. They result in growth, peace, and happiness. At the end of this season of struggle, there will be resurrection.

A.D. The Bible Continues

An epilogue

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Caral, Peru. Photo by J. Calderon, 2014.

“..we found you lying

Choking on the dirt and sand

Your former glories and all the stories

Dragged and washed with eager hands

But, oh, your city lies in dust…” “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and The Banshees

A terrible situation I have experienced for many years recently ended. (Year of milagros) Though I claimed I would samba in joy, I didn’t. Nor did I throw confetti, pop bottles or make it rain.  Certain routines feel awkward. Certain places bring back memories.  The reality of victory is simply that, a reality. Life has moved forward quietly.

I do ask if it’s really over. I wonder if my work with this particular situation is done.(My second career as an exorcist)Call it PTSD (though I don’t like to, given my personal experience loving someone with true PTSD) or shock, I have moments when I brace myself for more fighting.  After years of experiencing abuse, it will take time to resolve these reactions.

I wonder about the other party. Has this person reflected on choices made and actions taken? Can this person heal?  I don’t have it in me to truly hate this individual. Deep inside, underneath layers and strata, yes strata, of God only knows what, this person is in so much pain. It is a pain so visceral and so overwhelming that it has terrorized others for decades. That’s some mierda.   I will continue to lift this person up in prayer. Fix this person, Jesus.

Though I say “icant”

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My secretary gave me this paperweight for Christmas. To know me is to love me.

or “I’m unable to can”

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Team Petty. T-shirt collection to prove it.

for a laugh or to keep from cursing on the daily, I know I can. Taking on a malicious individual has taught me that I can stand strong. I can fight back without compromising my better self. I can win.

Holding the door open

I am a woman of patience. Too much patience, I sometimes think, but in my line of work, it is essential. That being said, I grapple with my tendency to be mild with folks, even as they work my last nerve.  I can occasionally channel my #innermongoose.(A fearless favorite) On a day to day basis, I tend to keep my thoughts to myself.

Since Election Night, I have experienced many emotions. Grief is a messy process and it is different for everyone.
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Through social media, well-meaning friends and  acquaintances have posted, either in their own words or via shared images and articles, that it’s time for everyone to move on.  I have been asked to choose love, to hug more, to open doors for strangers, and even to pray for the president-elect.  I have been questioned about love for my country, regard for unborn children, and even the way I am parenting my child through this crisis.  And, sabes que, I have had enough.  Ya me tienen harta. Tu no me mandas!

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Not you, not anyone, other than the Lord and sometimes my mama or daddy.  Tu quien eres?
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Tu no me mandas.
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I can cry, rant, curse, laugh, and react in any way I want. I can take to the streets in protest. I can declare the president-elect #NotmyPresident.  If you don’t like what I have to say or do, GTFO.  Vete. Largate. Borrate.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I am done.

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This morning, I unfollowed a fellow blogger. She’s likable and well-spoken.  I respect her enough to head out on my way. She’s entitled to her opinions. She is standing strong in them.  So am I. There’s nothing to be gained by trying to change her mind and sharing my judgments with her.  She will believe as she does. I will believe as I do.  With one difference. She has a privilege I do not.  It’s easy to tell people how they should be feeling and acting when it’s safe for you to do so.  The most dangerous of the president-elect’s followers won’t attack her.  While I can exit stage left on any conversation that makes me uncomfortable, I can’t escape reality.

In the days, weeks, months, and years to come, I have to be prepared for the worst that could happen. I have to arm (yes, I said “arm”) my only child with the knowledge and skills to grow up into an empowered woman of color. (Mothering a warrior)These are our lives.  These are our rights. If you can’t understand or respect that, then let’s wish each other well.

Two leaders

I have been doing a lot of thinking about power and leadership lately.  Given what I do for a living, it is often encouraged by upper management and professional mentors; given the kinds of people in my personal life, my wonderful ensemble of artists, teachers, life coaches, and parents, it is often inspired by positive influences.  Life is complicated so choosing how to be empowered is equally complex and multi-faceted.  I have previously reflected on the difficulty of being one of the good guys(Not so prodigal) and on my tendency to stay positive in the face of challenges(Kermit mode).  But I have owned the urge to be ruthless (Ivan Drago mode).  It’s been a helluva week/month/year.

Soy rencorosa.  Well I can be. I pray for my enemies, often sincerely.  But a friend who betrays me?  Jesus, be a fence!  An electric fence with barbed wire on top because it’s all bad. Chain-link_and_barbed_wire.jpg

It’s an #icant situation of epic proportions.  In my personal life, it makes great writing material.  In the professional realm, eso si que no. So I got checked.  I know I can pull it together. Recently my horror at Ben Linus’s cold, calculating despicableness has turned into admiration. guest16

Ben knows how to be cool, polished, polite, and articulate while he plots your destruction.  Ben takes a Hannibal the Cannibal approach to leadership.

Pero no te preocupes, I won’t be joining the Dark Side any time soon.487096_v1

I came across another role model several months ago when I read Grace Jones’  I’ll Never Write My Memoirs.  As a child, I saw Ms. Jones (that’s what I call her because I RESPECT her) as otherworldly, manly, even scary. grace-jones-crazy-diva-photos-4_2015-09-24_20-17-31-571x430

But I always admired her. She was powerful in ways my meek little child self longed to be.  In reading Ms. Jones’ story, my admiration for a cultural icon became deep respect for a strong woman.  What better birthday gift to myself than to see her in concert. With my dance sister and confidante at my side, we made our way to the front row of the Greek.

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Ms. Jones did not disappoint. She was a force of nature. She was funny, quirky, sassy, and badass.

And though my little arms weren’t long enough to touch her hand, I definitely got close.  Weeks later,  her songs remind me of the power of love of life and self.

So how I lead will depend on the circumstances. I can be Ms. Jones or I can be Ben or I can be both. I will continue reflecting on how to be my best self when others simply cannot.  I will continue making others laugh, dancing with others, and being good to myself.  I will definitely be asking Jesus to run interference for me.

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