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Can-do attitude

When I was a little girl, my father worked in a food canning factory.  Canning plants could be found all over the Bay Area back in the day: the Shasta soda plant we saw on the drive across the San Mateo Bridge 812f141d-5bac-40e1-b164-8e391df5afb8_d

or the smells associated with various foods being processed in Hayward or San Leandro.  In my own home, an elderly neighbor taught my mother how to can jams and jellies.  This personal history with canning has been lost on me.  canning-button-026I have lost my ability to can.

When did this happen?  When this 45th Republican regime came into power?  When the third white boy from Peyton Place Bay Area cussed me out at work?  There was some kind of perfect storm this fall. sean-beanWinter isn’t coming, y’all.  It came. Ya llegó.

I have fought back in the usual way. I have been focusing on getting fit.  I have continued to dance. I have taken refuge in TV shows and books.  But my signature patience has worn thin.

Given the current state of the state, lacking patience may be a good thing.  It’s time to stop suffering like a santita and get into warrior mode.

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My favorite saints carry swords. Saint Barbara

My fear is that I’m taking it out on the wrong people.  I have become much less patient with my partner and my child.  Y eso no está bien.

Rambo was and is a soldier. He can take my stank attitude for the most part. He also has no problem checking me when I get to be too much.  M, on the other hand, is sensitive.  Don’t let the sass and side-eye fool you. My daughter is sensitive and I am the person who has the capacity to hurt her feelings the most.  She has told me so.  I am committed to being the great mother she deserves.

So while I’m freezing, it’s time to power through this change of seasons. winter-is-coming-1050x600While I may not be able to can with the trifling behavior of spoiled teens or the shenanigans occurring on a national scale, I know damn well there’s nothing to stop me from being my best self.  I can and I will.

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The Curse of the Witch Doll

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Nancy Drew doing her thing 

Before Nancy De La Cruz(the Latina Nancy Drew) could hop in her hybrid and head to the farmers’ market, she found her elderly Italian neighbor, recently subject to religious persecution(The case of the missing memento), was unconscious and lying behind a wall.  Nancy questioned the poor woman but the victim had no memory of her removal from her home.  After questioning potential suspects, Nancy’s worst assumptions were confirmed.  The longtime accuser had been joined by another religious zealot so the old woman went into hiding.  It was time for Nancy to get chola on these fools!

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Must find this shirt!

Unfortunately, neither Nancy De La Cruz nor Nancy Drew is about to throw down in the streets.  She uses logic and seeks understanding. So while the ongoing drama over witchcraft allegations may resurface now and then, it will be handled rationally and civilly.

It has taken me years to cultivate a sense of calmness. It’s one thing to have a game face. It’s another to calm the hurricane within your mind. But with time and quality moral support from family and professionals, I have mastered the art of keeping it together.   In the face of varying levels of tomfoolery, both personally and professionally, I keep my cool and take time to think about next steps. It takes effort, sometimes a monumental effort to not lower the standards I have set for myself.  I work.

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La befana is back in place at the mantel.  She is harmless, as are the close-minded people who shudder when they see her. I have no control over others’ thoughts and actions. I’m not about to do wrong by losing self-control.

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Pray for me, y’all! 

Revealing relapse

“There is trouble in the air, destruction is everywhere
And men are being trampled beneath the soil
And nations, great and small, have now begun to fall
Oh come let us go back to God, go back to God”  written by Thomas Dorsey, as sung by Donnie McClurkin

When I talk about backsliding, I often mean it negatively.  When I backslide, I’m going to back old, often negative, habits and ways of thinking. Like every normal person, I have times when I’m disciplined, motivated, and therefore feeling and being successful.  If I “relapse” into past behavior, it is usually because I’m exhausted, demoralized, and struggling physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.  Life goes in cycles.  It’s never a journey of point A to point B.  So why do I hold myself to that unrealistic black and white thinking?  What if “going back” has its benefits?

Para los que me conocen, y’all know I’m often goal-driven. I take on reading challenges, savings challenges, and prayer challenges. I train for half-marathons and for street performances of various choreographies.  I do weeklong class hops, novenas of daily masses, 40 day fasts, and multi-week fitness programs. But I don’t always complete these goals to the best of my ability.  Sometimes I don’t complete them at all.  Then I spend some time beating myself up about those failures.  Fortunately, time and life experience has taught me to seek humility.  Life has taught me that failure is a good time to turn back to God.

I said it.  As important as my faith life is to me, God doesn’t always come first. “Well, I guess we won’t go to Mass Carnaval weekend because I’m not about to sit in church in my costume.”  God doesn’t always fit on a busy schedule.  While I thank God when I’m succeeding, I spend less time with Him while I’m busy working towards that success.  I’m going, going, going.  Literally and figuratively running.  A quick grace over a rushed meal. Half a rosary done on the commute from one family activity to another.  I don’t build in time for devotion.

It is in times of struggle and failure that I truly give myself over to God.  When I’ve been diagnosed with illnesses, I have stood with God.  When I’ve struggled with work situations, I have had long, emotional conversations with God.  When I have lost loved ones, I have found comfort from God.  Where human motivation and individual goals waver, God is constant.

I know I have lots of work to do in the next few months. I will make my faith life part of that work.  Going back to God is wonderful.  Staying with Him must be a goal. 2eec7f06e6a3add42dfda620cb60b94d

My choice

“The haters gonna hate, hate, hate…” Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
What would it be like to begin each day in anger?  What would it be like to step out of my car and feel my breath get shallow, my neck stiffen, my stomach seize,  and my jaw clench?  What would cross my mind as I enter a room full of people I can’t stand?  How would I address these people whom I fail to understand and respect?  I might rush away from them, to my own work space, to my daily duties, to the clients and their incessant complaints.  How would I make it through each second, each minute, each day, with my heart pounding away in rage?
I wouldn’t. I would drop dead.  If the physical toll didn’t force me to a doctor’s office, I would quit.  I once left my car in an apartment complex parking lot, took BART all the way from Berkeley to San Leandro, walked three miles to my mom’s house after 11 at night because I couldn’t take a tense, angry environment.  That’s me.  I truly cannot understand how it is physically and mentally possible to live that way.
Now has M said that I have moments in which I’m mad like Ren in that one episode of Ren and Stimpy?
Yes.  Am I sometimes enojona?
Yes. I’m human. I’m as overscheduled and overwhelmed as the next person. But am I constantly negative? Hell no. I’ve invested too many hours(and therefore lots of money)into redirecting my mind to a place of health and happiness. Nothing will move me back to that low place. Life is too precious.
As happens in life, I do cross paths daily with folks who struggle to see things the way I do. In fact, they criticize and reject me(if only behind closed doors.)
Now I may fantasize about going down several levels and reacting in anger.
But I won’t give them the satisfaction.  Instead, I breathe deeply. I smile. I speak my truth. I keep my goals in mind. When I get into the comfort of my vehicle at the end of a rough day, I listen to my favorite gospel singer. When I get home, I speak to my man and call or text my friends for advice. I send funny memes to others affected by these people. I hug my child. I pray for comfort. I pray for the strength to be kind.
“You can get with this,

or you can get with that,

 

I think you’ll get with this, for this is where it’s at”

 

Because as the Black Sheep once said, the choice is yours. I choose to move forward in love and joy.