Tag Archives: low self-esteem

Baby Chicks Flock: Loners always Lead

21 May

Have you every been on a farm and played with baby chicks? Ok, if you’ve been to a farm more than a few times and have never played with baby chicks as a kid, you seriously missed out. You can scoop them up and get them all riled up and quickly let them go before they poop on your hand. It’s a good time.

If you had the chance to chase them around the yard, you’ll remember that as you paused long enough to rest your hands on your knees to catch your breath, the baby chicks would scatter about lost, trying in vain to rearrange into the proper grouping. They would flock to one another, huddle close as they flapped their wings and chirp as loud as they could, their confidence growing with their unified front. But you would always have the lone baby chick off to the side, captivated by the confusion as if thinking, why am I alone? Why is no one flocking to me? This would usually be the toughest chick that was used to being followed but when a six-year-old kid is going hog-wild running and giggling in the yard, no one follows the leader. They flock together as a crowd and as a crowd grow stronger and set in their ways, leaving the leader to the side, alone and confused.

During a recent exercise at work I noticed the same phenomenon. We were caught up on the excitement of being forced out of the comfort of our 9 hour a day nest, i.e. a fire drill with mandated evacuation. As we made our way to the general meeting area, people ran about excitedly until they found their “friends” and congregated in tight little circles laughing loudly and using exaggerated expressions to show how much fun they were having, how well they belonged. And off to the side I saw the day-to-day leaders of the office, i.e. the big bosses, standing by themselves shuffling from foot to foot looking confused as they felt the glaring presence of loneliness seep into their hard armor of fearless leader. They looked out-of-place as the sunny LA afternoon was awash with a glow hinting of summer BBQ’s, pool parties, and picnics in the park – everyone huddled under summer’s social blanket that warms and brings all Angeleno souls alive.

And just as quickly as I felt sorry for them, I realized that it is just as easy to walk up to a group as it is to isolate yourself and expect others to come to you.

So I looked up, made eye contact and waved – a friendly and artful gesture that says, hey I am happy to see you, come over. And they did and we talked and they relaxed and they felt at home again. And as soon as they reclaimed their sense of self, they led the way in conversation and direction and I was happy to sit back and enjoy the ride because there’s nothing more enjoyable after rousing a bunch of baby chicks than to gather the lonely one and gently coax it back to the group until it starts chirping with authority again.

Lesson of the story: Everyone has a tough time bridging the gap from alone to company – meet them halfway: smile, wave, and engage.

Running

4 Apr

Running

I feel the music
flowing
spreading through my body

I have to fight the urge
to dance
Wild and Free

My arms start swinging
propelling me
my legs find the rhythm
hitting the pavement to the beat

The lyrics carry me
Forward

I feel myself
Floating
Invisible

A wide grin flashes on my face
I can fly
I can soar

Stronger
Faster
Happier
I go

Hip hop
Cumbias
Rap
They heal me
Transform me
As I run

Run free

You’re incredibly beautiful, but you know that

28 Feb

You’re incredibly beautiful, but you know that.

Beauty
Skin Deep
Every day older
Wiser
life and hardship

Outward
Face up
Bold, strong, and fierce
Strides to success

But so
Tired
Swinging to and fro
Only gradually
moving forward
emotion
self satisfaction

You’re incredibly beautiful, but you know that.

A hurricane
of movement
Tearing inside
pushing out
wailing
breaking
Agonizingly slow

Torrent
of shame
self-doubt

Precariously close to
Tipping over
Roaring winds all about
Pushing
Edging
Closer and Closer

Scream

You’re incredibly beautiful, but you know that.

So strong
So Beautiful
Pulled Together

And inside
it crumbles

You’re incredibly beautiful, but you know that.

Moving Forward

20 Jan

How do you balance your own dreams and ambitions with those of the collective good? The collective good being: your family, your people, and for those so inclined, society as a whole. How do you balance any dreams with the reality of a failed attempt? How do you move forward when life seems stalled or worse yet muted?

When I was a kid I thought anything was possible. I was living in low standards (in quality of life, expectations, and interaction) that I drew up my own world of existence. When I try to recall memories, many of them are of me just sitting, lying, standing – alone, lost in thought. A loud buzzing is in my ears as I lose track of time and wake from my fantasy to find that hours and sometimes only seconds have passed.

The hours spent dreaming were my escape from my life. My time spent reading and writing were a respite from admitting where/when I was living.

And in these dreams with limitless skies I saw myself as an attorney, as a businesswoman, as an inventor – with an empire that would spread its wings in Boyle Heights and provide a higher quality of life to its residents: to teenage moms, to boys on the cusp of being lost to drugs/gangs/apathy, to immigrant parents providing for a better life. I dreamt of a world where I wrote my way to the top, sharing my stories, and then my profits to this community. Buying a beautiful house for my parents and siblings; making enough money so my parents could stop their backbreaking work; financing the education of my siblings so they could escape the soul crunching cycle of poverty; realizing these goals would make me happy I thought.

Yet along the way my heart wasn’t strong enough, my mind became weaker, and I dreamt longer and longer. My escape became a necessity and I would lose track of time, lose track of my goals and ambitions, until I just lived. I breathed, I ate, I woke and I slept. I loved with an immature sense of what this meant or what it would bring.

And those goals became silly notions meant for another. My self-questioning became louder, a feverish pitch of self-doubt that drowned out any positive thoughts and immobilized my inner sense of worth.

A failed marriage, an unaccomplished degree, and single motherhood at 23.

It seemed the only dream I had “accomplished” which I couldn’t even take credit for was growing into an attractive woman. As a child, I had wished daily to be beautiful, graceful, to possess the ease of human interaction – the ability to connect and feel with others, but this desire was misguided as I did not know the difference between healthy and unhealthy connections in relationships.

I was in a downward spiral that was quickly finding its way to the bottom. I had no sense of where I could go from there, of what life meant anymore if not my definition of a perfect loveable family.

But with pain, failure, and darkness comes revelation. You cannot hide from yourself when all that is left is you.

So I took the shreds of my motivation and began a painstakingly slow mending process. I recognized my faults, which were many, and realized that no matter how sympathetic a past I had, it did not constitute an excuse for where I had landed.

And 5 years later you find me here, full of life.

I didn’t give up on life. I placed one foot in front of the other and though I had many missteps, I keep walking forward. And I feel a sense of pride in my life; I have two young daughters that grow lovelier every day, I have a career that I enjoy and brings me a sense of fulfillment, and I am ready to go back to my restarting those childhood dreams – even if that only means coloring the life of my loved ones with my happiness.

We can spend days philosophizing about what true happiness means and what we need to possess it. We can spend an equal amount of time debating whether the singular task of making ourselves happy contributes to the improved happiness of the collective; I believe that it does. By being a happy mother, daughter, sister, friend, and partner I am bringing that positivity into the lives of those connected to me. By sharing my stories, I hope you feel the hope that has carried me through daily and how this hope has changed as I have gotten older. I once thought happiness would come when I married and had children, a family to love me and receive my love.

But I learned that you can’t smother the darkness, you can’t swallow the bitter memories, you can’t hide from the gray that is nestled inside you and lures you into endless sleep; you have to face it in order to bring a sense of peace and happiness into your own being.

Imagine that you are in your dark hole, surrounded by darkness that eats at your perceived happiness away, that chips at your will to live, that hammers you down when you try to move forward, that suffocates you when you try to take a breath of hopeful air. You are left slumped on the ground choking on the hurt, the pain is so strong it keeps you pinned to the floor and no matter how hard you try to ignore it; the ringing in your ears makes it impossible for you to function at a higher level than mere existence. It becomes a sub existence and time passes by, passing you by.

But there is a ladder amongst this darkness. Barely visible at first but you feel it with your hands as you wander around unrelenting in your desire to escape. Each rung on that ladder brings you a different memory – a painful shameful moment in your life; and in order to move past a rung you have to come to terms with it and the implications it has caused in your life.

If you were abused, you need to know that you did nothing to invite this undeserved attack onto yourself. There is nothing wrong with you. You do not have something in you that can elicit this behavior in others toward you. You may have been repeatedly abused, by many, but you need to realize that it is not your fault. You were a victim but over time and with a lot of work you can heal and stop living like one.

Whatever hard reality was or is your life you have two choices, same as anyone else; climb the ladder or cower in the false safety of your known darkness. Don’t beat yourself up for decisions and choices you made, even if you ended up hurting others. You have to learn to forgive yourself and push forward. If you don’t, your “reality” (your self-inflicted continuation of that twisted world) will always remain your captor.

I’m not credentialed to tell you how to get better, I can only share what I have gone through and have done to get to a better place. One thing I can tell you, when you climb high enough up that ladder, you will savor the ease with which you keep climbing and you will begin to shed your old tattered self and embrace the new stronger, happier, and more productive self.

I am not at the top of the ladder; I don’t know what I will find when I get there. But I do know that I am relishing the journey upward and that I am improving this world a little with my own sunshine brightening this beautiful new day.

Runaway

18 Dec

Oh I try to stay away
in my own quiet darkness
I plot 
To runaway

It’s too good
Too kind
Too normal to be real

Isn’t it sad?

I can’t accept that I deserve this
Or at the very least 
Accept that I don’t deserve
constant pain

It’s all so very bleak inside
The cobwebs that linger in the corner
They remind me of those years

Clinging to me
They refuse to disappear

It’s all so hideous
So very sad

Don’t you see?
Isn’t it clear?
Runaway

Let me be
So much easier to bear this pain
Neatly tucked behind the smile of a promise
That the year end is near

Year after Year
The end is near

Why don’t you just
Runaway?

 

Stop Feeling Guilty

19 Nov

I tend to do it myself.  I feel guilty, constantly. 

I had a great conversation with an unexpected source recently; I will admit (shamefully) that up until a year ago I did not realize that this woman had any depth to her.  I wrote her off as a beautiful woman with no substance nor intelligence.  After listening to her countless cries of attention through dieting tips, conquest stories, and her endless grooming I found myself speaking about an author series that I was attending.  And the unexpected happened.  She knew exactly who I was speaking of and she asked if she could be my +1.  This was over a year ago and I still feel stupid, rude, and naive for judging her exactly as I have been unfairly judged. 

Recently we had a follow up conversation about growing up in Boyle Heights, in East LA, in Westlake…  Growing up as an attractive female with 0 self-esteem and what that brought down on us but in a more insightful slant –  the root of what our reactions were stemmed to.  As she described what she went through: feelings of rejection, judgement, constant criticism from adults as a child (bullies); I began to understand more of what I felt, of what I did, of who I was, as I heard her tell her stories.

She is an incredibly striking woman with piercing green eyes and a hell of a personality and yet she had soft heart, a vulnerability that her surroundings did not respect, much less notice.  She is extremely intelligent, observant, and insightful – yet she receives no credit or acknowledgement for her innate gifts, qualities that she has retained despite her challenges.  She lives life thinking she is wrong, misunderstood, defective…

As I heard of what she witnessed as a child, of what she went through growing up, of what was unsaid but I could so palpably feel it that I could practically hold it with my fingertips…I understood her pain.  A pain that is so deeply rooted that it takes a hell of a strong person to face it in order to start healing; facing it means accepting that you were unloved, overcoming it means knowing that you are not un-loveable.  I saw this in her.  I heard it in the crack of her voice as she tried to remain composed and to the naked eye she was -  fine. She was perfectly fine.  But I was there; I knew better.

As she unfolded her worries before me I found the common theme of Guilt.  Guilt pervades all those who have succeeded in improving their lot in life while still being surrounded by negative influences. 

But it made me Angry.  Angry that life could be so cruel to her (and countless of you lovely women and men) and still invade her being with a sense that she did not deserve to find inner peace whilst her family was still in such a state of disarray.

It really upset me because I constantly feel that way.  Guilty.  Guilty when a guy wants to pay for dinner.  Guilty when my career is taking off.  Guilty when my children are doing well in school.  Guilty when I am spending money on myself.  Guilty when I am spending money on extracurricular activities for my kids instead of funneling it elsewhere.  Guilty when I want to for once, get taken care of.  When for once I would like to relax and feel vulnerable, and feel like a woman who wants to be shielded from worldly problems.  I want to know what it feels like to be sheltered.  I want to feel like what it feels to be taken care of without having to feel like I have to be the strong independent woman I have always been. 

I love who I am.  But just because I am strong does not mean that I am not soft as well.  I am strong and independent because there is no other way nor any other choice for me.  If not me then whom?  Who would step up to be the head of the household in my life?  No one.

So I remind myself not to feel guilty.  I deserve happiness.  I realize I will never have a childhood again where I can hope to feel cared for in that manner but I do some day want to feel the sense of comfort of knowing that I can rely on someone – completely.  And I will not feel guilty because I would care for that person right back.

So stop feeling guilty. 

Stop over thinking your future.  Life is life and it will continue to happen whether you allow it to or not, whether you plan for it or not.  Be the strong person that you are but give yourself merits for what you have overcome and what you have worked out for yourself.  You are incredible, special, and beautiful.  Anyone would be lucky to have you.  Why?  Because you have chosen to embrace life regardless of what it dealt you early on and you DESERVE to expect happiness.  It’s a good reminder for us all.

Stop feeling guilty.

Letter to my Dear Eliza on her 7th Birthday

13 Nov

When I see your face, your uninterrupted innocence, and feel the silkiness of your cheek when you rub it against mine in affection I am mesmerized.  I am awestruck and grateful for the simplicity in your joy and outlook in life; by your dreams full of cotton candy clouds, rainbows bursting through the sky, pink princesses leading the world; and your mommy loved above it all. 

You hold my hand, tilt your head to the side, giving me one of your crooked half smiles that can’t contain itself and I am filled with a radiating warmth that makes the world around me livelier.

 I work hard instilling a joy for life, an appreciation for everything around us; whether it is observing the morning dew glittering on a blade of lime green grass or sitting quietly taking in the fiery and purple hues of our LA sunsets.  I pray, in my own way, that you take what happiness you can from each moment in life and that these moments become a permanent state of happiness for you.

Each time I threw a penny in a wishing pond, each time an eyelash fell and we pressed it against our fingers, every birthday cake wish since I’ve had you two, I have fervently wished that you grow to be Happy and Kind – wonderful women.

 Along the way of finding ways to improve your chances of a better tomorrow, I have found bits and pieces of happiness myself.  As I looked for a better education for the two of you, I found a way to use my skills to volunteer and received a higher sense of fulfillment.  As I pushed you into the arts, I became immersed in a colorful world of music, acting and dance. 

 We have grown happier together.  We have grown stronger together.

 Today you are seven years old. 

 I was 21 and a mother of two with a growing sense of dread and an urgent need to raise you on my own before you were marred with witnessing what I did as a child.

 No one knew what went on nor do they need to know.  I set out with the two of you and we carried on as three.  It is the hardest decision I have ever made.  Not because of what I needed but for fear that I was being weak by not putting up with a bad situation so you could have your father. 

 In many ways I have never been a child but more of a half adult.  I experienced life’s travails and physical exigencies while still trapped in a child’s body.  Like a Matryoshka doll, I forced forward the strength of an adult to appease the need of others when inside I was physically and deep down, emotionally, still a child. 

But since the first moment I laid eyes on you, I Loved you.  You were my renewed link to life in many ways, my dear.  With time, I have found my own place, independent of you two, I discovered self-love.  But what remains unchanged are the tears that threaten to spill from my eyes, the ache in my chest, in my soul, when I think of you and the love I have for you. 

 I say all this in tribute to you; to the strength that you have as a seven year old, to have lived through the many low’s that life dealt us in the past but retaining only the good.

 You take heart in the beauty of dying embers even when the fire burned.

 Your eyes, full of honest and raw adoration looked up at me and thanked me for a weekend that reminded you of how special you are.  I will never forget what you told me that night.  I share it in hope that it inspires the formerly unloved to focus on the care and love of their own children instead on love that was not received. 

 The night was bitingly cold but we happily lingered in the moment as we walked back from your birthday dinner.  I took your small fingers in my hand and caressed them with the magic that hung, suspended in the air.

 You stopped and looked up at me, your eyes shining with tenderness, and asked me,

 “Mommy, you know how you can happy cry?”

 “Yes?”

 “When you read me your card, you made me happy cry.”

 —The contents of said birthday card will remain private because I whispered those words, meant only for you, into your ear—

 “Iza, you’re making me happy cry now.”

 “Thank you Mommy.” And you hugged me tightly.

 That in a life continuously assaulted with the love for Things, with the need of bigger, better, brighter!, you chose to focus on and appreciate the love that I show you, made my wish come true.

 

 

Twists and Turns

13 Oct

I’ve been gone for a bit, I have had a few moments when I have wanted to sit down and write but I kept putting it off.

I think the best writing comes when you feel the emotion pouring out fluidly like a stream of water filling up a glass; you hardly have to try to get it out because it just keeps on going so easily.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have always wanted to love.  I have memories that go back pretty far, some where I couldn’t be much older than 2 1/2 years old and it was always the same urge to love and be loved.  Memories of standing up on my crib watching those around me, holding on to the side rail and wanting to capture someone’s attention; anyone to pick me up and hold me.

When I was twelve I decided to run away.  I had several impulses to leave before then but this was the first time that I decided to methodically plan out my exit plan and timeline of goals so that I coul survive and sustain myself without falling into harm.  I was in the seventh grade and my parents had bought me a neon yellow fleece sweater with a matching neon yellow and gray hiker’s backpack from Old Navy.  When I was home alone I would put this pullover on and try to see how I could improve my packing skills so I could fit in jeans, underwear, tops, layered clothing and a loaf of bread with a jar of peanut butter.  I would pull out some paper and write letters to each of my family members telling them how I felt towards them, what made me leave, the secrets that remain hidden from them; and then I would crumple them up and walk to the kitchen.

The flickering and tick tick of the pilot coming to life was a ritual for me; feeling the heat of the flames lick at my palm as I waved it closer and closer, longer and longer, over the fire; hoping to feel something, anything.  Then tossing the crumpled letters in one at a time until all that was left was black as coal ashes that would stain the stove top.  I would pull out the dish rag and scrub at the black soot until the surface was white and shiny again.  And I would walk back to my room and look around, hoping for a sign that would prompt me to leave.  Instead, I would inevitably find a toy of my baby sister and I would feel horribly rotten for thinking of abandoning her.  I would slump down and unpack and watch my fingers, trembling with defeat, pull the blanket over me so I could sleep the reality away.

These feelings didn’t leave me when I got older.  I postponed my plan of leaving and figured that I would find a relief when I went off to college and I concentrated my energy on doing well in school.  But the twists and turns of life would always veer me off my road.  The darkness of depression would weigh me down and I would sink into the black sea of inertia; finding other ways to feel, other means of escaping reality which made me lose my way.

And it was easy to give into a quick fix of feeling better; through relationships and compliments; through the idea of a family and an impromptu marriage.  And soon the swelling of my belly gave me both hope and heavy sadness that I would live beyond 26 years old.  It is easy to judge my decisions from your point of view; why fall into so many destructive situations time and time again?  But would you really care if you “knew” you would not live beyond your 20′s?  If you had the firm belief that eventually it would all be over anyway, would you really care that you were endlessly fucking up?

But through motherhood I found a vine that tied me down to this Earth and refused to let me go.  When Iza came tumbling out close behind it forced me to wake up from the fog of life I had been perfectly accepting as the only reality.

I held a very painful battle within myself when I had my daughters and the only thing that kept me from falling deep into the abyss of suicide was the acute understanding that I would now be harming them by leaving them with such a bitter introduction to life.

I don’t know how I found the strength to shake myself into awareness of my surroundings and plan a real exit plan; a journey into a better life for my girls if not for myself.  And I stuck with it and I left.

Failure at Marriage: I never thought I would marry anyone but when I did, even if at a moment of stupidity and pressure, I felt that I had to carry it through the end and when I didn’t, I felt the heavy cloak of shame slipping off my shoulders and baring what a useless person I was.

Every now and then I look back and I wonder at what went wrong.  We were both attractive, young, so full of energy at the beginning; but it was too quickly drowned out by our heavy baggage of childhood memories that we dragged with us into our new life.  And now I know that walking away was the best thing I could have done for the girls and I.

But I lay broken, disappearing as I couldn’t eat or sleep.  I had no self-worth.  The twisted thing is that I would have moments when I would look in the mirror and think, who is that beautiful young woman?; but that would quickly dissolve into a self mocking attack against my own psyche.

And I had quite a few missteps and I certainly found numbness along the way.  I don’t regret the passage of time and I don’t hate myself for what I put myself through; let bygones be bygones.  Live and learn and I did, I have, I do.

I am still finding my way in life, both through the stumbles and joys, but I do it at a much slower pace.  I have learned to take my time, to listen to my instincts, to my thoughts, to what makes me happy.

And happiness is there for the taking.  I never thought I would feel the kind of love that my girls give and show me every day.  It is the most beautiful feeling in this world and it erases all of the pain and ugliness that I have experienced.  Unconditional Love eases all but you can’t experience it unless you provide it yourself as well.  Loving the two of them is the most honorable privilege and I try to be worthy day in and out.

And for the day that I can give a partnership a chance again, well that still seems off in the sunset but the belief that it is out there is still in me.  I can and do love and it is freeing.  It makes me smile like a fool and it brightens up an already beautiful day.  Love for who you ask?  Love for love given.  Love for respect, care, admiration, appreciation, thoughtfulness, embracing the truth no matter how unappealing at times, love for reality.  That is freeing.  To be me.  To be Loved for more than skin deep and to discover the limitless supply of love and strength inside me brings me an incredible high.  And it is no longer numbness nor finding an escape; it is welcoming what is to come with the willingness to live not just to and keep going but to move forward in this path of twists and turns.

Will anyone ever love me?

1 Oct

“Call me when you have a chance, I need to talk to you!”

I picked up the phone immediately and called and she started pouring out all of the pain that she had been trying to keep tucked in neatly inside her usual composed self.

She had the threat of divorce hanging over her and all of it seeming to stem from an ongoing conflict over parenting in a blended family.  Boy, you have no idea how close to home it hit, and still hits, when I think about future relationships.

But when she asked through her sobs, “Will I ever find someone to love me? Will I ever be happy?”, that felt like someone punched me in the stomach.  It took me a minute to respond and reassure her, listen to her, be there for her.

But it makes me so sad when I hear this coming from women.  Why is it that so many of us (I’ve been guilty of it in the past) stake our happiness in love and relationships?

And why are those questions filled with so much pain, with such an intensity and hope latched on to them?

I am by no means qualified to philosophize on theories of problems rooted in childhood that continue to affect us if we don’t deal with them but it is certainly something I am familiar with.

I can’t help but see myself in other women when I see them struggling; it is partly what has given me the strength to leave relationships in the past.  I looked at the women that I grew up around and saw that nothing had changed in their life and perspective (except for more pain, helplessness, and bitterness) in the years that I knew and heard of their troubles.  I did not want to be standing in that same unhealthy situation 10, 20, 40 years down the line still hoping in vain that it they would change but the only difference being an aging face in the mirror.

This week marks what would have been 9 years of marriage.  It has me feeling like I am visiting a plot at the cemetery but the coffin is filled with broken promises of forever, hope, a teenager’s idea of a family, and memories so dim that they feel like those of another.

When I walked away from that, I felt at my worse.  I felt like an utter failure and it encompassed my daily worries, it lived in my dreams, in my dress, and self-awareness.  I wondered how I could have failed at loving, I questioned if I loved enough, if I had the capacity to love the right way.  And my self-criticism was a daily self-torture routine: was I not pretty enough, smart enough, entertaining/strong/woman enough to make my marriage work?

And most of all I wondered over and over – Would Anyone Ever Love Me?  Would I even allow myself to be hurt again?, to be vulnerable once more?  Was I even able to feel again?

And the thoughts were only compounded by harassment and hateful statements.  Who would love a single mom with two young children?  What man in their right mind would even look at me?

And sadly, my self-esteem was so nonexistent that I believed it, I wholeheartedly agreed with him.

And I struggle with forgiving myself for feeling that way; for believing those hurtful words, and for living my life measured by non-existing standards: by the idea that I was and could achieve nothing.

Words of endearment that came my way created an anxiety in me: both a source of disbelief and the idea that I had to conserve this new possibility of someone loving me.  And that’s a terrible way to start a new relationship.  That is completely unfair to all involved.

I have worked through most of what contributed in making me feel that sense of self-worthlessness.  Some of that pain is extremely deep-rooted and it is triggered by seeing it in others – especially young women, or by a color/movie/song/place that brings back a memory in full force and I have to revisit it and give myself time to work through it.  It’s a process of self-healing coupled with my desire to live life and reach my full potential that keeps me moving forward.  I am also fortunate to have wise women around me; women that love and support me, and inspire me to move forward with the proper sense of self-worth.
I know my strength, I know my capacity to love is immeasurable (as I am reminded when I look at my beautiful little girls), I am kind, intelligent, fun, interesting, beautiful (inside and out), and I am happy with the woman I see in the mirror every morning.
Even when I wake up with my hair looking like a tornado blew through it and my eyes are exhausted from lack of sleep, I love those eyes looking back at me in the mirror every morning.  I am pretty badass and fucking awesome if I may say so myself.  And I have every right to feel this way whether anyone, someone, The one, or No one stands beside me.
I am me: the feelings, qualities, strengths, happiness, and yes the occasional crankiness and sassiness that make me who I am, are all ME, independent of who tells me so or tries to tell me otherwise.
If you ever wonder those same questions, Be Kind to yourself and remember that you will be happy and you will be loved; but you have to start with the image in the mirror.  Because as your self-love grows, that image in the mirror will grow more beautiful, happy, and yes, even more fucking awesome than you already are.
I know that kindness and love to and for yourself can be extremely difficult when you have grown up feeling the complete opposite but you are no longer a child.  No one holds the power of your sustenance, existence, and mental well-being anymore; you are no longer dependent on your parents to survive.
Cut the chord, the emotional chord that responds to what other think of you.  It is hard; I won’t bull shit you; but it’s harder to live a life full of pain and self-hatred.  And it’s sadder for your friends and everyone that loves you to hear those questions: Will Anyone Ever Love Me?  Will I Ever Be Happy?
You are no longer a Victim.
Yes you Will be Loved and Yes you Can, Deserve to Be, Happy.

Beautiful Gina

10 Nov

It’s been over ten years but I thought of you Gina and I couldn’t help but cry. I felt waves of pain and choked up emotion overwhelm my body making me double over and gasp for breath. I’ve buried you in the back of my mind- filed you away and fought the urge to remember you. It hurts to wonder if you’re dead or alive; and if you are still breathing- if it hurts you to draw breath from this life.

Being pretty doesn’t do you any favors in this neighborhood; instead it makes you a walking target to strike down. The dirty men trying to paw at you, the ‘homies’ trying to get you big at a random kickback, and most girls would claw you down if you made their boyfriend’s head turn as you walk by.

Yet you had heart you know? You never backed down from a fight- your angular face set in stone and “china” eyes would turn into slits under the exclamation marks of eyebrows you had. I can still see you clearly if I close my eyes: you wearing your baggy Dickies tight at the waist with that black cotton belt and big silver belt buckle, your burgundy shirt tucked in pulled tightly over your breasts that we were all jealous of.

I always felt proud that I owned Vans just like you. You’d do me up with the Jordana Lipliner Pencil in Honey, my hair slicked back and loose in the back. You made me feel like a chola as we strutted across campus; cool and accepted as you wrote “La China” next to my “La Honey” on the bathroom stalls.

You were special Gina, a beautiful girl from East L.A. that didn’t take shit but always stood by me. I was Proud to be your friend.

Why does East L.A. swallow beautiful girls like you Gina? When I saw you again you were a shell of your old self. All that was left was a crack-heads skeleton of what used to be an Aztec Princess. I wanted to throw my sweater over your body and revive you. Gone were your Latina curves – those large round breasts you were so proud of, only a flat concave chest in their place. You were hardly covered in that awful see-through mesh dress you had hanging off your frail frame. I couldn’t find the beautiful almond shaped eyes full of fire- all I saw was dull glass…

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