Monday, December 25, 2006

New Years Resolutions, Round 1

1. I will have a longer term dating life then my standard 3 weeks.
2. I will upgrade my wardrobe all year.
3. I will find a physical activity that I enjoy that isn't seasonal that I will do regularly.
4. I will hike at least once a month.
5. I will discover more places in the city I enjoy.
6. I will go out at least three times a month to a non-bar/dance place.
7. I will go out at least once to a bar/dance place.
8. Create non-negotiable boundaries with my job and friends.
9. Figure out how to stop my "all or nothing" habit. Look into where it comes from.
10. Learn how to say no without feeling guilty.
11. Stop letting other peoples needs and wants from coming before my own.
12. Stop allowing myself to feel like a bad person when I say no to someone.
13. Learn how to say no up front instead of when I've maxed myself out.
14. See more plays.
15. See more live music.
16. Cook more.
17. **** *** (thats a private one)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CNN Article: Poll: Most Americans see lingering racism -- in others



Poll: Most Americans see lingering racism -- in others
POSTED: 1:02 p.m. EST, December 12, 2006

• Poll shows most Americans consider racism a problem
• Blacks more than twice as likely to call racism a "very serious" problem
• Almost half of whites and blacks say they know someone who is racist
• Only a few of either race say they are racially biased themselves
More on CNN TV: Are you prejudiced in ways you don't even know? Find out in a Paula Zahn NOW Special: "Skin Deep: Racism in America," tonight, 8 p.m. ET.
Adjust font size:


(CNN) -- Most Americans, white and black, see racism as a lingering problem in the United States, and many say they know people who are racist, according to a new poll.

But few Americans of either race -- just one out of eight -- consider themselves racist.

And experts say racism has evolved from the days of Jim Crow to the point that people may not even recognize it in themselves. (Watch people in a Texas town where blacks are still afraid to stop )

A poll conducted last week by Opinion Research Corp. for CNN indicates that whites and blacks disagree on how serious a problem racial bias is in the United States.

Almost half of black respondents to the poll -- 49 percent -- said racism is a "very serious" problem, while 18 percent of whites shared that view. Forty-eight percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks chose the description "somewhat serious."

Asked if they know someone they consider racist, 43 percent of whites and 48 percent of blacks said yes.

But just 13 percent of whites and 12 percent of blacks consider themselves racially biased.

Professor Jack Dovidio of the University of Connecticut, who has researched racism for more than 30 years, estimates up to 80 percent of white Americans have racist feelings they may not even recognize.

"We've reached a point that racism is like a virus that has mutated into a new form that we don't recognize," Dovidio said.

He added that 21st-century racism is different from that of the past.

"Contemporary racism is not conscious, and it is not accompanied by dislike, so it gets expressed in indirect, subtle ways," he said.

That "stealth" discrimination reveals itself in many different situations.

A three-year undercover investigation by the National Fair Housing Alliance found that real estate agents steered whites away from integrated neighborhoods and steered blacks in to predominantly black neighborhoods.

Racism also can be a factor in getting a job.

Candidates named Emily O'Brien or Neil McCarthy were much more likely to get calls back from potential employers than applicants named Tamika Williams and Jamal Jackson, even though they had the same credentials, according to a study by the University of Chicago.

Racial bias may even determine whether you can flag a cab.

New York Times writer Calvin Sims wrote a recent article about all the cabdrivers that refused to stop for him.

"If a cab passes you by, obviously it is frustrating, it's degrading and it's just really confusing, because this is akin to being in the South and being refused service at a lunch counter, which is what happened in the 60s and 70s," he said.

Victimized

The Opinion Research poll shows that blacks and whites disagree on how each race feels about the other.

Asked how many whites dislike blacks, 40 percent of black respondents said "all" or "many." Twenty-six percent of whites chose one of those replies.

On the question of how many blacks dislike whites, 33 percent of blacks said "all" or "many," while 38 percent of whites agreed -- a wash because of the poll's 5 percent margin of error.

About half of black respondents said they had been a victim of discrimination because of their race. A little more than a quarter of whites said they had been victims of racial discrimination.

The poll was based on phone interviews conducted December 5 through Thursday with 1,207 Americans, including 328 blacks and 703 non-Hispanic whites.

Depersonalizing

So I would say, as of late, I have not posted anything too personal. I think I've hit a time period that I cannot disclose to the general public just yet. I'm sure there will come a time that I can, and I will, but that writing has had to be more personal and private. It's gotten me through struggle and I want to keep it to myself for a second. There are other things however, issues that mean a lot to me, that may not necessarily involve a huge forthcoming of personal details that I have been mulling. I'm about to write that blog entry right now. My life will soon return to my blog. I think once I get a handle on it, I'll feel more freedom with it. Until that time... enjoy my other musings. =c)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thinking about it... from the "Latino Desk"

(Me looking Latina, because apparently, that matters)


So I have thought about the CNN article I posted. There are pieces of it that I'm puzzling over as I ponder it. I think it's a great theory of how we should be, the whole, America takes in the cultures and accepts them as their own. It's great except that its bull.

When has this country welcomed information and culture on my African brothers and sisters? When has the booming Pacific Islander community found themselves represented ANYWHERE? When have asians in this country been marketed as anything but "smart". You want me to believe that there is no division but all I have heard this year is how unwanted the latino community is here. How the whole of the brown community (as the words latino and immigrant seem to be interchangable in the media, and may I point out that I am latino but fully an american citizen- born and raised) is a drain on all things economic, medical and educational. As silly as it may sound, it was the second time in my life that I felt like I was just not welcomed in this country. the first time, I was in kindergarten and a ton of kids were making fun of me for having an accent. It's a different situation but its the same basic gist.

So now you realize, as a media/as a country (and maybe soon as an electorate), that due to personal human value, the humanity of a majority of people not only welcomes the people but wants in to the pieces that make them unique and we are now the magically marketable. Honor both ends mofo's. Don't perpetuate the myths and marvel at the successes. OF COURSE Ugly Betty is a success. The country was STARVING for it. Latin explosion articles make us sound like a rarity. The last time my people were a rarity, Leave it to Beaver was a number one hit. Those aren't good old days, "simpler times" they were just times of simpler people. Welcome to complexity and dimension. Maybe the articles should be about the growing multi-cultural intelligence of the average American and what can be done to heighten that awareness in our people who lag behind.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I Rest My Case

Check out this CNN Opinions Editorials piece...

Monday, October 16, 2006
America's Latinization: Shakira, salsa and Ugly Betty
I feel like I keep doing this same story every year, telling the tale of how the booming Latino population is changing the United States, how the U.S. media business needs to take note of this vast and demanding market. I'm Latina and in the media, so I cop to having a special interest here.

But, as the U.S. population approaches 300 million people, the story has finally changed. I've written for years about how Latino content -- in Spanish and English -- is growing so much that it's going to transform American media. Now it seems to have actually happened.

It's not just that People Magazine also publishes People en Espanol or that CNN has a Spanish-language channel called CNN en Espanol. All U.S. media is changing its content to reflect the fact that Latinos have become the nation's largest minority group and that the rest of the country is feeling their own culture become Latinized.

You can see it in supermarket snack aisles, where tortilla chips and salsa outsell most everything around them. You can hear it on the radio and on MTV, where Spanish music and music with a Spanish beat are everywhere. Hello, Shakira! I flipped through childrens channels the other morning with my 15-month old daughter and there was Handy Manny talking to his toolbelt in Spanish, Dora exploring the world with her amigos and Diego talking to some birds in Spanish. By the time my little girl is my age, it is likely that one in five school children will be Spanish dominant. Our country is changing, fast.

Just a few years ago my relatives in Peru told me not to call them when Betty La Fea was on because they wouldn't pick up the phone. I remember visiting them and TV reporters were on air around Latin America doing live shots to show how empty the streets were during the broadcast. The show was a major telenovela phenomena. Everyone watched, every time. When ABC announced it would produce a U.S. version in English, I figured this would be a true test of whether the U.S. audience, Latinos and non-Latinos, would embrace something so quintessentially Latin American. Well, question answered. Ugly Betty has become the most-watched new series this season.

The show is funny, with crisp writing and a compelling story line. It is also very much a Latino show. Yet the numbers speak for themselves. It's not the nation's Latinos watching; it's everybody.

After years of watching Spanish-language shows and news broadcasts in the U.S. attract Neilson ratings that were the envy of U.S. broadcasters, it's heartening to see something Latino holding its own in English. It means there has been a coming together, a melting in the melting pot. That's the thing that makes the United States a special place for immigrants. That it welcomes and assumes their culture. That it goes out of it's way to welcome the millions of Bettys out there into their home.

*****************************************************

Friday, October 13, 2006

Ethnic Folk on TV




Can I tell you that I have absolutely loved loved loved watching TV on Thursday nights. Something special happens on Thursdays. A latina female that doesn't look like a sex kitten comes on at 8pm. And after she abdicates her seat, a show about surgeons comes on, the show features prominent characters in many ethnicities. The focus of both of these shows are the people. Not their ethnic heritage, their racial struggles in the world, but the people. Not that these shows would shy away from these issues, its just that these shows recognize they are much more then the melanin in their complexions. They address how they view, experience and love the world. And I think its FANTASTIC.

I think that network executives have been so afraid to feature people of color in their shows. What happens if America doesn't tune in and they lose dollars? Well, In addition to being the best shows on TV, these two shows are the highest rated shows on TV. So my question is this, after the success of Ugly Betty and Grey's Anatomy, if network executives still don't look at casting shows by the best actor/actress but by the demographic that they think they should hit, what kind of rebellion should occur in the face of this blatant racism. I mean you have a solid case for featuring people of all heritages and you still oust them? I think that this racism is the most pervasive. Our children deserve to see people that look like them play surgeons, fashionistas and all sorts of three dimensional characters. Then they see what they can aspire too. When we don't do this, it sends a silent but deadly message, that only certain people count and/or make it. I think evening out this playing field will play a role in evening out the disparities/despair in our neighborhoods.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Silver Platter



My cousin Jorge (wildly talented photographer and first person to ever give me a book), used to tell me "The harder you work, the luckier you get." I always found it to be true. I mean no one, no matter how cool just "gets" what they want. Their had to be an element of control to it in some way shape or form. But I'm starting to wonder how much that "no control" variable does play. As tired as I am right now, as hard as the week has been, as much work as I have had to put in, I feel like an incredibly lucky person.

In high school my friend Eric used to say that I was born with a silver platter. He said I just always seemed to get what I want. The grades I wanted, the people in my life, the opportunities, the acceptance to my favorite college. At the time, if truth be told, the joke bothered me a great deal. There was such a disparity between my economic brackett and the brackett my friends lived in, I felt my hard work shouldn't be chalked up to being born with luck. I thought it was being born with a work ethic.

Last night while at the program I work for, I was rushing around trying to get kids into vans, and two of my boys are sitting in the computer lab. I walk in and I say goodbye and I call them my two favorite huggers. Hugging, as you may already know is a premium with me, Jammo and Freddy are pros. They jump up and run over and give me a hug. They start to compete over who can give me the best hug. And then Freddy, says to Jammo "I'm sorry man, Karla is mine. She's my mom." haha. Now, the 16 year old boy as a species is known for many things. To this day, I don't think they have been noted for their affection and warmth. So you can see why it is even on a crappy week that I feel so lucky. How many people in the world get that? I seem to have repeated blessings of good people that just fill my life.

I've met my share of celebrities and politicians. I have to tell you though, they do not compare to the healers, changemakers, artists, comedians and musicians that I have come into contact with. At every stage of my life, new people in these categories come along and feed my heart. My students feed me like it was Thanksgiving. Even in the toughest of moments it seems like invisible hands will push me into the arms of more good people to get me through. No success I have had, matches up to the warmth I feel when I reflect on these people. So maybe they are the silver platter. Maybe it's tough but the people are the blessings and the opportunities come because I seek out the people. Just some thoughts to tide me over while I procrastinate.

Monday, September 18, 2006

What happens in Vegas...




I'm baaaaaaack. Well suffice to say If I heard that phrase one more time in the last week... well I would have thrown something. Vegas is the most interesting place. It really just draws a collection of people filling voids and daring themselves to be different. Between the half naked women and the ogling men, you know, its just one big sociological experiment of a city.

JUDGEMENTAL ALERT - The following entry is incredibly judgemental, forgive me, I just had to say it.

I am no slouch, but I am not an obviously beautiful woman. I am cute but by no means head turning. There are women in the world that are obviously beautiful. Not beautiful from an angle, or when you talk to them but the kind of girls that make a majority of guys say "damn, she fine" without knowing anything about her. I think this subset of the population is many times plagued with how to step out of using there beauty to get them things. After all, the world has taught them they can have whatever they want if they smile pretty and flirt. It gets to the point where these women genuinely have no idea what they are doing, they just use their blessed faces and bodies to get the only attention they know exists. My heart often hurts for these women, because as much as I hate being "mother, sister, friend" I am heard in such a different way. I would hate to not be heard and to always be paranoid that a guy is just out to sleep with me to validate himself. Most of all, I would hate to not know when I am using my body to get things and not my heart. These women are often disconnected to that piece and struggle with how to connect back.

I have had many friends in this category. The obviously pretty girls who struggle just as much as the rest of us with how they fit. I have seen as the society of womanhood pushes them out and resents them for the kind of attention they garner. I get it too, a lot of times you just don't know how much you can trust an obviously beautiful girl. It occurred to me this last weekend, while in Vegas (capital of the obviously pretty girl, in case you dudes were looking and didn't know) that I scare obviously beautiful women. Not all of them, I think there are some very strong OB girls. But I think I scare a good chunk. I came into contact with a few last week that got all twisty around me. See, I'm the kind of girl that gets increasingly prettier the more you are around her. And I think OB girls 8 times out of 10 go the other way. Just because they have never had to mind the hearts of other people. It made for an interesting Vegas experience if nothing else.

I'm done with my general obnoxiousness for now, I'll post more about the wedding later.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Single Shamed

So I am maid of honor at a wedding in about three weeks. This morning the bride calls me, one of my best most supportive friends in the world, and asks me the question dreaded by all single brides maids the world over "I need to know if you are going to bring a date". To which I replyed "Nah, we'll have lots of friends there." and then my friend proceeds to go "NiiiiiiiiƱa" in a voice that reminds me of my mother.

Now I know it's best of intentions. I know she just wants me to be happy. But why is it that the only time I ever truly pay attention to my singleness, its because someone else does. I mean don't get me wrong, if a super cool guy showed up and swept me off my feet... I'm down. Like any girl, the thought appeals to me and I would like it. But I am content in my own world.

I have dated and had a life, I just haven't had anyone that I would keep around to take to a wedding where they would meet all my family and friends. I mean really I have never brought a guy home, I also have never met a guy that I contemplated bringing home. I'm okay with that, it will come in its own time. It's a shame too, I look hot in my maid of honor gown. I'm having fun right now. But damn, Valentines and Weddings big reminders of current states of social conditions. haha.

ADDENDUM:

Just as a status update. I didn't go crazy and try and find a last minute date as I contemplated. I rebeled against the system and all was well. ;c)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Surfing and Acceptance



It's absolutely amazing how much a physical activity can teach you about yourself. I just came back from surfing for the very first time. I totally fell in love with it. It was just the most beautiful manifestation of how to deal with life I have experienced. Everything that I struggle with as a person, I struggle with on the board. I learned about myself today. It was DEEP. Something about the ocean is so soothing for me. Today was learning how to not try and beat it, the ocean is massive, it is strong, but allowing myself to flow through a wave is much more effective then trying to crash against it. I doubt I'll ever be able to live long term in a place without a large body of water. I really just so incredibly enjoy it. The feeling of letting it take me in the directions it chooses...

I know it's sounds dramatic ya'll but it's like communicating with God. Or at least how it should be communicating with God. You ask for the knowledge of your body to better know how you get carried through a wave. You ask not to defeat but to commune. You ask how do I let go of my instinct to conquer and pull from my instinct to just be. There was a point in time where I was asking for the peace to not criticize myself for not getting it because it didn't leave me the room to just flow and try again. When I actually started to learn how to get on my board was the moment I accepted that I did not have the upper body strength to get myself on and I needed to figure out how to allow the strength of the ocean and my legs to help me. My life has been this struggle. Accepting that I can't do it all but looking to and trusting that the world and God will take care of me. MAN. I am hooked.

I have never enjoyed something I am so God awful at so much. I love the learning in the process. After a while, even eating it and crashing into water was a joy. I laughed so hard. I smiled a lot. I screamed. It's hysterical for me that after years of dreading being in swimsuits, today akward and gangly floppin around everywhere, I felt beautiful. Yay for finding a
sport I enjoy working at... finally. Yay for weekend number two featuring water as a prominent character. Oh the archetypes. My senior year English teacher would be so proud. I hope your labor day weeknds are going as fabulously as mine. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Yo Home Skillit from VA!



So I have this sitemeter thing that tells me what parts of the world my blog is being read. It's pretty cool and I have to admit I've become a bit obsessive in checking it, Mostly people just come here to read the lyrics to the Kate Havenik song I posted a while back. That particular entry gets read by people LITERALLY all over the world.

I'm FASCINATED by the person who regularly reads my blog from Herndon, Virginia. Whoever you are, please tell me how you know me. If you are a random stranger I don't care. I would just really like to know. I've been racking my brain to figure out what Virginian I may know and I really can't come up with it. So please leave a comment, even an anonymous one. I'm dying to know. Give a girl a break.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Perfect



There are days that are so perfect. In those days I feel safe being so connected. I'm sitting here in an office waiting for a meeting but my brain is on a beach in Portland. I feel sand underneath my toes. I'm standing there watching 4 men who are just most the amazing people I know. They are splashing tackling each other and making me and another friend laugh on the shoreline. I'm getting picked up and thrown in the water. Salt water is rushing past me as I laugh. I'm catching my breath and diving towards my friends. Trying to tackle them as they have thrown me. We are laughing, screaming, taunting and splashing. One of them grabs my arm and swings me into the surf as I flail and make sure it's tough for him to let go. I bruise. I laugh. I feel beautiful in your estimation, but better then that, in my own. We head home in a van. We listen to the radio as the sunset. In our silence there is love. There is fear of tomorrow because today felt so good. I carry you friends. I just carry you with me. Today, lack of sleep and exhaustion do not diminish my glow. I carry your beauty. I walk confident in a world where you love me and I love you. And I praise the powers of beings greater then I ever imagined that they brought you to me.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The People I Love

It is 3am and I am hearing the snoring (and assorted other choice noises) of my friends. I am in Portland, Oregon. I have spent the last two days just valuing and being valued by a good group of people. My heart is full. And I can't sleep because the thought of going back makes my heart ache. errrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.I still have one more day. Why am I doing this now? Oh well. What can be done I suppose.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kailicious and the Baby Burrito



Tonight I babysat Kai for about 7 hours. Now Kai is the six week old daughter of my ex-coworker and pseudo-big brother Mark. She, like he and his wife, is amazing. I mean absolutely fantastic. I was sitting there holding her and just fully in love. I wonder how you can love people who aren't your blood relatives so much. It was sad for me, driving away from them. The first and really only exemplary marriage I have ever known. The people who helped me believe that loves exists and that it can be a partnership and fun. I'm just sooo utterly grateful to them. And I'm happy for Kai. She is so lucky to have them as parents. Amy is a strong ass woman and Mark is this amazingly wonderful man. The odds are all in her favor. I love seeing how much they love her, how much patience they have with her and each other. Its really beautiful. I am going to miss having that beautifulness (is that a word?) in close proximity. I was watching Mark swaddle her tonight, wrapping her up tight like a baby burrito. The first of many times I know he will venture to make his girl feel safe and protected. It was just sweet. I know the kind of support he will offer her. I only wish more men were the kind of father Mark will be. I'll miss them. I've already spent 30 minutes being weepy and silly because of it. But what they showed me, I'll carry it with me forever.

Here are the lyrics to the song that reminds me of Mark and his Baby Burrito

Father and Daughter by Paul Simon



If you leap awake
In the mirror of a bad dream
And for a fraction of a second
You can't remember where you are
Just open your window
And follow your memory upstream
To the meadow in the mountain
Where we counted every falling star

I believe the light that shines on you
Will shine on you forever
And though I can't guarantee
There's nothing scary hiding under your bed
I’m gonna stand guard
Like a postcard of a Golden Retriever
And never leave till I leave you
With a sweet dream in your head

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you

Trust your intuition
It's just like going fishing
You cast your line
And hope you'll get a bite
But you don't need to waste your time
Worrying about the market place
Try to help the human race
Struggling to survive its harshest night

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Singing




I've spent my morning/afternoon talking to friends and singing at the top of my lungs. Oh thank you Alicia for providing the material. It's been great release.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tired



So I am a germ monster today. Hella sick. MY GOOD GOD. Why did I just realize yesterday that I have been working for the last six weeks straight. Which I assume to be why my body is rebeling. There just doesn't seem to be enough time. I wonder, is there too much too soon in your professional life?

Don't get me wrong, I feel totally capable of doing the tasks at hand. I know I wouldn't be happy if I wasn't challenging myself. But I just did about $2000 worth of accounting I've been procrastinating on, more when I add the other $2000 worth of checks. I am managing a budget that is pretty close to $700,000. I sat there for a second tonight and had this overwhelming feeling of just tired. I can't believe they let me do this stuff. They trust me with this, and I am trustworthy. But damn, most the other 25 year olds I know are not managing this. Everyone else seems to be having a lot more time for fun. They don't carry the kind of weight that I feel like I carry. I guess the next best question is, am I self-imposing the weight?

Truth be told, I have no idea. But I want some time for my own brain. I have a trip scheduled to Portland for next week. I'm visiting with some friends and WILING OUT! I really can't wait. I have been everyone's role model for just a little too long. My brain is flippin and all it wants in the world is to stop. I wonder about my pace and am I cut out for this, and then, even if I am, do I want to be? Will I have a really successful professional life at the sacrifice of being young?

I will step out of the victim place tomorrow, I swear. Tonight, I wanna be a kid. I wanna be a kid not in charge of 150 some odd lives. I want to sleep and not think. I want to fully immerse myself in a crush that is healthy for me and not worry about the time I'm "wasting".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gizmos and Gremlins



It's funny how there are times when you go long time periods without writing, even if there is something to write about. Then randomly you will want to write and you pretty much have nothing to say. That's kinda the boring spot I have put you in today. I am just sitting here in my robe, mentally prepping for my second workshop in a row. I just wanted to ramble. You are under no obligation to read. My last workshop was a huge learning experience (I guess they all are). I had 28 boys (I know I keep saying this, but damn, it did mean something to me), 4 alumni that I had rap directed, and lots of other little fun factors.

When I say learning experience, I just mean, it allowed me to observe the way I have come into contact with the world. As much as I have tried to let the feeling go, I really believed that I blew last years certification. I mean I walked away feeling like the most awful person for even stepping into that workshop. I questioned how irresponsible of me it was to walk into a workshop recovering from an assault that had happened only a week prior. I didn't think I did what was in my capacity to do. Never recognizing that different capacity comes with different trauma and experiences.

Let me tell you about Jo. That workshop, I had this fiery, angry, cuss you out in the hallway if you look at her the wrong way, girl. And I loved her, I loved her immediately. From the beginning I could see the capacity of her heart. I just knew she had been hurt so many times that she bites as a reflex by that point, not a defense mechanism. And over the course of the workshop I wondered how far she had internalized the lessons.

Then I saw her this last weekend. This tiny, spunky, loving girl. She threw her arms around me and hugged me in the airport. And as I tried to recover from the shock I sat an watched as she and 3 past students of mine showed me how they had discovered the world through the year. She was changed. She had opened her heart a little more, let herself share and feel more. She is also going to be a student at Cal State Fullerton. All facts that delighted me to no end. I really laid into her anyhow, because really, I know her capacity, and this girl can be a superstar. In the end, I feel like she had more tools to find peace and was looking forward to a world that didn't have to genuflect whenever her parents commanded it. I was proud of her.

Your inner critic can be so strong. I mean, how is it that you can not even see the very things happening in front of you. It blows my mind. We can completely process things so skewed from reality. All because of the little voice in our heads that tells us we aren't enough. I mean that voice is tricky, it is forever altering its methods to really get at you. And it can change your entire perception. I saw that critic pop-up this last weekend. Instead of battling with it, I think I just kinda invited it to sit down. Put up with what it said and talked myself down. haha. I know I sound like a nutjob right now, but I hope some of you understand. It just takes so long to make peace with that critic. It's like a freakin gremlin. And not in the cute gizmo state, in the icky conniving green state. I think I should name mine. Any suggestions?

To all of you battling the gremlins I commend you, don't put water on them or feed them after midnight. ;c)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Survivors Celebration



It had been a second since my last post, I've just had so much runnin in my brain, I'm not quite sure I was ready to write any of it down. This week is coming to a close and a few big things had happned that I would like to put out into the world.

So this Saturday is the one year anniversary of the assault. I'm mad trippin that it has already been a year. No joke, this one event rocked my entire perspective on the world. It took me out of my feeling of relative safety and security and launched me into something I can only define as a learning experience...

So I started to write this out before my survivors celebration but really its almost two weeks later now. haha. I still wanted however, to complete the entry.

I have to tell you, I had a lot of anxiety getting closer to the day, but that night was one of the very best nights I have had in a very long time. It's amazing the kind of space you open in your professional world that you just don't open in your personal world. The requests that I am willing to make of a co-worker but not of a friend.

So I sat them down, those closest to me, told them how much they meant to me. We ate dinner, drank and really celebrated the prescence of each other in each others lives. It was so special. Between the potluck and laughing to the appreciation circle and tears. It was just a phenomenal experience. The true manifestation of the power of my friends. To watch them as they appreciated each other was such a priviledge.

I'm so proud of myself for flipping the meaning of that day. Every year, it will be a celebration of life and not a moratorium on the day I started to look at the world differently. That was important to me. How I look at the world is important to me. As jaded as I may get, I want to know I can still see its beauty and appreciate the places where it makes my heart lift.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Whoremones



You know its bad when you have so much hormonal energy running through your body that you can't tell whether you have chemistry with someone or if you just want to touch somebody. I met this nice guy today at a conference and you know nice does it for me. Nice for some reason is to me what a nice butt is for other women. Well a good pair of hands too, but that is neither here nor there. During the Young Non-Profit professionals happy hour after the event we had a bit of time to chat. We were having a perfectly nice conversation about how boys are not succeeding in the school system and in my head I kept thinking, hmmm, I want to bite his lip. It was ridiculous. I am ridiculous. I'm fired. I should not be allowed outdoors. Worse yet, I don't hit on people because I have NO game. I just sit there having the conversations I'm good at having. I was in my work element too, which is an easy one for me to grab and latch on to. It's where I know I have competency. Life skills, banter, eye batting and the like... not so much. Bah hum bug. Let us all pray for my current inability to create for myself a social life. The situation is not as bleek as I make it out to be, that is dramatic exaggeration for blog's sake. However, I am amused with myself. Even more amused when a friend tells me he thinks the guy might have been gay (although, this particular friend thinks all men are gay, I believe that is his hope). So who knows.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I-TAL-IA




I have to admit, after the first half, I was worried. I knew Italy would win but I was a little worried because they looked just a little tired. But they held strong. They were the FINE ass men I knew them to be. Goodness gracious. Sports are some shit boy, the sheer exhiliration you can feel watching a group of men that you have no affiliation with, playing for a country that you have no ties to, against a country you have no grudge against. Yet there I was at 9:30 this morning at a bar in Little Italy, saving myself a seat for an 11 o'clock game. And there I sat til 1:30 when the team that I came to cheer on triumphed. I mean to be real, losing on penalty kicks must suck for France. I mean it's one of those anybodies game situations. But dear God, was I ever happy with the outcome. My love, Camoranesi, in all his long haired beautiful Italian glory had a great assist for their first goal. I mean looking at the man's thighs has been my favorite part of the tournament.



Oh World Cup, how I'll miss you. I will see you again in four years. Thanks for the cheers, laughs and beers that accompanied you.

To my azurri, MUAH!


And to this hot headed dumb ass...



THANK YOU

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Grace by Kate Havenik



Sometimes songs just make you sigh...

Lyrics to Grace by Kate Havenik

I'm on my knees
only memories
are left for me to hold

Dont know how
but Ill get by
Slowly pull myself together

Theres no escape
So keep me safe
This feels so unreal

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it seems
Turn my grief to grace

I feel the cold
Loneliness unfold
Like from another world

Come what may
I wont fade away
But I know I might change

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it was
Turn my grief to grace

Nothing comes easily
Where do I begin?
Nothing can bring me peace
Ive lost everything
I just want to feel your embrace

SAFE



What exactly constitutes safe? The importance of it is ridiculous. I think thats why hugs feel so good. When someone is hugging you, you feel like you are just engulfed. For that moment, nothing can happen to you. Your are protected, loved, cared for and safe.

My first recollection of that feeling was in the first grade. My mom was dropping me off at school. I had to go get in line and wait for the teacher. I used to hate that moment. The one before I left my mom in the mornings. I was pretty much the dork/nerdy/unaccepted kid until I had full command of my accent years later. I remember it was a pretty brisk but bright morning. The big bad world waiting to teach me lessons about childhood and cruelty on one side, my mom and her warmth on the other, with a chain link fence straddling the middle. I would feel tears start to well in my eyes but even at 7 I knew how much it hurt my mom to see me hurt, so I kept my mouth shut. Then two large arms wrapping fully and lovingly around my small body. The hugs lasted forever. I felt so wonderful and solid in those moments. It was almost painful to let go.

17 years later, I'm a big hugger. Usually when people meet me I'll offer the akward "oh you're a hugger!" hug. You see I feel like the most doubtful person still wants it. They want to be embraced. They fear what its like to receive love like that and the emotions that get stirred in them when they do. But I offer it because at base, we all want to feel that acceptance. No matter what our scarred brains and hearts do to us after. I like giving it. I like receiving it. I think its healthy.

I write about all this because I'm delaying writing about last night. I went out to Blondies again and I knew full well that cute boy from last week would not be my dance partner again. However, the sketchness of the people was argh-worthy. I was denying sketchy men dances and saying the word no, more then is ever really comfortable in one night. I found myself feeling unsafe. Wanting so bad for my mom or someone (preferrably bigger and manly) to give me a hug and encourage the rest of the sketch-masters to go away. But I don't have anyone big and manly here, I don't have my mom here either. Then the flashbacks started. The flashbacks aren't necessarily a surprise. I mean I have them pretty frequently. More then anyone would know. I usually am able to bring myself back to where I am. Tell myself that I am safe. Encourage myself to move past it. But last night when I popped myself out of the flashbacks, I wasn't safe. I had men around me who would not take no for an answer. A situation which was unbelievably traumatizing for me just one year ago. I folded. I mean I totally caved into myself. I started strong saying no, putting my hand in their faces, pushing them away but before I knew it I just was unable to move.

Bola asked me if I was okay, I said no, I said I needed to go. She grabbed my hand and pulled me out, Bern and Bibi close behind us. I proceeded to shut myself down and when on the comfort of my couch, I fell apart. I wanted so bad to feel safe. It's crazy how you can feel unsafe in your own brain. But there I was on my couch, feeling unsafe in my brain and wanting to have my mom's arms wrapped around me. I know in a very logical part of my brain that I shouldn't feel like an asshole for last night. Just like I know I shouldn't feel like an asshole for other decisions I am starting to make for myself. But it's hard. How do you learn the difference between self-care giver and asshole/flake? I don't know right now. I just want safe. The last time I feel like I knew without a shadow of a doubt what that was, I was a kid.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Exhaustion... the other white meat



So I am totally, completely and WHOLLY tired. I worked on Monday, have been at the office by 6am Wed and Thurs. And really I am freakin in need of a beer or 6. Don't get me wrong, it has been a great start to my summer program. It's been fabulous. The kids are fantastic and today, I saw fruition of a lot of hard work. But DAAAAAAAAMN am I tired. To top it all of the estrogen monster seems to be popping up and manisfesting in the worst of ways. I had to step into a bathroom today just to cry. Ridiculous and girly but I felt so emotional at that moment and didn't really want comfort. Just release. I have no idea whether the instensity of the emotion came because of who I am or because of the fluctuating hormone levels in my body near this time of the month. haha. I laugh but in that moment. It was not pretty. I mean have you ever seen ugly crying? Well I do FUGLY crying in private. It has been the week for these and many other exploits. I am currently sitting around in a top that bears more of my upper body then it should dreading the arrival of friends, who though spririted and well intentioned, I would rather have leave me to some restful sleep. I feel like I should be more up for this. Last Friday was pretty fruitful when we went out. I danced with a cute boy. And really if there were ever a time in my life when I could use a pair of male hands... it is now. I just want to feel at ease and at peace and I haven't felt that. The kids stories this week were heavy. Their pain was palpable for me. As much as I care for the newbies, ingesting an entire new set of stories and hugging new pain just feels so... tough. Have you ever read the book, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. The emotional weight described in that book, combined with the exhaustion of a marathon runner, coupled with my hormonal influx just has me spent. I know, whine, whine, whine. ::sigh:: Maybe tomorrow I'll be more insightful.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy "Independence" Day!




When I was a kid and I saw the American flag, I have to be honest, I felt an immense amount of pride. I really truly believed in the ideals of the independent, democratic society that were painted in my history books. I knew the Star Spangled banner, I sang it at the kickoff of the soccer season for the soccer league when I was 10. AND it meant something to me. I felt American.

Even when I was in middle school and my older cousins used to tease me that I was the youngest socialist they had met (they were/are republicans) I still believed in the power of our system for change. I hated the disparities and at 12 I had already been exp[osed to so many of them. BUT, I believed. And really, inspiration when looking at a flag is a powerful thing. It is an iconography that can have massive impact. We on the west coast I think have detached from it but it is still true for many people in this country.

Then I transferred from Pomona schools to Walnut High School my freshman year and my perspective on the world I inhabited changed. All of a sudden I was getting an education and not struggling to listen to a teacher. I realized my grammar was shit and being the "good" kid no longer got me the great grades. I came to see that the world I inhabited didn't see me as American... no matter how I saw myself. I was one of few kids with a complicated last name in any of my classes. I remember the pause before trying to execute a butchering of this last name and being certain that the next sounds to exit a teachers mouth were about me. I remember the snickering when I tried to explain what my primary education had been like. And I remember the day that I went into try out as a graduation speaker with a fire and brim stone speech about giving back to the community since our high school community had given us so much. I can see in my brain the complete lack of understanding in the faces of the teachers I was presenting to. I can see there pity.

It was during this transition in my life that I really saw that the world was truly not equal for all. It was a bunch of people who wanted it to be equal, but had no frame of reference for what that looked like or what kind of understanding, empowerment, sacrifice and knowledge that took. Overall, I think a good chunk of our country would like to live in its ignorance. It's just easier that way. Sad to say but we really are a "Brave New World" up in the sheezy.

I write this because as of late, seeing the American flag causes an agitation for me. When I see it, I think hypocrisy. It doesn't inspire me anymore. As naive as this sounds, that saddens me. I'm such a passionate person, about the small and large things, and that passion used to extend to believing in our system. I don't know if there was one moment that took that from me or a collection of pieces. I was talking to someone recently about what Franco did to Spain. The absolute mind fuck that he played on the country. Marginalizing it's peices of non-homogenity so that they felt like they weren't Spanish. Spain's turmoil, 40 years after Franco, still exists in getting those people to believe they are a part of the whole. Then it dawned on me, that the United States is in much the same scenario. It's trickier though, there is not one moment or one isolated figure that did it. It's a collection of "I'm better then you" mo fo's that got us to this place.

Intrestingly enough, though I do not naively believe in its systems anymore, I strongly still believe in its people. I have watched individuals create extraordinary change. With an idea, not even an action but an idea, people will revolutionize the world around them. This continues to be a source of hope for me. At some point all of us were fed an ideal, however hollow, about what we are supposed to be, and from that we go and seek ways to effect the world with our gifts. I mean really selfishly, americanly, we go out and do what we want to do. And this is why we rock.

So it's the 4th of July, time for beer, fireworks and family (in whatever incarnation we choose). And I sit here early in the morning, having woken up with a genuine want to see our iconography line up with our people. I sit here pissed off at the many who took away from me the sense of pride I had when I looked at that flag. I wish you knew the world better, then you would see that I am as American of a dream as it gets. And there are tons of me everywhere, but you are too busy making money off of violating the planet and its people to pay attention. Cheers to the people who continue to bring me inspiration and create room in my heart to be a fighter for the things I believe in. Thank you ya'll cause I believe in you; in your many talents, dreams, wants, desires and wishes. Happy mother freakin fourth of July.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pay Cash If You're Gonna Be A Skanky Ho



So I've been working all day doing different odds and ends, I figured I would blog and take a little mental break. To explain my catchy blog title... when I was in college a friend of mine, Courtney, and I were watching the movie "The Good Girl". In it Jennifer Aniston's character gets caught having an affair on sad John C. Reilly because she was using the family credit card to purchase her hotel rooms. Aghast at the development Courtney and I started yelling expletives at the TV. One of the phrases Courtney uttered (the brilliance of it all) was "OH MY GOSH! Pay cash if you are going to be a skanky ho!" haha. Thinking about that afternoon still cracks me up. However, after that afternoon, this phrase came to be a catch phrase we would use in regards to men. Sex was such a taboo subject among our particular group of friends (so catholic our boys, so in the closet). When the girls got together we would talk with a little more raunch, rightly so, and we claimed and proclaimed that there was no need to be ashamed of our sexual wants and needs as long as we were always up front about them. It's only embarassing if you make it embarassing and such. Thus pay cash if you are gonna be a skanky ho.

That's what brings me to this post. I have long believed that a womans sense of sexual freedom really comes from a strong group of open non-juedgemental female friends. As a girl, they let you know it's okay to want what you want, experiment with what you experiment with, lust over what you lust over. Earlier in the week I was hanging out at a friends apartment talking about the art of self-satisfaction and I was so amused at the freedom with which we spoke. haha, very ya-ya sisterhood. Then last night, I was sitting with two other women (marginally older then me) having a funny conversation about sex and realized that no matter how old we get, we always seek for permission from our girls. You don't want to feel like a skanky ho, and as much as you tell yourself you aren't, until your girlfriends say it... part of you worries. At least for us Catholics. haha. Sex and the City paradigms aside, there is always the one of you who is most confident that women are allowed to have needs (and she needn't be the lapooning maneater), there is the one emerging from prudishness and then all the women that fall in between. The spectrum however, is incredibly facinating. I would go into greater detail, but really, there are some female conversations that you have to respect as sacred. You are blessed as a woman to be a part of long standing tradition and you just don't violate that.

Maybe I bring this up because I danced with a boy this week that wasn't on the pre-approved list for the first time since the assault. The pre-approved list is gay guys, guys I know or guys that are friends with people I know. It was huge for me. The guy came up with another friend, one asked Bern to dance and he asked me. I proceeded to dance with him for the rest of the night. It was fun being a girl. I know that sounds cheese but it was ( I should rethink my blog name and change it to something like Cheesehead Ramblings). I had a few fight or flight moments but mentally I soothed myself told myself he wasn't going to hurt me and reminded myself it was okay to have a man want me. haha. Because he did. I didn't kiss him or hook up or anything. Even though he tried. I just danced. It was all that I was ready for. But it was enough for me to claim back another peice of me. The dude didn't ask for my number but it is highly likely that I will see him again. Emails were exchanged between my friend and his friend. So who knows. Little by little.

In any event, my pursuit to reclaim my body and the safety it feels around it continues. I just have to allow myself to make even bolder and more fun moves. After all "Pay Cash If You're Gonna Be A Skanky Ho," only works as a motto if you really are forking something over for yourself. And not necessarily your body, your vulnerablity is important to hang out there once in awhile too. My fortress of walls may just let that happen one day. But until the drawbridge goes down... =c)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Epiphany




So after our three day staff retreat I spent a lot of time mowing over different realizations and epiphanies. I'm one tired jack ass for it too. I say jack ass because I really think I have quite the audacity to always figure things out in the present. Why over analyze later what you can beat into the ground now... really. In any event, with all my inner turmoil something occurred to me about my patterns with... drum roll... men.

I know big whoop, many women around the world figure out their patterns with the opposite sex all the time and they amount to a whole lot of nothing. Ultimately people are miserable seeking understanding and empathy in their misery. This creates happy for both participating individuals. I think the world (myself included) would like to perceive me as an optimist. I do believe that this is what it boils down to though. As pessimistic as it sounds, I actually think it's quite lovely. ANYWAY, something pretty interesting did occur to me and I thought I would post it.

So the other night I am at this Mexican restaurant with 4 friends. One of them from out of town. This restaurant I have pretty much been a regular at for a couple of months now. Every night at 9 the mariachi band comes out to play some really pretty ballads. One of the violin players/vocalist for the mariachi band I think is a little sweet on me. He is always smiling at me and seeking out eye contact when I enter. I do think he's kinda cute and I'm a fan of his talent, even so, I become the spazmo I always become and avoid that eye contact or get into fight of flight mode. (I know I'm a tragedy)

Jeremiah (my friend from out of town) was sitting next to me and asked me "What's up with that, go get it girl." and I pretty much flipped out. I mean I got stumbly, denying any kind of attraction on either end. blah, blah, blah. And then shrugged the whole thing off. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I'm scared of boys.

So I sat their trying to figure out what makes me panic with some dudes and not others. I mean I'm not a machine I have had fun times with quite a few cute guys. I was trying to figure out what separated my exes or my past hookups from the random guy that will smile at me.

I realized that the guys that are in the former category have across the board not shown sexual attraction in me when first meeting me. It's only after spending time with me, even a small amount of time, seeing the kind of person I am, do they express an interest. I mean I am attracted to them, I have never hooked up with a guy I didn't think was really cute. But I think my assumption is that if they don't want to tear my clothes off from the jump then they are safe. Which is some shit because this makes these men a little emotionally unsafe. Many times they are in want for what my heart can provide them and not what they can provide me.

My question is, does that mean that I'll never date a guy that sexually wants me. Whose interest in me isn't because I have won him over but because when he sees me, he SEES me, and immediately wants me. I wonder if I have been hooking up with guys who don't think I'm beautiful because I'm scared of how safe I would be with that. I mean I understand myself, I have been sexually assaulted at all four major life junctions, there is a reason for the fear. I guess now the question is, how do I get past it? I really do want to know what its like to feel someone be so attracted to me they can barely keep there hands off of me, but how does that tie in with the need to feel safe? Can there be both?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I'm a Parking Ticket




As I have been alluding to, it's been a difficult couple of weeks. I mean good God, the conflict both external and internal has been ridiculous. I've been trying to figure out a few things about myself. Sometimes I feel like a puppy that keeps bumping into the same glass doors because it doesn't know how to walk through the doggy door. I don't feel like I know the location of the doggie door at all most times, figuratively speaking, but I digress.

This week I had a staff retreat and I kept thinking about how I hit the doggie door. The eternal struggle being, how do I get myself to believe that I am fantastic so that I don't "need" other people to think I'm fantastic. Or as Rey used to put it so eloquently in college "I'm a parking ticket! Validate me! Validate me!"

I had two seperate people tell me that they really loved me this weekend. They said it with so much heart and genuineness. They both at separate times, unbeknownst to the other, told me that I had changed their lives. That their interaction with the world was changed by how I helped them grow. How they felt this change with different people and that this would ultimately lead to them being able to connect with the world in a deeper way. They emphatically declared that I was a gift. I sat their fully unable to articulate how I felt. ME. I had no knowledge on how to respond to that. Shamefully, to an extent, I have always hoped that people would look at me the way both of these wonderful people looked at me this weekend. The kind of gratitude they had was so gratifying and overwhelming. It's part of why the rescuer, rescues. Instead I almost felt like I had done something wrong. If they had this much knowledge of the hand I played in their process, then I felt like it must mean that I am a failure. Here they were giving me what is probably the most heartfelt thanks I have ever recieved and I am sitting there feeling guilt and shame.

As I processed the whole shebang and realized how cracked out my instincts were, I really got sick of the base reaction to all of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an emotional crackwhore over it. I just want to feel proud of myself without the want for other people to feel proud of me. I want to feel beautiful without someone else telling me that I am. I don't want to have to wait until someone notices me and my gifts before I feel gifted. I know this all comes in time, but what exactly is the process to get there. I'm ready. I'll do it.

Does anyone ever really get there? I mean do I have this ideal in my head of a reality that doesn't exist? It just seems other people around me don't find the need to hear it as much as I do. I mean I also feel totally socially akward, now that I have verbalized it, I realize people don't agree with me. Crazy what your brain perceives that other people don't see. Oh the ruminations and how draining they can be.

I am energized however, the weekend went well, my staff got what it needed and the time spent was useful. I'm grateful to J for providing the experience. It's amazing to watch how good your friends can be at what they do. It made me feel blessed to have the people in my life that I do.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Put Your Records On...




I'm loving this song right now, thought I would share the lyrics...


Three little birds, sat on my window.
And they told me I don't need to worry.
Summer came like cinnamon
So sweet,
Little girls double-dutch on the concrete.

Maybe sometimes, we got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

Blue as the sky, sombre and lonely,
Sipping tea in the bar by the road side,
(just relax, just relax)
Don't you let those other boys fool you,
Gotta love that afro hairdo.

Maybe sometimes, we feel afraid, but it's alright
The more you stay the same, the more they seem to change.
Don't you think it's strange?

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow.

Just more than I could take, pity for pity's sake
Some nights kept me awake, I thought that I was stronger
When you gonna realise, that you don't even have to try any longer.
Do what you want to.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

Girl, put your records on, tell me your favourite song
You go ahead, let your hair down
Sapphire and faded jeans, I hope you get your dreams,
Just go ahead, let your hair down.

Oh, You're gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow

That's Why Rich People Look So Different...




I must say that I am very amused that it took me forever to find an image of a hot stone massage that had a brunette and not a blonde. However friend, that is besides the point. I had the BEST experience today getting my first massage. It was the most intimate beautiful experience I have ever had with a perfect stranger. haha. My boss Marshall came into the office a couple months ago with a gift card for a massage at the Four Seasons. I was really grateful, but I must admit I had no idea how great this was going to be until I experienced it.

So let me start at the beginning. This week was shit. I mean big crappy doo, stink in a pile, steaming shit. hahahaha. It was really tragic how bad it all was. I think I had just gotten to a point where I was too full of emotions to ingest anymore and I shut off emotionally to a marginal extent. Around Wednesday I decided it would be vital to my survival to book a massage for Saturday and use my gift card. So I did.

I walked into the Four Seasons admittedly nervous. I didn't know protocol. I mean, I didn't grow up in the type of family that had that kind of splurge. The people were sooo nice and explained everything to me. First they gave me a glass of "Cucumber Lemon Water" and it was so scrumptious and refreshing. Then I filled out this survey to basically let them know where my physical and emotional health was at. Admittedly my first response was to snicker at some of the questions and think of smart alec responses to them. But I put smart ass Karla away and brought out open-mind Karla. As I scribbled ratings on the various blanks, my head filled with images of people telling me "you should take better care of yourself Karla." and then I realized that I was there for that very reason.

Each person is given there own personal locker. In this locker you find a plush bathrobe, a plush towel and some slippers. After a mildly akward conversation about the role of underwear in this whole endeavor and letting the attendant know I changed my mind and would rather have a woman for my first massage (yes I am a nerd), I get nakie and then put on the various free accessories. I went to the steam room and it was pretty comical. I mean there I am trying to balance a towel and a magazine in a STEAM room. Which basically ended up with me a hot sweaty mess with a newly crinkled magazine. I'm such a mess on feet really. Common sense is just not my forte, never does it occur to me that paper (in the form of a magazine) could drench in a steam room. But there I was struggling to read the conservatives attack on George Clooney in the new Vanity Fair in the middle of a ton of steam. When I realize what a tard I was I left the steam room and put my robe back on. I lounged in the designated ladies waiting area. Sipping more of the yummy cucumber lemon water and chewing on a few dried apricots.

So this lady Erica who keeps calling me "Ms. Monterroso", which was highly uncomfortable for me, keeps reminding me that the experience is strictly for me and I should let her know when something hurts, tickles, etc. I for some reason choose this very moment to get very nervous about how my body will react. I think, what if I fart? What if I cry? So I giggle (which is customary for me when I am nervous) and I say "I know this sounds silly, but I'm afraid of crying" and she tells me "Oh thats normal, lots of people either cry or hysterically laugh, its called emotional release. It's really the whole point to being here. So don't worry." Oh Jesus.

I then lay face down breathing in this aromatherapy sheezy and proceed to remember what its like to feel my body. I mean really, really feel my body. Remember what places hurt and what places are tired. I am amazed at how I don't even consciously acknowledge the places where I hurt anymore. I just get used to it and I carry it. Can I tell you, a few times I start to tear and cry a little while she massages me. Not out of pain, but out of release. And then she takes a hot stone and places it on my heart and I literally start balling. I mean a deep cry. A sob trapped in years of "be strong Karla's" and "You can handle this" appeasements. I feel in my body the stories of the children and adults I have helped heal. I feel how tired I have been, how full of all of the emotional stress and pain of both my life experience and the experiences others have shared with me. I start saying things with what feels like little control of myconsciouss body. I say "I'm afraid of getting so full I can't help them." and "how can I be this tired?" and just as easily as I start she takes the stone away from my body and sets it on the top of my head, I quiet and regroup. Floored by what was beneath my surfaces. Relieved that I have room toreceivee and give more of myself to the world.

Ya'll now, I haven't been one to praise the chakras, chant the crystals or even light the incense. But today made me a believer in the connection between my body and my heart. Realizing now that when I abuse one, I abuse the other. They are sisters connected in a way that I have no rational explanation for. But I am grateful to the discovery. I sat there after the massage nurturing my heart feeling like a little girl who was playing grown up. I went to the steam room again, showered in a 5 nozzle palace of warm water and used all there assorted lotions and oils to get ready to leave.

I gotta say, I thought from the time I was a little girl that rich people had a certain polish to them. I realize now its the having the money to take care of yourself that gives them that sheen. haha. I mean to be serious, its amazing what paying attention to yourself does for you. I feel soooo much better and less tired then I have in so long. You know that feeling after a looong good deep cry? That is the kind of relief my body has felt all day. I'm a convert. Sign me up.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Focusing on the other pieces




I just posted an abbreviated version of this on my myspace bulletin. But this blog is something my kids don't read so, I'll elaborate a little. This is what I wrote there...

"So I've just gotten my umpteenth piece of feedback about focusing on parts of my life that aren't my career. I am starting to feel that my friends are afraid the words "Lonely Spinster" are going to be on my tombstone. lol.

I personally believe myself to be quite the perky, quirky, enjoyable gal. However, I do acknowledge that my focus can become pretty singular and work oriented. I'm not quite sure how to step out of that. I mean there is going to the gym three times a week, getting out of work on time and the like. But how do you focus on a social life. I am posting because I know some of you are particularly good at this. I am frankly asking for suggestions. How do you focus on pieces of your life that aren't your job, when you love what you do? It's easy to go back to it and fix things there. I know how. How do I focus on having fun? Any ideas?

prrrrr,

Karla"

I think I have done a lot better with the personal care stuff. I started making goals and then following through with them. Creating a space for things that are exclusively for me. But it still didn't show me how to have fun. lol. I know that sounds way more tragic then it really is. But don't cry for me Argentina. I am not moping around about it exactly. I'm just a little puzzled. Its been a waaaay difficult year. One full of sadness. The fact I haven't crawled into a little ball and cried is a big fuckin accomplishment. But how do I extend past this point.

Here is the deal, when I am with my good friends. I'm not talking about the legions of people who lean on me or ask me for advice, but my really good friends. I swear to you, I am a fucking blast. lol. I mean I can crack a joke like no other, I'm silly... I'm me. But I get around other people and a part of that shuts down. I just kinda listen in. Unless I'm talking about work. In which case, I am the alpha female. When I'm around other people if I'm not advising, I'm not really free. I don't know if this is a choice or if its just how I react. Now is this how other people perceive me? Probably not. I doubt many people have noticed at all. I think that's why I latch on to people who make me laugh. It gives me free license. But I guess I have to trust people in my gut on first impression to allow them to let me laugh. And my gut trusts so few. Argh and grrr on the walls.

Any ideas cyberspace?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Finding A Map



So I have this horrible sense of direction, I think in part, I was never shown the virtue of creating your own plan. Much less the virtue in asking for assistance in creating a plan. This weekend, I met a woman who totally gave me the greatest gift. She showed me how to create a space in my life for me. It was phenomenal. I felt so understood and validated. She sat there and she taught me how to treat myself in the same way I treat the program that I run. How as first generation immigrants who are service professionals, it is very natural to not know how to seperate ourselves from our work. She let me know how vital it is to take care of myself not just for my existance but for the strengthening of my abilities... in all aspects of life.

Home girl BROKE IT DOWN for me. I'm floored and thankful. The 40 things you see below is my first step. I am starting to plan out what I want for Karla. And not in that "its new years and I need to do for me for once" kinda way" But in the "I have a plan and its time to move to action for the sake of my survival" kinda way.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I am open to any input really. I look forward to wrapping my brain around all this and telling you more.

All my love,

Karla

The Signs

Ladies and gentlmen, God is good.

I really have no idea how she finds me in the randomest ways to show me, "hey guess what, you're an ass, of course I didn't abandon you." But she does. And for this I am oh so grateful. Just last week I told my friend Rey, "I'm hitting another wall. This can't be it, my whole life can't revolve around my job, I love it, but its not enough. I need help and I don't even begin to know where to go." And since that moment, I have been inundated with not only gifts for how to get through that feeling, but reasons as to how I got there in the first place. Just tonight, one of my favorite authors asked on her blog "Have any of you, my faithful readers, experienced the challenges of being an American daughter with traditional Latin American parents? How did you handle it? What were the concerns your family had?"

Through that question I was able to read the opinions of women who have had much of the same life experiences with their parents and struggled to peice together what that means to them.

Monday, February 20, 2006

43 Things