The Art of Letting Go

I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.

As a last stand for survival and to protect my heart that fell in the deepest of trenches, I cut ties with the one person who I love most.

I held onto hope for the sake of love, but as the weeks went by I knew it wasn’t heading in my favor. Time was coming for the inevitable; the final goodbye. I tortured myself trying to find comfort in purgatory, neither with him nor without him. I suffered. But as the dreadful mornings turned into peaceful nights, I have come to terms with the fact that a relationship won’t cure me. Despite wanting to be in one, despite still loving him, I made the decision to let go.

Little reminders in my room still make my heart sink with the tragic nostalgia of what once was. A note. A picture frame. An old t-shirt. The distant smell of his skin, the stubble of his hair, the last time he kissed my hand. I’ve finally accepted that what once was, was just that; a happy memory now smudged by the tears that had fallen for him.

The first move I made after the last conversation was to take a break from Instagram, the bane of my existence. Staying off social media has really helped my mental state as I continue therapy. And as I truly study myself and look into my deep fear of abandonment, I know I don’t want meaningless interactions and empty validation from that platform. Day by day life seems to be getting easier and I am proud of myself.

Like the lily of the valley, I feel on the cusp of blooming. My pedals stretching wide and looking for nutrients from the sun, I continue to grow. I’ve found happiness again in the open window of my sunlit room, listening to wind brush north to east, south to west, a bird whistling in the tree that covers the corner of my view. I have the spirit again to dance to music and sing random songs while cooking. Exercising in my backyard has also been the best motivator to genuinely feel healthy and good about myself. I see the rainbow after the storm, and I am chasing it.

I think I have finally become accustomed to this “new normal” and I actually quite enjoy it. But I fear that when this is all over, going back to regular life will cripple my progress.

The decision was not what I wanted, but what I needed. And at great costs I self mutilated by cutting off a piece of my own heart. I will always have doubts in the back of my mind wondering if I made the right choice or not. Was it worth it to try to erase him from my life? At this point, getting back together is unclear but there is always a possibility. I don’t know what is going to happen a month or a year from now, but it’s best to be apart.

When you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow.

peace
Credit: @amycharlette

For the love of Sports

dodgersbaseballThe year the Astros stole the World Series from us was the year I fell in love. He sat at the bartop of our local pub, taking a shot every time Cody Bellinger hit a home run. I was appalled and attracted at the same time.

“Bomb for bomb” he said, and the next thing I know I was chasing Jaeger with Guinness and Irish cream in unison.

We were animated. For the love of our team, for our boys in blue who were going to gives us a title since before we were born. He looked so good in his custom white jersey and his name embroidered on the back with the number 10. I’ll never forget. The Dodgers were hot and our rookie outfielder gave us reason to celebrate. Game after game, we met repeatedly at the bar and every time we went home with each other.

I always think of that one World Cup commercial where couples are shown in the delivery rooms of hospitals expecting their first child. Throwback to nine months earlier and it’s the same couple celebrating their country’s team winning the whole shebang.

I was living it. Sans baby. Sans title.

This post season was truly a special one, not because of Justin Turner’s walk-off homerun against the Cubs nor because of Puig’s bat lick; but because I finally met my match. Someone more theatrical, more exposed to any sport knowledge than I would ever know. The captain-MVP-all star-player to this team of two. The Dodgers became our bonding point.

“He’s so easy to talk to,” I thought and our series opened with a win thanks to our ace. Everything was going right.

His birthday fell on the second leg of the series and what better way to spend it other than in downtown? October is the best month for sports, and I say that as a borrowed statement from my whirlwind lover. We celebrated at the center of it all in LA Live and as fate would have it, the Lakers were tipping off right across the street. The Dodgers were up in the sixth inning and out of drunken confidence we left the restaurant we were at and bought tickets to the basketball game. 

All of Staples Center were watching the Astros come back from a two run deficit. You either saw the game from the televisions in the suites or on the apps of others’ phones. For a moment you almost forgot that you were at the Lakers game because the crowd was cheering for base hits during regular timeouts. Nothing was greater than seeing fellow Angelenos share the love for both teams and seeing my own love develop for this  fascinating man. As I sat beside him in the stadium, I felt my heart growing three sizes that day.

I blamed the Game 7 loss in the World Series on him. He is notoriously known for bringing bad luck to our teams every time he’s in attendance, and he was at Dodger Stadium that day.

Turns out, it was just the no good-dirty-rotten- sign-stealing Astros fault. I have since forgiven him.

The day that Lebron James became a Laker we playfully then aggressively bantered over LBJ and Kobe Bryant. Don’t get me wrong, I am loyal to the purple and gold but Lebron was my guy after he rebuked “shut up and dribble.” He bought me my own white jersey and took me back to downtown where it started.

With a last name like Figueroa, how can he not be attached to Staples Center?

I learnt of Kobe’s passing through him and we shared an unrecognizable grief together. Time stopped, traffic remained frozen, and the heart of the city was gone.

Soon enough we stopped arguing over who was the greatest of all time and started arguing over who was spending less time with who. I said to him, “you don’t care about me” and he said “that’s all that I do.”

At our best we were perfect, but at our worst we were a disease.

The last day I saw him I knew the relationship was over. I had gone to his house after a soul cleansing hike through Griffith Park. I needed air, my mind losing touch with reality. He stood there somber in his hallway and my gut already sank to the bottom of the floor.

I cried until the tears couldn’t pour out any longer as he painfully told me that he was unhappy. For the first time in two years we couldn’t look each other in the eye and somehow our match made accord wasn’t enough anymore.

It wasn’t a perfect relationship but he was easy to love. Together we never shared a winning season but had a good run. In retrospect, it was great while it lasted, but I hope the Dodgers and Lakers will see better days than us. For the love of the team.

Weekend With Ricky

brooklynIn between four walls, a memory laid sleeping in my bed. He was long and statuesque, he made my small room look even smaller. He was curled up in between my bed sheets and what I was hoping for for months had finally manifested; my other half joined me across the country.

Albeit it only for a weekend, it was a weekend worth telling.

Perfectly imperfect, is a good way to describe us. A duo that lusts for each other physically as much as we do mentally. A duo that fights the hardships of long distance. In a moment of weakness what was ‘We’ almost became ‘Me’ and our story would have ended on two different coasts. But alas, we did not choose the easy way out.

Together we stand, divided we fall.

On a humid August day in New York my L.A. boyfriend brought his Mexican ass to Brooklyn. Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass we sat alongside the river at an Italian restaurant. “Wine with my Wino,” he said. And I smirked at his remark. It was the first time we had seen each other in two months, the first time being able to feel something tangible; the taste of lips, the smell of cologne, the softness of hair. He accompanied me in all the bars I wanted to visit and we made our way through Downtown.

A pair of lovers found themselves in the heart of Queens at a ballpark of America. His Quest for 30 became my new baseball adventure. A roaring crowd in Citi Field faced what could be a playoff berth and Ricky and I were there to witness the Mets defeat the Nationals. But our love for sports didn’t match our love for food that night so we twirled through the city and ended up in the East Village looking for a burger. Eight out of 10 he gave his professional cheeseburger connoisseur opinion on this “In’n’Out-Shake Shack” mash up. I ordered the Mac n’ Cheese balls.

In the middle of the night, I was overcome with emotions. My sobbing had awaken Ricky and he was holding me in his arms trying to sooth my anxiety. I didn’t want him to let go. In my moment of humility he held onto me until I was asleep again and just like that my protector made me feel like I was home.

He was scheduled to leave me on Saturday, but I coaxed him to stay with me for one more night. On top of my apartment rooftop was the skyline of Manhattan. Where we spent his last night sitting and drinking wine out of two plastic cups, listening to Jay-Z smoking Maryjane. There he was, my Dodgers-loving, Lakers-loving, In-n-Out-loving, Crossfit-loving better half, sitting next to me as if I never left. Under the night sky in Brooklyn a pair of lovers found themselves in, what else? In love.

I said goodbye to him at the airport, and my heart was completely shattered. I felt that I would never see him again even though I knew it wasn’t true. In a moment’s notice he was gone from me, and again he became just another memory.

#MeToo

metoomadrid
Mujeres En Lucha, Madrid

People ask me “since when were you a feminist” and it’s hard for me to give a definite answer. To be honest, I always defied feminism and never really cared for it. It was an ideology for others, but not for me- someone who had her shit under control. It just wasn’t for me; until is was.

Looking back into what seemed as an exceptionally ordinarily 25 years of life, I have always forgot that I’ve been a victim of abuse- not physical, but verbal. For someone who had her shit under control, this was one of it; compartmentalizing abuse in order to put on a facade as the perfect sibling or best friend.

I would first like to state that I can no way in shape or form relate to what victims of sexual abuse feel; I can only carry their burdens upon mine in a sense of solidarity. Victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, hate discrimination are the real survivors and I can only try to understand a fraction of what they went through or are continuing to go through.

My story is masked in the fantasy of ‘the Latino boyfriend’.

In what I see now, I see that my type is ‘the prodigal son,’ ‘the baby of the family,’ the one who is protected at all costs; the youngest Mexican male in the household. He is the son to my maternal instincts, but the one who takes advantage of it all.

If you are Latinx, you might understand this complex. But that’s a different story to be told.

My abusers, have verbally told me I wasn’t good enough; That “I’ve been with prettier girls than you” or that “you and your friends are whores” and have been perpetually cheated on with the same girl or lied to me and dropped me off at home early because his parents said so when he really was seeing other people.

I would purposely leave facts out to defend my exes and never give my friends the full stories. Every time my mom would ask how we were doing I would always say “O.K.” but never mention how my ex drank himself into an oblivion and use me as his verbal punching bag. I never told my family or friends that my next ex would introduce me to drugs and have me enabling his addiction while giving him money for other expenses.

I have never experienced an adult, long-term relationship where I was not abused. In my twenty-fifth year of life I have had an awakening, and the truth of the matter is that my two previous relationships have fucked me up so bad that I don’t how to have a normal, healthy relationship. 

My ego, my confidence, has been beaten to the core that I myself am the most insecure when it comes to relationships. I don’t know what it feels to truly trust a man because I am convinced he has other intentions; I don’t know how to fully accept love because I’m afraid I’ll be swindled by instant gratification; I don’t know if I can be emotionally stable through the smallest of things to the largest of things.

I caught myself looking into signs of an abusive relationship when I was stuck in something I thought I couldn’t escape. I’ve ingested those signs but I’ve digested them in the worst way; I became the abuser. I adopted those habits of fragility. I latched onto their traits because it was the only thing that was ever close to me and the only thing closest to ever feeling love. I was young and absorbent, unbeknown to the world.

One day I discovered a small black magnet smaller than the size of a dollar bill. In it, in thin but bold pink writing were small bullet points that showed signs of an aggressive partner. I looked to it and said to myself, “I am in an abusive relationship.” And in that moment, I moved forward with my life. Those bullet points became literary, and somewhat, a set of ten commandments.

Someone needed to see that magnet- someone like me. I sit here and think: What were the chances of me seeing that magnet? Sitting at that specific person’s desk where it was placed? Interning at that place 40 miles from home? Applying to that internship I thought I would never get into?

It was the smallest of things that I put my whole life into.


I have since saved a picture of that magnet and below are the bullet points that helped guide me towards ending a very detrimental relationship. It didn’t happen fast and it definitely wasn’t easy, but these were the facts were worth fighting for.

10 Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship

  1. Checking your cell phone or email without permission
  2. Constantly putting you down
  3. Extreme jealousy or insecurity
  4. Explosive temper
  5. Isolating you from family or friends
  6. Making false accusations
  7. Mood swings
  8. Physically hurting you in any way
  9. Possessivness
  10. Telling you what to do

*These warning signs are provided by loveisrespect.org

Wino Forever

If there are some things I really love in life it’s my boyfriend and our mini weekend/weekday getaways, a smooth glass of Cabernet, and an even better meal accompanied with it.

This past weekend my boyfriend’s parents treated us to a staycation in Wine Country, Temecula. It was a complete bacchanal of varietel wine consumption and other gluttonous indulgences including a spontaneous visit to a rec clinic (sans parents) and death by overeating.

As a connoisseur for wine and charcuterie I’m surprised it took me this long to finally go wine tasting. But alas in the desert valley that is Temecula, I sipped my wine as bougie as I could be.

As anyone’s first time wine tasting, my boyfriend and I were more than satisfied from the first winery, Europa Village. His family and myself became members after the delightful server gave us more than she should have. She navigated our way through the different types of wine and gave us a tour from sweets and sparking, to whites and reds catering to our pallets. The men were hooked on a Port made partly with cognac while us women splurged a little on gifts.

We walked through the harvested vineyards and found ourselves in the spa area hours before our scheduled couples massage. In an instant we were already having dinner at The Gambling Cowboy and definitely overdid it with the medium rare steaks, baked potatoes, creamy mac and cheese and fried appetizers. Back at our own hotel room we unwound to Netflix and resinous extract of cannabis that ultimately paired better than the food and wine we were consuming all day. It was a perfect weekend away from life. Away from our normal surroundings, away from people.

In my 4-month old relationship things continue to change for the better. We are so malleable with each other it might seem a little excessive that we try to see one another every day; but when you feel that parts of you literally feel empty when they’re gone, then you could understand where I come from.

Even around his parents I always hope that I stand out from the others that have been in his life before. I hope they can see what I can feel and ultimately that we need each other. This trip I was able to really show my overdramatic yet humorous satirical side because I would rather show them who I am than be someone who blends in.

Again being hopeful, I can see this developing into something beautiful in the future.

25 and Alive

I’ve always considered turning 25 a midlife crisis. In my not so overdramatic state of life (sarcasm) I’ve been considering all the different routes it can take: I could pack up my bags and move to Spain and teach English. I could get my Masters degree. I could still be jobless. I could land my first career job. Or I could be engaged, who knows!

Alas, the road less travelled by could be my only option and whatever it is, hopefully it makes the difference.

On my 25th birthday this past 15th of May, I lived one of the best celebrations of turning a quarter of a century. My agenda was set and clear and my friends, family, boyfriend and his family all contributed to it. It was a perfect day catered to my needs in contrast to the organized chaos that was my Vegas trip ten days prior.

I worked out at 6 a.m., made blueberry banana pancakes and chilaquiles, experienced my first massage therapy session, laid out by the pool with my favorite sour beer, grilled burgers with my boyfriend, had wine and charcuterie with my girlfriends, shared an Italian dinner with my love, and finally came home to a cookies and cream ice cream cake with my boyfriend’s family. It could have been the bottle of Malbec we had at dinner, but I was definitely drunk in love. In love with the entire day and how bittersweet it was finally coming to an end. In love with the setting of being surrounded by people who really went out of their way to celebrate with me on a Tuesday. In love with feeling a part of a family other than my own.

As I age and notice a few differences here and there mentally and physically, the one right decision I’ve made so far was starting anew in the journey for love.

To be quite honest really, the only thing keeping me sane from the uncertainty of my life post-grad purgatory is the growing relationship between my boyfriend and I. Although my days are consumed by him I admit, my weakness is an inability to say no to him but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Part of it I think is because we are both are learning how to communicate feelings with each other for the first time in a serious relationship. In our romantic growth I see parts of me in him and vice versa. In Vegas we had our first fight and it was a result of neither of us being on the same page. Standing in front of him, bawling my eyes out and trying to explain myself to him stripped me down to pure emotional nudity. But in that moment I knew how much this person would mean to me in my life because I knew I truly loved him, even in the midst of it all. I was hurting because I wanted to make him happy and he was hurting because he was trying to do the same for me, but mixed up in the emotional mess we both did something we didn’t want to do and that was fight each other. Finally, the conclusion we both needed to hear; that the problem is not between us two, the problem is only in itself.

Sometimes there are things I want to say to him that I don’t know how to articulate in the correct manner. So I come here and say the things I want to knowing he will read them later.  Everything I write, everything I think about somehow always goes back to him but in the most soothing of ways. In my twenty-fifth year of life I think I found the person who will change this life forever.

The Honeymoon Phase

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It’s been two months since I’ve officially been in a relationship and I’ve been high off my ass on euphoria. My boyfriend and I have been sharing all the experiences that new couples do; staycations in San Diego/Hollywood, buying theme park passes, sharing each other on social media for the first time, experimenting sexually, and even promising long term commitment. We are the new couple on the block that all our friends keep asking about.

The one thing I hate hearing most however, is that we’re in the “honeymoon phase.” I am consistently reminded of that fact every time I share details about my relationship and it annoys me. It bothers me.

But I truly know that this hatred only stems from my own fear of facing what is beyond the honeymoon phase and finding out the answers to questions like: What will our first fight be about? Will my insecurities get in the way of things? Will we get too comfortable with each other? When will the honeymoon phase end?

In the back of my mind I’ve been playing scenarios of each situation and trying to prepare myself for what could happen next. But our young and budding relationship is so refreshing and so passionate I feel like these problems are lightyears away.

If this is indeed the honeymoon phase though, I never want to end.

To describe our first two months of monogamy, our major place setting is in the privacy of four bedroom walls. Our wild attraction to each other is what we share most in common. In our theatric play of love we are two fictional characters that exceed human boundaries and meet in the stars. There in the middle of the stage, our best performance is in the whispers in each others ears and the naked, intimate look into each others eyes. Even a Cirque du Soleil show would be amazed at our spectacle. The affection between us is unparalleled and our performances range from one to three acts daily. This show, is just one of the many driving forces behind our relationship.

For the first time, I feel a love so different than before. Our polarities are so drawn to each other, so magnetic and so sensual that the energy between us has always been palpable. It may be a repetition of what I said before but even sometimes I can’t get over how much our lives changed for each other.

Every time I find myself on the verge of the beginning or end of a relationship I ask my myself, does this individual make me a better person? The question has been the deciding factor leaving a previous toxic relationship but also the guide I needed to finding this relationship now. With my boyfriend, he brings out the simple yet rewarding things about me. Naturally, I am a fly on the wall homebody; a true Taurian lazy oaf. But his Scorpion willpower rubs off and I find myself living a lifestyle that is healthier mentally and physically. I am up and active, helping around the house more and feeling more myself around his friends too. I can even see our two worlds merging without losing my true identity. This might be his competitiveness speaking, but I aim to be better than I was yesterday.

So for now, I won’t worry about the bad things that haven’t happened yet, I’ll only try to delay them as long as possible.