Mexican Mother, American Daughter

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Courtesy my cousin Leslie quoting her mom on Facebook

It’s hard to come to an understanding on my personal life when a language and culture barrier still separates my mother and I.

On my end, I want to express my freedom of liberty, sexuality and expression. On her end, she wants me to be her perfect stay-at-home-daughter. I want to travel the world and move out of the house, she wants me to do the chores and run the errands. I want to go out on weekend nights with my friends, she wants me to stay inside and lock me in my room. I want to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, she wants me to regurgitate it back up and wash the dishes.

The complex is: What should a 24 going on 25 year old daughter do when she still lives in her mother’s traditional Mexican household? Do I choose selfishness or do I succumb to prehistoric standards?

I read in Octavio Paz’s Labyrinth of Solitude that the Mexican woman can never be herself as she must play the roles of wife and homemaker. Although he’s speaking to the native born female of the 1950’s, this concept was how my mother was raised throughout the 70’s in Mexico.

She was conditioned to be the perfect household mom. Her schooling was that of my abuelita’s where her and her other nine siblings received lectures of cooking and cleaning. Emigrated by 18, married by 23, first child by 25, my mother’s path was set in stone.

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Courtesy: @undocumedia

As a daughter I carry the same weight of those traditions. Since nothing is more important to me than to make my mom happy, I oblige to most of them. Our sincerest mother-daughter connection even comes from the kitchen when she’s teaching me how to make chile rellenos or bestowing the recipe for my abuelita’s salsa. In the intimate setting of our kitchen our love is wrapped up in a tortilla, served with a side of arroz y frijoles, and shared with nuestra familia.

But in the Mexican Mother, American Daughter complex, our disagreement on her outdated norms bring us to each other’s necks.

 

In light of the growing relationship between my Mexican-American sancho and myself, I’ve had to make the decision whether I want my mom thinking of me as a “bariloca” or “borracha.” Our puppy love between my man and I means that I spend most weekends at his house, MIA at times from the place I call home. Since he was born a male, and I, a female, our star crossed love was doomed from the start.

The head of my house, Guadalupe “Lupita” Maria Tamayo Cruiel, Ruler of Rules,

IMG_8063.jpgGiver of Life, deems that her middle born child has no need for boys. So I, being the middle child that I am, will make up excuses and say I’m spending the night at a friend’s house. In return, she thinks I’m out partying every weekend when really I’m just watching Netflix with my sancho.

So after spending a few nights here and there in a bed other than mine, my Mexican mom has blessed her American daughter with angry voicemails on her phone.

Another fixation I have is in regards to the Mexican-American-Sancho’s-Parents and the Mexican-American-Sancho’s-Lover (me). Why is that when I stay the night at my significant other’s family house, the parents are so welcoming to bring me in? Does this only happen in Latino households? Are we viewed as the one to settle their son down? Now that I’m 3 for 3 on the subject, I’m also still wondering why I can’t even bring a boyfriend into my room.

I guess this is a topic of discussion for another time. Until then, as my mom would say, “Pónganse a limpiar!”

 

Eurovision

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Petit Palace Boqueria Hotel Barcelona

Six months after I left Spain I was on the next 12 hour flight to Barcelona. I was so homesick for Europe, for countries that spoke different languages, for a time zone that I was never quite able to adjust to. So there I was again, March 2017, my second Euro trip but this time with another.

I planned the majority of my vacation as a solo traveler but three weeks prior to my departure date my ex-boyfriend joined the ride. At an incredibly awkward time in my life where I wasn’t ready for literally anything and where this was the first time we had spoken to each other in months, we spent 24 days together traveling throughout Europe.

The trip was planned around specific dates; Las Fallas in Valencia, Real Madrid fútbol game at the Santiago Bernabéu, Drake concert at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin and whatever museums, monuments, and structures I could fit in between.

The whole trip in itself was actually a lot of drama considering you could have cut the tension between my ex and I with a baby’s spoon. Anyways, back to traveling.

Continue reading “Eurovision”

The Morning After

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Source: @eromaticax

I laid my head on his chest and listened to his immensely slow and relaxed heartbeat. Just the touch of his skin made me as nervous as the first night I spent with him. I felt like I was drowning in emotion.

There in his bed midmorning, I traced the words I was too afraid to say out loud with my fingertips. With my touch I said “I love you” and I melted into his body.

I imagined, how could have I gone so long without him this close to me? Ignoring his pursuits for so long and leaving him to be with someone else..

Everything has changed since then.

But my pride shakes me to the core, I will never tell him that I love him first. Considering he has had long-term girlfriends before and I have always been the one to say ‘I love you’ first to pervious boyfriends, I think it’s time for him to confess his love for me.

Stubborn, I know, but it’s what I’ve decided.

Each new day I spend with him I want to vomit the disgusting little phrase out of my mouth as if it was a sickness plaguing my body. Me, Jillian, not commonly known to let men get the best of me or one to communicate my emotions, was and is undoubtedly drunk in love. A feeling so foreign I didn’t know what to do with myself.

First, I tried rejecting it by bottling up my feelings and turning it into a Molotov Cocktail. Then, I tried ignoring it by making a list of things I didn’t like about him. When neither of those worked, he dared to say things to me like “there is always room for you in my schedule” or “you know you love me.” The audacity, the repugnant odor of his hubris was my fatal attraction. I was hooked.

Our love affair had made it through the end of summer and through the weekend outings. It progressed from talking only twice a week through Snapchat message to consistent text messaging every day. My presence at his birthday party was his present in October but by Christmas we were exchanging gifts with one another. He was my New Years kiss and will be my Valentine. By the way it looks, he’ll make it through spring and celebrate with me my 25th birthday in May.

To tell you the truth I don’t even know when the dating stage turns into the relationship stage. But things are going smoothly, for now. Sooner or later though one of us has to crack and admit defeat in this little game of love. Lord knows it’s not going to be me.

The Summer Abroad

IMG_1726.jpgIn 2016 I spent seven weeks in Valencia, Spain for an internship I found through a travel website. It was my first time in Europe, first time traveling alone, and first of many other things.

That summer was more than a storybook movie. It was my fantasy, a dream turned into a reality. During the week I interned at a Spanish tourism blog translating articles to English and created new content for its sister website. But on the weekends I found myself chasing after Spanish men and whirl-winding through the callejones of Spain’s third largest city.

I fell in love with the country. My Spanish love affair betrayed my Mexican heritage but I couldn’t resist the castellano lisp, the jamón serrano or the never ending days at the Playa Maravillosa.

In my subpar Spanish I flirted with the common Spaniard; fair skin, light eyes, combover haircut, and of course my favorite, bearded. I admit, I played my role as La Latina/ La Morena, but it only made things more exciting. A 5’7″ curvaceous woman with long, thick brown hair and brown eyes was different to their European beauty standard. Hailing from Los Angeles was also a plus.

Since I didn’t have friends in Spain I began using the locals to show me around. In my adventures I found myself meeting a group of five madrileños in their mid-20’s visiting Valencia for the weekend. We met at the port and they included me in their botellón at the beach where we exchanged drinks for information about our countries. Our night began after midnight at the club High Cube and I danced in the tropic heat to Celia Cruz’s La Vida Es Un Carnival. The nightlife was a creature in itself; mystic, nocturnal, and sensuous. In the eight stops it took returning to my apartment in Benimaclet, I saw the sun rise on the horizon.

That weekend they invited me to the rest of their activities. I judged a competition on who had the best English (none of them did), I watched them race in the sand and saw half of them fall flat on their faces, I listened to them speak about their lives back in Madrid, and I shared an afternoon ice cream with them at the beach.

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When they left, I felt like I had lost the closest friends I made on the trip.

That summer was a true summer to remember. I left pieces of my heart transiting through Valencia and Madrid to Barcelona and Paris. I was face to face with Diego Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’ one weekend then witnessing the most beautiful landscape at Park Güell the next. I lost myself inside The Louvre and was found again in the middle tier of the Eiffel Tower. I dove into the Mediterranean Ocean during the Noche de San Juan and walked passed by the Estadio Mestalla everyday back home from work. The Gran Fira de Valencia marked the end of my summer in Spain, but it was just the beginning of my worldwide travels.

Hill St & Broadway

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After spending the holidays with my lover, I decided to spend some time with my lover of 12 years. So, my best friend Stephanie and I left the suburbs and trekked to the city where my heart longs to be, Los Angeles.

I spent the day daydreaming about a fabulous life in downtown, walking in my 6 inch Timberland Glancy boots, repping my giant gold hoop earrings, eating at the Grand Central Market during the lunch rush hour.

While enjoying my seafood paella I realized that three weeks into 2018 my personal goals have never been more adamant. Stephanie and I made a list of resolutions for us to have and to meet for the new year: to loyal friendships and relationships, to career growth, to new travels, and to a bigger wallet.

Already, I feel something inside me changing. I feel celestial but also earthly, like the moon guiding the current of the ocean and the waves creeping back and forth onto the shore. Like I’m finding the happy medium with the person I’m becoming.

I found solace in Amy Winehouse’s lyrics and admiration in Frida Kahlo’s photography. I also have a regeneration in self help using cooking and exercise as my therapy sessions. 

I worry less about what my significant other does on social media and have little to no worry at all about his past relationships. I’ve advanced in not jumping the gun when it comes to dating. Taking things slow and at my own pace. In return, I’ve found my heart growing in all different directions.

If 2016 was the “Year of Yes” and 2017 was the “Year of Uncertainty,” then 2018 is the “Year of Self.”

Making lists and writing things down help organize my thoughts so here are just some things I’ve jotted down for 2018.

-Plan a trip to NYC (Xmas time or earlier, watch a game at MSG or Yankee Stadium, drink a Manhattan in Manhattan)

-Buy a Nikon camera for blog

-Plan a trip to Vegas for Cinco de Mayo or go to Miami for my birthday

-Write about makeup and politics and how they’re intertwined; write a piece for Los Angeles Affairs

-Learn how to make paella and attempt to make it once

-Stop saying “lol” in texts

Fin!

A Descriptive Entry

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Source: @sivan.ka

Dedicated to my man who is not really my man

His shoulders, broader than a mountain range; at six feet and one inch off the ground there wasn’t an ounce of body fat on him. His skin, brown like the stem of flower but soft like its petal, is my favorite part of him.

A few tattoos distinguish him from others; his mother’s maiden name and father’s last name juxtaposed on each tricep, his mother and sister’s first name in between a bed of roses on his right bicep, and a matching “Est. 1991” to his brother’s “Est. 1984” on their respective ribcage. True to his Mexican heritage and completing his collection is the phrase “Familia es Primera” inked across his chest.

The dominant male trait of his family is a nose that’s too big for their face. Distinctive, large and even a uncle only known as “Nariz”.

A single mole dotted on his upper right cheek is the smallest feature on his face. His dimples were even larger than his birthmark. His hard, masculine facial traits could be rough on the eyes but to me they balanced out well.

To be honest actually, I wasn’t even attracted to him when we first met. It was his persistence; his consistent effort to talk to me, to go out of his way to visit me while I was at work and approach me still while he was working that attracted me. I became more in awe of him through his personality.

If his superpower was to make people at ease then it was my kryptonite. He was so easy to be around, like I never had to try to impress him. Our characters different but they complemented each other. Where sports and athleticism rule his world, arts and beauty rule mine.

Recently I bought a book on astrology and read that our signs are compatible in the sense we are polar opposites. Our law of attraction is that my fixed earth sign Taurus and his fixed water sign Scorpio attract each other because we fulfill what the other lacks. Still, as I continue to learn more about him we will see if this forecasting is true.

In his inner sphere where I’ve meticulously tipped toed into his life I’ve learned that he prefers the intimacy of a relationship, that is, staying inside and spending time alone away from outside influences.

In his outer sphere he has always been competitive and has always been up to no good. A notorious group of friends from what I’ve heard, that do everything together. Imagine, him and five of his male friends went on a Euro trip last winter! Exactly.

But, alas, I have the privilege of saying he opened his bottle of wine that he brought back from Portugal on the first night we spent with each other.

Now that I’ve gone off on a tangent I think I’ll end here. To me, he is the version that the is diminutive of his first name, but to everyone else he is the diminutive of his last name, which is also a fruit turned into a cookie bar (care to take a guess?).

A-B-C

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In your twenties, life is about completing the ultimate trifecta of the A-B-C.

In no particular order we’re always looking for an Apartment, looking for a Boyfriend, or looking for a Career. To have one is luck, to have two is smarts, to have all three is damn near impossible.

But now that I’ve managed to finesse my way into a man’s heart, I have to somehow use that same charm and persuasion to finesse my way into employment. If it’s not already clear, my true love is to write. It is to share stories and find words that match feelings and play on words that conceptualize different moods; my writing is short and sweet, simple and sexy.

However, as a multi-media millennial I am not limited to only freeform writing. In college I studied film and video editing, pre and post production work, wrote scripts for a magazine style talkshow and was a beat writer for the Hispanic culture on campus. I even had a YouTube channel once but that is still a work in progress.

I graduated Class of 2016 with a BA in Communications, an emphasis on Journalism. My ~current~ dream is to have my own column and write for publications like The New Yorker or The Los Angeles Times or Teen Vogue. I’m thinking Selena Quintanilla meets Sex and the City meets Daria.

On my academic quest of exploring the different capacities of journalism, I found that I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career path. My first internship was at a sports writing blog which turned out to be very difficult as I had no background (or real knowledge then) in sports. My second internship was purely for traveling purposes. I spent a summer in Spain working at an online travel blog where I had a Spanish love affair. My third internship was at a major broadcast company in Los Angeles and this is where I left my last, most current step in journalism.

As you can see, I’ve been all over the place but it’s still difficult for me to chose one direct path when I’m interested in it all. That’s why this little blog is here to help me. I’m hoping I can perfect my craft in writing while still being able to post different media platforms on this site. Sooner or later I’ll be sharing my own digital work that shows I can work with video and photo editing software. Eventually, I’ll also start to market my blog through hyperlinking different content and endorsing my social media. The goal is to get noticed and who knows, maybe one day become viral.

 But until then my virtual friends, the job search continues!