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

Brooklyn

BrooklynMeasured by blocks, but counted by the multitude of cultures, Brooklyn is what the city left to be untainted by gentrification.

How do I describe Brooklyn? It’s a host of prewar buildings with smaller neighbors in the borough itself. Some residential, some corporate, all connected by the A, D, F, Q, or R trains. I don’t know whether to call the homes houses or brownstones or apartments? A basement is an apartment but also the the private podiatric practice of an NYU alum. The other floors are duplex’s to be done with whatever the landlord pleases. It’s unique in every part, and probably just how you imagined it to be from the movies. Sometimes, when I’m crossing the bridge to Manhattan by train, I really think Spiderman is going to pop out of nowhere and rescue us from a bomb the Green Goblin placed underneath its tracks. But I digress.

In the middle of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood are three young professionals sharing an apartment together; a barista, a sportswear apparel agent and a broadcast associate. Between the Jewish, Chinese, African/Caribbean, Russian, Italian, Muslim, Irish, and Greek communities, a Korean, a Taiwanese and a Mexican live in apartment 3F. I’m told I got lucky moving into a rent controlled building with its own washer and dryer; I guess that’s the deal I made for having the smallest room without a window.

Geographically I don’t understand New York. My roommate explained it to me as “a floating island of trash and the homeless man’s toilet,” but I’m still speculating her observation. She was also the one who told me that I wasn’t a New Yorker until I get robbed.

New York is changing me and I don’t know what it is yet. Everything is moving so fast for me here that I don’t know what to anticipate next. Today is the Fourth of July and it’s hard for me to want to go outside and try to do something. Moving to a city where you don’t know anyone, or having the things that were easily accessible to you before makes even the smallest of tasks daunting. Mentally, I’m back at home but physically I’m on the other side of the United States. It gets lonely to be honest, but I’m trying day by day.

Brooklyn is home now and I’m here to make the best of it. I was so lucky to come to New York when I did, to work for a company that in many ways is a ‘legacy’ in my family. To be promoted within two weeks of starting work and to achieve what I came here to do; it’s unreal. In many ways, I’ve only known journalism; from writing a career report about Editor-in-Chiefs in eighth grade, to writing for my school newspaper in high school and college, to interning at a broadcast station in Los Angeles, to working alongside a senior producer in the number one market for journalism- it has been a journey. A lifetime in the making.

I never wanted to do anything on a smaller scale, I always knew it was either Los Angeles or New York, no in between. And now, these dreams are manifesting to be true. Sometimes I feel like I sacrificed everything to be here, but some steps are meant to be taken just to prove your worth.

New York, what are you doing to me!

Denver, CO

What can I say about Denver besides the fact I entered the city with a predisposed sentiment of hostility? The true American Midwest frightened me; the weather was on the cusp of its arid fall season, thanks to its pivotal location between the High Plaines and Rocky Mountains; the food was urbanized by everything having an egg thrown in it or some Mexican dish containing an unnecessary amount of black beans; the Downtown area was quiet, maybe just a little too quiet for my liking and the people were friendly, maybe just a little too friendly.

Denver, in all of its autumn colors of pine greens and maple leafs’ yellows, was at its best. The air was crisp and the sun shone from the mountain tops so brightly, teasing of its last few hours before the storm. Snow hugged buildings like fleece on a winter coat but  transformed into a blanket of ice the next day, covering every inch and crevice of the city.

I moved through LoDo like a token on a game board, stopping at each block and questioning the Coloradian lifestyle. Each step was another battle between myself and the snowflakes bombarding my face. I couldn’t move any longer, my four layers of clothing was defenseless and I was succumbing to defeat of my first snowfall. My company was frolicking in the middle of the streets while I was pressed against the sidewalk, desperately looking for coverage from the snow.

It was obvious that I was out of my element.

To further embarrass myself, I was the obnoxious L.A. fan in Bronco Country. It was me against the entire population of Denver. Those who were not hiking or skiing were at Mile High stadium, those who were not cheering for the Rams, were trying to be smart with me. Although I was instigating every time Todd Gurley rushed into end zone, to my defense I shouldn’t be taken anywhere in public because si ya saben como mi pongo pa que mi invitan.

Denver, Colorado; a place I would probably have never visited if it wasn’t the home to my boyfriend’s and his mom’s NFL team. It was cold and country but in its corners I found bits and pieces that suited my likings.

My few days in the Midwest was as to be expected; In Denver’s 20 degree weather I danced on the bar top of Coyote Ugly (and kicked a drink in a guy’s face), fell asleep to a Jazz band performing outside of the Denver Performing arts complex across from our hotel, met Eric Dickerson during the game’s tailgate, and patronized the mother-son duo for being fans of the losing team.

The city was a mile high, and so was I.

 

The Future is Near

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The one and only, Jillian

Summer 2018 almost went down in a spiraling hole down the shitter.

My professional life at a stagnant low had me waking up in the middle of the night fearing the same question everybody keeps asking me, “When are you doing with your life?” I awoke without an answer. I felt adrift, neither here nor there, nor close to anywhere. The anxiety spread and I felt that my career as a journalist had come to an end, that what I studied for all these years didn’t want me as much as I wanted it. I turned into a dejected, moody ball of bad energy. It was a fear that bled into my relationship and had me thinking that I have nothing to offer for the future of this relationship. My summer turned into a cycle of working as a server three days a week so I can go out two days a week and spend as much time with my love in between.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Alas in my summer daze of unworthiness, I received a call that I’ve always wanted but never received- a job interview. In a month’s long process I drove back and forth from Los Angeles for a series of interviews and rescheduled appointments. I waited weeks in between each meeting, unaware of my standings with the company. My night terrors became worse as I put all my cards on the table. The anticipation killed me. And then in front of my eyes, there it was- a job offer. An email that sent me flying. The beginning of my career.

Albeit the profession is a part-time job in the entertainment industry, it is just an arms length away from their news broadcast center. This is what I’ve been waiting for, at foot inside the door of a media corporation that I could hopefully test my skills into screenwriting as well. For now my mid-20’s angst is on hold but the new chapter of my life, is to be continued.

——

Just when I thought Summer 2018 was going to be a dud, another small gesture tugged at

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My wonderful boyfriend and I at the Dodger game

the strings that connect my heart. One day my boyfriend and his dad were changing the taillight to my car and when my keys were handed back to me there was a new addition; a small Dodger Blue key with the LA logo printed on its sides was now in my possession. And just like that, I had my own key to their house.

Another recurring theme in my life, besides the typical “What do you want do with your life?” is the other constant repetition of the question, “Jill, how are you and your man?” I mean, ask me again because quite frankly I love talking about my relationship. Still, it has me thinking- What is it exactly do the people want to hear?

Well as an update to my relationship chisme, a few weeks ago I found myself in the midst of a wine drinking party that I unexpectedly arrived late to. In the backyard of my boyfriend’s house his mother and sister-in-law were three maybe four bottles of wine deep and I was there to polish off a fifth.

In a drunken spell his mother shared the secrets of her son’s past relationships that I was too afraid to ask him myself. In what could have been gut wrenching awkward conversation, the ghosts of my lover’s past turned into a heart-felt moment between his mother and I. Behind a broken voice and tearful eyes she told me everything I wanted to hear from my significant other’s mother.

Sometimes when I feel down or insecure I think back on the moment to remind myself that in a jungle of scavengers, be a lioness. Be the hunter, and the killer.

 

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.

Insecure

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Source: @drawninacorner

This is a post I’ve been thinking about writing for a while now and I’ve always wondered how I should go about it. In a turn of no particular events I’ve decided to share with you my greatest weakness, the cardinal vice of insecurity.

To say that I’ve always been insecure, well, I wouldn’t negate it. It was one of the first conscious thoughts of self-awareness I had when I was a little girl in elementary school. It’s a feeling, a deepness inside me that I haven’t been able to shake off in years.

But I would like to state first that I’ve come a long way since then and have accepted myself for who and what I am.

Struggling with insecurity is like failing a test, you try so hard to study every minute detail of a subject only to underperform and let yourself down. You’re so critical on yourself that not even those around you can comfort you; you are your biggest enemy.

When I was a teenager my insecurities ruled my world. I was insecure about how tall I was, how much bigger I was, how poofy my hair was, how I had small eyes and chubby cheeks; it was a living hell for me. Then in my early twenties I decided to work on myself by killing those insecurities superficially. I dyed my hair red, I started wearing brand name makeup, I bought a gym pass and even went under the knife. Now, just a few weeks shy of officially being in my mid-twenties, the pit of my insecurities harbor inside me like a festering sickness at the bottom of my stomach, waiting for the catalyst that will spread it throughout my body.

My adult insecurities stem from a fear of never being good enough. That I’ve reached the pinnacle of my youth and still have yet to feel comfortable in my own body. I still compare myself to others and still see in myself that little teenage girl in the mirror instead of a beautiful grown woman. My weakness is that I don’t value myself as much as I should. It hurts to even write this because seeing my insecurities manifest itself like this on the one thing I’m proud of most… it’s almost offensive.

But I feel the necessity to share this part of me.

Being in a relationship is also the best thing and worst thing to happen to self-confidence. On one end you have your partner showing you unconditional love that shrinks any self doubt but on the other end, you fear that your partner will manipulate you for someone else. Your insecurities take over and you don’t know how to deal with it.

In my previous two relationships I’ve found out that one ex was cheating on me through social media and the other say to my face that he’s dated other girls prettier than me. I’ve been heartbroken and betrayed and sometimes I think I’ll never forget these moments in my life, but I’ve been coping. At times I even feel like damaged goods because of the fear of going through that again, even more so now that I’m not trying not to jump to conclusions to keep a healthy relationship.

But I still think that it’s true, that girlfriends get jealous if their boyfriends like another girl’s picture. Why? Because in that moment their whole world is giving their attention to someone else. I can’t say every girl is like this but I know for me it’s something that I’ve been trying not to let bother me so much because of what happened to me in previous relationships.

I’ve battled and conquered but the wounds are visceral. Being insecure is a part of me as much as I’m a part of it and just like anyone else, I’m always trying to better myself.

 

The Plastics: Four Women and their Stories of Cosmetic Surgery

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Source: @huldaguzman

I woke up to a bright white light squeezing into the slits of my eyelids. Strapped down by each carpal and tarsal, I was crucified on a surgical table in downtown Santa Monica. I awoke with an inability to breathe, gasping for air from what felt like two cement bags pushing on my lungs. The nurse asked, “Do you need more morphine?” and with a quick reply of “yes,” I was sedated again.

Continue reading “The Plastics: Four Women and their Stories of Cosmetic Surgery”

Valentine’s Day

 

 

No words can describe the way I feel towards him, but I’ll try my best to do so. Since first saying ‘I love you’ to each other our relationship has only bloomed into a beautiful field of flowers. In our garden, aromatic bursts of passion and scents of excitement intoxicate the surroundings; if love was in the air then you’d be suffocating on it.

Our first Valentine’s Day was perfect. We began the day at 6 a.m. to fit in a CrossFit workout before our complete and utter cheat meal day commenced. By 10 a.m. we were fresh and already on the road to Pasadena. Our champagne brunch was served at Barney’s Beanery in downtown complemented with the American take on Mexican breakfast. We were there to watch the Champions League game Real Madrid vs PSG. There my back to back champions defeated PSG in a 3-1 upset that shocked football fanatics (and my boyfriend) to the core. But me, being the savior of the day, didn’t let him drown in his sorrows because his gift was PSG Nike Windbreaker and a Barcelona Nike training pullover. Although one day, I’ll convince him to wear a Ronaldo jersey.

Hand in hand we walked down Colorado Street on a beautiful mid-February day once the game was over. Cars were driving from light to light and the season casted a temperature just over 75 degrees. Love really was in the air that day and it was radiating just from our connection.

At our hotel we toasted to our relationship with a handmade cocktail. The room was decorated with chocolates and flowers per his request. I was so in love, my heart filled to the brim with his kindness. He could have given me rock with a bow tied around it and I still would have been happy.

With him, it’s something that feels so real. So tangible and alive that it makes life easier. To have the person you love by your side, to share that same feeling with each other, it is the most deadly yet compassionate drug ever. I have his heart, and he has mine.

We later had reservations at Ruth’s Chris and again he swept me off my feet with an amazing dinner. A glass of Duckhorn Merlot and a medium rare filet, my stomach was as happy as my heart. For dessert was him, and a slice of mixed berries cheesecake.

The best thing about this relationship is looking forward to the new experiences we get to share with each other. We promised to take care of each other and in my most intimate inner thoughts, he is there right beside me.

Victory at Sea

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Courtesy Ballast Point | Calm Before the Storm

I boarded the wooden ship to set sail in search of a mythical creature. I, the captain, was preparing for battle.

Into the ocean I hoisted my sails, gazed upon the stars for direction and left everything I knew behind. I was vulnerable and alone in this voyage. The day turned into night and I found the beast alone in his cave. Ready to attack, he made the first move.

He was conniving. He knew my weakness, my obsession with defeating him. Our quarrel began at the strike of midnight and I was lost at sea with the creature unknown.

The waves of the ocean tossed and pounded my vessel onto him. Back and forth we were  both fighting for air. The wetness was everywhere, our bodies glued from the sweat and salt water precipitating from our skin. The current was aggressive. Just like the beast, it was rough and insurmountable but we rallied through the night. He was thick and large, again pounding onto my ship like every blow was going to be my last.

It was a dance through the night, parlaying each other’s sanity for the final strike. Our formation was unbroken. When I finally took the lead, I thrusted forward and attacked. Waves grew higher around us and crashed in the form of a tempest, swallowing our energies. Back and forth, back and forth, we were crawling into each other’s skin.

In between the respirations and battle cries he let out a whimper. A whimper so soft I couldn’t believe it. It was what I traveled the sea for, what I came to conquer; it was his heart. In the misty night he said “I love you” and I dove into the cave in which he lived. Every guard I had up, every drop of patience, was for this moment. There, in a split second our forbidden love turned into something real. So real that we were both afraid of it but we had each other to navigate this course.

The battle between woman and beast had ended. And in that night, I claimed victory at sea.