#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

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.

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.

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

ballast point
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.