“Livin' life in phases/ another season changes/ and still my days are shapeless.”- Tame Impala
Welp, I don’t know what to tell you, I thought I could keep up this blog for my own sake and to help me gather my thoughts about life and all, but over the course of the semester it was just really hard, to say the least.
GRAD SCHOOL IS HARD AND INTENSE AND MOST OF THE TIME I’M NOT REALLY SURE WHETHER I’M GONNA SURVIVE OR NOT. *cries in spanish*
Now that I got that statement out of the way, I would like to share many of the accomplishments and goals that I was able to get done this semester. Looking back at the last blog I wrote before this (last year lol)... I was not able to get pink hair without completely killing my hair entirely, I did end up going to Italy, AND my art-making and work definitely did mature.
In March, I took my first trip to Europe, and it was also my first time travelling outside of both of my homes (U.S. and Mexico). It was absolutely amazing. I know people say that all the time when travelling abroad, but I don’t know what else I can say about that experience. I had many moments of Deja Vu, and aesthetic experiences that literally made me cry. I had made a vow to myself on my last birthday that I would visit a new country each year; although this is the first year of keeping that vow, I’m already going to surpass it since I was selected to go on a trip to Peru in June!
Apart from that, I was also able to have my first solo exhibition at the end of March. This one was among the various art shows that I was able to be a part of this semester, I even won first place in the analog category at a photography competition. I also sold a bunch of art and made a patreon account. I guess I can say that it was a great semester, especially since I was able to bond even more with the people here in Wichita.
I feel a little weird sharing all my accomplishments and not having much bad news to share, but I have to make sure I tell myself that that is okay; it’s actually pretty good. Obviously, I still deal with past trauma on a daily- basis, but I feel that I have gotten much better at managing it and plunging it into my artmaking instead of crying over it in my bed all alone at night during a thunderstorm. Yes, very specific.
This is actually what I have been currently focusing my work on at the moment. I want to explore the ways that religious institutions can work as enablers for domestic and sexual violence. I hope to get more into the details and specifics for what this means to me in upcoming posts.
I know this post was just a quick rundown of highlights that have happened over the past few months, but I will probably circle back to some of the things I glossed over during this post. Please stay tuned, and thank you so much for being so patient with me!
“I want to be with you, be with you night and day. Nothing changes on new year’s day.”- U2
Well, this is awkward. I have completely abandoned this blog for months. For the majority of the semester I was struggling with the aftermath of the car accident I had been in, that I stopped blogging for the fear of sabotaging myself in the case that we would go to court. Now that I think back, I wish I had not let that stop me from writing.
Either way, here I am. I’m back and ready to continue to keep track of my life and leave some nice journal entries for my future self.
A lot has changed, and the remaining hasn’t. Right now I’m in Morelia, incredibly sick, and struggling even to type out these words; however writing in this blog again has been long overdue, and I will not let this internal fever stop me.
It’s almost time for the new year, and honestly for the first time in years, I genuinely feel that I’m in a good place to start the new year. I aced my first semester of grad school. I struggled the first couple months, but after receiving a sort of warning from a professor, I was able to get back on it and finish strong. My work has evolved in ways that I didn’t really think it would, and honestly it makes me very excited.
I have learned to love myself again, and much more than ever before. I was re-reading two blog posts that I wrote during my break down after the car crash in August, and they reek of a huge lack of self- worth. That wasn’t the real me. That was a version of me that I don’t recognize now and that I hope I don’t become in the future again. At the time, I had deleted them from the blog, and now I decided to keep it that way and save those just for me, as reminders of what not to do.
I made many new friends and acquaintances, went to some concerts, met a lot of cool visual artists, acquired a lot of cool art for my personal collection, and learned a whole lot about the medium of photography. Did I mention I got back together with Abhi? Well we did, it has been amazing, and I miss him dearly since he is currently in New York.
I turned 23 a couple of weeks ago and it was the best birthday I had in years. I was surrounded by people I love so much and it was the first time I was actually excited to start a new year of my life. Perhaps that’s why I’m not as excited for new year’s… because each new year starts on my birthday and I’m so excited for the possibilities that are to come:
Pink hair? A trip to Italy or Argentina? A new semester of growth for my artwork? Yes, please. I just need this cold to go away. Year 23, treat me well please.
“I hear you breathing, like breathing in the new atmosphere.”- NZCA Lines
This week has felt very long and lonely. It feels like I’ve been here for weeks, but it has barely been one week today. Even so, a lot has happened and I am stuck between feeling incredibly blessed, or wondering how the heck I ended up in a place that can be beautiful, but also very dangerous. I guess the easiest way for me to organize my thoughts about all of the things that happened this week is to just tell it by the day.
Monday: I needed to go to the financial aid office and the HR office at the WSU campus to get some paperwork done. So I treated myself to some McDonald’s breakfast. I shed a few tears of joy as I walked by the campus and reminded myself of how hard I worked to get here, since it’s an easy thing to forget. But heck, I wouldn’t be getting paid to get my master’s if I didn’t work my ass off, right?
Tuesday: I went grocery shopping by foot, because I don’t have a car. It was nice because the store is only 20 minutes away. However, I ended up buying more groceries than I thought and so instead of requesting a Lyft like a normal person, I decided to also walk back home. It was early in the morning so it wasn’t too hot and it felt like a good workout. The idea of investing in a car started creeping into my mind. I also found out that someone stole the vacuum I ordered from Ebay and that it will take a few weeks to get resolved, unfortunately.
Wednesday: I decided to venture out into the city and get my daily workout, so I ended up walking seven miles that day. I had gone to Kohl’s to buy some new shoes. The day was beautiful because it was cloudy for most of the morning and got hot until I got close to home so that was nice.I started looking at quotes for car leases and have decided that it is definitely something I need.
Thursday: I skipped my appointment at the car dealership because something is wrong with my credit score and it dropped like 50 points. I didn’t want to go in and get a super expensive quote because of it; but that made me feel a little down. On the bright side, I managed to finish unpacking everything that day!
Friday: I finally met some of the faculty, saw the art spaces on campus, and signed up for classes. I felt so lucky and blessed to be here and just fell in love with everything about the campus. I will be assisting in the Intro to Photo and Analog photo classes and I’m super excited to finally learn how to work with film! Oh, and the faculty is amazing and really funny. I look forward to working with them.
Saturday: I wanted to treat myself, so I went to an Indian restaurant. Before leaving to go eat, I saw that someone threw out a vacuum and so I thought I would try it out, and now I understand why they got rid of it lol. Come to think of it, they were probably the same people who stole my vacuum! No wonder they did though… oh well. Anyway, I got a weird look from the waiter when I told him I needed a table for one lol. I felt like Ted from How I Met Your Mother, when the hotel guy feels bad for him for being single. It was funny, but I got to try a wide variety of foods. Plus, there were two other men who were also eating alone, and a couple who had just met-- I’m assuming it was a blind date. Then I got to shop for some Indian groceries, and stopped by two garage sales on the way home. I got a set of new drinking glasses for only $2! Everything was fine, until the evening. I went in search for the laundry room in the apartment complex and couldn’t find it. Then I went to a nearby laundromat to check their hours, and on the way two cars beeped at me, but I ignored them. On my way back home, some guy was hanging his head out of the window and yelled something at me, but I didn’t hear what he said. He kept looking at me even as they were driving away. I no longer felt safe in my little bubble of hope. I need to get a car, and make sure I keep Susy safe when she comes to live with me.
Sunday: Today, I no longer walked to my destination, not like I could anyway; and I wore pants for the first time in a long time-- because it’s summer and it’s hot as heck. But apparently if I wear shorts and crop top it gives men the right to harass me on the street. Anyway, I had a very nice time meeting my new clients and their children. I look forward to their wedding in September of next year. I also had a nice conversation with my Lyft driver, and he ended up giving me his number in case I ever wanted to hang out as friends, since he clearly stated he wasn’t looking for anything romantic. He was like in his 30s-40s, why the hell would he assume I was flirting? Or maybe he wasn’t, I think we were both just being friendly. I think my paranoia is on high right now due to what has happened in the last few weeks.
I wish I didn’t have to live my life in fear, be able to wear what I want, and go wherever I want without being bothered. So wish me luck on my new venture to find a car.
“I had a feeling that I belonged. And I had a feeling I could be someone.” - Tracy Chapman
Now I’m finally in my new home. My last few days in Mexico were mainly comprised of staying at home and mentally preparing myself for my new life. I left a couple days later than expected, which caused a bit of tension between my dad and I; it always seems to happen after we’ve spent too much time together.
The trip wasn’t too long, but it did suck that it was longer than it needed to be. I travelled by bus and the route that this bus took was different than the routes that we usually take to get to the border. We passed by states in Mexico that I had never been in, and suddenly I was in Chihuahua. Because of the trauma that the person that I married had caused me, I felt very anxious knowing I was so close to his birthplace and the hometown to relatives of his that I met, that accepted me, and who so easily threw me away just like he did. I felt so uneasy because I felt like I was close to him… like he could get to me again. I didn’t want to, but I started to remember how I felt that terrible day when I begged him to stay. Thankfully he didn’t.
When I crossed the border, it was weird because the officer didn’t seem to believe I was me. I could tell it was because I look younger than I am. I told him I just moved to Wichita for grad school and he didn’t seem to understand me. He kept looking at my face and back at my passport, and finally covered up my passport and asked what my birth date was. I was visibly nervous, maybe that was it too.
The rest of the day was spent in El Paso, Texas, and for those of you who don’t know, I absolutely hate Texas. Sometimes I feel like I know why I dislike it so much, but other times I wonder if I really know. I feel like it’s because of the bad memories I have from the six months I lived there, or perhaps because it is so hot in the summer. I don’t even know anymore. All I know is that I feel like I should still hate it lol.
Anyway, I got here safely and tired.
I ordered chinese takeout for the first time and started decorating my apartment. Keeping myself busy will help me to not feel as lonely anymore. I became used to spending a lot of time alone and enjoying it, but I guess it was different when I knew I had friends on the college campus I could run to whenever.
Well, here goes… my new life… one that I earned and worked hard for… let’s see what you have in store for me, life.
“You’re alright where you are, being no one, going nowhere.”- STRFKR
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post because a lot has happened. I was able to work on maintaining a close friendship with Abhi, got to visit what was once my favorite place in the world, and best of all, I have finally (hopefully) recovered from a long lasting marathon of being sick.
Unfortunately, it seems that for the majority of my time visiting Mexico, I have been sick. It started out as dehydration, then it turned to an upset stomach, fatigue, recovery, food poisoning, dehydration again, fever, fever, and fever for days. I think now I am finally at a good point where I might be fully hydrated… hopefully.
Other than that, I am very grateful for the short but overall quality time that I have been able to spend with my family. This time around, I have also learned how different I see the world. I’m such a different person to who I used to be, but when I come home, it’s like not much has changed. The biggest difference I’ve seen is the way my sisters have begun to see me and how much of an impact I actually have on them.
I came back home more positive about life and confident in who I am. As I leave, I’m again questioning my purpose. I know for a fact that I am on the right path career-wise… but what about physically? Mentally? Spiritually?
I had all these plans and aspirations to travel to a new place every year, but in getting sick almost every day, I started to ask myself...will my body be okay to travel? Have I really been taking care of myself as well as I’ve convinced myself that I have? The answer is no. Although I may not look like it, I have been struggling with a bit of an eating disorder since all of the incidents of last fall. Last week I was in the place I used to love so much and couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would like to, because I wasn’t strong enough. I felt more inspired to get to know more places, but I have to try much harder to take care of myself so I can actually have the opportunity to do so.
Mentally, I realized that I still have some trauma from those same incidents. I made the decision to quit therapy for a while and attempt to live my life like a normal person and try not to rely too much on medicine. In taking the medicine “as needed,” I have had some bad days emotionally. I had forgotten how it felt to spend a day feeling you’re on the edge of having a panic attack or feeling the need to cry out of nowhere. I have to work three times as hard if I want to continue having the positive mindset that I have been working towards, and that I thought I had genuinely achieved.
Spiritually, I think I might actually be starting to open up to the idea of returning to my faith again. I went to church last night for the first time in months and felt a little spark that almost brought me to tears. A spark that is reigniting the love between my guide and I. I thought about how my relationship with God over the years and how it flourished, evolved and eventually disappeared.
I think I’m ready to return home.
“I'd say, see you next time, if I thought there were a next time. Easy conversation, ain't exactly where we're at. It's so strange, deciding, how I feel about you; It ain't like I ain't used to going on without you.”- Mac DeMarco
It’s been a hectic two weeks, which is why I didn’t get the opportunity to post last week. I was busy finishing up packing, saying goodbye to people and dealing with last minute things before the big move. I spent my last days with Abhi, and finally said goodbye to him and our relationship.
On Tuesday, we finally arrived to Wichita and I got to meet the new city and apartment that will soon be my new home. On Friday, my mom threw a party for Charito’s second birthday and for my graduation, as a surprise. These past few days, we’ve been seeing new places in Mexico. It’s all very exciting...but I don’t feel completely satisfied.
The whole time I was in therapy, we worked on rebuilding myself so as to not become dependent on someone else for my happiness. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that while being as confident as I have ever been, despite not being at my ideal weight. I feel genuinely happy. But there is a part of me that is scared that I made a mistake in leaving Abhi.
I came to the decision of the break-up because I didn’t want to be in a long-distance relationship ever again. I didn’t want to wait up for calls or feel lonely and like I’m missing something all the time. Traveling to see each other often is not as feasible because of the cost and time. What if he got bored of our phone calls? He should have the opportunity to date other people and not feel tied to his phone all the time to feel only a fraction of my presence with him. But is that my own decision to make? Am I being selfish? Isn’t this relationship worth a shot?
I felt that keeping the original plan of breaking up when I moved was better than trying to keep the relationship alive for a few more months and having it turn sour with us possibly not being content with it. I wanted to save the friendship of someone so important to me, but we haven’t talked much lately and I feel as though this friendship is already lost.
I guess I just keep trying to justify the break-up. I keep trying to tell myself that this is what was needed to be done, just like we agreed when we decided to enter the relationship. But… I love him. I have never had to leave someone that I love, that also loves me. This was possibly the best relationship I’ve ever been in and I’m scared that I might end up regretting the decision.
I thought maybe we could take this time to grow as individuals, focus on our studies, and maybe one day get back together or remain good friends. I’m open to it, just like I want to be open to new opportunities. For now, I have to keep fighting the urge to talk to him all the time and keep him. He’s not for me, at least not for now-- who knows maybe not even ever. We’re really young, we have our whole lives ahead of us and now is the time to discover what we really want out of this life and future partners. We knew this would happen since we began dating, and these hurt feelings will pass...right?
“The end for me will be the beginning of my story. To live again is such a strange high. Let nothing pass me like before. New love, new dreams to make. How will I ever stay awake? There’s something in me worth fighting for.” - Sun City
After being on the negative side on this blog and in real life (at times), I thought I’d switch it up and share about some positives. After hearing the news from two weeks ago, I tagged along with a couple of friends (okay best friend Becca and her fiance, because she will kill me if she reads this and is not referred to that lol). Anyway, I drove for about three hours towards Chicago to visit my sister in Lake Villa. BFF Jackie cut my hair short and dyed it for the first time. I went shopping, got the cutest outfit ever, got myself a cinnabon, and had a long island while watching Incredibles 2. After spending some quality time with family and friends, it’s like I was cured and back to normal.
Self care at its finest, if you ask me.
Over the past two weeks I have tried to make the most of my last days in Monmouth and have been visiting with Gilma, and really bonding with Camila. I had also been practicing driving intensely and finally was able to get over that fear. On Tuesday, we went to the DMV, and I was super confident in my driving, but automatically failed the test because I backed out terribly and stepped on the grass. I went back on Thursday and almost passed the test but my turns still weren’t very good so I lost too many points. Then on Friday, Sarah helped me practice in her smaller car and I got the hang of it. Then I finally passed the test and got my license!
I know it may seem like something that is not very hard or something that I should have been able to do since I was a teenager, but it was truly very hard for me. I had crashed a couple of cars before and almost got into a major accident on the highway. There was a time where I couldn’t imagine myself driving without going into a panic or inducing a lot of anxiety.
Deep breathing, random spasms of terror, and desensitizing by driving on major streets really helped get over it. I sometimes tried comparing the amount of difficulty that I was experiencing in this situation to other experiences in my life that were hard to get through, and I couldn’t think of any. Yep, that’s how hard this seemed to be.
But I told myself that if I could pass that test, get my license, and be a good driver, then I can truly do anything. In retrospect, I think my mind has downplayed the amount of growth and strength that I have had to put together to get through the past year. Yes, I am human and I hit rock bottom too many times in the process, but here I am today, sober, with a college degree, trying to be healthier, and the happiest I have been in a really long time.
I am so antsy to get out of Monmouth and move to a whole new place because I know that so many more good (and bad, because life) things await me. All I need to remember is that I have made it through so many difficult things and got them out of the way.
I am so thankful and sad to let go of 2 people who helped me through so much this year: Abhi, and Tom, my counselor. I will miss you both and thank you for all of your kindness.
This week has been very difficult for the immigrant community. I’m not even really sure how to start writing about this traumatic event that happened at the end of last summer. But I will attempt to start by explaining the photo above.
The photo above may seem like a regular photo that people take with their siblings when helping them take their first steps, but the more you look at it, you might start to notice things that are not so normal. Let’s start with the setting in the photo. You can infer that there are two beds in this room; but what you may not know is that this is in a hotel room. In Brownsville. In Texas. Close to the border.
Next, you notice that my baby sister, Charito, is wearing an oversized Puerto Vallarta t-shirt. You may also notice my dad is on his phone in the background and you might be wondering why the heck he doesn’t get this small child some proper clothes. What you don't know is that my family had been cooped up in that hotel room for weeks while my mom was kept in an ICE detention center. For those who know children, know that kids go through two, three, or maybe more outfits per day because they are so messy. At this point, we had run out of baby clothes so we borrowed one of my dad’s t-shirts.
Now you might be thinking, lazy bastards, why don’t you just do your laundry and take proper care of your child?! Well, you see, we had just seen my mom in the detention center earlier so we were tired at that point. Every day was hard there. We would sit in a waiting room for hours on end, only to see my mom for the quickest 15 minutes ever. The other 15 minutes while my other siblings would visit her felt eternal. Why didn’t my 15 minutes last that long?
A security guard would come get us in groups of 3, I would take Charito and Viry with me, sometimes Geli. Then suddenly we were face to face with the woman that nurtured us growing up, separated by glass, and could only communicate by a phone that smelled weird. Like criminals do in movies. The glamorous woman that I knew was not there, it seemed like she was replaced with someone who hadn’t been able to wear makeup or do her hair while in that facility; not that it matters to me, but it’s a part of who she is. And it was still the same woman, because she was showing strength as if nothing could break her. The basic essence of my mom.
I placed the phone in Charito’s ear and she hugged it closely as she heard my mom’s voice. Then another time we were able to have a contact visit and spend time in my mom’s arms, but my dad wasn’t allowed to go near her. As harsh as this all sounds, at least for me, going to see my mom at the detention center was the highlight of the day. Every day, my family would go to the same gas station for food because it was cheap and spend their days locked up in that hotel with nothing to do but take the kids out to play in the park or go to the store.
My mom was deported in late August and most of my family moved back to Mexico. Still, I am grateful that my siblings were able to stay with my dad during my mom’s detention. If I worried for my mom’s safety, a grown woman, in a place like that, I would have lost my mind knowing my little siblings were being treated in the same manner. It simply does not make sense in my mind how some people think it is okay. And if you do, I have no respect for you, no matter who you are. I not only wish for families to stop being separated from detention centers, but to stop being separated and detained in general. Fuck ICE. Fuck detention centers. And fuck anyone who condones them.
Lake Villa, IL
That girl in the photo is me a year ago today. In a white poofy princess dress. Happy as ever. Glowing. Walking down the aisle towards trauma.
Yesterday I heard some incredible news that prompted me to look through the photos from “our” wedding, a memory that I have slowly let go of. I feel as though I don’t recognize the girl posing next to the groom. She is attempting to be a beautiful bride. She seems genuinely happy, I can tell she really loves him.
But all I can see is mediocrity on the groom’s face. A face I once admired for years, but now I can no longer recognize. He has two faces: one that lied to me, even when he loved me more than anything in the world, and I know for a fact that he did. And the other one that is much colder, the face that he showed the rest of the world, his true self, and the one that he eventually showed to me. On the day of our wedding I was seeing the face that I wanted to see, the one that I Ioved. And now as I look back at the photos, all I can see is that he was showing his true face all along.
There are a few photos where I do recognize myself, though. I recognize myself in the photo above. A long- haired girl playing dress up on what she thought would be the most important day of her life. She was reaching the ultimate “goal” of her life. Little did she know, she was still a girl when she got married at 21-years-old. She was a girl who let herself be defined by her relationship. He defined her.
It wasn’t until he left her, only two months after their wedding, that she became a woman. She had no other choice but to get through senior year of college just having had a heartbreak that almost took her life. But guess what? She found refuge in her artwork and the sadness became like some sort of gasoline fueling the passion coming out of her hands.
So yesterday, I got the news that the toy groom that slow danced with me to “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” by Cigarettes After Sex is now married again and expecting a baby.
Yep. Pretty incredible, right?
Well, here’s the thing. He and I had a really good run, it wasn’t all bad. But it wasn’t until after the relationship was over that I processed some really shitty things that he did to me, including sexual assault. Yet I never would have left him; I would’ve stayed in that abusive relationship because I was basically brainwashed and really believed that he loved me, despite the way he treated me.
So, if the other woman makes him happy, then okay. If they are ready to have a baby, and the man I know certainly wasn’t, then so be it. Like I said, this is a different version of him that I don’t know. Life is silly and works in mysterious ways, but I will always be thankful that I’m no longer the wife and child-bearer of someone so...shitty.
As I begin to pack all of my things and prepare to move, I have found a lot of useless toys and trinkets that I have kept from my past; this is partially because I’m a hoarder, and partially because I’m a record-keeper. It used to be so important for me to keep every little thing because it helped me remember certain times. But as I challenge my hoarder tendencies and let go of these small things I don’t need, I feel a little more free each time-- a little lighter in a sense.
I haven’t been feeling very well emotionally or physically over the past week, so I’ve been packing a little bit here and there. I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff that had just become clutter and it feels really good, surprisingly.
At first, I just thought that I was getting rid of my wedding stuff, but it’s been more than that. It’s getting rid of gifts, letters, and anything that could possibly remind me of that relationship. It’s also getting rid of old toys that no longer have a significance to me, jewelry, knick-knacks… and books I’ll never read.
I’m kind of weird. The way I look at the world, or my experiences, sometimes need to have a larger significance than what it actually is. What I mean by this is that the act of me packing up all my stuff, getting rid of the unnecessary, and moving to a completely different state is an act of me finally-- fully-- letting go of what has pained me over the last few years.
As much as I came to love my first apartment, it was one that I had planned to live in with my “husband”. I get to let of my first home that became stained with betrayal within a couple of months of our so-called “marriage,” which is perhaps the number 1 thing I am the most grateful for, because fuck that!!
I get to let go of the toys and junk from my childhood that didn’t have much significance, but that instead remind me of the lies and secrets that were kept from me while I was growing up. I get to let go of the infinitely happy memories of my childhood, and not replace them with the truth, but rather set the truth side by side to them and not forget how fortunate I was to have lived the life I did.
I get to let go of the books I will never read but that I told myself I would. They were stories that seemed interesting at the time that I acquired them, but no longer do. Stories like those relating to Alice in Wonderland, The Nanny Diaries, or the fact that I used to want to have children and now I can’t bear the thought. I get to let go of the things that made me unhappy, or that I was conditioned to believing.
But leaving this place also means letting go of an incredible person that I have fallen in love with. It means cutting that story short.
On Tuesday, Wild Nothing released a new song called “Letting Go,” and I am really grateful for the timing because it has helped me to continue staying positive about this move and hope for the best. Hopefully all these mixed emotions go away soon. For now I should get back to work, and make sure not to let go of all the successes and happy moments that I have shared with important people, because those will always outweigh the bad.