Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ode to a Friend.

Every once in while someone comes into your life by chance who changes you forever. It may be while you're going through something difficult, and it may not...but they. change. your. life.

Their humor and sensibility match yours, their dreams become yours, and you love to laugh with them on a daily basis. You know they will be there for you no matter what you're going through, regardless of the choices you make. You want to see them soar to new heights, and they inspire you to live out your dreams.
This person may be male or female, they may even live on another coast, but your souls match and that's all that matters. There is something pure about true friendship that supercedes romantic love or infatuation. True friendship respects, upholds, and lets go when it needs to. True friendship can watch from afar knowing that even if your paths never cross again, the change within you both can never be taken away.
This kind of friend wants to see good prevail, and ultimately your happiness will be their happiness. True friendship is a matter of love, but a love that is unselfish and gentle. It is a love that will make you smile just from hearing a song or seeing something small that you talked about once.
I think this is the most beautiful kind of friendship. I think that this is the kind of friendship that merits permanence over your heart. I think that everytime you look in the mirror, there lies a reflection of that person melded with your own. I think this is true love, and I may be wrong...but I don't think so.

2007, Everyone's Going to Heaven.

I said that at the beginning of the New Year after my sister-in-law lost her unborn child of 20 weeks. Around that same time my yia yia got sick, and she just died in August. Now, yet another core member of my inner circle has passed shrink of 6 years.
When most people hear the word shrink, they get a nasty smirk on their face, an unintentional judgment of insanity or better yet, weakness. They look at you with pity, disgust, and superiority. My shrink was the antithesis to all that is stereotypical about the Dr./patient relationship. She was never condescending, overanalytical, stuffy, or...shrinky. She was honest, vulnerable, humorous, affectionate, sassy, and real. She was all I could hope to be one day. My Green-Eyed Mexican Shrink was not only mine, but also belonged to 3 other women within my immediate friend circle. We would often get together and ask "What would our GEMS say?" We would laugh and repeat things she had told us, ways she encouraged us, and ultimately how she was the primary catalyst in us realizing our potential as our true selves. I started seeing her in 2001 or 2002 when I was at an extremely low point in my life. I must have been 24 or 25, and I had been married for about 2 years. She and I hit it off immediately. She got my sense of humor, didn't balk at my sarcasm, and taught me to embrace my faults as well as my strengths. She taught me to forgive myself in the face of adversity, and to believe in my dreams...follow my heart.
Ultimately she never judged me for my weakness, yet she taught me how to be stronger.
This year has been one of the worst in my life, but I am coming through it one step at a time. my GEMS moved to California in July for "health reasons" according to her office, but would be back in early August. I called in mid-August when I returned from the east coast after 2 weeks of watching my grandmothers slip away, having my marriage practically dissolve, and dealing with generalized borderline family disorder. I called her office and was told that my GEMS had closed her practice in Washington State and moved to California permanently for health reasons. I was beside myself...could it be cancer? A heart attack? Lupus? I wanted so badly to contact her, to let her know I was thinking about her and I hoped she was ok.

Yesterday I got the call that she. had. committed. suicide. . . . . . .

What? How can a shrink commit suicide? Aren't they supposed to be the ones helping people? Aren't they supposed to be introspective and omnipotent? This sole tragedy tells me otherwise. She left behind a son, about 11 or 12 years old and an ex-husband. I could not for the life of me figure out how she could do that to her family, but my good friend's father who used to share an office with her told me about his friend who eventually ended up taking his life who said that "when you're in that state it's as if you're a fox with your leg caught in a trap and all you can think about it escaping to relieve the pain." When put in those words...I can understand.

I loved her. I will miss her. I will have to dig back into 6 years of therapy and recall all the lessons she taught me...I'm on my own now.

Thank you, Silvia. May your memory be eternal.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fall Fantasies

The wedding was absolutely amazing. Beautiful bride, smitten groom, gushing family and friends, fantastic food, and a soul train.
It couldn't have been a more perfect day for my friend- her groom, whom she has been dating for almost 8 years looked at her as if she were the only woman on earth. It was obvious that he had truly found the woman of his dreams and he was crazy about her. I held it together throughout the ceremony, but bawled my eyes out during the 1st dance. For some reason the idea of slow dancing has become so foreign to me...the ceremony was formal, public, and official...what MMM and I are really good at. What we haven't been good at are the close intimate moments in front of people- the kisses, the slow dances, the hand holding and it absolutely killed me. There is something undeniably beautiful about 2 people who have been married for a long time who can still find the passion to slow dance with each other. I was taken back to the times when I could hold my man close to me and let the music take us to a place where we felt like the only two people in the world. That dance would build up the anticipation of a hot and heavy make out session followed by a long goodbye... I want that again. Not necessarily as it was in high school, but the confirmation that my man is proud to hold me close in public and show the world he's still romancing me.
I thought that being in a wedding and going to brunch with MMM and my dad at the same restaurant where he proposed to me would bring back some kind of nostalgic spark to the day when we got engaged...but the time I actually remembered more fondly was the first time he brought me there in high school...we were so proud of ourselves to be eating in this fancy restaurant laughing that the waiter probably thought we couldn't pay for it. I wasn't actually that happy when we got engaged. I remember I cried from sheer anxiety and found it really hard to enjoy the moment...maybe that should have told me something.
Instead, I found myself daydreaming about marrying someone else today. I imagined a January wedding with turquoise, purple, fuschia, and chartreuse decor...I imagined my future husband thanking everyone during the toast, but getting down on one knee and professing his love for me in front of our friends and family...telling me that I was his queen, and how he couldn't wait to have babies with which everyone cheered uncontrollably.
I know I need to get out of my own head, but right now it's a lot more comfortable than my home.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Holy Matrimony!

Today the last of my childhood friends is getting married. I'm sitting in the hair salon waiting to get my up do, and I'm thinking back 8 years to when it was my turn. The 1st of the four of us to get married, I was 22 and couldn't think of another thing but marrying the man of my dreams. A strong, stealthy Marine corporal who I'd known since my senior year in high school, we couldn't wait to show all our friends and family that we were finally ready to tie the knot and start our lives together as husband and wife. Our parents thought we were too young, and our (see:MY) friends were freaking out about losing the carefree days of hanging out and being each other's soul mates. I didn't care. I loved my man and knew he would always be there to protect me from whatever came our way. He was smart, articulate, responsible, and honorable...he was my Marine and childhood friend and I loved him. I was a little bit of a Bridezilla as I hadn't quite realized that I didn't need to prove myself to everyone yet. I was trying to show the world I had great taste and was a classy bride who was ready for this big of a commitment. Now that I think back I ask myself- was I? Is there anything or anybody who could have convinced me to wait? Considering he was going to be stationed in North Carolina immediately after we got married, I wasn't willing to be apart from him anymore or risk losing him...I got married partly due to my impatience. My 1st year of marriage was tough. The 1st 4 months I had to wait to move to NC from Washington State because of the waiting list for military housing. I arrived on base and remember him showing me our house and my heart sank. A 5-plex in the enlisted projects, the screen on the porch was falling out, and we shared a backyard with about 20 other families. I thought that after getting a BA it guaranteed a decent living situation and wall-to-wall carpeting...I was wrong.
Years later I am wondering what would have become of me if I didn't get married. After the emotional neglect I've endured I'm having a hard time untwisting my angst and moving forward even though he's dead set on winning me back. I suppose it's due to several factors, but mostly just feelings have died and aren't resuscitating the way I think they should. I guess we'll see what happens in 3 weeks when we have a deadline to meet...I'm at a loss.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tipping Point

Why does the 7th year hit you so hard? Why does death upon death upon divorce upon 4 weddings make you want to suffocate yourself inside a rubber glove? I have had the test of the soul put upon me over and over again and I'm still standing...shakily. I have said and done things I never thought possible and felt lower than I've ever felt. Critical elements of my support system vanished into thin air and I am stuck whimpering in the background, wondering where my strength will come from. After almost 8 years of marriage, MMM decides he is totally committed to me and in love with me as a person. He's "never felt this way" he says and I am left wondering why...what is it about this moment that sent such an electric current his way? How did his heart get jumped into overdrive all of a sudden? When I was begging, pleading, crying, scratching my eyes out for him to love me...he sat there mercilessly and scoffed. Now that I am pulling the last bit of self respect out of my being and tell him I don't want to be married anymore, he has an epiphany. I can't tell you how much I cried this morning. I have barely been able to sleep, and last night was the 2nd night that we slept in the same bed...well- I slept while he was at work on the graveyard shift and woke either before or shortly after he got home. The marriage counselor told us we had 30 days to give it a try and needed to sleep in the same bed. I was fairly resistant, seeing that I had just purchased some fanstastic Memory Foam from Macy's for my futon in the guest room. Begrudgingly, I obliged and haven't had a decent night's sleep since.
This morning I got up and went downstairs to watch the finale of my novela Tropico, and after it was done sobbed and sobbed the potential loss of my marriage. I had a choice- I could either follow the inclination that maybe he did mean everything he said, or I could be cold and not care about what he feels. I decided to take my pillow in hand and take the walk up the stairs to the room and lie next to him. He held me and we cried. I told him that I was angry and upset about the 30 days and sleeping in the same room- I felt like it was the counselor's idea and when I already had my mind made up she shanghaied me from behind and I was left defenseless. I told him I couldn't guarantee him that I could change my heart in 30 days, that I didn't know if it would be worth it, but if knowing that he still wanted to try, then ok.
Frankly, I'm still ambivalent. I love him as a person, friend, and family member, but my heart desires so much more than I feel he is capable of giving. I also don't want this 30 days to be some whirlwind act where he is Mr. Wonderful and then as soon as he knows he won me over, he'll get comfortable and critical all over again.
I have dreams, desires, aspirations, that I think he admires but doesn't know how to handle. At my best, I'm on fire and larger than life. At my worst, I'm self-critical and apathetic. Do I think it will be easy to move out of my beautiful home? No. Do I think I would be happier without him? Something inside says yes, but I can never be sure. No one knows the future, but I know how I've felt for the past 8 years and I don't like it. There's one thing that's holding me back from walking out the door and that's a voice I heard while praying (assuming it was God) said- "if you wait for MMM, the reward will be greater than anything you could have imagined..." I want to think I'm a fairly astute individual who can decipher fantasy from reality, but in this case I have no clue. Do I love him? Yes. Am I in love with him? Not now. Could I be? Not sure. Do we have 10 years of history that I think is at least worth fighting for one last time? Yes.

Pobre de mi si mis instintos no me sirven bien...

~Tremenda Trigueña~

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Perdidas Tremendas

There comes a time in your life when you have absolutely no clue how you're going to make it through when everyday presents a new loss to you.
2 Sundays ago my yia yia (grandmother) died. The next day I called my shrink and she had closed her practice and moved to California for health reasons. The next day after that I found out I didn't get the internship I was basically promised at Company X. My family is in hysterics, they have no money to pay for my yia yia's funeral expenses and I'm unemployed. I am literally hanging on by a string. I have my house, my friends, and my family...thank God. I know this will pass, I just don't know when.
I believe that our crises come along to make us stronger, but sometimes we have to be melted down in order to become the alloy we were meant to be.
My yia yia meant the world to me. She was my twin soul, my unconditional love that I could always count on. She was a beautiful, vivrant young woman and a witty, strong, sharp older woman. She loved us so much and even when she was mad at us it was always out of love. She wasn't perfect, but one thing I learned from her is to live your life the way you want to live it and everyone else will deal with it. Some people fear they'll be left alone in the end with that kind of attitude, but my yia yia was surrounded by people who loved her day and night in her last months. She had 24 hour care from her family, and not once did we resent her for it. She hated being vulnerable and weak, but she always thanked us for taking care of her. The last time I saw her I told her how sorry I was that we had to do that to her and she said "no honey, you were like my little angels coming to help me in the middle of the night." I made sure to kiss her and touch her forehead everytime I applied her medicine or fed her. Holding her and having her close to me was so fulfilling, like I finally had a place to put all my pent up love and affection. I couldn't believe that even through everything she was suffering, she was still worried about us. I was pulling the night shift taking care of her and she kept telling me to go to sleep that I had been up all night...she was worried if we had eaten or taken care of ourselves and I kept telling her not to worry. I know she heard our conversations about my aunt and uncle possibly getting a divorce, or MMM and I separating...she asked me how he was and I said "fine"...she said "he's a good guy." She's right- he is...and who knows what will happen.
Something inside me just doesn't know how she found the strength to worry about us when I can barely keep it together if I have a chest cold. Is it age? Experience? Hypochondria? I'm at a loss...I want to be stronger, less transparent, less vulnerable. I want to be the person that you can go to no matter what. I want to be known for my endless fountain of love when I die. I want people to remember me as someone who inspired and strengthened them.
I feel like my world is crashing around me and I barely can pick my head up before something else falls out of the sky. I want peace...I want serenity. Logically I know that I have to look around me and be thankful for all the things I do have, and not all the things I don't. I think on the list of the top most stressful things that can happen to you it goes: loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job....all of which have either happened to me or are in the process of happening to me this week.
Nothing can change who my yia yia was and is to me. Her love and spirit will always live inside me no matter where she is. Her youthful candor, her dry humor, and her strong will are still here reestablishing themselves in my life and the lives of her children and grandchildren. I will find my voice once again, and that alloy I was looking to become will be reinforced with her soul.