A COV(ert)ID Silverlining

When all of this “virus” chatter began, I will admit that I wasn’t fully convinced at the gravity of it all. I blame our government and media outlets for that. They have broken my trust on many levels, so pardon me that it took me some time to believe what was being said. Lucky for me I learned at a young age to look outside of mainstream media sources and to dig deeper when seeking out the truth. Slowly I began to ingest what was truly going on and instead of brushing it off as, once again, another media-driven hysteria, I began to heed what was being warned. For me, it went from being “virus” chatter to serious virus talk.

I am currently on day 8 of our “official” lockdown and although I have been able to see friends and family periodically, it was only in the last three days that I have chosen to completely isolate myself, and not for the reasons that you may think. 

Amid all the calamity this virus has brought to our front doors, I’d like to think of all this as a necessary evil for society and what’s left of this starving planet Earth.

I might get shit for calling this pandemic a “necessary evil”. How could I say such a thing when so many people have died? But like a war, a battle being fought for the greater good, it has its deaths by the thousands of the guilty and of the innocent alike; it is exactly that, war. This type of war, however, isn’t to bring together land and eradicate manmade borders. This war is an internal war, not only physically but spiritually and emotionally. It’s a war to remind us of where we came from. It’s a war for time, because humanity needed time. Humanity needed a break from it all.

The last three days have been filled with a lot of self-reflection. I’ve been taking a look inside myself, asking myself questions, and having discussions that I should’ve had long ago. I limited my T.V time and within the silence, I have found sparks of creativity. I’m able to connect with nature better and I even feel as though the Universe speaks to me louder and more clearly without all the every day static I had grown conditioned to. I have learned to be a little more resourceful and a lot less wasteful. I’ve become more aware of the immediate things I must change to improve who I am.  I’ve become aware of the things I will gradually give up in order to live my version of a better life.

Some people end up finding themselves while lost at sea. Some find themselves after veering off track and getting lost in the wilderness. We have been given the chance to find ourselves within the confines (and comfort) of our own home. We have been given that extra bit of vacation time. We have been given the chance to learn from crisis hoarders, that greed leads you nowhere other than to the land of Overloaded and Nowhere To Store It.  We have been given extra time with our family, with our pets, with our crafts. We have been given the space to work on ourselves; the time to detox from everything that has been pumped into our senses.

I have read that for us here in the U.S it’s only going to get worse before it gets better. I also hear that “getting better” still means that we’re going to be set back about a decade.  Whether any of that is true or not, I don’t know. We’ll call it what it is, speculation. I say that if at the end of all of this there is more genuine happiness within homes all around the world, genuine happiness within our own home, and with one’s self than I’ll pay that price. In the end, we are all going to be going through it together and there is comfort in that. This is a covert opportunity to change humanity in wonderful ways if only we begin to choose love before greed. We have the ability to rebuild a stronger and better world by going through such adversity together. I wish that through all if this social distancing and social isolation, after all the souls who have passed on because of this virus, we end up choosing to do good to one another.

“We will have suffered together, we will have fought through it together, and we will overcome together.”

 

 

 

Metal Monster

Powerful and black, strong and sleek, roaring in intimidation while holding memories so decadently sweet. With its back cab open, I easily peer into, and that’s when I see, a smitten young couple, wrapped up in each other, like twisted bedsheets. She lays her head on top of his shoulder, her body is snuggled up close. As the sun sets, the song “Cruisin'” blaring from the speakers, they bask in the love they chose.

In that old El Camino, with its rattles and its shakes, my memories of happiness and my memories of pain are the thoughts that the metal monster contains. My thoughts of you, our love, and those amazing Cali days while living in a Cali daze, only float back once in a blue, and yet once in a while, a metal monster will conjure things up when it roars on through. I refuse to suppress so instead I feel, and as the seconds tic on by, I begin to realize that it could possibly be that that life wasn’t meant to be more than a throw back story.

 

A Love For Fools

Long-distance love?

…run for the hills!

Ok, maybe I am a little bias BUT in my defense, when it comes to my blog posts I am writing about MY experiences, so why not write about this one??

When I was growing up my mother had a boyfriend who was one of her better ones. He was a wonderful guy, or so I thought. It was a few years after their break-up that I came to find out that he had cheated on my mom while on a trip to Colombia but that’s for another story..maybe. His and my mother’s relationship was a strenuous one. I remember my grandmother always telling her, “Amores de lejos, Amores pendejos.” Which pretty much translates to “A love from afar is a love for fools.” My grandmother didn’t hold back. She was a wise one that one and this phrase always stuck with me. Watching my mom have to really plan out her week when it came to her being able to drive off for two and a half hours to go see her love, or even vice versa, I noticed how big of a challenge it was for her. God forbid it was an off week for them and they fought during one of their visits. They would each leave one another feeling defeated. My mom spent every night talking with him on the phone when he wasn’t around. In a way, it was cute to watch her get so excited when he called for their nightly talk. Giddy like a little school girl she would be.

I don’t really recall how long they dated. It was about four years I believe? Possibly longer. All I really remember was that one day he no longer was going to be apart of our lives and I was a little crushed. It wasn’t so much that their love really fizzled out. This heartbreak was a big one for my mom. Neither of them were willing to relocate for the other. He lived in Jersey City, north from our south Jersey home, in a dingy city with great mom and pop style eateries but nothing motivating enough to get my mom away from her pension job and safe neighborhood. Why hadn’t he wanted to move south?? I’m sure he had a level of comfort built around his life in Jersey City. He had a good job, and I also feel that he liked being able to take a break whenever the family life got to be too much for him. A single mom with two daughters can’t be the easiest or most ideal situation. No matter the reason, it hadn’t lasted.

Moving forward about 15 years later, here I was in the same style of relationship. The young man and I had met one night while out at one of the local clubs in my town. Unfortunately for me, he didn’t live locally so then started my first (and only) long-distance relationship. Of course, I had remembered the wise words of my grandmother and, yes, I had remembered what my mother had gone through. Yet, in my eyes, I felt as though I had been given an opportunity and so snatching it up was what I had to do. I began my weekly (at times bi-weekly) commute to the east coast of Florida. It was two and a half hours for me to get to my home from his. Sometimes, if I was feeling up to it, I would leave after work and drive straight there. Most times I would leave on my day off early in the morning and drive back home the next day. In the beginning, it wasn’t such a chore but later on, as life moved forward it took a toll on me and my emotions. There were moments when maybe he had to work late that night or the entire next day that resentment would build because I felt as though I was getting the attention I needed or expected after a long ride to see him. Arguments that sometimes didn’t need to go on for more than a day would go on for a week because there wasn’t much quality time to work on issues. At one point I was even starting to believe I was dating a complete stranger because who I thought I had initially met was now turning into someone I hadn’t even thought existed.

The biggest downfall in our relationship I will say was the fact that we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to really get to know one another before really diving into an official and committed relationship. By week two I noticed that he was no longer in the courting stage. We had become an item so soon that comfortability took over and with that, the “wooing” period went straight out the window. Little by little I began to learn who this man really was and although I cannot speak ill of him I do know that if distance hadn’t played its part, I would have gotten to realize a lot sooner that maybe this man just wasn’t for me.

We made it nine months before our issues got the best of both of us. This wasn’t until after I had already made my move to the east coast to be with him. I won’t lie that even when I was sitting in the moving truck driving across the state I knew that this wasn’t going to work out. But a commitment had already been made and to be honest, I was also tired of the town I was in. I had decided to move forward with the plans, always staying hopeful that maybe, just maybe, by being closer together we would be able to work things out.

Moving in together had only amplified our issues. No shock there, right?

I write about long-distance love because it happens every day. I feel that people are in such a desperate need to find love that they don’t really think about what it means to be in a long-distance relationship and the hardships that come along with it. It is truly difficult to get to really know someone who lives hours away. You seldom get to see each other in one’s natural habitat and the “best behavior” aspect of dating lasts a lot longer. Meaning, that it takes a while to really see what the other person is truly like, what their flaws are, etc

I don’t think I was at his place for an entire month before things began to fully fall apart. We had different ways of approaching life. We wanted different things. What he was willing to settle for was not something I wanted. Not only that, but I soon began to discover that he had habits that I was not willing to ignore. Substance abuse and the refusal for help wasn’t going to be tolerated and so it wasn’t long before I packed my bags and said adios.

Most of what I learned after I moved in with him were all things I would have probably picked up on if we would have not had the distance in the way to slow the learning process down. Love already isn’t easy. You have to work at it no matter how easy it is to love the person. Adding distance to the equation almost dooms it. Don’t get me wrong there are people who succeed in making it work and do end up lasting a lifetime. However, the odds of it working out are slim and the journey will be at times empty and almost always frustrating. I guess when it comes to love, we never want to pass up the love of one’s lifetime. It’s only human nature to try to go after the impossible when it comes to it. If the pros outweigh the cons, then hey, go for it and make sure it’s adding to your life more than it’s taking. All I’m saying is that long-distance love is not for the weak. It’s more for fools in love.

Before It Could Blossom

In a concrete jungle, they had found love, their eyes first meeting the day she had discovered her neighborhood library. She walked in excited to have found a place where she could feel comfortable and at home. Since her move into the big city, she had yet to feel either. There was always something amazing about being surrounded by stacks and stacks of books. It was as if you were surrounded by so many different lives, being fictitious or not. She entered the library and walk towards the right heading towards the fiction section comma and that’s when she had spotted him. He obviously worked or volunteered there. His ID dangled around his neck while he sorted away the books on each shelf. Her heart jumped a little. Weird how that happened. He was cute …and tall …and mysterious …but there was something else about him. She didn’t know what it was but it was like a magnet.
Whenever she wasn’t at work she was at the library. What was there to do at home anyways? There was no internet and there was no cable, which meant all she had where her books. Some days he was there. Some days he wasn’t. By the second week of her routine visits, they had become friendly. They greeted each other with a warm smile and a nod, and soon it became a full-on wave with a, “Hey how’s it going?!“
Eventually exchanging phone numbers, they began to get to know each other. Their text messages were more silly than they were flirtatious. She absolutely loved that. They chatted throughout the day about anything and everything. It was not only easy to talk with him but it was also exciting. They could go from cracking jokes one second to a conversation on aliens and alternate dimensions the next. This was why, although she ended up finding out he was 4 years her junior when he asked her out to dinner, she happily said yes.
He picked her up in his old school El Camino. Her heart melted and it was from that night that the two were inseparable. Absolute best friends from the very beginning, they couldn’t have been any more compatible with one another. But sometimes, just because the yin had found its yang, that didn’t mean that their coming together would last forever. Throughout the time that they were building what could have been an everlasting and loving relationship, life behind the scenes wasn’t working out too well for her. Life in the big city had been rough and expensive. The jobs she was able to get hired for simply didn’t pay enough to cover her rent and utilities, let alone make enough for food and savings. It was a real struggle to make ends meet and the stress and anxiety would eat her up alive at night when her thoughts would run around her mind like wild horses. It was only when they were together that she felt something other than pain and heartache. He made her feel good.
They were sitting at one of their favorite burger spots. It was a beautifully sunny day and only she knew how sad of a day it was about to turn into. As they waited for their number to be called, he sat across from her telling her all about the first half of his day. They sat there in the booth on his lunch break, him chatting away while she barely listened. All she could hear were the roaring waves of sadness that were ripping apart her heart.
“Babe, are you listening? I know you’re not because that was funny and you’re not laughing.” He grinned at her. Man did she love those dimples.
“I’m moving back home in 2 weeks.” It came out barely a whisper. He just stared at her, at first making her believe that he hadn’t heard her. She didn’t know if she had the courage to say it once again but she soon realized that she wasn’t going to have to. His eyes misted over and as the lady working the counter called out their number, neither of them moved.

*

We never ate the burgers. We never even claimed them. Our hearts sunk deep into our bellies, heartbreak oozing into our souls. We spent as much time together as we could. We revisited our favorite places together. I went with him on his runs at the park (he ran while I waited on the sidelines). We hugged. We kissed. We cried. On our very last night together we laid on his bed in darkness our heads down towards the opposite end, and while staring up into the ceiling, we listened to all our favorite songs. Both of us being such great lovers of Motown, we listened deep into the night and I will never forget the last song we listened to. As if the Universe knew what we were going through, Kiss and Say Goodbye by The Manhattans came on and as if a switch had turned on, tears pooled into the corners of my eyes and overflowed, rolling past my temples and into my hair. The amount of sadness that was burying itself deep within my throat was overwhelming, so much so that it had sent me into a daze. The one last kiss as I left his bedroom, the one last handhold as I walked out of his front door, the one last hug before getting into the car, the last drive I’d take with him in his El Camino and the last time I would watch him drive away as he waved his last goodbye… I can’t even describe the feeling of what it was like to leave that piece of my heart behind.
I heard the song today and just like any other time I hear it, my heart smiled. Although it was so painful to leave before the relationship had a real chance to fully blossom, I love knowing that I got to experience such love in only just a few short months. I got to experience what felt like an entire lifetime in love and the memories of all that we shared will forever be in bloom, my heart a basket containing every petal.