whatever you’d like

May 25, 2017

we always thought we were gonna’ have a girl. La Nena. we had picked her name out much quicker than the boys’. so when we learned that we were having two boys something shifted. there was a sadness. i can’t deny that. not that i wasn’t happy to have whatever we were getting, just that i wanted a girl because well, i’m a girl. and i wanted to raise a strong girl. independent. luchadora. bad ass. rockstar. queen. bruja. that was gonna’ be our girl, Luna was her name…

“it’s two boys,” said the radiologist as she pointed to it’s genitals and typed the word “boy” with an arrow pointing directly at its penis. that was when i had “that” moment. the one where shit gets real real. we have to raise two boys… two boys. who have two moms. who happen to be Latinxs. who happen to be queer. in a world that seems to be tearing at the seams. in a world that just on your genitals alone have placed an exaggerated, ridiculous amount of expectations on you that are unrealistic and just dumb. fucking stoopid’.

i’ve been guilty of some of those expectations. it’s the environment i grew up in. that “boys will be boys” bullshit. i’m working on changing that every day. so i am already thinking about a few things. if you are indeed cisgendered males, know that i have no clue whatsoever about your body parts except what i know from my education as a nurse and the few, often negative encounters with male bodies i may have had. but i trust that you are here to teach me a thing or two. i also believe you’re here to heal me around some of those not-so-pleasant experiences.

it’s not at all about your body but, because of your body society will make you think you have to “act a certain way.” please pay no attention to the distractors from Self Love. your body is simply your vessel. the temple in which your soul resides in this time and space.

discover the many parts of you. pink is for everyone. you can play with dolls. you can dance. you can cry. you can have long hair. you can paint your nails. you can wear whatever you’d like (though trust that i will check you before you walk out the door and make adjustments if needed. porque utede’ no pueden ta’ andando’ por ahi como loco tampoco). you don’t have to be strong. you don’t have to know about cars or sports. you can throw out the trash AND you can do the dishes.

you have brown skin. your names will be mispronounced. this has so many implications, most of them terrifying, so please be mindful of all of your actions because even your inactions are bound to set something in motion. usually, that motion is against you. stand firm in who you are. especially in moments of injustice.

you have two moms. so you also got that. which we think is pretty cool. and someone may have a thing to say about that. pero tu los mandas pal’ carajo and keep it moving. do not waste your time arguing with mojones que no cojen cabeza. i do promise you that you will have very positive male role models around you. and you will know that it takes a village and Our Village is beautiful and big and strong and they Love you.

we have so much to learn from each other. and i will do my best to be my best self for you both. and i promise you that i will honor and respect whatever you discover about yourself along the way,  i will encourage and provide all the support i can. and my only expectation of you is that you be your genuine Selves, wherever you may stand. there will be no boxes to put you in. you are perfectly made.

still, imma’ raise two bad asses. two brujos. two conjurers of justice. two respectful humans. two luchadores.

you are the painters of your canvass. i will be your easel.

#52weeks2017

day 5

May 1, 2017

we were discharged from the hospital yesterday. it was a very long day. we left our hearts on a NNICU unit. i’m trying to wrap my head around the next few months. adjusting to this sort of in-between worlds. i find myself trying to create a balance between all the emotions my body is experiencing. the mind is a traitor when the heart feels weak. but you already make me stronger.

i am learning to navigate a life that feels like i walk on a tight-rope daily, no net or catch ropes. the core of me must strengthen in this new role.

walking out of here without you is the hardest walk i have ever had to take. but you have so much growing to do my little big Loves. and so i need you to know and understand two very important lessons right now.

first, you have each other. you are just a few feet away. let that Love that is inherently yours and yours only through your shared experience be a guiding Light, especially when your Mommas are not present. feel each other’s energies and know that life has blessed you with a first mate. that is a beautiful thing.

second, you will always be protected by our Love. this means that our Love for you is so immense that it will keep you safe. Mami and i are standing firm in our Faith that your stay there will be one of the smoothest, most amazing and speedy growth in premature babies that place has ever witnessed. remember that you are Miracles. you are divine intervention. you are wonderful. you are my children and have by nature inherited a protective order.

i am always thinking of you. i wear wristbands that state that i am a newborn guardian. and guard you i will. even when you cannot see me, you can always feel my Love. listen to and pay attention to your heart beats closely. it is there that you will find the Love your Mami and i have for each other. a Love that is gentle but strong. a Love that is patient. that Love will be the one you carry for your lifetime. in your hearts you will also find the Love we have for you. this new Love transcends all the others. this Love required expansion. it required a stretching of heart muscles and an increase in blood flow. my heart strings are pulled towards you constantly.

we will be there every day to remind you that you are not alone. we will call your nurses to check in often throughout the day. candles have been lit in so many places around the world for you. the village is praying, chanting, meditating, and sending positive thoughts to each of you constantly. you have so many people who Love you that have never met you. but that’s the thing with Love, it doesn’t need to know to feel. Love is a constant action. Love like breath is always moving in and out. in and out. Love, like breath oxygenates cells.

inhale and exhale my beautiful children. grow and strengthen in Love and courage.

and while we are apart, let my Love hold you close. your beautiful Lights are shining in this world and the clarity of each of you is radiant.

i Love you deeply Diego y Andrés.

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#52essays2017

first letter

April 29, 2017

Diego y Andrés,

you decided to arrive swiftly and gently. you were letting us know pretty early on that you were going to get here a little sooner than expected. and while your Mami and i were looking forward to meeting you, we wanted you to stay in a little longer because well… the longer you stayed in there, the better your chances of surviving this crazy world out here.

but you had other plans. and decided to come in on the 26th day of April in a taurus moon, en caul…

when the doctor said your Mami was dilated to 4cm and that we would be doing a cesarean section, i felt a rush of anxiety and complete fear take over every part of my body. in Mami’s belly you were completed protected. but outside of her body, things would look a lot different for you at this point in your gestational age.

originally they had told us everything was stable… and in the span of three hours, everything shifted. they started telling us all this information about what they were going to do and the resuscitation room and the NICU and all the things that could go in every direction… i couldn’t grasp the information much less process it because in that moment the fear of loosing you was exponential. my ears shut down. every cell in my body was on edge.

they took your Mami to the OR and left me in a room with this paper suit to go over my clothes, a mask and some footsies over my sneakers. i have never perspired more than i have in that outfit. i don’t think more than ten minutes passed between the time they took Mami and the time the nurse came to get me, but i felt like at least three hours had gone by and they hadn’t come to get me. a knock at the door startles me, the nurse says follow me and proceeds to give me all these instructions about sterility and hands at my sides. i entered this sterile, cold room (which i appreciated in that outfit), and Mami was already on the OR table. i sat on a silver stool right behind the curtain and at her head.

she was struggling with anesthetics because they made her awfully nauseous. once that settled, she was a Warrior. she meditated while everything was happening. she took deep breaths and surrendered to trusting that God was present. i know she could sense my anxiety. she looked at me and with complete ease in her voice said, “God didn’t bring us this far to abandon us now. all is well.”

the doctor asked me to stand up and look over the curtain. and there was Diego squirmy and beautiful inside your amniotic sac… you were pure perfection. and then Andrés, two minutes later, same as your brother in your amniotic sac… you were pure perfection (i’ll write to each of you later how rare your births are and their meaning). each of you were taken to the resuscitation room. a nurse came around and said she was ready to escort me into the room. i kissed your mom on the forehead and she said, “go be with our babies.”

when i went into that room, the energy rushed in my body sat in my knees. i bent them a bit and allowed myself to feel the ground beneath me. i felt shaky but sturdy. i took a deep breath and found myself looking at Baby A, mi Diego. as an entire NICU team worked to intubate you and stabilize your very tiny 1 lb 12oz body, you were fearless. and your cry was soft but strong. i turned around to see Baby B, mi Andrés, weighing in at 1 lb 14oz, your cry was musical, a lullaby… and your entire team went through the same motions. i was in awe of your absolute perfection in such small bodies.

you stole my heart in each of your first breaths.

as i write this, i count… you have been alive for approximately 60 hours. we have been Mami and Mamá to two amazing Guerreros. such courage you two have shown already.

this Love i feel for you is unlike any Love i have ever experienced -and this Mamá Loves hard and deep. you fill the spaces were hurt resided. in the miracle of both of you, my heart is healed from any hurt i have ever been exposed to. you are the tiniest biggest Loves of my life.

I Love you. I Love you.

#52essays2017

saturday mornings

January 28, 2017

Saturday mornings smelled like pancakes and mistolín at our place. The record player only played boleros. The kind that had you pausing between cleaning and grabbing whatever was near you that you could turn into a microphone and sing at the top of your lungs: “Dueño de ti, dueño de nada…no soy yo, ese a quien tu le dices mi dueño…” My mother lived a lot of those songs. She would sing them like she wrote them.

“Los sabados son de limpieza y oficio,” Mami would say. As she wrapped her hair in a pañuelo, rolled up her pant legs, and slipped on her chancletas.

Saturday morning my brothers and I would wake up to the sound of Mami talking to her plants as she watered them. She’d have a couple of boxes of cereal sitting on the kitchen table with bowls and spoons. We’d serve ourselves a bowl of conflei’ con leche and sat our little nalgas in the living room floor. She’d make pancakes and eggs. Manny, David, and I would sit and watch our morning cartoon marathon.

While we did that, Mami floated around. Sometimes she was in her room, other times she’d sit and watch TV with us. She’d start writing a list of what needed to get done. And she would start cleaning her room. At 10am we knew we had to shut the TV off and start picking up our rooms.

Mami only knew how to deep clean. There was no half-ass cleaning. You either cleaned the shit outta’ something or you didn’t. She cleaned everything and she enjoyed it. She liked to move things around and make things pretty. She played with colors and themes and figurines. She would reorganize closets and drawers, change bed sheets and bathroom curtains. Mami could’ve ran a business on cleaning and organizing. My mother would make our tenement apartment feel like a 5th Avenue suite.

Once the house was clean, we had to run errands: from the cashiers check place to Con Edison to paying the guy at la bodega who let you take fiaó, she had a running To-Do-List. The routine was important for her. It kept her feeling grounded.

We’d get on the train and head to downtown Manhattan. My little feet running alongside her long strides; I held her hand tightly. She’d look at us and smile. And that is how she confirmed what we always hoped would happen at the end of errands. We knew she was going to take us to our favorite place. Our anticipation and excitement grew exponentially. We were three kids: 11, 10, and 6-years-old, so our excited energy was pretty intense.

Mami would stretch dollars just so she could take us to Playland. This was one of our all-time favorite treats. She would give us each $5 to play .25 arcade games. That was 20 games each. For my brothers, that lasted much longer than for me. But it wasplayland-rgb-1985-copy the look on Mami’s face that made me happiest. Because for her, in that moment, she was responsible for the happiness and well-being of three little lives. And in that instance, on that particular Saturday, she didn’t feel like she couldn’t provide. She didn’t feel like she didn’t have enough. No. In that moment, as our smiles grew our faces, we gave her the happiness and peacefulness of a perfect day.

Saturday morning… José José is belting El Triste and I start to clean and understand in a different light why my mother cleaned the way she did while she listened to these songs. There was some soul-cleansing happening at the same time she dusted and mopped. I’ll make sure to find a way to treat myself at the end of this day… I’ll find a way to paint smiles on the faces of others.

#52essays2017

 

 

rie y descansa

May 9, 2014

a mil millas de distancia…

en tu casa. en aquel sillón
en el mismo sitio donde te deje.
con el recuerdo de aquel beso abrazando mi mejilla.

yo queria seguir jugando a las locuras contigo.

y es que contigo Manita, yo vuelvo a ser niña
jugando a la imaginación sin pensar que esta vida
me llama a ser adulto y tener responsabilidades
que se hacen monótonas y aburridas… hasta hartan!.

y nos hacen olvidar que la vida es solo un momento.

ese momento donde puedes cantar a toa’ boca
una canción fuera de tono, sin importar quien nos escuche
o como luzcamos, porque lo que importa es la risa y la sonrisa.
lo que importa es el momento donde puedes, tan solo por un instante
vivir en la alegria.

mientras nuestro hermano (tan tranquilo el doroteo’),
apoya nuestras locuras y nos mira de reojo como quien dice,
“lo que me ha tocado.” el también me enseña una lección: el descanso
que hay en la paz. el me enseña la importancia del silencio. de tomar
un receso del ajetreo de la vida.

son ustedes dos un regalo del Universo.
son un recuerdo importante de reír y descansar
para darle vida a la vida.


en tu casa. en aquel sillón
en el mismo sitio donde te deje.
con el recuerdo de aquel beso abrazando mi mejilla.

yo queria seguir jugando a las locuras contigo…
y luego descansar con nuestro Hermano.

step. wait. dance.

July 3, 2013

“La costumbre pesa mas que el Amor.”

Abuela passed away twenty-years ago. But she is such a powerful presence in my life that there are days I swear she is still here. I talk to her like a prayer. And she talks back to me like an old friend. Over the last few days two of her frequently used quotes have come up in conversations. I’ve shared them with others in an effort to summarize two very real and raw truths: First, comfort weighs more than Love. Second, no one dies on the eve.

We can get so comfortable with something/someone that we will stay in that place (regardless of how detrimental it is to our health, or how it keeps us from walking towards our Truth) because simply put, we’re comfortable. We stay put because we know it. We can navigate it because we’ve been swimming in it for so long that we have come to accept it as our truth. We are so accustomed to something/someone that we will not move from that place because, well, “I’m used to it.”

I’ve been there. Sitting in it. Forcing it, in an effort to make it what it could never be because the minute we stop doing what we Love or walking in the direction of the things we Love, we begin to resent ourselves, others and everything around us. We become stagnant. We are angry and we question the questions, and the noise in our heads doesn’t stop because we know that the only question that needs to be answered is, “What is it that I am so afraid of that I rather stand in the discomfort of my comfort zone than to step out and walk towards Love?”

If we walked away from comfort and into Love we would realize that we are brilliant! We would see our life turn in the direction we have been wanting it to turn towards but were too afraid because comfort carries weight. A weight that increases each day we choose to remain in the place that we know simply because we know it.

The moment we decide to step out of that comfort zone, the Universe calls forth a shift in our lives that resembles what I felt is a rebirth. Except this time, it wasn’t my mother pushing me out into the world… this time, I came to my own on my own. I put one foot in front of the other and stepped forward. I took a deep breath of the new air that surrounded me and cried. I cried the weight of my comfort out of me.

And after all the crying was done, I looked around and asked, “Y ahora que?”

“Nadie muere en la vispera.”

So now what? You stepped out and forward. It feels great. But what next?

It’s just one foot in front of the other. Except now, there is purpose and intent. Now you are walking in the direction of your Truth… your dreams and your goals. Now you walk with confidence. Even in the uncertainty or in the moments where you have to wait, here is the other Truth, “Nadie muere en la vispera.” Things will happen when they happen, not a second before or after.

Waiting is not standing still in one place. It doesn’t mean you stop walking, it means you walk toward your Truth gathering experiences to strengthen you for the next shift. The eve is the place where we ask, “Am I ready? and do I have what I need?” The eve is the place where nos vestimos de armadura.

Along comes the shift. The shift allows you to take the lessons of the eve into the break of dawn.

The hardest part of all of this, you have already done. Stepping out of what you know is an absolute beautifully frightening decision to make. That step, was what brought you to the shift and from the moment you committed to stepping out of your comfort zone the Universe began to shift everything in your direction.

You called forth the change.

You deserve to walk towards your Truth.

Your resolve and commitment to your Self is so powerful that any shift can only bring you peace.

The instructions are easy: step. wait. dance.

azul

April 23, 2013

me pintare de azul noviembre.
aquel azul que enmarco
el día que nos volvimos a encontrar.

aquel azul que se escapa
de tus labios
cuando me dices que me amas.

ese azul que se mezcla
con tu sangre taina
y de purpura
se enciende tu corazón.

me pintare de azul noviembre
para que nuestro amor
lleve el color que se refleja…

en la eternidad del cielo,
en la profundidad del mar,
en el infinito del universo,
en la esperanza de tu vientre.

storm-king-reflection

Picture by Storm King Art Center

dig at the wound

February 26, 2013

sometimes the weight of my pen is heavy with fears and uncertainties
the cramping in my hand makes it difficult to write clearly; if at all.
so i scribble a little only to put the pen down because quite honestly, i’m tired.

life is happening.

all its wretched. all its beauty.

why is it that sometimes we turn away from the thing that helps us the most?
i mean, for me writing is healing. why am i not taking my medicine?

it is because sometimes to heal something you must first injure it more. go deeper
into the wounds to really get at it. and that’ just it. that part is the hardest in writing.
putting the pretty poetry aside or the warm reflections off to write through some of the things
i always have a hard time writing about.

my fears. my uncertainties. my elephant in the room. my anger (which i tend to keep in check because
i’ve been told it doesn’t “suit” me).

i haven’t even written it down in the pages i don’t publish for fear they may be discovered.
what can possibly have taken me to that place where i feel i can’t write my story down on a page
that will not be seen?

i will write. my story must be told,
even if it’s just to my self.

i must dig at the wound to really heal. so must you. so must all.

blessed birth day

February 9, 2013

blessed be the day God gave light to your eyes.
when She picked up Her finest brush
and stroked that beautiful smile above the dimple on your chin
…the Universe dipped into you.

blessed be the day
She filled your lungs with air
so that you may breathe into them, Love.

when God hugged the muscles around your bones
so that you could walk your way into my life,
the roads cleared… the journey began.

blessed be the day
your fingers stretched into the hands
that would eventually hold my heart.

that day, God gathered ‘round the string section
of Her orchestra, She composed the sweet sound of your voice
then gently dropped the beat of your heart onto a dumbek.

blessed be the day
She outlined the fall of your neck
to rest on your shoulders.
She slid the pencil down your back
and drew the very first
exclamation point!

blessed be the day
God helped your mother push
my answered prayer into this world.

i celebrate the gift of your life to this world mi Amor. wishing you health, Love and happiness in abudance.

kissing freckles

December 19, 2012

“that’s my favorite freckle,” she says,
as she turns to another of the many freckles
she’s said that to already,
leans in, and kisses it gently.. tenderly.

she’s just as hopeless a romantic as me
-“cheesy” –some choose to call it. the kind
that leaves Love notes in my wallet
or hidden in my night stand drawer.
fills my inbox with Love songs
or stories about her day.

i nap on her bed
she wakes me up with flowers.

her eyes. her smile.
remind me, that every step towards Her
was worth it. that nothing was ever a mistake.
that i am perfect. whole. and complete.

she Loves the way i Love.
accepts my perfect imperfections
and expects me to be nothing less
and nothing more than who i am.

she reminds me. i am enough.
for me. for her. for us.

she believes in me. sees the woman
i am and Loves her.
forsight.
she sees the woman
i will become and Loves her even more.

she celebrates Me.

she is fully aware of my insecurites,
the stuff i’m working on and working out.
full disclosure from the moment we met…
she has yet to flinch.

solid and grounded. she anchors me.

and i can’t wait ’til the summer,
when the sun multiplies my freckles.