Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Love Yourself, Dummy

Today I did something I try never to do. I stood naked in front of a mirror and looked at myself. I took in the color of my skin, the curves of my body. I looked at myself up and down, stared at the areas of greatest imperfection. My weight these last 5 years has fluctuated dramatically. I'm currently losing weight slowly but I'm not as concerned as I used to be. I recognize now my exterior is only one factor in why I find myself beautiful. I am funny, kind, loving, thoughtful, generous and smart. Those things make me so much more beautiful than long legs and fast metabolism ever will.  When I was looking at my body I found it funny that right now as chubby as I am is when I finally appreciate my beauty. My body reminds me of the women in old Victorian paintings- soft, delicate, desirable. When I was little I remember always wanting to touch their skin. I ran my fingers along my waist and smiled; it was as comforting and feminine and beautiful and soft as I imagined.

When I was a size 2 I was so worried all the time. My imperfections governed my life. I don't know how Derek or anyone used to put up with it. My weight isn't something that bothers me anymore. I want to be healthy and I am working at that goal I just want to take on one project at a time. I'm only one person and essentially I'm learning this growing up thing on my own. Working, getting my budget in order and getting my own place is what I need right now.

All I've ever wanted my whole life was stability. When I didn't find stability in a loving family I searched elsewhere; relationships became my new stability. When relationships fail or people hurt me or leave me or what have you that rocks my very (weak) foundation. That constant thing that I had in my life is no longer there. The healthy thing I was supposed to learn during my childhood is how to be my own stability. That's what I'm doing now. I've been angry the last few days because I feel like I don't really have a support system. I don't want my parent's help anymore. I'm angry at them for crippling me. My defiance will be living well and not letting them take credit for my hard work. If I hear someone say, "You've done a wonderful job raising your daughter," I'm gonna cut into that conversation and say, "Thank you. It was a lot of hard work."

If you can catch the animosity that's how I feel most of the time having to do all this shit on my own. I know it's wasted energy, I understand my parents didn't know any better, the anger comes with the fact that they are still super fucked up and judgmental. I love them, they are good people deep down but they are really unhealthy human beings. My therapist mentioned that my mother only speaks in passive aggressive sentences. She nailed it. My mom is the queen of passive aggressive and my father's just the king of aggression. They told me what to do my whole life then the second I decided I wanted to make my own decisions they were like, "Okay, see ya!" and essentially abandoned me. I'm not angry at them, they are hurt and full of years of toxic resentment, I understand them, I just need time to heal without them reopening wounds and weighing down on the foundation I have so far. They aren't healthy for me right now. All I end up doing is trying to solve their problems for them which isn't even helping them. Also, who's been solving mine?

I talked to Lisa and Jamie last night. They both gently brought me back to reality. I was overwhelmed and convinced I was sucking at everything. I'm pushing off school to the Spring just to give myself time to recover and learn and adjust without the added pressure of assignments and presentations. It makes me feel really guilty that I'm doing this. Lisa's 29 and she laughed at me. "Tania, I'm 3.5 years older than you and we are in the exact same positions in our lives. Relax, you've been through a lot and you're doing a great job. Even if it takes you two whole years to get everything in order you'll still be ahead of where I am right now. I didn't figure out what I wanted to do til a couple of years ago. You've got these visions and determination... Slow down... Go at your own pace, you're already ahead of the game girl." After she said that I realized how I had allowed last week's obstacles cloud my perception. I was that neurotic, anxious girl worried about what everyone was thinking. Gross. When Jamie and I talked I mentioned I was overwhelmed, "Well T, for what it's worth I'm extremely proud of you. You've accomplished great things already in your short life so don't be so hard on yourself. You're working really hard. Take a step back and breathe, go on vacation, you deserve to treat yourself."

I know I'm dumb. I'm crying because I have no support system and I have great friends. Adulthood just doesn't ever let me see them. Best years of our lives and they're spent soaking in fluorescent lighting, completely the same mundane tasks over and over again. I'm growing up. Growing up sucks. I wanna change that and make it an adventure but everyone is too tangled up in their own pain, grief and fear.

Percy and I got together tonight after weeks of attempting to meet. It was really nice. We talked about parenting and family and life. She would be the perfect daughter for my parents, lol. We were talking and I kept saying I wasn't strong enough to deal certain situations and how overwhelmed I was. She piped up and said,"You keep using words like 'fragile,' 'weak,' 'damaged.' Quite honestly I don't see any of that in the person sitting in front of me. I see an intelligent and determined young woman who has overcome every obstacle and challenge that has been placed in front of her. I see a woman who has experienced the worst in people and yet every time I see her her smile lights up a whole room with light and love. Seriously, I've never seen someone smile so genuinely. The woman I see in front of me is very strong, successful, and won't let anything stop her from making her dreams come true."

... Obviously I cried. I need to read The Four Agreements again. I've been letting other's perceptions of me fog up what is true.

Someone said to me today, "I pray a strong, hot, successful man comes into your life and gives you the stability you deserve." I replied with, "Thank you but I'm gonna be my own stability. People are fickle and hurtful. What if I marry that man and he gives me 18 years of stability. But 4 kids later he decides the 19 year old from up the street has a lonely vagina? Well... there goes my stability. I can and have been taking care of myself. If a supportive, kind, funny, intellectual man wants to join me on my journey I will be more than happy to have company but if he decides to hop out before the ride's over I'll be okay because I'm my own stability."

Dear Tania,
You're doing a great job. It's been a very hard year... I am very proud of you for never giving up and always learning from your experiences. You let go of the hurt, victimized and jaded girl and you are full of hope and happiness and purpose again. You are very kind, lovable and resilient. Please be kinder to yourself and allow yourself to feel pride in your accomplishments. You've completely changed your life and are becoming the woman you always said you wanted to be. You affect people positively even if lately it doesn't feel that way. You make a difference in the lives of your patients. You are loved by many people but if the whole world abandons you I will still believe in you and be with you and always love you. I promise to love you the exact way you've always wanted to be loved because you deserve nothing less.
Yourself, dummy.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Letting Go of Childish Hopes

I've had a traumatic last 7 days. Danny told me I was a disappointment, my mother told me I had no self respect and called me a hussy for sleeping over Derek's, and I slept with Derek and got my hopes up because my vagina is directly connected to the love center of my brain. That coupled with the fact that he was buying me gifts and talking about a future... Whatever, moral of the story: Tania is a fucking moron and makes the same motherfucking mistakes over and over again. Honestly, a really bad week over all. Like for a second I was really happy but thankfully I was jolted back to reality where people are selfish and hurtful and that's just life. Everyone else is back to their lives, Danny liking my statuses, my mother happily playing Candy Crush, Derek living his life. Here I am unable to let it go. This isn't like me...

I feel like the light within me has been blown out. As if all the air has been knocked out of my lungs. Today although I wanted to just stay in bed forever I got up and went to work. I did my job more diligently and effectively than I ever have. I ran errands, came home, walked my dog, ran more errands and here I am. The entire time I felt completely empty. It felt meaningless. I've decided if this is how I feel from now on it sucks but it's bearable. I'll do my job well, if I help people cool if I don't it means the same. I'll take my money and put it away. Talked to my budget lady today, she's going to help me get an apartment. There I'll just have to worry about my needy Linus and myself. I'll put my money away, maybe go back to school. Everything is blank after that. Today I saw a sign for an adoption and foster parent organization and thought, "Well if I'm 35 and single..." I miss cheery Tania... I feel empty because three very important people in my life hurt my feelings within days of one another. It used to be if I just had to deal with one of those the downward spiral would commence... I am growing up after all. 

Sitting here now I see that though they all communicated their feelings in hurtful ways, I learned something from all of them. Danny telling me he was disappointed in me and generally being a dummy made me feel extra accountable. "I am going to live my life well and do well at work and do well at school and I'm going to do it on my own," and I have been. My mother told me I have no self respect along with other hurtful and out of line things but she was kinda right. I really don't respect myself the way I should.

Derek didn't do anything wrong when it comes to my woes with him. I'm not even upset about him canceling- it was a miscommunication, hopefully it won't happen again. What broke my heart was that we slept together the other night. I wasn't prepared for that, it just happened and it was passionate and it was good and then we talked after about us and our soulmateship and how we felt... I can't do that and I know I can't do that but I always forget in the moment. If I'm having no strings attached sex I need to know about it so I can lock my feelings up and put them in a safe place they won't get hurt. I went over that night to just spend time with him and whoops there's that. I should know better. I'm too fragile and sensitive for that shit anymore. 

No one is going to regard my feelings as highly as I do and I need to stop thinking it's ever going to be different. People are naturally selfish and egocentric and sometimes they have bad days. I spend my life helping other people because no one should go through a difficult time alone. I look at myself now and I feel very much alone. Yes, I have friends. Yes, I have family but unfortunately everyone has their own lives and their own problems. Ultimately the only person who will always have my best interest in mind is myself. The only thing I can control is how I interact with the world around me. When people are unkind or hurtful it's because of their own conflicts within themselves. I am a good nurse, I am a good daughter, I am a good sister and I have all the components to being a good partner. After last week I felt I was questioning everything about myself. 

Now that I figured out what was wrong I feel my lungs fill with more air and I can feel my light flickering on. I need to take everyone else's actions with a grain of salt. People are fickle and flawed. I just need to be smarter. I AM more into Derek than he is into me and I really need to stop it. Derek, as sweet and considerate and thoughtful as he can be, he isn't in love with me. I am nothing to him. I need to stop forgetting that and start respecting and protecting myself accordingly. I'm not a child anymore. I need to stop allowing myself to get carried away with childish hopes and live in reality where we slept together, it meant nothing, we're still buds, the end. Cognitively, I know that sex is meaningful and intimate for me and that I catch feelings. My heart/emotions is the dumb, insecure 16 year old girl who allows that shit to happen, probably thinking, "If I have sex with him maybe he'll love me." I need to grow the fuck up and stop acting like a dumb little slut. I have allowed myself to be used. From the door he's said, "I'm not in love with you and I don't want you to be my girlfriend," and I'm all like, "We'll here's my heart and my vagina and my whole future if you want it. Let me know if you change your mind. Take your time!" How incredibly pathetic.

I am successful, intelligent, beautiful, kind and deserving of love. I need to start treating myself with the respect I deserve.    

Monday, July 29, 2013

Letting Go of Anger

I feel so shitty. Run down. Sad. Danny's liking my statuses like crazy and my mom keeps calling me but for the first time in my life I don't care. I forgive and forgive and forgive... Even now, they are forgiven but I'm just tired. The other day when my mother apologized she tried saying that I never just stay quiet, I get angry and that makes things worse. She is right. If I'm trying to live this life of understanding I should be able to control my anger but the other part of me indignantly says, "So you're allowed to attack me and I'm not supposed to defend myself?" Not out of anger, no. If I want to live a peaceful loving life I need to be that way.

Yesterday with Derek I got very upset. His behavior last night is behavior which has been buried deep in a part of my brain from years of repeated trauma. Trying to play with my head and make me feel like I was expecting too much, being too into him too soon and all that crap is a trigger to so many other memories and times he did that to me. All I did was bring to his attention he didn't keep his word. He came back at me with "expecting too much."

I really don't have expectations beyond being respected. The way he's been acting- making me dinner, buying me gifts- all that has been on his own accord. I have not suggested or requested any of those things. It has been very nice and I have been very appreciative, but I'm not holding him up to that standard, he is. I would be just as happy hanging out in our sweats talking about nonsense. I love Derek for who he is not what he gives me. I love all of him, not just when he's being sweet. People's moods change, I understand that. This upcoming work week is looking like it's already going to royally annoy me. That's a huge factor in my mood for the rest of the week. I understand this coming month Derek is going to be at work 6 days a week. I'm sure that's overwhelming and frustrating. Although it makes me a little sad I won't get to see him as much I'm not going to make him feel bad about it, there's nothing we can do. I got angry yesterday because he wasn't communicating but I should take my mother's advice and just take a step back and think instead of biting back. I know better.

Looking back at last week Derek did give me something or do something cute for me every time I saw him. It's cute but not necessary. I wish he could feel comfortable being himself around me. I'm not a needy girl beyond needing people to communicate with me because although I am insightful and talented at anticipating people's needs, I am not a mind reader.
Derek has been the best part of my life lately. Derek. Not Derek's bracelet, not Derek's earrings or Derek's surprise adventure. Just Derek, the man. Those things are thoughtful and little surprises are nice every once in a while but I'm not expecting that stuff all the time. People have bad days, people get sad and feel frustrated and get annoyed. Honestly sometimes I just want to spend time sitting close to him doing nothing else. I believe he is a good man and worthy of my love. He has nothing to prove. If he wants to take it slow that's fine but I love him for exactly who he is.

It makes me so sad he thinks I expect so much. I love him so much that if he were a bum on the street I would bring him home, wash him up and help him get back on his feet. That's crazy talk, I know, I should really not divulge information like that but it's true. I don't care what others opinions of us are. All that is important to me is myself and Derek. He can test me and make me wait years, whatever, I'm not doing anything anyway. Or he can trust me and enjoy a fulfilling relationship. Either way it's his lead, I would just appreciate being clued in on what's going on.

I really just have to let go of my anger. Even when people are being unfair, as frustrating and annoying as it is I need to know that it's they're own issues. I acknowledge that now but I get angry because I really don't think it's difficult to be kind to people. If I don't like the way someone's talking to be I can simply say, "you're wrong and I don't like the way you're speaking to me." I'm always trying to save the world and teach people lessons- show them the error of their ways. It's not my job.

Just be patient, Tania. With others and yourself... It's a stressful time for a lot of people.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Positivity and Blessings

Since I went to bed at 8am I woke up at 2pm. I was feeling apprehensive about the day. My mother had called me twice. I ignored both her calls. I cracked in a moment of guilty weakness and called her back but it went straight to voicemail which I took as a sign that taking a step back is the right thing to do right now. People can think I'm crazy for my belief in signs and divine guidance but it makes my life feel meaningful and helps me feel connected to the whole universe. The world is a magical place, we just have to look for it. 

After I called my mom I took a moment to gather myself and get in the mindset of attempting to have a good, relaxing day. I decided to check my work emails- I received a couple of really encouraging and helpful emails from some of the people I was networking to. One was this woman who is in charge of a lot of the Maternal Child services in Middlesex County. She gave me four resources off the bat. She then invited me to come to the office any time, gave me the office supervisor's number and said when she comes back from vacation she'll set up and appt with me to help me as much as she can. She even asked if I wanted to sit in on Maternal Child Health committee meetings. I networked to 1 person and she's all ready to set me up with like 5 different people! I'm so excited! Then! I weighed myself and lost SIX pounds this week!!! It felt like the Cheer-up Fairy came by and paid me a visit. When I trusted myself enough to touch my phone again I saw that I received an adorable message from Derek, "You're going to have to see me tonight. I got your other gift. I know we just hung out last night, sorry you have to see me two days in a row." This made me giggle. Oh no... The horror. Of course I wanna see him two days in a row! As a matter of fact how bout we just keep this rolling until forever, lol. Last night I decided to live my life the way I want to and today I woke up to a lot of positivity and blessings. And!!! My razorback maxi dresses finally came in the mail after I ordered them at the beginning of the summer! Life is really good. 

I just saw my nephew, yesterday was his birthday. I love that little asshole. He has this tough guy persona like his parents but he's really just a lonely kid looking for love and encouragement.  
"Hey Alec!" I said from the kitchen. 
"What? I'm busy."
"What's worse than birthday punches?" I stood at the doorway of my brother's room.
"Leave me alone, I'm doing something," as he said this he smirked and tensed up.
"BIRTHDAY KISSES!!!" I give him a tight hug from behind and start counting out kisses.
"No!!! Leave me alone you crazy old bat! Stooooop!" He curled in a ball and turned magenta giggling and screaming for help.
"Gimme those cheeks!!!"
"This IS so much worse than birthday punches!!! Just hit me and leave!"
"14... and 15! Muah! Okay... I'm walking out of the room now... bye..." I said in an exaggerated far away voice as I stood next to him waiting for him to uncurl from his ball. After a few seconds he peeked his head out and I got the good luck kiss on his cheek. 
"Dammit... Okay, you're done, go away."
"I love you."
"I know."

A few months ago when I was thinking about moving to Philly (April?) I meditated and envisoned what I wanted for my life if I could wave a magic wand. I saw myself thinner with long hair and some tattoos. I saw myself relaxed and happy. Ideally I would met a sweet, compassionate tattooed man who would have the qualities of being a great husband and father. I imagined becoming an advocate for women and children and mental health reform. I saw myself working on Clinton campaign and getting to watch a woman become president of our country. Eventually I saw myself making a difference in the world. 
I am so passionate about my vision. In the last week I've been so frustrated with the services available for children. A college friend wrote a facebook post saying that because her son basically wasn't severely delayed he couldn't get extra resources. She's a pediatric nurse as well and she knows his speech and fine motor skills are behind but because he looks like a normal little boy he was denied coverage. It's been happening more and more and it is extremely upsetting because there are so many children being born and not enough resources for them. 
Yesterday I called a doctors office to make an appt for the daughter of a 15 year old girl. It's been about a month and the infant has not been seen once by a pediatrician. The grandmother told me they weren't letting her make an appt because she didn't physically have the insurance card. I found it hard to believe so I called myself. I explained the situation and the lady was very short with me and was like, "If she doesn't have the card then we can't see her." 
"She should be under her mother's insurance for the first 2 months. Use the mother's insurance to bill for the visit."
"Although that's true we don't like doing that because sometimes it gives us problems. Until she has her insurance card we can't see her. We have to get paid. I hope you understand," She said with a chuckle. 
"I understand you need to get paid... But! You are essentially telling me the safety and welfare of an infant, who is already at risk because she's had no prenatal care, has an naive and clueless 15 year old mother who IS your patient, is less important than getting paid? If I've understood you correctly I hope you recognize that if anything happens to that little girl it will be because her safety and health was less important that the $150 you'll get from billing her Medicaid. Thank you for your time, I'm going to document this conversation and help the family find compassionate pediatrics office." My cheeks were flushed with anger, my tone was stern. 
"Wait... Okay, she can come in, the earliest appointment I have is..."
Triumph! A very small victory for an escalating problem. 

I could go on and on about this stuff. But I'm gonna enjoy the rest of this awesome day. 

Flying the Coop

The last few days have been stressful but I have been handling the stress well enough. I'm doing well at work- I even started networking with other departments. I'm not trying to climb the corporate ladder, that ain't my thang, but the more people know about me and the program I run maybe they'll think to donate, or tell their friends about it. Maybe they'll see my passion and actually listen... Maybe that's a stretch, haha but a dreamer can dream.

Growing up my imagination was one of the things that saved me from all the unhappiness. I was always telling myself stories to entertain myself. I loved writing! When I learned I made it my business to fill up notebooks with stories and drawings. I remember writing really adult themed stories and would illustrate them too. I have always been in my head thinking a million thoughts, imagining a million things. I've also always been a hopeless romantic. Growing up nothing I ever did was good enough... But in my mind... I could make myself the perfect daughter/sister/girlfriend. My family was so critical. I never did anything that required people to watch me. I remember as a 5 year old being really uncomfortable playing in front of my mother. I felt uncomfortable PLAYING. I was always terrified of doing something wrong so I just followed orders and hoped they loved me. Growing up like that you learn to live in your head instead of the world. This last year of my life I feel like I'm not only participating, I'm taking control. I don't give a fuck anymore, haha. It's scary but liberating and a lot of fun.

After years of progress I think most of my family is regressing. I don't feel like talking to Danny yet, I dunno why, I guess I want to see if he apologizes first. It's not gonna happen. Jr is being petty and talking about me. Today I went to talk to my mom because I really need her to stop sending people to attack me. Danny is on my grumpy list now because of her. She brought up the conversation. It was Alec's birthday. I mentioned to her that he had been rude to me and I had to scold him.
"Well... I dunno. Maybe he's upset with you because he doesn't approve of your life choices," she said without looking up.
"Okay, you need to stop doing that. If you're upset with me act like an adult and tell me your upset, don't put someone else in the middle. 'Your father's going to be so upset' he just hugged me and told me he loved me. Own your feelings."
"Whatever. I don't even care, " at this point she's making empanadas the most violent way I've ever seen. My head is in my hands just completely baffled by her behavior.
"Yeah, it looks like you don't..." as I watch her pounding the masa with her palm.
"Whatever, you're ruining your life. I can't believe you're sleeping with him!"
"Um... What?"
"I saw your car the other morning at his house. You have no respect for yourself, you expect the people around you to respect you while your writhing with some dude? That's not okay in God's eyes!"
"No... This is not okay in God's eyes. That was extremely rude!"
"Well if there was someone in here with respect maybe I would treat them with some!"
"I respect myself."
"And I'm a super model."
"I don't want to fight because I love you. This is pointless because I'm going to live my life the way I want to and you're just going to have to deal with it like you did with Danny's gayness and Rudy's family and Jr just being Jr. Why not skip to the part where you're over it instead of hurting my feelings and being really judgmental?"
"Then why bring this shit up?!"
"I didn't, you did, can you take accountability for nothing?.. you're so frustrating!"
"You're frustrated? I'm frustrated! I didn't raise you to be a slut. You're probably only back with him for the sex. It makes sense now, he's the best you've ever had. You should be ashamed of yourself." This brought me back to reality.
"You think after everything Derek and I put each other through and after everything I've learned and overcame and after 3 years of being apart I went back to him for sex? That's the most disrespectful thing you've ever said to me. I'm not a fucking whore, but thanks."
"Who knows, you probably are. All you do is lie and disrespect yourself..."
"You need to stop and remember for a god damn second that I'm your daughter. Don't speak to me that way."
"Again with this big demanding respect act from the girl spreading her legs for someone she almost killed herself over." I took a deep breath.
"I understand you're upset and scared but you don't have to be rude to me. I'm almost 26 years old. If I want to sleep with a man that is my own personal business and if God has a problem with it he can let me know himself. Stop judging me! Who are you to judge me."
"I'm not scared, nope, you're screwing yourself over. Read the Bible, that's you'll find there they say no sex before marriage."
"It also says about a million times, be kind, be kind, be kind! Love one another! Forgive! Be compassionate and understanding! In the Bible does it say that God is controlling our every move like puppets? Is He making our decisions for us and ordering us around?" there was silence, "I'm asking a question... Oh you forgot that part? I'll remind you- it's called free will. So you mean to tell me that the God you have all your faith in gave me free will so that you could control my life?"
"Fine! Go, live with him, marry him, go make up with his family who tossed you aside the first chance they got, move to Florida, go! When your fantasy comes tumbling down or you end up dead in a gutter don't come calling me asking for help."
"I can assure you, Ma, if I end up dead in a gutter I will not call you." She was not amused... "So this is your decision? You're going to stop talking to me because I'm a 26 year old woman with a personal life?"
"Which you're making public to the whole world!"
"Anthony slept over my house 5 nights a week for our entire relationship. You knew, why not this reaction? I don't know what it is about my relationship with Derek that's always had you guys like this."
"Whatever! Wait and watch and come back in a few months, you're getting played like a fool. When you're penniless then come try to cry on my shoulder."
"Penniless? Oh... you mean like I am now?"
"Leave your brother out of it. Go move on your own and have him sleep over your place. You know if you get your own place he's going to want to move in with you."
"Awesome. That would be amazing."
"No self-respect! Say what you will about me I did my life right."
"You did your life right?" As I say this my eyes squint and I lean forward to make sure I was understanding correcting.
"Yes, I did my life right. I waited til I got married to have sex..."
"You did your life 'right?' What?... if marrying someone you barely knew and didn't love at 17 to leave your controlling family and then living 40 miserable abusive years with that person is 'doing it right' then you can keep it! Papi left his country all alone to come here and start a new life, you disobeyed your parents and married some dude to get out of your house... Everyone in this family has been able to live their lives. I am just trying to live mine. And you know what?! Derek has grown into a really good person, just as I have. He's kind and considerate and makes me feel care about and smart."
"Yes, yes I'm sure, liar."
"You're a child. Grow up, Mami! This is probably the most unChristian I have ever seen you in my entire life. Pull yourself together! Go read the Bible and really meditate on all the things you said to me just now and the fact that you will never be able to unsay those things. You can keep being angry and rude or you can get over it and let me live my own damn life." Here she became shrill. As I grabbed my purse and walked out I just kept repeating, "Get over it."

Had you told me 3 months ago this is what my mother and my relationship was going to dissolve to I would have called you crazy. We used to be best friends... Today my mother regressed to a point of not acknowledging ANY of the mistakes she's committed in her life while sitting perfectly mounted on her high horse. I guess this is the opportunity I needed to take a break from that relationship which has been the unhealthiest lately. She really needs to work through those issues but it is definitely not my problem.
Of course I'm going to forgive her, she's my mom.

I saw my sister for a little today. I've learned to appreciate her. I am the Derek in that relationship. I've been cold and indifferent for years but in all honesty the last 3 years (especially this last year) she's shown me consistently that she's understanding, patient, funny, and wise. I told her a little bit about the situation.
"You're 26 mothefucking years old! You're grown and successful and beautiful and young- you can do whatever the fuck you want to do and that's what she should be encouraging. I understand the situation isn't the best because of y'alls past and whatever but it's been 3 years, both of you have grown up, lived life, matured. I see it in you! If you pay your own bills then you get to live your own goddamn life the way you want to. You wanna spend your weekends on a hippie farm humping trees then that is your motherfucking right! It's not their place to judge, it's their place to accept and love you no matter what. Damn girl I feel you, my family does the same shit, the guilt trips the insults. You're having sex... So what? Ugh... they make my head hurt!" she ranted. hah.

Laiza has been endlessly supportive. I think I'm starting to love her... Laiza is another relationship my mother doesn't approve of. It's almost funny that the two relationships she's being so horrible towards me for are the most nurturing, healthy, and caring relationships I have.

My evening ended with a nice movie night with Derek, Trouble, Linus and myself. Linus ate something he wasn't supposed to and needed to go out like a million times to eat grass and puke. Totes killed the mood. Found out Linus is not a fan of Derek, lol. Linus has never ever ever been jealous of anyone, it's super bizarre. I was hugging Derek and Linus started whining. For the last year Linus has received all of my love and affection. I love my dog so very much. When I look at him I see a mischievous little boy.

But now Derek is back in my life. I'm super in love with Derek. So much so my dog actually got jealous. I should cut my pup some slack, we've been through a lot of changes this year. I guess I'm being kinda an asshole about that. I should acknowledge animals have their routines and once a ritual is broken they get confused and anxious. Thus Linus eating shit that wasn't edible and puking on and off for 2 hours. The last two days have been so stressful. Everyone keeps commenting that I look and sound tense. Um... Yeah... 3 of my family members and my dog are mad at me because I love someone more than them. Ummmm isn't that what's supposed to happen? I am working hard and living my life and really feeling proud and confident in myself. Why is everyone so Goddamn crazy?

Derek mentioned that he got me something small, a gift. He made a date for us to hang out. I really didn't have any expectations so I really didn't expect what I got. It was perfect. A beautiful and unique bracelet made up of wings. I asked God in the morning to help me get through the day with my head held high even though people are being hurtful. After the argument with my mom I asked God for guidance and encouragement that I'm on the right path despite everyone telling me I'm wrong. When I opened the gift and saw the bracelet and suddenly I felt like I could breathe. I can't explain why but it brought me this sense of serenity and I knew I was going to be fine. I am resilient and have risen to the challenges placed in front of me time and time again. I'm gonna be fine.

Actually... I'm going to be better than fine. When my mom was throwing her poison at me I smiled on the inside. Oh... you think I'm going to ruin my life? I'm gonna go make some popcorn for when I watch you eat your words. Derek is an amazing friend, an amazing man who is considerate and thoughtful and responsible. If they were just a wee bit less judgmental maybe they could see that.

I'm not pushing my family away yet somehow they're managing to be disappearing from my side... Maybe this is how it needs to be for a little while. I think I'm going to have a lot of adventures in the next few years... I hope so anyway.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Wish the Nights Never Ended

My eyes fluttered open so many times last night. It was as if my mind wanted to make sure it was real. I had restful sleep but I just remember opening my eyes just to make sure he was there then falling asleep again.

Yesterday was really great. My work meeting went well, I do genuinely like the people I work with. I find it funny but all the other nurses are blonde white girls, including my boss. My people, lol. Then there I am... nerdy, chubby, short, hispanic Tania. There was a time when that was intimidating and bothered me. Yesterday however, I made them all laugh as I shared my month's horror stories and cracked jokes. It feels really supportive. We know we're out in the field in all types of weather, alone, caring for poor, sick kids. They really understand that I'm young and having a really transitioning year. I'm so very grateful. I saw interesting cases yesterday and really have a lot of ideas I hope to put in to action over the next month. I'm excited. I'm creative and a dreamer so I always have tons of ideas in my head. At the meeting yesterday I brought some of the ideas I had in my head such as creating a website. Immediately the other girls starting giving me resource sites and my boss mentioned making a Maternal-Child Health Facebook page and asked if I'd be interested in running it. This may seem really silly but I'm super excited because my resume will soon have "conducted research and managed and maintained social media sites for the department" added to it. Children and their families are my passion. I love educating new moms and watching them absorb new things. I really want to spend the next few months dedicating myself to my job and my patients. I have an opportunity to make a real impact and I need to stop being afraid and apprehensive and really embrace that I have an amazing opportunity in front of me.

Hanging out with Sarah yesterday was like always, a blast. I think she's such a great girl. I'm glad we've become friends. Nice genuine people are hard to come by. She's taught me so much just in relaying her life experiences. Her courage to travel the country and try things other people wound never have the balls to do is inspiring. She's a free spirit and lives how I've always been too afraid to.

Last night I watched Looper (someone terribly misinformed me it was bad... it was so not bad! It was very very good!) with my buddy. Seriously what an interesting story. Big fan. Anyway the movies about breaking cycles or... loops. I don't know why I find meaning in everything (betcha I can find meaning in ANYTHING!) but I feel like my day is a bunch of little circumstances trying to teach me a lesson or tell me a story. Between feeling great about my job, hearing Sarah's stories, and watching a movie about breaking cycles I feel like life is screaming at me to be the change I want to be.

I'm pulled back to Derek like gravity. I used to look back and ask myself, "Why couldn't we just let each other go?" This is why... This feeling when I'm with him. He's my puzzle piece. I dig deeper within myself and try harder and push myself when I'm with him. I was without him for 3 years. During our time apart on paper I was successful but I didn't feel happy because I was still so hurt. Currently I'm one of the most emotionally healthy individuals I know and it's because of how much effort I've put into being emotionally healthy. It is a constant positive dialogue. Sometimes it's hard to say, "That person is being hurtful because they are hurt," but all I have to do is look at my past mistakes and I can recognize that person is coping with their own issues the only way they know how because they probably had a shitty home life too.

Last night was really great. As I held his hand during the movie I remembered a Bible verse about love. How couples should treat each other as they would themselves. His skin is my skin, my skin is his skin. As I touched him I tried hard to find the point where his skin stopped and my skin started but I couldn't. I'm so in love with everything about him.
I slept over and we talked for hours before we fell asleep. It was magical. I woke up at around 5am with Derek's cat perched on my hip. I pet her and she cuddled with me. Cats hate me! I hate cats! But she's the sweetest thing and has this amazing personality. She'll talk for hours if you let her. She's silly and smart and agoraphobic, haha. I can see her and Linus being friends, they're both so sweet. Linus is all about being very best buds but Trouble's all like, "Yawn... Oh, you're here?" It is true what they say, we are our pets.
Every time my eyes fluttered open and he was sleeping peacefully next to me I couldn't help but smile. Had you told me a few years ago this is what my story would be I wouldn't believe you. Had you told me 6 months ago this is what my story would be I would have called you nuts and gotten angry. I've pushed myself to change because I deserve a better Tania and I want to share the better Tania with him.

This afternoon after an awesome therapy session I get a call from my older brother who was receiving complaints by Jr and my mom about me. Last night I left Linus home. Well my brother Jr left the gate open to the living room and was complaining because Linus ate a bunch of food that was left open in there. A bunch of food HE left open in there. He decided he was angry at ME because HE didn't remember Linus was home and HE left the gate and all HIS food open in easy to reach places. How the fuck is that remotely my fault? Only thing that has to do with me in that whole damn situation is Linus is my dog. The motherfucking end. He lives with a dog for which I pay rent for, he agreed to it, part of that is remembering to put the gate up if you don't want your shit to get eaten. So Jr told my mother and my older brother Danny. My mother then called Danny complaining about me as well and asked him to talk sense into me about being responsible with my dog and "my life choices." I was so hurt I almost exploded. My mom and Jr I don't mind, they're childish and I know how to handle them but the fact that Danny called me to get in the middle was what really pissed me off.

Tania-I'm not trying to be rude but I don't understand why you're getting involved. If they have issues with me they are adults and should be able to speak to me themselves. Since neither have said anything to me I have no beef with them. You are getting in the middle for no reason.
Danny-Well, I feel like you're being irresponsible and that you've been lying to me. I'm trying my hardest to help you realize your dreams and become an adult and you're not doing anything.

I blew up a little bit.

T- What the fuck are you talking about? Listen to me. I am an adult. Whatever I decide to do with my personal life is no one else's fucking business but my own. I didn't tell you you couldn't love Eddie, I've never told you you shouldn't do anything but take better care of your health. You all treat me like a little girl. I seriously just want to live my life. Having my own life is not lying to you, Danny. The world doesn't revolve around you. I have a lot of shit on my plate. My bad if I forget to tell you everything while I'm trying to put my fucking life together. Seriously? I'm hurt and offended and I don't want to talk to you. I can't believe you'd get in the middle of petty bullshit between squabbling women simply because I'm not living up YOUR expectations. I'm so disappointed I can't even speak. I'm hanging up now because I'm extremely upset.

I understand why everyone is acting the way they are but I really don't have to put up with them. I thought Danny was better than acting like my parents. It's really ruined my day.

I wish the nights never ended, I wish dreams lasted forever because life is just so utterly challenging sometimes. I'm so tired of crying over people who refuse to recognize how much I help them and how much I love them. I really hope they get their shit together but I'm really at my wits end right now.

I put myself in intensive therapy after I was assaulted in November. I read books and went to group meetings and classes. I learned about parenting and development in school and decided what I wanted to do with my life. I fell in love with Derek all over again and our friendship is developing into a respectful, supportive relationship. I did all the fucking shit in the last 6 months. No, I'm not doing anything to become an healthy happy adult... Ugh. I can't anymore.

I feel alone but it's not the end of the world.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I am proclaiming my independence. I know what I have to do now. I know that life has been preparing me. I got a random facebook message from a college acquaintance. We were cool. Not best buds... I guess those would just be called friends, lol. Anyway I haven't talked to him since graduation and he messages me thanking me for girl advice I gave him in 2008 which he didn't listen to until right now. I told him sometimes we reaaallly need to learn a lesson on our own. We caught up briefly, he's still trying to be a politician- I'm still actually trying to make a difference in the world :) It would be nice to have a politician who owes me a favor... Anyway. He brought the subject back up.

Him-but I was SO DUMB.
Me- haha. We all were.
Him-Yes... I'm better for it.
M- Me too.
H- good.
M- "To be old and wise one must first be young and stupid."
H- haha, that's good. I'll remember that.
M- I made A LOT of mistakes
H- me too
M- But I learned from them all.
H- good. I think I'm getting there too. You were always a good egg.

So there's proof that liberal, lovey dovey Tania can be friendly with rich Republicans.

Saturday during the party my aunt brought up the "when should my daughter date" conversation to my mom and dad. My dad starting barking nice things at my cousin like, "Love yourself first!" "You don't need a man!" it was kinda funny/sweet and intimidating. I started talking to my aunt and said that she needs to trust Jezlyn and be open and aware of what she's doing. That way Jez can explore relationships in a healthy supervised manner. My dad made a comment to my aunt saying not to take parenting advice from me- my kids are going to be wild and crazy because I'm so soft. I felt indignant for a second and was about to open my mouth before Dax, my nephew burst into laughter and said, "No they aren't! Tania's tough as Hell, and she's fair and she likes teaching and explaining things and she loves a lot. Watch, Tania's kids are gonna be the best because she's gonna be the best mom, sorry grandpa but she should listen to her, she's gonna be a great mom. Look at Linus!"
I felt a huge amount of love for my nephew at that moment. (I also love that people always mention my dog when they say I'm gonna be a good parent. I think it's because I take him everywhere and he's very social and sweet without being overbearing. My dad trained him to beg for food, it's a hard habit to break now because the reward is so great.)
Anyway, I told my aunt, "Whether you want to believe it or not she's going to do what she wants to do she just won't tell you about it."
"You think so? Jezlyn would you do that?"
"Tia, was I a good obedient girl growing up?"
"The most! Best flower girl in the world!"
"Danny did I have a boyfriend behind our parents back?"
"Yup, he was a big black dude."
"She's gonna do what she wants."

My dad got up and left the table defeated. I think it took everything in his being not to get upset. I could hear him counting to ten in his head.

I'm tired of worrying how my personal decisions impact the people around me. My personal decisions should only matter to me. I'm tired of being quiet and pretending that I don't know better because other people around me are intimidated by my education. I do know what I'm talking about- it's my passion. In two weeks I will acquire my first tattoo. I've been so apprehensive for years honestly because part of me was still holding onto my parents approval. Through this transition I've recognized that I really don't need or want their approval. Honestly in certain circumstances (a lot) my father and I fundamental disagree. If he were to approve of my life I think I would feel that I've failed myself in some way. No! I will live my life the way I want to live it because the only person's approval I need is my own.

The first thing I thought when I was talking to that dude Derek told me to date, "My parents would probably love this dude." That was the important decision I needed to make. Whether my life was going to be what my parents wanted for me or what I wanted for me. It took me about 90 seconds to confidently say that I want my life to be what I want it to be. Some may think that's a really long time but for those who knew the old me, any decisions usually took 30 mins and big decisions like this with the approval of my parents on the line... geez I would have broken down. I just closed my eyes and imagined myself in 10 years with someone my parents would approve of and then closed my eyes and imagined where I saw myself in 10 years. The two were so radically different. I don't know where my life is going to take me but I want to be proud of myself as I take my last breath not wondering, "What if I didn't decided to make my parents happy?"

I guess I'm proclaiming my love for Derek as well. (What else is new?) Yes, I have always loved Derek (except when I transformed that love in to a passionate loathing by lying to myself) but... over the last couple of months I've seen this new person emerge before my eyes. Maybe he feels the same way. I know that I'm transforming, I feel it myself. These new people are kind and understanding and respectful and caring. I'm proclaiming my love for those people because that's who we are now. I hate seeing him confused and cranky but that's honestly a good sign. Embracing those feelings and really questioning yourself is important. He is an amazing partner. He communicates with me in a way that so different than how he used to be. He speaks clearly and respectfully. When he gives me his opinion he really tries not to be judgmental. He is gentle and considerate but always honest. The other day he complimented me more than once which was a really big deal, haha. He's doing so good. He really is one of the few healthy relationships in my life. I know he doesn't have it all together, I don't either but with each other we do.

People have been getting on my nerves lately. Maybe it's the heat. When I tell people about my philosophies some are eager to point out when I'm not being kind or compassionate. I think people confuse being good and kind with being an oblivious ass kisser. I am a genuine person, if you are acting inappropriately I am going to point it out- I don't care who you are. One time I was talking to my boss over the phone when she got a little shrill and snippy, "I'm sorry but I really don't like being spoken to that way. I'm willing to discuss this in a respectful manner without raising our voices." Being kind and compassionate is also being kind and compassionate to myself and the people I love. It is requesting respect because you're giving it to the other person. If people's actions are making me or someone I love feel uncomfortable I will say something. Never be afraid to speak your mind but always be kind.

I am Tania and I'm proclaiming to not give a fuck about what you think.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Like I said it's been a weird week. When Derek and I first began talking in May one of the questions he asked me back then was why I didn't like his mom. I don't dislike her, I was just always weary of her. The first time I was going to meet her he was so... uncomfortable, maybe even embarrassed. I knew what that was like. In the years I was with him I don't think he met my biological mother. The first time she came to visit was for mother's day. He warned me he got. She is one of his triggers I think. She is like a personification of his insecurities and worst memories. This is my opinion. It wasn't that I didn't like her it was that she was so unhealthy and had hurt him so much. I felt protective the way he feels about me and my family I think. It's really nothing personal against her I just don't like the way she makes Derek feel.

During that first visit Derek was very angry. I saw the interaction between the two... it was all too familiar. Maybe it's my own projection. I keep her at the same distance I keep my biological parents. My mother calls me her muneca. When I was little I remember loathing her toothless cigarette kisses. They felt wrong on my skin. I guess a lot of the way I am with his mom is how I am with my own parents. I hated it, growing up. That sense of... "Parent." Even at my littlest I remember disliking them because they were just so fucked up. Imagine a stranger walking up to you grabbing your hand and being like, "Let's go, I'm your dad." Um... No you're not! I remember so many uncomfortable memories when I was forced to socialize with these people who I disliked simply because they exchanged fluids one night in 1987. I guess I carry some of that in my feelings about Mary. Egg and sperm donors. It is not with contempt that I say this. Its fact. These people aren't parents. They had children but they aren't parents. They allowed their own illness get in the way of raising their children. I honestly believe it is a choice. I made the choice to not let anything hold me back. My parents made a choice to stay where they are. I don't know how they do it... I don't know how they live with nothing, look forward to nothing. It seems like a miserable life to me... I'm talking about my parents now... It always comes back to personal experiences.

I love my family but I'm ready to do my own thing. I'm getting restless. I know everything will be better in a few months but patience is a weak subject of mine. It's annoying figuring out what you want but knowing that it's not up to you to have it.

Anthony and I chatted this week. He asked about Derek... That was uncomfortable but I was honest about the situation. He responded with, "I truly wish you the best. You were good to me and a good person in general." Oh sad sweet Anthony... I want him to be the happiest ever. I wish him success and love and an endless amount of comfort. He has to want those things for himself though...

I love Derek. I want to keep him safe and happy. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Uncomfortable pretty much sums up the last few weeks. It's been sweaty balls hot out. I can't remember a heat wave like this since I was little. If it's too hot for kids to play outside then its too damn hot. Yay global warming! I'm just grateful summer feels like summer. Last summer was such a friggen wet noodle. Anyway... I feel uncomfortable in my skin. My head feels uncomfortable and as Aunt Flo is paying me a visit my body is rather uncomfortable too. I feel like such a whiny baby... I want to be more a grumpy grumbling old man. Kinda senile but randomly wise. Whiny babies cry with no real purpose besides being stupid. Grumpy old man has lived, he knows a thing or two and is too damn tired for shit. That's the type of complainer I want to be.

Its been a long day if you can't tell by my randomness. I feel like I'm about to hit an end to this period of my life. Whiny baby Tania is gonna grow up. I hate that I complain. I want to always be in the moment aware of how fortunate I always am. I've been moody and girly these last few days but I think I'm getting it out of my system before I start to work. Up until this point I feel like I have been preparing and planning. I know the basics in everything I need to do now. Budgeting, work, life, therapy, etc. Now I need to put it all together. I have a feeling if my life becomes the well oiled machine I hope it can be I'm going to have any complaints.

In my last few hours of babyhood I managed to be a sassy sally. My mother's lack of independence annoys me but I know it's really MY lack of independence which annoys me. Today Derek's blahblah I'm apathetic blahblah really got to me. Usually I can be like, "Whatever loser." But today I sassed.

Today I asked Derek a relationship-esque question and he nervously swatted me away. It doesn't even matter, they're just words anyway. "Boyfriend" it's an important title but if I'm being the existential Tania I'm hoping to be I'll realize it's all just words. The intentions never changed, the love never changed. However... I sassed again.

I guess I've been feeling selfish lately. I made my choice; I know what I want. Temptation was all up in my face and he was all like, "Yeah, go for it, he's wonderful." Which confused me then made me angry before I understood the situation I was in. There wasn't going to be a dramatic, "NO! I LOVE YOU TANIA CARMEN! *doves* I CAN NOT LET THIS BE! DO NOT CHOOSE HIM, PICK ME FOR I LOVE YOU!" Nope... and it took me all of 90 seconds to rationally come to a conclusion.

Today we had our annual family party. I was sassy to my mom like whoa. My grandma was super adorable. She kept whispering secrets in my ears. One of the whispered conversations we had was as follows,
"How's your Flaco?"
"Which one?" She laughs, "I'm serious, I like a lot of skinny boys." She giggles more.
"El Flaco." I laugh.
"Mami told you?"
"Well if I wait til you visit me to hear about your life I'd have to wait a long time."
"Ha, I promise to visit you more."
"You're the smartest... Is he kind?"
"He is. And respectful and responsible and considerate and gentle. He's a good man."
"I believe people can change."
"Me too. I know I did."
"You're a good, smart girl, I trust you. As long as he makes you happy and keeps you safe I'll be happy."
Throughout this she's stroking my hair, holding my hand, kissing my forehead. Ugh... I hate when I love people who are old... It's like... any moment... ugh. Anyway. This has to be one of my favorite memories of my grandma. She was wearing the earrings I got her for Christmas.

I know why I'm cranky! Because everyone but my own head kept reminding me about Derek. My nephews mentioned him, my grandma asked, I was sent pictures of adorable children thousands of miles away... I loved it all and that annoys me...

Just good advice for anyone in general, if you have to ask, "Are we together?" it means you're not the one deciding and the answer is no.

Its been an uncomfortable time...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

My stupid life

Why do things happen the way they do? A guy flirted with me today and asked me if I was single. I told him I was single but it was complicated. He prodded a bit for information and I was honest and told him I'm in love with someone. He made a very subtle but powerful remark about letting things pass you by for other things that don't appreciate your time. Yeah I know... Then I mention it to dummy Derek and he tells me to go for it. Wonderful. I feel kinda like a moron...

I only feel that way because I'm taking his inability to express love personally. That shit's on him. I know I love him. I am looking for new friends so maybe I stumbled upon a new one but I'm in love with Derek. He's all I want... Even if he's a proud poopface.

I feel like this happened to make me realize I'm making a clear choice. Here comes another respectful dude who actually wants to be around you and get to know you... And you're choosing the one who only just recently admitted you're friends... If anyone knew of this they would tell me I'm making the wrong decision. I did tell one person and he said, "Go out with the dude. If Derek feel bothered then he has to admit to himself that he cares about you."

I don't work like that.

I believe people should be treated with dignity and respect. I'm not going to play games trying to manipulate him into saying he loves me. I don't really care whether he does or doesn't. He's my stupid puzzle piece. I feel like I have the strength of 10 Tanias when he's in my life. Something about him makes me want to push harder, fix things, be more. I remember now why I used to believe in soulmates...

Whatever I have with Derek now makes me happy and makes me feel healthy and whole. I love my life now as stressful as it has been. It has the potential to be really fulfilling. I will never give up on him. I mean if he decides to shut me out completely I'll move on but if he ever wants to be friends he will always have my love and support. I've owe him a lot. I wouldn't be the person I am today without him. I want to share my gratitude with him everyday. I want to love him always. Maybe one day he'll say something similar back... probs not.

Today sucked.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I feel so fortunate that even though this year has probably been one of the wildest and most disorganized years of my whole life everyone is being super duper understanding. I'm so very thankful for the people who are in my life right now. I think things work out the way they need to. Maybe I did lose friends but if I'm honest with myself they were all emotionally unhealthy and at the moment I'm chock full of unhealthy people. It's not that I don't care about them but I'm sure if they were closer to me at this particular moment I would continue trying to fix their lives. I stopped giving my brother free passes and got stern with him and I walked home to a clean house and a respectful caring brother. We chatted and he said, "I'm really trying to be more... con... um..."
"I've noticed. I appreciate it."

I really do need to just worry about myself. I spoke to my therapist today (so thankful for her!) and told her I realize what I'm doing now. I mentioned cutting off my family for a month. She said she understood what I meant but that cutting people ou may make them feel hurt and resentful and isn't healthy for either party. It's healthy to communicate, so if they reach out saying, "Hey, I'm just overwhelmed, I love you, I'll call you when I feel ready," they understand that you're setting a boundary but also that you aren't angry or sad or spiteful.

I told her yesterday my mother tried to talk to me a problem she was having and I listened and said, "You're gonna have to decide what to do. I can't make your decisions for you." Saying that felt so empowering. I didn't feel guilty for not helping her because we're each on our own journey. I have enough on my plate before I go solving other people's problems. Essentially that's all I do at work. I need some time to recharge. That's why I melt down all the time. Derek mentions sometimes how emotional I used to be. I couldn't remember what he meant but now I do know. My emotions were turned on full volume. When I was angry I was blowout angry, when I was sad I was laying suicidal on the floor sad. I feel with the capacity of 1000 people. I didn't know how to deal with all that before in a healthy manner, I'm so grateful that I do now. My therapist told me to go away for a little, see if I can plan a vacation. It would be so nice to have the only thing I'm worried about be if I have enough sunscreen on and what I feel like eating. No bills, no work, no family, no worries. Yeah... give me that.

My therapist commended me on my friendship with Derek. "You see how this feels? It's even, no highs or lows. That's all the ingredients for a healthy relationship." That's all him. I'm just following his lead. He's a good leader. He listens to my input, he's flexible. I honestly like the dynamic. He's supportive and caring. Having that back in my life has enabled me to go deeper than I would have had the courage to go before. I can close my eyes and imagine the pieces of my life falling into place. I want to take a break from school to really build up that work program and get myself situated and organized. I'll start again in the Spring. I think I'll feel much more confident. I'm shocked I didn't have a seizure from all the information I was trying to pack into my brain the last 6 months. Childhood development, learning a new job, healing my past wounds, learning to be an adult, being physically healthier... I was trying to teach myself all of that from beginner level to competent all at once. I'm shaking my head because I was honestly angry with myself and felt like a failure for not being able to do it all. I'm crazy. Well... I was crazy.

I broke the cycle of abuse. I feel so lucky and so very fortunate that so many amazing people came into my life. I'm proud of myself for never giving up. I'm not sure if I feel optimistic of the future... I think I'm just starting to feel ready. I'm beginning to realize I'm resilient because I really do always try to be better than I was. Little by little I'm actually getting there.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Caesar Cardini

The last week has been rough but somehow I'm smiling and breathing comfortably. Derek is full of surprises.
"Surprise! I like you back even though you're a nerdy 17 year old chubby graham cracker with the personality of a CareBear and I'm a sexy curly haired broody white boy with piercings and tattoos."
"Surprise! Here's your initials forever imprinted on my skin!"
"Surprise! I'm going to help you grow and learn!" 
I was super low this weekend. I tried reaching out to friends but everyone was busy and I was in such a bad mood I wouldn't enjoy my time out anyway. I was telling Derek how overwhelmed I felt. He wasn't very responsive at first. Then... Surprise. 
Yesterday evening as I walked up his steps I took a deep breath. I was surprised to find myself in front of his door. "Gonna run a ton of errands then chart then hopefully Derek doesn't change his mind about tonight. If so, whatever," I remember writing that in my journal earlier in the morning. He kept his word. I knew that if I walked in and he had made me ramen noodles for dinner I would eat them up with all the gratitude in the world because before I walked in I was already grateful. He promised a stress free night and thats what was delivered. He actually made me dinner from scratch and it was delicious. We had a great time talking. I love our conversations. I feel a beam of pride when I can share a new bit of random information. I love that he's constantly teaching me something new... I guess we teach each other new things. 

After dinner we hung out and played video games. I was half worried he was going to scold or criticize the way I played but he was super patient and cute and helpful. A small part of me is still apprehensive- sometimes I feel the memory of how we used to be tighten my airway but he always reacts calmly, respectfully and understanding. As time goes on I'm learning to trust this Derek as I hope he's learning to trust me now.
We talked through the night; he let me in, I opened his eyes to things he never realized. When I awoke I was already prepared for him to be gone, retreating within himself but the sweet man was not a dream. I got some work down, he drank coffee; we sat outside talking, my dad drove by, I nodded at him, we talked some more; he opened my eyes to things I never realized. 

My day went by amazingly. I took my time with my patients and I really talked with the families and spent time getting to know them and educating them. I felt motivated to look things up online for them, I want to make charts and packets with information on attachment and bonding. I did a power point, maybe I can turn that into a cute fact sheet. I run a whole program at my job and I've made very little head way with it. I think the next few months I'm going to really take charge and make it the program I want it to be. Maybe I can get Lisa to brainstorm with me. It would be amazing to say I started a program from the ground up and see real progress with these kids and families. See! My mind just is so open to anything. 

I know I have to sacrifice now for a better tomorrow. I love that the things that come easy to me such as; socializing, being nice, taking care of people, being emotional- aren't Derek's strong points but he's amazing at saving money, making healthy choices, being responsible, and looking at situations logically. I suck at that. I help him, he helps me. When I told him how much I made he went into calculator mode and rough drafted a budget for me and made me feel really silly for feeling helpless. All my anxiety went away. I knew I would be fine no matter what. 

A few hours taking a break from my life and I feel like I went on a week long spiritual retreat. I've discovered so much about myself today. I'm proud of myself but I am so very proud of Derek. He's maturing, exercising his kindness, recognizing and questioning things about himself. It wonderful to ask yourself questions, it's how you keep yourself in check. "Am I being kind?" is a question I'm always asking myself. "Am I a thoughtful person?" "Am I loving selflessly?" 

Lastly I learned a trick that gives my every move purpose. I close my eyes and imagine myself with a little boy, my little boy. I can't tell you what he looks like, only how he feels, how he laughs, how he plays and makes me giggle. I see myself baking cookies and doing crafts and planning adventures like treasure hunts. I see myself allowing to get wrapped up in his imagination. I imagine every night laying in bed with him as we say good night and I imagine myself saying "Thank you for one more day." Imagining that chubby preschool hand in my palm is all I need to get through anything. Just the idea of loving my child fills me with warmth and hope and purpose. Whoever my children are I am going to love them. 

I'm not baby crazy. I know I have a lot of work to do and a lot of life to enjoy before I devote my life to my children but like some people imagine themselves as CEOs or athlete's that's the way I view parenting. It's always been a dream. 

I'm not planning my future, I'm not getting ahead of myself. I am completely in the present moment. I just finally recognize that I have a real opportunity to completely change my life and it doesn't scare me anymore.   

childhood memories (long and sad)

The last week has been tough. It's difficult trying to get everything in my life in order. The weekend was especially excruciating. Friday I saw a budget counselor who's going to be helping me with my finances over the next year. Learning all this new stuff is overwhelming and I've been feeling bitter. I'm so frustrated with my parents... With my mom mainly. That would surprise most but in all honesty my father has treated me with nothing but respect for a long time now. Even when we get into arguments he doesn't raise his voice or call me stupid or even get angry. Looking at my family there's a split. People who respect me; Papi, Rudy, Danny verses people who don't respect me; Mami and Junior. I think it's because the boundaries are all out of whack... I'll get to that another time.

Yesterday I argued with my mom for hours. It started with me being stressed out and overwhelmed. My mom said it was because I was trying to fix everything in my life at once. That made me angry. Life isn't just like, "Tania... just focus all your energy on working out this month, then next month you'll work and the month after that you can learn how to save money." No! Everything has to be done at once. Life is a balancing act and I have zero coordination... Like literally and figuratively. Everything feels overwhelming because it is overwhelming, I wasn't taught any of the skills it takes to be a healthy functional adult. Bringing up the past is always a sore subject for my parents. Whenever my mom and I start fighting my dad conveniently finds some loud outdoor project that needs to be done right then, ha. Yesterday it was a hole. He dug a hole... probably for no reason. My family is so dysfunctional... Anyway... we fought, I brought up shit I didn't even know bothered me. "You know I don't remember hearing your voice before you and Papi got divorced. You were a shadow in all of my memories. Half a person."
...Reading that now I realize although that was true it was also unfair. I don't think anyone heard me talk until I was 11 years old. If you ask anyone I went to elementary school with they'll tell you I was always voted 'quietest' right before the silent korean girl. When my mom divorced my dad she gained her voice which allowed me to gain my voice. Ha... I just figured out why I'm so pissed with my mom... Its because I am her. "If you knew the type of life that was why the fuck would you let me live it too?!" I'm angry because I am making the same mistakes my mother made because my mother raised me the same exact fucking way she was raised. Holy breakthrough. Tania admits she is Ana Isabel... She did raise me different though. "Always go to school. Go to school do what you love and make lots of money so you never ever have to depend to a man. Learn everything you can, be as smart as you can be. You are so smart. Be smarter than me." That was my mother's mantra to me. I heard it sometimes everyday. I suddenly realize that she really did the best she could. She honestly didn't know any different. If I look at my life I am my mother only successful, single, and in a doctoral program.

I've been angry and frustrated with my parents but everything is so simple now. My parents were really fucked up because their parents were really fucked up. My parents did the best they could. They were foreign, my mom's dyslexic and they came here in the 70's... Times were completely different. I can't keep getting angry about things from the past. Fuck... I think I just mended a 25 year wound. Today is fucking amazing.

Anyway, I told Derek a little about our argument (I realize my stories are so biased. I kinda threw every horrible thing that's ever happened to me at my mother yesterday... with the intention of being open and honest but with subconscious contempt underneath that.) He made good suggestions and brought to my attention how involved my parents are in my life and how I keep trying to fix them. I seriously tried communicating with him telepathically after he said that (doesn't work yet) because last night my parents got into an argument where my mother made me referee. I mediated the shit out of the situation but... WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING?! I told my mom yesterday that I feel like I've been the parent since I was 13 just with absolutely no power. "I've been teaching you how to parent me since I was a kid and you still don't fucking get it!" The argument ended when my mom hit me way below the belt.
"Well I'm sure you wouldn't have these complaints if your other parents raised you. I wish I cou..."
"You're a fucking bitch..."
"Excuse me?"
"Fuck you. Fuck you for hurting me."
"How dare you speak to me that way? You never forget that you have to respect me!"
"How bout you remember that you need to respect me? You know how that feels? My whole life until like 3 years ago I believed that you guys didn't love me- that I wasn't part of this family. All of that because when I was little and didn't put my toys away I would get threatened with being taken back to my real parents. You know why I'm messy? Because for years I was testing you. Living in clutter just to see if you would ever actually do it. After a while it just became a habit. You never praised me. You never told me you loved me."
"Couldn't you see that we loved you?"
"As a 25 year old? Yes. As a 5 year old? No. Kids believe what their parents tell them. To children their parents are gods. All I heard growing up was everything that was wrong with me. I just believed I was never good enough to be praised. I honestly believed that. I believed I wasn't good enough because if I was you two would love me and tell me I was good. The only time I ever heard it was when you would parade me around as your little doll. Your little trophy child. 'Oh look how wonderful Al and Ana are! Look they took a schizophrenic's kid and with their wonderful parenting turned her into a perfect little girl!'" I was trained not parented.

I love my mom so much but I need to give that relationship some space. It may actually kill me but my mother and I need to learn independence. She and my dad need to get help on their own. I've been their marriage counselor for the last 13 years. I have so many memories of being in the kitchen and yelling, "Be nice!" as I walked out to avoid the crossfire.
Looking back at my childhood I feel like I've adjusted really fucking well considering. I feel like a warrior and I feel extra proud of myself for how far I've come. I'm really getting my life together. As frustrating and as scary as it is I'm doing it on my own.

After that emotionally exhausting evening I had the most amazing thing happen ever. I shall write a different post about that because I never ever want these two memories to linked together.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

New Plan

New plan. Get life together, save up lots of money, pack up shit, relocated far far away, start my life over.
I'm tired of my life here. I travel the same roads I always have expecting something new. I change. That's the only real difference. People see me as the same person... The people I love are changing too but they are each on their own journeys. I need to worry about my journey and quit sticking around hoping for a different ending to the same story. 
I'm frustrated with my life. I feel like I'm doing it all right but still getting it wrong. 
I spend the majority of my time alone. I feel overwhelmed and stir crazy and claustrophobic. I've learned that people are only around when they reap the benefits of my presence. When I need a friend suddenly everyone is missing. 
I feel like my entire view on life is being tested. I am good and trying my very best to be happy and fun and healthy. If anything it's made me lose friends... Bettering myself has been the loneliest journey. I can only do it alone but people start dropping like flies when they see you're starting to get happy.
Life is a constant struggle but you're supposed to get by with a little help from your friends... I've got my dog but he's still just a fucking dog. I'm upset with my dog for not being human. 
I need to get the fuck out of central jersey. I deserve people who will want to be around me. I need to take consolation in the fact that I don't need anyone. I am strong and I am brave and I am successful. If I want to relocate to Hawaii, be an amazing nurse on a little island and marry a beautiful Samoan that's exactly what I'll do. If I want to move to Texas and fight for women's rights I will. If I want to move to Tennessee and help kids with cancer that is also a possibility. I can do anything. I will do a lot. Whoever wants to be by my side is more than welcome but fuck anyone who thinks I'm going to pine over them. I am important. I am a good person and a good friend. Why do I keep forgetting not to take things personally? People suck Tania. You are amazing because you try really hard to be every day. Don't let others jealousy and aversion to change make you feel inadequate or ugly, fat, or unlovable. It's their inability to love not your inability to be loved.  

Change is Hard Work

I knew Zimmerman was going to get off. I felt it from the moment I heard Fox news take this guy's side. I've been having dreams the past few days, bad dreams. That was a recurring one for the last couple of days, I think the bad dreams added to my grumpiness. I knew it in my bones he was going to get off. I've been staying away from TV for the past few months, I get most my news updates from Twitter and NPR. I don't understand the American news channels need for tragedy porn. This thing has gone as far as pictures of Treyvon's dead body being leaked. But I think in this age of instant communication this case needed to be a big deal. I feel change coming... The time when women and minorities stand up and demand equality has come. The blatant discrimination against women is being made evident in Texas thanks to Wendy Davis' 13 hour filibuster. It came out that guns were allowed in but tampons and pads were confiscated. People are reading that on the internet. Thanks to facebook and twitter individuals can share outrageous stories as soon as they read them. Now with Zimmerman's verdict in seconds people looked up and shared on social media various other cases where the races and genders were switched and the verdict was completely different. Maybe I'm an optimist but things need to change and I think more and more people are recognizing that.

I hope to spend the majority of my life being a human rights activist. I'm not entirely sure how to do this... I want to get my act completely together first and then embark on helping others. Being so messed up helps me when interacting with other people. I see it in my patient's families. I know how to make them feel at ease. My patient yesterday, her mother most likely did or had done lots of drugs at one point in her life. When I came in she was very short with me and very serious. She was smoking a cigarette and her eyes were half shut. I don't go into people's home's to judge. The home wasn't well maintained but it was clean and the child was happy. The interaction between the two showed that there was a lot of love in their home, as dysfunctional as they were. By the end of my time with them her mother walked me out, "Bye Miss Tania! Be safe on your way home and come visit us anytime!" Immediately I hoped that little girl would go to college and be whatever she wanted to be and have a different ending to her story and not get sucked into the poverty cycle. I want to see my country different. I want to live in a country of compassion and understanding and tolerance. I can keep wishing that or I can really do something with myself to make that happen. I must be the change I want to see in the world.

I'm in love with someone who may never trust me. If there is no trust there can be no healthy love. I have no expectations but I have hopes... when I'm low my mind plays tricks on me. Thoughts pass through my head like, "Maybe it's because you're not good enough. Whatever it is it's definitely your fault." It takes a lot of energy to recognize those thoughts aren't true. Whenever my friends are sad I point out all their good qualities and remind them that they deserve more. Yesterday, I was talking to my friend and told her how sometimes it's so hard to love selflessly. She said, "You are a kind, smart, loving, beautiful, and compassionate person. You deserve someone who recognizes that and who can sometimes let you be selfish. You can love him with your whole heart but if someone else comes along who is willing to be all those things for you, well, know that you should always do what's best for you. Just like my dude... We're getting our doctrines! These dudes are sabotaging their own lives. But like you said to me, don't take anything personal."
Don't take anything personal... I need to order another copy of that book and read it every day until I have every page memorized. My friend was right. I need to remember what I deserve and I need to treat myself nicer. I've slowly been melting down as I put more on my plate but I need to stop that before I let it get out of hand. You can handle anything Tania. You have handle everything that's been thrown at you. You are strong, you are tough. Take a deep breath, relax, you can totally manage healthy... It's just going to take practice and patience and kindness.

The world isn't going to change over night. You aren't going to either. You are so much more emotionally healthy than you have ever been before. Take pride in that. You are making progress everyday. Don't falter. Change is hard work but you've done hard work before. You can be who you want to be... if you want to make it happen.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Oh my God I'm PMSing. Although women are more emotional I think men have something similar. I mainly hang out with men and I feel they get moody/broody about once a month for a couple of days. Girls cry and stuff because we're allowed to show our emotions but I remember Jamie used to lock himself in his room for like a couple days every few weeks. Derek was the king of manstruation (see what I did there?) until I started living with my brother, Jebus... talk about mood swings.
I've been a moody mess all day. Started the day happy, then got super cranky, then my crankiness plateaued, then I was super happy again only to fall right back into cranky. I'm quarantining myself for the rest of the day. Probably just gonna end up crying on someone if I leave the house. I fucking hate being a girl.
I had this awesome patient today. She was sassy and funny and cute. She got hit by a car and I was there to change her wound. She was so much fun. She kept saying, "I'm sorry, I'm too much sometimes." I told her about my car accident. She asked so many questions and I patiently answered them all.
"Is this the ugliest wound you've ever seen of all time?" She asked crinkling her nose.
"No." I smirked.
"No? Ew... you've seen nastier things than this? You're brave."
"You are too." I had spent most of my day cranky so I wasn't the bubbliest when I arrived.
"Do you have other patients right now who need wound care?"
"Actually yeah, a little toddler. His wound is on his face."
"Wow... Am I the only kid you know who's been hit by a car?"
"Nope! That little boy I mentioned before was hit by a car and I was too when I was little."
"Wow!!! Really?! Did you lose part of your leg like me?"
"No... I did have a scar on my leg, but most my injuries were inside."
"Is that called internal bleeding?"
"It is. You're really smart."
"Thank you. Can I see your scar?" I lifted my pant leg and showed her. "Oh my God!!! You can barely see it! I'm gonna have such an ugly scar..."
"Never be ashamed of your scars. They're proof that you're a survivor, and you should always be proud of that."I smiled and started packing up my things.
She sat there quietly. I was worried I came off too stern for a split second and then she said, bubblier than ever, "My daddy says whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger."
"Always remember that. You can survive anything." She smiled and asked for a hug which if you read my last post you know it's one of my favorite things to do.
"I hope that other little boy feels better," I looked at her puzzled, "The boy with the wound on his face. I hope he gets better real soon."
"You're sweet. He will, don't worry."
I left there and cried on the ride home realizing how kids have it right.

And then after all that I still got all bitchy with everyone. I recognized it immediately but waited to apologize after my irrational annoyance passed. I give up on today. I'm being hard on myself, everyone has bad days. I just had so many good days in a row... its hard giving that up. I feel like most the people I've been friends with were friends with me for what they could gain. The second shit got real they tended to bounce. I should be able to be myself and have bad days and not get judged for that but I worry that I do... I need to back off from everything for a little while. I'm starting to feel like I'm not good enough and that's just my mind playing tricks on me and making assumptions so I think I'm gonna  take a nap and retreat into myself for a little while. I feel like a werewolf...

Change through Love

The world is changing. I remember being a teenager and finding out about the Mayan calendar ending and people thinking it was due to the end of the world. I remember being a little nervous and talking to Derek about it, geez maybe I was 19? He laughed at me for a minute and then we got into a discussion about it. I remember that night deciding that I was going to believe the calendar ended because it was an end in one era. A new beginning. I think it's true. I spent the morning watching Malala Yousafzai's speech to the UN. I was in tears as I watched this girl say the thoughts I've always had. She said in the past women asked men to speak up for them but this time we will do it ourselves. I watch as the world is recognizing racism, recognizing hate and bigotry. Women have a strong hold on compassion. I believe it's because we're allowed to feel our emotions. I tell men (one man) that I love them and just want to see and make them happy and they can't even recognize what emotions that makes them feel. It's like just a tidbit above apathy but not enough to actually care. That's so sad to me. 

I believe that living compassionately is the way to lead a happy life. No one's emotional baggage harms you because you understand why they are the way they are. Suddenly judgement becomes concern and anger becomes sadness. I hear of the horrible things that people do in the world and I think, "What happened? What happened in your life to fill you with so much anger?" It is always something. Why do you think so many veterans come home with psychological scars? Because they're taught to repress, repress, repress. Follow orders, you can't speak up, you have no control whether you stay or go, your life now belongs to your country. When they come home people are proud of them but in the quiet of night they have time to look back they realized that someone else forced them to pull a trigger or send a bomb and people they didn't have any problems with ended up dying. Therapy is for sissies so they drink themselves into oblivion or stop living in reality altogether or they come home and become abusive towards they're families. It's all wrong... 

Things need to change and I think they are. When I tell someone I love them there should be no hesitation in replying because we are all one entity. I gave my nephew a hug yesterday and he fought against it the entire time. I'm a good hugger; he was literally trying to flex out of my hug, haha. I feel when you hug someone you can tell a lot about who they are. Jr recoils when I hug him and usually pries me off as soon as he can. Rudy turns to stone as if comforting touch is actually petrifying. My dad's hugs have evolved. A couple of years ago when I would hug my dad he would give my back a quick pat and then twist and turn and do like a salsa dance out of it, then like a year ago he would stand there tense and give like two back pats. Now it's funny to watch him actually try to give loving hugs. It's like watching a baby horse walk for the first time, it's clumsy and awkward but endearing and cute. Practice makes perfect and I commend anyone who is willing to try. Derek gives good loving hugs when he wants to give them but if you catch him off guard he may run away and tell you to "stop being annoying". His hugs; acceptable. Your hugs; a nuisance. Man! If I had a super power it's definitely be something super gay like being able to hug love into everyone's hearts or spreading kindness and compassion with hugs and kisses. I'm a CareBear... Good to realize this now. Ugh. Quick nap then off to see patients.    

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Magical Thinking

Lots of car accidents during the summer...
Today after I completed wound care and played action figures with my toddling patient, I lifted my pant leg and showed his guilt stricken mother my barely visible 20 yr old road rash scar from when I was run over by a car. I told her with time it faded and when it was visible I saw it as reminder of how I survived when I shouldn't have. As she hugged her toddler a small smile lit up her face, "Thank you," she said.
It was in that small smile I realized every "tragedy" I've lived through has helped me empathize and comfort people going through difficult times. As I'm getting older I'm finding myself grateful for everything that's ever happened to me. It also made me remember how precious life is. When I was a kid I thought it was a miracle I didn't die when I got run over by a car. From the sound of my patient's report the same goes for him. 

Maybe there's some really logical explanation for our survival which has to do with physics and odds and whatever but I feel like there's a natural balance in the world. I can't live and see the things I see and not feel a spiritual connection to everything and every one. 
Linus has a bad habit of needing to poop at like 2am sometimes. Looking up at the stars I acknowledge that I too am just a pinprick in the sky...
I've learned so much from all the mistakes and tragic things I've had to live through. I really care about Derek. He's a good person and seriously I want him to be my best friend. I regret hurting him. But the dramatic end of our relationship has been the catalyst for all the change I've undergone... All the change my family's undergone. All of it started with Danny's cancer and went into action when I tried to kill myself. I regret none of that because I like the person I have become. 
There was a time when Derek and I believed in fate. We loved each other so much we (at least I was) were convinced the gods had destined us to be with one another. After all these years him coming back into my life and our interactions being healthy and kind and respectful... It's awing. Say what you will, I thank the whole universe every morning and every night for him. He strengthens my belief in God and in goodness... He makes me grateful to be alive. Just knowing him, just being his friend is enough to motivate me to move mountains. I'm not putting him on a pedestal. I know each of his flaws I just accept them. I've learned the true meaning of love because of Derek. He didn't even do anything besides be his normal smartass self. I don't know what it is. He's like my missing piece. I have no other explanation for it besides it being something beyond me, beyond either of us. 

Today my friend asked me for relationship advice. I laughed in her face for a second but she was serious. I'm the wrong person to ask. I don't follow what's in Cosmo or wherever girls go for relationship advice nowadays. I told her what I found helpful was my mom asking me a dozen times whether I really wanted to be with Derek or if I just didn't want to be alone. I found my answer was that I truly loved him. Then I spent a few weeks figuring out what loving someone really meant and I realized that sometimes it's selfless... My friend told me she loved him, he was her best friend. I told her if she loved her dude she had to realize that right now he's too messed up to be her boyfriend. He loves her, he wants to be with her but he doesn't know how to be that guy. Sometimes loving someone is being there and loving them from the distance they need you to be until they figure out how to let you in. As much as we want there's no sledgehammer large enough to open those doors. She asked how its possible to not be resentful... If you feel resentful then you aren't truly being understanding and compassionate and therefore you're loving selfishly, and that's not what it's about. "It's the difference between hoping he's a healthier person for himself because you love him or hoping he's a healthier person so you can finally get married and have kids by the time you're 30." 

Magical thinking... fate... call it what you will I'm just grateful.  

*** not sure why it came out all dumb looking... too tired... will figure it out later...