You’re so f*cked up!

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Hello Blog-Landia! I have not written in a while. I am quite aware. However, I have been doing a lot of writing outside of this blog. Mainly for theater, which is a very happy circumstance. Why? Well, because I also happen to Act. So writing for the stage has been quite the fun adventure for me. Also, I’ve discovered that I write funny. Not throw yourself on the ground funny (though I hope to someday), but like — Oh what a clever joke! kinda funny. ¬†I keep thinking about making a Shakespearean type of play one of these days, or a drama. But people usually laugh at my drama, so I think I’m meant to write funny. ūüôā My serious deep altercations end up sounding like a skit of Lucy and Ricky fighting over what to eat for breakfast. I try not to judge it.

Let’s go back a little, since I’ve been away for a while.

I don’t know about y’alls but 2016 was balls for me. Sure, I could look at all the wonderful positive things that happened — and don’t get me wrong, a lot of cool sh*t happened. BUT MAN!!!¬†The good people of the earth got a cold hard reality check with Cheetoh in the oval office. Huh? I hope his presence there will someday bring laughter and confusion to the children of the future. How could they have let that happen? Dear God, was this a joke? Yes, kids. It was. And you know – let me just summarize the rest of my recent political trauma. Let me¬†admit something: I have never had such a visceral experience in my life over politics, as I have had the last few months. I mean…it was bad. I think at one point during the month of November, I actually¬†started sneezing hearing the term “President” thrown about so carelessly. But we survived the end of the year…and now it’s 2017.

Yeay!

Right?

As my young millennial friends would type: -__-

One can only hope for the best.

I mean, it’s that time of the year when you get to re-invent yourself. Talk about your past mistakes and vow that you’ll never do them again. And if January 1st didn’t do it for you,¬†we just had the Chinese New Year a few days ago…so technically, there’s a second¬†chance¬†for you to¬†be hopeful for the future. Me? I just downed some Pork Fried Rice and had a philosophical conversation with my father about why Gay Marriage is a right. He’s a Christian pastor, so the talk was a little rough. But since we have love for each other, we shook hands like two proper gentlemen and said our goodnights.

Anyways, I’m back folks. And to be quite real —¬†there was¬†a part of me that was like…should I just delete this blog? I don’t write in it, God knows who the heck reads it, and so forth and blah blah blah. Pero, like, it’s my fault. I should have been more proactive about that.

For now, I’ll share the following wonderful event that happened to me today:

I went to my very first group therapy session! I won’t say what the therapy was for, but man on man did I learn a lot about¬†how dysfunctional the whole world is. And frankly, it made me feel better to know that there were a lot of us who had been triggered by this political circus. A lot of us who are…as Hollywood would say it,¬†¬†f*cked¬†up from the recent activities in our society. Yet, sharing and being real about what is happening in my life to a bunch of strangers was pretty awesome. And it was also very liberating to know I wasn’t the only screwed up person in the room. There are many of us. ūüėÄ

Anyway, I am trying to get rid of guilt that has me all discombobulated and what not. So I am here to say that I do not feel guilty for not writing on this blog. I do not feel guilty for growth and departure. Sometimes, we need to step away to regain ourselves. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, after all.

I have missed you, Reader. Whoever you are. I hope this bizarre entry brings you a little bit of joy, and a little bit of peace. And if someone ever tells you:¬†You’re so f*cked up — Reader, just know that deep down that person is also hurting with their own traumas and such. Release yourself from the ties of whatever is holding you down, and just do you. As for me, I’ll be doing¬†a whole lot of writing. My goal for 2017 is to submit a pilot to a studio and see where it takes me.

Because if it’s one thing I learned from therapy today, is that everyone suffers from something. Might as well try to¬†make some people laugh while they’re in their journeys. I will keep practicing funny within the drama. This¬†f*cked up person is the right lady¬†for the job!

Deadlines

I am trying to be better about deadlines. Tomorrow night, the pre-final draft of my play is due. I think I may also submit a couple of more pieces just to throw it in the mix. Writing original comedy is a scary new thing for me. Earlier in the summer I did an episode of “Bob’s Burgers” for a fellowship application which fell through. But I am going to try at it again. Hopefully all the various writing classes and stage productions will aid my technique and strengthen my style/voice.

Once I have a collection of work under my belt, I have to find someone to support me – a manage or agent, I dunno. I wonder if I should also try ghost writing? Though, I’ve heard horror stories about that.

Coffee won’t let me sleep for another 2 hours.¬†I suppose the best I can do now is get to it.¬†Time to polish.

The More

I am starting to realize that in writing¬†simple is best. I am working towards diminishing the “floreado” (as we called it back in Lima, circa 1980s-1990s) in my work. But it’s hard, you know? In a young writers mind, we want everything to sound pretty sometimes…or at least eloquent. Well, first let me explain what it means to “florear.”¬†In a simple explanation – to “florear” means to add¬†flowers to your writing, or your message, or your declaration of love to a¬†15 year-old girlfriend outside of a wooden garage door when you know absolutely well (Jose Luis) it might be best to say¬†WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY ALREADY! ¬†But such is life, that we get lost in the flowers.

In other words, for most writers I know, we think that making things sound nice will hide the fact that maybe (a) we don’t know what we’re talking about and/or (b) we’re still trying to get¬†our life together. Hehe. Just kidding fellow writers! The truth is, writing is freaking scary. And I’ve realized that what has helped me not go crazy when I am putting things down on a page is to keep it simple.

To illustrate this further, let me give you two examples: 

Example 1:

  1. Complicated: George’s eyes swell with the watery memories of his past – regrets, loss, and unspoken truths. He reaches for Lisa’s hand and manages to whimper out his feelings¬†“I can’t stand to be with you another day.” Having¬†wasted the better days of her twenties with a coward, Lisa closes her eyes in agony.
  2. Simple: George tells Lisa the truth, he doesn’t love her anymore. She releases his hands, smiles, and walks away never looking back again.

In the complicated version we see a cowering George and a pretty pathetic Lisa. But in the simple version – Lisa has a bit more of redemption near the end. It’s cleaner and¬†just as revealing. In fact, it seems to have more of an impact. It can also be shortened.

Example 2:

  1. Complicated: Laura spills her Chai Tea Latte on her new Macintosh Apple computer (the new silver kind that’s flat and hipster cool). She sees her reflection on the sugary brown surface and finds it comical. A sensation bubbles within her core and she releases a flutter of positive vibes out of her¬†mouth. The cafe is filled with echoes of pleasure. The barista turns around quick, as he wipes down a glass. The laugh is intoxicating and he just has to join in.
  2. Simple: Laura spills her coffee on her laptop. She laughs hysterically, and the barista joins her with a chuckle.

Ugh! Keep it simple. Unless you’re writing a farce – in which case THE MORE ridiculous you can be¬†–¬†THE¬†BETTER.

I am not interested in your patriarchy

This year has been a very strange year of discovering what I like¬†about¬†writing, and what I do not like about writing. For example, I absolutely¬†love to write in noisy spaces. Noisy spaces are¬†where people gossip. It’s like watching fireworks in¬†a San Fernando Valley back alley – spectacularly familiar and unpredictable.

I am finding it more difficult to write about things that I don’t relate to: like an A-typical family where the man is the head of the home, the mother is at stay at home mom, and the children fall into the 2.5 ratio. I mean, that just wasn’t my reality. I think it is no longer a lot of people’s realities. It doesn’t make me happy to write this, unless it’s to prove a point.

Lately,¬†I have noticed that when¬†I sit down to write – the stories that pour out of me are mostly about¬†women¬†struggles. Specifically women of color, and women with an immigrant background. This is because it reflects my reality and my personal journey. When I write about this, it comes out like a soft song. Sometimes it’s coherent, sometimes it’s just fragments – but I know that’s what it is. It’s me trying to grab onto my voice, my style, my inner power.

I feel as though a lot of women have been silenced and trapped into a corner of the house because of religious and traditional roles. These roles are still valued in our Latin@ communities. It’s history and realities engulf¬†me when I am in family gatherings. I am constantly defending why I have yet to get married or have children. Being in a woman in your thirties, in a predominantly Latino family, is a task.

Once, my mother laughed at me when my boyfriend said I did “not cook enough” for him at home. He was trying to be funny, but he wasn’t trying to be funny. He and I were not jiving that day, and I believe his comment stemmed out of our earlier arguments. It was his jab to me that night. I may be wrong, but that’s what it felt like.

It was an awkward situation. My mother gets told to cook all the time by my younger brother and stepfather. She has felt those pressures and the judgement from other women in her family too. Her laughing at me, was both uncomfortable and¬†sad. I was sad for the both of us because in that moment patriarchy took over our conversation and we didn’t challenge it, we bowed to it by succumbing to what it meant to cook for a man. Let’s talk about it: love, devotion, and etc. etc. etc.

Why should that have to be a factor? And why that task not placed upon the male figure as well? Is my value as a partner only as good as my cooking routine? And what of my mother? She escapes every now and then to go to school, to do some odd jobs. She does it¬†to give herself a little bit of freedom from my stepfather’s paychecks. I know she also longs to detach herself from the stay at home mom role and value system, so why laugh at me? Why not say: “Well maybe it’s¬†because you haven’t cooked for her in a while. When is the last time you showed how devoted you are to my daughter?”¬†Was she laughing at herself too? Or maybe she was laughing at all Latinas as if saying: “Hey guess what? You’re in your thirties now.¬†Pop them babies and put on that apron. Either way you look at it,¬†that’s how your¬†success is valued from here on out.”¬†But women do this, we shoot ourselves down all the time.

I don’t like this. I don’t want to do this. I refuse this.

The more¬†I focus on what women do in order to¬†succeed in LIFE, the more I notice that these¬†inequalities affect the way women relate to each other. In the process of comparing our sizes, what we cook for our man, how well we dress at events, when we should get married, and blah blah blah – I don’t think I’ve ever been taught to stop, look, and listen to other women. Why are we taught to mistrust¬†each other?

This morning I spoke with a religious family member of male gender. In his eyes, I was not being Christian enough. In his point of view, my value as a woman of faith seems lost and therefore, I may not be able to contribute towards x, y, z. I will confess, that I may seem lost at times, but that’s besides the point.¬†My relationship with my faith is none of his business. In fact, I was appalled by his need to break things down to me, as if I had not hear a sermon before. Being raised in a Christian church, I can tell you I remember the laws of the book. I may not be able to recite verbatim, but I know what Love is.

I realized, that Latinas like me, who are in their early thirties, who have chosen to not have a family, who are focusing on their education and careers Рcan be seen as failures or selfish. I will not blanket the entire American population (and when I say American I mean North and South, because guess what the South is also AMERICA). I know for a fact that progress is bettering the realities for a lot of people all over the world. This morning, however, I felt slightly mistreated. It felt like yet again, I was being confronted with patriarchy. Not the word of God, but Patriarchy.

I wonder how all these years the Christianity¬†and similar faiths like it, have been used to give power to the son, the male, the one to inherit the land. It felt like, for a moment, I was being told¬†that¬†I am not enough for God. Again, I don’t know how that’s any of your business. My puzzling gaze towards his comments ended the conversation. I had no words. I just nodded, and felt as if once again I wasn’t doing enough to challenge this Patriarchy.

I grew up believing the following: (1) Man is made in the image of God, (2) women would not be here were it not for man giving us a rib, (3) women bit the apple, so it’s our fault there is suffering, (4) the pain of childbirth and our moon cycles¬†are¬†punishments for this betrayal. Is it for this reason, the man believes he can speak down to a woman? That men are raised to believe their word is final? I call BS. Whatever it is you think God is, God may not be that for me. I may be wrong about it all, but you also may be wrong about it all. Either way, I don’t believe that super power over the feminine figure (body, mind and spirit) was in Jesus’ mind when he died for us.

My voice and writing is becoming clearer. I am not interested in your patriarchy.

Note: I am discussing something that is more of a personal experience and relatable to me as a Latina Immigrant myself. I focus on a heterosexual relationship when writing about family roles. 

Honesty

I joined this writing workshop recently and was like – okay, this hasn’t happened since 2011. Like a real writer’s workshop with a circle of people reading your stuff out loud and giving you feedback. It’s been interesting. So last Tuesday I shared a piece I had revamped but written before. I prefaced everyone with it’s a dialogue practice and what not because I was really nervous. So anyway, the whole thing went fine and people laughed at the parts they are supposed to laugh. And that was fun and all but then something really awesome happened.

Our facilitator decided it was REAL TALK time and gave us a group exercise that went something like this.

Answer the following questions:

1. Write about your best writing experiences
2. Write about a time when writing made you feel like an Insider? Outsider?
3. What advice practice would you share with someone else?

Then after we all wrote down our answers, he made us go into groups of two and share these truths about ourselves.

Blog Land, I kid you not – we all were laughing, and getting emotional over stories from high school, elementary school, childhood. Someone talked about how her single dad couldn’t handle talking to her about her school dramas, so he made her write down her feelings on paper and promised her he would read the paper in a time when he could. He would read it and then go to her room and talk to her about it. It was the most amazing thing! We all had really wonderful stories like that to share. The person I spoke to is a first time writer, but she’s incredible hilarious and only found out she loved writing through a theater group. So okay, I hope you get how great it was to share our honest true stories about why we do what we do – EXPRESS OURSELVES ON PAPER.

Then we talked about these thing with the larger group. Our facilitator informed us that this exercise was so that we could find out more about ourselves, share knowledge, and write down these stories that are incredibly valuable for anyone who writes.

He said that we as writers need to know what we love about writing, and what we fear about it. It’s invaluable.

I just wanted to share this exercise with you. Maybe you could do it with a group of your writing friends, or at a workshop. I learned so much about why I may lack focus or drag my feet at times. We have small little traumas attached to these stories. It’s good to dig a little deep to get some real results.

And with that, I say BUENAS NOCHES!

No journal, no gold

Well Blog Land, I did not have the heart to NOT talk to my mother on Father’s Day – as it seemed she was having a hard time telling from one person to the next due to her already peaked anxiety of, you know – being brown and with an accent in this country. So, yes, we did speak but mostly at the table as we passed food to each other. However, I made sure she know I did not forget about my journal. She¬†promises¬†she doesn’t¬†know where it is, but I know that promises don’t mean crappadoodledoo in¬†this crazy¬†family.

I politely¬†sat beside her during Father’s Day breakfast, asked her to pass the yogurt and strawberries in a calming voice. Lucky for her my aunt’s boyfriend was there. He annoys me beyond all reason. He pretends to be an all knowing God-Man who is the epitome of class and karaoke competitions. My aunty loves him for some reason, and being that I am now thirty – I can’t simply sabotage a relationship based on weird vibes I get from people. No, no – that’s the eleven year old inside of me. Now, I just make sure I battle him on strictly Feminist issues, as they also pertain to my aunty’s role in his kitchen. She doesn’t mind, it makes her laugh actually. Thanks to him, my mom did not receive my anger to the fullest of its capacities that day. Thanks to the boyfriend,¬†I only got to see my gramps¬†for 1 hour on Father’s Day. What a d*ck.

Anyway, after my aunty left with my gramps and God-Man, my mother asked¬†me if she had left her¬†golden earrings at the house two weeks ago. I¬†have not seen any golden earrings, but if I do — that will be my ransom.

“You want your gold? Give me back my Ireland journal,¬†mother.”

She hates it when I call her mother. It always reminds her of the first part of the curse word. She nods nervously, and walks away to the living room where my stepfather sat alone. After Mexico lost, he has little interest for soccer.

Rebellion, long overdue

Maybe I will become her someday. Maybe¬†in 2027/8¬†I will enter my teenage child’s room and think — What the hell? I will read her diary! ¬† Then I will shamelessly sit on their bed and read the passages of their most private thoughts for my entertainment.¬†Maybe, just maybe I’ll be able to understand my mother that day. I will be in my forties and feel justified because i had birthed this creature, and their writing would somehow reveal things about myself. Maybe…

…OR MAYBE NOT!

Blog Land, earlier this week my little brother (who just turned sixteen) sent me a picture of a journal I purchased in Ireland in 2011. It was a journal to keep me on track with my novel, to write down my feelings about my weirdo roommates, to go into my deepest corners of my brain and ponder – logic vs. art and possibly even sex. And all those things that happen to a young woman when she is an older student stuck with a bunch of people who have just graduated from their nine-teens.

My journal, which I wrote in religiously when I was studying abroad was now in the hands of the most frustrating¬†teenager in my life right now. Today while visiting my mother, I sat on the couch happy as a clam as I had forgotten the entire incident (thank you forgetful brain). My brother leaned over me and whispered in my ear, “So Lis, just to let you know. Mom found the journal. I caught her reading it out loud in the living room one morning. I tried to get it back. Then sat there and proceeded to read it for the next thirty minutes.”

Blog Land, my skin crawled from head to toe. I was in complete disgust with both my brother and mother, but (also) slightly impressed that my brain had somehow pushed the fact that my brother was in possession of the journal out, to make room for the huge plate of spaghetti I had just downed moments before.

Okay Рso one thing you should know about me is that for most of my life, I was raised by my father. My mother and I have hardly had a real mother-daughter during my teenage years. Meaning, I was never rebellious with her, really. I was a pretty good kid because, well, I rarely saw her.

So there I was, trying to watch the Peru vs. Venezuela Copa America match and my brother tells me this. I face him and ask, “Where is it?” He doesn’t know. She took it away and accused him of being creepy — then in turn become creepy herself by reading my work.

Mom had just stepped out to the garage to say bye to family, I went out to meet her.

Me: You read my Ireland journal?

Mom: What? He’s making it up! I didn’t!! (In a Peruvian accent)

Me: Oh, really?

Mom: I couldn’t get through most of it anyway,¬†you write like a three year old!

Me: A-HA! You did read it! You read it!! This is why I DON’T LIVE WITH YOU!!!!

I stormed back into the house like a rattled child and realized I was having a rebellious outburst. The pseudo-therapist living in my brain spoke to me: Your delayed rebellion is a direct outcome to the fact that your mother was absent during your teenage years. 

This thought interrupted my walking back to the living room. I shook it off. I had a goal and no pretend psychobabble was going to get in my way.

This means war.

I continued to the living room and walked into my brothers room. He was quickly behind me.

Me: Where is it?

Him:¬†I don’t know, she took it from me!

I grabbed two of his favorite video games and disconnected a chord.

Me: Where IS IT? (I began to look through his drawers.)

Him: Why are you doing this?! (He blurted out nervously eyeing his discs.)

Me:¬†This is what it feels like to invade someone’s privacy, but at least I have the decency to do it right in front of YOU!

After being able to get more information out of him, I returned his games one at a time as means to get out of his room — for he had eventually held me hostage due to his babies being in¬†my grasps.

I tried to look for this journal in nooks and crannies to no avail. I go to my mother’s room, but no luck. My boyfriend yells from the living room, “Per√ļ made a goal, you missed it!”

My blood boils.

My brother walks into the room, “Do you have my chord?”

Yes, I did. I had it stuffed in my pocket in case I had more questions. He called me sneaky and said it wasn’t fair that I was punishing him for mom’s creepiness.

Me: Listen to me right now, I have this to get information from you.

Him: It’s not fair.

Me: Lesson one: this is called ransom. (I held the chord up high.)

Him: Not fair…

Me: Like I said, it’s called ransom. I need you to deliver a message to Mother.

Him: Will I get my chord back?

Me: Yes.

Him: Okay, then…

Me: You tell her, that I am vowing not to speak to her until I get my Ireland journal back. She needs to present it to me at the Father’s Day Breakfast this Sunday. If she doesn’t have it with her, I will NOT talk to her the entire time. And I capable of this, she knows I am because she did part-raise me as a child. I know crazy.

Him: Oh man! Mom’s going to hate me …

Me: Not my problem. Will you deliver the message?

Him: Yes…

I handed him the chord.

Him (Continued): You’re so sneaky.

I walk out and watch the rest of the game. My brother goes to his room and continues to play his video games again. He always underestimates how incredibly bored I am, but I work from home РI have time to scheme!

I waited for him to be out of ear shot and started laughing. My boyfriend sat there and just stared at me. You want another teenager mom? You got one.

More on this journal story on Sunday. ¬†¬†Let’s see if she has the guts to deny me my literature.¬†This rebellion, is long overdue.

#mysoapoperalife

back in los angeles

The world trip turned out to be a difficult and wonderful one. I would like to say that out of all the places I was able to visit, Paris was the most productive in terms of writing. I think it has to do with the history of it just being a tremendously inspirational place for writers. As is Fresno, I’ve recently heard (grin towards all my Latinos in the house). Maybe it’s time to explore some California writing nooks.

After all that lugging around with hard drives, notebooks, tee-shirts and jeans dragging me down from stair case to stair case throughout the various cities I visited … I have to stay, it’s nice to be home.

Back to applying for television writing. Oh, and apparently – improv classes too. Because improv helps you with television writing. Did you know that Blog Land?

Me either.

Here I go.

Delirious or “the night I lightened up”

I had the strange suspicion that my boyfriend’s friends thought I was a complete bore. I never go to their drinking reunions. If I go to one of their parties, I tend to stare at a picture on a wall, or stand aimlessly by the chips and salsa (which they store buy and not make from scratch, sigh), and normally when trying to find some dirt about me or my boo I tend to pretend I can’t hear what they are saying?

Why is this?

Blog Land, I’ve been traumatized. In my prior failed attempts to maintain a relationship I have found myself divulging too much information. Creating spectacles out of simplicity and thus complicating what little joy I have in life by … how should I put it, allowing too many chef’s in the kitchen. And so it comes with no surprise to my partner that I become anti-me at these social gatherings. I keep to myself. I keep my mouth shut (because I do tend to overshare about the following: farts, vaginas, and favorite pig out spots — in no particular order).

But something happened to me, Blog Land, something absolutely wonderful this past Saturday.

I was witnessing yet another cousin of mine celebrate his birthday, his sixth birthday when I realized that I had held him in my arms. That I was once as trusting and vulnerable and silly as he was. That between those doughy arms, there is in fact a large beating heart. He smiled over his birthday cake and I said to myself, MY GOD, he’s beautiful.¬†

So absolutely trusting that no one will push his head in the cake. Smiling and hugging his friends and thinking solely about the beautiful fluffy cake that will be joining the other  food in his belly.

That evening, as my partner and I drove to his friend’s party — I¬†found myself feeling tired, out of it, and absolutely goofy. I was, as some of you may relate to this, delirious. This is a regular occurrence when I force myself to get up from a comfortable position. Also when I get up seconds before my body is ready to take a nap.

I stand at this bar, in what seems to be a self forming semi-circle, and listen in on my boyfriend’s friends talk about a¬†guy named Vince. He was (is?) an¬†absolute creepazoid¬†thirty something year old man whom they all knew throughout¬†their teens. He would play video games with them. Vince¬†also, apparently, looks as if he hasn’t¬†aged since they all last¬†hung out (over a decade ago). He can be seen through the streets of their neighborhood wearing a backpack.

In a matter of seconds everyone in the semi circle had questions. Who was this guy, what did he say, were parents at all creeped out by him? Etc. etc. etc. Then we talked about furniture and homes, then babies and parents, then space travel, then track and martinis, then we tasted each other’s drinks and toasted to nothing while we avoided eye contact.

And I found myself having fun, Blog Land. I let go of this uptight –” I am not of your social status,¬†so I cannot possibly have¬†anything in common with you” mentality for the night and just let myself be who I am in front of these 30-something year old teenagers.

I let myself go, and opened up a door to many possibilities. The possibility to meet new people, to have access to some cool characters in a stories, and to shed some knowledge about my own love-friendship-love story about how and my partner really met.

I guess what I am trying to say is, it was nice to lighten up and to be delirious. My mind opened up to endless ways I could converse and find common ground with a group of people I would normally call uncommon in my circle of friends. The martini and beer helped a lot too, but really it was mostly the fun conversations.

Plus, now I can start finding more information about Vince.