Before Nancy De La Cruz(the Latina Nancy Drew) could hop in her hybrid and head to the farmers’ market, she found her elderly Italian neighbor, recently subject to religious persecution(The case of the missing memento), was unconscious and lying behind a wall. Nancy questioned the poor woman but the victim had no memory of her removal from her home. After questioning potential suspects, Nancy’s worst assumptions were confirmed. The longtime accuser had been joined by another religious zealot so the old woman went into hiding. It was time for Nancy to get chola on these fools!
Must find this shirt!
Unfortunately, neither Nancy De La Cruz nor Nancy Drew is about to throw down in the streets. She uses logic and seeks understanding. So while the ongoing drama over witchcraft allegations may resurface now and then, it will be handled rationally and civilly.
It has taken me years to cultivate a sense of calmness. It’s one thing to have a game face. It’s another to calm the hurricane within your mind. But with time and quality moral support from family and professionals, I have mastered the art of keeping it together. In the face of varying levels of tomfoolery, both personally and professionally, I keep my cool and take time to think about next steps. It takes effort, sometimes a monumental effort to not lower the standards I have set for myself. I work.
La befana is back in place at the mantel. She is harmless, as are the close-minded people who shudder when they see her. I have no control over others’ thoughts and actions. I’m not about to do wrong by losing self-control.
When I was in college and working as an English tutor and writing workshop leader, my wonderful supervisors introduced me to the practice of artist dates. An artist date is an opportunity for a writer, artist, or any person to go on a solo date and enjoy an activity alone as a way to foster creativity and self-love. It could be a solo visit to an art museum or a long hike or something as simple as blowing bubbles. We were encouraged to make a regular practice of artist dates and to journal about our experiences. I loved the idea; it appealed to the introvert in me. It was a practice I continued over the years.
Now as a busy mom, artist dates may happen once a year. Since my daughter’s school calendar has a different spring break than the district in which I work, I usually indulge in a spring day where I visit my favorite café, volunteer, or maybe catch a movie neither Rambo nor M will enjoy. I savor those quiet moments as I do my writing time or my morning runs. I like me time. It gives me a chance to recharge.
Recently, as part of ongoing staff development, I took a self-care survey. My results in the relationships category weren’t surprising but nevertheless disappointing. It seems I haven’t been giving my friends enough of my time. In the spirit of reaching out, I asked an old friend to join me for a film festival and dinner. It would give us a chance to reconnect while allowing me to see a rare film by my favorite director. I bought the tickets, checked the train schedule, and anticipated a happy reunion.
OG Chicas del monton: early Almodovar divas
Due to unexpected circumstances, I ended up on an artist date. While I felt worried for my friend, I decided to enjoy the film and the time alone. It felt like a trip back through time: a 1980 film from the incomparable Almodovar in a classic Mission District movie house followed by a cheap slice of pizza in an old school pizza joint. Since I was alone, I was able to get back to M while the sun was still up. It was a genuine treat.
Being my own best friend took years of practice. My accidental artist date was a great reminder of the lessons that relationship has taught me. Unforeseen changes don’t have to be inconvenient or uncomfortable. Alone doesn’t have to feel lonely.