This #transformationtuesday was one of setbacks.  As I commuted through a rainstorm, I felt hopeless and helpless.  At work, I was in charge for the day while managing ongoing crises and beginning the annual round of state testing.  After having been horribly shrill with M for the second morning in a row, I cried as I drove through traffic over the East Bay hills.

Those moments of feeling completely overwhelmed make me question my plans and goals. I don’t know if I should pursue them. I don’t know if I’m ready for a bigger leadership role. I want to feel like I’m making a difference for the community I serve. But there are other goals that are closer to my heart. I want to write.   I want to be a good mom. I’m in the middle of the storm. I’m trying to seek the eye and maintain hope. It’s hard for me to believe I can move forward calmly, peacefully, and successfully; I don’t know that I have the strength.

I accept that I will experience these trying moments.  Like the day when I pictured myself sitting in the desert with the sun bearing down on me, I feel the rain pouring down on me. It makes me feel cold and unsure.  Entiendo que son cosas de la vida; knowing that doesn’t make those times any easier.

Revealing relapse

“There is trouble in the air, destruction is everywhere
And men are being trampled beneath the soil
And nations, great and small, have now begun to fall
Oh come let us go back to God, go back to God”  written by Thomas Dorsey, as sung by Donnie McClurkin

When I talk about backsliding, I often mean it negatively.  When I backslide, I’m going to back old, often negative, habits and ways of thinking. Like every normal person, I have times when I’m disciplined, motivated, and therefore feeling and being successful.  If I “relapse” into past behavior, it is usually because I’m exhausted, demoralized, and struggling physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.  Life goes in cycles.  It’s never a journey of point A to point B.  So why do I hold myself to that unrealistic black and white thinking?  What if “going back” has its benefits?

Para los que me conocen, y’all know I’m often goal-driven. I take on reading challenges, savings challenges, and prayer challenges. I train for half-marathons and for street performances of various choreographies.  I do weeklong class hops, novenas of daily masses, 40 day fasts, and multi-week fitness programs. But I don’t always complete these goals to the best of my ability.  Sometimes I don’t complete them at all.  Then I spend some time beating myself up about those failures.  Fortunately, time and life experience has taught me to seek humility.  Life has taught me that failure is a good time to turn back to God.

I said it.  As important as my faith life is to me, God doesn’t always come first. “Well, I guess we won’t go to Mass Carnaval weekend because I’m not about to sit in church in my costume.”  God doesn’t always fit on a busy schedule.  While I thank God when I’m succeeding, I spend less time with Him while I’m busy working towards that success.  I’m going, going, going.  Literally and figuratively running.  A quick grace over a rushed meal. Half a rosary done on the commute from one family activity to another.  I don’t build in time for devotion.

It is in times of struggle and failure that I truly give myself over to God.  When I’ve been diagnosed with illnesses, I have stood with God.  When I’ve struggled with work situations, I have had long, emotional conversations with God.  When I have lost loved ones, I have found comfort from God.  Where human motivation and individual goals waver, God is constant.

I know I have lots of work to do in the next few months. I will make my faith life part of that work.  Going back to God is wonderful.  Staying with Him must be a goal. 2eec7f06e6a3add42dfda620cb60b94d

Anchors: They Weigh

 “Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you “ Erykah Badu, Bag Lady
“Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor.” Sandra Cisneros
The Ancient Mariner and the Albatross around his neck
I have been wearing a wound-vac since Tuesday, April 29thor for 25 days.  In those 25 days, I have learned how much I miss daily exercise, wearing any clothes I want, and showers that don’t require waterproof tape or plastic wrap.  M has named the wound-vac Mr. Backpack. Mr. Backpack is attached to me 24/7, whether I am sleeping, enjoying my weekday Sex and City marathons on E!, or going out to our now-once-a-week family dinner(he gets his own chair.) I even made up a silly Mr. Backpack song to the tune of “Mr. Sandman.” All was going well with the new member of the family until I visited my surgeon for the first time in two weeks.  Yesterday, my doctor decided to keep me on the Wound-Vac  for two to four more weeks.  I didn’t take the news well initially.  I cried, raged, and moped. I considered reading the Book of Job again. But today I have accepted the news.
A wound-vac or wound-vacuum is a machine that provides vacuum pressure on a wound within a sealed bandage. Think of it as a Space-Bag to prevent infection and promote healing. (For those of you who don’t know or remember the TV commercials, Space-Bags are gigantic Zip-locs for storing blankets, sweaters, and other bulky items  by vacuuming out the air and increasing your storage space.)
As I did throughout my illness, I did Internet research to learn about wound-vac, particularly about others’ personal experiences.  My experience has been positive overall.  Home health nurses visit me three times a week to change the dressings. Thanks to a prescribed painkiller, which takes effect in a quick twenty minutes, I don’t feel a thing(of course, then I’m really mellow but unable to drive for about three to four hours.) One of the key aspects of a dressing change is the measurements taken. The wound’s length, width, and depth indicate the rate of healing.  So centimeters matter.  My wound is healing.  I am understandably impatient.
I had built my life around keeping busy.  Being on the Wound-Vac has made me remember that life happens. While I can do my best to shape and structure my lifestyle, life itself will go on, often times with events and experiences beyond my control.  That is why the wound-vac has become my teacher in humility.  Take the news from the doctor. I wanted to return to work on schedule. I wanted to parade vac-free in Carnaval this weekend. I wanted to jump in the shower, be in there for ten to fifteen minutes (yes I realize we’re in a drought), and wash and condition my hair.  Maybe do a samba step in celebration.  Instead I’ll be devising some bling for my vac bag and waving from a parade float. I will continue live my life differently for a few more weeks with my three-pound friend on my shoulder.
Mr. Backpack, bring me a dream.


Still Blackberry blogging

Much to my chagrin.
I’m overdue for at least two reviews, two dream recollections, and 9 blogs. But with limited time, work restrictions(Big Brother watching), and no computer at home, I don’t have many options. There are the public libraries but I don’t want to bare my soul next to the middle school kid next to me. There is my mom’s house but it’s a crowded place these days. Besides, I remember all too clearly all those MySpace induced moments of anxiety, sitting in my childhood bedroom before that monitor. There’s Kinko’s(yet another location I associate with attacks of nerves, butterflies, and nausea) but do I really want to pay to write?

I should get a laptop. Writing is a good outlet. I am pleased to have a growing audience. But there are bills to be paid, hours to maximize, and a tummy ache I can’t ignore.

Monday was never my favorite.

Sucks to be….

I should be making my bed so I can do my training run. I signed up for the Vegas half-marathon this week, even booked my flight.
I have been sitting in my room, crying like it is July 3rd and not October 7th.
My heart is foolish.

Bad start to a Tuesday

De repente, me siento perdida, como si se me hubiera abierto nuevamente un abismo. No entiendo porque me pasa esto. He luchado tanto para superar mis pesadillas, el temor, la desilusión y la confusión. Se que soy una persona de sentimientos sinceros, que jamas quisiera hacerle dano a otro ser. Aún no entiendo porque tengo que pasar por estos momentos dificiles.

El hermano del alumno bipolar está aquí aunque ha sido recomendado por expulsión. Siempre lo he tenido miedo. Aunque él no es él que estuvo en un hospital for tres semanas, siento que él es el mas peligroso de los dos.

Qué me pasa?

What just happened?

I used to love my job. Sure it can be draining and overwhelming but I used to look forward to it. Now I dread coming here and the feelings it has begun to inspire: inadequacy, insignificance, resentment. I don’t like to hold grudges or to bottle in my anger and frustration. The fallout from my inability to appropriately express these negative emotions has cost me a lot in recent months. Will it jeopardize my livelihood and career?
I’ve only been here for two hours this morning and I want nothing more than to say I’m done. To walk away from these children, from my friends, from the decade of grassroots hard work and local-kid dedication.
I want to quit.

Ups and downs

I’ve been on such a high lately. I’ve been walking around “twitterpated” according to Mingles, my nerve endings and memory banks bursting with joy, wanting to dance around with a gospel choir or to curl up in someone’s arms. Still, there have been moments when those old doubts, the ones that have dominated my thoughts for decades, take a hold of me and shake me hard. Then I get a different lump in my throat and I can feel my face get long. I’m sure I get those puppy dog eyes Soldier said he didn’t see until my last afternoon in Nashville. This must be the face people turn away to avoid.

Mingles, one of my security guys, is a big brother figure to me. I tell him about my life now and then and he used to have a witty comment or advice. Last week, he joked that I had become “unbearable,” too girly for his liking, too stuck on my happy memories. Today, he told me he didn’t want to hear about it anymore, that he had his “fill.” He avoided me all day. It was strange. When I went into the security office, his supervisor made the observation that Mingles seemed upset and that most likely it was with me. It made me feel that much smaller. I know I haven’t done anything wrong yet I feel guilty.

In good news, my student has been moved out of the intensive care unit. One of his boys reported that he had visited him on Friday and that he could speak, if with difficulty in his breathing. I rushed to the hospital after work. I was excited to learn he had a new room. But when I got there, his room was crowded with young people, some wearing his gang color. For some reason, I felt stupid so I backed quietly into the hallway. I stood outside the door for a few minutes, listening to the chatter about weekend parties and people I didn’t know. I then headed down the elevator and out into the sunshine. For an adult, I can be so childish.

What makes me doubt myself so much? Why do I second-guess myself? Why do I allow myself to feel like a failure? I do my best. But I am so damn hard on myself. That is probably why I wrote the affirmations: I am happy with who I am. I love myself unconditionally. I am loved and lovable. Maybe if I say them enough times, I will believe them 100% of the time, instead of 85-90% of the time.