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Day 366

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The battle cry this year has been, “Fuck 2016”. But for me, this year hasn’t been all bad. I started the year in the red and ended in the black. After difficulties and conflict at work, a new assignment allows me peace to be more innovative in working with a marginalized population. I found a new church home, after many years of ignoring religion. A new award, for my work, now sits on a shelf in my living room. The scale showed me numbers I haven’t seen in many years, and better health is returning in increments.

 

Refocus

Celebrity deaths have taken over the news and face book feeds. The cult of personality is alive and well. That’s okay, they enliven our lives by entertaining us, many putting into words the turmoil or joy of the day. At the same time that we were mourning people who were only thankful for the money we put in their pockets, there are people being bombed out of their homes, people who placed themselves in harm’s way to keep our nation free who have no place to rest their heads, people who don’t have clean water to drink, and a nasty election cycle that brought out the monsters who have been sleeping under our beds. As I’ve said before, we all have the power to clean up our corner of the world and it’s time we stepped up to the plate.

 

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Putting words into action is difficult for many, but it’s time to shit or get off the pot. Write yourself a check and find a way to cash it. Improve your life and then go out and improve someone else’s. Find someone to mentor. Find someone to be your mentor. Support with your presence not just a donation. Show your loved ones that they are indeed loved. Turn your online activism into action. March in a protest. Call your legislator. Become a legislator. **insert your own positive note here**

 

Reengagement

Just because some doors have been closed this year doesn’t mean that there isn’t something waiting for you. I’ve had a couple of big doors closed in my face this year. One was slammed without warning, the other was gentle, with me actually handing over the keys. Boo hoo? Hell no! I don’t believe in reinvention for myself. However I do believe in tweaking things that haven’t been working smoothly. When I recently submitted my vacation request for the coming year, I had my family calendar at my side. Much of next year’s vacation time has been taken over by family events, and I say that joyfully. I signed up for a writing class because I’ve been unfocused for much too long and need a kick in the butt. Brunch, lunch, and dinner dates are already in the works. Looking forward to more face time with friends and family. I’ve been gentle with myself, even though I still ask myself, “What would Pop say?”. But it’s time to put myself back out there.

 

As always, loyal readers and friends, may God’s grace be apparent to you, because it’s always there even when you don’t notice. You have been loved. We’ll get through this together.14191951_10207320815844309_1830921798756828375_n

 

 

 

 

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What was lost, is found

Easter time and my Pop are indelibly connected. Not only was his birthday during this time of year, but as a minister it was the busy season for him, and for his family. As he wrote out his sermons in long hand, pencil first, pen for the final product, Mom typed out the church bulletins while my sister and I folded the freshly mimeographed bulletins, carefully and precisely.pop

Countless pancake suppers on Fat Tuesday, countless sunrise services on Easter Sunday followed by breakfast and another service. Good Friday meant three hour services starting at noon, ending at three pm. Seven ministers bringing us the the seven last words. Cranky, fidgety kids in the pews, earning Mom’s evil eye from the choir stall. Waking up super early on Easter Sunday, clomping around the apartment wearing pajamas and our new shoes, because, hey, new shoes.

And yet we survived those days and went on to subject our children to the same.

When Pop left the local church to work with the national church administration I was almost an adult. Within three years I established a home of my own with a husband and a child. And there began the search for a church home, a place were I would be nurtured, comforted, and feel safe in the knowledge that my faith would be valued.

Running into ministers with human frailties should be expected, but in my mind I thought, “If you can’t live the gospel, you shouldn’t preach the gospel”. And I moved on. Eventually, I stopped going to church all together. Something that I knew hurt my parents but I was actually more comfortable not going to church. My faith was still there but I’d lost my religion.

And then last week I made a wrong turn that turned out to be very right. I passed an old church building with a bell tower. The sign out front said it was Park United Methodist Church, only two miles from home. I looked them up on Facebook, of all places, and found pictures of a congregation living their faith. A soup kitchen, a child care center and after school program, a community food bank are listed as some of the many programs and services at the church.

I showed up at the Maundy Thursday service in jeans because I’d been running errands after work, and walked into a room of people all wearing jeans. The service was an interactive experience. The crown of thorns we held pricked our palms. We cringed as we held an old nail in our hands and struck it into a cross, with a hammer. We rolled dice, as the soldiers did, wagering to win the condemned man’s clothing. We lit a candles at the altar helping to banish the gloom. The taste of bitter vinegar reminded us that when Jesus was thirsty he was given vinegar. I took communion for the first time in many years and went home feeling peaceful.

Good Friday’s Tenebrae service found the altar covered in black cloth, the sanctuary dimly lit with dozens of candles. With scripture readings and musical selections from Jesus Christ Superstar, the light gradually disappeared leaving us in reverent darkness. We went home in silence.

Sunday’s Resurrection Celebration pulled out all the stops. A bell choir, children’s choir, youth choir, and Chancel choir brought musical selections. Seated in packed pews, we enjoyed music from the organ, piano, and several orchestral instruments. Dancers brought the word to life in movement. We laughed, we sang, we felt joyful.

If you’ve read any of my previous work, you know this isn’t one of my usual pieces. Just wanted to share my weekend with you.

I didn’t go to church because it was Easter. I didn’t go to church to protect my father’s legacy. I went back to church for me. We all yearn to be an integral part of a community and I really feel like I found a new church home. A wrong turn that turned out to be very right. Was Pop my co-pilot that day? Maybe. I’d like to think so, it’s something he would do.

 

 

The other side of the scrub line

I’ve been a hospital staff nurse for ten years, taking care of the acutely ill. But when it’s your grandmother asking, “what should I do to help him?!”, it’s completely different. My answer as a nurse would be, “These are the options the doctor has given you, (explain again x, y, z)”. My answer as a granddaughter, is very different.

My grandfather, Eli Samuel, was one of the two prominent male figures in my life while growing up. Living in a two family home, with my grandparents living down stairs for fifteen years, it was inevitable. As a minister for the United Methodist Church, he preached the word of God and did His work by helping areas, foreign and domestic, building new churches. But to me, he was grandpa.

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I use past tense there, because for the last few years he and my grandmother had been dealing with his worsening dementia. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in March 2015.

Memorial Day weekend, my grandfather was admitted to a Philadelphia area hospital after he was found unresponsive in their hotel room. Three weeks later he passed away in arms of his wife of 57 years, holding his eldest granddaughter’s hand, the day after my birthday.

One in 9 older Americans

25 million globally

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The Alzheimer’s website (alz.org) tells the world these staggering statistics.

My college pathology books tells me the signs and symptoms, etiologies, management, and nursing considerations when caring for these patients.

When your family member is affected, it all becomes too real. Every worse case scenario screams in your head. Every bad code, every horrible prognosis, every complication plagues your thoughts, and your dreams.

 

 

 

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That’s us, on my first birthday. Now, I don’t remember that day, but it’s the one I’m gonna remember. Me with a crazy giggle, I’m sure, and him looking down on me with love, and a whole lot of patience.

I know my life will be different without him. Yet the faith that was exemplified by Rev. Eli Samuel Rivera, that, as Grandpa, he nurtured in his “kiddies” will help me and my family through another holiday without  his presence.

My career has taught me to separate my personal opinions and feelings, and yet use them to provide compassionate care to those healing, or dying, while  in my charge. It isn’t always easy. Patients I’ve treated since my grandfather’s passing, have brought me back to the decisions we made for him, versus the ones I see being made for those living with Alzheimer’s.

In the end, I’ve learned, yet again, that although life can suck sometimes, people can make decisions you disagree with and people can say things that you find appalling, but as my mother said in a previous post, “It’s  been a good year. Every year is a good year when you get right down to it. If you are reading this post, you have been a part of my joy. I have prayed for you, I have laughed with you, you have been a part of my life no matter what. And I thank you.”

So, thank you Grandpa, I will probably cry hearing Jose Felicano’s Felix Navidad this year because every time I hear it, I think of you. I’m grateful you were in my life and I’ll think of you teaching Jesus that shuffle you called dancing. Ill be sure to do your shuffle while caring for my patients while I work this Christmas.

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Jillian de la Hoz, RN, BSN, Mariposa Social Guest Contributor
aka Eli Samuel’s granddaughter

Day 365

It’s been an interesting year.2014-2015

Facebook offered me a year in review, but it didn’t encompass what this past year really gave me.

Winter weather, with its relentless snowstorms, found me housebound. No way out, even if I wanted to go out. Valentine’s Day weekend found me at a wedding one day, and a funeral the next. Unfortunately, immediately following the funeral I fractured my fibula, in an icy fall.

I sat on my ass for the next three months, with outings only for doctor’s appointments and a lot of time for depression and reflection, in equal measure. I wish I could say that reflection won out, but I don’t think it did. I talked to myself way too much, watched On Demand, and read a book a day. I learned to be lazy. And I learned that’s not a bad thing.

Weddings were the big thing. 2014 found me attending five weddings. What a blessing it was to witness young people pledge their love and vow to stay together always. One special wedding was originally scheduled as a commitment ceremony, but when New Jersey’s ban against same sex marriage changed, it became a true wedding. So many happy tears were shed at that wedding that we almost drowned in love. Congrats to the Dullavins, the Weisses, the Bodes, and the Sklavonouses. Yes, I said five weddings. The Dullavins were married twice this year.

I’m looking forward to baby showers in the next couple of years. And speaking of babies, holy cow, I have been blessed with new babies this year. Welcome to the world Vanessa, Madelyn, Shawn, Auset, and Hudson.

Turmoil at the workplace had me considering retirement with a nice “Fuck you” letter. Unfortunately, there is no one to step into my shoes, as my previous sick time proved, so I stay where I am and continue to prevent children from spending too much time in juvenile detention centers.

June granted me the privilege to become a member of my state’s Disciplinary Review Board. What does that mean? It means that I am able to keep unethical attorneys from victimizing their clients. And that’s pretty much all I can say. #TopSecretShit

August offered me a new home, which meant planning, packing, and purging. Whoa.

September found me moving, with real movers this time. Way different from my last move eleven years ago. Furniture, clothing, books, clothing, and all. With limited vacation time, thanks to a shitty winter, I had little time to get my new place set up before I had to return to work. Never doubt the power of a woman on a mission. Within a month my new apartment became a home. A home that I absolutely love.

By November I was hosting my parents for Thanksgiving, and I was witness to the daily struggle my mother goes through with my father. You see, my pops is living with dementia. A man who once oversaw a multi-million dollar budget for the United Methodist Church, as the head of church development, can no longer remember his nieces and nephews. He cannot remember how he broke out his granddaughter’s college graduating class by ethnicity, just so he could predict the future of nursing in the tri-state area. In 2013, he started the coffee and brought a cup to me. In 2014, he didn’t know how to start the coffee pot. He finds comfort in familiar food, familiar places, and familiar people. When I am no longer a familiar person I think I will cry.

On Christmas Day, we had our traditional toast. A coquito and alcapurria toast. A toast to everything, and everyone, that came before us, and everything still ahead of us. A missing member sykped in for the blessing and we moved on to the meal. Next year brings us three boys headed for college and another cousin ready for AARP. Those of us who were “the kids” are now “the elders” and it’s been a heavy mantle to bear.

Now it is the eve of a new year. A promise of new things. New beginnings. An older me, if God so blesses me. Perhaps I will decide to do something else, and retire. Perhaps I will take my doctor’s advice, and live longer. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…

One thing is certain, I will love, I will be loved…is there anything more important.

 

 

 

Silver Lake Mariposa

It’s been an interesting year. After sitting on my ass for almost three months and then trying to get my professional feet back under me earlier this year, I moved out of an area I knew like the back of my hand, into an area I had a passing acquaintance with.10710820_10203012044967730_110907721797349010_n

Hudson County was my home for 38 years. I knew where to buy gas. I knew where to eat the best food. I knew where to buy my groceries. My doctor was only seven minutes away. My kids were ten minutes away. But I always knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay in Hudson County.

Gentrification started in Hoboken and downtown Jersey City. Once those places became too expensive for even the NYC transplants, gentrification started climbing the Palisades, slithered across the plateau, and infiltrated my Western Slope neighborhood. The neighborhood is known as the Western Slope because it’s actually on the western slope of the palisades that characterize northern Hudson County.

It’s an area full of one and two family homes all of which have a front seat view to the most awesome sunsets created by God. And I enjoyed every single one of them.

I traded all of that for lower rent, off street parking, and a laundry room. No longer will I have to leave a family gathering or a party early in order to park my car. No longer do I have to check the weather report before planning a laundry day. And guess what? Despite being further away from NYC, it’s actually easier to get into the city via public transportation from where I am now. Hot damn! No more three block hill to get to the bus to NYC.

The left side of my car carries the scars of the hit and runs she experienced on the mean streets of Jersey City. Yes, I still put the club on her when I get home (I ain’t stupid) but nobody will be hitting her anytime soon. And we all know that a thirteen year old car will need replacing so the lower rent will make this a reality.

It took a hot minute to make a “place” into a “home” but that’s exactly what I’ve done. Was there ever a doubt? After purging junk and furniture I knew wouldn’t fit into my new apartment, I found the perfect movers (seriously perfect).

I’ve now learned why 973 residents use the Garden State Parkway. It’s closer, although I still like the NJ Turnpike better. I don’t have to listen to the traffic reports before going to work anymore. I’m only 3.7 miles from my job, although it takes me just as long to get there. The nine miles from Jersey City to Newark were all highway, although the Pulaski Skyway is a crap shoot sometimes. My commute to work takes me through Branch Brook Park, some of the most beautiful miles in Essex County. There’s no way you could exceed the speed limit (yes, I’ve tried) on the winding roads through the park.

I’m now looking forward to Cherry Blossom season, because while I’ve seen pictures of it, I’ve never experienced it for myself. I now live in the capitol of Cherry Blossom trees. While Washington DC brings in tourists when the trees are blooming, it’s actually Branch Brook Park that has more trees than anywhere in the U.S.

So here I am, living in the Silver Lake district of Belleville, NJ. Two blocks one way and you’re in Newark. Two blocks the other way and you’re in Bloomfield. Gentrification has passed over this area, in favor of nearby Montclair, so I may be safe from exorbitant rent increases. I’ve already found supermarkets that sell what I need, an awesome carwash, and a place to buy my wine. What else do I need?

 

Leaving the cocoon behind

Do I miss being married? Yes. I miss the companionship, I miss the second income, I miss the regular sex, I miss the shared history. Do I miss my husband? Nope. Just, nope.

I come from a line of long-married people. My parents recently celebrated their 56th anniversary. My grandparents and great-grandparents were married until death did them part. When I got married in May of 1979, it was for better or worse, rich or poor, fat or skinny, blah, blah, blah. Sigh. I was also seven months pregnant, I lived with my parents, and I had college finals coming up. I was twenty years old. What the hell did I know?!

My father, in his infinite mercy, told me that I didn’t have to get married. He gave me an out and I didn’t take it. I had brought enough shame on the Rivera name. Rev. and Mrs. Rivera had already lived through my previous breakup, a week before the wedding, and I thought it was time to let them off the hook. I knew the church gossip circle could be vicious and I had been a favorite topic for too long now.

So, off I went into the world of marital bliss. Bliss. Believing the Lies Instead of Spying on the Sucker. Yea, we won’t use that word the same way, ever again.

We leave Eileen to have her child, graduate from college, get a job, start graduate school, have a second child, drop out of graduate school, raise her children, educate her children; we allow twenty four years and six months to pass by. Years full of joy, struggle, achievement, and sorrow. And now the story gets interesting, because on her birthday, in 2003, she moved out. She moved on. She was paroled. And she cried.

My husband and I started couples counseling in the summer of 2002. We had a few great sessions, I especially felt very comfortable with the therapist. I was just beginning to open up about my feelings and the grudge I held against him for past actions. At our last joint session, he sat there and pulled out a
figurative double-barreled shotgun and blasted my faults, my weaknesses, my lack of affection; he labeled me a good mother, but a poor wife. He said that he wouldn’t be returning to our sessions because HE wasn’t the one who no longer wanted to be married. I was the one with the problem. As love lay bleeding in my hands, my self-esteem having taken a direct hit, our time was up and we drove home in absolute silence. I cried as I showered, knowing that this marriage had gone as far as it could. It was time to give up the ghost. He wrapped himself around me when I got into bed, apologizing for his nastiness. I told him it was just another episode in a long line of episodes and tried hard to keep myself from using the word ‘always’. Our therapist warned us against using that word and I just wasn’t up for anything further from him. And then we had sex, because that was how he expressed himself.

The next day I received a call from our therapist, while I was at work. She told me that she was concerned about me and wanted to make sure that he hadn’t become violent the previous night. She also told me that it was apparent that he wouldn’t get anything out of our sessions and she would be referring him to another therapist.

He never returned to therapy. I, on the other hand, continued my weekly sessions. Week after week of sneers, ridicule, when I got home; anxiety attacks, and crying while sitting under the shower so no one would hear me cry. And then week after week of silence, indifference, and finding somewhere else to go while I was at my sessions, because being home alone wasn’t working for him. All the while, I knew where this was going but I knew I couldn’t get there alone. I needed my therapy sessions the same way menopausal women needed to take calcium. I was strengthening from the inside out. Learning to use words like, “When you do that, I feel __” or “When you say that, I feel __” and I never said, “You always __”.

Only two people were surprised by my Declaration of independence. My husband and my younger daughter.

My older daughter pointed her fork at me, and said, “You should’ve left ten years ago”. I asked her if she wanted to come along. She sat up, from where she was laying on the floor and told me that she had her own escape plans in mind. She informed me that she would be taking her sister with her, so there was no need to find a large apartment since they would be moving out on their own within the next year. Pride in her strength fought with grief in the knowledge that I would no longer be living with my greatest treasures, my children. Mr. Man had already informed me that if I wanted out of this marriage I would be the one leaving. And once I left, there would be no returning. As if.

My older daughter was already out in the workforce, and living at home had allowed her to have a comfortable financial cushion. My sorrow was for my younger daughter, who was still a year away from college graduation. She would never have the opportunity to amass a comfortable cushion. She was a Daddy’s girl, the apple of his eye, and yet she and I had a great relationship. She came to me with everything, good and bad. There was no judgement, no advice. I served as the voice of reason. The person who laid things out in a manner where she could make a decision for herself. My wild child, my last baby, had already shown that she had steel in her spine. She would be fine.

As I continued shopping for appliances, electronics, and various home goods, my comadre kept nagging me, “When are you going to tell your parents?” More than anything, I feared their reaction. They knew I was in therapy, and living downstairs from us, they probably knew that all was not well in the upstairs apartment. My new residence was almost ready for me and I needed to get all my clothing there, so I needed to have the discussion now because there was no way they wouldn’t notice me going up and down the stairs with armloads of clothing. So, arming myself with a cup of coffee, I went downstairs, treating each step as if it was a chasm I would fall into if I wasn’t careful. It was probably the slowest I had ever taken those stairs in my fifteen years living in that house.

Both of my parents were in the living room when I entered their apartment. My father watching his Saturday morning news programs while my mother was cleaning out her purse. After having put the discussion off for so long, I just dove off the diving board, head first, no fancy swan dive for me. “I’m leaving him and next Saturday is my last night here.”

Mom took off almost running. My eyes flicked from her back to my father’s face, while internally I said, “Ohshitohshitohshit”. He looked me right in the eye and said, “I’m glad you finally made a decision. It’s been a long time coming”. I told him where I would be living and that I would be taking my personal belongings out little by little. My mother walked back into the room with a few shopping bags and some boxes. She said, “I bought all these things for your grandfather, but I think you could use them more”. A lamp, flat wear, a small coffee pot, and a few other household goods emerged from the bags. Relief poured out of me in a huge, gusty laugh as I walked over to hug them both. Those who loved me, and wanted only the best for me knew it was coming and patiently waited for me to say the words.

Sunday, November 16, 2003 finally rolled around. There is little that I remember about that day, but I remember that night as if it happened yesterday.

While my husband stayed home drinking and watching football, the rest of us went to my favorite restaurant to celebrate my 45th birthday. My gifts were already in my new home. A bed-in-a-bag set from my daughters already dressed up my new bed. The hammers and screwdrivers, from my sister, helped me hang new curtains. A new rice cooker from my comadre, sat in the new kitchen waiting to feed me. We talked and laughed throughout dinner as if nothing out of the ordinary was going on. We decided that I would be hosting Thanksgiving dinner in my new, roomy dining room. Having never done so, I was very excited about hosting family gatherings.

With dinner done, we piled into the car and drove back home. My daughters retreated to their bedrooms to prepare for bed. I went from room to room gathering up my toiletries and the clothing I still had there. And finally it was time to say goodbye.

Mr. Man took me by the hand and led me to sit beside him on the bed. Our bed. A bed that would never again look as neatly as I preferred. He told me how much he loved me and how I was the love of his life. How he wished this had never happened. And then he became himself again. “What kind of mother leaves her children behind?” I allowed him to speak, never letting on that the question had been on my mind for a month and that this had already been a topic of conversation with my daughters. On and on he droned about how his daughters would get married and have children and how I would continue to be an integral part of their lives while shutting him out. Questioning what he would do if he got sick and I cut off his health insurance. The more he spoke the better I felt about my decision. And the less I wanted to leave my children in his home. I looked him in the eye, told him that I wouldn’t be taking him off the insurance, kissed him on the lips and told him to take care of himself.

I walked to the living room, tenderly kissing my daughters while reminding them that I was as much at fault in the breakup as he was. I received nods that they understood what I was attempting to do, as the tears streaming down their cheeks let me know that they couldn’t get any words out of their throats. And then I left the house like my ass was on fire.

The three mile drive south was done carefully, slowly. The road wavered before my car as my eyes welled up with tears, repeatedly. As soon as I could catch my breath it would hitch, and my eyes would fill again. Never questioning my decision, still seeing my daughters’ tear-stained faces before me, the car continued moving to a new street in another city. A home where I would sleep alone for the first time in my life. I had made my bed and now it was time to lay in it.

Fearful that sleep would not make an appearance after an emotionally draining evening, the alarm clock was moved from the nightstand to a bureau on the other side of the bedroom. Emotions warred within me. Sadness that my daughters were no longer within arm’s reach, yet excited that I would be able to show them a new strength that hadn’t always been apparent. Strength that had been hiding under the a cloak of too much compromise. Hiding under a barrage of words that should never have been uttered and tears that should never have been shed.

Brand new pajamas, a brand new bed with brand new linens. There were no memories in this bed and yet my body lay in the same spot it had occupied for so many years. Here silence reigned. Eyes closed, I slept straight through until morning for the first time in months. Months.

My routine never changing, only the location of things changed. Coffee and breakfast were made; the dishes were washed and I left for work in the knowledge that my home would still be clean when I returned home in the afternoon.

Taking pictures of what I had taken to calling ‘my sanctuary’, I proudly showed them to my therapist at our next session. There would be new fears and insecurities to tackle and I would use her as a sounding board for the next two years.

Plot twists are thrown into your life to let you know that what you think is good for you, really isn’t. It takes distance and clarity of spirit to see that, acknowledge it, and revel in it. Once I became bored with my solitary existence and I found myself looking forward to going to work because there I wouldn’t be alone anymore, I realized that I had traded one cocoon for another. It was time to start wriggling out of it and find out what my butterfly wings would look like.

Taking baby steps, I began attending events and performances whenever I could. Making new friends along the way. Finding new art forms I hadn’t been exposed to in the past. Taking the plunge into social media, shortly after my fiftieth birthday, allowed me to find an outlet for the writing bug that would raise its head occasionally. Starting a personal blog was another step in my emotional freedom. And nothing would do but to call it Mariposa Social.

Finally free of emotional cocoons, the butterfly’s wings were finally out. And they were gorgeous.

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From the 201 to the 973

The woman who moved into Jersey City is not the same woman who will move out. She has lived in Hudson County for the last 38 years. She started college, got married, had a kid, and finished college. She started grad school, had a second kid, and gave up on school. She started a job, quit after three years, had another job, went back to her previous employer after ten months, and stayed there until the present day. What the hell! Sounds boring, but it’s not.unnamed

The woman who moved to Jersey City was already seeking help from a therapist. If it wasn’t for that therapist she might still be taking shit. The relationship with her therapist lasted three and a half years. The woman who moved to Jersey City had been married for close to 25 years. Some good, some bad, as with any marriage.

This apartment protected her from stalkers, although she caught him stalking her twice. It protected her from harm, although her car was struck by cars three times and a tree branch once. This apartment became a home where her family felt comfortable and was the place for dinners, parties, and all around shenanigans. It was the place where she got a full night’s sleep after a few years of turmoil. It became a place for healing, for growth, and maturing.

The woman who moved to Jersey City had a small world. The woman who will move out has the world at her fingertips. She enjoys Yankee games, Broadway shows, spoken word events, and the world of social media. She has lost loved ones in this home and has gained loved ones through friendships and marriages. Deaths and births complete the circle of life.

unnamed-1The woman who moved to Jersey City didn’t purge prior to moving in. She just threw things into boxes and found a place for everything. The woman who is moving out, is inspecting everything, down to the minutiae. There are Broadway and off-Broadway show stubs, Yankee tickets, movie stubs and Playbills to sort through. There are notebooks with hidden treasures and notes that indicate earlier pains that have never been shared. Pains that will never be shared.

The woman who is moving out of Jersey City is stronger. She has accepted herself, although she hasn’t yet forgiven herself. She is older, more mature, and yet still has the spirit of her younger self. The younger self that should have been. This apartment saw the birth of La Mariposa Social and all that this entails from working with Being Latino and United People for Latinos in Film, Tv, and Theater, to her personal blog, Mariposa Social. It saw her stretch her wings by attending social media events, film screenings, writing workshops, and monthly brunches with like minded women. This apartment saw her alone, but not lonely.

This morning, she saw a caterpillar in her kitchen. Never has she seen a caterpillar indoors. The woman who is moving out of Jersey City took this as an omen that everything’s going to be alright. Her home in Jersey City will be celebrated and who knows what riches her new home will bring.

I am that woman. I am La Mariposa Social.10352828_10202251117865028_3040609138849334410_n