Day of Remembrance

I remembered the entry in my journal I wrote on my 29th birthday a few days after I moved back to DC and lived on the Gallaudet campus. The journal is the flip-top spiral notebook with a drawing of a young girl on it I just bought in Peru a week earlier. Feeling sentimental, I decided to track down the book and when I found it, I finally opened the pages for the first time after three years. It is the only entry in the book. I read and reread it, and I remembered that day very clearly like I was in a brightly lit studio, watching myself in the middle of a television show and no one could see me. I was marveled at how powerful the sensibilities of a memory that lasted only split-second long could do to a person.

The birthday wishes I wrote on the pages were not my true wishes, they were written out of fear and heartache. The words on pages began to fade away and didn’t matter anymore, the feelings of the desperation during that moment overwhelmed me, I just wanted to have everything to be normal again.

I was there in the bright Social Security Adm. office, with the framed print of newly elected Obama hanging above the ticket machine, reminding the poor and the disabled while they wait in a line for their number, It’s time for change. I stood by 29 years old me who spent my birthday waiting for my number to be called, because I was recovering from a bug I picked up in the flight from Peru just three days earlier, and I was seven months pregnant. I wrote in the book on that day because I only hoped for the best, or even better, for the normal life.

Today, I almost lost my nerve writing this blog post. Why? I already admitted in the past that I was a victim of the abusive relationship and spouse’s struggle with substance abuse, and it was not the most comfortable thing to do. Honestly, I’d rather swim in a stagnant pond than to share my fears and flaws with the world, but I wanted to share my vulnerability with you and others, to admit that I’m human and I struggle.

I had to get myself out of the victim mentality and tell myself I will use this experience to grow as a person. To show you the real me, I have to accept myself first. It took me more than year to finally accept myself as a single mother. I felt it was so wrong, that I should be already having a family by now, but was it wrong for me to feel that way? Perhaps you look at me as just somebody who’s trying to get your attention and fulfill the need of your validation and that I should just get over it and move on from my past.

I told myself the same often enough that the thought itself prevented me from doing what I truly wanted to do all along- to get it off my chest and give others the opportunity to read my stories, get inspired and liberate themselves from their ball and chain. My experiences are becoming just stories and no longer a part of me. When I tell my stories, I stop identifying myself with them. I separate myself from them. The stories stay on the paper. They stay in the past, where they belong. Telling them help me burn the pain that I suppressed for years and now they are ashes I rose from.

I knew by starting this blog, I have to build the courage to be OK with who I am and trust the process. Things did and didn’t turn out as I’d hoped, and I learned to come to terms with the state of things in my life and go with the flow. If they are not doing me any good, I’d have to move on. I have an intention why I ventured out in the first place and there’s a reason why it turned out good or bad. Doing something about it is better than feeling bitter about it, but doing nothing about it is worst of all. I still want to see my project comes to its fruition and I don’t know when, but as long as it finds its way to share with the world one day, I will be able to close that chapter for once and for all. Jean-Paul Sartre said, “Freedom is about what you do with it.”

P.S. Thank you to all my friends and family for your birthday wishes!

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Memories and changes, what have you done to me?

I just celebrated my 29th birthday 10 days ago. I love that my birthday is in January because it’s so close to the New Year’s Day and because of that, I see it like it’s my chance to begin the new year. I always feel like that day belongs to me, and only me. So it’s fitting that I like to write my wish lists and resolutions for the year on that day. It’s also close enough to Christmas so I end up getting a lot of gifts in a short period of time. Who doesn’t like getting gifts?

In the midst of birthday wishes from my family and friends, I thought about my last two birthdays. I am still flabbergasted at how clueless I was on both of my 27th and 28th birthdays when I thought about how my life would turn out. While driving on my 27th birthday, I told myself that this year was going to be my best year ever. Sure enough, it was the most interesting year for me. I became really involved in the documentary and traveled across half of the country for it. I became accustomed to the new lifestyle in Austin. We got married. I also did many new things I never thought I would do if I still lived in D.C. Our married life was full of ups and downs but it was a very interesting learning experience for me. On my 28th birthday, I just arrived to D.C from Peru a few days before. I was seven month pregnant. A month of constant traveling and adjustments to the new environment and handling Renny’s relapses took a toll on me. Despite that, the best thing that ever happened to me during that year was Rex.

I just turned 29 and I still have no idea what will happen to me. I asked myself once that if I knew what the future held, would I go ahead and make the same decisions I made before? Probably not, but that’s the whole point of living. We live and learn and we do it again. The only difference is that some of us decide to do it better next time and other of us just repeat same mistakes. We make our choices for different reasons.

Sometimes, we let our memories affect our decisions and sometimes, we just throw them out of the window. It’s entirely up to us to do whatever we choose to do. We can forgive others or ourselves and make the changes for the better right now. The only thing we can’t do is to go back in time and change what we don’t like. The mere thought of not being able to change the past can affect us emotionally and physically, usually not in good ways.

That’s why I try my best to eat, live, and think healthy. I try to buy organic food as much as I can afford them. I use earth friendly products (my guiltless indulgences are body and face products.) Affirmations and positive thinking also help a lot. As a Pinterest user, I find so many feel-good quotes and inspirations on Internet. I practice gratitude. I am thankful for every person who supports me. I am thankful I am not alone. With my husband in jail and I have Rex, I understand how precious a life can be.

I still think about the last two years a lot; I used to lose hours of sleep just ruminating on it, but I’m better at coping with it now. I take it one day at a time and good things are already happening to me. My birthday wish is to have this year be the best year ever.