Act II

Act II

Being a child of the 80s, the message of having it all seemed so easy to process. You went to school. You received a degree. You landed that dream job. Life was set. Easy peasy. Right?

Sort of?

I went to three schools, no degree. I did land a dream job, several. Life has been rather complicated thanks to my lack of financial restraint and other demons I have yet to truly conquer. But I’m trying, dammit. I’m trying.

I made a comment to my boss about making it only to “the middle.” Of course, he was annoyed that I am inferring that all of my hard work as a producer since 1999 only carried me as far as his company. That’s not why I meant. Not in the least. I’ve never felt more creative or expressed myself as well as I do as an interviewer these days. Hell, I tend to get a hug after every interview these days. Even from the men.

So what the fuck? Why do I feel like the sky is falling every damn day?

I’m single. Who isn’t?

I’m fat. Who isn’t?

My dad is dying.

Is it too late to change careers? Am I lying to myself thinking I can set up shop at the Vogue offices of London or Mexico City?

Can I go back to school and finish that damned degree once and for all?

My dad is dying.

And no one in my family has been able to think about life after Dad yet. Not even me, but the task is something I am grappling with now. I have questions, too. Is it going to feel like a house of bricks crashing all over us? Will it be followed by a sense of relief? Will it be followed by the sound of siblings running to the four corners of the world? Will we finally be able to be civil with each other and not let our toxicity spoil the soup? Is it all too late for that to happen?

I hear their not so hidden anger in the constant stream of critiques and judgments that dominate our dinner table. I sit and marvel these days, thinking, “These are the people that have my back?” Still, how can we shield ourselves from any sort of attacks when most are happening from within our own house? Dad wouldn’t want to see us this way. Mom doesn’t like it either, but she’s ground zero at times.

Our entire narrative has been penned with our Dad as the central figure. We do our duty, giving Mom a much-needed break where we can. Yet, how is it possible that I feel guilty for not wanting to be around any of them, that I am kind of hanging on to a thread of sanity right now. I should go back into therapy, something to diffuse the atom bomb that I carry in my brain right now. I am eating to stay silent, but I feel my body is in full revolt right now. It is literally slowing down. Every move, every reaction, it’s life in forced perspective.

And that’s not supposed to be the Mexican way. Oh no, we’re supposed to that warm, united front of good humor and great food. Allow me to dispel that concept. It is total BULLSHIT. You had to be that group when the family lived in the hacienda, where great swaths of land dividing us from other families and communities. You know what makes the Mexican family survive? A lot of us drink and eat… to forget the lives we can’t seem to leave. While it feels great to see that sentence, yes, it is followed by a strong wave of guilt.

I think about putting such distance between me and my LA life a lot now. It seems like I want to pioneer a life that doesn’t require facing the past or a present that only makes me wince.

So, what’s going to be the narrative of my Act II? It starts when the lead character, Me, reaches out for help. That’s what I am doing, reaching out for help and guidance. I can’t do this alone. No one can. The time does arrive when you have to release the side of yourself that stops you from harming yourself and others in the wake of the blast of an emotional bomb.

It’s here.


Little Victories

Little Victories

Those infamous 50 shades of grey cover a lot more than retrograde shower nozzle masturbation reading material that lasts for weeks. To live in the grey is to be in throes of depression. For the last few years, I’ve kept checking in and out of the same space. Finding the courage some months, stewing in my own primordial soup of ennui during others. But this last year has seen this constant waffling successful in robbing me of my smile. And it is permeating everything else around me.

Friends have been kind, offering their suggestions and even books to help me soldier forward away from this

Sometimes I feel like May Boatwright from “The Secret Life of Bees.” She just couldn’t handle the bad that comes with the good in being human. She’d write her pain down on slips of paper and tuck them into the gaps within the brick wall on the family’s property. In some ways, these journal entries function in the same manner. I’m just taking the hurt that I feel, writing it down, and placing it somewhere in the universe to make it go away.

But it doesn’t.

From Maurice Sendak’s “Pierre.”

I keep holding onto these feelings like a cashmere blanket, swaddling myself because it’s become that comfortable and safe. I’ve added another layer to this shield, the thought of “I don’t care” has also set in. It deflects all the kindness of people close to me trying to shake me out of this torpor. But no amount of self-help bon mots or books written by those affluent folks imbued with a sense of “I was once just like you! Except now I’m rich so I can tell you just how to get the fuck over it!” is going to work right now. I don’t want a “year of yes.” I know I am a badass. I’m exhausted by the basic bitchery of our time. I’m exhausted by feeling nothing but stagnation.


You see, I do care. It breaks through this exhausted self because I know how I can make things better. But what I see first is the reality of being painted into a corner by my own hand. What’s at the heart of it all? I’ll tell you. I hate walking this earth alone, folks. I thought I didn’t need someone to love, but I do. Problem is I don’t love myself enough to do anything about but complain. Like I said, it’s gone on so long now, I’ve become used to living with so many rocks on my chest. And I’m the one who put them there in first place!

What needs to happen is a little victory, of making one change, of taking away one stone so my heart won’t hurt as much. It can’t be all at once, right? Do I start with the weight gain? The rage in my house and out of it? The poor choices affecting my health? Ignoring the married men that seek me out as a distraction and nothing else? The punishing of co-workers with my mood swings and not-always-so-silent-judgments? Do I run away to another town where nobody knows me to start life all over again?

Would it be enough, putting distance between who I am and who I want to be? It’s such an attractive concept, even if people will smirk, “It doesn’t matter where you go, your problems will follow.” Yeah, but I don’t have the heart to tell these people, “I’m trying to get away from YOU. YOU’RE MY PROBLEM! YOU’RE WHY I AM SUFFOCATING!”

No one life should be made into a waiting room, where you remain still and tell yourself, “As soon as this one thing happens, I can move forward.” Fear sucks. But the alternative sucks even more because it debilitates you into submission and depression is usually not that far behind.

I keep being counseled by people close to me that I need to find my smile. I say to them, “Something is ending… and something begins.” As to when this will happen? I need to make one little victory happen. Just one.

Looking at my life
It’s very clear to me
I lived so selfishly
I was the only one
I realize that nobody wins
Something is ending
And something begins
—  From “Nothing Really Matters” by Madonna & Patrick Leonard