Panorama of San Bernardino

Monday, September 27, 2021

As I Lay...

As I lay here, not much I can do but think. Watch television, read, sleep and dream.

It's an odd time. I have a couple weeks to ready for my surgery. I alternate between terrified and hopeful. My anxiety is such that I must manage it. I can't get lost in my head. I might sink into it. Into that deep abyss. No thank you.

I watched my dog Frodo go outside this morning. He wants to run so badly. His back is bad, his leg gives out. Yet, he still wants to trot 

Like me, he's resisting his body failing. 

Failure is not always a bad thing. At times, failing, or something failing, can give one perspective. Maybe I have too much perspective right now.

It's as I'm looking down at the world of my life and seeing it all clearly for the first time. I'm a memoirist so part of this melancholy gaze of mine might be connected to recently finishing my 15 plus year book YA memoir project that's coming out in January (we pushed the release date so I can promote it healthy). 

The good news, because you know I'm always about a silver lining, is that my husband and I are in the throes of a honeymoon period. It's like we're both seeing each truly as we saw each other so so long ago. We have always had a great relationship, one based on love, friendship and trust. And music of course.

But this new vigor is different. I looked at his face the other night as we fell readied for bed and was so in love that it hurt my heart to think of one of us leaving this earth.

But then I thought. Stop. We have this, only this now, this present moment, so I held his hand as I fell asleep. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Never mind

Hello. They say physical suffering creates a deeper consciousness. Now my suffering is relative friends. I realize this. And everyone suffers alone. 

Suffering can be a state of mind. Pain is there but you must learn to not focus on it. Music helps.

I slept almost all day the last couple of days. It's as if my body gave up on me. 

Now that I'm awake, I am conscious. Laying on my stomach, I stretch as I write this. The swelling has abated. I'm more "normal". 

My normal self is always in pain, but the me of last week is gone. The one who was scared and in so much pain she couldn't breathe. This me is the real me. I can handle the chronic pain even though it has worsened lately. But I'm hopeful with surgery, it will get better. It has to. 

I want to live my best life. Changing the world one client at a time. Traveling, writing and performing on the side. I'm leaving my self open to the universe. To whatever comes my way. To readings, teachings, and opportunities to spread my message of resilience and hope.

By writing a book about being a deputy public defender, I have somewhat defined myself that way. Yet, that's only one facet. I am many things, and none. I am a writer. A performer. A lawyer. An idealist. An optimist. I am multitudes.

So never mind, all of the bullshit and struggles in life. I am just gonna be me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Wake up

It's 4 am. I went to bed in pain, but woke up feeling better physically, but stuck in a nightmare.

I had nightmares a lot when I was a little kid. There was one with a guy with huge yellow big bird glasses who would chase me. One with a Jesus statute that used to talk to me. One where I'd be in a car and the car would fly off a mountain. And one with a dark magic witch who would haunt me.

It was constant and terrifying. I would fight off sleep.

For many years, I used to be somewhat scared of the dark, but my husband who needs darkness to sleep, cured me of it and of leaving the TV on.

The dark became comforting and peaceful next to him. I hadn't had nightmares in years. 

Last night, a witch had me trapped in a painting in my dream. Stuck in a room. She would disappear then return. It reminded me a bit of a Netflix show called "Nightbooks" we started watching started recently. Maybe that's where it came from. Movies can do that to me and it's why I rarely watch scary movies at night.

Or maybe, this nightmare was caused by something else. The bad dream could be a manifestation of my anxiety. The unease I feel. The stress I'm under at work. At home. In my writing. The upcoming surgery.

This week I'll work on centering myself. Having pure thoughts and intentions. Letting go of resentments and petty concerns. You see, I know what's going on. Much of my suffering, especially anxiety related, is caused by my overactive brain. It's a blessing and a curse. 

So I will focus on what I can control, which is really only my presence. The now. And just keep going. 

Remembering, always, that I'm blessed. Grateful. Here. Very content. Joyful. Full of light.

If this sounds like a mantra, and a prayer, it kinda is. 


Monday, September 20, 2021

Destination unknown

This morning, I'm listening to Eckhart Tolle. His voice calms me.

I'll be out of pocket soon having surgery. It's not fun or convenient but a necessity. For me, it's a struggle. To take the time to do this when everything is moving and all is going well, is not easy to say the least.

What it has created, however, is a reminder to myself that I can't fight this and consciousness is everything. I can't control this. Or make it go away. It is meant to be. I have to surrender. This too will pass. 

I'm hopeful that after the surgery, my life will be easier. The pain struggles I've had will be lessened and I can live my best life.

As the Buddha said, don't mistake the finger for the moon. My goal is to reach my destiny, whatever that is. I am just here for the ride. And the journey matters just as much as the destination. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Boundaries

I learned something this week. Boundaries are hard. People like to cross them.

I've never been good at boundaries. I wish I had learned how to set them years ago. The problem with setting a boundary is that once someone crosses the boundary you've set, you have to speak up or your boundary means nothing.

This may seem vague, but it's not. It crosses over every aspect of my life. Family, friendships, as well as professional relationships. This week tested all of my relationships.

For years, I've let others cross lines, in all sorts of ways. I like being liked. It makes me happy when someone thinks I'm a hard worker and/or a good daughter and/or a loyal friend.

Yet, being liked and being respected and honored are very different things. Being liked really means nothing if people like you only because you'll do anything for them, no matter the cost to your own well being.

I've been working on myself this last couple of months. Trying to let go of my ego to reach true creative consciousness in my work and art. I'm trying to be present.

This week, I lost that presence for a moment. Forgot who I am, and who I try to be. I was resentful, angry even and I had to breathe and pull back and think what is my goal here?

My goal is to do the right thing. To do good work. To work hard and be present in everything I do. I'm not perfect. Nor do I try to be. But I need space and time to do my good work and I will demand that from now on. 

The pandemic made me realize the power of presence and intention. In speaking your mind and being brave and being true to who you are. And I will not compromise my own self or my ideals any longer. 

I am who I am. I am me. I am here. Right now. Writing this. Telling you, I'm here to stay. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Finding myself (spoiler alert, I wasn't lost)

Yesterday, I spoke to a group of students about resilience. They seemed into it. 

They had so many questions about my trajectory from punk rock high school dropout to USC Law.

I used my own story, the first story in my book, as a springboard. I told them how I dropped out of high school 5 credits short my senior year of high school. I shared how I made it to USC Law and that my story was my magic wand in my job as a deputy public defender.

It's a story I hid for years. When I was a corporate lawyer, I told almost no one that I was a drop out. No one knew how hard I had worked to get to the ivory tower of corporate litigation in Houston, Texas. I was all alone there. My lil town of Ontario, California seemed so far far away. 

I wanted to remake myself but what I didn't realize, until years later through writing, was that I was fine just as I was. 

What I didn't realize back then was the power of claiming one's narrative. In being authentic. By denying or hiding my story, I was denying my own self.

My short book with a long title, "Portrait of a Deputy Public Defender, or how I became a punk rock lawyer", (available on the Bamboo Dart Press website and on Amazon, Target and B & N and other booksellers) is a reclaiming of my narrative. My second book is also a reclaiming and it's a YA Memoir coming out later this year titled "Tales of an Inland Empire Girl."

I am no longer scared of what people will think. I want them to think. To hear my story and see who I am. Who I became. Who I still want to be.

In the end, I'm a writer. Writers write their stories. So I did.



Saturday, September 11, 2021

Constellation

Early this morning, I stepped outside to look up at the dark sky contrasting against the stars. The constellations twinkled. I blinked.

I blinked again. The air conditioner hummed. 

Back inside, I made an espresso and drank a glass of water. My dogs growled. I opened up the back door and let them out.

Time to give the dogs their meds. 

My feet felt swollen. Everything feels swollen. My heart. My head. My eyes. 

I think back to the day the towers fell. My dad was still alive. My dad called me as I watched the news coverage in my high rise apartment in LA. I was in law school at USC and lived on 4th and Spring.

He said, "Are you watching Jenny?" 

I can almost hear his voice in my head. And if there's one silver piece of memory I want to remember from that awful day, it's his gentle voice. 

Checking on me. Making sure I was okay. Telling me to come home.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Days to remember

Years ago, what seems like a lifetime, I lived in San Francisco. 

Adrian was in dental school and we lived near Twin Peaks at the top of a hill. The fog was so thick at night, you had to squint to see through it. 

We lived there, in the student housing's 500 square foot apartment, for almost a year. I could barely fit in the bathroom. I used to have to squeeze past the door. 

Then, we moved to an 800 plus square foot apartment in the Inner Sunset by Golden Gate Park, on 9th and Irving. We had a back yard and shared a washer and dryer with the second and third floors.

On Fridays, we would order in food and watch TV. On Saturdays, when Adrian didn't have to study or I didn't have to go into my corporate law job, we went to Sonoma, or Marin. We had lunch and drank wine. I used to love driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. When we would get home, I would hold my two black cats in my lap and listen to them purr.

Every Sunday morning, we used to walk to get the best scones (ever!) at the co-op bakery Arazmendi's. After, we would walk the lake at the park listening to Johnny Cash. 

Some Sunday afternoons, I would go to church at a small little Catholic parish down the street.

When my dad died suddenly, I moved back home, but those days I will remember always. 

Always. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Beautiful day

Yes, it's a beautiful day. 

I am alive. Here, typing this out, the keys click clacking my thoughts into the universe. 

You dear reader, wait patiently for the words to post.

You've waited so so long. It took me years to believe in my voice, but I finally do. I know this is my destiny, my life, my work. Before, meaning before I knew this, I thought work was hard, but this work is easy.

Easy in the sense that when it's right, it flows, it just is.

When I was in junior college, almost 30 years ago, I remember reading James Joyce's "Dubliners" for the first time. I remember thinking, how did he do that? How did he turn words into a magic carpet that swept and flew me away into the clouds? How did he paint a picture that way? 

Now I know, writing is not just from the head, it's from the heart, from the universe. And it is magic. It is spiritual. It is God, and it is me. 

So as Patti Smith reminded me the other night as I listened to her sing under the stars in the desert, keep walking barefoot in the sand and grass, dancing. Arms in the air. 

Twirling. Spinning. Breathing. 



  


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Curveballs

Life is what happens when you're making plans. I just received some news. I'm having a very invasive surgery soon. It's not life threatening or anything but is necessary to help with my chronic pain issue. 

Truth is, I'm terrified.

I keep thinking, what if I don't wake up? What would Adrian do? My dogs? My sisters? My best friends? What would happen to my second book?

Then I think, don't worry, you'll wake up. God is kind. 

Your life is just beginning. You're just starting to realize your dreams. Your second book is soon to be published. You have a radio show. You have 18 episodes of your podcast. You just saw Patti Smith sing under the stars. You and your twin are getting along well. 

You're almost 50, but finally happy, content and joyful most days. I keep telling myself, it will be ok.

Lately, I've been a bit fatalistic, questioning my life. I keep thinking, why am I so stressed out at work? Then, I recently realized that it's not my management of the stress, I just have a very stressful job. 

Something must change. It must. I have to find a way to make it all manageable. I want to live to be 100. My life has been a series of acts. And this act. Right here and now is it. There is just this really. Just this now.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Morning

This morning, I realized I hadn't written for almost 2 weeks. How did time fly by? My writing practice is such a part of me, of my life. How did I let it go?

The problem is life. Life gets in the way. Family. Work. Health. School. All the projects on my plate. 

I want to be the me I'm meant to be. The person I see in my mind's eye. The future me. The writer.

I know, I'm already a writer, but I want more. I see more for myself. 

Yet, I am also happy that no matter what life brings, I have my first book published and the second one on the way. I'm documenting my life. Memorializing it all. That's what matters. That I was here. 

Right here.