November 28th 2021
It’s a cold Sunday morning and the following post is about me, the person I am, how I see myself and and what you get if you know me. Frida Kahlo is quoted as saying she painted herself “because I am the subject I know best”. I’m such a fan of her work and as a writer I agree with the statement, I write about myself and my experiences most because that is what I know and I am brutally honest in my writing as I am when I speak to myself.
I’m a Gemini, think of myself as an introverted and extroverted person, yes we do exist. Of my 3 sisters you can say I’m the dependable one. I have a hard time saying no to my family and friends, this is a hard habit to kick but in recent years I’ve gotten better about setting some boundaries.
I’m 42 and have never been married nor do I have children. I love working with children, but years ago I decided I wouldn’t have them because of my mental illness. I really think some days I could be a great caring mother, but when you have Bipolar as well as suffer from depression and anxiety some days I can’t even get out of bed or function properly. When I’m extremely depressed I don’t want to see anyone, I can’t stop crying and have a pity party for myself but things are worse when I’m anxious. My gosh anxiety is a fucker! It usually makes me feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and I am paralyzed with fear. I fucking hate how weak it makes me feel because I know for a fact I am not weak. A mental illness such as Bipolar can be hereditary, my mom has Bipolar as well and I just couldn’t think of bringing a child into this world where he or she may be unfortunate to deal with this awful illness too.
At my age I’m selfish now, I wake up in the morning and just have to worry about myself. Some days when things get so challenging with my mental health I can barely take care of myself. I’ve been dealing with my mental illness struggles since I was 19. I recognize my own symptoms of a manic episode better than my family and friends. There was a few weeks ago where I felt a bit manic and it was very odd because my mom was too. I didn’t ask her about it but she was the energizer bunny those few days trying to multitask chores around the house. I should of sat down with her and asked her “what are you feeling, what are you thinking?” I myself had racing thoughts those few days, and was talking faster than usual, but more than anything I felt so damn happy. I highly doubt a “normal” person without any mental health problems ever asks themselves am I too happy? I’ve asked myself that question often especially in the Spring and Summer when days are longer and the sun just has this power over me. I’ve been taking the same mood stabilizer for many years. Once when I was between insurance, I didn’t take my meds for about 8 months because of being without insurance and I didn’t know where to get my medicine without paying big bucks. Well it took almost a year but without a mood stabilizer I ended up in a severe manic episode and had to admit myself to the hospital.
I’m getting off point this post wasn’t suppose focus sorely on my mental health struggles as I do that enough in my other posts. I wanted talk about the subject I know best, myself. I’ve been single for about 3 year now. I loved my ex and we were together for almost 2 years, he was actually the first man I said I love you to. The other man I loved was someone I started dating right after high school. I was in college dating one of my first serious boyfriends my freshman and sophomore year. I remember one summer dancing with him in my dorm to the Celine Dione song from Titanic because we had gone to see it and I remember it made him cry a bit as well as me. I had made us dinner and we were dancing holding hands cheek to cheek. We had been together for over a year don’t recall how long and I wanted to tell him I love him, but he hadn’t said it and I found myself so nervous that the wonderful night ended without me saying the words to him. He was also Mexican and I still have all these poems he would write to me in Spanish, he was real good with words. We would tell each other “te quiero”, but that’s different from saying “te amo”. I regret not telling him that night or the next morning when he made me breakfast.
I hate dating, I really despite it, being out there really sucks and when I started dating my ex a couple of years ago I was so happy to have found someone that really got me. He knew about me being Bipolar and dealing with anxiety. When we first started talking after our date I had to admit myself to the hospital because I was having such an awful manic episode. I texted him after almost a week of being in the hospital. He didn’t judge me when I told him I had been in a psych ward. The way I remember it he asked me “have you changed, do you look different?” I said I hadn’t changed, I was still the same person he had first gone out with and when I said that he’s was like “that’s all I need to know”. Not only did he not judge me but he accepted me with my baggage and me feeling as damaged as can be. That’s why I fell in love with him because he loved me despite it all.
I’ve dated a lot, but real true relationships have been few. For most of my adult life I have been single, for many years I was focused on school. After earning my Bachelor’s I went into teaching a few years later and then was attending school off and on for a number of years trying to finish my Masters. I tried to date during this time, but being a teacher that doesn’t go out much didn’t leave me with many options of meeting a man. I have had a number of one night stands and lost count of the number of dates I went on before Covid, (some of them truly awful), it’s hard out there. I have done a lot of online dating, I hear of friends having success and I did too because that’s how I met my ex. Recently in the last 2 years I’ve talked for months on end with men only for things to not get serious. There’s so many posts I could write on the subject of dating to be honest but I’ll keep it short for now. One guy in particular who I talked to for months through chat, text, a few phone calls, and 1 FaceTime, seem too good to be true. He had a lot of the qualities I look for in a man and I just don’t know what happened. We were talking fine one moment and the next, he just ghosted me. He just stopped replying to my texts, he would read them but wouldn’t reply, it was quite frustrating to be honest. We had been messaging each other during a big part of this year, 7 months, we never met as our plans for that always fell thru. It actually pissed me off that he could be so immature like that, why do guys do that? He couldn’t be a mature adult and just tell me straight out why he didn’t want to continue talking to me? I’m a big girl I can take it, but to get total silence from him just pissed me off. It bugged the hell out of me, but I’m better now and I just let it go finally.
As mentioned he had a lot of qualities I look for in a man. He was Latino, educated, family oriented, had his life in order and I was attracted to him plus he had children. I may not want children of my own but I always prefer to date men that have children because I think if things work out I can help raise them as my own. I broke my own rules recently for him and another guy I was talking to because I usually prefer to date men with no more than 2 children and he had 3 cute children, a girl and 2 boys. I loved that he was a great dad which is one of the reasons we never met. He worked a lot and when he wasn’t working he was with his kids. The 2 times we tried to get together it didn’t happen because of our schedules.
Last year during the middle of Covid I really connected with someone else. Every time we talked we had real great talks and there was never a weird moment between us. We ended up just being friends as I don’t have many guy friends and I’m not sure at what point I stopped being attracted to him. We both decided a friendship was best and now he’s one of my drinking buddies who I vent to about life, work, etc. We hang out here and there and after a year and half of knowing him I finally told him about me being Bipolar. He didn’t judge me and the last time we went out we talked about it a bit. He is understanding because he has a history of dealing with anxiety so that’s the only reason I felt comfortable opening up to him.
To be honest I don’t even know if I would date myself if I was a guy. I have so much baggage but who in their 40s doesn’t have that? I have a number of qualities that I’m proud of such as being an educated Latina who is family oriented, I am a great cook and baker when I feel like it, I’m an ex runner and Zumba lover. I’ve been on a very slow weight loss journey this year that now with the holidays has come to an abrupt stop. I’m a 1st generation Mexicana who is very proud of her roots. I love to dance and depending on whose in the room, I can be both talkative or as a quiet as a mouse. I love music, especially Spanish music because everything just sounds better in Spanish. My 1st language was Spanish, went to school grades Kindergarten through 2nd grade in Bilingual classrooms.
I’m so happy that I took Spanish in high school and when I got to DePaul decided to minor in it. I think of my 3 sisters and I, I’m the one that speaks it the most fluently even though at times the word I’m looking for doesn’t come to me in either language. I love to write in Spanish too and wished I had the time and patience to read more books in Spanish. I have a few on my shelves that I purchased during a trip to Mexico and but I haven’t read them as I would basically have to read aloud to myself to fully comprehend what I’m reading. I’ve been a Bilingual, Dual Language and ESL teacher for the 11 years I taught, so thanks to that and speaking to my parents and elders in Spanish has really kept me practicing my Spanish on a daily basis.
I have recently found my creative juices to write more often and not have to wait until I’m really depressed or in a manic episode. I recently switched antidepressants in the last 4 months and my new antidepressant is so much more effective. It’s really made a difference in my life especially after the challenging year I’ve had. With my old antidepressant I didn’t feel alive, I was so unhappy, I still felt dull and dead inside while trying to function on a daily basis like a “normal” person working, working out, paying bills, interacting with my family and friends, etc. With my old antidepressant I was dealing with awful depression from at least May to the end of August. I was working out so much but that still didn’t make a difference in how I felt inside. The new antidepressant made a difference in 2-3 weeks, I felt better, I felt happier, like I was really living and not just trying to survive each day, so in late August I finally started feeling like my regular old self. My birthday is May 21st, this year it fell on a Friday and I took the day off from work, that morning I found myself crying when one of my aunts called me to wish me a happy birthday. I had plans that evening to go out to dinner with friends and I honestly thought of canceling it but in end I didn’t and had a fantastic time.
I hate onions especially raw onions when I cook for myself I don’t add onions it’s only when I’m cooking for others that I add them. I think of myself as an onion though, to know me and all my layers of qualities, the good and the bad, you have to peel the layers like an onion. Every layer is a story of its own, former coworkers for example only see the exterior, I rarely let them inside. They are colleagues more than friends so I often hide my internal battles with my mental health from them. I didn’t want them to know that side of me, I wanted to look professional, like I had my shit together and put on a happy face from Monday to Friday when I was a teaching. I only allowed myself to vent to my mostly female coworkers about the usual teacher stuff of having difficulty with a student, feeling stressed and overworked from the pile of never ending tasks we had has educators. I didn’t want any of them to know that when Covid hit and remote learning was our reality that I was dealing with the worse anxiety of my life. When Covid first made an appearance, I, as well as so many other teachers around the world were not prepared for what to expect. This new reality of me teaching to a class of 5 year olds all day in front of my laptop was not something I was prepared to do. I like other educators felt like I was a spanking brand new teacher and that I was once again repeating my 1st stressful year of teaching only this time I wasn’t alone, all educators were adjusting.
So yes although I hate onions I am like an onion with so many layers upon layers, that is what I am. To know me, to really know me, you have to keep on peeling and once you get to the middle you may possibly really know me but it’s another story to understand me too. I’ve only let a few people in along the way as I’ve had on at least 2 occasions had real good friends that I thought as of more like sisters, walk away after 7 years of friendship and in the other case over 11 years of friendship. When those 2 friendships stopped existing I was extremely hurt and couldn’t understand how an important person in my life is there one moment and the next they’re gone. I still have a very difficult time with that. I’m the kind of person that feels people come into my life for a reason, a purpose, and it’s still very difficult for me, a woman in her early 40’s to comprehend that some people just come for a season. Because of these 2 friendships ending I have really struggled to make friends because I don’t want to get hurt again. How can I confide in you my deepest darkest secrets when I don’t know for sure you will be there next year this time? I love meeting new people, women and men alike and but it takes a real long time for me to confide in you and to really trust you. Again I think I’m damaged goods not just a product of dating awful men but being let down my those who I thought I was going to have in my life forever as a friend.
Don’t get me wrong I do have some great friends, I have a best friend who is my person and who I definitely vent to more than she vents to me. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that she is my friend not my therapist though. I talk to her about everything and I mean everything, she knows things about me that even my sisters don’t know about me. In the 21 years we have been friends I can honestly say we’ve never gotten into a fight. I know for a fact she’s probably upset me, but never have we gotten into a fight were awful things were said and things end up feeling weird. This gal has seen me at my worse, she knows all about my inner battles with my demons and she is accepting of all of me. I love her like a real sister and I know for a fact I would be lost without her in my life. I have had good friends come and go and I’m grateful each day to still have her in my life, I truly value our friendship. She cares and loves me as much as I love and care about her. I look forward to our many years ahead of adventures and If she’s reading this she should know we are long overdo for a trip!
We are approaching the last month of the year and I can honestly say as I’ve mentioned in another post probably that I’m so very happy in the place I find myself in. I may have temporarily walked away from my career but that’s okay because I may go back to teaching in a year or 2 or I will find something else that I love doing. I recently started volunteering at a nonprofit I hold dear to my heart because I’m meeting others who are battling mental health struggles. In the coming new year I’m looking forward to facilitating a group in what else but writing! I’m so excited to begin this new journey because although I will forever be a teacher this will be my first time working so closely with other adults in some time. I also consider myself a closet writer, I’ve never taken any writing classes but I think we can all be writers to be honest. We each have a story to share. I look forward to leading this writing group as I continue to become more serious about my own writing too.
If you were to ask one of my close friends to describe me, they would say I’m a great listener, caring, and have the biggest heart. When chatting with friends I often don’t like being the center of conversation for too long before I feel weird and selfish and turn it around by asking questions of my friend in regards to her/his life. I would do most anything for my friends and family, hell I have. One of the things I did for one of those good friends that stopped talking to me was cosign for her car. I was young and dumb thankfully it didn’t kick me in the ass and ruin my credit. I was in my mid 20’s and I saw her as a sister, I wouldn’t question cosigning a car for 1 of my sisters so I didn’t ponder it too long before I agreed to do this for my friend.
I love to travel! It is one of the things I love doing the most besides reading and dancing. I am traveling in less than 2 weeks to Mexico and I haven’t even left and I’m already thinking of a trip to Miami in mid February. I get such a natural high from being at the airport, boarding a plane and hours later being in another country in a new time zone and ready for an adventure discovering a new city or town. One of the things that I learned from my father is to manage my money well. I’m not the kind of gal that spends a lot of money on clothes, shoes, purses, etc. My money gets spent on my travels. My dad is from a different generation and being an immigrant who for most of his adult life was the main source of income he managed his money very well. I saw that and learned from it. Like him I don’t like owning people money, at my age I wouldn’t feel comfortable loaning a friend a big chunk of money either. I’m the kind of person who rather spend money on experiences than materialistic items.
Most days I love the person I have become, I have lived a good life and I look forward to making more memories be it alone, with my friends or next to my family. I am my worst critic many times, but I also know I have a lot to offer this world and I hope to leave my mark in a positive way. I look forward to the trips I have yet to take and meeting the man of my dreams, celebrating milestones with my family, helping others by sharing my story. I’m excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead for me in the new year!