Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Transition From Chronically Homeless To Not, Part 1

July 17th, 2018:

Spirit buried down deep in our pockets. Sadness permeating the environment as per usual. Deep breath. I drive up the big hill with the clock now taunting me and my anxiety rising. We are gonna be late and we are gonna miss him. Shit. This maps app just said we arrived but the address is not correct. I park on the side of the road. The fear of the car falling off the side of the cliff side runs through my head like a movie scene. I distract myself with looking for the correct numbers. We walk down some stairs and still with no luck we walk back to the car defeated. Spirit being shoved deeper and deeper. Just a waste of time. We should just leave, who cares. Deep breath. I take my phone out and sent a text that we can't find the place. Moments later a reply with directions. Lets just go, text back never mind. We have to be somewhere. Who cares, we wont get it anyway. Deep Breath. Try Again. We drive through an alley like street that's part dirt and black faded road. I better not get a nail in my tire. That's all we need. I find parking and my anxiety is making my hands shake. The dogs better not bark and nobody call the cops cause we are going to be right back. Yes, I know its really hot outside. Deep Breath. That's it! That's the address, we've found it. As we walk up I've already picked 5 things I don't like about it. The newly painted baby blue trying its best to conceal the age and decay of the building. Its working, mostly. Its upstairs. This is stupid. We won't get it so why even apply. Why did we waste gas and energy coming over here. Lets turn back before he hears us coming. Deep breath. We hear a deep voice yell out come in from the top of the stairs. Here we go.

An hour later we walk back to the car in disbelief. He liked us. He really liked us. The dogs didn't bark either. The place is perfect too. I mean, to us it is. The hardwood floors and outdoor space. He waived the application fee when I hesitated. Interfaith, the organization that's helping us find a place said they would cover these costs but since it was all last minute and I had exactly $13 in my account, I had to stall. I tried to play it off with the I don't have any cash on me sorta thing but he simplified it all with "Go the ATM and come back". I don't quite remember exactly what I said in reply but it did not make sense whatsoever. I'm great at this sorta thing. He ended up deciding to waive  the fee and also said he would put our application on top of the pile. We said our thank yous but still felt disappointment. Holding our spirits hostage. Shoving them down deeper in our pockets as to not have a slip up. Not believing this was finally it. It always ended the same. We fall in love with the place. We have a great conversation with the owner. They say excitedly how we have a good chance of getting it then to no ones surprise we don't get it. Its a heartbreak game and this time around we didn't have much left for them to break.

The next day I received a text at work asking if we could come to the house to meet again. My spirit busting out of the darkness upon reading it. Oh shit, he was serious. We might actually get it this time. Whaaaaaaat.

This isn't real right?? We are gonna go meet with them and one of us will end up saying no. There were so many moments during the conversation with them where I wanted to abort mission. Oh, we pay water every 2 months? That's too bad, never mind, bye! Oh, the neighbors are nice? That's probably bullshit, BYE! Yes its close to the freeway but its far from my work so BYE! "What the hell is happening right now and what are we doing???" Kept replaying in my head.

We were outback when the landlord turned to me and asked who would be the main one paying the rent. I tried to seem confident as if i'd done this before. Holding my back straight and trying to keep my voice from cracking I answered. Then with the sun beating down and a smirk on his face he said, "Well, yes. You got the place." It felt surreal. It felt like a play by play from The Price Is Right. Yes, Analaura you are the winner of this not new but new to you houuussse!!! Moving in sold separately.

When it came down to the money talk. I was nervous how do you tell your landlord your reliable but also that you have an organization that's going to pay for the deposit and some of the rent because you can't?

I led on to tell them that an organization helps low income families. Although a little confused they accepted.

This is where it all began. As we walked back to the car I made sure to soak up everything around me. I needed to remember this moment. This walk back to the car knowing this was the moment we had all been waiting for so many years.

Please, Join me next week with the next installation. I
 am very excited to finally be sharing this beautiful change in our lives. Its been long overdue and awaited and dreamed about for so damn long. 
At some point look out for a compilation video of the moving in process. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Loss of My Abuelita, Final Part-3

Rosalia Solis Nisperos, born June 21,1938 in Michuacan, Mexico to my great grandmother Nicandra Lopez Cortez. She was the result of love and false impression.

I knew that I had to soak up the life stories of my grandmother because forgetting my ancestry wasn't going to happen to me. So every chance I got I would ask her to tell me stories and there were plenty times I needn't ask she was constantly retelling stories like it was her duty. Maybe-probably was. I can still her picture her sitting on my canopy bed pushed up against the window in my room when we had an apartment. With her dark brown curls creating a small afro and her hands with the rings around her fingers that she would never take off. Her hands had her whole life story illistrated on them. Her back now curved from age and an injury from when she was young. She had on fuzzy white socks that I gave her because her feet were always cold. She had one foot straight on the bed and one hanging down. She would look at me with her big eyes and say "Mira, cuando estaba chicita y estaba con mi papa me trataban muy feo. Me humiyaban y me yamaron la bastarda." (Translation: Look, when I was a little girl and I was with my dad and his family they would treat me really bad. They would constantly humiliate me and call me the bastard child) then her palm and forhead would meet and she would sigh as she relived the painful memory all over again. 

My grandmother was born out of love. My great grandmother was crazy about the man who ended up breaking her heart when she discovered he was married. The details are a little iffy but at some point my grandma was taken to her fathers house to live with his family since they were a lot wealthier than my great grandmother was. They were the high class part of society and my great grandmother was a humble hardworking woman who had little to no luxury in her life. My grandma was taken in by her fathers family but he was never home and his family was unwelcoming to the idea of a child that came from adultery so they mistreated her. Treated her less than and she would never forget it. She would make toys out of trash and at one point created pots and pans out of an old vegetable can. She would go to school and they would call her the orphan and the bastard child. They would bully her and tell her horrible things like nobody loved her and she was depraved of love and admitted to me that she often asked God why she was even born. One day my great grandmother came to take her back and she said she hugged her mother so tight while she cried begging her to take her with her. She said she told her she didn't care if she didn't have much she just wanted to be with her mother. Skip ahead some and my grandma was in her early teens when she was taken by an older abusive man who raped her and threatened and beat her into fear of leaving. I can still remember her aged hands covering her face and she shivered and cried while reliving the many rapes. She became pregnant with her first son Moises. Im obviously missing many details in her story but at some point my great grandmother came to visit my grandma and found her bleeding because the abusive man had broken a ceramic pot over her head. Without a second thought or a moment further to waste my great grandmother got my pregnant grandma and her son Moises and left town without thinking of what they were going to do or the fact that they knew nobody they traveled their way to Mexicali. The abusive man still on their tail but they walked and walked miles. My grandma would often tell me how she was so tired because not only was she pregnant but she also had a baby on her hip the whole way. My great grandmother and my grandma pushed through I'm sure unbelievable obstacles. Giving up was not an option for either of them. Move forward or nothing. 

The second child she was pregnant with was my mother Maria. She would often tell me how all she wanted for my mom was for her to be happy, for her to have a good life and be treated well. She called my mom her "brazo derecho" her right arm signifying her importance to my grandmas ability to survive. My mom took care of her brothers and sisters while my grandma worked 2-3 jobs everyday to take care of her 7 kids. My grandmother worked in the fields picking vegetables and she worked at Motel 6 and she worked her ass off at a restaurant because she was a badass cook. In an alternate universe shes a culinary chef, I just know it. She was an exotic dancer. She worked her ass off for her kids. Her childhood was little to none and she always kept chugging along. She was motivated and hella creative. She would create art out of pine cones and trash to sell in order to make money. She would knit and sew dresses. She would alter clothes. She suffered most of her life yet she was the funniest, silly woman. Pain was never a stranger to her. Difficulty was never diluted in her life. She was the queen of pushing through, of endurance, of RESILIENCE. She had bad assery embedded in her dna. From the second she took her first breath she was influenced with the power of a hope that was tenacious, sharp minded, creative, stubborn as hell, and beautiful.

That was my grandma;my abuelita. We fought most of the time but I loved her so much and wanted her with me all the time. I wanted to take care of her and I always did when she was around. When she wasnt with me she was always on my mind. I dreamt greatly of having a home and having her live there with us. I dreamt of coming home from work and seeing her sweet smile. I dreamt of taking her on another roadtrip. I wanted to take her so many places. I wanted life to be sweet before she left us and unfortunately that was far from the case. 

I have decided to withold the greary details of the days leading to her death and the backlash from our so called family in respects to her. Just as many times and people did her wrong she would forgive them all the same. I may not get to the forgiveness part but I can restrain myself this time around. 

I hold onto the memories of just months before with her and the laughs and arguments we got into. I hope she rememebered them too during her last breaths. I can only hope. 

"Me vas a extranar, mija. Cuando me muera yo. Vas a eztranar a esta viejita." She looked at me one Christmas eve as I handed her her hot tea. "No, porque nunca te vas a morir." I said playfully with a humph. She burst out laughing unable to take my optimism and denial seriously. 

I never thought I would lose her this soon. She died worried that we didnt have a house. She spent days declining, alone. She passed without us there. So many things I wish would have been different but no amount of griping will change any of it. 

My grandmothers life is a grand painting of how much resilience one human being can have. She reminds me that I'm doing alright with my life when I feel like I'm fudging it all up and letting it go to crap. That I can always continue when I feel I can't. That aching hearts aren't broken but aware. That dogs really are the best things in the world and we don't deserve them. That I'm worthy of love and I'm smart even though she felt she didnt/wasnt. 

My abuelita was a great woman. She made all those came into contact with her laugh and she was always so grateful. 

If I die with anything to my name I hope its just like that too. That I could make you laugh and I appreciated people. 

Hasta cuando nos vemos en el cielo, Abuelita. 
Te amo. 

Hey, 2018s Here

Hey there 2018. Cute puppy-AKA-Penny Although I am not one for resolutions I did promise myself that this year I would begin to write ...