OMG…My Little Sister is Getting Married!!!

In my adult life, I have never really considered myself a “romantic.” The word itself gives me an icky feeling. See…I romanticize about places, words, music. Let’s be real for a moment…are you prepared? Good… I’ll break it down for you.  I’m 32, my romantic education consists of watching my single male friends use Tinder or Plenty of Fish and listening to their tall tales of painful breakups. Also, I’ve watched some of my best friends named Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha battle it out every half hour with the opposite sex. Not to mention, I’ve been horrendously heartbroken before, and as much as you get over it, the memory of that emotion always remains raw. Frankly, when I see teenage couples, I can’t help but think… “They’re not going to make it…” (I know, I’m an asshole.)

And then, this happened…

Laura, my younger sister, and her boyfriend Jeff of two and a half years have recently gotten engaged. When she called me, it was exciting. I shrieked, I laughed, and I even clapped. But due to my own success “I just finished Grad School” buzz, I hadn’t mentioned it. And honestly, who am I to steal her thunder? One day, after I finished my shift, I decided to finish up some Christmas shopping. I hadn’t bought anything for Jeff, I just couldn’t find anything. I called my sister seeking advice, and she said “Buy something we both can use…” (I’m not a fan of this idea.) My response was along the lines of “Ugh…whatever.” As I stood in line, I saw a Yo-yo. A nice, solid wooden Yo-yo and I thought “maybe Jeff would like this.” But I quickly shook the idea out of my head. As I went up to pay, the cashier said “Did you find everything okay?” and I responded “You know, I’m looking for a gift for my sister’s fiance… Oh, My God, my little sister is getting married.” (Note: this sounded more like Janice from Friends…And my voice usually doesn’t go this high). A few of the cashiers and customers around me laughed.It struck me, Laura is taken. Maybe it’s because I hadn’t said it out loud to someone who didn’t know them. Perhaps, it’s because I was speaking about them generically. I don’t know.

Jeff is the kind of guy you want to be best pals with. He is quiet but funny.  As a matter of fact, I find myself looking forward to what he is going to say next. His laugh is infectious, and he always smells so nice. (I can say that right?… I mean, my sister always tells my husband Jaime “Wow, Jaime look at your muscles!” and even pinches them. That’s normal, right?)  Anyway, I couldn’t imagine a better match for my precious little sister. And, I really couldn’t imagine a better brother in law for myself, I mean, he always listens to my strange stories; asks valid questions about our conversations and keeps my secrets (Sorry, but he is gonna be the only one who knows what I’m talking about!)

Laura, like Jeff, is stylish, witty and kind. But her best characteristic is her honesty. I will be the first to admit, I’m not always a fan of this. (Most likely because I constantly feel like I need to get my shit together.) She’s strong and is much tougher than I am. She handles difficult situations with grace and impeccable poise. My favorite moments with her are the ones no one else gets to witness. At the beginning of November, Laura walked in on my Grandma consoling me. Laura asked, “What’s wrong Jo?” I explained that I had twelve days to complete it and my professor’s notes were not as pleasant as I thought they would be. Laura looked at me and said “Do you think you have given your project enough attention?” and I said, “I have been working on it for days, I’ve even called him.” Laura immediately responded, “Jo, you got this. You will figure it out. You always do.” This offered me relief. Her believing that I could do it. Moments like these show me that my little sister has my back.

I’m beyond happy my sister has found her person. They complement each other beautifully.My favorite part about this pair is how they look at each other when the other isn’t looking and how happy they look when they don’t realize that others are paying attention. They are one of the best couples I’ve met (I mean, aside from Jaime and I, because our love story is the best!) I love you guys! Jeff, welcome to our family!

Ciao,

Jo

The Crowning Achievement

This was the aftermath on Sunday night after submitting my Capstone. At this point, I was exhausted, worried, and beyond stressed out.

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It’s over. The end of my Capstone was just as chaotic as my desk at the end of the night on Sunday. It ‘s hard for me to admit that it’s all over.

I waited a few days to announce anything, in fear that I wasn’t going to pass. Waiting for the grade to post officially, although I have been informed that I passed.

I couldn’t help but wonder, why I felt so many emotions?  Is this how I am supposed to feel after an achievement of this magnitude?! The mixed feelings that have accompanied me by finishing this degree: relief, disbelief, remorse, pride, excitement, and fear. The clearest of all is the familiar feeling of being lost. What am I going to do now? Should I intern? Do I get a J-O-B? (I mean, let’s be real, those school loans aren’t going to pay for themselves, right?) Do I create jingles? (I do love commercials) Should I write songs? (Although, I can’t play any instruments.) Should I freelance? Maybe I should write for television?

The possibilities are endless, and the unknown is exciting.

Being able to complete this, wasn’t a mission in solitude. It required a lot of emotional support. Many pep talks, Hundreds of liters of coffee, bowls full of Sabra hummus, hugs, shoulders to cry on, out of state and international calls, threats, and let’s not forget the editing!

I wanted to take a moment to say  “Thank you”! For the coffee, the words of encouragement, the threats (yes, threat, not treats), the hugs and the long phone calls. There are too many people to mention! But I know that I have an amazing group of people that support me, support my writing and believe in me. Honestly, I don’t even know how I got to be this lucky.

So, as the final words of my academic career at the University of Denver say:

“I have mentioned before, that like the monsters, myths, and folklore I believe in, I want to be a monster at what I do.”

I hope I’m able to accomplish just that.

Ciao,

Jo

 

Beautiful Creature

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”-Emily Bronte 

I know it’s been a while. A long while. Honestly, it’s been the worst summer of my life. So terrible that it’s killed my momentum (just as I previously feared). Actually, its been so bad that it almost killed my young spirit. I didn’t have the words to amplify my emotions. As a writer, this is difficult for me to admit. But today is a good day to start…

Tonight was my 11 year wedding anniversary. Yeah… 11. Eleven. I ask myself “How did we get here so quickly?” Jaime, doesn’t know I’m writing this. We spent the morning together. That’s all we got, breakfast and lunch. We spent it talking, laughing and grocery shopping for his food to head back to work in the blazing desert. While I sit here, in my cotton pink Jungle Book pajamas wishing today could be different, I know he is sitting, drenched in sweat, wishing he could be home, eating a mediocre dinner that I would have cooked up; watching Rick and Morty or Adult Swim.

Jaime is this fun imperfect being (his actions at times are caveman-esque) that I can’t seem to capture in writing, most likely because whatever creative concoction I assemble, wouldn’t suffice to describe his rough yet delightful persona. He doesn’t try to be perfect.  He isn’t predicable. He isn’t always nice. He is just himself. But with me, he is magnificent. I’m not stating that he doesn’t have a difficult personality to deal with at times (who doesn’t) or that our personalities do not collide. But we work. We work so well. He is my partner in crime. He soothes me when I’m hurt and provides the truth even when it’s not pretty.

This summer, my mom was very ill. (I’ll write about this in time…) I think about my mom and I remember weeks of intensive care units, thoughts about the Grimm Reaper lurking every corner of the hospital, insurance documents, stress and overall fear. Fear that I would lose one of my biggest supporters; that my family would not be the same if we lost our matriarch and fear that I wasn’t prepared.  Jaime, on the other hand did not falter. He was the most incredible creature in a mist of chaos.  His serenity during this time was admirable, soothing and overall he exactly what was needed in my family. His patience and caring nature gave me peace that  he would watch over my grandmother; that he would keep my teenage brother at ease, but most importantly that he knew what to say or what I needed and what to do when I was falling apart.

These are the reasons he is beautiful. These are the reasons he is loved by me. These actions are what keep us close and I hope that we never part.

Pop, I love you. Happy Anniversary!

Ciao,

Johan

 

 

 

 

The Mid Year Resolutions…

This year I started out with big plans.

-Be Healthy-Read More-Clear Shitty Debt-Write More-Be Happy

At first it started well. I ate healthy food but somewhere down the line, I caught myself only eating snacks (I’d like to blame this on Grad school). I read more. But I read more just for school and I found myself only reading one book from Bustle’s list. (I read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” and that’s because it was assigned). As I subbed more, I started clearing shitty debt. But somehow, I charged my cards up again…(DAMN you KOHL’S & HomeGoods…why is your stuff so awesome? I just can’t stay away.) Wrote more for school,but I wanted to write more for myself. (As you can tell, I haven’t been able to blog much at all this year!) Finally, I’m happy overall. I have met a few people that really keep me motivated. But I am overly stressed and really exhausted. These first five months have been busy, and being happy isn’t just about the people I’m surrounded by, but tackling work in a stress free manner.

I’m doing Mid Year Resolutions. Yeah…maybe this is a bit dumb. Maybe I’ve lost my shit. But not working on a Capstone in the summer; not graduating and not subbing… changes things. The kid’s defeated. I need a do over or at the very least work on myself. Lets take it back to the start.

So… here is to a half year of No Fucks Given… And the rest of my Summer List.

Wish me luck this time.

Do you have any goals you wish you would have kept up with? Were all of your New Year Resolutions successful? If so, which?

Ciao,

Jo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Momentum

Tonight I made a Hamburger Helper for dinner. At 21, I didn’t picture myself here, feeding my culinary trained husband a Hamburger Helper. Things have gotten that out of control. I thought that by this time maybe my life would be in better order. But Grad school is priority. This quarter, I have felt defeated and burnt out. Motivation is lacking and the truth is: from the get go it was a frenzy.

The night before spring quarter I needed to add a second course. This is a problem, considering the fact that I was preparing to research my capstone (The CAPSTONE: The crowning achievement of my degree), I had a ticket to Washington and I had scheduled substitute jobs. I definitely bit more than I could chew. The last couple days of this quarter, I have been surviving on humus and coffee. Humus and Coffee. Here’s where it gets really shitty:

ALL OF THAT WORK JUST TO BE TOLD THAT THE CAPSTONE ISN’T AVAILABLE IN THE SUMMER!

All of that work for things to not go my way. Holy shit.  I immediately thought: “Momentum. I’m gonna lose it.” And let the neurosis kick in. I suddenly can’t stay awake; and all at once, it has hit me: I’m exhausted and I can’t think of anything other than sleeping and momentum. Days go by and nothing is consoling me. I hate to say it, but “I always get the shitty end of the stick.”

Today over my ritual upside down soy caramel macchiato, I started thinking about what this delay was going to do for me. Maybe I’m not ready for the capstone? Maybe I need another writing course under my belt? Maybe the universe is protecting me? Maybe all of this thinking is bullshit and I need to inspire myself to finish this fucking thing? Suddenly I thought I don’t just want to make my peeps proud. It’s more than that now. It’s not just about finishing, but it’s about pride. I want to produce a capstone that is so magnificent that my teacher/advisors/reviewers will think “Holy shit…we made this monster. We produced this and it’s going to be fantastic.” (Well, maybe they won’t burst into applause but this has to keep me going. This idea has to keep my momentum, it has to keep me inspired…because right now the machine is down.)

So for now, I know that the dishes need to be washed, that there are loads of laundry that need to be cleaned, there are healthy meals that need to be made and created and my husband deserves the best for putting up with my neurosis. But it has to wait until Monday.

Wish me luck on my finals.

Ciao,

Jo

Reflection of Friendship

February 14th, 2016-11:07 P.M.-The End of V-Day

Valentine’s Day is over. As I sit in pajamas,  I quietly debate how I’ll tackle the following week. I reflect on the past week, but as for today: I know we have over indulged in sweets, chocolate cookies, reading and cartoons. This is how I know the day is over and well Jaime is asleep. This has given me some time to reflect on my relationships during the last few weeks.

I’ve always related to men. I’ve always considered myself a “Bro”. I like sports, action movies, burgers and wings and I love the laid back environment that comes with befriending men. Maybe it’s because I don’t think I fit in. I don’t think I ever have. Jaime says “It’s because you’re a rebel and women don’t like that.” He likes it, but he is probably right.

My friend Jill and I chat almost everyday. I wonder from time to time if we will ever run out of things to talk about, but this never seems to be the case. Just when I think our conversations can’t get any deeper, I’m wonderfully surprised. The foundation of our friendship isn’t that we have a few things in common. No, Jill and I are friends because we share our dreams and aspirations, our goals and achievements, our fears and insecurities and sometimes we are just plain silly. Friendship isn’t simple. It is complicated. It’s a fucking relationship. You have to work at it; be there for each other, but above all its about acceptance and commitment.

I didn’t have many female friends growing up.  I have two friends from my adolescent era that actively communicate with me. Both are married; one is a mother of two, says “fuck” as much as I do and the other is a pup mom and a lesbian. They’re my friends because they ‘ve always gotten it. They’ve gotten me. And they couldn’t be anymore opposite from each other.

In the last few weeks, I’ve found myself distressed and intricately involved with others interpretation of friendship and what that entails. Friendship doesn’t allow one person to control another; to censor them; to constantly put them down or assume and place blame. Like a relationship, there needs to be trust, balance, love and respect. If these things are lacking, what’s the damn point?

The truth is: I’m not a kid anymore. I don’t have time to be playing games with people. And we live in a time when being a catty woman, isn’t cool anymore. But I have also grown tired of explaining,  that to me, friendship isn’t a right, but a privilege. Allowing someone to get to know you, is an honor.

Finally, I can’t close this without stating: We don’t all have to be friends but we have to be civil and respect each other. No?

Ciao

-Johana

 

Happy New Year?

I know… I’ve been away. After Fall quarter, I decided I needed a writing break and thought I would pick it up at the beginning of 2016. The holidays are stressful; so much pressure since everyone has such high expectations. I knew the beginning of January was going to be busy (since my Winter quarter started January 4th). This year, like every other year, I have New Years Resolutions, in hopes that it will make me the ideal adult. Here is the kicker: Expectations of resolutions, like the holidays, are too high. There is so much pressure to lose weight; be debt free; buy a home; be nicer…that people get burned out. (You know that if you’re reading this, you agree!). So… in honor of the busy “beginning of the year” gym days (and school starting; my extra subbing and making detailed lists of what I want to accomplish and how I am going to accomplish this…) I decided to wait. Yup… Wait! At first I thought January 15th is the perfect day to start my Resolutions, but due to the Gym still being full; unexpected company and a random foot dilemma, I decided to push back until the 21st. So today it begins: “The List of What Johana Hopes to Accomplish this Year”… Ready?

Be Healthy

I’m 31. I don’t know how I got here and most of the time it’s so automatic for me to resent the idea of getting older. I want to drink like I’m 21; smoke like I’m 18; jump and run like I’m five and stay up all night like an infant. It’s time to Adult. My goal is the never ending struggle I have with losing weight. Not because it’s the trendy goal, but because it’s important for my heart, for my knees, for my future un-conceived children but most important because I love clothing! I need to take vitamins, watch what I eat, sleep more.

Read…MORE

My best friend Jill says she admires how much I read. I read a lot of: blogs, art books, articles on art and culture, travel articles and text books. I hardly get to read books that I want to read or any books I will grow from. This year I’ve decided to read Bustle’s “20 Classic And Important Books That Will Make You Feel Well-Read, Even If They’re The Only Ones You Read”. Some of these I have already read, but I know there are a few that I have never even touched, that I should have read, like “Moby Dick” “Tale of Two Cities” and “Beloved”… Shame on me.

Clear Shitty Debt

Debt is inevitable. Realistically, like other 30 nothings, I have school loans and car loans, but you know what I mean by shitty debt. Shitty debt: Store cards that give “30 percent off on the first day of use” but then bite you in the ass with a 23.99% APR. WTF was I thinking? I want to pay these suckers off! Instead, I want to have one credit card for Emergencies (and preferably one that will give me miles! I have places I want to see…Amsterdam, Korea, Machu Picchu, India)

Write…MORE

I don’t write enough for myself. I write a ton for school, but I never find the time to write on here or short stories or ideas of my own. I need to write more, without constantly being given ideas. I have ideas; maybe they aren’t all panned out, but they could lead to great ideas.

Be Happy

Finally, this is the most important one. All of the above will help me, but I need to stop letting irrelevant people, doormat me. I want to be surround by people who are going to praise me. For the individual I am; for the individual I am striving to be. I don’t need toxicity.

So… here is to a year of No Fucks Given. To a year with better health, more money and more literature & compositions.

What are your goals? Have anything new panned out for 2016? Share it!

Ciao!

Johana