Poetry: Caught Between

I wrote this 2001 when I took a break from writing angry breakup poetry-lol. As an immigrant that grew up here, I’ve struggled with my identity for most of my life. Issues with identity are also another trait of BPD. I think this was a time in my life when I was especially reflecting on this part of my identity because I was become aware that men were fetishizing me.

me in 2001 around the time I wrote this poem

Caught between two worlds
what am I made up of more
hopefully I won’t ever have to choose
sometimes I wish to just cut loose

Too Latina for the American side
Too Americanizada for the Latino side
So what is the politically correct term for someone like me?
Not American, not born here
Not fully Latina either
for I lack that latin allure

So I’ll call myself one of a kind
a girl with much Latin beauty and an American mind
like a delicious half and half cream
whose taste is an amazing mixed dream

Poetry Review: Visceral

Visceral by Melia Cogan

The debut collection of poems Visceral from Melia Cogan is appropriately named since it will make you feel a multitude of intense emotions internally. As a person that feels intense emotions, I loved this book. The book is divided into 3 sections titled Love, Rage, and Death. Reading this book felt like going through a roller coaster of emotions-from sexy to anger to sadness. Personally, for me, this is a good thing. I resonate with poetry that makes me feel my emotions.  I picked my favorite poem from each section. This was hard since all the poetry in this collection is amazing. 

The first section Love captures the magical feeling of what it’s like to be in love, make love, and be loved. Her poems in this section makes even the most jaded of us feel like there is a world where love is possible. The first poem “Daemon-Lover” leaves you breathless with the raw emotion and sensuality felt throughout the poem.  The second stanza is fire as it states, “With a spirit strong as seventy/As his throbbing passion sears me/ With its ‘blind encompassing throbbing power ”(Cogan, 22-25)   It makes you feel like you are witnessing passion on display. You might have to take a cold shower after reading this poem. The other poems in this section not only capture the passion of being in love but also the complexity of other feelings that come with it. 

The next section of the book is Rage, and you feel the anger and rage within this section. 

My favorite poem in this section is Women’s Inheritance which captures the essence of what’s like being a woman in the 21st century. It addresses the misogyny that our modern patriarchal society continues to administer to women. The poem also conveys the disappointment that women feel after being used and discarded nonchalantly by men. The sixth stanza captures this feeling as it states, “Finally, you who I love with my whole self / Could not display this mythical manly bravery/ To tell me the truth/ Why not?” (Cogan, 30-33).  The other poems in this section captures the anger felt with different experiences in life ranging from expectations in relationships to abandonment issues. Cogan expresses a raw truth about anger that most people are afraid to express and that is a kind of bravery you don’t see often. 

The last section is Death and I’ll just say that you should have a box of tissues by your side because it will probably make you cry. In this section, Cogan is versatile in exploring the theme of death. In this section, my favorite poem is Remember Me for the Birthdays which is how the poet wants to be remembered by her loved ones. The eleventh stanza conveys this as it states, “Remember how I filled you with the urge/to push forward and explore/To engage life, expanding in all good directions” (Cogan, 37-40). Cogan is skillful at portraying grief in a conscientious manner that’s both thoughtful and respectful. 

Melia Cogan brings a raw vulnerability and talent to her debut collection. I highly recommend this poetry collection if you are looking for a versatile collection that explores the depth of the human experience. I’m excited to read and review her next poetry book, Love Pangs. Below are the links for both Visceral and Love Pangs

Visceral: https://www.amazon.com/Visceral-Melia-Cogan/dp/B0915DH7W4

Love Pangs: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Pangs-Melia-Cogan/dp/B09PHJXX19

Poetry: I Wish

I wrote this in April of 2002 when I was depressed AF. I wrote this because I was in a toxic work environment where I was discriminated against, disrespected, and at one point even slut shamed. We could say by today’s standards that I was bullied to the extent that getting up every morning for this job was really hard. I was tired of it when I wrote this poem. I’ll tell the story of this toxic job in another blog post.

resilience should be my middle name

I wish I could throw up
everything ugly in my life
and only enjoy the beautiful
Perhaps tell the put me down people
to fuck off

Or stop their pathetic attempts
to change me into their idea
of what I should be

And stop getting talked into what
they think is best for me

Reflection: I Am America

It’s been 4 years since I took an oath to become an American citizen. I took an oath specifically to Trump which makes me nauseous typing BUT I also took an oath because of Trump. Before making the decision to become an American citizen, I had never really cared about politics but that was until Trump got elected. If you were a POC or immigrant or both, you felt the shift in the racial tension in the U.S right before the election but especially after the election. Racists overtly made their ignorant beliefs known that immigrants were not welcomed in this country. DACA was in the process of being repealed. DACAmented kids who should have been protected were being deported and there was a rise in deportation for undocumented immigrants as well or well the media made it seem like that. I felt that as an immigrant with LPR (legal permanent resident) status, I could possibly be next. In February of 2016, I sent my paperwork to USCIS to solidify my relationship with America. One could say that for better or worse, I finally decided to make a commitment to this country. Here is my blog post about the process:

What has changed in the past 4 years since becoming an American and what does being American mean to me now?

Well, I’ve voted in 2 elections since I’ve become an American including the national election in 2020 (yay, no more Trump). In October of this year, I applied for my passport and have received it. Now, I can take a trip out of the country without any worries or concerns. While it is an immense privilege to be an American citizen since I  now have a whole new world of opportunities opened up and I can travel anywhere; I feel that I haven’t really changed on the inside. I still see myself and identify as an immigrant  but now I also call myself an American. But to be honest, my idea of being an American has changed. I used to think I needed a piece of paper to say “Oh, I’m American” but  for better or worse, America is and has been ingrained in me since that hot September day in 1986 when I set my foot on American soil at the age of 5.

I was an American when every morning at school I would say the Pledge of Allegiance in my broken and terrible English at the age of 6 and 7.

me in 1987

I was an American when I went back to Peru at age 9 to get my resident alien status solidified with my family.

me at age 9 in Peru during my trip with my family to get our LPR status

I was an American when I met my childhood best friends in Hawaii at age 11.

me with one of my childhood best friends from Hawaii

I was an American when I had my babies at ages 17, 24, and 30.

me with my three kids right after their births

I was American when I started working for the government at the age of 18.

me at the age of 18 in 1999 working for the government

I was an American when I got my college degree in 2009 from the University of Georgia .

me in 2009 with my parents at my graduation from college

I was an American in 2016 and early 2017 when I attended protests and marches for immigrant and women’s rights.

me in January of 2017 at the Women’s March in Washington D.C

And I was an American when people told me, “my english is good for being a Mexican” or I’ve been discriminated against or oppressed in this country by the people that don’t want “my kind” here.

I used to believe that I didn’t belong here because of the racism, prejudice, and ignorance I’ve encountered but that’s no longer the case. This year, I finally let go of those beliefs because I’ve embraced that I am America and America is me. My life may have been harder in many aspects because I wasn’t the average “American born” citizen but I will tell you that I wouldn’t trade my experience as an American to be average. I I feel that working harder than the “average American” for my success has made me appreciate my success so much more and for that I am thankful. My parents had no idea of the many hardships they would endure making the decision to immigrate to this country but I am glad they made that journey. It’s taken me 35 years to get here but today I can honestly say that I’m proud to be an American. 

me in November of 2021 telling my crazy story about being an essential worker

 

What Does Thanksgiving Mean to an Immigrant

When me and my family first immigrated to the U.S in September of 1986; Thanksgiving was a foreign concept to us. We were introduced to Thanksgiving by our extended family members who were seasoned veterans in celebrating this American Holiday. I was 5 when I immigrated to this country so my memories of our first or second Thanksgiving are pretty blurry. 

What I do remember is going to my uncle’s house where my aunts, uncles and numerous cousins would gather. My mother sat with my aunts and grandmother while they shared the latest chisme (aka-gossip) while they cooked and later on served dinner to the kids and the men. Yay for machismo culture <insert sarcasm>. My father and my uncles drank together while they joked around. I remember playing with my cousins or following my sister upstairs with our teenage cousins to the bedroom with the TV to watch music videos with George Michael ,Rick Astley blasting on MTV. Maybe that’s how I acquired my sometimes basic taste in music.

I also remember that since we were away from adults, our cousins took the opportunity to teach me and my sister all of the bad words in English. Haha. Another fond memory that comes to mind is the newest babies being passed around the aunts or the older female cousins. There wasn’t such a thing as asking permission from the parents for their baby unless of course the child is being nursed. I also remember hating the taste of turkey. It tasted like rubber to me.

me and almost all of my cousins circa 1987, I’m in front in the frilly blue dress

There was warmth and laughter in this idyllic setting of Thanksgiving but that’s not the whole picture. There was also unpleasantness. My mom is one of nine children and with that many personalities; there was no way to avoid drama when all of them gathered in one space. There were more than a few petty conflicts between family members on Thanksgiving and other holidays gatherings.

My mother decided after a couple of Thanksgivings it would be better to celebrate Thanksgiving at home by ourselves. So my mother learned how to season and make a turkey and stuffing. Instead of the traditional green bean casserole or sweet potato pie; our sides were Peruvian Potato Salad and Macaroni Salad accompanied by Peruvian Hot Chocolate and Dad’s famous alcoholic Peruvian eggnog. We would watch movies rented from the local video store while we waited for the turkey to be ready. When my dad started getting tipsy, he would start playing Spanish Christmas Carols, Huaynos, and Musica Criolla. It was music that my teenage sister would cringe at and me and my brother would tolerate. I didn’t realize then but I do realize now that my father was in his own way trying to make sure that we wouldn’t forget our roots as we were living this new life in America. My parents tried their best to make sure that our strong Peruvian culture and traditions were not forgotten as we acclimated to the the new Americanized way of living. When dinner was ready, we would sit down at the table. I ,being the youngest and most impressionable by my then Catholic School upbringing, would ask the family to say a prayer and ask them to say something they were thankful for. I think I was seven or eight at the time but I guess my parents thought it was a good tradition to start. And of course, my siblings would get annoyed but they did it.

Despite those first few Thanksgivings when we lived very much under the poverty line; it was still a happy time for us as a family. My parents made sure that Thanksgiving was almost always filled with  warmth, love, and laughter. One could say that  what Thanksgiving meant to my newly arrived immigrant family then  was learning how to incorporate our culture into a new American holiday like Thanksgiving. While my parents understood the importance of assimilation; they still made sure me and my siblings didn’t forget our culture.  Today, I’m filled with gratitude that my parents brought the best of both cultures to Thanksgiving and most holidays in their own unique way. I’ve been able to bring these bicultural traditions to my own family while also making new traditions.

me and my family circa 1986, I’m the one sitting on my mom’s lap

Poetry: Fun is Gone

I wrote this in 1998 about my pregnancy. I wrote this after telling my traditional and catholic parents I was pregnant. I was six months along and went into a deep depression afterwards that lasted maybe a year after the birth of my first child. Yes, I was a teen mom with post partum depression and there wasn’t much anyone could do at the time. I still got up to go to school and took care of my child. My life was no longer just about me, I was responsible for another life. Maybe that’s when I learned to mask so well. I learned to show up no matter what. On the upside, I had really supportive parents who were for me when they could have abandoned me. On the downside, some of my closest friends did. Sometimes I wonder if going through something this traumatic did stunted my maturity in some areas.

me at 17 around the time I wrote this poem

No more fun
No more just “lying in the sun”
Dirty diapers and Barney
Will sum up the next few years for me
No more hanging out with friends
No more having tons of boyfriends
Strollers and snotty noses
Will be how my adolescence closes

Poem: Racist Jerk

So I wrote this poem in 2000 when ex my boyfriend Mike said something super racist about immigrants knowing I was an immigrant myself. Talk about cognitive dissonance. Lol. He also had a super nice red sports car….and yes he was making up for something. Haha. Looking back, the dating pool in the hick town I was living in was super limited. I honestly can’t say that this had to anything to do with me over reacting because of BPD…this dude was just an ignorant asshole.

My new boyfriend
What you said really hurt
I never thought you were a racist jerk
I don’t know if I can get past your words
Staying with you would only make it worst
With time I could become like you
And to tell you the truth
That scares me to death
So now I wish we never met
And that I didn’t have to tell you this
I hope I won’t be missed
I wish you a good life
I hope one day you become wise

Poetry: My Sister y Yo

I wrote this poem in January of 2020. This is about me and my sister being polar opposites on almost every level in life. We’ve never really have had a close relationship and there have been times when we’ve had fights that have lasted for months . Recently, as we’ve grown older, we have been better about accepting each other for who we are and getting along much better.

me in January of 2020

She’s American

   I’m an immigrant 

She loves Trump

   I’m a borderline socialist

She believes in money and brand names

   I believe in love and poetry

Born from the same womb

  But living in different worlds

She’s the clean upper middle class

  I’m the gritty working class

She forgot everything she once was

  I remember and continue to live it

She’s Latina when it’s trendy or when it suits her

   I’m Latina every single minute of my life

She’s the definition of assimilation

  -and I-the forever brown girl trapped in a white America

She’s the American Dream

  And I’m the immigrant activist

She’s the Doña

  and I’m cabrona

Poetry: The Jungle Part 2

I wrote this about the PULSE club shooting in 2016.

Everyone claims prayers thoughts

For those they sprouted 

Hatred against (just a few days ago)

Only because of their untimely 

Deaths.

If they had gone 

On living -they would 

Have continued to be 

Hated by most–

Now they are loved 

And remembered and

Prayed for in the their death 

Because they are dead.

It’s too late for you

Prayers warriors, you

Religious zealots and

bigots , your prayers 

And love falls on 

Angry ears, ears of 

The victims families , ears 

Of their loved ones, ears

Of the LATINX,Puerto Rican, 

LGBTQ Community

People who weren’t  

Given two fucks about 

Or treated with hatred 

Because your Bible told 

You so. 

Poesia: Inocencia Perdida

Escribí este poema en 2006 cuando pensaba en mi juventud y como mi sensualidad siempre fue algo polémico y tabú.

Mi inocencia se perdió

 Cuando sentí esa rara sensación

No era las mariposas

  De las que todos hablaban

Si no–

El calor especial 

Entre mis piernas

Ese calor que yo 

Sentía al ver mi segundo novio

con apenas 16 anos

Mi sensualidad

Se me escapaba 

 de mis manos virtudes

Que diablos importa la inocencia, 

  Cuando el calor de los dos nos llevaba

   a un placer ilimitado!

Here We Go Again: Delta Edition

So I’ve been in denial for the past few weeks. I haven’t been keeping up with the COVID numbers as I usually do and have been ignoring the news about this new Delta variant of COVID. Last year, COVID basically consumed most of my life since I was an essential worker for the Department of Public Health and Kroger. 

me in April 2020

It was basically an adrenaline rush that kept going strong with constant policy changes at both jobs until October/November  and there was peace and almost going back to normalcy until late December when the COVID vaccination phases started. During this time, this took a toll on the mental health of me and my fellow coworkers. There were times that were so dark for me, that I wondered on some mornings if it  would be the day I would be committed to the psych ward.

me in August 2020 on one of my worst mental health days

However, I was super fortunate to have support from friends and my then supportive partner during that awful time.  I was also seeing Mr.Toxic who was my pandemic buddy who I would freak out with every time something new happened with the virus. Up until a few weeks ago, things had basically gone back to normal at both my jobs. Masks were basically a thing of the past (well for us that are fully vaccinated) and I wasn’t getting any calls about Covid. 

Me in May of this year when Masks were no longer mandated at my second job

That changed this past week when once again the numbers are rocketing out of control with the Delta Variant. I also started getting calls again about Covid at my DPH job and once again masks have enforced for all employees at both of my jobs

August 2021-Here we go again

At this point I’m honestly anxious about quite a few things:

  1. How long before school goes remote? I’m particularly worried about my 10 year old who is a social butterfly and hates remote learning. Also, all of these constant changes and transitions from in person to online learning cannot be good for the kiddos. I imagine therapy will be needed at some point for some of these kids.
  2. I will be facing this COVID surge without the support of a romantic love interest this time around. I’m kind of anxious about how I will cope but then again I really have no choice in this matter. Idk. Then again, I am lucky in having a great support system with my friends and my family and now my therapist. I’m also more determined to turn to my set of healthier coping mechanisms (DBT, journaling, exercising , writing, etc.) which I hope helps me stay away  from my usual unhealthy coping mechanisms (alcohol,binge shopping, dating apps, etc). 
  3.  Will there ever come a point where COVID does become like the flu or will this stupid virus keep mutating and keep getting more contagious? Will we as a society ever get back to a sense of real normalcy?

It will be interesting to see how all of this will play out with the new surge. I hope that the new administration will be way more proactive than the previous one. I also hope that mental healthcare  ends up being more accessible to the general population because a lot of us will need it. 

Below is the link for the COVID related post from last year:

Eliza Conquers Toxic Situationships

It’s been 2 weeks since the toxic dude “C” that I’ve been having an on and off situationship with has ghosted me. We’ve been playing this game since we met in July of last year. The chemistry and connection between us has been the insane from the beginning and maybe that’s why I have always let him come back. Or maybe I let him come back because I do genuinely care for him and love him and a part of me wants to believe that he’ll change and things will be different this time. I hate that every time I let him in, I let myself be vulnerable and let my guard down. And then he does something to disappoint me each and every time.I think I lost count of the times I’ve cried over his idiot ass. I think this time I’m finally convinced that he’s never going to change and I’ve got to let him go. He doesn’t have the emotional maturity to face whatever conflict we’re having and he never will have the emotional maturity to do so. It’s strange because he’ll be the one to mention marriage or having kids with me and get crazy jealous about other dudes. I think this time he ran away because I called him out on his offensive behavior while we were out in public and he got his feelings hurt. Or maybe he simply got tired of me.

And of course, he was my muse for my writing for a while. Today, I am tired of writing about him. Today, I am relieved that I’m not waiting for him to text me. Today, I am thankful that I don’t have to deal with his alcoholic and depressive ass trying to make me see things from his republican/libertarian perspective or trying to pull me down in his depression with him. Today, I am lucky I’m not measuring my worth by how he treats me. I’m obviously still angry and upset about this but I’m slowly entering the acceptance phase that he will no longer be a part of my anl life. I think the fog has lifted and I understand that I deserve way better than him. He was part of my wild phase from 2018. It was this phase where I got I was hooking up with dudes for fun (me and my husband had opened up our marriage at the beginning of 2018). A few of them I had genuine feelings for but I ended up being a fun phase for them. I realized that while that phase was fun, I need something deeper than a shallow “no strings attached” connection. I thought that maybe me and “C’ had that for a while but I was wrong. I was another “fun” phase to another dude and he got tired when it was no longer fun and made me feel disposable. Oh well. Honestly, I don’t blame guys for being that way. I know my part in putting that energy out there and tolerating waaaay too much. And damn, I tolerated too much with “C”. It probably should have ended for sure when he friendzone the first time in late July or that time he threw me out of his apartment in January or that time in August when I was sitting in the emergency room with my kid and he accused me of sleeping with other men. Typing all this, I think damn, I should have let him go a looong time ago.

20191005_015451

Anyways, today, I say to “C”, thanks for inspiring me for the many poems I wrote, thanks for not believing in me when I needed you too, and also for the excitement and your dumb antics that me and my friends laughed about for hours. I’m not just turning the page, I’m burning our book.
In the words of Ariana Grande, “thank u, next” .

 

Eliza Conquers Life: Moving Forward

Moving Forward

So last week, I started a second job at Kroger and I’m excited about it. I feel that with this job my life will finally start moving forward. My end goal is to be financially independent from my husband so I can separate from him. I know that sounds harsh but it’s been over between us for a while. I know that it will be hard trying to work anywhere from 60 to 70 hours a week but sometimes in America, you need a second job to move forward in life. I follow the examples from my hard working immigrant parents who have set this precedent for me. I’m tired of struggling and just getting by. These are my goals:
1) My first goal is to pay off debt I accumulated during my great depression of 2016 and 2017 . 2) My second goal is to build my credit score enough to get approved for a used car loan. Right now we only have one car and it’s rough.
3) Save up for a down payment for a car.
I know that I’m sacrificing time with my kids but since they’re older, they understand. Also, they deserve better than what we’ve been giving them and it’s up to me to take that initiative. This is part of my plan to make my life better for me and my kids. We’ll see how it goes.72225401_10101360389525912_839527301614927872_o