Fresh air.

I was born in the beginning of October, which means that I’m a Libra. Libras fall under the heading of “air sign.”

I don’t know much. But I know that.

*****

It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and I’m lying in bed, fighting my carpal tunnel and/or arthritis in order to type. It hurts to grip a pencil and to open a bottle of medicine and to reach for my kids. But that’s what I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks.

The nannies have been on vacation because I expected to be in NYC by now and I didn’t want to rearrange their plans just because we’re not abroad. My brother’s been a big help just by looking after the boys for 30 minutes each day so that I can shower—but that’s all the help I’m getting. It’s just me, a 34-month old, and a 10-month old. I clean the five-bedroom house we live in, cook three square meals a day, and take care of the kids. It’s not easy, but it’s gratifying. I’m beyond proud to be able to say that I’ve gotten control of this domestic life within a couple of weeks.

School-wise, I’m at a stand-still. I decided months back that I would take a year off. I was supposed to take the kids back to NYC asap because Rob’s mom has stage four cancer and would like to see her grandsons before she dies. Only thing is, we’ve hit a lot of snags. Problems with paperwork and red tape. Drama that would make your head spin if I got into it.

I don’t know what the future has in store, if we’ll end up going or not. Right now though, my plans don’t include going home any time soon. I want to get my dual citizenship taken care of asap so that I can work at a call center and save money. Due to my grandma’s death, Rob’s car accident, Riley’s hospitalization, and other factors, finances are beyond tight right now; I’ve decided that I’m going to pay for my tuition from here on out.

Not Rob. Not my parents. Not Rob’s parents. Me. No loans or borrowing or credit cards. I’m going to pay for the rest of my nursing school education out of pocket. I’m going to pay for my own tuition, and all of the expenses that go with it.

Also: I’m going to pay for Riley to go to daycare, and for clothes for the kids, and for a life that’s closer to the one that I want. I’m frustrated at my circumstances and need to feel in control of something.

I need to feel like I’m getting a kick-ass nursing education, and that I’m good at what I do. I need to feel like I’m an amazing mother, and honestly, only now, after being a stay-at-home-mom do I feel that I can claim that title. I need to feel that I’m in a relationship that works. I need to regain faith in myself and the future; I keep on fumbling the former and I’m afraid I’ve permanently lost the latter.

I’m angry at Rob for being so goddamn hard to communicate with.

I’m anxious about my health because I haven’t fixed any of my problems, haven’t gotten my skin biopsy or cervical biopsy, and haven’t taken thyroid meds or consulted specialists or gotten answers.

I’m sad because of all the death that’s been surrounding me, and because of my parents’ shortcomings and how they affect me and my own family.

I’m tired of making lemons into lemonade. I think I’m just going to suck on some lemons and see where it takes me. I can’t deal with pretending to be happy all the time just for the sake of other peoples’ comfort.

I am learning to be brief and concise. I am learning to be ambiguous, and to not share as much of my life as I would have done before. I am learning to keep to myself, to let the internal workings do their thing, and to trust whatever is in me.

Point blank: I’m not in an easy place. It’s not a bad place, per se. It’s just terribly difficult. My plate is full of worry and anxiety and frustration. I want to get to the next stage, to a place where I already have my BSN and at least one finished manuscript that I’m damn proud of. I want to kill my board exam and pass the NCLEX with flying colors. I want to add on to my family and move back to NYC and feel… different. I want life to be easier and fun and happy.

Because this? This lack of money, lack of power, lack of control? This overthinking that I do? These expectations for myself and for others that I have? They’re too much. It’s all just too much for me right now. And the more I try to fix things and realize that I just muck up the gears, the more frustrated and angry I get.

I need a break from everything that is unnecessary. I need to strip away the stuff I don’t need and get to the bare essentials.

I’m working Maslow’s hierarchy, one level at a time.

I’m climbing it, trying to get to self-actualization.

And taking as many deep breaths as I can on the way up.

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Just in the nick of time.

I was channel surfing the other day, and happened upon a part in Scandal where the main character and her friend are having a fight about a case they’re working on. The main character is yelling at her friend and defending her reasons for acting as she did. When she’s done, her friend yells right back at her, just as vicious and gangsta: she has made a mistake in the way she is handling the case, and her friend let’s her know. The friend says something along the lines of, “The real Olivia Pope busted my abusive husband’s knee caps and got me the hell out of that fucked up marriage. You do NOT get to decide when you’re going to be her and when you’re going to act like somebody else.” I know, I know. Old g style, yeah? I gotta start watching from the beginning, and then on the regular.

But, anyway: That’s what I needed and that’s what I got. I needed someone to remind me what the real Maria Rubio is like. I needed someone to remind me how ballsy I am, how I see the world and my self, and how committed I am to my family. I needed someone to remind me why I am who I am, and that as much as I like pissing off my dad, he is NOT the reason I do what I do or am who I am, and I’m nothing like him. I needed someone to remind me about my patterns in behavior, and the great leaps I’ve made to change the bad patterns in my behavior and improve the good patterns in my behavior. I needed someone to remind me how much faith I have in myself, and in the universe, and in people, in general. I needed someone to remind me who I was when I met Rob, and how we’ve both changed, and how we still know the fundamental parts of each other. I needed someone I trust. I needed someone I love. I needed someone who has as much faith in me as I usually do (on a good day).

And thankfully, I got exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.

Now, I’m keeping my head on straight and doing what I have to do to be happy and healthy and the best I can be. No more excuses. No more stupid mistakes. Life is good, and for the first time in a long time, it feels good too.

No one reads this blog anymore.

So it’s safe to let it all out. To say that I’m in a very hard place, where money is tight, I have two kids to support, the culture is completely different from what I’m used to, I have no support system, and my grades are in question. I can say that I’m questioning what it means to love someone, to be in love, and to raise a family. I can say that I am confused about what I want and what everything means. I can say that I don’t know what the future has in store, and I’m scared and anxious and frustrated. I want to get to the next stage, but I have no idea what that next stage may be or what I want it to be. I can say that Rob’s mom has stage four cancer, and that upsets me on many levels. I can say that my own mom is really sick, and that that worries the crap out of me. I’m supposed to get two biopsies to rule out cancer. My dad is talking to me again (yay?), and he manages to upset me just by being him… And yet, I’m a lot like him, and Micah’s a lot like me and I cannot handle the idea of raising a kid that’s like my dad.

I’m just… not in a good place. And the only way I know how to cope is to write emails to close friends (because they’re not around to have face-to-face conversations with), write fiction, and lash out at Rob. 

*sigh*

I’ll probably be writing here more often. If anyone is reading this, HI! Hope you’re doing better than I am.

After the breakdown.

I had a breakdown recently, and it was complete. Not only were my emotions and psyche devastated and ruined, but so was my body. Panic attacks, UTIs, hyperthyroidism, Entero infections, and Staph infections are no joke – especially when they all come at the same time. Why, hello, excessively weak immune system. I suppose you’ve come for the stress? Might as well make yourself comfortable. It won’t be going away any time soon.

My semester has officially ended, and I definitely haven’t finished it on a high note. I’m on my way to the next phase of this journey, and it looks like it includes even more humbling experiences, even more hard work, and even more soul-searching. Even after two years of living in this completely different place and being this completely different person, and having the opportunity to figure out just who I am and what I’m about and what it feels like to live in the skin I’m in, I still have no clue what any of the answers to those questions could be.

I’ve spent the last month or so flailing around, waiting for the tide to turn and this phase to be over.

Now I feel a new wave coming in and I’m bracing myself. There are lots of big decisions to be made and a lot more noise to cancel out. Every change seems bigger than the last, and the next one is bound to be epic.

Mediocre.

I have a lot to say but I don’t know how to frame any of it. I don’t know how to start, or what really matters, or how I want you to see me. I have a feeling that I wanted to write a poem earlier, but I can’t remember what I was thinking to make me think of writing a poem. I feel like I’ve been rebooted, like everything I knew is now gone and I’m starting from scratch and looking around and wondering how I ended up in this place of uncertainty and half-assness.

I feel apathetic. Uncaring. Indifferent. Relaxed. Complacent. I feel like politics and art and everything else that used to make my blood boil with passion has lost meaning and weight. I am here; my battles are there. I am here, in a tropical paradise where I am part of the 1%; and all of my problems, issues, and crises are there, on the other side of the globe, being handled, fought, contrived, and manipulated by people who aren’t me. I no longer have a say or a stake in that place, with those words, in that context. It no longer applies to me.

And yet. This place, with its oppression and rebellion and poverty and hope and God is not really mine, either. Whereas I am an expat of NYC, I am also a visitor of the Philippines. I have staked claim on nothing but my privilege and my status. I have defined myself as other and have taken no great pains to remove that label from my back. This place, though growing more and more into someplace I love, could never be my home. It could never be my anything. It’s just a pit-stop, a layover, a vacation away from real life and real problems and the real me. It’s a place to recuperate from the trials of heavy living, and to relax my body, and refuel and replenish without feeling guilty or burdened or lost. I am here, in this place of beauty, living as close to the life that I want as I’d like, and yet this is not real. This is only the dream before reality sets in, and I’m loving it and taking advantage of it and coaxing it into resembling more and more what I want it to look like.

I have no place. I have no definition. I don’t know where I fit or where I should stake my claim. So I busy myself with my family: Rob, Riley, and Micah. I worry about my brother and my parents. I try to figure out where our maids fit in in the big picture. I try to make conclusions about who I am and what it is that I’m about and who I’m trying to be…

But the truth is, I don’t feel anything. I’m completely numb. I don’t know if it’s my rigorous schedule, or the fact that I never get a chance to process my experiences before a new chapter dominates every aspect of my life. Maybe I just can’t handle the ways of the Philippines. Maybe I’ve simply given up on my values and virtues. All I know is, I feel as thought a significant measure of my fight is gone. And I need it back. ASAP.

It sounds crazy and stupid, I know, but the truth is, I can’t function without drama. And not just any drama, but high drama. Life-or-death, do-or-die, end-or-the-world kind of drama. Call it conditioning: I’ve become so used to high drama that I don’t know what to do with myself if it’s no longer there. All I know is, my life, though definitely running a lot smoother as of late, is no happier for the change. In fact, I’m bored. All I worry about now are the mundane and everyday: style, fashion, family, health, my grades, et al… The important things – family, friends, and finances – are pretty much covered and I breeze through those responsibilities. But I need… something.

I’m remembering what a little firecracker I used to be. Back in my Brooklyn College days, I felt like I was someone special, and I had a huge chip on my shoulder. I’m not exactly proud that I always felt like I had something to prove, but I have fond memories of what it felt like to be passionate about the difficult goals that I had. These days, I feel old and washed up. Nothing feels new and exciting. Sex, drugs, and alcohol? Been there, done that. Toed the flaming line of sinful escapades? Yup, and lived on the other side for a really, really long time, too. Made my share of memories that make me giggle when I think of them? Absolutely. But what can I do now to spice things up? I don’t want to do anything illegal just for the hell of it, and I don’t want to risk my life doing anything ridiculous. But I need my heart to race. I need my pulse to quicken. I need to feel ALIVE again.

As much as I love my life and am completely grateful for all I have, I have to admit: THIS is exactly why I rebelled against a career in nursing in particular and conventionality in general. THIS FEELING. The not caring, the not wanting, the lack of extreme emotions, the quiet soul, the calm confidence, the mature perspective. It’s all really zen, I’m sure, to some people. But what it feels like to me is a beautiful prison.

The blahs.

I was am doing really well.

I’ve been crossing lots of things off of various to-do lists. Review anatomy and physiology, check! Get eyes examined and new lenses for awesome frames, check! Paint, decorate, and organize the boys’ new room, check! School started a couple of weeks ago, and so far, so good. Slow and steady, ever ready… I’ve been steadily editing and learning more about essays in general, and various topics of interest in particular. Don’t ever let school get in the way of your education. And money, money, MONEY. My health is fine. (I’m pretty sure.) The kids are glorious, as usual. I believe the children are our future… Rob is working his ass off and being the perfect partner. My love, sweet love… Extended family life has been all right and un-noteworthy. We are family!… 

I think, maybe, this is my psyche being stretched out too thin.

What else could it be?

This is not a breakup.

It’s not you, Mistress Mom. It’s me. I love you. You know that. I’ll always love you. But you don’t do for me what I think you should do for me. I just don’t feel the same way about you. I need something or someone else. I’ve started a relationship with another blog, and I hope you’re okay with that.