Have to know how to fight

Do you know how to fight?

If you care about your relationships dare to practice fighting. 

It does not really matter what you fight over....just dare to push and dare to allow to have your buttons pushed every once in a while. I am not talking about violence here, I am talking about verbal sparring back and forth about things that matter to you. We all know that no one couple or friendship can hold out too long without fighting. No matter how much you love each other, at some point there will be a disagreement and when that happens, if you want the relationship to survive, you have to have had some practice. 

In my marriage, we argue. Not a lot, not a little. But I know it's not a huge scary thing it use to be and overall arguing is okay. When my husband and I first met though he would hate arguing and would avoid me to "keep the peace", or so he thought, which would make me even more upset. As we grew to know each other more over the years we got better at resolving things without it causing so much stress. We learned that arguments are okay. That apologies after always matter and that sometimes we are wrong and sometimes we are right. That's it basically....re-read those words. want peace? that is the secret right there. 

I write this now because I just came to realize today that I lost a very special relationship a while back because we never learned how to argue. So much pent-up pain and hurt kept getting swept under the rug in order to "keep the peace", or in order not to shake the boat, that one day there was no more room to move. hurtful actions, events and words from the past were never properly and openly addressed in fear of disrupting the peace. These topics kept creeping up over and over and over again in weird, subtle, and noxious, understated ways which poked and poked until one day the friendship was no longer worth the weight of the pain.  None of us at fault, but how does one fix a broken thing when one does not have the tools to fix what is broken. 



Latino Guilt

               Yesterday, I ran and hiked around the local lake here. It's a 4-mile dirt trail loop around and as gorgeous as any trail in Northern Virginia. I have not been going around the lake that much lately and it was so nice to experience the sun peek low through the trees at sunset. When time and plans and dinner plans start to crunch in on your "me time" it's a sign that you need the me time more than ever. Even as I got out of the car, turned on my Strava app to count my miles I could still not shake this feeling that I should be elsewhere, doing something more important, for someone other than me. 

          This feeling, this guilt that I should be doing something else, BE someplace else is almost as old as I am. It could be a Latino thing. Parents, and overall the larger Latino community drill it hard into their younger generations that one must remain close by when you become an adult. Funny, I do not recollect one conversation, one interaction, in which this creed would have been passed down to me, yet, it's there, as present and living as when I was a kid. It takes every ounce of me to get past these invisible strings that make no sense or have no distinct origin. I will give myself some credit though; at age 48 I can say I have learned to stop those guilty feelings from dominating my life. But it does say something about the power of these "suggestions" in that I can stop their effects but I have yet to know how to stop them from popping up every time I am going to indulge in any way. 


Trash art after school club- sculpture


An invitation to a world without labels

            We change all the time. We think we hardly notice these changes and then one day you are a completely other person. Funny thing about change is that with each change you dread it beforehand, yet, once you are this new change you cannot imagine being anything else. 

        This has me thinking of the fundamentals. Meaning, what aspects of me might be immutable, if such a thing even exists? well, the fact that I feel all people deserve common respect has stayed the same. The fact that I love stories about the magic of the "human experience" has not changed. Fundamentally, I am still the same Miriam who wants the best for all people I meet and feels that 99.99% of humans are filled with goodness.  But on the peripherals I am, to an outsider, I may seems completely different from myself even 3 years ago.

        All this brings me to the fact that we humans are MUCH more complex than we give ourselves credit for. Cancel culture will have us think we must, without exception, toss a person in the proverbial trash, no questions asked, for even the most singular mistake. But can our value, as humans, be boiled down to one experience, one thought pattern, one act?  Are we all that infallible that we would back up this judicial method to address all issues of wrongdoings? I certainly hope not, because if that were the case, I would have also been in the trash in my teens, my 20s, in my 30s and then again now, in my 40s for I have said and done stupid things all the way up to last week even....

         Perhaps the issue lies in the boxes we make for ourselves and others that get us in trouble. Humans placed in boxes do not easily allow for these very same humans to then easily shift, morph, adapt, edit and grow into new, more refined versions of ourselves. For example, in today's world, we hear the word "democrat" or "republican" and most instantly pull up a long mental list of all the things this person must be, think or do. It's no wonder then, when even the tiniest item on that long list does not align or fit with the box we have built around them, lots of grief and confusion occur. 

        I grew up in NYC, which we all know to be a very progressive city. Having grown up there, not one cell in my body ever doubted that all republicans are evil and hate-filled. That is, until, I finally met, worked with and befriended many republicans here in Virginia and learned just how huge this lie was. I must add also that not only were the republicans I met not hate-filled, but they were oftentimes more accepting of differences and incredibly well-informed. What a great lesson to learn for me. I feel so blessed to have had the luxury to see the world from such divergent perspectives. Today, I don't identify with any party, in fact, I reject all labels. Labels are completely useless boxes that keep us from really getting to know the incredible amazing, complex human standing right beside you. 

       In everything I do I try to model this. Through my actions I encourage others to forgo the labels long enough to see the real human before you. In the way I live, I hope to encourage others to take their ideas, thoughts and assumptions off automatic and dare to trust your own wisdom, your own inner voice to help you navigate friendships, colleagues, strangers, and even whole cities.  


Sadness- not allowed

 Been a while. 

      In the past few weeks I have noticed myself sliding into sadness and realized that my normal state is this way, "sliding into sadness". When questioned, I find that no, in fact, I have no actual reason to be sad. So as the sadness settles and tries to make itself at home I am able to grasp it and stop it before it gets worse. 

    Not to say that I might not at some point have a legitimate reason to be sad, yet, most often then not I pick up a feeling and roll with it and before I know it I am down the sadness "rabbit hole" unable to come back out. I am sure most people del with this and I am not alone in these struggles. 

      On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have been meeting with these awesome people from my spiritual group for the one purpose of setting our intention for the day. Amazing and eye-opening ho one motion to define one's day is powerful enough to railroad you into a more emotionally healthy direction. 



 YEARS of struggling with weight issues to now  FINALLY lose weight while eating a diet with 80% fat consumption.... what-the..... will share more once I reach 20lbs. lost....have 4 to go before I write more about it.... 


Don't Forget to Give....even more

  Because it is its own reward, giving is ONLY ever exhausting when we don't feel like doing it. 

As a mom, and then also as a teacher,  I feel like my whole life revolves around me giving of myself to all the people I love, including my students. From the moment I wake to the minute I lay my head down at night, 90% of my life is about others and I would not change a thing. I make breakfast for my kids with love, I make art for others with love, I walk my dog for an hour a day, with love, I spend time on the phone with friends, with love, I listen with love. 

But there are times when I become drained and almost sick from exhaustion and these are the times, I notice, I have given without the proper genuineness in my heart. When that happens, it's time to reflect, reassess, and most importantly, pull back. It's okay to pull back. 

As we grow older, and hopefully wiser, we all begin to slowly realize that we have to become our own mother and care for ourselves the way our mother would. We have to  nurture our own selves and bring ourselves back UP to full strength without the help of our actual mother; oh, and this is true no matter what type of mother you might have had, we still must become THE quintessential mother to ourselves in order to help ourselves properly charge. Therefore, pulling back is healthy and gives us time to let the dust settle and be able to see everything much clearer.

How do we know when to dig in and when to pull back? Let us use our own body as a barometer. Are we rejuvenated or exhausted, or in between when we give of ourselves?. If we feel inspired, excited and settled in our giving, then giving should naturally flow from us without draining us whatsoever. When we are full of love and passion for life and all those around us, the flood of giving should be at full tilt. Like a biofeedback loop, giving with love in our heart provides us with enough reciprocal energy to fuel itself indefinitely. If that is not the case, then perhaps it's time to reflect, reassess and pull back until you find this self-charging driving force. 

Examples of ways I give of myself to those around me, for one DAY and it does not feel draining

* make my kids' breakfast every morning

* make Luke his favorite fruit shakes once a day. He drinks about 3 a day, I make him his first one always

* I am present and listen to friends and family tell me about their lives and fully enjoy their stories

* I walk my dog for an hour a day. He needs the exercise and I know how much he loves to smell EVERY tree, every bush...and I let him

* I respond to students' emails and padlet comments and reassure them when I feel they need it. 

* Plan to make everyone a favorite dish for the Holiday celebrations

* Write Thank You notes to parents who have sent me Holiday gifts during this pandemic...

* Forward along interesting articles to people I KNOW would enjoy them

* Share my creative process online/social media in hopes that others might also want to create and find themselves becoming more creative and innovative

* Spend time with kids whenever they ask, no matter when this is. This may be in form of watching movies with them, cuddling, cooking with them, or watching Tik Toks with them. They will not be with us much longer.... Luke has 2 years to college and Nora will soon follow.... :(

Have to know how to fight

Do you know how to fight? If you care about your relationships dare to practice fighting.  It does not really matter what you fight over.......