I am undergoing yet another great transition and venture in my life. I think about my future and what my past took with it. What will the future bring? I question that is asked frequently, but can never be answered with certainty. We make plans and try to execute them, but sometimes life has another plan entirely. No matter how hard we fight or withhold, the river of life will pull us along with it’s current and there isn’t much we can do but move with it. Fighting against the current is a mistake and will most likely result in drowning. I suppose this brings up the question of fate and destiny? I am not convinced that there is such thing, but I do not neglect the possibility that there it does in fact exist. Yet another frequently asked question. There are always so many things to ponder and question, I am not amazed when people lose themselves in their own heads. Or why people go insane. It’s amazing really.
You taught me how good Gouda cheese is! Especially Gouda, and for that I am grateful.
It’s been months since I’ve spent time here. It feels like another life. It’s so cliché to say such things, but it’s so true. I haven’t sat in my favorite café and sipped a coffee like I used to. Reading and writing. Then meeting my girlfriend for lunch after she works the morning away. Now I sit in the Downtown Central Library and I feel calm. I finally get a day to relax. I never fully relax on Sunday, my day off, because of the simple fact that I know I have to work the next day. It’s a beautiful thing to not have to worry about that for a couple of hours. Cheers! I will enjoy today to the fullest. <3 I will no longer take advantage of all the little things I used to do. I will fully appreciate this day hour-by-hour. These days may be apart of my past, so for today at least, I’m going to remember everything we did and how it made me feel. I feel like a part of me is floating away and I’m trying to catch it, problem is, I’m a terrible swimmer. So I try to accept it and find another day where I can relax and let go of my anxiety and stress. I never fully realized how much I needed these days until today. Just sitting at Marie’s café again felt amazing. I simply sat there and remembered what those days were like. Then, just as used to do, I opened up my laptop and put on something to watch. I giggled and sipped my coffee for hours. And it felt good.
I have been struggling with finding out how to best sculpt myself into a professional person. For a while I completely lost myself in my work and my sense of self with completely gone. This resulted in strong feelings of anxiety. The stress was just being layered on and I was starting to buckle. I have recently regained a bit of myself and I’m so relieved, and a lot of my stress seems to have melted away, and as a result, I am now doing a better job then I have before. I feel a bit more like myself everyday. Now the key is to maintain my sense of self, without compromising my professionalism or my work. I can do this easily. One day at a time, one task at a time. This is my main goal as of now.
We were discussing homosexuality because of an allusion to it in the book we were reading, and several boys made comments such as, “That’s disgusting.” We got into the debate and eventually a boy admitted that he was terrified/disgusted when he was once sharing a taxi and the other male passenger made a pass at him. The lightbulb went off. “Oh,” I said. “I get it. See, you are afraid, because for the first time in your life you have found yourself a victim of unwanted sexual advances by someone who has the physical ability to use force against you.” The boy nodded and shuddered visibly.“But,” I continued. “As a woman, you learn to live with that from the time you are fourteen, and it never stops. We live with that fear every day of our lives. Every man walking through the parking garage the same time you are is either just a harmless stranger or a potential rapist. Every time.” The girls in the room nodded, agreeing. The boys seemed genuinely shocked. “So think about that the next time you hit on a girl. Maybe, like you in the taxi, she doesn’t actually want you to.”
Lord, give me the strength to keep my patience and accept the things I cannot change.
Another late night on the job. Sometimes I worry that it’s to much. That I won’t be able to enjoy everything I’m working for now. I’m working for Love, for family, and friends. Even though I question it all, I know it must be done…
Where will it all lead? Will it all come to fruition? Only time can ever tell, our best friend and most devious enemy.
Nineteen –year-old Esteban Marquez lay in a pool in his own blood on this particular Saturday night. He was attacked, walking the three blocks home from a birthday party he had attended. Nearly beaten to death, he was ‘disciplined’ for the giving attention to a particularly beautiful girl, for the better part of the night, by the name of Elena. The reason he survived, was thanks to some passersby. They called 911 and they came flying. I remember reading about it in the paper, the news spread like wildfire on a dry summer day. Esteban went to my school. I never knew him personally, but I felt sorry for the kid. They never caught the people who did it. There was rumors flying around about who it may have been, but everyone was afraid to say anything for certain to the police. All they knew was that it was a group of around four guys. Four-against-one, cowards.
It’s been three years since I graduated high school. I’m twenty-years-old. My name is Hannah. I’ve spent everyday of my life since I was 1-year-old here in SoCal. The city of Angels is what they call it, although I have no idea why. Things like that happen all the time. Kids beat up for no damn reason, by no one with any reason good enough. Come to think of it, I can only think of a few god reasons to beat someone an inch from death, and treating a lovely girl with respect and admiration for a night is not even close. Stupid senseless violence, by stupid senseless people ‘protecting what they own.’ According to the law, the sidewalk is public domain, and the right to legally own someone was abolished in the United Stated with the thirteenth amendment in 1865.
Ricardo Slug Gutierrez would say otherwise. He would fight you to the death saying that he can own a few blocks, and yeah, even a girl. They call him Slug, not after the slimy thing that slithers along the floor ever-so-slowly. Slug, after a shotgun slug, his weapon of choice, and trust me he’s not afraid to use it. He’s responsible for several shootings and injuries in the area where I live. Although nothing has been proven indefinitely by the police, everyone knows it’s him calling the shots. He’s not top dog, but he gets his orders from the guy under. I grew up with Ricardo. We went to the same elementary, middle, and high school together. Except for a few chance encounters, I never really meet him. After watching him quickly rise through the ranks of the Emperors Del Barrio, I made it a point to steer clear of him. Everyone who knew better stayed away from him. He had pull and everyone knew it. People were afraid of him, and he knew it. He fed off it, thrived on it, and after a few years, came to expect and rely on it. He was known for being particularly ruthless and unforgiving.
Unfortunately Ellena learned the hard way. Like most of us, growing up, the lure of gang life was strong. Especially those that came from broken homes. Homes without fathers, absent mothers, or people who had druggies to deal with, people forced to provide for a child at a young age, because their mothers couldn’t or they ended up pregnant as a teen. From the moment Ricardo laid eyes on her, he pursued her relentlessly. He made it known to everyone that they were not to lay hands on her. She was for him and him alone. After a year of chasing, in our senior year, she finally gave him a chance. She started thinking like him, and following his orders. She had his idealism, and backed him at every corner. She fought for him and even wanted a child with him. Everyone thought they would end up married, but when Slug finally decided that he did want “another little soldier, to follow in Daddy’s foot steps”, Elena got scared. It wasn’t the ideas of motherhood like most girls, the idea of losing your youth, or having to make a child your life, while your own life was put on the backburner. It was Slug’s words, the way he fought, the things he fought for, and the way he thought, that suddenly became frightening to her. She started to change, finally thinking for herself, and starting to fight with him instead of their ‘enemies’. Slug didn’t like it and he hit her when she said she no longer wanted to have a child with him. She packed her things that night and moved back in with her mother. She was lucky to have realized it early enough to put a stop to it. The way they lived was fine for them, as a couple and as individuals. She never thought of it as a way of life, but simply as, fine for now. She always knew she would want to leave it someday. After talking about a child, she tried to sway him, and convince him that was no way for a child to live, to quite possibly lose both his parents someday. He was already to far deep in the gang life and everything it surrounded, like most of his peers. He had lived this way his whole life, he had no capability of leaving the collective of the EDB’s, even if he wanted to, they would kill him if he tried. He knew too much. Lucky for her, even though she followed him for three years, she never fully became a part of it, his gang not allowing females in.
It took Esteban a bit over a year to recover form his injuries, and even then he was never able to fully regain use of his left arm. People don’t much of him these days. He’s afraid of leaving his home, fearing that they’ll finish the job they started that Saturday. ‘I’d rather not encourage them with the sight of me’ he said. So young, so much life left to live, but the truth is, Esteban died that night, in the pool of crimson.