#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 14 @DNICE Instagram Block Party

#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 14

March 21st, 2020 6:30pm – Instagram Live with @dnice is what I needed

As I’m writing this, I’m still listening and watching live D-Nice on Instagram.  Fifty thousand people listening to this amazing talent spinning some old school music.  It’s exactly what we all need… being able to connect when we can’t really be near each other.  Dancing on Instagram with 50,000 new friends is really a thing! 

Quarantine is also bringing out the best in all of us…. 

Posted this today before the house party on IG — but see, I had a vision it was going to be a dancing kind of day!

Keeping it in joy for as long as I can!

#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 7 and Day 6 Missed

March 11th, 2020 Wednesday 7:33pm – Michael, Hershey Bars & Quality

Yesterday, my “Day 6” of this late night journaling thing — I got a call from my dear friend Alice.  She lives in Boston.  I’ve known her since I was just 11 years old.  When Alice calls, I stop what I’m doing and pick up the phone. It’s rare to get a call from her – usually we exchange texts and emails around special holidays and such and when we’re in each other’s “town”, we visit with each other if and when we can. It’s a solid friendship. An old friendship. It’s one of those friendships that needs no explanation or excuses. We just pick up from where we left off. Easy. Doesn’t matter how much time has passed. It always feels like just yesterday we last spoke…

I picked up the phone, excited to have seen her number and name show up on my cell so I answered happily.  Sadly, she was calling to talk about Michael having died the Friday before and thought, because I was on social media, I might have already known through his brother’s post or something. But I hadn’t.

I wasn’t shocked that he had passed away. But it hurt my soul nonetheless. It bothered me the rest of the day.  Michael had recently gone through a liver transplant about 8 months ago.  He’d had this pretty interesting and incredible life…so many ups and downs, and yet, he always found a way through them all. In so many ways he was a pillar of strength.  It really seemed like he had 9 lives or was just indestructible. He’d been through so much, I just never thought he’d pass away.  Alice mentioned something that made me feel so much better – she reminded me that after all Michael had been through in his life, the idea that he would end up passing away, on the couch,  after talking to his mother, might really be the blessing none of us would have guessed would happen. She’s right. He had a quiet and simple passing. At least compared to what might have been many times before…it really was the blessing.     

I’ve been thinking about his family and friends all day. I hung out with Michael when he visited Los Angeles on New Year’s in 2009. I picked him up from the airport and then we drove to Simi Valley or somewhere like that to spend the weekend with another friend, Donnie.  I told Alice about that time and reminisced for a bit and I think she heard me get pretty sad, because she then reminded me to eat some chocolate in his honor – Michael loved Hershey bars and I could honor him by doing that. Eating chocolate! It made me laugh a bit… 

What I thought about today though was how easily one life could change another’s. I keep having these thoughts in my head that I’m not doing enough in my life, that I’m wasting away somehow because I feel that my reach is not big enough and that I should be helping more people. I should be doing more.  I’m honestly not sure what it is I think I can do to help the world, but does anyone else out there ever feel like you could be doing so much more, if only if…? I find myself feeling inadequate most days, like I’m wasting too much time and just not doing enough…

But I realized today that Michael, just like my mother, changed and molded my life just by being simply who they were. My mom’s influence is pretty obvious.  But I met Michael when I was just a kid and even though he was going through his own private hell, he made sure to walk me through, by paying attention to an annoying teenager and by offering a tough-kindness and words of wisdom that I still hold onto today.  Michael is one of the people I wrote about in my book.  And this is in no way a push of my book on anyone, but to actually demonstrate how important Michael was to me. His presence in my life mattered and there’s no doubt it helped make me the woman I am today.   

I guess what I’m saying is simply this:  It’s not the amount of people you know that matters – what matters is the quality of the moments you have with every person you do get to meet. And whether Michael was talking to high profile folk (he knew quite a few) or just a kid like me back in the day, Michael was authentically Michael!  There was nothing fake about him.  Michael changed me and made me a better person, just by being himself.  Our moments together in the big scheme of things were few, but they were quality times and life changing for me.  I’m so grateful to have spent the time I did with him and I’ll always cherish the letter he wrote to me (that I still have! I found it today) and that crazy fun New Year’s Eve weekend we spent hanging out in Donnie’s living room laughing and reminiscing about life in Jamaica Plain (Boston).  

I’m gonna run out and grab a couple of Hershey Bars before I call it a night.

I love you Michael, forever and a day. Godspeed my friend. Godspeed.

My Children, Our Children

When I see people treating children with such disdain, I wonder what these “people” think is going to happen when that particular child grows up?

If we look at our own experiences as children, whatever they might be, can’t we easily see how a child who is treated poorly, will inevitably grow up to be a broken adult?  Don’t we understand, logically, that a child who is nurtured, supported and loved – that he/she will most likely grow up to be a decent and productive person?

How are we missing this?

It’s logical, but also innate to our existence.  As human beings we tend to want to protect children – so how is it possible that sometimes, a lot of times, we don’t?

In my experience, it tends to be that we don’t value OTHER children as much as our “own” children. In a lot of ways, that makes sense.  But it’s also incredibly selfish and misguided.  Your child will someday affect my life when he/she grows up.  Your child will inevitably affect my child because they will work together, play together – who knows, maybe even marry each other.  Doesn’t it make sense then, that my concern for children should be more inclusive than just the ones that share my DNA? 

My heart breaks for the children currently at the border.  This “other-ism” – this ability to not care about a child in pain – anyone’s child – is more telling of who our society is, who we are as a people than anything else.  We don’t care because they’re not “my” child, it’s not even my friend’s child… but it’s more than that, isn’t it?

In America – in these United States – a country I love, the fact remains that a brown child is less valued than a white child.  It’s so much easier not to care when the child’s value is not as significant. Imagine for a moment, what the state of play would be if all of those kids at the border had been white, blonde-haired children from Poland or Ireland? I don’t think any of us – not anyone reading this anyways, doubts for one minute that the United States would be up-in-arms and taking to the streets to help those precious kids. The white ones.

It gives me no pleasure at all to admit this.  It kills me every day to see how “un-reactive” we are as a society to this horrible situation regarding “OUR” children, children of the world sitting in squalor because they need help.  And the United States, this grand country with so much wealth allowing it to happen is beyond comprehension. “Other-ism” is the justification for harming children.  I feel helpless most days. I tear every day knowing these kids will grow up one day and will remember how horribly they were treated, and those bruises and scars will not heal well if we continue to dismiss people as legit human beings deserving of love, kindness and support.

Because of my personal circumstances as a child, I was raised by so many different people – Black, White, Latino families. Regular people who didn’t see me as “other” but saw me as one of their own. A community that valued a child in distress. I was so blessed. It’s what my book CANELA is all about.  We need to find a way, to take care of all of our children – value them as they should be. Cure our hearts and our stupidity.

We. Are. Better. Than. This.

Julie & Nathan

Single and Breathing

Okay, I want to share this:After picking up my Lotto Tickets

I walked down to the gas station so I could get a Lotto ticket and also to just get a little workout in.

I was sweaty and gross and as I was finalizing my lottery ticket (which I’m sure is going to win) when this young man came up to me and asked me if I was single.

Continue reading loose transcript below or listen to the podcast:

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I was a little bit thrown.  Good looking young man, very well dressed and he was buying gas or something.

I looked behind me to see if he was talking to somebody behind me and he said, “No, I’m asking you. Are you single?”

I still couldn’t answer him because I was in shock.  He said, “I’d love to buy you a drink or maybe lunch or coffee…”.  He was so elegant and quite fantastic actually.

But I just looked at him and I just said, “You know, I can’t do that — my boyfriend’s waiting for me at home but thank you.  I appreciate it.”  And I just pivoted and walked away.

I started thinking about how embarrassed I was that he asked me.

Also he probably was half my age?  – Maybe not half my age, but it doesn’t matter –  he was young enough to be my son.  And although I was flattered by that, there’s a part of me that knows I have some very strict standards.

I feel a little bad that I lied to him, but I’d rather have lied to him, than have made him feel stupid or made him feel bad.

I am single.

I am single because I have had two great loves in my life and I was so disappointed when they ended that I think it’s been very difficult for me to even consider the possibility ever again.

It’s not that they ended badly or that they were horrible, it’s just that when you really do love someone and you care for them it’s really difficult to lose that friendship as well as the relationship.

I’m not sitting here pretending that I could have been friends with these people ever again after what happened between us, but it was so disappointing, and it hurt me so much that I think it’s really hard for me to ever even consider anything less than what I want now and what I deserve.

It’s almost as if having those relationships have now set the bar really high.

So, I am not going to spend any more time on “finding love”.  Any more than I do on anything else in my life because I believe there is something very organic in relationships.

I don’t go looking for friendships.  I don’t go looking for new girl-friends either to hang out with.  They either happen or they don’t in all of the things that I do in my life.  And I think that’s kind-of how the next step has to be for me.

I’m also not crazed about this idea that I have to be married.  Or that I have to be in a relationship.

I do believe we are social beings.  I do believe we are better with companions and friendships and partners and spouses.  But, I also think we can be worse with those things too if it’s not the right fit.

So yeah, I’m single.  But it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not preferred or something that I don’t like – it’s just where I’m at today.

In order for me to ever really consider ever dating someone again, he’s going to have to at least be in his 40’s – or at least turning 40 – and then all my other standards that I have.

I guess the reason why I’m sharing this post is because I wanted to say this:

I think it’s OK to have standards.  I think it’s OK to want what you want!

What I don’t want is some of the relationships that some of my friends have.  They are in so deep with children and mortgages and their businesses are tied in and they feel like they can’t breathe.

You know what? Right now I’m single and I can breathe.  And I love it. And I don’t want that to change as much as I want to find someone that kind of fits into that puzzle pretty easily (if that makes any sense).

I just wanted to share that. I would love to hear your thoughts.

As always, have a sweet day. Thank you again for always stopping by — I appreciate it!

I’ll be back again soon.

Bye.

Carmen

Your Resolutions From Me

Yup, you read that right. I wrote a 2019 wish list for YOU! You’re welcome.  😉

  • May you listen to more music on a regular basis and stop texting, especially while driving.bitmoji-20190101063153
  • May you meet your friends in person, talk to them on the phone, enjoy the reality of life instead of this “cyber” version we’ve all become addicted too.
  • May you read more books and take a journey anywhere that doesn’t involve a computer screen. bitmoji-20190101065859
  • May you stop having your entire life and relationships revolve around politics and Trump in general. Stop it!bitmoji-20190101065032
  • May you stop being so obsessed with your looks, your weight, your “outer” God-given shell and learn how beautiful you really are. This is how I see YOU. bitmoji-20190101080924
  • May you realize that life is both hard and then some days even harder – for EVERYONE. You’re not the only one having a tough time – walk on through it. We’re all over here, waiting for you, needing you too. bitmoji-20190101065401
  • May you be more generous with your time, your money, your love. Being selfish, cheap and self-absorbed is easy (and so unattractive).
  • May you realize that it’s not always about forgiveness, but about acceptance. Sometimes things are just the way they are – and that’s okay.bitmoji-20190101080058
  • May you celebrate your birthday so brilliantly understanding that this is the day YOU were gifted to the world and YES, we should celebrate that ALL. DAY. LONG. You matter!bitmoji-20190101065455
  • May you be considerate of others – while driving, while walking, while at the grocery store…you know, everywhere! Kindness stems from being considerate.
  • May you dance a lot more often and stop being worried that you’re doing it right. (If you’re dancing at all, you’re doing it right!).bitmoji-20190101065543
  • May you take care of your health – mental and physical. No excuses! bitmoji-20190101075845
  • May you reach out to others instead of sitting at home wondering why no one is reaching out to you. bitmoji-20190101080015
  • May you stop swearing – it’s the easy way out (I’m talking to you Arianna Grande, Adam Levine, Cardi B. and others… uhem, and yes to myself). bitmoji-20190101063056
  • May you have more people in your life who are not like you!  Racially, religiously, culturally, sexual orientation, etc. Let’s broaden that circle people! We’re all better for knowing and accepting difference! bitmoji-20190101075909
  • May you go out of your way and hug someone you’d never imagine hugging before, just because they need it (and so don’t you!). bitmoji-20190101065623
  • May you find the time to create art in whatever way it manifests in the unique being that is YOU!bitmoji-20190101080601
  • May you find that part of you that is warm and fuzzy and let that shine instead of that yukky part that surfaces in all of us way too often.bitmoji-20190101063338
  • May you break out of your comfort zone and learn what it feels like to really BE!
  • May you understand what true beauty is and that it has nothing to do with looks. bitmoji-20190101063532
  • May you love fiercely, cry with joy and see all the good in the world. bitmoji-20190101065827
  • May your 2019 be a monumental and beautiful year!bitmoji-20190101062605

Don’t let me down people!  I promise to do my very best also!

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