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Remember, this too shall pass…I promise

Hi, My loves,

I hope this new blog post finds you all safe and healthy.  Oh, what a time to be alive, right?  Who would have thought?  ♥

So, recently I’ve been at my wits end trying to figure out how else to fill my time these days.  Some days I am really good at it and others not so much.  Some days I am up and at it, early, tackling every task on my list.  And other days, I just lay on couch and watch endless hours of TV, and eat, and nap.

This week was a struggle trying to think about what I wanted to write because quite frankly I am a little tired of addressing COVID19.  There are so many conflicting news reports that I am just tired. And it seems at this moment, that this is going to be the rest of our lives. Right?

The other day I decided to purge one more bin of paperwork, as if I haven’t purged enough and I found a bin full of journals and essays and writings going back about 20 years ago.   Crazy right?

I started to read through some of it and I came across something I wanted to share with you that I wrote during a pretty low time in my life.   I know am not alone when I tell you that as a teen and young adult, I struggled with depression.  It followed me into my adulthood, but it wasn’t something I really knew how to articulate.  It wasn’t something that was spoken about or even understood.  But I have spent years going to therapy on and off to deal with general life issues.  drepession1

Anyway, I was at a really low point in my life when I wrote this.  I was feeling restless as you will read after having reunited with my husband after a three-year separation.  I was confused and had this overwhelming sense of feeling like I just didn’t belong in the life I was living.

It didn’t have a title, so I am just going to share with you….

“I don’t know how I got to this – sitting in a motel that fits the perfect description of “seedy”.  Come to think of it seedy might be too good of a word considering the dingy, faded yellow brocade comforter, the veneer TV stand that reminded me of something in my mother’s house growing up, and the carpet that had the ever so slight smell of mold mixed with disinfectant.  I keep picturing an undercover operation and narcs busting through the door and me getting arrested for prostitution just because I am here.  It’s that sort of place.  But in my sadness and desperation to just get away, I just drove and drove and I ended up here. Tears in eyes, a heaviness in my chest and pen in hand.

I keep trying to retrace my steps – you know, how I ended up here, at this point in my life.  How did I end up in this place, this motel, this sadness, this drunkenness, this dark hole that is threatening to swallow me whole? 

I mean not too long ago I was living my life – the day to day mundane – going through the motions; being a wife, a mom, working and going to school.  Hosting get togethers, writing research papers, cleaning and cooking and putting on a happy face.  It was a routine that was all too familiar, so familiar, I could probably get through my days with my eyes closed.  At times complacent, at other times overwhelming, but always routine.

I knew what to expect, all day every day.  Speak when spoken to, pay bills, clean up when needed, have sex at least once a week, show the right amount of affection and reaction to not let on that I was barely awake.  When I went out in public, I smiled and showed enough interest to keep the speaker talking about what I thought was an endless list of nothing. And tried really hard not to let the sadness, the depression take over me. lizgilbert1

At night, when everything gets quiet and all I hear is the sound of the cars driving by, I lay there and think about my life and try to thank God for everything I have, my children, my loving family, my health and home, food and clothing -you know all the things I am supposed to be grateful for. 

But once in a while in the midst of all those jumbled thoughts, in those quiet seconds in between wakefulness and drifting off to sleep, I’d make a wish.  I’d wish that maybe tomorrow I’d wake up in somebody else’s shoes.  I’d wish that maybe tomorrow I couldn’t carry the burden of so many people’s happiness.  I’d wish that maybe tomorrow I wouldn’t wake up.   I’d lay there with my eyes tightly closed. 

When I went back to school, I swore it was to get an education, you know, so I could be a role model for my girls.  I sacrificed many nights with my kids, school activities, or just down time at home.  And though I loved school, I sometimes think, that I don’t know, subconsciously I used it as an escape from my everyday life.  My escape from a life that at that moment didn’t feel like it quite fit; an escape at a time that I wasn’t even sure what I was escaping.  It’s funny I never realized how our psyche knows just what we need when we need it. 

My husband and I have been back together for five years now after a brief separation.  Five years ago, it seemed the right thing to do.  Get back together and raise our kids. Yet tonight I am not so sure.  Again. Somewhere along the way the reasons I fought so hard for, to get my marriage back, became blurry, not so clear, other people’s reasons, not mine.  Making my mother and in laws happy.  My daughter’s happy.  But I feel suffocated and I feel like I am drowning.

As I sit here writing, I wonder how many other women feel this way.  Feel as if all the choices they’ve made weren’t really for themselves. Feel guilty for changing their minds, not feeling the same.  Feel as if they are living a double life? You know the type – on the outside we seem to be leading a perfect life; happily married with great kids, a beautiful home and fulfilling career. 

Sometimes I look at my married friends and wonder, “Are they as happy as they seem?”  “Is this what they envisioned for themselves when they were little?”  “Is this what they daydreamed about; being married with kids with a white picket fence?”

I think it’s funny because for a long time I thought that was a Latina thing, you know, being raised to believe that marriage was the end all be all.  But, as I expanded my circle of friends, I realized that most, if not all little girls are brought up to want the “happily ever after” back then.  It seemed that even if we achieved everything – a house, a great career, nice car – if we didn’t have a man, well there was just something wrong with us.

I mean that’s the way it was with me, even though mom raised me on her own and sent all these implicit messages about being strong and independent, she still made sure to plug in there, as often as possible, that without a man I wasn’t enough.  In not those exact words.  But you know what I mean.

Even though she did it on her own.  Immigrated to a new country, woke at the crack of dawn to commute to work, sometimes worked two jobs, and sometimes brought work home from one of those to finish.  She purchased her own home, her own car, we always had what we needed and wanted. And STILL, she kept insisting and instilling in me to be a good woman so I could get a good man.  (Insert thinking emoji here).

Why didn’t she find a man? I mean why did she choose to struggle on her own?  Struggle she did.

Here I am writing this, feeling guilty because I don’t think I want the husband or white picket fence anymore. I feel overwhelmed and scared. I feel antsy.  I know my mother only wants what’s best for me, as all mothers want for their kids.

But how could she teach me all those lessons about independence and being in control, taking care of myself, and not giving in to a man’s demands and yet make me feel that if I walk away, I won’t be enough.

And now I feel this restlessness, this agitation tugging at my insides, this  restlessnessrebellion.  I hate the fact that I don’t feel satisfied with what my mother said would be enough.  Or that I have what so many other women wish for. I mean what more can I ASK FOR?  I scream this out loud forgetting I am in this motel room.

I don’t know how I ended up in this dingy, seedy motel room, but I know that for now I need to go home, and be a wife, a mother, a caretaker. 

I don’t know how long these feelings will last or if I will just give into this oppressive heaviness in my heart.  But I do need to go home.  And tomorrow…well…who knows what will happen tomorrow.  Like God tells Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, “Go to sleep, Liz.  Go to sleep.”

After reading this, I started to reflect on how back when I wrote this piece, I never thought, those feelings would pass.  I never thought life would get better.  I never thought I would feel better.  I remember feelings of complete and utter helplessness.

I eventually did get divorced even though he was a great guy.  We co parented our girls, who are adults themselves now with lives of their own.  I went to therapy.  Still go to therapy, because at times I feel that overwhelming sense of sadness, for other reasons in my life.  I was in a couple other relationships after that, built a great circle of friends, worked in a career for years.

What I learned after reading this is that all things pass.  Time is the one sure thing that is guaranteed to keep going.  And though way back then sitting in that dingy motel room, I couldn’t see past that moment, fifteen years later here I am.  Lots of questions answered, some still linger, but I am still here.  Wiser and older.

For all those of you everywhere who get “stuck”, depressed, sad, overwhelmed, remember with the right support, this too shall pass.

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Stay safe and healthy!

LolaUncorked♥

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You can’t buy happiness, but you can definitely buy books…

Hi, My Loves!

Let me tell you here is something magical about finding a quaint little bookstore in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city.  A place you can slip into and escape the outside noise.  That’s not exactly what happened to me, but close enough.  I found this treasure on a quiet side street in Montclair (NJ).

If any of you know Montclair, have visited, worked, or lived in Montclair (or still do) you know that Montclair is known for its chic little boutiques, bougie international eateries, yoga studios and cozy cafes.  It’s a mini NYC right in our very own backyard.   https://www.montclairnjusa.org/

We weren’t looking for a bookstore.  We meaning myself, my photographer, Geraldine and her assistant.  We were just looking for a location to shoot some photos for my blog when we happened upon the Watchung Booksellers, a cute bookstore near the train station.   https://www.watchungbooksellers.com/.   

I literally felt like Dorothy arriving in Oz or Cinderella at the ball.  Watchung Booksellers has got to be the cutest little gem I’ve come across in a long time.  It was like a three scoop sundae with all the toppings! Want to know what the cherry on top was? Well, even if you don’t I will tell you anyway.   

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Look at that smile….books stores feel like home to me…

As I walked in absorbing the wooden shelves, rows of books and cozy reading areas, I turned to my left and to my wandering eyes what should I see?

A little cafe – Da Pepo.  Complete with chalkboard announcing “Wait to be seated”, wine glasses for BYOB, farm-style grey washed tables where you could partake of paninis and things. 

I wanted to squeal like a kid on Christmas morning!  We immediately took over the cafe, after ordering three coffees and asking for permission to shoot some photos, of course.

We were having a ton of fun and just loved the space, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the bookstore next door.  I had peeped a wooden stepladder through the connecting doorway and I really, really, really wanted some photos on it!  I kept thinking Carrie Bradshaw with my cute french beret.

I finally asked an employee if we could take photos.  I explained that I am a blogger who blogs about a little bit of everything and I loved their space and really wanted pictures.  She referred me to a younger girl who I guess is in charge of social media.  She asked about my blog, agreed to the photos and asked that I tag her so they can follow me. Oh! She also asked for my blog site so they could follow it! Winning!  

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Books, books, and more books!

Look I know we have bookstores like Barnes and Noble and they serve their purpose, but it’s so big and bright and formal.  This book store was small and quaint and familiar.

Now let me back up a second.  I wasn’t planning on writing about this bookshop – it really was just a prop.  But something stirred in me as I walked around, posed, touched and smelled books.  A long hidden memory was tickling the edges of my mind.

And then I suddenly remembered a bookstore I used to frequent  (no let me rephrase that – nearly lived in ) back in Passaic where I grew up.  I can’t remember but I believe it was just called the Passaic Bookstore.  It was located at the end of Main street.  I remember spending hours a day several times a day after school in there as a depressed and angry teen.  LOL!

I would get lost picking up books, touching them, browsing, reading the first few pages trying to decide if it was worth the 75 cents it cost (clearance shelf).  And there was so much clutter!!!  Heavenly clutter! Every wall was lined with books, aisles had baskets filled with books and little tables piled high with more,  nooks and crannies where you could hide and get lost in.  

I remembered  that when I was no more than 15 or 16, I told myself I wanted to own a little bookstore when I grew up.  

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Cozy cafe attached to the bookstore…Da Pepo…Go check them out…they literally had a soft opening the day before the shoot..

I wanted something that felt like someone’s living room with dark wooden shelves, comfy plush seats, the smell of coffee brewing in the background mingled with the smell of old pages in a book. 

I haven’t held a book and read in a long time.  I used to read 3 or 4 books a month growing up.  Now I listen to 1 -2 books a year on Audible because I am always running around.  I have to say it’s not the same half-listening to a book while waiting to order coffee at the drive thru.

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Books are like heaven to me!!

I didn’t buy any books that day as much as I wanted to, but something about that bookstore stirred a long dormant love of books.  I don’t know if I will ever own my own bookstore, but I will definitely be going back to the little community bookstore in Montclair because if I can walk into a space that brings me as much joy as it did that’s a place I need to frequent more often.

Thanks for stopping by lovies! PC|geri_1221   http://www.geritorres.com/

P.S. Here a list of some of my favorite books EVERRRR! (I hope you share yours with me too!)

  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Pillars of the Earth . by Ken Follet
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (of Course!)
  6. Passing by Nella Larsen (A MUST READ!)
  7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez
  8. Counte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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♥LolaUncorked