Vacuum

All I wanted to do was clean with as much impressive vigor as I could possibly muster. But this vacuum… it had so many little moving parts. I happily managed to vacuum the carpets of the house, but I needed to get the corners and crevices. I stared at the hose, pulled out the nozzle from the back of the cleaner, and pressed on a button with a “hose” symbol….

No suction came out of that hose.

Why wasn’t this working?

I stared at the couch and wondered if I could just lift the entire vacuum all the way up onto the couch… but … no… it won’t reach all the crevices in between the cushions.

I tugged and pulled and this pipe, and that brush thing, and looked for the button I was so clearly missing. I tried again.

No suction.

Joaquin was at work and we are leaving in a few days on our first week-long trip together. He likes to keep the house clean and in good, comfortable condition when leaving so that we can return without feeling stressed.

He is right. I am easily stressed. And so I agree! A clean house would be a delightful thing to return to after a five hour flight! Let us clean the house together!

You see, because I am between sources of hourly income right now– all four part-time jobs put on Summer pause… I choose to do my part in the house, something I don’t normally get to do too much of because I’m always… always… ALWAYS.. working.

But, you see, this was my choice. I chose the noble path of “following my dreams” because “It’s not about the money, it’s about what I get to do.” I put a lot of time, money, and effort into being able to live a life that is fulfilling, does not leave me sitting at a desk, and adds to my wheelhouse of all sorts of life experience! I’m a performer, an educator, a comedian, a singer, and a community outreach activist! I have three hundred dollars to my name right now! Aren’t you PROUD?

 

The clock showed there was about forty five minutes until he returned home and I wanted to show that I could be good at cleaning. I could be domestic.

But I can’t figure out this goddamn vacuum.

I can see that this little curved end of the hose is meant to lock into something… it’s not a nozzle… or the stretchy- extendable pipe thingy that helps you clean ceilings.

Is there a name for that?… Whatever, it’s stretchy- extendable pipe thingy now.

I push another button. Still. No. Suction.

A bead of sweat starts to trickle down my mid back as it nears noon and the house is growing hot. It’s supposed to get up to ninety degrees today… Good thing I went for a run in the early morning! I always try to run in the morning because it helps me stay goal oriented for the rest of the day. Nothing balances out a stressed out mind like a good cardiovascular workout!

Why. is. there. no. suction?

I have a degree… I am a feminist…. I believe in equal pay for equal work… I preach body positivity… I believe that I am just as smart as any man AND I CANT FIGURE OUT THIS VACUUM CLEANER.

I could wait for Joaquin to get home and help me but that would make me a failure. I would have to sit and watch him do exactly what needs to be done in 1.6 seconds while I hang my head in shame, looking dumbfounded. I can’t change a tire, I can’t remember the names of all the actors in any movie except for ‘Titanic,’ I can’t eat grilled cheese without getting heartburn, and I can’t properly vacuum my damn house.

 

 

Look, I never played with legos as a child. I never dug around in the dirt! I never really learned how to use a computer. I can’t memorize the years of important events in history. I never received any praise for taking things apart and putting them back together again… I was told to put on pretty dresses and stand there and sing songs because that’s what young ladies do…

 

Suddenly, the entire torso of the vacuum cleaner pops right off, the flat thingy that goes across the carpet is sitting on the floor, the rest of it in my hand… I BROKE THE FUCKING VACUUM.

 

And then I realize… It’s supposed to do this! I was pushing the button that separates the two pieces by accident … what a clever design! The pieces separate so that you can carry the thing around while you suck up filth out of the stretchy-extendable pipe thingy. I’ve seen white, brunette ladies with bob haircuts do this in commercials for Swiffer and Oxyclean! I didn’t know our vacuum did this! .

Ok.

Progress.

 

I’m still sweating and I still haven’t figured out how to make the suction thing happen. I’m starting to feel like the biggest idiot this world has ever seen. What a fool I have been all these years…  I am the reason America has a glass ceiling.

I notice the accordion- like hose dangling from the back of the vacuum now. It has a hole on the end. I turn the motor (is it a motor? I don’t know… a car has a motor… what is this part called? The tornado torso? The windy inner demon? … I don’t know…) Air is sucking out of an open pipe— AN OPEN PIPE.

I turn the vacuum off, and slide the little nozzle of the hose sideways, and screw it to that beautiful open pipe….

On button.

 

SUCKAGE!!

 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE HAVE SUCKAGE!!!!

I have never been so happy to clean ceilings in my entire life! Couch crevices? SUCKED. Oh a cobweb? SUCKED. Dust around the moulding? SUCKED.

Drenched in sweat and as if a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, I used all of the little moving parts of that glorious vacuum cleaner, and BY GOD I did not ask for help!

I am a sad, privileged, woman who JUST figured out how to use her vacuum cleaner, and I will CLING to this moment of adulthood glory for as long as possible.

 

 

As a side note, I also broke my french press today while doing the dishes.

Domestic realness.

 

Later dudes. xoxoxo

A Note of Gratitude

Forgive me as the words spill out of me like the tears I can’t hold back. The past two days have been filled to the brim with reasons to cry, and I have. A younger me would have judged myself for the blubbering I’ve done over the past months, but forget it.

I am a different person now than I was before. Cells have been recreated, I have been hugged more, loved more, given more, offered more breaths of life to keep living and keep loving.

Why was I given more days to experience so much life, and breath, and beauty, when those not so far from my home, my community were not spared?

They wanted a night on the town– no different from my brothers and sisters right here in beautiful Long Beach. Long Beach, a place in which I have learned to become a better version of myself– my mind, and heart, and soul has been expanded because of this place that I chose on a whim, chasing after a boy.

But I look around me and I see how goddamn lucky I was to have followed that boy that broke my heart and tore me apart to a shell of a human so that I not only could rebuild, but so that I could be so closely connected to these beautiful people around me every single glorious day.

Everything is a gift.

Everyone of you is a gift to me.

Readers, friends, those who I will never meet– the vibrations of you matter more than I could ever comprehend.

 

And then, I am over here, experiencing what it feels like to be congratulated by my loved ones to put one foot in front of the other for three hours.

That’s not hard.

Sweating for pleasure is not hard.

Watching your community break down and cry is hard.

Watching your people argue over the definition of love and equality is hard.

Watching your friends feel pain and anguish over the fact that their neighbors might see them as less than any other human is hard.

Watching your people lose all faith in your country is hard.

Going for a long run is NOT HARD.

It was merely a lesson. A lesson that when we put limitations on what we are capable of doing, we can never change. It was a lesson that dedication and hard work can reap incredible results if you just don’t fucking give up.

We can’t give up on ourselves, and I know for a fact, that my brothers and sisters are so much stronger than I am on my own.

They have proven it to me over and over and over and over again and have given me a reason to run in the first place.

 

And although running is not hard, music is not hard, dance is not hard, and art is not hard — at least not in the way this ridiculous fight is hard,

I will run longer, sing more beautifully, dance with less conviction, and create with as much fucking purpose as I have in my tiny little human form because it’s everything I’ve got.

And if our steps, our struggle, our creation, our breath gives us a reason to celebrate who we are, then GOD DAMNIT we better do it.

Because that’s love.

I don’t care who you are, love is love, and we have the power to choose LOVE over hate and separation every day.

Every day we live is a chance to choose kindness and passion and love.

 

Thank you for inspiring me to run, sing, play, and create.

But more than anything,thank you for inspiring me to love greater than I ever thought possible.

 

 

#SorryNotSorry

Lets talk about apologies!!!

Common apologies from friends:

  1. I’m sorry I can’t go out. I have a family to take care of and require me to act responsible.
  2. I’m sorry I can’t eat carbs or sugar or alcohol right now. I’m working on not feeling so sick lately.
  3. I’m sorry I slept in later than usual. I’ve been so tired and stressed out lately.
  4. I’m sorry the dish I brought to this party is not all organic. I was pressed for time.
  5. I’m sorry I’m not up to date on all of your favorite tv shows. I have other things in my life keeping me occupied. Like my job. And my family. And like, my passions.

Common apologies from colleagues:

  1. I’m sorry I don’t understand the task, and would like further clarification.
  2. I’m sorry I’m sniffling and taking so much cold medicine. I woke up very ill and figured i should still come to work.
  3. I’m sorry, but I feel I may be a victim of sexual harassment in the work place.
  4. I’m sorry I didn’t bring you Starbucks. I did not realize it was my responsibility.
  5. I’m sorry I’m late. There was an accident that could not have been predicted.
  6. I’m sorry I am not passionate about this job and I am looking for work elsewhere.
  7. I’m sorry I need time off to spend some time with my family.
  8. I’m sorry I have been so sleepy at work lately. I am very stressed in my home life.

Common Apologies I have heard myself say:

  1. I’m sorry I am tight on funds and cannot spend extra money. I am in between jobs.
  2. I’m sorry I would like to take this time to express how I am really feeling because I feel like it matters to this relationship.
  3. I’m sorry I have been exercising a lot. It makes me feel better about myself and helps me be more productive.
  4. I’m sorry I can’t eat cake and ice cream. I’m working on being my healthiest self.
  5. I’m sorry I have a specific kind of personality. I am a diverse woman with a lot of passions.
  6. I’m sorry I no longer believe the same things that you believe. My experience has led me to feel otherwise.

Now… Go back up to these lists. Take a look at the statements, and remove the “I’m Sorry” from every single one of them.

Now they have just become factual statements, explaining needs, boundaries, passions, emotions, and things we should NEVER have to apologize for.

Why do we feel like we have to live in a head space of constant apology when it’s unnecessary?  Who are we disappointing by having needs? What are we afraid of? Are we just avoiding the responsibility we have to our own hearts?

If we go around our lives saying “I’m sorry I believe in this moral code,” or “I’m sorry my body is shaped this way,” or “I’m sorry I have this passion,” then we are NEVER allowing ourselves to carry out our fullest potential. We are stopping ourselves from our divine truth for the sake of other peoples’ ideas of who we should be, or just merely out of fear. STOP IT! LIVE YOUR TRUTH!!! (I mean, don’t be a jerk either… like, don’t go around chastising anyone for living out their truth as well— They shouldn’t have to apologize for who they are either. It goes both ways, mmk?)

I am currently learning about what it truly means to live in a way in which I only need to apologize if it truly is necessary. An apology should be meaningful– used when we are truly and deeply sorry for a terrible mistake. But, in the meantime, if I stay true to who I am, stick to my own morals, and chickety-check-myself-before-I-rickety-wreck myself, I will never have to wander around my life saying “Im Sorry” for my own existence. It’s REALLY HARD. But when I commit to it, its extremely liberating. It makes goals seem so much more attainable. And frankly, it makes living joyfully a breeze.

I encourage you to catch yourself the next time you apologize for something silly. See if you can give the statement “I’m Sorry” the actual meaning it deserves. You just might be able to set yourself free from something big.

Until next time, friends!