Diary of an Open Mic Whore

Yes, I’m an Open Mic whore. I will admit it. I get high every time that I come out of an open mic, energized and ready to get inspired or inspire someone in the audience. Open Mic is my new obsession, my new drug when I get high just watching great performers, poets or musicians touch me in ways that I would have never imagined.
I found myself in an Open Mic. I was lost, desperate, lonely. I thought that I was all alone in the Universe. I really thought that poetry was dead. I thought that philosophers, writers, artists were extinct and, unless my name was Stephen King or Maya Angelou, there was no writer or poet within a ten mile radius. And I’m glad I was wrong.

If you’d like to know my dirty little secret, here it is: there is probably an open mic going on around you NOW that you didn’t even know about within a 10 mile radius of where you live right now.
Would you like to know another secret? I found an open mic for EVERY single night of the week!!! That’s right!

Open Mic Whore recommends:

Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in Sylmar (San Fernando Valley near City of San Fernando) where there is Open Mic every 2nd, 4th and 5th Friday of each month is hosted by Jeffery Martin while Noches de Canto y Poesía (with Alejandro Molina) is done every first and third Friday as well. This was my first and still favorite open mic of all.

Mental Mondays at House of Brews which has been hosted by yours truly, but is best conducted by Evy Spiritluvchild, happens only once a month though so mark your calendars for the last Monday of every month at the House of Brews in City of San Fernando.

Writer Wednesdays with Jessica Wilson located at the former Bob’s Espresso Bar on Lankershim Blvd at the heart of the NoHo Arts District. Perfect for writers, poets, musicians, stand up comedy and even magic.

Soapbox Sessions over at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Encino hosted by Jason Brain. A little intimidating since it’s outdoors and there’s a lot of action going around the area so I only go there when I feel the force is with me. Every Thursday starting at 7. Check it out!

Tuesday Night Project, currently on hiatus but it’s near Little Tokyo and some of the best performers I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. After Tia Chucha‘s, of course (wink, wink)

Holy Grounds is another cool spot with a very nice patio area (currently being remodeled) and has the Zzyxz Writers open mic there (check out their website for details).

Eastside Café located over in El Sereno happens once a month and is hosted by spiritus and sister poet Iris de Anda, only third Thursday of every month starting at 8ish…

La Palabra Series at Avenue 50 Studio. This one is usually on the last Sunday of the month and hosted by big hooped earring wearing Karinneh Mahdessian. Cool art exhibit plus great features and even time for open mic for y’all. Love the circle of love there and the sound of the train is always cool.

Beyond Baroque in Venice is beyond amazing!!! Also hosted by the Los Angeles Poets Society founder and president (she’s a member, too) Jessica Wilson does this once or twice a month on Sundays. Check their website, too! If you ever feel like an actor on a real theatre stage with stadium seating and cool lighting and awesome people then you MUST check it out!

Corazón del Pueblo. Only been there once and I’m definitely coming back. Wednesday nights.

The Last Bookstore. This is a very, very, very laaarge, humongous, bigger than life open mic. Not sure if that’s your thing but definitely great poetry and talent.

And last, but not least, another secret: there’s so many more open mics, all you gotta do is check out openmikes.org
I could have saved you all that trouble from the beginning, right? Sometimes I can be an Open Mic Whore!!! That’s right, I am a whore!!! Deal with it!!!

©2014 Open Mic Whore

20141122-233352-84832484.jpg

My Old Man

This has been a Father’s Day to remember. Today is the day that I finally forgave my father wholeheartedly. Today I realized that I don’t have that many “happy” memories with my dad, the only ones that I remember are the hurtful, negative ones, the ones that I’m still trying to deal with. I have resolved that it’s up to me now to create new memories. Time to accept my father for who is and not his addiction. Time to realize that I’m still his son and he’s still my father and we don’t have much time left on this Earth and so I must forgive him now, while he’s still alive, while he’s still walking and breathing the same air, enjoying watching a soccer match at a pub full of people and still feel as if it’s just us two, feel the sunshine on both our faces, walking the same pier that we walked together 41 years ago when I was a little baby and you were my father. My superhero. Bigger than life. My everything.

There was a moment when we walked by Pacific Park amusement park yesterday, right on the Santa Monica Pier and he reminisced about the time that he had brought me in a stroller and walked over the pier and his eyes turned moist with tears of joy. He wished he could turn back time and start over, to start fresh. Sometimes I wish we could start fresh again. And then I realize that we can. We can still make new memories and put the past in the past, put it over our shoulders and pretend that I’m his toddler and he is my dad who would take me in that roller coaster ride and hear each other laugh. And I’m blessed to say that we still can. We still can do silly things like when you paid seven bucks for that bird guy to put all those parrots and cockatiels on you until one of them made your finger bleed. You did that for my amusement, you did it because you wanted to see me smile. I remember what it used to feel like when you made me smile. You always brought a smile on my face, you have a great sense of humor, you old fart, viejo mío. You know that I love you, right? Even though I never say it, you know that deep inside I do, right?

You made me proud today. For the first time in a very long time, you’ve stated that you’ve been cleaned up and I believe you. It’s not easy for me to trust, you taught me that. You gave me the biggest lesson when I gave you my toys, my bicycle, my radio when you asked to borrow them. Then I never got to see them again. Later I realized that I was only feeding your addiction. And I continued to forgive and forget and trust you again. And again. And again. I trusted you even though I knew where you were heading right after. And there were times that I purposely gave you something just to see if you’d changed, to test you. I knew my mother didn’t understand. I must have been 10 or 11 but I knew well enough that people deserved a second, a third, even a fourth and a fifth chance to change. And when all failed then it was a lesson that I had to learn: don’t trust anyone. Not even your own father. Especially your own father. I could hear my mother’s words right now, I could just hear her telling me what a scumbag you were, what a thief you were, what a bad father you were. But I didn’t want to believe her, I refused to believe her. You were not the monster that she painted you to be, you were my dad.

I write this with tears in my eyes because I still love you, dad. You may not know all the suffering that you’ve put me through, the countless times that you made me cry, the moments when I had expected him to mature but never did. I still love you, old man. Even though you haven’t matured and sometimes you lean on me a little bit too much, I still love you. And yesterday I got an epiphany: your parents, that is my grandparents would be very proud of you, you’ve come around a long way and they didn’t expect you too. You’ve shown everybody wrong by still being alive and kicking it. You have shown me wrong, I never expected you to come around like you did. So I am proud of you, dad. And I love you because I’ve forgiven you one last time… And I would do it again, and again, and again if I needed to. After all, you are my father and I owe you one.

Mi Viejo

“Es un buen tipo mi viejo, que anda solo y esperando
Tiene la tristeza larga
Sin compás no comparse”
Piero

Hoy fue un Día del Padre muy especial. Francamente no pensé que la iba a pasar bien con mi padre ya que estaba en uno de esos ánimos en la que no quería conversar y me preguntaba de que me pasaría las próximas horas hablando con mi viejo. Por lo que se trata de mi padre, él es un parlanchín, le das cuerda y no para de hablar, hay veces que quiero intervenir pero casi siempre no tengo nada en común de que conversar con él. Mi padre aún es un extraño para mí.

Nos detuvimos en una barra donde íbamos a ver el partido de Argentina contra Bosnia directo desde Río de Janeiro, Brasil. Lo que es a mi el fútbol me va y me viene pero a mi padre es solemne, se puede pasar horas hablando de Messi, Maradona, Pelé, de cada jugador que se le atraviesa por la mente. Esta vez era todo acerca de Messi. Tampoco soy de tomar cerveza pero últimamente se me ha entrado la curiosidad y estoy empezando a hallarle el gusto así es que ordenamos unas chelas Heineken y admiramos el partido de principio al fin.

Observaba como mi papá entablaba una conversación y esperaba mi reacción, ahora me doy cuenta que tanto él como yo tratamos siempre de entablar algún tema de conversación en común, algo que tengamos que compartir. Yo tengo mucho guardado desde mucho tiempo pero nunca he tenido la oportunidad de hacerlo. Mi padre es un hombre que no ha cambiado mucho desde que tengo uso de razón.

Mi padre es un hombre deportista, le encanta el fútbol, bicicleta, natación, maratón y siempre me ha inculcado el deporte. Aunque no he seguido su consejo de darle más al deporte al pie de la letra siempre que se me da por caminar (debería correr pero por lo menos camino!) y recuerdo como él me hacia correr por toda la herradura (un balneario cerca de mi casa cuando vivía en Lima, Perú) y habían veces que lo maldecía por torturarme de esa manera. Ahora sé lo que estaba haciendo, estaba inculcando su amor al deporte, su única pasión donde él podría enseñarme. Recuerdo que corría maratones, corría olas con su tabla Hawaiiana, me enseñaba a respirar mientras trotábamos, me enseñó a nadar, a explorar el mundo a mi alrededor. Él aún me sigue enseñando lo poco que sabe, lo poco que él mismo aprendió, siempre me sigue inculcando su amor al deporte, al bienestar, a ser más espiritual.

Hubo un momento mientras caminábamos el muelle de Santa Mónica en la cual tuvimos una conexión y me relató como se recordaba cuando tomó una foto conmigo en ese mismo lugar hace 41 años atrás y sentí que estábamos bajo el mismo sol, bajo el mismo lugar, sobre la misma playa en donde él y yo éramos padre e hijo, cuando éramos felices de conocernos, cuando todavía él era mi ídolo, cuando el era mi padre. Fue un instante que realmente lo vi con otros ojos, no sé si hayan sido las chelitas, o la conversación del Universo y de Dios y de la muerte y de la vida que tuvimos, una de esas conversaciones profundas que siempre quise tener con él.

Y admiramos a la montaña rusa, los carritos chocones, el botecito, los tiro al blanco, y todos los juegos del parque de diversiones que él siempre me quiso llevar. Nos detuvimos en un juego donde un padre llevaba a su niño y le tomaba vídeos y fotos. Yo sentí que mi papá quería ponerme en ese juego, hubiese querido retroceder 40 años y volver a ser ese padre que soñó con ser pero no logró. Sentí su frustración, su dolor, su pena.

Ahora que escribo estas líneas me doy cuenta que las memorias que tengo de mi padre son las más negativas, nunca recuerdo los buenos momentos que alguna vez tuvimos. Pero nunca es tarde para volver a ser padre e hijo. Nunca es tarde para crear nuevas memorias con mi viejo. Nunca es tarde para decirle cuanto lo quiero y cuanto aún lo admiro por ser aventurero, jovial, alegre, lleno de vida, optimista, atlético, humilde, un hombre de mucha fé, espiritual. Raro que nunca me puse a enumerar sus virtudes, sólo sus defectos como mi mamá siempre hizo y sigue haciéndolo. Mi padre tiene muchas virtudes. Mi padre aún es mi padre y puede enseñarme a superarme, puedo apoyarme en él, puedo confiar en él. Ya no soy un niño inocente y eso fue la lección más grande que él me pudo dar: no confiar en nadie.

Hubieron ocasiones en la cual le confié con mis juguetes, le confié con mi dinero, le confié y siempre me traicionaba. Dejaba de venir a la casa ya que se estaría drogando con quien sabe que y donde. Vendería mis juguetes, mis patines, mi bicicleta, mi radio… Y aún así le confiaba nuevamente. Esta lección fue y sigue siendo una de las más duras lecciones que me dió la vida y quizás es por eso que no confío en nadie. Quizás es por eso que no soy 100% feliz al verlo. Hay veces que no quiero ver a mi padre ni en pintura por todo el dolor que me ocasionó cuando era un niño. Un niño que confiaba en él completamente porque era mi padre. A quien más le podía yo confiar?

El Universo siempre tiene un propósito y yo sé cual es el mío al igual que tiene un propósito para él también. Desde hoy estoy viendo a mi padre como un ser humano común y corriente, un ser humano con defectos y virtudes como yo. Él no es un superhéroe y nunca lo fué, ese fué error mío de idolatrar a un hombre con una adicción, idolatrar a un hombre que mentía siempre y en toda ocasión, un hombre con tantas ideas que no cumplía (al igual que yo), un hombre que nunca mantuvo a su familia y abandonó a su mujer a su suerte, un hombre que no supo ser padre hasta que fue muy tarde.

Esta es su última oportunidad de demostrar que ha cambiado. Ya no le queda mucho más por vivir y es hoy que me di cuenta de que él lo sabe. Los años no han pasado en vano y ahora se dá cuenta de lo que perdió por su maldito vicio. Ahora sabe que tiene un hijo que, a pesar de todo, ha sobresalido sin su ayuda. Ahora sabe valorar su trabajo, ahorrar su dinero, ser responsable, planear su futuro. Sabe que aún puede ser mi amigo y que algún día entenderá que yo siempre lo quise y lo quiero como lo hice de niño y lo haré siempre. Nunca lo dejé de amar y quizás es ahora que mi amor por mi padre es más profundo que nunca antes. Ahora que encontré que tenemos mucho en común.

20140615-203803-74283873.jpg

MLK

Who’s Martin Luther King, Jr.? A poet, an activist, a man ahead of his time? Can I ever be like him? Can I ever be so passionate about something that I would sacrifice my freedom, my comfort zone, my life? I’d like to be courageous, adventurous, wise, and be able to move people with my words. Words are so powerful, we can use it to create war or create peace. Which one will it be?

Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Money can’t buy happiness, they say.

Who’s they, anyways? Was it someone rich and famous that said those lines? Or was it someone who was so out of his luck that gave up and decided to come up with that line in order to feel good about himself?
Truth is money can’t buy happiness, it sure doesn’t but, heck, in a capitalist world ruled by money, credit, power and acquisitions, money comes close to buy one happiness or the illusion of happiness. I’m not asking for a lot, just a few million dollars would do. One million is not enough nowadays, I’ll need about ten million or so to really make it count. I wouldn’t mind more than that, obviously. I want to slide my ATM card in and see 7 or 8 digit figures on the screen and that would put a big smile on my face… Wouldn’t that make me happy?

Now, I know that money can’t buy me happiness, I know that. Just like it can’t buy me love either. Especially when it comes to loving myself. Now that’s the key element in that sentence: Money can’t buy me love for myself. It’s impossible. Money can’t flip the way I think overnight and make me love myself, love all my imperfections and flaws as well as my strengths and uniqueness. Nobody can buy self esteem and if someone came up with that I’d like to hear him.

Money is abstract. Just like music is abstract, art is abstract, love is abstract. So is money. The concept behind money is a misconception of power created by humans that wanted to own things, own slaves, own cattle, own property, own a wife and a mistress. Everything your heart desires is yours, anything you can touch is yours. Until someone decided to put a price tag on it and ask for coin.
If you think deeper and deeper, the mineral that coin contains whether is gold, silver, bronze or whatever doesn’t really have a real value, does it? It can also be abstract since before gold and silver were exploited, they were just part of the landscape. For all we know, we may be made of gold, we have the same minerals inside of our bodies, we are all connected to the elements in the universe so why not be gold? Why not be silver? Why not be stars?
So, what about it? What is it with us and money? When did it start ruling our lives and our thoughts? When did money become such a necessity? Would we die without money? Probably not. Would we be happier if we didn’t have any money? Hey, when I had no money to buy me a pair of new sneakers or even an appetizing lunch when I was in high school I remember being happier than I am today when I can eat a whole rotisserie chicken with French fries on my own. So why am I worrying about money? Since when do I give it such importance in my life? When did money become such a pain in the ass? I need money to survive, sure, everybody does but I don’t need to make money the idol that most people make it out to be.
I could die tomorrow and money will not have made me happier, or holier, or purer or whatever… The only thing money could do is buy me a nice looking coffin, a cello concerto, an operetta singer, or better yet an angelic choir and a nice plot up in Forrest Lawn, the other up in Glendale next to Michael Jackson. However money wouldn’t buy me happiness, love, self esteem, worth and life purpose. On the contrary, I think money will steer me further away from these things, the things that are worth living for.
So I will live today as if there was no money problems. Money will not rule my life, or alter my mood, or make me happy or sad. Money will not determine how I lead my life. Money will not buy friendships or relationships that are worthwhile. Money is worthless to me since there’s never enough money in the world to buy what I need. The universe will provide me with all that I need. I have got all that I need right here, right now.

Guess What Today Is…

It’s past 2 in the morning and I haven’t even bat a lash since yesterday so I have decided to declare it: my unofficial ferris Bueller’s Day Off #3. I’ll make up a lie to tell the boss, it’s not like she cares anyway, she won’t even care. And, well, I don’t care if she cares either!
Here’s my plan for the day: starting with a vigorating walk up around Griffith Park Observatory where I can catch an awesome and yes, bitchen view of my city, this beautiful city of Angels!
Then, if weather permits, I will take a notepad out and begin writing like there’s no tomorrow… Wait, it is tomorrow! Hahahaha this is gonna be a fun day already.
After that it’s open to whoever hits me up first and seeing that it’s a week day there may not be that many options. Hmmmm, I may go see my dad, I haven’t seen him in a while, yeah I may just do that. But first time for moi, I love me some “me” time once in a while cuz I fucking deserve it, that’s why!
Feeling as I am right at this moment and seeing that I’m hosting open mic tonight I really need to be in a great mood. Listening to Lorde, Jem, Lana del Rey and whoever I’m starting to listening to lately, maybe I can take my girl (that would be my Chocolate Mini) for a fun joyride along Mulholland drive, anywhere my heart desires. Stop for a car wash, read those magazines I’ve been putting off for like forever. I never have time to read a friggin magazine? This is absurd, I need time for myself, some needed “me” time is overdue…

Some hours later…

Well, the day went like this: it’s now been more than 48 hours since I started jotting down what my plans were for the day but, as luck would have it, it was drizzling in the morning and so that ruined my plans to go to Griffith Park (which I got to do today anyhow) and decided to have some alone time at the Americana. Before that I met Elvira for a quick breakfast at Norms which was great, we needed a Soul Sister 2 Sister real talk that we haven’t had in a while and then after that my Ferris Bueller’s Day Off really kicked off.
My energy level was still pretty high and I was very talkative so I decided that I would use my cell phone minutes up, I got so many rolled over minutes that I could be talking 24/7 for days… Well, maybe not but you catch my drift. I called my boyfriend before Barnes & Noble or any of the stores opened. There’s this peaceful moment when everything is still closed, people are still not getting to work just yet, gardeners and other people that are sweeping, watering the beautiful gardens, getting ready for their day.
Some days are easier than others and I have noticed that I get really excited and euphoric during the morning hours and so I thrive on that positive energy and try to carry that all throughout the day. It’s not easy though and I am aware of what triggers the negativity: coworkers, rude drivers, even my mom or grandma can be really negative and set me in a bad mood. Sometimes it’s myself that puts me down. God knows I’m my worst critic.
However when I feel euphoria like that morning when nothing can bring me down, when I feel as if I’m on top of the world then I feel entitled to having my little getaway from the routine, my very own holiday of sorts and I am do blessed that I can actually call out via text and not get scrutinized for what I’ve done, although I do space out these occurrences to avoid looking suspicious or abusive of the system. However, my company gives me a certain amount of sick time and I never bank it, I know I’m supposed to use them in case of an emergency but when it’s over 300+ hours of sick time I wonder if I’ll ever get to use them at all.
Back to that morning, I decided to leave the Americana after seeing how crowded it was getting and I decided to go to Forest Lawn cemetery. Now before you call me crazy you must know that I never see this as a creepy cemetery but more of a memorial park where bodies happen to be buried under the soil. I’m not quite afraid of the dead, I am terrified for the living if you ask me. The day had already cleared by then and the sun started to sneak out from behind the wet clouds and it was a beautiful view from the hills. I laid on the grass, on top of a grave under the shade of a pine tree and decided to take a nap. No luck, I was still very euphoric and had no desire to sleep quite yet.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

The Day After

I’ve decided to follow my gut. I decided that nobody should push me to do things that I don’t want to do and make me feel inferior than they are. I always fall for that trick, I get vulnerable and give in to whatever other people think that I should or should not do. I need to start believing in my own strength, start believing my own worth. Thank you, God, for giving me the right people to lean onto, for giving me a support group and the courage to ask for help when needed. God knows I needed it yesterday to fend off those demons.

Roller-coaster

Euphoria (/juːˈfɔəriə/; from Ancient Greek εὐφορία, from εὖ eu, “well”, and φέρω pherō, “to bear”) (semantically opposite of dysphoria) is medically recognized as a mental and emotional condition in which a person experiences intense feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, excitement, and joy. Technically, euphoria is an affect but the term is often colloquially used to define emotion and an intense state of transcendent happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of contentment.

Ever felt as if your life was a roller coaster, ups and downs along the way? Life is like a roller coaster, never knowing where is the next sudden turn, or when I’m about to flip upside down, go into steep drops, change in speed or come to a sudden stop. I love roller coasters, I love the thrill that they give me. Sure, I’m scared shitless when I don’t know what is happening next, what’s on the other side of that steep climb, but that’s part of the thrill. Life is precisely a roller coaster and I’m beginning to feel as if I’m part of the ride.

There are times when I’m down the roller coaster and the cart doesn’t come back up, when the speed diminishes almost completely and I’m left stuck at the bottom waiting for the next thrill but it’s dark and I feel as if there’s no way I’m going to get out of that state. I have experienced this for days at a time, I start the morning with a great attitude, feeling powerful and refreshed and ready to seize the day, to get on that roller coaster and ride it with raised arms… Until I get to work and most everyone is unhappy to be there or nobody wishes they were there, including myself. I put my headset on, play on some wonderful New Age music like Enigma, Dead Can Dance or Enya to keep my spirits up and fight all those demons that come to visit when it’s all quiet in the office which is 99% of the time.

Luckily for me I now look forward to talking to people, I have become fascinated with the way we can connect. I have a close network of friends that I can honestly open up to and reveal my deepest emotions without the fear of rejection, without fear that I won’t be heard. I feel safe with my network of friends and they have made me so much stronger by the day that every day I feel more powerful, more invincible. Problem is that sometimes these talks, these deep discussions about the Universe and abstract and the meaning of life get in the way of work. It also doesn’t help that I am doing this while working… Maybe not the perfect timing to be discussing these things, right?

Now I am expanding from my closest friends to now a wider audience. I attend open mics and I have found that there is an outlet for my deep discussions about life, depression, mental health, love, despair, poetry. It’s here where my passion lies, where I have found a beautiful vehicle that allows me to express my emotions in a safe environment where nobody is going to judge me for saying what’s in my heart. Funny thing is that sometimes I feel as if I’m not going to get schooled by anyone until the other poets, musicians or regular people that just want to get up on the stage and share something personal of theirs, something that touches and sends me for a spin.

The concept of euphoria was born when one day I was chatting with Elvira and we had a discussion about abstract. In short, abstract is everything: music, art, pictures, love, hate, money, stress, life. Our lives are borrowed, our bodies not our own. We are made of spirit and we can literally travel wherever we want just by listening to a song on the radio that transports us to a different time and space. I could be listening to Dead Can Dance and immediately be transported to a deep forest in the Amazon, surrounded by green foliage, wild animals all around, water flowing all around me. The next minute I can be listening to Stereophonics and be transported to a Metro station with the hustle of the people walking by, listening to the trains coming by in the busiest of rush hours and trying to picture my characters for my next short story, or I could listen to The Beatles and be transported to a different time and place in my life, a time when things were simpler and less stressful.

I could simply close my eyes after having sniffed lavender oil and be transported beyond the clouds in the sky way above the Earth, out in the dark and vast deep space. I can simply detach myself from my physical body and travel, even with eyes wide open to another place, a happier place than my cubicle. I can take a look at my Macchu Picchu pictures that i have on my desk and suddenly be there with the llamas and the alpacas, surrounded by the powerful Inti, the Inca god, the Sun. Or I can take a look at my Buddha sitting under my fake bonsai tree and imagine I’m up in the Himalayas, trying to discover myself in the solitude of the magnificent landscape.

Sometimes it’s the words that we say to each other. Same thing happens when I text my boyfriend and I tell him that I am there with him. Suddenly I transport myself to the comfort of his bed and cuddle with him and feel his warmth and energy. I feel an emotion and a feeling of longing. I stop whatever I’m doing, even if it means my work is suffering to recharge my batteries and reach that state of mind again, never lose momentum. When I tell him that I miss him and I love him, an abstract emotion takes over me and I realize that’s energy flowing out and coming back stronger. It’s sort of telepathy with the help of technology. I could sometimes sense when something is wrong before we even communicate and I must stop and reach out. This is certainly never productive and I realize why everybody at work wants me out the door. The way I see it is that my mental state, my core has to learn how to maintain that positive energy against all the odds and never let a negative or pessimist thought into my head. It’s a hard task and that’s why I depend so much on my support group.

One thing I need to do is take charge of my roller coaster ride. It’s fun to be strapped to my seat, have the cart move within the tracks and feel secured when I’m fastened and locked in and all but I don’t like certain aspects of my life and where it’s headed. Although I have job security (for now) I realize that this is not my calling and that I’m simply buying some time to catapult into what I really want to do which is writing, performing, reciting poetry and share my affirmations with whoever wants to give it a listen. I know is possible and achievable and I need to take the wheel of the bumper car and maneuver it. Sure, there will be bumps along the way and I just need to tilt my head back and laugh for it’s all part of the master plan, it’s the only way I will ever learn not to make same mistake twice or multiple times. I want to cross the finish line with the biggest smile on my face, look back and laugh about the most embarrassing moments, the most memorable open mics, the most wonderful trips and the most cherished moments spent with friends and family. I want to get at the end of the roller-coaster ride, unbuckle my seat and be able to say:

“That was awesome! What a great ride… Can I go again?”

© 2014 Victor Sotomayor

The Minion

I have thought about this blog entry all day. I thought about all the things I would lay out to explain why I decided to end a friendship today. I had tears in my eyes realizing that I had to emotionally detach myself from this woman who I had considered a friend, someone that I trusted my feelings to, my hopes, my dreams, my struggles and achievements.

Anyone who knows me and considers themselves a friend of mine knows that I would pour out my guts. I always speak from the heart, even when it’s wrong it’s always dictated my words. I have been warned before to not do that, to never allow anyone in, because I tend to share too much at once when I should be more reserved and realize when to say or write something or when to keep it to myself. Everyone is not open to what I have to say, in fact sometimes people will run away from me if I speak the truth.

This friend has been in an emotional roller coaster of depression since I recently joined her team last year. We have this condition in common where we don’t want to talk to noone, when we feel so miserable that we don’t want to speak to no one, when we just don’t want to be bothered at all and be left alone. This is the hardest thing to understand about depression and not many people understand how we push people out of our lives not knowing why. I know this because I have suffered depression and I know exactly how she feels, there are times that I am so wrapped inside my head that it is so hard to even get up and face the day. I understand her and I have told her that I know exactly how she feels. There are good and bad days, some days I’m good or she’s good and we both share how great we feel and how hard it is to maintain that state of mind. There are other times when we both know to avoid each other like the plague, when we know that we are in our dark place and we should avoid each other at all cost. Then there are moments like yesterday when we are in opposite sides of the spectrum, on opposite moods and that’s when it’s most difficult to deal with each other.

Yesterday I woke up blessed with a joyous feeling, blessed with a smile from ear to ear and I have maintained this wonderful mood for a few days now. It’s been bliss for me and I can’t hide my emotions, especially when I feel high as I do lately. I have tried to conceal this mood from my friend since I realize we are not on the same page. I understand how this mood of mine may make her more upset than anything and so I avoid speaking to her when I’m extremely happy for I know I may not feel the same the next hour.
I suffer from euphoria and extreme happiness that brings tears of joy in my eyes. It’s a strange, wonderful state when I feel blessed with sensations that travel through my brain and generate extreme joy throughout my body. There are moments when I get so high that I begin sobbing but it’s not sadness I feel, it’s joy. During these moments I am usually typing to Elvira, or my boyfriend, or expressing something profound on Facebook, or writing on my Diary Dearest ©2014 Victor Sotomayor that I intend to publish eventually, or daydreaming about being at the beach, or somewhere in Paris. I close my eyes and transport to a wonderful spot in the universe that I have never been but the concept of abstract has taught me that I can be anywhere I want to be. Anywhere at all.
However my neighbor’s dark cloud lurks behind me, it’s an unseen presence but I sense her powerful, negative pull on me. Yesterday was just the tip of an iceberg that has been forming between she and I. Slowly but surely, this barrier between us has gotten bigger and bigger until I realized yesterday that I was not going to swim against the current.

Ever since I came to this position I have been fighting her battles, I have been defending her with my coworkers that don’t know her that well, I have been on her side even when this meant that I had to be against everyone else in the office. She had drawn a line in the sand and asked me to cross it while everyone else stayed on the other side. And I jumped that line, obediently as a sheepdog. I jumped hoops for her. I did everything she asked me to do and it was always up to her. I had to ask her first. She loves when I ask for help, she thrives on that shit. She feels like she’s irreplaceable. She feels as if everything will go sinking if she left the department, even calling out sick or going on vacation is stressful to her because she knows nobody knows what to do in her absence. And I’m her fucking minion.
Today is a new dawn. I’ve come to the realization that she does not control my life, she cannot affect my mood, she will not win this battle.

©2014 Victor Sotomayor

To Elvira

20140330-015742.jpg

I don’t know how to start this poem
I guess from the beginning?
Ahem…

Oh Lavender,
Like an old dear friend
You’ve always been there,
With your sweetest scent
You filled me with joy….

Oh, what am I saying,
I’m not a poet!
Only thing I know
Is that it’s you, Elvira,
make my days brighter

Each day of the week
I see you having a bitchen morning
Tell me about your day
Tell me
How you’ve walked your dogs this morning
How wonderful your hike was
Up in Griffith Park and Fern Dale
How many different birds have you spotted
along your way up to Dante’s Peak?
How many hundreds of pictures did you snap
of that butterfly
Or that hummingbird
Or that woodpecker
Or that seagull
Or that cute guy at the park…
Wait, what! Where! When! Who!

Look!
Look what Elvira is up to today
Having a bitchen day
And wishing us enough.

So today
I wish you enough!
Cuz you deserve it,
Cuz you’re there for me as I’m there for you
Cuz we both know the power of our words
Cuz we know how strong our friendship is

So have a bitchen birthday,
a bitchen year,
a bitchen life
Cuz… Well… You ARE bitchen!

©2014 Victor Sotomayor