anxiety, Blog, Culture, Family, Journey, Life, Uncategorized, Women

No one said it would be easy…

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How much did we complain about 2016? And how much were we looking forward to 2017? Or maybe it was just me. Regardless, I was certain 2017 was going to be a kick ass year and I was waiting for it with open arms.

Two weeks into the year and my life was turned upside down. Do I sound dramatic? Yes? Well, that’s because I don’t do well in times of crisis. It was a sunny afternoon, and I must have just had lunch when I felt a tingling feeling take over me, from head to toe. My hands and feet began to feel sweaty and then, numbness. This happened within seconds, and it took me  couple of minutes to gather myself and mustard the courage to get up and head to the nearest mirror. I was certain that the right side of my face was droopy. I immediately thought: bell’s palsy. I looked in the mirror and all was good. The numbness was still lingering with the feeling of cold limbs. What was going on? My mind immediately began to feel foggy and slowly but surely I drifted into an out of body experience. For days after, my routine was to run to the restroom and look at my face. I really felt like my face was droopy. This feeling brought confusion which turned into fear. I made an appointment to see my doctor and she ruled out any type of stroke and/or bell’s palsy; thank GOD. She said I had a nervous breakdown due to stress/ anxiety. I was happy to hear that, but still questioned why my body felt like it was on an awful trip. She assured me that it was just part of the process.

Days turned into weeks. Confusion turned into fear and sadness. This was not only taking a toll on me but on everyone around me. I’d make plans only to cancel. Eventually I just stopped answering. I spiraled downwards fast, so fast , I had no idea when it happened. I would sleep, cry, and sleep again. Some symptoms seemed to get better, only for others to pop-up. My muscles were sore. My tongue was swollen. My mind was foggy and the list goes on.I was in both physical and emotional pain. I had completely lost control of my being. I began to pray and allow myself to open up about what/ how I was feeling. Folks shared their experiences and that my pivotal point. There is something so intimate and fragile about people coming together and share their experiences with you. Coming from a Mexican background, as most people I know, this isn’t easy. We do not talk about these things. I am fortunate to work with a colleague turned friend who reminded me on a daily that it was okay to talk about it and that it would only be temporary. I leaned on her more than I would have liked, but I’m thankful that she was always willing to listen. I truly believe God makes no mistakes. He kept making me cross paths with folks that were uplifting and supportive. I’m beyond thankful.

It’s been a month and a day, but feels like a year. Everyday things get better. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my body, patience, understanding, and others. This life is demanding and it is up to us to make it as tough and/or as easy as we possibly can. In a sense we’re just like little kids–often times the signs are there and we just refuse to listen. I no longer view this as a breakdown but instead, a breakthrough.

So was 2016 a bad year? Is 2017 better? The answer is NO and YES. I’ve got a different perspective now. Every single day we wake up is a good day. My husband and children are healthy and happy. We’ve got a place we call home and food on our table. We are surrounded by the most amazing beautiful people that show us love time and time again. No one said it would be easy, but we’re more resilient than we think me are. I continue to put one foot in front of the other. I will continue to help normalize dialogues about mental health in our communities.  We must share the knowledge and continue to pay it forward. There is a reason behind this experience that I might no quite understand now, but in due time I will.  I’m not where I used to be but I’m slowly getting there.

Cheers,

gicelmybell 

p.s. If anyone has any questions about my experience or findings along the way, I’m more than happy to chat.

 

 

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Culture, DTLA, Family, Journey, Life, Music, Uncategorized

The Grammy Museum

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Yo, I’m back! Not that anyone missed me or anything, but…

Those of you who know us, know that Miles plays music. When he was younger he would pick up the instruments that Rob would leave laying around, but it wasn’t until middle school that he began to develop and flourish into a little talented musician. The music program at his middle school is one of the main reason we decided to send him there. It was worth it. He was a part of the band, drum line, and jazz band. This academic school year the Theloniuos Institute of Jazz collaborated with 10 LAUSD school to provide private lessons for the jazz band at those schools. Imagine these young adults getting lessons from some of the most talented musicians around! It’s heartbreaking to see that music and the arts are at the top of the list when funds are cut short.

After an entire year of hard work and practice, they were given the opportunity to play the one and only Grammy Museum on June 4. We (Robert and I) were stoked! Miles on the other hand seemed very indifferent. It was just “another” performance. But the show must go on, and it did. I’m getting chills just replaying all the phenomenal performances by young adults ranging from 13-17 years of age. Simply mind blowing. You know they say that most musicians that are virtuosos were more than likely prodigies. I know for a fact I witnessed some that afternoon. And it was a the very end of the show when Miles finally realized what an amazing opportunity he was given. That show changed a lot of things for him. Embarking on his high school journey in less than a week, he vowed to quit playing music at school and was convinced he would pick up sports. Well, that wasn’t the case after the Grammy Museum performance.

There’s  a part of me that thinks that the reason he didn’t want to continue with music in high school, is due to the lack of popularity. Miles is a well-known, well liked kid that cares about perception. But then again, maybe that’s all kids at his age (?). Regardless, we’re hoping to instill the value and appreciation of being unique. Up until now Miles has marched to the beat of his own drum, and we want nothing more for him than to continue to do that. Naturally, hearing that he’ll continue to pursue music was music to my ears.

Like everything else, this was a complete family affair. We got access to the entire museum and the kids loved it. Highly recommend it if you’re into music or if you’re into letting your kids run around, mess with instruments, all while burning off some energy. Ha ha!

Much appreciation to ESMS and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz for believing in the talented youth of our future. This is and will be an unforgettable experience.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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Concerts, Culture, Family, Journey, Life, Love, Mexican, Music

If I could, I would

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If you asked me what my thoughts were about Natalia LaFourcade about two months ago, I would have shrugged my shoulders and said “yeah, whatevs”. When it comes to music, I like what I like. I absolutely love to be exposed to new music, but it takes sometime to include them with my circle of “faves”.

Late September a friend of mine randomly (eek!) invited me to the Latin Grammy’s Acoustic Session featuring Julieta Venegas and Natalia LaFourcade. Now, if you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE Julieta Venegas but every single time she’s been in town I’ve missed her. So you know I agreed to be her date! Not only was I going to finally see Julieta Venegas live but it was happening at this very exclusive show. Julieta 2

Natalia LaFourcade came on stage and got the show running with one of her new singles titled “Hasta la raiz”, which translates into “To the Root”. I must have been biting my lip the entire time trying to fight back tears. The lyrics pierced right through my soul. The song itself talks about the journey of leaving home. Leaving your country behind and the sacrifices and heartache that come with that journey.

You’ve all have probably heard this story before and know that I was born in Mexico City and migrated here with my mother when I was 5 years old. As a kid, I never questioned the reason behind it, I never really cared. All I knew is that my parents led and I followed. This didn’t resurface and cross my mind until I became a mother myself. For a while, I was a bit upset at my parents. My father for having left both my mother and I behind to provide a better life for us, and my mother for having endangered our lives  while attempting to cross the border. LITERALLY. I remember looking at Miles when he was 5 and just thinking about how I could never ever expose him to such danger. It took years before I could realize that all my father wanted was to provide what he knew he couldn’t had we stayed back home. And my mom, well, it was the unconditional love that she had for her husband, the father of her child that drove her to do such a thing. I applaud my parents and love them for teaching me all about unconditional love. natalia

Born in Mexico, raised in Los Angeles, but 28 years later and I still yearn for home. If I had the opportunity to get up and move all of my family back home, I would do it in a heartbeat. I’m still trying to figure out where this feeling stems from but in the meantime, it looks like it’s here to stay. Needless to say, when the song began to play and I began to listen to the lyrics, it spoke to me directly. Natalia LaFourcade did something for me that most all artists I love do: it connected me to a memorable place and time in my life. She, this song, it transported me HOME. I’m almost certain that’s the beauty and the gift of music. I must have gone home and listened to every single one of her albums after the show and have since become obsessed. My connection aside, if you’re a music lover, I highly recommend you check her out. She’s unbelievably talented.

A million thanks to my friend Kristine who made this happen.

 

Cheers!

p.s. listen to my two latest obsessions ❤

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