Nineteen and Not Driving.

It’s weird how time can change your perspective on something so much. When I was 14 and all my classmates were 15 getting their learner’s permit, I was itching to get a license. When I was younger, I saw driving as adventure, as freedom. But now, it’s responsibility. Not in the “oh, I have to run errands for my parents” way, but like the “oh, I severely injured someone and it’s all my fault” way.

I always thought I was going to get my license on my 16th birthday, but that didn’t happened. My parents thought it was in the best interest of my brother and I to wait to get our licenses until we were 18. I hated that. It was torture watching everyone else get their license and cars, while I just had to wait.

But while everyone was getting their licenses, getting ticket, and having really bad wrecks, I just sat back and watched. I saw how driving not only can greatly impact your life, but others around in a mere second. You know that at 16, but it sinks in more at 19.

I hate when people make the snap judgement of “well, what’s your excuse?” As if something is wrong for me not to be driving. First off, driving isn’t the end all, be all. But beyond that my family’s decision for me not to drive has been based on a plethora of reasons. Not that it should be anyone else’s concern but by the time I was 18, some serious things were going on in my family that caused it not to be the right time for me to go forward with that. By the time all of the dust settled, it was time to go to college. I didn’t have the time during the school year, between work and classes I was swamped enough as is. I didn’t need to drive either. I barely got a chance to breathe between the spring semester and the summer session so when I did, I didn’t actively seek driver’s ed. Once it summer sessions were over, it was back to fall classes.

I’m sure I could have found time and made it happen but at the time I valued going on family vacations and relaxing over going to learn how to drive. Going on those trips is a choice I’ll never regret. When you’ve gone this long without driving, waiting a little more time to learn how to drive isn’t as big of deal anymore.

I driven some and I’m sure the days of me not driving are limited, but that’s my decision. I’ll drive when I’m ready to take on that responsibility. That doesn’t make me less than anyone else. In the end, we are all simply trying to make the best decisions that we need to for ourselves. Right now, not driving at 19 is what’s right for me.

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MTMM: I Know Where I’ve Been

“I Know Where I’ve Been” from Hairspray

After the election results were announced, I was devastated. I was upset. I was frustrated. I was scared.

Immediately after I found out I posted this on Facebook:

I’m scared. I’m scared for me.. I’m scared for my future children.. I’m scared for our world.. I’m scared..

I didn’t know what was going to happen. I had seen what awfulness this election brought, I was scared it was only going to be given a bigger voice. I was scared that all our progress was going to be thrown down the drain. I was scared for more bigotry, more misogyny, more xenophobia, more LGBTQ bashing, more racism.

It took me a while to get my head back into “school mode,” when all I could think of what was to possibly come. But in the effort to maintain my good grades, I attempted to study for my test. I was obviously looking forward to NBC’s Hairspray: Live! (because I loooove all of the Hairsprays before) So in an effort to boost my motivation to study I played the soundtrack on shuffle.

When this song came on, I immediately stopped. Though this song was written in 2001, based on a movie from 1988 which was set in the 1960’s, I felt automatically connected to it. It felt so perfect for today. It felt like a battle cry.

“So you tried once and you failed. We can’t get lazy when things get crazy. Children, you were not the first to try and you won’t be the last, but I am here to tell you that I’m gonna keep lining up until someday somebody breaks through. And I’ve been looking at that door a lot longer than you.”

-Motormouth Maybelle (Act 2, Scene 4)

I absolutely love this mini monologue she says before she sings, it only intensifies the gravity of the song. It makes her song hit you harder. You know when she says that something goods gonna come soon.

This song comforted me at that time. I had it on repeat for weeks, maybe months. It reminded me that though people may suffer, we are mighty. We must stand up and fight. The reward is worth it. We must press on because it would be a shame not to.

Favorite Lyrics:

“There’s a road we must travel
There’s a promise we must make
Oh, but the riches, the riches will be plenty
Worth the risks and the chances that we take

There’s a dream, yeah, in the future
There’s a struggle that we have yet to win
Use that pride in our hearts to lift us up to tomorrow
‘Cause just to sit still would be a sin

I know it, I know it, I know where I’m going
Lord knows I know where I’ve been
Oh, when we win, I’ll give thanks to my God
‘Cause I know where I’ve been”

Growing up with Bereaved Parents

I was my mother’s sixth pregnancy, with that information alone you’d assume I’d come from a big family. But I don’t. I’m the youngest of three.

The one question I hate being asked is “how many siblings do you have?” When I was a kid, I always through my teachers off when they’d ask that because I’d always retort with “alive or dead?” To me, that question was always so complicated to answer. I mean I have one brother, I grew up with one brother. But I also have a sister. She existed in a span of time where I wasn’t there, and even though we never met her absence leaves an ever-present emptiness within my family. A piece that is forever missing.

Growing up, every kid sees their parent as these unshakable pillars. They are these superheroes that are invincible. But, I grew up seeing my parents bawl, broken, empty, somehow trying to pick their pieces.. and as much as they were grateful that they had my brother and I there’s nothing that they wouldn’t give to have my sister here too. I learned that tears to others are a sign of weakness, but to me it was a sign of healing, it was strength, it was power.

While most kid’s bed-time stories were that of princesses or fairy tales, mine were of my sister. Her life and legacy. Her likes, her dislikes. Her characteristics and mannerisms.

Something that has always stood out to me when we go to visit my sister’s grave is how my parents, mainly my dad but both of them do this, is how when we visit her they are always cleaning her gravestone. They make sure that the flowers are in the perfect place and that the dust and dirt is swept away. I always thought it was weird, because in my mind it was just going to get dirty and messed up as soon as we leave. But over time I’ve come to realization that in that moment, they aren’t moving dirt or fixing flowers. They are taking care of their daughter. It’s like when you have something on your face or a hair is out of place, your parents are the first people to take care of it. It’s the same idea put into action in two different types of ways.

I would sit there as I would hear my dad cry saying he would have rather to have been the one to go through that pain, that it would have been easier that way. He wish he could save her.

Growing up with a bereaved parent you learn about loss in the deepest depths without ever going through it. You see the joys and the sorrow.

My parent’s parenting was forever affected by losing their first child. I didn’t get my ear pierced until I was 18. Some people think it was because I grew up in a Pentecostal Christian home, but it wasn’t that. My dad said that he saw his daughter (my sister) get poke and prodded with needles so many times, so why would he do that to me unless it was absolutely necessary?

I remember when my brother had to sign for his shots for the first time (because he had recently turned 18.) My mom made a big deal about it, my brother told her to chill out. Others thought she was simply being over-dramatic. I can understand where someone might think that, but she wasn’t celebrating him signing his own shot. She was celebrating the fact that she had raised her child to be old enough to do “adult things.” She’d never reached this point before, it was a big deal.

Growing up with a bereaved parent is celebrating life, celebrating accomplishments big and small. Celebrating who we are and who she was.

My mom was afraid that when my sister passed that everyone would forget her, but no one has. And even if everyone else does, the four of us will always remember. March 9th will always be spaghetti dinner, another date we will never forget is May 21st. We will always remember her life. She existed and left her own distinct mark on this world.

Growing up with bereaved parents, teaches you to find value in every moment because in one moment your whole world can be turned upside down. It taught me that people change people. That true love can truly make it through even the darkest of times. My parents will forever be the most strongest, most invincible people I know. Not because they weren’t broken during hard times, but because despite being broken they were able to pick up these pieces and be the best parents they could be.

 

MTMM: You’ve Got a Friend

“You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King and James Taylor

My earliest memory I have of this song is when I was probably about 12 or 13. My dad was watching the Live at the Troubadour episode and this song come on.

“Right, babe, this is our song,” my mom says “right, babe?”. My dad just nods his head. “Babe, let’s dance.” He gets up and they sway back and forth until the song ends.

Once the song is over, my parents tell me the story of the relationship. They told me how they always knew they could call on each other no matter what.  They told me that there beginnings as friends carried on to ever part of their relationship and how it just made their bond stronger.

From that moment, this song was engraved in my mind as my parent’s “song.” It reminds me that in their darkest of times their bond as friends carried them through everything together. It reminds me of the sweetest part of their relationship and how they’d do anything for each other, at anytime. It reminds me of their love.

Favorite Lyrics:

“If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there.”

 

My momma

Being a teenager, older people often tell me “one day you’ll see how amazing your mom is.” It’s always rubbed me the wrong way because the thing is, I’ve never once thought my momma was anything less the most incredible human being I’ve ever met.

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My mom is a ball of joy. She works to always spread it everywhere she goes. There’s always laughter in my home because she’s here. My mom is a constant beam of positivity, sharing her light everywhere she goes. My mom’s smile is my favorite feature of her and I’m lucky that it’s always painted across her face.

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My mom is so giving. These past couple of years, I’ve seen my mom take on responsibility after responsibility. My mom sees a problem and immediately searches for the solution. She sees a need and fills it. There’s no mountain too high, no task too hard for her to conquer. My mom will go to the end of the world to help anyone.

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My mom can do anything. Like, literally anything. As I have grown older, I have only become more certain in the fact that there is absolutely nothing that my mother can not do. Cake decorating, she’s got it. Floral arrangements, she can do it. Party planning, consider it done. Choir directing, she’s done it. Sign making, Shirt designing, singing, backdrop designing, cooking, calligraphy, piano playing, decorating, teaching, she’s a pro at it all. I’ve been blessed to grow up watching my mom doing what she does best, which is everything.

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My momma is resilient. She has been through some tough stuff. She’ll tell people her story and they’ll often say “I don’t think I could make it through what you did, I don’t know how you made it,” but I do. She’s strong, strong emotionally, mentally, and most of  all spiritually. Although, she’s small she’s mighty.  She will not be shaken easily. 20160501_185723.jpg

My mom is funny, loving, silly, smart, fun, adventurous. I could keep going all day long, but I think you get my  point. My mom is all around the best person you’ll ever meet. I’m thankful she’s mom (she’s a pro at that too, btw.) I love you, momma. There’s no one on this earth I’d rather be celebrating today.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Function of Beauty Review

One day in my Multimedia class, I was sitting on the floor and this girl who was standing near me asks “is that glitter or dandruff?” Luckily enough, for me glitter in your hair was a fashion fad of 2009.. But she and I both knew it wasn’t glitter, “oh well.. that’s a lot of glitter.” My jet black hair and the black sweatshirt that I practically lived in at the time didn’t do much to help me, either. Even as my style and hygiene pattern changed (both for the better, thankfully,) I was never able to fully get rid of my dandruff.

So I landed upon this video about someone trying a personalized shampoo. She said she has a dandruff problem and long story short, it helped. I watched another video, same thing.

The videos really made me consider buying. I was a bit hesitant, $34 for 8 ounce for two bottles of shampoo and conditioner is a bit steep. But I figured if it could help my everlasting problem it was worth a shot, at least once right?

I took the quiz and ordered it. It was then that I was plagued with the never ending waiting period… Well it wasn’t actually thaatttt long but when you’re that eager to receive something just one day feels like an eternity.

I order it on the 25th and I got it on the 29th, so in reality it was pretty quick. The same night I got it, I used it. I loved it. The only things I didn’t like too much was how the lavender smell took over everything else (but it was an ingredient use to help my hair so that’s okay) and that when it gets in my eyes it burns (but beauty is pain, right? Also, there’s barely any shampoo that doesn’t burn when it’s in people’s eyes anyway.)

Overall, I WAS IN LOVE.  My hair felt good. It was softer. Typically my hair is constantly itchy, it wasn’t at all. There was no signs of dandruff (or rather what actually was my dry scalp.)

I went into my hairstylist to trim my bangs and get a wash that month. When she saw me, she said that was the best she had seen my hair in a long time. She’s been my hairstylist since I was in 8th grade and I’m a senior in college now, so she when she says  a long time, really does mean a long time.

So it felt good, it looked good, it was actually good. What more could I ask for?

I think, although it is expensive if you have a chronic unresolved hair problem giving the Function of Beauty is definitely worth a shot. If you want to treat yourself or a loved one, I totally would recommend this… On that note, my birthday is in 15 days so if you just dropped this on my door step I wouldn’t cry… Well maybe I would but it would be tears of joy.

If you decide to purchase Function of Beauty be sure to use this link so you can get $5 off and I get $5 off, too!

 

Brunt Orange and Broken-hearted

Growing up, every Saturday in the fall was filled with burnt orange, hoot, hollering, and Longhorn football. We’ve always been a Longhorn family. I often say I knew the “Eyes of Texas” before I knew my ABC’s. 

My dad went to the University of Texas and my brother goes there now. I’ve spent countless days roaming Austin. Going to and frow, without a care in the world. I never felt unsafe, I never felt like there was a need to worry. 

But this time last year, for the first time since 1966 there was a homicide.. Now 13 months later, another. 

I start to question is this place that I’ve practically grew up in safe? Is it those place that would protect me like I always thought it would? 

I’m sad for the families, for the friends. My heart aches for them. How can you go on when something abrupt happens like this? How do you find peace? I pray that they find comfort in whatever they can during this awful time. 
It could have easily been my brother or at a different school, on a different day it could have been me. We hear these stories about college homicides, but you never think it’ll actually happen near you. Logically, you know it can.. But you’re absolutely certain that it won’t.. Then it does, where do you go from here?

People are trying to affiliate this with one political stance or the other… I think that’s just wrong, let the boy rest in peace. Don’t let him be something you throw in people’s face. “See, this is why…” “See, this is just proof…” No, stop it. It is not your place to use this kid as a ploy for your own political propaganda. Just let the family mourn, give them space to breath. Be respectful.

And as always Hook ’em Horns.

MTMM: September

“September” by Earth, Wind & Fire

I can imagine it now. It’s a hot summer day, we’re driving down the highway, jammed pack into a rental car, hopping from one state to another on our annual family road trip. My brother and I are snacking  on whatever we could get our hands on. My mom is searching on her phone for our next adventure, then this song comes on…

My dad is driving and as this song comes on he’s messing with the dials to make the perfect mix of bass and treble. My mom, my brother, and I are dancing and singing without a care in the world as my dad calmly bobs his head.

“C’mon, dad. Dance with us, dance with us.” We would plead until cave and groove his head ever so slightly more. He’d tell us, this is what real music. When I was younger, I don’t think I believed him. But now, I firmly agreed.

This is real music. It’s joy. It’s groove. It evokes emotion. It makes it impossible to forget. The bass, the rhythm, the melody. You know the moment that song comes on, that’s your jam.

This song has become a part of the soundtrack of my life. An irreplaceable part to the story telling of who I am. Just a girl dancing through adventures basking in the summer sun with my family.

Favorite Lyric:

“There was a
Ba de ya – say do you remember
Ba de ya – dancing in September
Ba de ya – golden dreams were shiny days

Ba de ya de ya de ya
Ba de ya de ya de ya
ba de ya de ya de ya
De ya”

Music That Made Me

Music is an influential part of my life. It’s a way of connection. Connection to feelings, situations and people. I want to start a new series where I open your eyes to my connections. These songs that are close to my heart. Maybe you’ll learn more about who I am, and what has shaped me into who I am today.

Not Your Average Anything

The day my parents decided on naming me Kristan, instead of the average Kristin/Kristen they should have known, I would always be destined to not fit any mold society place on me. 

Growing up, I never fit in. I was never a girly girl, I never wanted to be a princess. I loathed the idea of shopping, and my Barbies were only touched when other little girls would come over. 

I was a highly opinionated kid that often had an adult way of thinking. I would give advice in “adult conversation” and when my parents would apologize for me butting in to the conversation, they would be met with “no, but she’s right.” My mom would rarely catch me hanging out with kids my own age. I just didn’t fit in with them. 

As I got older I felt that my list only got longer. Not only was I not your average girl or child. I wasn’t your average Mexican-American. I wasn’t your average band kid. I’m not your average teenager. I’m not your average college student. I’m not your average cisgender heterosexual female. I’m not your average liberal. I’m not your average millenial. I’m not your average Christian. I’m not your average anything.

Not being average, made me be a confident in who I was. No matter how hard I try, I knew I would never be “average” so after awhile I didn’t even want to be it.. I didn’t even try. 

People assume things because of what categories I fill, but quickly I show them that stereotypes and prejudices are often wrong. We are all different and meant to stand out. 

We crave so badly to be “average,” that we forget that be us is what really matters.