My Good Thing 

I never imagined I would be alive at 32 years old. I never imagined I would live outside of my early 20’s. It’s a sad way to think and live, but that was my reality. I didn’t have a fear that I was going to die or get killed. I had terrible secrets hidden inside me that had already taken my life. In my mind, I was already dead. 

I lived with those feelings in this dark dark place for years. I painted this picture on the outside of a fun loving funny girl, but secretly I felt incredibly lonely and battered to hell. I had this deep pain that nothing could comfort. That wasn’t the only thing I was hiding. I was also a drug addict. 

I can recall a couple times that I tried to end my pain. I took more and more and begged for it to end. When I would wake up, it wasn’t a sense of relief. It was sadness. I “lived” like this for years. I was dying in front of everyone’s eyes and they had no idea. I’m not sure what happened, but suddenly I was just done. I couldn’t anymore. 

I was clean for a little while and thought, “hey, I’m clean. I’m alright now.” Uh no. That’s not how it works. I still did not know how to cope. I still had horrifying memories and secrets. I also had been doing drugs and living this way for most of my life. I didn’t know any other way to live and cope. I didn’t know how to make peace. I didn’t know how to stop making mistakes. I entered rehab voluntarily and sober in 2011, at the age of 26.  

Is everyone ready for it? Alright ladies and gents, here we go! I remember walking into the room without expectations or a clue about anything. I walked in and saw all these people that were just like me and yet I was terrified. I looked around and there on the couch sat a tall, handsome drink of water. His name was James. I took a seat and that was the end of life as I knew it. Don’t tell James this, but within minutes of meeting him, out of nowhere, my head told me I could marry this man. I want to add that I was the type of girl that never wanted to get married and men were nothing but disposable fun. I was never looking for anyone and I most definitely wasn’t looking to fall in love and get married. Ever. 

Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. James and I continued to be friends throughout the process. We would go on walks, talk, deal with anxiety attacks, be silent, cry, etc. We were friends and we fell in love. Love I never knew exsisted. Love I never knew I deserved. Love I never knew I wanted. The kind of love that gives songs meaning. Hard, soul consuming, make you want to throw up kind of love.

I married James, after knowing him for less than a year. We walked down to the courthouse in Oklahoma wearing David Hasselhoff t-shirts and jeans and said, “I do.” There was never reservation or anxiety. I had never been more at peace with anything in my life.

I truly believe that every ounce of pain, sadness, guilt, etc., had led me straight to this very moment. I believe that I was right where I was supposed to be. I believe that I had to go through all this, in order to get to him. I believe that James is my good thing, my unicorn, the climax (interesting choice of word) in my book, my gift, my sign from God, my one big moment. I believe that if the only thing I ever do in this life is show our daughter this great love, it will be enough for me.

I’m not magically fixed. I still suffer from depression and anxiety. I still seek help in more ways than one. I still have my crap, but I am different. I’m clean. I’m hopeful. I cope. I love. I learn. I share my old secrets. I live. I’m ALIVE and I get to figure this whole life thing out with James holding my hand. I couldn’t be more grateful. Thank you God for letting me live.2011

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Finding myself at 32

I was around 10 years old and at my brother’s basketball game. I remember being at the very top bleacher. I also remember thinking to myself, “blend in and act like everyone else,” before we all arrived at the gym. So there everyone was cheering, watching the game, acting normal, when the moment that accurately describes me happened. I fell off the top bleacher. Yes, in the middle of an ongoing basketball game. Do you know what the sound of chubby 10 year old hitting the gym floor sounds like? The ENTIRE (yes, including the players and referees) gym stopped and looked at me. For those wondering, I was fine. Perhaps it was because I was chubby that I was left undamaged… physically. I still get some anxiety on bleachers. Haha

I’ve always thought of myself to be shy. When I was a young girl, I remember being scared of people and things. I also had three brothers, a busy mom, and a grandma that was pretty rough around the edges that helped take care of us. My first memory is of my father getting mad at me and then never seeing him again.  So most of the times I found myself doing things I didn’t want to do, saying things I didn’t want to say, eating things I didn’t want to eat, etc., because I was too scared to say or do otherwise. I’ve always told myself to blend in, act like everyone else, act normal, don’t attract attention, etc. I’ve continued to tell myself that into my 30’s, until recently that changed for me. 

Recently we attended a birthday party for my friend’s 3 year old daughter. They had great live music, incredible food, family and friends had filled the home, and a piñata. We watched and sang as the kids took turns swinging at the piñata. After all the kids took their swings, a full piñata hung. So adults turns right? “Just blend in, Gabi.  Act like everyone else. Look what the other moms are doing. Play it cool, Gabi,” says my head. It was too late. I was already sprinting to get the stick to hit the piñata. It had  been raining and  it was a little misty that night. Well it’s Houston and still warm outside (yes, in January outside in the rain.) So I thought it was a good idea to wear sandals. You all know where I’m going with this. I’ve attached pictures so you get a full effect. Before I started swinging, “blend in me” was acting like Babe Ruth. Circling my bat with my fierce batting stance. Then, it was game time. I swung like I was at the World Series. I felt  everything that moment. Both of my feet lifted off of the ground. I felt my feet moving forward and up. I mean, I caught good solid air. I remember feeling my shirt fly up and my belly jiggle. Bam, I hit the ground. What part of blend in didn’t I understand? 

My whole life I’ve thought I was this shy girl. However, moments like falling off the bleachers and the piñata fall have followed me my entire life. I’m definitely scared of things and people, but I’m most definitely not shy. I’ve told myself to blend in my whole life. I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in. I knew that I was different, but I was scared. Scared to be myself, scared to talk, scared to be left, scared to be unliked, scared of everything. 

That night after a lot of laughter with my husband (who took the pictures and stayed married to me), everything hit me.  I’ve been telling myself to blend in and act like everyone else for decades. Not anymore. I needed to stop lying to myself. 

I’m not scared of being myself anymore. I no longer care if I blend in. I’m not scared  to tell the truth about myself anymore. I’m not scared that people will know I’m not like them. No offense, but I don’t care what anyone thinks about me anymore. I can have an unpopular opinions, fall off bleachers, make bad decisions, get stuck in trees,  babe Ruth the piñata, etc., and it’s me. This is me y’all. I’m a mess. I feel like I’m forever working on my shit. I attract unwanted attention. I’m no longer trying to blend in and I can’t tell you how liberating that is for me. 

Women’s March 

Why did I march at the Women’s March? I had actually believed that the march was to unify women and empower us as a whole no matter our race, sexual preference, or anything else for that matter. I was hopeful and feeling inspired. Here was this women’s march being promoted everywhere we look. Talking about power, unity, and fighting the fight. I’m a woman who was raped, I’m a woman who has girlfriends from third world countries, and I am a woman who also believes that something’s need to change. I thought I was part of this group.

Then, the day before the march I read about the Pro-Life movement being denied a part in the march. Upon reading about this, I immediately felt alienated and confused. I thought this march was about supporting ALL women. I thought this was about being one and equal. I thought this was about women sticking together so we could be more powerful. To say that we will not be raped, belittled, and pushed to the back. I thought this march was to say that there are girls being trafficked in our backyard and we, women, can help them! I thought this march was to help oppressed women anywhere. I was left uneasy and unsure, if I would attend the next morning. 
The next morning I started to see pictures of the marches going on in other cities. I started to feel anxiety and some panic set in. I saw the signs bashing “my God”. I saw the signs bashing some of my views. I saw WOMEN alienating me. I was confused and immediately thought that wasn’t a place I belonged or was welcome. Even though I’m clearly a woman, I felt unwanted and like the enemy. I talked to a couple friends and my mom in hopes of some guidance. Ultimately I made the choice to attend the march. I tend to have anxiety problems so I thought I was looking for a way out. I wanted to be brave. I should’ve listened to that little voice inside. I should’ve stayed true to myself. I should’ve stayed home. 
I went to the march and at first I was moved. I saw waves and waves of people marching peacefully. They were united in that very moment and you could feel the power. As I started walking up to join the march, my excitement started to turn into anxiety. Little by little, as I read the signs and looked around, I started to feel lost. The march itself was fast. Then, they held the rally. That’s when it hit me hard. I am lost. I was jam packed here in masses of people. I kept looking behind me, to the side, in front, anywhere for me to get out with my stroller, giant husband, and two year old. What the hell am I doing here? They aren’t talking about changing anything. They aren’t giving ways that we can stick together and be stronger. They aren’t talking about accepting everyone. They’re aren’t talking about respecting each other and other women. Giving money to PP shouldn’t be the only way that women should be told to help. Is this all that women’s rights is about? We’ve managed to pack women’s rights into two categories now? Pro-life and pro-choice? That’s it? That outweighs girls being trafficked, girls be raped and married off worldwide, women being forced to be suicide bombers, while carrying their infants? 
I left. I saw hundreds of posts following. I saw pictures, read signs, people mocking the march, women bashing women for going or not going, people loving the march, etc. We all saw everything. It was everywhere. This huge nationwide Women’s March was taking place and I was a part of it. Why did I feel so bad inside? Why was I embarrassed that I went? Why did I feel even more alienated than before? 
Days have gone by and I really had to take the time to process everything. I had to take the time to get back to being true to myself. I had to ask myself hard questions about my beliefs and where I stand. The truth of the matter is that I have known and continue to know what I believe in and who I am. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed and still succumb to peer pressure whether it’s intentional or not. I too want to feel like I’m a part of something and belong. 
I am Pro-Life. I am a woman. I should not be alienated for my beliefs. I should not be excluded. I should not be made to feel less of a woman. I should not be guilted. I am NOT Pro-Choice. This one detail of my beliefs should not and does not dictate the type of person or woman I am or the type of life I live. It’s MY belief and just that. I’m not asking you to follow it, I’m not asking you to understand, I’m not asking you to educate me, I’m not asking you to question me, I’m not asking you to be a part of it, I’m asking to be respected. 
I’m not telling anyone that they’re wrong. I’m not telling anyone to change what they belief. I’m not telling anyone they aren’t welcomed. I’m not telling anyone that they need to be educated, because of their beliefs. This march was a slap in the face to so many woman and yet that’s ok, because they don’t think the same and “people are angry.” This march alienated and oppressed women just like women have and will continue to do so day in and day out.  
We want to hold women’s marches screaming that we are oppressed and demanding equal rights. How about we hold women’s marches screaming that we have the power to help thousands of oppressed women in the world and demand it be done whether your pro choice, pro life, gay, straight, white, black, democrat, republican, liberal, American, Middle eastern, Asian, etc.? 
Get your opinion and judgment out of other people’s beliefs. It’s none of your business. There isn’t one way to be a good person. There’s tons of ways. You don’t need to have a certain set of beliefs to be a good person. We can all be good people, even if we believe different things. Can you believe that?