This Stomach of Mine

Aching, churning

this stomach of mine keeps me tossing and turning

All I ask is for one night of blissful sleep

free from the stress, the anxiety I keep

During the day it has me writhing in pain

grasping for any sense of composure I can retain

A disruption in my daily life

I wonder what could be creating so much strife

Doctors don’t have answers, just more tests for me to take

Why can’t they find the cure for goodness sake?

And so I continue to toss and turn throughout the night

Holding onto the hope one day there will be light

Proof

I keep searching for proof

Proof that you and I exist,

that this love is not a figment of my imagination

that these feelings are genuine,

these lips have met yours, my body has quivered from your touch

I cling to every sign our lives are intertwined

Your empty gatorades, capri-suns littering the opposite side of the bed,

your mozzarella  sticks in my freezer

I leave remnants of myself at your place too

my clothes on your floor, thongs in your hamper

I remind myself the fire is still burning,

afterall we’ve had sex in my car, on my floor, the places in between

And when I worry you’re growing distant,

you hold me tight when a nightmare gets the best of me

And still I sit here and I search for proof,

comfort embodied in those three little words I need so desperately to hear…

“I love you”.

From the archives… Come (1999)

Come 

“Come”, they say / “come to the land of freedom, opportunity, EQUALITY”

What they fail to mention is all the greed, injustice, HATE

The taste of this world pours onto my tongue / just as ice cream melts on one’s mouth / slowly, taking its time, encompassing everything

“This is independence” they say as they push me out the door / And onto a land that I am not yet prepared for

All I am equipped with is the faith and the knowledge that… I do not belong here

I am sure in my own convictions / and my convictions say that the world is not yet ready for what I am about to bring to it

This is independence? Then explain to me why everyone is so dependent on hurt / recounting their sorrows while searching for a new love

The man on the corner begs for change / I’ll give him a change, a world that does not turn its back on its own people / a world that finally learns to face the reality that it is not even half of what it claims to be

Where has the innocence gone? / A child watching “Bambi” is no longer a child untouched by the violence / corruption / greed

For just feet outside his window stands a man begging for his life and losing, helplessly

“Experience the world” they say / yet I say I have experienced too much of it / my eyes have become clouded with so many images of suffering that I have shut them / becoming numb to all that lies around me

So, tell me, where has the love gone? How can I stop this machine?

From the archives… Loving you

Recently my parents gave me the task of consolidating all my childhood memories into two boxes. It took three hours and a few tears but in the process I unlocked years of writing I had completely forgotten about. So, starting today, I’m going to give them their proper due in the spotlight after decades of neglect. The first is a poem I wrote about my grandfather… ‘Loving you’.

Loving you

I sit at the dinner table / and I watch you slowly coming apart

I wanna reach out to you / but it’s just too sad / and I’m too afraid

Death has not shown his face anywhere near my door  / And as the years go by I know his visit is getting ever closer

I’m trying to decide if I should be part of the fall / or just sit on the side wishing I never knew you

These past few days I’ve been thinking about what I would say at your funeral / if I’d even have the strength to say anything at all

“He was a good man, loved his family” / “Lived vicariously and enjoyed every moment given him”

Or should I tell the truth? / how you sat in your big chair lonely and wistful

And how I constantly turned my back on you when you reached out to me?

How with just one look you made life almost too much to bear / shattering my heart into a thousand pieces and leaving me to stumble along the ground

Then when it was my turn to look at your face in the coffin, could I even glance at you without feeling some ounce of regret?

I’m your beautiful granddaughter and while you have given me so much, I have given you so little

I never tried to understand you / only questioned you when you wouldn’t say a word

I ignored the memories of a homeland that you clinged to and abhorred the language you spoke

How could you ever forgive me? / How could things ever change?

I’m sitting here thinking about you and it makes so sad that I might die

of fear

of regret

of loneliness

of loving you

Confessions of a slow runner

Running, for me, has been a hate-love relationship… it seems I’m never fast enough, strong enough, motivated enough. While working out is a priority of mine, running in particular has been a struggle, the fodder of many internal battles. So, why do it? Why put myself through the mental and physical pain? One word – victory.

In fact, that’s how this whole running thing started… One year away from turning 30, I decided to make fitness a priority, to be in the best shape of my life by the time that milestone hit. In between the promise to myself and that very special birthday, I moved to Austin – the capitol of Texas, live music and runners. Take a stroll down a city street and you are surrounded by athletes of all shapes and sizes. Sure, there’s plenty of bbq and queso but it seems the hearty food balances itself out with the beautiful scenery and its citizens yearn to soak it all in – whether on foot, bike or canoe.

In an effort to acclimate myself to my surroundings, I decided I needed something to train for too so I signed up for the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon — my first half marathon attempt ever. I could talk about how fulfilling training was, how easy it was to get up each Saturday morning but… it wasn’t. It never is. By the time race day arrived in February, the dread was mixed with fear. But you know what? I survived. At mile 6, I had this epiphany, a sudden burst of energy and focus that carried me through the rest of the race, muscle cramps and all. And, when I went to accept my medal, the promise I made to my body that this would be the last of my short-lived long distance running career, went out the window.

Two months later I’ve run two additional races – a 10k and a 10-miler – as well as committed myself to one more half marathon. You see, once I got past all the hate, all the comparing myself to others, not being good enough for myself, the clouds parted and it was just about me, the road and the finish line. It ain’t pretty but it’s a personal victory worth fighting for.

Tell me – what’s a personal victory you’ve fought for? Answer and get a pair of #sweat pink shoelaces courtesy of your resident Sweat Pink Ambassador (AHEM… me) and Fit Approach.

Fit Approach Sweat Pink Blog Badge

A tale of two Super Joes… and me

With an epic NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants looming, I’m reminded of my very special bond with a football hall of famer – the one and only Joe Montana aka Super Joe. He wasn’t just fun to watch as he lead the Niners to each super bowl championship and I didn’t exactly admire his passing skills. The reason he earned rave reviews in my book was simpler than that – I thought Joe Montana and my father (also named Joe) were one in the same. That’s right – I thought… my father… was Joe Montana. I blame it on a newspaper clipping strategically placed above the bowflex in our garage and my lack of reading comprehension at the time. No matter, my dad wasn’t just someone who fed and clothed me, he was an extraordinary football player, one worth writing about… in his free time of course. This misperception earned my dad enough cool points to last until at least my teenage years, even after I realized the truth  – Joe Montana has blonde hair, blue eyes and a 6’2 frame while Joe Furtado has black hair, brown eyes and is 5’7.

In elementary school, Joe Montana took on a different role when I sprained my ankle. A wimpy kid not used to injury, my doctor laid out the recovery options for me – I could lay on the couch and let everyone wait on me like a princess or power through like Super Joe. Relating more with my Barbies than my inner athlete, I took the easy way out and let my family cater to me. However, years later, when I faced the first of three surgeries on my right ear, there was no other option – I would power through the fear. I even walked into the operating room for that first operation to prove to myself how strong I could be when put to the test. And while I did let my family wait on me during the recovery, I was focused on bouncing back as quickly as possible. Now, when faced with adversity, no matter what shape it may take, I think of Joe Montana, I think of my dad and most importantly, I think of that sweet taste of victory waiting for me in the proverbial end zone.

A year ago, I scored the ultimate prize – a Joe Montana jersey. I couldn’t help but burst into tears. The hall of famer holds a very special place in my heart, always will. So, when I sit down to watch the 49ers take the field at Candlestick this weekend, I won’t just be focused on all-stars Vernon Davis or Alex Smith. I’ll be thinking of my special relationship with two super Joes.

The Best Day EVER

An Austin Winter Wonderland (Elvis included)

A couple weekends ago I ventured out to a home in Austin, off of Brodie Lane, known for its Christmas decorations. A display the size of a haunted house, but clearly much cheerier in nature, it was a holiday lover’s dream. As I made my way through the decadent maze, I marveled at each rosy-cheeked Santa and laughed at the offbeat touches — a flying saucer, Elvis and Frankenstein. Rounding the corner to the dancing reindeer, a little girl ran past me and exclaimed, “this is the best day EVER!” I couldn’t help but laugh. So innocent, so joyful… so unlike the adults that accompanied her. So unlike… me.

I, myself, was with my friends and their children’s playgroup who also couldn’t help but exclaim their excitement for the evening’s festivities. As we rounded the corner to the holiday home, a little girl came running up to our group Paul Revere style to inform us there was still a wide selection of donuts and hot chocolate available. The idea of this Winter Wonderland in the middle of Texas let alone pastries was just plain crazy! 

Later that evening as I lay awake in bed, I couldn’t help but think back to the pure, unadulterated joy on the children’s faces. The best day EVER and all it took was a tangle of twinkling lights, a maze of decorations and chocolate. When was the last time you were so easily amused? 

As adults we get mired in the details, expectations sky rocketing because we know what’s in the realm of possibilities. The little things don’t do it for us anymore and even the big things can’t seem to hold our attention for very long. When all we long for is bigger, better, grander, satisfaction is hard to come by. 

This holiday season I encourage each of you out there to get back in touch with the pint-sized version of yourselves, to view the magic of the season with childlike eyes. Who knows? The best day EVER may just take you by surprise.