What today's reflection forgot to mention was the ethnic twist on the whole situation. Maybe, just maybe, the reason I'm not tripping over this whole Prom Night thing is because there are other rites of passage that I have celebrated and most definitely plan to enjoy in the future.
Someday, M's boda:
And maybe we're not in formal attire, but the ultimate pachanga (and it's coming soon!!!) :
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Prom is a four-letter word, perhaps the one word most dreaded by school administrators like me.
After all, apart from graduation, it is the quintessential high school rite of passage and therefore brings forth all sorts of emotions. Prom can lead to temper tantrums, tears, bouts of paranoia and rage. Sadly, I'm not talking about the students attending. Perhaps all I ever needed to know about prom came from watching Carrie back in the 70s. On the eve of the 19th high school prom I have attended, I am waiting for that bucket of blood to fall on my head.
What is it about prom that can bring out the worst in some? Why does one night hold so much power? And shouldn't we have outgrown our adolescent aggrandizement of a dance? I will be the first to admit I'm not particularly sympathetic to those for whom this night means more. I know many see the prom as a night of beauty, romance, sophistication. I realize that for many people, young and old, it is the one time in your life you look red-carpet ready. Maybe because Prom was neither the magical night to conclude my high school years nor the only time I have looked fabulous, I simply don't understand. While I have enjoyed the many proms I have organized and/or chaperoned, I wasn't disappointed when my new boss said our school wouldn't have a prom. I have endured many an insult and outburst over prom; imagine my chagrin when I realized this year would be no different. Telekinesis would have come in handy this week.
Despite the occasional drama at work, I'm not against prom. As the parent of a little girl, I now see this event differently and I look ahead to the days when I can help my M get ready. In my heart, I know that to give anything, whether it is an event, a person, or an object, so much importance can backfire. In real life, it is a dance, one that requires organization, attention to detail,and the involvement of big bad administrators. Better that I be the target of the negative emotions than the poor kids endure some Stephen King moment.
So I will act professional, look nice, and compliment the kids. And I will look up at the ceiling just in case.
Friday, April 5, 2013
This morning, I came very close to buying myself a designer handbag. Thankfully I didn’t give in to this craving; I am minding my budget and cannot afford big ticket treats. So I turned to a tried and true outlet: scary movies. Two horror movie trailers later, I feel recharged.
Horror movies have fascinated me for most of my life. As a child, like many Bay Area natives, I stayed up late to watch Creature Features, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Night Gallery. An avid reader of many different genres of books, I became a fan of Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. Having watched The Exorcist at the age of 6 may have inspired me to sleep with a nightlight until my teens but it did not cause me to forever avoid horror films.If anything, it made me seek out more scares.
Horror movies are like roller coaster rides. They can be funny, exhilarating, intimidating, shocking, and stomach churning all at once. Some are the kiddie versions, predictable and tame. Others are for the daring and require you to woman up and face your fears. While I can be a horror movie snob and boycott the Hollywood blockbuster versions in local theaters (I still have never seen any of the Saw movies), I also enjoy camp and cult classics as seen on local favorite Creepy KOFY Movie Time.
The bag would have been cute. But it couldn’t have raised my heart rate in quite the same way.
Note: Shelley Duvall and I are the same sign!
Note: Shelley Duvall and I are the same sign!
Saturday, March 30, 2013
“I let it fall, my heart
And as it fell, you rose to claim it
It was dark and I was over
Until you kissed my lips and you saved me” Adele
Last Good Friday, I spent a few hours perfecting a visual and musical reflection on Jesus Christ. I tend to be verbal, articulating my thoughts into words. Still, I found the project worthwhile. It made me weep, smile, and think. It was also an experience I could share with my daughter, discussing the different images with her. To this day, she associates Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” with Jesus.
So just what did I mean? I’ve had many a student put together a PowerPoint or music video to articulate her/his thoughts on a book and my attempt was no different. In creating this video, I intended to produce a reflection of key images and themes related to my understanding and connection to Good Friday. Lent has always been an important liturgical season for me; it resonates deeply with my life experience and my spiritual life. I’m well aware of the brokenness of my connection to the church; I have been in self-imposed exile from ministry since the second trimester of my pregnancy. I still attend Mass and nurture my prayer life. I still seek Jesus.
Who is Jesus to me? He is a man of open and magnanimous heart. He is a beloved first and only child to his mother. He is the forgiveness of a loving father to his prodigal son(s).
Jesus is a lover of people and equalizer of society. He reached out to women, already second class citizens in a patriarchal society, especially those who were outcasts: the woman at the well, the woman with the hemorrhage, the adulteress who was going to be killed. He preached truth and hope to everyone.
In recent history, I have recognized Jesus in the activism for a more equitable society. Our world of failing economies and political battles is in need of a Good Shepherd, a wise rabbi, a teacher of the people.
And who is Jesus if not his Passion? In the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, countless stained glass windows and paintings, we experience the moments of Jesus’s suffering and death. Jesus is a political prisoner, tortured and stripped of human rights. He weeps in pain yet carries the cross with dignity. We are called to be the angel in Gethsemane, Veronica, Simon the Cyrenian, Joseph the Arimathean, Mary. We are called to love him.
As for the song chosen, I’m sure many feel that a secular song is inadequate or even inappropriate. However, in revisiting the lyrics, I hear of the love between Jesus and humanity, of his sacrifice and pain, of the end of the relationship on Good Friday. But I also hear of a love that inspired and challenged. That first stanza may as well be me talking about Jesus.
And so I wait for Easter.
Friday, February 15, 2013
I'm slightly obsessed with the end of the world. How can you not be with funny tweets(including my brother's Bro's Pope tweet)and three possible dates in the last two years(check out my musings on the last two finales-that-never-were,And I feel fine! and Baktun to the Future)The third date, you wonder? It's one of my own pondering during this wild week of Pope Benedict's resignation followed by the meteorite disaster in Russia. I don't know that I actually believe the end times have arrived. Perhaps it is more inspired by the fact that my days in teaching are numbered, though that is by choice. The world, as I know it, is ending.
After months of agonizing over my unhappiness about my work situation, my dream job opened. Ironically, the application was due on what should have been the end of the world, version 2012, December 21st. It was an opportunity for a new beginning that I could not ignore. I am proud and happy that I was offered the job.
In the weeks to follow, I will wrap up this hectic transition period and move into my new position, leaving behind a school district in which I have been a student, teacher, administrator, and teacher. There will be tears, doubts, and moments of fear. But as with all endings, both real and imagined, I will let it happen, then venture forth into my new life.
Monday, December 31, 2012
My dad started working at the age of 11. Having lost his mother, my grandma Julia, at the age of 7, he began helping his family through various odd jobs. While working for a family in Lima, he had the opportunity to come to the US at the age of 15. He soon left this job so that he could be a student at Castlemont High School. Just months before graduation, he was drafted into the US Army. He served his new home country for four years and then headed back to Peru where he reunited with a childhood friend from his hometown, my mom Elsa. The rest is my family history.
My dad, my pops, my daddy, M’s grandpa is a great man. From him, I’ve learned to cultivate many qualities. One is the value of taking pride in one’s work. My dad has always given his best at every job he has had, whether it was Army cook or factory supervisor or custodian or, as he has done for the past 17 years, truck driver. He has worked hard, long, but most importantly, shown integrity, positivity, and humility every day he has worked.
Today on the last day of 2012, at the age of 66, he will turn in his keys and change out of his work uniform for the last time. Happy retirement, Dad!
For a greater part of my life, I feared change. So I tried to control situations in unhealthy ways, through poor choices and actions fueled by fear, anger, or insecurity. To live I needed to embrace change. Rather than focus on the end of things/relationships/situations, I learned to be more mindful, to value the moments. I learned that it was all right for worlds to end.
As with the Harold Camping Rapture debacle last year(my thoughts on 2011 Rapture), there was an emphasis on destruction, cataclysm, and chaos in many of the conversations I heard. Perhaps, as Rigoberta Menchu observed recently, in times of change, we need to consider “lo esencial, lo humano y lo spiritual” (the essential, the human, and the spiritual.) We don’t need cataclysm to do so. We also don’t need a predicted end of world date to realize there’s so much about our current society/times that could be changed or destroyed. Every one of us can take time to evaluate on our contribution (or lack thereof) to our community, both immediate and extended, and work to create the kind of world we want to give our children as legacy.
I, for one, am ready for certain aspects of my world to start anew. Pase lo que pase (come what may), I accept the challenge.