Vintage windows and doors masterfully transformed into magical art objects and hung onto smooth Adobe plastered walls had changed the ambiance of my art gallery in Portugal’s Algarve to a place a sorceress would thrive in.
My visiting dad who saw my gallery restaurant for the first time looked around raising his eyebrows just slightly, “Can’t you ever be normal?”
“One moment,” I rushed into the bathroom I had designed with ancient hand painted tiles collected for over a year. All chairs in the gallery and restaurant were up-cycled cinema seats from a 60 year old movie theater my construction company had been contracted to tear down. The wooden double doors transformed the eccentric entrance to a “Sesame open” mystery, and the curved top on the rusty metal sheeted bar was carved by movie goers history. At night when the lights of the fountain reflected on the movie screen's enormous canvas spanning over my terrace it was like Buster Keaton coming alive. It had been sad to tear the building down and delete its magical past but at least it’s décor survived through me.
Who wants to be freaking normal?
I stared into the baroque mirror saying "Algarcine" wondering how many beautiful women it had seen rearranging their hair and make up. By now my tears had smeared the mascara.
I sighed and took a couple deep breaths. With the help of my organic hand made soap I looked okay again. I sometimes thought I’d never survive my dad’s judgments.
I was guilty of being a girl, not making my parents happy; I was a disappointment. I fought hard not to be. As a kid I tried to convince my dad that “just being a girl” was okay by turning my doll’s carrier upside down and playing car racing with its wheels, climbing up a wall of a 4 story house and reading wild west book sitting in trees with bow and arrows and my peace pipe. I chose horseback riding over ballet. It just gave my parents headaches and me the title of troublemaker. My attempts of being girly on the other hand were labeled “sissy, touchy, whiny; too sensitive."
No, I wasn’t normal. Normal was fitting the norm, be content in the beige box and never questioning anything. It meant to accept whatever is; to behave like sheep. Life wasn't fair to many people how could I not talk back?
I will never ever be normal, dad. My first word was no, remember?
I had build my construction company from a crew of 5 guys, a pick up truck and a concrete mixer to a company with office, secretary, engineers, power tools and big trucks. I had supervised a dozen villas, build my own house, a 7 apartment mini compound, my restaurant and art gallery. I went with my head though the wall to get here; I was a fierce and successful woman because I did not accept the norm. My inner rebel was born from pain but afforded me beautiful high heels of empowerment.
Where I saw a fighter for justice my dad saw disobedience. I was still the troublemaker; not up to the regular standard as in not married and my own boss.
I had bought him a golden watch from my first profit. “Oh gawd, another watch?” he said opening the elegantly wrapped package. The bracelet alone was worth more than the three watches he was referring too. A golden watch wasn’t normal either. He did not want it.
Far away from him on the other side of the ocean I continued proving myself in Santa Fe, NM and Los Angeles, CA; making money and losing it all. Creating success again with my event planning company and giving it up when my dad was dying. For a decade I squeezed myself into the role of an employee with the most relentless boss. Making myself small nearly physically killed me and I have been reanimating my suffocated soul for the last three years.
Now I might have to leave Los Angeles, the town of mostly fallen angels that became my challenge and my home. Los Angeles in its eccentricity and stark contrasts is a Gemini town; a manifestation of my brokenness as much as my creativity, inner beauty and sassy style.
I can’t leave her, can I?
Los Angeles is a city of Hollywood dreams but also needy and opportunistic where people don't look at you but at what you can do for them.
I can leave that with great joy.
I don't know how to decide though and checked in with an old friend, my twin in painful childhood experiences. I had not talked to him for a year. He answered immediately in a new tone; a raw, honest and deep listening vibe from a Leo who had been too protected to be vulnerable, who was always expecting praise for his radiance. He had been humbled by love. After years of being a lonesome Leo mirroring my own life of the lonesome tigress he had surrendered to a woman and was stabbed in the back by her leaving him right after his birthday.
The love experience though opened his whole being; after his 6 decades of life he had entered the beauty of vulnerability. Back to the practices of the spiritual warrior he is turning his experience into calm, confident, loving power.
He wrote, “I feel desperation in what you do."
"One moment." I walked into my bathroom and stared into the huge mirror covering half of its wall. I wiped the tears off my face. It was midnight, and as I was ready for bed there was no makeup that could smear. I don't have organic soap these days I use coconut oil to clean my face.
I took one deep breath and let it enlighten me: I was still desperately trying to convince the world that I was good enough. I was rebelling against the unfairness of the Universe not having my back, like my dad. I was fighting for approval. I protected myself from the possibility of being a disappointment.
"Remember?" said the little voice, " you can see things differently"
Despite all his harshness my dad also had my back. He hugged me without saying a word when I sobbed after losing my virginity, he felt that there was something wrong while my mother yelled I should control myself. Shut up, he told her at least this once. He let me go to college against my mother's will. He let me borrow money buying my first house. He didn't say a word about me deciding to be a single mother and financed my son's college.
"Can't you ever be normal?" What I hear today underneath his tough, direct and often unforgiving ways is “You don’t have to prove anything.” Be you, be natural, not the eccentric personas you make up.
I don’t have to be the toughest chick in town. I don't need applause or approval.
Most of all I don't need to protect myself from being hurt. It already happened and I survived. If I fear to be a disappointment I will create it or I'll be too paralyzed to manifest the opposite.
Being vulnerable is freedom.
I found my very own "normal", dad; to be sweet and sensitive, fierce and powerful, sentimental, romantic and crazily eccentric as long as it is truly me and untouched by agendas and fears.
My last word is Yes to all I am, naturally.
Social media is amazing to check up on our selves, what are the intentions when we post our pics and quotes and tips? How does that reflect on how we live our lives? I talked to a friend of mine and she has done the same thing; I post something I am passionate about but it gets half the likes I usually get. So I take it off, I'm not vibing with the taste of others.
But it's me, so next time it'll stay (I feel so empowered now)
Uncluttering our agendas
Questions to ask when going for truly authentic social media posts
1. Does this reflect who I truly am?
2. Does this bring me joy?
Am I doing this
3. to impress or to share an idea?
4. to get more followers or to entertain and uplift?
5. with likes in mind or what i truly like?
6. What does this matter to me?
7. Why will it matter to others?
8. Is this a gift or a "me me me" ?
9. Does this contain an insight?
10. Does this cherish my friends?
11. Does this feel like a dance or a fight?
12. Would I send this to my best woman friend?