Supporting Actress

As I try to move on?

My stomach still does flips when I see a picture of you.

As much as I wished you didn’t look good in that blue shirt…

Ooo honey I want to go swimming in that shirt and you.

But as you lay confused in the middle of the road, I try to move on, as I do not have time to wait and hope you get it together.

By you not making a decision, you are making the choice to lose me instead of exploring what could be amazing.

As I try to get over you.

The anticipation that I might see you builds, and then is met with relief and disappointment when you’re not there.

I really don’t know how to act around you as one part of me wants to be your friend, but the other part wants to rip your clothes off in the middle of this room

As I try to get over you.

My heart breaks moment by moment

Piece by piece

As I realize my feelings ran or run deeper than the river you wrote about in that note to me.

I am left wondering, why not me?

What was it about me?

But maybe it wasn’t me.

It was you

As I leave and pack up the space where our feelings were kept,I break down and cry

Wishing this journey didn’t end with a fork in the middle of it where I had to decide to leave the possibility of the greatness of you and I for the reality that may never be me that you choose once you get it together.

I am more than a supporting actress in your rom com.

I am directing my own life movie

And right now you are being recast.

As I try to get over you.

Summer of 2017

As the sun sets on the last day of summer, I lay sick on my couch. I lay sick reflecting on what happened to me this summer. I also couldn’t handle Being Mary Jane as Mary Jane decides between her new boo and friend.

Anyways, I think about the Summer of 2017.  Chicago in the summmer…you can’t beat it. I wasn’t anticipating that this summer would be the toughest few months I’ve ever faced.

You can say I’ve always had anxiety and depression. It would come in waves and then disappear. Before this summer, I never thought medication was for me or that I wouldn’t want to get out of bed every morning because I got one life and I love. And this summer was filled with so many highs like my sketch show, poetry, walks, brunch, first kisses, Lizzo, cookouts, Matt Damon Improv, and so many new friendships and amazing memories.

But to match the highs came the lowest lows. It’s hard to say what triggered the intense anxiety and physical match of the depression, but I know it intensified, and kept going, when my best friend came to visit. My therapist and my mom, two different people, said my best friend is my safe place. I felt like I could let go with her, and when she went home, I had to deal with it by myself.  One thing I hate is being by myself. I am trying to get better at it, but it’s not my strong trait.

The intense crying came out of no where. When someone asked why are you crying, I couldn’t answer. When I couldn’t go on stage, I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t concentrate at work. My body ached. The thought of showering or brushing my teeth was almost painful. I hated every part of me. I was living in my own hell.

I went to my doctor, who is a saint. She had been mentioning going on medication for a few months now after I broke up with my boyfriend and got laid off in the same week, but I didn’t want to. Maybe she saw the signs before I felt them. However, at this moment I couldn’t take it anymore. I didn’t care, I needed something. I started on Lexapro, and was doing well for awhile, but like all medication and me, my stomach started to hurt and ache after about a month. I told my doctor, and she suggested tappering off and looking for a physiatrist who could help.

I am now experiencing the worst withdrawals. My hands shake. My skin itches. I can’t remember anything. Focusing has become the hardest thing. My brain zaps. Along with it, my anxiety and depression have gotten worse. It takes my mom and aunt calling me to go run and make it to work. It takes talking to Surena all day on GChat to make sure I am still alive. It takes my roommate asking what I had to eat or planning something to get me out of the house. It takes my friends physically coming to my place to make sure I get to my show because they know I would be worse at home. It takes people texting and calling at all hours and just listen to me cry and try to talk. I feel guilty for every message.

There are days I run through the flowers and there are days where I feel like I am drowning. I don’t blame the medication. I don’t even blame me. My brain and body are trying to heal, and are screaming to be heard. I talk and write about my mental health because I hate the stigma it brings. I am not ashamed of who I am, it’s just something that is a apart of my story. I love talking about what I am going through because maybe it will help someone. Maybe they will feel less alone. Talking may help their love ones understand why they can’t just get over it. Think of it as a broken arm…mental illness will not fix itself overnight.

As this summer comes to a close, what is next? I am still feeling sick as I find the right medication, eating plan, and run. I have an idea of my next moves, but at the same time I don’t. My focus is now my health and faith, and what are the steps to get there.

I hope to look back on this summer, and think I did it. But right now, I am just trying to get to the next moment.

me920

Moments That Change You

About this time every year I think of where I was in 2011. Just got out of a bad relationship, dealing with the deaths of my grandfather, dog, uncle and graduating grad school. A lot of events happened in 2011 that I honestly block out, and it wasn’t until recently do I recall those moments.One big one would change my life. A beautiful soul named Jose came to teach a corporate improv workshop at my job. It was my first real job, and while some of my coworkers were not into what was happening, I was like this is cool let’s try it. And with this moment, the next 6 years led me to Chicago and improv.
Improv has changed me for the better. It allowed me to explore my art, and has allowed me to meet people I didn’t know I wanted, but needed. On my way home tonight, I wondered what my life would have been without that moment and I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t be in Chicago. Maybe married. Maybe a mom. Probably a director position in corporate America. All beautiful goals and things, but feel I would be mostly tired and searching for meaning around something I wasn’t passionate about. 
With improv, it’s opened doors for me to explore other forms of art like storytelling, poetry, and writing. It’s given me positions like directing I never thought I would do. While I’m not making a living with my art at this time, in the last year I’ve been looking at ways that it can go in that direction and help people. 
Improv has also brought me my Chicago artist community and friends. I spent many years wondering what was wrong with me. Meeting them, I know I’m imperfectly, perfect and that my feelings are valid. Nothing is wrong with me.
I believe Jose walking in that room was suppose to happen as a choice in my life. And I ran through that door to the life I chose.

Also that Phoenix Summer heat tho.

Generation LatinX

For a long time, I’ve always felt other or not enough. Even moving to a city like Chicago, I often felt that I needed to fit a mold of funny or I wouldn’t be picked. It wasn’t until I met the women of Matt Damon Improv and Crimson Wave where I started realizing that my feelings were valid and I didn’t need to be anyone but myself. It was then I started seeing the success I wanted and creating the art I wanted to be a part of. All by just being myself. Along with it, certaib opportunities came my way that I never expected from just being me. One of which is being asked to be one of the directors for Generation LatinX. The show is an all Latinx cast doing the Armando, and being the best versions of themselves.

I am very proud to be a part of this show, Tuesdays starting in October, 10pm at iO Chicago. Below is an interview I did to promote the show where I talk about being Mexican, our portrayal in the media, and if you are my ex…your mama gets a shoutout.

An Ode to My Butt: A Poem

We are not always the kindest to ourselves. I know such a hot take. And we can sit here and compare who is worse to their bodies, but that wouldn’t be productive now would it? All I know is how I feel about mine, especially now. I am currently at the heaviest I have ever been…give or take 10lbs. It really sucks because I run everyday, eat mostly right, but mother nature and some lovely medication keep the weight everywhere I don’t want it to be.

So sometimes it’s really hard to love your body in a state you don’t always like. And sometimes, you just got to shout it so you believe it. We are blessed with our bodies and a short time to enjoy them. I am preaching to myself, but I want to celebrate our beautiful bodies and I don’t really care if you don’t like it.

Below is a video from a show I did called Sex Positive. It’s one of my favorite shows in the city, and I am honored I got to share my piece on this stage.

Why Windy Cactus?

Hi! You may not know me unless your my mom who found my blog or my roommate who I am reading this to, but allow me to reintroduce myself.

My name is Maria, and I am proud 30 something woman of color. I’ve been living in Chicago for about three years, and originally from Mesa, Arizona. I tell everyone Phoenix because it’s easier than explaining where Mesa is unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan. I am currently employed with a 9 to 5 job, and a performer at night with improv, sketch, storytelling, and poetry. You could call that part of my life my 6 to 12 job that fills my passion, but doesn’t pay. It’s a glass half full, bank half empty type of thing.

If you figured out the spoiler of why I called this blog Windy Cactus, then you know it’s a take on the Chicago nickname of the “Windy City” and a symbol of Arizona. If I had to tell you, no worries… you still hold a special place in my heart. I also came up with the name while eating Gluten Free pizza at Giordano’s so take that as you will.

But why a blog? I don’t have the one reason why, but mainly I wanted to provide a sample of everyday life for trying to “make” it as a woman of color. What does “make” it mean? I am not entirely sure, but maybe happiness? But then that’s so vague too.

All I know is I am the ambitious one trying to be happy and excited about her accomplishments. It’s a weird fault of mine to not be happy right now, but looking at what else can we do. I feel often the ambitious person achieves a goal, and moves onto the next big thing. The biggest faults of the ambitious person? Not being able to live within their accomplishments and being proud of themselves for too long. I feel for many people, but especially people of color, being proud for too long is viewed as a negative. That we must keep moving as the struggle can be oh too real.

So what things will I want to write about? The excited side is thinking all the things like body positivity, mental health,  dating, comedy, running, and where I can find time to nap. The strategic side is like let’s focus, man. And I think both are right and valid and will give the full picture.

So here goes all the things.