I deposited money into my savings account!

I deposit money into my savings account! (PalomaCruz.com)For the first time in nearly two years, I actually deposited money into my savings account!

Two years ago I unexpectedly quit my job. I did that without any real idea of what I would do next. I didn’t plan it. I didn’t think about the next step. I didn’t pause. I didn’t overthink it. I just quit.

It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve done something that impulsive. I used to do things like that all the time, but never on that scale. Little things, medium things, but not life altering things.

I quit my job and then it never quite sunk in. I never got that “oh my God, what did I do?” moment. I never had the moment of panic.

It helped that I had no debt and a healthy savings account.

One day I sat down and figure out how long I could go without making any money. Then I started to take freelancing work. And at first it seemed like no one wanted to hire me. And the money kept going out and no money was coming in. And I started to get worried … for a week or so. Then the work started to roll in.

Last year I had the great experience of having the first month where I didn’t have to take money out of my savings to pay my bills. And then a few months later I lost a contract and had to do it again for two months. And I worried again, for two months. And then the worked really rolled in.

And … drum roll … I put money in my savings account this month!

I know that to you this is a boring thing. But to me this is major. It’s a wonderful feeling. And I’m determined to celebrate my victories where I find them.

What great thing happened to you this week?

I still want to believe in the Dream

I still want to believe in the Dream (palomacruz.com)

Have you ever looked at a Magic Eye image? At first all you see is this colorful burst of random dots. But if you stare at it long enough, an image emerges …. hidden in plain sight. One moment it’s dots and the next moment this figure pops out, clear as day.

These days I feel like everyone else is seeing the dots while I see the image.
I can’t stop seeing the image.
And it fills me with dread.

I believe in the United States. And I say that to mean that I believe in the concept of this country, in the fundamentals of freedom and democracy on which it was created. (Yes, I know that it’s a republic … let’s not split hairs here.)

In this country, all men (and women) are created equal. At least that’s what we’re supposed to try to aspire to: a country where no one person is more valuable, more important than others based on gender, income, race, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else.

In this country, we’re not supposed to victimize anyone in the pursuit of the greater good. “Small price to pay” is not a sentence we’re supposed to be using when talking about traumatizing innocent bystanders.

In this country, we’re supposed to hold truth as sacrosanct and expect education to count for something. Truth should not be something that’s fluid and changes based on the person who’s telling it.

In this country, media are supposed to be unbiased and objective. We should be able to trust that what we’re being told is fact and not a carefully crafted piece of fiction. And we should be able to trust that the news isn’t being influenced by the beliefs and priorities of journalists, news directors or media owners.

In this country, we have freedom of speech. And that applies to the people who agree with you as well as those whose beliefs are in opposition to yours. It also applies to those whose beliefs are so fundamentally opposite to yours that … well, you get the idea. But it doesn’t mean that you are allowed to incite violence. It doesn’t mean that you get to use your influence and power to bully those in opposition to you. It doesn’t mean that you get to go in front of a large audience and imply that violence would be a good solution to whatever ails you today.

In this country people are innocent until proven guilty. The assumption of guilt isn’t enough. The assumption that someone will do something at some point isn’t supposed to mean that they get thrown in jail, out of the country … or otherwise removed. There’s supposed to be trials, with due process and laws that are followed, laws that apply to everyone.

I hate that I can’t use the words “Make America Great.” I hate that it’s become this code for racism, xenophobia, and extremism.

I hate that I’m having arguments with people I love. I hate that I can see so clearly why they’re wrong and understand that they don’t get why I can’t or won’t agree with them.

I hate that suddenly political and education decisions are based on religion.

I hate that fear is a constant, growing feeling that’s a daily presence in my life.

Because you’re still seeing the dots, saying “look, how pretty!” and I’m staring in horror at the image they hide.

Meet the cast: David

David is my youngest sister Arianna’s baby (also Tomas’). He is 10. He is beautiful. Like his cousin Adam (my other nephew), he has dimples and a killer smile. He is brilliant in a Sheldon-from-Big-Bang kind of way. Yes, that is a little scary. He never reacts the way I expect. He hasn’t grown out of that, I don’t expect he ever will.

Meet the cast: Alicia

My niece Alicia has always reminded me of a cat. She doesn’t want to cuddled or hugged, but she does want to get her way. She’s been that way since she was a baby. She’s Linda’s oldest child, but I have often said that she should have been Arianna’s child instead of Linda’s – she’s too much like my youngest sister to discount the similarities. Oh, well… I’ve stopped hoping she’ll grow out of it. She’s in college and future doctor..

Starting to think about the “D” word again

Starting to think about the "D" word againI hate the word “Diet.” I hate that I use it. I hate that I invoke it like a prayer that I’ll be happier.

I want the word to disappear. I want my desire to use it, to actually embrace it to go away.

I want to stop thinking that if I do it, if I actually succeed this time, that something will change.

I want to stop wanting it. Stop wanting to look like the others. Stop wanting to have them stop judging me. Stop judging myself.

Let’s erase the word “Diet” from our vocabularies … and all the crap that comes with it.