MadalynVillarreal

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Location:  Sacramento , CA
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Biography

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EDUCATION:  University of Alaska Fairbanks BLOG:  None provided
CERTIFICATIONS:  None provided CURRICULUM VITAE:  None provided

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Writing Sample

Warm

A familiar feeling

In my throat, on my neck

Leaving my own mind

Thrown into the rain

Of all my faults

Of all my fears

 

Sting

A welcoming feeling

In my chest, on my back

Entering release

Abandoned animosity

Of all my faults

Of all my fears

 

***

It burned my throat

And the corners of my lips

Almost as much as your teeth burned my hip

 

Gasping for air

And for more of you

As if there was enough of either

 

To sedate my mind

 

***

 

Most mothers lose sight of themselves at some point. I’d like to say it’s usually when you have a newborn/infant but I have zero evidence to back that up. Maybe you’re home for the weekend, again, with a fussy little squish. Or, you’re sitting in your minivan waiting for soccer practice to get out and suddenly realized you have no clue who you are. Whatever you’re doing, whenever you realized you were lost, it’s okay. We all are.

 

I don’t think I had a good concept of myself to begin with. My childhood was always messy, and I thought I knew who I was in high school but looking back I think I was fixated too much on who I thought I should be. I’m not saying I spent time and money to look a certain way to fit in or lied about loving something nerdy to maintain my social status. I felt like there was something that everyone was getting that just didn’t click for me. How did they find time to get all the homework done? How did they convince their parents to let them go to In N Out after school so often? Where did they get the money to go on all these adventures? Why do they all know how to snowboard? Why are they all so happy?

 

It didn’t make sense. I barely made it out of high school. That’s an exaggeration- I had a C+/B average. But, I remember every day being stressful. I remember hating myself for not doing the homework and never wanting to talk to any of my teachers about how I missed so many assignments. At the end of every semester, I would have a D or F, then work like crazy to make up allllllll those assignments and get back to at least a C. I had four years to change that and I didn’t. I didn’t know how. Things were chaotic at home and I couldn’t focus. When focus wasn’t an issue my depression kept me from doing anything productive. Looking back, I wish I had said something to one of my teachers about what was going on, but I didn’t know. I didn’t know that I wasn’t just lazy and that it was mental illness. I didn’t know that the successful kids weren’t dealing with an alcoholic mother. I didn’t know that I was chasing after a specific reality hoping it would make all my problems go away. Maybe if I had the perfect boyfriend and we went on all the dates and adventures like in the movies I would get it together and be a good student and daughter. That didn’t work.

 

In my first year of college, I got married, packed up my life, and moved to Hawaii. I still had no idea who I was. Then, I got pregnant with my daughter.  I’m in a new, immature marriage. Oh! And I’m still horribly depressed and struggling with anxiety. All alone on this island, with no one on my team. Hawaii was rough... I found myself so crippled by anxiety and depression that I never wanted to leave the house. Yet all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs and run as fast as I could and find some freedom and release of rage that has been building up since sometime in the late 1990’s. I was still no one, looking at other realities online wondering how they got there and what the hell was I doing wrong?

 

Fast forward to today. I know I’m lost. I know I have depression and anxiety and I’ve seen how all the events in my world got all the different reactions out of me. Some days I still hate myself, but for the most part I’d like to think I’m pretty badass. And this is the time I am going to figure out who the hell I am. I’m going to do things and figure out what I do and don’t like. I made a list in the back of my planner of different goals. I’d really like to stick to a plant based diet. I want our apartment to be a super rad mashup of mid-century modern and hipster urban crap. I want to read more. I want to go outside more. I want to get some house plants.  I want to spend time with just myself- no husband, no daughter. I want to learn to take care of myself and that it’s okay to put myself first. It’s okay to take the risks (my anxiety says it’s not okay. That’s something else I’m working on.) I want to dedicate more time to my husband as his wife not as a mother. 

 

Hopefully, through self-reflection and my little planner list, I can work at these things every day and find myself. I want to be happy and kind. I want to help leave this world better than when I came into it. Think about it. What do you want? What are your expectations of yourself? Make a list, and work on getting there. I don’t know if I will ever figure out who I am, but I can try. Maybe I’m going to be lost and found ten more times in this life. That’s fine by me as long as I’m growing in the process. Read your list every week. Actively think about how you can work on yourself. Grow. It’s slow, sometimes painful, but we all can find so much greatness in ourselves and our lives and I don’t want to feel like I’m wasting my own time anymore. I want to be better. Let’s be better.



***

 

I walk up to a burgundy door and turn the brass handle to enter the apartment. As the door opens, I am overwhelmed by the stale smell of cigarettes and wet dog. I hear annoying, loud barks from two Pomeranians as two of them run at me, one black and one beige. I hear yelling and screaming from the back bedroom, followed by the crash of breaking glass and silence. The door swung open and was slammed again. A woman walked swiftly into the kitchen and grabbed an open bottle of vodka and I heard the alcohol pour over ice as I hid around the corner in the entry way. She made her way across the living room and out to the back patio. I watched silently as she settled in a green chair, lit a cigarette, and began to scroll through her phone. As soon as I felt that she was consumed in technology and smoke, I made an attempt to slip into my room. I set my backpack on the ground near the corner of my bed and set my books on my desk. I turn around and lock my door, then I lay on my light pink bedding wondering what to do next. As quick as the apartment had gone silent, it had become a battleground again.

I hear doors opening and closing, bottles being opened, lighters flicking, TV channels being flipped through, and a steady flow of ringing noises from the woman’s phone. I left my room and quietly made my way to the kitchen to find dinner. As I walk through the kitchen and dining room, there are bottles covering the counters. Beer, wine, vodka, rum, and schnapps all scattered and opened. It reeks of alcohol and lime. I once again tried to be invisible and make my way back to my room. I’m stopped in my tracks like a frightened cat when my name is yelled from the patio. I look up and make my way to the woman outside. We begin talking, her voice cold and angry. She gets closer and closer to my face as she yells. My eyes are burning from smoke and all I can smell is the alcohol on her breath.

Suddenly I feel like the wind is knocked out of me. I can’t keep up with the world around me. I’m moving and I’m getting thrown and tossed by the people that hold power. I hit the ground and the light sky turns black. I open my eyes and see night sky without a single star. I can still smell her faint cigarette smoke and the grass is damp on my hands. I get up and begin walking down the road, letting go of my fear with each step as I work myself into a run and focus on the sound of my feet on the pavement.



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