Sunday, July 19, 2009


From the time you are born, you have a hero, or heroes. The funny thing about heroes is that they seem to grow up with you. When you are first born, your heroes are your parents. You really don't get a choice in the matter, but who better to be your hero than the people who decided it would be a good idea to have a baby and as a result you were given life. I remember my first hero, my older brother. He was instantly cool to me. He knew things, I mean he was 18 months ahead of me in time. All I wanted was for him to like me and to show me his toys, teach me things, and if I was really lucky, play with me. This guy was it to me. Even if he did hate me and hit me with his toys, to me, he was playing with me and it meant he loved me. He also introduced me to another hero of mine, the Pink Power Ranger. My brother had a thing for power rangers, the boy ones that is. So naturally, the pink one was me. Why was she my hero? Well for one, she was pink but she was my way to connect to big bro. I could play power rangers with him. She could hang with the boys and still be totally girlie, what a woman. Through the years, my heroes changed. My little Pony had a huge impact on my life. That cute little pony was the greatest thing I had ever seen. Until Barbie that is. I mean, this woman was gorgeous, and had every career possible under her belt. I knew that one day I wanted to be just like her. She had Barbie dream home, Barbie dream car, Barbie dream looks, Barbie dream career of the day, and did I mean Barbie dream husband? Forget the talking pony, Barbie was my hero. Eventually, my heroes did become real people, but don't be fooled, Barbie is still on my top 5 list of heroes. My dance teacher was added to the list. I wanted to be as graceful and as beautiful of a dancer. Everything she said was like music to my ears, I couldn't get enough. My teachers at school. They were so smart, I wanted to be smart like them one day. My babysitters. They were so cool, they had cell phones and boyfriends and homework! They were so grown up, and way cool. I watched their every move with awe, would I be that cool one day? High School Cheerleaders. Now this was big to me. They were pretty, popular, flexible, peppy, everything a girl dreamed of being. They got to wear the uniform, have the pom-poms, date the football players. To an elementary school aged girl, cheerleader= popular = the only thing that matters in life. (Duh.)

Heroes can be whoever or whatever you want them to be. If you poll a bunch of people, most of them will say parents, teachers, family friends, the usual answers. You can ask why and you will get a whole bunch of answers. But there are a few qualities that are almost mandatory to categorize someone as a hero. They are funny, smart, charismatic, mature. A hero is someone you want to be like, you respect them. But often times there are a few flaws in the hero department. Lets go back to my hero of Barbie. Barbie is many, many things which we have already covered. Lets pick one word to describe Barbie: perfect. Barbie will never age, she will never get wrinkles, she will never get fired, she will never do anything wrong. Barbie will always be perfect Barbie. We assume all heroes will stay the same forever, that they are invincible.

If you asked me today who my hero is, I would have to think long and hard and would have trouble coming up with an answer. I could be cliche and tell you my parents (but honestly, who doesn't look up to their parents?) But I would honestly have to say that right now my entire family is my hero. My little brother is smarter and more talented than I could ever imagine to be, and he is only 16 years old. He is my hero. My older brother is still my hero, even though it may not be a matter of praying he will share his toys, it is now a matter of praying he will take time to have lunch with me, or just call and check in on my life. He is older and sometimes wiser. He is my hero. My mom always has and always will be. She is loud, brutal, and most people are annoyed by her loudness, but I hope that I can be half the woman she is, half the mother and half the wife. She is my hero. My father will also always be my hero. He is quiet, reserved, the completely opposite my mother and sometimes I just wait for him to blow up and lose his cool. He is the worlds best business man, politician, husband and father. He is my hero.

At 20 years old, I think that I have found the true way to spot a hero, the true "hero test" is how do they handle tougher than life situations? My grandfather is someone I have never really thought about in a heroic sense. Mainly because my idea of a hero is Barbie and Barbie he is not. But lately, I have been watching him fight the toughest fight possible; cancer. This is a man who never finished middle school, he can't speak Spanish, he can't really even read; he is not famous, he has never invented anything like the Mac. He couldn't tell you who Britney Spears is, you cant email him because he can't work a computer. I used to think he was just too old fashioned. I grew up my whole life just saying, Oh papa just doesn't understand that times have changed. But now I realize that if there ever was a poster child for the word hero, I was related to him. I always thought it was ridiculous that he insisted on starting his day at 5am, now I realize its called worth ethic. I used to think it was insane to not keep up with the times, now I realize its called tradition. My generation is the generation his generation despises. We listen to rap, we are lazy, we take everything for granted, we do things today that were completely unacceptable back then. I used to think it was just out dated, now I realize how sick our world is now compared to then. Growing up I always knew that my dad respected his father so much. I always assumed it was the whole father-son thing, but now I realize why. Simple is a word i could describe him with. He doesn't worry with much, if anything at all. Its the small things in life that matter. You follow simple rules for life, you go to work, you love your family, you go to church twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday, and you always say your prayers. He works so hard and has earned great rewards from it, but he couldn't care less about money or material things. He never wanted nice things or big houses. He always knew that his treasure was in heaven; never once in my life have I doubted his faith in Christ. My generation will go to school for years and earn multiple degrees from multiple universities. But the knowledge my Grandfather has, you can't teach. He learned with his hands. From an early age, you did work, hard work, with your bare hands. He didn't need fancy schools, he had himself and his brothers. The story of the Thrift Brothers wasn't written by a Hollywood writer, it wasn't a story, it was real life. A story that I will never understand how lucky I am to be able to know. My entire life I have been told what a "good man" my papa is, and everytime I hear it I just smile and say thanks, but now, it really means more to me than anything could. My papa was respected by anyone and everyone who came in contact with him, and money cant buy that. My grandfather has taught me so many things just in the past few months. To me, he was always invincible; he would always be up with the sun checking on his cows, meeting his brothers for a morning biscuit before anyone else was awake. He would always be calling my Father every 5 minutes and my dad would always be jumping and running to do as his father said. He would always be that voice on the other end of the phone while I'm at college asking me, "I'm still your boyfriend, right?" He would always be there to call us up for dinner at either A. The Galley or B. Pixie and Bills. He would always be there to remind my dad that even in his 70s, he still had a full head of thick black hair and my dad was going bald at 45. He would always be there to fall asleep while our entire family is sitting in his living room and snore louder than we could talk. In my mind, my grandfather would always be there, and would always be the same. Over the past few months, I had to realize that heroes are not invincible. Heroes will not always be there and sometimes, a hero needs a hero. Even though these past few months have been stressful and tiring and emotional straining, I have gained a respect and admiration for my grandfather than I will never lose. I finally realized that if it were not for my grandfather, I would not be who I am today. I write constantly about my voyages here and there in my Jimmy's and Manolo's, but today I wanted to write about the man who made my life possible. At age 12 I was learning designer names, becoming a cheerleader and leading a normal life. At the age of 12, my grandfather was working from 5am on, with his bare hands.

So if you ask my today who my hero is, my answer will be my family. My answer will also be my grandfather. At this point in my life the man who has been the hero for all of us, is in need of heroes from us. We all have had to step up and become heroes for him. I couldn't be more proud of the heroes this tragic event has made my family. My family is my hero, but most of all, my grandfather is every ones hero.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


As I type, I am in my final minutes of being a teenager; at midnight I will officially become 20 years old. I have had many, many mixed emotions about this milestone in my life. I feel a sense of maturity, not having to include the word 'teen' in my age. I have also been agonizing and tormenting myself over this mark of "growing up." I have officially hit the point where I am including in the "20's," all magazine articles about wrinkles are not directed at me. A lot is going to happen in my 20's; people get married in their 20's, you graduate college, you find a real job, you start paying your own bills, and people even have babies in their 20's. All of this is extremely horrifying to me. Growing up scares me. Uncertainty of life scares me, not knowing what is going to happen to me and in my life. It makes me sad to think of how different this birthday will be from all the others. You're too old for all those cute surprises, you aren't legally able to drink (even though you should be,) It's not a big birthday, like 18 or 21, it's just another birthday that makes you one year older. I know on this birthday, one of my best childhood friends wont call me at midnight on the done, the way he has for about 10 years. I won't be getting together with my high school girlfriends at our favorite Mexican restaurant, there will be no romantic birthday dinner with a boyfriend, and my best friend from high school probably won't even call/text me to say Happy Birthday. All of these things are sad, but they are all apart of birthdays and growing up.

An amazingly great friend of mine came to visit me tonight. While for the past 4 years I have been secretly in love with him, hoping we would someone get back together, we have continued to be very close friends. He knows me better than most and gave me some series insight tonight. He made me realize that I live through my past. I am always comparing things to things I used to have. I am always wondering why things cant be the way they were. I always miss ex boyfriends when I shouldn't. Who cares if my old friends won't wish me happy birthday, I have new friends that will. Instead of dwelling on those who don't call, I need to be thankful for those who will. Instead of crying over an ex boyfriend who has moved on, I need to be focusing on my next boyfriend. He made me realize that I shouldn't be looking at this birthday in fear and agony, I should be excited about what lies ahead. I am growing up and great things are going to come my way. Its time to move on, forget the past. I need to let go and move forward and start creating my new life at my new age.

As I finish writing this, I am 20 years old. I am officially part of the 20's crowd and I am fabulous. I have learned from my past and I look back on it and smile. I remember good times had, but look forward to greater times to come. I remember best friends but am thankful for better friends. I remember old loves, but look forward to deeper love. I remember my teenage years, but look into my adult years with excitement. I am 20, I am fabulous, and I am moving on.