We are listening

I'm writing this because it's important. I know it's long, but trust me it's a good one!

So by now you all know how much my son means to me. Since he started HS he's been the JROTC program. I suspect at first he joined because he thought the uniform was dapper as fuck. It is. But the program grew on him and became a very big part of his life. The program has given him several incredible opportunities including allowing him to letter and take part in a district wide speech competition. The program has given him discipline. So for that, I'm thankful. Now of course the JROTC program also grooms and encourages it's students to pursue careers in the US Military. That's where my mixed feelings came into play. As you know AJ is an only child and I plan to keep it that way. Regardless of his age or size, he will always be my baby. During his sophomore year he began to express interest in joining the military, specifically the NAVY. As a mother of course this gave me an incredibly uneasy feeling. Now don't get me wrong, I have tremendous respect and love for the men and women in all branches of the military. They are brave beyond belief. My own father as well as my brother are military veterans themselves. That being said, I have witnessed firsthand how our government treats and cares for our veterans once they return from combat. And... well it fucking sucks! I know war and everything that comes with it changes the people who experience it, and never for the better. So as a mother, it scared the shit out of me to think of my only son having to kill, or even worse be killed fighting for a country and a system that does very little to help not only our soldiers, but our people. When I say "our people" I mean more specifically people of color, indigenous people and the lower and middle class citizens.

Now, when I became a mother I told myself I would always encourage my son to make his own life decisions in regards to religion, sexuality, creativity and especially career and general life direction. After all, it wasn't my job to raise a doctor, a lawyer or a scientist. It was my job to raise a human. So I gave him the basics; food, shelter, clothing etc. But more importantly I gave him love and taught him love.  It was also important to me to teach him about our history, the history of where we came from. The history of our struggle and the struggle of others. I believed this was important because it also taught him tolerance and equality. I shouldn't have to tell you why teaching children about equality is important. Well all those lessons and love and what not worked out pretty well. So far he's a fucking stellar human. He's smart, he's strong, he's spiritual and most importantly he's loving. And as it turns out, raising him was actually pretty easy. People always say to me how great AJ is and ask what I did to make him such a great kid. My response is always that I pretty much just loved the shit outta him, fed him and made sure he didn't die. In fact I was just a kid myself.

Ok... so the past couple of years we've been going back and forth with the whole military thing. We came to an agreement that he would need to complete at least two years of college before enlisting. Which I still wasn't thrilled about, but my hopes were that during college he would be enlightened enough to choose a different path. And if after college he still wanted to enlist, well at least he would go in at a higher ranking and there would be less of a chance of them shipping him off to war.
But the other day something amazing happened. We were getting ready to attend the funeral of a family member, so AJ came home early from school. When he came home I was at my vanity doing my makeup and he came into my room with such an energy. He said "Mom I had the most amazing dream last night!  You might even say it was a revelation!" He said "I'm so excited about it, and things seem so clear." He proceeded to tell me about his dream, in which he remembered even the smallest details. It went something like this:
He found himself standing in a large room. The room was all white with tiles on the walls and floor. The tiles were square and very small but incredibly bright. He said it was very clean like a hospital. He remembered that his head felt very heavy in the back like there was something weighing it down. He reached up to feel it and felt his hair. It was long and pulled into a bun on the back of his head. He said he felt long leather strings that were wrapped around his head and tied in the back. As he felt around he discovered long feathers adorned his head as well. He then saw himself in a huge Aztec headdress. As he looked into the distance of the room he was standing in he described two doorways in the distance side by side. As he got closer to the doorways he could see people in them. In one doorway there was room full of people of all colors. Black, brown, white, women, children and elderly people. And they all seemed to be in great distress; sick and sad in need of help. He said they were all just there and no one was helping them. In the other doorway there was a desk. Behind the desk sat a man in uniform. He was a military recruiter. This doorway had a long line of men coming from it. The man behind the desk was signing papers and shaking hands and helping each of the men in the line one after another while the people in the other doorway remained distressed. He said he felt angry and sad that no one was helping what he described as "our people". As he described his dream my eyes filled with tears. I knew that this powerful message was sent to him for a reason, and so did he. Our ancestors were speaking to him and it gave me an indescribable and overwhelming feeling of pride and happiness. The emotion in his voice and excitement made me feel more proud than I ever had as a mother. He said he believed it was a sign that his place was not in the military working for the government. His destiny was to fight for, to serve and educate our people.

The moral of the story is to pay attention to what is happening around you. Our ancestors are ALWAYS with us and the Universe will always give us exactly what we need.

I grateful for this dream, and I'm grateful for whomever sent it. We are listening. Thank you.

#UnityInColor

This past weekend I was honored to be part of an amazing project called Unity In Color. The project, created by artist Jasmine Solano, aims to bring attention to women's rights. The artistic photography series represents the unity and strength in diversity. It was incredibly humbling to be in the presence of such beauty, creativity, talent and intelligence. The project is happening in several major cities across the country and they are all mind blowing! Check out unityincolor.org to learn more about the project and see some of the other photos.
So today, on International Women's Day I honor my ancestors. I honor my friends. I honor the women fighting everyday for our rights, the grandmothers, the mothers, the sisters, the aunts, the homegirls, the healers, the gypsies, the brujas, the soldaderas and every woman who has come before me and every woman who will come after. I honor our history and the strength of who we are, no matter the color of our skin.  Every single one of us makes the world go around and every single one of us is important.

With that said, here are some of the photos from the Unity In Color Denver edition, curated by Lily Marsh and shot by photographer Sara Ford. Enjoy!





I'm Back.... and a lot has happened

Well it's been roughly 3 years since I've blogged. Not because I haven't had a bunch of shit to say, but because I've been busy living. Hopefully you've missed my bullshit as much as I've missed giving it to you. So to recap, here is a list of important and not so important shit that has happened in the last three years.

  • Minion completed his freshman, sophomore and half of his junior years of HS, and as you probably guessed he fucking killed it.  He had a few birthdays and is now 16 (and 1/2) and has grown to a whopping 6'4". Seriously... WTF right?
  • I celebrated 16, 17 and almost 18 years with the company I worked for. The president of the company retired and the owner hired a new fancy CEO. The new fancy CEO hired all of his fancy friends and proceed to pay themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars until they completely sucked the company dry and we went bankrupt. We all lost our jobs and thousands of students lost their education. Basically, a complete shitshow to say the least. 
  • My nephew and his baby momma welcomed a beautiful baby girl, who's already two but has the cheeks of a seven year old. They named her Violet Jae Sanchez. I call her Violent Jay because its way more hardcore. She likes Frozen and gymnastics and Nacho Libre is her favorite movie. She's a g. I wish I got to see her liddo face more often, but those are the breaks. 
  • My niece graduated from HS started college and then got knocked up. Basically followed in my footsteps because obviously I'm stellar at bad life choices that somehow turn into the biggest blessings!  Enter... Roman Ezekiel Mondragon! He was born on January 16, 2016 and had 2 beautiful big blue eyes, 10 long fingers, and 11 perfect toes. He has since had one of those toes removed and is down to 10 just like the rest of us (wah wah). We've nicknamed him Alexander Romanuf, Beans, EZ, Rome and a bunch of other shit. He basically answers to anything which is awesome for my mom since she calls all of us by the wrong names anyway. Oh my neice and her doggy also brought 2 amazing little pups into the world. Rocky and Gizmo (aka Giz Kalifah). She kept Rocky and gave Giz to my parents who basically treat him like a new baby. It's ridiculous.
  • We've laid to rest 6 beloved family members, and one extraordinary doggy.  Strange as it sounds the doggy was the absolute hardest loss of all. Rest in paradise Boons!
  • Both Pops and Ma Dukes officially retired and against ALL of our wishes sold our family home in North Denver and moved to Thornton. They stay home all day with the exception of their weekly bingo adventures and of course my dad's trips to Black Hawk. They haven't killed each other yet...
  • Chief and I are going on 6 years now. So for those of you who doubted us... suck it. 
  • I had a few birthdays, and a whole bunch of botox. I look amazing.
  • We lost an amazing President, had a ridiculous election, and somehow got stuck with a complete degenerate. He basically legalized racism, stripped women of some basic human rights, wrecked a bunch of sacred land, and really really pissed off the rest of the world (except Russia of course). All in a days work. Still waiting to wake up from this fucking nightmare.
  • A bunch of legendary musicians died. And somehow society made a bunch of shitty musicians rich and famous. I haven't lost hope though. You shouldn't either. 
  • The Broncos won Super Bowl 50. It was awesome. There was a parade. 
  • And.... Maury helped a bunch of dudes out by letting them know that they were "not the father". 
OK there's a whole bunch of other shit that happened too but ADHD is kicking in and ya'll get the point. I'ma try to keep this shizz updated and hopefully keep you thinking and maybe laughing a little. Word? Word. Stay tuned.