Estas Muy Flaco

It’s a well-known fact in the Hispanic community that sons, no matter their age, are and will always be far too skinny in their mother’s eye. My mother, however, never got this memo.

Like all the members of my family, I’m an eater. I can cook and I can bake and I can eat. Last Thanksgiving, Jyg and Izzy celebrated with us at my older brother’s house. Sitting at the table last year was my brother, my sister-in-law, my niece, my mother, Jyg, Izzy and me. And like every year, Jyg got a taste of what she’s getting herself into. Every one of my blood relatives packed in their turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls, corn, green beans and yams and still had room to stuff our faces with pumpkin cheesecake pie, regular pumpkin pie and pecan pie.

Perhaps after a five-or-ten-minute wait, we were ready for seconds. Our ability to find room in our stomachs has often amazed people in the past, as well as, disgusting several others.

When I was a teenager, packing in the food wasn’t a big deal. I burned it off quickly. Several pounds later, I’m realizing that instead of shooting back down after a heavy meal, I climb upward. That’s not good, especially with among the Hispanic community.

All that health juju aside, the fact that diabetes and heart conditions run in my family doesn’t add up for a healthy adult life. That’s now where my crux lays for me. No, it’s far from it.

“Estas muy flaco, mi’jo” turned to “Es muy gordo.” I’m just fat now. That, however, doesn’t change that the house is always filled with sweets, junk food and other various things that add to the weight gaining process. And amazingly, they all come flowing my way, despite the fact that I don’t buy them, or request them. They just happen to appear.

My own mother’s battle with diabetes has raged on for almost a decade now. Rather than laying off on the stuff that eventually did her in, she buys them and hands them over to me so that she can bide her temptation. Meanwhile, ruining my attempt to stay healthy – let’s face it, I’m a man of my addictions and am known to follow the path of temptation until it kills me.

So here I am, with a pack of Reese’s peanut butter cups, thinking to myself that, rather than eating them, I should take that short walk to the dollar store and buy a bag of cat food that I promised my cat earlier today when he finished the last one. He’ll be hungry soon. I wonder if he likes peanut butter cups.


I’m Not Getting Any Younger

My older brother (ten years older) and I cruised down the streets of Edinburg at night, after dropping off pizza for his family. In tow, we have our own large Spinach Alfredo pizza plus two orders of spicy chicken strips from Papa John’s. After making one more stop to buy two large bags of ice for our mother, our destination, we drive  down University. We turn on 18th and sail down toward home.

Friday night’s are normally spent with friends. This past weekend, I spent it alone with my family as we made final preparations for my niece’s Quinceañera the following day.

He then speaks, “So what’s going on with you and Jeanna anyway?”

“What do you mean?” I ask, already knowing where this is leading.

“Are you two going to get married?”

There are plans, but plans are all we can afford at the moment. Graduating college doesn’t promise a career. With an English degree I have about two choices in the Valley – write for the blood sucking, conservative, unreliable and bias newspaper called The Monitor, or teaching English. None of these sound the least bit appealing and the latter means more school for me, leading me to probably owe money in the process, which doesn’t sound attractive at all.

Jyg is also having a dilly with a career. At the moment, she’s working a dead-end job that’s sucking the very life from her bones. Meanwhile, she’s putting into motion of completing her teacher certification – if only that part of a teaching career wasn’t necessary, I might have given in ages ago.

But I’m the baby of the family, the last to get married and the last to spawn children. And I want both. And I’m working toward both. While I do want to teach some day, I don’t want to teach kids. Higher education, maybe, but not kids. Not in Texas, anyway. There’s nothing educational about Texas education.

So I’m on edge with this one. My family’s eyes are on me, expectantly awaiting that great leap that I am ready for emotionally, just not financially. And I’m not getting any younger, so I’m doing my best to get the ball rolling. I just wish things can fall into place, and I can leave behind a few parts of me that I am not proud of, or in love with.