Let me tell you something about my mother. She has intuition. She successfully predicted the sex of all three of her kids – all boys. She successfully predicted the sex of all six of her grandchildren – we’re still on the fence whether she really predicted the first. So when I announced that Jyg was pregnant and she said – without missing a beat, it’s a girl.
Leave it to my son to prove her wrong.
Wait?! You’re Pregnant?
After of months of secrecy, we dropped the bomb on the social network. Previously, I was censored from saying anything on Facebook and Twitter. I took to Tumblr with the news because – let’s face it – no one really reads Tumblr. I dropped the not-so-subtle hints here, as well, finally coming out with the news when I posted my about me page, which I’m sure several of you rushed out to read.
I can’t explain Jyg’s need for keeping it under the table for so long, but I’m glad we finally came out with it. We’re having a baby. It’s probably the most greatest accomplishment to date (should’ve mentioned that in the interview yesterday).
What’s in a Name?
I don’t know where Shaun came from really, just that I knew I didn’t much care for the spelling S-H-A-W-N. The name always sounded hick-ish to me. And I’ve been one who wanted to push for more cultural names. But when you’ve known a dozen Joses, Marios, Reys, Miguels, Franciscos, etc. you realize that maybe you want something a little different, at least in the area.
I always assumed the fall back name was Michael. Shaun Michael. Apparently, I was wrong. It was William. Shaun William sounded too much like paint.
Damien because it’s my late cousin’s name. Only problem, when we did the name selecting game, we were far from getting pregnant. That allowed enough time for my sister-in-law to birth a son whose middle name is Damien. Jaycob Damien. Nice one.
But cousins can have the same middle name. There’s no rule in that, is there?
Departure from Emma Leigh
Let’s face it. Somewhere deep down I was really looking forward to having a daughter, if only to make Jyg happy. I still love my son just the same. But all those daydreams and images of me holding my first-born are in the process of being edited in my imagination. Still, this is only part of the adventure. Besides. It’s not written that Shaun will be the only one. There’s time yet.
Letters to Shaun
I originally took two urls on WordPress just for safe keeping. One was Letters to Emma and one was Letters to Shaun. Now that I know the sex of the my child, we may commence the show.
I was eight when my maternal grandfather died. No one explicitly told me, they just assumed I understood the rituals of one’s passing. As Catholics, my family held rosaries before and after the funeral. It might have been the first rosary that I learned the truth about my grandfather’s death. A younger cousin – possibly a second or third cousin, I’m still not sure – noted that her elder uncle had died. No sugar-coating there. Naively, I muttered my grandfather was in the hospital. That he’d probably get out any day now. The memories are vague. Shattered images of the mirror upon the wall. Shards of the past, reminding me of who I once was. My brother corrected me, or maybe it was an uncle or a cousin. Maybe none of this really happened. Maybe I imagined the whole thing. It doesn’t matter. When my paternal grandfather passed away, I was told first thing in the morning. This was three years after the fact.
Somewhere along the way, I became cynical. Maybe it was always ingrained in my fiber. Encoded in my DNA. I want to imagine myself as a happy kid. As someone adventurous. I never climbed a tree, though. And I never dared cross the street without looking both ways or seeking out a cross walk. Erase that. I was a happy kid. I was content in my isolation. I never went to friends’ houses because I never knew what to do at them. And when I did, I’d fritter away the time wanting to go home. It was more of proof that I could go to people’s houses. I guess in short, I wasn’t the friend type of person. Even though I went, I only did it so I wouldn’t be the weird kid out. Because when I boiled it down, everyone was a moron. Sometimes, I suppose, don’t change.
The world was never a pretty place. I had little hope that anything good could come out of the Valley. It’s a desert masquerading as paradise. That’s how people got suckers to move here in the first place, isn’t it? Promised a paradise and they got stranded in the buttfuck of a desert somewhere between Texas and Mexico. So I can’t call myself a disappointed idealist. I’m far from an idealist. Ideals are insignificant. Sure, it’s one thing to believe humans should be one way, but to believe they can? That’s asking too much. Essentially, everyone’s a moron until proven otherwise.
Ramblings of an Asshole
Pardon me for being a snob. No scratch that. If there’s one thing I want to pass down to my child, it’s not to apologize for being who you are. If you hurt someone’s feelings, sure. Apologize for hurting their feelings, but do not apologize for who you are. The truth of the matter is, I think the majority of people are idiots. If you sole ideal of literature are the books of Dan Brown and Stephen King, you’re an idiot. If you’re sole source of cinematic entertainment are films by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, you’re cinematically retarded – for lack of a better term. And if you find the Paranormal Activity film franchise as the scariest movies you ever seen and are responsible for their high gross in money during opening night, not only are you a flaming moron, but you should be barred from watching any horror movie ever again.
And hey, I can be wrong. Most instances, I probably am wrong. Why? Because none of these things hold any merit. There isn’t any fiber of what I just said as fact because I have no supporting material to back it up. That’s why it’s my personal goddamn opinion. And goddamn you for trying to take that away from me. It’s not in your right to stifle my thoughts, but it is in your right to disagree with me. And I’ll allow it. Will it sway me? Possibly not. Will you be a hero for it? Possibly not.
And what is most commonly thrown in my face is the fact that I graduated college. That I studied English. That my humanities courses have made me this way. Anyone who’s known me for years know that the asshole went into college as an asshole and emerged as an asshole. So no, I don’t like Harry Potter because my literature teachers told me what is popular isn’t good. I don’t like Harry Potter because I don’t fucking like Harry fucking Potter. I didn’t like it in high school when the books first popped up in American culture. Same thing with Stephen King. It has nothing to do with their popularity – I like Tess Gerritsen’s Rizzoli and Isles series, for fuck’s sake. And why is that? Because it doesn’t bore me. Not because I believe her as the fantastic writer in the world – that’s Philip Roth‘s title.
While we’re on the subject, stating “in my opinion” or “IMO” is pointless. I know it’s your opinion, there’s no need for it. Of course, what do I know? My composition courses jaded me.
How does this connect with your intro?
It doesn’t. Not really. Or maybe. I do remember being upset with my mother for not telling me the truth, for pussy-footing around it. And I do remember that I was an asshole to her even though her father had just died. Or maybe not. It’s hard to tell.
Fuck it. I’m a snob. I’m an asshole. I’m everything label you want to throw at me. If I wasn’t, would you even bother to read what I have to say?
It takes a village to raise a kid was pretty much the mentality my family held. Grandparents and a single mother, aunts and uncles – these are the people who provided me with the books I loved, the rides to school, the encouragement to follow through my dreams. And while they each play an essential role to the person I would become, I cannot acknowledge them all in one post. It might take several posts – each of their own – to fully show my appreciation.
At an early age, my father walked out of my life. This included the typical “special appearances” throughout my life in some half-assed attempt to be part of it. The only father figures I had were my grandfathers. My maternal grandfather, from which I take my name, tended the fields, pulling his family throughout the state in the means of work. You may not know the name Guillermo Pequeño, but back in the 60’s he was responsible for growing one of the first bales of cotton for the city of Donna, TX. Meanwhile, my paternal grandfather opened the Corona Shoe Repair shop, which still operates to this day, under the management of my uncle. I bear both their names and heed to their message of hard work, work that means something.
Both male figures in my life were taken from me three years apart. I was in the third grade when my maternal grandfather and in the sixth grade, my paternal grandfather suffered a fatal stroke. I sought paternal figures in my teachers, in the heroes of the books I loved so dearly. And in the women that continued to raise me.
My maternal grandmother and my mother are true feminists, despite their not knowing it. And while they both subscribe to old ideas of a woman’s place, they also lived the life of women who knew when it was time to take charge of a situation. Until her death my ninth grade year, my grandmother was devoted to her gardening. She taught me that no matter what life threw at you, you kept going. Even with sutures in her throat, she focused on the only task that kept her busy. She knew no down time other than sleep and moments when her age caught up with her.
My mother, very much like her’s, never knows when to give up. From an abusive husband to raising three sons on her own, she never crumbled under pressure. My mother was very much like a real parent, allowing me to make my mistakes without too many restrictions. She guided me when I needed it, but left matters into my own hands – ever ready in the sidelines to help pick up the pieces if I should ever fall. She supplied the books on my shelf, the paper and notebooks, pens and pencils, typewriters and computer that I need to start my first thoughts. She collected every article I published, every letter I wrote, every magazine that featured my name.
Three brothers, different, yet, the same, were born from a woman of strength and courage. The older one, who dreams with eyes opened. The middle one, who lived in the moment. And the youngest, the frailest of the three, who shut himself out of a world he didn’t understand – a world he wanted no part in. Three brothers. Three Billy Goats Gruff. A troll beneath the bridge.
The older one figured out the activity. The youngest figured out the mechanics. The middle brother acted it.
Each with their own talents. Each with their own despair. Each with their addictions and fears. Each with their own worries. Each with their own strategies. Three brothers, each with their own personalities and their own cheers. Their own dreams and dreadful schemes.
Two were social brothers, the life and hosts of parties through and through. Rosy cheeked. Glasses raised high and the mouths appraising invisible gods. The third, locked shut, windows closed to block out the every burning light.
Three brothers standing, shrining their mother. Three brothers standing apart from each other. Three brothers whose words don’t echo through the chambers, upon the stage. Three brothers worried and selfish. Three brothers feeling, feeling and feeling no end.
Two pray for happiness at the end; the third feels hollow, hallow and hatred. The divine the profane and the sacred. Three entities within each of them.
To the woman who had these sons, who bore these children into the world. May you live eternally. May you shine and reign upon them.
It’s taken me nearly 28 years, but I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that my mother is a junk food pusher. It seems that every time I decide to start watching what I eat and getting back into shape, cookies start to appear throughout the house. Tiny, nearly circular little demons with their chocolate chunks calling out to me – “Eat us! Dunk us in milk. You know you want to.”
And that’s the problem with living at home – mother unconsciously sabotages my every move. Who am I kidding, though? In our community – the Hispanic community – that’s what mother’s are for. Saboteurs. Like Spy vs. Spy, my mother and I are constantly at odds. When she first became diabetic, I made sure to keep one step ahead of her, stealing her sweets and stashing them where only I could find them. Of course, this backfired and the weight gain is evidence of that. And I think that’s why she buys the damn cookies. Because she knows that my natural instinct of keeping her blood sugar low will kick in and I’ll finish those damned, chocolate chunk discs before she gets the chance to have seconds.
This year, however, I’m going to have to fall back a few steps. I’m not going to fall prey to her enabler ways. This year, I’ll be mindful of what I eat.
It started as your typical shyness, but it grew into something else. My mother isn’t a misanthrope, she’s just shy. Her mother pushed her into socializing, but it never clicked. I’m on the other spectrum. The reason I shy away from people is because I’m easily disappointed by them. Case in point, a local poet writes a book. It gets published. I’ve heard of him through the grape vine. Creative writing professors praise him. Those within my poet circle speak highly of him. By chance, I meet him. We chat a bit. He’s not exactly what I expected. Rather than a down-to-earth sort of fellow, he’s egotistical. Arrogant. He built an entire life of poetry by steal the styles of others. In short, he’s a vampire – sucking off the talents of other writers. He’s poison. A dream snatcher, he built an image of himself based on the ideas of others without the collaboration. Because of my knowledge of his actions, I cannot face my friends anymore. Each time I see them, I want to call him out – have him admit to the public the fraud he is.
It started early on. I was the shy boy in class. I was okay speaking to my peers, showed no problems making friends. I influenced actions in others. But with adults, I always stammered. I grew past that too, until I hit junior high and things started to change.Then, I just began to feel like the outsider. I developed crushes on both boys and girls. I had my dark fantasies when I thought of just pounding in the face of my tormentors. I had a horrible time feeling empathy for others. Never understood what was going through the minds of others – why was it so important to be popular, to be liked? I hid myself in the world I created for myself. A world where the events of books were more pleasant than the world that devoured me daily. Those I called my friends were just accessories that I needed in order to feel somewhat connected. And I continued that way into high school. I didn’t particularly like my friends. The outcast within the outcasts. I enjoyed their company more because they didn’t want to fit in and mimicking their rituals was easier than any other social clique.
And those I did have feelings for wound up hurting, abandoning or downright disappointing me in the end. Girlfriends and crushes were had. Nothing I quite understood. When I actually got down to know the person, their words fell short of my expectations. It’s not that I’m a douche bag or an asshole – though I very much am – it’s that I expected that click of balance. None of them ever made me care enough.
My mother never knew the things I thought, and maybe it was for the best. But on the way to X-mas present opening at my brother’s house, I admitted that sometimes I wondered if I worried her growing up. Unlike my brothers, I was the only son who didn’t like being around people. I chose to be home rather than hanging out with my friends after school. The parties I went to were few and far between and even then, I’d spend an hour or so there before I called her for a ride home. Even now, as an adult, I only talk to Jyg and her, Binx, Erika and Monica every now and then – and mostly just on the Internet.
And it seems that’s how I feel connected with people these days – online. At least the chance for them to disappoint me isn’t high. I forgot where I was going with this post.