For My 70th Birthday I Give You my Love

 

 

By Armando Vazquez                                                            

Yesterday I was Bold and Clever, So I Wanted to Change the World; Today, at 70 Year of Age, I Am Still Seeking Wisdom So I Can Change Myself

“Inside of Me there are Two Dogs. One is Mean and Evil and the other One is Good. And They Fight Each other All of the Time. When asked which One Wins I answer, the One I Feed the Most”…Sitting Bull

Yeah, for most of my life I have been alternately, and at time simultaneously, feeding both these two dogs, the good one and in my case, the mad flea bitten and spooked mongrel dog that pisses on the rug and just doesn’t fit in homogenized polite company. I have always felt more at home at the periphery of society with the rebels and the outcasts. It has been like that for me most of my life. I would have it no other way. I was not predisposed to go all along to get along. When you feed a life like the one I chose you end up with a lot of fleas and get your ass kicked a lot. It comes with the holy territory. I learned early to run fast and often, growl and fight when necessary. If you survive this kind of life it becomes liberating somewhere along the way. So here I am at the doorsteps of my 70th birthday, beaten but not broken. I can tell you that I am free and at peace with myself, fleas and all. 

“No mas espera Chato hasta que tengas tus propios hijos, entonces sabras lo que es sacrificar, sufir y amar”…La Curandera, mi Jefita Santitos Aguila

Mi Jefitos, Santitos y Pedro, bless them both, were both orphaned as kids. They met and married as young teens, and began early in their marriage to carving out a poverty stricken and near starvation life as subsistence campesinos in the desolate and foreboding Valle de Ahualulco, Jalisco. It was these two humble stoic indigenas that provided me with the philosophy and rock solid foundation of unwavering and courageous love as their religion to move forward and never, ever, lose faith.  I will be honest I struggled hard to emulate my jefitos sacred stoic resolve, all of my life, mostly I failed. Striping down life to its very basic of figuring out how to subsist (eat) or die, both my parents very early on in their relationship decided that Mexico would kill them and their children, they had to find another way.

The way was El Norte! How these two dirt poor, illiterate campesinos managed to emigrate, with their entire family of eight children, two uncles and  one grandmother, to the United States in 1958 remains a mysterious miracle in my heart and mind. Their faith in each other was a rock hard miracle of unwavering and courageous love made real. My jefitos are both now long gone from the face of the earth, but with each of my heart beats they continue to pulsate their love to me and their tribe. Nos vemos pronto jefitos!

“Mi sangre es un milagro que desde mis venas cruza el aire de mi Corazon al tuyo”…Frida Kahlo

I could not do it like my father. I could not stay with one woman, hard as tired, I failed. Of all the things that I have failed at or done with utter stupidity and cowardice it has been in the relationships that I have had with the three women in my life. I am in my winter years, it is time that I proclaim that I have been a failure as a partner. For these failures of my character I am truly sorry, and I have apologized, and I have tried, with long term restorative actions, to make amends to the women that I hurt.

Despite my failures it was these women that helped, taught, and worked with me as I grew painfully into my manhood. It was their patience and love in daily action that helped me transform me into the man that I am today.

When I became a father for the first time at the tender age of 22 I was definitely not ready. I made up a million reasons to run away from my commitment, I was a terrible father, so I ran. My first relationship lasted about 6 years. I ran to my next relationship having learned nothing. My precious daughter stuck will me and never gave up on me. By the time I became a father for the second time I was more stable and mature, I got a lot better as a father, and a bit better as a partner. When I became a father for the third time, I again improved as father and if anything, regressed as partner. This second relationship would last 24 years, or about the time both our children had completed their college work and obtained their degrees, and moved on with lives.

I am now in absolutely my final relationship. I am in a stable, humbling, mutually comfortable and supportive partnership. Most, if not all of the my angst, fury and passion that I spewed on my world and in my relationships has now been spent. It took me over 45 years of fatherhood to become a good partner.

“My children are my daily and sacred reminders that their Love is Unconditional and that as their father I am Supremely Blessed”

My wonderful children are a constant reminder that there is forgiveness and redemption for even a complex and complicated conundrum like me. 45 years of parenting wil,l in the long run, make you a better person or break you. My kids stuck, every crooked step of the way. For their love and support I am eternally grateful. Their unconditional love over the years has gently and lovingly sanded off most of my rough and unpleasant edges. In my long journey through parenting I picked up a set of boys that I adopted and brought them in from the storm. Every day I hear my saintly jefita’s admonition, “No mas espera Chato hasta que tengas tus propios hijo, entonces sabras lo ques es dolor, sacrificio y amor” She was right on all counts, but I would have it no other way.  My children gleaned the best of me. They then incorporated some of my better traits and jettisoned all the mad and twisted habits that they saw and experienced through me out of their lives. It is through my children that that I have found redemption, peace and happiness.

“Mejor Solitario que ser Mal Acompanado” Mexican dicho

I have two best friends, my partner and Debbie. These two incredible woman could not be more different, yet both teach me extraordinary patience, kindness, and love. My friendship with these two women span three decades. These two women will be with me for the rest of my life and along with kids will bury me happy and fulfilled. With Debbie, as my business partner I was fortunate enough to create, The Acuna Art and Cultural Center, at the Café on A, in Oxnard. The Café on A provided programs and classes of love and empowerment to at-promise youth and their families of Oxnard for three decades. The Café on A radically altered my life and transformed me into a community servant. The courage, resiliency and love of these courageous at-risk youth transformed me. I could not have done this transformative social justice work without the brilliance, love and loyalty of Debbie, she was always there for me. More than once she pulled me out from the abyss. My partner has brought me around full circle and has shown me that even in the darkest times of poverty, addiction, and betrayal you can courageously withstand the horrific deluge that pummels us and learn to survive deftly in the eye of the storm as you work to heal yourself.  This courageous and humble woman gave me, an old flea bitten dog very much set in his ways, an opportunity to be a good man and a good partner. I think I final got it right.


Armando Vazquez, M.Ed.  is Executive Director of  Acuna Art Gallery/Café on A, Executive Director for The KEYS Leadership Academy and Chairman of the Oxnard Multicultural Mental Health/coalition

 


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.


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Mark Savalla
Mark Savalla
8 days ago

I can’t find the words to describe the disgust I have for this person. I have been reading his communist diatribes for the past year and cannot find anything he says that is credible without hate of this country or other than self love. His post is only there because CJ tries to be fair to everyone.

Mike H
Mike H
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark Savalla

The vast majority of CJ articles are garbage. No analysis, no facts. Just opinion and pablum. Right spewing hate at Left, Left spewing hate at Right. It doesn’t get any more amateur, un-American, or anti-Christian than the hate-filled pages of CJ.

C. Collier
C. Collier
8 days ago
Reply to  Mike H

In all fairness to the CJ, this is not an article written by anyone on their staff. It is an opinion piece submitted by Oxnard’s resident Marxist America-hater. They don’t solicit this material. Comrade Velazquez just sends this drivel to them, and they put it up here in the spirit of editorial fairness. CJ is one of the last free speech platforms remaining.

Citizen Reporter
Admin
8 days ago
Reply to  C. Collier

True dat.

Citizen Reporter
Admin
8 days ago
Reply to  Mike H

You obviously don’t know the difference between opinion and news articles. Armando’s is an opinion article and it is labeled as an editorial. Most of of us disagree with many of his points, but we do allow opposing opinions.

Larry
Larry
8 days ago

Sorry but why publish this? It sounds like ramblings from an incoherent person.