Viviendo en la Claridad: “Luz’s Shadow”

sombra de luz

[Editor’s note: In simplest terms, Viviendo en la Claridad is a fiction column. However, that doesn’t mean the stories found here are not real. In fact, in every line and paragraph there exists more truth than in all our news items combined because its inspiration comes from the collective life of our community. Haz click aquí para leer la nota en español]

“Luz’s Shadow”

Everyone had an interesting love story to share except for Luz who was barely recovering from a major disappointment.  All her colleagues at her new job were professional, single women in their 40’s. Only one had a child and seemed reserved; the others talked shamelessly about their adventures with various lovers.

While Luz listened to them she thought, “Being single is becoming the norm among women.” Why many choose to be alone nowadays remains a mystery. In the case of Luz, she needed time to be on her own in order to heal a deep wound and learn how to value herself. In the past, Luz’s life used to revolve around her partner of the moment. Once she opened her heart the rest of the world including family and close friends no longer existed.

Have you ever loved that way?

On one occasion –to follow her girlfriend- Luz moved to another state. She resigned her job as a teacher at a school and gave her belongings away as they would not fit in the new place, and she did not have enough time to sell them. Her new friends were her girlfriend’s; her own were left behind along with the memory of the city of Los Angeles.

It was not hard to put miles of distance between her and those she loved as she felt they abandoned her first. Her father’s advice to her had been to get hormone shots to become more feminine and “awaken her appetite for men.” Her mother prayed that a shrink would find a “cure.” Her siblings looked down on her as a weird species, and her childhood friends, all except for Socorro, ran away as if Luz was some kind of a plague. Despite others’ rejection, she always tried to be happy and positive, until another woman broke her heart. Now her glance revealed a crying soul inside.

Luz was living in a small garage that a family illegally rented in the city of South Gate. The place looked like a storage space filled with a bunch of boxes. There was a small electric stove that she bought at a thrift store, same as an old, scratched and smelly couch where she slept. She had an old TV that had more roaches than the cables needed to see the images clearly on the screen.

The carpet was as dark as her days, and a small side window led to a garden with grass as dry as her eyes had become from all her weeping. This was the only place she could afford after the sudden departure of her girlfriend who left without saying goodbye, taking everything she could and leaving Luz practically on the street. The only thing she left was a small dirty piece of paper that said: “Forgive me.” “I want to live a normal life.” “I paid the rent until the end of the month.”

Steeped in a deep depression, Luz decided to depart from this world. It was eleven o’clock at night when a desperate ambulance announced the crying of a broken heart.

Luz blamed herself for her girlfriend’s abandonment of her. She repeatedly wondered what could have been done differently to prevent it. She cried desperately like a child and begged for help from the Universe. Her desperation was such that she overdosed on sleeping pills hoping to numb her suffering.

That same evening, Socorro went to visit Luz hoping that she would move in with her temporarily. Fortunately, she found the door half open and saw the empty pill bottle on the floor. When she realized that Luz was not responding, expecting the worst, she called 911. It was a miracle that paramedics took her to the hospital in time to get her stomach pumped. Unfortunately, it was not possible to take away the pain that was draining her. Yet from that moment on, her life changed for good. After the doctor sent her home, she was determined to win the most important battle of her life: to regain her passion for living.

***

How many times do we put all of our hopes in someone else and allow our lives to revolve around that person at the expense of losing our individuality? And if the relationship ends, it feels as if the world falls apart. Remember: Before you can love others in a healthy way, you need to learn how to love yourself.

Have you ever had a similar experience? What do you think that her ex-partner meant by writing “I want to live a normal life”? Who or what do you think was Luz’s shadow in this story?

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About the author

Laura Figueroa

Laura was born in Guatemala and immigrated to the US at age 21 to redesign her life from the bottom-up. Her first jobs in this country included housekeeping and babysitting until she learned the language. Eventually she went back to school and earned a BA in Psychology at California State University and an MBA at Walden University. Laura has worked in the HIV field in different capacities and with people from diverse backgrounds since 1996. First with LA Shanti as Programs Manager and then with John Snow Incorporated in Colorado where she provided capacity building for several ASOs in the Midwest and conducted HIV national trainings. She also did independent consulting work and motivational speaking, Prior to joining Gilead she worked at Boheringer Ingelheim for 2 ½ years, first as Community Liaison and later as HIV National Accounts Manager. Laura is a columnist for xQsí Magazine and a contributing writer to the book Gathering Round the Fire.

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  • http://www.mccla.org Alejandro Escoto

    Laura, thank you for this incredibly poignant story. A narrative that is sure to echo in the lives of many.

    • Laura Figueroa

      Thank You Alex! Un abrazo fuerte! Thank you for all that you do for others in your role at MCC. Blessings!

  • Hipolito Miyasato

    “Love conquers all.” ~ Virgil

  • Tory Topjian

    Laura, I’m speechless after reading that my friend. Ah it brings back memories of when I did volunteer work with you working with the hispanic community and you translating. As Alex said it will definately echo in the lives of many!

    • Laura Figueroa

      Hi Tory: I am so glad you took the time to read the article. Thank you for your comments. Thank you for your comments! I look forward to seeing you again. Hugs and blessings!

  • http://www.saroconsultinggroup.com Santos Yancarlo

    Wow! What a beautiful story. I felt my body shudder to read it. I could identify the true stories of several friends and myself last. You have the gift of touching hearts when you write, be as real a feeling that causes every word and are the light of many, to renew the importance of our own being and transform this wonderful world that awaits us and enjoy the gifts of life we ??have to renounce or embrace the shadow and not be a darkness in this world. Thank you for sharing! Thank you for existing!

    • Laura Figueroa

      Thank you Yancarlo! I appreciate your heartfelt comments. I look forward to presenting at your seminar along with you and Alex in December to empower together the lives of many. Blessings!

  • http://www.alegriapp.com Yancarlo

    Wow! What a beautiful story. I felt my body shudder to read it. I could identify the true stories of several friends and myself last. You have the gift of touching hearts when you write, be as real a feeling that causes every word and are the light of many, to renew the importance of our own being and transform this wonderful world that awaits us and enjoy the gifts of life we ??have to renounce or embrace the shadow and not be a darkness in this world. Thank you for sharing! Thank you for existing!

  • Kathie Hiers

    Very moving story! Thank you for sharing…most of us forget how great our lives are.

    • Laura Figueroa

      Thank you for taking the time to read it Kathie and for your valuable comment. Blessings!

  • Janeth Sandino

    Hi Lora Im proud of you!
    You are an amazing writer.

    • Laura Figueroa

      Thank you Janeth! Blessings!

  • Hugo

    Whoa!!! A story of a new hope. I really like it.
    Thank you, Laurita for sharing us that in life there is always a second chance.

    • Laura Figueroa

      Gracias Huguito! No te olvides de leer la nueva historia corta “Tierra de Ángeles” Te va robar el aliento con su mensaje de inspiración, pero tienes que leerlo de principio a fin. Un abrazo!