Archive for November, 2015

leron1calig7

 

You have to allow love to grow

I’m from Bulgaria. I grew up in a small village raised by my grandmother, who instilled very solid values. My grandmother wasn’t an educated woman. She went to school until the fourth grade and then worked in the fields for the rest of her life. But for some reason, and it wasn’t from school or from books, she had this idea of what it meant to be a woman, a good woman. If I were to give her a title, it would be hero. She was my role model. She was the person who taught me about life, who taught me about right and wrong. Even now as a grown woman, in any kind of decision that I make in relationships and work, I always think, “What would my Grandmother think about this?” Let put it this way. You know how each of us has a moral compass? That’s her. When I think about her she brings me back to the center.

The relationships in Bulgaria were very patriarchal. I would say in western terms – abusive. Men traditionally from that part of the world are in charge and dominate. There is a lot of drinking involved, especially in the rural parts, and domestic violence is socially accepted. I didn’t really have a lot of relationships to look up to, but then again, I was raised by women because my grandfather died at a really young age.

When I was 10 or 11, I had a crush on this guy that was about 17 and I really liked him. I was friends with his younger sister, so I would always get information about him. I remember I would have these dreams that I was being chased by this bull, so when I would wake up I would tell my grandmother, “Grandma, I had a dream that this bull was chasing me.” She said, “That’s because a boy likes you.” I felt like it was the coolest thing ever because it must be that boy.

What was he like?

Total asshole. You know how every kid has a crush? You don’t think about sex, you just think about holding someone’s hand and maybe the farthest thought in your mind would be someone kissing you. That’s the most extreme thing that would happen. I didn’t look at him as a sexual possibility, I was just attracted to him physically and he was cool. What burst my whole bubble is that one time in the city center, my girlfriends and I passed by this coffee shop where he hung out. I went upstairs to see him and guess what the guy and his friends were doing?

Umm getting laid?

Your mind just goes there! (Laughs) They were watching porn, hardcore porn.

Well porn never hurt nobody (Laughs).

So the whole fantasy of this guy that I put up on a pedestal, seeing what he was watching and how he was laughing at it, it just made me….. That was it, that was the end of my crush.

When I got older, I moved to Baltimore in the States. I had three jobs – one cleaning houses, loading trucks at a farmers market, and waitressing. The restaurant where I worked was a little joint, but it was exploiting us. They had just opened and couldn’t really pay us, so we were working for tips. The waitresses and I had this game going where after every shift we had these aprons filled with numbers from guys talking the whole, “Hey baby can I take you out?” game. We were all different types. D was super voluptuous, big afro and all that, studying to be a nurse. K was a daughter of diplomats; so she did it just to pass time. K was super beautiful and from such privilege that she never bought her clothes. She would have a tailor make her clothes custom, so everything is made for her perfectly. I was 16 at the time and no one knew I was under 21, so I was just under the radar, serving drinks and all that.

One night around 2 am, we were getting ready to close the joint. D and I were cleaning the tables and she forgot to turn off the “open” light, so this guy just came in. We can’t kick him out because the sign says open. He had come from another bar and wanted to eat so that made it even worse, because we have to get all this stuff out of the fridge. We were all really tired and since D had to study in the morning, she asked me to do it. I was pissed because I had to be at the market at four in the morning. We were arguing back and forth and so I finally said forget it and took this guy’s order. I don’t remember what he looked like because he was such an unwelcoming presence. I didn’t worry about is he cute or is he not cute. I just remember he had a baseball cap on and just came back from Jamaica and I’m into reggae music, so I said something about that. He then talked about motorcycles and I thought that was cool. The guy said he would teach me how to ride and I thought bullshit, because you would hear all kinds of bullshit from guys that are interested in you. So I took the order and made him this raspberry soda. He liked it and noticed that I was in a hurry. He asked why I was in a hurry and I told him I had this other job. We started talking and I remember I was impressed that he knew where Bulgaria was. So before he left, he gave me his number and said he wanted to go out sometime. When I took his number, the first thought in my mind was throwing it away because I wasn’t going out with any of the customers; that’s something I didn’t do. Plus I had my livelihood, helping my family and other priorities. I had no time to go out with anybody. But, he did something that no one else did. When we were saying goodbye, he took my hand, held it, looked straight into my eyes and said, “You promise to call me?”

That’s smooth! I am gonna use that (laughs).

And because he did that, it caught me off guard and I made that promise. Going back to my grandma, once you give your word, you don’t retract it. The fact that I promised him, I had to follow through and I called him.

The first date, I was cautious and I will tell you why. When I called him, he wanted to go out so I suggested we meet at the restaurant. The reason why I was cautious is that when I told D that I was going out with him and she said, “Do you know what kind of car he is driving?” I didn’t know and really didn’t care, he could be walking or riding a bicycle. Well she told me that he parked his Porsche a couple blocks away and that he was a hustler. So I already had one of my girls telling me to be careful, because if he is a hustler, you don’t want to be caught up in that shit. We went to the movies and saw Orlando, an artsy film, but I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was laying on his shoulder and I remember it felt so comfortable, I might have even been drooling (laughs), but it was cool

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