Open Heart

So, being that I live in a tropical island (for now) there’s something I realized when I recently went to New York City: I really love wearing flip flops and tennis shoes with light socks. With that said…my recent visit to NYC was busy, invigorating and inspiring. While I do miss the diversity in people and food, as well as missing that I don’t have to drive everywhere. I feel violently stripped of my independence because I can’t just jump into my car and go anywhere my heart yearns for.

Mr. & Mrs. Marijanski!
Mr. & Mrs. Marijanski!

The past two weeks I spent it helping one of my best friends organize her wedding. As her maid of honor I helped her with flowers, selecting gifts for the bridesmaids and everything else that would entail being not only a maid of honor, but a wedding planner…and three assistants. Even though I have family in the City, I didn’t really tell anyone I was there until the day after the wedding because I knew I wasn’t going to have time to spend with them – harsh I know, but I knew I wasn’t even going to be able to breathe, much less travel anywhere to see anyone.

I also wanted to make sure that I had hours to be able to talk, laugh and enjoy my family without having to worry about needed to go back and deal with wedding stuff. So, as my friend was planning the celebration of the journey she’s going to take with the love of her life, I made sure she had my undivided attention – to ensure the process was easier. That was the first week, and the wedding went off beautifully.

The day after, I slept. Like a baby. The following week I went to the scheduled appointment to donate platelets at the New York City Blood Center, after a little over an hour and almost an entire IV bag filled with my white matter, I gathered my strength and went uptown to see my grandfather on his birthday. He was so surprised he gave me a tight hug and his eyes filled with tears. At 89 years young, the only man I’ve known in a grandparent position was emotional, smaller than what I remembered him being when I was a child, but still as loud and enthusiastic about his Mets.

don't be fooled by his grumpy look - Grandpa is a total sweetheart
don’t be fooled by his grumpy look – Grandpa is a total sweetheart

We spoke about all things Puerto Rico, New York, and my work. Although he doesn’t quite understand what it means to make movies – well, independent movies on hardly any budget, he’s very supportive of my work. He’s seen my documentary Forever Boogies and loves it. Of course, that’s something I’m extremely happy about. Leaving late, I realized how much I missed him, and my grandmother. While she and I didn’t always have the best of relationships – she actually was extremely abusive towards me when I was a child – I now enjoy the benefits of having a relationship with the only grandparents I have left in this life.

That second week I was able to enjoy a great Friday. As a ‘thank you’ for all my efforts as a maid of honor, I was given tickets to see Joel and Victoria Osteen at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. Arriving early, I wanted to make sure I skipped the long lines that I was sure were going to take over the block. At 11:30am I was within the first 15 people in my line (there were six lines). I was behind two Colombian ladies who were talking about their families back home (gossip) and a Dominican lady and her friend were behind me – both of which were complaining when two elderly and disabled African American women skipped the line before us. Silently I listened to all the harsh comments in Spanish whispered behind me, as I watched these two women struggle in the cold air with their wheelchair and walker respectively. At one moment I felt compelled to look behind me and I saw that the clearly defined six lines merged into a giant single line as it wrapped around the block – obstructing the entry for the subway. Everyone was eager to see the Pastor Osteen.

A night of hope with Joel & Victoria Osteen
A night of hope with Joel & Victoria Osteen

As soon as I walked in and got my ticket stub, I saw a table for World Vision, and immediately felt bad that I couldn’t afford to sponsor a child right then and there. Then I tried to excuse my lack of finances with the fact that earlier that week I donated an insane amount of platelets that will undoubtedly help children with Cancer “you still helped someone!” I said to myself as I walked away from the photo of the child that captured my attention. His beautiful hazel eyes against his dark skin asking for some type of help from anyone…his frame a little too thin for his height and age. “I’ll help you soon, I promise” I repeated to myself as if he were in my brain and could hear my thoughts.

Further walking towards my section I stopped by a table and purchased a book for $10 and a t-shirt for $20 (also a gift from my friend), joyfully I walked to my seat and prepared to personally hear the message I’d only been able to watch on television. The Osteen children came out signing with the band and wowed me. I’m not being biased – not at all, but I have to say, they both sing beautifully, although my favorite is Alexandra, her voice is so clear, strong, and with a perfect degree of rasp that is completely delightful. Their rendition of the classic Amazing Grace is simply moving. October 16 is a day I will never forget.

I felt every word, ever emotion went running through me and my mind was clear of every decision that was eating at me. I had been considering so many things, so many huge decisions. Do I stay, do I go? What if my father gets really ill again? What if I don’t make it? What if I can’t make it back if he gets sick again? Extremely depressing decisions to make all whilst aggressively attempting to make my career take off – then I heard the message that gave me hope…the message that cleared the clouds from the sky and opened my heart – the message that changed my life.

“Let the wind blow you toward the right direction,
quit fighting what He has in store for you…
Sometimes God will deliver you from the fire, other times,
He will make you fireproof and deliver you through the fire”

While I don’t want to spoil anything, there are changes that are coming. My life has been revived; my spirit has been freed from the chains of guilt and fear that crippled me for so long. My heart has been opened and I welcomed my destiny fully.

I will complete two films, even if that means I have to finance everything myself and make the production scale smaller than what I wanted to – it’s not something I’m foreign to, I mean I did it with my debut docu-short. The world will know my work, and will be positively influenced by it. That’s what really matters to me: getting the message out there.

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