Monday, March 15, 2010

Rest in Peace

Yesterday, I found out heart-breaking news. On my way to rehearsal in the morning, I received word that my childhood friend since junior high, Joaquin Zaragoza, was in a coma at the intensive care unit. He had 24 hours maximum to live.

When we were young, Joaquin was always the jokester. He still was yesterday. In P.E. class, the teacher would tell us to run laps or whatever it was, and Joaquin and I would slowly start off, hating this task, and he'd call to me, "Jaz, come here!"

We'd dash behind a garbage can, waiting for the rest of the herd to return and we'd join back in, as if we'd been running with them all along. Haha, OK not the best moral of a story or anything, but that was Joaquin...No matter what, he was laughing, joking, loving life.

On another Saturday night out, Joaquin and some friends went to a neighborhood bar. After only a couple of drinks, he headed to the bathroom and on his way there, he collapsed. He'd had a seizure, out of the blue, in perfect health. Joaquin lay there for more than ten minutes while people continued to pass him by, writing him off as having gotten too drunk and passed out.

Over ten minutes had lapsed and he received no oxygen to his brain.

No one even thought to help.

An ambulance finally came and took him to intensive care, where he lay in a deep coma, completely brain damaged.

Doctors gave him a day to live. Hooked up to machines to survive, if he lived, he would remain brain dead and unable to move for the rest of his life.

Around 7pm on Sunday, March 14, his mother made the hardest decision of her life. She took him off of life support and allowed him to rest in peace amongst angels.

After slightly losing touch over the years, Joaquin and I reconnected on Facebook. His usual funny self, he would update me about life and always made an effort to tell me how happy he was to see me living my dreams dancing. He always believed in me and knew I could do it. What an amazing person, friend, son.

Joaquin, I love and miss you. You and your family are in my prayers. I know that even though this hurts and it is hard to understand why God would take you from us so early, there is a reason he needs you in Heaven. We must also see your life being taken so abruptly as a reason why we must do what we are meant to do here, now.

There is no time to waste, to sit back and let life pass you by. To watch your dreams slip away because you aren't taking control of your destiny. Be active in your life and make your life live for you. Life is too short to not say all you need to say, to not tell someone you love them, to improperly prioritize what is truly important. Live the life you love and love the life you live.

You never know how quickly it can be snatched away...

R.I.P. Joaquin Zaragoza

Friday, March 12, 2010

Love vs. Career Part I

OK this subject I could talk about for days...Especially with its relevance to my situation. In life, everyone strives for success. But what is success? First of all, it is subjective to each individual. It could be obtaining lots of money and material things, being at the top of a company, or fulfilling your highest dreams. To me, it comes so much deeper than within career, money, anything else. Success is being rich with love, with family.
Yet, there has to be, and always is, balance to this love and with that, inately comes a career. In order to nurture and care for your loved ones, you must find a lucrative means to maintain the lifestyle you have set standard for yourself. Having built a home, providing for them, and living out your dreams is success. Now here is the hard part...
There have been so many times I have had to sacrifice being from my loved ones in order to fulfill my dreams. Missing my God-daughter's birthday to perform in Las Vegas with Barry Manilow, canceling a vacation to perform in the NBA Playoffs, missing my Mom's birthday to perform for the Royal family...What amazing beauty I have seen through my passion and craft, yet what have I also missed seeing...
Romantic relationships are an entirely different animal, especially in my current situation. Being that we are both dancers, we already understand so much about each other. Dancers are different people. We have a creative mind, passion, and commitment to something so much greater than ourselves that can touch so many lives. Because of this connection, we have the ability to work together on projects and motivate each other to take ourselves to the next level. He has brought light to things that I can do that I didn't even realize. This is a beautiful thing. Melding what we both do together has created something greater than ourselves as individuals.
But you always have to take care of you. Nuture your career, nurture your love, and make sure your life is right. Pay your bills on time, live a healthy lifestyle, give back to those in need, be honest to yourself and others, understand how to really listen, and know when you are wrong and when to apologize. Don't let your pride or ego get the best of you and always stay humble. In love and career, these will get you farther.
Life isn't black and white. The grey area in between in compromise. And if you cannot compromise, how will you ever succeed?


WELCOME to my new blog! I'm excited and anxious to get this up and running. Dance became the driving factor for me to produce this blog as another creative outlet, to catalogue my endeavors and syncopate my thoughts with my daily movements. I will update what is going on with my dance career, my struggles, thoughts on love and relationships, the business, the future, where I want to be and how I will get there, amongst a slew of other things. This blog comes from my heart. As Bob Marley says it best,
live the life you love, and love the life you live.