Author: maritzaortiz

I. Am. Awesome.

I am awesome. What started out as a daily affirmation turned into something I actually began to believe to this day. I am celebrating my 16 month soberversary today and I am so grateful. I’m grateful because at some point, the line began to get hazy between the person I was trying to be for everyone else while I was actively drinking and the person I really am; the awesome me.

My family and friends have seen me go through recovery and they know me; it keeps life simple. Then again, I haven’t invited anyone NEW into my life – male or female. Meeting someone new would mean they are meeting the real me and, up until 2 months ago, I wasn’t ready for all that. Professionally is something different, I can handle that. A lot of us have our professional selves that’s different than the person outside of the office. But personally or romantically, I didn’t know if I was ever going to be ready, both because of personal heartbreak and because of the fear I had that someone was going to meet ME, the real me!

It gave me serious anxiety to even think about it. To step outside of my comfort zone, that is, the hermit shell that I lived in was so unbearable that I cried. A well-intentioned friend tried to take me out of that zone and I had a full on panic attack because I felt pressure to do something I wasn’t ready to do. I’m surprised I didn’t start hyperventilating to be honest. Sheesh!


I think I woke up one day and suddenly felt it – I don’t need someone, I want someone to share my life with. After a year and some change of being alone (and loving every minute of it), and having a full plate of this thing called “life with kids” that takes priority, I had the nerve to think I had more space in my heart for someone else. I was ready to let someone in. Risky as I felt like it could be, I was maybe 92% willing to take that risk and see what happened.

I was kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place because even though it gave me anxiety to meet someone new, I felt like I was ready to take a chance and let someone meet me: Maritza Ortiz, the boastfully sober mother of 4. My only roadblock was, without picking up [a drink], I didn’t know how to be anyone else anymore, just myself, which was cool because I already loved her. So, ready or not, someone was about to get it and that person was Mr. Baseball (aptly named because he is a fan of the sport and because he took me to a National’s baseball game for our first date, even though he is a devoted Cardinal’s fan – Go Cards! More about him later…)

While I wouldn’t put it on anyone else to make me happy [anymore], I certainly didn’t expect to get the confirmation that I received, either. The confirmation that someone could make me love myself more than I thought. Yes, that’s what I said:

I love me more than I thought I could.

That self-love came from being the real me while I was with Mr. Baseball and he likes me for me – that feels amazing! “They” say you can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself first. Is it cliché? Yes, totally but I can open my heart again because I love me, and I live me, and I feel my feelings, and I experience life, and I love every up and down that comes with it. Today, I am thankfully sober.

*The moral of the story: Learn to be alone because you will love it and, in the process, learn to love yourself and there is nothing wrong with that. 😉


Buyer’s Remorse

I’m currently experiencing buyer’s remorse. It’s not the kind that I can simply return to a store to fix, like expensive shoes or a fancy dress.

So, I received my little car registration renewal in the mail; it’s nothing new. As always, I go online and renew for 2 years, thus saving me maybe $2, or something like that. The bigger savings is actually in my sanity because ain’t nobody got time to go to the DMV to conduct such a simple transaction that can take all day with someone who is less than thrilled to be sitting across from you at the counter. I navigate to the screen I need and fill out my information but, before I can continue, at the bottom of my screen it says something that basically means ‘your tags are 10 years old and falling apart, you should get new ones’. I didn’t particularly need to get new ones, in my opinion, but I decided ‘what the heck’.

Here’s where the trouble starts….

For as long as I can remember (at least 10 years) back to the beginning of my car-owning career, I’ve had but one license plate. I didn’t care that most people had to ask me what it “stood for”.  I didn’t care that, even after I explained it, some people just didn’t understand. I loved it because I tho2016-09-08-13-40-48ught it described who I was in 7 little letters – PANARQN – aka PanaRican. Although back then I wanted it to say PANARCN but, believe it or not, that was taken. It wasn’t just taken by any random Jose. Oh, no! It also happened to be a Honda Accord, like mine. How do I know, you ask?  I know because I saw it driving northbound on I-395 one day. I was so upset! I wanted to get in front of her so she could see that I had to make a serious compromise to get the plates that should have been mine. The nerve!  But I digress.

Back to the registration…

I checked to see if PANARCN was available and, no surprise, it wasn’t. So I decided to play with the configuration in every which way possible to see if I could make it work; other letters, numbers, a dash here or there, that kind of thing. I was excited at the thought of a shiny, new license plate for my less than shiny car, Theodore, who just so happens to be another Honda Accord. Seriously, I’ve come full circle for pete’s sake! That license plate should be mine! I’m very passionate about this. 😉

After investing maybe 5 minutes into the excitement of a new license plate, I finally chose one that I rationalized in my mind would make the most sense. I proceeded to pay for it and that was that, done and done.  Now, I played the waiting game for it to arrive which could take up to 30 days. I didn’t think too much about it until it finally arrived. Once I opened the package, I instantly regretted it.20160820_120355

PAN-RICN. No. No. No. Stop. I change my mind. I don’t like it. I don’t want it. It just wasn’t the same. It was like I lost a piece of me. I mean, I know PANARQN isn’t any more clear, but I wanted it back. I felt guilty for ordering it. I didn’t even care that it was shiny and new, or that it said “Virginia is for Lovers” which always reminds me of my littlest sister for some reason. I didn’t want it anymore – PERIOD – but I can’t return it. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!! *sigh*

I did what any rational adult would do, I left the license plates in the box, haphazardly lying around the house to get lost. Oh, please get lost! I was originally provided with new stickers for my old plates from the DMV to last me for another month, just in case my new license plate took the full 30 days to be delivered. I put the stickers on my old plates and totally ignored the new ones. After the entire month of July and part of August, I actually started worrying that I would lose the plates or, the more likely scenario, they would be thrown in the trash. I decided it was time to make the most of a sh*tty situation; I put the plates on my car. So this is my life for the new 2 years. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

All the while, I still haven’t paid the $75 ticket that I received for having expired tags which prompted all this madness.  When will I ever learn?

Where I am

It’s day 76. I’m leaving another successful gathering with great food and amazing friends. I’m honored. I get in my car and turn it on to the sound of “Drops in the Ocean” by Hawk Nelson. My soul smiles and I begin to sing along.

As I drive, I’m reflecting on my weekend and the conversations I had with various people who crossed my path. People I haven’t seen in a while, people I am not close with, but also family and close friends. Yet, I connected with them all on some deep level about life and relationships (both friendly and intimate). Thank you. I can appreciate every moment of time I spent with each person because it contributed to my epiphany.

While the music of WGTS 91.9 feeds my soul, I begin to experience an overwhelming feeling of happiness and inner peace. I realized that I am truly at peace with myself – finally! I’m at peace with not only where I am in life, but who I am. For the first time, I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and going where He wants me to go. My purpose? Maybe. I certainly don’t have it all together and I never will, but I know I’m on the right path.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  – Luke 19:10

I’m home. In more ways than one, I’m home. I’m in my parking spot looking at my little home and I love it. Not everyone can say that they had that moment of clarity (for lack of a better word). People seem to look for their reason for being; at least I did. Now, I can smile because I love me and where I am. I can smile because it’s actually true. I’m blessed and I’m determined to do something big with the seed that’s been planted within me.

Inside, my puppy Bishop waits with extra excitement. It’s as if he knows I’m extra happy…ooooor, he has to pee. 😉



(Photo from – I read Purpose Driven Life years ago and I highly recommend it.)

I got the boot!

After weeks of “running through the pain,” it finally happened: stress fracture in my left foot during my lunchtime jog through Downtown, D.C. There was no more avoiding it. I had to limp my way back to my office and call for backup.

Enter: the walking boot.

Obviously, that’s not the end of the world. Getting the MRI results that it was definitely a stress fracture was hard to swallow. Finding out that I had to walk in this darn thing for 6-8 weeks MINIMUM, that was a punch in the gut. What stung the most, if only momentarily, was the teasing and taunting from complete strangers. I give you three scenarios:

The child: I can’t lie, some of the ‘shock and awe’ was actually cute. For example, I was shopping for groceries when I walked toward a toddler who was singing and dancing in the bread aisle. He was really getting into the song until he saw me and stopped dead in his tracks, middle of the aisle, to stare at me with his mouth wide open waiting for flies to go in. He’s a child so I smiled and excused myself to pass. He wasn’t having that. He stood there with arms and legs wide open, as if to halt me from passing. He stared at the boot then he looked up at me – mouth still agape. What got me was that his mother did nothing. She turned around, looked at me, looked at the boot and turned back around at the tough decision ahead of her – white or wheat bread. My smile faded, I looked at the little m’fer and moved my way past his little arms. That mom definitely missed a teaching moment.

The adult: YoThe Bootu would think adults have more sense; this guy didn’t. “Who won?” That was his question. Funny. My response, “not me.” I guess I can’t blame him. He couldn’t know it was my first day commuting to work with the damn boot and I was having a hard time adjusting. My frustration level was through the roof. So he continued, “How’d it happen?” I explained my jogging situation briefly in the elevator and he says, “Jogging? You’re going to have to come up with something better than that.” The rest of my day was filled with other adults trying to be funny and I couldn’t even be mad at it. They were trying to turn a negative situation around. I guess I should thank them?

The teenager: The worst of the bunch because being cruel to other people is the cool thing to do. I was leaving work and as I walked down the National Mall towards an intersection, I saw some teens already waiting at the corner. I suddenly had a bad feeling. I get to the corner just as the light is changing and I can cross the street; so I proceed. That’s when I heard the teens suddenly laughing from behind. I didn’t have to turn around to know that one of them was walking right behind me, mocking my limp. They were all laughing and one of the girls says, “You’re exaggerating. She isn’t walking THAT bad.” Real nice. I’m not the type of person to turn around and make a big scene about something like that, so I kept it moving. I would have been fine except I came upon 2 more people on a bench who felt the need to yell, “NICE BOOT! WHERE CAN I GET ONE?” *le sigh*

I’m into my 4th week lugging this thing around and the only thing that actually bothers me is the fact that my puppy can’t enjoy a fast-paced walk or that I can’t play WITH my kids at the indoor trampoline park. Otherwise, I am blessed because this is just another short chapter in my life. I’ll be back to kicking ass in no time!

The Benadryl Effect

“I’d like to see if we can manage to move the meeting from Tuesday to Thursday.”

It’s roughly 2 pm, I’m at work reading an email from one of my bosses, and I’m having a hell of a time comprehending that sentence. You went back and read it again, didn’t you? That’s okay.  You aren’t missing anything. There isn’t anything wrong. It was the Benadryl.

It’s been about a year since I had my first allergic reaction to something I ate. I had to ask my daughter to call 911 since I was unfamiliar with what I was experiencing. Sidebar – I feel really bad for anyone who is single and in need of medical attention like I was that day.  Chances are, you’ll have a very good looking EMT/paramedic come and see you in a red, swollen, hive-ridden, gasping for air to breath state. Anyway, we couldn’t pinpoint what the allergy was attributed to, so I now keep a food journal and carry an Epi-Pen. *shiver* I break out in a sweat around needles as it is. I sure hope someone around me won’t have a problem stabbing me in the leg, if the need arises.

In the first eight months after my initial reaction, I would have about one allergy outbreak a month and they were nowhere near what I had the first time, so I didn’t do anything about it but endure the itchiness for a half hour or so. The foods ranged from Five Guys fries to a ham sandwich to the yummy eats from Roti to simple broccoli and cheddar soup. In the winter, the allergy attacks came more frequently and started to intensify. My food journal was telling me that one contributing factor was probably going to be some kind of pepper, which sucks because I LOOOOOOOOVE spicy food.

Removing peppers and spicy food from my diet wasn’t my only problem. I’m allergic to something else because I’m still breaking out at work after lunch. That means I need to start taking Benadryl to deal with the symptoms, which I had been avoiding like the plague. Unfortunately, nothing works like Benadryl, or as fast (I need to get paid for that endorsement).  Benadryl makes me extreeeeeemly sleepy, to the point that I have no control over it and I just fall asleep; stick a fork in me – I’m done. I couldn’t keep going home when I broke out in hives, either, so I gave in and started taking one or two pills when I REALLY needed to (obviously the attacks weren’t so bad that I needed my Epi-Pen, but they were bad enough that I was red and swollen and itchy from the hives).  So, now what?

Well, now I need to fight the effects of Benadryl so I can actually function while I am still at work. What a daunting task that has proven to be (see sentence at the start of this post). I must have read that sentence 10 times after taking two Benadryl 30 minutes earlier. The hangup was the word “manage”. I was a like a first grader learning how to read it for the first time. I simply couldn’t pronounce it.




Those are just 3 of the ways I tried to pronounce the word – no lie! None of those words made any sense, at least I knew that much. So my half sleeping brain decided that I would just skip that word and read the rest of the sentence to try and use my context clues to figure out what the word meant. I almost asked my cubemate to read the sentence to me but the pronunciation suddenly clicked: man-age

And then I laughed….for a long time. I went through a brief moment of insanity as I laughed at how simple the word was and how crazy it was that I had such a hard time reading it. Even as I write this, I am amazed at how serious that drug is, but I need it.  Not every situation calls for the Epi-Pen and for that, I am thankful.  Now, if only I could figure out what I am allergic to, exactly. This guessing game is getting old. 🙂


It’s National Grammar Day!

Be a part of proper grammar movement! Correct EVERYONE! Any way you can raise awareness will help educate the public and future generations to come. 🙂

March 4 – National Grammar Day (I’m a few days late on this one.)

Calliope Writing

Today, March 4th, is National Grammar Day here in the United States.

A few things I will not tolerate on this day:

  • Grammar spelled as “grammer.”
  • Sentences ended with prepositions.
  • Using “you and I” when “you and me” is appropriate.
  • Anyone who utters the sentence, “Grammar is stupid.”

To celebrate, enjoy some funny grammar memes. And then double-check your grammar habits.

national grammar day 1Funny Memesnational grammar day 3national grammar day 4national grammar day 5national grammar day 6national grammar day 7

H/T to the following for the above memes: SocialTalent, Someecards, GeekFill, TES

And a Little Something Extra

The Reader’s Room has come up with something that may coerce me to actually watch basketball: the March Book Madness reading challenge. Hardcore readers: You don’t want to miss it.

View original post

Listen to me!

We all want to be heard.  Am I right?

I find myself taking the less than mature adult approach to being heard.  Even if it’s a short story, damnit I want to tell it with all the deets!  I seriously don’t know any other way of telling anything.  So when I’m interrupted every 2 seconds, I just don’t want to tell it anymore.  I throw my hands in the air and say, “oh, just forget it.”  Then, when I receive the inevitable, “sorry, please finish, tell your story,” I give the pouting response, “the story was over anyway” which is a total lie and then I have the nerve to be irritated because I really wanted to tell the story.

Image Courtesy of

Image Courtesy of

I’ve been in a few relationships where I’ve been interrupted time and time again.  Why do they torture me like this?!  I tried to analyze where I’m going wrong because I MUST be doing something wrong here, right?  Maybe it’s me.  (I just made myself laugh.)  I could very well be a poor listener, myself.  I don’t think that’s possible, but I decided to humor myself and really look deep.

I have a bit of social anxiety and I’m self conscious about my ability to hold a conversation, as it is.  I realized that, because I was always thinking, thinking, thinking of the next thing that was supposed to come out of my mouth when the other person was done talking, I can’t possibly be listening to them.  I mean seriously – God forbid I have no response!  How will I endure the possibility of the awkward silence that may or may not come when they are finished talking?  Argh!  It really takes a conscious effort on the listener’s behalf to be a good listener.  Once I put two and two together, I decided to make a change.  I’m not a big interrupter when others are talking, but I could still change how I listen to people; I could give my full attention which is basically what I want.  I want your attention.  (I’m feeling needy all of a sudden.)

No lie, it was hard at first.  My brain wanted to do what it wanted to do but, ironically, I realized that listening to what the person had to say actually made conversations flow much easier.  Mind. Blown.  With my new-found information, I really wanted to share it with everybody who ever felt the need to interrupt me.  JUST STOP AND LISTEN!  I’m a storyteller for pete’s sake.  If you can’t listen to me tell stories, we are never going to work out.  Friendship or otherwise.

Ultimately, some people are just plain selfish when they interrupt.  What they have to say is more important than what you or I have to say.  That’s all there is to it.  Makes you wonder why they stick around if they don’t care what you have to say; if your thoughts aren’t important.

(Even worse, are those who think they can finish your sentence and totally suck at it – but that’s another blog post for another day.)