Hey Stranger

I see a glimpse of you, In the shadows of stranded hair, a glimmer of hope, despite past despair 

Just a short time ago, there was nothing left, but ashes and memories, from the hole in your chest

But now I can see it, Through the glow in your eyes, You block out all the negative, Pessimism and lies 

You’ve accepted the truth, That you can change the path, Despite failed attempts, Now lesson plans

You don’t ever give up, Even when you should cry, When you’re broken and scared, But never ask why

You were the perfect stranger, But I now know you well, Fought through all kinds of soot, With your story to tell

A reflection of courage, The wrinkles in your smile, Bare skinned knuckles, And determined eyes

How far we’ve come, My reflection and me, I can cast a high shadow, Or cower in thee

Yet I fear not who I was, For the she that’s become of me, The former and the present, Now dance candidly 
By: Me (Johanna Arroyo 4/21/2015)


Am I under Arrest?


Let me tell you about the time the cops were called on me.


So, about 2 years ago, I had been chatting with a really nice guy from Orlando. He was a bus driver for the local school district. He talked very highly of kids and always shared the funniest and cutest stories of some of the kids he saw on a daily basis. We Skyped before the first “real” meeting, he had all of his teeth and didn’t look crazy so we were pretty much a go for our first official meeting. I was pretty excited but pretty nervous, it’s nice to get to know someone but as nice as people may appear, they can turn Lorena Bobbitt chop off dick crazy in just a blink of an eye. Needless to say I had a back up plan.

The date was a meeting/happy birthday to me. He was sweet enough to get us free tickets into one of the Universal theme parks. No matter how often I go to Universal I never get tired it. Conveniently enough, said bus driver lived 5 minutes away from the park. So he kindly offered to have us meet at his place and drive together in his car. His salary worked much like teachers do so he has to strategically plan his finances through the summer. As a single parent I kind of admired that he was balling on a budget and was as cost effective as I am. I obliged and decided to meet him at his place. Like any normal person would, I packed my epipen. Oh no, not in case I had an allergic reaction, in case this mother fucker got crazy and I needed to stab him in the jugular. I am not sure what will happen if someone who is not in anaphylaxis is stabbed with epinephrine but my hope has always been that whatever it does, gives me enough time to get the hell out of there. Again, he passed the nice test, but hell even I have a little crazy side, do I need to remind you that you just read that I may have Googled the effects of an epipen on a person not going through anaphylaxis? Anyways moving on.

Now the initial meeting was awkward, “umm hi, you look just like your pictures,”. . . .he didn’t oh god did he not. He clearly was the same guy and our Skype chat put him in an awesome light but he was at least a decade older than what he appeared in the pictures he had posted. Oh well I probably came to meet him with the 15 pounds the angled pictures had taken off, and since I am no hypocrite I let it go. I wanted to go on this date. This guy cracked me up on the phone and I was hoping it transcended in person.

I have two of the best wingmen around. I gave my little brother and my friend Pinky this guys name, occupation and address and when he realized he left his sun glasses inside his apartment I also had the right amount of time to text them his license plate number. Yup, I went all Law and Order on his ass.

We left his place and made a pit stop at Chik Fil A, which he paid for. It was still a little awkward, sitting face to face almost felt like an interview. He was clearly nervous, whereas my nerves had already wore off. I stepped over to the restroom to check in with everyone. “Hey guys, I am here. I will text you through out the day but I don’t want to be rude to him.” I then washed my hands and got distracted with the automated paper towel dispenser. I must have pulled 7 napkins before I finally decided the dispenser was going to win and I was not going to pull the last paper towel out and run out the bathroom before the next one automatically came out. . .I was just not fast enough.

As the day went on the strange I just met you feelings wore off and I had little glimpses of the funny confident guy I had been getting to know over the phone. Around 7PM my best friend text me, “hey missy it has been a while and you have not checked back in.” I responded, “I am not dead yet.” She did not think that was funny but at this point I had let my guard down and realized that I was safe with Mr. Bus Driver. The closest I would come to death on that day would had been if one of the roller coasters went all Final Destination. . .they did not. We both got hungry and he offered to buy food. He got a chicken strip basket and fries for us to share. Mind you he was a 6 foot something string bean, I was a 5 foot 7 curvy lady, I didn’t get this healthy body by sharing food. Listen balling on a budget, now you have gone too far! I did not want to be rude so I figured I could grab a cheese burger on the way home.

We stayed in the park until closing and when we finally left we were spent. I was so tired that when he offered to have me come up I said yes. I figured I could rest my feet before the long drive home. He popped in the Will Ferrell movie, “Stranger Than Fiction,” and if you guys have not noticed already I enjoy writing, so this movie peeked my interest. I started watching the movie and he thought it would be a good time for a kiss. Heck yes, I love kisses. I mean who doesn’t?! So he leaned in and OMG. . .no no no. . .stop it right now you face assaulter! He kissed like a man bird thing. Holy Jesus running on water, was it awful. Like two married virgins kissing for the first time bad. Like mom feeding her baby bird gag bad. You know how people say, how can you ruin bread? This guy was the bread ruin-er of kissing. From that point on my main objective was just to finish this movie, thank him kindly for the date and go home. Well I got so scared straight by that personal kiss attack on my character that I fell asleep watching the movie.

I woke up in a half panic with all my organs intact and started putting on my shoes and checking my phone. Which somewhere between my 7 PM check in, had died. Right as I slipped my left foot into my sneaker there was a bang on the door. . .and I knew. The jig is up, they are here for me. When he opened the door, there stood a police officer, “I am looking for Johanna Arroyo,” I popped up behind him and said, “I am here I am fine. . .my phone died.” I grabbed my things and started to head out and my man date was like, “how did they get my information?” I looked at him all embarrassed, “umm I did.” I damn near gave them his blood type but this appearance from the cops could have been avoided if my genius ass gave them his cell phone number. . .Woops

The police officer then waited for me to leave and said, “you might want to call some people at home, they are worried.”

I called my little brother as soon as my cell phone picked up enough juice and he was so angry he was crying and then finally I called my best friend and she was so pissed. I felt horrible because they were worried and the last message they received from me said, “I am not dead yet.” LOL again woops. . .

I wasted Orange County PD resources but I am sure glad to know I have friends and family who love me that much. . .

PS: I never saw him again, we both agreed we were more compatible as friends

PSS: I decided to hang up my online dating gloves and meet people the traditional way

“I May Be a Little Bit of a [Love] Dealer!”

I sat and looked at this blank screen for a while, trying to make it into something. Blank pages almost seem like a brand new start. I can take things where I want to, to a place I have never been before. I guess the same can be said about new relationships, or I suppose the development of a friendship that could become something tangible. So you give it a go, you take a step forward. There stands this person with a blank slate, you know nothing about them and you very quickly and easily decide this one is going to be different. The risk will be worth taking because it is something you have never tried before. . .but see the difference is when I write, I can take things exactly where I want to but in matters of the heart, I am left with very little choice. Before taking my most recent leap of faith, my giddy little heart whispered, “you break you buy.”

Well,where are we now?

We. . .me & my heart

. . .long story short, you get what you pay for. I won’t say that I am heart broken but I can say I feel like I am at a loss. Every time we take a photo, a little bit of us goes away with it.  That memory and moment captured will never be duplicated in life again. Much like the warm embraces and quick glances shared among two people. They go away and cease to exist when you’ve parted ways.


What would Johanna do?

It is a question I ask myself everyday. I am not talking about the things that are clear but more so the things that are unlike myself. When I don’t want to be moral or do the right thing, I ask myself. . .What. Would. Johanna. Do? Being good comes easy, being positive even better and yet there are times when I just want to crawl into my own shell and hide from the world. Making decisions. . .the right decisions, is exhausting. Even so I choose daily, sometimes it doesn’t come easy, sometimes it is pretty clear but no matter the what or when I must decide.

So here I am on the eve of another Monday. I have had some tough decisions to make and I couldn’t help but to feel alone in them. No matter what I decide I have had support but I am reaching that point that I am so tired of having just support from friends and family. . .I feel alone. . .lonely. I don’t like to admit it but it is true and I have become a worse liar by the minute so I shall spare the lies for one who knows how to tell them.

It’s Christmas again, my favorite holiday in the world and the other night I found myself walking hand in hand with my little brother. While it is sweet, I couldn’t help but notice all the couples and families strolling through the park enjoying the holiday festivities. I don’t get jealous but I found myself rather envious that night of the people who had a person. Whether they walked hand in hand in silence because their company was sufficient or if they walked hand in hand speechless because they were the fighting type. How funny is it that I even regret not having someone to fight with.

I’ve been single for quite a bit now, with a few bouts of dating. I have been alone long enough to understand my own silence but that silence is enough to crowd my brain with a million thoughts and my heart with a wrenching pang of solitude. My son once asked me if I got lonely when he wasn’t around and at the time I said no. I needed the alone time to get to know myself and to figure out what I wanted and to also learn how to love myself. The time has come that his question is ringing in my head and I am afraid to say the answer has changed.

When my son is around, nothing else in the world matters. It is as if we live in this world and it is only he and I, but when he is gone my life feels empty. It is as if he is the sun and I am the moon wishing to see his light. When he is back, that frozen time that feels like an eternity comes to a halt and I can breath again. I love my son above everything else but we all have needs. The need to be loved for our quirks, for the silly way we say hello or how crazy our hair looks in the morning.

The past few years I have said I wasn’t ready for something serious and that I was ok with being just a portion of someone’s life because I had goals of my own. . .but. . .things change. I don’t want to rush into love, I don’t want to rush into anything but my tune has changed and I know I am ready for something more than the occupancy of someone’s time. I don’t think that is too much to ask.

For those of us starting over. . .

There is this crippling certainty of what we don’t want. We spent over a decade married or in a relationship knowing what it’s like being attached to the hip to someone. The very same someone who once knew us better than anyone else and yet never seemed to remember after countless conversations that, “no thank you, I don’t like peanut butter.”

The peanut butter wasn’t that much of a big deal it’s just the little things.

Day after day you found yourself taking the same route home, dropping your keys in the same spot and unwinding in a way that can only be done in a place called home. . .but little by little home dismantled itself and it was no longer your happy place.

So you let go, you live and you claim the type of independence that only comes after years of captivity. This is me now! This is how we spread our wings! We kindly decline any offers from others to assist because we have this innate desire to take care of ourselves. No I’m fine, I can get my own check, nope I am capable. I can, I will and I don’t need you!

I don’t know if it is because we left ourselves as precious cargo in the arms of someone who dropped us countless times. Maybe it is a post traumatic relationship disorder. . .I haven’t a clue.

But. . .I realize that independence can be found in a group, in a pair and even in a solitary walk to the park. Independence is the freedom to choose and be who you want regardless of what others say. Independence is knowing that you can change your own tire but you can choose to allow someone to do it for you because they simply want to help. Help is not weakness, it is not ulterior motives. . .it is what it is. . .it is, “I know you can do this but let me make it easier for you.”

There are men and women out there determined and willing to make another persons life easier and more pleasant but we are always so willing to say, “no thank you.”

We’ve been given such a big dose of reality that we fail to realize the fact that our once now past reality is just that. . .it is in the past. Not everyone is out to take advantage. There are people who offer to hold the door for you and place their hand in the right place and walk side by side with you, not because you’re their trophy but because they can see you. They see a potential equal. These guys don’t look at you like you’re only a woman and one to be desired but more of a worthy companion, someone who elevates them and also someone who is worth standing side by side with because we complete them. We are capable of fulfillment if we allow it but first we have to stop saying no and start accepting the offer to potentially be someone worth taking a walk with. Someone whose silence speaks volumes and whose embrace means the world.

I admit it, I don’t know how to let the reigns go but I want to. I can’t be the only single person who wishes they had a companion to share the laughs with but who also is afraid of giving up another moment to someone who may be just wasting their time.