A few days ago, while thinking in the shower (where else?), I realized that the ñ in my last name isn’t there. Like, it does not exist anywhere. I confronted my mother.

Why didn’t you include la ñ in my last name on my birth certificate?!

Yo si lo escribi.

Obviously, you did not write it. Cause it’s not there!

Yes, I did! It was the state that didn’t include it. Ya, dejeme oir. She went back to the tv.

I was left flabbergasted. How. Dare. They?! Someone decided to ignore a crucial part of my last name and left me…with the last name Canola. Canola! Like the oil! I used to despise my last name growing up. Why couldn’t I just be a Cano like my cousins? I was teased – mercilessly – over it by my peers. I even smacked this shit out of a kid in middle school for making fun of it (and I’d do it again!). Something about it just didn’t sit right, man. Why?

CAUSE MY NAME IS MY NAME. And it’s not Canola. It’s Cañola! I hear my dad’s friends call him that and it sounds so cool to me. To say it, you reallyyyy gotta wanna say it, and with your tongue. Moreover, it’s part of our blood. It represents a lineage of hard working, ill-tempered, and hilarious people with dark hair and freckles scattered throughout their bodies. It ain’t no punk-ass’ last name, I’ll tell you that. My father doesn’t take shit from a single person, and I know it’s because to do so would be to dishonor his last name.

Is it dramatic to say that thirty-year-old Jax feels robbed of her identity? Forced to assimilate even her last name? Mufuckas wouldn’t even let me have my last name. I didn’t even know how to fucking write out the ñ on a keyboard until a few weeks ago when I messaged my cousin Nancy in an uproar at the revelation that I have been spelling my name incorrectly this entire time. Maaaaan.

Cañola. Jacqueline Cañola. That’s Jacqueline Motherfucking Cañola to you.



I stole a rose from a wedding yesterday and as I held it in my hand, I remembered the time I got into your car and, in my drunken stupor, grabbed a withering red rose from your dashboard.

Who gave you this? I jealously slammed it back into its spot.

It was from my cousin’s funeral, you explained. Always so goddamn calm, even in that moment.


I don’t remember if I apologized. But even now, years later, I think about that moment and cringe in embarrassment. Years later, holding a rose reminds me of you. Lots of things remind me of you, all the time. Today – Father’s Day – reminds me of you.

The moment I learned you were a father always manages to pop into my head, uninvited. I had hopped onto your bed and boom: The way you did that reminded me of my daughter.

Huh? What? Who?

I was baffled and upset – how do we have a six-year friendship and you have a four-year-old daughter and I’m learning about this now? You asked why I was upset that you had a daughter. I tried to explain myself but I found myself unable to do so, because the truth would make me sound like a stage-five lunatic.

I am certain you will never read this, so I will confess. I am not upset that you have a daughter. I could never, ever be upset at the existence of a beautiful and innocent little soul. I could not be upset that you had a life outside of me, seeing as we weren’t together. I am hurt and sad that she is not mine. It hurt that I was not privy to the love and beauty that it took to create her. It made me sad, because in that moment, I realized I would never be the mother of your children, your wife, or yours.

In the middle of busy and loud Kartabar, when we had known each other for a short while, you looked into my eyes and wondered who your wife would be, what your future would hold, what your children would look like. Half of me shrunk into itself with hesitation: this conversation is far too intense for a first date. The other half knew, unequivocally, who she’d be: me. I had braced myself for the inevitable but that moment, as I sat cross-legged and wild-haired, shattered it all, for our relationship was never the same again.

Every rose, every wedding, every blue-eyed and rambunctious little girl remind me of you. Lots of things do, all the time. Mostly, the things I do not have.

Happy Father’s Day. And I am sorry about the rose.

A Request.

Hi there, Universe! It’s ya girl, Jax. I just wanted to check-in, see how things were, and ask:


As I am sure you know, things have been kinda rough. Nothing seems to work out right. Not even taking a shower: remember when the shower caddy full of shampoo bottles and bars of soap and my dad’s razor threatened to fall onto my head and I stood there holding onto all of it for dear life with face wash dripping into my eyes? Or when I spilled an entire bottle of water on my eye doctor’s rug? Or when my $11 flew off into the wind, never to be seen again? Or when I ordered a salad through the McDonald’s drive-thru and realized I’d left my wallet at work? Fun times. Things like that happen to all of us, but after two weeks of it happening all day every single fucking day, it gets taxing.

Shall we discuss my debilitating corneal ulcer, my car overheating and spending an arm and a leg to get it fixed only to have it happen again, my ass being absolutely broke, my plans of visiting my sister and nephew being ruined, two of my friends proving to be complete asshats, meeting a really cute guy and then hearing he thinks I’d be a fantaaaaastic match for his friend, falling like timber onto my head during team building with all of my co-workers being there, or asking if I could get one of my kids into a potentially life-changing program, being told yes, busting my ass to get her application done and convincing her mother to let her do it, only to be told she can’t be in it after all?

My request to you, Universe: Get your motherfucking act together. Immediately. I’m trying real hard on this end, making plans with friends, being positive and keeping my room real feng shui, going to reiki and drinking many variations of sangria. But there’s only so many candles I can buy and fake laughs I can muster!

On a more serious note, I am sorry if my rant sounds selfish and trivial in the face of other people’s and the world’s real problems. Please help them with theirs first, make sure they’re okay, and when you get some time, come on over and hang out with me a bit. Cause a sista would love to catch a break.

Forever yours,


Resignation Letter.

You say I am rude, with a bad attitude and quick to put you down. I don’t dispute this. Question is, however, why would you expect to see any other side of me when you’ve never let me be anything but? Strangers have been kinder to me. People I have only known for a few months can tell when I am having an off day. They invite me places and surprisingly enjoy my company. But you, to whom I have felt attached to since the first molecules and particles began swirling about in the creation of this universe, can’t be bothered to notice when I am in the same room as you. My bruised ego refuses to let me forget how I felt that night.

Telling you that I love you will never go beyond the page. What for? You would do nothing with those words, simply let them linger in the air and go to waste. Like the energy I expend when I get ready to see you and you never come through. Or when I try to begin and explain why I am so resentful and angry towards you. I cannot be any other way. Otherwise, my tears would drown the whole damned place and the truth would be revealed, that I am akin to a heartbroken child. That I feel like a teddy bear that’s been long-forgotten underneath a bed, collecting dust and the sour realization that it wasn’t ever important to anyone at all.

I have tried to love you. I know you know this. I always thought that I had failed. But really it’s because you never wanted me to. Like the song says, I can’t make you love me. So this is my resignation letter, several lifetimes overdue. But I have never felt more ready to hand it in. I am tired. Everyone says I’ll be alone forever. Unlovable. Little do they know, that sounds preferable to another second of the nothingness loving you has to offer.




Some people have dreams. Little dreams. Big dreams. If you truly know me, you know education is of the utmost importance to me. No one can ever take knowledge away from you. It is why I do the job I do. Someone once begged me: Jackie, promise me you will never let these kids down.

I don’t intend to.

This isn’t one of my students, but she is a College Crusader who is now attending Providence College. I once had the chance to study abroad, and it was one of my best experiences ever. I wasn’t able to travel another time and it nearly wrecked me. Please help Jessie meet her goal and follow her dreams! Thanks!




“Maybe you’ll write about me one day.”

“Why the hell would I do that? I only write about things that actually matter,” I replied, hopping into the front seat. If the look on my face could kill, I’m sure you would have flushed yourself down a toilet.

I hid my face so you wouldn’t notice that my heart had dropped into my gut. Psssh. Me, write about you?

Boy. The very first word I wrote was for you. Everything I wrote in my youth led me to you, and every word after has been dedicated to you. You have been a muse your entire life, my beckoning to the universe for creativity, a continuous poem stringing itself together in my mind. Words brought us together and keep me connected to you like the spine of a book.

Things have been different, though. I find myself speechless, wordless. People ask me why I don’t blog as much. It’s because of you. When you left, my art left. When you rejected me, you rejected my craft. When I realized I wasn’t good enough, I gave up on writing, because no one else’s opinion matters. If you don’t read me, who else will? Did I give away my art, or did you take it away?

Words burst out of me just as easily as they escape me. Words are my life, and my words are yours. I find this exasperating and unnecessary. I am useless without words.

“Maybe you’ll write about me one day.” I hear those words in my mind a lot. I hate it, that you didn’t realize how much I cared and that you consider my writing to be such a joke. Write about you, I did. For close to 30 years, I did. For thirty more, I will.