Isabel of Portugal, Day 3 — An Unsuccessful Replacement

In this expert from one of the several projects I am currently working on, Isabel of Portugal continues to converse with her father, Manuel I of Portugal, on her future marriage to Carlos, King of Spain and future Holy Roman Emperor. She is disgusted by the possible validity of the rumors of his true relationship with their step-grandmother, Germaine de Foix, and her father tries to have her understand how fate leads us towards the present moment.

Carlos–el Habsburgo. Carlos–my cousin. Carlos–Rey Emperador–King of Spain, future Holy Roman Emperor. Carlos–my fiancee. Carlos–my beloved. I have had my eye on the prize Papa could not have chosen a better man, nor have fully read my mind. I have know that I was meant to be with Carlos since I was a little girl. Age matters not–I knew in my heart who I was, whom I wanted, what I was destined to be. Isabel de Portugal–Reina Emprezza. I was to be Queen and Empress, and already had my own personal motto mapped out. Yes, I thought with a smile, this young girl’s silly dreams are at last coming to fruition.

Yet there is a hint of pain in Papa’s face. “Hija,” he utters, lowering his head. “I do not deny the love your mother and I shared, may she rest in heaven’s grace with God. But that was us–you are not your mother. You are bolder, sharper, more headstrong–you are la Reina Catolica’s granddaughter. And but I am not Carlos–while I do not deny his blessings and power, his piety is, shall we say, lacking.”

“Oh?” I whimper, my face striking off concern.

“They speak things of this man, of the relations that he has possessed,” Papa begins.

Suddenly, I realize the rumors that were utters throughout the halls were true. At first, I thought them to be merely court gossip, dismissing them as rubbish. No, I made up my mind. It can’t be true–anyone but her. Yet God would not let me live in ignorance–not that day.

“Of course, I know not of the valdities of the claim, but there are rumors, whispers throughout our kingdoms,” Papa chokes. “They say that he has lain with a woman since he first step foot on Castilian soil. He has desecrated your grandmother’s land, along with that of Aragon, with an older woman– an unsuccessful replacement.”

“You mean?”

“Yes, minha filha,” he confessed. “I am afraid he has taken a woman as his mistress. That woman is his step grandmother–and yours. La Reina–”

“Stop,” I declare. I can no longer take the pain “Do not speak her name. Never speak of that name.”

My grandfather broke the promise he made to my grandmother on her deathbed. It was the sole reason their union occurred at all– to unite Castile and Aragon into a united Kingdom of Spain. He swore to uphold their mission in life after her death, even though God had taken their only son and wiped out the male Trastamara line along with him. That vow, the lasting legacy which the Catholic Kings made he nearly threw out the window in an act of pride and shame– he remarried.
For his bride, Fernando de Aragon chose no one of importance to us or Spain– it would’ve been less insulting if he had. Instead, my grandfather took a fat little French girl, Germaine de Foix, as his unlucky bride. His inability to control the little head that danced in his pants led him to nearly destroy the union of Castile and Aragon. God forgive me, but never was I ever so satisfied to hear of a innocent’s death as I was upon hearing the news their son died after birth. He had no business being alive, not even in the womb. His whore mother also had no cause to set in my grandmother’s throne–and none staying in her lands, either.

“Isabel,” Papa soothes, moving to hold my hands for comfort. “I know the pain you inherited from your mother about what the Catholic king did. My daughter, you are wise, but still so very young. In time, you shall learn. There are choices that one must make for the good of his kingdom, even if they destroy his original plans.”

“Like how you expanded the Inquisition to marry Isabel of Aragon?”

Papa sighs, his breath having decreased. Its no secret how badly he wanted to marry my aunt–he backed out of his promise of religious freedom to obtain her hand. Yet both knew in their hearts it was not the right action to take. By the time they realize their grievous error in judgment, it was too late–God had already begun to strike back.

“No ruler is perfect, Isabel,” he replies. “By the time your aunt and I realized our mistake, all hope of repairing or reconciling the damage which our union had caused was gone.”

Gone it was indeed, for nothing but heartache and tragedy befell my mother’s house until her brother, Isabel, and Isabel’s son were gone, leaving Spain for the reaping in the shadows of their memories, and that of their house. Castile and Aragon–Spain–was now the Habsburg inheritance, another kingdom dominated by the empire, and by the House of Austria.

“In life, though, we must have no regrets,” Papa declares in his wisdom. “For if I had the chance to retract my actions, I never would. The past leads to the present–we are where we are. If I never went through what I did with your Tia Isabel, I never would’ve had you or your brothers and sisters. Minha filha, you know what they call me.”

O Fortunado.”

“Yes,” he beams “O Fortunado–the Fortunate. I was fortunate to have your aunt, your mother, and you, Isabel.”

He takes my hand, holding it like when I was a little girl. I welcome my father’s affection and council, as he gazes into my eyes, having seen my fate before I could.

“You are going to be a magnificent queen,” Papa utters. “Never doubt before or after then that you have made your father very proud.”

  • Julia St. Clair© 2017

    *Image is of Blanca Suarez as Isabel de Portugal and Joan Crosas as Manuel I de Portugal in TVE’s Carols, Rey Emperador
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Isabel of Portugal, Day 2 — The Model Marriage

In this expert from one of the several projects I am currently working on, Isabel of Portugal reflects on her the marriage of her parents, Manuel I of Portugal and the late Maria of Aragon, along with the memory of her aunt and namesake, Isabel of Aragon, Princess of the Asturias and Queen Consort of Portugal. She also comforts her father as they realize her marriage plans with Carlos I of Spain, later Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, will soon come into play.

I long for a spouse to provide me with the what Papa gave to Mamae–adoration. Despite being a mere constant, Papa listened to her as our kingdom underwent negotiations with my grandfather, Rey Fernando de Aragon. They were more than just husband and wife — Mamae was Papa’s best friend. He came to her room every night, even breaking protocol to see her in confinement, as he never wished to spend a moment without her. Mamae gave her undying love to Papa, and as did he towards her. Unlike most kings, such Tia Catalina’s husband, King Henry, Papa never took a mistress, even after Mamae’s death. To me, Papa is more than merely a king–he is also a saint.

Papa is the most pious man I have ever known. His piety has touched Joao and I since we were children. Out of my large array of siblings, it is my elder brother with whom I am closest, as we were born barely a year apart. Our whole lives were modeled upon our parents and the happiness they had. We thank God that we were raised in a loving, peaceful home, and that Mamae had escaped the melancholy that shadowed Tia Catalina and Tia Isabel’s lives.

Isabel–Mamae’s oldest sister. Isabel–Papa’s first bride. Isabel–my namesake.
Out of all the Catholic Kings’ daughters, she was the most beautiful. No man who remembered her could ever deny that. Her grace and beauty would leave the world barely a year after her brother, and oh so young — she was 28.

“How much you look like her,” Papa tells me as I walk with him in the gardens, “Not only in beauty, but in disposition also.”

“You really think so, Papa?” I ask with modest excitement. “Do I have such a resemblance to Tia Isabel?”

“You have the same hints of gold in your hair,” he explains. “Though you have inherited the Aviz hazel eyes compared to the blue-green beauties of her and your mother, and your skin alabaster is as dark as a Moor compared to her pale complexion. But I cannot deny the proof of the Trastamara blood that flows through your veins whenever I look at you, hija mia.”

“Nor my Aviz blood, given to me by the greatest king of Portugal,” I reply.

“Oh my darling daughter. How you honor me so,” Papa says gently with a smiles, as he slides my hand beneath his arm. “And how I beg God to forgive me for the sadness which awaits me when you must leave to your new kingdom and home.”

I beam with pride, yet make sure to comfort my darling father. Poor Papa– his grief is fairly fresh from having lost his wife, and soon he must bid his daughter goodbye. As these change in barely two years’ time is not good for an old man. Yet this was what I’ve prepared for my whole life. I cannot let anyone or anything sour the mood, not even my dearest king and father.

“Don’t worry, Papa,” I assure him. “I am ready, willing, and strong. I have had much preparation for such a role throughout the entire course of my life, and learned how to perform my duty from the very best and wisest of consorts. When Mamae was younger than I, she came to this land and married you, a man much older and wiser than she was. As time went on and God blessed you both so, you two grew to love another. And by Christ, I swear the same will be true for me and Carlos.”

  • Julia St. Clair© 2017

    *Image is of Blanca Suarez as Isabel de Portugal in TVE’s Carols, Rey Emperador

SoHo

Rocks against cast irons, subway

stations filled with being from

top to floor, exiting on past the

platform, reaching for above, light,

air, the buildings touched by angels,

heaven galore. How could humans

makes things such as these?

  • Julia St. Clair, ©2017

    *Image from Google Image search

Old Love Through New, Open Shores

When it comes to you, my love, my heart is like iron, my

mind that of a conquistador; Just as Columbus dashed

across the shores of a land strange and foreign to his

plans, like Cortes stampeded across the Yucatan, conquering

and slaughtering the first world at hand, as though I were

Pizarro, who marched further south, another empire

capturing on, so I long to sail away to new lost shores, see

your face, complete the Reconquista in my heart, and hold

you safely in my arms. The years no doubt changed me, altering

my face, my body, my hair, myself; perhaps you, my love, transformed

as well, yet the difference it makes is none, for I know in my heart, the

explorer’s curse, what is good and true — I’d sail through

the heavens, climb up mountains, swim the seas and ocean floor, dive

head first into the molten lava and bathe in lake of fires whether they

are on earth or through l’inferno e purgatorio, just to see your face

again, if only to hear your voice. You — the Paris to my Helen, the

Fernando to my Isabel. Tanto monta, monta tanto — together we are

the same, only separated by past pain. Through all trials and festivals,

I find you in a different place. And thus by welcoming you back, through

just one simple spark, the old world forms with new, we return to one

another a third time, this time built to last, for the first time in forever, I

finally am at peace, this ship will land — my

Odyssey of aggeta is ended.

Puncture

Puncture the wound on the

breast of my heart, tales of

new glories and old woes which

tear us apart, lay down the

blade, grasp deeply my hand, breathe

upon my breath as if this moment is

your last. A hole in a hole — salt massaged

into my wounds. A new day arises, yet

what else is there to do?

Detonate

Detonate the passions filling

our hearts and minds, the trials, the

hunger to reunite with our own

kind, kind in such a way unthinkable —

not my creed nor religion nor race — kind

as in the qualities in our souls which are

baptized by saving grace, detonate the mind,

explore our kind, reunite twin flames, for the

connection never dies.

The Qualm was there…

…from the beginning. When I saw

you sitting there. Peacefully plotting

my downfall…as your mousy demeanor hid

the ugliness that lie beneath such a plain

face…

 

That Qualm remained as I knew the girl

behind the face — every bit as dull inside as

was the exterior…yet this dullness held a

darkness, so black and cold like no one I

ever knew…she could be sweet, a best

friend one minute, before stabbing you in

the back after two…

 

The Qualm was there…yet I still felt bad…you

were the replacement for something, someone

whom I once had…yet I cared for you, though you

no longer deserved it…I kept you in my life, called

you “friend,” though you soured my image, putting my

face to your ugliness…you’re an amazing actress…no

surprise to whom they believed…yet I felt bad and

still defended you…

 

That Qualm took hold of my mind when you

ripped the love out of my heart…you knew he was

mine for years, right from the start…no poetic words

to hide…you stole my boyfriend…like a thief in the

night, only you were never his. I was. I still

am, though I surrendered the white flag long ago,

even before that, you declared your illicit

affair “romantic”…Jezebel! You took my place before I

even left. Bravo, Madame de Poitiers. Nice work, Anne

Boleyn — going from side chick to his, though your

replacement will come one day, just you wait. Perhaps

she already has…

 

The Qualm was there, that qualm ignored. My lesson

was learnt, now I do as the mind and heart as one are

taught. I listen to my instinct, that way again I shall never

be…led astray and destroyed by another evil, soulless thing.

  • Julia St. Clair©2017

 

via Daily Prompt

 

1, 2 Squat

Bend the downwards backwards, back up straight. Make it like you’re going to sit elegantly, then squat. Come up, do it again and again till the burn says it works and you reach up to 25. Pushups and I don’t mix well, so this workout has to do. Not that I enjoy working out, but I need a way to stay in shape before I totally let myself go. I don’t want to give up my chili cheeseburgers at Zorro’s or daily cupcakes from Medford Baking; therefore, this will suffice.

I arrive home from work at 5:45 pm and have my meat and potatoes dinner before catching up on Homeland. I pause the remote at Season 3 Episode 6 and take a shower. As the water flows over my body, I caress my thighs, longing to feel them slimmer and elegant as opposed to giant clunks of flesh. Please be skinny again, I plead in my mind, so much so that I convince myself I lost the weight in one day. When I step out of the bathroom, I drop my towel, gazing in the reflection of a volumous body with so much potential to make men mad. Oh Joanie, I think to myself. If only you didn’t have a cottage cheese ass.

So I bend– over and over again. 1, 2 squat, 3, 4 squat, 5, 6– I feel the burn. The burn says it works. Should I stop at 25 like this morning? “No,” I utter aloud to no one. “Let’s aim for 30.”

 

 

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Squat

An Epiphany

Recently I posted that I’ll wait to do what I want no matter how long it takes. It’s going to take longer than I thought. Besides participating in an annual mentorship program at work, I’m also getting resume/job hunting help and advice and life coaching from two separate colleagues, one who’s in charge of staffing & recruitment at my job and another who’s my former supervisor. Three people who’re helping me, yet all three have the same advice– don’t give up on your dream. That includes settling for a job I wouldn’t want to do full-time. They, and other colleagues and friends, also advised me to aim for writing jobs and enter contests, which I’m proud of entering NBCUniversal’s Late Night Writers’ Workshop 2017 and can’t wait to enter more. Speaking of which, I know February just started, but I still didn’t hear anything back. If you believe in God, please pray for me, and if you don’t, just send positive vibes over my way. I could really use them right now, because I officially decided to stop applying to jobs that have nothing to do with my dream or end goal. Yup– I made a big decision.

How did such a revelation come about? Three events led me to this conclusion, ironically all three being interviews. The first was the interview for the FT role in my old department, and it was the second interview for the job. I met with the two department heads and felt like I was on The Apprentice during a sunny afternoon. Maybe it was because the room looked like the boardroom of the show, only brighter, or perhaps it was something else. Perhaps it was in that moment they could see the cracks that this is not something I would be happy doing. When asked what I loved about working in my current role, I listed x, y, z, but when asked what I loved about working in my previous one, my acting skills came out, and not that good. For once, I was happy not to get the job, and I found out later on that although they really like me, they knew it was a disservice to them and myself by hiring a highly creative individual in a math heavy role. Happily, it all worked out, and I actually still see them a lot since we all work on the same floor, so its all good.

The second instance was that dreadful experience I encountered last week with that company that could find itself in a lot of trouble if something finds out what’s going on payroll wise. To be conned into a role, especially an internship, which I already have three of under my belt, is a horrible thing. So I decided no more applying to internships unless they’re paid legally and involved in television and/or novel writing. Speaking of which, I just applied to one today, so please wish me luck!

Third strike to make this mindset out? I interviewed for a publishing assistant role yesterday. The title was great, the company was awesome, and the location was a dream come true– right down the block from Grand Central. So what went wrong? I learned the role would only be technical. No room for creative opportunity or growth, apart from making PowerPoints. It was a difficult decision, but after much consideration and thought, I emailed the three lovely women who interviewed me and the recruiter who helped me out a lot by finding me the job in the first place to let them know where I stand. I’m grateful nonetheless, and I am capable of the role, but I want to move away from number and technical heavy roles into more creative ones. I want to be a writer; therefore, I need to write. Write on my blog, write in contests, write for the world, write for myself. And if I’m going to put myself out there, it has to be for only writing roles. Nothing less, only the best. It was a hard decision to come to, and is going to be a difficult road financial wise ahead, but I’m ready for whatever comes at me. Hey, I’ve made it this far, I can surely go farther.

Happy New Year!

After too long a break from my blog, I’m back and more energized then ever. I also have some great news, too.

I finally went public about my being a contestant in the Miss New York USA 2017 pageant, which is now a week away. Words cannot describe the nervousness combined with ultimate excited that I feel. The best metaphor to use would be I feel like Rocky Balboa– anxious yet willing, running through the streets of downtown Phili, only, in my case, it’s dancing around my room to work my legs and practicing the opening number. Speaking of the opening number, I was going to be in the medium gang, but have decided to do the easy instead. I’m like a walking Mel Brooks character, a wonderful thing, but one that happens to not be good at dancing unless its 80s karaoke and I’ve had a little too many zinfandels. To best to be safe than sorry, though I know I’ll kick ass and rock it no matter what 🙂

Speaking of good news, I’ve found another way to make another dream come true– I’m entering the NBCUniversal Late Night Writers Workshop 2017. In order to apply, I’ll need to fill out an application and send, in one PDF file, two pages of topical jokes, desk bits and two skits to perform ala SNL, one topical and one with an original character. There is also an optional letter of recommendation, which I’ve asked for to ensure I’m a final candidate. Although its due in over a week, the due date is the last day of the pageant. Therefore, to ensure I put in my best work and have no pressure, I’m writing everything I need to for the application this week and hope to have it in by Monday night the latest. There are no doubts in my mind that this will work; I just have to show them my talents, but not try too hard. Yet one thing I’m realizing is the only topical agendas that grab attention so far are still the election (or inauguration at this point) and Mariah Carey’s New Year’s performance from Hell. Oh well! As Donald O’Conner sang in Singin’ in the Rain, “make them laugh.” I’ll make them laugh, make them smile, and, as ABBA put it, “take a chance on me.” Another positive idea? “The early bird gets the worm.” After being looked over and denied jobs that, while great, aren’t my dream for so long, this seems like the perfect shot to fulfill my dreams, and the perfect timing, too, since I have nothing holding me down. Plus, I could work at 30 Rock, something I’ve longed for since I was 15 years old! Hope everyone’s doing ok, and have a blessed day!