To be the one of many

There is one big problem with having a lot of interests; you can meet a lot of people that think you are awesome. Some people can’t handle complexities; they want a partner that fits a role given by example, society and TV series. But what happens to the people like me that cannot fill a mold? We are out of the box of what people want or expect; for some a problem, for others the reason we become “the one”.

I have come to realize at this point in my life, that a compromise that lasts forever is hard. That many people get scared when they see how complex I am; and that those that are attracted by the complex being I’ve become, have had one thing in common, think I will be with them forever. But most people that have said I am the one they were waiting for, make clear in some way, that I’m great for them; but are they great for me?

We fight every day with our SELF, and I put it in caps lock to make clear that our being, who we are is something we rarely spend time with. A lot of people I’ve seen have never stopped to question who they are. Maybe is a system, a system based on an economic system or a political strategy so that the media can feed you easily an opinion that is massively reproduced and that becomes “public opinion” that is moved only for election ballots. Maybe, companies want you to buy shit and in order to do so they always make you believe you don’t have enough or you aren’t enough and that buying stuff gives you some power that is not translated in self esteem. Maybe, your parents were denied a healthy childhood and when they had you they were more focused on your food and clothes (again material things) that your well being as a whole.

I believe in a holistic self; one composed by three aspects: physical, emotional and spiritual. When we deny one of those three there is a lack of balance; that’s what I have experienced or seen in others. I’m no expert of a subject of “the self”, but I have definitely had to encounter who I was and I meet myself everyday in the mirror. I didn’t do that all the time, many years I had to wake up in what everybody thought was a normal day and a normal life, to encounter a fight-with the world and for the world. I’ve been through things that many people will go through separately but that happened to me all in one lifetime and it’s ok; I think I know more because of that and that I use it in favor of what I feel is my purpose. However, I have come to the point were I have had to confront something I hadn’t looked much into: my age.

When I was 13 I tried to plan my life; now I know maybe I was trying to escape my present by focusing in the future. I was sure about one thing, my wish to have a great education in order to have options in my professional life. I wanted to do all degrees possible (till a PhD) and I wanted to make that my finishing personal line What I mean is, I always thought that my final graduation was actually a graduation from a personal individual life and that only having that finish line passed I could engage into someone else’s life. I planned to have a family, get married, kids, etc. only if I finished my degree. The crisis has come now, where I am a year from obtaining that line, and instead of seeing it as the end, I see it in some way as the beginning of something new. I see this year as “The year” to explore things I haven’t done. Maybe is not healthy to label things with “THE”in the beginning, THE year, THE one, THE program- these labels give us something- pressure.

Having said that I’ll go to the point of my analysis of what has become of me in some way: “the one of many”. I met one boy in high school that was something cruel with what he said: “you change who you are for others, you do things they like, etc. like one thing”. He was wrong, I don’t change, I am who I am, but I like learning so much that I am open to explore new experiences, the problem comes when I give my attention and my time to learn and to give company and many people can’t keep up with me. Recently on facebook, a guy told me, I was “cute but intimidating” I asked why: he said I have done a lot of things and that any guy would be intimidated to have someone be superior- oh yeah machismo 101.

This has been a common thing, the gender stereotype that people expect of me for being a girl that needs rescue. I in other hand, AM the superhero in many cases; and some people aren’t happy with the idea of a superwomen and others use me in a way so I can rescue them. In the time I’ve been single, a lot of people say I fit a list of things they look for, but I have such a long list of things that in a way I don’t think is hard to fill that.

This theme is very complex and I don’t think this will fit in one post, however I’ve come to realize that what I want the most, is to know what I want. I don’t want to fit in a list in an other person “wishes” of a partner if I am not heard about mine. I prefer to be single for as long as it takes, than to engage in a relationship because “I have to”, or because I “should”. If there something I know is that I’m far away from normal, but I’m not the only one that has a different sense of life, one that seeks meaning and that runs from being the status quo. Which is why I encourage you to think, if the people that see you are seeing you as a whole or are they sticking with what they want in order to “survive” together. Do they make you grow, do they teach you something. You don’t have to rescue each other- you have to fight together. You don’t have to fit a list made by some, you have to create your own list. You should be able to be strong or weak –without FEAR that they like you just when you are one or the other; without fear that you have to hide. That’s what makes my “one” –of those they aren’t many-I’m sure it will be worth the wait.


I’m large

The 16th of November of 2011, a pink helicopter arrived to Puerto Rico for the opening of the first Victoria Secret store in the island. The models: Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio and Erin Heatherton arrived and started a “panty” fiasco, where people made huge lines to buy underwear. A long time ago, I heard that the reason why they hadn’t opened a store in Puerto Rico was because the island was the #1 buyer through catalog orders. This inspired me to tell you my story when I saw the first store in the United States.

Victoria Secret is a brand that sells something we should hear often “you are sexy”. However, positive reinforcement might be inexistent in a lot of women that don’t hear those words, which I believe, leads to an obsession of the intimate apparel of the store and the products which make you believe that if you buy from there, you will buy “sexiness”.

And what is sexy? Based on several dictionaries the word means being sexually attractive, very exciting or appealing. I know people that go to the store to find “sexiness” and “buy” it, because wearing “Victoria” gives you some points on the sexy scale. When I went to a Victoria Secret store for the first time, I went as many, for the curiosity that brings the store and its brand, but what I found was a list of questions that I had to do to myself and made me wonder, who else had them.

I was in Miami when I saw a store invaded by the color pink, as it was a trademark for our gender we inherit the first time they see what we have in between our legs. Then I got in, and what I personally liked was that the store had “pretty” underwear. I liked that they had different styles and colors, and it was a certain change on my perception of this “undies” that for years my mom and grandmother had bought in packages that had 5 or 6 in a plastic bag.

My first instinct after seeing one I liked was to check the price tag. I was in shock! it was a $30 panty. No matter the money I earn, I’m an official bargain shopper, and this outraged me. If I was to buy a panty that expensive, I really had to use it weekly or something, because that for me was awful. I suppose you know I didn’t buy anything that day. However, months later I went to Orlando driving, and found what seemed to be the best way to obtain a “Victoria”, the outlet. You could get 10 “undies” for $30. So, from one at $30 to buy 10 for $30 it was a huge difference. However, the reason I wanted to write this today, was because Victoria Secret store made me rethink what I thought of my body and I wonder if it will bring the same questions to this island. When I bought those first 10, I went, as I always did before, looking for a Medium size. You can’t try them out in the store for obvious reasons, so when I tried going to my house and tried modeling to my mirror. For the first time, a Medium didn’t go up. I was frustrated and mad, not because I felt “fat”, I don’t, but because I felt bad that once again, being curvy and Latina, made you a Large.

If I’m a Large how would someone with much more pounds in their body feel? Is sexiness something only thin people get? A good self esteem starts by acknowledging who we are and accepting who we become. Sadly, they are many studies, that link marketing of women and clothing as a standard that defines beauty. This is why many women have felt pressure to “fit” that image and have experienced bad psychological and physical consequences like anorexia or bulimia; an issue that is not necessary, that it could have been stopped by positive reinforcement.

When stores started opening in Puerto Rico, a lot of women found the same issue that I did that day; they were standards for a type of body that wasn’t the one the majority here had. What amuses me the most is that with the fast track life we have, fast foods have won nutrition, and image defies reality. That is why instead of eating and exercising to be healthy, we see people dieting and spending money to “look good” by what the market defines.

I remember seeing the movie “Real women have curves” in 2002 when it came out because of its title. Then I learned that the main character was actress America Ferrera. I felt the issue of being Latina and curvy was going to be discussed in this movie and it was mostly about image, eating habits and what it meant to be a women. I remember two scenes that struck me; one had the grandmother of the movie putting a “San Antonio” upside down to attract a “husband” for the girl. That made me thought of the cultural idea that you become a women, when you are a mom, and that to become “successful” you have to find a man. This was presented in the movie as something traditional and common, sadly it is. It is another way to define identity and image, and the first part of the title of the movie “real women”. The other scene shocked me more. America Ferrera in the movie was shy and ashamed of her body, trying to diet, but with a mom and a grandmother that pushed her to eat. However, we see that America, which in the movie was named, Ana, has a sexual relation with a guy. Ana starts looking at herself in the mirror in underwear, and while she does that her grandmother passes by her room and by looking at her “she knows” that she had sex. Her grandmother starts chasing her all over her house, and I wondered wasn’t this the women that wanted a boyfriend for “Ana”? And what is worst, do you really need to be with somebody “naked” or have somebody be with you to look yourself at the mirror and embrace who you are. And then I asked, IF I AM A LARGE, what will the X-Larges and XXX-Larges of life think of themselves, don’t they have the right to look at the mirror without feeling ashamed, to wear lace underwear? Aren’t they angels too?

The Victoria Secret store was created in San Francisco, California in 1977 by Roy Raymond. They say he opened the first Victoria's Secret store at the Stanford Shopping Center after feeling embarrassed trying to purchase lingerie for his wife in an awkward, public department store environment. To open the store, he took a $40,000 bank loan and borrowed $40,000 from relatives. The company earned $500,000 in its first year. In 1982, after five years of operation, Raymond sold the Victoria's Secret Company, with its six stores and 42-page catalogue, grossing $6 million per year, to Leslie Wexner, creator of The Limited, for $4 million. In 1984, Raymond started My Child's Destiny, a retail store for children which went bankrupt in 1986. On August 26, 1993, Raymond committed suicide by leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge at the age of 46. It’s sad to think that the reason this amazing retail store started was because of shame. What is worst, they are a few stores that sell the same idea of being “sexy” in underwear and beauty products to women that are bigger.

I remember reading in a magazine about a place called Torrid, owned by Hot Topic, but made for “plus” sizes. I applaud this, as well as those stores that have been created for bigger feet. So after being in shock with this new size I had to embrace, I kept buying (the cheap specials). I noticed that their bra’s made optical illusions that made something else bigger. I learned that a big "seller" was the tiny g-strings and that they were considered the most sexy type of panty, I on the other hand thought that it was even more difficult for me to believe that I would pay $30 for less fabric and I remembered that when I took modeling the only reason they MADE me wear that thing was to make sure the clothing didn't "make a mark and show" my underwear. With all this, I embraced with that, my new size.

I wonder how will the people that go to this store feel, when the size they were is not the size they sell. When will a lingerie store will open that will sell that the biggest “sexiness” comes with empowerment. And then I thought, maybe some buy the brand thinking this will make them beautiful (which is not something you can buy), but the power to be confident could be something that could draw more buyers. I hope however, that the reason they buy it’s because they embrace their body and their curves; because is pretty or it smells good. I would feel sad if they only spend this cash (because there is not an outlet here) just when somebody else gives them a compliment is the only moment they can see themselves in the mirror.

So with this, Victoria, I end my secret, with you I’m Large. Is not that I didn’t fit, the clothes didn’t fit me. Life however comes in one size, one big size that fits us all. May Roy Raymond rest in peace and that we never feel ashamed again for giving ourselves a gift.


“Make it dirty”

I know, sounds sexy, but I was actually thinking of coffee. Yes I discovered that named when I accidently wanted tea instead of coffee. Then someone told me, “you can have a chai tea”. What is that?- I asked. “It is a blend of spices with tea that has milk on it, but if you want, you can make it dirty”- What?! Yes you can have a “dirty chai tea” –the tea with a shot of espresso coffee. And that’s how that name came, and now I want it dirty all the time.

Then, it got me thinking, how many people had the same reaction I did. How many images would appear in a person mind while hearing this “make it dirty” conversation? Is dirty sexual, like the song of Cristina Aguilera Dirrrrrrty that had multiple “r’s” to make it more pronounced. Does being dirty, means playing mean. Like a low blow in a boxing match? Against the rules, against the odds, with mean intensions, without inhibitions? What is dirty to you? What is playing dirty to me?

I thought of the two winning possibilities let’s start with the sexual connotation one. The other day I saw the movie “What’s your number” and they used the word dirty among other’s like “slut, easy, etc.” referring to the main character when she said she had slept with 19 guys. The movie is based on this, the number of people girls (and boys, but they targeted girls) sleep with and how the stereotypes of gender affect how people react to that number. They question how much is too much. This girl had 19 partners and reads in a magazine that if you pass 20, you are unlikely to get married. What do you think of that? Well in her desperation, because she reaches 20 in the movie, she just goes and visits her ex’s so that she doesn’t has to ad anyone to her list. In this movie, the definition of dirty is used for name calling, to judge. Is it really fair to judge somebody by a number? What wins, quality or quantity? I’m sure this movie sounds outrageous to people that practice abstinence or truly believe in virginity till marriage. But for those that felt that the conversations in the movie where similar to those that you had with friends, the wording towards the girl, was very common.

I have to say, that I could have been more entertained with this movie than I was. But I HAVE to applaud something of the movie that was great. I don’t want to spoil details, but the best message comes at the end, with a toast from this “dirty” girl on her sister’s wedding. She says: “I’ve come to realized, than every time I see my sister with ____(guy she was going to marry, I forgot) she is just… her. So I guess falling in love is actually being able to be your best self”. I have to say that made the movie worthwhile and actually leads me to the next possible definition. If being dirty is more than being sexual, can we consider for a moment, who we end up being dirty with?

Then I thought of the “being mean” meaning. What is being mean in a relationship? I won’t talk about abusive behavior, because that is another story I can’t cover here – that is so important that it deserves a bunch of reflections. I wonder, what is “meaner”? They thought the girl was mean if she was sleeping with somebody just to sleep with somebody. And to that I have a disclosure, I hate when they say that someone cheated because the “needs” weren’t being satisfied enough, that it “had” to be found elsewhere (BS). But anyway, I wonder, if when you start something, if you meet somebody, what is meaner, lying to get the desire of just one of the parts, lying to get into someone’s pants, even lying to please in order to appear being ideal (like people that lie about numbers, a problem presented in the movie) or just being point blank, saying you know, I really want just to do x, y and z.

If I’ve learned something, is that honesty is better than lying. I’ve met all kinds of people. If there is something I’ve met this last months, is people that have disappeared. Yes, people that instead of talking straight to your face after encountering a problem or a difference; have preferred to end all type of confrontation with an e-mail, a text, a random changed status on Facebook, even having complete silence. I don’t know if I should call this playing dirty or to say that when I received this type of treatment they didn’t know they made me felt like dirt.

Deception is very hurtful, and in cases like this, we should analyze if we were the ones that created an illusion or if we really got the signals and the messages right and the reactions came out of nowhere. Where we tricked? OUCH, it hurts pretty badly. I understand, one can change, but we have to understand that our actions affect any kind of relationship we have, from a friendship, to something else. We face constant changes, we have the right to change how we think and feel, but we cannot tamper with someone’s sensitivity, especially knowing they were hurt before. Why imitate this? I don’t know.

I have learned many things and with the changes I’ve confronted in this last months, the new tea I like and all this “dirty” stuff, I can think if two quotes. “Don’t make a priority, someone that has you as an option” and “Be yourself, everybody else is already taken”. We can debate many things, what we do, what we plan, what happens, but today, just for today I would like to celebrate and reflect on how I feel. Maybe if we do this more we will understand other’s feelings and we will not play with them, because we are not just made out of flesh and bones.

For now, I will be happy I woke up, got to work, and drank my chai tea in the morning- and I’ll be happy to “make it dirty” because I’m only doing that to the coffee and it’s pretty damn good.


Alone but not lonely

I’ve been thinking of this for a month, but today I had to write.

I read in the news today. A 22 year old women named by the press Miss Li from Changhun, China; attempted suicide today because her fiancée, weeks before the wedding announced he left her and was marrying someone else. She tried jumping of a tall building and stood by a window on her wedding dress but her attempt was stopped (yes!).

So it is with more relevance that today I want to discuss the difference of being alone versus lonely, some toxicities of relationships and benefits and how come the feeling of belonging/possession gets confused with security matters (I’ll explain).

First, being alone versus being lonely. Some people aren’t used to being with groups all the time and fight for their own personal space, and sometimes this creates criticism from people or friends because they think they are anti-social. I know of people who like being alone, not necessarily ALL the time (we are indeed social subjects-even if we engage in online conversations a lot-is an outreach to “the other”) but that when alone they don’t feel like they are missing something, or frustrated, uncomfortable. This type of people could enjoy going to places alone if needed and enjoy booking activities that they relate with peaceful moments like reading, exercises, going to a park, watching a movie, cooking, ANYTHING. However, other people get really stressful if they have to engage into activities alone. People who would not go to an activity (movies, mall, etc) if they don’t have someone to go to. People who would really be aware of the space of a place if it’s “too big” for them, cause they will feel lonely versus alone.

On this matter, I have to ask how many people or relationships we (everybody) make based on this need of not being alone, rather than having a healthy partnership/communication. And with that in mind, what are the benefits of who is alone? Most people agree that the “alone” time we look for helps us vent stress from work or other situations and makes us think. I believe this is a powerful tool. What if the problem of those who cannot be alone is that they can’t stop thinking of other people or of their feeling of being alone more than in a place, in the world? What if the problem is that they either low self-esteem, and extreme sense of shyness or lacks of securities? What if theirs no motivation? Reason why some people would rather go ANYWHERE rather than making PLANS on something or engaging in new activities as long as they are with someone? On that matter, is that the reason (those that hate being alone) that they change who they are and mold themselves to please their partner (romantically) or friends? Is it a way to explore new interest? I like being alone, but I don’t feel lonely.

However, if we deny the need of a caress, a kiss or a hug from others or if we think that to say we need that is a sign of weakness, then I believe we are fools. I cannot lie and say I don’t dream of a time where I enjoy company. However being alone sometimes helps me define who I am and what I want. And as a psychologist said to me, which I find to be the best advice, “if you don’t know exactly what you want or where you are going, at least define what you DON’T want” so you can escape falling into the trap of becoming or doing things for others and not for you.

And to my last point related to security, especially for women, I’ve known a lot of cases of women who have “felt” the need to say they are with someone to reject a person that is making an approach they don’t want. Even women who have or feel they have to use a ring to make “people” go away, and they still find encounters. A ring doesn’t make the person be “taken” it is the level of compromise of ones feelings to the other, reason why people with rings (engaged or married) still can be unfaithful. However, it sucks that women encounter the common denominator of experiences, where the only way a guy (random) stops trying to get with them is when they say they are with them (somebody) not because they respect that she doesn’t want to engage with that person, but of fear of getting into fights with another person. So if a women, doesn’t wear a ring (engagement or marriage) and she says no, almost immediately she will be asked “why, you have a boyfriend” (some will ad to that that they don’t care) but then she’ll have to say NO because I don’t want to. I guess you don’t have to have a man in your life to prevent someone else from entering. Is the same concept, or misconception for that matter, that you need to have somebody, rather than you just want to.

In that case, is good to note that if whoever is with somebody they have to be careful with other people’s heart, but the biggest mistake will be neglecting what we feel. WE could try hiding problems, sugar coating issues, engaging into things we are not, but at the end, “payback is a bitch” in our solitude and reflection if theirs something we cannot do is escape from ourselves and who we are.

And with that I conclude, that company should be something we decide to do freely. That we engage because we want to not because someone makes us, or try to convince us. It is not about only doing stuff but of feeling it, and if we can’t even bare ourselves alone, if we can’t stand it, then who can? If we don’t explore who we are how we will move forward to what we could be or want to be. I’ve learned so far, plans don’t go our way all the time, and feelings cannot be trapped in static places, they are interactive and they have the right to change. However, like Miss Li, the problem is when who we love or feel for doesn’t respond to our love the same way and we feel betrayed or left alone, we can even feel scared to feel again, or to feel at all.

I think however excluding yourself from a feeling that comes from you (especially after an analysis of what you are or want or what makes you happy) is worst that living in fear. I’m not afraid of breaking my heart for loving, or that someone does it, or that someones changes. By this point I wish I could control feelings but the magic of them is that they are hybrid and are constructed over an awesome spectrum of moments that we never forget, but we can’t go back to. So, today, I ask of you to think if you feel alone or lonely, cause they are not the same. Are you having toxic relationships to fight your loneliness or are you happy (even if that doesn’t come back). Don’t neglect the power of feeling for what could go wrong, I feel, and that very word “I” needs of a collective and of others, and we like a hugs and a kisses, but at least I think we should give the best of us and for that you need to know what you like or not, and I believe that’s the best we can do for the other person; because we will give them ourselves at our whole, and we will know they love us for exactly what we are. They say theirs no greater feeling. It is powerful enough when you accept who you are, imaging knowing someone understand or loves you for that.

Miss Li, he was not worth terminating your life I’m glad they “saved you” now is time you know and save yourself.