C'est la vie

C’est la vie means “such is life”. After counting weeks and weeks of possible topics a topic found me: death. It is interesting to start talking about life in connection with death but they are connected.

The concept of life itself has many views, from those who believe in a divine intervention on the creation of new life, the role of motherhood in the identity of women and the circumstances in which a baby is born. After being born, we start a process of developing identities and within that identity formed by social structures and education, as well as our support group, we get to find a purpose. The belief that we lack a purpose is an option on itself, for we act in terms of what we believe and what is around us. We use definitions and cultural symbols, while we pursue goals inside definitions we give to things.

Then why is death so feared, if it’s the one thing we know is going to happen. Is it feared because is the circumstance of our life that we cannot change, and by that we try to avoid it, so it doesn’t get to us as a surprise? Death itself can be seen worst or better by how we lived. How we feel we lived is one important thing that will make our goodbyes easier. We will always have something unaccomplished because our desires can overcome our capacities, but we can “rest” better if we feel we did what we wanted to do. The reality of life can be divided into what is and what we would want to happen.

We could wish some laws change, but it won’t happen on its own. We can wish for health, but we have to prevent disease. We could want love and a fairy tale, but we could be lacking passion. We could wish becoming millionaires, but we need to work a lot to obtain it, or come with a great idea like “Facebook” by Mark Zuckerberg which is a rare case of a billionaire in a short period of time. However, he is an example on how when nobody believed him, he went ahead with his idea and did it. I guess we really can’t expect to follow a certain plan?

Can we measure life with what we gain? There is a song called the “Age of Aquarius” that says how do we measure life, and it says “what about love?” Why don’t we measure life with feelings, what we feel is blessings, accomplishments, desire, passion, will. We come back at the very beginning, definitions, what it is, how we define it. It’s those 5W’s of journalists, that we encounter everyday: who, what, when, where, why?

Then you have those that die while they are living. They die slowly because they are in a position they don’t want to be. They die when they don’t know themselves. They die when they live in fear of emotions. They get killed with deception of people who betray them. A piece of them dies when their vision of life, not their life per se (breathing, biology, etc) is different from what they are.

So now I come to “el día de los muertos”, another interesting perspective started by Mexicans about death seemed as a celebration and a tribute to those who used to live. It started with a common practice of conserving skulls as trophies to showcase them in rituals that symbolize death and being reborn. At the end of the day, what we mourn the most is the opportunity of repeating moments, or creating moments that will not come back because of death. On that matter, some opportunities may not come back because of time and changes. You could go to the same city, same place, you could go home for Christmas and everything will be a memory of what it was.

So today, I make a call and a toast for death. All kinds of death, the ones that are physical and the ones we encounter each day. Is the day to reinvent yourself, define what you want and go for it. If there is something you don’t like about your life right now, let it go, declare it dead. Then celebrate, as “el día de los muertos”, what it was, celebrate it was part of your history and move on to what you want now. BECAUSE WE ARE ALIVE, WE ARE SUBJECTS OF CHANGE. There are a lot of changes around us, but we have the right to change or minds and feelings.

Now, this fairy, for the end of the year, understands that not every fairytale should end up with a crystal shoe. I feel free as a crow (my favorite bird), unique as a blue rose (my favorite flower) and I celebrate those who passed away and thank them for what they gave me. Now I’ll expect someone that understands that this shoe for every princess is something that should be personalized. No crystal heals for me, give me boots. That’s how I will be alive till I die.

Let’s start the journey now, the adventure, before we grow old thinking what we should have done instead of celebrating what we have accomplished.


What if versus What is

I’ve had this title for some time in my head now. I couldn’t help but wonder what was the definition of reality I could find on dictionaries that will help this post.

What I found was that reality was defined as:

1) The quality or state of being real;

2) a real event, entity, or state of affairs;

3) something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily;

4) all of your experiences that determine how things appear to you; "his world was shattered"; and then this one appeared;

5) the state of the world as it really is rather than as you might want it to be.

It was a perfect definition for what I’ve had in my mind for a while. Going to Chicago made me learn about realities versus desires and the capacity of “sticking” to reality one could have or one could wish having. On a “business-training” trip I found a handsome man who spoke to me for a while, but was surrounded by women looking at him and appreciating his looks. I was surprised to see him show around his cell phone, and to share several conversations, where he proudly talked about his life as a father of 7 and one on the way in his marriage of 10 years; he was 35. I was amazed on how he handled his reality and started thinking how we handle our own.

Once I was told I had to be careful and that is was normal, that for someone who writes, I could have constant battles with reality: defined as a mental health professional as what was happening versus what I or someone wanted to believe or create -the opposite of real-, the fantasy. She said something that blew my mind too, “what if we need the fantasy? The fantasy by itself is not bad as long as we identify it as a wish and desire, versus as something that is real”. Confusing, but beautiful. How could we protect the mind from fantasies and the great gift of imagination without being affected. Why would we need a fantasy at all? I haven’t gotten to a concrete conclusion because something that is real versus something that is imagined is far from simple, however, I’ve found many people that hold to either of this concepts far to many times, too strongly, and then others that could get confused on the what is or what if’s of life.

We could hold on to reality: paying the bills, surviving, being secure, trying to avoid mistakes by being “too” real; too attached to what is happening leaving no space for dreams and wishes that could be fulfilled but that we kill because we are too hurt or to afraid. Then they are others attached to bubbles, fantasies, wishes that affect our way of living, like people who are attached to shopping and luxuries who can’t even afford them, just to live the fantasy of the "what if’s" and appearances. Then the others, that cannot stand by themselves and try to create a fantasy world where they can escape too. Many people see that other world sometimes in addictions, but making fantasies could be an addiction by itself. Then you walk in a fine line between what is happening and what you wish was happening and frustration hits you unexpectedly or repeatedly because you tried to live two lives; sometimes to avoid loneliness, sometimes cause we are afraid of choosing wrong, sometimes cause we are really insane.

At the end of the day we can be confused, and it’s normal, we live in a world of many brands, and sadly but true, we can confuse the way something material works with how much a human needs and it’s complexity. That is why when we get to chose something we can feel that we are missing out on many things, we do indeed have many options, many roads and many paths but when we choose “our reality” we should do it, not based on definition of what is happening, but our own truth. When our truth is not complete, our reality will reflect that, either with our need to escape from who we are and who we have became or while we kill the capacity of change that we gain from dreaming.

Some people like living unattached, trying to avoid choosing anything at all, especially those things that attached themselves with someone, who will make escaping harder. And then, they are those who spend time in what other people wished for themselves rather than writing their own life’s, someone writes it for them. To know that we have a power to choose and change what we live is far greater than any fantasy, any wish list, any “real situation” that could be an obstacle. So let’s focus today not in our “so called reality”, because maybe by creating fantasies we are actually trying to change our lives into what we want from them.

Let’s chose today to define what makes us (US) and what is our real truth. I wish more people will show other people their lives rather than inventing one. I wish the one that we are creating in our minds became a reality if that’s what makes someone happy. We also have to create a balance, between our minds and our hearts, cause in the end we might be thinking so much we are forgetting to feel.

To end I’ll leave you with a quote from the upcoming movie Eat, Pray, Love in theaters near you this weekend: “If you could clear out all that space in your mind, you’d had a doorway, and you know what the universe would do? Rush in. Everything else will take care of itself”.


Things I Wish I'd Known About Dating When I was 21

This is so good and right with editorial content that I had to publish it, by Erin Meanly from Glamour.

See original posting here

1. If you're confused about whether a guy likes you or not, that's probably not good. Confusion in romance belongs only in romantic comedies because it suspends the plot, but suspense in real life sucks. So try not to analyze the events. The truth will reveal itself without you having to do anything.
2. Sometimes guys flirt with you or pay attention to you because it makes them feel good about themselves. (Hey, we do it, too.)
3. Even a guy who will admit that you're better looking than him should still be able to tell you you're beautiful. If he holds back in order to control the situation, or to keep you, or keep you down, he's got issues.
4. Don't help him ask you out by texting him something nice or polite. I'm glad you're more outgoing and thoughtful than he is, but he doesn't want the help.
5. Guys want to get busy more than anything. They'll say anything to close the deal.
6. It's shocking how much guys will talk about marriage. Until there's a ring on your finger, it will be better for you if you pretend you're deaf.
7. It's better not to lift a finger in the beginning.
8. In the early stages, giving him presents is too much. Generosity looks desperate to guys. You may be a great shopper and gift-wrapper; it may be his birthday and you may be wild about birthdays -- even still, he'll think you're just wild about him. Too wild.
9. Guys just do not think like girls. I wish I'd had a brother. Real boys are nothing like the boys in movies.
10. They might take a decade to mature. Don't hope they'll grow up or be ready in the next six months.
11. Even if your family thinks there's going to be a marriage, don't let them spoil your guy. Yes, he's grateful you gave him your car when he moved out of NYC, but he would rather have had to work for it.
12. Learn to cook. Learn to cook well. I see now that it would have won me a lot of points. A LOT.
13. Just because he might be smarter than you or more talented at certain things doesn't mean he's your servant and won't mind doing all your homework/research/chores.
14. Guys get resentful, too.
15. You're special, unique, and important, but you're not a princess -- no matter what Daddy says (although for the record, my dad calls me "Erin").
16. It's okay to say no. It's more than okay. It's always okay. If he stops calling (and many, many, many will), you're only weeding out the guys who aren't truly interested in you as a person. Time saved!
17. Playing it safe guarantees you'll have more time and energy to think about your grades or your work. Less drama in your life will always be better and healthier for you.
18. You deserve to be treated like a human being.
19. Your wants and needs are just as important as his, and if you don't express them because you think it will scare him away, then you're saying you don't count as much as he does.
20. Even sophisticated people with professional jobs can have tempers or hit you or use foul language. I've known men who dressed like diplomats but they were ugly human beings.
You can't force chemistry.
You can't force chemistry. If you like him as a friend, the attraction might grow, but if it doesn't, don't force it. And don't waste his time.
22. Ease up on the sauce. Alcohol clouds your judgment.
23. No boyfriend-girlfriend relationship starts with a 1 a.m. text.
24. When a guy has taken you to Applebee's five times and you say you want to treat him, he'll be psyched. But secretly he'll freak out if you take him to Ruth's Chris, even just the one teeny time. Don't try to match him one Ruth's Chris for five Applebee's. Take him out, but go to T.G.I. Friday's.
25. Women love attention. A guy needs to be pretty crazy about you in order for him to pay enough attention to make you happy long-term.
26. My mom always said, "Men don't think." I thought she meant, "They are mistaken in their thoughts." But they're just not thinking anything at all. About you. They're watching the game. That's why they haven't called.
27. There should be a medium ground between workaholism and his absolute devotion. "The knight departing for new adventures offends his lady, yet she has nothing but contempt for him if he remains at her feet" (Simone de Beauvoir, "The Second Sex", 658).
28. Never underestimate the quality of "interesting." Men want someone interesting. They really do. Find some hobbies.
29. What are you hoping to gain by hooking up with this guy? If the answer is "him," that's a bad deal for you. "The woman gives herself, the man adds to himself by taking her" (de Beauvoir, 659).
30. Expectations? They'll ruin every dating experience you have.
31. You will never understand men. Just try to understand yourself.


The other way around

It is not the first time I’ve heard the story. We think it’s not common, but it might be more common than what we think. I have heard that story twice; I wonder how many stories are out there: boys who have been raped by women.

We usually hear about girls being sexually assaulted, child sexual predators, dark valleys that are dangerous, we often neglect to see possible a rape to a boy by a women. What is worst we often neglect having services for men who are victims of violence, sexual or other, and we often sin by believing it’s less traumatic.

In the study of gender, usually dome and focused on women after years and centuries of oppression and discrimination, we have to acknowledge the needs for gender equality, including men. We need men activist for women rights; we need men to fight for justice. But to be just and fair, we should also fight against stereotypes about men and women, victims versus oppressors, to consider men also as victims of abuse.

Sex is determined by our biological genitalia; gender is made of a social construction by a majority in society, influence by culture. That is why is varies in part from an American perspective, to a Hispanic one, to an African American and others. It is however generalized, it is more than having a pennies or vagina, is what we expect from each other. It is the reason we chose blue for boys and pink for girls. It is why we encourage boys into sports and girls into ballet. It is why some people think boys don’t cry while girls are allowed to be emotional, (if not expected). It is the reason why boys get cars and action figures and girls get dolls for Christmas. It is the social construction that passes on, teaches or misleads, how “things are supposed to be” and how you are supposed to act. Therefore, it is why when we talk of sexual assaults we think the men it’s always the perpetrator.

We cannot deny the facts, men are usually the majority of perpetrators, however we shouldn’t neglect the other way around being possible. We need to work with this so that boys are not traumatized and there issue is not neglected because it doesn’t “fit the norm”. We have heard and been thought that boys are more sexual, that they have more desires, “needs”, we even understand male masturbation more than we can think of girls doing that, we even hear how some justify rapes with their “big sexual appetite” seen normal. We even see how victims usually are to blame by the media for the way they dress, like with a mini skirt, saying that “she was looking for it”, is the concept of what else could he do? We see it as part of men’s nature.

What we haven’t done its think of the other way around. What happens when roles reverse; when the norm gets tampered. It is my personal observation, and this has not been research in dept but I have observed throughout the years I’ve seen male domination- in most of “women power” philosophies we have encouraged women adapting violence. We have come to the point where women are more violent- “imitating”- the bad side of the “macho men” or “chauvinist” they criticize, rather than giving them our years enforced knowledge of negotiation and talking things out. How many efforts have been made to make us like them, rather than equal in rights? How much is it about being allowed to do what they do, rather than sharing what we do while HE learns from us. Even in our fight for equality we have come to a point where we see ourselves inferior, we come to them, not the other way around. WHY?

Men are also being silenced. It was with great despair and sadness that I heard to horrible stories of men (young men- 11 and 8) being raped. They also reacted like most rape victims do, one has apathy and fear of new relationships, the other one is promiscuous, doesn’t respect his body or women. They haven’t been able to confess what has happened to them to families or professionals because they feel shame or fear of being laughed at. After all some have told them they should consider them lucky for having an early experience, that they were “the man” because of that. One of them after 14 years of the accident, haven’t been able to commit in a serious relationship and has issues making new personal relationships (friends or partners). The other one divides himself in two personalities. Great person, sweet and sensitive with girls, but when he feels he is opening up too much he engages in promiscuity, not being able to commit and having mini relationships of 1 to 2 months, leaving the girl behind. He even told me when he told me – I don’t respect women- and he even blames most women for how he acts with “what was I supposed to do, she jumped on to me”. Both have never received therapy, and is a strange way to go through life with fear. A fear kept silenced.

Now, ask why should they fear to speak out? How come no one sees their side as possible? Why should they suffer, how often unhealthy relationships are a result of traumatic experiences? How often we teach what a healthy one is? Which are our role models? Today I make a call to reverse the story, to put ourselves in their shoes. Today I consider gender roles. How many of the people that go through life breaking hearts had their hearts broken? What are our fears? What can we do to help? How can we manage to live to our fullest without passing through life “surviving”. This is for men who have been raped. Today I applaud those than even with fear, a fear kept in silence, chose to continue living.



There comes a time in your life where you’ve got to admit “they told you so”. When you start analyzing what happened, after your out of that, you notice that the signals where there all along. Then you punish yourself for a while because you cannot believe you let that happen, and then notice that maybe you knew all along, you just didn’t want to believe it.

Sometimes you believe in people that tell you they care. Then, when your emotions go through a rollercoaster, the worst time of your life, they seem to walk away. -“If you love me, why you leave me now!”- you seem to think; “you have been lying all along I see, and to think I putted my life at risk for you!”. So many times in life, people make promises they cannot keep or that they don’t mean. And so many times more, people fall for those false promises with a division: what you wish it would happen, and what is really happening.

You see yourself walking with your head down, feeling powerless, used, stupid and sad, very sad. You blame yourself, as many people victims of abuse blame themselves, when they shouldn’t. You get depressed because deep inside you know that they didn’t change at the last moment and showed you a different side of them you didn’t know. You don’t start the battle to the person that hurts you, on the contrary, you start the battle on yourself because you notice that you were walking away from the truth all along. You didn’t want to hear it, or see it, because you needed to fill what was empty and sometimes in your solitude you were comfortable with anybody that could fill that space. You were so needed of a lift, that you turned yourself away to find somebody that you thought could help, meanwhile you left yourself being handled and by doing that you let yourself down.

You’ve got to raise your head admitting you didn’t want to see the truth. The person that hurt you now is the same person that hurt you then, when you didn’t say anything; when that didn’t feel right. You have noticed you wanted to believe in the fairy tale and the castle you created in your story, while noticing it was nothing near that. You started having impulses of what you wanted to do and needed, and forgot to listen to your feelings and the consequences of letting yourself go. You may be sad now, because someone that said and promised isn’t there anymore; but you are sadder for the fact that you feel you knew that was going to happen. That happened because you started to shut down your voice.

It is time to rise against the silence of injustice and control. The time has come to speak, but first and foremost to listen. Is about not dividing yourself into what you think you want and what you really need. It’s giving you the opportunity of getting out of the cycle you have made for yourself. It is time to rise and face the darkness, to win the battle over your worst enemy: you.

A lot of people say that you should do what you love doing, that you should follow your heart or your mind and go ahead with a plan. But how will you do that, if you don’t even know yourself. What do you want? What do you need? Who can give that to you? Do you know you deserve it? Are you ready? As I read somewhere the other day: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Give yourself a chance, go on, celebrate who you are, battle your worries and take out of your life those who take your energy away, who give you problems, who give you nightmares.

Love yourself and understand you are worth every second possible. Go on… tell that person that left you down, tell that person that fights all the time, tell that person that pressures you, tell that person that puts you down: NO MORE! YOU CAN WIN THIS BATTLE! YOU CAN! YOU ARE WORTH IT! TAKE OUT THOSE ENERGY SUCKERS AND LIVE LIFE-once and for all- FOR WHAT YOU WANT, NOT WHAT OTHERS WANT FROM YOU…

I’m rooting for you!