Vulnerable x 20(18)
To be quite honest, I know honest people don’t say that, and maybe that’s precisely why I’m saying that. 2018 has been hard. I think it’s LA, it’s always weird to be back and to adjust, and maybe in some ways, I didn’t want to come back, so I have been reluctant to accept it. It’s been an adventure, and I have had some amazing opportunities, but it’s been hard. However, New Year’s 2018 I’ll always remember, besides the whole Vegas being up for 24 hours thing, is my yellow rose I got while at The Bellagio. While so simple and so beautiful, but me being who I am, I made it a symbol. A symbol of the year to come. Beautiful, welcoming, friendly, loving, self-loving, and while I might hit a few thorns it’ll be lovely, absolutely, undoubtedly lovely. And I believed it and still do.
This yellow rose survived me and 2018 for 24 hours of dancing, casinos, and desert heat with no water and once finally back in LA I put it in a mason jar, and it bloomed, and bloomed and filled my room with the subtlest hint of rose for the whole month of January. Truthfully, it still looked lovely up until today, but just got a little dried out. My plan was to dry it in between the page of my notebook so that I could save this symbol, my symbol for 2018. However, to my disappointment I waited too long, it was too dry, and when I closed the notebook, it entirely crumbled. My first thought: wtf. My symbol for 2018 gone because I waited too long and then tried to preserve something that had already served its purpose. That is inheritably one of my most significant flaws, the fact that when it is time for something to leave my life I try to hold on to it even stronger and preserve it, and it crumbles. However my second thought: content! I mean I do work in social media, and some habits are hard to quit.
So after I created my A-1 content, peep below. I got to thinking (not to go Millennial Carrie Bradshaw on you all, and get carried away) but I figured if I made this yellow rose and arbitrary symbol for 2018 why not stick with it. I thought about the person I was in 2017 and how in so many ways I had become so strong and tough, and not in a good way, but in a way that was hindering to my life. 2017 was hard, like call your parents crying at 3 am, find a new place to live, process childhood memories and ending your relationship of 2 years hard. It felt like one life lesson after another. And because of that, I became resilient, but I also lost a lot of my humanness, my ability to be relatable and put others before myself. I felt as though so much of my year was focused on staying alive and “making it” it was hard to focus or think of anyone besides myself. Not to mention moving to Europe that was literally “me, myself, and I,” melodramatic, sure, but much needed.
2017 taught me in many ways to love myself and to learn to spend time with myself and not to feel reliant on others. I felt as though I didn’t need anyone else because relying on others is weak and it often leads to hurt and that I couldn’t do, it scared me. I figured I would just be this badass babe, CEO and I would do it on my own without anyone’s help. Sure, cool still the plan, and doable but like the yellow rose that shattered to its core maybe it was time for me to destroy the walls I built (how happy are you all that I’m not auditioning for the Bachelor because this is TV gold right here) and be vulnerable again, vulnerable to my core.
I want to be vulnerable again. Genuinely vulnerable because I think that is the only way to experience life. I don’t want to look back on my life, on my deathbed, and think about all the should-have, could-have, would-have moments if I would have just been more vulnerable in that one moment how things might have turned out. I envy the people that have been through hardships in life and have managed to stay vulnerable. Not the fake, happiness, everything is fine facade vulnerable that I am guilty of, but genuine vulnerability. Often many of the hardships that we go through in life, when we turn up on the other side we have built up walls or become scared. This idea of fear is one that I think is the most detrimental because that is the one that will keep you in jobs you hate, in friendships that drain you, and in relationships that make you unhappy. That fear that this is how things are meant to be and this is the best it’ll get because you are too afraid to leave it all behind and feel alone, even just momentarily so you suffer. If 2017 taught me anything it was that that fear wasn’t worth it and sometimes setting your whole life on fire just to cut off the dead ends, it’s worth it, but I also set my vulnerability on fire in the process.
My goal for 2018 is to break down my walls, not wait for someone to do it for me, but to break them down so that I can embrace others with honest and genuine vulnerability. I think it is funny, and something I am guilty of too, but this idea that we are afraid of other humans. We are scared of feeling rejected by them or saddened by them. Why? They are just people just like you, and I and at their core, they want the same things that we do, love, acceptance, and happiness. I think that if we work to bring out our vulnerability, we will bring it out in others too and work together to be loving, accepting, and happier.
So in 2018 (I am putting this down in writing so you all can hold me accountable) But I vow to be more vulnerable. I want to be vulnerable enough that when I see a cute guy at a bar to go up to him, not stand in a circle with my friends talking about him. I want to embrace every emotion fully. I want to be open enough and silly enough off first embrace I don’t want first impressions to be built off of reservations that need to be broken down but rather embraces filled with engagement and interest. And I want to be vulnerable enough to cry if I feel like crying and not feel the need to say, “sorry that I’m so emotional, I’m getting my period soon.” No, I am emotional because I am human and have emotions, and sometimes they are sad, sometimes they are happy. During a time where we have an administration that considers “vulnerable” to be a dirty word, I think it is even more critical that we are more vulnerable and kind with ourselves and others.
I know that every dream and plan I have for my future career I can accomplish on my own, but I don’t want to do it on my own I want to do it with the support and love of others and for others that builds a community along the way. I especially want a love that is so pure it’s boring, and I don’t want to settle for anything besides that. No sleepless nights, fights, and doubts. I’ve experienced the loves where you feel like without that person you can’t breathe or the passionate love and the emotional fights. I don’t want it. It’s draining and burns out quick.
I also want to be more vulnerable for my writing. Writing like any form of art is exposing yourself and your life to others and building a human connection or sharing a story that they can relate to. I think for the longest time I have had writer's block and I always wrote it off to be that “I only write when I am in love or falling out of love.” That’s bullsh*t, and a crutch or I can’t write because “I’m too busy” that’s also bullsh*t. It was because I didn’t want to be vulnerable at least not in an honest way. I tried to paint this picture that everything was chill, it was cool, and under control. I can handle it. Whatever. I was a total whatever girl, nothing could hurt me, and nothing could phase me, it was safe. Opening myself up again to write is scary, you never know how others are going to relate or react, but I want to do it, for the art and myself. And for me sharing all this with you all is vulnerability in its purest form.
So let’s be vulnerable together in 2018 *barf* I know, but I kind of love it.
Me in middle school. Old MySpace photos for authenticity.
Today was one of those days when I woke up with a headache, to a sky filled with smog, where I couldn’t see past what felt like 3 feet, and I just overall felt tired and over it. Half hoping I just passed out midway through getting ready in the morning so I'd actually have a reason for feeling the way I did; obviously I didn’t. This mood of just feeling “meh” carried on into my day until I finally ended up in Whole Foods, unnecessarily shopping for lunch and things I didn’t need.
While at Whole Foods, I decided to call my mother and just basically, complain. I had no real reason for calling her, nothing urgent, nothing catastrophic, but instead, I couldn’t shake my morning mood of “meh” along with to current state of uncertainty that fills my life. I am 23 and life is filled with making decisions and quite frankly the idea of failure or making the wrong decision freaks me out. I am beyond worried that a choice I make now will have a snowball effect on my life 20-30-40 years down the line. In fact, no decision of mine holds any real weight. I am 23. And even if what might momentarily feel like the wrong decision will either correct itself or I can change it, time is on my side.
So while I was strolling through the aisle of Whole Foods deciding which brand of organic quinoa I was buying this week, and my mother was listening to me debate the same two things back and forth. Bless my parents for answering my calls because in most cases I am deciding between two lunch options; my mother decided to share a current event with me.
There is a women that is Freelancing at the company my mom works for who my mother has become close with for two specific reasons: 1. The woman is a single mother, and for the first three years of my life she raised me on her own. Than when we came to the US my parents both worked two jobs in the beginning or were balancing work and school and the fact that they didn’t have any real friends or family in the US to help out (typical immigrant stuff). Plus, moms always relate about being moms and raising kids. 2. Because as many of you know my little sister was bullied intensely in middle school for being petite. While she isn’t as short anymore, she is still significantly skinnier and looks about 12. My parents know the battle of fighting the school while your child is being bullied and nothing happening. The woman that works with my mom has a 13-year-old daughter in middle school who is being bullied. Recently it escalated to the point where it became a physical altercation. Now I don’t know who started the fight, why it started, or any of the details, but I do know, during the fight, the bully managed to rip out 3-4 braids out of the girls head, HER ACTUAL HAIR WAS RIPPED OUT. Then after the fight got broken up the little girl, 13-year-old, who was bullied, and just had her hair ripped out, got put in handcuffs.
Now I don’t know what is the protocol for school fights, I don’t know if that is normal. I couldn’t imagine that the policeman/school security/teachers who broke up the fight couldn’t manage to keep two 13-year-old girls apart without having to handcuff one of them. I mean 13-year-old girls are tiny probably weigh around 120, but again I don’t know the protocol. Now that part of this story that has been on my mind all day, and motivated me to write...
The little girl that just had her braids ripped out of her head, who I am sure was bleeding and in pain told her mother after that she wasn’t concern about her hair, and it being ripped from her head, but she was worried once she got handcuffed that she was about to get beaten by the cops.
The little girl is black. And while I have never pretended to understand the extent of racism and race issues in America, or globally really, and I hope no one has ever thought I have pretended to know or “act black” or “think I was black” because until hearing this story I knew there was a race issue in America, but I don’t think I entirely got it, and probably still don't, but while I have never been black, will never be black, and will never understand what it is like to be black, I have been a 13-year-old girl.
I have been a 13-year-old girl, and I know that during that time in your life you have so much going on in between hormones, and guys sucking, and other girls can just be b*tches, it’s tough, and you cry all the time for no reason. My point is, being a 13-year-old girl is hard enough without being handcuffed and being fearful for your life. And even though I haven’t been bullied first hand, I’ve seen it from my sister’s perspective; I know how hurtful it is and how much it sucks.
And I also know one thing for sure that if at 13, or truthfully now, if I got into a physical altercation with another girl, where my hair had been ripped out, and the police handcuffed me. I think I would be more worried about my hair than the fact that I was handcuffed and what was going to happen next, and that folks, is white privilege. The idea that at that moment I can be more concerned about my physical appearance than to be fearful for my life is the perfect example of privilege that I could have never made up.
I did not write this to share my privilege, and I don’t know why I wrote it besides the fact that I have had friends, white friends, share with me the idea that they don’t think there are race issues in America or don’t understand the situation with cop XXXXX and XXXXX. White friends have asked why I don’t say the “n-word” and why there “isn’t a white history month?” People who very clearly don’t see their privilege and think in some way think that by minorities getting a voice they are losing theirs and “their power.” For those friends that have done the above I just want to ask you, if you got into a fight and got your hair ripped out would you be more worried about the status of your hair or your safety after you got handcuffed? And until you can tell me wholeheartedly you would be more concerned about your safety than until that moment you have to acknowledge your privilege and know that you are not “losing your voice.”
I hope, I really hope that you will always be there for your friend's of color and other minorities and work to improve their quality of life. If nothing else listen to your friends and their stories and their side of things, and do not feel threatened by their voice but rather feel empowered when those around you feel powered. Until that moment comes, I hope you help to echo their causes and explain to those that don’t understand, what you know and what you can explain to help bridge the gap on our experience on earth and life for those around you.
Because I am going to try, try more.
BRB in Europe
I figured it was time for another life update, so by now I am sure many of you have noticed I am still in Europe. What originally started off as a two-week trip, turned into a month, and now has turned into “I’ll be back in LA for New Year’s.” I didn’t really plan for this, I only brought one suitcase full of clothes, and none of them are "real" Winter clothes; truthfully, I don’t know if I am ready for the possibility of snow, so please send hot chocolate and your best advice!!! Nonetheless, I have decided to extend my trip for a few reasons, and since I am become quite the list girl, here’s a few reasons why:
I guess in a weird way it's a reminder to me that I am only 23, besides being able to provide for myself, I can pretty much be as selfish with my time and decision that I want. If anyone is currently going through the stress of having to graduate and not know what is coming next. I will be the first to tell you that it is going to be a rollercoaster, but once you're on you won't want to get off. You'll figure it out, we all will, and we do, but for now enjoy it all, and stay gold, Ponyboy!
I’ll see the rest of you in January!
20 Years in the USA
Momma and I landed at Miami International Airport this day today, 20 years ago. Wild. Time as a concept is funny because looking back it has flown by, but I know there are some moments that looking back felt like they were going to last forever, high school, and there are some moments where I swear I can put myself back into and relive through my memories. Even some smells will place me in a specific time, location, or with a certain person.
Looking back I can't imagine what thoughts were going through my head the moment this photo was taken. Maybe the bottoms of the flowers really were all that consumed my thoughts then. Maybe there was a little fear, I imagine there would be, but I honestly couldn't imagine my life growing up anywhere else. How different would it have been. Who would have been my best friends? my lovers? my heartbreaks? where would I have traveled?
I think we often live our life in hindsight looking back, and I think that is when we have the most clarity. Often times in the moment we get clouded with thoughts and emotions that distract ourselves from truly enjoying life. In hindsight we can always look back and realize how great that experience was. I want to get better at enjoying the moment in the present rather than when I look back in hindsight.
So here is to the next 20!
Also, can I bring back the vest? thoughts?
Till We Meet Again
Peaceful is what comes to mind when I think of you.
I love who I became because of you. The views, the memories, I'll cherish them all. Oh sweet 1976, you are perfect to me.
We grew and flourished together just like the plants on my floor. Being absolutely humble while saying this, but I have a SERIOUS green thumb.
Please refer to my contact page for any plant/garden advice.
Los Angeles…. Oh my lord! How did we begin this love affair? Truthfully I can’t recall the first time I heard about California or heard a song that sang your sweet melody, but I do remember the first time I visited, I’m a sucker, it was summertime, and I’m a summertime lover.
From that first trip back in 2011 there wasn’t a moment of that time that I would change. Endlessly, is how much I talked about you after, and how I longed to get kissed by your golden sunset once more. You see no matter what you think of LA before you visit it’ll never exactly be what you thought it to be until you find “your place.” While initially that might sound off putting, but it is true. Very quickly you learn if you are “hispster” enough for Silverlake, or craving that lust from the entrainment world in Hollywood, or maybe you’re mellow enough to bike to the beach in Venice. Whatever it may be the biggest advice I have to anyone in LA is learn yourself, and love yourself because through that you’ll find “your place.”
My place just happens to be Los Feliz, while relatively unknown to most tourist it has become my home. From Franklin to Avocado St all the way to the hustle of Los Feliz Blvd you’re exactly what I was looking for in LA. The tall palms that kiss the golden sunset, as it sets behind Griffith Park is a view I enjoy most nights. Or maybe it’s the little sidewalk cafés and the Italian restaurant under my apartment that has me convinced you’re home. Whatever it is, the fact that I found this place is an absolute movie. I should note at this point I am a glass of red wine in, so I might be a little wine drunk on LA, but even when the buzz fades “thankful” is the only word that comes to mind.
For the sake of honesty, and I consider myself an honest person, I figured I should divulge on some details in my life. It’s been a while since we last talked, but back in May I celebrated my one-year anniversary in LA, and how wonderful that was. Leading up to that moment though I had, had a boyfriend, lost a boyfriend, had an internship, had a job, lived by USC, lived in DTLA, and then moved to Los Feliz. Everything up until the moment I moved to Los Feliz felt like one huge life lesson after another, there were tears involved and midnight phone calls to my parents. However, from the second I stepped foot in my little studio apartment a sense of calmness filled my life. Life got relatively stable I had a place of my own, a very well paid job with an insanely popular clothing label, and a solid group of homies in the city. You see though, while I was content, and comfortable, I wasn’t truly happy or hungry for more in my life, which is fine, it’s livable, and I would have kept on in that comfort.
Inevitably, though life is funny, and now here I am my stomach full from a meatball sandwich and red wine on a Wednesday night as a pen my lover letter to LA because I am currently….unemployed (pause for dramatization). Even though that is my absolute reality at this moment, and it is worth noting that the reason for this recent change in employment is just business as usual and nothing personal, it is still my realty. However, being what I have gone though in the last year (tears, belly laughs, butterflies, anxiety, and absolute contentment) I am confident in that LA will hold me through this moment of uncertainty just how we did a year ago when I was scrambling to find a place to live and instead found a neighborhood I’ll forever call home. So while I appreciate any absolute concerns of empathy you might have for me, I know LA and I’ll be ok, no back up plan needed. You see in the end of the day, it’s me and the city, and the city she loves me.
While I have more to share, and this is just he beginning of what I hope to be a long lasting endeavor, I thought I’d pen together this piece to let you all know I’m alright, and I’ll still be home for the Holidays.
Lalala One Year With You LA
All of life's grand moments should be covered with a photoshoot.
The story behind this grand photo shoot is I had been talking about Del Taco since the moment I landed, think Miley Cyrus singing about Jay-Z, but it was me...with Mexican food.
Everyone has their something.
So the lovely Maria Fernanda (Instagram:@fernandariveraphoto) agreed to capture my first bites ! And truthfully, while I will probably be sticking to Taco Bell as my fast food Mexican of choice, LA and I have at least a few more good years in us. Because in LA I got my independence in more ways than one and it just feels right. Things are flowing and moving, and life is pretty groovy.
But it wouldn't be my first year if I didn't give a shout out to all the things I learned:
A glimpse into my ever changing life through the words I've typed.