Reflecting on 27

2017 was a very interesting year. It marked the year that I turned 27 – the same age my mother was when she made the decision to drop out of college in Puerto Rice to build a life here in NYC. This is also the age she took steps towards creating a family as she also met and later married my father. All of the above are major life events that I can’t even come close to relating to being single and still living in the same city I was born and raised in.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that does this but I think its only natural to look at the path my mother took in order to gain some sense as to where I should “be” at my age. Which is why reaching 27  meant that I should have parts of my life “together” as an adult and yet I found myself feeling like I hadn’t made any real moves. Continue reading

Let’s Get This Straight! – Natural Curls in the Workplace

Five years ago when I told my mother I had an interview for an internship position with a renowned fine art and antiquities auction house, her immediate reaction was, “go straighten your hair.” I had really long waist-length tightly curly hair—a gift from my mother’s side of the family—that tends to get a lot of unwanted attention. Though choosing to retain my natural texture for most of my life, I had a love-hate relationship with it- until I realized that my hair wasn’t a curse but something that made me more unique. Maintaining my curly hair was long, tedious process so as a child I often complained about my texture, while my mother was always the one championing  its natural beauty, so hearing her “go straighten your hair” declaration threw me off a bit. What did my hair have to do with my qualifications for the position?

A lot apparently.

2015 Office Selfie

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“We Were Here” – Concert OOTN ft. Dare Fashion

“You’re a tea drinking, highly educated, otaku, goth black Latina that listens to metal. That’s as out there  as it can be.” – Jonquel of JonquelArt

Truer words have never been spoken. I’m a “weird” Afro-Latina girl. I accepted that years ago. I watch anime, read comics and get excited by new Harry Potter and Disney merch/collections whenever they drop but weirder still for most people, I listen to A LOT of metal. Beyonce may be everyone’s queen but mine are Tarja TurnenSharon den Adel, Simone Simons and Floor Jansen. Yes, I did just list a bunch of Scandinavian names. What can I say? They are masters of the genre over there.
I should pause here to explain something. Metal is a very broad term that covers countless sub-genres, one of them being symphonic metal – a genre I was introduced to around 2005 with “Once,” Nightwish’s final album with lead singer Tarja Turnen. I found out about this band thanks in part to the internet and my obsession with the “Phantom of the Opera.” (Long story but true.) I somehow got my hands on a copy of “Once” and with the first verse of “Sleeping Sun” I was hooked. Continue reading

The Black (and Pink) Parade

Two years ago Warner Brothers Records released a My Chemical Romance (MCR) Black Parade jacket in honor of the 10-year anniversary of the band’s third studio album. As a teen bands like Story of the Year, Linkin Park, HIM and MCR were my life back in high school. More so MCR with their work being about pain, and moving on and as you can expect they heavily influenced my style back then. (Even though I was goth and not emo but that is a discussion for another blog post.)  So when this jacket was announced I wanted it. BADLY.  Sadly I was unemployed at the time so I didn’t have the funds necessary to buy it. By the time I got around to having said funds to buy it, all of the larger sizes were already sold out and I had to accepted the fact that I would have to wait until possibly the 20 year re-release to even get the chance to own reminiscent of that design.
That is until last month when I received a Facebook message from a friend that read, “I was shopping for a jacket and I came across a Marlena-jacket.” I clicked on the accompanying link and had no choice but to agree. Not only was it black and pink (aka my favorite colors), the overall military-inspired design immediately bought the aforementioned Black Parade-era of MCR to mind for me. I purchased it immediately and I don’t regret it at all. Continue reading

When Positive Changes Lead to Negative Reactions….

Time for some real talk – I have hated myself since I was around 6 years old.

That was around the time when three things happened: (1) My parents separated which later led to divorce, (2) My mother, little brother and I ended up homeless for the first time and (3) It was the first time I was told I had to lose weight.  Of the three obviously there are two things on this short list that should hold more weight in terms of importance, yet they all greatly affected my self-esteem, body image and mental health.

These pictures were taken only 4 years apart! Same dress (Kara Lace Dress from SWAK) but different attitude. (Left -2017, Right – 2014)

It wasn’t until I entered my 20s, inspired by the bloggers I followed online, that I decided to look past the qualities that others celebrated and worked on loving the “flaws” I was always told I should make every effort to correct.  I replaced my old wardrobe with new items. I learned to accept compliments. I started experimenting with makeup in ways that I found comfortable. I accessorized more. I cut my hair. Twice, even going shorter the second time. I’ve colored my hair a bold color. By all accounts, I’ve become a different person. Continue reading