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 Rico 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

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

V-Day, Me-Day

Five years ago a close friend and I decided to give “us” a try and my first thought that spring was how I finally had someone to go on my “dream date” with. Christmas is the time of year I actually consider to be romantic so when we broke up a couple of months later that summer, not only was I heartbroken that our “relationship” never had a real chance, but being “alone” again meant that  I couldn’t go on that date. For the rest of the year I moped about this. Well, I did until I took myself on the date instead and I found myself loving every minute to it.

This has become a bit of a tradition for me since then, though I have branched out of doing this solely in the month of December. And while I learned that I can enjoy my own company, I love that in the five years since that day I have met people with similar interests that I also can share  experiences with. I also take great care to show them just how much their friendship means to me at every opportunity including Valentine’s day.
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