10.4.16 

I feel like I have been given so many opportunities in my life that really challenge me and push me to grow in some new way. I’ve had highs and lows in relationships, mental health, work –just life in general and I can’t help but think about this journey. It’s only just beginning and I am so happy that I am in a place where I feel so comfortable with myself and am proud of who I have become. 

This month has been a whirlwind of adventures and it is only just beginning. I had the time of my life in Portugal with my family and…drum roll…my fiancé ♡♡. Yup, my girlfriend, partner, best friend is now my fiancé. I could not have asked for a more magical and intimate proposal. The level of planning to pull off a surprise proposal, in another country, where we dont speak the language, on the top of a mountain..I mean it was just incredible. 

We went straight to our mini getaway to Lagos, which was beyond beautiful, and the perfect place to celebrate our engagement. Ah, engagement!! We are engaged and I could not be more happy than I am in this moment. It’s strange because aside from this ring nothing has changed, but everything has changed at the same time. Things have just gotten so clear and I feel so lucky to have found the person that I genuinely want to spend my life with. Where we are both starting from the beginning and building our lives together. 

It was overwhelming to see the amount of support we received from friends and family over the last few weeks. It was like all the hate and ignorance was silenced if even for a few moments in time

So incredibly happy ♡ much more to come soon ♡ 

It’s been a long time

I know it has been an intensely long time since my last post. I had a really roller coaster summer and between searching for jobs and dealing with some emotional stuff I was more focused on journaling than blogging. The truth is I am still struggling with striking the balance on this blog. It is a little bit of everything…with that though comes the need for reflection. 

Therapist is not only my profession it is a part of who I am. I process a lot of things on a daily basis. Some may say I over process things, but for me it is such an integral step of my day to day that I do it because it is the one way I know I won’t turn away from a struggle or obstacle. I try to allow myself to understand and feel my way through things that happen in life. Thankfully, now that I have been at my new job for about a week I feel like I have some breathing room again. This summer was trying and there were points where I lost myself a little bit. I felt inbetween a lot of things — a continuous battle to understand where certain relationships in my life were headed and being seriously honest with myself about where I really want them to go based on their current state. 

In the past I have been ashamed of who I am and I feel that I have worked hard to come to a point where I am comfortable with myself. I know my experience and I understand how it has impacted where I stand today. That being said it is never easy to face loss. Loss of my job, loss of friendships, and loss of key support systems…no matter what the loss it can take a hold of anyone to the point where they lose sight of everything they still have. That is exactly what was happening for me and as I have gone through the process of grieving those loses (still am in the process if I am being honest) I have been able to reacknowledge the things I do have. 

I know that it has been a long time since I have written here, but I am ready to get back into it. I am ready to continue down this path and remember why I began this blog in the first place. It is a celebration of my life- all aspects of it. If this summer has taught me anything it is that we, as humans, can never put more stock in others or things than we put stock in ourselves and our own growth. We must celebrate each day not only for the good things that happen, but for our resilience and our ability to overcome obstacles and stay standing despite the loss or prejudice we face. 

This blog may seem inconsequential to others, but it is an important part of me that I do not want to give up. I’m ready to continue loving life and really live everything because everything, even the pain, I’ve come to realize, has value and yields growth. 

♡ 

5 things to never say to lesbians

Due to some oh so inspiring experiences lately…some of my personal dont’s:

  • So how do you have sex…I mean do you like use something?

Ignorance is just so not bliss in this case. While having a sex talk with my hetero girlfriends’ one of them launched this question at me. It was semi-awkward to be asked if I used sex toys as opposed to them all just sharing about their sex lives without probing questions…but yeah…hmm…maybe try to just let me share with comfort vs questioning.

  • “Oh, did you know my aunt married a woman?”

Being pulled into a conversation between my two friends (that I had nothing to do with) because my friend vocalized that her aunt married a woman…but then got a divorce was an interesting experience. Especially given the fact that there was absolutely no way I would have known that tidbit about her family nor do I feel persona
lly validated by the information. There seems to be this idea that I just know all lesbians within a six degree of separation to me. I felt like answering, “Actually no, I didn’t see her name registered on the website of lesbians of the tri-state area.” Contrary to popular belief we don’t all know each other nor do we feel special with knowledge of lesbians in your family.download

  • I totally didn’t know you were dealing with that (homophobia) on a daily basis.

While my friends are wonderful and for the most part open without question they sometimes do not understand or recognize their privilege. We all are privileged in different ways and I know it takes time to acknowledge them, but the feeling of being further minimized is frustrating. Take a minute to check the reality of heterosexism – it’s alive and well.

  • Refer to her as “the lesbian” or “your lesbian friend”

There is nothing that frustrates me more than being minimized and labeled by my sexuality. I don’t identify my friends as you know I met her in college, brown hair, tall….the straight one. That is just not how it works. Please don’t qualify my existence by some stereotype you have that you think sums me up. It is not okay under any circumstances.

  • Can you kiss her for me? Use tongue.

This was asked of my girlfriend and I at a party less than a week ago. The ultimate don’t goes to the disgusting, perverted requests that lesbians get on a daily basis. We do not exist for your amusement or pleasure. We are human. Lesbian is not a sex act.

That’s all for now…comment and share if you agree with any of these ❤ Tell me about your experiences ❤

moments

han sido momentos
moments in life that feel
impenetrable
even by the most negative of forces

moments that can pause our internal clocks
the ones whose chime we so unconsciously follow
the habitual actions,
routines,
patterns —
pause
just for these moments

moments,
moments that sing to the very deepest of ourselves —
the parts we ignore
and neglect
the parts that – if we are honest – are our truest

slowly in these pauses
pieces of time unravel
authenticity blossoms
and we are able to rediscover
if only
for a moment
the shadowed,
mysterious,
hidden
pieces of our souls

the light and the darkness
blend in the complexity that reality does not allow
they reveal themselves fully,
without caution
or haste
at their own speed
and to their own satisfaction

it is in these moments —
moments out of our control
that we challenge the pale shades of day
and find ourselves ignited —
empowered to move forward
to turn the pauses into reality —
to cross the shackles of society
and truly be
free,
uninhibited by the patterns and routines that hold us hostage
our mind unleashed – free too from the laboring rumination that weakens us

now
allowing us to piece together the moments —
stitching the tattered edges,
closing the gaps until
we transcend the impenetrable forces that compound our senses
until the fading moments transition into day
patternless and
new —
without definition – unfixed
– authentic –
like the deepest pieces brought forward

free
at last
free to exist fully
without pauses
for more than just a moment now —
forever

inspired by a wonderful weekend with friends in this awesome place below ❤

9479749270_a8b7aa2b0d_b

apple tree

Emma and Regina walked hand and hand down the pathway toward Regina’s apple tree. There was no one in sight and Regina took that freedom to pull Emma in a bit closer. They had just sent Henry off to meet David and Snow at Granny’s so they knew they wouldn’t be interrupted. Regina brought Emma in closer, facing one another she slowly looked up and down Emma’s face, caught momentarily along the bold curvature of her cheekbones Regina inadvertently blushed. Emma looked deeply into Regina’s eyes, a slight smirk played across her face as Regina blushed. The intensity between them was rigid. Emma ran her hands moved Regina’s back with ease, as if her fingers remembered the delicate pathways learned between the shadows. The small steps that each finger laced along her back brought Regina yearning sensations, thoughts and images floating about them from the stolen nights and glances passed.

Each kiss felt like an explosion of time. Time they had spent waiting and wanting one another. Time filled with stolen touches, glances across tables, smiling eyes that could only be understood by one another – each moment was pressed tightly against the other in complete ecstasy. There was no division, no labels, no evil queen, no savior, no Snow, no David – it was just them, alone in that moment. Regina pressed her forehead against Emma’s releasing a deep, anguishing breath, “I want this always,” she whispered to Emma in sultry sing-song melody of her voice. “Me too” she said as she ran her hands back up her body, landing squarely around Regina’s face, “You are my forever.” Tears began to run down her face as she turned away.

Regina walked around the tree admiring its strong branches. Emma followed her, watching her hands on the lower branches, stopping on the shortest. “Do you remember when I caught you sawing my tree?” Regina looked at Emma wisely. “Yes,” she said with a chuckle, “You nearly killed me that day.” Emma put her hand on Regina’s and they shared a smile. “One day it will be easier for us,” she paused, “less pressure and expectation, more space for us to just be us, together.” Emma kissed each part of her face and Regina melted into her. “I love you.” Regina’s eyes full of tears. “I love you,” Emma said, “I always will.”

thank you, bella mia

I haven’t been writing lately at all. I don’t think I have wanted to make these feelings real by putting them down in words, but I guess my grace period is over. I lost my job and am on a frantic hunt for a new one. It was the perfect storm of crap that makes me feel sad to be a part of the field that I am in sometimes. When I am shown the reality of the politics in the mental health field it is utterly discouraging. I have been feeling really low about it all. I cannot help but feel like I have completely failed. I am a statistic; 25, broke, drowning in loans, and jobless.

I have been struggling with having to be on top of it all for my entire life. It has led to so many issues in so many aspects of my life, but I am so incredibly thankful for my girlfriend who has been so supportive for the last two weeks. I honestly do not know what made her walk into my life or how I got so freaking lucky. She has been my rock, unwavering and totally and completely supportive. She is my everything – and no matter what is happening around our relationship and lives she is my constant and it makes me so proud to be beside her.

These past few weeks have been so full of ups and downs, many downs, but I still feel so lucky. I feel fortunate to have what I do have. I wish that I was able to share this feeling more completely and truly encompass the amazingness of what it feels like to feel safe in my relationship. To feel protected and nurtured and valued even when I feel less than I ever have before she lifts me up. It has been the most incredible experience that I have ever had with anyone that I have been with and I wish that people would just drop the crappy homophobic backsplash that is my life.

It’s like I am constantly on a teeter-totter of emotions, but I have my solid, my rock, and she is the best..and just got home from work so I’ll be going now!

memory lane

NOS BESAMOS ANOCHE – 1.31.14

nos besamos anoche

y el latido de mi corazón despertó

me lo pediste

y cada luz adentro de mi ser encendió

quería gritar …sí

sí, amorcito

bésame

acércate a mí

quiero probar tus labios

esos labios dulces que me han capturada

pasamos horas hablando,

hablamos de la vida,

de nuestras experiencias

de lo que queremos

quiero que me des un chance,

una oportunidad de mostrarte mi corazón,

de compartirlo contigo

de decirte que al verte mi corazón se llena

yo sé que tienes miedo, amor

miedo de abrir tu corazón a una persona que habla más de su falta de experiencia que nada

pero

aunque no te puedo prometer la perfección

te prometo mi honestidad,

mi fidelidad,

y mi cariño

no puedo decir que va a pasar

ni donde este camino nos llevará

así es el amor

hay que correr el riesgo,

es la única manera de crecer

ten confianza, preciosa

dame un chance

juntas correremos el riesgo de crecer,

de ser honestas,

de abrir nuestros corazones a las posibilidades eternas que componen el amor

 

what your silence really means

I am still struggling with processing the horrific tragedy in Orlando, FL this past weekend. Waking up I could not have imagined that while my girlfriend and I were readying ourselves for the upcoming NYC Pride Parade that we would hear such heartbreaking news.

The shooting at Pulse nightclub is one that has had a profound impact on the world, especially to those in the LGBTQ community. It has brought up conversations around the continuing and very valid fears members of LGBTQ community face on a daily basis. Recently I wrote a guest post on the realities of being a lesbian millennial managing adulthood that focused on this very reality; The Millennial Mind Fuck: Coming Out, Adulting, and Keeping it Real.

This massacre is the deadliest shooting in US History. Although there are numerous outlets and vigils dedicated to acknowledging the clear homophobic roots of the attack there are many that are trying to avoid even casually stating this very obvious reality. Even more distressing homophobic people are flocking to social media to congratulate the shooter on “doing God’s work”. Trying to make sense of all of this is not easy and I encourage anyone who is feeling triggered by the events or the media coverage in any way to seek services. I will have a list of hotlines below.

When I looked through my feed on facebook and tumblr I was overwhelmed by the coverage from every outlet I follow – from Buzzfeed to the New York Times to my snap chat – I was completely entrenched in the thick of the details and the names and stories of the victims and survivors. I searched for the supportive embrace of friends and family, but to my ultimate and unfortunate surprise I saw their absence completely. Not one of my family members posted a word about this on their social media pages or even reached out to me. In addition a large group of my friends, especially the straight ones, seemed to be ignoring it holistically.IMG-20160614-WA0001

The silence from these people and news outlets says something a lot stronger than what I think they even realize. It says we are invisible; that despite the fact that the battle that we face privately on a daily basis became public in a horrible way, it is still being unimportant. That feeling, that invisibility that is so real on so many different levels is exactly why I have come to love pride month. It is a month where we are supposed to be able to express ourselves openly and find acknowledgment in our community.

I hate so much that this tragedy took place in one of our sanctuaries, but it is so beautiful to see the people who ARE coming out in support of the LGBTQ community. Let’s keep things in perspective and come together. This year will be me and my girlfriend’s first visit to the pride parade in NYC (comment if you have no one to go with and want to explore it with an awesome group of gays) and we are so so excited to spend it with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

WE ARE ORLANDO – WE HAVE A RIGHT TO EXIST – WE ARE VALID.

My hope is that in the face of this tragedy our country will be inspired to make change. Prayer is simply not enough. We need serious policy change. It is our right to feel safe in our communities, in churches, on our streets, and in our celebrations. Speak up and end the silence.

Hotlines – click the links to see hours:

GLBT National Hotline 1-888-843-4564

GLBT National Youth Talkline 1-800-246-7743 (Serving youth through age 25).

Online Peer-Support Chat

Trans Teens Online Talk Group (A weekly moderated group for trans teens ages 12-19 Wednesdays 4-6 pm pacific

 

no control

I think one of the hardest feelings I have ever had to deal with is when I have absolutely no control over a situation. I struggle with this in so many aspects of my life. I conceptually understand the reality of being at my level in my career and also my role within my family, however, wrestling with this feeling is so difficult for me.

Currently I am dealing with a very difficult work situation in which my hands are literally tied. The only thing I can do is wait for directive by my supervisors and hope for the best outcome. To clarify, for me, not going to work and waiting for other people to resolve a conflict for me is one of the most agonizing ways I could ever think of to pass time. I am struggling hard and spiraling in a mind-numbing review of every possible outcome while naturally, for me, ruminating on the worst of all these outcomes which would be me getting fired and not being able to terminate with the kids I have been working with all year.

I’ve had a rough go of it, but when I tell you that I have just found myself in very unlucky and unfavorable positions that is the truth. I was discriminated against and when I filed a complaint my last agency closed ranks and backed me into a corner. I had no choice other than to leave way earlier than I anticipated at less than a year with the agency, which makes me appear flighty. There was no way I could be happy there, but now, even though I have found an agency I love, I am in a situation in which I have absolutely no recourse. I am stuck at the bottom of a large hierarchy of people who are handling things and can do absolutely nothing about it. I made a very small, generally dumb mistake, I take ownership of it, but the reaction by the administration of the school that I work is completely out of proportion with what I did. I wish there was some magic wand that could be waved over this situation or possibly even a time machine to take me back, but I’m not sure even if there was I would feel differently than I do now.

I believe the voices of the kids I work with are important and should be heard. I also don’t think that curse words are necessarily bad things – I mean come on, we all curse. It is when curses become put downs toward another person that they become aggressive and wrong. I acknowledge that this is not the societal view and that most adults would rather ignore the reality that teens use curses, slang, and put-downs all the time, but I have never been one to ignore reality. So when the time came to display little pieces of art that students made regarding names they have been called as a way to pledge against using those names and acknowledging that they are more than just what others label them I jumped at the opportunity to display them proudly. They were not created in a vacuum. This artwork was created with specific intention and processing as a group of how these labels affect each and every one of us. The strength each student displayed in writing it down and acknowledging their own worth is incredible and should be celebrated. Unfortunately, it was met with contention and torn down, and I was penalized for displaying it in the first place.

Although I can conceptually understand discomfort with the display I in no way can acknowledge that it is okay to rip it off the walls. Conversations could have been had and no one’s artwork had to be damaged in the process. So as I sit here, unable to return to my site, I feel angry and frustrated. I feel like I am being ousted and made to feel inferior and incompetent by the school administration. This feeling is being further strengthened every moment that I am not allowed to return to my job. Further, I feel as though it opens up to a larger topic of censorship in schools and how it impacts the development of students. Children need freedom and space to express themselves without self-censor. I remember while doing these activities the sense of relief students described when I told them it could be anything, they could curse, they could draw, and that I encouraged them to pull from their own experiences. It was like I was releasing them from chains which allowed them to reach deeper within themselves for those connectors which will, hopefully, open them to greater change and positive growth — now if only that were understood by the higher ups in the school.

So when faced with this situation where I cannot respond with anything I am trying to figure out how I can manage it a bit better and actually be productive despite being out of the school. This has helped, writing things down has always been something I could do to help ease uncomfortable feelings, but I need more. I am open to suggestions, any suggestion really. Please. Anything at all because at this point, from my position, it is all looking quite bleak.

i will not be silenced

I just need to say something. I need to rip the band aid right off because it is seriously weighing on my heart. I have been caught in a whirlwind of ruminating thoughts since Friday. I finally thought I had begun handling everything that was already coming up because of my stress, but then Friday happened. When I was walking into the middle school that I work in I was cat called by an older guy on a bicycle. I threw out my normal response to those types of instances which is a swift “fuck you, you idiot” and I kept it pushing. This happens semi-regularly in the town that I work in, but I could have never anticipated what would happen just an hour and a half later.

I was wearing one of my favorite dresses. It has a swoop in the back that shows off my tattoos perfectly and completely covers my chest (which can sometimes be necessary) and is work appropriate as it goes all the way down to my knees. I am describing this because I am genuinely shocked at what happened when I walked into the teachers’ room. I went in to quickly fill my water before meeting with my supervisor. I walk in and the usual people are in there, mostly janitors, but only a few people all together about 4, two men and two women. One of the male janitors has always made me feel a bit uncomfortable ever since he told me he could “just tell I was Cuban” while he slowly looked my body up and down. He has given me the creeps ever since then and whenever I go in there I know he is looking at me. On Friday however he took it beyond just looking. As I leaned down to fill my cup he howled like a wolf howls at the moon. I am not saying he softly made a noise, but legitimately howled, very loudly the entire length of time that I was leaning down to fill my cup.

As it was happening I was thinking what the fuck is going on. A part of me hoped I had just walked in on a very weird conversation, but it was clear that wasn’t the case when everyone else just silenced. As I walked off to the bathroom that is situated in the teachers’ room I heard him mutter something about beauty. As soon as I closed the restroom door my body involuntarily shook as if I could shake the crude, disgusting, and violating experience clean off me. I told myself that because I am already having issues of resistance with the staff at the school I would just brush this off. I adjusted myself and quickly exited the teachers’ room without making eye contact with him. I just wanted to continue with my day.

About 30 minutes later I was waiting for a student who a teacher described as in crisis. She was taking abnormally long so I went out into the hall and started to look around for her. It was then that the same janitor approached me. I was up against a wall and he asked me if I was married. He asked me in Spanish so a huge part of me was hoping he was asking if I was tired as it kind of sounded like cansada not casada and I mean why the fuck would he be asking me that?! I’m sure he could tell I was confused by the question as he asked it a few more times and then came closer as he said it slower in broken English. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand him, but rather, a confirmation that the howling from earlier was most definitely meant for me. I eventually answered because he would not stop asking and said no. He asked me why not and I muttered I don’t know. Then he came even closer and asked me how old I was. I was literally backed against a wall and he just kept asking nonstop, coming closer with each ask, and was making attempts to guess my age. As I finally answered he backed away with a gasp, shocked at how young I am, saying as much as he shook his head walking away.

I tried to laugh it off, but I had not been able to shake that feeling and after I handled the situation with the student I was able to return to supervision. Near the end I just kind of blurted out what had happened because it wasn’t sitting well with me, and if I was being honest, it was really bothering me and forefront in my mind. I wanted to just talk it out and hopefully she would be able to talk me down from my thought that I was just sexually harassed in my work place. When it came down to it she only validated my feelings and concerns and encouraged me to talk to my program director. My program is not technically a part of the Board of Education so my director is offsite and I am by myself in the school the majority of the time. When I talked to my director about it she appeared just as concerned and stated that she wanted me to document the incident and write an email to the head of HR and CC her. After doing that, later in the day, the HR director and my program director called me.

I was informed that what happened was definitely termed sexual harassment and that they were legally obligated to make a complaint and report about it. I thought that I would at least have some say in the process, but apparently I do not. It is not that I don’t think that a report should be made. On the contrary, I think that it definitely needs to be addressed. The only issue I have is that it is going to make this already resistant and difficult environment even more difficult and hard to work in. I had a lot of conflict about the report, but at the end of the day I really had no choice in the matter.

It got me thinking about what made that instance when I was on the street and told off that passerby any different from what happened with the janitor? I have never experienced sexual harassment in the work place and now fully understand, in a more personal way, the complexity of power dynamics as a contributing factor in how I responded to the situation. I’m not saying that he is at a higher level than me professionally in the school, rather, I am pointing at his social standing in the school. He is a universally liked and respected person while I am new, with little support in the school, and no one knows me on a personal level as I just only started in October of last year.

I am scared about how all of this is going to shake out, but I am also angry. I am angry that when I talked to people about it that I don’t work with I got a lot of “Why did you let it happen/continue?”, “You need to just nip those situations in the bud.”, “Why did you continue the conversation?” – Over all a lot of victim-blaming statements and as a survivor of sexual assault it was a completely jarring experience. I very genuinely froze when all of it was happening. I didn’t really know how to respond, which in my very feminist aligned mind, seems insane and unacceptable. I was not someone who “allowed” these things to happen, but I think what has been so distressing about this experience is realizing that sometimes I really don’t have control over my responses. When it was a no one passing me on the street I was quick to react in a defensive and protective way, but in the context of my job, having someone I see every single day, someone well liked in the school, and with a larger group of support doing that to me I completely froze. Suddenly the same victim-blaming thoughts that plagued me all those years ago were resurfacing and were in full effect. It is a hard realization to manage emotionally and I am not going to lie, it has been a serious struggle for me.

More and more I am realizing just how much my past experiences inform my present self. When you do not really think about it, it is very easy to ignore. However, the deeper I go into this work and continue servicing victims/survivors of trauma, mostly women and girls, I am brought closer to an understanding of my own experience, not only as a woman, but as a therapist with a history of trauma myself. I read a blog recently that talked about the mental health minefield where we are confronted with so many situations in which we have to be the holders of others pain, but in the work place when is it appropriate to bare our truths? Would it be okay to talk about my response to this situation in the context of my past experience? Can I come out as a sexual assault survivor at my job? How will others respond?

These questions are real and legitimate ones that throw me for a loop regularly, but I cannot allow them to control me. I am so thankful to have this space, even if only a few people read this, this blog is a free space for me to express myself as I please. It is a space where I can bare my truth without fear of judgment – and possibly even find points of connection with others. I know I am not alone with these struggles and that realization is greater than any wrongdoing.

I will continue to grow and follow my instincts – never denying the truths of my being and always, and I mean always, integrating those truths into my every day because they are a part of me that is undeniable. I am a complex mosaic of contrasting differences; some pieces shimmering brightly, others dull or rounded, some jagged, but together they are beautiful. I know my worth, I know my strength, and I know I can get through this. It may not be the best environment, but I know I can do this. Even if I did not know what to do in the moment I did not remain silent. I spoke up. I raised my voice – and in a world where I have been consistently silenced about multiple aspects of myself and my experiences, that is nothing to ignore.

My hope is that we will all someday be able to live in a world where the lines that divide us, man, woman, gay, and straight, black, white, Hispanic – all of these lines will fade away and we can live in a world of respect. A world where we are embraced for our truths and never left silenced by the judgments of others.