#Metoo: The New Face of Resistance

In the last few months, sexual harassment has been such a hot topic of conversation for just about everyone. Whether it’s online on FB posts and Twitter feeds, or a discussion being had at the dinner table with guests or family, where before to speak of such a thing was considered taboo, now people like Weinstein, Bill Cosby, former FOX news chief Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, L.A Reid, David Mueller, and even comments by our president Donald Trump (“Grab them by the pussy!”) have opened up the lines of communication for accusers all over the world. Women from all economic class levels, cultures, ages, have been coming together to speak of their stories that for up until now have been kept buried in the farthest corner of their minds. Almost as if it were a story that wasn’t wanting to be told until now.

My story is not very different when comparing it to the others that have been told. It seems to always start off with a man who feels in power. Whether it is the situation at hand that makes them feel powerful or something else in life that makes them feel empowered, they almost always seem to have the upper hand like an illusion produced by an intimidating magician. I can personally tell you about three separate occasions that single handily happened to me where I was alone and an unsuspecting victim. I can then also give you a list of “minor” instances that fall longer than a roll of toilet paper where I have fallen victim to the cat calls, the groping, the unwanted advances. Even an incident as recent as last weekend in which I was at a concert with my boyfriend and I was touched multiple times, obviously unwillingly, by a shadow in the crowd. How did we get to be a society in which the norm is for women to be fondled or fall prey to these heartless cowards. Cowards because they hide in the shadows, cowards because they hide behind their titles and their roles in society.

With the #metoo movement, not only have people who have fallen victim to sexual assault found a group of comfort and support, but we also have been seeing a change in the attitude of men, some who are self admitting to committing such advances.

Right now we are living in a time in which many voices who have been silenced have been given a mic. Some may think that this is our “five mins of fame” or that we are presently standing on our “soap boxes” in hopes to make a small wave in what recently has been seen as the “norm” in society. Yet for us, it’s not about making a wave. It’s about starting a movement. We want to be able to move towards change in order to allow for a better future. We will no longer stand for allowing the mistreatment of people no matter the age, race, heritage, nor gender. We may not have been able to always stand up against those we accuse, but at least now we can stand together for the cause. I may not have children of my own but children are our future.

To all of my friend’s who have children, those kids are our future and we must make this a better place for them to grow, live, and evolve. We must break this unacceptable cycle of sexual assault whether it’s on our campuses, work place, or simply at home. It is not Ok for those in power to feel as though those who aren’t have no say, have no voice.

To all of you who are just like me, although together we stand united and strong, we must never forget that to stand strong as a whole means that we hold a little piece inside of us that is strong too. Feel empowered because you are. We are the face of resistance.

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: Fort Myers Beach, FL

 

Bluntly Upon My Sleeves

You are completely mistaken.

It wasn’t because you were doing well and then all of the sudden you weren’t. White Lies. You were never doing well. It just took me a while to figure out that you were badly put together. Taped in lies, out seeped the truth.

The best revenge is that which is written down on paper.

And while neither of us are perfect, never did I try to sweep dirt under the rug. Confronting and communicating is all that I ever tried to do. Giving up is what that led to, for I always found myself speaking alone. All the time alone.

You say that behind curtains I hide but that too is simply not the truth.

Who I wear bluntly upon my sleeves is the heart of who I am. That does not mean that I am not nicked, dented, or imperfect and as time wears on, those who stand beside me find out my deepest stories, understanding each flaw.

Because I was not perfect, as perfect as your eyes betrayed you to see, you retreated in your hermit shell, instead of trying to understand me. Once again running… You ran from who we are as individuals, you ran from who we could have been as a team.

While running you ran into the arms of the exact demons that have kept you in hiding for so long. The Devil’s Brew. There you dance with the devil to the melody of a dangerous song. You have lost yourself over time and now deeper in the hole you seem to be, and although your rants and raves fall deaf to me, through the grapevine your messages have been received. Everything that you say is said because you’re sour. Everything you write is written as a coward because again you hide behind the strength of a bottle.

So yes, disappearing is what I had to do. Why run the risk of coming across this doppelganger you? This venomous character who I am just only now getting to know? Do you now realize that what you reap is too what you sow? All of those uncalled for words have hurt,  so you think I am just going to let it roll, us remain friends, let you say bye to my dog?

You should understand me now enough to know that I refuse to house hostility in my heart. I keep negativity at bay and I always remove any toxins that affect my life. Unfortunately this called for the removal of you.

Someday, once the pain subsides, once your mind is clear, and your soul is back to feeling right, you’ll see and understand why. Until then, if that day were to ever present itself, I wish you well. I pray that you get clear so you can see all that the Universe has for you in reach. I pray for your soul to feel free, and that when you someday choose to shoot for the stars, there you find what you so desperately seek.

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Photo Credit: Angie M. Muse: Natal Galvan

Giving More FXS

For that split second…

for that “flick of two fingers” split of a second he thought to himself,

“What the fuck are you doin’?” It was the perfectly phrased question when thinking about his life. The question only popped up into his mind once while he fucked her. But now every time they hung out, which seemed much more often than he was currently comfortable with, the question danced in his mind.

What was he doing with his life? What were his goals? He’s got dreams and fantasies, but what are his goals? A better question would even be what was he doing with her? Someone so grounded and career driven. A woman, he felt, was way out of his league. Not because he wasn’t “worth” it but because she’d never give him the proper time of day. He could provide a roof over their heads, cover the major bills, and still have enough to go out on the town with friends for some smooth jazz and whiskey. Still, all this without a socially accepted title, is an embarrassment.

For a split second…

for a split “blink of an eye” second he thought about leaving her. He still thinks he just might. Just let her sit there at the table waiting. Her deep red recently polished nails fidgeting with the white linen napkin that sat in her lap. His soul is much more valuable than some swanky new job title he’d now have to accept in order to meet her unspoken standards. He peered at her through the crack of the bathroom door. He had direct view.

She was beautiful there was no doubt about it. That kind of beauty that takes your breath away without registering why first. Her eyes were kind and you knew her soul was full of love, with just a tint of sadness. She was relateable and within seconds she could make friends of strangers. She was that kind of beauty. Yet, because of that very beauty he was almost ready to run past their table and out back towards the kitchen doors.

How horrible would it feel for him to have to live with such judgment, mostly self imposed, and such pressure? How would he measure up in her eyes? Could he ever be her equal? He would most likely feel second at best.. *Push yourself* something internally whispered.

She instantly turns her head towards the direction of where the men’s bathroom lies. He knows she cannot see him but he can see her fully now. That face, that stare, slowly taking his fear away. He snaps out of whatever absurd thought he was in the middle of having and straightens himself up before heading out the very doors he was just hiding behind. The look on her face spoke volumes. She was waiting for him and he could not keep her waiting any longer. Without her knowledge she had injected him with courage and he walked towards her fearless. Anything can happen. She loved him, he saw that in the flicker of her eyes as he approached their table. This story could turn into “happiness ever lasting”  just as easy as it could end in tragic heartbreak, but he gave a fuck and that’s why he won’t be running away. He cares about knowing the outcome to this story. He gives so much of a fuck that he will trek the journey and see to it he strives hard for a positive outcome.

He wont let fear govern his life, nor love, because he wants to live and he wants to love. Simply because he gives a fuck.

Before he reaches his chair, he slowly walks over towards hers. He reaches down, one hand wraps under her chin tilting her head up, and he swoops down like a vulture, taking her mouth in to his. He kisses her passionately but only for a quick beat, and then he lets her face go and goes to sit in his chair, not once taking his eyes off of hers. A slight smirk revealed itself, her red lips still perfectly painted, perking up in the corners. He waved their server over and ordered a second bottle of wine. Their finest, her favorite.

He’s got this….

Character Foundation

My love of books and passion for writing grew from the manure of a childhood I had growing up. It was the perfect fertilizer. From the time I was born I was thrown into an atmosphere of anger and aggression. My father wasn’t an alcoholic or a drug addict. He was just mean or absent. A cranky and miserable man with an entirely too short of a fuse so needless to say he was never a really big part of my life. When it came to parenting he was a minimalist and once my parents divorced, the main male role model in my life would end up being my grandfather.

My parents divorced when I was about 4 and I do remember that being a huge turning point for me, and of course, so was all the other crap that was to come. After the divorce, my mother quickly had to go from having one full time job to having one full time and two part time jobs. While she was out working hard to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table, my grandparents provided us with the care and supervision that we needed. They soon after began living with us and it stayed that way on and off for about ten years.

Many would describe my grandfather Cesar as mean and grumpy, a man of few words. He apparently wasn’t too popular among my aunts and uncles, although the love for him was never absent. They had their own daddy issues to deal with and most of my cousins weren’t his biggest fans. My grandfather, in my eyes was something else. For me he was a handsome elegant man who loved my sister and I to no avail. He spoiled us when he could yet we still showed great respect for him. If we did wrong, he would let us know, not once hitting us, but his verbal reprimands were like harsh, stinging slaps to our faces. We never wanted to let him down. My grandfather taught me what it was to have a man in charge. The head of the household. He may not have been a perfect father himself but he had obviously learned and had become the perfect grandfather for my sister and me.

My grandmother was an angel. She was a woman who had given to birth to 8 children and pretty much raised them on her own. My grandfather had been known to leave her for weeks without notice to go on drinking binges, spending the little money the family would earn completely on himself. My grandmother was a true housewife. Not only did she cook and clean, but she also tended to the farm (milking cows, killing chickens, ect..) and would hand make all of her children’s clothes. You can now just imagine the role she played in our lives. My grandmother taught us how to make homemade meals, and even homemade cheese. She knew all about universal energy and shared with us the importance of nature, love, and intuition. And when times were tough emotionally, she was the one who taught me how to get through it.

I’ve never had it easy. Whether it was my home life, school life, or the life I had among my “friends” there was always something I wanted to run away from. My grandmother was the one who taught me how to escape the bullying, escape the feeling of rejection from my father, escape from all the darkness, and all other things I had no energy to really face. She taught me how to escape through the magical world of words.

“El que lee se instruye.” She’d repeat. And I did.. I taught myself many things about life. Things I would have never discovered early on in life if it weren’t for the magic of words.

My Teacher’s an Alien by Bruce Coville was the very first book I ever read that hadn’t been assigned to me by a school teacher. I’ll never forget it. It had a bright orange cover with two school kids, a boy and a girl, looking through their school teacher’s living room window, as they spot the teacher zippering down his human disguise revealing the fact that he is, in fact, an alien. I was about 12 or 13 at the time and this book was the first book from the library I had ever decided to read on my own. It also ended up being the first time I had ever read a book cover to cover in one day. This is when I understood the magic that books held in transporting you from reality into a completely different world. From that day forward I had found my escape and I was addicted. At 14 I began to write. I wrote poems and short stories, most of the time using my life as a point of reference. Writing then soon turned into my other form of escape and also release. I ended up spending most of my adolescent years with my nose stuck in either a book or notebook while the rest of the time I spent observing. I learned to observe people and life around me. I began to get good at not only reading books, and people, but situations as well.

Today, I still find shelter within the pages of a book and expression within the words I write down. Who I am today and what I know comes from guidance of what I’ve read, and what I’ve experienced, but also from the wise words of whom my grandparents once were. My grandfather is no longer walking this earth. The day he passed was the day I knew I lost my fatherly guidance. Instead of sorrow, I expressed gratitude because to have him in my life at all was a needed blessing. I mean who knows how my view of men and relationships would have been if he would not have been present in my life. My grandmother on the other hand is alive, but she is not the version that I once knew. She suffers from Alzheimer’s and is totally wheelchair bound. She currently lives back in her home country of Colombia where she gets better and affordable care than she would here in the states. I cannot tell you when the last time was that I saw her or if I will ever get to see her again. I think about them every single day for everything I know came from the foundation that they helped build within me. Today, I give them thanks for the wonderful world they helped me create for myself, now all that is left is for me to make every day count for they did none of what they did in vain.

To Cesar and Maria, You will always be the great example of which to follow.

abuleitos

 

 

Directionless

There was a time where I had this amazing blueprint of how my life would go.

I would move away from home, go to college, and finish with a degree in Forensic Psychology. I wanted to be Clarice from Silence of the Lambs. During this time that I would be making something out of myself, I would casually meet the man of my dreams. We would fall madly in love with one another, get married, and start a life together. Sprinkle a little travel time on top of that and there was my perfect life… and this was all to be done before the age of 26.

This is when I had some direction in life and somewhere along the road I veered off the beaten path I had cleared off for myself. I one day realized that this direction I was headed in was not a true blue print of what I wanted my own life to be. It was starting to seem more like the life that I knew society and its norms needed me to be. I slowly became aware that this was going to be a life that was chosen for me simply because I felt like it was what I had to do to please the world.

I’m not more than halfway through my first year of being in my 30’s. I have no kids, no husband, and never graduated from college. I haven’t decided to settle yet when it comes to the family life. I refuse to settle down with just anyone in order  to please everyone else. After deciding that forensic psychology, although very interesting, would just in the long run ruin my cheery personality, I quit what I was studying, walking away from an institution that I felt no longer was serving me. Removing the goal from the sacrifice and what are you left with? Nothing other than a lot of sacrificing. Not knowing what I truly wanted to do when it came to furthering my education I decided against finishing the last two years I had left to go. I felt that it was pointless to add to a debt for a mere sheet of paper that would do me no good unless it would have been put to use, and it wouldn’t have been.

So here I am, no kids to keep me busy. No husband to keep me grounded. No career to keep me focused. Do I fear where I am in life? Not one bit. The way I see it, the world is my oyster and at this point in time anything is truly possible. I compare my state of being now to what I was back then when I had some direction and the difference is night and day. The stress level is low and happiness is abundant. I am hardly every cranky anymore, and even though I may question more where I may be in three years, it is not a question that scares me, instead it fills me with excitement.

I am happy to be living, and even though life may not be going according to plan, I am totally alright with that. For me, happiness, much like the wind, flows freely into my life, directionless.

You Know, Sometimes….

Life can really throw you for a loop.

Sometimes “better late than never” is just a little too late. Sometimes it’s brighter before a wicked storm. Sometimes words don’t just bounce off of me and stick to you. Sometimes the grass truly is greener on the other side and the Universe is allowing for you to take a little look.

Sometimes it’s hard to really look at the bigger picture. Sometimes we forget that things that mean more to us, will be hard to obtain, but not impossible. Sometimes it is hard to maintain a cheery disposition, especially when things are tasting a little sour.

Sometimes it is totally Ok to not be Ok. Sometimes is not most times and all we need is a little reminder, that although complicated and tough, life is always good.

Tatted and Employed

For the first time in a really long time I feel truly comfortable in my own skin. Sure, the uncomfortablitly was self imposed, but I will not compromise my love for art for better treatment.

Since I began getting tattooed, I have always been well aware of the stigma that was once associated with having tattoos. Some of that stigma is still around. It survives in the shells of the old and conservative. I am finding though, that most people are now more inquisitive and want to know “what” they all mean rather than “why” I decided to do this to myself.

About ten years ago when I began getting tattooed, I started in places where no one could see unless I myself allowed for it to happen. My first one was a small Asian symbol on my right hip. Then that turned into an entire dragon piece. I later got one on my upper arm. When wearing a shirt with sleeves, no one would really see it unless I exposed it. During this time I was working at a restaurant where tattoos weren’t an issue… until an ex employee made it one that is. Because of his crazy antics, a rule was strictly enforced that anyone with visible tattoos would have to cover them up for work. Boom. Just like that. A policy was made. You can imagine my surprise when I walked into work one morning and my new tattoo that I had just gotten added to my arm had to be immediately covered up. That same day I headed out after work to purchase the athletic sleeves that I would later wear for the next 8 years of my employment there. I believe that this job is what inadvertently aided me to at times feel very self conscious later on about my tattoos.

Let me just make one thing known. I love all of my tattoos. Due to my patience and extensive research, I had found myself wonderful and talented artists to do all of my pieces. Nothing that I have tattooed on my body represents anything vulgar or even semi offensive. For me to feel self conscious about my body art was something I hadn’t envisioned for myself. I felt that the policy had been made out of anger towards an individual and now an entire group had to pay. Was it fair in my book? No.

That first year of having to wear my arm sleeve was rough. Imagine working as a waitress, having indoor and outdoor tables, running all over a restaurant in Florida heat with a damn long sleeve on. All because one little fucker with rebel knuckle tattoos couldn’t pull his shit together. I was not the happiest camper in the world. As a matter of fact, during these times was when I had hit a rough patch a work. I simply was not happy working there. I had felt as if I not only wasn’t allowed to be me, but I was also being shunned by those around me. What kept me there? The money of course and even to this day I have yet to make the same kind of money that I made while working at this establishment. Well, time went on, and as I matured I tried to understand where they were coming from. I hadn’t let this new policy ruin my plans to turn this walking canvas into walking art. I slowly kept adding to my art here and there, even as I was continuing to have to cover it up. I even went to the extent as to think that if one day they were to change the policy and allow tattoos to be visible in the work place that I would continue to wear my arm sleeve(s) because I felt as though maybe I would have to work much harder at having to try to win my customers over if my tattoos were exposed. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone on this little island that I worked on were judgmental. I cannot even count how many people have questioned why it is that not only me but other severs had to cover up our tattoos. To many it was incomprehensible. There were even people who would comment on reviews, stating that they felt bad for us “kids” having to endure such conditions, especially during Florida summers.

Fast forward to today and I think about how sad of a thought that was for me to have. To think that if I didn’t cover up my body art that I wouldn’t be able to connect with my customers. It was a thought I wouldn’t have ever had if it had not been for those bosses and that policy. Today I work at a cute German bar smack in the middle of Boca Raton, FL. A high-class town with high dollar retirees and high dollar families. Unlike my previous place of employment, this place doesn’t require me to cover my tattoos, which really surprised me for this area. It took me about 2 shifts to really feel ok with allowing my tattoos to show. It took me another 2 shifts for me to realize that most people didn’t give a flying fuck about my body art just as long as I’m pleasant, attentive, and got their orders right.

I’ve realized so much by working at this place that has no tattoo policy. I’ve noticed that for one I now give more people the benefit of the doubt. Whether it is people I meet out in the streets or those I’m serving, I don’t go into it with the preconceived notion that they’re going to negatively judge me for having tattoos. In an odd way I feel free. Like I can actually breath and totally be myself. For those who do still continue to have a stigma against those with tattoos, I have noticed that by the end of their meal, it is as if I turned their perception from bad to good. As if they now realize that not all of us with tattoos have drug problems, or anger issues, or whatever else people seem to think when they see us.

For me, all I want to express in this piece that I’m writing to all of you is that in a world where people are trying so hard to be able to express themselves freely, in an age where people are fighting for individuality, why place such policies to hinder that? Listen, I get it. If Johnny Walker comes into my place of business with the words “Fuck Off” tatted on his knuckles and is looking for a job that deals with the public, fine. Have the guy fill out the application, and just don’t call him back, But to not only punish but make people feel as if they’re lesser of a person and must hide who they are and what they represent, simply because you fear the critics, shame on you. People who criticize will do so no matter what. You can try to hide the fact that your employees have tattoos but an obviously huge cover up is a dead give away and calls more attention to what you’re hiding.Give your employees the benefit of knowing that their wonderful personality and impeccable work ethic will shine through to your customers. Make them feel that it is ok to be themselves. Be that little change that this world needs to see.