Caution To the Wind

I put to rest another small and unhappy part of my life today, for I’ve learned from my previous experiences to not let unhappiness hang around for too long.

Today I decided to quit my part-time job.

I won’t lie, walking away from any sort of commitment, whether big or small, personal or professional, it’s always difficult to do. There are always pros and cons, of course. Most times if you’re at the point in which you are weighing out the negatives and the positives of your given situation, the cons will outweigh the pros. But, if you’re anything like me, once you commit, it’s too hard to quit no matter how difficult the situation may be.

Growing up my momma made sure to raise no fool. She instilled in us kids the values and principals of working hard and sticking to what you start, no matter the sacrifice and dedication it took. As kids, there was no such thing as “sick days” unless one was contaminated with something extremely contagious such as the chicken pox. We didn’t take days off of school without an important reason, and once I got older there was no such thing as “calling out” of work either. Think of it like this, in the 30 plus years that my mother has been employed at the casino, she has only called out of work four times, and it was due to snow. You can just imagine the work ethic my mother has and in turn has passed onto us. This is why in today’s time, if I find myself committing to something, be it a job, or project, anything really, I am committed. I am your loyal little work bee until something or someone prevents me from happily doing so.

The key word there was “happily”. I am a HUGE follower of happiness. I believe that happiness is a choice. You either choose to be happy or you choose to not be happy. I believe that while we’re here experiencing this life we chose, we either decide to make this a heaven on Earth, or Hell. Much of what helps us make our decision as to which way we live has to do with listening to ourselves and allowing intuition to direct us. I mean we have feelings for a reason. Feelings help guide us throughout life, and although people listen to some feelings, they don’t seem to consider all feelings. For instance fear is one feeling people tend to not only consider but over indulge in. Yes, fear allows us to avoid many dangerous situations, but at times it also limits people’s ability to experience things outside of their comfort zone.

A follower of happiness cannot simultaneously over indulge in the feelings of fear.  Yes, a follower of happiness can experience fear, but there is no overindulgence because to follow happiness, many times (most times) you must throw caution to the wind and not allow for fear to govern decision making. Happiness is a feeling that not many people take into consideration. Are you happy at work? Do you feel happy in your romantic relationship? Does your friendship bring you happiness? If not, are you willing to go on that pursuit of happiness no matter what it takes, or will you let fear take reign of your life? Many will read this and counter that one cannot be happy in all aspects of life. Those people are Debbie Downers. You CAN be happy in all areas of your life. People do it everyday. It’s a small percentage but there are those individuals that are truly happy in all aspects of their life. You just have to choose to be happy. Sure, it takes time, but if you’ve got the drive and determination, just like with anything else in life, you too can achieve all around happiness.

There is no need for me to say that my part time job wasn’t making me happy. It was no secret. I honestly couldn’t have been more vocal about it, and although I wasn’t there for long, I still feel annoyed with myself that I ended up staying there for as long as I did. There were many days full of anguish and unease that could have been avoided if only I would have left sooner. Yet, I can’t dwell on the past. Or I could, but for what reason? To extend that negative feeling?? Instead I’ll applaud myself for leaving the unhappy situation sooner than I have previously done in the past, merely because I let fear rule over my feeling of intuition.

“You need us as much as we may need you.” My ex-boss said to me as we spoke about our issues. Anyone who is an employee knows these are words that draw a line in the sand. So I either choose to believe that what he spoke is true and stay in a situation that brings me no joy. A situation that I’m in only because I don’t want to let others down. OR  I choose to cross that line and step out and over into the unknown. Where the door to comfort and familiarity closes and the window to new and endless opportunities await.

I chose to cross the line. The minuet I did I felt the greatest weight being lifted off my shoulders and in that instant I knew I did the right thing. Maybe not the right thing in the eyes of others, but for me it was the right decision. Now I’ve got an array of avenues to pursue. I can go this way or that way, while nothing negative is holding me back. In this NOW moment I can say that I am truly happy in all areas of my life and I plan to keep it this way. Yes, there will come a time (many more times) where a feeling of sadness or unrest will try to creep back in, but as a follower of happiness I am committed to myself to always do what makes my soul smile. I choose to pursue that which makes me radiate joy, positivity, and love so I not only continuously live in harmony with the Universe, but so that I can also serve as an example that one can truly achieve and live in overall happiness if one chooses to.

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The Land I Loved

The day I left was the saddest day of my life as an adult. The funny part is? I didn’t have anything to really hold me there. In other words, it’s not like I was leaving anything behind per say, only the dreams of my future.

It didn’t hit me as we were placing all of our belongings out onto the curb. My things that I had worked so hard for just out there exposed and left behind. It didn’t hit me as we pulled away and watched as the neighborhood I had called my home for the last year fade away from view. Everything that had become familiar to me that year was slowly fading and with each second that ticked by it was all becoming just a part of my past.

The silence during the first half hour of our car ride was needed because the lump in my throat wouldn’t have allowed for otherwise. It was once my turn signal indicated our arrival onto the interstate, and that moment of me looking into the rear view mirror, that a warm sadness washed over me. California had won. A true and real feeling of failure is what ran through my veins. It wouldn’t be for weeks that I would get to feeling like “me”again and then even still, it was a hurt “me”, a healing “me”.

My eyes welled up, the tears hot and intrusive. I could no longer hide my hurt once they overflowed and ran from the hiding spot behind my sunglasses and down my cheeks. I didn’t even bother to wipe the tears. What for? The pain was real and there was no sense in hiding it. Instead I chose to live through the emotion, actually feel what it was I was going through. I had fallen in love and for me this death was worth the mourning.

I’m sure many reading this will think I’m being dramatic. Only those who have taken risks and failed will understand where I’m coming from and really, those are the people I’m talking to. Only you are the ones who can relate. If you’ve never been through something similar, if you’ve never failed before and were left with nothing more than a a hole in your heart, read this and realize, your day is coming. That is for sure. It’s best you read up so you’re not blindsided as I was.

As a kid I had always dreamed of living in the rural parts of California. I had seen so many pictures and documentaries, the lay of the land in northern California was like a dream. The first computer I ever got that could actually surf the internet, I spent time looking up and researching places around the U.S that had always interested me. Cali was definitely my number one. I didn’t want to head there to be rich and famous. Fuck that. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. I wanted to live in California because it was something that had called to me as a child. Those beautiful mountains. The sky which seemed to always look so candy colored. The way the leaves turned to those amazing autumn tones in the fall with bright yellows, oranges, and reds. It was no surprise to anyone who knew me that the second I had cash saved up, off I was. I drove out to the West Coast without a moment’s hesitation. The people in my life dishonestly supporting me didn’t deter me. It was my dream, not theirs, that I was hunting for.

I had been purposely positive throughout the three days it took to drive there. I thought about how quick I would find a job. I thought about how awesome it would be to live in the new apartment, in my new neighborhood, with my new neighbors. I imagined all the cool places I’d finally get to see. Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Hollywood Blvd, the Sunset Strip. If there were any doubts at any point in time, I crushed them with thoughts of positivity. There would be no Negative Nancies in my head bringing me down. No sir. I was (still am) a firm believer in the Law of Attraction so for me, negative thoughts weren’t even an option. It wasn’t until a year later that I looked back and realized, maybe the negative thoughts that would slip into my mind here and there was just life trying to prepare me for what would later be a shocking reality. But like Karma I find Hindsight to be a bitch.

My theory on Los Angeles’ smog problem is that it isn’t pollution, per say, that is floating above everyone’s head. It is my belief that the layer of smog that always lingers are the souls of the innocent who venture out to L.A and never return to be the same again. I mean hell, they don’t call it the City of Angels for no reason. I imagine it being like a trap box for the innocent. The interior of this box looks so appealing. It’s dressed up in opportunities and gold. Shiny things hang in its interior, attracting you like a fly to a light bulb. You get there one way, with a pure and maybe even naive way of being. Before long, the doors to this box snap shut and you are trapped inside, doing things out there to survive that you never thought you’d  have to do.

Yea, as a child I dreamed of going to Northern Cali but the opportunity arose for me in L.A. I figured that I could get myself started in the city. It would be my first foot through the door and then once I saved up a bit I would migrate up north.

I never even made it to saving up.

The California life is expensive. The cost of living was ridiculously high and real jobs were scarce. Just by looking around, the amount of homeless people or those collecting cans and plastic could be proof of what I’m telling you. My story during this time could have gone many different ways. It could have gone better. It could have gone way worse. It’s kinda funny because now thinking about it, they way I lived in L.A was so carefree, it was almost as though I was tempting danger to come dance with me. The streets of Los Angeles, the devil’s playground, and I was out and about living as if I were still out on the Island of Sanibel. I spoke to strangers. I would go out and try to explore my surroundings and many times, during this exploration, I would get lost and wind up on a block a didn’t belong. The drinking was out of control and there were more than a handful of times that in a moment of sheer blackout, would take my car and attempt to drive home. I always made it of course, but that is only because I have the best guardian angel out there protecting me.

There were so many mistakes I made when arriving to Cali. There were also many obstacles that also got in the way, obstacles that prolonged the feeling of settling down. I don’t think that in the year that I lived there did I feel at all settled.  Jobs weren’t working out. Food was scarce. Bills were piling up. The roller coaster of emotions and the stress were taking a toll on me. Secretly I would cry myself to sleep on almost every night. It would have been one thing if it would have just been myself that I needed to worry about. The fact that my sister decided to come along on my little adventure was what hurt me the most. Not because she came along with me but because she was suffering. This was my dream that I was trying to live out and now that it was going horribly bad she was suffering. To look at her face filled with so much anxiety and sadness really broke my heart to pieces and so the day I was confronted with the opportunity to return home, her face was the one I saw. In my mind, I saw her looking at me with the eyes full of hope of going back home, and that’s what made me break.

The decision was literally made from one day to the next and to be honest it wasn’t too hard of a decision to make. We were already 3 months behind on our rent. We had no food except for a bag of rice and a couple cans of tuna. By this time anytime we grocery shopped it was mainly baby food and soup cups that we ended up getting and that was to be split between my sister and I, along with my dog and her cat. Crazy right?

It had just been a few days before our planned departure that I had received an e-mail from our landlord stating that if we didn’t have the three months of rent we owed him within 48 hours, he would be there with police escort to evict us. Instead of leaving as planned, our trip back home was to be expedited. We gave our neighbor’s some of our things. Actually, we were trying to sell our stuff to them but after realizing that they were in no greater shape than we were, we freely gave things away. We then packed the car with whatever we could bring, but my small two door sports car couldn’t hold much, so we just left mostly everything behind. Like I mentioned earlier, the amount of people that are homeless or who rummage the garbage for food or things to help them get by is astronomical in L.A. So instead of leaving much of our stuff inside the apartment when we left, we decided to set what we could carry out on the curb for people to take. I mean for us it was like, “Well we can’t take it with us, so let’s leave it for those who will truly need it.” It was 6 am in the morning when we finished, the sun was just beginning to wake up. Our plan was to get out of there before our landlord showed up with his police escort. To be behind on a month’s rent is bad enough, but to owe three months is ridiculous. The fact that he hadn’t thrown us out sooner was a shock to me and a testament to how kind he was, for he was a really nice landlord, and there was no way my sister and I could face him.

As we got into my car, I noticed that there was already a family going through what was just a few seconds ago our belongings. It was truly a bittersweet moment that to even think about it now tugs at my heart.

I lost a lot on this adventure of mine to California. Not just my physical belongings but I also left behind a sliver of my dignity, piece of my heart, as well as a chuck of my soul. Yet, with my losing or leaving behind a few things I had also gained much more than that. I took with me my experiences of meeting new people, good and bad. I have taken and stored away beautiful memories and also some scary ones. Everything that I have obtained through my journey to and from California has served a wonderful purpose and have also gifted me with amazing stories for me to share. Who knows if I’ll ever go back and attempt at living there again but at least now I know somewhat of what I should be expecting.

There was a post I previously made about how I’ve only truly been in love twice. I’ll go ahead and correct myself by saying that it was three times. California. She is beautiful. She is enticing. She was a ruthless love.

roboblog

Art Work Credit: Jet Victory Follow on IG and FB

A Magical World Among Words and Pages

Birthdays? They were never a big deal at my house. Not because we weren’t special but because Mom really couldn’t afford it.

Problems? We didn’t share over dinner and talk things out. Instead we bottled feelings up. Emotions nicely pickled, to be opened up later when it was ripe and explosive.

Shit. We didn’t even really eat dinner as a family. Sure, we ate at the same time but it was my sister and I at the dinner table. Mom would sit in the living room watching her Latin soaps or eat standing up as she would hold down fort in the kitchen, making sure we didn’t over eat.

We never did anything cool after school. Mom was always too tired to ever really want to go out, so I looked forward to the weekends when I would go to work. That would be my social time.

My dad was never around. Even once my parents divorced and he had to pick us up every weekend he wasn’t around. For this daddy’s girl it was heartbreaking to have to go spend time with your father to only later realize he didn’t want to spend time with you. He spent every waking moment in his bedroom, watching Tv or listening to music and it was a rule that us kids were never allowed to knock on the bedroom door, unless it was a real emergency. If he wasn’t locked away in his room, he was downstairs on his computer. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized he was talking to women online, while his wife was in the kitchen cooking dinner or out back doing laundry. Needless to say, the few memories I have of him are bathed in feelings of heartache so I tend to never drive down memory lane.

In school I had only a small group of friends which over time I came to slowly realize I didn’t fit in with. They were rich, sophisticated, white girls with the privileges I could only dream of. They went on cool holiday vacations like skiing up north or Disney trips down south. They had the designer labels. The pretty hair. The expensive make-up. They cheered for the school’s teams. They had the good looking guys falling at their feet.

Me? I was a frizzy haired Latina. My clothes were always from the clearance rack. I didn’t know how to really wear make-up but it didn’t matter because Mom wouldn’t buy me any anyways. I dreamed of joining the cheer leading team but to join any after school activity was an impossibility. With Mom always working, car rides to and from the games and school, it was a no go. Plus, who would take care of my sister??

It wasn’t long before the differences between my “friends” and I were too much for them to bare. I was, one day randomly, excommunicated from the group. Hours turned to days. Days into weeks. Weeks into months. I was alone in school. I was alone at home. My friends didn’t want to deal with me anymore and my poor mother working two and three jobs just to be able to raise my sister and I wasn’t able to deal with me. At this point in my life I saw the world as everyone else’s except mine. For some reason it was as though I didn’t deserve the world and I couldn’t figure out why.

It was a shitty time in my life, those pre-teen years of mine. During that school year in which I had been excommunicated from the group, that was also the time in which I was sexually molested by a distant family member. You know what they say, “when it rains it pours..” and for me that year was like a goddamn tsunami. I didn’t speak to anyone about what was going with me but I didn’t have to speak verbally for my demeanor spoke volumes. Unfortunately, the fact that I had shut down emotionally was chalked up to what was me entering my teenage years and this attitude I carried was to be expected. Why hadn’t I spoken up?? I was scared. It’s true what they say, many abusers threaten their victims into staying quiet. They threaten them and their family, most times shifting the blame from themselves onto the victim, stating that if they talk to anyone they will be hated for ruining the family. That was exactly what happened to me.

It was the very next day of when the molestation happened that I received and early morning phone call. It was Saturday morning and my mom was at work. I was at home babysitting my sister when the phone rang.

“Hello?”

“Hey Nata, is that you??” I recognized his voice immediately and it froze me into place. Where was he? Was he outside?? Was he watching me?? He was military so I imagined him having these crazy super powers like being able to get into my house to violate me without anyone knowing.

“Nata, you there?” I couldn’t speak so I just nodded my head.

“Listen, about yesterday, you have to be quiet. I know I already told you that but I just need to make sure you understand. You know I have a wife and my daughter. If they were to find out what you did you would get in a lot of trouble with them. Your family, like your mom and your abuelita, will stop talking to you because you let a man touch you. You hear me?? You cannot say anything or else everyone will get mad at you. You understand what I’m saying?” He spoke quickly and quietly.

“You get what I’m saying to you??” he repeated.

“Yes. I won’t tell.” I told him and with that I quickly hung up.

It’s weird because looking back I feel like I knew that what he did and what he was doing now by calling was wrong. I knew I should have told someone and that most likely my family wouldn’t get mad but the fear of the slim possibility that they might hate me and too excommunicate me, was huge. So I stayed quiet. I held that secret in for an entire year. It was the longest year of my life.

Anything that had to do with growing up and evolving I did on my own, independently. After a few weeks had gone by and still no word as to when my “friends” would be talking to me again, I dove head first into the world of words. I read and wrote from the moment I was settled on the school bus all the way through the day and way into the evening. The books that I read or the endless amount of journaling I did is what saved my life, multiple times. I’d get lost in these fictional worlds, headed out on these amazing adventures with these characters I wished were real. I wasn’t worried about paying attention in class or about having to get my homework completed. Did any of that really matter in the grand scheme of things?? Not in my world. What mattered to me was getting through my days with the least amount of pain as possible and school work got in the way of that. Some days were of course better than others, but in my mind, without the books, without the journals, my pain could have been a lot worse. Looking back on everything, it is no wonder that today it’s hard for me to personally connect with anyone. From a young age I grew up with the knowledge that people will always let you down, no matter who they are. To be honest, it was one great lesson to learn and better to learn it sooner than to get blindsided by disappointment later.

Today, although I love people and do consider myself quite the people person, I also know that I suffer a lot from the anxieties of having to deal with social and personal relationships. I call myself an extroverted introvert, meaning, it’s no problem for me to strike up conversations with strangers. I’m ok with going into a room full of people I do not know and having to mingle, yet at the same token I hate having to do so. I’ll go as far as to say that I absolutely dread it. It wasn’t until I had to start seeing a therapist as a part of my probationary conditions that it was pointed out to me my level of anxiety when it came to people and relationships. I suffer from social anxiety with strangers but also with the closest people in my life. I can make plans with family or friends and from the moment the plans are made I am in panic mode. I can’t make up my mind on whether or not to go through with the plans or break them. Most times, any plans I make with others I break. I begin to run through all of these different scenarios, all of which are negative, and before you know it I am talking my way out having to participate. I’m getting much better at dealing with this, through the help of books like the Secret, The Four Agreements, and other teachings that I have within the last few years discovered. Yet, I still find security at home, alone, with my pets. That is really the only time I ever feel comfortable. When I’m surrounded by others, buried deep within my mind is the fear of, which of all these people will hurt me next? How long will they be around for? How long will they be able to tolerate me for? My defenses are always up and to be honest it is quite exhausting. Yet as time passes I am grateful because throughout all the pain. heartaches, and let downs, I have become very strong.

I am slowly working on me. I finally have the time and the fortitude to simply let everything else go and just focus on myself and the things I need to get through. During the roughest moments of my life I have had only reading and writing to really help me get through. I sometimes hear of cases where kids are being bullied full-time, meaning at school as well as in the safety of their own homes, driving them to commit suicide. I see myself in so many of them that I cry with the pain of knowing how they felt. I often wish that they had had an outlet. I often wish that they had found a magical world within the pages of a book to save them. Something so simple and so obtainable as that and yet these kids couldn’t find their way towards survival. I guess maybe that’s why I write about everything and anything. Who knows who will end up coming across these words, who will scroll down these pages and find that comfort they needed. The comfort of knowing that one truly isn’t alone. That there are many others going through similar experiences and that only by sharing with one another will we be able to find solace not only within others, but more so within ourselves.

Maybe within these words someone will figure out that we are our own biggest project and it’s a project one must never quit on.

11380976_468219776660004_1021574899_n Photo Credit: Arturo G. Muse: Natal Galvan

 

 

Feeling Lost? You May Be Living for Others…

My parents divorced when I was only four years old. My sister wasn’t even one yet. It was almost instant that I was thrown into the role as “Mommy’s Little Helper” and although I was more than happy to help, it still wasn’t a role I chose.

Growing up wasn’t easy. Between trying to keep my grades afloat and helping out around the house, while also ultimately helping mom raise my sister, I’ve never really had a true and unique identity. Sure, I knew my name and what my favorite color was but anything deeper than that I could attribute it to someone else. They way I talked, the way I thought about certain things, it wasn’t 100% me but a compilation of everyone else.  It seemed that at that very point in my life I was always trying to please everybody else. The weekdays were dedicated to trying to impress my teachers and friends. After school was the time to really show my mom what a big girl I was and would win her over by helping with the day to day chores as well as serving as an entertainer/baby sitter for my sister. I spent every waking moment with that little rascal once school was out for the day and every summer break was dedicated to being with her from sun up till sun down. For 20 years her and I shared a room. We woke up together, we’d play together, we’d fight and cry, and tear each other’s hair our a few times a month. It’s no wonder how she ended up being my best friend after all these years.

The weekends were rough because that was a completely different world than what I was used to. I had to spend the weekends at my father’s house. Not only were they a different culture to absorb, but the stress that came along with having to deal with him and his new family (5 step brothers and his “younger than my mother by many years” wife) were a burden. It wasn’t long before I began to hate going to go visit him and eventually I would stop going all together. Still, during the time I did have to visit, it was a time in which I had to put who I was on hold just to please them, just to avoid ridicule. It wasn’t until I graduated high school and moved out of state, away from everything I knew, that I began to uncover who I truly was but even still, that too took time. I had been conditioned to be a people-pleaser and that made it hard to live life as I wanted.

I moved to Florida in ’08 and within the year I was signed up to school. I enrolled as a Forensic Psychology student. I had a plan. I was to work 5 days and go to school 3 days, taking 3 classes at a time. I wanted to plow through school while working, graduate, and then enter my career. That was almost 9 years ago and still I haven’t graduated.

One of my truest reasons as to why I haven’t graduated yet is due to finances. The other 95% I wouldn’t discover until just recent . It wasn’t until after my retreat from California, and about two years after I left Jersey for the second time, that I realized what my underlying issue was. I truly was at a loss for I really didn’t know who I was, and in turn, had no clue as to what I wanted for my life.

I look back to most of the decisions I’ve made in my life as a young adult and although most times I felt as though I was choosing to do what was best for me, I realized that instead I was making decisions based on what would make my family happy. The choice to move to Florida and make it on my own was truly my choice but that came after tons of time with my uncle convincing me to do so (Thanks Unc!). The major I picked to study in school was something I picked due to what I happened to really like to read at the time, but what really nailed it in for me was how happy my mother got when I told her what I wanted to study. “Hay Nati, that’s so good!! You can find a job with the government and get great benefits!! You would never have to worry about anything!” She’d tell me with joy in her voice. How could I study anything else when mama bear was so happy??

School wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and I don’t mean academically. Honestly, FGCU isn’t a very tough school to complete. My problem was the level of dedication I had for it. It was hard for me to place so much energy into something that wasn’t giving me immediate payouts. Don’t get me wrong, I loved going to classes. Learning is paramount for me but it was everything else that came along with it. I lived off campus and so when I wasn’t in class or at the library studying, I was working or at home completing my homework. My life didn’t have much substance other than that. I wasn’t making friends due to the fact I wasn’t ever really on campus unless it was to attend class and I for sure didn’t have time to go out and meet people. Basically, all I ever did was work and go to school. I wasn’t traveling nor meeting people. It was a very “blah” time in my life and soon I began to question my purpose for doing all that I was doing.

I took an Ethics class during my last full semester at FGCU before deciding to move cross country. Mr.Mathews’ class was amazing and it truly changed my life for the better. In this class I was introduced to the Law of Attraction, The Secret, and many other life changing ideals like meditation and chakra cleansing. I learned about vibrations within the Universe and how to break away from the conditioning society has placed on us. This class was the end of who I was before and the beginning of who I was becoming. This class was what triggered my self discovery and since then there hasn’t been a day that goes by that I am not grateful for this time in my life.

It’s been about five years since I took that class and since then, finally at almost the age of 30, I have been making many of my own decisions. Some have worked out in my favor while others happened to be nothing more than a learning lesson. Sure, life hasn’t been perfect but I can’t even pretend that it ever will be. Yes, there have been moments in which I may have gone off the deep end a little. You know what they say about idle hands right? Yet still, I am grateful for every rough second I spent, or crazy situation I’ve been in. It has been an aid in my self discovery process and better yet, they have been choices I made because I wanted to make them. How awesome is that!?? Its taken some time but I’m beginning to slowly figure shit out. I’m starting to see what it is I like and where I see my future headed. I don’t take society or even family (anymore) into account when I dream up my future. I’ve done enough of that and look at where it got me. Following others and what they want for me has done nothing but confuse me and slow down my growing process when it comes to life and what I want to get out of it while I’m here.

I’m sharing this because I understand what many people go through when it seems like they’re lost and have no clue as to what to do with their lives. I understand because I too lived my life for quite some time for everyone else BUT for myself. It leaves you in a state of disorientation. Many people are going through this exact situation and don’t even realize why it is that they feel the way they do. If just by reading this I can help one confused person feel better as to why they feel the way they do then this time spent writing this was not time wasted.

Now that you’ve read this and feel that maybe you could fall in this criteria of living life for others, it’s time that you begin to start living life for yourself.No matter the age or the stage of life your in, you can begin to take control of it. Start setting healthy boundaries with others and begin to replenish and take care of yourself. Also, go into your self discovery knowing that there will be choices you make that may turn out not the way you planned. Realize that that is OK and that that is the beauty and purpose of life. No one life is perfect so to have that level of thinking would be harmful to your Self. The world is imperfect and it is in those very same imperfections that you’ll find happiness, bliss, adventure, and life in its purest form. Living this dream we call life in its purest form will aid you in your self discovery and you will live a good and happy life.

In the end of it all, what more could we want than to live out life the way we were meant to live it if not happily and with full hearts??

Broke Rich

I buy the generic sometimes because they’re almost equivalent but cheaper, but only on the stuff that is just the same. When it comes to paper towels, toilet paper, things of that nature I splurge on. There’s a big difference between the generic and brand name. No need in cheaping it up when you know you’re fixin’ to use double the amount by doing so. Meats, my Almond milk, eggs, I splurge on those too. Everything else? Generic unless of course there is a killer buy one get one deal on the fancy stuff.

I pick and choose which bills I pay on time if at all. Usually the ones with the lowest late fee gets paid last. Rent is always number one so if I’m behind on that, well everyone else is just going to have to wait. No, I’m not scared of the “I.O.Them” callers. Thanks to caller I.D I just simply ignore their calls until I am able to to make a payment. I laugh because sometimes it doesn’t even go past the first ring before I ignore the call. That must equally annoy them as much as their calls have the potential to annoy other people, so I think of it as retribution.

I pick and choose which invite from friends I accept. If I order take-out, I make sure to order a combo that has enough food for me to divvy up for two meals, and if I go out to dinner I load up on bread and salad then take the entree home for lunch the next day.

Being broke isn’t easy. There is a lot of strategizing one must do on a day to day basis. Everything from the amount you eat per meal so that groceries last you until next pay day, to the amount of soap you use to wash dishes, to pinching quarters for laundry. Every move is carefully made as to not go without. Or at least not go without often.  Sure, maybe I don’t get to buy the things I want anytime I want them. Maybe I can’t get up one random day, plan a cool trip someplace, and just go. Yet one major plus about being broke? You still have the chance to be rich if you just get past the materialistic.

There are some that argue that only the poor say, “life isn’t all about money” because they know no better. Well I say back to them, if you believe that they’re wrong because they have never been rich then the same can be said about you if you have never been poor. Being raised in a middle class family and going from that to making an easy $1500 a week, there was a point that I was just throwing money away. I would literally spend just to spend and looking back on it now it makes me queasy. Now I’m back to bringing home a small fraction of what I used to make a week, and to be honest, I am ok with that. I can even go as far as saying that I like it.

I appreciate every purchase I make down to the nitty gritty. Toothpaste, groceries, even cleaning supplies, when I walk out of the store I show gratitude to the Universe that I was able to buy what I needed. If I have the opportunity to buy something I actually want I am elated. I’ve recently made mini trips within my state, researching and finding local hidden adventures to cure my travel craze until a big trip can be planned. The smaller things in life become the most fun and memorable and nothing is taken for-granted, even the most minute of things. Moments of boredom are even beneficial. When you’re broke it’s difficult to keep yourself entertained and that there leads to creativity. So yes, I may be broke but my life is still rich. I’m broke rich.

Being broke can be shit but there is always a silver lining to everything. That’s my law to live by. You can still dance with happiness when you’re broke. Love is just as easily available for the broke than it is for the rich. I’ll even say more so. Life when you’re broke is more of a mystery and unpredictable. And us broke folk can easily go with the flow and roll with the punches.

Do I wish that I could have more money? Of course but only just enough and not more, because it’s like my man used to say, this line I’ll never forget,

“Mo’ money mo’ problems…” -Biggie Smalls

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: My Change and I

Only Two

I’ve only truly been in love twice. Although I’ve dated A LOT, no one quite captured my heart and forever changed my soul, no matter how small a change, like my only two loves.

Both, needless to say, ended pretty tragically.

The first one, my high school sweetheart. A romeo, a lady’s man. That would always be our demise. I spent the better half of my teenage years and half of my twenties on and off again with him. The man had broken my heart in every way possible and still I would go back for more. It wasn’t until the ultimate betrayal on his part that I decided no relationship between the two could ever be. The true sadness rested in the fact that being as though we had known each other for so many years we had truly become great friends. In the end I had lost not only my boyfriend but also my best friend.

The second love of mine came at a time where life for me had hit an all time low. This was when I lived in California. I met him at the local library where I would go to take out a shit load of books for me to read and movies for my sister and I to watch. He was a couple years younger than me but he could have fooled anyone as to him being older. He was well educated and mature. Well mannered and treated his mother like a queen. Not only her but he treated me like a queen. He was an amazing person to be around. His friends would tell you so. He was the one who made me realize how important a close circle of friends are. The value of true friendship. Like I said before, we met at a time in my life where I was broken. He made me feel amazing no matter how broken I had become, but no amount of love given could have saved our relationship. I was moving back to New Jersey and our love was so much that they only way we saw it was to have to let each other go. A love truly parted by life but never fully extinguished.

Both loves were vastly different. One lasted almost an entire lifetime while the other was more like a lifetime happened in just a few months. One was so tainted and damaged that no amount of time could ever heal and make it beautiful again, while the other had a freshness and energy, a bright light that shined from it that time could never dim. Both loves felt different. One felt more strangulating and slightly exuded obsession, making anxiety the most common emotion felt. The other love was so liberating. We were so bound by our love, so enthralled with one another, yet it was a breath of fresh air. It was easy.

My loves were different yet in other ways similar. I learned so much from each relationship. I learned things that would serve me well for the next one. Like I mentioned before I have dated a lot and one thing I do know, each and every new person that makes it into  my life has been of value to me. Whether today we are in each other’s lives or not, I have learned something to help me out later on down the road and if for only that reason alone, I cherish the time spent together, no matter how good or bad it was.

I look forward to meeting my next love. I feel like it’s definitely going to be IT. I’ve been through all the preparation. I have weeded out the confusion that plagues the minds of people when they become seriously committed to someone early on in life. I have not only had my fun but I have learned many valuable lessons while doing so. I understand life and the real meaning behind it. I can appreciate and love, while also being more aware and mindful, more vulnerable and open, because that’s how you connect with people, by being vulnerable.

Looking back on everything that I have gone through with past relationships I am grateful because although I won’t be going into it with the heart of innocence I’ll be able to see and feel love for what it truly is, with out the games, just its purity.

I sometimes think about my two loves and wonder how it is that they’re doing. You must be thinking that I am probably wishing one luck while I wish for the other misery and unhappiness but that is not me. I wouldn’t ever wish difficulty on another. The way I look at it, him who had broken my spirit to love I wish the treasures of the world for is he not just as broken as I was, or maybe yet even more so? Only hurt people hurt people and I know enough about him to understand his hurt even if he did bury it years ago.

In a world in which the ultimate goal is to find true love and happiness, I can look back on my life and say that Yes I have truly loved. If it weren’t to happen again, which would be a tragedy in my book, at least I have had the opportunity to feel what it was to love someone other than myself, than my family, than even my pets. I have loved a stranger before and it speaks volumes as to the capacity my heart can hold. I wish to discover love again, this time it hanging around longer. This time it being both reciprocated and permanent. Yet I cannot help but wonder, how permanent could love ever be if there is no such thing as forever??

 

 

Server Life: The Future

My thoughts on the server life and the restaurant industry are tainted. With 16 years of serving under my belt, I have seen and experienced everything. From receiving a $100 tip for serving over-medium eggs and a side of bacon with a smile, to spilling coffee on the lap of an 80 year old man, to being thrown up on by an overheated baby. Working with the public can be very taxing and not just from day to day but from table to table. As a server, you are putting your best acting foot forward. Every table you take, you are playing a different role, molding yourself to the vibes of that table.

I can walk into any restaurant and immediately tell you which person has recently started serving and who’s a veteran. I can also scan the staff and tell you who is the hard working server, who’s the slacker, who’s the one always up management’s ass, who’s on drugs, who calls out most often, who only serves to get through school or are saving up for a particular reason, and who’s going to be making it a career. I can look at staff and see if the place is all about team work or if it’s each man (or woman) for themselves. I am like a blood hound but instead of sniffing out blood and bodies, I sniff out server characters and work ethics. It’s at times blessing but also a curse.

Eating out is one of my favorite things to do, and for many reasons. For one, as a child growing up with a single mother, we could barely ever go out to eat. Financially, it was something we could do only on a special occasion. That was until I started working and took some of the financial burden away from my hardworking mother. At that point, she had this thing where once a week it would be “kitchen closed” and so instead of her cooking dinner we would go out and enjoy something nice. To be able to go out once a week and reward ourselves for a job well done always felt amazing. The fact that we could sit there and be catered to while being able to enjoy one another’s company stress free was an awesome feeling and they’re memories I hold onto till this very day. I no longer live close to my mom or sister. I live states away and although I’ve got no family here, I still enjoy a “kitchen closed” moment, maybe more often than I should. I am one of those people that you’ll meet that has absolutely no problem in going out solo. All I need to keep me company is a good book or paper and a pen, sometimes those items make better companions than people, haha. So I’ll go out and with hardly any distractions I can tune into all that is around me and that is when the curse kicks in. I start observing fellow customers, take in the ambiance around me, and then finally my thoughts and observations land solely on the staff.

More times than not I begin to really watch the servers that I can tell are veterans to the game. I watch the ones who may not have intentionally made serving their career. When I zero in on these particular people, I become sad, almost depressed at the thought of how their working life has been. In one word, exhausting. It’s not easy serving for a living and I have met people who have been caught up in the game for 20, 30, or even more years. None of them truly enjoying what they do but all of them acknowledging how easy it was to get trapped. All of them accepting a fate that in reason did not need to be accepted but for one motive or another they simply just did. They got comfortable. I look at them, I speak to them, and in all sadness I always think to myself of how I do not want to ever end up like them. I refuse to be trapped in this game no matter how much money I can make. Money cannot buy my happiness in this industry. It could buy me time but definitely not happiness.

When I began working at the place that I am currently working, I started off working 5 days a week, then I opted to pick up a sixth day. I was 20 at the time and was making about $250-$350 a shift depending on the time of year. I was banking. I enrolled into school but my education took a backseat to work. I mean hey, what I was making a shift would make me more than an entry level job that I would be getting once I graduated college so why the fuck not? Soon everything came before my education simply because I had the financial means to place everything else first. Ten exhausting years later, I am still trying to finish my schooling, not so much for the career, but more so for the accomplishment factor. I have been at them same restaurant for the duration of the time, minus two years that I took off to go explore bits of the U.S.  Since I have been back I only serve two days a week. By just working those two days I can make my monthly bills without a worry and have incorporated into my life meaningful matters of the heart instead of the wallet. I spend my time now painting and writing (among other hobbies). This, what I am doing right now at this point in time, is my passion. I have finally figured out that this is what I want my life to be like. I want to go out and live out many experiences and then come back to my humble home and write all about it. Whether it’s a blog, a magazine article, a book, it doesn’t matter to me. All that matters is that I am able to produce stories and experiences for others to partake in and do not allow myself to get trapped in the harsh life of fast money. That just isn’t me. That just doesn’t nourish my soul.

I’m thirty years old, well… in a few months.. and I find myself at a cross roads of sorts. I do not know how to get to where I want to be but no matter, because I will eventually find my way there. I may have gotten a bit side tracked with the bribes life has thrown at me but I found my out. Now that I’ve taken off that financial blindfold that life for a moment blinded me with, I can truly see the meaning of my own life. I can imagine the future and I am excited. I thank all my fellow servers for helping me unravel that blindfold because only by viewing them in their past, present, and future, was I able to take notes and study the road that this job would forever take me down.

I tip my hat off to those veteran servers who have done this for longer than I have been alive for it takes a strong person to dedicate their lives catering to people in this way. I encourage the newbies to keep up their enthusiasm but to never let go of what their end goal is. No one ever went into serving saying “this is what I’ve always wanted to do when I grew up.” The server life is something you fall into and it is up to the person to sink or swim. You either get trapped in the life or you use it as a stepping stone to where you want to be. Passion is the key to everything. I’ve got loads of passion and it is what’s keeping me from settling. Hold onto your passion. It’s your life vest.

Looking Within

Its happened to all of us at some point or another. Maybe you were unaware of it happening but it has. We have all had that incident where a friendship (or any sort of relationship) has gone sour. Sometimes both parties just part ways and continue on with their lives. Other times it can get ugly. I always relate it to the maturity level of the people involved.

Just recently, I found out that someone whom I was very close to, has been going around telling people something pretty ugly about my character. Nothing sexual. I almost would have preferred that it were something more of that nature because that I can deal with. This rumor is something a little more cold blooded than that and when I heard it, my heart felt heavy and my soul truly hurt. There’s no feeling like the feeling of having someone spread hateful rumors without you knowing, cutting out the chance of being able to stand up for yourself against the words being spoken. It’s a move that a sneaky little serpent would make, attacking you without your knowledge. A cowardly move at best.

I heard what was being said and after the first couple of hours of being angry and upset, I began to look deep within to see how I may have contributed to the issue. I began taking a look at our history. This person and I had known each other all our lives but only in the last three years have we really began dealing with each other. A certain crisis was what brought us together and from that point on our lives were intertwined. At the time, I was ill aware of how this crisis was going to effect me and everyone else around me. A situation were I thought I knew how to handle things but sadly I was wrong. I had never gone through something so devastating…ever.. and so the way that I ended up dealing with the aftermath wasn’t the way I would now looking back would have handled it. It’s only through experience that we learn and boy did I learn. I abandoned people in their time of need only because I didn’t know how to fix the problem. I would rack my brain, literally stressing myself out trying to find a solution as to how to make things better, but I kept failing. Now I know that it wasn’t my job to fix anything, just being there would have been enough. But suffering from co-dependency, if anyone knows anything about co-dependency, the frustration of not being helpful in a way that I knew how, made me feel like a complete failure, which in turn  lead me to disconnect completely. This was definitely what set this ball of anger and resentment towards me into motion.

If only we all would have talked about it then, when it was all freshly happening, none of us would be feeling the way we are. Instead of communicating, we all ignored the situation probably thinking it would just go away, only letting it secretly fester until it turned into a wound that was unmanageable. By seeing the role that I played in the situation I can understand why this person set out to talk badly about me, because whether or not the rumor being spread is true or not (it’s not), it’s coming from a place of hurt. Only hurt people go around trying to destroy others. Me disconnecting wasn’t intentional but it lead to hurting others, and that in itself is something I take full responsibility for. By taking responsibility it allows me to accept the issue at hand rather than just feel angry and hurt about it. I understand the reasoning and can easily move on. At the end of the day, I know my truth and what I know and think about myself is way more important than anything anyone else could say or think about me.

Can I get mad and upset about the rumors? Of course, but what is that really going to change? Absolutely nothing, that’s what.  I will simply move on accepting all that has happened as it is, another learned life lesson. Maybe one day life will rear its pretty head and we’ll be at a point in our lives that this can be discussed and let go, but I don’t hold too high of hopes. I forgive myself and I’ll forgive others. I’m letting go and letting life….

 

The Problem Was Me

After my last failed relationship, I decided to look back on certain things and really try to figure out why the hell  I seem to be finding the same type of guy over and over again.  I laugh at myself because no matter how different the guys are, at the end of the day they are the same “type” of guy with maybe just with a slight difference.

I’ve dated them all. From school teachers and lawyers (I know I know. I said I’d never date a lawyer…) to tattoo artists and musicians. From “high” class guys to guys in the lower income bracket… It doesn’t matter where they’re from, how they were raised, education level, they all end up being the same type of guy.

For years I have been plaguing my mom with the same question, “How do I keep finding the same type of guy??” and for years her response would be to laugh. I can’t blame her. My love life is like an awful romance comedy that instead of getting better… it gets funnier and funnier (which means worse and worse) by the minuet. Or shall I say by the boyfriend.

It was just a couple days ago that it finally hit me. It’s me. I’m the problem. After speaking to a few chosen ladies and really analyzed my situation, I have come to the conclusion that the common denominator is me. Therefore the problem lies within myself. Not them. Me.

Am I being a little too hard on myself? Nope. If anything I need to get tougher. I need to “tough love” myself because if I want for this ridiculous cycle to stop and eventually meet someone right for me, things have got to change.

First I’ll tell you the mistakes I’m making. Then I’ll tell you the kind of men I’ve been pulling. You’ll realize what I’m talking about soon enough and then hopefully you too will stop making the same moves I have been making.

My last few bf’s I’ve found online. Whether it be through a dating site or app, or through “mutual friends” listed on FB. My current ex is the exception. I met him at the bar he worked at. Everyone of them I discovered because I was out on the hunt. When I describe myself as being on the “hunt” I do not mean I’m out there searching high and low for prospects with my binoculars and rifle, haha. No. My plan was simple. It was to just put myself out there to see what happened. What ended up happening was that I hit one dead end after another and who else to blame but the driver, right? I uploaded a profile onto a ridiculous site, or maybe I would go solo baring and would frequent a certain bar until one day, Poof, a knight materialized. Either way you look at it, I was a sitting duck. I basically set myself up and waited for the next one to show up and be the guy of my dreams. When it comes to Love you cannot search. That is one thing in life that if you do go in search of you’ll find everything BUT what it is you’re looking for.

They were dreamy. All were charismatic, good looking (to my standards), funny, had jobs, and of course there was always chemistry. At first. I’m sure many of you can relate when I say that the beginning of any relationships it was always great.  It wasn’t just the excitement of going out on cool dates, but more of the getting to know one another and realizing how much one had in common with the other. You begin to hang out often and the time you spend together you just think to yourself “holy cow I think I found my other half!” But the beginning of any relationship is always smoke and mirrors. Things will always seem wonderful in the beginning. Each person is on their best behavior, only setting forth their wonderful qualities. In time, the smoke begins to settle. The fairy tale slowly fades and in its place stands real life.

Real life. You gotta love it. It’s what snaps you back into the reality of life and how it operates. Life will never go 100% smooth. There will always be SOMETHING that takes a dip for the worst. It could be health wise, financial crap, or maybe family issues. It could be anything. These issues and how people handle the situation and move forward is very telling about who they are as an individual and what role, if any, they’ll play in your life. With each and every ex there were always red flags and every single one of them I chose to ignore. My second mistake.

It’s very rare when a relationship is heading south for one or both people involved to be completely broad sighted. There are always signs telling us, warning us, that shit is about to hit the fan. I truly do feel bad for our Sixth Sense, good ol’ Intuition, because more often than not it is ignored. If we followed our intuition more, or paid close attention to those red flags, we would avoid so many problems in life.

I cannot tell you how often it has happened that I knew a bf was going to lose their job weeks before it even happened. Or how often I’ve been told about shady pasts that they have “over come” just to know that later on it would fester up again and come back with a full vengeance. Yet what do I do? I ignored the signs, the warnings. I dismissed them thinking, “Ehhh, maaaybe not” because there IS always a chance of misjudging, right? Wrong. It’s weird to think that way. It’s weird to go thinking against a million red flags just for a minuscule possibility that you may be wrong. Think about it. Subconsciously, as we become more involved in a relationship and we begin to form a pattern and routine with someone, you begin to really take in notes about that person. You become familiar with their actions, how they respond to things and situations, the way they even think through the words they speak. Without even thinking we take all this information in and our minds slowly begin to build your reality of this individual. Red flags pop up in our brains, intuition goes off in our soul, our heart even falters for a second, when moments arrive that flare up  a feeling in you that things either aren’t adding up or are off alignment with  you and what you need out of life. Heed those warnings, take a step back and truly analyze  the situation.What’s the worse that could happen?

Here is a list of what can be considered red flags or warnings:

*they have mental, emotional, and/or physical ailments that should be tended to by a professional yet they never seek the help they need.

*became unemployed and have no interest of obtaining another job or completely lack the motivation (unless wealthy of course).

*they lie about  things that make you wonder, “Wtf would you lie about that?”

*they have kids that they don’t care to take care of.

*instead of owning up to past mistakes and taking full responsibility they continue to excuse what they’ve done and/or blame others.

*they live at home with their parents due to the desire of wanting to keep being maintained and lack of drive versus that of the need to (ages 30 and over).

*if they have cheated on multiple exes and/or still consider themselves a “player”

* they are rude to or look down upon people in the service industry

With some of the ones listed, you couldn’t possibly even get into a relationship and expect for your it to be a healthy one. The fact that I am a co-dependent (currently working on that) and am addicted to helping people  has always placed me in a bad spot. I always want and believe that I can help and save everyone, when in fact, that is totally far from the truth. No one can help or save anyone that doesn’t want to help themselves. Remember that. Always support people emotionally but never allow yourself to be convinced that you are there to save someone. That’s a ton of responsibility unnecessarily placed on someone that truly has no power in the situation.  Keeping this in mind will save you from many head pains and heart aches.

Here are some guidelines I came up with from my own experiences to maybe help others out there in the dating scene. For now, there are only three:

1) Don’t go searching for Love. The way the Universe works, it is always conspiring for you. But just because it is working for you doesn’t mean it’ll be timed the way you want it. Love will find you once it’s ready, once you’re ready, once your partner is ready. So “let go and let God”, otherwise, you run the risk of continuously finding the ones not at all meant for you.

2) Listen to your inner you.

3) You are no one’s hero. They must be their own. Instead, think more along the lines of being their biggest cheerleader.

Go out. Mingle with people. Have fun. Live out your life. Go about your business while always being in the moment. Stop thinking that the next person you see may be “the one.” Stop worrying about “Ways to Meet Your Soul Mate” or the “10 Places to Meet Your Future Spouse.” Those magazines titles are so lame, honestly.

Trust me. I’m taking my own advice. I’ve been repeating the same mistakes time and time again. The difference now is that I am aware of what I was doing before and can now knowingly decide to not commit the same errors again.

Funny, because I feel like these were all things I’ve heard before. Advice from the elders that one never truly followed through with after listening to.  I guess it’s the way of life, us trying to experience things on our own, even if it is the hard way. One thing is for sure, it makes for great writing.

“Alternative” Living

So then it begins. The story of the girl and her dog. She sits alone at bars and although she never intends to, she gets way too drunk. She meets all sorts of personalities while she’s out and even though legally she’s not supposed to be out drinking and mingling, following the rules was never her forte. Let’s just call her a rebel. Others would simply say dumb.

It wasn’t too long ago when she heard herself being described on the radio for the first time. It was when she first arrived to Florida some 8 odd years ago. The radio host was saying how in today’s world, the term used for a girl like her was “alternative.” It was then that she realized she’s gone from being just “ordinary” to something but.  With her funky hair color and her piercings, along with her tattoos that cover about 75% of her body, in this Florida region she stood out. It’s not like she lived in Miami or Orlando where youth is prominent and so is the “alternative” life style. No, she lived in an area where the senior citizens are the ruling class followed up by the middle class to wealthy families. The types of people who look at her and wonder why?

“Why would such a nice girl like yourself, with so much going for herself do that to her body?” They ask. Funny. Old people never feel the restraint of prying into your private life. It could be the fact that soon they’ll be nothing but a mass of decaying flesh and bones six feet under that gives them the balls to ask such intrusive questions. But I don’t mind. My life and who I am is an open book. No invitation is needed. Just having an open mind and a civil, respectful approach is all I care about. I usually try to counter that question with another question like, “Well, why do you drive the kind of car you drive?” Or “What makes you choose to wear that shade of lipstick?” They laugh at me because of course nothing of what I asked them is remotely close to being like a tattoo on your body. But those are my build up questions. I then ask them, “What makes you want to have children?” Or “What makes you decide what political party to run along with?” To every single one of these questions no matter the level of permanency, the one true answer that fits true to all is the same answer I have for them. Ultimately it is because you want to. It’s because you like it. You do it because it’s you, it’s your dream.

Just recently I had a lady ask me, “Honey how are you going to find yourself a nice young man to take care of you when you’ve got all this going on?” and she points to my art. I of course had to be a hard ass in my response because with people like her that’s just how I naturally react. So I say, “Well HONEY, if I was looking for a man to take care of me then I may be a little worried but seeing as though I am not…” She cuts me off and says, “Oh I get. Well a “partner.” How will you find a “partner” then?” Naturally she assumes I’m a lesbian.  “Listen lady, I’m not a lesbian. And if I was that wouldn’t even be the issue at hand. The issue you’re having are with my tattoos and although I’ve got no need to explain anything to you, I will use this opportunity to maybe enlighten folks like you a little bit. The fact that I’ve got tattoos doesn’t effect the kind of people I meet, because the kind of people I want to meet won’t have an issue with the tattoos. We can call them a filter. If anything, I have met the raddest people because of my tats and those whom are judgmental just simply stay away. That’s how I like it. Let me just add by saying that some of the most clean cut individuals are the dirtiest people on this planet. Take a look at Ted Bundy for instance or Jeffery Dahmer. Keep them in mind the next time you judge someone for their “nice guy” appearance.” Needless to say this lady didn’t continue on the conversation with me. She turned back to her “clean cut” husband never uttering another word. Hopefully I left her wondering what sort of skeletons he’s got hidden among the Tommy Bahama clothes hanging in his closet.

Was I a little too harsh in my response with this lady? Maybe. But catch me on a day like that day where I was a couple drinks in and I’m going to get as real with my answers as your are with your questions. I think a lot about this older generation and how sometimes I cannot wait for them to dissolve. It may be wrong of me to say but I blame a lot of what’s going on in the world due to their way of thinking. The fact that so many are set in their old ways and cannot conceive of things changing or evolving.  Much of their way of thinking so ignorant and small minded, killing so much of the potential this world has to offer simply because it doesn’t fit their way of thinking or the way things have always been. Maybe I was a little harsh with her, and not only her but with others like her, but it was actually one of the rare moments life presented me with, an opportunity to maybe spread a message that normally wouldn’t have been given a chance to be expressed.

In reality this blog piece isn’t about the adventures of a girl and her dog. It’s about the realization of the way life goes for not only me but for those out there who are similar.

In today’s world, if by your mid twenties you’re not married, with kids, living in your own home, working in a set career, you’re looked down upon by the older generation. Truth be told, if you look at the statistics out there, you’re actually doing just fine. You’re in sync with the way life is evolving around you. Many are staying in school longer, actually taking their time to decided on their true passion in life. Others aren’t even going straight to college after HS because their intent is to travel and experience life before making long term dedications to ideas that in all honesty were more imposed on them than actually being wanted. Having a full blown family by the age of 25 is now pretty overrated. I’m not taking any credit away from those who actually have one and wanted to have one. That’s a great achievement when you get to accomplish a dream, no matter what dream it is. All I’m saying is to those of you who are out there still drawing up that blue print for life, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel like you’re behind in anyway. Don’t feel that you have to have this title hanging over your head of the “alternative” lifestyle, no matter what definition it holds for you. Who are these individuals coming up with such a label? Who are these people coming up with the rules and guidelines for society? Other human beings that’s who. People who are no more inferior or superior to us, to you. They are just regular Joe Shmoes so why care about living your life by their rules? Set your own standards and live your own life by them. Care about yourself, and make sure to try to go along your path with inflicting the least amount of pain as possible. Those should truly be your only two “set in stone” guidelines. Everything else can be written in sand and washed away by the sea allowing you to write and rewrite as many times needed.

Never allow others to make you feel like who you as an individual are worthless. No one is worthless.

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Photo Credit: Angie M, Muse: Natal Galvan ’13