Threaded With Beauty

In the past few weeks women of all ages and stages have been reaching out to me for some friendly advice. In speaking with these girls, young ladies, women, some whom I know, some whom I never met before in my life, I have discovered a common thread so beautiful that it leaves me breathless. This common thread is in our want to find our way through life, that need to find our place within our journey, no matter where we come from, who we are, or what our “status” is in this lifetime.  We each question what our purpose is and if we’re on the “proper” path. We roam around aimlessly at times, with the only knowledge or feeling that all we want to do is to help.

“I’m so lost… Am I on the right path?…I’m torn between doing the things I love and the things that are expected of me….. Most times I don’t know what I’m doing…I truly just don’t know what it is that I’d like to do with the rest of my life…”

These are some of the reoccurring questions and statements that I hear throughout my conversations with these ladies. They are feelings that most of us have but no one is truly willing to be honest with themselves nor willing to share. We all want to make it seem to the world that we know what we’re doing. We want to make believe it is all ok and that we have control of  all our doubts and fears when in reality, it is those very same doubts and fears that control us.

Society, the media, the tangibilities of life all around us, it has all thrown people into a vicious cycle. It’s the cycle of comparison webbed with the feeling of inferiority. We are constantly comparing ourselves to our friends, our family, and even to strangers. What do they have? What do they look like? What’s their status? Am I close to them??? For men I believe it’s more a friendly form of competition and bonding among themselves. For women I believe it to be something more  fierce.

As women, we are always on the forefront when it comes to the gossip. We are catty and unlike guys, we are constantly caught up in a non-friendly competition with one another. T.v shows like Bad Girls Club, Housewives of (insert city here), or America’s Next Top Model, we have infused into the eyes of society that it’s Ok to mistreat each other. We are reinforcing the belief that it is Ok to call each other bitches and whores. That instead of helping each other succeed, we try to knock each other down and use that body as a stepping stone to rise to the top, always trying to one-up one another. Even if we catch our significant other cheating on us, most tend to forgive the cheater and end up going for the throat of the other women, even if she had no idea that cheater was in a relationship to begin with! It’s straight up madness and I don’t understand how it that we got to this point. Yet although I may not know how exactly we got here, I do see how it is that we can crawl out of this well of negativity.

The first step we should take is towards realizing that we are all in this together. The game of life is a tough game to play and not because life is complicated but more so because we humans are. Realize that the woman next to you, no matter what she looks like, no matter her social status or where she may have originally come from, she too has moments of wonderment and at times feelings of inadequacy. It could be in her personal life or maybe her career, but doubt has lingered there even if only for a moment’s time. We don’t always know what we’re doing or where we’re going, and that is totally ok. For those women who have most things figured out, why not help the ones that don’t. A little advice, guidance, and empathy could change the world for the girl standing next to you. It could later on spark the big changes this planet needs if we’re to prevail as a human race.

Behind every strong man there is an even stronger and more powerful woman for we are the ones who behind the daily scenes help shape society through our children and we try to make better of our men. But what good is that woman if she feels alone and lost? No good at all so instead of shutting each other down at the first sign of insecurity, let’s be there for one another. Let’s help reshape society one woman at a time and we will literally see this ugly world morph from this blinding cocoon we have made for ourselves, and watch it turn it into a beautiful butterfly soaring on the wings of change.

10369553_1429684363967982_1987139479_n (2) Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

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

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

11348409_489547121197075_1588697728_n

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

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.

Love and Instant Gratification

In an age where technology has made everything so readily available one must wonder are we conditioning ourselves to believe that anything and everything is easily obtainable? Before, society used to have to work hard in order to achieve anything that was remotely satisfying. Your kid needed to do a 10 page research paper, the assignment was given weeks in advance for teachers knew that it would take time to gather such information. Kids would have to go and spend free time at the library or maybe even have to go so far as to visit a few museums in order to get the information needed to write a proper paper. If you had a dream of becoming a model, you knew there was serious work to be done. There were portfolios to be put together. You’d have to truly grind and figure out ways to make appointments with agents or show up for auditions. The ability to pose for a picture, edit it with a few different filters, and with one click post it on your Instagram (today’s portfolio) for the whole world to see, that was almost unfathomable. There are many who have gained, what I’ve termed Insta-Success, in dream careers that for them was once an almost impossibility yet today they are rolling in their passion. These are all great examples of how technology has helped humanity exceed and advance in many aspects of their lives such as knowledge, success, exposure.. But what about the downs of such advancement? There is always a negative to counter a positive. Life is about balance and I’m here to speak on whether or not the negatives balance or outweigh those positives.

One of our most important purposes here in life is love. I truly believe that love is something that not only every single individual on this planet strives to feel in one way or another, but it is also what makes the world go round. Not just the love of money, or success, the love to travel, or the love of food, or a hobby, but most importantly the love of an individual outside of yourself. To obtain true love whether it lasts forever or not is something that we all try to experience at one point or another. Some may have loved once, and got burned in doing so. Maybe those individuals have given up on feeling that emotion, but the point there is that they have experienced it. Others  may be looking for love and a percentage of those will find it while others will spend their entire lives in search of it. So how does the topic of “Love” come into play with “Insta-Sucess”? Take my friend Janet for instance. Janet falls under the percentage of those who are on the constant hunt for love. She’s got a profile on every single internet site or dating app that is out there. Whether it’s free or she pays a monthly fee, that girl’s heart is on everyone of them waiting to be captured. I know many people who are reading this may have or have had a profile up or two. I’ll be honest and say I’ve had one or two up and took them down for the simple reason that it just didn’t work for me. There is nothing wrong with having a dating profile. In fact, for many it is a godsend and truly their only way of being able to find love. Whether they’re to shy to go out and mingle, while there are others that are maybe too busy. Some prefer to have an array of choices at one time to date versus having to go out and pick up a date here and there. There is no wrong when it comes to having a dating profile, unless of course you’re looking for that Insta-Gratification from your Insta-Meet like my friend Janet.

Janet is trooper. She has a date pretty much every night of the week. Sometimes they are with the same guys. Most times her dates are with someone new and different. The problem doesn’t lie in the fact that she’s got numerous dates under her belt. If fact, before I would say “Good for YOU!” for I believe that in order to find out what you really want in your ideal mate you must first find out what you DON’T want. Her issue lies, and this is where most people’s issues lie in the online dating scene, is with the belief that with a few dates you either got it or you don’t. God forbid there be a flaw or a not so ideal quality in a person (because we’re all so perfect, ya know) it’s DELETE and onto the next one. No if, ands, or buts… You’re OUT. Many of you may be thinking “Well good for Janet!! She’s picky! and that’s important when it comes to not settling for less than what you want!” And I hear you. But what if that ease of “deleting” and moving onto the next one is exactly what’s keeping her from being in a happy relationship?

This is where today’s society and its entanglement with technology comes into play.For years now we have been able to be a  click away to learning and perfecting almost every aspect of our life. From typing up the perfect resume, or editing your pictures to look like a Hollywood starlit, to ordering groceries online while also paying your parking ticket at the same time. Everything is instant. Everything SEEMS perfect. We no longer have to work hard for anything. We’ve become a society who’s number one focus is physical appearance and instant gratification.  People are no longer patient enough to work hard for something. Actually it’s now the complete opposite.It’s as though in today’s world, if you’re working hard for something then it’s not worth to pursue so it’s time to move on and when it comes to love, I often hear (not just from Janet but many others her age and younger) if it’s meant to be, it’ll just work. The pursuit of “Perfection” has become such a norm in life that we have forgotten that we are human and we each have flaws or certain issues within us that make us far from perfect. Yet those very same issues or flaws are the very things that set us apart and make us unique from the next person. To be able to look past that, not only accepting it, but to the point where you cherish those flaws, that’s where true love for someone else lingers.

Janet, as well as many others out there, finding out that (insert name here) isn’t perfect, or doesn’t have all the qualities she looks for in her ideal mate, that instant gratification or her idea of perfection she’s in search for, that Insta-Love, is exactly what’s getting in her way.  The belief that you can meet someone and just love them immediately and them love you unconditionally without having to put in any work is absolutely absurd. One disagreement, one fight, one of anything negative, and good-bye. You are dismissed and onto the next one. Yes, there are those cases in which you will find what they call “love at first sight” but still to MAINTAIN that emotion for someone, it takes work. It’s not easy to maintain a relationship of any sort. There is time and effort that’s to be put in, and that is exactly what life today is lacking… Time and Effort.

I share this with you because everyone is deserving of love. When you’re out there looking for it, or it just so happens to find you, don’t get into your own way simply because you’ve been conditioned to believing in the hype around you. Listen to your heart and intuition. Understand, no one walks around wrapped in vintage filters and cropped out problems. We are all imperfect and that’s what makes us each so perfect.

049-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan Location: Santa Monica, CA