This Is Anxiety 

Fucking shit. You want to know what anxiety feels like? 

Anxiety feels like forgetting everything you’ve ever known in your entire life in an instant and being completely frozen into place. 

Anxiety is having to run back and forth to the bathroom as your stomach churns, bile burning at your throat. 

Anxiety is feeling fucking insane for being scared of everything that is actually nothing at all. 

Anxiety is saying “No” to your dreams because you don’t feel you’re good enough. 

Anxiety is that bloodcurdling, hateful voice that won’t stop screaming. 

Will you ever shut the fuck up? 

Anxiety is that icy presence that creeps into your bed, engulfing you in its piercing embrace, depleting the energy out of you. 

You cannot breathe. 

The oxygen flees the room, slipping away further and further into the night. 

It’s taking your spirit, as you stare with red rimmed eyes, helplessly into the sky,

Choking and clawing at your throat hysterically,

No matter how much you try,

You know there’s no escape; 

You see, anxiety is only the prison that lives in your brain. 

How To Break In The Death Traps You Call “Shoes” 

Shoes. The bane of a person’s existence. Beautiful, but deadly. Like Ingrid in White Oleander (Doing my best, dramatic Michelle Pfeiffer bitch stare). Seriously though. They fucking hurt. But, we all want to look good right? 

I like short cuts. I don’t care to earn my badge of honorable footwear all bloodied and blistered. The thought alone makes me cringe entirely. 

So I’ve come to teach you all a magic trick. One that will eliminate maybe about 80 percent of your suffering. You’ll need four things. A thin, dress sock, a thick, fluffy sock, your death traps AND a blowdryer (clearly I’m a fan). 

You’re going to put the thin sock on and then put the thick sock over. Stuff your victims in the death traps. Then, you’re going to take your blowdryer and heat up the parts on the shoes that are tight, pinch or straight up hurt. You obviously want to do this at a good safe distance. You don’t want to burn your shoes, or dry/change the color of the fabric/leather. You want to do this just enough to heat up the uncomfortable parts of your shoes. 

You can do this through out the day, 30 seconds per shoe at most. If done correctly and carefully, the appearance of the shoe should remain the same.  

Then, (I hope you took the day off) walk around the house with them. Do your chores in them. Pretend your table is a runway. Squat. Tae bo. Just get that ass moving. Sit when you need to, lay down when you need to. 

In the evening, when the wretched day is done, try the shoes on with solely the appropriate sock or if heels, barefoot. 

Your foot should comfortably fit in the shoes. They should be softer and have lost the majority of their stiffness. The layers of socks, although uncomfortable, should’ve protected your feet from potential blisters forming. 

You might even be able to wear your shoes the same day or even the following day. I hope this works for anyone that hates breaking in shoes as much as I do. Until next time, you’re welcome. 

The Mastery That Is Self Care

I have a diagnosis of Bipolar 2 (major depression-mild manic episodes) and generalized anxiety disorder. I found out at the age of 22. I admitted myself into a facility because I was experiencing racing thoughts, suicidal ideation and anxiety. I was drinking excessively and taking sleeping pills as well. If I could’ve had it my way, I would’ve slept for all of eternity. I didn’t want to feel, so did what I could to numb myself. My only suicide attempt was at 15, so clearly I was struggling way before my initial diagnosis. 

Since then, I’ve played an active role towards my recovery and stability. A lot of trial and error, but I’ve learned and have grown a lot along the way. I’ve researched immensely and have educated myself on the ins and outs of mental illness. I’ve read books, I’ve studied articles and statistics.

I take medication to correct the chemical imbalance I struggle with. I go to therapy and have been seeing a therapist on and off, for 12 years now. I am straight forward with my doctor, even if it pains me. The point of seeking mental help is to learn and transform. To evolve into the best version of yourself. That’s not supposed to be a comfortable process. You sure as hell will not reach it by being dishonest or omitting information from the one person whose job is to guide you towards the path to improvement. 

I’m going to share some transformative things I’ve learned in my life. Some of the epiphanies that have allowed me to see life in a refreshingly, new perspective. I hope this information helps you, because it saved me. I’m only paying it forward. 

At the very brink of any strong emotion, that pang that sucker punches you, leaving you internally stunned and frozen; I leave the situation to give myself a moment of clarity. If I cannot leave where I am, I choose to behave calmly. I accept that I cannot give a valid, logical, responsible response until I’m tranquil.

Then, I journal in my notepad on my phone in the style of free association writing. Free association, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is the expression (as by speaking or writing) the content of consciousness without censorship as an aid in gaining access to unconscious processes especially in psychoanalysis: the reporting of the first thought that comes to mind in response to a given stimulus (as a word). 

You are writing everything you are thinking at the moment. All those thoughts, shooting like stars across the velvety sky, in your mind? Write them down. No matter how stupid, shameful, silly, embarrassing… these words are for your eyes only. It’s important to be as candid as possible. 

Is this uncomfortable? Absolutely. Is complete honesty necessary? Absolutely. If you are not genuine, this is pointless. The reason for this is to dig DEEP. In order to heal, you have to figure out the root of those feelings. Where they are originating from? Why are they happening now? In order to get better, you have to try something you’ve never done before. Say exercising, for example. The first time someone ever did a push up was way harder than the 500th they trained their way up to. 

This is an immediately release, similar to venting to a friend. All of the emotional dumping without draining someone else and feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders as a result. When you’re done, read what you’ve written. Pretend you’re reading someone else’s words. Imagine your words as a story with fictional characters in a film. This will allow you to think objectively. Thinking neutrally will help you observe your thoughts and feelings in a non biased way. 

Read your words over and over again. It will relax you, also providing you with a clarity of the emotion you’re experiencing. This is essential because identifying this emotion will help you understand yourself and your needs better. 

When reading what you’ve written, there are a couple of things you must be accept here. Now, this isn’t simple. I do promise as hard as this is, once you do, the quality of your life will improve. 

Okay. Say this with me. Write it down. Paste it on your wall if you need to. 

You cannot stress what you cannot control. You cannot control what you feel. You cannot control what someone else feels. You cannot control someone else’s actions and choices. You cannot control someone else’s thoughts. You cannot control someone’s opinion of you. You cannot make someone like you. You cannot make everyone happy. It is your job, and your job only to make YOURSELF happy. The people around you either add to that happiness or have to go because they will hinder your joy. 

Instead, redirect your focus on what you CAN control. You can control the way you react to the dumb shit people will do. You can control your own actions. You can choose to take responsibility of your own happiness and fulfillment. Trying to do the same for others is exhausting and impossible. You might as well avert the energy towards yourself. 

Accepting all of this is powerful. It eliminates the chunk of what mentally burdens us often, the inevitable. It forces us to practice self care. 

My therapist taught me something I now live my life by. “When you’re on an airplane, you are told in an emergency to put your own oxygen mask on first. You are of no help to anyone, if you haven’t taken care of yourself first”. 

You cannot love yourself fully if you have not learned self care and self preservation. You cannot fully love someone else if you haven’t learned this. You cannot be the best version of yourself to your significant other, to your children, to your family, to your friends, to your employer or to yourself if you do not learn to do this. Self care is not selfish. It’s survival. 

After you come to terms with the situation, you should be able to target the exact emotion you’re struggling with. That’s when coping skills come into the picture. Coping skills are techniques that help us survive stressful situations in a safe and productive manner. Showering, going for a walk, meditation, meditation music, nature sounds, using perfume or scented candle in your favorite scent, exercise, coloring, watching a funny film, crying, deep breathing, singing, dancing, and reciting positive affirmations are all awesome coping skills. 

You also have the option of writing a list of activities that make fill you with bliss. You can choose to treat yourself by performing actions you’ve listed. This is a more personalized approach to coping skills. They may even work more effectively because they are designed for your specific needs. 

Also, beware of negative coping skills. Do not integrate them into your list accidentally. If you find yourself doing the following, step away for a moment and contemplate to yourself “Is this action productive towards my recovery?” 

Some examples of negative coping skills are criticizing yourself (negative self-talk), driving fast in a car, chewing your finger nails, becoming violent or aggressive with someone, eating too much or too little, overloading with caffeine, drinking alcohol, yelling at your significant other, children or friends, taking recreational drugs, as well as isolating yourself from family and friends. This may seem obvious, but mental illness can skew your perception so they need to be discussed.  

When you find yourself in a fragile state of mind, retreat to your favorite coping skills. Keep in mind, you’re feeling sick that day. Imagine yourself with the flu. You’d be gentle with yourself. You’d give yourself the time to heal. You’d do what you had to to rest. You wouldn’t plague yourself with critical remarks. You’d nurse yourself back to a healthy state. It’s the same with mental illness. Love yourself enough to prioritize self care and self preservation. It’s your obligation to do so. 

I encourage anyone who suspects they have a mental illness to see a mental health professional. This piece is not intended to substitute professional help. However, this is not a journey that’s safe enough to travel alone and I will always stand by those who are agonizing in quietude. Much love to you all. 

Mosquitoes Be Gone, Your Itch Ain’t That Strong 

So, my husband and I decided to barbecue over the weekend. I was super excited to sit outside and enjoy a nice burger or two. All the while, forgetting that my blood to a mosquito is what Pepsi is to the average American. 

I’m super prone to bites and typically end up covered in them. These suckers didn’t disappoint. Between my legs and my arm, I’d gotten about 10-12 bites. Yeah, what great fun! It’s had been two days and itch was unbearable. I’d tried alcohol, hydrocortisone, aloe vera gel, essential oils, calamine lotion and everything else one could think of. Nothing worked. I started to feel like I was going nuts. 

I got on the internet and started searching for ways to get rid of the itch. Page after page, all I could find were suggestions I had already used that didn’t work. 

Finally I came across one raised my brows. A blow dryer. The theory behind this was that heat deteriorates the protein that causes itching when mosquitos inject it under your skin. It was speculated that the method has more to do with the short lived effect of heat on nerve endings. 

I was pretty skeptical because it sounded pretty random and to be frank, stupid. At this point, I was ready to try anything. The itching had me ready to slice bites off (Morbid I know, can’t help the way my brain works!)

I plugged my dryer in and went to work. Surprisingly enough, it worked. I didn’t feel anymore itching for at least 4 hours, which was huge to me because the discomfort was endless.

This is pretty brilliant. Almost everyone owns a blow dryer. The relief was instantaneous. You don’t have to add any chemicals on to your skin. You also don’t have to worry about ointment and creams rubbing off on clothing, furniture, bedding, etc… 

Here is what I did: I took the blow dryer and put it on high heat. I aimed the hot air in the direction of the bite, keeping the blow dryer about 10 to 12 inches away from my skin. 

I own a professional, salon quality blow dryer that gets very hot. I had to hold it from a good distance to avoid burning myself. If your blow dryer isn’t as strong, you can bring it closer to your skin. 

You want to feel a tingle in the area where the bite is. It will feel like someone is scratching for you (weird, I know). Once you feel that sensation, stop. Do not leave heat the bite long enough to burn yourself. You don’t want to singe your skin off (Yeah, I was considering it too). You want to get it hot enough, then remove the heat. You’ll find immediate relief that will last for hours. 

I hope this tip helps some of you in distress from these pesky bites as well. My only regret was not finding out sooner. So, run over to that blower and zap the itch away. And, if you find yourself with the opportunity, aim the dryer at your blood sucking friend. 

Tea Is Magic

Hey! Welcome back bitches! 

Now, before you get all tight assed and offended by the word bitch, I did warn you all. I am pretty unorthodox and can be crude and vulgar. I don’t care for censorship either. My writing is a direct reflection of myself. I authentically communicate with my audience the very way I would speak to a close friend and that is my exact intent. 

Consider it a term of endearment, because it’s truly nothing but love. Those of you who return and take the time to read my work hold a very special place in my heart and I am always humbled by your responses. Thank you, once again. Now, back to our scheduled program! 

I love home remedies. In my years of dealing with a plethora of health issues, I don’t like to take medicine unless my symptoms are completely insufferable and I NEED to function. Otherwise, I prefer much more to treat myself with something natural that works on healing the issue VS masking the symptoms with chemicals. 

 Tea holds a special place in my heart. My abuelita (grandmother) believed whole heartedly that tea was the magical elixir. She swore it cured anything from anxiety, heartbreak, stomach problems, colds… you name it, the cure was always tea. Turns out, homegirl knew her shit. My tea collection is stocked like a medicine cabinet!

Let’s start with Abuelita’s favorite: Chamomile. This was the tea my grandma used as the antidote to all problems. This popular tea is exceptional at combatting anxiety, insomnia, burns and scrapes, dark circles, lightening blotchy skin, muscle spasms, digestion issues, and finally reducing the chances of breast and thyroid cancer; what is there not to love? 

Ginger tea makes me smile. It’s one of my favorites. I usually turn to this when I have an upset stomach or am congested. It completely opens up my sinuses. The spicy sensation that is accompanied with ginger is felt in your stomach as you drink. You are physically feeling this tea at work as it settles your stomach. It’s also said to help fight cancer, manage glucose levels, improve circulation, reduce arthritic inflammation and even relieving menstrual cramps.  

Smooth Move from the brand Traditional Medicinals (My favorite brand!!) is awesome as well. This baby helps to relieve constipation. Its main ingredient is senna leaf, a plant native to Northern Africa well know for being a natural laxative. Unlike over the counter laxatives, this is super gentle and usually painless. Drink a cup before bed and you’ll typically experience comfortable bowel movements the following morning. 

Organic Weightless from Traditional Medicinals is a goodie. This tea is used to treat bloating and water weight gain. The herbal blend contains diuretic properties that help expel an over abundance of water, bringing you back to a relieved state and a flatter tummy. 

Need some energy? Is caffeine typically too strong for you to handle? Looking for a healthier alternative? Grab yourself a cup of green tea. Green tea has about 35-70 mgs of caffeine VS coffee which contains 100-200 mgs. Green tea also has a multitude of advantages as well. Green tea can assist with weight loss and targeting belly fat, balances blood sugar levels, helps prevent and destroy lung, colorectal and prostate cancer, while preventing skin damage and is loaded with antioxidants.

Peppermint tea is not only refreshing AND delicious, but is excellent for boosting concentration, congestion and sinus relief, reducing fevers, eliminating bad breathe, relieving stress, issues with digestion, as well as calming painful migraines and headaches. 

Echinacea Plus from Traditional Medicinals is perfect for detoxing the liver, kidneys, lymphatic system and glands. It boosts your immune system, shortens the duration of colds, reduces symptoms of allergies, relieves urinary track infections and even helps alleviate ear infections. This tea is literally a speed healer!!! 

In conclusion, tea rules. No doubt about it. It’s inexpensive, natural and has so many undeniable health advantages. If you prefer to take a more natural approach to your health or really enjoy home remedies, I’d highly suggest trying some of the ones I listed above. So, go on and get your tea on, pinkies up! 

Disclaimer: Tea or any other natural remedy does NOT take the place of seeing a medical professional. If you have severe, persistent symptoms, please see a doctor. If you have any prominent health issues, consult with your doctor before trying different teas. Teas usually come with warning labels, just like medicine. Just make sure to read the box and don’t be afraid to do your own research as well. 

The Pain No One Talks About 

Sexual Abuse. Just those two words cause people to cringe, wince and shudder. Anyone that knows me well has heard me say that it’s one of my worst fears. Statistics show 1 in every 4 women will have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime. That is a lot of women. I’ve known this fact for a while and it’s always made me wonder about the hidden pain the women in my life may be struggling with but are too ashamed to talk about. 

I wasn’t completely positive as to what the term “Sexual Abuse” implied. I always thought it was another reference to rape. Rape, which is every human being’s nightmare. However, I never realized the multitude of ways a person could experience sexual abuse. 
According to New York Sexual Assault Laws, sexual abuse is defined as subjecting another person to sexual contact without the latter’s consent. 

New York Penal Code Section 130(3) further defines “sexual contact” to include “any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party,” and touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the actor, whether directly or through clothing. 

This information swirled into my head and wouldn’t go away. Something about this “revelation” gave me a sense of awareness I’d never had before. What was worse, I couldn’t deny relating to some of the criteria listed. Following the immediate pang of pain I felt, I started reflecting on my entire life. From childhood to present time. 

From the ages of 11 to 13, I was bullied by a classmate of mine. He ridiculed me in front of all my classmates. From my hair being frizzy, to my legs being skinny. He made sure to tell me everyday how ugly I was. While no one was watching, he would grab and fondle my breasts, my butt. Even as far as going under my skirt. I wasn’t a person. I was an inanimate object for him to grope, yet a punching bag he simultaneously degraded. I remembered feeling worthless yet unjustified for my hurt feelings. I thought this was normal. Maybe this is just the way boys behaved, and it was acceptable. 

When I was 17 years old, my boyfriend insisted I sleep with him. It wasn’t our first time. I just didn’t want to. Although he wasn’t physically aggressive, he persisted. He became verbally pushy and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I bent over and allowed him to have his way with me. 

I remember that night, feeling spaced out while this happened. Those same feelings of hollowness flooded through my body. I gave in. I didn’t want to, but I did. Why? Because this is the way men behaved, I thought to myself. They want sex. If you’re in a relationship with a man, you had to have sex. Whenever they wanted. Men have needs, I thought to myself. This is only expected. If not, they’ll seek it elsewhere. So I spared my needs for his. Even at my own emotional expense. 

When I was 18 years old, an old boyfriend of mine and I decided to have sex. He put on a condom and we proceeded. When we finished, I realized he was no longer wearing a condom and had ejaculated inside of me. When I asked him why he removed it, he said it was because I was on birth control. It’s fine, don’t worry about it, he said. He didn’t ask, and if he had, I would’ve said no. He didn’t see the issue in this. I felt violated. I felt deceived. I felt betrayed. But again, felt completely unjustified. I thought to myself “He’s right. I am on birth control. It’s no big deal”. I put my feelings on the back burner and again, dismissed them as nonsensical. 

When I was 21, I went to a house party. I’d had way too many drinks and I needed a bed and some sleep immediately. I’d made arrangements to stay over and was to sleep in one of the bedrooms with my friend. 

The whole night, this man tried talking and flirting with me. I told him I was not interested several times and left it at that. I went into the bedroom I was to sleep in and knocked out immediately. 

I woke up a few hours later. The room was completely dark. I felt someone nuzzled next to me. I assumed it was my friend, who I was supposed to be sharing a bed with. I found myself shivering and asked my friend to either turn off the fan or grab a blanket. I slurred the words, still intoxicated from all the drinking I’d done only hours before. 

I felt someone get up, and flick on the light. It was the same man I’d told to leave me alone. He was in his boxers. I remember feeling alarmed and angry. I did not invite him to bed with me. I thought he was disgusting and wanted nothing to do with him. 

I found myself too drunk to protest. I opened my mouth to confront him, but my body felt almost paralyzed. My mouth felt too heavy to find the words to say and the walls around me spun. I could only manage to slump my head back and slipped into my drunken slumber. 

I found out my friend had been knocking on the door all night. Apparently, the door was locked. I couldn’t have done that, because I KNOW I entered that bedroom alone and did not invite anyone in. Had I locked it behind me, I would’ve been in that bed alone. I had pajamas on, and I didn’t feel any pain or signs of forced intercourse. I decided it wasn’t a big deal and laughed it off because that felt better than trying to figure out what happened. Till this day, I have no idea what this man might’ve possibly done to my body while I was unconscious. 

Years after, I was dating a man who I was happy with. We were sexually active and satisfied with each other. We’d talked about sex very openly. The topic of anal sex came up. I’d never tried it. I didn’t want to try it. I’d told him I wasn’t comfortable with it. I didn’t know that I ever would be. That if he pressured me into doing it when if I wasn’t ready, I would resent him. 

 We had so much fun together. We would constantly go out, and our night life was active. We came back home after many drink one night. I slightly remember coming home and agreeing to have vaginal sex. I remember flashes of the experience. 

The following morning when I woke up, he told me how much fun he’d had. How much he enjoyed himself. He told me he digitally penetrated me anally. This was after I told him how uncomfortable I was with it. He sat there and boasted about how much I enjoyed it. 

I sat there and all I could feel was ashamed, violated and defiled. I never agreed to this. He never asked me for permission. Had he done so, my answer would have been no. This deeply bothered me, considering the talk we’d had beforehand. He knew how I felt and still crossed my boundaries. 

This became something that would happen every now and then. It was usually when I was drunk, too intoxicated to even understand what was being done to my body. My stance on anal sex always stayed the same. Yet on those drunken nights, those rules seemed not to matter to him. Just like all the other mornings, he’d brag about how great it was. Again, how much I enjoyed it. 

I felt humiliated, used. Bothered that my body was again being regarded as an object. His enjoyment trumped respecting my limitations. I didn’t matter enough to be asked and considered. So, I did what I’d always done in the past. Shrugged it off and laughed because confronting a pain I didn’t understand the root of was frightening.  

Society labels women as liars immediately when they come forward with claims of sexual abuse. They are blamed. They had it coming. They led him on. They are met with skepticism. They are exaggerating. They aren’t remembering things correctly. Society has conditioned women who go through these things to believe it’s no big deal. 

Society has also conditioned men to seize what they feel they are entitled to. They are congratulated for their conquests, regardless of the circumstances and are left with no responsibility. So, that’s exactly what many of them do. With no regards for anyone else because there has never been a consequence to pay. 

Both writing and acknowledging that the experiences in my life coincide with the criteria of sexual abuse stings. I thought this was normal. I thought for a long time, being objectified and being treated like someone’s rag doll was just a part of the experience that came with being with a man. 

I write this for women who may think the way I did. This isn’t excusable. This isn’t acceptable. You are not someone’s rag doll. You are not obligated to engage in anything you don’t want to do, no matter how much guilt you’re made to feel. You mean more. Your needs mean more. You are more. Your pain is valid. 

My Thoughts On Caitlyn Jenner

On Wednesday, 7/26/17, the President of the United States of America TWEETED that he would be reinstating the US military ban on transgender people. Honestly, this didn’t surprise or disappoint me. From the moment Donald Trump was elected, I knew to expect all sorts of crazy shit. 

Shortly after, Caitlyn Jenner tweeted in response “There are 15,000 patriotic transgender Americans in the US military fighting for all of us. What happened to your promise to fight for them?” She also retweeted President Trump’s tweet from 6/14/16 “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs!” 

Here are my thoughts on this: 

Caitlyn Jenner is intriguing to me. She is a republican. She supports a political party, that frankly, wants nothing to do with her, LBGTQ community, or anything else that isn’t traditional or conventional.

She publicly supported Trump. Donald Trump, who in Jan 2016, told interviewer Chris Wallace on Fox News that he would “strongly consider” appointing new justices who would overturn gay marriage. She was in favor of Trump, who chose Mike Pence as his Vice President. Mike Pence, who was in charge of an organization that published a journal article, declaring homosexuals unfit for military service. Who once supported “gay conversion” with the use of electroshock therapy. These are the candidates Caitlyn willingly and proudly approved of. The information stated above can be found and proven on 

Caitlyn Jenner appeared on the Ellen Show in 2015. She was reluctant to support gay marriage because she’s “traditional” and a Christian (a religious group that wants nothing to do with her either). This, rightfully so, caused uproar in the LGBTQ community. 

She was oblivious and lacked compassion for those who had to transition who weren’t as privileged as she was. Those who needed to go through great lengths to transition, even resorting to prostitution in order to afford hormonal treatment and procedures. Those who were treated like shit every day on the street, even assaulted, because they bravely refused to conform to what society wanted them to be. Yet, compared her struggle to the struggles of the average trans person. So now, LGBTQ community doesn’t care for her much. 

I suspect her speaking out has more to do with redeeming herself in the public eye VS giving a shit. 

Caitlyn Jenner, you can’t complain about what President Trump is doing if you handed him your vote. You were all about making American great again, clearly forgetting that you were a man then. Not something that society and the government regard to be nothing more than a psychological disorder and laughing stock. You forgot you are now a part of a community America still hates.

America was never great to the LGBTQ community, minorities, or even women. The rights that these groups have now, were not the outcome of an epiphany the government all of a sudden had. No one woke up and said “Hey! Let’s stop treating people like garbage. Equality for all!” 

No. They were earned and fought for vigorously. Something you know nothing about because these are struggles that never pertained to you before. Where was the outrage when women and minorities were constantly disrespected and patronized during Trump’s campaign? Nonexistent. It took someone now nicking away at your privilege for you to say “Hey! This is an issue! You cant treat people this way!” Caitlyn, you wanted MAGA, you got it. Served to you on a piping, hot platter. Enjoy.   

The Bittersweet Power Of Evolution 

Evolution: Any process of formation and growth. 

That is the formal definition in the dictionary. There are many ways evolution occurs. Doctors and scientists have studied and taken record of all sorts of species, changing through out the years. Anatomies of all kind, morphing slowly to better suit their environment for progression and survival.

What about the evolution of the psyche? Evolution of the soul? Emotional evolution?

Many times, we as human beings become a product of our environment. Picking up on the behaviors from the people around us as we grow, whether they be good or bad. 

When children come from abusive households, there is a high chance they will mimic the behaviors they were exposed to. Some of them don’t know any different. This was their rendition of “normal.” Whether the abuse be sexual, physical, psychological, or emotional… it’s very likely the offspring of abusers will go on to repeat the same behavior organically. Frequently, this way of life becomes a cycle that is difficult to break. 

However, there are children who do grow up to think for themselves. Those who question the world around them, using their own minds and judgment. Miraculously, despite previous trauma; these people can grow up to be well adjusted adults if they’re able to move past the damage, breaking the cycle.

It’s unlearning everything you ever thought to be acceptable. Whether it be battered self image, the urge to react abusively, harmful habits; It is possible to rise above the pain and to have a happy, fulfilled life. This requires self awareness, motivation, dedication, discipline and self love. Wanting better for yourself, your family and the people you love. Refusing to become a self fulfilling prophecy. 

For these people, evolution becomes a way of life. It’s their passion, the fire under their ass, the battery that fuels them. 

Downside? You will find that those around you may not care to do the same. It may be because their background was different than yours. They might’ve spoiled and spoon fed, never being called out on their shit. They may be close minded or in denial. They even may not realize what the issue is. The truth is, they may not be as eager as you to advance. 

Many of these people have never had to fight for their survival. Many have been and are presently being sheltered and catered to. Nothing will ever challenge them to be anything, but what they are in this moment. If they are, they might not even be conscious of the fact they are a part of their own problems. They might be their own enemies 

Sadly, you’ll find yourself outgrowing people and becoming lonely in the process. People, comfortable and cozy in the seat they call life. You’ll find you no longer live similar lifestyles. You no longer have anything common. You don’t share the same way of thinking. You may also realize, you don’t want to either. You’re proud of who you are and how far you’ve come. You may love someone who needs change desperately, but is too stubborn to see it.
Unfortunately, these people are eventually better left in the dust. Whether their presence has become toxic, their lifestyle isn’t conducive to yours, they attract chaos, or they lack the maturity of a full grown adult; they’ve got to go. That may be heartbreaking, but that’s okay. Some people are best loved from afar. 

Here is what we know: We CANNOT control anyone. People will only understand you from THEIR level of perception. Someone who hasn’t struggled may NEVER have the ability to see life the way you do. Someone who has struggled may just be senseless. There is nothing you can do to help that. You can try to change someone for the better, but you may frustrate the shit out of yourself. The decision is up to them. The decision will ALWAYS be up to them. Stressing what you can’t control is stupid. Yeah, we all fall victim to it. If you learn to embrace that, I promise you’ll live a more peaceful life. 

To want to grow is to love yourself. The ability to see your flaws AND to want better? Now THAT is fucking bravery. Guess what though? Self love and self care will ALWAYS trump the presence of another person. It is not selfish, it is crucial if you aim to become the best parent, spouse, and friend. If you love yourself, you will never fear solitude. You are all you need. That right there, is the bittersweet power of evolution. 


I remember you. I remember your buttoned, short sleeved shirts. You wore them in all colors. Pink was your favorite. I guess you were really comfortable with your masculinity. I remember you grabbing me up in your arms. I remember us running down the stairs of our building, you holding me football style. I felt like a super hero gliding through the air. You were so strong. I was never afraid you’d drop me. My sister and I spent every weekend with you, no matter what. You made sure of it. 

I remember the beige station wagon you drove. God, I loved that thing. This was the early nineties, before anyone gave a fuck about seat belts. You’d let me sit in the huge space in the back. I remember our drives. How I’d stick half of my small body outside the car window. Breeze weaving through my curls, listening to my favorite song, “La Lambada” over and over again. You knew it was my favorite. 

I remember our adventures. You’d buy me ALL the snacks I wanted. You always bought me a coquito from the stand by our home. In the flavor cherry, of course. You knew my mother never allowed it because I would stain myself. I always came home with my upper lip dyed in bright red. By the end of the day, my white shirt was a splattered painting. Each and every color, the evidence of all the delicious crap I’d eaten with you. 

I remember the way you dressed your hotdogs. Ketchup and those orange, saucy onions on the top. I was so intrigued, eyes widening. It looked mouth watering. I asked for a bite and was so elated. It was delicious! I shouted “Abuelito, when I grow up, I wanna be a hot dog man!!!” To which you responded “Que!?! Hug dug meng!? Estas loca!?!” Till this day, I’ve eaten my hotdogs just like you ever since. 

I remember sitting on your lap as you watched tv. Remote always in your hand. I remember laying my small head on your chest, listening to your heart beat. Sniffing in that musky cologne you always wore. I always felt so safe and protected. Those moments meant the world to me. 

Then, things changed. I remember our adventures occurred less and less. Your hearty personality now replaced with a new found quietness, a silent sadness about you. I remember the adults whispering, and not being allowed to listen. 

I remember your wide stature narrow before my eyes. You became so thin. I remember sleeping over and waking up to the sound of you retching in a bucket while Abuelita comforted you. I remembered your eyes were different. Once white, now tinged in yellow. I remember how frail you’d become. I remember the large gash you’d gotten from the hospital. Stretching across your entire belly. Silver staples binding your wounded brown skin together. 

I remember hearing “The tumor was the size of a grapefruit.” I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time. I remember hearing you fight with Abuelita. You were angry. You were hurting. You shouted “I AM GOING TO DIE”. I heard it from the other room. I was bewildered and petrified; I didn’t understand. I ran into the living room, eyes welled up in tears. Looking up at you bawling, asking you if it was true. Your face, full of anguish at the sight of my sorrow. You held me and said “No mijita, I’m not going to die.”

I remember you were home less and less. I would visit you at the hospital. The plethora of tubes that connected to your body. You were their tree and they were your branches. 

I remember the day my mother took me by the hand and led me to the bathroom. She shut and locked the door. She knelt in front of me; unsure of what to say as she tucked away her own pain to keep her composure “Kristin, Abuelito is dead.” 

I remember my little heart crumbling like some useless piece of paper at the mere age of 7. My chest ached in agony. I sobbed as I said, “This is the worst day of my life.” I remember crying for what felt like forever. No more adventures, no more car rides, no running down the stairs with you “super man style.” I would never hear your heart beat again. What was colorful, now felt bleak. 

You were not a perfect man, but in my eyes, you were my hero. Even though you’re not with me. Even though simply thinking and speaking of you still pains me. I still remember. I will always remember. I will always remember how much you loved me. I will always feel your warmth, living in me eternally. I will never, not, miss you. Everything about you. I love you Abuelito. 

No One Gives A Fuck About Brain Flu

An episode of mania or depression feels like being sick with the flu. 

When you have the flu, your body goes out of whack. Your body felt great yesterday, today you ache all over. Your temperature was normal yesterday. Now you’re burning up like an oven. Your nose was capable of breathing in fresh air yesterday. Today, it’s clogged, runny and in pain from sneezing and wiping your nose. Your throat and lungs were fine yesterday, now the congestion is thick and you’ve coughed to the extent of vomiting. Your throat now feels like it’s been dragged against sand paper. 

Except this time, the flu is in your brain. Everything that could’ve functioned yesterday, does not today. You were energetic yesterday, today you are lethargic. You were sharp, ambitious, and funny yesterday; and today, a complete lack of focus and apathy. You could’ve felt ecstatic yesterday, yet feel the level of sadness felt when losing a loved one. You could’ve loved yourself and looked forward to the future yesterday. Yet today, hate every fiber of your being and wouldn’t give a damn about what’s to come. You could’ve felt so blessed to be alive yesterday; Today you are planning your suicide. 

Except when your brain has the flu, it doesn’t go away in about 5-7 days. You don’t know when brain flu will go away.  A day, weeks, months… Whose to say? Also, brain flu WILL come back periodically. It’s inevitable. 

When you have the flu, people feel sympathy for you. They are empathetic and compassionate. They encourage you to rest. They offer to come to your home to help you. Even cook and clean. If you need to throw up, your hair is held back. Your medicine is given to you while you rest in bed. People concern themselves about you. 

When your brain has the flu, no one cares. They assume apathy is laziness. That being withdrawn and socially anxious means you’re arrogant. When you are feeling hopeless, mentally drained, and self hatred, that you’re exaggerating, cynical and making self deprecating jokes.

Finally, when you’ve lost all will to live because your symptoms won’t go away or got worse, they will label you selfish or tell everyone they loved you so much. Yet, the last time they called you was 4 years ago. 

Imagine constantly being kicked in the gut while having the flu. Being looked at with disgust and being told to “Suck it up.” That’s what it feels like when someone has brain flu. 

That’s where we are in life. That is the extent of  our education and concern with mental illness. That’s the limit of our evolution. How does that make you feel?