Me Too – And Hear Me Out

I learned about the terminology “Thirst trap” from my brother the other day. (I still laugh at those words, by the way.) All the brave women coming clean about their sexual assault or harassment experience these past weeks made me, once again, think of this social media–especially Instagram–slang.

There’s this short story I read on Twitter by a woman who, when she was a teenager, was raped by a group of human waste (they don’t deserve to be called men). She never told anyone about what happened and said that she had gotten in a fight when asked about her bruises. My guess is that she never spoke out because of shame. (SHE felt shame, when it should’ve been the other way around.) She said that she only told her mom in recent years, I think in her 30s, and that the first question her mom asked was, “What were you wearing?

What a chilling response… and to hear it from her own mother. My heart shatters for women like her because there is this incredible amount of pressure and BLAME put on us women, on any victim; there’s this belief in our society that WE are responsible for, not only our behavior but also for men’s behavior. It’s been said a million times, but I’ll say it again: a woman isn’t asking for “it” when she dresses provocatively.

Regardless, no matter the reason for a woman to show a lot of skin, never blame her for the actions a man takes. No one is putting a gun to that man’s head forcing him to do the unthinkable. There’s this thing called SELF-CONTROL and, dammit, common sense?? Practice it! It is men’s responsibility, not ours, to control their “thirsty” selves. Remember that.

Thank you to all the brave women sharing their stories. Keeping quiet only allows for more assaults, sometimes even by the same perpetrator. You  are loved, and remember it was not your fault.

So, fellas, are you with me?

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Mortal Impossibilities

Surprise me.
Take me to the moon so many promises have failed to climb.
Show me the sunset at sunrise.
Will you make come true that song’s lines,
and for me the Kilimanjaro climb a thousand times?
You vow never to make mistakes,
but human we are and we break.
If I’m the sole reason that you breathe,
promise you won’t die if I leave?
Told me I’m more precious than the Stonehenge stones;
I can’t promise you forever, I’m flesh and bones.
Loving can be short, Neruda said,
and forgetting, so long.
Only proceed if you know you’re strong.
For us mortals the impossible seems easy;
we become dreamy when we love so deeply.

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An Ordinary Body in Miami

Do I like Miami? Yes. Would I live in Miami for the rest of my life? Leaving out the fact that I can’t be at one place for too long (on this humongous planet with so many places to go and see), I can’t see myself calling this place home for the long run. However, when in the US, I can’t see myself out of Miami now either.

It’s been eight months since I made the move from previously living in Spain and Philadelphia. It was supposed to be Los Angeles. I had dreamed of California living for a long time, so I was very excited to go there and test the waters. In the end, things didn’t go as planned; I didn’t quite love any weather that wasn’t summery. So, I packed my trapos and came to Miami. I’m leaving a bunch of little details out to make this story short, but there was no financial planning when I moved here. I made that decision almost overnight.

It helps that I’m a single woman, unmarried, nomad-spirited as aforementioned, and with my only baggage being my checked-bag and my carry-on. (Life is so much easier that way throws peace sign up in the air.) I can afford to wake up and completely change my route. So that’s just what I did.

In Miami, I found better perks for me personally. There’s the much warmer December weather, rent is a tad cheaper than LA’s, and the nightlife scene isn’t just a thing of the weekend. I still use Uber or Lyft to move around (because I’d never drive in Miami), but so far it has been all right.

Some things I’ve found to complain about? I’d say, in general, LA folks were more polite than Miamians, especially on the road. There is no respect for pedestrians in Miami and I have a huge problem with that because I walk a lot. The non-walking culture that exists here, especially in suburban areas, may have something to do with the disregard for pedestrians. Unless you are in Miami Beach, you won’t see many people walking—and if you do see a person, it’s probably me.

But my main complain about the Miami culture, as I like to call it, is the insane hyper focus on women’s bodies. When I say insane I mean it in every sense of the word. I’ve been trying to understand what drives women to plastic surgery here, and according to my calculations, it’s very likely that the body issues were brought here from South America. I’m from the Caribbean, but we’re all about the same. Considering how relatively small the Caribbean is, this one is on South America.

From an early age, watching Telenovelas, I learned that a woman with a big round bust, small waist, a big butt, and straight long hair was seen as the epitome of beauty. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but sometimes when you’re young you’re kind of afraid to voice your opinion and contradict the public. Truth is you can’t aspire to be what you don’t know exist—and all they forced us to see was that specific concept of beauty. It was the main representation on Hispanic television. That concept continues to this date in our society. It is probably less intense in some parts this country, but never too short of body-shaming.

I’ve come into direct contact with this beauty concept again in Miami. Young girls in this city are under a lot of pressure, as proven by the insane amount of butt and breasts implants. Also, the hair. When I wear my curly hair I stand out, and it’s a funny thing because I know that, under that chemically straightened or flattened hair, most of these Caribbean and Latina girls have beautiful curls. I understand the humidity must be driving them crazy, but…everyone?

Reminds me of a time when I went to a club in South Beach and had to make sense of what I was seeing. Every girl looked the same. They had straight black hair (think Kim Kardashian) and wore tight mini dresses with a plunging neckline or some type of low-cut line. Cleavage is important here. It was like looking at the Latino version of the Stepford Wives. Must I remind them that our (physical) differences make the world more interesting?

For someone who’s been defying society and its beauty standards, moving to Miami has been a step back. I highly doubt that I will change anything in my body in order to “belong.” I’m too old for this sh*t. I already went through all that pressure and reached a point where I’m completely comfortable in my skin. I don’t see things changing much around here, either, since body shaming and sexism is so embedded in the culture, but there is also a good amount of young women here defying that idea, so there is hope.

What I’d say to any girls living in places like Miami is: it is up to you. Resist the urge to blend in because society says you should. Standing out is a lot more fun, anyway—trust me on this.

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Dancing In and With the Rain

When you are caught in the rain, do you let it ruin your day or do you flow along with it?

I get why people are so afraid of the rain — no one wants to get their brand new shoes wet, or the clothes they just ironed, or the hair they just blow-dried, or smudge the mascara they just applied. How many times haven’t this happened to any of you? It’s happened to me so many times and, maybe by instinct, my first reaction is to run for shelter. Well, it happened again. I went to a street festival the other day where no one seemed to suspect that it would rain. Vendors had their deep-frying pans and meats all laid out on tables; artists painted on the sidewalk; musicians soaked in sweat played their dry instruments, and pedestrians, like my friend and I, walked in the middle of the street with beer in hand.

All of a sudden, it started pouring and we had not many options for shelter. My first reaction was to put my hands over my head to cover my hair. (What is it with women and hair?!) We entered a bar in the meantime and waited there for the rain to go away. It never did. So, my friend said, “Let’s just get wet!” (Wording is everything.) I hesitated, but then I agreed. It was pure elation.

It was liberating to walk and dance in the rain. And I don’t know why, but it felt as if I was doing something illegal and, as it happens with the forbidden, I had to quickly enjoy it before I got caught. But it’s easy to understand why doing something that we’ve avoided our whole life feels that way.

The rain had no plans on stopping. If we had waited until it went away, about an hour later, we would’ve missed out on most of that fun day. Sometimes, we’re too restrained. These are the little things that make life a bit more enjoyable. It was also great seeing how many people didn’t give a cucumber and just poured themselves out on the streets, like the rain, and danced the day away. Yes, my mascara smudged, my hair curled up, and my clothes got soaked. But the good memory from that wild rainy day will remain.

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Don’t Read The News

“Don’t read the news,” I tell myself to avoid disappointment, disgust, rejection, repulsiveness, and sadness. That never works. I never listen to my own commands, my own advice. Mainly because I love being informed, even though the result is almost always the same: bad news.
world news

And it’s even worse, ten times intensified, when you get your news from the internet because it comes with an incredible amount of unsolicited commentary from trolls who are very proud of their opinion no matter how utterly stupid they sound.

I’m starting to wonder if this is really how we’re supposed to live; making each other sick with misery. Humans can’t seem to reach an agreement on how to coexist. And, common sense now seems subjective. OK, maybe common sense is still common. There are quite a lot of us fighting for reason and truth.

Maybe the problem is not that all is bad, but that we think it is. It’s ultimately what they (the ones in control) choose to show us as “news.” I don’t blame them. They want views and leads. They know that, after all, a lot of people aren’t interested in happy news, so they feed us their worst. And I guess it works.

It drives me insane, but I can’t stop reading headlines.

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Mister Cool Guy: A Poem

Cool guy

Can’t you see, girl?
I’m trying to get to you,
Doing crazy things
that only artists do.

A shadow of your posts
appears on my feed,
my keyboard gets all eager, girl,
A tweet I must set free.

I try to play it cool,
pretend your face don’t matter,
Date one here and there,
But low-key it’s you I’d rather.

My style, very different for
An erudite like you.
Don’t deny yourself the pleasure
Of calling me your beau.

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Your Secret is Safe with Me (But We All Know)

Your Secret is Safe with Me

How many haven’t heard a friend say those words before — in person, over the phone? While on speakerphone… I’ve learned the hard way that the best kept secret is that which never leaves your big mouth. It is extremely likely that your BFF is not my BFF, and if I trust you, it is because you’ve passed the years-long arduous trustworthiness test, and I fully expect you to abide by these unwritten rules of confidentiality.

Let this be a reminder to us all that the secrets we promise to hold aren’t up for show.

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