Women’s March on Washington D.C. (Chicago Version)

Being part of this epic movement of women and people across the world marching to battle racism, hatred, sexism, misogyny and xenophobia, I felt energized. Like in the past, I’ve felt united with my people, however this massive event makes the other protests look small. I saw people of all ages walking, chanting, singing some Aretha Franklin songs and capturing the moment. Of course, though, the signs were the best. We saw Carrie Fisher make an appearance, men reminding everyone that they can be feminists, too and of course the epic Shepard Fairey posters that came in every size.

Thanks for taking a look. Leave a comment. Share your photos, too!

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I’m not an immigrant and I’m still scared. This is why.

The journalist side of me tries with all its might to stay objective. The Latina in me caps the emotions that I feel toward people who hate.

I’m used to writing about elections from an objective standpoint. However, this year has been hard and the lack of communication and understanding by so many is making the results of this election and presidency much harder to handle.

I’ve been paying attention. I’ve been listening and watching. I wasn’t a fan of either candidate and although I agree with so many that said, “I want a nominee that I can stand behind and that will represent who I am, not someone that’s just an alternative to hate,” it was really hard not to want to just stop Trump.

Since the beginning the things that he was saying seemed like the biggest joke. Extreme, inconsiderate, hateful and usually targeted to particular segments of the population– Mexicans, Muslims, people with disabilities, women. In a country that supposedly stands its ground on Christian virtues, the same population that says “there’s a war on Christmas” and always aims to bring Christianity into politics– how do you support hate?

I was always taught to look out for my fellow human being. I was taught to help, be a woman for others. Even though I did not grow up undocumented, poor or under privileged, I’ve seen the impacts on my community because I chose to be a part of it. I also am because of my skin color, because of my name and because I’m bilingual. Those are things I cannot deny.

Privilege

This election really brought out the question of privilege. Male, white, wealthy privilege. I’ve had my run-ins with it on varying degrees.

This is an example of what white privilege is: At a point in time, I was in a position where I had to communicate and work with older white men with more money than I can conceptualize. I was at a bar, sitting with one of them when we struck up a conversation about college. “So, where did you go to school?” he asked me. “University of Illinois in Champaign,” I responded. He says to me, “Oh! My son is there. He’s fourth generation Illini.”

Let that sink in for a second. Fourth generation. Fourth. Not first, not second, but fourth. This man’s grandfather had obtained a college degree. That means a good job, money, savings, understanding of corporate structures (because he probably started one), business savvy, and something to pass along to his children. By the fourth generation, college is a given– not a question. By the fourth generation, money issues (if dealt with well) aren’t a problem. Language, no issue. Then after graduation, you have a multitude of resources, parents that know just what you need to do to be a white-collar worker with nothing to complain about besides the lack of a raise.

I said the only thing I could say, “Wow. That’s great.” What else could I say? I was a first generation college student. Although my uncles had degrees, my mom had an associate’s, my father graduated high school and my grandmother didn’t even get an eighth grade education. How am I supposed to compete with a fourth generation college kid? Our worries were not the same. Our concerns were not the same. Regardless of the situation, I was always going to have to prove myself.

College wasn’t exactly the most welcoming place either. It didn’t matter who I was, but what I looked like mattered to many. We were feared after a frat party decided to celebrate a Tacos and Tequila event by dressing up as Mexicans– border jumpers, pregnant, wearing the flag. We were called spics in the street. I was talked to plenty of times only in Spanish and it was usually assumed that I was born in Mexico.

Once after being around my friends at La Casa, I returned to my dorm upset only to be asked, “Are you upset about some Mexican thing again?”

After college, outside of my comfort zone, people tried to pigeonhole me. They tried to figure out why I spoke English so well. “You’re so articulate!” I’d hear as if it were a surprise. Was I supposed to say thank you?

Since I talked to my friend Teresa about it, I will always remember something that she gathered from an instructor of hers: “They don’t know what they don’t know, so they don’t know.” It all made perfect sense after that.

The Last 18 Months

I never liked Trump. His smugness was so stereotypically masculine. He had all the money in the world, he turned his nose up at people who didn’t like him and he wasn’t prepared at all. I guess you can say he was a real white rich man in America that could do what he wanted because– privilege. Money gets you everywhere. Didn’t you know?

Then started the Mexican talk. Then the people with disabilities talk. Then the condoning violence and the beating of innocent people because… because… the man was Latino? Then came the accusations of bias because of heritage. Then the whole pussy-grabbing thing.

This man was in no way representing me. At all.

Voters and supporters of him say, “American Sovereignty!” Sure, I believe that since you know, his platforms and plans are so well thought out and planned, right? I don’t have a clue what this man wants to do besides put up a wall on the Mexican border, try to deport Puerto Ricans and end the Affordable Care Act.

To that I say, whatever. The American government will never please everyone. If he makes America function better than it has, great. White men have always governed this country and they will continue to for a very long time.  

My greatest fear is for all of us who are different. Because of what he has been saying, because of his mockery of people, because of his attitude, he has made it OK to harass the minority. He’s made those intolerant people show their true colors. He’s making it OK to demean, hurt and put down these individuals for what?   

Trump has said in the last 18 months everything that makes racists xenophobic, bigots homophobic and intolerant, and men pigs. He’s brought to light anything and everything that could possibly upset the white privileged and less educated people. Simple words, simple phrases that stuck. Those same phrases that made me say, “What the hell?!” made other people nodd in agreement.

And as Van Jones said on CNN, “It was a white lash.”

The Fear

I remember learning about the Holocaust. Learning about slavery. Learning about how Mexicans were treated as second class citizens. I remember learning about Japanese internment camps, the Native American trail of tears and the fact that every president during those time frames were some of the most vocally racist people this country has seen. I just saw 13th on Netflix that connected all the dots for me.

I don’t want to live through that. In a country where we’re taught that freedom prevails and equality is justice, I’ve seen very little of it that is blanketed over all people.

It doesn’t exist. It’s an ideology that people keep saying we have, but I don’t see it.

For the most part, after reading about all that has happened in history, I want to just think that it’ll never happen again. Everyone out there is going to have enough sense to say, “I’m sorry, no. Genocide is not right. People are citizens with rights if they’re born here. Human rights apply to all people.”

We’ve seen Hitler’s rise to power. We know what Stalin, Mussolini and Franco did. For those of us who have any idea of what happened during the World Wars, the rhetoric and jargon used in this election mimicked that of horrible times in history.  

In many, if not all, of those instances, there was a cleansing of the countries. Getting rid of the problematic people, uniting under one God, one flag, one country.

For those of us who have been verbally pinpointed by our president-elect, he may as well have put a target on our back. That’s the first step, isn’t it? Making the target feel less than and letting everyone else know they’re susceptible to indiscriminate behavior is the way to start breaking people down. Kids at Royal Oak Middle School in Michigan are already doing it. They heard what the man said and they’re acting upon it because they can. Then there’s this— a recap of what was done and said after the election. We’ve already seen it throughout the campaign trail and now that their leader is the president of the “free world” what more validation do you need to hate?

What Next?

I’d love to say that I could give him a chance to lead, but I’d be a liar. I’m scared. I don’t want to be a number, I don’t want to be harassed more than usual. I don’t want to be put down because of my last name or because I’m Latina.

As far as the government goes, it’s been Red before. I just hope that they all have the common sense to put a stop to the hate and stop him from being the next dictator. It will be the end of anything “united” and in fact, will divide the country as it’s doing so right now.

I’m proud of those who are speaking out and calling the election for what it is. Those people are the ones that start the conversations and bring the issues never spoken about to light.

The protests that happened across the country last night were against the fact that this person could be put in a position of power. It was a staging of First Amendment Rights. It was a staging of energy, anger and fear for what’s to come and proof that not all of the United States are backing a man just because 50 percent of the country voted him into the White House.

Those people that came together are activists, organizers and community folks who’ve been working their tails off for a more just society. They work at non-profit organizations, they work with the people of the community, trying to better their situation and way of life. How do you think so many people knew about and acted on the protest? Because of organizers.

There were some good things to come across the election– quadrupling the number of Women of Color in Congress was one. Let’s see how they do against the privileged Red. More states are legalizing marijuana on different levels.

After the Black Lives Matter movement, the senseless killings and all the other messes we’ve found ourselves in recently, we want to move forward. But in all the different ways of looking at it, as a proud Latina, I’m afraid we’ve just taken one giant step backward.

Cinderella ruined everything…

But don’t get me wrong, it’s still my favorite Disney movie of all time. However, it really did ruin everything.

As little girls, we’re taught that we are princesses and that someday, indeed, our prince will come to save the day whether it’s having their servants put on your missing glass slipper, kiss you once to wake you up from a coma or fight off something evil from blocking your path to happiness. You expect that someone would be worth the wait and you would be worth the fight.

CinderellaNo one told you about all the frogs you’d have to kiss, step on and be licked by in order to get to that one, though. While as little girls we thought we would just wait for that guy that we magically fell in love with to reciprocate every feeling, sweep us off our feet and turn our lives into a “happily ever after” scenario.

You have to think, aside from not being able to sing like Ariel or Snow White or Cinderella, Disney painted this fairy tale story to be easy and wonderfully magical which was completely false. On top of that, all the men these girls fell for were of prince-like quality; charming, handsome, kind-hearted, valued women and understood what love really meant, right? What little girl wouldn’t want that?

All the beautiful, skillful woman had a man, too. You needed that man to give you freedom and dignity and a right to be a woman. Before he came along, you would be destined to be an old woman living on a farm. At least Belle had some standards. Or smarts. Whatever. Beauty and the Beast had the most real-life-like scenarios, besides falling in love with a beast, living in France and getting locked up for the rest of your days because you trespassed on to a price’s castle. There was a love triangle, fights, irrationality, a father-daughter relationship that made you wonder if you would do the same for yours.

However, in the end, because a human couldn’t marry a beast, Belle falls for the man that the Beast truly is, right? I mean, even a furry, ugly creature can be loved. Why is this so hard in real life?! The movies make it look so easy! They barely know each other and fall in love. In the real world, there’s a long, drawn-out, game-playing process that doesn’t end up the way you want it– almost ever. Unless you’re on Match.com. Apparently that site works miracles.

Mulan, another one of my favorite movies, was so focused on the fight and the war that there really wasn’t a love story focal point. Instead, her grandmother is pushing her toward marriage in the end– of which I can (and many other girls) relate. She was strong and independent and still got the man. The handsome captain with emotions and a heart that followed her back home and took such an interest that the nobleman stayed for dinner, which turned into forever (especially if you’ve seen Mulan II). So real.

Where is prince charming and why hasn’t he come get me yet? Isn’t that what everyone thinks at 18, 19, 20 years old?

Although I’m independent, practical, rational (I’m an Aries) with a I-don’t-need-no-man mentality, I’m still a romantic daydreamer who gets lost in her thoughts. I can’t help but go back to those movies and get those warm fuzzy feelings. Regardless of how real I can be, as a woman growing up with this fake idea of what a relationship really is, there is a piece of me that still wants that. Sad? Maybe. Impossible? Probably, but a girl can dream.

I know he won’t fight a dragon or be able to wake me up from a coma with a kiss (because that whole coma thing IS possible in my world). But knowing that someone is afraid of losing me, is willing to fight for me, isn’t afraid of my femininity and deals with my closeness without pushing me away– that’s security and almost equivalent to the love of seven dwarfs.

Compared to what we want, women ask for a few things of men that come into our lives and actually want to try something. You know, not just in it for the minute… or five… of trying to get into pants and under skirts. For those men that are ready to think about something serious (and I’ve come across plenty who have admitted that they weren’t– props to you!) there are a few things that you have to consider when dealing with a real woman (because there are FAKE ones too, who think they’re ready and clearly aren’t).

Above all things that they don’t show you in the movies, you have to be considerate, communicative and respectful. The characters in the movies barely know each other half the time. I guess in Aladdin, he and Jasmine were friends. He was also a hood rat, so that says a lot about how women see men that just give them attention. I digress.

The worst baggage is the one that comes with not finding Prince Charming right away and thinking that you’re not good enough for it. It always comes at the very beginning, especially if you’re part of the Disney Princess generation. Along with that, comes the lowering of standards, the mistakes and the dealing with issues that you weren’t expecting and don’t know how to deal with. The positive outcomes come later, at least it did for me, when I realized that I really was a princess and I didn’t need a man for self-worth. I had to go through a lot of things to realize just how valuable I was in order to then find someone who was worth my time and energy.

In the end, I’m happier for all the trials and tribulations that I’ve been through in my romantic life and it’s helped me determine just how good I have it now.

But I’m still convinced that Cinderella ruined everything.

 

The Game Changer

There’s always that one. That one that comes into your life and turns it upside down and inside out. Whether it was for the good or for the bad, always one. Maybe one of each.

As women, we blame “That One” for our men’s commitment issues, among other things going on. She’s the one that treated him horribly or the one that broke his heart. But what happens in the reverse situation?

Most times, men just assume women are crazy or are too needy and gas light them into being too intense and wanting too much. Unlike women, who choose not to blame the men but their former women, the thought of a jerk that may have hurt her never comes to mind. Instead it’s something like, “You know how women are…”

But let me tell you, I know that jerk on a personal level. He came into my life in the strangest fashion, which I should have red flagged from the beginning but I was such a delirious college student that didn’t really care about herself (I know that now), that I took it at face value and ended up a hot mess in the ICU due to health issues at the end of it all. I mean, it couldn’t have been more telling.

I try and figure out what I was focused on and really, I wanted to be able to make the relationship work. After years of not dating anyone, I fell for the words he couldn’t back up. I think I felt like I was missing out on something. But this was definitely something I could have lived without.

We fought horribly. He would leave me hanging and not contact me for days at a time and he would tell me that he had something important to do. I remember the nights he would leave and say, “I’ll come back in a couple of hours and we’ll have dinner” although I knew he wasn’t going to come back. To this day, I expect people to keep their word to me or else I lose faith in the only thing they have to hold on to.

He ended up being a cheater for more than half of our year-long-and-some-change time together. He probably was seeing more girls than the one I ended up meeting.

In the end, I couldn’t help but blame myself. I thought it was my fault for not being good enough. I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. However, I stayed because I kept telling myself that the good was great but the down times hurt me so bad, I abused alcohol just to get through it.

I carried a lot with me, including turning to alcohol when I felt terrible about things. It sunk into the depths of who I was and turned me into a horrendous person. The relationship I had after suffered from my low self-esteem and confidence. I couldn’t get out of myself long enough to see the good I had.

It took a few years but I finally dug myself out of the hole I was in. With how I felt to the alcohol abuse… I swear I was on the road to being an alcoholic for real. Every time I felt bad, anxious, out of control, I needed a drink. It was in 2010 that I bucked up and finally understood who I was as a person. I quit drinking for a year to understand what it meant to me and how it had to change. I finally understood the power I had on the inside in order to love and give and I revived the person that I was and am supposed to be.

Needless to say, I still have remnants of that terrible year in college. There are things that remind me of that year and what I felt, making me nervous and want to run away. Too bad, now. I make myself face what is going on and I stand strong, battling myself on the inside but making it work, ultimately, on the outside. People I know now and met after college would not believe for a second the person I was then.

Just ask my homies. The friends that saw me then and helped me through that situation are still friends now. They are proud of me and I love them for lending that helping hand, propelling me forward.

This was the “bad” game-changer. The one that killed you a bit. But then, there’s that “good one” too, called by various names: The one that you let escape, The one that got away, The best relationship you never had, The one that broke your heart. The “good” game-changer that showed you your worth but, it just didn’t work out.

That story is for another time.

What students aren’t learning and what they need to know

I talked to an eighth grade class the other day at my grammar school, St. Nicholas of Tolentine on the southwest side of Chicago. I usually do this every year for my former teacher, with whom I’m now friends. She asks me to come in and talk during the beginning of their research paper topic scouting, especially since, as a journalist, I use similar concepts to find sources and get to the root of the stories at my job.

My introduction has changed every time I’ve talked. The first time I did it, it was much more formal and I had ideas on what I was going to talk about. This was when I worked for Café Media. The second time I did it, I felt rusty and I don’t quite remember why.

This time was a complete turnaround and I feel that it is because of where I am in my life, how much experience I have working with kids, and knowing what they need to hear.

When I talk to kids, I talk to them like adults; like I would my cousins. When I speak to them, I expect them to look me in the eye, listen to what I’m saying and have a drive that I can feel. You probably think, that is a lot to ask of eighth graders, but not how I see it. It’s crazy that I can actually use life experiences to back up my theory.

If we don’t expect ambition and drive from our youth, they won’t have it because it’s not a standard. We have to make it a standard, full of belief and curiosity to grow in educational knowledge.

I taught an introduction to journalism class for two semesters at the University of Illinois during my graduate program. It was great. But while teaching and getting to know my peers, I realized that there was a lot of information these kids weren’t getting in grammar school and high school. It was sad to say, but I saw the biggest distinction in students of color.

While a senior in college a group of friends asked me to help their frat brother out with a paper. As a college freshman, this guy was still writing five paragraph essays. Though this was a good place to start, I told him, this isn’t where you need to be. For four hours, I sat with him, explaining the nature of an outline, how to structure a thesis and how to formulate ideas that went above and beyond what he already knew. I had to explain critical thinking. Of course, I asked where he went to high school and what exactly he learned. I learned a ton in those four hours about him and what he wasn’t learning.

I keep this in mind every time I talk to students about papers and structure. When I have time, which I wish I had more of, I go and visit my old stomping grounds at Christopher House, where they have a college prep program for high school students. When I walk in, the coordinators usually assign me to help a student working on an English paper or some assignment that has to do with writing. Determinant of their level in school, there are some high school kids who need a push in the right direction while there are some younger students who don’t know how to spell.

It’s these situations that lead to my explanation of having expectations for oneself, not waiting for others to formulate who they need to be. They have to want it and not just academically, but socially and emotionally.

There was one eighth grade student at St. Nick’s who didn’t look me in the eye when he was speaking to me, I called him out on it. “Look at me when you talk to me, not at your desk,” I said. “Have confidence!”

Kids underestimate themselves a lot of the time. They don’t think they know as much as they really do and it limits their contributions in the classroom. I push creativity because that is what will lead to curiosity and questioning and learning.

“What made you pick your topic?” I asked them. “What do you want to know? What is your research going to show and what will it address?” I kept telling them to build curiosity. To develop a thirst for knowledge and what they want to learn about their topic.

Some kids had already done their research. They knew their topic, they had answers when I asked questions and I pointed them out. “See? It shows she did her research. She wants to know.”

If there’s anything I got from high school, it was a desire to learn and fill your head with knowledge. “You’re not going to use everything you research,” said their teacher. And I had to chime in: “That’s the best part! You get to fill your head with knowledge and insight into different things. And on top of that, your papers will be better because you actually know what you’re talking about!”

The majority (I think all but one or two) in the classroom were Latino and if there’s one thing that irks me about grammar school is that there are no Latino studies. The class had two themes to choose from: Black history and Women in history. Most of the class, with the exception of a few girls and a boy, chose Black history obviously because they thought writing on this topic would be easier. “That’s not true,” I told them. Little did they know how deep Black history was.

“Here’s a story idea for you. Where were Mexicans and Latinos when Blacks were encountering segregation and discrimination? They were there, right along side them and guess what. We were part of the segregation, too.”

It’s never talked about. Ever. No one even knew that we were here that long ago. Why? That’s the biggest question running through my head. Why don’t they know? The world in grammar school is Black and White, but how will Latinos ever grow up to succeed and prosper and hold their heads up when talking to a stranger if they don’t realize just how much of their own history lies within the boundaries of the United States?

In order to look into your future or know where it’s going, you have to know your past. It shapes and defines you. It makes you whole.

I wish I could go back to that classroom and let them know that we are here and were just as substantial in the passing of many laws and the development of this country. I want to let them know that for a lot of us, we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us. I want to let them know about the discrimination people in Texas endured, being treated as second-class citizens and that the water fountains were segregated with “Whites Only” and “Blacks and Mexicans Only.” I want to tell them that there were Puerto Rican riots here in the city of Chicago, that the first successful desegregation case in southern California it was  Mexican-American and that there were people who are still going through harsh realities even though we didn’t have a Million Man March or a Martin Luther King, Jr. to help us pave our way. But that our Chicano movement happened in California and spread throughout the country, just not into their text books; not the right way.

I want to tell them about the Latinas out there who have helped shaped literature, about the Latinas who have done such important things in the country’s history that they don’t know about. I want to teach them about their history, about their culture, about how they should hold their heads up high and be proud for being bilingual and have double the smarts that a monolingual person has. I want to tell them that college is not out of their reach and if anything, they should reach for the stars and the next universe.

If we don’t teach our children about their heritage and just how important it is to know where you come from, who will? If students don’t learn how to read and research and write now, when will they or will they ever? The questions simmer in my mind all the time. There are so many students to help and not enough time, but changing one kid’s mind can make all the difference in the world.

I had a few students come up and talk to me after I spoke to their class and tell me that they wanted to “wow” their teacher or change their topic because they wanted to learn more. I was thrilled.

During my talk to the students, I was inspired to give them a bit of motivation. I told them that the top three papers in the class would be published on Clique-Communications.com. You better believe that my friends were on board with the idea.

Education is the key to a substantial future and community. Teach a student. Tell them the truth. Tell them they’re worth it.

Here’s a little bit of information on “our” movement:

Starting off the New Year…

While there are some people who write every day, I only write when I feel like it and that doesn’t get me anywhere, does it? It doesn’t get me to a higher position on your Google searches, it doesn’t make me more knowledgeable on the subject of anything, really and I don’t always get the pleasure from it.

So let me try something here, because I always wonder what subjects I should choose for my blog. This one here, that I call Mine, this one is about the trying times in my life, even though, for the most part, I don’t try times, nor do I blog about them. I don’t want to be basic or keen on one thing like so many people are doing right now– either asking the question, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” or saying, “Oh, God, why is everyone asking about my New Year’s resolution?!” So I won’t go there.

There was a blog this past year about subjectivity that I wrote, which attracted the most readers and I think the most comments. It was basically my point of saying that, regardless of how much people try to be objective it’s very much impossible when it comes to anything. Why? Because you’re human. Punto!

Ok, so I also wrote a blog regarding the fact that men have been built up to have a stereotype of ever staying the same: same age, mindset and following the same narrow-minded path. Most of the time it’s true, but then again, you have those who are prodigies and exceptions to the rules. This one, although it didn’t get the highest amount of views or comments still created a small (actually, tiny) stir among those gracious people who decided to read it.

Then an idea popped up and has been touched upon over and over again: Why are men so selfish? That’s the question.  This subject has been touched on recently in my life (on purpose or on accident) in conversations, movies and reality; from the question of why do men always think that they are somehow special compared to women just because history says so,  to the idea that men are weak and think of the now, especially pro athletes who give in to the women throwing themselves at them (yes, that is an act of selfishness because you are not being considerate of your wife or girlfriend, if you have one.  *Ahem* Tiger Woods.)  Now, before every man who reads this blog goes berserk (and that might only be my one and only), you might actually be the exception to the rule.

But like Dr. Denis Leary says in his book, “Why We Suck,” stereotypes are there because they’re true and enough men and women have made this same exact point: Men are selfish. Why should they give a damn about nagging women who only want them to look better, dress better, act better or be cleaner? All they do is tell them what to do, so logically, he, as a man, has to look out for himself. But seriously, what’s the problem with spending some quality time together and not watching TV? Or not moving for two seconds? Or being responsible? All men think about is what they want to do, when they want to do it and how they want to do it. Right? But what about those women who actually care about you?

Then there are gender roles. “I don’t need to learn that,” “I don’t need to do that,” “That’s not what a man does.” You hear those a lot especially when it comes to kids or the kitchen. Sometimes when people separate jobs or responsibilities according to gender, I want to slap them. Gender is constructed by the mind, didn’t know you that? Sex is constructed by your father’s genes that decide whether you will be a male or female. You have those body parts because you’re a man or a woman, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t cross the gender role lines. Just saying. Women can shovel snow, watch football and sit with their legs open. Most don’t because it’s not lady-like. What does that even mean? All I’m saying is that when put up to it, women can do what men do. And vice versa.  And sometimes do it better. Tell me, why is it that women are getting better at jobs and men are getting better and dressing? Are more people crossing gender roles? Are more people “turning” gay?!! Oh, no! Humanity. Neither. We’re learning from one another. Isn’t that how it should be?

I like being a woman, and my boyfriend always says that I’m twice the man he’ll ever be. Why? Because I like sports and I do things boyishly. Roughly. I’m not dainty nor am I cutesy. I scare men away because of my ball-busting language. Not lady-like, but I know I can stick up for myself and defend myself if I need to. Whenever. Some people may take offense to that because who says a woman can’t do those things, right? But hey, I’m no girly girl, so I don’t mind. We’re also not stuck on gender roles, that is, until heavy lifting is involved. It’s all you, sweetie pie!

Unlike my boyfriend, who gets that for the most part, I’m the way I am, there are plenty of men who are selfish in terms of what they should do and not do and how they should feel when put in a predicament. Granted, there are some who are worse than others. For instance, there are men who don’t appreciate what is done for them because they’ve been pampered all their lives. They don’t care what their girlfriend goes out of her way to do, they won’t say thank you, they won’t acknowledge because all they think about it how they feel and what they got out of it. Truth. There are also men who can’t take advice from a woman because they know how to do everything. And if you’re the woman who plays dumb to keep the man, shame on you. Brains are sexy.

So here are a few things that you can do as a man and/or woman to help this situation:

  • As a woman, I say put your foot down, girls. Tell him how you feel and what you want out of certain situations. Don’t be his mother and don’t threaten him with sex or lack thereof. That’s just low.
  • Men, if you have a woman who you know does things for you and you want to show her your appreciation, just say thank you. It does go a long way. If she’s a good woman, she’ll accept it with gratitude.
  • Women, stop whining. If he doesn’t want to do something, you can’t make him. You just can’t. Remember, the only thing you can control is yourself and how you feel. The more you react to a situation, the more you lose control.
  • Men, set aside a time to do something for her. Not just with her and not just something that she wants to do, but FOR her. If you’re open and experienced as a man with woman, you’ll know what I mean. Does she need help with something? Has she been asking you for something recently that you haven’t done? Do it.
  • Just because he doesn’t notice you ONE time, doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice you at all. Please see #3.
  • You both have the right to say no. If you don’t want to do something, just say so. I was put in a situation where I always had to say yes or else I would be afraid of what would happen if my man (at the time) left. I’ve seen the repercussions of it, but I’ve realized that that’s not normal. I have the right to say no, just as my boyfriend does.
  • You don’t have to do everything together. You don’t. I get the best stories from my boyfriend when he does things on his own and I tell him so much more when I do things on my own. It gives us a lot to talk about, even though we’re both incessant talkers.
  • Do you know why you fell in love with each other? Do you remember how you were and how you acted and who you were? Don’t completely change that. Be you and unless you were some cruel heart breaker before you were overtaken by the warm of love, you can keep the life you had. Remember, your significant other shouldn’t be there because you NEED them to be there (not at first, anyway) but because you WANT them to be there.
  • Your significant other is not supposed to be your other half, they’re supposed to COMPLIMENT you.
  • As an individual, both men and women can be selfish creatures. But remember, there is someone else you’re sharing your time and space with. Don’t be afraid to thank them and love them for taking on that challenge and blessing. It’s one big learning experience.

Unnamed: Part 3

The phone rang. It rang again.

Hello?
Oh, hi, how are you?
I’m doing well, just cleaning my house. I’m glad you called. It’s been a while.
No, no, I needed a distraction. Haha.
Yeah, same job, same place, same old stuff. What’s going on with you?
Uh-huh. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
Yeah, I understand. Not a problem…
Yeah, uh-huh.
I know, I totally understand. What caused that?
What?! Oh my…
Really?
Like, how hard?
You’ve got to be kidding me.
No, me? I’ve never been through anything like that.
Well, it’s good though. You…
Right, right. Who can deal with that?
And Carlos? How’s he?
Well of course, but did you explain what happened?
He saw it?
Did he say anything to you when it was….?
I see.
Well, I’m so sorry to hear that but I’m so happy that it’s over.
Now what are you doing?
Oh, really?
Right, right, you’re mom’s in Columbus.
What about your sister?
Right, because then you don’t want to have to explain the whole thing. She’ll end up lecturing you.
Ben will kill him.
Exactly.
Well, no. Gabriel is gone.
Yeah.
Next month.
Here?
Well… I mean, you don’t have anywhere else, right?
Of course you can.
Both of you.
Today? Oh yeah. I don’t want you to worry about him.
Right. Come….
What? You’re outside?
Wow, yes I see you.
Your hair’s longer than I remember.
I guess so… Two years.
Well, come up, don’t just stay down there.
Ok.
All right. 3F
Ok, ok. You’re welcome.
Bye.