Au Revoir 2011

Reflection Question: Write a love letter to your future self a year from now.

Dearest She,

You are strong. You are beautiful, and you are unique. Anybody would be blessed to know you as a friend because you are supportive, loyal and write some damn good birthday cards. Although you don’t have many people that you call friends, there’s nothing wrong with you because you are picky. But there is something wrong with holding on to people you know should no longer be in your life. Friends do come with expiration dates.

This year you’ve learned not to take what friends do or don’t do, personally. You’ve let go of holding grudges against people because they don’t call you, or they don’t respond to your calls, or they don’t check up on you. You’re understanding that there are different types of friendships, and not everyone is like you. People show love in different ways, and they may simply not speak the same love language you do.

Career-wise, the seemingly unfortunate series of events earlier this year have actually given you the kick in the behind to get back to school. Truth be told, it’s hard to take the initiative when things are comfortable. Right now you may be unsure about a lot of things. You think you’re not smart enough to Ace these speech-related courses. You think you’re too old to compete with the 20 and 21 year old brains. You think you won’t get accepted into graduate school, and you secretely hope you don’t get accepted so that things could be easier. So that you have a reason excuse not try harder. It’s easier not to try. It’s easier to give up when you have faced rejection.

But you’ve faced rejection OVER and OVER again this year. You were rejected by your ex-boyfriend. You were rejected by your former boss who let you go. You were rejected by the camp supervisor who didn’t give you a job this summer. And yet, you survived. You finished your first semester of accelerated pre-req’s with a 3.4 GPA. Not too bad. It was a shock; the country town, the coursework, the lack of a real life social network, the style of teaching…but you still came out on top. So you have no idea what school you’ll be accepted to, where you’re going to live, if this field is really your calling, but will you be paralyzed by FEAR? Or will you learn how to work to your full potential and carry on? Will you finally trust in God’s unchanging hand? Not only to say you trust, but to act, and talk like you trust?!

Things you need to work on in 2012:

  • motivating yourself- self-talk works!
  • stop interrupting people when they are talking. Interrupting people shows them you don’t honor their opinion, and that what you have to say is much more important.
  • not relying on having other people around to have a good time
  • being generally more positive, and not cynical
  • restoring faith in the institution of marriage
  • devotional time with God (Bible-reading and mediation)
  • eating healthier
Key Moments you shouldn’t forget of 2011:
  • Making beet salad (in Costa Rica, we call it ensalada Rusa) for houses you visited for Thanksgiving, just to have people look at you like you were offering them cocaine.
  • Your god-daughter’s fascination with cameras.
  • You are smarter than you give yourself credit for.
  • What you focus on, increases. (The Noticer by Andy Andrews)
  • You kissed your first white boy.
  • You had your first real extended hangover.
  • You let yourself be loved.
  • You were introduced to Citizen Cope and have a crush on Drake.
  • You met some inspiring bloggers, click on names for sites (@blaqdaisy, @up4dsn, @moetwithmedusa, @minusthebars, @BrittShelton1, @cgryp, @mindofadiva@IAmNikks, @inspired_enigma  just to name a few)
Remember that there is life after heartbreak, people who seem to be living more comfortable on the outside may be living in hell internally, and that walking down the street with a smile on my face can brighten someone else’s day.
Here’s to a memorable 2012! I wish all of you a safe and amazing New Year celebration.
Until next year,
She
Au Revoir 2011

ReCaping Memorable Books 2011

Top 5 Favorites of 2011

1.   The Help by Kathryn Stockett– This book was a commitment. It took me a couple of months but I’m glad I stuck through with it. The story was captivating, the characters were interesting and I have no interest in watching the movie– I was satisfied with the book alone.

2.   Native Son by Richard Wright- This was my first Richard Wright book and it was a heavy first. Wright was a controversial African-American author who documented the plight of African Americans. NS was not a fast read at all although it did have some action in the beginning, which then turns into a lots of self-reflection on some very deep issues. I think it’s a must read for anyone interested in African-American literature, but it is a depressing read all the same.

3.   The Noticer by Andy Andrews- This small and quick read is about a man named Jones who goes around spreading wisdom to needy souls. The book uses anecdotes to teach relevant lessons about life and love. Jones believes in perspective,  his goal is to try and change people’s perspectives about their seemingly-dire situations.

4.  Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert– I loved the author’s style of writing and her storytelling. This book was a refreshing, funny, and well-planned tale of a woman who takes a break from life to travel for one year. Gilbert is also the reason why I want to go to Bali now.

5.   Life of Pi by Yann Martel- Although I didn’t get through this entire book (due to time, not interest), I found it to be well-written and charming. It had the perfect balance of storytelling, life lessons, and humor. Eventually, we’ll cross paths again.


Other Notable Mentions:

Left to Tell: Discovering God Admist the Rwandan Genocide by Immaculee Ilibagiza (Non-fiction)

The Untelling by Tayari Jones

Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue

Yo! By Julia Alvarez

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My reading goal for 2012 is to read more non-fiction and autobiographies, I’m already working on my list.

What should I add to my non-fiction and {auto}biographical reads for 2012?

ReCaping Memorable Books 2011

ReCording Life: Traces of She

Chapters.  If you divided your life into chapters what would you call them? What chapter are you in now? What chapter is next?

1. Little Tica: I recall my early years in Costa Rica. Excursions with my mom (who I was instructed to address as ‘Betty‘) and way-older boyfriend to the beach house. My life was not much bigger than my mother, our house, my barrio and school.

2. New York, New York: In December of 1992, days before Christmas, Betty moves us to Queens to live with my grandmother.  I enter second grade in a local public school with a bilingual setting. I excel rapidly at English, am placed in regular English-speaking class by the fourth grade. By this grade, it is also discovered that I am squinting at everything and need glasses. Enter insecurity-issues. By sixth grade, American parents have noticed that I address my mother by first name and have pressured her into forcing me to call her ‘Mom.’

3. Black Girl Lost: Through most of my school years I identified with what people had assumed I was… ‘light-skinned.’ I had no real connection to Costa Rica, having never traveled back home nor kept any tico traditions at home. All I had were the isolated memories and current events that may have been slightly addressed in grown-folks conversations. My family looked no different than any other African-American family, and I never felt any real need to make any distinctions.

4. Lonely, Only Child: I went through tough bouts of depression in my pre-teen and teenage years. Mom and I were never really close as mother-daughter, and the fact that she kept constant boyfriends in between us didn’t help. I journaled a lot, to the point that my writing would get me in trouble when it was discovered snooped by Mom. Mom also had an overpowering fear that I would become a teenage mother, and was extremely stiffling. Eventually, since I couldn’t leave the house, I learned to use the internet as a way to recreate myself. I could become anyone I wanted to online. I chatted with older men online, being an utter attention-craver, but never went as far as meeting them.

5. College Daze: Upon HS graduation, I began to differentiate between Black people and me. The difference was 9 digits, and I didn’t have them. I wasn’t born in the United States, I was an immigrant. No immigration status translated into no hopes for college since I didn’t have the luxury of financial aide.

6. Fatherly Duties: Through the grace of God, my father (who had been estranged most of my childhood years), an American citizen, expresses wishes to file an application for me to obtain residency. It was not an easy process, but it gets done months before the deadline of my 21st birthday. I finish my Associate’s Degree on academic scholarship, and graduate with a BA degree in English in 2010. Through 4 years of my undergrad, I’m also employed full time as a legal secretary.

I guess I would call the Chapter I’m in right now, Adulthood, but that sounds so cliche. Currently, I’m a grad-school hopeful, tired of a job and looking for my career. Trying to find a place in this world where I fit. I want to work in the field that was pre-destined for me. I want to be the minority in this world who loves what they do.

The next chapter I hope will be called Commitments. As much as I try to make myself sound like this flighty, free-spirit I do long for stability. I do want to start a family, where a husband is key to the equation. I’m trying not to be cynical about marriage although it’s hard to be hopeful when all I see is ruins from couples who didn’t make it. I also long to be someone’s Mama, because bringing a life into this world is also another reason why no one can ever convince me that God does not exist. I want to be part of miracle-making, be honored with the task of a light-bearing Mama.

What chapter of life are you currently in? 

Satisfied,

She

ReCording Life: Traces of She

2011 Visually: Recap in Fotos

Here is my year in pictures. Let’s Journey, shall we?

10. Goodbye Tia Maureene {February 2011}

9. New Look: Instant Self-esteem booster {March 2011}

Before the cut- ALL NATURAL
Overprocess much?
AFTER

8.  A Salsa Dance for my birthday {July 2011}

7. A Rapid Life {July 2011}

River-rafting, my new thrill

6. Beauty Untainted {July 2011}

Sarapiqui, Costa Rica

5. Thank You, MATCH!: Old Wounds can heal…

4. Flying Solo: New Apartment

This bedspread should make the couch less suspect...

3. My Co-madre gets married, and my god-daughter turns 2! {Nov/Dec 2011}

Newlyweds

2. Beach in December 

1. Holidays with Mami {December 2011}

Let’s toast to an ever bigger and memorable 2012. I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend, even if it’s drastically different than 2010.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa,

She

2011 Visually: Recap in Fotos