Why We Marched


22march18-superjumboPhoto Credit : Nicole Cainer (NYT)

Two weeks ago yesterday, I was on my way to Manhattan to do some sightseeing. As I boarded the train, I remembered there was a Women’s March in DC, and cities all over the country. I hadn’t taken part in any marches for almost five years. I am ridiculously spontaneous, and thought to myself, “Is the activity I’m about to take part in, more important than what was happening all over the world today”? No! I wasn’t wearing a proper jacket, which would keep me warm outside for hours. The shoes I wore were another story. I would also be flying solo. As is my nature, I threw caution to the wind, and forged ahead anyway!

As the train headed deeper and deeper into Manhattan, it got VERY crowded. Pretty soon, everyone was rubbing elbows. My eyes met and held those of other women, obviously all heading to one central location or another. One of them smile widely at me, I smiled back. No words were needed. It was then I knew I was doing the right thing. I needed to catch another train to the destination I chose, Grand Central Station. The subway was literally crawling at a snail’s pace. To give you an idea, hundreds would move forward and board. Once the train took off, then another throng would do the same thing.  There wasn’t any pushing or shoving.Wash and repeat.

I cannot begin to describe the atmosphere of the city. As I exited Grand Central Station, I was greeted by the sight above. I joined the swarm of men, women, children, the elderly, all together for a common cause. Every few minutes, we would all chant the same things, after which a loud roar would start from the back of the crowd, and make its way to the front. There was literally no place to walk. The march was a crawl; we could only move every few minutes. I won’t forget January 21st, 2017.

The next day, social media was saturated with stories, and videos, of millions sharing their experiences. The march was held on every continent. Imagine that!! I found this rather beautiful and phenomenally written piece below.  The writer encapsulates all my thoughts and feelings on why I marched. I knew some of my more conservative friends were taken aback by my participation.  It’s too bad really. I’ve learned to live my truth. A few have posted about it being a waste of time etc. To them I say, please read the piece below, over and over, until it is fully understood:)

The battle goes on. There is a reason why I feel so content and happy working in Social Services. It’s where I belong. I absolutely LOVE this quote: “Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. The grave will supply plenty of time for silence” Christopher Hitchens.

“Say thank you. Say thank you to the women who gave you a voice. Say thank you to the women who were arrested and imprisoned and beaten and gassed for you to have a voice. Say thank you to the women who refused to back down, to the women who fought tirelessly to give you a voice. Say thank you to the women who put their lives on hold, who –lucky for you — did not have “better things to do” than to march and protest and rally for your voice. So you don’t feel like a “second class citizen.” So you get to feel “equal.”

Thank Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul for your right to vote.

Thank Elizabeth Stanton for your right to work.

Thank Maud Wood Park for your prenatal care and your identity outside of your husband.

Thank Rose Schneiderman for your humane working conditions.

Thank Eleanor Roosevelt and Molly Dewson for your ability to work in politics and affect policy.

Thank Margaret Sanger for your legal birth control.

Thank Carol Downer for your reproductive healthcare rights.

Thank Sarah Muller for your equal education.

Thank Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Shannon Turner, Gloria Steinem, Zelda Kingoff Nordlinger, Rosa Parks, Angela Davis, Malika Saada Saar, Wagatwe Wanjuki, Ida B. Wells, Malala Yousafzai. Thank your mother, your grandmother, your great-grandmother who did not have half of the rights you have now.

You can make your own choices, speak and be heard, vote, work, control your body, defend yourself, defend your family, because of the women who marched. You did nothing to earn those rights. You were born into those rights. You did nothing, but you reap the benefits of women, strong women, women who fought misogyny and pushed through patriarchy and fought for you. And you sit on your pedestal, a pedestal you are fortunate enough to have, and type. A keyboard warrior. A fighter for complacency. An acceptor of what you were given. A denier of facts. Wrapped up in your delusion of equality.

You are not equal. Even if you feel like you are. You still make less than a man for doing the same work. You make less as a CEO, as an athlete, as an actress, as a doctor. You make less in government, in the tech industry, in healthcare.

You still don’t have full rights over your own body. Men are still debating over your uterus. Over your prenatal care. Over your choices.

You still have to pay taxes for your basic sanitary needs.

You still have to carry mace when walking alone at night. You still have to prove to the court why you were drunk on the night you were raped. You still have to justify your behavior when a man forces himself on you.

You still don’t have paid (or even unpaid) maternity leave. You still have to go back to work while your body is broken. While you silently suffer from postpartum depression.

You still have to fight to breastfeed in public. You still have to prove to other women it’s your right to do so. You still offend others with your breasts.

You are still objectified. You are still catcalled. You are still sexualized. You are still told you’re too skinny or you’re too fat. You’re still told you’re too old or too young. You’re applauded when you “age gracefully.” You’re still told men age “better.” You’re still told to dress like a lady. You are still judged on your outfit instead of what’s in your head. What brand bag you have still matters more than your college degree.

You are still being abused by your husband, by your boyfriend. You’re still being murdered by your partners. Being beaten by your soulmate.

You are still worse off if you are a woman of colour, a gay woman, a transgender woman. You are still harassed, belittled, dehumanised.

Your daughters are still told they are beautiful before they are told they are smart. Your daughters are still told to behave even though “boys will be boys.” Your daughters are still told boys pull hair or pinch them because they like them.

You are not equal. Your daughters are not equal. You are still systemically oppressed.

Estonia allows parents to take up to three years of leave, fully paid for the first 435 days. United States has no policy requiring maternity leave.

Singapore’s women feel safe walking alone at night. American women do not.

New Zealand’s women have the smallest gender gap in wages, at 5.6%. United States’ pay gap is 20%.

Iceland has the highest number of women CEOs, at 44%. United States is at 4.0%.

The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

Open your eyes. Open them wide. Because I’m here to tell you, along with millions of other women that you are not equal. Our equality is an illusion. A feel-good sleight of hand. A trick of the mind. I’m sorry to tell you, but you are not equal. And neither are your daughters.

But don’t worry. We will walk for you. We will fight for you. We will stand up for you. And one day you will actually be equal, instead of just feeling like you are.” ~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

 Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

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Obama, Thank You!


Video : You tube

Obama’s last day in office was yesterday. Last week, I tuned in to watch his final address to the nation. Cried like a damn baby. A grown woman. I couldn’t help it. I suspect I wasn’t alone. Regardless of how anyone feels about him personally, he loves his family. The tribute to Michelle, Sasha, and Malia, was emotional, heartfelt, and loving. # relationshipgoals#

I wanted to use this forum, to thank the man, who has led America for the past eight years.  A man globally respected. One who never lost his cool, or stoop to the level, of those who attacked him and his family. A man who has brought about change, and helped so many believe “Yes, You Can”. I can’t begin to list his accomplishments. The accolades are many. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR. PRESIDENT.

Thank you isn’t nearly enough. I’m ever so grateful, I lived to witness history. Below is Obama’s final letter to the nation.

My fellow Americans,

It’s a long-standing tradition for the sitting president of the United States to leave a parting letter in the Oval Office for the American elected to take his or her place. It’s a letter meant to share what we know, what we’ve learned, and what small wisdom may help our successor bear the great responsibility that comes with the highest office in our land, and the leadership of the free world.

But before I leave my note for our 45th president, I wanted to say one final thank you for the honor of serving as your 44th. Because all that I’ve learned in my time in office, I’ve learned from you. You made me a better President, and you made me a better man.

Throughout these eight years, you have been the source of goodness, resilience, and hope from which I’ve pulled strength. I’ve seen neighbors and communities take care of each other during the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I have mourned with grieving families searching for answers — and found grace in a Charleston church.

I’ve taken heart from the hope of young graduates and our newest military officers. I’ve seen our scientists help a paralyzed man regain his sense of touch, and wounded warriors once given up for dead walk again. I’ve seen Americans whose lives have been saved because they finally have access to medical care, and families whose lives have been changed because their marriages are recognized as equal to our own. I’ve seen the youngest of children remind us through their actions and through their generosity of our obligations to care for refugees, or work for peace, and, above all, to look out for each other.

I’ve seen you, the American people, in all your decency, determination, good humor, and kindness. And in your daily acts of citizenship, I’ve seen our future unfolding.

All of us, regardless of party, should throw ourselves into that work — the joyous work of citizenship. Not just when there’s an election, not just when our own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

I’ll be right there with you every step of the way.

And when the arc of progress seems slow, remember: America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome.’

Yes, we can.”

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Looking Ahead.


 

 

fb_img_1483020527062Photo Credit: Power of Positivity

So,

How did 2016 treat you?! I hope it was very good to you. In the unlikely event this wasn’t the case, 2017 will come through with flying colors! Believe it. Social media is saturated with memes sharing the same premise; the year sucked. Many can’t remember a time in recent history, when they experienced so many hardships, changes, and trials. What’s your view of this past year? I saw it as one of endings, and letting go of things, which no longer serve my/our highest good. What about the large number of truly talented artists who have left us?  Perhaps the person who dubbed 2016 as #theyearofthegrimreaper# is right.

The year is just about done and dusted. A new one is tapping us on the shoulders, offering us the opportunity to set new goals and intentions, make ambitious plans, and create bolder visions. I hope I’m not alone when I say, I am very much looking forward to letting go of people, relationships, situations, jobs, and anything that doesn’t bring happiness. I’ve found, people will only love you, if you fit into their box. My advice is, please don’t be afraid to disappoint. You are amazing. Don’t forget this.

I’m slowly getting to the place, where I can thank the past for all its memories, and invite the future in with wild abandon. In the meantime, I cling to the thought that sometimes, the reason good things are not happening to us, is because we’re the good thing that needs to happen to others. I’ve pondered this thought over the past few days, and it’s a good way to sum up the past twelve months. If you’ve had a particularly trying year, I pray the time will soon come, when the reasons are revealed, in all it’s beauty, splendor, and glory.

One major area of my life which has experienced phenomenal change surrounds the fact, that for many years, I chased the wrong people, especially partners.  I craved and lived for their approval and acceptance. Willing to accept any crumb of affection and attention thrown my way. Looking back, it wasn’t what, or who I wanted to be. I now know, this stage was my “Goliath”. I had to learn to love me. I realized, when I finally let go, I was actually holding onto nothing. In a way, I am thankful for the ones responsible for forcing me to go through this evolution. It took so many lessons, heartbreak, disappointments, and breakdowns. For me, 2016 is the culmination of all these things. You may see me struggle, but you’ll never see me quit.

Looking ahead, the following quote will be at the top of my second vision board. Next year, it is also how I will live my life: “There is so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way, and it doesn’t need to be painful or empty. You need to fill yourself up with love. Not anyone else. Become a whole being on your own. Go on adventures, fall asleep in the woods with friends, wander around the city at night, sit in a coffee shop on your own, write on bathroom stalls, leave notes in library books, dress up for yourself, give to others, smile a lot. Do all things with love. Don’t romanticize life like you can’t survive without it. Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful I promise”

What is your mantra? I hope you find one (if you haven’t already), and live it. One day, you will wake up and there wont be any time, to do the things you’ve always wanted to. DO THEM NOW.

I thank each of you for following, supporting, reading, liking, and returning time after time to my blog. Your support means a lot. Wishing you a wonderful end of the year. See you in the next one!

Until the next post,

Juan

Donald Trump’s America


ap220x20016x121fffffft-pad220x200ffffff-u2Photo credit : Redbubble

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, Donald Trump won the Presidential election of the USA. A shock to millions. So much has happened since then, many of it, unprecedented. I’ve made it a practice to stay away from discussing politics and religion with anyone, especially, if they stand on the opposite side. People are heavily entrenched in their beliefs. On many occasions, people were spewing so much hatred on Social Media; I had to un-follow them. We are still friends; I simply chose not to be exposed it on a regular basis.

Some of the best people I know voted for Trump, including many members of my church. I should point out I haven’t been actively attending for some time. In one of my few political posts during this election cycle, I wrote about the NC chapter of the KKK holding a victory rally for DT. One church member and “friend”came at me. Like a bull in a china shop. She said I should get down on my knees, pray for the spirit of discernment, and ask for forgiveness. She wrote a lot of other hateful and insulting things. Initially, I was taken off guard. I kept it together, by taking a deep breath before formulating my response. There are ways to tell people to go to hell, and have them look forward to the ride.

My post today is about DT’s rhetoric. Some claimed to have voted for him because they want a wall. Others say he is different, says it like it is, and not afraid of being “politically correct” or offending anyone. Personally, I don’t care what their reasons are. We can’t all bat for the same team! However, this is what I care about; DT thinks all Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers. Blacks live in poverty, and are uneducated. Muslims are terrorists. He has mocked the disabled, openly disrespected women, gays, LGBT etc. My friends, these are the issues I care about, and have a problem with.

Since the election, a great number of people think it’s open season to attack (physically and verbally) groups who are different and disadvantaged. I don’t mean the peaceful protests right after the election. No, I am talking about 7th graders in a Michigan school, chanting “Build that wall” in the cafeteria around their Latino classmates. In another school incident (outside Chicago), the words “Whites Only” were written on a bathroom wall. A former football player, awoke one morning to find racial slurs written on his car. Minorities being threatened by whites. People asking their Muslim neighbors to leave, or they will be deported. The Muslim woman shopping in Wal-Mart, who had her hijab ripped off, and was then told, they were no longer allowed. The list is endless.

Surprisingly, the same people who were so vocal about their support for DT, are now very silent. Right here, is where a small sore grows, fester, and turns into a virus.  I don’t see any of them saying this is wrong. Sure, they might briefly comment on another person’s post, if at all. However, no one have personally come out, and condemned the behaviors. I’ve seen them share photos and videos of the protests though. What a sad time in history.

I know the people who voted for DT don’t want to be associated with hate groups. The same people have gotten offended, when anyone remotely suggests they are racists, because of how they voted. Heck, they don’t want to be viewed as homophobic, racist, or anything close. I understand this. I do. You agree with DT’s political views, and that’s okay. However, when you turn a blind eye to the consequences of his campaign’s rhetoric, we all wonder if this is truly the way you feel, simply too afraid to speak out, or suffering from the typical “not-in-my-backyard-syndrome”.

Take a stand! It is frightening to step outside your cozy comfort zone. You might not belong to the groups he threatened to displace when he is elected. No. You might never have to worry about any of the injustices so many suffer daily. However, there are millions who do. Can we stand with them please? Can we assure them they are wanted here (legally of course)? We need help to bridge the divide. A little goes a long way. Speak up and speak out.  We need you. They need you. The world needs you.

The Electoral College meets in two days. Many of DT’s supporters, are now very dissatisfied with the people he has chosen for his cabinet. He isn’t draining any swamp. He has already gone back on a few promises he made. Some have already regretted casting their vote for him. Too late now. If DT is confirmed President of the USA, we will accept it. We hope and pray, he does what is best for the country. He is a self- preservationist after all. However, we can’t stand idly by, wringing our hands, and do nothing, when we see another human being in need. This is America, after all. Rise up.

 

Until the next post,

 

Best,

 

Juan

Happy Thanksgiving Day America!


happy-thanksgiving-day-america-23-2-465x285Photo credit: google images

Someone I know described this year like this : “2016 was like a f*****d up friend you were hoping would change, because you really cared about them.Then you realized that they’re going to be who they’re going to be, and you’re trying to let go, but it’s so hard because there’s this tiny tiny part of you who still believes they’re going to want better. I’m hoping 2017 will be the unexpected friend you just met who changes your life

He hit the nail on the head! For many of us. My dear friends and followers, wherever this post finds you, and regardless of how this year has treated you, please know, the world IS grateful for you. Thanks for being!

Happy Thanksgiving America!

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

I Am Me.


learning-how-to-speak-my-truth(Photo Credit : veganyogalife)

In the recent past, I’ve discovered, and fell in love with a few authors. They give new meaning to the word FABULOUS.  I’m drawn to the ways in which they express themselves. Raw. Unapologetic. Authentic. Below is another piece from the incomparable Janne Robinson. I see so much of myself in the words and phrases below. I make no apologies for how I feel. You shouldn’t either.

If you’re either easily offended or prudish, with all the kindness and respect I can convey here, it’s best if you carry on, now.

This is for the women who don’t give a f**k. The women who are first to get naked, howl at the moon and jump into the sea. The women who drink too much whisky, stay up too late and have sex like they mean it. The women who know they aren’t sluts because they enjoy sex, but human beings with a healthy sexual appetite. The women who will ask you for what they need in bed.

This is for the women who seek relentless joy; the ones who know how to laugh with their whole souls. The women who speak to strangers because they have no fear in their hearts. The ones who wear “night make up” in the morning or don’t own mascara.

The women who know their worth, who plant their feet and roar in their brilliance. The women who aren’t afraid to tell a man to get the f**k out of her heart if he doesn’t honour her heart. This is for the women who rock combat boots with frilly skirts.

The women who swear like truck drivers. The women who hold the people who harass or wrong them with fierce accountability. The women who flip gender norms and false limitations the bird and live to run successful companies giving “the man” a run for his name. The ones who don’t find their success a compliment just because they have a vagina.

Women like Gloria Steinem who, when she was told, “We want a writer, not a woman. Go home,” kept writing anyway. This is for the women who drink coffee at midnight and wine in the morning, and dare you to question it. For the women who open doors for men and are confident enough to have doors opened for them.

Who use “no” to be in service for themselves. Who don’t give a damn about pleasing the world, and do sweetly as they wish. For the superheroes—the single moms who work three jobs to make it. I salute your resilient, cape-flapping, ambitious selves.

This is for the women who throw down what they love, and don’t waste time following society’s pressures to exist behind a white picket fence. The women who create wildly, unbalanced, ferociously and in a blur at times. The women who know how to be busy and know how to plant their feet in the earth and get grounded. These are the women I want around me.

Whoever you are. However you choose to express your truth. Live it. Love it. Celebrate who you are!

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

Stay Gone!


original1As a follow on to my last post, I’m sharing the poem below by the oh-so-talented Marty McConnell. The piece is life affirming and brilliant. All too often, we often go back to the same dead-end, toxic relationship. Hoping this time around, things will be different. Holding out hope. It’s so much easier than accepting the alternative; the relationship is over. Has been, for a long time.

IF like me, you’ve done this time and again, or you’re thinking about going back, please read the piece below. A few times, to get the gist of it. You must stay GONE. I don’t mean just physically either! Isn’t it time to live your truth? It took me years to realize: NEVER settle for someone, who isn’t absolutely, insanely, and foolishly happy to be with you!

Leaving is not enough.You must stay gone. Train your heart like a dog. Change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. You lucky, lucky girl. You have an apartment just your size. A bathtub full of tea. A heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. Don’t wish away your cracked past, your crooked toes, your problems are papier mache puppets you made or bought because the vendor at the market was so compelling you just had to have them. You had to have him. And you did.

And now you pull down the bridge between your houses, you make him call before he visits, you take a lover for granted, you take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic. Make the first bottle you consume in this place a relic. Place it on whatever altar you fashion with a knife and five cranberries. Don’t lose too much weight. Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge. And you are not stupid. You loved a man with more hands than a parade of beggars, and here you stand. Heart like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas. Heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street.”  Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell by Marty McConnell.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

#dontfeedthenarcissist#


dont-feed-the-narcissistI have written about my relationship with a narc. Shared articles and personal insights into how they go about attracting their empaths; the ensuing devaluing, triangulation, gas lighting etc. There is a really good chance you have dated one, and never even knew it. You might have had an inkling something was off, but just couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Narcs are crazy makers! Red Flag Series takes you to previous articles I’ve shared on the subject.

If you have dated a narc, the end goal is to not fall victim to their charms. Ever again. It’s not uncommon people to fall for a narc multiple times. The pattern and toxic cycles will continue, until you figure out the reasons why you keep attracting them.

I found the article below on Narcnation. It lays out helpful strategies and advice to protect yourself. Apologies for the length, however, it contains situations you will recognize. So sit down, grab a cuppa, and take notes!

  1. Be slow in trusting. Trust is not something we should just give away, especially to people we have just met or began dating. However, this doesn’t mean to question everything your new partner says and/or does. It does mean to take your time and get to know the person. Do not rush into a relationship or declare your love for each other after a few weeks. Healthy love takes time to develop and should happen naturally and with ease. If your new partner is fast forwarding the relationship in any way, then you must proceed with caution. If you attempt to slow things down and your partner gets upset or tries to talk you out of your decision then you know this person isn’t completely healthy.
  1. Verify and investigate information. This doesn’t mean stalk their Facebook page, or run a background check on them (although at times this needs to be done), or interrogate them. It simply means to listen and listen well. Pay attention to what they tell you. Are there inconsistencies? Have you caught them in a few little white lies? Are they forthcoming with information or do you get the sense they are holding back? Ask questions. A lot of questions. Because how else are you supposed to get to know someone.

This is important and I know this from experience. I met my ex on an online dating site. His profile said he was divorced. We exchanged a few emails before agreeing to meet in person and in one of the emails I asked him how long he had been divorced. This was in January and he answered that he had officially been divorced since October. I inquired about this because I wasn’t interested in someone who had just gotten divorced or was almost divorced. I wanted to be sure that the person I was going out with was 100% available to be going on dates. We went out and we hit it off or so I thought. Six months later, after he love bombed me with ‘I love you” after two weeks and asked me to move in after a month, I found out he was still married (I found out by searching public records because I had a hunch something was off). Being the charming narcissist that he is, he convinced me to stay and claimed he lied because he didn’t think we would turn into anything so it didn’t matter. Stupidly, I accepted this lame excuse and a month later he was officially divorced.

  1. If it seems too good to be true it is! My ex and I had been dating for two weeks when he told me he loved me. I don’t know if I was intoxicated that night because we had went to a bar or I was simply naïve, but I said it back and at the time thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. I had met this seemingly wonderful guy who was attractive, funny, smart, and open with his feelings. I remember thinking our relationship was like a fairytale and that I was finally getting my happily ever after. Within 3 months of dating, the cracks began to show and my dream guy had turned into a nightmare.

Narcissists are con artists. They know exactly what to say and do to get us hooked and then they pull the rug out from under us. We are then left confused and desperate for things to go back to the way they used to be, the way they were in the beginning, but they never go back because the beginning wasn’t real. The narc played us. The narc used us. They abused us and left us with next to nothing because these types of men are always too good to be true.

  1. Don’t expose your weaknesses/vulnerabilities. If I have learned anything from dating abusive men it is to not share every single detail about my life and my past. I am selective with what I share with people. Some people get a lot and some get very little. It all depends on my level of trust and comfort with the person. Have they proven they are trustworthy? Have they shown that they value our relationship? Do they consistently respect me? How long have I known this person? Do they have a history of gossiping? Dating a narcissist will quickly show you that nothing you tell them is sacred. Narcs love to use our weaknesses against us to inflict pain. They can take a seemingly innocent detail about us and turn it into the most hurtful and degrading insult. Does your partner really need to know that every guy you’ve ever dated was an asshole? No. At least not on day one and maybe not even on day 365. A narcissist can take your love for chocolate cake and turn it around on you by calling you a fat pig that eats cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, they are that juvenile. I am not suggesting that you share nothing about yourself with people, but instead be smart about what you share and if someone uses something you told them against you, run!
  1. Take a break from dating. If you have recently ended a relationship, whether with a narcissist or not, it is imperative that you take time for yourself. Taking a break from dating is the only way to really heal. It is during this time that we should take stock of our lives and decipher the reasons why we ended up in an abusive relationship. What is at your core that attracts you to men who treat you poorly? Low self-esteem is typically to blame. We don’t love ourselves. We don’t believe we are good enough or deserving of healthy love, especially if we have never experienced it. Sadly, a lot of our parents failed to show us what healthy love is supposed to look like so we are on our own trying to figure out what we need to do or change about ourselves to attract healthy people. Attracting healthy people into our lives ultimately starts with us. It starts with us liking ourselves and saying no to people and things that are no good for us. To do this, we must take time and not jump from one bad relationship to the next without healing from the previous one. I suggest taking at least 90 days and committing to caring for yourself. Commit to having better boundaries. Commit to your physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. Read books, listen to podcasts, exercise, go on a trip, organize your entire house, go to therapy, and learn to cook, or plan a party. Do anything, but do it without a partner or bringing a date. Solitude is so good for us. It is so good to sit with our feelings, especially our loneliness. Push through the bad feelings and eventually you will work them out and move forward.
  1. Do a boundary check. Do you know your limits? Do you know how to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty or offering a lengthy explanation? What are your dating deal breakers? Do you even know what you are looking for in a partner? Make a list. Get specific. What will you tolerate and what will you walk away from?
  1. How does your partner speak about their exes? If your partner talks poorly about his exes and blames their breakup solely on them, get out now. This is a huge red flag and should be taken very seriously. If your partner bad mouths their ex, you can guarantee they will bad mouth you as well. At first you might feel bad for your partner and what they went through with their supposedly “crazy” ex. However, if you have done the work on yourself and are stepping into the dating scene armed with information, education, and a good sense of what a healthy relationship is, you will realize that this person is no good for you. Healthy people are able to breakup with their partners and not talk badly about them. Healthy people do not blame the failure of an entire relationship on the other partner. Healthy people can experience the end of a relationship and walk away without seeking revenge or name-calling.

On our first date my ex told me his ex-wife was crazy and had cheated on him. He even went as far as calling her a borderline (meaning she has borderline personality disorder). Now, his ex may very well be disordered and she may have cheated on him. I don’t know for sure. But, what I do know is that my ex was horribly abusive in every way you can imagine and told me I was crazy and accused me almost daily of cheating on him when I never did.

  1. How do you feel when you are not with your partner? Are you calm and secure because your partner is consistent with their character and showing you care and respect? Or are you anxious and restless because you never know if your partner is going to call or stick to scheduled plans? Do you have mixed feelings about your relationship or have a strong feeling of uncertainty? Do you know where you stand with this person? Has the relationship been defined? Have you been open with what you want and what you are looking for in a partner? Our bodies can tell us a great deal about things, people, and situations. When we are around good company we feel calm, secure, and at ease. There is peacefulness when being around these types of people. When we are around bad company our bodies can feel tense and stressed. We can experience worry and anxiety, doubt and confusion. Being involved with a narcissist can make us feel on edge, keyed up and chaotic, which is exactly the type of response that gives them pleasure.

Trying to fall asleep with my ex next to me was nearly impossible. I would be anxious and restless lying next to him. My skin would itch all over and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I remember feeling like I couldn’t go to sleep because I didn’t know what he would do. He would badger me when we argued and everything I said was taken out of context or twisted around. He had an excuse for everything and normally I was to blame for why he lied or called me a cunt or choked me. These one sided arguments could last for days even without my participation. I eventually realized that it didn’t matter what I said because he would always find a way to make me the bad guy. I was always wrong. So, instead of fighting back, I shut down. I stopped talking or I would respond with one word answers or simply say ok. This infuriated him and thus kept it going. I know why I was anxious sleeping next to him. I didn’t feel safe and my body was telling me that.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you need a list of more resources, please feel free to get in touch!

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan

 

 

Sit Down!


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Despite Gabby Douglas’s phenomenal history making performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, her accomplishments since then, and now with the Final Five US Women Gymnastics’ team  in Rio, trolls still managed to find ways to bully her. First they attacked her hair (in this case, her edges), then vilified her, for not placing hand over heart, during the medal ceremony.

I find it incredibly troubling to note, the vicious and demeaning “nappy hair” comments started within the black community. One that Gabby and I belong to. As a side note, the majority of black women, are known for being overly concerned, intensely preoccupied, and incredibly vain, when it comes to their hair. Upkeep is expensive, but sometimes other responsibilities take a back seat to the beauty shop. Hair must always slay! By any means necessary. It is not uncommon for some women to sacrifice health (cut exercise), to keep up a certain look.

I also think it’s incredibly distressing, that the same people who have been marginalized, oppressed, and discriminated against, would take it upon themselves to initiate the attacks. I expected only the loudest cheers of support and praise. Nothing  less. The Olympics is a sporting event, NOT a hair show.  I was, however, encouraged by celebrities who used their star power, to publicly offer encouragement and support, at a time when she desperately needed it.

Next, other groups started attacking Gabby for her supposed lack of patriotism. The ignorance was loud and deafening. Not every athlete at Rio (or any other Olympics) placed hand over heart during the American anthem. Some did, others laughed, cried, smiled, stared into the unknown. It’s common for hands to be either in front, or at the sides. As a litmus test example, one American soldier, Sam Kendricks, stopped in the middle of his Pole Vault performance, and stood at attention, when the anthem started playing. No hand was placed over heart. He didn’t have to.

I’m inclined to think medaling in any event as big as the Olympics, often elicits a paramount of emotions. No one should be judged, by how they respond while the anthem is being played. Now, total disrespect, is a horse of a different color. There is NO law or practice to dictate what to do during this time. My heart went out to her, as she fought back tears during an interview, where she was asked to address the trolling.

I’m also at a loss as to why everyone cannot simply enjoy THIS moment in history. The Final Five is now the most successful, and decorated female gymnastics team ever. A truly amazing feat. One that deserves the highest levels of respect, appreciation, and admiration. Sadly, there is always the “special attention seeking few” who choose to cloud an accomplishment.

To the ones who participated in this inexcusable behavior, I hope you’re all proud of yourselves! No one will remember you, BUT, they will remember the achievements of these fabulous young women, Gabby included! I am sure Gabby doesn’t need me to defend her. No. I think she is quite capable of standing up for herself. One doesn’t get to where she is, and not have a few life affirming experiences, with which to battle the storms.

For all the haters, detractors, trolls, negative Nancy’s; have a seat! As a matter of fact, have several. Stay in your own lane. The fact that you would publicly attack someone you’ve never met,  who worked so hard to help her country win, became a role model to millions of girls in the process, and focus on something so trivial like her hair style, says more about you, than it could ever do about her. You are a troll. Plain and simple. So, how many medals have you won for your country? My guess is NONE.

Let’s say for argument’s sake, Gabby, or anyone else, decides to wear their hair curly, straight, kinky, braided etc. What exactly did she do wrong? Her hair didn’t get in the way of winning. Consider for a moment, if that was your daughter on the world’s biggest sporting stage. The pressure to do well is not for the fainthearted. She won. However, people who don’t know her personally, have begun attacking her for no reason. Doesn’t feel good with the shoe on the other foot, now does it? Society is constantly telling us, we’re not good enough. On the contrary, we are. Always have been. Always will.

Furthermore, the next time you decide to write negative and offensive statements, whether it’s about Gabby or someone else, PLEASE, have a long look in the mirror, and figure out how you got to this point. The rest of us, don’t want any part of what you’re selling. You might get attention for fifteen minutes, but very soon, you’ll be seen for what you are.  Remember, you’ll catch a lot more flies with honey, than vinegar.

Gabby has accomplished MORE than half of you put together, in your lifetimes. Besides being a three-time gold medal Olympic champion, she has released a memoir.  Landed a reality show. Created her own leotard clothing line. This year, Barbie launched The Gabby Douglas doll.  On a side note, when this post was published, news broke that Gabby has been tapped as a judge, on the Miss America 2017 pageant. I’m willing to bet the accolades and accomplishments doesn’t end there.

Gabby is a role model for every young girl, sat at home, watched the Olympics, and dreamt of representing her country (not necessarily in gymnastics). Millions of us are immensely proud of her efforts. In 2012, she was th BEST in the world! This time around she still managed to help Team USA win gold, again. Little girls who most likely turned to their mothers, with sparkling, wide-eyed innocence, and asked “Mom, can I do that?”, to which came the response “Of course you can baby. And one day you will!”

Gabby, I hope you’re too busy writing the next phase of your life, to bother giving a spearing thought to any of these detractors. Continue to show the world just how great you are.  And long after you’ve retired from gymnastics, you’ll still be blazing trails. I know being in the public eye, and having your every move scrutinized, can’t be easy. Sadly, people think its open season to hide behind their keyboards, and become instant experts on every and anything.

You’re a BADASS. Entrepreneur. Author. Role Model. Olympic Champion. You will ALWAYS have these things to look back on. No one can take them away from you. Happily, it’s not the only label that defines you. We think you’re strong, capable, gracious, and resilient.

So carry on. Get up and own it. We are all cheering for you. Because..”Still You Rise”

Until the next post,

Best,

 

Juan

Keep Shining Dear Ones


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Photo Credit : Instagram

Hello Friends,

I wanted to reach out to anyone struggling with self-doubt. The kind either created by our own minds, or the people we surround ourselves with. I don’t know what your circumstances are, I could never know. However, I can tell you, what others think about you, is none of your business.

Keep doing good. Keep working on yourself. Keep striving. Only you truly know your journey, and what it took to get there.  No one can write your story, and even if they did, how will it turn out?

Do your thing, and do it unapologetically. People will criticize, but you probably know what they are going to say. The same thing that makes your pulse beat faster, your eyes sparkle, when talking about it, do it. As often as you can, for as long as you can.

It has taken a lot of resolve and persistence to get where you are. You didn’t come this far to quit. In the words of R Scott Fitzgerald: “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whosoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you find the strength to start over”

Live. Love. Laugh.

Until the next post,

Best,

Juan