Thursday, June 30, 2016

Day 30: The haircut

If you have not noticed yet, this recent May I went to the beauty salon and cut more than half of my hair off. I have been planning on cutting it short for a while now and especially with the intention of donating the hair to a charity that makes wigs, I just knew that I wanted to go short. Since I have been in middle school and high school, having long hair was the total trend. The majority of the girls would grow it out long and get trims within the year, and do not get me wrong I was the same way. It was like the girl code of goals to follow when it came to hair. The idea that long hair was pretty and short hair was underappreciated floated around the halls of my school. You just did not hear often of girls getting short hair cuts. As soon as I graduated from high school, I had went to the local salon to cut my hair because I could no longer stand the struggle of keeping up with hair that reached to my hip bone. I remember pulling my hair all the time especially when I would get out of bed, my hair would get stuck to my seat sometimes, my hair would brush my arm and I would swat at my arm thinking it was a bug, and washing it was just a nightmare! Without wanting to be wasteful, I decided to keep the hair that I had gotten snipped off so I can send it to an organization that would use my hair to make wigs with other strands of hair. Just like I had captioned on my revealing photo, I had fun with my long hair and I hope that someone else has the same fun as I did.

My first hair donation was in 2015 and now with my most recent cut in 2016, I decided to go shorter. I wanted to test out how I would look with short hair and if my haircut decided to go terribly wrong I would just have to remind myself that hair grows back. Since I am one blind chick without my glasses, during the cutting process I had no idea how my haircut was turning out. All I remember is my hair stylist using razor to cut a big chunk of my hair that I was donating and using a razor to make sure she was cutting the hair evenly. I was okay with the scissors but the razor just brought me to a whole level of stress because she would continue cutting with razor, that I was fearing that she was going to shave a side of my head. Now that I would not have the words to describe how I feel. Thankfully that was not the case. I have been very impressed with the turnout actually. Before she started to cut my hair I had shown her what kind of hair cut/hairstyle I was aiming for on my phone and even though I briefly showed it to her, she immediately had an idea of what she was going to do.

In all my haircuts, I have been known to sit there in silence. I am more of that person that would rather overhear other people conversations than to make small talk with someone that I was going to spend at most half an hour with. There is just something soothing about getting your hair cut though, the hair wash, the head massage, that liberating feeling you get when you cut a big portion of your hair that you have been so used to carrying the weight with you everyday. You end up feeling like a new person when you leave the salon. You know sometimes you just have to take risks when it comes to haircuts and see where the new look takes you. In the future I want to see if I have enough confidence to cut my hair even shorter and see if I can pull of that look. As of now, I am loving my short hair! So much easier to handle and care for. Since my hair is naturally straight after I wash my hair it's like a sleek piece of silk framing my face. I barely use my straightener anymore and I rather prefer not. Rather enjoy the all natural look and let my hair be free!

How short have you cut your hair before?

June 2015
May 2016

xx Chavelita

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 29: PAC Leader Interview

Towards the end of my freshman year of college, I had received a text message from my protege advisory committee (PAC) leader that Mentor Tech was looking for new PAC leaders to help serve the Mentor Tech program and had mentioned how much of an asset I would be if I did decide to apply for the position. I remember sitting there holding my phone and thinking to myself of the chances that could happen if I were to go through the application process. The application was short and reflective with a recommendation letter to go with it. Mentor Tech for me was already starting to feel like my family because as a protege myself, I had gone to multiple workshops and being part of their community service program had brought a lot of me out to the public. So to be more involved with Mentor Tech was fine by me.

A few days after I had personally submitted my application to one of the unit coordinators of Mentor Tech, I received an email back stating the date and time of my interview. My PAC leader had already mentioned that there was an interview along with the application process so my initial thought about the interview was like any of the other interviews I have had. A casual sit down and chat about why I wanted to be in the program and what I wanted to bring to the program. Only thing though about that interview day is that nothing went the way I had imagined it to go. I arrived at the location a few minutes early because I believe that making a good first impression shows that you are dedicated, know how to manage your time, and that you know how to follow instructions. While I arrived we had to sign-in so I am like okay, have to sign-in in order to be counted as present. But while I was signing my name there was a column that had group numbers on them and according to the group number that you belonged to, you had to grab a name tag from the table. The name tags were mostly premade that had both the name of the applicant and the group they pertained. This is where I start to get nervous. I picked up my name tag, removed the paper so that the adhesive on the back was showing and slapped my name tag on the left side of my chest. Why the left side? Well from a workshop I had been to, the name tag should be on the left side so that when you go for a handshake (which you typically use your right hand to give out a handshake) the person you are shaking hands with is able to see your name. Well as more people started to arrive at the location, I had an idea that maybe this interview is not going to be like the rest of the interviews.

By the time everyone signed in and grabbed their name tags, the room was starting to feel hot. Now I am not sure if it was was for the fact that there was too many people or because I was nervous and wearing a blazer. There is just something about wearing professional business attire that increases my body temperature, like if you accidentally wore a sweater without anything underneath on a hot humid day assuming that the day was going to bring in rain but it doesn't. But since you do not have anything underneath you are stuck wearing the sweater for the rest of the day. That is how I felt and it was starting to make me feel anxious. Most of the groups were pretty big like four to six members per group, except my group. It was just me and two other people who coincidentally also happened to be Hispanic. I am not sure if they did that on purpose but that did not stop me from having suspicious thoughts. At least it was nice to be around other Hispanics because I find that there is not enough at my university. Also since there was this cute and kind Hispanic guy in my group too so I felt like I was already winning. This is all before instructions were being given out so me along with about thirty other potential PAC leaders were waiting awkwardly for further details.

The unit coordinator then comes and begins her shpeel and that is when we realized what was the purpose of being in a group. As a group we were asked to plan either a social event or an academic event in more or less of thirty minutes and present the idea to a panel. Each group were handed out with a sheet of paper, a large sheet of paper for brainstorming and presenting purposes, and a container of markers to write with. Given the fact that I did not know my group mates and I already had an assignment to do with them surely does play a large role of how fast you are in adjusting and producing in a short amount of time. Our group had to present a holiday event to the panel and on the sheet of paper that was given out by the unit coordinator instructs with bullet points of what to answer as we present our idea. The bullet points were pretty straightforward which asked things such as what would you call the event, how does diversity fit into the event, who you are inviting to speak, and where. The important small details that could really make a difference in planning. So on top of having to work with a group I did not know, in that same time they were calling us one by one for separate interviews. It was like an interview inception and again I had no idea who would be giving the interview out. But I am just hoping that I find the right words to answer all of their questions. 

In the middle of planning out the holiday event and sharing my ideas, one of the helpers called my name out for my separate interview. A wave of panic rushed over me and I quickly placed the sheet of paper I was holding and walked out of the common room. Slowly opening the door, I notice that not even the separate interview was one on one but more so three to one. The isolated chair signaled me to sit there and just like I always do, I try to liven up the mood so that my nervousness doesn't completely fill up the room. The questions were personal as I guessed them to be as a way to further learn about my character but there was this one question that stands out that keeps me thinking. "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?" and at first I had to make sure I heard the question correctly so I politely asked for them to repeat the question. Confirming my doubts, I shoot the first answer that pops into my head. "I would push the blender to its side and slide out" and with that being said all three of my interviewers begin to scribble onto their papers. I do not know if I provided an efficient answer but I was able to produce a solution on the spot which I am proud of. 

Soon after my separate interview, we wrap up our holiday event. We decided to go for a Halloween social while still bringing in diversity through the different costumes brought in by different cultures. The panel interview was held in one of the larger conference room in the same building and since we were group three we were in the first half to present. Even though I was confident in our idea, I was still feeling nervous for any spontaneous questions that could have be asked that we have not prepared for. As our time arrived to present, the conference room was filled with at least fifteen staff members of Mentor Tech half in which I have not seen. The tallest member of our group held the poster and I introduced our group. I started off the presentation and I was hoping to at least get someone to laugh. If you get someone to laugh then you are golden. There was multiple moments of laughter and other times there was awkward moments of questioning but overall I find our group to have held their ground and they presented efficiently. I was honestly proud and relieved that within the hour that I have met my group mates I was able to get along with them and be able to pull in all of our ideas to create the final product. 

This whole interview process started at five o'clock in the evening and I did not get out until seven thirty or around there. The process was long and exhausting, but it was such a great learning experience. At the end of the interview day, I even took off my small heeled flats while I was walking back to my dorm because I could not stand them anymore. 

PS: I did get the position.

Which interview do you consider the most memorable?

xx Chavelita 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 28: From Psychiatrist to Veteran Psychologist

How about that future? While I went to go visit some good friends for the last time before they move out of town, I came across thinking about my future again. Which is not so bad to be thinking about your future, nice to keep those creative juices flowing. Here is how my process of determining my future started. When I was in high school I had gone to Puerto Rico to visit my family and anytime I get to see them is a pleasure. Yet when you do not see family for a long time, they get curious and one of the questions that is never failed to be asked is, "Que vas hacer despues de la escuela?" (What are you going to do after you finish school). At least at that time I had an idea usually I would just shy away and avoid the question as a whole. Well my uncle who is a General Family Doctor asked me that one day I was sitting outside enjoying the sun and breeze. In which I had replied that I wanted to be a psychologist. I was starting to get into psychology because I already knew I wanted to help people in some way and I could picture myself doing that for a good portion of my life. I felt so confident in my answer until my uncle throws in the idea that I should become a psychiatrist instead. This was way before I knew about medicine taking care of the mentally sick so as naive I could be for a fifteen year old I said okay.

Well towards the end of my high school career, I had lost a great friend because of medicine that was used to take care of her emotions. And you know it was not so much how I was treated because of how the medicine changed her behavior but the fact that I was there from the start and saw how the medicine changed her completely from someone I could read from the back of my hand to someone I couldn't find the words to tell her. I am not going to go into much detail but that is when I realized that I cannot go into medicine. I cannot live with myself knowing that if I gave someone medicine to control their mood and they went through the same difficult transition of having their neurotransmitters and or hormones altered, I would probably not be able to forgive myself. Which brings me in to as I went to apply for college. I decided to stay as a psychology major and find another way I can help people without having to handle medicine. I am a strong believer of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which is therapy to help shape or mold unhealthy behaviors into better behaviors by implementing problem solving techniques and ways of coping with the situation that the person is going through. I rather sit down with my patient and speak to them but I will not be prescribing medicine, I will refer them to a psychiatrist if needed but that is the most that I will do for them in that case.

Throughout my first year of college I had two fields of psychology in mind to specialize in, Clinical or Counseling. Which these fields are more or less in the same ball park because in Clinical it is more research based on mental illness or like the alterations of function of the mind while Counseling you have more of the hands on experience of diagnosing patients. At least that is what I think, these are not the formal terms but for the sake of this blogpost I'm going to keep it casual. So I have gotten myself involved in research to learn more about the different fields of psychology to see if there was something that I was missing out that I would probably like to consider as I get closer to graduate school. And if my lab mentor is reading this she is going to be happy, but I have found Human Factors psychology to be an interesting field. It was not until I got to college that I found out what Human Factors psychology was and I like to refer to this field as like the engineering of psychology. There is just so many fascinating researches happening at my university in this field and I am constantly hearing about The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and how big of role Human Factors play. Sometimes even I want to fangirl and I am probably the one that is least interested in comparison with my lab mates.

Then I had a conversation with my oldest brother who has already graduated from college about how my classes were going and I do not remember clearly what I had written on Facebook but we got to the topic of Veteran Psychologist. I imagined myself being a Veteran Psychologist and the idea of being one is not bad at all. Growing up as a military kid, I am familiar with veteran hospitals so to picture myself working at one, I do not think it would be a bad idea. I would also be giving back to the veterans and I may also get benefits for working with the government so that would be another thing that I would not have to worry about. I know that I am may be potentially placing myself in a difficult path because of possible stories from these veterans but I am still willing to give it a go. Who knows what I will learn from that experience if I decide to settle with this route in the future.

Overall my love for psychology has only grown in abundance and I am excited about learning more of what other fields of psychology has to offer before having to make my final decision for grad school! I also want to add that you can always change your future, you do not have to settle down with your childhood career or with someone else's idea of who you should be if you do not want to. Figuring out your future is a process that constantly needs work so please do not expect that it is going to come with a snap of a finger or with a rub of a lamp (trust me I tried and it sadly did not work). You take the time your need to plan out what you want to take with this life that we are given. I doubt anyone has their life completely planned out from start to finish so do not be afraid to try new things and to enjoy the ride as you figure out what you want to accomplish and become!

What career do you have in mind?

xx Chavelita

Monday, June 27, 2016

Day 27: Bad Day pass

For the longest time I would have considered myself as the Debby Downer out of my group of friends. Not because I saw more the negative side of things and would dwell on them more (which come to think of it, that could of been a factor, the dwelling part not the seeing everything as negative part) but I think because I have been such an optimistic growing up that I feel like a bit of the overlooked negativity caught up with me. I would try my best to avoid the bad days that I would repress my problems and would attempt to find a way to not let the bad days happen. Like that could happen. That worked until they became too much to handle that led to just more stress and trouble in my direction. I began to realize that not everything is as rosy and pretty and being positive all of the time is exhausting! I did not understand the difference between what a pessimistic would view the world and what a bad day entitled. This was me for the majority of my adolescences, I just did not like having to deal with my problems and the stress that came with it and to not tell anyone seemed like such a great answer! I cringe at the way I would treat myself in the past, always trying to put on a brave face to make sure I was the least of someone's worries. And you know what? Everyone is worth worrying about. Not too much worry that it brings in stress and anxiety but enough to know that you care about their well-being. I did not realize at the time, but the more you keep quiet the more suspicion is brought on you, and no matter if you win the award for best hidden emotions, people are still going to worry about you.

Everyone is entitled to having their bad days. Some people like to show that they are having a bad day through social media or other forms of communication and other people like to have their bad days in private or with a close friend. Even the most positive people you may encounter have their bad days and they deal with their bad days. The more you get older, I believe, and you still find a way to remain a positive outlook on life and world, should be handed an award. Problems get more complicated when you have to start making your own decisions and life can sometimes be an emotional roller coaster. Yes and even adults have to take a moment for themselves to settle into the situations that are thrown at them. Overall, I want to say that I am not an optimistic but I also do not like to dwell in negative aspects of life so I find better methods to handle with the not so pretty parts of life. I started using my words and stated the things that I did not like or that have been bothering me. You come to understand that there are just days where if in order to get over something and feel better is if you need to cry it out or throw out some swear words, then be my guest.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, some habits better than others, but I just hope that you are finding a healthy outlet to let go of some of that stress that is preventing you from being happy. Just like everyone is entitled to have bad days, everyone is also entitled to being happy. I wish there was such thing as a Bad Day pass at work or at school and with that being said you were excused. Like instead of a Sick Day pass when you got the flu, you have a Bad Day pass because it is important to also take care of your mental health. Just because you cannot detect immediately whether someone is emotionally well or not, it does mean that the potential of someone being in distress does not exist. So do not feel bad or non-deserving for the days that you happen to feel sad, I rather you acknowledge your problems for what they are than to stay quiet with your thoughts and coming up with conclusions that do not pair up with your problem. Just make sure you are not revisiting the same problem, one visit should be plenty.

My mama instincts are showing, but just know that I care for your well-being. You can still be strong and have bad days. Those bad days strengthen you not weaken you.

Do you wish Bad Day Passes existed?

xx Chavelita

Day 26: What I have learned about my college town

Living in my college town, you kind of start to pick up on a few things. Some intentionally, other times unintentionally, and most times forcefully. Coming from a town where seeing a tree meant that it was your lucky day to a town where a tree could be found at any corner, I was a happy camper. I was able to embrace more of the raw nature that the Earth had to offer which also meant lovely sit downs underneath a tree for reading or studying. But just like any place you move into, you have to learn how to deal with the unpredictable features that comes from the city.
  1. Embrace the wind or plan not to wear a dress or skirt
  2. Carry an umbrella with you no matter how lovely the day may be looking at the moment
  3. Country music will either make you or break you
  4. English is mainly spoken so for those who know another language, make sure you have someone you get to speak your additional language so you will not start forgetting that language
  5. Rain and the road do not get along, the roads will flood if there is rain so make sure you have a pair of rain boots or shoes that you are not afraid to get wet and another pair of socks
  6. When you feel like it is safe to put away your winter clothes, do not put your winter clothes away
  7. My college town is very flat so tornadoes can be a possible threat so always listen to directions if there happens to be one nearby
  8. Just because it was warm during the day does not guarantee a warm night, carry a sweater around with you
  9. My college town is indeed a college town for the fact that you mostly find my college merchandise or emblem dominating most stores
  10. Mostly everybody I have met has different shade of blue or green eyes and are lovely people 
My college town's weather is quite different from my hometown given the fact that I am used temperatures peaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit, hot wind blowing, sandstorms, and little rain. I am just surprised that without even leaving the state, temperatures could differ among cities. And the in between tips of the atmosphere is there to give more a perspective of how the people are like. Which in all, my college town is decent and full of life which I enjoy and appreciate to have chosen to live there during my college semesters. 

How's the weather like near you?

xx Chavelita

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 25: Research Interviews

To be a research assistant was never on my to-do list nor did I know that being a research assistant was a thing until I had received an email from my psychology adviser that there was positions open. My initial reason to become a research assistant was to step out of my comfort zone. I knew I wanted college to be different than how I spent my years in high school and I wanted to make sure that in college I was getting the best experience possible as an undergraduate. So when I sat down with the application open to apply for my first research assistant position, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and yeah I was stressing out as I would normally but from the back of my mind I knew if I did not follow through this opportunity I was going to be regretting and wondering what would of happened if I only submitted my application. I also never thought about how I would feel if my application got rejected so I came in with such high hopes for a new beginning. A few days passed since I had submitted my application and one of the graduate students emails me back an email introducing himself to me and how my application stood out especially for that fact that I was a freshman without even stepping into college yet. A part of myself was making sure that this was actually happening and the other half was kind of anxious and curious about what would happen next. Within the first few weeks that classes has started I scheduled my interview appointment to go meet up with the person who had given me feedback on my application. Which to this day I still find weird that I had the ability to schedule when I wanted my interview and at what time...

The psychology research labs at my university are located in the basement of the psychology building and walking downstairs for the first time to the basement was pretty creepy and unexpected. You have to open a door to get access to the stairs and even then the stairs were dimly lit, one wrong step and who knows where would I end up. There are still times where I will miss a step and nearly fall down those stairs, so knock on wood that my day does not come. In the basement of the psychology building though the lights were bright and if anything all you can hear is the hum of the furnace. The rooms down in the basement for the majority time are closed and are only open if someone were running labs or waiting for their participant to come participate in their study. Well I sat down outside of the room where my interview was going to be held at and I kind of just stalled. I knew that I was early and I felt like my anxiety was kicking in because my thoughts would be on loop. "Ok... in ten minutes I will get up and knock on the door" "Alright in five minutes..." "In a minute..." until I had to actually knock on the door, I would just think about at what time I would knock on the door. With enough time to be considered early and on time, I gave a loud knock. 

The interview process was oddly really casual. There was even laughing and side stories included like how statistics just gets more and more alphabet as the content advances. I sat down in the adjacent seat by him and we just spoke. The only technical thing that I was asked to do is to get certified as a research assistant by doing the online trainings that were found on the university's website and on the National Institute of Health website. I was expecting like a proper eye to eye, seat table seat, interview. I remember what I had worn that day, I had ironed my sleeveless white shirt with crosses and had on tight khaki jeans. And as usual with my potato sack Toms to complete the outfit. I do not remember if I had a resume on me at the time because I had just gotten out of high school so I did not know how to make a college resume if I did not have any experience to write about. Even with that, I was given the position. Except what I have come to realize that so far all of the research assistant positions that I have applied and been interviewed for, I was never told a direct answer that I was accepted as their research assistant. I had to assume that I was accepted when my interviewers started talking about how they should contact me and when they would ask about my schedule details. 

On my second interview, the interview went even more casually because I had already known my interviewer since she was the teacher (or is it teaching?) assistant to my former Statistics class and she would teach our class on Fridays in the afternoon. In the first weeks that I have started college, I was concerned about my future and I already know what you are going to tell me that I am still too young to be concern about my future but that is what anxiety does to you. Makes you worry more than you should and the only way I was going to stop worrying is if I handled my concern. I did not know my Statistics TA that well but my first impression of her was that she was funny, awkward, and friendly. I knew that that was enough for me to put my trust in her that she would help me out with my situation. I wrote a thorough email explaining about graduate school and research. Soon throughout the week that I had emailed her, she replied back with such warm words. For someone who did not know me she sure accepted me pretty quick and offered her assistance to me. Half through my first semester of college, she emails our class about how she was looking for research assistants to come help her out in her research lab. I remember her mentioning in an email or in person that she was waiting for a response for me since I have been interested in doing research. Well on the day of my interview I sit down and we talk like it was just another day. And again she starts asking for my schedule without even telling me directly that I was accepted as her new research assistant. I am starting to wonder if this is a trend that happens to interviewers and their interviewees. 

My most recent interview was before I left home for the summer, I had decided to do apply for another position only this time I was not alone. During my tutoring session for Research Methods my Supplemental Instructor mentioned to my lab mate and I that there was an opportunity for us. The opportunity he has been talking with us for a while and it was that we had the chance to create our own study. Maybe we won't run the study but we would be able to learn the process in making a study and what it takes to get one starting. Since both my lab mate and I were first year college students he saw a lot of potential which was really sweet of him to mention when he had given us both good words of acknowledgement to the professor that he was doing research under. On the last week of school I meet up with another graduate student and although I did not know my interviewer personally, I did hear about her and from what I have heard she seems like a good person to get along with. In which she was because the interview went so smoothly, it did not like feel like an interview like my previous interviews. 

Reflecting over my research interviews and how much I have gone through as the lost college student to the less lost college student, I feel super grateful for taking the chances when I could. I had stepped out of my comfort zone and I carried my anxiety on my shoulder to all of my interviews. Even though I was nervous, I put on a smile and went in with a positive outlook. If you get the interviewer to laugh with you, then you should be golden which has been my goal in all of the interviews that I have had this year. Sometimes we forget that our interviewers are just like us, with experience and a upper hand, but they are people too. I know that I have so much to learn but at least I feel comfortable knowing that I have wonderful mentors to guide and support me along the way. I am so excited about what happens next in my research labs!

Update: I am no longer a research assistant for my first interviewer but I am still continuing with my second and third research positions. I have also found a passion for research so in the end I feel like I came out like a winner and soon a paid winner. 

In what field would you like to do research in?

xx Chavelita

Friday, June 24, 2016

Day 24: Petite & Proud

Ever since I was in school, from my first day of pre-kindergarten to my last day of my senior year of high school I have been known as the short girl. I bet people who I went to school with mainly associated me as the short girl which at the time was quite annoying and I perceived as disrespectful. Out of all of what my personality and my qualities offer and the one thing that people would leave with is is the fact that I was short. Great, even I could of looked in the mirror and realize that about myself. I have lost count to the many times I came complaining to my parents about my size and how because of my size people did not take me seriously. I even thought that because I was short that the guys I was interested in would overlook me. You see, when you are short for the most part people will think that you are weak or that you may need extra help when you are out in public. People automatically assume that being short, that taller people may have the upper hand. Which is how I thought about my size and I kind of just accepted my defeat there. My genes have made me this way and there was no way I was able to change my body.

To be fair, I think I was the biggest bully to myself because before anyone had the opportunity to mention anything about my size I was already putting myself down for it. I had this mentality that if I could beat someone to the teasing then I would not have fallen so hard if someone were to come and actually make comments. I had grown such a thick layer which sometimes growing a thick layer is good but mine was so thick to the point that I started to dislike myself. The what if's came in frequent waves. "What if I was taller..." "What if people saw me for who I am, like actually saw me, rather than seeing my size and automatically judging my talents..." "What if..." I had begun to fall in love with an idea of myself and was drifting away from my actual self.

Until I had reached college, things have changed. I started to look at myself from a different angle. I had come to meet with my flaw as being short because I had come to realize that being short is part of my personality. I started to view my shortness as a unique quality of mine because even though most of the people that go to my university are pretty tall, you find yourself standing out without even trying. People usually care less about how you look like, they may still stare, but for the most part at least I did not care at that point. I began to love myself again and for the healthy body that I have been too busy overlooking. In fact that is how I met one of my good friends from college. We used to live on the same floor and she was that type of person to greet everyone in the hall until one day she came over to my room. We got acquainted and we both spoke freely about where we came from. Sometimes my friend had some pretty unfiltered thoughts and she would occasionally mention how my short figure was what made her want to be my friend and first but then when she got to know me she was grateful to have gotten to know me. So I have come to realize that being short has their privileges. You are able to sit in the middle of the suspended chairs with your friends, you are able to sit at the outer seat of rides, since I am short I needed to ride with a companion most times so I did not have to ride on my own, you are able to get child discounts if you play your cards right, you get to still shop in the girls section at department stores for a cheaper price than the actual woman's wear, and so much more which before I had thought was embarrassing.

What I needed was a change of mindset and maturity to settle with the fact that I am going to be short for the rest of my life and that if I am ever going to be happy then I must accept myself for who I am. I cannot change my body but I can change the way I perceive my body. I totally believe that our Creator has made each and everyone of us into the perfect image that they had imagined us to be. At the time I did not understand why I was made this way but now looking at myself in the mirror I see my petite figure and what comes to my mind is strength. I can totally do what tall people can do and there is nothing wrong to ask for help if I cannot reach. To not be able to reach should be the least of my worries, if I am able to climb my way up then I will. Being a short girl is not that easy but as a short girl you learn to work yourself around the unreachable and you find yourself proving not just others wrong with your capabilities but you start to prove yourself wrong too. Being short is no longer my crutch but it is my step. I am petite and I am proud.

How do you perceive your body?

xx Chavelita

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Day 23: What I have learned from having a bisexual best friend

Have you ever had those friendships where you think it is just a simple meet and greet but turns out to be much more than that? Well that is how my friendship started with one of my best friends. I was around the age of 15, maybe I was younger, and I went over to my uncle's house where the family business used to be and I greeted my cousin with a side kiss on the cheek. And just like I have been raised to do with family I also greeted my cousin's girlfriend with a side kiss on the cheek. My first impression of her was that she was kind and quiet, very reserved but of course my older brother knows how to get along with everyone so he is already talking to her. Me, I usually wait for the right moment to come so I can test the waters with new people. My mentality with making friends is that if I see no potential then I will not talk to that person or I will not make the effort to do so. But this friendship was weird. Nothing like the other friendships I have made because we did not talk to each that much the first time we met. Aren't friendships supposed to be based on communication and little bit of trust in the beginning? Yet we ended up exchanging phone numbers at the end of the visit and we would text back and forth to each other. Having a long distance friendship for me is like having the other person at the other end of the friendship send messages in glass bottles hoping to get a reply back from me. I do not just not answer messages on purpose, I just gradually fade away if there is not someone else tugging me back into the picture. Which I am not offended if I do fade away because I do pick up the phone if someone from 2 years ago messages me today asking for advice on something or for a conversation.

Well from the numerous messages we have sent through out the years, I have grown to know my best friend. For what she is, how she became the way she is, and how she identifies herself. When my parents had told me before I arrived at my uncle's house that my cousin's girlfriend's sexuality was different from mine, I accepted it. There was no further explanations needed for me because I saw no purpose in needing any more information. If people treated me nicely and respectfully, I can care less about what sexuality they decide to identify themselves. Well there was one day I had messaged my friend that I have known about her sexuality in case she did not already know but that I totally supported. If you have yet know, I like to lay things on the table. I do not like cutting corners or sugarcoating what could and can be said truthfully to others. Since I have mentioned that I knew her sexuality it was like sealing the deal with our friendship because after that day we got closer. I would go to her for my problems, advice, for a good laugh, every conversation with her leaves me with a smile on my face and I find that rare to find nowadays.

What I have learned about having a long distance bisexual best friend? You learn to appreciate how powerful love can be regardless of sexuality. The other day I remember her telling me that she has been with my cousin for six years and in pure awe I congratulated her. You begin to associate sexuality like age or gender, it's there and you acknowledge it but there is also so much more than that. There was definitely so much to my best friend and it was not because of her sexuality that wanted me to be her friend. I wanted to be her friend because she was genuine, unique, caring, open-minded, strong-minded and intuitive. The distance gets to us sometimes but we have learned to make ends meet whether I message her first or she messages me first we make time for each other even if it's just for a twenty minute conversation. The strength she has developed from her childhood has also partially been passed on to me, and I know that when I feel small and weak I could count on her to push me to get off my butt and continue fighting. I have learned that friendships come in multiple forms and feel I have been blessed to be part of this special friendship. I do not need anyone's blessing or permission to be friends with people who treat me respectfully and correctly. Because they may have a different sexuality as me which has nothing to do with our friendship, I can care less about the assumptions that are made about me. I know who I am. My best friend knows who she and I find that to be enough.

I do not have that many friends that I am able to be completely myself, but I am glad that I can with her. And I cannot thank her enough for taking care of me from a distance as one of her little sisters. That right there is some one of a kind love.

Fun fact: She was the one who gave me the nickname Chavelita.

What have you learned from your friendships?

xx Chavelita

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Day 22: To the girls who thought being different meant something was wrong

Dear my girl friends who think being different means that there is something wrong,

To think differently or find interest in other materials that others might find odd or disgusting, that is not your problem and there is nothing wrong in appreciating the nonconforming ways of living. You be you. There is nothing more upsetting when someone tells you that you cannot do that or that is not appropriate. What is inappropriate about being yourself? When I was in grade school, I did not like to wear dresses nor was I big fan of Disney princesses. Ask me today and I still cannot name each of the princes in those movies. It just did not matter to me. I would prefer to sit in front of a computer with my brother and play computer games until our parents would tell us to get off. I could of listed you all of the first generation of Pokemon characters from the top of my head. In fact, while being introduced to video games, I have always complained about the main character being a boy. Why can't the girl be the main character? Why couldn't she saved the world from being absorbed by aliens? Or why did the girl have to either look like the damsel in distress or the prostitute by an empty alley? Why couldn't she just be a typical modest looking girl with strong features of her own? I found that to be unfair that because I did not mix well with the other girls and what girls were supposed to find interesting, that I was seen as an outcast. To this day I still feel like an outcast because I rather wear basketball shorts than yoga pants to go workout. Growing up I feel like we are placed in these dainty boxes labeled with the word "princess" and cute frilly laces as decor. Boxes that underestimate our differences and when we do decide to show our differences it is like we broke a this sacred law. If anything, we were breaking the glass ceiling. I think other individuals do not appreciate our differences because they do not know how to react with these differences. But if you know what your differences are and you are content with them then I feel like you are steps in closer to happiness than those who have judged you for not fitting into their ideal view of you. There are no rules or instructions on how to run your life. You win on some days and you win less on other days but everyday you are progressing even when you think you are not. From the numerous amounts of bullying, I have learned to appreciate my differences. On my hard days where I found myself looking for some self-confidence to boost my self-esteem, I would tell myself that because I am different I am going to have to find a different way to give my life value even if that meant separating myself from crowds. While those days of spending alone figuring myself out, the first few days were horrible but then they became one of the best days. I did not have to depend on anyone. If I wanted to go somewhere on my own I could. When you start agreeing with the people who have judged you in the past for being different then what side are you really on? So while some of you may think that being different has its disadvantages I am here to tell you that you are right. There is disadvantages now but the day you start to embrace and appreciate your differences for what they are, they start to become advantages. I believe that this world could use more variety so with your differences, my differences, and everyone else's differences then perhaps being different would be rightfully acknowledged.

What I am trying to say is that there is nothing wrong with any of you.

Stay hopeful and stay different my friends.

xx Chavelita

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 21: Collection of Dreams

When I was younger, I would write my dreams down. At least the ones that were still vivid when I woke up, so here is a few dreams that has happened in the past. If you want to let me know what you think they may mean, I am all down to listen to your responses. I am very intrigued to learn about dreams and listening to different points of views. Maybe I should continue writing my dreams down... We will see.

The Eye (10.12.2014)

I appeared to be helping my Madrina (godmother) as I usually do in the office sorting out papers and making phone calls. We were talking about something that was on the computer and then Bethany her daughter came to ask if they were here to pick them up. It seemed like I was back at the fall festival again only I was leaving. A group of my friends were singing let it go and I left my things to walk to them my Madrina to her car but it was my mom who was taking them home. And another friend of mine. When I came back for my things I was at this high elevated location. I was walking along side with Carrie Fletcher to get my glasses that I had left with my belongings. When I put my glasses back on, my group of friends had split up like they were in search for something. Marcel and Ahmad had seem to find something about the eye. The one with the eye will save us all or something like that. Next thing I see is a buff man with one of his almost bulging out of his head and he went to inside this dark mysterious passage way to search for the head master. I ran after him and as he ran towards the middle I ran on the side. The two men were running towards each other the head master cut the head of the eyed man and I went and cut of the head of the headmaster. And there laid two heads on the floor. I then woke up.   

Underwater (10.10.2014)

For some reason we were at this community hall similar to the ones where the families of the soldiers gather around to wait for their loved ones to come back after a long deployment. Though this time we were under lock down, for a reason I don't know recall. My mom had left to seek for help. As I was wondering around I come across this pool and I as dove inside I had no difficulty breathing in fact I was breathing underwater. Swimming peacefully with the bliss of the quiet atmosphere I come across a large black whale who was blowing bubbles. Touching the blubber of the whale more bubbles begin to escape him. At that moment we became friends. Yet on my left I saw my Dad and when I looked back the whale was gone. Swimming back to shore I find my Mom. She tells me that we should go home. And so I guess the locked down was over. I then woke up. 

What has been your weirdest dream?

xx Chavelita

Monday, June 20, 2016

Day 20: Talking

For as long as I can remember, I have been a quiet and private person. I can probably hold a secret for so long that I eventually forget unless someone brings up something similar to what I know. Not sure if that is a talent or not but it does show that I hold a lot of information within me and if I am not asked about what I know then that information just begins to be stored deeper and deeper into my memory. I have always been the listener among my friends. If I talk it is usually when I have something to say, which is what I am doing right now. And you know what, talking it is not all so bad especially when you have a great listener and responder to hear you out. Sometimes I am like a tea kettle, you can pour water in me and I would remain quiet but once when you add heat that is when you are going to start hearing me. Not that I have to feel heated or upset over something to get me to start talking but if you bring up interesting topics or ask me questions, controversial the better, I can speak for hours. In high school I had history for my last period of the school day and while mostly everyone were just dying to get out and go home I would typically stay behind to have intriguing conversations with my history teachers. Since my history teachers' classrooms were relatively close they would just visit each other in their classrooms for group discussions. The topics could range to the most nonsensical topics like having a salad for breakfast to how can recycling have an effect on the environment. The topics were little to no where close to the history that was being taught during regular class hours.

Where am I really going with this? Well talking is beneficial for mental health. When you feel stressed or when you have no clue what to do with the thoughts in your head, it's pretty nice to have that go-to person to spill all the details to. That go-to person could be as simple as your sibling, parents, friends, and or your therapist. There may be a couple of people who take advantage of talking and that I have found annoying that they would talk too much during school but like Shrek said, "It is better out than in." Use your words, speak out your mind, structure your words to portray your ideas, however you prefer to share your thoughts, go for it! You may have the most brilliant ideas or thoughts screaming to be recognized but if you do not share them then how will that benefit anyone? For those who are not as much as the talkers like myself and who does not like to share a lot of the personal details with others, I just think it takes the right person to open you up. Do not feel like you need to change in order to find someone to talk with. Continue being yourself and whenever you are given opportunities to share what you are passionate about you should. You will also find that friend that you can trust with your thoughts, they may be a little hidden (or maybe in front of you the whole time) at first but usually the hidden ones tend to be the ones with one of the biggest hearts. Or be like me and start your own blog!

Have you spoken to anyone today?

xx Chavelita

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Day 19: Father's Day

If you have yet to notice, I enjoy talking about my loved ones whenever I get the opportunity to do so and since today has been Father's Day I will be talking about him. My dad and I have always been the intelligent but sarcastic duo. We can have real deep conversations and hold advice sessions and in the next minute go straight into one of those inappropriate bathroom jokes that my mom always likes to call us out for. There are times where we may read each others minds or we can communicate with each other without even saying a word. Sometimes I fluctuate between if I am a mama's girl or a daddy's girl because being the only daughter they have, technically there is no competition in deciding who gets to be what. Growing up my dad has been in the military and me, I was not so into superheroes or Disney princesses, I was into Disney fairies but that is besides the point, so I did not really have that character to look up to and admire. But then I realize, my dad makes sacrifices and helps the country become a better place to live in so shouldn't that be something to acknowledge for? Which is why I still call him my hero today. And it is true when they say that not all heroes wears capes. I cannot compare my dad to the average dad because I feel like our family is not average to start with. To be the strong Latina woman I am today did not simply get up one morning and became that woman. I had to work hard to be that woman. Through the struggles, the fears, the doubts, and the confusion, my dad was there to lend out his wonderful talents as the listener/philosopher I know. I found he always had the right words to say even when there were moments that I did not ask for them. In other moments, he would simply encourage me just because and remind me that I am beautiful who is deserving in the things that I work hard for. I remember when I found out that my first hardcore crush was dating this other girl and I felt my heart split into two. I never really realized how much feelings I have had for this guy until that day. So I told my dad and he did not simply say, "oh there will be other guys, you wait and see!" he sat me down and reminded me of my principles. Reminded me of my qualities and of my one of a kind personality and in other words to not settle for less. I know at that moment I may have been choked up in tears and out of pure frustration for him to not even bother telling me and me having to find out on the internet about his relationship but hey I am just really glad my dad was there to put me back together. I find that it's the small bits of here and there that my dad has done for me that has shaped me into the person I am today. So whenever my friends compliment my personality or any qualities about me, I mentally point to my parents because they were the ones who raised me. And boy did they raise me well.

Happy Father's Day

xx Chavelita

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Day 18: The day of adventures

Today has been very adventurous with my girls that I haven't had time to write! So I will leave you all with an inspiring message. My hardworkers, give yourself a break. You have worked so diligently. In moments where you wish you could of done more remember how far you have gotten. It's not all about how much successes you have but more so how much you have learned through the failures that brought the best out of you. I know the failures are not so much we mention but they should also be acknowledged. Don't be afraid to fail as I was once told by a friend and never feel like you have to make anyone else proud.  You're the one living with the choices you make so the only person you have to make proud is yourself. Don't add that extra unneeded pressure to your beautiful selves. 

I love you all! 

xx Chavelita 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Day 17: Learning how to drive

This summer I have made a promise with myself that I was going to learn how to drive. Not saying that I want to be the best driver there is but decent enough to know that if I were to have to hop into a car and drive at any moment then I can. I do not think I would mind to be the designated driver especially since I may be the last one among my friends to reach twenty-one, the legal age to drink here in the United States, and I would be the sober one to remember everything they may have done. Have you ever seen that picture where they have the description of the mom friend, the sister/brother friend, and the dad friend? Well I would consider myself that mom friend. I always want to make sure that my friends are doing okay and I am constantly concern about them even if there is nothing to be concerned about. I find that it is to my motherly (without kids) instinct of mine to bring up potential risks and measures that could be taken to insure the safety of others. Which is quite ironic saying that I am typically the youngest among my friends.

Well today as promised by my dad, he allowed me to drive in the empty parking lot of my old high school. Out of context I may have appeared to be a careless driver doing donuts, because my old high school is found on a busy street with the majority of shopping centers held local restaurants, but I was actually just trying to learn how to get behind the wheel. And a little bit over the wheel... In fact this has been my first official time driving because the first time I was allowed behind the wheel I went down my own street. What a joy ride that was! In this practice trip I was actually able to do turns, practice u-turns, practice my parking skills, and how to keep the van straight without it favoring one side over the next. I find the fact that the van I grew up in was the van I was actually learning to drive in. All the memories of being the backseat driver or the passenger co-pilot and now I was the one making the actual calls. First time parking regularly I was able to get in between the lines of the parking space which I was proud of myself to do until I was instructed to reverse park the van. If there was cars nearby I would of probably of crashed into them. Reverse parking is a whole other story of its own and it did not help that I am short and I was not able to entirely see the back of the van. If I knew how to use my mirrors more efficiently then I would have probably done better but I simply bombed those reverse parking.

Overall driving today was really fun. I was not at all scared mainly for the fact that I was the only one in the parking lot but I felt more in control. I have always wanted to learn how to drive even in high school because of the independence. To depend on someone has brought in so much anxiety and stress so if I am able to drive then I would take away some of that stress. I can rely on others to a certain extent, but if I can find a way to learn to do it myself then I would and I will. At times it may seem selfish but I just see is as a form of surviving. My parents have supported me from ends meet but I feel like this is the time where I want to support  myself more. College will be there and my parents won't so it's a nice skill to learn how to drive. I am excited to continue learning! Then the next goal is to be the one driving my parents around whenever I can for all the times they have.

If you have started, how has your driving experience been?

xx Chavelita

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day 16: Ukulele & Me

About seven or eight years ago I moved to Hawaii from what used to be a small city in Texas and I stayed in Hawaii for three years. I remember walking down this long street from the apartment I used to live to the bus stop and back after school with my mom and I just recall being in such disbelief that I am able to say that I live in Hawaii. My mind could not wrap around that idea just yet. In middle school we had to take a music class and in music class we learned how to play the ukulele. Although they were just brief lessons of learning few chords and strumming, I had really enjoyed the experience. The teacher was incredible and supportive, his passion for music clearly was presented in his teaching which probably made me like that class a lot more than the rest of the students who took this lesson a bit more lighthearted. In that same year for Christmas I had asked my parents for an ukulele of my own with the idea that I was going to continue playing and building up with what I have learned from class. That Christmas morning I did get my ukulele and I was in awe that my ukulele was sitting there under the tree waiting to play. I picked up the ukulele and I started strumming and just like that I got discouraged. I did not sound good at all! Annoyed I kind of just put my ukulele away in my closet and it kind of just ended there.

Fast forward those seven or eights year, before I left for college I saw my ukulele sitting in my closet (I have moved back from Hawaii to Texas) and I knew I could just not leave it there to gather dust. Although frankly that was all it was doing even when I lived in that house and I took my ukulele with me to college. For some reason I knew that I was going to be stress, my anxiety was not going to cooperate with me on some days, and feeling homesick were all emotions I was going to feel while I am living on my own (which at first they were) and if I started playing my ukulele again I would get to hear the beautiful singsong voice and find a way to escape the anxiety. Through out my first year of college, whenever my roommate would go to work or when I had my room to myself I would get my ukulele and just strum. It did not matter if I was just strumming or plucking random chords, all I wanted was to listen to my ukulele. I fiddle around with my ukulele more than I actually do play songs because I get annoyed easily still when I cannot get the strumming pattern, chords, and vocals down for a song. And from there on, I felt more at ease and I gained a little more confidence in myself too. I never really understood what was the big hoopla in playing an instrument but now I do. You create this bond with your instrument and when you do not feel like talking to anyone you seem to escape into making music. So maybe if I continued to play my ukulele when I was in middle school I would of been a better player today but at least I did not entirely give up. I can go for hours playing my ukulele and I am totally okay with that.

Do you have an instrument? What do you play?

xx Chavelita

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Day 15: Puerto Rican growing out of Puerto Rico

My grandparents from both sides were Puerto Rican and out of my grandparents came along my parents who by logic and genetics are Puerto Ricans too, which in return makes me and my siblings Puerto Rican. What everyone has in common except for me? They were born in Puerto Rico and I wasn't. I am a Georgia peach born along the coastline of Savannah and which growing up made me super annoyed because I felt like I was not a true Puerto Rican but that is not how ethnicity works. I may have been born outside of the island and raised out of it but that does not exclude me from my own culture. I did not obtain a Puerto Rican accent nor do I know or speak Puerto Rican slang, but I at least learned how to speak Spanish by the time I was four or five I was speaking on my own without my mom having to translate for me. Before learning Spanish though I had only knew how to speak in English which to some households that should be the goal until you realize that your own mom does not understand a word you are saying. My mom knew very little English at the time so when I got to speaking language phase of my life, my mom and I hit a language barrier. Yet we learned together through our language barrier because through her I obtained my second language and my mom can now understand when I speak English, even though she would still rather speak Spanish. Depending on where you are in Latin America, Spanish is spoken in different dialects and words are described differently as well. So when I was taught Puerto Rican Spanish I thought I was set and ready to go until I met my best friend who is Mexican and her Spanish was slightly different from mine. There was even this time I was sitting in the car with my friend and we started talking about money and without thought I said "cincuenta chavos?" (Puerto Rican Spanish: fifty cents?) and they all looked at me like if I said something absurd. Then I have realized I basically said fifty boys because chavos to them are either boys or kids. Yeah... 

Growing up outside of the island, many people automatically thought I did not know Spanish because when I speak English I do not have an accent. Which makes sense because why would I have an accent in my first language? So because I was assumed I did not know Spanish it is as if I was not Latina. I remember in high school there was this other Puerto Rican girl in my technology class and I could tell because of her accent. Excited that there was another Puerto Rican, I wanted to be friends with her. I grew up most of my life in a border city close to Mexico so not only did people did not think I spoke Spanish but they also assumed that I was Mexican. And I do not know why she felt disgusted or better than me for having a Puerto Rican accent when I did not. That should not make me any less of Puerto Rican than she is. Which that offended me and so any time I would see her around campus I would just brush her off. Probably was not the greatest decision but then again she should of been nicer to me. 

Another thing about growing up outside of the island is having all of my extended family living on the island. So not only are states are in between us but the Atlantic Ocean as well. I have not visited the island in two years which may not seem a lot but there were times where I would not visit in four or more years. I did not get the privilege to grow up with my primos (cousins) or grow close relationships with my tias (aunts) or tios (uncles) or even with my abuelos (grandparents) for that matter. Which I found a little unfair in comparison with my friends who had family close by but it has taught me to be patient and appreciative for what I have. While many people may go to Puerto Rico for vacations, I go to visit family and what better place to visit family on a beautiful island in the Caribbeans? Every time I go to Puerto Rico is like I am welcomed back home from an extremely long trip and a bit of reality is put on hold and a bit of it placed back because you realize that everyone has grown older and some of the situations have changed. I still feel wonderful though to be connected back with my family where I can talk to them in person instead of through my phone screen. 

Puerto Ricans are everywhere. We can have somehow sense when there is one nearby. You do not have to be on the island to realize who is Puerto Rican because you will know through our personalities. We have been known to be loud, open, easy-going and at times judgmental people. We normally want to have a time well spent. Crack open the dominoes, play some salsa on the old stereo, bring out the cola champagne, and the empanadillas and you have get together set in the backyard. Not the same as having a throwback at the beach but we do what we can. I think that is what is so wonderful about my culture that even from far you will always have a piece of the island with you. In fact I was making these well known pastries from Puerto Rico called pastelillos which they are essentially turnovers with guava paste in side and if done well it's sprinkled with powder sugar on top. Every time I go to Puerto Rico it's just one of those must haves so stopping at a bakery is a must! 

I am proud that I was born to be Puerto Rican. I love my culture, I love my island, I love our Spanish language and even though I fear that I may be underrepresented because I am a Latina woman, there is nothing I would change. And like we Puerto Ricans say, WEEEEEEEEEEPA!

Where is your culture from?

xx Chavelita

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Day 14: How my love for volunteering started

When I was a junior in high school, I had started to this prestigious educational program called International Baccalaureate. I have spoken about this program previously so to some of you it should be familiar but basically this program has taught me to be a well-rounded person. In high school I was shy to join organizations and even less to be an officer to any organizations. But as a requirement to stay in the program I had to do a community service project for a year and half. So basically for a year and a half straight I had to do community service on top of the jam packed assignments and homework that had to be done. I was concerned that I was not going to be able to complete the community service aspect of the program and thus lead me to be expelled from the program. Funny how I look back it now, the one thing that worried the most was the thing that I enjoyed the most from the program. Both of my English teachers always had an eye on us and would give us resources and tools to succeed. One in particular was that they invited Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to come speak and recruit members to help out their non-profit organization promote awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and taking drugs then driving. Always curious to learn more I decided to give MADD a chance to be my community service project. Throughout that whole year and a half of serving the community, I have gone to multiple locations to give presentations, listen to presentations, go to workshops to learn more about the current issues and dangers that are happening in the community with drugs and alcohol, participated in the annual walk that MADD hosts in September, went to an Easter festival to spread the word for MADD, and go to fundraising events.

There was this one presentation in particular that I went to and my supervisor had to give her talk in Spanish. Which she was not bad at speaking Spanish but you can tell it was not her first language. Parts of the conversations I had to translate but that was not the point. The stories that you hear from the community is what gets to you. This lady had lost her loved one to a drunk driver and she was left to take care of the kids. A lot of people when you tell them not drink and drive they will just give that typical nod and yeah yeah, I know. Sometimes I just want to tell them no you do not know. You do not know until you actually sit down and listen to the actual causes and the victims that have been caught in the mess of drunk driving. Until you hear the stories coming from other people then I feel like a lot of people's attitudes are not going to change until they experience the emotions caused by one. Which is something MADD is trying to prevent from happening and which is why MADD holds a place for their victims to be able to cope with their loss and for some to come share their stories. I also remember there was this speaker who came to speak at one of our meetings and he had damaged a part of his brain from the impact of the crash he had while not wearing a seat belt. So how many stories do you need to hear to be aware of the dangers of drunk driving? Just because you do not hear about them as often, does not mean they do not happen.

I ended up becoming one of the presidents to the lead the MADD group at my school and I grew close to my supervisor who has been an absolute joy to work with. My experience with MADD has been so phenomenal to be part of that when I finished my year and half I just knew I could not just leave. I had liked the person I have become and I was not ready to just dismiss her. After high school I continued to serve my community through MADD and to this day I still find it important that drinking while intoxicated should be educated.

When I got to college I had already known that I had to do community service. Not because I had to but because I wanted to. To go to school and do community service on my free time was how I grew accustomed in high school and the habit kind of just stuck with me. I joined Mentor Tech by filling out an application online, was assigned my mentor who became such a great friend and supporter of mine that I even asked if she can continue being my mentor in which she said "of course", and I met my Protege Advisory Committee (PAC) leader who has been so kind and helpful with me this first year of college. Later that year I joined Mentor Tech Student Organization (MTSO) and found my community service family. This program was exactly what was missing from my college experience. I met many people who felt just as passionate as I did to give their time to help their community become a better place for the future. And I did not just stop there but I ran for Historian my first semester of college, did not get it but I did run which is nothing I have done before. So I pat myself on the back for that moment. After a few months has passed and I put together an event to bring high school students onto campus, that motivated me to run for officer again this time for secretary. So as of now I am the current secretary of MTSO. My PAC leader also had recommended me to apply to become a PAC leader myself because she saw qualities that just would fit nicely so I applied and I got my interview. Towards the end of the year at the Mentor Tech banquet they announced the names of the future PAC leader of 2016 - 2017 and I had made the cut.

Whenever I think about how far I have gotten I like to thank MADD for preparing me to open my heart and reach out to others. It's a bit terrifying at first to go into the unknown and not know what the next step would be but there just times that we should take chances in ourselves and see where that leads us. Now I cannot see myself not doing community service, it became a part of me and I hope that when I am older I continue to serve the community. Maybe not the same way as doing non-profit but through my profession as a psychologist.

When was the last time you have done community service?

xx Chavelita

Monday, June 13, 2016

Day 13: The Promise Ring

In the Hispanic/Latino culture, whenever a girl turns fifteen it is known to be a big deal. The quinceanero marks the transition of a girl becoming a woman. Yeah I know fifteen is quite young for a big step but it makes sense because naturally girls are becoming women so it is like sealing the deal and your loved ones are there on your fifteenth birthday to celebrate your big transition. Well in cases like mine where I did turn fifteen I was not given a big celebration until October where I went to Puerto Rico during my fall break to have my quinceanera, I was instead given the biggest most treasuring gift in my life. It was not a car or anything materialistic that could be cashed in, but it was my parents promise ring. As of today I have yet to take off my parents promise ring from my finger. I was told by them that when they have a daughter when she turned fifteen the ring will be hers. I asked, what if they did not have a daughter or what if they had two daughters? And they simply told me that they just knew they were going to have one. My parents in my opinion were very old school. Living in Puerto Rico, my dad would ride his bicycle over to my mom's house so often that my mom's parents at first did not like having his presence. My mom's house was up on a hill so my dad would have to walk his bicycle or pedal hard to make it up but that did not stop him from coming over. Yeah my grandparents did not approve of him which I have always thought to be pretty hilarious because my dad is the type of man to spread his love around even to those who did not want it. "Ya viene ese otra vez" (There he comes again...) is something I imagine my abuela saying. My dad's persistence was probably how my grandparents finally allowed him in the family or at least make him feel welcomed to be in it. Well one day my dad gave my mom the promise ring and with that being said that he promised that they will get married one day.

It has been difficult these past few days but I always like to remember this story because it reminds me that not everything is lost. This story is being told the way I remember it being told to me by my parents so there may be a few flaws but I am really fond of the idea of going through the process of promising someone to marry them with the promise ring, the engagement ring leading into marriage, and lastly the wedding ring that seals the whole sacrament. I know I am being vague but I promise that someday I will explain myself. For now I am just going to hold onto this precious ring and remember that love is powerful, love can fix the wounded, love is contagious, and that love comes natural. I hope that one day I get to go through the whole process with someone.

What has been the biggest promise you have made?

xx Chavelita

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Day 12: A tea for my friends

Sunday morning. The sun peaks a little hello through the curtains and the smell of coffee brings the room to a gentle wake. Clock blinks eight thirty two and with one last stretch she gets out of bed. Blotches of mascara residue is left under her eyes making potent of her dark circles but her light hazel eyes tells another story. Loose locks of leftover curls framed her face and with that being said she wanders around her two roomed apartment. Colors of white, green, and gray flourished the apartment from head to toe with a little stain of red found on the washed out wooden floors. Only to remember that the friends she had were just something from her past. Painted white, she takes a seat and ponders. Tea. A cup of pipping hot tea is what she needed. Making tea was a specialty used in circumstances that were inexplicable even to the human mind. Such warm liquid to cure the cold of a broken heart. Accidentally making tea for two, she pours the remainder of the tea into a mug and stores the mug in the back of the cupboard. What cannot be seen should not be spoken about and what cannot be spoken about should not be seen. She keeps her friends to herself and she did not need someone or something to define her qualities. A sip of tea is the only satisfaction she needed and she had all the power within her small fingertips, at least right at that moment she does. Mint, honey, and a splash of happy juice, any tea could be her friend, anyone's friend really. How much more wonderful could life possibly get? To the last drop. Life should be appreciated to the last drop.

Felt like doing a freewrite today. May do more in the future because they're pretty fun to write!

xx Chavelita 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Day 11: Beautifully Misunderstood

Love was in the air
But it felt stiff in my bones
My body torn limb to limb
Such knowledge only to be used against me
Praying in a solution to fix this mess
Eyes lost their focus
And still holding onto this
Tiny spec of hope
Though it was not enough
At least it did not feel like it was
To keep this flame alive
It takes more of my energy that my desire
Must continue
I repeat myself
The uncontrollable giggles
Holding onto empty messages
Constantly checking on everyone else
Too many trips down memory lane
This has to stop
Must place myself first
I have to polish up
Reset my mind
Put away all this discontent and insecurities
Soon those who want to join will join
Then the world will no longer be a lonely, sad place after all

-April 12th, 2014

xx Chavelita

Friday, June 10, 2016

Day 10: Online Dating

Not that many people know about this but when I was younger I used to go online chat rooms and meet people. Now it was not like Tindr or Skype where you get to see the person you were talking to but it was on this social media where you were able to be any character that you wanted and you would meet people there. One of my friends at the time had suggested to make myself an account so we can play together and also meet new people who shared similar interests as me. I was at that stage where I was experimenting. Not that I am proud of but I would talk to this one guy without ever acknowledging to someone until there was one day that my parents were looking through my i-Pod and found a picture of him. Half jokingly and half serious they were, I was totally embarrassed not only that they had made fun of me for having a potential boyfriend but because I knew they were not going to understand. They were not going to understand that maybe we were dating or maybe we weren't but I had enjoyed talking to him for the fact that he treated me with such respect without even having to see my face. At that moment of my life I had really low self-esteem because of my small figure and having such a young looking face, growing up not that many people took me seriously. I was not given a proper chance that I have longed to receive so I resorted to the internet. At least on the internet I was perceived as someone with confidence and I suppose I was also a catch. There was even a time where I spent so much time on the computer that I got it confiscated from me until the habit was forced out of me.

In a more recent moment, about a year ago, I had received an anonymous message from this person from this social media site that allows you to ask or say anything anonymously. Well I slightly remember him asking about some of my hobbies and what were my opinion on certain topics. I had thought this guy was pretty interesting so I wanted to know who he was. Over the months we were hitting it off really well, we started to use instant messaging and almost every other day we would message each other about our days and whatnot. The few descriptive information that I had gotten from him was that he lived in England, was a teacher assistant to grade school children, a single child with a single mother, and that he was six months younger than I am. Instead of hiding this I had told my mom directly that I was talking to someone I had met from the internet and I already knew she was going to put the red flag up and advise me to never speak to him again. But here I am thinking like I was acting like the bigger person I continued to speak with him. Not that I wanted to seek a relationship with him because that was not my intention at first especially with the distance I was not going to put myself through that. Well then comes in this long message during the night where he professed my feelings to me (I have no idea why guys continue to profess his feelings to me in long messages while I am sleeping...) and I was left awkwardly looking at the screen of my phone. I had told my mom again what he had told me and the simple advice she had given me was to ask if we could video chat so I can confirm that the picture on his profile was him. Like all of you have guessed it, it wasn't. And to be fair I did not like him for the fake picture he had, is not the attractive physical features that lure me in it's the words and the actions. So after that incident of him lying to me, I deleted the app and I have promised myself that I will no longer be making friends over the internet. If I have to continuously go through bad experiences to learn that most online dating/relationships are not for me then now that is a shame on me for not learning from my mistakes.

What I wanted for you all to get from my experience is that you may think you know the person you are speaking to online, backwards and forwards, but I do not think you will ever know a person until the day you actually meet them in person. There is so much you miss when you are busy online fishing. You miss the first impression, that awkward 'should I go for the hug or that handshake', the actual connection or disconnection with the person, basically the little things that make up a true date. I would have to agree with my mom that a relationship made online is not real. You start falling in love with the idea of that person rather than the actual person. Realizing this now I know why it was hard for me to let these guys go because I was afraid that I was not going to find someone or someone who made me feel like the best slice of cake there is. But you are just going to have to trust in yourself that you will and that it will work out. This also explains why when my friends are playing around on Tindr, I decide not to participate. I know I may be one of the pickiest people you have met when it comes to making friendships with others but that is because I have been there. Not just online but in real life too. When you think you have met the perfect person and you are proven wrong in the most unpredictable ways. I have not been great in the dating department but at least I can say that I know what I want and I am not settling down for just anyone because I know I deserve better. If you are going or went through a similar situation, remind yourself that you deserve better too because you do. And always remember to be careful when you are online never share your personal whereabouts or information even if you feel that you can trust them completely...

How has your experience in dating been lately?

xx Chavelita

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Day 9: Friendships over the years

When the word friendships come into mind it is as if I get a flashback to all the friendships that went wrong and all those who are still with me today. Friendships are somewhat weird to explain because none of my friendships are the same thus I cannot really categorize them. When I was younger and I still do this now, I would not tell my parents about the friends I have made unless I knew for sure that they were going to stick with me for a while. I took my friendships really close to heart and I would take the longest time to make sure that my friendships were worth my time. I know this seems a judgmental but it was just how I would make friends. But let me tell you now that when I make a friend they are usually there to stay and it's really amazing to have friendships that you can look back on. In order for someone to understand the world more clearly, I think we all need to have at least one of these friends to show you a different perspective in which you interpret the world.

  • A friend from the opposite sex - 
  • A friend from a different sexuality - 
  • A friend who's first language is not your own - 
  • A friend who is not the same age as you - 
  • A friend who is from a different race - 
  • A friend you have known for over five years - 
  • A friend who is special - 
Here are just a few but the more diverse the better. If you have at least one of these friends I can guarantee that your perspective will become more third dimensional. Sometimes we get stuck seeing the world through our lens and from the situations we have had overcome over the years. But once when you start walking in the shoes of your friends you start to understand that not everything is as one sided as we think. Their stories do not become your own, but you can learn from their stories. So I find it to be important to give everyone a chance even the people you would not think of being friends with are the ones who bring in the most perspective in your life. Just give them a chance, if you like to speak and be around with them then continue being their friend. If you find that you feel upset or annoyed to be with that person you always have the right to walk away or stop speaking to them just make sure you let them know why you do not want to be friends with them. I think they deserve the explanation at least.

I have met my very first best friend when I was around nine or ten. We were in fourth grade and she was the new girl who came from Detroit, Michigan and you know how everyone gets excited to see new students come in the middle of the school year. I felt like everyone wanted to be her friend but I was not the one to casually come up and introduce myself. I waited for my cue, if it ever came, to make myself known to her so I was left waiting. Then there was this one day where she invited some of the girls from our class to come over and I was invited. We were barely talking at that time. I remember she would mix up my name with this other short girl from class but fair enough I mispronounced her name for about a year or so, so I guess I cannot complain. Asking my mom to go over to a friend's house for the first time, I can already tell she was concerned. She is the type of mom who likes to meet the parents of the friend to make sure. Throughout my fourth and fifth grade year on Friday afternoons after school I would go over to her house. It first started with a group of girls coming over her house and then it ended up just me coming over which I did not mind. We would call our moms on the landline at school and cross our fingers that we were able to spend time together. And so we fast forward 11 years and I can still say she is my best friend. We went through the awkward teens together even though I had left for a while to go to Hawaii for my dad's work I came back. I feel we have defeated the odds honestly and I want to say this is the friendship I treasure the most because my best friend saw me when I was I just the little girl who wanted someone to laugh with to the woman I had grown and wanted to be. And I could say the same to for her. I am curious to see where the next decade will take us! 

Who do you consider your best friend?

xx Chavelita