Archive | April, 2012

Tonight I Can Write by Briana Sepulveda

30 Apr

“Tonight I Can Write”

 

Tonight I can write to the love I lost.

 

I can offer him words I always meant but never said

and continue to agonize over things I’ve said

but never meant

hopelessly awaiting the return of the bitter satisfaction I once found

within his sincere pessimism; my darkened admiration intertwined

with the horrible truth inside me

invisibly thinking:

I can never be her…

 

Tonight I can write to the love I lost

 

I’ve written about missing him

which saddened me…

Yet to think of the times when I haven’t written of him

and haven’t missed him

this saddened me even more.

Losing love in the sense of love lost

bares numerous interpretations;

In my understanding, it was not he that I lost

but the love we once possessed that I can only write about.

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The Night I Discovered by Briana Sepulveda

30 Apr

I’ve decided that I really like having guest writers on my blog. A lot of  young writers like myself don’t often get to expose their work to the world, and I don’t think that’s fair. If musicians can have Youtube, we need a place to show off too don’t we? Anyway, here is a story that touched me by the very talented Bree Sepulveda. Up next…poetry by Bree! 

The Night I Discovered

            “William, we’re walking in circles,” I groaned.  We had passed the same deli twice in Astoria since we left the party, and the wind was slipping through my coat and cutting my legs like frozen blades.

“No we’re not, I know it’s around here somewhere… this way,” After making a right and walking down a long dark block of parked cars and garbage bags, we came across a busy Greek restaurant.  My thoughts began to race once I saw the bright lights glowing through the windows, anticipating warm food in my tummy and shelter from the cold icy night.

Before I knew it, Will and I were seated across from each other by a window seat.  We  hung our coats off the back of our chairs, revealing our overdressed attires and absorbing the heat from the lamps and kitchen.  I kept my cell phone on my lap since the blue dress I was wearing didn’t have pockets, and skimmed over the menu that the waitress brought us.  Will reached across the table and softly closed it.

“You’re going to let me order for you,” he said, sporting his usual grin with promise in his eyes.  I never tried Greek food before, and since I felt exhausted I was a bit relieved that Will was eager to order for me – despite the fact that I had no idea what to expect.  It was something about the excitement in his voice that caught my attention.  That excitement was rare when it came to Will, or at least in the ways he happened to express it. The thought of him ordering for me was unexpectedly comforting.

The waitress brought us a hot cheese dish that resembled pizza but smelled like lemon juice, and potatoes with some kind of meat stuffed inside them.  Will pointed to the cheese, and I took a bite.

“Wow… Will this is amazing!” He nodded, satisfied with himself.

“‘Told you.”

The anxiety I was feeling from the party quickly began to subside, and the warmth that radiated from the kitchen felt nice against my arms.  It was just me and Will, the sound of busy utensils clinking from the tables alongside us, and absolutely no blasting pop music that he resented.

“That damned hipster music,” he muttered, “that’s not real music, just a lott’a noise.”

“Oh really?” I raised an eye brow, “Then what exactly is real music?”  Will shook his head at my ignorance.

“There’s a Japanese DJ that you haven’t heard of – and I know you never will, because I’m never going to show you,” he winked as I shoveled another fork full of food into my mouth, “other than that, Love Language, Oasis…”  I stared at him blankly as he continued to list the secret bands he liked.  He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair that dangled over his eyes.  I took a sip of water.

“I’ll have to look them up when I get home,” I said, as I always concluded when I didn’t know what Will was talking about. He always took an interest in the littlest things.  While many seventeen year old boys chased girls and played sports, Will enjoyed sitting under a tree with his guitar and walking through the rain with no destination in mind.  When other boys worried about their snap backs matching their Jordans, Will took the time to take a hand watch apart and try to put it back together.  That was what I always admired about him: he was himself.

“Thank you for coming with me tonight,” My eyes lowered towards my plate, “I’m sorry about my drama and if it was awkward.” The birthday party we attended was a little uncomfortable.  Booze were everywhere, the music was heavy, and the dress that I was wearing was much too formal for the occasion.  On top of everything, my best friend wasn’t talking to me and made sure I knew she was better off without me.  Especially, when she laughed at my outfit in front of everyone.  Will took the last bite of his potato dish.

“I didn’t think it was very awkward,” he gulped, “You looked like a mess the whole time, though.”  I chuckled bitterly and peered through the glass at the darkness of the night.  Will also had a tendency of being brutally honest.  He finished his glass of water, “You know, it’s her loss really.”  I kept looking at the parked cars across the street, absentmindedly naming each model I recognized in my head.

“Is that right?” I said, letting a bit of resentment slip out.

“She’s missing out on a good dinner, and being with two very attractive people like ourselves.”  I glanced at Will, who looked very pleased with himself.  I smiled, feeling a little more comfortable.

“You’re right, this was a very good dinner.”

On our way home that night, as Will and I sat together on the train, something inside clicked.  I realized how comfortable he made me feel at the party and at the restaurant, and how he always seemed to make me feel relaxed.  When I looked at him, it was as if he had been by my side for many years, and I began to look forward to see him there in the future.  I couldn’t believe I was thinking this, but I was falling for my best boy friend.  The only question was, could he feel the same way about me?

Cosmo For Latinas launches May 1st…How I Feel About This.

30 Apr

I have to be honest here. A few weeks ago, I almost subscribed to Cosmo. Not gonna lie, one of my guilty pleasures is reading all of the “Best Sex Ever” blogs on the website and reading the 50 new sex tips of the month. And who can blame me, right? I have never thought that these sex and dating articles are aimed at a certain race. But when I look at the ads, who’s on the cover and all of the fashion and beauty tips…it’s almost hard not to see that they’re meant for white girls. So this is why I should be happy that Hearst decided to start a Cosmo for Latinas right? Like I should be all for it because I will finally be able to  find jeans to fit my semi-Latina body now thanks to Cosmo!!!

Eh, not quite.

Here are just a couple of issues with this launch.

I don’t get when they started caring about Latinas. After looking through all of the covers of Cosmo in 2012 and 2011, I think I saw ONE Latina (Selena Gomez) on the cover. One, out of how many issues? I’m pretty sure Cosmo comes out every month. Or they at least put out ten issues a year. Can someone  explain to me why this is the case?

I also would like to point out that there are other things besides dating and ways to lose weight that interest Latinas. I know that a lot of women read Cosmo to escape from their job and whatnot so I’m not saying it would be right to take out these entertaining sex tip stories,but I am saying it wouldn’t hurt to add other things to the issue. For example, Zoe Saldana is on the cover of the first issue of Cosmo for Latinas but I’m sure she doesn’t talk about her weight issues in her interview. Even though it’s personal, its a very real problem that not only Latinas go through but all women and not only is it something that we would want to read about but its also something that we can get something out of. And by “something”, I don’t just mean ways to turn on our boyfriend, I mean a different perspective on an experience that can help us get through our similar ones.

Tomorrow, May 1st, my Latina Women class is going to be having a special MAYDAY class at Madison Square park at 11am to discuss the launch of this magazine and write a letter to Cosmo explaining our concern. Anyone can come! So if you feel inspired- please join us!

Seventeen Magazine, no more photoshop?/Julia Bluhm is my hero.

30 Apr

Thank you Julia Bluhm for obviously keeping up with my blog.

Okay, I’m kidding. Julia Bluhm probably has no idea who I am or anything about my blog HOWEVER she is doing something that I have been thinking about for awhile. All of my recent blog posts prove that I am totally against the way the media portrays women and think that there should be something done about it. I have even considered starting my own magazine because of this.  Julia Bluhm- a THIRTEEN year old student from Maine, started a petition on Change.org, asking Seventeen magazine to commit to having at least one unaltered photoshoot in their issue every month. What she says in her petition, I have been saying for the past few months and I’m glad someone as young as her can realize what the media is doing to girls her age, and even young women my age. Here is her statement :

“Those “pretty women” that we see in magazines are fake. They’re often photoshopped, air-brushed, edited to look thinner, and to appear like they have perfect skin. A girl you see in a magazine probably looks a lot different in real life.

That’s why I’m asking Seventeen Magazine to commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month. I want to see regular girls that look like me in a magazine that’s supposed to be for me.”

If that last line doesn’t convince Seventeen to change things I don’t know what will.

Julia Bluhm, you have my support, I have already signed and would sign multiple times if I could. Everyone else, please sign here.

Too Sexy, Too Soon pt 2

26 Apr

It never occurred to me that “being pretty” was such a priority in people’s lives.   I didn’t know that a girl being called sexy could be the most meaningful compliment she has ever gotten. Between all of the make-up and the boob jobs, and now the recent fad, labiaplasty (yes, I’m being serious), I just don’t even know what people consider attractive anymore.Sure, there is this stereotype of what a guys’ dream girl looks like – Blond, Boobs, Butt. The worst part about all of this is that young girls, starting from age 7 are concerned that they aren’t “sexy” enough.

Why is this happening? My favorite example (thank you, Stephen Hinshaw) of this are the two most popular dolls of the 21st century. Bratz and Pussycat.

I always wonder what the fascination with Bratz dolls are. They have huge boobs, wear tight miniskirts, belly shirts, and lets not forget their cake face. But wait, isn’t that what guys are into these days? Isn’t that “sexy”?

So if we’re buying these dolls for our little girls and tweens, how can we not expect for them to want to be like them? When Barbies first came out didn’t every girl want to look like Barbie? Didn’t every girl want a guy like Ken?

Now let me move on to the Pussycat Dolls. I’m sure you remember them, they wanted you to loosen up their “Buttons”? Yeah…The funny part about the music video for that song is that they weren’t wearing enough clothes to even have buttons on them, but let’s look at another song of theirs, shall we?

I do like their music, it is catchy- But I can’t tell you that I would want my eight year old little cousins singing:

” I don’t need a man to make it happen
I get off being free
I don’t need a man to make me feel good
I get off doing my thing”

And I know the title of the song is “I Don’t Need a Man” but if you really don’t want a man, why are you touching yourself in front of the camera?!

There’s always an argument about how girls “dress for other girls” or “dress to make themselves feel good”, which I am all for because I dress for myself, but I also don’t go around wearing lingerie everywhere. AND, I’m also not twelve years old.

So in reality, you can’t really blame tweens for wanting to go to school in fishnets and pumps. It’s not their fault that female sexuality is flaunted in all the wrong ways and it’s just everywhere.

Love: A Writer’s Definition

25 Apr

I’m no psychologist or counselor, even though at times I think I am, but it makes sense that anyone who has ever been in love before has some kind of say in how they would define that one simple word. “Love”. There are always so many questions that people ask themselves about love. My whole life I have been told “love is complicated”, when I really don’t think it is. People make relationships complicated, and maybe they mistake that for love? I’m not sure. But what I can tell you is what I think love is…

Being a writer, every night before I go to bed, I try to write some feelings down in my notebook just to help me sort out everything that may have happened on that particular day. If an event happens more than once, I usually don’t write about the same things twice. It just doesn’t make sense to me. But one day I found myself writing about my boyfriend. Not anything in particular, but just writing. I would write to him, about him, about us, and two weeks later I had filled up an entire journal all about him. No amount of words could explain how I feel about him. I have tried writing poetry, songs, a play, a comedy sketch, and yet I’m still here writing this blog post. Writing a blog post only so that I can tell you about how much I love my boyfriend.

To me, that’s love.

 

Courtney Stodden: Why We Should Care/ Teenage Girls, Too Sexy Too Soon

23 Apr

The story of Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison’s marriage might be old news for some of you, but I just came across it today and must agree that it was disturbing, to say the least. After watching their Good Morning America interview, I decided that I needed to write a post about it. I read most of the comments on the interview and it seems to me that everyone was outraged because a 16 year old girl married a 51 year old man. To me, that part of the story is not as important as Courtney Stodden being half naked in all of the videos of her on the internet, and moaning while touching herself during all of her songs.

I had trouble watching the interview but not as much trouble as I had watching her music videos. Many people were comparing her to Rebecca Black. “Just another teenage girl that wants to be a start putting out a silly video”, some said. I don’t see the comparison.

At least Rebecca Black did a song that was appropriate for her age…Courtney Stodden is a wanna-be Ke$ha, minus all of the great things about Ke$ha. Watch for yourself.

Now, I don’t really want to hate on Courtney. She’s sixteen, and probably doesn’t know any better. In fact, I’m sure a lot of sixteen your old girls would find absolutely nothing wrong with this video. Which brings me to my point…Teenage girls are starting to express their desire to be sexy at younger and younger ages- and it’s becoming so normal that no one sees anything wrong with it. Between the ads on TV, porn everywhere, it’s almost like the media is leaving these young teens with no choice but to think they HAVE to be sexy.

But there is a huge difference between being sexy& taking control of your sexuality, and being told & responding to “let me see” or “give it to me” by guys. And unfortunately, I don’t think a lot of girls know the difference.

Love, Life and…Mom?

22 Apr

I realized something about myself last night.

I might have been blaming Ex-Boy (read here ) for too much of my relationship phobia.

I am not going to apologize of course because he was still a huge asshole. However, I am going to explain how I came to this conclusion.

My mother and I have not always seen eye to eye when it comes to boys, relationships, whatever. We tend to disagree on what is or isn’t important when deciding who to date. We also disagree on what the whole purpose of dating is. But last night, for the first time in my entire life, my mother gave me the “okay”. She finally met my boyfriend of (almost) one year and I think she may have even liked him.

The best part is I didn’t even tell him what to say or what not to say…She just liked him for who he is (just like I do and just like I knew she would) and that made me so very happy. The night went perfectly. There were no arguments, interrogations, throwing things, etc. We all just talked like normal people do at dinner.

I’m still in some state of shock because it went so well. I’m half expecting it to all be a dream or for Ashton Kutcher to show up and scream “You just got Punk’d”, but if this isn’t the case, I would like to make a huge shout out to my mom and tell her that I am so proud of her for overcoming our differences in taste and morals and whatnot.

So there it is. This whole time I may have still been holding back because I was waiting for some kind of approval from my mom. Before last night this may have seemed ridiculous to me but now not so much. So, cheers, Mom. Thank you.

Love Hurts…Or Does It?

22 Apr

This was an incredibly big hit when I first put it out for the world to see. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten as much feedback as I want, so if you haven’t already done so, please read and comment. Or if you have read it, still read it again and comment. I promise it’ll be worth it.

(actually was my first published online post ever and a contest winner! but I just edited it and added a few things )

Love Hurts…Or Does It?

The biggest mistake I have ever made was not the action of dating my now ex-boyfriend but the fact that I spent so much time deciding whether to forgive or forget him. It took me three years of thinking, crying, distancing myself from any other guy that would come close to me. While I was doing that, Ex-Boy, had found skank #1,skank #2, and skank #3, just to name a few.  Of course, I didn’t know this until after I decided to forgive him and let him back into my life. But until I found that out, I swore I was the happiest girl in the world with Ex-Boy. The truth is, I really wasn’t. Every time I was with him and he would answer a text message or a phone call I would get nervous. Was he talking to another girl? Was I not good enough? The answer was simply this: yes he was seeing another girl, and, the truth that I see now is, that I was too good for him.

After years of analyzing myself and talking to many people about my situation, I came to this conclusion. All of time that I thought I was still in love with Ex-Boy, the reality was that I was just infatuated with him. What I was still feeling was not love, it was more like an obsession. I had gotten so used to being with just him that I thought that being with him was my only option. What I didn’t realize was that I was comfortable with him, but people change and after three years, Ex-Boy was not the same person. I wasn’t the same person. I was not in love with the “new” version of him. So what I’m getting at is that even if he had not been a womanizing jerk, things might have not worked out anyway.

Before I came to this conclusion I spent a lot of time saying “love hurts” and “relationships suck”. For three years I never gave anyone a chance and I’m sure I missed out on a handful of decent guys. I had this very foolish mindset that every guy was going to treat me the same. After my realization that not every guy was out to break my heart, little by little I began seeing other guys. Sure I went out on dates. Never did I ever dare call anyone my boyfriend, or if I did, I couldn’t get Ex-Boy out of my head and much less fell in love with these other guys. This was until I met my current boyfriend.

Even though I was over my relationship phobia that I thought I had, I still wanted to take things pretty slow with him. Now, almost one year later, I can very happily say that I am in love with him. No over thinking, no hesitations, just love. How it happened I can’t really say, but what matters is that it did and I’m enjoying every minute of it. What I learned from all of this is that I was very wrong to say “love hurts”.  Being lied to hurts, being betrayed hurts but love, love doesn’t hurt.

An Interview with My Favorite Latina: Laura Silvia

20 Apr

For my HERstory project I interviewed Laura Silvia Ojeda, a Mexican woman in her fifties, who came to the states twenty one years ago. She moved to New York after marrying a New York native. She has had to face various challenges in this big city because she is Latina. We spoke about her past and the present while she very generously served me some enchiladas suizas. This is her story.

 
Being a Latina


One of the first questions I asked Laura during her interview was what being a Latina meant to her. She responded with a look of confusion and said “Any woman who was born in a Hispanic country for example Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Central and South America”. This answer is sumple and this may be because Laura herself is a very simple woman. She is a housewife and devotes her entire life to taking care of her kids and husband. She takes pleasure in cooking and keeping her house clean. When she wakes up in the morning she has a routine. First, make sure her kids get to school on time and make sure they do not leave on an empty stomach. Second, put the laundry in and wash the dishes. As she waits for the laundry, she calls her family in Mexico: her mom, then her five sisters, then her two brothers.
Even though Laura spends most of her days in the comfort of her own home, she is not oblivious to what goes on in the media. She knows that in America, there is a certain stereotype of what Latinas should look like. She says: “If you watch American Television, Latinas are usually seen as housewives but still take very good care of there looks.” And if you watch ABC, Desperate Housewives might be the perfect example of this. The only Latina on the show, Gabby (played by Eva Longoria), is the only one of the housewives, up until now that doesn’t have a job. She relies solely on her husband’s income and stays at home to cook and take care of her two daughters. Eva Longoria’s character also fits in with the curvy and sexy body image stereotype as well. This is how most primetime television shows portray the Latina women.
This is a shame, however Laura brought up a good point. It depends on what channels you watch. Just a few days ago, Univision was showing that Time Magazine appointed only three Latinas in the top 100 list of influential people. After briefly discussing the differences between American and Mexican television, I asked Laura if she saw any bias in who they cast as Latinas in movies and television. She responded by saying what I also see as the truth. “The media always looks for pretty people, not just when it comes to Latinas. You just can’t not be attractive in Hollywood. There’s no way.”

Growing Up in Mexico


Moving on to a topic she is more familiar with, I questioned Laura about her childhood and adolescence. Growing up with 7 siblings, it is safe to say she did not get much time to herself. She never really minded much though. Love and respect for her whole family, especially her parents, was definitely stressed. There was to be no debating or challenging of elders, there was just no other option. You could not say to them.
As far as adolescence goes, she never had any serious boyfriends. She was very centered on getting good grades and ending up with a nice career- which in her case was in the field of accounting. To her parents, they never really pressured her to go to college like most parents pressure their children here in the United States. But they never disliked the idea either.
From what she was telling me, it seemed like her parents were the most lenient when it came to going to school. A lot of her friends were more pressured to learn how to cook, organize and clean before anything else. “I had a friend whose mom would yell at her because she couldn’t make cakes like her, or sew or iron” she told me. The only families who cared about their daughter getting a higher education were the upper-class families. Lawyers wanted to their daughters to become lawyers and they of course also had to marry lawyers. It was like the circle of life. You couldn’t get in and it was hard to get out if you were born into it (money).

Being a Mexican in America

Upon arriving to New York, Laura expected what she had seen in the movies. Tall buildings, dirty streets and good pizza. She got all of that plus a lot of racist comments along the way. She was told that she was ignorant because she couldn’t fluently speak the language. “People made me feel like I swam across the border illegally, but I didn’t. I had and have every right to be here.” she said almost with tears in her eyes.
She told me about one of the first time she ever stopped into a department store, a security guard followed her because he thought she was going to steal something. That same week she heard someone scream out “Go back to your country!” as she was passing by. It made her feel insulted, she got depressed and felt as if she was being abused everyday when she walked outside.

Getting a Job
When Laura was still living in Mexico, she had a full-time accounting job with a great salary because she finished at the top of her university graduating class. This being the case, she thought it was going to be easier to find a job in New York. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Once she finally managed to find a part-time job, she found out she was being paid three times less than an American would be getting paid doing the same exact job. Here are her thoughts on the subject: “They just don’t give you a chance if you don’t go to school here. And it would have been too much money for me to go back to college here”.
There were times when Laura didn’t want to give up on getting a real job here in the city. However it wasn’t easy when people didn’t take her seriously when she would tell them that she was already a professional. They would laugh in her face and told her that if she had an accent and didn’t look the part, she wasn’t eligible for a real job.
While on the subject of jobs, we got into a conversation about immigration. She and I both agree that these days the hardest jobs involving manual labor and unsafe working conditions are taken by immigrants. Illegal or not, they are exposed to dangerous work places and are at risk for getting into life threatening accidents. This is never in the news and what is worse is that they aren’t even provided with health insurance. Therefore if something happens, they can say goodbye to their job and sometimes even their life.

Marrying an American
“I love my husband and I love all of the opportunities that my children have because they live in America” she starts off. But she does notice that she is treated differently when she is by herself than when she is with her husband. “I even have to wait more to eat at restaurants when I’m by myself” she says.
This constant suffering from racism may hurt Laura’s self-esteem, but family does and has always come first in her life. It’s just the way she was brought up, learning to face hardships so that her family can succeed, and hopefully one day Laura will succeed too.