Unconditional

Sometimes I don’t know what to do, you know?  It’s like everything is going great and then one moment can change all of that, from what you decide to do in a day to the way you perceive yourself.  One moment can just make you feel absolutely miserable, like you have nothing and are nothing.

One of those moments happened to me yesterday night, a moment that made me second guess myself and everything I want in my future and everyone I want in my life.

It’s a very long story, a story that maybe I’ll write about one day, just two people who are more like fire and gasoline and just explode together, in good ways and bad ways.

This is why family is so important, they just pull me out of so many awful moments and don’t even realize it.  This morning I woke up and mom and dad kissed me good morning and everything that upset me from the night before was no longer so upsetting.  I can handle it and work on it, I can conquer the world.  They didn’t even know I was upset but they still fix everything.

Without a family I think people would fall apart and that’s why I think there are so many problems in the world, because the family systems are breaking down and people lose that support system, that system which is just composed of true love.  Honestly, it’s one of the only things that can really truly show someone unconditional love.

I don’t know where I’d be without my family and the love of my parents and sister and all of my extended family.  It’s such an incredible thing, experiencing unconditional love.  Love shouldn’t have rules and criteria and when you love someone, you can fix all their problems without knowing what’s wrong just because you presence alone is what they need.

Sometimes I think this world needs a little more love, unconditional love and I just wish everyone could have the chance to experience what I have in my life and how amazing my family is.  For those who have that love, never ever take it for granted because you have something special that some people can only dream about.

Heels or No Heels?

My last post was about the Recycled2New event that I went to and we, my aunt and I, met a bunch of amazingly different people!  There were people with cat stories and other creators like the Scissor Sisters (www.scissorsistersaccessories.com) and there was one very opinionated woman.

She had opinions on everything from how you should eat to teaching to travel to women and we talked about EVERYTHING!  I think it’s great when someone has strong opinions that they stand by.  It’s fantastic!

However there is one thing that really bugged me, and it’s not really her because she isn’t the only person in the world that does this, but a general concept that I started thinking about.  That’s not my biggest problem, it’s these super feminists.

I am a feminist, I am a massive huge feminist and I even competed with men in was in Elementary school to prove I could keep up with any guy no matter what.  Now I’m active in politics and am a strong supporter of choices for women.  This woman in particular was one of these extreme feminist and one thing she implied was that women who wear high heels wear them because they have low self-esteem and the same with make up.

This frustrates me I can be an empowered woman and dress like a woman, I can have my 9 ear piercings and get the tattoos, I want and wear dresses that show off my figure and heels and still be an empower women.

I can go to my office wearing makeup and 4 inch heels and a pencil skirt and a form-fitting (not like ridiculously tight) blouse and look damn good and do any job a man can.  I don’t have to LOOK like a man to do it.  I’m a woman, not only that I’m a woman with a beautiful figure which my boyfriend loves, long legs, piercings, soon to be tattooed woman who is smart and can accomplish anything a man can and be their equal.

I’m confident about myself and what I do and don’t have low self-esteem.  I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses, things that I can improve about myself so I can become a better person because I’m nowhere near perfect, but being a woman means you can be feminine and be a feminist.  They aren’t two different concepts, they are the same thing because you are fighting for the rights of women so they can be women, beautiful, talented, smart women who wear form-fitting clothes or loose clothes, heels or sneakers, makeup or none at all.  Every single woman is beautiful, no matter what her hair color is, her eye color, her weight, her height.  In my heels, I’m almost 6′ 2″ and have all the confidence in the world.

The entire fight for women has been so we can have choices!  For example, when feminists criticize the porn industry.  They say that these women are taking away what feminists are fighting for, but really it’s none of their business.  If women willingly enter the porn industry because that is what they want to do then it is their choice and that is the entire point of the feminist movement, giving women the ability to make whatever life choices they want to make!  Just because I don’t agree with women, or anyone in porn industry because my view on sex are pretty conservative, doesn’t mean I don’t think they should be allowed to make that choice.  What is the difference if a man is telling you that you can’t make a choice or a woman is telling you that you can’t make a choice?

Don’t separate looking feminine with being a feminist, be whatever type of woman you want to be, but don’t think that those who like heels and make up and dresses aren’t feminists, that is just as ignorant as those who believe women should be regarded as something less than a man.  The entire point of the feminist movement is to give women a choice, a choice to wear heels or not to wear heels, a choice to make whatever life decisions they want without someone telling them what to do, whether it is a man telling them or another woman.

Recycling with Family

So today was the Cantigny Green Fest for Recycled2New (you can check out our Facebook here and our Twitter here and our Pinterest here).  If you haven’t read any of my past blogs, Recycled2New is my Aunt’s baby,   She loves to reuse and recycle.  She’s a bit of a hoarder, just like me.  We find things and just can’t get rid of them!  For example, magazines, you can do so many things with magazines: envelopes, beads, switch plate covers, notebook covers.  Why throw them out when you can use them and make something beautiful!?

She started selling all of her creations, necklaces, notebooks, scrapers, cat scratchers, earrings, just about anything you can think o.  Everything is made completely from reused or recycled items!  Friends give her things or she finds places that are going out of business or thrift stores and works away.

We had our largest show today!  It was so much fun, but absolutely frigid.  It was probably about 40 degrees for most of the morning and started warming up at 1 in the afternoon, only getting to the upper 50s in the shade, but that’s Chicago weather for you!  At least we missed the rain.  I was just dreading the moment when I would be standing there freezing in my layers and then get wet.

For this particular show, all of our profits went to Feral Fixers, an organization that serves DuPage County.  They trap, neuter/spay, and release feral cats to stop the populations from growing.  Those cats that are gentle will be put up for adoption, but the cats that are too aggressive to be adopted will be released where they were captured since they probably grew up in that area and know all of the dangers of the area.  You can visit their website here and their Facebook here.

Of course I love running all of the social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, Website) and meeting so many wonderful new people, but most of all I love working with my Aunt so much!  She is so easy to work with and I love spending time with my family.  Family is the most important thing in my life and I don’t think I could ever find a job that was so much fun!

Be Color Blind

So at my job we had an older couple come in and as they were leaving I heard them discussing the problems with current insurance companies.  A lot of them don’t want to cover houses over 25 years old because of risk and all this crap and the woman was talking about how next to her mother’s house, her neighbor didn’t take care of their home or lawn and they are afraid that will be seen as too much of a risk.  She continues her story and finished by saying “Yea, there’s that house and then… there are all these Mexicans moving into the neighborhood.”

Really?

There are two problems I have with this statement, the first being that any brown-skinned person who speaks Spanish is always assumed to be Mexican.  People, there are at least 19 countries with Hispanic people and 1 commonwealth (Puerto Rico) and those people can be brown-skinned who speak Spanish.  I realize that, especially in the U.S., people assume that if you’re Hispanic you’re Mexican especially because of the immigration debate, but let me tell you it’s not only Mexicans but any southern Hispanic country and some European coming here to better their lives for the most part, but that is another blog entirely.

The second problem is that people assume that if you are in a minority neighborhood (in Chicago that’s typically is Black or Hispanic) that it is a bad, dangerous place where you shouldn’t be.  Honestly that frustrates me so much that skin color can define how safe you feel in a neighborhood.  If one of these people walked into a low-income white neighborhood, they wouldn’t like it but I don’t think I’d hear the same comments.

Most of the comments about neighborhoods I hear come from those who are from the generation before my parents, so my grandparents generation.  If you really think about it, the growth in Chicago neighborhoods took place during that time, when workers were needed during WWII when Hispanics immigrated or emigrated here.  There were no laws against discrimination so the majority white population discriminated against minorities and created dangerous situations.  That’s not the only reason but it does play a massive role.

It frustrates me beyond belief.  I don’t go into neighborhoods and see a large group of a specific race and think to myself that it’s dangerous.  I think it’s dangerous when I have reason to belief it’s dangerous.  White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Purple, Spotted or otherwise, that doesn’t make me judge someone and it sickens me to hear people say, well Mexicans are moving in or Blacks are moving in or something stupid like that.  Grow up.

I know that it sucks to have pinned with specific stereotypes.  I am part Puerto Rican, only 25% so I look white and I’ve had Hispanics make negative comments because I don’t speak fluently and I don’t look Hispanic.

One time I remember I was in Denny’s with my friend and an older white man just started talking to us and telling us all of these negative stories about immigrants from various countries.  So of course I found some way to bring in that I was part Rican and my family lived there and he had the never to suggest that I shouldn’t go down there because I don’t KNOW my family implying that they relate to a story he had been telling us about drug dealers.  Not only that he said if I did go down that would be good so I could bring my American idea ideas down to all the Fascist people down there.  I was floored that someone was telling me this.  My favorite comment is when people ask if Puerto Ricans are here legally.  They gained citizenship in 1917 so we can’t be in the U.S. illegally.

I never want to judge someone by their skin color or where they came from.  I will never look at someone and think negatively until I meet them and find out if they are bad people and I will NEVER go into a neighborhood and judge it by the people who live there.  Everyone is beautiful and no matter what color or mix a community is, if they are full of love and don’t have money or if they life in billion dollar houses, love is love and people are all the same, no matter what color their skin is or eyes are or anything like that.  Hate and fear only breed more hate and fear so we need to stop this infection and replace it.  Let’s all just be color blind, really color blind and if someone show you love, show them love back no matter what.

Never Forget

I haven’t blogged in a while and I really wanted to write this Tuesday but just didn’t have time.  As you read you’ll find out why.

I’m a German-Irish-Puerto Rican.  I feel closest to my Irish and Puerto Rican sides, but I”m proud of my heritage as a whole.  I’m extremely proud of my Irish side and me siento muy orgullosa de ser puertorriqueña.

So I’m a mutt, a mix of so many places and people, if you go really far back, like 16th century far back, I’m also Scottish and French (black French which were a mix of Spanish and French) and on my Rican side I could be Spanish, African or Tíano (the indigenous people of PR) and probably even more than that.

I’m an American and my mixed heritage is the most important part of that because that’s what makes this country so beautiful, it’s so mixed and diverse.  I’m extremely proud to be American.  I put my hand to my heart when I hear our National Anthem and see our flag, I feel beyond proud on the 4th of July and I love my country almost more than anything.

Yes the U.S. has problems, I know that.  I know our involvement in other countries and the damage we’ve caused but honestly I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  I love my home and our freedoms.  I don’t agree with all of our wars, like what we’re in right now, but I will always support our troops.  Yes there are some bad people who you hear stories about, but the majority are strong, amazing, brave men and women doing a job that I can’t even imagine doing and they will always have my respect and prayers.

The reason I wanted to write this on Tuesday was because Tuesday was 9/11, the day my home was attacked.  I can’t even believe that was 11 years ago.  I was in 5th grade when that happened and really had no idea what was going on.  Everyone started hearing rumor going around school and then school was locked down.  I had to go to the doctor and mom was, I really don’t know how to describe it, but I knew something was wrong and she was upset and said that something very bad happened.  I was afraid.  My little sister was still at school and I was her big sister.  I was supposed to protect her.  Dad was at work and since I was so young I thought his work was just forever away.  It’s really only about 20 minutes without traffic, but I was young and scared.  Mom and Dad eventually told my sister and I that we were attacked and some people had crashed planes into buildings and they tried to tell us in a very gentle way because they didn’t want to scare us or make us feel unsafe, but I was still terrified.

I also remember that after those attacks happened there was a backlash against the Muslim community and that broke my heart too.  You can blame an entire country for 1 radical group, you can’t hate someone because of their skin color or accent or home country.  That’s like saying the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa, look them up if you have never heard of them) is demonstrating the way all Christian’s think which couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Even in fifth grade it made me so sad that people would or could hate and entire race for 1 group.

It wasn’t until Freshman year in high school that I actually saw footage, real footage of what had happened.  Mom and Dad didn’t want us seeing it when it happened since we were so young.  I never thought to look it up so I decided to watch it during one of the memorials when they play all of the footage on T.V. I couldn’t even believe it.  I just sat there and cried, thinking about all of those people who had lost their lives in the attacks.

I know there are people out there saying we weren’t attacked, but I have yet to see any proof and yea the U.S. has mad major mistakes, I personally don’t agree with the war or most of the Cold War (but I will never blame our troops for that and they will always have my support, whether I agree with the war or not) or our involvement in Chilie or Argentina, or a long list of other countries, but we wouldn’t do that to our own country.  I’ve read more essays, more reliable sources stating the Holocaust is fake than what I’ve read about 9/11 (and I want to make it clear that I’m not saying the Holocaust is fake, I’m just mentioning a different set of conspiracy theories).  It breaks my heart to hear anyone say that we weren’t attacked and I think it disgraces the memories of those who lost their lives and the families who had lost loved one and it is just cold.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this is mine.

I will never forget what happened to my home and I will always honor my troops and those who had lost their lives in the attacks and feel for those who were judged afterwards.  I will never forget and I don’t think anyone should.

Indifference

The leaves would be the color of gold, so deep in their color that you’d just have to touch them just to make sure they weren’t actually gold.  Once you laid your fingertips upon them, they’d just fall of their branch, fragile and delicate, so soft. Before they’d hit the ground a wind would come and scoop them up, a sweet wind, smelling of that universal sweet smell, the one everyone loves, and those gold leaves would mix with pink and purple and red leaves, different currents pushing and pulling at them, making art in the air, thick waves of color.

The wind is warm and comforting, thick but still breathable, just think and soft like a pillow, guiding you along a path to the unknown, through the trees, their bark a dark chocolate-brown.  The wind guides you along the moss-covered ground.  Insects buzz around the flowers which seem too vivid and deep in color to be real and their aroma mixes with the air, almost putting you to sleep it is so relaxing.

To a lake, a lake of crystal water, a lake of diamond water, rippling and sparkling in the sun which engulfs you in its warm embrace.  You see foot prints of those here before you, animal and human alike and just sit.  You sit and feel the sun.  You sit and hear the birds and animals.  You sit and smell the wind.  You sit until the sun tucks itself under the horizon and the moon and stars come out to shine on you their beauty.

This entire time you feel no fear or anger or hate.  Only love.  Love for the world around you, love for those precious in your life, love for people in general.  You know in this moment that the world is a beautiful place, a wonderful, a place full of love and hope.

This would be great, a world completely full of love, however it can only be a dream right now.  We don’t live in a place like this and sometimes I feel like some people just live in these little bubbles.  They have their job and their family and their love and don’t see or choose to see real problems in the world.

People read newspapers, see that a child was shot and killed or a woman or man and say oh that’s so sad and move on to the next page.  That is a life, that isn’t JUST sad that is an atrocity that shouldn’t be happening and something should be done about it. 

There are also things that no one really knows about, like can you tell me about the Coltan mines in the Congo?  I couldn’t until this past spring when a college professor brought it up to our class for a discussion.  I was completely oblivious that the minerals in my computer, cell phone, camera and anything else electronic could have been mined by child slaves who are beaten and killed every single day (Click here for The Enough Project website to learn more & here is their Facebook).

I’m sure you’ve heard something to the extent of hate isn’t the biggest problem in the world, indifference is and that is so true.  Whether it is a donation or volunteering or even just spreading the word.  Get involved, form an opinion, make a stand.  Don’t remain indifferent and wait for someone else to do that work for you.  Anything you do to get involved, no matter how big or small is important.  Like I’ve written before, find something you’re passionate about and do your research.  I can’t stress that enough because you want to know about your cause and understand how the organization works so you can tell others about it and to make sure the organization is doing what it says it’s doing.

You’re life may be happy and secure.  I know mine is.  I have a great family, currently we are financially stable, I have an education and a job, but now I’m looking and seeing that there are problems, big problems in the world that people don’t think they can do anything about because they are one person.  I know I used to feel that way.  What can I do?  I started getting involved.  I looked up causes, found things to get behind and spread the word about.  I’m interviewing for an internship at WAR (Women at Risk) International (Click here for their website and click here for their Facebook where you can learn about the products they sell made by women they have rescued).  I decided to write blogs to maybe inspire someone to do the same.

So get involved.  You might only be one person but when you tell your friends and family and get them involved, then you’re a group and they keep spreading the information and before you know it, you have affected all of those people and helped a cause you’re passionate about.

You are only one person in the world, but sometimes it only take one person to make a world of difference.