myriad.

—so many thoughts are on my mind, it’s hard to focus on one concrete thought. but there is one thought that is haunting me.

i feel like i am in an absurd time warp. where are the fuck are we? this is 2017 and i feel suffocated by not only hate, but fear & anxiety as well. my grandparents emigrated from puerto rico to new york city in 1954 to have a better life. and honestly, i’m disgusted by everything that’s going on. this isn’t the land of the free.

i have to say what’s in my mind and what’s in my heart.

the recent events in charlottesville, virginia  boggle my mind- but am i surprised, no? i believe that racism never died out- neither was it never phased out. racism is a belief to me, something that is taught. and as long as people hold these ideas and spread them, it will never cease to exist. it’s a disease that spreads and attacks everything in its sight.

it is one thing to have opinions and beliefs (everyone has them, whatever)… but to spew hate and hurt people, and murder people, what the fuck is that about? if someone is mad at something or someone, write… there is no absolute need to harm anyone.

but then for our president not to acknowledge what’s going on… like what the fuck! i still can’t stay president…. nope! i can’t. i refer to him as his last name… sometimes, i had drump or call him that. everytime he has the opportunity to show some kind of empathy, some kind of leadership, he fucks it up! i don’t get it…

but let me tell you all something… and i have to say it.

i truly feel in the pits of my being that of course the president isn’t taking a firm stand or denouncing 10000% percent of these recent events. these vile people (these groups that don’t even deserve to be mentioned) are his bread and butter…simple as that! these are the people who voted for him. these are the same people who are so petty and are so angry that President Obama served two terms. i bet these vile people thought… no way in hell are they gonna win again? it’s like these people came out of the sewers like waterbugs and sewer rats. could you imagine if president… addressed these people? he knows what’s up. there goes his 2020 election. and it bothers the fuck outta me that he’s not being a leader, not the leader that we need. he’s not someone who can represent us. on the contrary, he chooses to be a twitter thug and constantly say stupid ass fuckery. he looks really foolish, a straight up buffoon. he makes me sick to my stomach.

it’s a shame that in 2017, i’m afraid to walk alone at night. that i’m afraid that i’ll be attacked in manhattan by one of these vile people. i worry for my partner, the love of my live… someone who is one of the kindest, sweetest, most intelligent people i’ve ever known. why do i worry? because he’s african-american, he will be attacked. we still get dirty looks when we walk down the street from time to time. so… a puerto-rican and an african-american can’t walk down the street together? what’s so bad about two people who love each other, expressing that love. i notice these dirty looks and it scares me.

i truly hope that things get better for all of us. we deserve to live peacefully and without threat.

ironic right? we were promised that america will be “great again” but you know what they say also, “if it’s broke, don’t fix it.”

our government needs to take a really hard look and “drain that swamp” so to speak.

—until we meet again.

 

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explore.

I was thinking of what to write about- it’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted, “coming to terms.” I definitely wanted to write something positive and uplifting.

Summer 2016 is starting and I am really excited! This is the first summer that I feel things will be even better!

I started off Summer 2016 by finally cutting my hair! I feel much more free and beautiful! My smile says it all! 🙂

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I’ve been taking this time and have been exploring new places, but even more importantly, revisiting places that I haven’t been too in a long time.

The pictures below were taken when I went to City Island, in The Bronx, NY. My boyfriend and I went there during the Memorial Day weekend and we walked to the end of City Island and were able to capture these beautiful photos. I was grateful that the weather was beautiful and I had the time to visit.

I also wanted to visit Greenwich Village and check out the beautiful pier that overlooks into New Jersey…

A lesson that I’ve learned is that while I may not have achieved certain milestones (not yet)- I have to be grateful for what I do have- I will not move forward until I appreciate my blessings. 

I am grateful that I have my friends and family, but especially my boyfriend who has helped me become a better person and is always willingly to explore NYC with me.

These pictures were taken at Union Square & Madison Square Park, respectively.

If there is one place that will always be dear to my heart, and one place that I will never forget, that will be The Bronx. The Bronx is not only my hometown, but possesses some of my best memories.

I can’t wait to continually update #ohsnapisstelly and show all of you my work.

Until Next Time!

—Stelly

coming to terms.

Hey Everyone!

I hope you all have been enjoying the year so far!

If there is a lesson that I have learned in the past few months is that I have to come to terms with certain things.

There are people who I will probably never have a great relationship with, no matter how I hard I try… the best thing to do is to move forward and focus on the people I do love and know have my back. It’s not easy to walk away- forever the optimist & perfectionist, I always try to get along with everyone. However, I realize that when the same people constantly upset me and make me feel negative, I knew that I had to pull the plug.

I had to learn that I come first- my happiness and inner peace come above all else. In trying to please others and make others happy, I put myself on the backburner. Little by little, I started to notice that I was not happy, but furthermore, my negativity started to funk up other aspects of my life. It was not until I spoke with one of my best friends, I realized that things had to change.

For many years, I self-shamed myself and made myself feel bad about being overweight. I would google articles about losing weight and try to find the fastest way to lose weight. I could google and write down anything I wanted, but if I didn’t change my eating habits, of course I wasn’t going to lose any weight. Right now, I’m becoming healthier at my own pace and in my own way. The only competition I am in is with no one. Recently, I bought a Veggetti Pro, which is a vegetable spiralizer. I was able to create my own zucchini spaghetti, which is awesome! As of last week, I am down nearly 10 lbs since my heaviest weight. A lesson to remember is that change doesn’t happen overnight- change is progressive-  the worst thing one can do to themselves is make a change, then expect a complete 180 in a day. Believe me, it’s not going to happen in an instant- but with hard work and persistence, it will happen.

We can get so frustrated with the world & so overwhelmed, it’s easy to get angry and want to give up. 

I had to spend time with myself (something I’m completely not used to) and rethink things. I started to realize that in order for things to change for me, I had to reflect on the following:

  1. What got me here?
  2. How do I want to get out of it?
  3. What am I afraid of?
  4. What sacrifices do I have to make?
  5. Who do I trust?

Out of the 5 questions mentioned, number 5 was by far the hardest. How do I ask for advice… more importantly, how do I tell someone that I’m struggling without looking like a failure? It’s a challenge to admit that I need help sometimes. Nevertheless, I confided in those closest to me… the best therapy is having loved ones- either it be friends, family, & close coworkers, knowing that they have your back.

Remember that we are not meant to carry the world on our shoulders.

As challenging as life can get, we have the right to be happy & if that means making changes- then let it so be it.

I know that some of the changes I’m making are pretty scary- but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So with that being said, I’m really looking forward to what the rest of 2016 has to offer.

I can’t wait to share my experiences with you all…

Thank you all for your continued support.

Please feel free to comment on coming to terms & any other post.

Until next time!

—Stelly

 

 

 

their influence.

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to wish all the awesome mothers out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Also, I wanted to thank all of you for your continued support! I felt the love from all of you after “from 1998 to 2015” was posted. “from 1998 to 2015” was by far the most honest, but most difficult post I have ever written and ever published. 

As most of you know, today is Mother’s Day. I was thinking of what I should blog about today especially since I haven’t published a post in awhile and of course my mind is a melting pot of ideas. It always feels as if I have a thousand ideas running through my mind at an infinite speed. The difficulty in that is deciding which idea stands out and then take that idea and stick with it. 

Well, it is only right that today I blog about both my mother and my grandmother who are by far the most important people in my life.

In case many of you do not know, my grandmother is very important to me- and even that is an understatement. I cannot go more than two days without calling her. I spent a good chunk of my life with her. Let’s just say that 20 out of 28 years I spent with my grandmother- countless weekdays, summers, and holidays. I owe a lot to my grandmother. While my mother worked to support me, my grandmother took care of me. I can honestly say that much of my beliefs come from my grandmother and her influence. Many people tease me and call me a simpleton, a Puerto Rican country girl, but that is okay- that is who I am. I do not mind spending my afternoon watching novelas and having a snack with my grandmother. I am a “grandma’s girl.” 

Three years ago, I published, “ignorantly speaking” in which I discussed the affects bullying had on me. One of the points I made was my grandmother taught me that when I look in the mirror, I am looking at myself both inside and outside; ultimately, the mirror does not lie. Therefore, if someone calls me fat, I merely say, “I have a mirror… I know who I am.” At first, I didn’t understand why my grandmother couldn’t just hug me knowing I was going through a difficult time. Then I realized that just hugging wasn’t going to make my sadness go away. In order for me to be happy with who I was, first I had to accept it. And if I wasn’t happy with myself or with any situations I was going through, it was up to me to change that, no one else. 

Life isn’t always rosy- I still face struggles… everyone does. But if I learned anything from my grandmother is that one has to be strong, no matter the circumstances one faces. 

Strength is a trait that my mother holds immensely. If one were to research the meaning of strength, my mother’s name would appear with bright bold letters. If it weren’t for my mother working overtime for months at a time, I know that I wouldn’t have had a college education, neither would my younger sister. From an early age, my mother wanted to ensure that I would have an excellent education. From the five to the age of eighteen, I was in Catholic school. I have to admit that at times, I hated it. I always had the difficult teachers, and always had the heaviest book bag; my cousins didn’t have much homework and I was envious. I did not want to spend all time doing my homework. However, looking back, I realize my mother had my best interests at heart- my mother always said she made sure that my education had strong structure; I needed the most strictest, hardest teachers. For many years, I was angry with my mother because she wasn’t able to attend my school assemblies or field trips- she was always working. It was through my mother’s hard work and determination that I was able to attend college without having student debt. 

I will never forget the day I graduated college with my BA in Creative Writing. I gave my mom my diploma and thanked her for everything. Many people do not have the privilege to attend college. I felt especially happy because when I told my mother I was going to pursue my BA in English and not in Bilingual Education as I originally had intended, my mother was supportive- she was surprised at first nonetheless, but extremely supportive. 

One of the biggest lessons I have learned from my mother was that in order to be successful, one has to work for it. Nothing comes to a person on a silver platter. While my mother told me that she would pay my way through my first four years of college- granted that my grades were high, if I wanted to pursue my Master’s, I was on my own- this was more than reasonable enough. My grandparents came from Puerto Rico and couldn’t afford to help my mom go to college. Because of her experiences growing up, my mother wanted a different future for my sister and me. Again, I was resentful and angry with my mother because she was overprotective of me- I had an early curfew and wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends as often as I wanted… but I know it was for my best interest at heart.

To those who are reading this post and thinking that their mothers are overprotective and are unreasonable, I want you to take a second and reflect… I know what it’s like not to have those nice sneakers or clothes that is trending… but think of how hard your mother is working so that you can have a roof over your head and food on the table. I didn’t have Jordan’s or go to the movies often, but I did have shoes and sneakers. And I spent time with my mother watching movies and MTV. It’s hard to be a parent, especially a single parent. I know I wasn’t always an easy child… but that’s how all kids are! At least to me…

This Mother’s Day, reflect on the blessings your mother has given you. I am grateful for my mother and my grandmother everyday. Writing is my diary… but when things get rough, I can count on e-mailing my mother and I can count on my grandmother picking up the phone- she always finds a way to make me laugh while we gossip.

I dedicate this post to my mother and to my grandmother- always know that although I may be stubborn and it seems like I don’t listen, remember that I love you and you two are always my rock. 

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Until next time!

from 1998 to 2015.

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all had a great New Year!

My goal for 2015 is to be accepting of who I am. For many years, I didn’t live a fulfilling life because I consumed by my weight and insecurities. Since second grade, I was bullied because of my weight. I wanted to fit in the crowd so badly, I would try anything humanly possible. One of the worst feelings ever is to feel alone and not fit in. I promised myself that this year, I will embrace myself more and what I love. I won’t be consumed by how much weight I lose or how much money I save.

On Christmas Eve, I spent time with my grandmother. For a few hours, it was just me and her. We were talking when she handed me over some old pictures to look at. There was one picture that caught my eye… my 5th grade class picture. In the picture, my hair is very long- down my back, not fizzy like normal. In the picture, I had such a grin on my face, but that was because I wanted to look nice, not necessarily because I was happy.

1998

It’s crazy how one picture can bring up so many emotions from almost 20 years ago! It’s like having emotional vomit- once you think of something that you’ve once tried to suppress… that thought comes out, along with a flood of other thoughts.

Then it came to me!!!… I had to write a letter to my 1998 self. I really wish I can go back and talk to myself- let myself know that everything was going to be okay. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t had run away from things and avoided trying new things, out of fear of being made fun of. The only person I had to impress was myself.

This is the most personal blog post that I’ve ever written. I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you because I wanted to share my feelings and my struggles- as I know that both have continued to make a better person. If I can inspire one person to try something new, or embrace their passions, then that will be awesome!

Dear Estelle,

It’s now 2015 and I know you’re thinking that’s a long time from now, but I just thought that you should read this. I know you believe that you’re ugly and that no boys will ever like you. Well, I will tell you this… It will be a long while before you meet that “Charming” that you always wanted to meet–but it will be worth it! Don’t even think about boys, at least try not to. Those boys you go to school with aren’t even worth it.

Mommy is very strict, but it’s for the right reasons. She will let you shave your legs soon and when you graduate the 8th grade, that’s when mommy will let you do your eyebrows. And it’s not that mommy won’t let you go anywhere just because; she can spot a fake friend when she sees one. Trust me, you will see that there are people who are really not your friends. 

When you look in the mirror, I know you think you’re not pretty. But trust me, you definitely are! Your smile lights up the whole room and your eyes sparkle like the stars in the sky (that’s the sincerity in you that mommy always talks about). 

I know it hurts, but when people call you fat, it’s because they don’t understand you and they are afraid of what you have to offer. Whatever insecurities they have, they take that out on you. It took me many years to understand that, and you may not get that right now, but one day you will. 

And one more thing… I know you hate to be called Stelly- you say that’s not you and you’d rather be called Estelle, but you will grow to love that nickname. Many people are going to know you by Stelly. People are going to remember you because of your smile, because of your intelligence, and because of your compassion towards others- and that’s amongst other things.

When you are feeling down, remember that you will rise above anything and everything. 

Love Always,

Stelly

I really hope that you enjoyed this blog post!

Until next time!

—Stelly

nuclear.

Hey Everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season!

I couldn’t ask for a better holiday season! This holiday season, I wanted to focus on the traditions I really wanted to participate in, but never could.

On Thanksgiving Day, my sister and I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, in its entirety, on television. I spent time with her because I had Thanksgiving dinner with my partner’s family. Up until Thanksgiving Day, I hadn’t spent time with my sister in months. It was nice to spend time with her and just laugh and act silly.

For the Christmas holiday, I wanted the holiday to be like no other… I suggested to my family before Thanksgiving that we have an “Ugly Sweater Christmas Eve.” For as long as I can remember, my immediate family always celebrated Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve, I went to my grandmother’s house and we talked for hours. My family later came over and they made their own ugly Christmas sweaters. They put my Teenage Mutant Turtle ugly sweater to shame! For the first time in a really long time, we all sat down and ate dinner and talked and laughed for hours! I spent time with my five-year old cousin and took pics with her- it was a real touching and a warm family moment.

I even bought an “Elf On The Shelf” and took pictures of him and with him. All these new things I was doing made me really happy- I was finally making the Christmas that I wanted.

However…there was one thing that I always wanted to do, but I never did… I never saw the Santa Clause at Macy’s. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to talk to Santa and tell him what my holiday wish was. Even though my family thought the idea was funny, and laughed at me, seeing Santa was a must! I just had to go! I told my partner that I wanted to visit Santa and he just said, “Let’s go!”

On the Saturday before Christmas, my partner and I went to see Santa Clause at Macy’s. To say that the wait was long was an understatement. We waited over two hours to see Santa Clause. I was so excited to see Santa that I almost crashed another’s family’s picture. When I saw Santa Clause, he said that I could sit on his lap… I was a little nervous (I’m not going to lie), but then I played along, and my partner and me sat with Santa. Santa asked me what I wanted for Christmas- I’m not going to say what it was because I’ve always believed that if I said my wish, it wouldn’t come true, but for that moment, I felt such a great happiness!

My partner surprised me by getting the pictures we took with Santa Clause. I can’t thank my partner enough for taking me to see Santa and for helping me accomplish one of my greatest childhood wishes.

The greatest surprise of my holiday season was when my best friend, Gloriann, and her husband Steve, surprised my partner and me with tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular! A couple of weeks before Christmas, Gloriann, Steve, my partner, and me were all talking about seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and other things we’ve done during the holidays, and what we haven’t done. When we were on our way to see the tree, we talked about how we never went to Radio City Music Hall. A few days after that, Gloriann let me know that as a present to my partner and me, we were all going to see the show! At that moment, I was paralyzed with shock! Seeing Santa Clause was one thing- now I was going to see the Rockettes!

Last Friday, we all went to Radio City Music Hall. To see the Rockettes was an amazing experience! I thought Olympic swimmers were synchronized- they have nothing on the Rockettes! After the show, we were all gathering our belongings and I turned around and saw a little girl glowing with happiness. I asked her if she loved the show, and she just smiled. Not only we were glowing with happiness, there were hundreds of people doing the same.

This holiday season made me realize that I want the “nuclear family.” One day, I want to get married and I want to settle down and have children. Growing up, my family situation wasn’t quite nuclear. Because of that, I didn’t do many things growing up. Now that I am almost thirty, I know that although I can’t go back in time, I can make my own present and make a better future for myself. If I have learned anything from the 2014 Holiday Season, is that we make our present and our future- we can take a crappy situation and make it into the best outcome possible. To quote Pastor Joel Osteen, “A setback is a setup for a great comeback.” Just because we didn’t have it easy, doesn’t mean life will be bad.

I believe that this holiday season is setting the tone for 2015. With the help and support from our loved ones, anything is possible. When our hearts and minds are open, the greatest blessings will come our way.

I hope you all have a great holiday & a very happy & prosperous New Year!

Until next time!

—Stelly

P.S.: I hope you enjoy some of the pictures that I’ve taken throughout the holiday season!

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goodbye summer.

As Fall 2014 officially begins September 22, 2014, I am saying my official goodbye to summer. I am three weeks early, but who is counting?

Summer 2014 bought many memories and lessons that I will never forget. My favorite moments were from going to Atlantic City with my boyfriend to going to Spa Castle with my best friend and spending time with my family. There were some down times too… as i’m composing this post, I am still sick from Asthmatic Bronchitis which sucks! Although i’m not yet 100%, that is not going to keep me from writing.

Here are some of the lessons I learned during Summer 2014:

1. Always Make Time For What You Love: This summer, I decided that I will have as much fun as I can. If that meant not seeing certain people or leaving work at exactly 5:30 PM, then let it so be it. One of the worse things I believe I can do is just let time go by. I’m definitely not into the whole wake up, go to work, go back home routine. That’s just not me. I need time with my friends, time with myself. I spent a lot of time in Union Square (my favorite place in the world!), walking in the park, and buying the best organic chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies! I haven’t done that in years! The best feeling was writing in my journal, soaking in the sun and getting that awesome tan!

2. Be With Your Friends: As much as I love my boyfriend, I had to spend time with my friends too! My girlfriends are the sisters I am never going to have. They mean the world to me! Even if I saw them for a couple of hours, that made me really happy. I’m happy I got to go to many places with them this summer. We went from China Town, to Central Park, to the Frying Pan restaurant and the Dairy Queen. I have to say this… if it weren’t for my friends, I wouldn’t have discovered BOKA. BOKA is a kickass restaurant in St. Marks (near Astor Place), downtown NY. They make the best Korean fried chicken I’ve ever had! And their vegetable fried rice is divine! It’s a great feeling to know that when things get rough, I know I can count on my friends. We all talk and bs and have fun!

3. Leave The Drama: We all have things going on in our lives. With that being said, I do not have the time nor the patience to deal with pettiness and drama. Unfortunately, I’m not talking to some people at the moment. It is not because I don’t love them. I do 100%… it is because there are so many Facebook statuses and gossips I can deal with. I’ve been doing so many great things this year and I don’t need people to spoil that for me. So rather than stress these people, i would rather not deal with them right now. 

4. Celebrate & Speak Up!My favorite moment of this summer was celebrating my third year anniversary with my boyfriend in Atlantic City, NJ. At first, I was hesitant because I knew work was going to be chaotic and I thought it would be really expensive. But let me tell you something, by planning over a month ahead of time, my boyfriend and I got a really good deal through Groupon. I spent a little extra time at work so I could have my commitments done. When it comes to you and your happiness, you cannot be afraid to speak up and ask for vacation time. After all, it’s yours to use! 

I cannot wait for what Fall 2014 has to offer. I’m looking forward to walking in the city with just a sweater and a mint hot chocolate in hand. 

I hope you all have had a great summer!

Till next time!

—Stelly 

P.S.: Here are some of my favorite pics that I took throughout the summer. Enjoy!

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