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! 🙂

StellyMemorialDayWeekend

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

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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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frozen breakdown.

About two weeks ago, Mayim Bialik, star of “Blossom” and “The Big Bang Theory” posted on her blog, “Why My Sons And I Hate The Movie Frozen.” Off the bat, I knew that I had to check out the post. Right away, I disagreed with some of her opinions. Now that doesn’t make me dislike her as a person. Number one, I don’t even know her… and it’s her opinions… who am I to judge? However, today’s post serves to answer the top critiques she had of the movie. The following headings are taken from the three critiques she had regarding “Frozen.”

1. Plot: For as long as I can remember, the main storyline of 95% of all Disney fairytale animated movies has the plot of a princess and prince falling in love and having that “happily ever after” at the end of the movie, despite not knowing each other well. If the plot is being criticized for Frozen, then maybe all romantic comedy plots should be criticized as well. There’s always that element of two people falling in love. Guy meets girl; they fall in love; some drama tears them apart. Then the drama is resolved and everyone lives happily ever after. “Frozen” does not have the typical plot. I apologize for giving away the plot of the movie for those who haven’t seen it… Basically, Elsa and Anna are sisters who are very close until Elsa hurts Anna accidentally.  Growing up, Anna doesn’t feel loved which leads to her “falling in love” with the first person who gives her attention. I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Anna. And I believe that a lot of people can relate to her too. How many people do we know who meet someone and within the first month, proclaim their love on social media?

2. Male Bashing: Another critique Mayim stated was the fact that Prince Hans was male bashed after his true intentions are revealed. I can see where she is coming from in terms of maybe the movie should have been a little longer so the climax and the ending could have been carried out more eloquently. But from the perspective as a viewer, Prince Hans turning out to be a villain was just a grand, dramatic plot twist. What we have to remember is the fact that Frozen is geared for children. There is only so much of a plot Disney can fit into a couple of hours.  Also, we have all known people from all walks of life who were deceptive and wanted things for their own gain so this is not surprising.

3. Women As Dolls: Unlike other Disney movies, Elsa and Anna were drawn/animated differently than other Disney princess. Considering that we are in 2014, and technology in animation has advanced, I think it was a given that Elsa and Anna were going to look more life-like and more like women. My colleague also critique Elsa’s appearance after her transformation… all I can say is that Elsa is a twenty-one year woman… so at one point or another, she is going to show curves and have a more revealing outfit. When Elsa is singing, “Let It Go,” she is literally letting go off all her inhibitions and insecurities. Having her hair tied up and having all those layers of clothing shows the audience that she is not only concealing her natural-born powers. Throughout her whole life, Elsa concealed the person she was; she did not want anyone to see the person she really was and Elsa’s parents did not want her exposing herself, out of fear that she would hurt others. I’m sure you felt like that at one point or another. I was sheltered as a child growing up, so simple things like taking the subway and having an extended curfew were immense tastes of freedom and it was overwhelming at times.

At the end of the day, we all have our opinions and thoughts regarding certain topics and events and this is okay. We can all learn something from each other as long as we keep our minds and our ears open.

I hope you all enjoyed today’s blog.

Till next time…

—Stelly

leading.

I’ve been reading an awesome book lately that I just can’t put down! It’s called, Happy @ Work by Jim Donovan. In his book, Donovan lists 60 ways in which we can all be happy at work, despite whatever challenges we are facing. Currently, I am at number 38.

I was thinking of what to discuss about on my blog when I thought of a quote that I posted on Facebook last night, There’s an immense difference with wanting to be a leader & wanting to be a boss. Decide which is more prosperous.In reading the book, I’ve come to realize that over the course of my career, both academic and professionally, I’ve encountered people who are more concerned with being bosses and not being leaders.

First off, one may think that leaders and bosses are one in the same. I’m not going to lie, I believed that. I always thought a boss was supposed to be a leader. However, that’s not the case.

I believe a leader is someone who helps their employees, their associates succeed, and most importantly, their company succeed. We are all supposed to work complete our daily tasks, that’s what work is. But a leader will show their employees how to complete the task. Recently, I encountered a few challenges at work; I was hesitant to talk to my supervisors out of fear. Like who wants to tell their boss they messed up, like come on! I was afraid of getting yelled at. But then I knew that by communicating with my bosses what was going on, they were going to help me. My supervisors took a few moments to show me how to correct the mistake so I won’t make the mistake the second time.

Although my supervisors helped me at that moment, there were moments where people of authority were mean- there’s no other way of saying it. Instead of helping others, these people would yell and not help at all. Honestly, it is really frustrating to see meanness in any level. Ultimately, we all want to succeed and prosper. In reality, there are people out there who love to see others suffer and not do anything with them.

From experience with certain people in my life, I’ve learned that those who are mean and are seemingly heartless have an immense chip on their shoulder that would take a crane to remove. Many people conceal their pain and insecurities in many ways, one of which includes lashing out on others. I believe that if we all communicated with others, especially at the toughest moments, there would be much more tranquility and peace.

But let’s face it… would we really take the time and explore other’s feelings if we knew how it would benefit us? Leaders do just that… they sense when their employees are in a rut or are “feeling somekinda way” and try to help and lending hand.

Now why some people don’t want to lead but want to boss? It’s very simple… If I am the smartest girl in my class and I tutor someone who is struggling in a certain subject, I would not spill my study tips; there’s a chance that student will have higher grades than me. I have tutored people in the past, without hesitation. The best thing one can do is learn every day. Even though I may teach someone something new, I am actually learning something new as well. I am learning how to teach someone and what limits I have. Teaching people how to do things requires a lot of patience, something I don’t have sometimes, but it’s through teaching people I learn to become more patient.

One of my life’s goals is to lead people to do well. Recently, I saw a high school friend who I was great friends with; in fact, she was my “little sister.” To hear her say years later that I inspired her to study English in college struck a chord in me. The best thing I can do for other people is share my stories and beliefs with people with the hope that something is learned. I know that although I may not psychically have lots of money, at least I know there are people who see me as a leader.

This brings me to the question… Do you guys think there’s a difference between a leader and a boss? If not, then does a leader have to boss people around for things to get done? I’d love to know your opinions!

Until next time!

 

—Stelly