perspective. patience. purpose.

People who suffers from PTSD are prone to problematic patterns when placed in positions of perilous predicaments such as a pandemic. My method of survival is perspective, patience, and purpose.

When you suffer from any sort of mental health condition (and even when you don’t!) you have to be hyper vigilant and self aware when faced with high stress situations so that you can find ways to self-soothe. It is easy to go down the rabbit hole of anxiety, paranoia, and depression; So you need to do something to regain perspective and maintain your sanity. Spending time at home should not be looked at like a punishment. Your home should be your safe space, and you should be your own best friend. Learn to be alone with yourself – Silence and solitude can be comforting; even enjoyable. It’s all about perspective.

Many of the people I’ve talked to seem to be struggling a great deal with quarantine. I make a conscious choice every day to look at the situation positively. I stop and think about what I can do to make each day enjoyable. I plan my day and my time with Peanut. I make up projects for us – The organization factor makes it feel more like an event and less like just being at home. I choose to take this time to make memories instead of misery. And I don’t spend money to do things; I don’t have money to waste. We have dance parties in the living room with twinkling white lights from Christmas; we have movie nights; we FaceTime with friends. Today we laid on a blanket under the fan on high and pretended it’s a beach day with Coldplay playing on the boom box. Little simple plans.

It’s easy to fall into feelings of despair. Life is chaotic and stressful on its own, so when you add a pandemic, it magnifies the intensity of any negative feelings. It’s hard to see beyond the fog of the current terrible situation, and sometimes we need to be reminded to keep going. One of my favorite quotes is from a limited series (highly underrated), called Political Animals:

So that’s what I do, Reader. I keep going. And I want you to keep going. And I know it requires patience – which some of us lack. But I’m hopelessly hopeful (as is tattooed on my arm).

A great way to keep perspective is to have purpose. My purpose is Peanut.

What is your purpose? What keeps you going? You don’t need to have a tiny human. Maybe it’s your fur babies, or your goals to change the world, your bff, your mom, your goal to someday play Carnegie hall… Nothing is too great or too small.

Five little things I’m grateful for today: 1) that when I fell I only sprained my wrist and elbow and didn’t break anything; 2) Peanut is being super chill while I write this; 3) that it’s been hardcore raining (I LOVE the rain!!); 4) homemade chocolate chip cookies a friend dropped off; 5) Coldplay – Peanut and I are relaxing to some mellow Coldplay songs.

What to watch: Political Animals starring Sigourney Weaver. It was a limited time series but really fucking amazing. Although I am bias because I am a huge fan of hers but it is very smart and well written.

Pup pics: rainy days laziness and snuggles

will you be my valentine?

Growing up I knew a different version of Valentine’s day; I knew it to be: el dia de amor y amistad (the day of love and friendship). Celebrating the day ranged from being with your partner, to spending the day with your family, or the family you made; your friends. It wasn’t necessarily about romance and expensive overthetop corn ball stuff, or needing to have a significant other. I’ve never liked the custom of spending the day either overpaying for dinner and flowers, or being alone crying into a tub of ice cream acting like Bridget Jones (a sad single dumpy spinster).

Needless to say, I prefer my definition of Valentine’s day, and this year I get the best Valentine of all – my baby Peanut! Also, you are all my valentines, and I want you to know that you are special and I appreciate you!

Honestly, I wish the concept of Valentine’s day would become about platonic love and friendship. I remember going out with a group of friends in Mexico, getting milkshakes at a 50’s style diner. No pressure, no sense of inadequacy, no need to impress anyone. Just a day to spend with and remember to say to the ones you care about, “I love and appreciate you. You are important to me.”

What I’m watching: The Outsider on HBO is so interesting! I was skeptical because Stephen King is involved and he tends to fuck up story lines halfway towards the end, but so far I’m really invested in figuring out the inevitable twist. Who else is watching this gem?

I’m also trying really hard to watch Shrill on Hulu. It’s one of those shows that has excellent representation of minorities in lead roles and turns societal expectations on their head, so I really want to show it some love, but I just can’t seem to get into it. Something about it falls flat for me. Do any of you watch it? Does it get better further into the first season?

Tech specs: okay, this is more of a tech complaint – what the hell happened to fingerprint readers on smartphones?? Who decided we didn’t want or need them, and how can I find them to yell at them? I am currently testing a Google Pixel 4, and I personally use an iPhone 11 pro max. Both are brand new devices and the most recent versions available, and BOTH do not have fingerprint readers!! What the fuck tech world?!? Because of this annoying “update” to smartphones (or downgrade, if you ask me), I refuse to get rid of my international Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (dual sim, lightweight, and HAS A FINGERPRINT READER).

Random thought: I want to share the same note I posted on Facebook – I say this with love: this past week I have heard a lot of “not feeling well” from friends… here’s my blanket response to anyone who is feeling even slightly off:

KEEP YOUR CHUPAKABRA BUD LIGHT CHUMBAWUMBA VIRUS AWAY FROM ME!! When your symptoms clear, let me know so I can avoid you for another 4-6 weeks. (Lol!)

But seriously, please be careful out there. There are tons of viruses going around right now that seem to be worse than before. Make sure to take the proper precautions to ensure you and your loved ones can remain healthy during cooties season.

Doggy picture of the week: snuggle session doggy pile up!

why can’t we be friends?

You may often hear me saying, “expectation is the root of heartache”; which is my mantra I repeat to myself when trying to reconcile reasons or rationale for hurtful behavior by my loved ones. I try not to expect much of you, my friends, because I love you enough to know you are flawed (as am I) and therefore just as succeptable to making a mistake as I am. As we grow attached to people, our expectations of them grow as well, based on the assumption that the growth of attachment we feel is reciprocated. If you are important to me, I must be important to you. This is where we set ourselves up for heartache, making assumptions and expectations of others. So what’s the right way to approach love and friendship?

When I was in the hospital about to deliver Peanut I was extremely scared because of the negative experience I was having, and too embarrassed to ask anyone to come be by my side. I got terribly lonely in the middle of it all. I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t trust any of my close friends to be there, my problem was I didn’t think anyone cared about me enough to want to be there with me. Birth is intense and awkward and I didn’t want to put anyone out. I now realize that perhaps there were some people I could and should have called. It’s just hard for me to believe when someone genuinely wants to be involved in my single parenting journey.

It’s been an unexpected journey where people who I thought I would lose, stepped up their support game; and people who I genuinely thought would be interested and involved have gone almost full on ghost status. This has left me to wonder if I’m doing this all wrong. Am I adulting wrong? Friendshipping wrong? All of the above?

Reader, do you keep friends around that you have grown apart (become very different people) out of respect for the length of time you have known each other? Or is there a point where you cut your loses and say, “we no longer talk or have anything in common, and I’m tired of trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t reciprocate the interest in our friendship maintenance?”

I find myself struggling with this – and to be clear, this is not about distance or frequency of interactions. I have friends in other states, other countries even, and sometimes we talk every day, sometimes we don’t get to talk for months, and sometimes we don’t see each other for years – but the quality of each interaction is substantial and real; with depth and closeness. So my struggle is those friends you think you have, whom you’ve had that closeness with in the past, and who now feel like a stranger.

What I’m watching: The Stranger on Netflix really got me hooked. I was skeptical at first, as it took a moment to make connections within the storyline, but once it got going I just couldn’t stop watching. As the story unfolds, plot twist after plot twists comes at you and you are knee deep in it with the characters trying to figure it all out. Highly recommend it!

Tech specs: do you want something that sounds as nice as apple bluetooth earbuds without costing about as much as a car payment? Meet the Monster Clarity 101s. These are nifty little true wireless earbuds that fit extremely comfortably in your ear, sound amazing, and come in a unique twist open charging case (avoiding the easily broken hinge-open charging cases). Best of all, they are often on sale and will cost you no more than $50. I use them and I couldn’t be happier.

Random thoughts: Not so random, RIP Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant. Made my latest renditions of famous paintings in their memory –

Featured pet pic: sleepy Walter looks so sweet (versus his regular old cranky disposition)

let’s talk about nature’s horchata…

I was at dinner with some friends and found myself in a ton of awkward discomfort because of (what my good friend Anthony cleverly referred to as) nature’s horchata. What is that, you ask? Breast milk! I complained about the pain I felt because I hadn’t pumped all day. The general consensus seemed to be that the topic was gross. Later, as I drove home, I wondered: why is the topic of breast milk so taboo? Why do people automatically say “eww” or “gross” about breast milk?

WHY is breast milk something gross I should be ashamed to talk about? I should NOT need to learn the hard way or be ashamed to discuss leaky breasts from breast milk, Engorged discomfort, Painful nipples, etc. I have heard my friends discuss gastrointestinal issues, medical concerns, sexual situations, and gory descriptions with comfort and ease. If blood, bowels, and boners are okay to discuss freely, why is breast milk different? Talking about your BM (bowel movement) is free game, but my BM (breast milk) should be a hidden shame? I can’t help but be offended that Dr Pimple Popper is socially acceptable but breast milk is socially detestable. After all, some of you survived your first year of life off breast milk. It provides sustinance and nutrients. It is not toxic, contagious, or even viscous (unlike some of the other things that come out of the human body!). It baffles me that I should be willing to listen about diarrhea and mucous but my breast milk grosses some out? Guess which one of those three bodily fluids is healthy to consume and clean? Not your shit. Literally.

Fuck the shame. Breast milk isn’t gross. And you know what, I tasted it (as I’m sure most moms do) and it was not gross. And it leaks. Sometimes everywhere. My boobs hurt and feel uncomfortable. And sometimes I pump and sometimes I breast feed and I don’t like either sensation. Sorry not sorry. To all of you who think it’s gross: I guarantee you are much more gross than breast milk.

What I’m watching: on brand with my current “fuck you I will talk about all women’s issues we pretend don’t exist” mood, I am watching Netflix’s Grace & Frankie. If you haven’t seen this show, you are truly missing out! This show is magical because of the strong female leads of a certain age (who happen to be two of the best actors Hollywood is lucky to have grace the small screen), combined with story lines that consist of clever comedy and courageous characters facing challenges of change and chaos later in life. I am currently watching season 6 and like the previous seasons it is highly bingeworthy!

Tech Specs: I was recently at Target and saw the latest and greatest in 4k smart TVs. If you are like me, a bitch on a budget, you don’t have a smart TV because all your older TVs work just fine. If that’s the case, I want to show you my fix for my favorite streaming – the Roku. I’m sure you’ve seen it or heard of it, it’s an easy way to plug into your TV and stream all the popular streaming services. BUT I am adding this nugget of commentary: you do not need the newest and best versions of Roku! I am still running on a second generation Roku and it’s working just fine. I watch all my shows on Hulu and Netflix without a single issue. I mention this because an older model will cost you a third of the cost of the newest versions with minor bells and whistles upgrades. Save your coins, kids! Streaming doesn’t have to break the bank!

Randomness: I’m in this weird (nesting maybe?) mentality where I feel I need all new blankets. I just bought a “sweater style” blanket. I don’t like the super fuzzy ones or the Sherpa lined nonsense. I don’t know what type of blanket I want but I want it to be warm without being too heavy or having an awkward texture. Maybe something knit? I don’t know. But I sure have spent far too many hours looking at blanket descriptions online…

*New section* Doggy pic of the week:

(Vinny refuses to sleep in his own bed and insists Charles should share)

Broken Bones & Baby Blues…

When I was pregnant, I carried Peanut very high and could literally feel her putting tons pressure on my rib cage, making it difficult to breathe or move my upper body. It came to the point where I sneezed and heard a loud POP! – Busted my ribs. I’ve broken ribs before but not being able to take meds or relieve the pressure made the rest of my pregnancy extremely painful.

The last time I broke ribs, I will admit, I relied heavily on opiods. I don’t have an addictive personality so although I did take a lot of pills on a daily basis, I was able to pull myself out of the fog without the unfortunate reprocussions that many others have suffered.

This time around I am in massive upper body pain and pushing through without opioids; instead slowly working on repairing the damage through physical therapy (along with my busted hip injured during delivery). I am not gonna lie, it’s been very difficult. The pain triggers my anxiety and PTSD. Sometimes I can’t even sleep from the pain and anxiety, but I am committed to taking the proper route of recovery for Peanut. She is the motivation that gives me strength to push through.

Does postpartum baby blues by proxy exist? My little guy, Charles the terrier, is really struggling since before the arrival of Peanut. When I went to the hospital to deliver Peanut, Charles did not sleep. The entire time I was gone – over 5 days – he waited anxiously hoping I would return and wondering where I was. When I finally got home his eyes were so heavy from sleep deprivation that he could barely stand. He stayed by my side for days after; getting nervous every time I was getting ready to walk out the door.

Since Peanut’s arrival, everything has been constantly changing to meet the needs of the household. I’ve had to manage keeping her in a separate extra clean environment with the dogs at a bit of a distance for the time being while she is still so small; balanced with ensuring that the dogs aren’t suffering too greatly from all the changes. Walter is stubborn but adapts quickly – though he gives you a dirty look the ENTIRE time. Vinny (bless his heart) is dumb as a bag of rocks and just does what he’s told. But Charles, the sensitive boy, struggles the most. He is sad and cries and I try my best to be there for him while still tending to Peanut’s needs first. Any of you experienced postpartum problems with your pups?

What I’m watching: I have randomly found myself watching Life with Fran on Hulu (Fran Drescher pictured above). I had never heard of this show but figured it can’t be too bad – I was a Nanny fan. There was only 2 seasons made, and it is essentially Nanny 2.0; Cheesy PG wholesome family comedy. It seems silly but with the current state of politics and crap like overdramatized reality tv and documentaries, this show is a good palette cleanser for the tv viewer soul.

Tech specs: ANY Motorola smartphone! From their budget E series to the mid-range G series, up to the high quality Z and X series. I have one of each series and these have got to be the most underrated underestimated smartphones. They pack a solid aspect ratio even at the budget series level, solid speeds and hardware, and run on the latest Android version. I will have to do a blog devoted to all things Motorola. But if you need a budget or midrange phone, DEFINITELY go to Motorola FIRST. And if you want a high end phone that isn’t exactly like everyone else I recommend the Z and X series, or their new One series. Of note: They are also bringing back the Motorola Razr smart version but I wouldn’t get in on the first go at it – first run is always a buggy mess!

Random thoughts: Not so random – my heart goes out to my fellow Latinos in PR and the struggles they are facing after these natural disasters. Please HELP! Donate to send aid to Puerto Rico:

Hispanic Federation

https://www.hispanicfederationunidos.org/

American Red Cross

https://www.redcross.org/local/puerto-rico.html