Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 Reflections


Every year I write a reflection blog post about the things I experienced or about the main lesson I learned throughout the year. 2014 was all about living my life to the fullest and living in the moment. And I know for a fact I tried my hardest to do both this year.

2015’s lesson: “Love Yourz”. This lesson was brought to me by none other than my fave rapper, J. Cole. With the release of his December 2014 album, 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J. Cole dropped one single gem on me; a gem I’ve needed to hear my entire life.

Ever since I can remember I have always imagined how much better my life would be if I was a different person. As a child I would fantasize about how cool I would be if I had a different name and looked “Latina.” In high school I would visualize myself having a bunch of fancy clothes and somehow equated that with having a better, much cooler life. I used to always look at my life as boring and stale. The crazy thing is I felt this way despite my friends/peers constantly wishing for the brand new car I drove at age 16, the large family I have, and the attractive culture I come from. But that was never enough for me. I always wanted more.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Standing On My Own


I moved the arrow on my computer screen over the “send” option and paused. Will my fellow Afro-Latinas like this? Am I representing myself, my culture, and them in a positive way? Is this even a good idea? At the very last minute doubt crept in, and it was strong. But at that point the thing I’d been working on for two weeks straight (bouncing ideas off of friends, finalizing the header, researching women to feature, compiling article links) had to go out. There was no reason it shouldn’t. It was done, it was ready, I sent it.

“Doubt can only be removed by action.”

The idea to start Es Mi Cultura -a monthly newsletter that spreads awareness of the wonderful contributions Afro-Latinas are making to further advance our presence- randomly came out of nowhere. I had been wanting to start a newsletter all year, but had no idea what purpose it would serve. But now when I think about it, the idea specifically for Es Mi Cultura came to me at the right time; which is why it was perfectly launched during Latino Heritage Month.

The doubt I experienced on launch day was also felt in the days and weeks leading up. My feelings were very up and down. The ups were the excitement of producing something with information I am passionate about. The downs came in the form of self-doubt, at the hands of social media.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Home


It’s fall now, so when I leave my apt I have to remember to grab a jacket. I walk down the stairs to the lobby of my building and pass the young children playing ball in the hallway. As I approach the door to exit, I hold it open for an elderly lady who is coming in. She passes me and says, “Gracias, Mi Amor.” I smile at her. And I smile because I am home.

Home, literally. But more importantly, home in the figurative sense. Although I have only lived in my upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights for a year now; I am comfortable and this is home. California will always be my home too. That is where my family is, it’s where my heart is. It’s where I was made. 



But NYC is where I became alive, it’s where I started living. And my Washington Heights neighborhood is where I belong.

I walk up Broadway and feel comfort, I’m amongst my people. The old man who sits on his stoop and hollers out to his friends in Spanish; he reminds me of my Abuelo Victor who does the same from the porch of his house in Panamá. The woman who owns the Bodega and recognizes me, she calls me, Mami. The Coquito lady and her cart are still stationed in the same place she’s been all summer. A few months ago, for a dollar she would hand me a small cup filled with memories of the many Raspados I had as a child. Now she hands customers a steaming hot drink to combat the chilly weather.

It’s the blonde haired Dominican woman, Gloria, who waves and smiles as I pass by her hair salon. She doesn’t know English and my Spanish is sketchy but she always knows exactly what to do with my hair. Our lack of communication reminds me of my cousins in Panamá, who I also just smile and nod at. It’s the women in the nail shop, with heads full of pink rollos, who remind me of Ma and my Tías. The fellas laughing in front the nearby barber shop remind me of my brother. 


Read More: HERE


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It Could Be Worse...




This time of year always reminds me of family…the family I have yet to create. Thanksgiving and Christmas reminds me of the home I don’t yet own. The home that is not decked out like my parents; with a tree, decorations, and lights hanging outside. This time of year is actually very lonely and depressing.



When I moved to NYC over three years ago, I never once considered the things I would be sacrificing to follow my dreams. Many of the sacrifices I have been able to deal with, but not being with some kind of family on holidays is the sacrifice that hurts. It’s like a wound that becomes fresh and painful every November. 





But to keep it 100 percent honest. This sad holiday feeling didn’t start when I moved to NYC. Even when I lived in Cali and would go to holiday gatherings with family and friends, the pain was still there. It was hard to be at those events when everyone was there with their significant other and/or their children. And then there I was. Just me, with my parents. I hated those moments and would often share my feelings with my mother. One time I remember her telling me, “You’re making it worse than it actually is. No one thinks of you differently because you’re not married and don’t have kids. It’s all in your head.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Erica Nichole: Personal Blogger & Writer

Personal Blogger, writer, and wine enthusiast, Erica Nichole will close out 2015 with a few new accolades under her belt. From hosting successful events, and co-authoring a book, From Blank Space to Blogging Brilliance, to obtaining the Love & Relationship Editor position with xoNecole, and winning the People’s Choice award at the 2015 Afro-Latinas Who Rock awards brunch; Erica has no plans of slowing her momentum in 2016.
For the last six and a half years this Afro-Cubana has penned some of the most jaw-dropping, yet eye-opening pieces on her blog, Everything ENJ. Erica has created a space where women can find comfort in knowing their experiences are solely not their own. In doing so, Erica has also positioned herself in a place where her words are impacting and shaping the careers and minds of her peers and those following in her footsteps.
In the interview below, Erica talks about her Afro-Latina identity as a child, her future career plans, and how she balances her family and finding time for herself.
Read More: Here

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I Need My Own Space, Again...



I need my own space again, and it’s no one’s fault but my own. After graduating from college, I said goodbye to the ups and downs of living with roommates and was more than eager to have my own place. In doing so I got accustom to doing my own thing. From blasting music at 2am and having guests and gatherings, to choosing not to have any company and enjoying the peace and quiet; whatever happened in my apt IT WAS MY CHOICE. I miss that.

Last year when the lease was up on my Brooklyn apartment, I decided I wanted to live in the city. Well unless you’re ballin’ (which I am not), affording to live in Manhattan on your own usually doesn’t happen. So I had to compromise my alone time to live in the neighborhood of my choice.
At first living with roommates wasn’t bad at all. Everyone in my apartment has their own stuff going on, so we randomly see each other in passing. And I am completely fine with that. Everyone does their part to somewhat keep the apartment clean, and there really isn’t much one could complain about.