Again, been slow on the updates but it’s not surprising. I’ve been struggling with being on top of my other activities and maintaining a routine with all the recent travel (Guatemala, North Carolina, Mexico, Chicago) and work becoming busier.
At times, it has been frustrating but at others, it’s been easy to just get caught up in it and completely forget prioritizing other important activities.
The following is a a brief list of things I’ve been reading, seeing, thinking about, and listening to. It probably dates back to March when I originally intended on publishing this post but I did get around to it!
A little mad at myself that I only seem to remember this site during holidays that align with my values. Again, I need to spend some time evaluating how I want to use this site…but in the meanwhile Feliz Día Internacional de la Mujer / international day of the women.
It is a time to pause and reflect to be grateful and to be critical of what has passed and how we will drive towards a better and more inclusive future. It’s an exciting time to be a woman and a Latina and I want to stress how much in awe I am of the shoulders of other women that I have stood on.
A lot has been done and even more needs to be accomplished. Last night, my roommate told me about a truly despicable case that have resulted in a Yale student being found not guilty in a blatant case of sexual assault. This is just one example of millions of how much more we truly need to do.
From gun control, to inclusion in tech and infosec, to equal pay between men and women and between men and WOC, to change rape culture at school and in workplaces, for safe spaces, for respecting indigenous people, to saving the environment, and more femme led businesses and countries and more. Today is a reminder of what needs to be done and you cannot forget the imperative need to positively contribute to whatever this movement will end up being called in the future.
On this corporate scam day, I’ve been reflecting on the all of love in my life, the power of femme friendships, what I am truly passionate about, and self love.
To put it briefly, I am so often in gratitude from the magnitude of love I have in my life and it is something I never want to take for granted.
Last night, I hungout with some of my friends in the spirit of galentines and that mostly consisted of wine, cheese, cupcakes, pizza, and lots of catching up. It truly is remarkable how cathartic being listened to and understood and heard and recognized is. Femme friendships are truly important above most other things.
Due to a minor scare which has left me spending more time relaxing and recovering, I’ve been indulging in more reading, elearning, and skill building. Scares can somehow manifest into joyful things that require you to adjust your time and energy into things that you are equally passionate about. It can be an exciting thing (depending on how you choose to look at it) or excuse to fully pursue more things that interest you.
Additionally, Adrian Grenier is an advocate for skipping straws and excess plastic usage which I find to be inspiring. I’d like to take the opportunity to remind you that bringing metal straws around, using a reusable water bottle, and saying no to plastic bags is much easier than you would think. Fighting for a future with a cleaner ocean that is not negatively impacted by plastic usage is something you can do through advocacy and life style changes. I’d like to encourage you to consider your impact and realize that you physically want to have as little negative impact as possible.
Lastly, since so much of valentines day is focused on love and dates and spending and candy I also would like to draw attention to the importance of mindful self love. Admittedly hard to spend time on when there is so much life going on but I just wanted to include really simple things that you can do to start practicing self love. None of these are particularly radical or revolutionary but as long as they make you happy and remind you to practice things that you enjoy, that is all that really matters.
Just another attempt at succinctly reviewing the past year of my life–and what a ride it has been.
I finished my college education with everything wrapping up beautifully, graduated(!), lived in a different country, read, traveled across the world, started my first full-time job, and moved into my own apartment. It wasn’t my most challenging year but mostly a time where I was able to reap the benefits of many years of really hard work and it felt amazing. I constantly had to pause and truly take a good look around because there was an overwhelming amount to be utterly grateful for.
In summary, this year has mostly been a transition year that was land marked by a major milestone–I graduated college. Graduation has been looming far beyond my reach for the entirety of my life and to now change my language to assert that I’m a college graduate is something I suddenly find myself taking for granted. I also now work for a global firm and that alone is such a change, to casually mention my work and job and receive only impressed responses. It feels good but also so strange. I also officially full-time live in New York which has been another thrilling dream to finally realize. I walk around and I see such friendly faces, a new neighborhood to explore, and the light reflecting on a building in a new way and I sigh and am so utterly grateful to be here. Going into this year with the comfort of the knowledge that I am exactly where I should be and where I’ve always wanted to be is such a blessing and I still don’t think I can quite adequately express it. Going forward into this year, I need to continue to make the right steps forward.
More generally, it has been a year where it seems like talk of change and talk of actual initiative that finally involves the oppressors is happening. However it is, at the same time, a time when radical events are constantly breaking news makes it harder to recognize what is normal or absolutely inexcusable when several shocking things are happening at once. More specifically concerning the U.S, it is a shame that the election of a blatant white supremacist is what required more white folks to recognize the ways they contribute to implicit and explicit forces of systematic racism in this country and that oppression and sexism firmly holds this country back from actual progress but I guess that understanding is the first real step to more change. Progress is progress and I recognize that it is slow and stubborn and so susceptible to massive back steps but I am tentatively optimistic for a positive direction forward in this upcoming year.
But, what genuinely worries me most is that a change in attitude when it comes to climate change and massive sustainability efforts will similarly require something truly devastating to happen–the loss of cities, climate change worsening political issues and hastening refugees, the extinction of several significant species at once, hotter and hotter years, and continued weather disasters. I often wonder, what will it take to make the excess of air conditioning, lack of recycling, diet changes, and overall truly simple and easy life style habits seem to be imperative necessity instead of the continuation of superfluous and embarrassing waste and disregard for yourself and others. When will these changes become a non-negotiable necessity versus a luxury of time, life style, and desire. This is something that will be a leading driver in my year and my life going forward. I look forward to figuring out how to encourage my friends and family to give the environment a second thought, without just shaming or guilting them.
Causes to Donate to
If you are willing and able, I’d love to encourage you to consider participating in #GivingTuesday. So much of the holiday season is consumed with buying and receiving and taking a pause to reflect on what you can give and how much impact you can have is a welcome relief.
I’d like to encourage you to consider giving to smaller grassroots efforts and some ideas include:
( the following is referenced from here )
Additionally, if you haven’t heard, net neutrality is on the chopping block again. Hear me out, even if you don’t think so, you will be affected by any changes with net neutrality.
Basic Information on the FCC Net Neutrality Repeal
The 5 W’s of this Issue
Who : Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent government agency in which the President and Senate appoint the 5 Commissioners that direct the FCC.
What : Come up with a new or broader classification for Broadband Communication. It is currently a Title II Communication.
When : December 14, 2017
Where : United States of America
Why : To improve broadband and allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to choose websites in which they’d like to block or charge extra money. This will benefit ISPs, large and small.
This link contains the actual draft the FCC will propose.
This link describes the Title II Communications in simple terms. It also goes into some possible effects of the negative interpretation of the draft.
An alternate interpretation of the draft. To reclassify Broadband Communication.
This link will provide you with information on how to contact your local Congress members.
Unfortunately, due to my life quickly changing, I haven’t had the time to sit down and write about anything during the past couple of months. It’s been a bit of a bummer, especially because I had a bunch of great things planned for Hispanic Heritage Month, Cybersecurity Month, #metoo and every outrageous thing that happened in the news…but here we are, right before Thanksgiving.
And right now, I really can’t help but admit that life moves pretty fast.
Taking a moment to pause and reflect on adulthood, I would say that it has been strange but fun. No major complaints aside from the general growing pains with figuring out how to adjust to a new schedule and new demands. I travel for work now, need to constantly update my calendar, message my friends when I’m in town and let them know that I’m alive and want to hangout, and spent a really horrible month searching for an apartment.
Presently, I’m feeling burnt out and slightly under the weather, but really grateful for my life. And that definitely feels weird. What also feels weird? The fact that I just went to my first homecoming and it was fun and my summer feels like a lifetime away and that I have work friends and coworkers and all of these new expectations. I love that my life is different and I am just easing into these new expectations. Life and work and friends and relationships are all challenging but not in bad ways. This is just an opportunity to truly live by the values I’ve been touting in college–no trial run this time.
I recently moved to Harlem, a choice that I initially felt unsure about, but now feel entirely confident that this was the best decision for me. I’m living with my close friend, who I’ve tried scheming living together for years. I have a room with a closet and windows and plants. I live in a beautiful community that is simultaneously bustling and restful and historical. I am near a large park that is full of people and children and dogs and trees. I’m near express trains and a whole foods and famous restaurants and multiple compositing sites. I walk and bike around and discover new beautiful sites and I’m genuinely happy here.
To me, if that is not a direct sign that things work out, I’m not sure anything is.
So far, I’ve visited several new cities I’ve seen before, signed up for my first triathlon, traveled for work, attended a bunch of amazing events, tried out new workout classes, consistently bike around the city and find new things, celebrated 3 years with my boyfriend, moved in my first apartment and bought furniture and become more independent, booked my first vacation, started paying off my loans, and attempted to figure out this balancing act.
Some early thoughts so far:
hey new grads! be very kind to yourself
you graduated college and if you have a job–great! pinch yourself everyday this year and remind yourself that you’re pretty great and you worked so hard for this. you cannot–you MUST not forget that you wanted what you are now doing so badly and you can’t take that for granted. but also, don’t rest on your laurels–keep on showing up and bringing it on.
if you don’t have a job–have faith. somehow, things work out and you’ll be there. also, please ignore social media, it’s so deceiving.
you can still be part of communities. you just need to seek them but you would be surprised how many new communities you can now be a part of.
use this as an opportunity to take yourself out of your comfort zone. show up to random events by yourself. reach out. don’t say no and do it.
find some random hobbies that you’ve always wanted to try.
Here’s the thing
I graduated this year and was proudly told to set the world on fire. Additionally, that my Jesuit education has ruined me for life. Both are fairly lofty and idealistic and I’ve been wondering: what do they actually mean? How can you use your college educated mind and Jesuit spirit going forward? To start: to never be blind to injustice and to not remain silent.
Because you cannot forget that being silent, complicit, passive, and complacent is so easy. Voicing your opinion, pointing out racism, and stepping up and being an ally can be uncomfortable. But your comfort is not and should not be of that much importance when there is so much at stake.
Even more valuable is your voice especially if you are a person of reputation, privilege, and access to many willing ears. As a privileged, educated, white-passing woman living in New York, this is something that I take incredibly seriously. My days are devoted to being a proponent of intersectionality in all forms and for calling out, educating myself and others, recognizing my mistakes and when I lack in knowledge, stepping back for all WOC/POC and assisting by being a platform in every way, holding others accountable and being able to fact check, and figuring out actionable steps.
Action is so important and continuous daily action is even more important. It can be exhausting and daunting but again, I can assure you that the continuation and such real harms of racism, corruption in government, dictatorship, and climate change puts so much of what we and you hold dear at stake.
It is a privilege to ignore and pretend that none of this affects you in any way. Facts are more important than anything and should never be ignored. Your ego and your indifference are dangerous.
Change is possible and progress is vulnerable to ignorance.
Never forget that. Never underestimate how much harm you can do just by doing nothing and never underestimate how much good you can do.
The time to go through your day with your head down is not today. Your success will mean very little if you passively let things happen that you vehemently disagree with. Love is important but it is not a band-aid solution just at the mere mention of it because, “‘Love’ that won’t fight or sacrifice isn’t love. ‘Love’ that demands submission to violence isn’t love'” (Ju-Hyun Park). Additionally, “The hate we are facing is white supremacist, capitalist, cisheteropatriarchal, and ableist. To combat it, we must anchor ourselves in love for the people targeted by these systems: Black, indigenous, Asian, colonized, poor, working, houseless, undocumented, migrant, refugee, queer, trans, nonbinary, women, femme, non-Christian and with disabilities” (Love Needs Fury To Defeat Hate).
You showed up at a march or two? That is an excellent start but resistance is a daily act. It is an act that should guide your every move and thought. Don’t forget that black lives matter, there are unreported atrocities occurring in non-Western countries everyday, trans lives are important, sexual assault is an epidemic, white women voted for Trump, Native American populations are amongst the highest rates of suicide, dictatorship is not a thing of the past and it evens happens in your hemisphere, global warming is real and you can’t ignore science, Nazis are unacceptable, if you are white/white passing you benefit from any amount of white supremacy and you must be part of the dismantling of it, posting online is not enough, inclusion and representation changes lives, undoing racism (along with plenty of other isms) in your life will change your life, white silence is violence, and there is so much more to be advocated for.
And now: “outrage is appropriate. action is productive. get angry. then act” (Brittany Packnett).
Who to follow
- Jesse Williams
- Junot Díaz
- Deray Mckesson
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Brittany Packnett
- Raquel Willis
- Susan Fowler
- Tracy Chou
- Ai-Jen Poo
- Constance Wu
- Coraline Ada
- Alden Wicker
- Dr. Adrienne Keene
- Alicia Garza
- Prisca Dorcas
- Cecile Richards
- Lauren Duca
- Wesley Lowery
- Neil DeGrasse Tyson
- The Love life of an Asian Guy
- Denene Millner
- Antonio Arellano
- John Lewis
- Grace Parra
- Alejandra Campoverdi
- Kashana Cauley
- Franchesca Ramsey
- Gene Demby
What can you do?
- Displaced by Harvey? Here’s How to Get Help
- Here’s How You Can Help People Affected By Harvey
- “If you’re mad about the #ArpaioPardon, here are some things you can do with that energy:”
- NYC Calendar of Protests
- Fact check. Show up. Call out. Stay aware. Stay aware of current and past debates. Educate others. Make a personal change. Stay present
- Donate–if you are able to!!. Put your money where your mouth is. Consider donating to smaller organizations where your money can go farther.
- A List of Organizations Dedicated to Helping Immigrants and Refugees That Need Your Support
- Here’s A List Of Organizations To Donate To That Support Women, Immigrants And Young People Post-Election
- Donate to: RAINN, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Friends of the Earth, Border Angels, Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, and more will be added.
- Also donate to: Audre Lorde Project, Black Youth Project,100%, and the Police Reform Organization Group.
- Propose new ways to raise awareness
- Stay apprised on new legislation. It is now very easy to do. Have your local legislators on speed dial.
- Join a group or start your own
- Organize!! Learn about community organizing, participate in your community.
- Be intentional about the little ways you can individually combat climate change. Change your living habits, recycle, buy second hand, bike, donate and more!
- Follow activists and activist organizations. Support POC/WOC artists. Be an ally. Read literature that was not intended for you. Write, blog, tweet, and have those uncomfortable conversations with your midwestern family members who don’t get it and voted for Trump.
- Unlearn the racism that you have been marinating in all of your life.
- Stay persistent. Live what you preach. Organize. Take responsibility
- Check your privilege on the daily. You may not be affected that has happened yet but you might be and if you’re lucky enough not to be affected, use your privilege to help others. You’re a white woman who suddenly gets it? Cool, you still have plenty of work to do.
- Be intentional about the little ways you can individually combat climate change. Change your living habits, recycle, buy second hand, bike, donate and more!
- Follow activists and activist organizations.
- Support POC/WOC artists.
- Be an ally.
- Volunteer–if you are able to. If you don’t have enough money to volunteer your time is valuable as well.
- Read literature that was not intended for you.
- Write, blog, tweet, and have those uncomfortable conversations with your midwestern family members who don’t get it and voted for Trump.
- Unlearn the racism that you have been marinating in all of your life.
- If you’re in school, use that space for on-campus activism and organizing.
- Host workshops, volunteer, create dialogues, organize a protest and more. Use that network of people to keep them engaged and aware.
- Pay for good journalism and demand journalism that does not present “alternative facts”.
- Stay engaged; stay mad; stay vigilant.
- Your civil engagement is essential to combat hate and discrimination.
- If you are white or white passing, use your privilege to be vocal and to people from marginalized groups a platform.
- If you have a platform (a sorority/fraternity, a ton of followers, access to thousands of people through your org/club/university) use it.
- Direct your political energies
- Run for something or support progressives
- Be vocal
- Report hate crimes
- There are many crowdsourced lists that you can use and follow for your activism ==> things you can do re: Charlottesville
- Checkout lists of Collective Action (this is in reference to Charlottesville) that you can participate and contribute to
- “BE VOCAL AND LOUD. Post on social media that you are anti-white supremacy and that you denounce white supremacists (who are domestic terrorists) as well as Nazis. Do the same in your actual not-online interactions–even more important” (Collective Action).
- Advocate to replace statutes in tribute to white supremacy
- Monitor online circulation of false news
- Readily have facts and stats prepared to correct inaccuracies mid-conversations
- Action steps concerning the latest but also following up on events that kept swept away by the news cycle
- Thoughts on Charlottesville
Shortly, I’m going to start my first full-time job. I’m still in disbelief (it’s MADDENING!) that all of this is actually happening but here I am at the end of the summer and the start of the rest of my life. As much as I want to claim that I know what to expect–I don’t. It’s exciting and unnerving (especially for someone who loves predictability in future plans). Life, at this instant, has every possible opportunity available and I’m ready for it.
Because life and plans are funny and often go astray, I’ve somehow spent this summer busy with various unexpected journeys and paths. Now, I have the chance to acknowledge how grateful I am to have had this time to pause, reflect, reset, and look forward to (real) adulthood.
Pause–what have I done this summer?
- A week after graduation, I flew down to Quito, Ecuador for several weeks because I knew I wanted to challenge myself to travel alone for a longer period of time and first-hand experience volunteering abroad right after graduation. After researching, plotting, stressing, and planning I ended up volunteering with an NGO that is stationed in the southern markets of Quito and I lived, worked, and travelled with other international volunteers. I worked in a professional Spanish-speaking environment and effectively worked, translated, led meetings, had one-on-one meetings with the director of the NGO, and discussed plans for the future of UBECI. While volunteering I also managed to travel all over Ecuador and spent a lot of time reflecting on ecotourism, international relations, “wanderlust”, sustainability, the difficulties international NGOs face, and the harms of voluntourism. I wrote about my time there and some reflections here.
- Once I returned home I spent a majority of my time rushing between CT, the Bronx, and NYC.
- Soon afterwards, I visited Asia (for the first time!) and spent a week in Seoul and a long layover in Beijing. Seoul was wild and truly remarkable in so many different ways–I further discuss my time and reflections here.
- I read a bunch of books and got back on Goodreads!
- Practiced Spanish grammar and began review French grammar. I also picked up Harry Potter A L’Ecole des Sorciers to help refresh my years of taking French.
- Moderated my news intake and upped my news in Spanish intake (particularly concerning Venezuela)
- Spent a good amount of mental energy concerned about Venezuela and climate change
- Sat with some of my past (regrettable) decisions and figured out what I’ve learned.
- Read some awesome science reads
- Saw all my friends transition into working life
After plenty of years of slacking on reading, I made it my 2017 mission to get back on track. After a slow start to the year due to attempting to read a father long fantasy novel and graduating, I’m back to focusing on reading this summer. I’ve read 8 books with topics ranging from fiction, self-help, science, technology, history, poetry, Spanish, nonfiction, and philosophy. The books I am currently reading are concerned with science, computer science, and climate change. Hopefully will finish a couple more this month.
My 2017 kickoff to my new habits started out great, as most new years resolutions do. Naturally, a hectic semester like a final semester of college definitely adds an additional challenge to things. Near the end of the semester, I kept up with my habits and monitoring my productivity, noting that giving myself some extra breathing room was essential. Once I graduated, I decided to temporarily forsake the monitoring of my habits and productivity and deleted the apps and spreadsheets that I used while I was in Ecuador. I instead focused on delving into the culture of Quito and reading some reads in Spanish. Within the next week I’m planning on going to a cafe and plan for future habits, productivity measurement, personal development, schedules during a power session–stay tuned.
My 2017 words
At the start of this year, I decided that my three words to guide my choices would be: persistence, go, and breathe. These words have definitely resonated in several ways. I felt as of my whole year (until recently, maybe due to reset mode?) has been driven by persistence. My final semester of college, I persisted despite the struggles and scary reality of graduating and passing, of anxiously moving forward, and my unclear summer plans. Go goes hand-in-hand with persistence, it’s what fueled everything and drove me forward to really successfully and proudly graduate. Additionally, go was what drove me to travel, to stray from the comfort of home, family, and friends. Lastly, breathe, was something that I focused almost entirely on while I was in Ecuador. I spent a lot of my time in awe that I felt so present and calm with my decision to be there and my everyday decisions while I was there. I woke up early and breathed and watched the sunrise and would go to sleep early, physically exhausted but so content. I know that for the remainder of this year, these words will need to re-manifest in appropriate ways as my life changes.
This is mostly for my benefit. I worked out, ate great food, read, reviewed French grammar, my instagram account seems vaguely like a travel account and I’m not sure how I feel about that, figured out my hobbies and plotted for new adult hobbies to take on, reconnected with new and old friends, and travelled and saw a whole lot more of the world and nature.
I speak from such a place of privilege, which is really something that has been heavy on my mind all summer. Especially when I’ve been insta-bragging and posting extravagant pictures from extravagant locations. That has not been lost on me. I’ve never spent this much time traveling and boasting about it–all my life, travel has really been a yearly treat. It seems as if going forward, it will become normal for me. I am grateful for these opportunities but I never want it to be lost on me that this is an enormous privilege that I can never take lightly and I hope to share with others. Additionally, I am looking to offset the climate impact of taking so many flights. Gratitude is something I carry everyday and taking anything that life has given me for granted is a great concern. Life has been kind to me.
Currently, I’m only holiday with my family in Antigua. Spending my last bit of time emotionally, physically, and emotionally relaxing and resetting in preparation for a hectic transition–that will hopefully be accomplished with grace. My reset mostly consists of sun, sunscreen, books, planning, and blogging.
What’s been on my radar?
Movies–Wind River. 10/10 would recommend (and maybe should write a review concerning it, because it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a while) (but I also recognize the many ways in which it was problematic and triggering and this is my perspective as a Non-Native Person)
Other–probiotics, cardio kickboxing and skipping rope, Harlem, elastic workout bands, hiking, and mostly plotting future travels
- Finding an apartment (something I’m perfectly dreading)
- Best transitioning to my first full-time position. Looking forward to professional development !
- Figuring out to align my values so that my work is purpose-driven (or at least, complemented by it)
- Adjusting to work/life balance
- Continuous mentorship !
- Joining a new neighborhood and becoming a member of a new community
- Refining, progressing, and developing my passions, ideals, beliefs, and activism and hopefully inspiring others similarly
- Living a life that is fueled by sustainability, activism, direct action, love, fitness, and professional development
Somehow, I managed to fit in another trip in what is turning out to be a summer unlike any other. Every time I’ve said, well this is my last trip or time in my life where I’ll have this opportunity to travel, I manage to go on yet another one. This time, I was with my good friend Claire, and we spent a week exploring Seoul. I’m so thankful that she convinced me to come and expertly, lovingly, and intentionally showed me around her beloved city. Since coming back home, I’ve described Seoul and South Korea as plenty of things, as New York but better, New York on steroids, and an amusement park of a city. It was my first time venturing to Asia and as expected, it blew my mind in more ways than one.
The following are some reflections from my observations from the past week:
Over so soon–six weeks have flown by and now I’m preparing to head back home this Friday. But, as excited as I am, I can’t get over what I real wonderful time I’ve had in Ecuador volunteering and traveling.
I am full of nothing but utter gratitude and real inner peace with my decision to have come to Ecuador. At times it has been challenging, but mostly it’s been fun. Ecuador is nothing short of beautiful in more ways than one, and throughout my time here I was often unable to stop staring out of my various windows, awe-struck and just grin to the point of tears at the sincere kindness that I’ve been met with. There have been countless laughs, very few tears, unreal sunrises on the mountains that surround Quito, and an amount of time that has allowed me to remain present.
The following are some reflections from my observations from the past few weeks.