“It” Girl

I will never be an “it” girl.

I will never be a stunning model.

I will never have six pack abs,

Or perfect, luscious hair,

Or a flawless complexion.

No…

My figure is average, face…probably forgettable,

My pancita is soft,

Marked with the history of becoming of a mother,

My hair is unspectacular,

y un poquito loco when I decide not to tame it,

My face is blemished, minimally made-up,

if only for a lack of ganas to wear make-up.

No, I will never be an “it” girl.

I will never have hundreds of thousands of followers on my Instagram,

Probably never be discovered and skyrocket to fame for a hidden talent,

But I have mi familia y mis amigos loving, not just “liking” me,

I share my talents with those who care to listen and see without expectation,

I embrace my normalcy but thrive in my ability to be chingona,

I will never be an “it” girl,

But I am a strong, silver hoop-wearing Latina,

I am a capable, independent woman,

caring and doing for her son,

giving day and night everything that I can to see a better future for us,

Working every day to create wealth that can be passed down long after I am gone,

Breaking cycles of struggle and hardship,

Building a strong name for my family for generations to come,

Working hard and loving harder…

I will never be an “it” girl,

Because all of this Latina poder y fuerza cannot be contained

in a two letter word.

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Money Moves

Life has been super challenging lately. I’m recently separated and still trying to adjust to living off of my own income. It’s been a real struggle. I vowed to myself that I’d abolish all of my debts within a year or so. I’m sick of being behind, sick of being in the hole, sick of relying on others to do for me. I’d decided I had enough. Shortly after the split, I started trying to figure out what to do. Cut costs. Try to pay the debts one at a time, biting the bullet on late payments and delinquent accounts. My credit took a major hit, angering me since I was always so careful about taking care of it. I felt defeated, like I wasn’t going to get out of debt on my own.

I knew that I couldn’t make it off of my single income. It just wasn’t going to happen. So, I reached out to my peers from my service industry days… the dread of returning to a restaurant to serve people overcame me. I always told myself I’d never do it again, after spending over two years waiting tables at The Olive Garden (worst serving job ever!). Yet, there I was… trying to see how quickly I could start serving as a part-time gig. Luckily, a former coworker came through for me and hired me quickly.

Let me say this: my mom was not happy. I already work a steady, full-time job with benefits… so, to her: why did I need another job? Everything would be ok! I’m gonna miss quality time with my son… I explained that I didn’t want to be in debt anymore; I didn’t want to feel suffocated by bills; I wanted to take care of it now, so I can enjoy time with my son later. Most importantly, I wanted to set my son up for financial freedom in the future. He’s barely one, so I felt now was the time. It would be harder later. Ignoring the criticism, I took the part-time job, serving on the Riverwalk. I haven’t been there long, but the extra income is definitely helping me chip away at the debt quickly. Yes, I’m tired already. It’s hard working long days at the office, stressing over things that don’t directly affect me, then having to head to job number two on the weekends… I feel the affects on my sleep and my body already. What keeps me going is knowing that I’ve already made progress in this short time. My credit plummeted after the split… it’s now up 30 points in the few weeks that I’ve made the extra income. That’s a huge motivator for me.

I’m quickly seeing the positive results of my new financial journey. Changing my spending habits, minimizing my expenses as best that I can, creating and sticking to a budget. All of these steps are getting me closer to true independence. I will say that I started reading and listening to Dave Ramsey’s books and podcasts. I truly dislike him as a person (he has this covert arrogance about him…well, maybe not so covert), but his methods seem pretty sound to me. I plan to incorporate some things that I’m learning from him little by little. So what’s my plan? Serve for a year, throw all the extra cash at the debt, try to get back on my feet and in my own apartment within twelve months. I’m holding myself accountable by writing this here. You all, readers, need to hold me accountable, too. I’ll need all the support I can get.

Positively Uncomfortable

It’s difficult to break away from what feels comfortable- that dingy, oversized t-shirt, those ratty tennis shoes you’ve had since high school, the super supportive, but ugly bra you’ve had for years. But there comes a time when it’s necessary to step out of your comfort zone and move forward. There comes a time when you have to think of the future and what’s best for you. That first step is daunting, even terrifying at times. You question yourself incessantly: “Is this the right choice?” “Will I regret it?” “What if I fail?” You might take a step backward in the process, returning to what’s easier rather than pushing forward, but what’s easier isn’t always what’s right.

I’ve found, at least for me, that being comfortable usually means becoming complacent… or simply settling for much less than you deserve. This is dangerous. We only have one life to go after the things that we want, to make our mark on the world, to change it in some way. When we settle for what’s comfortable, we settle for the bare minimum. We settle for living paycheck to paycheck, going without seeing the world, living day by day lazily. It’s definitely easier to do this. It requires minimal work ethic, drive, and motivation, but settling rarely gets us the true contentment that we all seek. No, it’s the challenging moves that truly push us along. It’s the moments in which we’ve taken some risk that truly help us to grow, help to define us, and help us to achieve our biggest goals.

I’ve made some uncomfortable decisions- difficult decisions- lately. It was the first step out of my comfort zone that was the hardest, and it’s far from over. I know that the days ahead of me will be tricky, the nights will be lonely, my son’s meltdowns will be hard to handle on my own, but I find comfort in knowing that I’m making a necessary change. A positive change. No matter how hard it may be to see that every day, I have my moments of clarity during which I know that I’m doing the right thing. Not the comfortable thing.

Think long and hard about it…

I remember, years ago, anticipating the day of my wedding. I envisioned a huge, white wedding, flowers and sparkles everywhere, the man of my dreams waiting at the end of a aisle for me. I expected unconditional love, peace, happiness, and understanding. Fast-forward to the age of 28 and my ideas of marriage and love have vastly changed. I have been married for nearly eight years and have struggled to maintain a positive marriage for a majority of that time. We are on the brink of a failed marriage…

When I think back to where it may have gone wrong, I wrestle with the reality that it was probably wrong from the very beginning. Firstly, I was married so young… at the age of 20. A lot of people have successfully found their lifetime partner at that age, some even younger, but the truth is that I was too young. I had a lot of growing up and experiencing to do… doing those things alone can be a lot, but trying to do those things with another person is even harder. It’s like a battle between figuring out what you want for yourself, understanding your true identity, and forcing those new discoveries to fit your role as a spouse; it doesn’t always mesh. Secondly, I wasn’t totally sure of myself. I didn’t know with absolute certainty that I wanted to get married, but I did it anyway. That may have been the greatest mistake of all. Not listening to my self-doubt. It’s there for a reason.

So while I try to navigate my way through separation and the foggy future ahead of me, I just want to put my two cents out there: think long and hard about the commitment, patience, and flexibility that is necessary for a successful marriage. It isn’t always unconditional love, peace, happiness, and rose-colored everything. It’s a true test of strength and integrity.

Back to school…?

I really need to manage my time better and post more regularly! It’s so hard figuring out how to balance my work life, mom life, and personal life…

So lately, as I previously expressed, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut. I wouldn’t say I’m absolutely disappointed with how my career is going, but I’m definitely discontent. Anyone who is close to me knows that my original plan was to make it big as a novelist, but I decided to study to become a professor, which I figured would give me a bit more job security. I was all for it. On my way. Graduated with my B.A. in English, then close to completion with my M.A. in English Literature and Language… so close. You see, I had an epiphany while nearing the end of my graduate coursework: tenure-tracked professors are becoming increasingly rare.

I remember seeing a mini-documentary (I WISH I could remember the name, but check out this insightful article: https://www.agb.org/trusteeship/2013/5/changing-academic-workforce ) about college professors living off welfare and struggling to make ends meet… AFTER accumulating tens of thousands in student debt. That killed me. Killed my dream of teaching at a collegiate level. I read into it, and, of course, found that there was an upward trend to hire adjunct. I think that was the exact moment my career path changed. I didn’t want to pursue it anymore; if I decided to stay and work through it, I’d still have to get my PhD to have a shot at landing a good job at a four-year university. But even then, who knew if I’d land a job?

So here I am, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life… what do I want to be when I grow up? 😂 I need something that can challenge me but also provide a good creative outlet. It’s hard figuring out exactly what that is… even harder getting past the thought that I’m wasting time and getting older every day that I’m not getting ahead. How do you ignore that voice in your head, saying “it’s too late?” The answer is: you don’t. Use that voice to propel yourself further ahead. Use that possibility for failure to push you to succeed. Sure, it’s easier said that done (I, for one, know this is going to be the challenge of my life), but nothing good in life is easily obtained. Sometimes we have to fight, struggle, maybe shed some blood, sweat, and tears… that’s what makes life interesting, after all.

So as I figure out what I’m going to do, where I am going to go, I encourage you to take that risk you’ve been dwelling on, go on that once-in-a-lifetime excursion that you’ve been dreaming of, or, shit! just buy the damn boat that you’ve been working toward! We only get to do this once… so do it!

Moving day

~ this post may contain affiliate links.

Despite my greatest efforts to avoid moving, we have been told by our landlord that we have to move out. We had requested an extension on our lease, but he is selling the home. Since we are not in a position to buy, we have to move on… So, after a laborious search through various rental properties, we finally signed a contract for a two-story home for the next two years. While I am glad and grateful that our soon-to-be landlord allowed us to extend the lease much longer then the original contract offered, let me just say…I hate moving!

Since I started living on my own, I have moved probably once a year because of the consistent hike in rent in apartment homes. Last year, my husband and I decided to try a rental home with the hope that we would not have to move for a couple of years. Unfortunately, the circumstances weren’t so, and here we are: moving again. So I’m spending the bulk of my week and weekend packing box after box after box of crap that we mostly don’t use but can’t seem to give up, and I’m realizing that moving was hard before but now, with a baby, it’s near impossible. I have enlisted my parents to watch baby G while I try to finish packing everything in this house over the next several days… hoping it goes smoothly and quickly.

There’s something about moving that makes me feel like I’m closing a chapter in my book, hoping for a better subsequent one. It’s like starting fresh, a new beginning… Sifting through the old and worthless junk, putting aside the things you are uncertain about, safely packing away the things that are most valuable to you. It’s a long and tedious process, but it helps you to better define what your future expectations are and how you can obtain new goals. Moving sucks, but sometimes, no matter how hard, you can see the beauty in it. It’s time to embrace a fresh start! Keep my mind open to the latest chapter in my book with grace and positivity. Or, at least, fake it until I make it haha cheers!

Mother and Recover… the hardest feat so far

~this post may contain affiliate links.

Y’all, being a parent is hard!

I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy role to fulfill. I knew there’d be sleepless nights and nasty blowouts, but I didn’t think about how hard it would be to be sick and dealing with the every day occurrences of parenthood. I spent the last couple of weeks sick because of a couple of different health issues. Trying to take care of myself and Baby G was difficult! I was trying to keep him entertained while trying to keep myself afloat. It was not fun. Probably the worse part of it all was not being able to smother my baby in kisses 🙁 you don’t realize just how much you love on your baby until you can’t. It’s the hardest thing in the world! Well, actually, trying not to cough all over him when he’s sleeping right next to me is probably the hardest thing in the world…

Anyway, one thing I realized is no matter how hard I try, I’m going to get sick. Im going to have some days where I just feel like crap and don’t want to get out of bed. No matter what, I’m going to have to suck it up, and be a mom. I don’t get to sleep off my headaches or soak in a hot bath to soothe an achy body. I don’t get to lay in bed all day, resting and recovering. Nope! Just down some Tylenol and coat myself in Vick’s! Try to get through the day without a meltdown. Being a mom is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but at the end of the day, that little boy just makes my heart explode with joy and love… and those are the best types of medicines, after all.

How do you mother and recover? Any tips on bouncing back quickly from a cold? Here are my favorite remedies:

Vicks VapoRub Ointment, 1.76 Ounces

Twinings of London Organic and Fair Trade Certified Peppermint Tea Bags, 20 Count

Twinings of London Organic and Fair Trade Certified Camomile with Mint & Lemon Herbal Tea Bags, 20 Count

Round Rock Honey – 1 lb. bottle – Fresh, Raw & Local

Ricola Cough Drop Extra Strength, Glacier Mint, 19 Drops (Pack of 2)