In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal I was compelled to write about the power of standing up for yourself. As it may be perceived, speaking up and standing up for yourself sounds easy, right? You get the chance to use your voice and tell others how you feel in hopes that it will stop; thus eliminating the problem! In a perfect world yes this can be accomplished, but unfortunately in many cases it does not result in a smooth procedure. When one is faced with sexual harassment, which comes in many forms such as, lewd immature gestures at or against you, fabricated stories that include you without your knowledge, rape, coercion, and so on. Speaking up against the perpetrator can put you in a difficult position, it can make you seem “dramatic”, weak, sensitive, it can even cost you your career as we’ve heard so many times before. Using your voice is a powerful thing because you are letting others know that you will not stand for what has happened to you and you are placing very important boundaries. Its difficult for others to put themselves in your position even when they see how it has affected you because, guess what? It did not happen to them so there is no way they can know how it feels. They will always have their perspective and opinion about it but that does not make them correct. At the end of the day you are the only one that has a right to provide your opinion on it because you unfortunately HAD to go through it. You will have people who don’t agree with your feelings and you will instantly take it personal because you have not only been wronged but because people don’t believe you, BUT know that it is ok.
You are stronger for using your voice and listening to your gut feeling, which twists and turns each time you are reminded by it. Doing this honors your higher self and further connects you to that all knowing power we all have within us. I am speaking because I recently experienced a from of harassment and had to deal with the feelings and opinions of others. I can say it was not easy but its something that had to be done because it did not sit right with me. I can tell you if I hadn’t done it, I would grow bitter and live in regret each day having to see that person. The old me would’ve kept quiet to avoid any type of awkwardness, all while feeling miserable inside- the incessant mind chatter- the classic should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. I finally reached my limit and there was no stopping me this time. Although it was a tough lesson to learn, that of speaking up for myself and practicing peace even after invalidated opinions. I am so grateful I finally passed my lesson. I am grateful to exercise my voice and know, even though I’m still practicing, people will ALWAYS have an opinion about everything but as long as I know I am honoring myself and not harming others I will be just fine.
For the past year or so I have taken my healing to be my top priority; physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. You name it, I’ve done it; psychotherapy, acupuncture, magnetic therapy, family constellation, non-force chiropractor, energy healing, foot detox, neurosoma therapy and the list goes on. See I have lived most of my life in pain, physical, emotional, and spiritual, which explains a strong connection to Frida Kahlo’s art and words. Lets back track a little – now this is definitely not a sob story but this information is required in order to understand the full scope.
In 2002 I was 16 years old and a Junior in high school, and I was in a very scary car accident. I suffered a traumatic brain injury leaving me hospitalized for a month. I was in a coma for a week and then placed under a medically induced coma to avoid my swollen brain from touching the inside of my skull. Waking up to family and friends talking to me and not being able to respond was not easy and difficult to understand what was going on. I remember I would see my friends and hear them tell me about their day but not being able to respond. I felt like I was dreaming the whole time. This was such a weird dream, I thought. I remember I was able to ask my mom what happened and why I was in a hospital room. In tears my mother explained to me what happened and that is when my life went from 16 year in high school to 16-year-old living in the hospital. I literally had to relearn everything, swallowing, walking, kicking, eating, my laugh was even foreign. I remember being in physical therapy standing inside of a clock and asked to keep my left foot in the center while I had to place my right foot on different numbers. My coordination was a mess and lets not talk about my balance. I had to wear a rainbow gait belt in case I lost my equilibrium. It was all so dream like and unreal. I had 4 different therapies (speech, occupational, physical, and recreational therapy) and I knew that at the end of the week they all got together to discuss my progress; so I did my best to impress them. The strange thing was that I never cried about what happened to me. I felt I needed to be the strong one, since I put my family through so much pain, I did not want to see them hurt because of me anymore. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I made it my goal to get out of the hospital as soon as possible so I could return to my “normal” life, or so I thought. Funny thing was that from that point on my life had changed and would never be the same again. I did what I set out to do and managed to get discharged from the hospital exactly a month after the car accident. I turned 17 years old ten days after my discharge and I began my normal life again. It was far from normal, I started wishing I had nurses monitoring me soon after I found out I was taking anti-seizure medication, I wanted night lights, where were all the beeping machines? This was the most sensitive and delicate time of my life and I had no idea what was going on and how meaningful this time was. I thought everything would go back to “normal” and I would just go back to what I left behind but I soon found out that nothing was the same and everything was different.
My perspective was the biggest change and slowly but surly noticed my friends dwindle away. I became hard, straightforward, bitchy if you will but it was what I learned after such a hard transition. Those weren’t the only changes I had to deal with. I realized noise was a big problem. Too much noise overwhelmed me and over stimulated me. My family was told that I had to continue with speech therapy and see a psychiatrist so we followed through with the doctors request and trusted that he gave us all the necessary measures needed for treatment. Forgetting about the trauma that my body underwent during the accident we carried out the doctors orders. Years later, to my early 20’s I start noticing how I could not get accustomed to my bed. Every morning I would wake up complaining with a sore body, feeling all of the dips and slopes in the mattress. Not being able to turn my head rapidly because I experienced sharp pains, not being able to raise my arms all the way, my back and shoulders in constant pain, hip and groin problems, my elbows would hurt if they were rested on a table for too long and the worst one was my scalp felt tender to the touch. As if my hair was in a tight ponytail for a year and nothing not even my pillow would be comfortable. I remember my mother always telling me that it was all in my head and that I was just being picky about my mattress but I always knew deep down inside it was because how the car accident left me. Not only was I feeling pain in my body but I was emotionally unavailable for anybody and anything. I could not cry or feel sorry for any reason. I thought that was normal. I remember when my first anxiety attack happened, I was 23 years old and I didn’t know what hit me. I began therapy at my college and that was when I learned I had never processed and healed from the accident. I learned to shut off my emotions at such a young age, which was my way of protecting myself, a defense mechanism. I was only with my therapist for 3 months until I graduated and had to find someone else. While I was trying to heal my emotional self I was still in need of a physical release. Spiritually I was lost and searching for solace. I was reaching but not reaching enough. I was young and thought it would eventually disappear and I would just be “fixed”.
Now I’m 32 years old and I can finally feel my road to recovery is so close. I am excited and really proud of how far I’ve come. I have taken the last year to really focus on myself and heal for myself. I was always looking outside of me for answers and for others to magically heal me but learned that no one can heal me unless I am willing, ready and able to do the work. I am the only one who can do that. Happiness. love, and confidence starts from within, none are found externally. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a journey and a lot of work and I’m still working but I can feel the finish line and it feels so good.
It’s been almost a year now since I transitioned my eye make up to vegan/cruelty free products. I realized that if I’m going to be careful with my diet I should also be careful with what I put on my face. So I purchased a water-proof “Natural eye pencil” in Jet by Pacifica Beauty and I love it. Not only is it free of the gunk you don’t want on your face but it is very easy to wash off. Usually I have to wash my face 2-3 times just to get my eye liner and mascara off but definitely not with this awesome liner. I also purchased a mascara by Gabriel Cosmetics in Jet Black. This cosmetic line is also vegan! No harsh chemicals, no animal products, and super easy to wash off. This mascara is great because it lengthens your lashes and reduces breakage. These lines are both found at Whole Foods and Sprouts and anywhere they sell health conscious food. Let me know what you think I will never go back to mainstream brands!!
I had my first vending experience last month for a fun loving music collective called La Junta, which translates from Spanish to English as “the gathering”. La Junta got started in Alhambra by Degruvme and Prescilla from BodyLanguage Events, Yukicito, Music Producer for Nickodemus, and Glenn Red from Afro Funké – I must say they are a very talented group of people. Since inception La Junta made their way to the city of Los Angeles and now hosts their events at a rooftop restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles called Don Chente. La Junta brings Latin music from all across the globe and mixes it with current and classic sounds. I really enjoy their parties and after their summer party last year I stayed connected with Prescilla. Fast forward to April of 2017, I get an invite to be a vendor at their event! Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity and knew this was going to be big for me. This would be my chance to spread the word and most importantly interact with potential customers. I wanted to hear what they liked about it and what they didn’t like about it. The results from the event were nothing I expected and I am so thankful for the open door and welcome sign from the La Junta family. I loved the feedback I received, good and bad and learned so much from just that experience. I am going to be back at La Junta this Sunday for their Memorial Weekend event on May 28th at Don Chente, come swing by if you’re in the area I would love to chat with ya!!!
I know it looks pretty gross but this paste is miraculous. Now I wish I would’ve taken a before and after picture of myself but unfortunately I didn’t. Either way there, are so many ways to enhance a picture you can’t really rely on them anymore. Therefore you will just have to take my word for it and give it a try. I have yellow teeth, I didn’t brush well and on top of that I was given coffee at 5 years old. I know, blame it on my South American roots. Along with all that I had braces which didn’t help. In high school my favorite drinks were Peach Iced Tea and Pepsi to top it all off. In college I used white strips to reverse the effects of my poor drinking habits and in return I was left with the most sensitive teeth on the planet. It was torturous to eat really anything that was either cold or hot. So I stopped using those and felt stuck, I didn’t know what direction to go in my quest to white teeth. I found this natural remedy and decided to give it a try and holy turmeric does it work. Not only does it help whiten your teeth but because of the coconut oil you put in it, it makes your teeth feel squeaky clean afterwords. Ok enough of my ranting here are the ingredients:
-2 parts Turmeric 1 part Baking Soda 1 part Coconut Oil
Things to consider:
*Turmeric stains so be prepared to have a yellow/orange toothbrush
*Make sure you brush in your PJs so you don’t get any on your clothes
*Only brush with this magical toothpaste once a day
*Remember that the paste will melt as you brush since coconut oil hardens if the temp is too low
*Rinse your mouth well after use and make sure you clean the corners of your mouth as the turmeric likes to get in cracks =)
*Coconut oil is great for teeth since it fights cavity causing bacteria
*This paste is better than what you find in stores since it is all natural & there is no fluoride
It was the time the day slowly turned into evening and the purple wisteria got ready to turn in for the night, the grand Moorish fortress of Alhambra basked in the last of the sun’s light. My than husband and I walked down the hill finishing our visit to a magical place when the sound of the guitar pierced the warm flower filled air. As if under a spell, I turned and walked toward the sound. Sitting on an ancient stone, a longhaired man held a guitar close to his chest, moving his fingers with the speed of light creating a sound that was out of this world. He was surrounded by gypsies that began to sing and dance as he finished his solo. I was mesmerized by the sound, feeling of wholeness that I had never felt in my 20 years of existence. My feet were moving to the vibrations of the sound and at that moment I knew that the beat that was so powerful was the beat of life itself connecting everything in the universe.
Music became my inspiration, and many years later with the help of many creative souls, I was blessed to open a place dedicated to it. Beat Non Stop, as it was called, located on Melrose Ave. in the heart of Hollywood. Beat Non Stop established in 1992 became a candy store for DJs and clubbers from around the globe. It was a hub where new tracks found their homes in DJ crates and where magical musical vortexes were created.
Mear and his graffiti crew created a fantastical world full of futuristic landscapes from other realms. LA’s best underground DJs came together to fill the record bins with vinyl from known and unknown artists and places. If I was to put together a list of names of all that became the family of artists, customers, record producers, clothing companies, writers, people that shared good and bad times with me, the list would be so long I would have to buy more memory in my laptop. I thank them for teaching me the power of music. The way it can heal and uplift at the most difficult times. The way it can bestow wisdom on you while you are dancing, and the way you can become enlightened when connecting to the sound. For all the amazing experiences I had and continue having I thank my Beat Non Stop family for being the light on my adventure I call life.
Nina now sells designer vintage garments on Ebay and has a wonderful blog calledunicorns and jam I was lucky enough to receive her story before she posts this to her own blog. Thank you Nina.