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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another Reflective Night: Happy New Year 2015

The reflection continues on this 15th day of January. It’s a quiet night. I’m doing my usual, listening to my favorite artist, Damien Rice, thinking, and writing. It’s a soothing experience. I tend to become melancholy at night. His music goes so well with my mood. It’s a new year, one that is off to a slow start. I don’t have any major updates to share except, I’ve been on an interview for an ESL teaching position. The wait continues. I am still crafting and hoping to get that off the ground; hoping to someday sell my items. I watched my favorite painter, Bob Ross on TV and he said something that really touched my soul. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, that “it’s not about the pocketbook,” but about someone wanting to buy something you made. He expressed how happy he felt when he sold his first painting for $20. It wasn’t the amount of money he cared about, it was the fact someone wanted something he made. It’s refreshing to know I am not alone in that sentiment. I never cared about money even when I taught. It was about the love for teaching, the love of creativity and expression.

 That’s how I feel when I craft. It makes me happy. I am not perfect at it, who is anyway? However, I enjoy the ideas that come to mind and actually bringing it to life. That alone makes me smile, as well as my love for cardboard! Lately, collecting cardboard boxes have become a hobby. I use it for my crafts, and I am amazed by its versatility. The excitement is either finding it, or asking a store owner for it. I’ve made friends in the process, and met some folks who gave me strange looks. I don’t mind. I have pictures of my art on my phone just in case someone doesn’t believe me. I also like to explore new places and where there’s places there are stores. Stores get deliveries, they have cardboard. I’ve been lucky and now have various stores I can go to make such a request. In general, I like collecting stuff. Metrocards is part of that stuff.

Besides crafting and endless job hunting (which I hate, it’s one of the not-so-fun things to do), I write. As of late, I’ve been writing a lot but mainly for self. I haven’t felt inspired to share my inner thoughts with anyone. A sad reality for me lately is I am losing more people in my life than gaining. I had an argument with a dear friend before the holidays and now our friendship is over. Although, I felt we were growing apart, it’s still sad. I always feel bad losing a friend, especially if I’ve known them for years. Every time I trust someone enough to share my feelings, there’s some form of backlash. Sometimes it’s petty and sometimes it’s not, but when the trust is broken it hurts me. When I am hurt, I walk away. I rather do that than to argue. It’s not good for the spirit. I pray also. Prayer gives me strength. I do believe everything happens for a reason, and not everyone is meant to stay in your life. Although I understand that is a part of life, it still bothers me. I’m tired of getting hurt.

As 2015 entered, I celebrated with my family. We prayed and thanked God for allowing us to be together. I wished some friends a happy happy via text and social media. Soon after, I wrote out my goals for January on a dry erase board, wrote in my journal, and went to bed. I became sick after Christmas, so New Year’s Eve was a relaxing one. No partying for me, I drank ginger ale. I’m just now getting over whatever it was that was bothering me.

I don’t know where this journey is taking me. I often wonder about that. Sometimes, I feel I am grasping at air because I can’t obtain the things I need (and want). I am not healthy and doing what I can to change that. I strive to remain happy and motivated when at times I cannot see the light. I feel lost yet I’m stubborn and won’t give up. There are those days when sleeping late, watching silly comedies, and eating snacks is comforting. Then reality sets in. There’s work to do, things to create, inspirational stuff to read, and putting a smile on the face despite the tears trying to fall. I avoid looking at the mirror because I don’t feel beautiful right now. I look at pictures of how I was as motivation, a reminder that I can regain my life back. I just have to work harder, find a new path, pray more, and remain in faith. This is a hard journey, it’s real and I couldn’t fake it if I tried. Yet I am here and there is a reason for that. I am grateful as the journey continues. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Holiday Transitions

Paying my respects through creativity&love for deaths of 2 NYPD officers

This holiday season has had its ups and downs. With so many tragedies happening in the world and personal troubles, the Christmas season doesn’t feel so merry. Yet, this year has taught me to turn the bad into good to the best of my ability. I cannot control the world, but I can control me. It’s no secret that I haven’t been happy for some time, but I still feel 2014 was a good year. I learned a lot about myself, and embraced adulthood a little more. I cried when needed to, prayed, requested prayer from both friends and strangers, challenged self to be alone despite my struggle with loneliness, and let go of negative things and people. I made important decisions, and put me first above everything else. I put my feelings first, because I believe emotional/spiritual health is just as important as physical health. When one isn’t well, it affects other things. I made a promise to self to be more direct, honest, and loving to me. I also promised not to be afraid of the unknown, go with the flow, but don’t be taken advantage of or fooled by pretense. Instead, seek love and cherish it when it presents itself. Lastly, I am not concerned with other people’s opinions of me, my actions, or decisions. I learned that I have to live for Dara, because I only have this one time, this one chance at this journey called life.

School No More: Freedom!

I left grad school. This has was a surprise to the few people I shared this news with. I got to the last two weeks of the fourth semester and crashed. I couldn’t take it anymore, the papers, research, constant reading of texts, deadlines, and not feeling happy in the process. Sadly, I haven’t felt happy since the beginning of the second semester. I haven’t shared that with anyone afraid of judgment. I was passing all my classes with A’s, yet felt depressed. I felt all I was ever doing was school work. I’ve been in school since I graduated high school in 1999. I love to learn, and appreciate the experience. However, the process feels the same. I don’t like it anymore, at least the way I have been going about it. I know what I want to study and pursue. I impulsively pursued the Master’s in Human Services believing that is what I wanted to study. I was inspired by my volunteer work during Hurricane Sandy in 2012-13. I felt that was the field for me. I still like human services, but I really want to teach. I really want to be back into my career of adult education/ESL. I withdrew from school December 9th.  Since then, I feel a sense of relief and joy. I feel I can now put my focus on my creativity and finding my way back to the classroom. Ironically I still passed my class without completing the final assignment. I don’t regret this decision. I won’t apologize for it.


I am building friendships with people still new in my life while trying to establish new ones. Every year I lose or move on from old friendships. There are many reasons for this, too many to get into here. I used to be bothered by it, but now I appreciate the experience. I believe everything happens for a reason. Some people aren’t meant to stay in your life, sometimes the paths must go in different directions. I always like to move forward on good terms with people who I am no longer friends with or in communication with. If that happens, I smile. If not, I still smile knowing I have no animosity towards that individual (s). The current friendships I have I appreciate and hope will remain throughout New Year 2015. As for love, I am ready to explore that option in the New Year. I still love who I love and will keep that door open if it’s meant. However, I am ready to make myself available for any admirers. I think the process has already begun. I feel it’s a sign, a reminder from above that I am pretty and I do get noticed. It is a nice feeling for sure. Let’s see what happens as time progress. I am patient and in no rush to be in a committed relationship, but one can start the process right?


The goal for New Year 2015 is to fully explore, enhance, and embrace my creativity on all levels. There are so many projects I put aside, so many ideas I’ve written down that I’m ready to bring to the forefront. I want my book published, my art to be seen, and continue capturing my love for nature, for art through the lens. I want my creative bubble to shine!

I am continuing to work on me. I am truly a process and life is a journey. I hope to be here for many more years to come and walk on more paths. I consider myself an adventurer, one who likes to travel, see and experience new things, and capture the moment one picture, one step at a time. I look forward to another year, to an improved me.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday time

I wrote this on Facebook on Saturday, November 29, 2014: A holiday reflection: I may not have
much, but I'm here and have family who loves me. And I have some folks who care about my big head as I care about theirs, haha! It's holiday time. I'm not traditional, that ended after my late grandma went on to heaven. Turkey is cool but I prefer chicken and I love my mother's stuffing. I only have 3 members of family unless you count an uncle who I'm not close to. So we don't do the big family dinners, or have the biggest turkey, and there's no company who stops by. It's just us in our humble home, comfortable. I am poor financially but rich in spirit. For that, I am thankful as I continue to reflect silently and pray for continued peace. That's my story. Until the next time.

Holiday time has different affects on me. Depending on the holiday, I could feel at my happiest or at my worst. Thanksgiving is a holiday I tend to feel melancholy. It was my late grandmother’s favorite holiday, and she really made it special. Her cooking alone was divine, and the way she prepared the house was beautiful. Although I didn’t know many of my relatives, having everyone there was nice. After she passed away, Thanksgiving haven’t been the same. My mom tried to continue the tradition but it wasn’t the same. Many of my relatives were dying, and the few left moved away or we lost contact. Family for me is unique. I wasn’t close to many of my relatives. Sadly, many of them didn’t like me for reasons I still don’t know. The few I knew were okay, I think they tolerated me. After a while, I stopped caring and focused on making friends. My friends became my family. This is the same case now as an adult, except I don’t have many friends. Most of them have moved on, or I have moved on. Some friends are more like associates. We have different lives going in different directions. So I guess I don’t have much of a family in both relative and friendship department. I am grateful for my parents and brother. They are all I got. My wish is to someday be married. Maybe his family will become mine, and together we will be a family. I would like to know what that’s like. Being single is hard at times, especially as I get older. I long to be loved and to love. I want a relationship, not just random dating. I want to be a wife someday.

Christmas time I love the most. It’s my favorite time of year, because of its spiritual meaning, its sparkle and lights. I feel festive. I’ve had nice Christmases, and I hope to have a nice one this year. It’s the one time of the year that even if things aren’t perfect, I still want to celebrate the holiday. I make my own fun. This year is special because it’s the 1 year anniversary of my second hip surgery. Although my hip still hurts and at times gives me trouble, I am thankful I don’t need another surgery. I can walk and I will always be grateful for that. This year was a good year overall. I accomplished a lot of personal goals, and I’m doing well in grad school. I am in my 4th semester. The class I’m taking is Leadership and Organizational Behavior. It’s difficult and so is my professor. I can appreciate the challenge. By God’s grace I am passing with A’s on my papers and honestly I am surprised. There are only 3 more weeks before the semester ends. I could use the mini break before the new term begins in January.

I am looking forward to New Year 2015. My goal is to be working in the New Year. I want to have my book published; I am almost done with the manuscript, yay! I also want to buy new clothes and learn how to drive. It’s during holiday time when I become reflective and make decisions. I write my end of year to-do lists, and set goals for self. The most important thing for me currently and in the future is to be comfortable, happy, and at peace. I care about that the most.


Sunday, November 9, 2014


Through pictures, I tell a story. 

Every day there’s something to be seen, something to discover. I am discovering self. 

Some mornings I don’t want to get up. There are some days I just want to go by without experiencing it. Then tomorrow arrives. I wake up, say my prayers, and drink tea. I pick up the camera, the motivation, the notebook, my cane, and head out. I walk. I look up to the sky. The sun welcomes me as I take its picture. The day begins. I travel by mood. I go wherever the mind leads me, the sun is my guide. 

Appointments arise, interviews pop up and I go to each. I wait in the waiting room staring out at the window. I admire the view. My name is called as I enter a room. The process happens. I enter an office telling the receptionist who I am. She tells me to have a seat. I am greeted, shake hands, and enter another room. The conversation begins. For both experiences, I walk away feeling melancholy. I observe the new surroundings. I take a few pictures. The train station is different. I capture the train arrival as I wonder where to go next. The future lies within this city, somewhere in this city I no longer know.

I arrive at the cafĂ©, buy a latte, and sit at the bar. I pull out the notebook and begin to write. I write words that are within me. I have no control. The latte soothes me as music plays in the background. The sweet smell of coffee elevates the senses. Someone sits next to me, looks over at what I’m doing. I ignore the person. My shyness consumes me. I continue to write. Somehow I want to hide between the lines of the notebook paper to escape reality. There I can find shelter. Shelter from the emotional turmoil, this repetitive cycle of travel, schedules, appointments, meetings, exchange of information, discussion, applications, waiting and more waiting. The end result is the same. The situation remains. I stop writing. The latte is now cold as I take the last sip. 

I walk outside and look up to the sky. I take a deep breath. The sun begins to set. I take a picture. I go home and reflect just to do it all over again tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's Geometric

Walking allows one to see things that may not be easily visible to many. Lately, I've been motivated
to explore new territories and take pictures. Photography has become a hobby, something I enjoy doing on a regular basis. I find no excuse not to take pictures, but find every reason to capture the moment. It's those moments I cherish, because I will never experience them again. As a nature lover, I enjoy taking pictures of the sky, the sun, and clouds. I consider it God's canvas, painting a new picture within seconds. If one blinks too fast, he/she may miss the change. I believe the sunset is God's masterpiece with its blending of colors, and glow from the sun. I enjoy watching everything unfold before my eyes. I try to capture it all, but even I am beat by the quickness of the sky's changes. I also enjoy taking pictures of birds, flowers, or any natural landscape. I don't like taking pictures of people unless I know them and we take a picture together. Although people are interesting to watch, I am not moved to capture them. Also, I don't want to get hurt taking a person's picture without their permission. Who needs the aggravation? I don't mind if I capture a crowd of people doing some activity, or if I am doing a story on an important issue where that is necessary. Otherwise, people don't interest me enough to take their picture. I rather focus on nature or things that I consider geometric. I love shapes. I especially the structure of things, such as buildings, train stations, train tracks, or anything that catches the eye.

I like to travel. Traveling helps me relieve any stress or feelings of despair. As part of my healing process, I walk. I walk to help me put things in perspective, and to take the necessary steps to feeling better. It allows me to be one with self, and not get caught up in other people’s drama. Since I don't drive (yet), I take public transportation. I never liked taking the train, but I now enjoy it for its art and uniqueness. I also like its history and being able to see remnants of it. I love train tracks and the design of some stations. Its geometry fascinates me. I wonder how people built such an intricate structure. Who came up with the design? I think it’s cool. When entering a train station, I’m always on the lookout for discarded Metrocards. I collect them as a hobby, but also use them for crafting. With the $1 surcharge for a new card, I am surprised to find so many empty cards lying around. Lucky me. Once on the platform, I take pictures of the station, but not without looking for something interesting to see. If the station has an old structure, I take a picture. If there’s something like a leak, I take a picture and write about it for a news story. Being on the train is interesting. Since I don’t like taking pictures of people, it can be difficult to capture something without someone being in the picture. I remain cautious. Elevated trains are the best, because I am outside and the stations are usually cool to capture. I get to see more even with the occasional street art on neighboring buildings. 

“Brooklyn is my home”

On Wednesday, October 29, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. I made a promise to myself that after I recover from my second hip surgery (December 2013) that I would walk across the bridge. I feel proud that I not only walked across the bridge, but did so alone. I needed to prove to myself that I could do it. I never walked across the bridge alone. I love the structure of the bridge. The way the wiring connects everything together is amazing. Depending on where you’re standing, it feels like it’s coming at you like a web. I liked seeing people take pictures. I was taking selfies. One guy ducked his head smiling. I giggled saying, “No worries, I am just taking a selfie.” At the middle of the bridge, I stood looking out at the water. I saw Brooklyn Bridge park down below. I smiled, because that’s where I usually go to reflect. It felt nice to reflect from up above. I didn’t think about much. I didn’t think about anyone. This was an unusual circumstance. However, I felt good that I just went with the flow. I took in the element, and stood there in silence. The breeze felt nice, and the changing of the sky was even nicer. 
“Brooklyn is my home,” I said to myself. “It’s part of who I am. I will miss this place someday but it will always be a part of me.” I showcased my pictures of my Brooklyn Bridge walk on my Tumblr blog: It’s a blog of both my crafting and photography. So far, I’ve received nice responses on Twitter and Facebook. I recently signed up on Instagram which I love. Not only I get to share my pictures, but connect with fellow photographers, crafters, and artists particularly street artists. I love street art!

5 Pointz: Gone but not forgotten

On Thursday, October 30, I revisited 5 Pointz. It was a street artist haven of colorful works and creativity in Long Island City, Queens. Sadly, the warehouse that housed this great art is being demolished for another condo development. Ugh! This city is going to turn into a glass house! I wanted to capture some of the remaining art despite this tragedy. As I shared my pics on Instagram, the response was non-stop. I want to show homage to street artists, and my support for 5 Pointz. Their talent is undeniable. I like visiting Long Island City, Queens. It’s interesting, and I get to take the 7 train which I don’t take often. It’s also the place where my new favorite park is, Gantry State Plaza Park. It reminds me of Brooklyn Bridge Park, just bigger and show a different view of Manhattan’s skyline.

This city is geometric, because of its architecture, art, and unique flair. Through travel, I get to experience that geometry which excites me. With New York City changing by the minute, I want to see and capture this place one picture at a time.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On the Road to Healing: A mini reflection piece

On the road to healing, one must make decisions that aren't always easy to make. Often times it will require one to let things/people go. This can be in the form of a hug, a verbal conversation, or a silent message. It isn't an easy thing to do when you care so much, when you love so much. I still struggle with this, and depending on the circumstance it makes me cry. I guess that's part of life's endless journey, the emotional aspects of each step taken, the strength that must come from within. For me, I am guided by the sun, and like water I flow through the process hitting every bump along the way. The greatest wish I have for those I love and care about is to be well on their journey. And may our paths go into the direction of harmony, love, and happiness.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October Progress, Reflection, and Rockaway

With the changing temps and changing colors of the leaves, I find myself changing as well. Life around me has been a whirlwind of good, bad, and ugly all balled up into one. Trying to explain it will be overwhelming for both me as the speaker, and for the listener. I do believe there is a positive to every negative, and nothing lasts forever. I have been studying hard in school, working on a project that is semester long and takes time to do. However, I am proud of how well I am doing. So far I have received all A’s on each assignment. The class I am taking is Issues in Human Service Administration. I like it, because it allows me to see how human service programs and/or organizations are organized and operated. This week makes week 7 of the course, next week the semester ends. I don’t mind the acceleration of classes between semesters. I really want my Master’s degree.

I still go to the beach to reflect. I visited Rockaway beach on Sunday. I met a friend there where we caught up on some things. It was nice seeing her, and being out in Rockaway since Hurricane Sandy. I see some progression, more movement and some stores open. However, the lot is still empty and is now put up for sale. This lot is on Rockaway Beach between 112-114 streets. It’s significant to me, because it’s where I stood during my volunteer work after the storm (December 2012). I remember the smell in the air, the soot and sand on the streets and sidewalks, and the burned down buildings surrounding the area. The friend I saw on Sunday lost everything to Sandy. Her home was one of the houses that burned down where the lot now stands. I remember trying to leave her a voicemail that day in December wanting to see her. It took a lot not to cry even though my voice cracked the more I talked. Walking with her on Sunday by that lot was sad. The silence that followed us is poignant as we walked pass the now weedy lot.

As we walked to the beach, and I stopping every minute to pick up a seashell, I couldn’t help but feel melancholy for standing on what was once a boardwalk. The beach still has its natural beauty, but remnants from Sandy is still felt. Although, I believe things will get better out there, I don’t think it will ever be the same.

I like the train ride going and coming from Rockaway. I love riding the train when it’s outside. I like the train tracks and watching the flora. The sunset is beautiful as I think about the gifts that we don’t always see when going through something bad. Spending time with my friend, picking seashells, taking pictures, and enjoying the environment are gifts that I don’t take for granted. One of the funniest moments is trying to carry an already heavy book bag, holding my cane and a cup of coffee, and grabbing some pieces of cardboard. My friend laughs at me as I tell her, “I know, I’m a mess! But I love cardboard too much to pass up an opportunity.” She responds, “So what are you going to use it for?” I said, “For crafting of course! I told you, you can’t take me anywhere!” We laughed.

Another highlight is meeting important people, people in the news business that I admire very much. I was recently invited to a fundraiser PIX 11 news was hosting to support the American Cancer Society. I not only saw my reporter friend, but had a chance to meet some of his colleagues. I believe in the power of networking, and I appreciate the kindness and advice I received from PIX 11 reporters. I would love to work in media, and hope someday that will come true. I have many interests, as I shared with one PIX 11 reporter, and it’s those interests that motivates me to pursue career opportunities. Being able to share what I do as a writer for Examiner, this blog, or writing in general to that individual is an honor. His advice on writing and promotion is greatly appreciated.

I recently attended a job fair and met some nice employers. I even applied to CBS news for a freelance writer position. I hope to receive some calls and interviews. I am ready to get back into the workforce, whether it’s teaching ESL, working in media, or otherwise, Dara needs a job. I am keeping my fingers crossed while remaining in faith, being patient, and working on self on this journey called life.