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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. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Water's Edge

Standing at the water’s edge
Stare out at the crashing waves
Stepping forward out of curiosity
Foot gets stuck in a wedge

Admire the pretty view
Capturing each scene with a single click
Sun adds sparkle to moving waters
Bee camouflages in a flower’s hue

Contemplate how it would feel
Being carried by water’s current
Not thinking about the present
Nature sets the time wheel

Experience being under the sunset
As the clouds gather around us
Welcoming in the nightfall
Having no sense of regret

Still standing at the water’s edge
The waves begin to settle down
Two ducks swim idly by
Foot is released from the wedge

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Walk along the Shoreline and the Gift of Seashells

Friday, September 26, 2014

I found myself back at the beach where I find peace from the world. I went on the opposite side of Coney Island beach than where I usually visit. It was easier to walk on the sand, it was leveled and not as hilly. I put my cane in my book bag as I began my walk. I noticed that walking without the cane is okay with the exception that I feel off balanced. I see that in pictures of me standing up. I lean which I don’t like, but it’s understandable. Something is missing, a part of me is missing. I lean for many reasons. Often times it’s not physical. I joke saying my body is a geologic map, because like the Earth it’s always changing. My body is always changing. So is my spirit. Despite the leaning, I still walk forward. Walking along the shoreline distracts me from thinking about my appearance. I just don’t worry about it. As far as I’m concerned, I am one with nature. I enjoy watching the seagulls walk along or follow me. I like watching the ocean and the seashells wash up shore. I came prepared with my plastic bags to pick seashells. I’m trying to gather as much as I can before winter comes. I collect as well as use them for crafting. The more odd shaped they are, the more I like them.

When I walk along the shoreline, I reflect a lot. I think about things especially about life and love. I separate the two since they both play different roles in my life. Lately, neither have made me happy. However, I am here so I have no choice but to think about them. I am disappointed and at times I feel short changed. Why don’t I have the things I want and most of all need? I continue walking. I think about this journey and its hardships. I think about my loneliness. I love, at times in love, and don’t know where it will go if anywhere. It doesn’t change what’s in my heart. It doesn’t change what my spirit tells me. I am afraid of knowing, yet I am curious about the unknown. Time goes by. I wait and I keep walking. The shoreline changes quickly so I try to capture it. My phone is overwhelmed with images, sometimes with video. I made a couple of videos. My phone definitely slowed down afterwards. I kept walking.

I stopped by this wooden thing, I think it was part of the rocky jetty. It was filled with green plant life that I didn’t know what to make of it. I put my bag of shells on it to organize my book bag. I already had a bag filled with shells already. An older gentleman approached me with his fishing rod and vest/jacket in hand. By his gesture, I thought he wanted to put his stuff where my shells were. When I went to take the bag away, he said something. I took off my headphones when he said, “Oh no, may I see your seashells?” I said, “Sure” and he took a look. He asked me if I collect seashells, and I said yes. Another man approached us and listened. His dog was nearby with a stick in its mouth. The gentleman said that the whole clams make “good bait.” He then smiled and looked at the man. The man, who could be in his mid to late 30s, said there isn’t a lot of whole clam shells around. He then looked at me and smiled, “Are you looking for the whole ones?” The gentleman waved bye and walked away.

I smiled at the man and replied, “It really doesn’t matter to me. I use them for crafting and I collect too.” The stranger seemed surprised and said, “Oh yea?” As we smiled, I told him I wouldn’t mind finding whole shells but don’t see any around. I asked if he collected them and he said, “No, usually collect them to make the woman’s jewelry.” His dog moaned indicating that he wanted the man to throw the stick. When he did, the dog happily ran after it as he continued talking to me. He explained that during high tide in the area we stood, whole clam shells wash up along the jetty. He suggested I stay for another hour since that’s when the tide is at its peak. The time was after 3 o’clock. I thanked him and he smiled saying “You’re welcome, bye bye.” Before I walked away, I put the bag of shells in my bag, and looked at my phone. The man came back. “I’m sorry, do you have an extra bag?” I said sure and gave him one. I had plenty. He then walked away and moments later he returned. 

“I’m sorry to keep bothering you…” I smiled, “Oh no bother at all.” He held out his hands. In them were two whole clam shells. “I found these for you.” I smiled so hard thanking him. He smiled back and said, “Now you can add these to your collection. Have a good day.” I felt honored, because he went into the water to find those shells. Also, he didn’t have to do that, and lastly, he was just sweet. It’s been years since I spoke about nature to a man. I could have skipped towards the boardwalk that’s how happy I felt. In that moment, he made me feel like a lady. I hardly ever get approached by anyone, and if I do it’s usually not a good experience. This handsome stranger made me feel pretty, pretty in my element. A rare experience I will cherish.

When I got on the boardwalk, I took out the cane and walked. I regained my balance. This is a day by day process. Despite how I feel, know I have to keep walking.