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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: My year in review

It was just a year ago when I said, "happy new year" to my mom and brother. I texted this message to friends from my cell phone. I wished everyone a good new year 2012 on Facebook and Twitter. And in a a few more hours, I will say "happy new year 2013!" Where have the time gone? Year 2012 was a good year, especially for the Creative Corner. There were more views and readership this year than last. I had a chance to discuss my posts with fans, as well as, share with people who never heard of this blog. I'm happy of how far this Corner has come in two years. I'm very proud of that. This year also changed my life. I had a successful hip surgery which allows me to walk today. I thank God every day I can walk with no assistance.

I turned 31 and gained new perspective about life. I've let go of old emotional baggage, a job where I didn't feel appreciated at, and pursued all my career interests. I'm grateful for writing for Examiner, covering stories about my passion, adult literacy/ESL and the MTA. Being on TV news has been great too, allowing my voice to be heard. Having a chance to meet my favorite reporters from PIX 11 was an experience I'll never forget. They are my mentors and inspiration. I've become more creative with my writing. Writing more poetry, about things that I was once shy about, has boosted my ego. I'm no longer afraid to speak my mind about things that are personal to me. 

Late summer, I earned my Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification, and by Fall taught my own ESL class at a community center. Although the class was short lived, it was a chance for me to reconnect with former students. It also showed me that I am capable of having my own class, and do things my way. A new ESL class awaits in 2013, stay tuned. Joining the NYC Civic Corps (an AmeriCorps program) in October has allowed me to volunteer in a variety of projects. I teach an ESL class to seniors, volunteer in hurricane Sandy relief projects, and just became a certified client caseworker with the American Red Cross. There's still more to come. I'll save that for a later post. Lastly, being accepted to the University of Southern California (USC) Master's in Social Work program is something I can't describe in words. I'm so proud to be a MSW student and pursue a career I have much respect for.

On a personal note, I loved me more this year than last. I've become more direct and not tolerated anyone to mistreat me. It has cost some friendships which I don't mind. A true friend doesn't mistreat another anyway. I've had some down times of feeling unappreciated in current friendships. It's easy for me to love and be there for others. Unfortunately, I went from being there to being a people pleaser. I allowed myself to be too open; I believe for some they felt it was okay to take advantage. I've cried to a few people I wish I hadn't, and revealed my dreams and goals to many who displayed envy. How unfortunate. I know now I can't be a people pleaser simply because it's not possible to please everyone. It's not healthy and fair to self. I will no longer expect anything from anyone. Lastly, I will stop holding on to those who don't want to be held. Letting go has never been easy for me. I care and love people very much, maybe too much. Despite how I feel, I am deserving to be loved and cared for too. Friendship is a two way street.

2013...may this new year be one of peace, happiness, love, respect, and humility. Here's to more opportunities, reflection, and learning. Blessings to all and Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Family Christmas

Warm smells fills the house

Wearing my favorite pink blouse

Christmas carols play, brother wakes up

Coffee is in Mom’s favorite cup

Decorations make the living room bright

Enjoying the Yule log’s firelight

“Let’s exchange gifts everyone!”

Exciting, anticipating fun

Shopping bags neatly arranged

Now shuffled and exchanged

Ding dong, doorbell rings

“It’s Dad,” Dara sings

“Ho ho ho Santa is here”

Hugs Dad, holding back a tear

Family together again, blissful

Prayers answered, God’s our angel

Laughter and full of surprise

Each bag has its own prize

Snap and click, camera flashes

Sparkly bows worn like badges

Ding dong, here comes Uncle

Enters with sarcasm, I chuckle

Mom passes the grab bag around

For a moment there is no sound

Uncle says, “What is this?”

Something to use and won’t dismiss

Facial expression is priceless

Uncle can be very humorous

Food is ready, no one eats

Found it odd, somewhat incomplete

Conversations bounced off walls

First year not receiving any calls

No snow outside our windows

Super stops by with holiday hellos

Day ends with smiles and gratitude

Everyone has a good attitude

Proud we were together and okay

A nice way to spend Christmas day!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Haiku moments

In a poetic are some Haiku poems I came up with.

Pebble lies in grass
Ordinary circumstance
Nature moves along

Looking behind path
Worn pavement saturated
Steps from past regret

Bird soars through skylight
Oversees the horizon
A peaceful freedom

The reflective me
New beginnings tomorrow
Quietly ponder

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The people pleaser

The people pleaser
Try to have the answer
Expected to have good outcomes
To other people’s problems
Listen to their woes
Stand up to their foes
Lend a hand, give a hug
You are like their drug
Satisfy their wants all the time
Saying “no” is a crime
When unable to provide
Quickly pushed aside
No room for selfishness
They could care less

There are no boundaries
For pleasers to please
Until they get tired of being used
Taken advantage of or abused
Learn to put self first
Makes their egos burst
“No” becomes the new word
To them that’s absurd
Two way street is established
Having their way has vanished

True friendship isn’t about pleasing
It’s about being honest and caring
A pleaser’s purpose on earth
Is maintaining their self-worth
Pay attention and be aware
Knowing who and when to be there

Christmas time

In the past few weeks, I’ve come across many Christmas trees, decorations, and holiday themes. It’s hard to tell if everyone is in the holiday spirit. With the recent tragedies as of late, this may not be the merriest time of the year for many. I keep everyone in my prayers and will have a moment of silence for the lives lost. If you’re a believer, like me, this is a holy time of year. This is usually a time when people reflect and get more in tuned with their spirituality. I know I have. Christmas is and has always been my favorite time of year. I especially love the lights, sounds of Christmas carols, attending church mass (haven’t done so for some time), and good smells of pine trees and hot apple cider all warms my spirit. 

I must admit, I love going to Starbucks more during the holiday season. They always have the best holiday themed drinks. Their gingerbread latte is delicious! I also like going there to speak with the cashiers and baristas. They’re always so friendly. When I’m alone, I frequent there to take in the ambiance and reflect. I enjoy walking through the city and observe the way people rush in and out of stores, shopping bags from different retailers, and the occasional Santas ringing bells asking for donations. I like taking pictures of the public Christmas trees. Each one has its own style. I even like watching people; especially tourists taking pictures of the Christmas tree. In some way I feel we’re connected. I feel like a tourist when I roam through the city, because there’s always something new to see.

I like to bring good cheer during this time of year. Writing out Christmas cards, shopping for gifts, and imagining the smiles on people’s faces when they receive my surprise makes me happy. When I went Christmas shopping recently, I had the salespeople in awe. I pulled out my card and picked out what I wanted. I didn’t care about price or discount. I knew what I wanted to get. I had saved up money to be able to buy exactly what I wanted. Shopping for my family is very special, because of all they do for me throughout the year, especially my mom. Buying for her was a treat! The salesladies agreed when I said, “I’m splurging on her this year because last year I couldn’t. I’m happy to do this for her.” I would share what I got her but since she reads all my blog posts here, I don’t want to ruin the surprise! I even surprised my favorite news people with Christmas cheer. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of them, and even for those I haven’t met, I admire what they do. I wanted to let them know how much they mean to me as news professionals and for some as friends. I’m happy I put a smile on their faces.

I reflect a lot during Christmas holiday. I think about the pros and cons of the year, things I’m proud of and improvements that’s needed, friends I have and may lose, I think about everything. This 2012 was a good year overall. I can’t say it was a bad one. I had surgery and can walk because of it. I stepped out of my comfort zone and done things I never thought I could (i.e.: belly dancing, attended an MTA board meeting and spoke at their public hearing, rallied for adult literacy, volunteered in disaster relief etc.). I had some accomplishments too: becoming a member of Society of Professional Journalists, earned a TESOL certification, covered more stories for, was on PIX 11 news…again, became a NYC Civic Corps member, taught my own ESL class, and the biggest one yet, became a MSW grad student! This was a good year with some mishaps. I look forward to New Year 2013 and the surprises that are waiting for me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

You are not forgotten

My heart and prayers go out to the victims of the Newtown, CT elementary school shooting and to the victims of hurricane Sandy. You are not forgotten.

I took a walk today. I needed to clear my head and somehow regain some happiness for this holiday season. This is hard to do when just yesterday children died by the hands of a “mentally disturbed” individual. An individual who for whatever reason killed his parents, and shot up a school filled with adults and young children. Innocent lives were lost. I quoted “mentally disturbed,” because that’s what the media is describing him to be. We will never know what possessed this person to do what he did. My heart breaks knowing these babies didn’t have a chance at life. He took that away from them. I can’t help but to feel anger towards him for the violent act he committed. The town of Newtown, CT and the families of these young victims are in my prayers. During my walk, I thought about the victims of hurricane Sandy. It’s been weeks since Sandy hit. The subject has died down a bit, but to me it’s still very real. So many people are still trying to recover from this storm. So many are still without a home, lost all their possessions, lost a sense of self trying to understand why or how this could have happened. My prayers are with them as well.

I haven’t been feeling happy lately. There’s been a lot going on. I try not to let certain things get to me, but prejudice hurts and will always hurt. I will always be an advocate to fight against any form of prejudice, racism or the like. It’s just wrong. Sometimes I feel my dream is fading away. The further I reach for it, the longer the distance. I have a vision as to where I want to be, and what I want to be doing. The vision hasn’t left me; getting there has been a challenge. I am an ESL teacher but haven’t taught regularly since losing my job. I miss the consistency and joy I’d have knowing I have a class to teach. It was that joy that put a smile on my face each day I woke up. No matter what was happening in my life during those times, I felt happy knowing there were a group of people looking forward to see me. I miss that sense of importance. Being a writer and calling myself one has been a journey in itself. Being a writer is something I’ve been doing all my life. I wrote a lot as a child and enjoyed it ever since. However, to say I’m a “writer” took some getting used to. I always thought that to say you’re a writer meant to be published. I realized that is not necessarily true. To me, a writer is one who can express his or herself through written words with the ability to make it comprehensible, and effective enough to grab the reader’s attention. I feel I do that through my words, that makes me a writer. By the way, this month makes two years on this Creative Corner. I am humbled and grateful to all of you for your readership and support. I created a thank you message video:

As for my quest to become a social worker, the journey continues. I am still a grad student at USC but will begin my classes at a later date. I didn’t feel ready to begin my study mainly because of workload, finances, and fear of failure. When I contacted the school to inform them of my decision, I was graciously reminded of their reason for accepting me into their MSW program. I was offered the chance to change my start date. Lastly, I was encouraged to remain a student at USC, because I’ve worked hard to become one. When hurricane Sandy hit and I had the opportunity to volunteer in relief efforts, I grew a deeper appreciation for the field of social work. I appreciated being a MSW student. It was a reminder that I am capable of becoming a social worker despite the challenges that lie ahead. I am more determined to make this dream a reality.

Today’s walk was reflective and comforting. I saw many Christmas trees in the downtown area of Brooklyn. The lights and colorful decorations always put a smile on my face. I went to my favorite diner, ate delicious food, and chatted with the staff. I had good conversation with my mom and talked about why Christmas is a beautiful holiday. I bought different kinds of body sprays and lotions from a store that can make any woman feel beautiful. I smiled. It was a nice day. I look forward to more nice days ahead. I know I will feel happier, all in due time.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Question of a Dream

Will the dream come true

During times of feeling blue

Looking at the big picture

Read inspiring scripture

Heaven is the sky

Comforts me when I cry
Wish to be in a peaceful place

Still carry myself with grace

Ugly sounds, nasty ways

Pray for better days

Neighborhoods in ruins

Air filled with heavy burdens

Lives crumbled, burned down

Slow movement, no sound

Offer a helping hand

Shoes filled with sand

Angered by so-called bureaucracy

With many treated badly

Here representing a service

Personal agenda is their purpose

Instead strive to be a leader

Change the nature of this culture

Where stepping on one another

Is not the way to go higher

Empowerment and giving back

Best way to get on track

Will the dream come true

There’s still so much to do

Palms open ready to receive

The faith I strongly believe

Drown my sorrows in a coffee cup

Remembering to keep my head up