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Personal Writing

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  • Keep Them Coming Back
    I see you in the corner of the rowdy, Irish bar. Wide eyed, witnessing your ex hooking up with a stranger-turned-mortal enemy. I hear the stifled cry; I feel the ardor of the tears that you are desperately trying to hold back. I taste the liquid fire gushing down your throat; the poison juice, all at once, bestows upon you confidence and insecurity. It is that same “confidence” that serves as the motor that propels you towards your victims. The two figures glued together, desperately groping at each other (who decided that the space next to the karaoke stage turns into a honeymoon suite at the Motel 6?) turn to the rabid drunk standing in front of them. Stop. I’ve been there.
    You want your ex-everything to come crawling back. You want roses, you want the romance – you want a remote control with a big, fat rewind button that will transport you to the rainbows and butterflies of the beginning. The drunken confrontation, or any variation of such, will only repel your love like Off repels mosquitoes. There is nothing more putrid to the nose than the smell of desperation.
                Heartache hurts just the same as when you stub your toe against that sneaky corner of your dresser. Okay – understatement. It stings like an open wound, and seeing your ex attempt to move on is like someone incessantly poking that wound.
    “Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated,” French poet Alphonse de Lamartine.
    If, after a couple of months of reflection, you realize you cannot live without this person then there is a dignified way of reeling them back in.
    1)    Space. A Whole Universe Of It: The last thing you want to do is stop sharing every detail of your life with the person you love. It is tough to ignore the calls, messages, serenades, etc. After a break-up, you need to give yourself space to analyze the situation. A clean break requires absolutely no contact. Some social media stalking is permitted but don’t get all Sherlock Holmes on your ex – this means no asking mutual friends about them. Keep the healing process separate.
    2)    Take Up A New Hobby: Yoga. Cooking classes. Capoeira. A language. Whatever floats your boat. It could be a hobby you left behind to devote more time to your old relationship, or an activity you have always wanted to try. Delve into your new hobby.
    3)    Social Media Propaganda: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are there for a reason. They are ways to control your public persona. Don’t become that annoying friend who posts mopey statuses and shares sad music links – everyone knows who they are directed to. Instead, post pictures of that new hobby you took up. Reconnect with old friends. No sloppy party pictures, but do show that your life can go on without your ex.
    4)    The Casual (Not So Casual Encounter): Now is your time to shine. Get all dressed up and strut your stuff. Go to a place you know that they will make an appearance at. Approach your ex; let them know what a fabulous time you’ve had, but that you have missed them. Then mention that you should catch up (they’ll probably beat you to it.)
    5)    The Waiting Game: If you’ve played your cards right, and if it is meant to be, you will receive that text/call soon. Then, the rest is up to you. 
  • The Lost Mariachi: Ode to New York 
    Alone. I am terrified of the word; it took me a whole hour to get the nerve to write it. I was caught amidst a river of Manhattanites at Park Avenue, letting the crowd direct me somewhere, anywhere. I felt so alone…ugh, there’s that word again.
                It was one of those Big Apple summer days that entices Wall Street men to revert back to their frat boy phase and indulge in debauchery at some swanky rooftop bar. Those sticky, sunny days that inspire Nuyoricans to play with the gushing water of an open fire hydrant whilst celebrating the season with a block party barbeque. Meanwhile I was at an exclusive self-pitying party of one, floating among a current of New Yorkers all going somewhere.
                I wandered into the Upper East Side entrance of Central Park and plopped onto a pigeon poop stained bench. As a writer, I tend to narrate my life in my head. I sat there plotting the melodrama: Once upon a time there was a well-intentioned girl who repeatedly made mistakes. Her inherently Latin lateness/laziness tended to hold her back. Then, she decided to move to New York City. The city ate her for supper. The end. Trust me, the pity party could go on for days.
                Then, I spotted him. A stumpy, tan man sat on the bench next to mine, holding an iPhone to his ear. Rancheras blare from the speakers as he sings along to the tune, “Soy mexicanooo.” The stout man proceeded to serenade a grandiose American Elm, his groupies the stampede of kids with balloon crowns exiting the Central Park Zoo. All the while, a melancholic tone plagued his tune and spread to his gaze, infecting his aura. The same song played on and on as he sang it louder each time. No one quieted him, no one disturbed him.
                By the 1860s, a year after the opening of the 843-acre park, Central Park attracted “a regular group arriving by carriage or horse,” the richest five percent of the city’s denizens. The New York City elite had begged for a park reminiscent of those that inhabited Europe. Central Park’s location proved too far from where the poor resided, and it wasn’t until mass transportation became commonplace that the Park became available to all social groups. Today’s magic of Central Park is largely due to the breadth of its visitors, ranging from a snooty Upper East-sider to the bum calling an Elm tree home.
                I was living and working at Downtown New York that summer. Surrounded by cold banks and corporations, and working in the chic yet superficial Meat Packing District quickly turned me into a jaded city-dweller. I longed for something real, untouched by the demons of materialism. The Highline was Downtown’s attempt at matchmaking the city with an unwanted suitor, nature. It lacked the diversity of its visitors; it served as a runway for off-duty models and a realty showcase of SoHo’s most expensive rentals. Nothing can compare to the stark contrast of an Upper East Side street next to the family from Bolivia traveling for the first time in years, crossing Central Park off their tourist attractions list.
             The impromptu mariachi abruptly got up and left. Before leaving I caught a glimpse of his face; it seemed relaxed, any trace of nostalgia erased. Maybe he too was overwhelmed by the struggles of city life, and came to Central Park to drop his tensions on the eager, grassy ground. Central Park became his stage, as it can also shape shift to other things for different visitors. New York needs Central Park, its oasis for anyone desperate for an escape.
                I’ll always remember that pigeon poop-stained bench. The day I found a muse, the day I realized I’ll never    be alone as long as Central Park exists. 
  • But Daddy... 
    “I could be a drug addict, do you realize how lucky you are?” argues Lena Dunham as Hannah, the entitled, twenty-something year old dreamer on HBO’s ‘Girls’, whose cushy NYC life is torn apart when her parents reveal to her she’s cut off. In today’s society, where lazy socialites are idolized, teens drive Mercedes, and college students live in apartments struggling families can only dream of affording – why are we so offended by Dunham’s depiction of Generation Y? After all, aren’t we all a bunch of spoiled brats?
    Lately, there has been a huge backlash to ‘Girls.’ Most find the show’s characters unsympathetic, “These characters have been raised believing that they’re special and that they can do anything they want. The problem is that none of them seem to want to do anything. There’s nothing particularly special about Hannah’s life,” wrote critic John Kubiceck, for Others seem offended by the overeducated, privileged characters whining about their version of poverty when others are starving on the streets. 
    I think ‘Girls’ hits too close to home; the middle-class and wealthy kids of my generation are narcissistic, unmotivated brats. And I include myself. ‘Girls’ represents the result of the delusion of my generation – the approaching reality ready to burst our bubble. People are offended by the show because it confirms to selfless, unquestioning parents that they have raised a generation that works less but thinks they deserve more. Blame television and the constant materialistic pressure put on kids and parents, the former to compete and the latter to provide.
    “It’s got to have it, gimmie. That is the value system,” observes Enola Aird – an activist for children’s rights interviewed in the film The Commercialization of Childhood. The documentary touches on the infiltration of advertising, consumerism, and brands and how its affected the generation described as, “it’s about me, it’s about me now, and it’s about me and these things.” We’re given all the toys when we’re little, the clothes when we’re teens why shouldn’t we expect the same treatment when we’re 20? A crisis that the characters on ‘Girls’ are facing, as they struggle to live in a world where the commodities they are used to cease to exist.
    Our generation demands these luxuries because we are constantly exposed to them on TV. Popular shows like ‘Gossip Girl’ and ‘Beverly Hills: 90210’ show chauffeured teens prancing around cosmopolitan cities, donning $2,000+ outfits and swiping their parents credit cards anywhere they can. To back up these seemingly fictitious lifestyles are various reality shows like ‘NYC Prep’ and ‘Laguna Beach,’ proving that real teens can actually spend like that. “I don’t want to apologize for having money!” complains Camille Hughes; NYC Prep cast member and a real life Gossip Girl. ‘Laguna Beach,’ a show on rich kids in Malibu produced four seasons, various spin-offs and extremely high ratings; if cast member Lauren Conrad’s parents can buy her Chanel’s and send her off to NYC to pursue her fashion dreams then mine should too.
    These shows depict the lifestyle of a minority, the few that can afford to not work and be rewarded with everything and more. The problem is that TV has put such characters on a pedestal; the modern celebrity is no Grace Kelley, no Etta James. Today’s idols are talentless heiresses who think that starring in their own reality show is the equivalent to winning an Oscar. With role models such as Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, whose TV shows consist of spending their families money on partying and clothes, who can blame our generation for expecting the same. Over-saturation of celebrities mixed with the rise of reality TV creates a toxic environment, breeding shallow, entitled teens.
    The 1980’s and 1990’s had shows like ‘Growing Pains,’ ‘Full House,’ and ‘7th Heaven.’ These were shows centered around united, middle-class families who, granted, had their rebellious, bratty teen characters but they would all learn a moral lesson at the end of the episode. Yelled at your parents? The show would demonstrate the consequences: the heartache the underappreciated parent felt, the disapproval from an older sibling, and the tension it could place on a family. The episodes would end with the moody teen learning a lesson, and an emphasis on the importance of familial ties above all else.
    Cue to 2005, the year ‘My Super Sweet 16’ first aired on MTV. The reality show followed a group of rich, 16-year olds ready to spend their Daaaaaaddy’s millions. Yell at your parents? Yes, especially after they get a Lexus for their birthday. I mean, Daaaddy, I already told everyone I was getting a Range Rover. The most damaging part of the show was the fact that after the unnecessary tantrums ensued; they would get what they wanted. Scream, cry, beg…receive. These girls really thought they deserved a $100,000 dollar party and a car with a matching price tag.
    We see Lauren Conrad jet out to her unpaid internship in NYC, living in a trendy studio, and we expect our parents to maintain this fantasy lifestyle. ‘Girl’s’ Hannah, and her three roommates are all trying to pursue glamorous dreams; one especially out-of-touch roommate, Shoshanna, played by Zosia Mamet, compares her life to ‘Sex and The City.’ In reality, they lack the exciting sex, flashy clothes and extravagant pads HBO’s other show about NYC girls, ‘Sex and the City,’ offered.
    People are missing out on the point of ‘Girls.’ It’s meant to be an eye-opening look into the reality our generation will bump into when we can’t fall back into our parent’s trust fund. Of course Hannah feels cheated by her parents, in her mind the least they can do is pay $1,100 a month – a measly fee compared to what the girls her age on TV spend. Let’s stop embracing trashy reality TV and let’s observe the reality behind this show – it may teach us all a lesson, the only thing we do deserve. 
  •  Poema a Estilo de Antonio Machado: El silencio lo devora.

    En mi corazón se veía,

    “Su nombre, flauta y lira, y una inscripción no más,”
    Como sacarlo de mi pensamiento, si esta tan atado a mi?
    “Yo te he visto, aspirando distraído,”
    ¿Pensando en nosotros?, ¿Lo que una vez fuimos?
    La memoria del pasado,
    “va trepando por él, y en sus entrañas,”
    Y aunque le duela pensar que perdimos el futuro,
    su orgullo lo detiene y el silencio lo devora.
    Cuanto arde mi corazón cuando realiza que todo se acabo;
    Fui una huella en su arena que borro el mar en el vaivén de sus olas,
    Y por mas que me enloquece la vida sin el,
    “No quiero llamar a tu ventana.”
    Un amor muerto al nacer,
    No se puede salvar lo que no quiere ayuda.
    Fue tan corto el amor,
    en un párpado se fue …
    Esa noche veraniega,
    cuando “una dulce melodía vagó por todo el jardín”,
    fue una melancólica melodía que aturdió mi alma …
    La melodía de su Adiós.
    “Habla, dijiste, y yo: cantar quisiera”
    Nada que decir,
    palabras botadas en un abismo.
    Pasan los días, y tu presencia me espanta
    Y, aunque “No te verán mis ojos;¡mi corazón te aguarda!”
    Sigues en, “el profundo espejo de mis sueños”
    Me duele, Si.
    Aun asi los dias me alimentan, me fortalecen
    La vida me ha ayudado entender que “los amoríos de ayer,casi los tengo olvidados, si fueron alguna vez.” 

    Virginia Ashe