Writing Challenge ~30 day

Day 1: 10 minute prompt: My intention for today is…

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My intention for today is to organize and clean my space. It is cluttered, messy and not the way I want it to look. The saying goes, a cluttered room= a cluttered mind. And I have been feeling this way- that my mind is in chaos. Thinking of all I have to do, look for, achieve, maintain, decide, be, do. And it feels very confusing which is why I am starting all these writing challenges, which seem to align oddly enough and will help me work on being consistent and will help me organize myself and my thoughts. But there are no coincidences rights? And you break a habit in 21 days right?

Now I have to set up a schedule to achieve writing/career goals…

I want to write more and express myself through writing and be real and be vulnerable and not care what people think because damn it I do care which doesn’t allow me to be vulnerable and say, “I don’t think I am a good writer” but I want to be. I think my grammar sucks but I want to get better. I self edit thinking of others as I write. And then I write too fast, my brain, my thoughts work faster than my handwriting does. So I make mistakes. And I am learning to be okay with all of it. Be okay with all of my flaws.

But wait this prompt is about my intention for the day, so yea, my intention is to clean and organize my space first and then make up a schedule that will help me align and accomplish my goals. And this too:

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The Power of the F.I.E.R.C.E. Brunch

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One of the reasons that I started this blog was because I wanted to write about things that interest me. Furthermore, I wanted to highlight women that truly inspire me because they want to make a difference in this world. I believe that the universe gives you exactly what you ask for, so it was of no coincidence that I attended the first, The Power of the F.I.E.R.C.E. brunch, event held at Katarina Bar & Grill in Queens, and wanted to write about it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 1:30pm. I was on my way to Kew gardens, in a cab. The day was gorgeous, blue skies and lots of sunshine. I was wearing a purple shirtdress, high heels, all accessorized, feeling myself as I felt fierce!! That was the premise of the event, to get women together to show up and show out. And so I did! Of course there was more to it than that, I will get into it later. At the beginning, I didn’t really know exactly what to expect. I only knew that three successful women in their own right, Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin, Justine Hornedo and Wendy Angulo, were going to talk about empowering women through their experiences.

So I arrived… A lovely woman greeted me at the door and handed me a blue folder with quotes inside. I entered the room. All the women that were there were dressed for the occasion. The energy in the room was vibrant, loving and welcoming. I felt very comfortable in the space and just what I needed to reinvigorate me.

Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin started the F.I.E.R.C.E. campaign with the hopes that women can come together and uplift one another, which prompted her to bring guest speakers to empower women for a brunch.

But before I go any further, what is the Fierce woman?

The Fierce woman is, “Female Inspiring, Empowering, Recognizing, Cultivating Evolution. The evolution of herself and other fellow women. In a time where most women are conditioned to compete against one another and tear each other down, this campaign is focused on uplifting and building each other up. The FIERCE Woman is focused, determined, and knows that there is no competition when you’re doing what you have been uniquely gifted to do.”

Nancy was a gracious host. Looking fabulous as always. She made sure to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable with her words. She spoke of her experiences and what led her to create the FIERCE woman campaign. She believes in sharing ideas, resources, and putting out the best. “You have to invest in yourself and help others.”

What I am going to do is to write about some of what caught my attention from the guest speakers.

I will start with the first speaker, Justine Hornedo. Justine is a mother, manages two busy health care practices at one of NY’s top health care facilities, and she has literally done it all.Her current goal is to speak to teens and motivate them. It was Justine’s first time as a motivational speaker and she did a fantastic job. She kept the women engaged. She was vulnerable and honest about her experiences. She explained that no matter the obstacles and hurdles, she did not let it defeat her. She spoke of her childhood, how she overcame living with drug addicted parents and the death of her mother at the age of 7. And since a young age she knew that she had the power to change, she had a choice. Justine has gone through a lot, from job loss, getting evicted, among other things and turning that around to buying a house, and living her dreams all because she did not let loss take over or debilitate her.

Here are some of my favorite points she made:

“Nothing should control you. Choose to do better. Choose to know that you’re more than capable of doing what you want to do!!!”

“My reason is bigger than what life could throw at me!”

“Reinvent yourself. Make goals and once completed you will be successful”

“Be passionate and do due diligence. You have to change everything within you and around you. Laser focus on a goal.”

“Believe in yourself!”

“Think about what your passionate about. And what you have to do to go to the next level.”

“If you speak it, it is possible!!”

With Justine Hornedo

The second speaker was Wendy Angulo, of Wendy Angulo Productions, she is the CEO and Founder of Canvas of Words. She is a lawyer, a mother, a well-rounded woman, who is on a mission to make a change in the poetry/art world. Wendy spoke candidly and honestly about her life. Wendy shared her experiences, of how divorce and the loss of her mother who died of cancer has made her the woman she is today. Although, these experiences were difficult to live through, it taught her resilience, determination, and acceptance of self. She had to rebuild herself in order for her to grow. It began with a journey of self-love, exerting human evolution. Buddhism has helped her to continue her path of self-love.

Here is some of what she had to say:

“I have a passion to inspire and motivate everyone. To go to your highest potential.”

“Do what works for you!! Always!! Customize to your needs. Doing what you love.”

“Create possibilities. Create opportunities.”“Reflect!”

“Believe in yourself enough to follow your dreams.”

“Be determined and passionate and love what you do.”

“Respect your craft. Respect yourself. Improve it.”

“Network build connections. Use all your resources.”

“Be realistic understand what works and what doesn’t.”

“Don’t beat yourself up. Get rid of the need of pleasing people.”

Wendy ended with this quote, she lives by: “The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage”. By one of her favorite Buddhist Philosophers, Daisaku Ikeda

Wendy Angulo and I!

To conclude this powerful event, Nancy Arroyo Ruffin, left us with some words of wisdom. Nancy is a mother, an author, and a motivational speaker. She spoke of her dream of having a child and the attempts that were tried to conceive. She had a miscarriage, and although it was devastating, she continued to have hope. She realized that when she did get pregnant, that timing is everything. Things happen at the time that they should. And to never give up on a dream! And now currently she created the FIERCE woman campaign.

Here is what she had to say:

“We all have that gift.

“We need to bring each other up”

“We have the life to live and make our dreams come true.”

“Making the most of the your time.”

“We all have the power of choice. Decide to make the most of those seconds.”

“Dreams you can’t put on hold. Trust in timing. Except things at their own time. Successful people keep climbing.”

“Create for yourself opportunities. Make a desicion. Dream. Plan. Execute.”

“One failure doesn’t equal loss.”

“Adversity gives us strength.. Surround yourself with a good team.”

“Focus on the positive.”

“You have the power to change lives.”

“Successful people have visions. They believe it. And work hard. When earned it can’t be taken away.”

“Trusting yourself and talent.”

“Make positive choices. Dream Big!”

“Believe in yourself.”

This is what propelled Nancy to create this event because she too saw a need of uplifting women to reach their highest potential. And she did a great job putting it together. I loved it!!

With the hostess and creator, Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin!

Well, there you have it!! If this doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will. It is affirming to know that these women held to their convictions and decided to pursue their dreams. No matter what was in their way. Nancy has a vision that the FIERCE campaign happens internationally. I can totally see that happening. We need this. We need to see women of color get together and empower each other. We cannot do it alone. We need each other. If we work together we can thrive.

I had a lovely time… I hope you can make the next one. For more information about Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin visit www.thefiercewoman.com there you can read more about her and the guest speakers and what this campaign is all about.

Some of the materials included in the folder.

This event has been beauty, brains, and blogging approved!

‘Til the next event my loves!

Soledad Speaks!

Good evening Beautiful People!

Continuing with the theme of breaking silence. We all know how living in a Latino/Caribbean household is, while growing up our parents would say, “”los trapos sucios, se limpian en casa”, what happens at home stays at home. I’m sure most of us can relate. Which is sad because keeping things silent has not helped anyone. Many have gone through abuse in silence, afraid of not being able to speak up, scream, cry or even believed if they were to say something. And I am talking about all kinds of abuse, no exceptions!

With that being said, I had the privilege of seeing the performance show, Soledad Speaks at BAAD!* for a second time. The show was directed and executed beautifully by Linda Nieves-Powell featuring the poetry of the talented Latina women, Meriam Rodriguez, Maria Rodriguez, Peggy Robles- Alvarado, J.F. Seary and choreography by Milteri Tucker. “The Journey begins during the seventeenth century on the island of Puerto Rican and ends in modern day New York City. Revisiting colonialism and the effects on women, the journey from slavery to rebellion to freedom, SOLEDAD SPEAKS pays homage to those who came before us in the hopes of understanding how their legacy has defined who we are today.”

To me, this show is about speaking up against the stereotypes, stigmas, social norms, patriarchy and displacement that exist in this world.

This show gave me life!! It was wonderful to see the performers give their all on the stage. It was felt. I felt their words, their emotions, their strength through their language. This show will make you laugh, cry, and even cringe because of its honesty but most of all it will make you THINK! Think about this patriarchal society. Think about the social constructs that have been imposed on us. Think about how silence is deadly. Think about sexuality. Think about how society makes us feel that we don’t belong when knowing very well we bring sazon to this bland country!

This show was very empowering and it showed vulnerability that allowed me to relate to everything. Specifically, I was able to relate to Meriam Rodriguez’s ‘coming out’ story, how difficult it is to ‘come out’ to your mother while she is more worried about the fear and the opinion of others than your happiness. And the scenes where they were all around the dancer, Milteri Tucker, trying to fix her hair, relax her hair instead of making her feel proud of the texture of her crown. How she needs to look like a ‘white’ American. I also appreciated the scene about women’s sexual liberation because of course we are taught that we shouldn’t talk about sex. I especially liked how they were able to convey the message that although we are in America we belong here and we are here to stay, that we are EVERYWHERE, “we are breaking stereotypes” because “we be the beat of this city, and we be the spirit of this city”!!!

I can go on and on about this show but I am sure it will be on again so you need to see it for yourself so you can understand what I mean. You will not be sorry!

This show uplifts every woman, the Latina woman, the Caribbean woman, all women of color. It shows us that we are powerful beyond measure. We deserve to be here and we will show you why! One line that I will always remember that was said by Peggy Robles-Alvarado, “a bowed head can not properly carry a crown, baby girl”. So, let’s adjust our crown because we have things to do!!

 

Thank you for making SOLEDAD SPEAKS heard!!! May it continue to do so!

For more information about the show and the director/cast members please visit www.soledadspeaks.com

Visit and Like their page on Facebook

 

*BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance- www.baadbronx.org

 

This has been beauty, brains and blogging approved!

Broken Silence: Fundraiser Event

Hey all!!

It has been a busy, busy, week of going to different events and checking out friends do their thing!! So I am excited to share my experiences when attending these events that you may be interested in.

So, last Saturday, I went to Broken Silence: The Blue Vein Pages Journal Fundraiser and Poetry Showcase by Tamara Saliva.

I met Tamara about a year ago at a NYC Latina Writers Group meeting. She is the sweetest person I know and a passionate person at that. When she believes in something she works diligently to make her dreams a reality. She started this fundraiser because she saw how important it was to give children a space for them to write about their personal stories. She wants children to know that regardless of whatever circumstances they have lived, their stories are important and should be written down. She firmly believes that through writing, from what I’ve seen, you can be honest and vulnerable. She believes that every one can tell their stories no matter the age.

The reason for the fundraiser you may ask? Tamara states, “the new project is to give the children a journal that is a little more personal, not just another composition notebook. I am creating a Blue Vein Pages Journal. These journals will never be sold. The Blue Vein Pages Journal will always be an item I provide to children after my performances be it at a summer youth orientation or any other outreach opportunity. These journals are for children of all ages.”

The event was fantastic! Poets came through to showcase their talents and break the silence! Silence is so common and deadly! Therefore, it is important that we speak up about experiences otherwise we will forever repeat the same cycles.

 

 

Pic courtesy of Mark Vigo and Tamara Saliva

Pic courtesy of Mark Vigo and Tamara Saliva

The poets were as follows Nicholas NicholsRalphy Tatuxmen PerezTaino BrigsIbrahim Asad Siddiq P.O.E.T, Mark Mark Anthony Vigo aka Vigo Hard BKPeggy Robles-AlvaradoMaria Rodriguez, and Christopher Chilo Cajigas.

All of these artists left their mark on the space. What I appreciated from the artists poems was that they were all about making their voices heard, although they had hardships, pain and sorrow caused by either their parents, siblings and/or lovers, they showed that we can learn from our experiences. Our voices are important and should be heard. Breaking the silence is important and oh so necessary. As Audre Lorde said, “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”

I can clearly understand why Tamara wants to provide a journal to all children who feel that they don’t have a voice or a space to write down their stories. I asked Tamara some questions:

Andreina: Why is this project important to you? 

Tamara: This project is important to me because there’s so many untold stories in this world. Untold stories of abuse, all sorts of abuse child physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, verbal mental and emotional abuse. Too often the victims of the abuse believe they are alone, I want them to know they aren’t.

A: What is your ultimate goal? For the future for this campaign?

T: The ultimate goal is to get a journal in every hand that is seeking to have a voice. Even if it means that the only person who knows the sound of that voice is the writer and their journal. The ultimate goal is Voice. My main focus is the kids I work with over the summer, but I want these journals to go to anyone no matter what the age is. These journals will never be sold because the profit is giving voice to the voiceless.

 A: Why should the community help out and support this cause? 

T: I am turning to the community because it is our communities that voices are being silenced. It is within the community that the abuse is happening and it takes a community to make a difference in just one person’s life.

 A: What makes it different from anything you’ve done before?

T: This project is different from what I have done previously because what I did before was go to the community and have them send me actual composition notebooks. This time around I want them to have something a lil more personal than just a notebook from the dollar store.  These journals will be printed with a note that reads:

 Dear Writer,

May this journal serve you as the

voice of all that is not expressed but

requires its release, expression is

the freedom of silence, voice is the

sound of truth and words are

experiences manifested into

sentences, these are the telling’s of

your story.

Always,

Tamara G. Saliva

If nothing else they will know that someone cares enough about their story to give them a journal created just for them.

Thank You Tamara for doing this, for taking the time to give to the community, our children who are in need.

And with that, I hope you make a donation to this campaign, which is still going on…For further information please visit http://www.gofundme.com/bvpjournals

This has been beauty, brains and blogging approved!

Broken Veins Fundraiser