23 Nov

When I was younger, sometime around middle school, I went through that phase most girls go where they sort of try to embrace mysticism. Quartzes are worn for their powers, movies about witches are watched with awe, and dreams are given meaning. Dream dictionaries gave definition to the most common symbolism, and they were so commonplace that teen magazines also got in on the action. I read and read, and I remember finding it fascinating that death in a dream didn’t mean death in real life. The only thing in a dream that meant death in our world were teeth falling out. I read that in so many different sources. I’d never dreamed of this, but it’s one of those facts that once it enters your head it doesn’t leave. As I grew older I stopped believing in the abstract and intangible and saw dreams for what they were, specially since they became mirrored images of my life. There was no looking further than that. I dreamed only what I felt.

Two nights ago I dreamed my teeth were falling out. I’d never had this dream before. I had several dreams that night, one of them that reflected how much I missed and needed my dad, then later one involving high school and me feeling rejected and vulnerable after my teeth started falling out. I woke up and immediately remembered the ominous warning of my youth; death. I was about to send a tweet about it then remembered that my grandfather was about to have surgery and had some veins blocked. “Maybe I shouldn’t post this” I thought. Maybe my family would see it and worry needlessly. I wrote the following “Dreaming about most of my teeth falling off was extra disturbing by how real it felt.” I figured if I let whoever read it know I wasn’t freaked out by the meaning but by the sensation itself would shift focus away from the creepiness. My sister texted me “They say teeth falling out means death. The last time I dreamed about that Aunt X kicked the bucket.” I replied something along the lines of cussing her out and joking that she was the one responsible. No more thought was given, there was no need. It was Friday, I had a doble shift at work and Grandpa’s surgery would be fine. And it was.

Last night we bought movie tickets for a show today at 1:55. We sleep notoriously late on weekends so I grabbed my phone hoping it wasn’t too late. I see it’s around 11:00am and that I have two text messages from my sister from less than an hour before. I open them and the texts say as follows:

Text 1- “Christian was killed and Carlos is in the hospital.”

Text 2- “Your dream came true.”

Christhian Emil and Carlos Armando are my first cousins. They are 21 and 22 respectively, although now I have to use past tense for one of them. Christhian was 21 and he’ll never be older than that. Their older sister, Sylmari, has been a part of my life since I can remember, she’s like my younger sister, the one that fits in the middle between my sister and me in age and size since we were tiny. Now she lost one of her brothers and has another one’s life at risk. I walk out of the room and tell my husband what happened. He tells me I have to call her. I call my younger sister and ask her about it and she tells me that our mom, dad, and her are on their way to their house. My husband tells me I have to call Sylmari. “Yeah, I will” I tell him and start looking for pictures of my cousins on Facebook. “Stop procrastinating.” “You’re putting it off.” He keeps telling me to call her until I tell him. I can’t call her. There’s nothing I can say. Nothing I do, no words will help her, nothing will take away her pain. He tells me she needs to know we’re here for her, and I know he’s right, but I physically can’t. So he takes my phone and calls her on speaker so I can hear her. She answers almost immediately and he does all the talking. He asks if she’s okay, if she has money for a plane ticket home, if she needs anything. She answers everything with a shaky voice that threatens to break on every word and I sit by, looking at my phone’s screen, nothing coming out of my mouth, nothing to even indicate I’m in the vicinity. I hear my husband tell her we love her and I finally utter “I’m here. I don’t know what to tell you except I love you. We love you.” She thanks me. I’m too shocked to tell him this at the moment, and for hours he think I’m not happy about it, but I am eternally grateful for him doing that.

People start tagging my cousin on photos of her dead brother, collages with his name and smiling face and the words “Rest In Peace” plastered over them. Facebook is being filled with his name and picture. The day goes by and information reaches me at the end of the day. The facts are too painful and lengthy to discuss. My heart breaks for my aunt and father, and the siblings he left behind. I see a news report on the shooting and the reporter makes the police lieutenant mention that they had criminal charges. I know this to be true, but it makes me angry. I know whoever saw that only saw that they lived in the projects and had criminal records. “They had it coming” they’ll think. They won’t ever know that they were quiet, shy, and sweet. They’ll never know that they always treated their elders with love and respect, and that every time they said goodbye to my dad they kissed him on the cheek. My dad cleaned away the blood they left on the ground this morning and I’m too far away to hug him. All I catch are bits and pieces, stories that trigger my migraines and make me want to go to bed. It probably means something that even though he died at 21, when I think about Christhian, my brain forms a much younger picture of him. In my head he’s always around 12 years old. Maybe because his face never really changed since he was in the 7th grade, or maybe because in spite of everything, he still sounded like a little kid, someone you desperately wanted to protect.


Maybe not that different?

1 Nov

I don’t remember how long ago, I’ll guess close to a year, I already knew I would be marrying my then boyfriend and moving to the states. Mind you, I hadn’t seen him in 7 months and wedding discussion was done online, but that’s neither here nor there. A friend was giving me advice on a couple of things (she, too, had lived several places in the US with her military husband) I should probably know about moving to a place like the one that would become my home for two years. Of all the advice she gave me, she closed with this: “Be careful with the military wives. Those women are crazy.” Mind you, she technically was one, and now I am as well, but the warning always stuck in my head.

Cut to a year later. My husband left in the middle of the week on a boat op. Originally he thought he would leave on Tuesday, but the day before he was told he’d leave Saturday morning. Then he called me at 9:17am on Thursday.

Him: “Hey, what time do you work today?”

Me: “(Slightly annoyed*) 10:45am, same as every day.

Him: “I’m leaving today. Crap, there’s no way you can pick me up and take me back in time. Don’t worry about it, I’ll find a ride.”

Me: “Wait, what? You’re leaving now? You can’t!**”

*I’m not quite sure the reason I responded annoyed. Being woken up (I sleep til the very last minute), him not knowing my schedule in spite of it being written on our dry-erase vynil chalkboard sticker.

**The conversation went on. Mostly I panicked that I had kissed him that morning as I dropped him off on base without knowing it would be weeks before I kissed him again. Eventually he got a ride home and scrambled everywhere for his gear and I got to give him another kiss before heading off to work while he continued getting his stuff.

The next day at work one of my managers asked me something about my husband which led me to respond that he was away on his boat op. This manager served in the Marines for 23 years and is one of those highly motivated men who loved every minute of it. He asked me if he had left me a shirt with his cologne so I could smell it.

Me: “He didn’t know he was leaving! All I can do is smell his pillow. Which I have.”

Manager: “Well, what are you gonna do these next few weeks?”

Me: “Nothing. Catch up on my reading, I guess.”

Manager: “Don’t you know anybody? Have any friends here?”

Me: “Not really. The closest friend I had here moved back to Michigan.”

Manager: “You need to get involved with the Marine Wives. They’ll help you out. It’s not good for you to be all by yourself. I used to get calls from women like you who had nobody.”

Me: “I’ll be fine. I’ll do a lot of cleaning.”

Manager: “There’s only so much cleaning you can do.”

As he said that I could only think of two things; the first was that he seriously underestimates the clutter Tony and I have in our lives. When you don’t have bedroom furniture, stuff piles up. The second was what my friend said, “military wives are crazy”. That’s probably the main deterrent to me getting involved in anything marine-family related. I saw Marine Wives as a singular entity. They married young and had kids fast. They loved their guns and hated Obama. They watched Fox News and loved Nicholas Sparks. Mind you, this is all me being judge-y. Every day at work I would see women who were younger than me with one or two kids in tow. And I usually see them at their worst, when they’re tired or hungry, throwing Mac n’ cheese on the floor. They feel so foreign to me, so impossible to relate to. It should be mentioned right now that my closest friend here is 21 years old and pregnant with her third child. We probably couldn’t be more different, but there’s nobody I can relate to as much. I love her dearly, as I love her two sweet children, and as I will love the one that pops out of her next. But I digress.

I didn’t think I’d be married before 30. At 26, I was the first of my best friends to marry. I never dreamed of a big wedding where I’d dance the whole night then jet off somewhere fabulous for our honeymoon. My dreams and goals were all professional and personal; they all involved NYC and being single, and dating around. Marrying young was never in my plans, I still think it’s an anomaly that it happened. The most perfect, wonderful, beautiful anomaly. I remember Aziz Ansari once said he was baffled by people who married their high school sweethearts because it meant being sixteen years old and basically saying “I’m done. No need to look any further. This is the best I’ll ever do.” But maybe these women didn’t settle, maybe they just found what they needed to find earlier. Now that I think about it, maybe I’m not so much like them as I am a variation of my mother. I married a man who makes me laugh every day, who hates scary movies but is a tough mother in real life, and who tells me he loves me almost as often as he breathes. And it may have taken longer, and the road to where we are is wildly different to the one my mom and dad took, but I still married the boy who I met and liked at 13.

I LOVE Boobs

20 Oct

Here’s the deal: boobs are awesome.

Anyone who knows me well enough will attest to me finding them wonderful, lovely, and fascinating. Sure, they may have a practical use you may or may not employ them for, but the rest of your life they’re just little bags of fun. Or in my case, big bags of fun. What can I say, I’m a boob enthusiast. Boobs were always a big part of my life, but on July 21st they became even more important to me. Why? Because when I got in the shower that night I felt a lump on one of them. I was very lucky. My oldest friend is a med student and his dad is a doctor as well. They helped calm me down. They referred me to a great breast center. My boobs were thoroughly examined, sonogrammed, and ultimately biopsied over a couple of days. Ultimately it ended up being a benign cyst and I walked away with relief and the knowledge that it may happen again if I ever treat them roughly (no way Jose), or smoke (not in a million years). My love of breasts renewed, I saw them with new eyes. My boobs are awesome. The small scar in one of them is a reminder of a time when they got a little out of control, which is bound to happen when you’re carrying powerful weapons like those.

So, here’s the deal. Had it been something malign, early detection would have been key. So, what I’m trying to tell you all is this: ladies, feel yourselves up. The best way to notice if something isn’t kosher with your fun bags is familiarizing yourself with how they normally look and feel. A great way to do this is in the shower. Get some soap on your lovelies and rub your hands all over them. The soap will help your hands glide easier. A lot of us have fibrous breasts, which means we will have little bumps knots. The key thing is to feel them often so we notice any change in them. There are a lot of great charities out there related to breast health; Planned Parenthood, Susan G. Komen, Bright Pink, they all work in different ways to keep you and your girls happy and healthy. Look them up. Or find others. But above all, PLEASE, feel yourselves up. Cop a feel. Fondle those fun bags. Be good to them. I wish every woman in the world would touch herself this way. It is vital. It could really save your life.

Mourning Those Who Still Live

5 Oct

I started writing this happy, hopeful post about the things that are coming up ahead in my life and ended up writing about something bad that’s happened lately. I hadn’t realized how much those things had hurt me, and how I needed to acknowledge the pain in order to move from it. My face is currently swollen from crying and my head feels like it might crack open. I had to clean mascara streaks off my face and neck, and wipe my nose of the stuff that was threatening to go everywhere. Words matter. I love and respect them. Here I vow to use them for good, to heal and love, never to hurt or hate. Toxicity shouldn’t be allowed into your life. Don’t give in to it.


This is what I wrote:


Lately there’s been a lot of things happening, a lot of pain coming to us from our extended family. The betrayals hurt, but it helps that it happened now and not further down the road. But they still hurt. The same person I spent the night before Christmas taking care of at the hospital is the same person who wished ill upon my sister and intentionally broke my mother’s heart. I wish I could say that I regret having spent so much time with those people, taking care of someone who needed help pulling their pants and underwear up post surgery, but I don’t. I loved them dearly and intensely. When all of it happened I felt shocked and appalled. I shut them out of my heart and refused to feed into the negativity and hatefulness. But right now, talking about it, it hurts so much. Not just the pain I’ve felt for my mother’s heart, but for my own as well. These were people I grew up loving. These were people whose birthdays I remembered and threw surprise parties for. I lost among them my second mother, a woman who I grew up hugging and kissing and whose smell I still remember. And right now I’m crying over losing her for the first time. But some things you can’t take back. I’m glad the last time I was alone with her I gave her a CD I had burned for her because I thought she’d like it when I first heard it. I hope she hears it and thinks of me and all the love she once had for me. I hope she eventually realizes how much she’s hurt and wronged us. But I know she won’t.


This is one of my favorite quotes, and it’s helped me through this:


Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Love, love will keep us together...

Love, love will keep us together…

Fall TV Spoiler Spectacular: Exclusive Scoop and Photos on 45 Returning Favorites!

3 Sep


A summer of spoilers, weeks of promos and many a night spent obsessively re-watching old episodes…. It has all come down to this, TVLiners: The fall TV season is finally upon us.

To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, we’ve compiled a comprehensive rundown on 45 returning favorites — from The Vampire Diaries to Scandal, from NCISto Sons of Anarchy — packed with exclusive scoop and photos you won’t find anywhere else.

RELATED | Fall TV Grid: What’s on When? And Versus What?

Which rock-solid marriage will show signs of wear and tear? Who will do something terrible — and live to regret it? Which gory drama is about to get romantic? And who spent the summer in a catatonic state?!

RELATED |Fall TV: Your Handy Calendar of 100+ Season and Series Premiere Dates

TVLine’s Returning Favorites gallery has answers to those questions and more, plus…

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Rocks-Off Luv Wand: One Of My Favorites!

29 Aug

Just shut up and take my money.

Mellody Love

I was originally exposed to this toy at my first sex toy party. We passed the wand around at the party so that we could feel the texture and potency of the vibrations on the back of our hands. This thing is powerful (insert drool comment here)!

At first, I was a bit turned off by the price, but because I wanted it so bad, I shopped around, found a discount, and scooped it up! It’s been a dream with me and the husband since!

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Ode to the Condom

28 Aug

The first time I ever saw a condom was when my mother showed it to me. My dad was in the Army, and whenever they traveled to other countries they were given prophylactics. Since my dad didn’t need them, he came back with them. My father had gotten a vasectomy right after my sister was born (I remember being 3 years old and seeing my dad with an ice pack on his tenders), so they basically just wasted away. I don’t remember the conversation we were having, but my mom asked me if I’d ever seen one. I told her I hadn’t, so she took me to her room and took out one of my dad’s perfume bottles. It had a large round cap, so my mother put the condom on the bottle. She showed me how to put it on leaving the reservoir on the tip, and how to roll it down the shaft. I was probably around 11 when this happened. I didn’t feel embarrassed or weirded out because my mother had treated it as the most normal thing in the world. As you can probably tell, my mother’s attitude towards sex may not have been the same one most girls I knew had growing up. She studied psychology and instilled in us a view of sexuality as something that was as much a part of human nature as eating or sleeping was. She always re-enforced the importance of safe sex. By the time I eventually had sex, I’d spent years reading up on it. I had safe sex, always. Condoms were always there for me, and it was the most normal thing in the world.

At 19 years old I’d been single in over a year and I wasn’t having sex. I wasn’t thinking about condoms at all until one day my sister told me she’d had unprotected sex. I wanted to smack her. She said the boy picked her up, took her to his grandma’s house, and then proceeded to tell her he didn’t have any protection, but they had sex anyway. I was livid. Had we been raised by the same woman? I told her she could never do that again and that since she was sexually active, she should always have protection. She looked embarrassed so I asked her if she wanted me to buy them for her. She said yes, relieved. So I went to the pharmacy and bought condoms for the first time in my life. The fact that I ran into my highly religious high school English teacher in the check-out line isn’t relevant to this story, but I just really enjoy that detail. Since that day I kept a pack in one of my bed stands, but never really needed it. It wasn’t until years later that I started having sex more often that I realized I never wanted to be without one. I went to the store and bought about two packs, and put condoms in each of my purses, that way, no matter which one I was wearing, I was packing. I realized that if you’re a responsible adult who is in charge of your sexuality, there is always a possibility you’ll have sex. You never know where the night will lead you, no matter how inconspicuously the day starts, you could still find yourself knee deep in penis in a matter of hours. Okay, that’s obviously a hyperbole, but the thing is, you just don’t know!

At one point in 2007 the awesome movie Knocked Up came out. I was already a big fan of Judd Apatow, and this movie was getting great reviews, so I bought it without having seen it. I loved it. It revolves around a two people who have a one night stand and when he doesn’t put on his condom before having sex with her it results in a pregnancy, as it usually happens. When she meets him months later to tell her she’s pregnant, he gets angry at her, saying he was drunk and she should have known he wasn’t wearing a condom because of how it felt. Wait, what? Sex without a condom feels different? I’d never had it, so I didn’t know my vagina was so sensitive that upon penetration it would detect whether the penis was covered in extremely thin latex or just going au naturale (I originally wrote “whether or not the sausage was in its casing” but decided against it because of me being an “adult”). So far sex had felt wonderful and I couldn’t imagine it being any different going bareback.



Someone very close to me is in an unplanned pregnancy. They never bothered using protection because she was irregular. They were very surprised when after going for a routine gynecologic check-up led to the reveal of her being pregnant. Why the surprise? Don’t people process this is what happens when you don’t protect yourself against pregnancies and STDs? She’s lucky all she got was a kid, specially since she’s a repeat offender in the unprotected sex division. She can’t work because her pregnancy is high risk. After being in a house less than a month they’ll have to move out because they can’t afford rent on his minimum wage. And that baby is going to be so extremely expensive, as all babies are. But a pack of condoms that costs a couple of dollars? Nah, not worth it.

Right now I haven’t used a condom during sex in over a year. I’ve been in a relationship for over 9 months. Due to the fact that we were long distance from the beginning we knew beforehand we weren’t going to be having a one night stand, or having sex after the third date. When we finally got together we spent over a week doing everything together; eating, sleeping, driving around North Carolina. We skipped Couples 101 and went to the advanced course, and along with it, birth control. I started using NuvaRing before I left the island to see him. I knew he wasn’t a fan of condoms but was willing to use them for me. Ironically, what triggered me deciding to get on hormonal birth control was the fact that I have thirty-something day cycles and would have been menstruating my whole week there. I wasn’t about to let Mother Nature ruin my week with what was potentially my future boyfriend, so I took charge and put a ring on it. When we finally got together it was wonderful. It was the best sexual experience of my life, but it was all about the intimacy and how we felt, and nothing to do with the fact that he wasn’t wearing a condom. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really feel a difference. He was what made it amazing.

So, condom, I’m sorry we broke up. It’s not you, it’s me. You kept my vagina healthy and my uterus empty for many wonderful years and I am eternally grateful to you for it. You were cheap (not in a bad way!) and effective, and you will continue making boys and girls happy all around the world. And, in case I never said it before, I loved you since the day I first laid eyes on you.

About a year ago my sister was working at a pharmacy and she saw that Durex was coming out with cute little boxes to keep your condoms in your purse without risking them getting damaged. She saw them and remarked that they were cool and that she wanted them, which made the women she worked with tease her about it. She confidently responded that women should take charge of their sexual health and shouldn’t depend on them to be the ones to carry the protection. She told me everyone agreed and looked at her with respect. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

P.S. While looking for a link to the Durex Love Box I found Cosmo had done an article of cute ways to store your condoms. So, if you’re interested in something good looking to keep them from flopping around your seemingly bottomless purse (my sister says mine belonged to Mary Poppins), click here!

Have fun and stay safe!