The Lost Daughter

      I don’t know about you, but I think about my parents every day. Even if it’s just for a moment, they come to mind and I can’t help but wonder if they think of me as much as I think of them. For some of us, we are lucky enough to have two parents still alive and well and a means of visiting them anytime we want or if you still live with them, just coming home and sitting down for some family time. That is something I used to take for granted. I would hole up in my room all day, only to come out when I was hungry or for school. When I moved away, I would only visit every now and then, sometimes a month would go by and I hadn’t seen or called them. On one of the rare times I went to visit, an argument broke out between my mother and I. I was so upset, slammed the door, got in my car and never looked back. I went one year without speaking to them. A whole year.

     At first it didn’t start out that way, I didn’t plan on leaving for a year. I didn’t plan on leaving at all, but because I had a bad habit of procrastinating and being selfish, I hadn’t thought about visiting them again. I didn’t feel that I needed to call them until after about a month, but I was so ashamed and didn’t know what to say because I didn’t want to bring up that fight we had when I last saw them. I also thought they would be furious with me. Disown me. I had always been the black sheep of the family so I figured I did them a favor. I wouldn’t be missed.

     A lot goes on in a year. So many birthdays and holidays, traditions went by and I missed all of it. I felt like my parents died because I would never get to do those things with them again and my heart felt empty. I would never get the chance to see them again. I cried most nights as if I mourned their death.

     Upon meeting new people, new friends, new coworkers I realized that all of my stories about who I am and how I came to be had my parents in them. Places I’ve been, skills I’ve learned, habits I’ve picked up mostly came from what they taught and shared with me. But when I realized that is all they would ever be, is just memories in my mind, I became depressed. I had no closure. My boyfriend always asked, why don’t you just call them? Or knock on their door? To me that was completely out of the question and as each passing month went by it only became more and more difficult because I knew that I only had one person to blame. There is a very hard pill to swallow and its one I’ve always had trouble with and that pill is called pride.

     He suggested that I should write a letter. “Do what you do best and just be completely honest, you don’t even have to send it if you don’t want to.” He said. Writing has always made me feel better and so I followed his advice. I poured my heart and soul into this letter because I figured at this point I had nothing left to lose and I don’t have to send it but I can still have some closure in my mind. I recalled the story in the bible, the parable of the lost son, after being gone for so long, “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” While the father of this man had every right to be upset he said “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” And they celebrated. I prayed that I would be received in the same way.

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     The final draft of my letter sat idly by waiting to be sent but I failed to have the courage to do it alone. Alyssa, my niece, was the only one I had contact with from the family and she urged me not to let another day go by. My boyfriend knew how important this was to me so he sent it without my knowing. He says “I thought you wanted me to send it? Oh. I’m sorry, well it’s already been sent, I guess we just have to wait and see.”  This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

     It’s been a little over a year since the letter was sent and I got the call from my mother saying she’s received it and would like to meet again. In that time I have appreciated everything. Every little moment I spend with them I cherish because I got a second chance. When a parent passes away, there is no second chance, they are gone. I feel like I’m living on borrowed time. What person wouldn’t give anything to spend five more minutes with a mom or dad who has passed away? To relive a memory one more time? I get to do that. What I would once roll my eyes to, I now jump at the chance to do like garage sale hunting on a Saturday morning or movies at home.

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     I went for a visit this past week and played the piano at their house, a piano I thought I would never see again let alone get a chance to play. Dad hears the music and abandons the TV (which is kind of a huge deal because he never misses the late night news) and sits with me to listen, and what I once felt was an empty heart is now filled with joy to see him so happy and humming the melody. “Bravo!” He applauds. We take turns and he plays the songs I have been hearing him play since I was a child. Songs I don’t even know the title of and never thought I would hear again.

     Sometimes there are problems only a mom can help you with. Mom’s hugs and words of wisdom have always been a place of comfort for me. When my garden blooms I think of her because without her I wouldn’t have known the beauty and tranquility that comes with maintaining a garden. She has always taken care of me from Dr.’s Appointments to piano lessons she has always wanted the best for me. I am so lucky to have had such a caring mother. I could sit and help her in her garden all day.

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     I know that I took them for granted in the past but I always want them to know how happy I am that they are just a phone call away. I don’t want others to go through what I had to go through to learn that lesson. So ask yourself, when was the last time you called? Don’t wait another day, just call to say hello because there may come a time you won’t be able to.

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So you think you want a Pit Bull

Someone has a litter of puppies and needs to find the new pups good homes. You think to yourself, oh my goodness, I love puppies!!! They are sooooo cute, hey maybe I should take one home. As a trainer and animal lover, I hear and see people like this all the time. While others might think, oh that’s awesome! What a great idea! I roll my eyes and feel sorry for the puppy because 70% of the time, it’s not a good idea. It is really frustrating to watch people go through the same mistakes over and over, no matter what I advise them to do. Some might say, “Oh but at least the dogs will have a good home!” Well not quite. Every mistake you make in raising a dog, only makes it harder for you and your pet, especially if you want to own a Pit Bull. What I write here today can apply to all dogs, but I want to specifically talk about Pit Bulls.

I recently had an acquaintance ask me, “As a dog trainer, how do you feel about Pit Bulls?” There is this stigma with Pits that they are aggressive and ruthless killers, which doesn’t help when some men use the dogs as a symbol of power and strength, kind of like men who buy a hummer, (between you and I, they’re probably just over compensating, if you know what I mean) when in reality these kinds of dogs can be quite sweet and timid. They were even once considered America’s nanny dog, “The pit bull was also a favorite dog among politicians, scholars, and celebrities. Helen Keller, Theodore Roosevelt, and the “Our Gang” Little Rascals all had pit bulls.” – See more at: http://www.badrap.org/breed-history#sthash.8SUBDR6p.dpuf

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Naturally, I told her that with the right amount of love and attention, this could be a great dog. But then it dawned on me, why did she want to know? She answered the question as though she had read my mind. “Oh good,” she said “Because I might get one.” This is the part where I groan, roll my eyes and tilt my head back to the sky and ask God, Whyyyyy?!?!?!

So you think you want a Pit. Let’s get something straight here, I think the bully breed is a spectacular breed of dog, however, no matter what kind of dog you get, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with owning one. Especially one that comes with such a bad reputation. Some might think that I am against them or that I think they are bad dogs. Quite the opposite, I think Pit bulls are amazing, which is why I am so protective of them. Dogs reflect people, therefore I know when someone shouldn’t get a puppy that requires an enormous amount of attention. Believe it or not, when you take your doggie for a walk and it’s a poodle, no one looks twice but when your doggie is an 80 pound pit bull, people will avoid eye contact and run the other way or worse, call the police.

        I had to know, “Why do you want this puppy?” She shows me a photo. I ask her again “Why do you want a pit bull puppy?” She says, “well Look at it, it’s so cute!”

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Friends, if you want a puppy that’s great, but you better ask yourself a few questions before you do because “it’s so cute” is not a good enough reason to get one.

I asked her, and you can ask yourself the same questions and see if this is really the right fit for you…

  •  Why do you want a dog/puppy?
  • Did you research the breed?
  • Do you have time for the puppy?
  • Can you afford maintaining this puppy?
  • Are you willing to commit to training your puppy?
  • Are you ready to kiss your social life good-bye?
  • Bonus Question at the end

You might be thinking that my questions are a bit extreme. Well let me break it down for you.

#1. Why do you want a dog? If the answer is “because I saw it and it was sooooo cute”. Then put the puppy down and walk away. Take a walk into a shelter and take a look around, especially right after Christmas time. Most of the dogs there were bought when they were “So cute” then they either grew too big, weren’t properly trained, or the owners just didn’t feel like having it anymore. Now they end up at what is basically a slaughter house.

#2. Did you research the breed? So you think you want a Pit, well there is a lot of history to this dog, quite frankly I can write a 8,000 word essay on the history of them without hesitation. Just because you think you know enough about them, doesn’t mean you do. While some can grow up to 100 pounds, some are barely pushing 60, they come in different sizes, different colors, different strengths and weaknesses, even different mixes of several lines of bully breeds. You have to know what to expect from this breed when it comes to raising it in your house.

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“We use the generic term ‘pit bull’ to describe our dogs, even though there is no proper definition for pit bull. Recent research including DNA analysis by Dr. Victoria Voith and others has proven that dogs commonly identified as pit bulls are quite often a mix of multiple breeds, so breed identification by appearance alone is now considered to be inaccurate and misleading”. – See more at: http://www.badrap.org/breed-history#sthash.8SUBDR6p.dpuf

#3. Do you have time for the puppy? “Well, I work and have school and a significant other and….” Keep in mind that having a puppy is a living breathing creature that wholly depends on you and you alone. If you work 8+ hours and go to school, don’t dump your new puppy on Mom or Dad because they didn’t ask for it nor are they going to put in the effort that requires to be put into a new dog. Or worse if Mom or Dad aren’t around to lend a helping hand, it’s incredibly selfish to want to have a dog, only to keep it in a cage or just all alone for 20 hours with no food, water or potty breaks.

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#4. Can you afford maintaining this puppy? Sure you can afford to buy the puppy or pay any adoption fees but once that happens, there are a lot more things to pay for, here’s an idea of what’s to expect, Vaccination shots ever few weeks for the next few months, tag and registration, microchip and spaying/neutering if you’re smart, then comes the food, toys, leash, collar, bowls, crate, brush, shampoo, flea and tick prevention, heart worm prevention, treats, a bed, and training. Which then brings me to my next question…

#5. Are you willing to commit to training your puppy? Owning a Pit is no walk in the park, be prepared for people to judge you right away. All eyes are on you and your pit, will you be able to impress in a positive way? Aside for your basic potty training and sit commands, I’m talking about your regular basic training. You can’t get away with much, oh no, with a pit bull you have to be on top of your game. If you are walking your dog and he/she is pulling you rather than you leading your dog, it looks like you have no control, which makes you and your dog a danger to society, or at least, that is how it looks to those who fear pit bulls. But if you start yelling at your dog and come off too strong, people might also assume that you are one of those people who create bad pit dogs using violence. You always have to find a healthy balance. Remember that part I said about research? Well some of these dogs are bred specifically to pull weight. There are competitions and everything, so asking mom to control scruffy while you are out with friends, might be a problem. So aside from the exhausting task of training your dog, you have to work twice as hard not to mess up in front of others.

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#6. Are you ready to kiss your social life good-bye? Some people are completely okay with staying home and watching Netflix with their pup, others have a very colorful social life at the club, parties, vacations all the time and last minute adventures with friends. Unfortunately, you can’t have your dog, in this case your Pit, tag along so make sure you’re prepared to tell your buddies, “Sorry guys, I can’t hang out tonight, I’ve got to go home and feed my dog/walk my dog.” It is YOUR responsibility, no one else’s.

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This last question, questions #7, is geared towards Pit Bulls, not just dogs in general.

#7. Are you prepared to have your dog taken by the authorities?  I’ve heard countless stories of people coming home to the police waiting at their door with a warrant to come take your dog away because one of your neighbors saw your dog and ratted you out. The breed is illegal to own in Miami-Dade County and they have the right to take your pet away. I’ve seen some find loopholes and ways of keeping them, but these don’t work for everyone. So make sure you are willing to constantly be looking over your shoulder and fighting for your right to keep your pet.

Don’t get a Pitbull unless you are more than happy to comply with all of these things I’ve listed and maybe more. It’s not easy or fair sometimes but that’s what you have to expect. I don’t want to see anymore of these magnificent animals keep getting put into the wrong hands because of misguided people. Sure, you might mean well, but if you really cared about them you would share the knowledge you have about them and try to turn this image of Pit’s around. Don’t feed into the problem, be part of the solution.

Where are you from?

When meeting new people, you are often asked the same generic questions. “Where do you go to school?” “What do you study?” “How old are you?” “Where do you work?” but by far the most common one, at least for us Miami folk, is “Where are you/your parents from?” I always give them the long story-short; “I was born here but my parents are from Honduras”, but really it’s much more complicated than that. They look perplexed as I tell them that my parents are from Honduras because I don’t look Honduran not to mention, I speak with a Cuban accent.

So here’s the long story, once upon a time, there was a woman named Elizabeth who lived in the poor conditions of her home country in Honduras. She decided, in order to better her future for her family, she would travel to America. She arrived to Miami Florida and made it by on minimum wage jobs, one of which was working for a sweet Jewish couple. She noticed after a few weeks that her appetite was almost non-existent and the only thing she craved and could hold down was apple juice. So despite only having enough money to share a one room apartment with no A/C in Miami Beach, she decided that she should save up and see a Dr.

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She sat alone in the Dr.’s office waiting for his results. He came back in and told her that her blood test came back and that she was pregnant, surprise! After a few more tests and sonograms, it turns out not only was she pregnant, but she was seven months along. Panic, anxiety, stress, fear, anger, regret and countless other emotions went through her.

You’re probably wondering, how in the world is this woman seven months pregnant and not have known?! Well, her stomach didn’t show, she did not have a whole lot of symptoms and she mistook spotting for her period.

Remember that lovely Jewish couple she worked for? Well, when she told them of her unexpected surprise, they offered to take the child. She was reluctant, so they offered her $10,000. Cash. Now, for a woman who comes from nothing and no one, especially in 1991, this is a lot of money. After some careful consideration, she declined.

How do you care for an infant in a one bedroom apartment in Miami Beach with no A/C with several other room-mates? You just can’t. She had to figure out a way to keep the baby and afford her own place.

While in labor, all she could think of was, I hope this baby isn’t thin and sick. She hadn’t gained more than 5 pounds during her pregnancy. She grit her teeth as the labor pains came more frequent and more painful. The Dr. and Nurses asked her if she wanted the epidural but she refused. Of all the babies born, I was one of the few who was able to leave that same day. I was a healthy 8 pound baby.

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Affording an apartment on your own, especially with a new born baby is not easy. Luckily, her friend helped her out and found her a job with a Cuban couple in Westchester. They were looking for a live in house keeper. They had four children who were almost grown and a lovely home in the suburbs.  When she arrived with her newborn in her arms, they were a bit thrown back. After the interview they debated whether they should hire her or not.

After thinking it over while his wife was on vacation in Korea, he decided that he could not live knowing he had left that poor child on the streets. He called her and gave her the job. A week later, his wife arrived from Korea and found her husband bottle feeding the baby. They both fell in love with the child. So much, that they raised her as their own.

So that’s my story. Well a small part of it anyway, I have not one, but three parents. I was raised by a large Cuban family with all the customs and traditions, all the accents and the mannerisms, all the love in the world. I have the best parents anyone could ask for and although my story is unlike most, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Tom Boy v. Girly Girl

There I was, in the midst of a lovely brunch that took days to prepare, I sat at the end of the table and watched the bride to be and her bridesmaids. I watched as the gaggle of women went on and on, some in multiple conversations at a time. Some were fawning over the intricate designs and details of the wedding, others complimenting the gorgeous arrangement of flowers used as a center piece for the table that day. There were so many conversations and giggling girls all at one time it was hard to keep up. They nibbled on their pastries and sipped their mimosas out of their custom made flutes, engraved with their names and all. I picked up mine…Maid of Honor, all in cursive. I’m not going to lie, I was surprised when she asked me. I had a horrible thought in my head that said “She only picked you because you are her sister.” Let’s face it, I’m not the prettiest or girly, and as I look around the room, it’s clearly evident that one of these girls is not like the other, and that girl is me. I can’t seem to shake this feeling. I am completely unlike all these beautiful girls. While I looked the part at the moment, I sure didn’t feel it.

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It took the help of a beauty salon to get my hair and nails to be just right, my wardrobe was chosen by my fashion forward sister and right at that moment, I realized I don’t do this very often. I am not a girly girl like the bride and her friends are. I don’t have the same excitement to dress up and gossip as these girls do, regardless, I liked feeling pretty but just trying to keep up is exhausting.

This isn’t my first instance of being “un-feminine”. Looking back at childhood photos, I realize I’ve always been this way. I’ve always been a tomboy. Ill fitted jeans, baggy shirt and a fishing rod in my hand. There is absolutely nothing feminine or delicate about that image, don’t get me wrong, girls can fish too, but the way I looked compared to other little girls my age…well, let’s just say I was definitely not the one to be afraid to get dirty.

Growing up, I never cared much about my image, aside from facial features like my big nose, or imperfect teeth. Those are things I couldn’t change, only grow to love, but clothing is something I could change. it was quickly thrown upon me to start changing the way I dressed and carried myself as I entered my teens. Harsh comments from my peers and even my parents, did not deter me. I kept my childhood innocence for longer than most girls my age did. While at 12 years old, other little girls woke up extra early to put make-up on, I was comfortable just washing my face in the morning and going to school. While they upgraded to under wired bras with padding, I was still getting used to my training bra. While they read gossip magazines, I read national geographic. While they were watching MTV, I was watching the Disney Channel.

As an adult, not much has changed. I’ll admit, I try more, I’ve tried to be more aware of trends and what I wear. I’ve even opted for skirts and dresses rather than jeans and sweatpants, but that’s purely out of my own lazy agenda. I hate wearing pants, as soon as I get home, those are the first things to come off right after my shoes. I also feel like I should wear more make-up, especially to work, but some days, even some weeks, I don’t like doing it. I can tell I really don’t fit in with the other women in the office building. Ever seen “The Devil Wears Prada?” This office building reminds me of that. While the women seemed to have stepped right out of a Vogue magazine, the main character “Andy”, whom I can relate most to, starts off wearing her usual clothes and it’s considered ugly and then suddenly undergoes this major transformation. Well, I’m still clinging onto my flats and hand me down clothes, you won’t see me wearing stilettos anytime soon.

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I’m sure there are other girls just like me who can relate. It’s not easy being yourself, especially when society demands that you be or look a certain way. It’s done horrors to my self-esteem growing up and sometimes even now. I can’t help but feel this crippling shame on some days when I look in the mirror. I hear this negative little voice in my head, whom I call the Gremlin, as he points out all my flaws. Why can’t I just be girly? Quite frankly, I loathe seeing the #justgirlythings show up on my Instagram, it makes me sick. Movies like the notebook make me cringe, and words like bestie, totes, and literally (when used incorrectly) make my eyes roll so far back into my head I can’t see.

However, there are some days I catch the little Gremlin in my head judging someone by her appearance.  “Whoa, that shirt is hideous” or “I’ve seen a drag queen wear less make-up”. When I catch myself doing this, I stop and realize, I’m no better than those girls who judged me. It’s a vicious circle. Maybe I do it to make myself feel better, maybe I do it because it’s what I’ve been exposed to my whole life. Do I do it subconsciously? Is it just a woman thing? No. I feel that men are exposed to just as much criticism as women do, just in a different way. How do I stop? If I ever have children, I don’t want to teach them to be this way. Is it inevitable? I have no idea. I guess the only way to find out is to try and eradicate this mentality, starting with myself.

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So I look back up and see the bride to be, my sister, glowing in all her happiness and I realize, she didn’t pick me to be maid of honor because I’m a girly girl, because I’m not. She didn’t pick me because I have the best fashion sense or make-up tips, she picked me not just because I am her sister, but because she wanted to. Because girly or not I’ve always been there for her. Because she likes me for who I am. Me.

Retail job V. Office job

I’ve had my office job since April and I’ve notice a few differences between this and my last job as a sales associate for a store.

Working Retail sucked.

I know this, first hand. However, there are some coworkers who have never had the opportunity to experience a job of this nature. So often I hear, “Ugh, we have to work on Friday?! but its New Years Day on Thursday, why don’t they just give us Thursday AND Friday off? What’s the point of coming in on Friday anyway?! It’s just one day.”

I have to laugh because, my reaction compared to theirs, is far off. I was Elated! We get Thursday OFF!?

I used to work holidays. Every. Single. Holiday.

Just to put this into perspective for you, here are the ones I used to work

  • New Year’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Martin Luther King day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Presidents Day
  • Easter
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Christmas Eve
  • New Year’s Eve

These are just to name a few. I worked while the rest of the world complained that they had to go to work the next day or they couldn’t leave early the day before.

This was my first year being able to celebrate with my friends and family since I was in high school.

I was so surprised that not only did I get Thanksgiving off but I got that Friday off too.

I got to leave early for Christmas Eve which I never expected.

I was so surprised and excited yesterday when I discovered that I didn’t have to work on Thursday because its New Year’s Day.

In the wonderful land of Retail, corporate doesn’t give a shit about you, your family, or your needs. They want one thing. Money.

So with that in mind, I see no reason at all to take off Black Friday, or New Year’s Day. Those are perfectly good work days that could be used to make money for the company. And yet, not only do I get to take those days off but I get paid for them too.

So when I see others complain that they have to come to work and stay here until 4,5, or 6 PM I see someone who is ungrateful. Believe me I don’t want to be here either! But I can appreciate the fact that we get to go home tonight at a reasonable time and don’t have to come in tomorrow!

God forbid you work retail AND have to work on a holiday AND have to work the closing hours. Because what most consumers don’t understand is that yes, while the store does in fact close at 9 PM which, by the way is a lot later than our office 5 PM, that doesn’t mean that we sales associates get to go home. Not even close. And yes, the store doors close at 9 PM but those customers who decided to come in and shop at 8:50 PM means that they won’t leave until at least 9:30 IF YOU’RE LUCKY

But wait there’s more!

While those last minute shoppers are perusing through the aisles, they touch things, move them into different shelves, unfold clothes to see if it’s cute, the right size, and hold it up against them to see how it would look. Do you think they fold it nicely and put it back? Nah.

So now that all of the customers are done with their selections, then they have to wait in line to check out.

Clocks Ticking.

Its 9:28 and you’re doing your best to get them out the door as fast as possible. Coupons. Declined cards. Shuffling through their purse. Pennies, oh God the endless amount of pennies.  Then deciding that they in fact, do not want the shirt they spent 10 minutes looking at; so now you have to keep it at the register and take it back later.

Bam. It 9:45 and the last person is finally out.

It’s almost 10 PM and you have to clean up the store so it’s ready the next morning.

Once the store is organized, cleaned up, the returns (Refer to the last minute unwanted shirt) back in their place and the till (Money in the cash register) has been counted you can go.

Congrats! Its 11:45 PM and you can go home. Just in time to see the New Years Eve fireworks on your drive home. Alone.

This is what life was like for me and for a lot of people today. And no, it’s not because they didn’t study and go to school, not because they are dumb and work a shit job because they don’t amount to anything. Its just where they are in life at the moment.

There’s a quote from a famous Futbol player. It goes something like this.

“When I was a boy, I cried because I did not have shoes to play football with my friends. Then I saw a man with no feet and realized how rich I am.” -Zinedine Zidane

So I say to those who are feeling low about having to work in the office today on New Years Eve, be grateful! There are so many who work at a much more demanding job or worse, are staring the New Year with no job at all.

Boy are we lucky.

Trouble in Paradise

It was early in the morning, the sun glistened on the ocean making it gleam and sparkle. The Skies were vast and open, not a cloud in sight. It was the perfect Miami beach day. I sunk my toes into the warm sand and took a deep breath, letting the salty air fill my lungs. I looked over to my friend Liz, we shared the same gleeful look on our face. “To the end of the beach?” She said. “Let’s go!” Liz was referring to the part of the beach that ends with the limestone and lookout point facing south beach. Normally this part of the beach is always secluded and empty of tourists because its such a far walk. So she and I began our trek towards the northern part of the beach. As we walk we pass a young man carving a message in the sand that read “Will You Marry Me?” How romantic I thought to myself. Suddenly I hear Liz call out “Watch out for the jellyfish!” I look down and there was a man-o-war washed up on the beach. Thankfully she warned me just in time as I almost stepped in it.
She and I talk about our lives and caught up on recent events as the world slowly shrinks behind us. In the distance I saw twelve to fifteen pelicans sitting in the water. One by one they flapped their wings and took to the sky, flying higher and higher until the most unexpected thing happened. One fell straight from the sky and crashed into the water. I had never before seen anything like it! then it looked almost syncronized as each pelican made its dive into the ocean. Then it hit me, they were hunting! I noticed a large pelcian bouncing on the waves of the ocean with a fish in his mouth. What luck! watching wildlife in action. I was so impressed at natures beauty. It completely surrounded me. The waves crawled up the shore and the icy water touched my toes. I couldn’t wait to get to our “Secret spot” so we could get in the water and explore around the tide pools. I looked up further ahead, it didn’t seem too far now. I looked back and held my hand up to shade my eyes. The sun was blazing over my right shoulder, now almost high noon. The life guard tower nowhere in sight, the people just dots on the horizon. Finally we reach the bend where the sand meets the limestone and palm trees create the perfect shade. The only person in sight is another adventurous man on a kayak about 80 feet from the shore.
Looking for the right place to park our towels and bags, Liz and I find what looks like a small gap between the thick palms. At a closer look we found an opening which provided the perfect shade and view of the ocean. It was like something out of a movie. Nothing could go wrong.
I opened my bag to start preparing lunch. The walk had me famished and the salt made me thirsty. After Liz and I finished our picnic in the sand, she hands me her new phone and shows me her photos of sea shells she’s collected and made into jewlery and head pieces. “Wow, you made this yourself?! Its gorgeous” I gushed over the intricate design. “Lets find some more for you to take home” I said. She and I stood up and brushed the sand off our hands and legs. “Should I take my phone?” She asked me. “I was just thinking the same thing, but I’m going to take mine to take pictures.” So she placed her phone in her purse and hid it amungst the trees along with all over our other belongings. Liz and I rushed down towards the shore. The tide began to decend and finally the sand bars started to appear. Liz looks over at me and says “Lets go this way.” so I follow close behind her.
We climed over limestone and over fallen tree branches until we find a mangrove that housed hundreds of tiny blue crabs. When we approached them they all scattered into little holes and crevasses in dead branches and sand. Liz lets out a gasp “Whoa, look at this!” her hand submerges into the murky water filled with sea weed and debree and pulls out the most beautiful shell I’ve ever seen. The conch seems to have been shattered but the fluorescent pink color that radiated from within the shell was gorgeous. Unexpectedly, she shrieks and drops the shell from her hands as it hits the sand with a thud. “What happened?!” I asked. She points to the shell and says “It has these weird bugs on it or something!!!” I looked down and carefully picked up the conch. There on the smooth surface within the shell crawl hundreds of tiny organisms wriggling around. As creepy as they looked I knew they were harmless. I laughed and gently washed them off in the sea water. “All gone.”
Once we felt that we couldn’t carry anymore shells we decided its best if we go back to our spot in the shade. I felt the sand burning underneath my feet and couldnt wait to sit back and relax for a while. Once we reached our towels and bags we set down the shells. I took the last sip of juice from my snapple bottle and laid back on the cool towel. I peek through my left eye to see what all the rusting was about. I can see Liz frantically searching though her purse. Oh no…I could feel my heart sink into my stomach. “Someone stole my phone” I bolt up. “No way, there’s no one here. Are you sure you didn’t just misplace it?!” “No I left it right here in my purse pocket along with my keys. My keys are here but my phone is not.” I looked under the towels and bags as she continued to search through hers. “Let me try calling it.” I whipped out my phone from my back pocket and dialed her number. My phone kept dialing but there was no ringtone. Only the sounds of the seagulls in the distance. Out of nowhere I catch something from the corner of my eye. I look to my left and a strange man in dark blue shorts was walking down the shore staring right at me.
Liz looks up and notices him too. “Oh my God, it was him.” “You don’t know that Liz” I replied. But my mind was telling me the same thing. He was the only person on the beach aside from Liz and myself. I was annoyed, angry and terrified. He walks past us and disappears. Liz starts to gather her things and says “Let’s go, lets just get out of here.” I hesitate but agree. “Fine let me just try calling one more time.” My heart races as I see him walking past us again. Like a tiger in a cage he paces in front of our spot from left to right. I scan him making a good mental note just in case. I notice he’s quite thin but has enough muscle to hurt us or overpower us. I check to see if I can notice an indentation of a phone in his pockets but alas there’s none. My blood starts to race as he stops in his tracks and walks in my direction. I look to Liz as I can see the panic in her eyes.
“Hey, do we have a problem here?” he asks me merely a few feet from my face. I notice his corn rolls and dirty with sand. His skin looks filthy with grime and sweat. His eyes bloodshot and his teeth yellowed and some even missing. “Yeah” I replied “we’re looking for a lost phone.” He says “oh, cause I saw you looking my way and got some weird vibes” I was angry and appauled by the way this man had the nerve to approach us. He must have felt seriously guilty or nervous as hell thinking I was on the phone with the cops to have asked us straight out if we had a problem wtih him. He shakes his head and says “Man, that sucks I know there’s a lot of crazy cats out here man. I’ll ask around and see if anyone finds it and we’ll call the last number to return it.” “Liz says yeah thanks we’ll just keep looking.” Feeling like he got off the hook he said his goodbye’s and ran down the beach to what looks like his friend who was hiding in the trees nearby. “Lets try to follow him” Said Liz, “Okay he’s only a few feet ahead lets go” We grabbed out things and headed in his direction. We looked up and down the beach but he was gone. There was no way he could have made it to the end entrance of the beach and left. Even if he ran all the way down we would still be able to keep a visual on him but alas, he was gone. He must have ducked into the trees and cut through the thick forest to get to the main road.
The look on Liz’s face was that of defeat. She looked up at me and said “Of all days for this to happen… On my birthday… I almost forgot that the whole reason why we planned to come to the beach was to celebrate her 21st birthday. I felt awful that this whole thing happened. I was blinded by the idea of an abandoned island that I forgot we aren’t exaclty sitting on a deserted island, we were right on Key Biscane. We called the police and gave a full description of the suspect. Hopefully we can help capture this man and take extra precautions to avoid letting something like this happen again. I’m just gratful that all he did was take a cell phone because we were all alone on this beach. No life guard, no police, no civilians, just two girls and a potentially dangerous man.

Setting goals

Ever feel like you’re in a rut and just down in the dumps? yeah, well lately I’ve been feeling like that recently. Its not a fun feeling and we all go through it. It can lead to dark places like depression, loss of self worth, and complete loneliness. Rather than turning to negative sources or any kind of prescribed anti-depressants I’ve come to find a different way to left my spirits. Some one advised me to write a list of things I like about myself. Although this method might work for some people it only made me think about all the negative things about myself. Sure there were things here and there that I can appreciate about myself or my life but there were only a handful. All I could honestly focus on were the negatives. It was like a cloud that hoovered over my head constantly. So I thought to myself, what if I could change these negatives into positives? and so it began. With the help of a fellow friend he and I made a list of things I wanted to change in my life. 

After several minutes looking over this list I created I realized that these were goals. Its sad to say but I am the type of person that hates change. Once I am set in my ways I am reluctant to alter my life. I get comfortable and I figure “Don’t fix it, if it ain’t broke”. But as I took a good look at myself, at my life, I realized that I did not like the person starring back in the mirror. I wanted more from myself and I finally decided to take my life into my own hands and start to put the pieces back into place. Having a plan is beneficial to so many aspects of life. 

Once I had these goals on paper I could see that it was quite a lot to handle and some of the things I had written down seemed almost impossible. Now I know nothing is impossible but for someone who is feeling pretty low, it only furthers my negative thinking. So I was advised to make Short term goals and Long term goals. Setting little goals makes me feel like I have accomplished something and that only reassures me that I am just one step closer to accomplishing yet another goal. All these short term goals only build to at least one of my long term goals. 

For example, I drive a 1999 Kia Sportage. Just my luck one of the tires blew out on the freeway. Thankfully the other people on the road and I were unharmed. I can’t exactly say the same for my car. The tire was shredded to pieces and the scattered rubber had ripped apart my bumber from its hinges. I want to sell my car and get a new one but this accident only back tracked my wish for a new car. I couldn’t sell it in that condition especially for the price I want to sell it for. So there I was sulking over my lemon of a car when I stopped and wrote down all the parts I would need to bring it back to its original state. Short term goals;

 

  1. new tire
  2. new bumper
  3. buff out the scratches

Long term goal? Sell the car. eventually I will get there. I know I will and in the mean time I just have to keep focused on improving myself and my life. All the things I want are easily grasped. I just have to believe I can. So stay motivated, keep your head up because you never know what you’re capable of until you honestly try. I want to bring myself to my full potential and I know I’ll get there one step at a time.