Who the hell do I think I am?

"Who do you think you are?!?" If I only had a penny for every time I've heard that! But seriously, who am I to dole out my commentary and opinions? Well, besides being a pretty bossy broad, I have a pretty unique background as a career gypsy, and not many people can say that! I am a Cuban-Colombian American who was raised in a very traditional Hispanic household, was a full fledges administrative assistant by age 12, had my first job outside of the home a few years later and in addition to being a marketer, I have:
- Been a retail buyer: Try not to pay full price for anything!
- Modeled: Looks are very deceiving!
- Worked as a wardrobe stylist: Just because it's in your size does not mean you should put it on!
- Worked in the travel industry as a Product manager for a tour operator, and a hotelier: Travel people, it makes you appreciate your home more.
- A mother who's an estheticienne and thanks to her teachings and genes, so far so good!

So there. Read on. Use what you like. Laugh when you want. Think what you want, but come back because the next post may be what you needed to hear!

With much tough love,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How I ended up here

The first time I tried to write this post, it ended up a rant, so I stepped away, breathed deeply and thought...three things I should do more often. Here's what I wanted to say...

After working full-time since I was 14, sometimes holding more than one job, I found myself laid-off and 9 months pregnant! Thankfully my husband is gainfully employed, but it took us a while to understand the financial impact my lack of work would have on us. Even worse, no one imagined the emotional toll it would take on me.

9 months pregnant, laid-off with a two year old was the scariest place a person who at age 12 imagined her adult life as a powerful business woman with a meditation room and a sparse, but chic loft, and after snapping out of my fugue, I found myself surrounded by piles of laundry, unpaid bills and cobwebs (both literally and figuratively). No one had noticed that I was just going through the motions.

I remember very clearly that one day I got up and said enough. Despite my endless job search and fruitless first and second interviews, I was still in my jammies, and I couldn't take it anymore. I had to get out of my house. So, I decided that even a part-time job would do. Thanks to Craigslist, I contacted everyone that had posted a job I could do and thankfully, I got a part time job that day. So what if it wasn't at the pale scale I was accustomed to, and it wasn't a full time job with all the mental challenges I so adored...it was forward momentum. I was a workaholic, lost in the land of diapers, dribble, dirty dishes. Although I love my children, I needed to work. Arriving to that realization was not difficult at all. The difficulty lies in how to balance my need to work, and my need to raise my children, and realizing that the reason I could not land a full-time job was that deep down, I didn't want one.

My husband, who secretly wished I would be a stay at home mom, watches me go through these changes as I try to figure out where the balance in my life lies, although balance may not be the right word since there's no formula and the key may be that certain areas of your life are imbalanced for short period of times. A balance that's even harder to find when you are culturally schizophrenic, as is the case with me. When it comes to my family, it's all about my Cuban/Colombian heritage - my kids, my rules, my home cooked meals, my home. When it comes to me, I'm all about my...male side, my time, my ambition, my results, my ego. Marrying these two sides has been challenging to say the least, but I'm learning that the key is to be flexible, forgiving and a little creative.

That's why I decided to become a marketing consultant, and the reason that I've (thankfully) been freelancing for almost two years now, because the thought of not seeing my children regularly, enjoying them, going through so many "firsts" with them really breaks my heart, I've decided to sacrifice in other areas. Gone are the days of weekly mani-pedi's, expensive haircuts and highlights, my show fetish, quarterly trips, fine dining at a whim, my daily Perrier and Starbucks habit, all the cable channels, etc., etc. I tried being the person that doesn't miss the finer things in life, living minimally, but that's just not me. I love luxury items! I love to pamper myself! But not at the cost of my family's security, so I'm learning how to live luxuriously, at a discounted rate, and how to grow my business steadily so that as my children grow, we can all move forward together.

Friday, June 11, 2010

One of the things that I do...

One of the things that I do in an effort to keep my mind from atrophying and generating income is that I work as a personal assistant for an art curator a couple of days a week. It's frankly fascinating to be part of history. I don't know about you, but how many of you have stood witness to endless archives written by the hand of a great artist? The stories, the fights, the passion. Too bad I missed it all, and now I just type. But the curator is great. A very kind person, but not too kind, not a pushover, equal parts kind, generous, judgmental and demanding. Actually, very much like my parents!

I'm first generation American, and although I appreciate this country and the freedoms given to us (freedom of speech, individuality, etc), I also believe that many of these freedoms are "illusions" and that we get so caught up with the celebrity rags (no offense to them, but who cares what they wear? where they eat? I have bills to pay!!), with all the materialistic things waved endlessly in our faces that we don't realize what's really going on. Politics are "too confusing", our nation has the worst education system (most adults read at a 6th grade level), everything is dumbed-down because of the majority...the majority of what? Idiots? News is a joke, journalists are far and few between, all these freedoms and so few of us actually do anything worthwhile with them, myself included. Anyway, as 1st gen, I was raised to obey (in this order) God's law, my parent's laws and everything else, and although I hated it then, it taught me to work a little harder, to do a little better, to shake things off and as a parent I hope to do the same for my kids. Life isn't easy, but it sure can suck when you expect everything on a silver platter! Not that I don't enjoy perks every now and then - I was pulled over just the other day for running a red light and was given just a warning - and since it was an unexpected, but greatly appreciated perk, it really made my day!!

So the point of this blog?
  • The curator is cool (in an old school, respectable, learn from them way) and I am grateful to experience this chapter of my life.
  • We American's really need to make some fundamental changes.
  • I try not to take things for granted and teach my kids to appreciate things.
Now, is this how a blog is supposed to go? I have no idea, but it sure felt nice to get that all of my chest :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Three years?!?!

Three years have passed since I first started this blog and last posted...wow! Time really flies when you're out there living. Here I am all bottled up with no one to vent to (ok, no one that hasn't already heard my rants and raves) and here's my lonely little blog! How shameful!!

So...here's my story morning glory...

When I first posted, I had a 2yo, was working full time, and was thinking about #2. My then 2yo is now 4 (going on 30, when did preschoolers get so sassy!!), my then thought is now 2, I changed jobs, was laid off (when I was 8 months pregnant), was greatly depressed (combination of postpartum and not having a job for the first time since I was 14!), and I have hated and loved myself and my life passionately throughout it all.

Around me my uncle and mother-in-law have died, my brother struggles with his depression, and I struggle with wanting to help him and knowing that what I can do for him is greatly limited, we have tried to sell our place, we have had great tenants and nightmare tenants (people sux), my husband is no longer allowed to rent since "his" tenants historically are the most problematic ones, gangs have creeped into our neighborhood, and have magically disappeared (although I don't particularly believe in magic, so I keep my eyes peeled). Much more has happened, but not much more stands out in my mind right now.

And now? Professionally: I've taken the plunge into the hustle of a freelancer, as a result of the fact that I want to use my mind and want to raise my own children. Personally: I have been advised by my dr. to do something "fun" for 10 minutes every day, and am working on that. Motherly: I need to relax and breathe. Blogerly: I will try this out for a bit, as I have so many opinions, I cannot believe that I've remained quiet for so long!! So, stay tuned and find out what will happen next as the world turns (did I just date myself?)...