My Big Fat Colombian Family

My heritage is a huge part of who I am and I’m honestly so amazed by it. The whole passion for a culture like a hispanic culture is different and it varies by family and of course, by culture. Mainly, cultures have the tendency to either be individualistic or collectivistic. Allow me to give you a quick crash course in intercultural communication…

Individualistic cultures are me-me cultures. “get yourself up by your own bootstrap” type of cultures. It’s very independent, very self-driven, and that’s not to be confused with being selfish, but it’s a different approach to community-life. The idea is that you feel more of a motivation in and of yourself to go further and get ahead.

Collectivistic cultures are a we-we culture. The people of these cultures mainly respond with “what can we do to help you”, “what do we do”, “we can get through this together”. It’s a really beautiful thing and you’ll know and feel a collective culture when you’re in one. The people are super sweet and are almost always willing to help someone out in need, you feel a sense of community, in that regards.

So, for those of you who don’t know…  I’m Colombian. Well, my family is. Straight off the plane, utterly and completely COLOMBIAN. 

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…And that’s not even all of them.

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Being a part of the Colombian culture, means that it is highly collectivistic. For the most part, my family are very welcoming people. I’m sure it can be said about a lot of hispanic families, but when you’re around mine, you feel like you’re a part of something great. It’s never a dull moment with them.  Every time I get off the plane, there’s always a select few of my family members who come to pick me up and seeing their faces light up, is the reason why I go back, every.damn.time. There’s always food waiting at home and even more people to see.

Another reason as to why I go back is because of how pretty it is… We’re from the coast, more specifically, Cartagena of the Indies.

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There’s so many things to do in the city and believe me,  it is so easy to get lost in the city. But I guess that’s how you learn about a new country or city that you visit, right? How can you not get lost in a city that has so much history and beauty??

The city and country itself is as beautiful as its people. The people here are some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. With such ease, they are willing to accept someone as part of the family or group. When they say ‘hi’ they approach one with a hug and kiss on the cheek.

As I have said before: us, Colombians, are very family-oriented. I am not kidding! Many people have such a love for their families, that often times, in midst of all their successes or lack thereof, they’re always thankful for their family, because  of the pride they have for their family over successes/ material things.

I mean it’s great if you have boat loads of money or loads of success, but what’s even better is the support you have from the family. Here, family is always there for you to help you up, be that shoulder to lean on, and always around for a great time out. To many people, Family is everything.

In fact, when you ask colombians (or anyone of hispanic descent) about their immediate family, they don’t just talk about their parents and any siblings they have, they literally talk about their whole family. Hell, even when people ask me about my family, I go on and talk about all the fun memories I have had with some of them, both here in the states and over in Cartagena. Needless to say, the bond in my family is so strong that we have our own massive group chat on WhatsApp!

But overall, I’m so thankful for the united family I have, they have set down the foundation for my heritage, the way I should carry myself, among so many other things. My family is my motivation. I want to be a better person for not just myself, but for my family.

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Blood is thicker than water and my family has helped me through so much, that being my little rough patch with depression and anxiety. They helped me get the help I needed and still continue to motivate me everyday.

Even with miles and miles between us, I know that we will always remain united at heart.

Sending tons and tons of love and light your way,

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3 Ways to Be A Better Friend

Hi guys! Welcome back to ADM. This summer, I’m interning at this local radio station, not far from where I live and I’ve been signing up for events left and right! One of my favorite things about this job, is that I get to meet so many people at different events. It’s definitely a steeping stone into something I want to do with my public relations degree, which is pretty cool!

So in light of what has happened with Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, I want to take a moment to talk about the importance of having a support system. As humans,

we need people to understand us,

we need love,

we need compassion

Depression and other mental illnesses are not something that we can ‘just get over’. It is a long struggle and sometimes, it takes this long to realize that there is a problem. There needs to be more advocacy for people and that while it is okay to not be okay, it’s also okay to reach out, regardless. So here are 5 ways we can be better friends to the people we love and care about.

1. Listen more than you talk

Sometimes, we get caught up in talking about our lives and telling friends what’s new in OUR OWN LIVES, that we often forget to ask how the other is doing. Getting into the habit of giving yourself enough speaking time can totally make you more reliable and more willing to listen to what the other person is saying. The more we are able to listen, the better we are at responding more thoughtfully. When you listen, you can also pick up on some patterns that they may subconsciously engage in and you can take note in that and follow up with questions like:

“When you said (*insert what they said*), what did you mean?”

or

“Hey, it sounds like you’re on edge about something, are you okay?”

Having the ability to listen, is key, especially if you are trying to console a person you consider your best friend. When you listen, do so with the sole purpose of just hearing the person out in their opinions. Listening should be absolutely judgement free.

2. Honesty is The Best Policy

I’m pretty sure y’all have heard this one more than once. Honesty in every relationship is essential. When you’re honest with the person, you are letting them take a step into your perspective. Better yet, you are physically opening the door to them into the way that you see a situation panning out. If I’m asking for advice, I’d appreciate it if people are honest with me (not saying that any of my friends reading this aren’t, I’m just illustrating a point). The more honest you are with the person you are friends with, the more accountable you are, the more reliable you are to that person.

A person who is no-bullshit, brutally honest with me, is someone worth having in my life. It’s no shocker that I’m brutally honest with my friends. In any advice I give them, I don’t mess around, I speak my mind on the situation as. I. see. it.

Granted, I make an effort to at least give myself a moment to cool down or to collect my thoughts, so that I don’t sound like a complete bitch… but at the end of the day, if I care about the person, I’m definitely going to be honest with them and tell them exactly how I feel about a situation they need advice in.

Remember: a friend who cares enough to be honest is a friend worth having around.

3. Being Attentive

When I mean be there for your friend, I mean be there at their beck and call. We need to be able to rely on each other when we are weak. The way I see it, is if we feel weak at some point or another, we need to reach out to people who are closest to us, not our 500+ followers on Instagram or the world wide web. It is in times like these, that sometimes people need more than just a “feel better soon”, “aw nooo”, etc. We need to be present and actually there for our friends.

I remember one time, I was grieving over the loss of a relative and I remember calling a friend at the time and after the phone call, I didn’t really feel that much better.

When I had told another friend about the same situation, they offered to meet up with me at the nearest restaurant. I remember feeling like an anxious mess and getting sauce all over my leggings haha, but the important part was that I had a friend who was willing to sit with me, just listen and tell me funny stories.

Again, it is okay to not be okay, but it is even better if you have someone there who can see that you are not okay and goes a step further, by being physically there for you. Life is tough, but it doesn’t always have to be, if you keep a couple of close friends nearby.

I could seriously give you 5 ways on up to 100 ways to be a better friend, but they would all stem from these top 3 ways in which you can incorporate these into your everyday life as a human! Be that friend that is really there for your person and help them get to their best self, because we need each other to grow, to live, and to love. Reach out to a friend you haven’t seen in a while and ask the simple question: “Hey, how’ve you been”.

 

Sending Love and Light your way,

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Lessons in Self-Love

Hey guys! This past week has been so crazy, but fun. I booked a photo shoot, caught up with some friends and started my internship at a local radio station. Through it all, however, I’ve been jet lagged as ever from Australia! Last night, was the first time–since Australia– that I managed to get a workout in at the gym. hopefully tonight, I can get another workout in and shake myself free of this dreaded jet lag, haha!

Today’s post hits a little close to home and it’s something I’ve been itching to talk about for the longest time. So I thought I would just open up with some stats (courtesy of http://cultureandyouth.org/body-image/statistics-body-image/body-image-stats/):

  • 20% of teens are either “rarely” or “never” happy with their body image
  • 52% feel that the media pressures them to change their body image
  • 73% of teens feel their appearance affects their body image

Bear in mind though, these aren’t the only stats I found and a lack thereof in self-love, isn’t just limited to teenagers, but also adults. It’s not just women who struggle, but men as well.

But I’m not going to spend this post, spewing statistics at you hoping that you’d understand the importance of how much of an issue body image, self-esteem, and self- confidence is. The bottom line is: It is still a problem. 

As far as I’m concerned, I hope that this post sheds a light on some prevalent issues of today and if you have something to add, feel free to mention it in the comments!

So remember when I said, that this issue isn’t limited to teenagers? A lot of times it starts in adolescence, but no one really talks about it following people into their adulthood, unless something serious, like an eating disorder, happens. Not saying that an eating disorder happens when you view yourself in a negative light, but a lot of things added to the mix can definitely take a toll on your mental health and perception of how things really are. It could go so far as seeing yourself inferior in not just a group of people, but when you’re alone too (more on that here)

Throughout most of my adolescence, I’ve gotten to so many low points where I felt that I was not worthy of a lot of things. Most of that stemmed from my low-self esteem.

This would follow a series of things that filled me up with doubt, surrounding myself with people who didn’t really value me. At one point, my self-confidence was a matter of  saying I was confident, but not believing it. Having that key component of believing in myself and in my endeavors further guided me and took me out of that comfort zone.

However, when I didn’t believe in myself, that became a different story. Whenever I didn’t believe in myself, I realize now that, I unknowingly refused to learn about myself and enjoy the process of being human. Like, if I didn’t believe in my abilities to do well on an assignment or whatever, then that would show through in my work.

The power of the mind is an amazing thing that should never be underestimated. When I talk about the fun adventures I have had, people often say “Wow, I could never do that!”, to which I reply with “not with that attitude” because if you think about it, no one is stopping you from doing the things you love, except for yourself. So unlearn those negative thoughts and begin to put yourself first!

It took me a while to unlearn a lot of self-deprecating habits. For example, to believe and actually love who I am, took me most of my adolescence to overcome. As an adolescent, I never thought that it was possible fully love yourself, just the way you are, and I thought that self-love was complete and utter bullshit. I thought “I love myself” was something people said on a good day, but never actually believed it on just any other day. Part of the reason why I thought self-love was bullshit, was also because I barely had any within myself to realize that I needed to be around different people. 

As a teen, I often put myself in groups where I seriously never fit in. It had nothing to do with size or skin tone, but it had everything to do with values and what I believed in. Granted, in life, we’re going to be around people who don’t really believe in certain viewpoints and that’s fine, but what is important is that the other people acknowledge those views and respect them as well (more on that here) .

Moreover, when I surrounded myself around the right people, I began to see how much happier I was, how much of a better person I could be and how I could achieve more with the right people by my side.

 

I feel like self-love flourishes more when you choose who you want to be around. A lot of times, our inability to engage in self-love is through fault of our environments. The more you say in a negative environment, the less able you are to have that energy you need to improve yourself. Many times, I have had to learn the wrong way, but there’s no fault in that because through it all I have learned to be thankful that those experiences have happened to me and they’ve lead me to the right people in my life.

Another thing I learned in my self-love journey, was to have positive mantras along my mirror. Positive mantras are amazing to have because they help you get into the right mindset for tackling the day. Here are some of my favorites:

“Don’t let your MIND bully your BODY”

“Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it”

“I am STRONG. I am BEAUTIFUL. I am ENOUGH.”

(source: greatist)

Too often, we wake up in the morning and we see ourselves in the mirror like:

and we don’t even give ourselves a chance to think about how good of a day we’ll have or anything! Then we mope along into the bathroom, take a shower, and get ready for our days.

Instead of doing that, try waking up more like

Think about how you will absolutely KILL IT, today and everyday! Stop being afraid of the day and just embrace whatever it brings.

Basically what I’m trying to say is, it is possible to love yourself and self-love goes such a long way. By focusing in on your own self-love journey, you can find the people, places and experiences to push you to become a better person. Always go down the path where you can grow and learn a lot about yourself in the process. The more you focus on your path of self-love, the more you attract people on a similar path. Love the skin you’re in and make it a goal to learn something new about yourself everyday.

Sending Love and Light your way,

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Accepting Criticism

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while, buuuut… I recently traveled to Australia!!! I did a week-long program that united other scholars from different countries with a common interest in business and entrepreneurship! It was an amazing experience and I hope that in the coming posts I can share with you some very important things that I have learned from this whole excursion.

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Photo by Catarina Sousa on Pexels.com

The week consisted of waking up early, getting on the bus on time, taking notes from various speakers, seeing new things and meeting new people, as well as learning from these people.

The one thing that I gained from this program has got to be the willingness to accept criticism. Not destructive, but constructive criticism. One day, we were in Melbourne at RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and we were doing an exercise– as directed by a professor of that University– that was called an “elevator pitch”. For those wondering what an elevator pitch is, it’s basically a hypothetical (but possible) situation where you try to get a potential employer of a company that you have a strong desire to work for them, to look your way and consider you as a candidate for a job at their company. All while you’re in the elevator with them. It’s really fascinating! Here’s the prompt:

the challenge was: we had to keep this short, sweet and to the point. All under 2 minutes. Starting off, I did something simple.. which was follow the exact skeleton of this flow chart:

The Professor then asked for 3 people to come on up to the front of the room. I raised my hand because, well, why the fuck not? I wanted to learn how to craft a good pitch that didn’t sound too wordy.

So I go first, but before I started, the professor asks me what job am I going for and what type of company: both of which were already answered on this little piece of paper I had. I basically read off of my constructed flow chart and I trip up a bit, and as a result, I ran out of time.

It was time for people to critique me and give me their honest opinion of my elevator pitch. I’m not going to lie to you, but I felt like I was being attacked. People left and right were critiquing me really hard and I really was resisting the urge to talk back to them. But then in that same moment, I realized that I was taking it way too personal. I chose to do this because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.

So I listened intently to the people who were giving me feedback, I let them ‘roast’ me. Because I’m always looking to grow as a person. Further, I noticed that we, as humans, are so quick to judge/critique someone else, yet fail to look at ourselves and see where we fall short. We neglect to see it in ourselves, but choose to see it in other people.

Accepting criticism has been one of my toughest feats. I get it on a daily basis from some friends and a good bit of my family. I’ve never been good at accepting it, because well, I thought that if its something that I’m doing wrong, I should be able to learn it by myself.  My thought process was, No one really likes being told what to do. Anytime someone critiqued me, I would get on the defensive with a lame excuse. But thankfully, all those excuses ended the day I decided to accept criticism.

I decided that in order to grow, to learn, I had to learn how to accept criticism of others who may have more experience than me. What if I land a job that requires me to learn new things and to accept constructive criticism on the daily? How is getting mad at each critique going to help me out in the long run? It won’t.

Getting mad at critiques from people who expect better, isn’t a reflection on the person giving them, it’s a reflection of the person who takes it. I mean, picture this, you’re doing your work (whether it be in college, at an internship, etc) and your superior comes up to you to give you feedback on some work. If you get angry and storm off, then it just shows that you can’t accept criticism. What person is going to hire someone who cannot take open and honest feedback?

So Back to the story… with all the constructive criticism that I received from the audience, I was then able to re position my stance a bit:

And I made it with enough time to spare! What followed after I gave this pitch another try, were less critiques. A lot of people clapped for me, while others still critiqued by saying that I sounded ‘too desperate’. Nevertheless, I learned something new that day and it gave me more of a motivation to grow and to get out of my comfort zone.

The Mother-Daughter Relationship

Hello my lovely readers! It’s been quite a while since I blogged on here. I had finals left and right and I graduated yesterday, which is just too surreal.

Today’s blogpost is dedicated to all the mothers on this beautiful day. You are loved and you are amazing. You are our first cheerleader and our number one counselor.

But more specifically, this post is going to be about my mom and the many ways in which she is awesome.

My mom is my best friend. She is the most kind and loving mother. Shes been there for everything: my first days at school, boy problems, sticky situations, my teenage years as a whole, move in day, etc. My mom is my rock, she is the one person I can turn to in a time of need.

But it wasn’t always like this (for the most part it has, but let me explain). I remember being in my teenage years and thinking, “what does she know, She’s a MOM.”and every time I thought that, I was always proven wrong. My mom is the wisest person I know. She’s actually been the inspiration for some of my posts (like here and here).

From learning how to cook and learning how to navigate situations, my mom is #1 when it comes to teaching and listening. I can never push anything past her. Seriously. Anytime I feel down, she always asks me “what’s up?” and I go, “nah I’m fine” and she’ll say something like “no seriously what’s up” and it’s like she has a 6th sense, so I eventually tell her what’s up and she’ll tell me, truthfully, if I’m overreacting or if I have a valid reason to feel a certain way, she’ll sit with me and give me advice regardless.IMG_8421

She is literally nominated as the “cool aunt” by my cousins. At first, I never really saw it, because, well I was on the outs with my mom, but I see it now. She reminds me everyday (in some way, shape or form) that a day without laughter is a day wasted.

Even though I get my looks from my dad, I get my creative mindset from her. Shes always pushing me to be a better person and I cannot thank her enough for her constant guidance and lessons. She is my favorite person.

She’s one of those people who sees the good in every person, she saw potential in me, even when I was depressed. She gave me confidence and has impressed on me the importance of things (good and bad) happening for a reason.

For that, she’s my superhero.

Happy Mother’s Day, ma! And to all the amazing women who are doing everything for their children!

As they said at my graduation yesterday, “It is never too late to be a better daughter, a better mother to your children, a better son, a better person”

sending love and light your way,

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