So before we get into this + spill all the tea: I would like to answer some questions you may or may not have had about my hiatus <3
#1 Frankie, where the hell you been? I took a mental health break, spent some quiet time soul searching, started to think about what’s really important to me AND I wrote a book.
#2 You wrote a book? I did, it’s a collection of poetry + prose. I decided to finally make it happen because I saw that my life was starting to move away from the direction of my destiny.
#3 Your destiny? Yes gyal. I started a new job recently, re-evaluated my role in a few relationships + I felt like something was still missing. So I thought to myself ‘Hm, why are you still unhappy? Maybe you should do something you love’ – So I did. And now I am a published author!
It’s called “Inwards” and you can find it on Amazon.com
Special thanks to my mom and dad, my brother, to my beloved late grandma Mami Flor, to my amazing team @theGirlMob, my wonderful friends, my boys, my lovers + of course, to all of you who make it possible for my perspective to exist in a wider expanse.
Sooo, now that we’re all updated on my whereabouts– I have missed you all so much! What’s new? Did you lock in those Fourth of July plans? Have you started your summer tan? How many Coronitas have you had? How many cookouts have you made a guest appearance at? Dime, because I need to catch up! I bounce between being an introvert and extrovert and am just coming down from one of my introverted “Please don’t invite me out, I want to stay home and binge watch Sense8 on Netflix and eat” moods, so as you can see- I’m now ready for all the festivities the city has to offer, including all the Riverside bbq’s! because y’all know I like balance.
Anyways, now that we’re here again – I want to talk about something heavy that’s been on my mind since the Women’s March in January. And that something is called SHOWING UP. Showing up? Yes. Showing up for someone when they need you or for yourself when you just need to get your damn life. This is a huuuuuuge theme in my life at any given moment because one of my life lessons is learning how to be less critical of myself. If you are anything like me then you know what it is to drive yourself up the wall thinking about things you could’ve should’ve would’ve done. Girl, we need to cut it. ASAP. Please believe me when I tell you that the only thing you’re guaranteed to get out of being self-critical is a lot of self-doubt.
WHAAAAT? Frankie, you deal with self-doubt too? Claro que si! I think it’s normal to have these feelings, after all – they do prompt us to work harder and smarter. But sometimes, they become a little too prevalent and cause us to have doubts about our worth as a human being. That’s never good. Self-doubt prevents us from showing up for ourselves. I can’t stress how important it is to be YOUR BIGGEST fan. We live in a society that is really good at making us feel like we’re not doing enough. Sometimes, it can feel like the entire world is against us and is just trying to make us feel bad about where we are in life – that couldn’t be further from the truth! Between the baby boomers ideology that ‘Millennials kill everything’ to the microscope we get to hold over the lives of the rich and famous aka Instagram, to the ads for products for fuller lashes, a tighter booty, flatter stomach, curlier hair, etc.. – It’s not a surprise that some of us are dealing with these feelings of not being good enough and have no idea where the f*ck they’re coming from. What’s important to remember is that feelings of self-doubt don’t come from some place rooted in you – they’re the result of what our societies impose on us. And while the outside world is clearly the culprit, we have a responsibility to ourselves to take charge of our OWN happiness and to create our happiness, to cultivate it and nurture it and not just expect it to come waltzing into our lives just because. Happiness is a state of being; it’s not something that someone can give you – but rather, an energy that their presence can inspire.
So, with that being said – if you need to identify why you have self-doubt and really get to the meat of it, spend some time alone doing something you love so that you can clear your head (the summer is here, you can catch some solo time at the park/beach/bus stop). If you need some time away from things that cause you to doubt yourself – take a mental health break. We are all learning to love and move as we go, I think it’s important to share that.
I had a chat with a great friend of mine recently, about the men in our lives and men in general. Something he said struck a chord in me and I began to wildly defend him and his own right to happiness, here and now. He said that he felt like he couldn’t be with someone because he has ‘so much to work on’ and so I asked him ‘What you gotta work on? Your career, financial independence, you need a car, new clothes, what?’ and when he didn’t answer I smiled because I knew what he was finally seeing. See, he has all of these things – he’s the one who ‘got it together’ in my circle!! So I guess it was a wakeup call to him that we’re too critical on ourselves about really trivial things while being so forgiving to others about things that really matter.
He was seeing how yes – he may have things to work on (and I encourage self-induced changes) but he is still so worthy of the love and companionship that he desires. He saw that those blocks he’s been experiencing are his own doing. Sometimes, we block our own blessings. It’s common to repeat to ourselves the things we have heard others say about us – but it is NOT normal. Remember who you are and pull the f*ck through for your own happiness. You deserve it, regardless of where you ‘are in life’, if we don’t need happiness the most when we are experiencing the motions of growing pains – then when? Never doubt the fact that you are deserving of happiness and that you are so worthy of love.
If you’re lucky like I am then the people in your life will show up for you when you’re both in and out of your tempo as you go through the many motions of this beautiful life
This brings me to part 1 of showing up: SHOW UP for your friends and family! Sometimes, our friends are going throuuuuugh it and we can’t pull them out. We can’t get through it for them, but we can offer our support in a bunch of other ways. One of my friends is going through financial hardship right now and is 100% going through the motions of feeling like she’s isn’t good enough and it’s not because she isn’t talented, smart and capable – she is ALL three and more... It’s because she has been allowing her mother to define her. How? Well, her mother wants her to pursue a career that she does not love. Her mother wants her to live the life that she has designed for her and fails to realize the incredible strain that she puts on her daughters mental and emotional health.
I am a huge advocate for people telling their parents to piss the f*ck off when they impose their will on their adult children; on their ‘You need to go to school/ do something with your degree. That’s not a real job. I didn’t sacrifice xyz for you to do this with your life. Why can’t you be more like your cousins/brother/sister. How can this make you happy?’ grade A USDA certified bullsh*t. I’ve been going through this with my own mother for like 15 years. I kid you not. For some reason, our parents try to retain their death grip on our lives well past our teenage years in some fear that we will end up homeless or on Cops. Now, let me say this – I have incredibly kind, selfless and dedicated parents who I owe my existence to… but that doesn’t mean that I need or want to model my life around what will please them and what they want. This is my own life to live, just as yours is your own. I will happily remind you of that, as I continuously remind my friend. We don’t have to pay for the sins of our parents; you have every right to live your best life on your own terms.
I know the Latinas are reading this like ‘Yeah, lemme tell my mom that vaina so I can get a chancleta to the head’ --- well, babygirl find the right words + the right time, I believe it’s possible to help them see our vision.
My friends’ mom also has roots in a different country, where the idea of success is rooted in education, medicine and the more practical careers. And when her mom puts her through what my mom has put me through --- I show up for her. Whenever her mom is on that ‘do better, but by my means’ tip, I remind her not to let her mother’s desires destroy her sense of self-worth. I tell her to do what makes her happy and to do so unapologetically. I remind her that our parents are a part of a very different generation that wasn’t made to feel proud of their creativity. Our parents were taught how to work for what they want but weren’t reminded enough that they should also dream. Our parents forget that we are sovereign beings that owe an answer to absolutely no one. I remind her that our mothers don’t know that it’s possible to build an empire on dreams. I tell her that she owes it to herself to doggedly and tirelessly pursue the dreams that she has.
I have made it my business to drill this idea into my friends: You and you alone can define your worth and value. Quit playing and show up for yourself.
You and you alone are responsible for creating and sustaining your own happiness and we aren’t obligated to hold onto the opinions, suggestions or advice of other people – not even our own mothers. I show up for her and remind her that she can and should take her own path and trust her judgment, I show up and remind her that she is the ONLY person who will have to deal with the decisions that she makes. Our parents want the best for us and have sacrificed more than we can begin to comprehend… however, I will never tell someone to do something that makes them unhappy. So, I show up for my friend because sometimes our support systems aka our parents, have their own flaws. It isn’t our job to punish them for it, but it is our job to express our own plans without feeling guilty.
Just because our parents are disappointed, that doesn’t make us a disappointment.
This is me showing up for you: do what you want and make your dreams tangible goals. Do what you truly want deep down inside and everything will fall into place. I know this because I have seen it unfold in my own life. The other day my mother said to me “I’m so proud of you. You finally did it, I guess I should leave you alone now, I see this is what you’ve wanted to do your entire life” --- she said all of this when the proofs of my book came in. She got to see and feel a physical representation of my dream come true and now she understands that the success I am creating for myself is fulfilling, even if it doesn’t follow her blueprint. And for the first time in a long time, I am proud of myself and can see that people are actually being honest when they tell me how proud they are of me. It feels good not to doubt the praise of other amazing people.
Recently, at theGirMob day 1 of our panelists said some words I needed to hear at that exact moment + I wnna share them with you. Mel Burgos aka RockYoRizos said that someone reminded her that she should treat herself with the same love that she treats her friends and not be so hard on herself.
I was sitting there like HELLLERRR, I HEAR YOU UNIVERSE.
The Universe deadass talks to us in symbols, numbers and energy. So pay attention and you might hear the answers to your questions. Taren Guy who was also a panelist at theGirlMob day also said something that made me wake up, she said that before we came into this lifetime – we set reminders for ourselves in the form of numbers – which put a good argument to why I always see the numbers 13 and 22. So listen to the messages and pay attention to where your energy takes you and how you feel around the people in your circle and strangers alike.
Which brings me to part 2 of showing up: Show up for yourself and others so that people will show up for you. That’s something real that I have also experienced up close and personal. I am so lucky to have people who show up for me. I have been blessed with family, friends and a truly talented group of women I get to call my team. I have been a part of theGirlMob since last July and what this has done for me is priceless. I can’t begin to describe how spec-f*cking-tacular it feels to be a part of a women’s collective that honors all the dimensions of femininity. We are talented, fierce, and intelligent and above all things, compassionate and pro-active. I have been touched by this compassion and it inspires me to be a better woman and a better feminist every day. On my recent sabbatical from life, my team was there for me – in their silence and in their questions. They reached out to me collectively and individually, reassuring me that I wasn’t getting over my hurdle alone. It feels so great to have healthy, mind and heart-expanding relationships with women. I think it’s so important for women to have healthy and fulfilling relationships with members of all genders, but especially important for all women to be there for one another. All of us.
theGirlMob is the answer to our founder Yari’s, question ‘Where are OUR stories?’ and by ours we mean the narratives of women of color. theGirlMob is a collective of women from unique backgrounds that all reflect a dimension of the black experience. We show up for the many women who have come before us and who paved the way, we show up for our sisters and we show up for future generations of women of color. I can confidently say that each member of this team is making leaps and bounds and rewriting the narrative of women of color in a way that is inclusive, honest and accurate. While we focus on the issues of women within the arc of the black/latinx experience, we honor all women – or we try really hard to. But, sometimes… Some women don’t show up for us and oftentimes it’s the most privileged women who ignore the experience of the most underserved.
Yes, I’m gonna go there because I feel like it’s an important discussion to have and will promote more understanding and tolerance. I’m talking about the disconnect between white women and women of color, specifically – the way we use our powers for good, the degree of our feminism and the bridge we need to form. Going back to the beginning of this piece, I mentioned the Women’s March that took place all over the globe in January. On January 21, 2017 we made history when 2.6 million of us took to the streets in cities like NYC, D.C., London, Paris, Atlanta, Budapest, Serbia, Nairobi. On this day women had one powerful and beautiful voice that stated the radical idea that ‘Women’s rights are human rights’. I remember my red-faced and enthusiastic chanting as I touted my home-made sign with a Beyoncé reference on it. I remember marching with my mom and feeling so connected to each person that I patiently marched up 5th avenue with. I remember seeing only humanity, love and a hope for a better tomorrow in the many faces around me. Race, gender, sexual orientation, creed, economic bracket, and age were thrown away. I felt the solidarity that people dream of. I know that it’s possible. But I feel so left out when issues that directly affect women of color are straight up ignored by some of the white women who are ‘totally all about feminism’. Ladies, show up for us. While we deal with similar hurdles because of our gender, our experiences are incredibly different and ours deserves to be shared and exalted.
The same way the LGBTQ community honors the incredibly unique journey of trans individuals – I think that feminism should clear a platform for the story of the woman of color. We face so many incredible odds and do so with a grace that is of another world. We are challenged with being these stoic creatures of perpetual resource while raising young black boys in a volatile world that meets them with rage, fear and shackles. We are expected to prepare young black men to function in a dysfunctional world and watch their black boy joy be killed, figuratively and sadly, literally. We are tasked with raising resourceful, independent women who are aware of their value in a world that condemns the essence of black and is only comfortable with taking it in safe doses. Doses? Yes, convenient doses of the black experiences are becoming the headliner and those false narratives remain unchallenged. So for those of you who want to partake and enjoy the black experience, please show up for us when it’s time to talk about what really matters: like yes, I’ma go there – black lives.
We showed up to the women’s march and we need y’all to show up to every march that happens in the wake of the murders of our people at the hands of law enforcement. Please show up for us. We need you to express your outrage and not fold it away because you might offend people. Offend them. They should be offended. Our humanity is at stake. So if you want to juju on that beat, let’s talk about the disproportionate incarceration of black men.. rock them cornrows but be ready to listen to me talk about the way I had to take my braids out because my principal decided that they were inappropriate. I welcome you to enjoy my culture but be prepared to pay your dues. I want to share the black experience because it’s beautiful and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit – but I can’t do that with people who will take advantage of it and not honor it. So my ivory and non-black Latino’s; I challenge you to show up for women of color, for black women, for Muslim women and for sex workers. I challenge you to show up for a woman without looking like her or having the same background.
It’s well past the hour. It’s up to us to change the world – you know these dudes, however capable, ain’t gonna do it. This is our planet to cultivate and show up for. We are the mothers of this dimension, linking the metaphysical to the physical. It’s time we show up for this world.
So, say good riddance to your self-doubts and show up for yourself. Do the things you love with the people you love so that you can have joy in your life to share with others. And with this joy, you show up for others and teach them the importance of showing up for you. Take all of the barriers that you see between you and others and put them to the side – and guess what, show up for them just because you’re a human being with ultimately, the very same goal.. to love and be loved. We are all on this journey together, floating on the perfect rock at the perfect point in space. Surrounded by darkness and always looking outwards, when this whole time… we have so many of our own spectacular stories here. So show up my good people, time and time again, without being asked. Show up.
image credit : pinterest