Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We All Want to be Great

What motivates you?
What is it that makes you do the extra things in life; the things you probably don't get paid for, but you do it anyways?
Before I knew I was an artist, I would make art any opportunity I had, if it was a birthday or an anniversary, it was perfect because custom, hand-made gifts always seemed like the better kinds of gifts to me.
But even when there wasn't a holiday approaching, I would create pieces with people in mind. I didn't come across the belief that I could "be" an artist until I was... 25 years old.
There were plenty of times before that when the idea of being an artist popped up, but I would quickly brush those thoughts away. The belief wasn't there yet.
At 25, it was like a lightbulb went off! And precisely at the same time I was introduced to the Law of Attraction. Inside of me must have been this seedling just waiting to bloom out because the moment I thought, "If I believe I can do it, I will do it" my whole direction in life changed!
At 25 I hadn't taken any visual arts classes (outside of graphic design). I knew my work wasn't it's best at that point (it's still not the best it will ever be) but regardless, I believed that it would be!

 Here is a fast-forward through my sketchbook. So you can get a feel of where I was to where I am today. The best thing about this whole experience is knowing each next one will be my best, and that's what keeps me going. I'm excited to see where my work will go next!







   
                




And there you have it! From 2010 to 2017. Seven years summed up in 16 pictures. I suppose the same can be done by looking at the gallery section of my website, only paintings instead of sketches.
I'm not really sure the exact number of times I've drawn characters in that time... Maybe I'll figure out a way to share all of it with you one day. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Reconditioning


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Every-so-often I go through a bout of disappointment. It's some sort of "artist's curse"; questioning one's own abilities, worth and direction. Partially because I'm doing this full-time, partially because the internet is so quick to share amazing works of art around the world giving one a sense that I am but a droplet in this vast sea of artists, art lovers and critics.

Image result for depressed gifFor every time-lapsed video of an artist making magic out of gun powder, or larger-than-life mural or life-like paintings on humans, that little voice in my head says, "Your work is wack compared to this!" and "You've got to go from good to amazing, what are you doing with your life? Why aren't you making stuff as amazing and as viral as this?"

My boyfriend knows all too well about my emotional abuse because he's inevitably the person talking me off the ledge. (note to self: let him know I appreciate him always). Maybe it's because I'm a combination of sensitive and passionate. I don't know what causes this doubt (ego maybe). What I do know is, chasing your dreams can be a scary thing (but it's so worth it)! And I have to remind myself that comparison kills our dreams! How do you not, though?
 



There is a reason I'm inspired to create the work that I do. Even when someone says something negative or over-looks it, that shouldn't be my worries. But, in my human nature, time and time again, I've allowed it to affect my personal beliefs of self-worth to the point of (and I'm going to be completely transparent here) considering quitting! I'm sure you've experienced the same my dear reader.

So, I've decided to take some time and share these quotes with you, for two reasons: 1. to hopefully inspire you in your own creative direction and 2. to remind myself that reconditioning my thinking takes work and repeat efforts.








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And with that my sweet, sweet reader, I bid you good fortune. Believe in yourself! It's not easy to do when you feel like no one else believes in you, but what you don't see is the magic only YOU can create in the way only YOU can create it! I believe in you! 

Peace and Love! 


Thursday, December 31, 2015

WHOSE Voice?

Imagine this:
Cypher Love  You walk into a club and see a big crowd of people in a circle. You make your way to an open space in the circle to see what they are watching. It's a dancer, and they are REALLY good!
  You love to dance as well! In fact, you are known for being the person who is always dancing (well or not so well). You want to go in the middle of the circle and express yourself as well! In fact, the very idea of you doing that gets you excited!
  Something stops you, however, and you examine each face in the crowd. A voice pops into your head and says, "Don't be ridiculous! You are not as good as that last person dancing! You will make a fool of yourself in front of all these people, intently waiting to pass judgment on someone."
  You start to bob and sway to the beat, but you are committed to keeping all of your expression in your 2ft by 2ft personal bubble. You watch dancer after dancer go in the middle of the circle, do their very experienced thing. You catch yourself feeling the music more and more, pushing the envelop of not giving a kcuf and accidentally wave it like you just don't care, but as soon as you notice eyes on you, you tone it down.


  FOR WHAT?

  FOR WHO EXACTLY?

  WHOSE voice is in your head telling you that the urge to be yourself is wrong? Is it your own voice? Or maybe the recorded voice of a loved one who told you over and over again, not to do things for fear of failure or pain... Who are you living for then?

  If you find yourself wanting to dance, DO IT! If you find yourself wanting to learn something new, DO IT! If you find yourself wanting to go somewhere foreign, DO IT!

  You are more powerful than any voice of doubt. Even when your friends or loved ones tell you straight out, "Don't because what if you fail, Don't because what if you it doesn't work out" DO IT! Do it for yourself! That way, when you show the whole world that you have accomplished, experienced and live, maybe then, others will follow suit.

  Thank you 2015 for that lesson, and here's to more dancing in 2016!

Monday, December 14, 2015

A Dream Turned Reality

In the 7th grade I had a Social Studies textbook with a photograph of a bunch of hot air balloons on the cover. I can recall staring at that picture for a long time captivated by the thought of being in one of those. The photo caption said "The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, New Mexico. I thought to myself, "One day, I'm going to go there and fly in a hot air balloon!" I had decided that was something I would do one day, and that was it!
Fast forward to 2015, and it was still one of my life-long dreams. Years ago I looked into how much it would cost to fly in a hot air balloon here in Florida, and it wasn't unreasonable, but it was something I would have to save for. Despite the fact that I could always do it, my dream was to go to Albuquerque, New Mexico and do it!

My older brother had been stationed in New Mexico (hours away from Albuquerque) and I had gone to visit him, but the opportunity to fly in a hot air balloon was still not there. I must admit, I wasn't really focused on it, and at the time I visited him (in 2010) I didn't really know about the Law of Attraction, or that whatever you set your mind too, it will happen! I thought hopefully, one day I would be  lucky enough to fly in one... maybe.

He moved away from New Mexico and in 2012 was stationed back in New Mexico, only this time, Albuquerque! Knowing about the Law of Attraction, I decided I would definitely do it finally! I would go visit my brother for my birthday (which also happened to be Thanksgiving this year) and I would save up enough money to fly in one!

I kept asking my brother who I should contact, and about how much would it cost, but he would put it off and change the subject every time, which I thought nothing of. When I arrived in Albuquerque, I asked my Sister-in-law and she told me I won't be able to fly because the winds were too strong and the temperature would be too cold. "Sorry", she said. Bursting my bubble (pun intended) I got a little sad, since I had my heart set on finally experiencing it, I quickly changed my attitude and thought, "Whatever, I guess I'll just have to do it back in Florida. Either way, I'm doing it, and whatever way I do it, will be perfect".

See, there is a very important ingredient to the Law of Attraction, it's knowing that no matter what, it will be realized. Whenever something doesn't seem to be going the way you planned, you must keep a sense of ease, faith, and going with the flow.

The 3rd day of being there, we picked my parents up from the airport and my brother had something planned for us. It was a mountain tour or something like that. All he said was, we have to be there by 2:30pm! I didn't ask any questions, I figured there was a metro or something we would be catching for a tour.

We pulled up to an empty lot in the middle of nowhere and he introduced me to a friend of his who is a balloon pilot. He had arranged, as my birthday gift, a balloon flight for me and my boyfriend! Not only that, but my family and I got to help completely construct and fill the balloon as well!

So, there I was, in the basket of a hot air balloon going up, up and I realized there was no stopping, I'm too deep (or high, for that matter) to cancel now! In under a minute we were so high up I couldn't clearly see my family anymore, they were little dots waaaaaay down below. Immediately I grasped the reality that I'm floating thousands of feet in the sky in a BASKET! There were no seatbelts or parachutes... Just this huge balloon, fire, a basket, a pilot and my boyfriend... oh, and faith!

That flood of emotion only lasted about the first 4 or 5 minutes, because I interrupted that thought as soon as I realized it was ruining my experience. So, I envisioned my landing and hugging my family in celebration, as a way of affirming my faith, and I soaked everything else in! I almost forgot to record and take pictures once we were floating around because I wanted to be the most present as possible. It was incredible! I could see the Rio Grande, the entire city of Albuquerque, Rio Ranchos, and the Sandia Mountains. It was an adrenaline rush followed by amazement, gratitude and peace.

After so many years, I REALized (as in manifested) an experience I had always wanted. Every time I would see or talk about hot air ballooning, I would always say, in faith "I will ride one, one day!".

Is that something that you have experienced?
Have faith in it happening, all of it!



Thursday, November 5, 2015

Selective Listening

The year 2011 was life changing to me. That is the year I met a friend who introduced me to the Law of Attraction. I had heard of this concept from my younger brother before who tried explaining it to me. I remember him saying that essentially whatever you think about you bring about. And at that time I thought it was a nice "idea" but I wasn't buying it.

When my friend had brought me the movie The Secret, that is when it made sense to me! From that moment, every single day has been learning more and more about this law that I call "The Law of Faith". Each experience in my life after that has been more and more proof that you create what you think about! This is such wonderful news because this means you can take control of your life! Instead of thinking you are some plastic bag floating in the wind being taken wherever the wind blows, helplessly.
 

Music to me has always been a huge part of my life. When I was younger, I loved music so much I would fall asleep with the radio on. My favorite genres were Neo Soul, R&B, Bachata, Salsa, Spanish Rock, and various top 40. Since I was unaware of the law of attraction, it didn't matter what the song was about really, so long as it sounded good. I particularly related to love songs; the more emotional the better because I was a DRAMA QUEEN!

I can remember in 2010 being in a relationship that was very hard. We don't have to go into to many details, but it was one of those intense relationships that was perfect when things were going well, and hell when things weren't. I didn't know how to take control of the situation when we would fight and I would get carried away by my emotions.


One day, I had been texting my (then) boyfriend all day cute messages during work. I had been feeling wonderful and particularly excited to see him! On the way home from work I remember listening to the radio station which was playing all my favorite heartbreak songs. And I never turned down the opportunity to sing to the top of my lungs when it was a song I liked, so this day I was singing these sad songs about how some guy had misused her trust and broke her heart. I was singing with every ounce of emotion I could, imagining myself acting in the music video and putting that level of emotion into the song.  When the song was over I thought to myself, "I feel really bad for anyone who is going through that right now. How lucky am I to not be in that situation!" And I thought nothing else of it.

I sang more songs, probably yelled at a few drivers for their bad driving (I'm sure) and continued my route home. When I got to the house, you couldn't imagine what was waiting for me! My boyfriend had been arguing with his kid's mom about who knows what and he was in the worst mood! He suddenly needed to leave to tend to his kid (because he was only allowed to see them at her house). Cue the heart break. The argument transferred to me and there I was feeling the exact same amount of sadness and heartbreak I was imagining as I sang during my drive!

At the time I had no idea that one had anything to do with the other, and I can't say that one song caused the dysfunction in my relationship, but it certainly feed into my pattern of thinking. During this time in my life, since I didn't know what I know now, I used to be a huge fan of dramatic "reality" tv shows such as Maury, Cheaters, Jersey Shore, etc.  I was fascinated by other people's experiences and when I would see infidelity or someone taking advantage of another person's trust it directly affected my way of thinking! If on tv or in music men = dogs then in my own relationship if I saw him (or any man) scratching, I would come to my conclusion. That is why it is so important that we are careful about what we let into our minds!

Adele's album 21 in 2011 was my life's theme song adding emotion and background into my breakup with this guy. I guess in a way it helped me to say bye, since that is what most of her songs are about, but it was very painful and it took me a long time to let go.

Then, luckily, I came across the Law of Attraction, and I realized what I had been doing all along. I would watch these shows, and listen to this music and have conversations about heartbreak and frustration with my friends who also watch these shows and listened to this music and I would create THAT in my life!

Now days, it's totally different for me. Whenever I hear one of those heartbreak songs I change it. Sorry Adele, you have an AMAZING voice, but I want to protect my future and I want to create more love and happiness, so PLEASE make some more happy music for me us, please? Either way, I have my arsenal. My favorite music now to listen to is Spanish Reggae, specifically Cultura Profetica. Their music actually helped me manifest my boyfriend today!

Most of their songs, especially from the album La Dulzura are about loving a woman, and treating her like a queen. I had realized (while I was single and learning about LOA) that I deserved to be with someone who loved me and who thought of me the way this music describes love. There are other artists who sing songs that are positive and respectful and THAT is the music I will listen to.

If I turn on the radio and it's a degrading song about women, or a song about infidelity or heartbreak, guess what I do?  Change the station, or turn it off altogether. But let there be a happy song, or a song about love and someone loving you, then I'm turning up the volume!

Think about it: what kind of music do you listen to? Does your life reflect any of that? I'm interested to read your thoughts/experiences...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Growing from the Change

Recently I went to Puerto Rico to bury my Abuela (Grandma as in my Dad's mom).  While I was there, I was adamant on bringing back some flamboyant tree seeds; that is my favorite tree in the world. Ask my family, every time we were driving around the island I would ask "Can we stop to pick some seeds off a tree?" But the opportunity to stop wasn't there. Most of the reachable trees were on the highway! 
My Mami gave me a handful of gandule seeds (pigeon peas) from my Mami Colé's house (my Mom's mom) in Cidra. This happens to be my favorite place in the world! Even though I hadn't thought of taking any gandule seeds, I was happy to get to keep a piece of this place.
I kept saying to myself that regardless I was leaving with Flamboyant seeds! But the day to leave came and I still didn't have the seeds I wanted. As my older brother was driving me to the airport he told me he was planning on stopping on the side of the highway so I could pick some flamboyant seeds! And he did! I got a really huge seed pod which gave me about 25 seeds!
This entire trip had been so surreal, burying one grandmother, visiting my grandfather who is bedridden, visiting my other grandmother's house which is now vacant. Everything has changed. For my whole life visiting my family in PR was the same. They took care of me. But that has all changed so much.
I know it may seem silly, but these seeds are kind of my way of holding on to the memory of my family and my beautiful island.
 
Everyday I water my seeds and i watch them grow. In the blue pot are my flamboyant seedlings and the black pot to the right are the gandule seedlings.
Change is inevitable. Cherish your family every moment that you have them. And when you get the opportunity, share the memories you have with others

Friday, October 16, 2015

Be Yourself

I can recall, crystal clear, one day in the 7th grade when I was faced with deciding between expressing my uniqueness or fading into what the crowd expected of me.

Growing up, I always enjoyed creating through my fashion. In the 5th grade my friends unofficially "crowned" me most fashionable with my Clarissa Explains it All-style tights and frayed shorts. 
Listen, what happens on the playground in the 5th grade is pretty official in my book!

I also always admired my mother's style. No matter what she wore, I would see her as gorgeous and confident. Since I had grown to my mother's size by the 7th grade  she would often give me her purses or costume jewelry and even shirts or skirts she no longer wanted. These were real treasures to me. Everything in her closet, was interesting and beautiful. 

It's true that when you are an artist, you are one in more than one way. In my case, every form of expression was something you put your all into; fashion was no different. I had a lot of pride in piecing together my outfits for school and lucky for me, I went to a school that did not require a uniform, so I had creative freedom with my wardrobe. 

I didn't have the rad looking hat, but if I did I would have worn it too! 
On this particular day, I had decided to wear a sunflower print dress my mother had given me which I thought was super cute! It wasn't something that I had seen other girls really wearing. It looked like this:


I was in between classes at my locker getting my books out when some of the cheerleaders (whose lockers were near mine) in their spirit uniforms, began talking.
"WHAT is she wearing?" Mean girl #1 said.
"I don't know. It looks like something her MOM owns!" Mean girl #2 said as she laughed, closed her locker and the four of them walked away. 
I stood at my locker, hiding my face with the door. I was frozen in emotions. How did they know my Mom gave it to me? Is it REALLY an ugly dress? I didn't have many friends at that time, in fact, I was still kind of a new kid only having moved there less than a year ago, so I didn't have anyone there to stand up for me. It made me really, really sad. I didn't even say anything, I just pretended that I didn't hear it. I went to my next class feeling worthless and dumb. Do I throw this dress away? Should I stop wearing the stuff my Mom gives me, maybe it really is outdated and obvious. How will I make ANY friends if I don't know how to dress
Thankfully, I didn't live in today's world of social media, because a negative conversation about me in the hallway is microscopic compared to the damage that could be caused (and quite too often is caused) by negative comments on social media. 

I'm also very fortunate to have had the family I did. When I went home, I remember telling my mom about what those girls said, and my mom said, "Whenever someone criticises you, it's because they are jealous and wish they could be more like you. Pay them no attention my love."

That was all my mom had to say! Before I knew it, I was back to wearing whatever I felt. My Father was in the Army at that time and I can remember his closet being filled with camouflage pants and shirts. He had a pair of camouflage pants he no longer wanted so I took them! I wore them to work along with a sporty shirt (this was before rappers and boy bands made it fashionable).

Of course my classmates laughed and asked "Did you lose a bet or something?" But by this point, I didn't care anymore. I would remember what my Mom said, "They are just jealous". And it was almost as if I had some psychological insight that would protect me from criticism. It really freed me to be the expressive person I am today.

While most people try their best at staying within the social expectations of fashion (i.e. whatever the media says is fashion, is) I tend to try to stick out. There is something so amazing about being able to express one's self! 

Years later, I became a self-proclaimed artist and performance artist. Which means I have a valid excuse for wearing pretty much whatever I feel like it! I have to say "Thanks" to people like Lady Gaga for showing the whole world that no matter how you express yourself, all the criticism in the world can't break you, unless you let it. 

I share this story for any of you out there who may be struggling with your own expression. Here is the secret: BE YOU! Forget about anyone's opinion of you because what they express outwardly is really a reflection of how they feel about themselves inwardly. They see you being bold and fear the criticism they would face for being so bold, so they try deterring you from it.

Maybe I'll run for president one day, and when I win, I'll make dressing like weirdos a social norm! Wouldn't that be fun?

Oh, and to the mean cheerleaders from middle school. I probably should say "Thank you for being so petty and mean to me that fateful day. Without it, I wouldn't have learned the lesson that judgemental people like you are really haters, and it's my duty to shine anyways!" How's that for a big middle finger? No, no, no, let's turn it into a PEACE sign instead...