After a while

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul, and you learn love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t always promises and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you really can endure, that you really are strong and you really do have worth and you learn and you learn 

with every good-bye you learn.

Veronica Shoffstall


In the blind

3468497c4b892688d0571a36dd82f30a“Houston, in the blind…Houston, in the blind…”

Sandra Bullock – or her character I should say – desperately looks for a signal back to earth in the middle of nowhere in space. Gravity. She’s looking for gravity.

I’ve been looking for gravity. Floating out in space like a lost satellite. No signal. I got on a bus and forgot to get off on the last stop. I’m roaming, constantly moving somewhere but don’t know where to.

Gravity. I lost my gravity. Houston, in the blind.

A message comes through and I sit, for days at a time analyzing every word, every letter. And nothing makes sense. I make a list of all possible reasons why this message arrived. But I never answer. I dissect it into small segments. Read it. Read it again. No answer.

Houston, in the blind.

If we are all bound to be attracted to something, the way gravity pulls us to earth, why are we still so lost? Floating, roaming, spacing out and not getting any signal. Sending messages out in the blind? Receiving them. Not answering. Not listening.

Houston, in the blind. This is the Ugly Duckling.

I keep moving. Constantly moving, going somewhere. I don’t know when and if I’ll make it there. But the bus never stop. The satellite continuously transmits a signal that nobody receives.

Houston, in the blind. This is the Ugly Duckling. Houston, in the blind, searching for gravity.

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adjective: unapologetic
  1. not acknowledging or expressing regret.
    “he remained unapologetic about his decision”

13912638_491113847762179_5759191534147855225_nA few weeks ago, in the midst of one of the toughest heartbreaks of my life – not that I’ve had many, although one is enough – I decided to tattoo the word “unapologetic” on my right arm. As it is customary for me, I simmer on the idea of a tattoo for a long time before I actually decide to mark my skin permanently with something that could potentially be a temporary emotion.

Therefore, I must clarify – although I don’t need to offer explanations to anyone but myself – that even though this tattoo occurred in the midst of emotional turmoil, I had actually given plenty of thought to this one single 12 letter word for a long time, before branding it on my skin.

Unapologetic is a harsh word. It’s often misunderstood and thought of as that person who point blank does not care about the damage or pain that his/her actions may cause to others. I do what I want and I will not apologize for it.

Far from it.

In this journey called life, more often than not, we become this mixture of who we want to be with what we think others want us to be. We abide by society rules, follow the teachings of our families and we end up being very, very…unhappy. I was an unhappy human. I still am. I struggle daily with the choices that will either make me or break me. But I have a strong desire, above all, to be ME. I want to look back in life at 87 – if I make it there – and say: I became the human I wanted to be.

At some point in the past two years, I began changing the human I was for the human I long to be. I stopped caring about others’ opinions of me. No,  I did not turn into a rebel, I just don’t allow myself to make decisions based on the opinions of others. I put me and my own first. I prioritize my life and my needs not only in the order where it makes sense, but in the order where it makes ME HAPPY. I started what I called the project All-About-Me.

Oftentimes I found myself apologizing for my feelings, as if, my feelings were germs. I’m sorry if I’m asking you to give me what I deserve. I’m sorry I feel frustrated. I’m sorry I feel insecure. I’m sorry I’m disappointed.


I am not sorry at all. Feelings are a consequence of an action, and yes, although they occur on a very cellular and personal level, feelings are also an external responsibility. Some feelings, are inevitably provoqued. And no one, and I mean NO ONE, can make you apologize for something they caused. As you are responsible for the way you feel, you are also responsible for what you have made others feel. Let’s start wearing our big girls and boys pants, and realize, you are responsible for the way you treat others. Period. No excuses.

When you start putting yourself first, you also realize that there is a level of freedom out there that you have not fully reached, but you are well on your way. The freedom of not letting anyone dictate your life. I won’t say the process has been easy. I’ve found myself questioning everything I do, and asking people for their opinion, more than I care to ask. But there is an immense field of potential when you realize that no matter what you do, the world will continue turning.

So I gave myself this set of rules/questions to live by and those I use everytime I find the inevitable fork in the road:

  1. Does it add positively to your life?
  2. Does it harm you or anyone in the process?
  3. Is it legal, moral or ethical? (Note, morals are purely a personal concept. Use yours, not your neighbors’)
  4. Is your child, or family, fed, cared for and in a comfortable position?
  5. Does it make you feel happy?

If the answer is Yes, by all means, DO THE THING! Whether is a tattoo, a new car, a piece of clothing, food, ending a relationship, letting go of a friend. Whatever it is. If it’s not adding constructively and positively to your life, DON’T DO IT or LET IT GO.

I have made myself the promise to live unapologetically. What does that mean to me? Easy. If I lived a truthful, loyal and caring life for me and mine, I’m simply not sorry about anything.

I am and will be Unapologetically Me.

We will never.

408ff47d74fcc970fe38551e2c26543fYou’ll never see my daughter grow up. I’ll never see your son grow up. They will never be a family. And one day, the universe will put them together in the same room, and they won’t know how much their parents loved each other. How much future was in our eyes at one point. They’ll never experience coming home to a happy family, to a pair of tired adults from working all day, but with full hearts of happiness and warmth to give them both.

We will never know what it takes to build a home together, cook together, fix the kids room together. The joy of building their beds and painting the walls to their favorite colors, and decorating the rooms for a girl and a boy who, despite being born in different worlds, would have grown up in one whole, loving family.

I will never know the feel of your kiss at the end of a long day at work, when you would get home and wrap your hands around my waist and whisper in my ear while I prepare dinner: I love you so much. You will never feel the breeze of the night, as we would sit out in the balcony, sharing that so desired glass of wine, while you’d tell me how your day was at work.

I will never hear your lips call me bonita one more time, or feel the weight of your arms crushing my ribs while you sleep, deeply, snoring away. We will never feel the sunshine peeking through the window in a Sunday morning, poking our lazy bodies, tired from a night of love making, laugh inducing silliness and deep long stares.

We will never.

You should have opened your eyes. I was crazy about you. And that, you will never find again.

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Why do you love me?Because you’re a good woman.
My ex husband used to tell me he loved me because I was good. Not because I was pretty or smart, or because I was fun. He loved me because I was good.


I used to ask myself if it was better to be someone’s impossible love or to be someone’s “let-me-settle-with-this-girl” love. The latter seems to lack passion. The unmistakable definition of it is what it is and I take what I can get.

I was good. So I decided to be bad. And bad I’ve been.

Many people have loved me because I was good to them. Because I go out of my way to please them. Because there isn’t an action in this world full of good intentions, that would amount to being the greatest person they’ve ever met. So I was good to them.

I was good to them because I don’t know how to say no. Because I rather deprive myself of something than to fail their expectations of my “good” self.

And in turn, they’ve paid me with bad. I’ve kept them company, so they leave me alone. I’ve supported them, they pay me with neglect. And it has never failed, as that of a bible excerpt, that they will deny me three times before the rooster crows.

Last year a friend sent me a book called: Men love bitches.

I laughed as I read it because I find it ridiculous to fathom the idea that evil can be repaid with kindness. But it does. My upbringing has brought me many a disappointment. Lead a life of servitude they taught me. Find pleasure in serving others. And pleasure I find.

But as hard as it is to realize, I am alone, sitting at the end of the strip of street that runs behind my house, right at the dead end that looks upon a highway. I am sitting here alone, looking at and endless stream of cars traveling God knows where to. I am entirely alone. A life of service for a destiny of loneliness.

We are forever responsible for the monsters we create. And those monsters will never understand how much I needed them. No amount of bad will ever fill my emptiness.

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The Box


Inside my closet, on the first shelf of the door to the left, there’s a black box. It’s a cardboard box with black and brown stripes and a solid black top. I bought it at Ikea, for no particular purpose, but it ended up being your box. When I speak to people about your box I call it the black box, like the ones on the airplanes. It serves the same purpose. It contains memories.

Every time I open my closet door, and that is several times a day, I look at it. It’s there, sitting on the shelf, not saying much. Not saying anything at all. It’s just a box. But to me, it’s always whispering. It wants to be noticed. It sits there looking at me, and saying: Look at me, I’m that big pink elephant in the middle of the room. I’m here!

But I tell myself that it’s just a black box.

Every so often, I take it out, and I climb onto my bed with it. I caress the top, and slowly whisper to it, like taming a wild animal that it’s about to burst open. I tame it. I speak to it, and we have a long silent dialog for a while. And then I open it. And so does my heart.

I make a careful inventory of its contents. It’s a ritual. The box knows it and so do I. We take everything out. It lets me. We take every single item out. Every memory. And every tear. There’s an order to everything inside the box. There’s an order to every emotion that comes with it. First comes the envelope with your graduation picture. It’s a CVS photo envelope with two copies of your cap and gown picture. The one that post office bent, although the envelope clearly said “Do Not Bend”. That one. The one I got to keep. Then comes a small notebook, a diary, where I wrote a note the day you left the office when you got the job in IT. It ends like this: “…and half my life is walking out the door with him.”

Then comes the t-shirt and the bib for the 5K we ran together. I don’t know why I placed it inside the box, but I guess it reminds me of so many times we’ve wanted to do races together, and only this time we did. Then come the sunglasses. The ones you gave me because you thought I would like them. I never told you I hated them. They’re ugly, they look ugly on me. But I wouldn’t tell you, because I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings. But now you know, they’re ugly as funk.

The second layer of the contents becomes harder to take out. Is a thick mess of memories, each tangled up with the other, so deeply connected. Here is when I start crying. Here is why I never want to open the black box. There’s another tiny black box, containing the glass picture of yourself you gave me for Christmas last year. It’s so vivid I want to break it every time I see it, because maybe if I do, you will come out of your cage. You’re frozen inside the glass. Breaking it won’t free you. Breaking it only breaks me.

The heels. Those heels have never set foot on the ground. There isn’t a single scratch on their soles, not a spec of dust. But those heels have traveled many miles with us. Many beds. Many…

Your boxers and briefs. The tie. The silver tie and the silk scarf are together. They belong together. There’s no way on earth they can ever be apart. They have a mind of their own, even if I place them neatly next to each other, the next time I open the box they have manage to tangle themselves together. Like we did, at some point.

Then there’s a towel that you left in my car. Or in yours and I took it. Or at my old apartment. I can’t remember. It’s a towel, thick and soft. I keep it because it creates a nice soft mattress for the rest of the items in the box. As if it’d protect them from any damage.

The last three items I keep in a bundle. They also belong together like the tie and the scarf. But on a level so deep that nothing could tear them apart. Nothing. It’s the shirt you wore the night we went to Blue Martini. The night I told you I loved you. The night before the morning when, having realized I hadn’t said that out of being drunk, you told me you loved me. Wrapped inside it are two of the most valuable things I keep in this box. Your dog tags. And a necklace you gave me of dark purple beads and a feather.

Your dog tags say that you are A+. Just like me. Blood of my blood.

After I’ve ripped my soul open, the ritual ends. I put everything back in the box, in the exact same order that it came out. I carefully fold every piece of clothing. Set the shoes in place. Your picture. Everything in a way that it doesn’t get disturbed by anything else. Every item in this box coexists with the others. They purposely belong to each other. In harmony.

Tonight I have done my black box ritual one more time. I have taken careful account of my inventory. I have recalled every memory. Shed every tear. But tonight there’s a new item inside.

I left my heart in the black box. Because my heart doesn’t want to be anywhere else, but where it one day, was very happy.

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Open Letter to AOB

19. “Let’s do this”

18. Okinawa

17. Weston

16. Ice…

15. Jaiden

14. Heels

13. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay

12. Blackened Tilapia

11. Blue drinks

10. 3, 2, 1… Snores

9. I “lobe” you

8. Half a wrap and M&Ms

7. O.T.

6. “Watchuwon?”

5. “Look! (Opens mouth) I did it!”

4. “Buenos días bonita.”

3. “One day soon.”

2. “Mi amor.” “Mi vida.”

1. “5th?” “Yes, please!”

*drops mike*

36 Feathers From the Duck

largeToday is my birthday. I’m turning 36. Older or younger, doesn’t really matter anymore, for it is only a matter of perspective. Absolutely relative. So at the age of 36, sitting at the edge of one of the toughest times of my life, here I stamp the 36 things life has taught me, and taught me well.

1. Your birthday is important. No matter what the party-poopers want to make you believe, IT IS NOT just another day. You were born this day for God’s sake! Make it a fucking holiday!

2. The best gifts in life are only measurable in seconds. Time my friends, time is precious.

3. Makeup is good for your soul. Don’t use cheap one. And certainly, don’t use too much.

4. Men are like stilettos. They look great on display, but you really don’t know how painful they can be until you try them on.

5. Being patient pays. But saying what’s on your mind right there and there when you feel like it, it’s priceless. Don’t hold back.

6. Individualism rules. Collectivism is deadly. Be you. Fuck the rest.

7. Hunger is a teacher. Eat healthy, but don’t forget to treat yourself. You’ll never know when you’ll go to bed with an empty stomach.

9. Middle school is cruel. But those are also your foundation years. Those are the years to begin sacrificing so you can see fruits later.

10. Crying is a escape valve. Cry and cry often. Don’t hold it. Find the saddest songs. Let it out. Wail with your lungs. You will find that from one second to the next, you’d stop crying and didn’t even know why.

11. Sadness is a place. Visit it. Learn it well. Make a mental map of it. Draw escape routes. And you will know the difference when happiness comes around.

12. Heartbreak consumes you, destroys you but it’s entirely survivable. No one, I mean this, no one dies of heartbreak.

13. Write things down. Feelings, experiences, names, phone numbers. Write it all. You’d be surprised years later when you read what you wrote, how life changes. You change.

14. Put songs on re-play. Play them so much, you learn to recognize when the singer stops to breathe. Then find another song. Put it on re-play too.

15. Buy yourself flowers. Don’t wait for anyone to show up at your doorstep with a bouquet of your favorite. Be your biggest admirer.

16. It’s ok to be lazy. Don’t do a thing for a day. The world doesn’t stop because you take a break. Overachieving kills people. And makes you miss birthdays.

17. Look forward to something. Anything. Keep hope alive by having goals, expecting something or someone. Live each day as if you were going on vacation tomorrow. Excitement is fuel.

18. LEARN TO SAY NO. People pray on good souls. They abuse. Say no if you don’t want to do it.

19. Pay attention. The world does not revolve about you, but around you. Observe. You’d be surprised the things you’d discover if you just open your eyes.

20. Disappointment is inevitable. People are not in this world to serve you. Keep your standards high, but your expectations low.

21. Friends are family. Pick them wisely. Give yourself to them fully.  They save lives. Shed the ones that don’t make your soul sparkle.

22. Forgive yourself. You are human. It’s ok to make mistakes.

23. Read. Read so much you forget if you saw that on a book or on real life. Read so much, your DNA has an ISBN number.

24. Hoard books too. You may not have time to read them now. But one day it’s all you’d want to do.

25. Fall in love. Often. With different people or the same person. It doesn’t matter. Just love someone.

26. Love is a hormone. After a few years it stops working. It’s up to you to keep it pumping.

27. Your parents are your pillars. Keep your relationship strong. Visit them often. Speak to them everyday. Love them. They are the reason you are here today. Appreciate their struggle to raise you.

28. Believe in something. God, the Universe, Money. Believe. Faith is what keeps you alive.

29. Laugh. Laugh loud, by yourself, with someone. At yourself. Laugh even if you’re crying.

30. Sex is good for you. Have it. And have it often. Don’t be afraid to show who you are in bed. No one has the right answer. It’s a game. Play it well.

31. Technology is your best friend. And your worst enemy. Learn it. Keep up with it.

32. You are important to who you are important to. Simple as that. Those who don’t care, won’t do. It’s a matter of priorities.

33. Falling out of love is scary. Ending a relationship it’s overwhelming. Deal with it one step at a time. There’s no right way to leave.

34. Challenges will come your way. Some will teach you a lesson. Some will bring you to your knees. Face the struggle. “If you’re going thru hell, keep going.”

35. Your child is the reason for your existence. You were chosen. They are your God. Worship them.

36. Eva Luna: You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Your condition has taught me patience beyond my limits. Your innocence floors me. Your love keeps me breathing. No one, NO ONE, holds my heart in their hands like you do. I am for you. I exist for you. And I will live for you. You, my princess, are the only reason I can’t give up on life.

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