Organic Melinda

healthy living with a Latin twist


Leave a comment

Day 14 – Packing Up Boxes

To My Active Baby,

Daddy and I have been packing all day in preparation for our move tomorrow.

We weren’t able to get the money together for a new apartment, so we are putting almost everything in storage and staying with my mother for a month or until we can save up enough for a decent apartment.

It’s been a bit of a chore trying to get things done with a toddler in the house, because you require a lot of attention.

Every time I finish packing up a box, I turn around to find you unpacking it.

you unpacking

you unpacking

I tried putting you inside of a box with some toys, but you weren’t very fond of that.  You started crying, so I had to take you out.

I don’t really have much to say today, because I am really tired and you’re crying, right now.

I hope that this short journey back to my mom’s house proves to be a good time for you.  I know that your grandma is super excited to have you around every day and waking her up in the middle of the night.

I can only hope that you never have to experience the financial difficulties that your Daddy and I have had to contend with this past year.

Hopefully, he can find a full-time job, soon, and Organic Melinda takes off, so that we can provide you with the stable home that you deserve.

With hope,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


Leave a comment

Day 13 – The Big Apple

To My Adventurous Baby Girl,

Today, you visited New York City for the first time.

What fun we had as we rode on trains and climbed stairs.  I am not sure why many of the NYC Subway stops do not have elevators.  I imagine the life of differently abled people must be hard without them.

Mami had to carry you in your stroller and our bags up and down flights of stairs.  Luckily, a teenage boy helped us on the way home.

We traveled to mid-town Manhattan in order to deliver print and signed copies of L.I.V².E. to Mia Roman, so you got to meet her.

She was overjoyed by your presence.

Mia, Mami, and you

We walked from 51 st and 8th avenue all the way to 11th street and 2nd avenue to get you a delicious slice of vegan, gluten-free veggie pizza.

On our walk, you pointed out every doggie you saw to your delight.  I imagine you will be an animal lover, since you already have such an affinity for creatures.

We passed by a doggie daycare, and you were so excited to see over 30 dogs in a room together.  Then, when it was time to continue on our journey, you cried for about 3 blocks as you repeated, “Doggie, doggie, doggie.”

Finally, you saw an image of a football and your crying subsided.

When we finally arrived at Viva Herbal Pizza, you were excited to eat some vegan pizza and a slice of Death by Chocolate cake along with some pomegranate tea.

We sat there calmly, ate, cuddled, and then you had some mami milky.

People stared as I breastfed you, but I felt proud.  I want to be an example for other women and deconstruct notions that breastfeeding is anything but natural.

We tried to meet up with Ayhan, but she had to go elsewhere.  We continued our walking and then headed towards 9th st and 6th avenue to hop on the PATH train.

A teenage boy was kind enough to help me bring you down the stairs since, once again, since there were no elevators in sight.

Gentlemen offered us their seats on the train twice, and reminded me that chivalry is not dead.

On the second train, I let a young boy take the seat that was offered to me since he looked tired.

On our walk home, you quickly fell asleep.

What a day.

I am so happy to be able to share some of my favorite places with you, and I look forward to the day you are old enough to go backpacking with me thru Latin America.

Proudly,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


Leave a comment

Day 12 – Mujeres Poderosas – Olivia Rios

Good Morning to my Precious Child,

Today is a beautiful day.

Last night, Mami hosted a live chat on raising healthy families with Tatiana Amico, a health coach also dedicated to helping people live toxic free lifestyles.

It was the first time that I hosted an online event, and it was a wonderful experience. I am looking forward to doing it, again.

As it turns out, i is Thursday, so you get to learn about the 4th Mujer Poderosa, Olivia Rios, who I am really excited to write about.  

Often times, we think that role models have to be , presidents, movie stars, revolutionaries or people with stuffed pockets, but I think looking to only those types of people misses out on people who live the struggle daily and find ways to constantly be excited about life.

Olivia (or as I called her for many months Princesa Bolivia) and I met in the summer of 2010 in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico.  We both received grants from the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship to study Mixtec through a program by the University of California, San Diego.

While neither of us learned much Mixtec due to the complexity of the language, since saying Mixtec is like saying “Roman Languages,” which include French, Spanish, Italian, etc., we learned a great deal about indigenous culture and language structure.

Our connection, however, really took place outside of the classroom.  Olivia often accompanied me to my field site, and I would go to hers.  At the time, I was engaged in anthropological research in Oaxaca City aimed at understanding how people made use of the arts to contest state power.  Olivia was interested in indigenous dances as forms of performative expression.

We would sit at the cafe together and listen to the performers, dancing, and enjoying the art that surrounded us.  Then, I would accompany to local dances on pyramids and monuments.

boli y yo

me and Olivia

The real fun times came during our many, many nights at a local night club, Tentacion, which had live, local bands performing Musica Norteña on a balcony stage above our heads.  Through dance and our love of being in constant motion, our friendship flourished.

We, along with two of our classmates, also made a ridiculous voyage by bus, bike, and boat down to Guatemala to visit the historical site of Tikal, which was a total spiritual experience for me that I hope to tell you about when you are older.

What makes Olivia admirable and a good role model for you, my dear little girl, is her intense capacity to have faith in LOVE and her spirit for adventure.

During our last nights in Oaxaca, Olivia had the courage to love and return to Oaxaca in pursuit of that love.

Many of our conversations have been about the need for love in our lives in its multi-faceted forms – love of self, love of culture, love of soccer, love of life, love of travelling, and love of others.

I want so much for you to have the courage to love as you grow no matter the pain that might come.  Of course, I pray that you will never experience heartache, but I cannot protect you from the entirety of the world.  So, know that if someone ever breaks your heart, I will be there to help you mend the pieces.

Always be open to adventure.  Had I not met Olivia, I would have never went to Guatemala or learned what joy dancing quebradita is.

These days, Olivia continues to pursue her passion for life by teaching small children in California.  She will be applying for a Fulbright scholarship next year, and, soon after, she hopes to pursue a doctorate degree.

But, of course, what Olivia is most excited about is her new found love, who she met at a Ramon Ayala concert.  She is grateful to have found someone that is in tune with her life and values the things that she does.

I urge you, my little one, to have the courage to love, always, and never settle for less than what you deserve.

Wishing you a life full of joy,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


Leave a comment

Day 11 – 18 Months of Life

Dear 18 Month Old Baby of Mine,

Look at you! Growing steadily and flourishing.  I cannot believe it has been a whole year and a half since you came into my life to stir it all up into a wondrous existence.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching you play with my mother.  You bring joy to us in ways that we could have never imagined possible.

Love does not even fully encompass the deep emotion that I feel for you as I watch you develop into your own being.

I cannot help but stare at you as you sleep. You look so at peace and comforted as you breathe steadily on my lap.

Your rising and falling chest speak to the miracle of presence in this world.

I never imagined that I would become a mother, some day, but, alas, here you are.

Every day you challenge me and force me into becoming a stronger and happier human being.

Today, we danced in the living room as I tried to teach you how to jump.   I held you in my arms and jumped with you as you cackled in laughter.

You remind me  of the simple pleasures of life – to enjoy being in the present moment.

For many years, September 25 was a difficult day for me as it is the anniversary of my father’s death, but you have given it new meaning.  On this day, I can now celebrate another month of your life.

You have changed many aspects of my life and have brought me back to center.

I feel so lucky to be able to watch you grow, sing, dance, and play.

My favorite part of today was when you and I sat together on the living room floor and you were babbling a story to me. I could make out a word here and there. I continued to ask you follow up questions and you would begin to laugh. I think you were telling me a joke or just celebrating life.

Then, we took out a piece of paper and you began to scribble on it. You handed the pencil to me, and I wrote our names.  I asked you what was in the picture and you babbled to me, once again.  There was a ball, a banana, and daddy.

After we talked about the picture, you began to dance again, so I joined you.  We hopped. Twirled. Stomped our feet in jubilation.

Your hair is growing in, now, and curls that speak of your Afro-Caribbean ancestry have begun to form.

I cannot help but wonder what you will look like as a young woman.

But, there is no rush to be a big girl.

Day by Day, Week by Week, Month by Month, Year by Year – I feel blessed to be here to watch you blossom.

Amazed Every Day,

Mami Loves You

 

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


Leave a comment

Day 10 – Mujeres Poderosas – Mia Roman

To my Singing, Dancing, Painting Baby,

I was thinking about my childhood the other day, and trying to remember all of the women who influenced me when I was a little girl.  I was shocked to discover that no Latina women came to mind that were not directly related to me.  I only began to have Latina role models in my teenage years when I saw my history reflected in other women.

Having that realization makes it all the more important for me to ensure that you have Latina role models to look up to, and, luckily, it is Tuesday, which means you get to learn about another Mujer Poderosa, Mia Roman.

I met Mia in 2007 when I was hosting a poetry show fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of Women’s History Month.

Mia was the first person to graciously donate her time and artwork to raise money for the cause.  Through our connection and commitment to the empowerment of the Latino community, Mia and I have remained colleagues.

As a painter, writer and mixed media artist, Mia explores women’s issues,  empowerment, liberation, spirituality,  nature, and Latino culture.  She also creates beautiful jewelry and other artistic pieces.

Mia painting

Mia painting

Mia’s art is strikingly beautiful, but it is her energy and constant striving towards positivity that make her an admirable woman.

While struggling with cancer, Mia turned to creative expression in order to find strength and continued faith in the world around her.  She dedicates herself to the cause of happiness.  She radiates balance and inner-peace.

Mia’s influence on me has been more as an observer throughout the past five years than as an active participant in her daily life.  It is has actually been a few years since I have seen her, but the fact that she still has such an influence on me beyond physical space is evidence to her character.

She is dedicated to informing the world on the plight of the Puerto Rican people in a way that paints us, literally, as actors in our own destiny.

Her artwork also reminds me to seek calm within myself.

Mia has been a supportive throughout my poetic career and in the work that I do with Organic Melinda.  She is committed to her community as a mother, teacher, activist, and feminist.    She is the type of woman that you should emulate and look up to, because she teaches us that we can be warriors while being gentle spirits.

Mia embodies how art saves us and why we need it in order to live a worthwhile existence.

I cannot wait until you are old enough to participate in one of her classes.

Always and forever,

Mami Loves You

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.


1 Comment

Becoming a Healthier Me

Health, to me, is holistic. It includes your body, yes, but also your mind, heart, and spirit.

Physical health will quickly deteriorate if you are experiencing anxiety, financial difficulty, stress, and fear.

This year, I have made a lot of gains (or losses) when it comes to my weight.  I went from 162 pounds post-partum to 129 pounds, but I haven’t been as healthy as I want to be.

In Progress

In Progress

Emotional eating has been a really big struggle for me this year. I tend to turn to food when I am anxious or overwhelmed with my situation.  But, the tips that Yaritza, Lori, and I came up with have been helping me overcome emotional eating.

Now, I want to make greater strides for my mental health – end my anxious mind.

Exercise is an essential part of that.

I began doing yoga this month, and, mostly, for the spiritual aspect of it.  Holding each stance forces us to quiet our minds and be at peace with the limitations of our own bodies.

Limitations, have, especially, been hard for me this year, because I am used to being strong and capable of taking care of myself.

A car accident in May left me with spinal damage, and I came to discover that I have nerve damage in my left hand.

The goal, now, is to strengthen the nerve in my hand and re-align my spine, so that I can continue my journey towards physical fitness.

Yoga will strengthen my core and improve my flexibility, so that I can do what I really want to do – CAPOEIRA!

I have started doing capoeira, again, but I have lost a lot of my stamina and endurance due to the months that I had to take off from practice. I am also not physically able to do a full range of motions without being in pain later.  I have to be super careful with all that I do and ensure that I do not get hit.  It’s been frustrating that I cannot even play the pandeiro for more than a few minutes because my hand weakens super fast, now.

I really want to go back to the basics of capoeira and re-learn the movements.

So many capoeiristas are in a rush with their careers. For me, I just love the strum of the berimbau and the total feeling of connectedness to the universe that I feel while I am swaying in the roda.

Capoeira is a place of peace for me, which replenishes my mind and spirit while toning my body.

My mental health is my primary concern, right now, because I want to be a conscious parent while raising my little girl.

I know that eating well, exercising, meditation, and self-control are the foundation that I need to be a good, sane, stable mother and a good role model.

On the physical front, I really want to get toned – like super toned.

My original goal prior to my car accident was to compete in a Fitness competition in the Bikini Category.  I had started preparing for it, and had to quickly halt the process.

The doctors have put me on severe no weightlifting restrictions, right now, though, due to herniated discs in my spine, but I am convinced that I will be able to tone my body without necessarily lifting weights.

As my financial and living situation improve, which I know they will, soon, I will really be able to dedicate myself to the craft of bodybuilding and represent vegan bodybuilders and Latinas on that stage.

I have to remember that every meal I consume will either heighten or hamper my chances at strutting myself on that stage.

I want to body build, because I just want to see what my body is fully capable of.  I want to feel like a warrior – strong and confident.

A long time ago, I dedicated myself to being a lot more than just average, and I am on that journey.

Being a #healthyme is vital to being a #successfulme.


Leave a comment

Day 9 – You Get What You Give Out

To My Dearest Little Love,

Yesterday, I wrote to you about keeping hope alive, and, today, I tell you why it’s so important to do that.

Last night, I went to sleep with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

My anxious mind threatened to get the better half of me, but I took control of my thoughts.

I laid in bed with you on my chest and held you tight.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Breath in. Breath out.

The humming of our breaths lulled me to sleep, and when I woke up at 5:30 a.m., I checked my email and discovered that, as we slept, generous people had donated $300.00 to the gofundme campaign that I started last month for our security deposit.

About 6 years ago, I studied Islam very closely, and learned so much about the way of the universe through that spiritual exploration.

Islam teaches that you should always pray to the Creator for all that you need in your life – be it, shoes, clothes, water, shelter.

But, it is not enough to just pray. Rather, one must be working towards accomplishing what they require in actions as well.

This week, I have been doing just that.

Yesterday evening, I searched for jobs, and while the employment situation is bleak around here, it was part of building my intention.

On Saturday, I gave a presentation at a local church on healthy eating and gave out samples of green smoothies in hopes that people would be guided towards Organic Melinda and purchase a book or consultation.

But, even if they don’t purchase and benefit from the free information that I offer, at least we are one step closer towards food integrity.

Today, I woke up before the birds and the sun in order to read some anthropological articles and work on my statement of purpose to apply to doctorate programs.

I am building, slowly, the foundation which will benefit us in the long-term.

I know that while times are hard, right now, they wont always be.

Mami works hard, every day, to ensure that in the future, we shall be the ones helping those in need.

The Universe provides all that you need.

But, remember, you will only get what you give out.

Grateful for Life and Humanity,

Mami Loves You

p.s.

If anyone reading this wants to help, please donate towards our security deposit via gofundme: http://www.gofundme.com/3ysdtk

—-
About this Series:

In honor of Latino Heritage Month, I will write 30 letters for 30 days to my beautiful daughter. This series is entitled, Mami Loves You. In these letters, I will tell her about the world around her, and reflect on her development.

Each Tuesday and Thursday, I will honor a Latina woman that I believe is a great role model for my daughter to admire. Through these letters, I pay homage to my role as a mother, and I will teach my daughter about one of the cultures that has birthed her.

To Subscribe to the series Mami Loves You, follow the link: http://mamilovesyou.com/ and fill out the form.