Tag Archives: personal

Reflecting on 2011

29 Dec

My dear blog, I have not forgotten about you!  I’ve just been so disgustingly busy this past month and have not had time to sit down and really put my heart into anything.  I literally started getting withdrawals and figured enough was enough!  It’s time to post again!

So, with New Years Eve coming up in just a few days, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting upon this past year.  I can honestly say that this year has been, hands down, the most emotional and financially challenging year of my life, yet somehow at the same time been the most exciting and gratifying one.

2011 started off with escaping the woes of unemployment and landing a great job at an entertainment firm.  I had no experience in that industry, but have learned a lot over time and feel more and more confident with each passing day.  I work with some of the most amazing people I know (each in their own right) and have learned so much from every one of them.  I have nothing but respect and admiration for them, and I’m not easily impressed or moved by anyone!

This year I was able to go to Key West and Orlando twice.  I went to Key West  for my Birthday in April and again for the Poker Run in September.  The Orlando trips were in October for Halloween Horror Nights and then at the beginning of this month for my company’s End of Year Retreat.  All four trips were pretty damn awesome, I must say!

On both trips to Key West, I made new friends and got to spend a lot of time out on the water.  The first trip out on the boat was just for fun and relaxation, but the second was for sport (Fishing for Dolphin (Mahi)).  And on both trips, I almost drowned!  True Story!

Both Orlando trips were a lot more relaxed than the trips to the Keys, but they were still a great time;  Particularly the company retreat.  We hit up both Universal and Islands of Adventure and had a great dinner at Emeril’s.  I also got to know my coworkers on a more personal level and feel like our bond has grown stronger and are now an even better team than before.

But along with all the awesomeness comes the bad.  My mom spent a good six months out of the year very sick with a mystery illness that no doctor was able to figure out.  In the end, she just rode it out until it just magically went away.  Thanks to that condition though, she lost her job and things became very difficult for us at home.

During this time I found myself in a relationship with a guy who I thought I was in love with.  Charming, attractive, and a chef, so the foodie in me was thrilled!  Things were great at first, but that quickly faded.  I will make a long story short and cut to the chase; Things did not end pretty because he had betrayed me and of course I walked out with only my clothes, pots and pans, my cat and a pretty hefty I.O.U from the dick.

At first I allowed myself to be overwhelmed with how horrible my situation was, but quickly snapped out of it.  I knew quite well that there are a lot of people out there who have had it way worse than me and were still able to rise up on top.  So, what did I do?  I started focusing my energy on things that I knew I needed to take care of and on things that made ME happy:

Writing – I started writing more and have received so much recognition for it in the last three months that I am literally speechless.  I’ve acquired a large following and I am so grateful for that.

Quitting Smoking – It’s been a little over three months now since I quit.  I do have the occasional cigarette while out drinking with other smokers, but that’s as far as it goes.  I have not bought a pack since mid September and I don’t plan on ever doing so again.

Diet and Exercise – After mustering a lot of courage I managed to change my diet and force myself to join a boot camp.  All in all I lost a total of 17lbs.

Work – I have put more focus into work than on anything else and I am seeing the results of that come back to me three-fold.  All I will say is that I LOVE the company I work for and look forward to the adventures and experience this next year will bring us!

I almost feel like a Phoenix, rising up from the ashes.  Where once I was completely lost, scared, and insecure with my hands and heart completely empty I am now focused, brave, secure and full of love.  I feel as if I’ve accomplished more in these last three months than I had in the entire year.

For the first time in my 26 years, I will finally be moving into a place of my own (Pathetic, I know).  Now I be able to say that I am living on my own and that I was able to do it all by myself.  And since I’m starting from scratch, I am buying all new furniture and decorating the place how I want and looking forward to showing it off via photo-overload!

In the end, as I had mentioned before, this year may have been incredibly challenging, but it has also been quite good to me.  I have learned more about myself than ever before and now know what I can be capable of manifesting and accomplishing if I just put my mind and heart into it.

Here’s to 2011!  Thank you for the lessons and the good times!  I welcome 2012 with open arms and wish the best for everyone!

Happy New Year!
-Emily

I am the .5%

27 Nov

Now that my blog has been up and running for a while and has a substantial amount of visits and followers, I figured it was time to let you all in on a little secret of mine. I mean, who would want to expose such interesting cheese if no one is around to read it? Ok, well, it’s not really a secret, but it’s not something I usually go shouting out from the rooftops. It’s something personal, debilitating, and just all-around annoying.

After many years of struggling with crazy symptoms and having no idea they had any relation to each other, I did my research and consulted with my doctor and guess what? I have a classic case of Narcolepsy! Exciting isn’t it?! No, not in the least!

Before I get into my personal experience and struggle with narcolepsy, I will explain to you what narcolepsy really is. I don’t expect you all to be too knowledgeable of this condition if you don’t suffer from it, and being that only about .5% of the population gets diagnosed, the chances that anyone would truly understand are very slim.

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness. Those with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). This means that you can fall asleep at any given moment, at any given time, for any given reason. In most cases, symptoms start to develop between the ages of 15 and 25, 25 being the age where narcolepsy hits the hardest. But like everything else in this world, narcolepsy does have its exceptions and can definitely start sooner or later on in life.

Common symptoms of narcolepsy:

Cataplexy – A sudden loss of muscle tone that leads to feelings of weakness and loss of voluntary muscle control. Symptoms can range from slurred speech to total body collapse. These attacks can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

Sleep Paralysis – The temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. This too can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

Hallucinations – Vivid and frequently frightening visions accompanying the onset of sleep (Hypnagogic) and also occurring during awakening (Hypnopompic). These hallucinations may not only be visual; any of the other senses can be involved.

Microsleep – Automatic behavior without conscious awareness. For example, driving or walking competently but ending up in a different location than was intended or not recalling the trip from point A to point B.

The list goes on, but those are all the most common symptoms of narcolepsy. Cases vary from person to person; Some individuals will fall asleep uncontrollably at any moment and can most definitely hurt themselves in the process while others are able to control these attacks and fight through it.

My personal experience has been an interesting one, to say the least. I started experiencing Hypnagogic hallucinations as a kid. I never gave it much thought because I knew what I was seeing wasn’t real. I just figured I had a crazy imagination and never really told anyone about it.

At the age of 15 I experienced my first Sleep Paralysis episode. I remember opening my eyes and trying to sit up on my bed, only I couldn’t move. I tried and I tried, but no matter how much effort I put into it, my body was frozen; I was paralyzed. I also had the inability to speak. It was one of the scariest moments of my life.

One trigger that didn’t seem that important to me while growing up is my difficulty reading. As much as I love writing, reading was always a burden for me; I could never stay awake while trying to read. It’s an instant sedative for me. I literally pass out two pages into a book and sometimes struggle to read long articles. I used to have to take Xenadrine back in high school so that I could stay awake during important tests. I always managed to have amazing grades, but it did not come easy.

Another trigger that sets me into a state of uncontrollable sleepiness is temperature. Even though I like to sleep in the cold, under a nice thick comforter, stepping into a steaming hot car can knock me out in an instant. Same thing would happen to me in when I’d go to the Sauna at the gym. I can’t explain it! Something about the heat makes me so incredibly sleepy. Maybe that’s why I’m not so fond of Miami and would do anything to move away to a colder climate.

Eating a big meal is also a tough one to deal with. After every meal I do get a little wave of tiredness, but when it’s a large meal the sleepiness is insatiable. I remember when I used to bartend full time, if I ate heavy right before a shift I would literally fall asleep standing up against the bar, on a busy night with music blasting at ungodly levels..It was bad. And the worst part was that my coworkers just thought I was an asshole for being sleepy and exhausted all the time.

Probably the most dangerous trigger of them all for me is driving and car rides. It started off as me being the worst co-pilot ever, to little by little not being able to drive at all at night. I can literally be talking to my passenger and fall asleep with my eyes open and talking somewhat coherently. I’ve been very lucky to not have caused an accident in this state, but I have had several close calls and eaten plenty-a-median. I’ve also fallen asleep in my car before even starting it…it’s crazy. I know!

I think the symptom I have the least issue with is Cataplexy, which is basically sleep paralysis while awake. I have indeed had a really strong Cataplexy attack once, but it only ever happened to me that one time, two years ago so I don’t think it’s a symptom I have to worry too much about.

The scariest thing I experience now and have been dealing with for a good 5 years is Sleep Apnea mixed in with Sleep Paralysis. If you don’t know what Sleep Apnea is, it’s when your body starts breathing irregularly in your sleep and sometimes stops breathing all together. It’s usually not really noticeable, but of course I always fall within that special percentile of the population that’s a twisted exception and gets it hardcore. So, in a nutshell, I will wake up from a deep sleep, be totally paralyzed and not be able to breathe. Now THAT is a nightmare!

I do also experience episodes of Microsleep, mostly while driving during the day where I can will lose chunks of my trip. I will literally be driving somewhere and be like, “How did I get here? I don’t remember.” That too can be extremely dangerous because I’m basically driving on Zombie Mode.

But alas, I can say that my battle with Narcolepsy is not one that I’m losing. It’s intensity comes and goes in waves and it all depend on my all-around health, stress levels and ability to get a good night’s sleep. Right now I can safely say that I’m not going through a tough phase. Though it’s still something I struggle with on a daily basis, it’s not as uncontrollable as it used to be and I will credit that to my new healthy diet and exercise routine. There are a lot of treatments and meds I could try to help me out as well, but I feel like the all-natural route is always better.

So now you’re in on my little secret. How about you share one with me? Do you have any uncommon conditions you don’t mind sharing? Do any of you happen to suffer from narcolepsy as well??

Realize what you have before it’s gone…

6 Nov

Last night I was requested to Bartend at a private party.  This particular event was a very elaborate Housewarming party for a really nice family that was very excited to be settled into their new home (which was HUGE), and of course, share it with their friends and family.  They invited loads of guests, had tons of food and alcohol, a DJ, servers, valet,  you name it.

The party started fairly early and by midnight it was still going hard.  Belly dancers were about to come out and put on a show when the unfortunate happened; The host’s mother passes out and experiences a stroke.  Immediately they got on the phone with 911/Rescue and did all they could to keep her alive until the medics arrived, and even then they had to pump her chest and do God knows what to try to make sure she was getting enough oxygen.

Long story short; Grandma is gone.

I was the last of the help to leave.  I had to wait for the host and the rest of the guests to leave so that I could go back into the yard to gather up my equipment.  There I had a talk with the host’s daughter, who is my age.  She is a sweet woman, and was mourning, of course.  And as she vented she said a lot of things that I too felt when my grandfather had passed away: “All the times she called me and I didn’t pick up because I was too busy.  All the times she invited me over and I didn’t go.  And now she’s gone and there’s nothing I can do to fix that.”

My grandfather, Abuelo Rey, passed away about four years ago.  I still cannot see a picture of him or even talk about him without tearing up or just all-out balling.  Even now, writing this, I can’t help but cry.  His death is one that I accepted when it happened.  He was sick and regressed fairly quickly in last two years of his life, so I knew that when it was his time it was his time.  It was for the better and I accepted that.  But what I did not accept or forgive myself for was the fact that I had barely been around for those last two years of his life.

I honestly used to blame it on the boyfriend that I had at the time.  Though I loved him very much, he was a very selfish person so we only ever did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to and how.  We spent a lot of time with his family, but barely any with mine.  I made countless plans to go see my Abuelo and Abuela, but at the last minute he never wanted to go so I’d give them another excuse as to why I wasn’t going over to see them.

I do realize now that my partner was in no way the blame of my absence.  Though these actions did contribute to his selfishness, the ultimate decision to go or not go was mine.  I didn’t have to rely on anyone but myself to go spend time with my family.  If he didn’t want to come with me, well that should have been his loss and his loss alone.  Instead, I allowed it to be mine as well.

And though I feel in my heart that this doesn’t matter, because while he was in his coma in the hospital, not responding to ANYONE, he responded to ME.  Once his eyes closed, he never opened them again, but when I went to see him, I sat down on the bed next to him and I held his hand.  I held his big, almost lifeless hands and I leaned over and softly spoke into his ear.  I told him that it was me, and that I was sorry for not having come over all the times I said I would and that I knew I was a horrible granddaughter, but I loved him very very much.  And as I spoke I felt his hand starting to tighten up, tighter and tighter.  Once I gave him a kiss on his cheek he gave me one last tight squeeze and then that was it.  He passed away a few day later without having responded to anyone else.

Because of that, part of me feels forgiven, but it still weighs heavy in my heart no matter what.  I still remember everything about my last visit to his house and I remember his voice as clear as day.  I miss him so much, and I really wish he were still around.  But alas, thinking like that will never make a difference so what’s the point?

I guess what I’m just trying to get at here is that you should never take anyone for granted.  Age doesn’t matter; I’m not only talking about the elderly.  You never know if today could be yours or anyone else’  last day, no mater what age.  I’ve also lost young friends to very unfortunate circumstances, but their stories would require a whole entry of their own.

Just, don’t ever put off for tomorrow what you could do today.  Always follow through when you tell someone you’re going to see them or spend time with them.  And never be afraid to tell someone you love them when you know you do.  You never know when it will be your last chance to do so, and once that chance is gone, there is no getting it back.  In life and death there are no do-overs.

I’m no one’s second choice!

3 Nov

**All names have been changed to protect identity**

Quite some time ago while I was actively searching for love on Match.com, I received a really amazing email from an Indian man named Sayeed.  It was a little longer than I like my icebreakers to be, but he was so well written, talked about a lot of the things I had mentioned on my profile and said just enough about himself to really intrigue me.  I checked out his profile and he seemed pretty interesting, but when it came down to his photos, I just couldn’t tell if I’d be physically attracted to him or not.

After a bit of thought, I decided I’d wait a few days to respond because I already had a date planned for the following evening with a Bavarian man, named Aldric.  I wanted to see what would come of our first date before initiating anything with Sayeed.

The day of,  Aldric suggested that we meet at a place called Green Street Cafe in Coconut Grove, and even though I didn’t really like the venue due to it’s pretentiousness and yuppie customer-base I agreed.  You can’t say I’m not a good sport!

Being the only Cuban in Miami not running on Cuban Time, I arrived early and sat at a table on the outside and ordered a drink while I waited for Aldric to arrive.  As I sat there I couldn’t help but notice a man standing at the bar in front of me.  He had a deep tan, gorgeous long wavy hair and was dressed up in a sexy suite.  For a while I could only see part of his face, but when he turned around I nearly choked on my drink !  It was Sayeed, and he was beautiful!!!

Now, the longer I waited the more I worried about Sayeed recognizing me and totally ruining my date with Aldric, but after a little while I realized what was really going on here.  He wasn’t going to notice me at all!   He was acting very nervous and kept looking around.  He brushed his hair with his hands repeatedly and kept looking at his phone….Yup!  He was there waiting for a date as well!

Sayeed’s date arrived a little before Aldric did so of course I had to scope her out.  She too was from India and was incredibly beautiful. I couldn’t hate!  They actually made a really cute couple.

Aldric eventually arrived and we had our date.  He was really sweet and it went well enough for me to agree to a second date, but now my eyes were setting on Sayeed as well.  I had to meet him!  I had to see what he was all about!

The next day I decided to respond to Sayeed’s email without making any mention of Green Street .  We went back and forth for a while and eventually moved on to the phone. We hit it off and in time, decided to meet each other in person.  On this date, however, I called the shots on the location and decided we’d meet at Transit Lounge.  For those of you not familiar with Transit (which is now closed) it was the coolest dive bar/live music venue in Miami.

Once again, I was the first one there, but this time I did not run into any other Match.com-ers.  At one point in the night, I did bring up the Green Street story and we had a great laugh.  Turns out that was his first date through Match.com and he was beyond nervous.   In the end, Sayeed and I  hit it off quite well and before getting into my car, I agreed to see him again.

A few days passed and we continued to chat, but no solid plans were made for the second date.  , Sayeed finally sent me a message saying that he had decided to take the other girl seriously and could no longer see me, but wanted to remain friends.  Of course, that was fine by me.  If it’s not meant to be, I am not one to force it!

However, two weeks later, Sayeed reached out to me again.  Turns out that after he decided to get serious about the other girl, she decided to get serious with someone she had met before him!  He now wanted to see if I’d like to go on our second date!  Hahahhaa!  As if I’d totally allow myself to be someone’s second choice!  My response was “Thanks, but no thanks. ”

And then I called up Aldric.

I’m officially a writer for an Online Dating Blog!

5 Oct

After my previous entry (The world of online dating…) was featured on the WordPress Freshly Pressed section my blog has received more views and followers than I could have ever imagined in such a short period of time.

Along with that came  an offer from a very lovely woman named Samantha, who is the content manager for an online dating blog in the UK called SinglesWarehouse.  She asked if I’d be interested in contributing to their blog as a guest writer and I accepted. Shortly after submitting my entry she asked if I’d be interested in writing for them permanently and again, I most definitely accepted.

So now, I’d like to ask you all to please take a moment to read my first article for the Singles Dating blog entitled, Online Dating 101: Should I answer his email? and let me know what you think!

Online Dating 101: Should I answer his Email?

So you finally mustered up the courage to join an online dating site. You’ve uploaded a few photos, filled in your profile, took the ever so tedious free compatibility test, and after just a few minutes of becoming an active member, you notice you have a new message in your inbox. Now what?!

I have been meeting people online, on and off for the past nine years, and throughout all of my experiences, good and bad, I’ve become a pretty good judge of “online character.”

Below I have listed three requirements that will help you in the decision process as to whether or not that email warrants a response. If at any point a man does not meet a certain requirement, it’s best to just move along to the next email and start all over again. And if he doesn’t pass and you still insist on responding, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Requirement #1: Tasteful Username

Their username doesn’t have to be anything out of this world, but if it’s something along the lines of “1HotNight,” chances are that’s all this man is willing to offer. Unless that is what you’re looking for, it would be in your best interest to click on DELETE!

Requirement #2: Decent Subject Line

This too does not have to be extremely complex, but it can most definitely showcase a man’s intentions.
A simple “Nice to meet you” is acceptable, but it doesn’t really show that they have an eagerness to stand out. Ideally you want to focus on the ones that subtly hint that they actually took the time to read your profile; i.e. “I love blogging too!” Now, I’m not saying ignore the ones that only say “Hi,” but consider giving the ones who put in the little extra effort some priority in order of response.

Now if what you find in your inbox is “U like em big Ma?” or “Daaaamn you sexy!” you know off the bat what will be waiting inside. Do not even open that email! You will only be wasting your time and allow your views of online dating to be tainted by a loser!

Requirement #3: An email with substance

Once they have passed requirements 1 and 2 it is safe to read the email, but please consider a few things while doing so: Length, grammar, tone and personalization.

You don’t want an initial email that’s way too short, and you don’t want one that’s excruciatingly long either. You also want to be sure that he can spell correctly and understand the proper placement of punctuation marks. This proves that they are educated and that they pay attention to detail which is a very admirable trait for a man to have.

Analyze their tone in the email. Are they coming off as insecure by saying “I’ve never really done this before..” or “I know I probably don’t have a chance with you, but..,” or are they coming off completely arrogant with something similar to “Write me back if you think you can handle it.” What you want is a happy medium; A man who displays confidence in himself, but is far from arrogant.

And lastly, there has to be at least some level of personalization. There’s nothing more annoying to me than wasting my time reading an email that is generic and has probably been sent out to a thousand other women. That email must include at least one sentence that specifically mentions something that was written on your profile.

Once a man has passed those three key requirements it is safe to respond to their email. At this point, how you choose to do so is completely up to you.

Make sure you don’t respond to anyone in an “interested” manner if you are not actually sure you’d be interested. Inspect their photos and their profile and see if they would be the type of person you’d consider getting to know. If they aren’t, you can at least thank them for reaching out to you, explain they aren’t what you’re looking for and that you wish them the best of luck on their search.

It may suck to receive a rejection email, but I believe it is much worse to be ignored when you know you sent out a perfectly good email.

This entry was originally posted by me at Singles Warehouse

The words of a Conservative man…

28 Sep

As many of you may already know, my last blog entry (The world of Online Dating…) was featured on the WordPress Freshly Pressed two days ago and since then my blog has received a ton of views.  Before diving into anything too complex, I’d like to say that I feel extremely honored and am so grateful for that, as well as for all of the visitors, commenters, new subscribers and friends that came along with it.

Now, somewhere amongst those visitors was a gentleman who happened to read a comment  left by a fellow blogger, Amee Bohrer, where she stated the following:

“Emily, I’ve been doing online dating off and on since college! It worked better for me when I was younger– possibly because that was before most people have really been burned and they were more optimistic and open. What I see now is a lot of guys that are either desperate to get married and have kids, or their profiles are so hateful towards women that it seems they just want to vent rather than actually date!”

Somehow that inspired him (Mr. Conservative, as Amee dubbed him) to write his own blog entry entitled, “People Should Mary Earlier”, where, in a very subtle way he basically explained that by the age of thirty she’s most likely missed her chances of finding a husband and bearing children.  Now, this is just my interpretation of what he said so I will let you judge for yourself:

“I’m told that a woman’s fertility starts to decline around age 27, and that at 35 it’s already down to half what it was at 25 (and half of that at 40).  Whether those are the precise numbers or not, a woman’s fertility certainly declines over time, and with it (think of it in evolutionary terms if you like) her attractiveness to men.”

Reading this really irked me, but nowhere near as bad as when I read the following:

“Women should convert to Christianity and stop sleeping around.  They’re actively working against their own interests and squandering a valuable, but very quickly depreciating, opportunity.”

I was blown away by this.  I am far from Conservative and even further away from devoting myself to any one religion.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not an Atheist by any means.  I do believe in a God, but I am the type to admire all religions at once and not just pick one.  They are all beautiful in their own right and I respect and admire everyone and their religion of choice.

He then continued with:

“If all women refused to fornicate (and if the Supreme Court allowed us to outlaw pornography, by the way), men would suddenly be much, much more interested in marriage. “

Furthermore, I could not hold back and had to leave a comment of my own:

“I can only speak from experience and observation, and I also can’t totally agree that getting married younger will make for a longer happier marriage.

Getting married at ANY age, young or old, to the RIGHT person is what will make one last.

When a person is young, they usually tend to act on impulse in the hopes of living a dream that society has implanted into our minds from the moment we were born. Unfortunately these same impulses don’t always lead us to making right decisions.

Not saying no one should get married young. Some people find their match fairly quickly in life, and hey, that’s great! But for the rest, it’s best to be picky and patient and not dive into an inevitable mess for the sake of bearing children.

If women refused to fornicate and porn was outlawed, sure more men would be willing to get married..but then again, wouldn’t a lot of them just be settling for the sake of having sex? And if that’s the case, wouldn’t that lead to more unhappy and/or totally failed marriages? I also believe removing that stimulation from men can lead to other problems like an increase in rape and possibly child molestation. A lot of creeps need to get their kicks somehow, and if they can’t get it online, they will get it some place else.

And a woman does not need to convert to ANY religion to make her a better person or for hopes of having a successful romantic relationship. She just has to do what is right for her and live her life as she will.

Love is the law, love under will.”

So, I know it’s a lot to read and will probably make most women upset or even uncomfortable, but I ask you to take the time and read Mr. Conservative’s blog entry and share your thoughts.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions and view points, but I’m just curious to see what people (particularly other women) think of this particular view point.

Thanks for reading!
-Emily

P.S.  After the publishing of Mr. Conservative‘s blog entry, she too was inspired to write an entry entitle, ” Publicity! Or: How a Conservative Hater Made My Day!.”  Stop by and check it out.  She is an amazing writer and a new friend 🙂