Changes

While chatting with some girlfriends over wine, I had an epiphany-which is not uncommon when I get involved with the vino. Somewhere between comparing how often we get bored with our bed sheets (often) and my intermittent lamenting about my current ‘boring hairstyle’, I realized that I’m addicted to change.
This may not sound like a groundbreaking discovery, but in my world, it is.
I’m the first born, I’m a loyal friend, and I’m all about doing things for the long haul. I wasn’t fickle in my 20’s and I married one of my oldest friends. Pretty boring right? But reliable and steadfast I think.
I was totally okay with being this person. However, I didn’t realize that being this way in my personal life (very ride or die ), may have caused me to inadvertently develop an addiction to change in other areas of my life. Especially since changing the role I played in my personal relationships was never something I desired.
For instance, when I was a kid, I love to rearrange my bedroom furniture (much to my parent’s displeasure), but kept the same group of core friends despite their awful Nautica jacket phase circa 1997.
But then I would get an itch to cut my hair every 3 months. I would become so obsessed that I couldn’t wait to make an appointment and would grab the scissors myself.
These days, I never order the same thing on a menu, I like moving and owning a home doesn’t appeal to me. I have been at my job for 3 years and that is the longest I have ever been at one job.
This whole time, I have craved and enjoyed change and I HAD NO IDEA.
So here I go again, on the precipice of change. I‘ve a learned at least one thing the last 3 decades of willing change, and that is knowing when it’s time to refresh and reset.
In the coming weeks and months The Flamingo Chronicles will be going through several changes as I figure out the new and exciting ways I want to express myself. Thank you for being such a wonderful and humbling part of my journey. I can’t wait to deliver fresh and exciting content that inspires and provokes thought.
Stay tuned, change is happening.

Xo
J

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New York State of Mind: The Move

December 2016:

It’s Christmas time in Miami, so that means palm trees, humidity at 80%, and Holiday cheer that seems super out of place (the usual for the 305)…I’m wearing a tank top for Christ sake. In my childhood home, I sit in my dad’s home office.Surrounded by two clothing racks, boxes packed to the ceiling and an air mattress. Every thing my husband and I own is packed in this tiny 10 x 10 room, including us. Moving day is near and it doesn’t feel like Christmas, it’s feels like  I’m not there or really anywhere, because I’m in my head.  Will it be the same? Will I like New York the same way I did before? Am I going back because I truly belong there or am I chasing the life I lived in my 20’s ? Who knows. Merry Christmas to me and my questions.

January 2017:

Happy New Year! The move is now less than 7 days away. My two brothers, parents, dog, husband and brother’s fiance have been under the same roof for 2 weeks and I can’t help but feel like an optimistic teenager- childish and playful- at times giddy, at times anxiety ridden. The positive anticipatory vibes come to a screeching halt when I somehow get the flu and I can’t break my fever for 5 days. We decide that my husband should sleep at his parents to avoid getting sick – because someone has to drive to NYC with our life in tow. I can’t say goodbye to our friends, I can’t give them belated holiday gifts. I’m unable to help with last minute prep, and I was in bed while freight movers picked up our stuff. I’m too sick to finish my last days of work or even grab a coffee with my mom one last time. I couldn’t spend time with my twin brother who I see twice a year or my little brother who I won’t be seeing for a long time. Two days before my move, my dad catches me at 6:30 am wandering the house while coughing and crying…hunched over,wearing the same blush colored night gown I’ve worn 5 days in a row. Still unable to break a fever, he takes me to the urgent care moments later. As we’re driving through my hometown on a sleepy, cool morning, I catch myself in the rear view mirror. I was so sick- I didn’t recognize myself. It then hit me, somehow I physically manifested this massive transition and my body was just catching up to what I already knew – that this wasn’t supposed to be easy, but it will be worth it. Besides, at this point… 31 years in… I already knew that I never choose the easier route. Our road trip was the perfect example of that, we caught one of the biggest snow storms  The Carolinas have seen in over a decade. We fell in a snowy ditch, got out, spent a night with family, laughed a lot, played trivia, and I coughed a ton as we drove through a winter wonderland. On January 8th, around 8pm, we crossed the Brooklyn bridge into Manhattan and we were home. My eyes filled up with tears, I looked at myself in the icy rearview and realized I wasn’t chasing a life I already lived. I was chasing a life I wanted to live.

February 2017:

Ummm it’s real cold, Happy 32nd birthday to me!

May 2017:

We’ve moved into our permanent home. A sweet little apartment on the Lower East Side (downtown girl 4 lyfe). Hard wood floors, a cute fire escape, and sun filled bedroom. We sold all of our furniture, so we had to start fresh.  It felt good to have a brand new start and I felt closer to my husband than ever before. We had become so in sync through this whole process, and now we were at the fun part- the ‘buying stuff part’. We had to decide everything from a bath mat to a couch, and I loved it. We were reunited with our stuff from storage since we had been sub-letting our friend’s apartment for the past 4 months and everything was finally coming together. Spring was in full swing, I broke out my sandals and light weight wardrobe as we discovered our new neighborhood via many long walks. My commute to work became much quicker, giving me more time to write and do more things for myself. My life at work had settled and I finally felt like I knew what I was doing and not pretending (still feel like that sometimes though).

July 2017:

It’s real hot. Rosé is good. Real good.

August 2017:

It’s been 8 months, Summer is cooling off and Fall feels near. Walking everywhere has (once again) become a form of moving meditation for me. The city speaks to me, I find inspiration with every step I take. Days off are filled with mini adventures to new neighborhoods and lots of pictures of everything I see and or wear.My personal style has changed, I’m taking more risks and playing with color (gasp). My husband and I have both established a deep connection with the city and the few friends that have visited us can’t help but mention how happy I look. Because I am. My days are sometimes very long. Blogging and a 60 hour work week sometimes seem impossible to juggle, but when I’m walking home, headphones in and eyes looking up, I can’t help feel like I’m where I need to be.  Love in my heart, ideas constantly churning in my head and a ton of gratitude in my soul. I’m so grateful for my incredible support system that never doubted or judged the move. Lots of people move back to their hometown and get married like I did, they then buy a house or have a kid. I decided to mix things up ( per usual) and live in a place where I can thrive and work towards a life of that I can be proud of . A life of creativity, passion and congruence. My life should be the life I envision in my head; that’s the challenge. Challenge accepted.

I love you New York

XX

J

*Editors Note*

This blog post was not something I’d ever thought I’d write, but YOU ( dear reader and sweet bird)  asked for it and I hope it answers questions, inspires and resonates . It’s important to be honest and live my truth through this blog even if it has nothing to do with what I’m wearing. I hope you like it, thanks for reading .

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Miami Born and Bred

After many requests, I will be sharing my transition from Miami to NYC  very soon. However in true #flamingostyle, we need to do a prelude. You need to fully understand what started the fire.

The fire: my obsession with NYC. A fire that started early ( like age 5) and lead to me leaving my nest at 21 years old for the big city. But Miami, (surprisingly) still possessed a magnetism of sorts that lured me back in 2012, and shortly after that, a Flamingo and her Chronicles were realized. This bird also realized that maybe the place that birthed her, isn’t the place where she could truly be herself. The fire was smoldering and I had to do something.

By now you may have gathered that the brightly colored bird I proudly use as my mascot, inspiration and alter ego often seems ironic. For starters I seldom wear color- this blog was originally started around the concept of colorful pictures of my black and white wardrobe. The only tropical element of my blog was it’s back drop, Miami, a place I didn’t exactly fit in. Despite me being a native. I hate the heat, I don’t enjoy the afternoon tsunamis, or the social dynamic… and if I’m honest, I often felt like the odd one out.

A Flamingo feeling odd in Miami?

Fun fact: Flamingos are rarely seen in Florida. Most natives can’t make a claim of seeing one in nature. Probably why I’m so fascinated with the creature. #justsayin

This particular Flamingo prefers to fly north for the..well, forever. So I did, for the second time, with out a doubt in my head. Miami was not for me, and maybe I wasn’t really the bird I thought I was. Maybe I wasn’t bright and different, maybe I belonged to the darkly dressed masses that are okay with wearing one color and shuffling through snowy city streets.

What I’ve  found was that I most definitely was bright and different, I just needed to ( once again) have a change of scenery to stretch myself, and show my true colors (pink) in a city where everything is (truly) possible. I just needed the contrast, the pink against a grey jungle. NYC is where I will reach my true potential, tap in to what I really want to do (jury is still out on that) and show those feathers off.

Stay tuned for the real deal on my move earlier this year and what life is like almost 8 months in.

Always keeping things colorful, always keepin’ it real.

XX

J

 

 

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Keep it Moving

As most of you know, I’ll be moving back to New York City in a few weeks. In this edition of The List, I’m taking a look back at the first time I left my hometown of Miami, back in 2006. I was 21 with no idea of what I was getting myself into. I left home to pursue a career in acting, with a scholarship to a small acting conservatory in New York City. What  I didn’t account for then, was how this experience would shape me more than any experience yet. Naturally, moving to one of the most intense, fastest and over populated cities in the world, magnified this experience. However, the lessons I learned are universal.

Here’s a list of 5 things I learned quickly, and not always gracefully when I moved:

  1. Being from Miami is not like being from anywhere else: Not only are the cafe con leches not as good, but being Hispanic anywhere else is, well,  just being Hispanic. Especially in a big city where everyone is from somewhere else. Most people ( to my surprise) knew very little about my culture. Many assumed my Cuban mother’s meals consisted of tortillas and beans, and guessed I only drank rum. Funnily enough, it made me prouder to be Cuban American and educate people on my cultural distinctions.
  2.  Figure it out: Not having the resources I had back home, I often had to just FIGURE IT OUT. Moving out of an apartment (a yearly ritual for most New Yorkers), finding a job, finding a plumber, filing your taxes…etc. I no longer had an inner circle of family and friends that could physically help or “knew a guy”. This taught me how to be resourceful, how to research and plan -prior to smart phones- and just how to make something happen while solo.
  3. What do I want to do? : In Miami, my inner circle was decades old. I was comfortable and cozy in all my relationships, and as most of us tend to do, we fall into a routine of habits and traditions. Which can be lovely, but are hard to break out of. When I moved, I had no friends, no traditions, no family nearby and I was able to really examine what I wanted to do. From there I made my own traditions, like apple picking every fall, or watching Love Actually every Christmas season with my best friend while we decorate.
  4. Who am I?: This one is definitely hard to simplify, but suffice it to say that sometimes you got to tear something down to really see what it’s made of. The circumstances and challenges I faced away from home helped shaped me into the person I am. Certain experiences tested my values and showed me who I really was, and I just built from there.
  5. Home is where the heart is: I’ve said before that when I moved to New York my heart broke into two uneven pieces. One piece belonged under the South Florida sun, in my back yard, with my dad and brothers telling dirty jokes while my mom complains that it’s too chilly to be outside ( 72 degrees). The other piece belonged to the busy, robust streets of New York, where every corner has a story about “that one night” or an interesting person that I…met randomly, or dated, or shared a cab with, or became life long friend’s with. Every New York moment plays like a movie in my head, but my Miami memories are a song that just plays in the back ground on loop. After 6 years in NYC and 4 years back in Miami, I still can’t tell you which piece is bigger. My real home is a combination of the two places, one a place I was born in, the other a place I bloomed in.

I have no idea what this move will be like. For starters I’m ten years older, and I now have a husband and dog in tow. My goals and perspective have obviously changed, and my appreciation for my family has deepened. New York ( true to it’s form) has also changed considerably. I’m filled with varying ranges of emotions and a of touch anxiety (a healthy dose?). But for the most part, I’m enjoying the transition and starting from scratch. I have zero expectations and excitement is the winning emotion these days. I can’t wait to see what this move has to teach me and who I will become.

Thank you for reading along and helping me grow in so many ways this year, which no doubt empowered me to make some huge changes, like this move.

Free flying and joyfully yours,

J

 

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Deep Dives

So the only way to do this is to dive right in. Except… wait! You should know that as candid as I may seem to be in my previous posts, it’s a very controlled candor. I play at being intimate, and truth is I’m incredibly private about most things. It’s also worth mentioning that I was raised to be this  private about personal ordeals and not overshare as it may be perceived as desiring attention from others or worse, pity. With that said…

Here goes the dive:

I struggle with Endometriosis. About 200,000 women get diagnosed with it yearly in the US. Simply put : the tissue that normally lines my uterus  grows outside of it. This can cause many different  symptoms that range in severity. Intense lower abdominal pain, excessive bleeding during menstruation, and painful intercourse are just naming a few.

:::breathe:::

If you’re wondering where I’m going to cleverly weave in something about my outfit, or how to not look like a slob in a hoodie – it’s not happening, I’m sorry. I know, we’re talking about uterine bleeding, WTF? We are in some strange waters, I know, just stick with me, please. Let’s take it from the top.

Past:

I was diagnosed 5 years ago, after years of mysterious pain and irregular cycles. My mother suffered from this, so I wasn’t surprised. She had a very severe case that resulted in a Hysterectomy, (removal of ovaries and uterus), that was invasive and forced menopause at age 40. When I was diagnosed, I had a pretty good idea what to expect, because I had witnessed the symptoms 2nd hand my whole life. Still didn’t quite prepare me for what was next. What was next? Lots of ultrasounds, pain, questions about your pain, people looking at you like you’re broken and say ” I hear that condition makes it hard to concieve “. Followed by more pain that comes out of nowhere at times, crushing, debilitating, electrifying pain, that makes you feel like you really are broken, defective, not quite right. Eventually, it starts to effect you mentally.

:::BREATHE:::

Present:

Before my relationship with my husband, I didn’t have an interest in having children. Soon after falling in love with him, I realized I wanted to create something with him. It was powerful, and so was a doctor telling me I couldn’t satisfy this change of heart because of my disorder. The pain actually makes me crazy some days, and drains every ounce of energy. On my best days, I struggle with annoying, painful interruptions. On my worse days I feel like less of a woman. After consulting a few dud doctors, I have now have two doctors  (one OBGYN and one speciality surgeon) that are as transparent as they are talented, and are invested in my well being. I have endured several different hormonal treatments to aleviate my symptoms. One treatment gave me forced menopause. I actually had real hot flashes this summer, which lead to sleepless nights and chronic fatigue ( i.e. not the look ). Finally, I had my fourth surgical procedure to remove excess tissue in and around my uterus one week ago. This time, the lining of my uterus was also removed in hopes to decrease menstrual flow and the extreme symptoms I experience. I don’t have a lot of fears and I can get used to anything, but I  have yet to get used to going under the knife. I freak out everytime. Oh and did I mention there’s a chance it might not work?

:::breathe again:::

Future:

Recovery is going smoothly and I have an incredible support system. I’m healing properly and only time will tell if what was done is a viable solution. The hard part will be keeping an open mind about the possibilities and not letting the fear and negativity set in. At this point, I should be jaded, but I refuse to be. While I struggle with the fact that I don’t know what lies ahead, I can’t lose perspective. Will my chronic pain continue? Will I know what it’s like to have a baby inside me? Will it work and all this be a distant memory? I have no clue. But I also have no idea where in the world I’ll be in 3 years and if I’m okay with that, I need to be okay with all of my unknowns. I know one thing now: I can handle it all.  The long swim, the deep dive into the depths of uncertainty.

This is my struggle right now, it’s mine, I own it.  Just like my dysfunctional uterus! I’m grateful that is not anything worse and I plan to own everything it’s teaching me. I know that every set of eyes that reads this is struggling with and healing from something. Don’t apologize and don’t be afraid to talk about it. I believe we learn from sharing, and as terrifying as writing this was, I’ve learned a lot.

Thanks for sticking with me birds,

J

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