Me: a self-portrait in so many words

1. What are things you take for granted in your life, that are givens, that are undeniably true? 

  •  My parents: It may be cliche, but it’s so true— I love them so much, but I still find myself rolling my eyes when they try to give me advice or ask me too many questions about my day. It’s when I go a couple days without hearing from one of them when I really appreciate all they have done and continue to do for me. 
  • The suburb I grew up in: As much as everyone loves to hate the suburbs (I admit it, I went through that phase in middle school too…) The suburbs are not a bad place to grow up in. Sure, there are only so many trips you can take to the mall in a given weekend, but I would take the suburbs over the slums any day ..and I never think about how lucky I am to have grown up in such a ‘boring’ place
  • My culture: Having a mother from Peru and a father from Jordan just recently became something I told people. I never wanted to be anything other than the classic American. I took my amazing heritage for granted, and I sometimes still do. It always surprises me when someone says they are “impressed” or “jealous” with how exotic my background is because it took me so long to acknowledge it in the first place.
  • Speaking spanish: When I was younger, I used to get so embarrassed when my mom tried to speak spanish to me in public. I would ignore her entirely or pretend I didn’t understand a word of what she was saying. Being bilingual has helped me so much and I can’t believe how much I used to hate it when it was spoken. Knowing another language is an amazing gift, and I am always guilty of taking it for granted.
  • A $1 bill: For some reason as you get older you become obsessed with larger dollar amounts— “I need to graduate making at least $25,000” or “I have to have this $200 pair of shoes.” You forget the importance in the value of just one dollar until your father loses his job and things are put back into perspective.
  • My health: I put so much sh*t into my body and I still haven’t died ..I never appreciate how healthy I am when I’m eating large McD’s french fries or after a night of drinking. Even more than that, I have never broken a bone or been seriously ill. I truly underestimate how lucky that is.
  • Traveling: I am 20 years old and have been to a country (or countries) on every continent except Asia, Australia, and Antartica. I love traveling and forget how lucky I am to have even had the opportunity to visit so many unbelievable places.
  • Heat: The fact that I live in a house where it is 70 degrees inside and 30 degrees outside seems so standard, but it is a luxury that many don’t have.
  • My cat: I consider my cat (Julia) to be one of my best friends. That sounded ridiculous even while I was typing it, but it’s true. She’s stuck by me for almost as long as my parents have and she’s been more of a friend to me than a lot of actual human beings. She’s never said a word, but she gives the best advice. She always seems to know when I’m sad or mad and never leaves my side.
  • My car: Even though she’s from 1997 and looks a hot mess, I forget that she gets me from A to B without fail. She has been the source of so many different adventures and memories since I started driving her at 16.
  • Food: What would a day without having the option to eat Chipotle be like? But in all seriousness, I take for granted how many options there are in terms of food. I love to eat and if for some reason food became scarce or I had to start rationing I think I might break down.
  • Not having a cell-phone: First came the Motorola flip phone in eighth grade, then the various texting phones, I upgraded to a Blackberry in high school and stuck with it through my freshman and sophomore year of college. Then.. Finally.. I got an iPhone ..Then that iPhone got stolen. I was without a phone for a couple weeks and I forgot how totally awesome life was during the pre-cell era. I felt this giant weight of Facebook notifications, e-mail reminders, multiple text senders, and Instagram filters disappear ..and it was great while it lasted.. Of course the gadgets do come in handy when you actually need to communicate, but I definitely took that freedom for granted.
  • College: A place that I was fortunate enough to get accepted to, a place that I pay thousands of dollars to attend, A place where I get to meet and interact with some of the brightest faculty and students, but I still do the bare minimum. Why? I know college is an amazing opportunity, yet I still struggle to complete assignments on time or strive for a 4.0 or make the initiative to talk to a professor outside of class. Coming to MSU has always been a dream of mine, but I haven’t been making the most of my time here.
  • Internet: The internet is simultaneously the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. If my Wi-Fi goes out I have a mini panic attack, If I can’t find the answer on Wikipedia I assume the whole thing is a myth. I simply cannot imagine making it through college without the internet. However, I cannot tell you how many hours I wish I could have back that were spent trolling online…
  • Headphones: Headphones might be the most underrated invention ..having the ability to listen to whatever you want wherever you want, whenever you want is amazing, especially for a music lover.
  • Books: I don’t read them nearly enough and I have so many of them. Books can take you all over the world without actually having to leave your bedroom. I think with the internet and TV, I’ve lost so much of my imagination, a book is refreshing because I can dream and interpret the words on the pages any way I choose. It requires you to think a little more and I think I lost my appreciation for that.
  • Skype: I can log on and have a 2 hour conversation with my friends and family all across the world. Not only can we talk, but we can see each other! I can only imagine what someone from the past would say if they knew people could communicate this way today. I say it so casually, “Hey! let’s skype in 15!” or “Once you fly into Stockholm, skype me!” Skype really has changed the relationships I’ve made and I’m so thankful I can keep in touch with individuals, who without this technology, I probably wouldn’t be able to.
  • Emojis: Although I mentioned that it was refreshing to be without my phone, I do miss emojis. Emojis are basically little doodles comprised of a variety of different facial expressions, foods, animals, methods of transportation ..basically everything you can think of. They are perfect because texts are so hard to interpret sometimes, emojis make texts more personal, you can use faces and expressions that words can’t describe to get your feelings across.
  • Disposable Cameras: There is something beautiful about not knowing how a picture is going to turn out until it’s developed. The disposable camera is so simple but so brilliant! You can’t check yourself out, re-take the photo, or delete it like on a digital camera, yet you end up capturing the perfect moments without trying to plan them, which is how life should be.
  • The VHS tapes of my Disney Movies: I used to watch these movies over and over when I was younger and now all of them are sitting in a box in my basement. It’s scary to think about how time and technology and people change. And it’s scary to think that one day I’ll be dead in a box too.

2. What are your strengths? 

  • Easy-going: I tend to go with the flow and I’m always up for something different. I think a lot of people are really adamant on how they want to spend their time, which is understandable, but I think it is a strength to be flexible and willing to accommodate. 
  • Adventurous: I love exploring. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the next town over or in another country. I just like wandering around and seeing new places and faces. I will try anything once.
  • Friendly: I think I am pretty friendly. I like to meet new people and I’m really good at small talk. I guess that makes me friendly. With my really close friends, I care a lot and I think they value my friendship because of that.
  • Lively: I’m pretty upbeat for the most part. Of course I have my off-days like anyone, but I am energetic and excited about things otherwise.
  • Curious: I think I am a cat trapped inside a human’s body. I am always meddling and I like to investigate different topics if I don’t know too much about them. I think if you’re not even a little curious, life would just be dull.
  • Funny: I think I am more vulgar than funny. My mom definitely wouldn’t appreciate some of the grossness that comes out of my mouth, but my friends seem to appreciate it and I think I have my comedic moments.
  • Quirky: I tend to do things in a different way. For example, I love Pizza Hut’s pizza and whenever I get to the crust I flip it inside out. It sounds strange, but it’s actually perfect for dipping in ranch or marinara sauce.
  • Loving: I’m a genuinely loving person. I just don’t get those people who go out of their way to get revenge on someone or hurt them intentionally. I think that if you take the time to build a relationship with someone you should invest in nurturing it.
  • Good Listener: Friends have mentioned this to me and I never realized how important it was. When someone is explaining something and you remember a certain detail they are really impressed. I know I am- it’s refreshing when you’re reassured that someone is listening to what you’re saying.
  • Worldly: Having traveled to a lot of places, I have seen and experienced a lot. I think this is a strength because I am able to better communicate and understand every person I meet. I love hearing about where someone is from and sharing stories.
  • Understanding: I think I can handle a lot of things people throw at me. I am compassionate and understanding in the way that I don’t judge and I like to help people work through their issues.
  • Organized: I am the most organized messy person, and I own it. My closet is spotless and my planner is borderline OCD. Post-its cover my mirror and I make insane to-do lists. I like to write down the tasks at hand, but accomplishing them is a totally different story.
  • Loyal: I am not someone who just moves from friend to friend. If I take the time to get to know you, I am in it for the long haul. I’ve known all my closest friends since elementary school ..they just can’t get rid of me, I’ll have their backs ’till the end.
  • Open-minded: I think it’s important to expand your horizons. If you only see your side of things you’ll never get anywhere or meet new and interesting people. Having an open-mind has given me the opportunity to explore so many different aspects of life. From meeting new, creative people to living in a foreign country.
  • Creative: I personally don’t think I’m that creative. I see what other people come up with and am left stunned. I think I do, however, have a creative eye. I see things that I think are different and beautiful and I spend a lot of time on the internet doing stupid stuff ..does that count?
  • Social: Once I get to know someone I am very outgoing. I like sharing secrets and talking about whatever random thought pops into my head. It takes me a minute to warm up, but once I get adjusted I don’t shut up.
  • Weird: If I had to describe myself in one word, weird would be it. It takes effort to type eloquently and if I was a little more confident I’d share all the random nonsense in my head. My thoughts aren’t particularly smart or insightful, just weird, and I love that.
  • Optimistic: Being optimistic isn’t a choice to me, you have to look at things in a positive light or you’ll never make it through life. I just have to have faith in knowing that things will get better, and that if they don’t I’m sure there is someone who has it worse off than me.
  • Passionate: When I’m motivated, I put my whole heart into things. It doesn’t matter what time it is or where I am, I won’t stop thinking about it. I get so excited about a project that I want to tell everyone what I’m working on. I read somewhere once that, “a lack of passion is fatal” ..and I couldn’t agree more.
  • Persuasive: I can be convincing when I want to be. Not to be confused with manipulative, but if I think something will benefit the whole I try to make a strong case for it (and it usually works ;))

3. What are your weaknesses? 

  • I procrastinate: even on the important things, I can’t seem to get it together until the last minute. Without fail ..I thought my bad habits would change once I started college, but easier said than done. 
  • Lazy: I can honestly say I can waste an entire day in bed. Sometimes I just have so much to do that I don’t feel like doing any of it. I’d rather rot and watch Netflix.
  • Stubborn: My mom says I get this from my dad, and my dad says I get this from my mom. Either way, If I really want something I can’t let go of it. I also refuse to admit I’m wrong even when it’s extremely obvious.
  • Apathetic: When I care about something I really care, but lately I’ve been becoming more apathetic towards things that should matter. It was a little concerning when I almost failed my Econ class ..but I didn’t so I stopped stressing… That was my rationale, which was not ok because it was a class I needed to switch my major.
  • Nervous: I bite my nails whenever I’m nervous, which apparently, is all the time. I’m not sure what sets me off, because it seems like I’m always biting. My mom said I started after her and my dad got divorced when I was 2. I stopped briefly when I was 11 for a year (which was huge), but I haven’t nicked the habit since.
  • Anal: I seem to care way too much about insignificant things, like how my desk is organized, as opposed to bigger issues like paying my cell phone bill or studying for a 40% final.
  • I bottle up a lot of my emotions: It’s hard for me to say how I really feel. I think I’m afraid of what the person I share with will say or think. As a result, I blow up randomly and I know there’s an easy fix in simply talking, but it’s hard to muster up the courage.
  • Entitled: My dad and I got into an argument once and he said that he didn’t understand why I was so “entitled”. That really stuck with me. Growing up and being told that I was going to succeed and be great gave me a sense of entitlement. I felt I deserved this or that without actually having to work towards it. When you’re actually just like everybody else, you have to be hardworking or you’ll never get anywhere.
  • Spoiled: I am an only child. But, after my parents both re-married I gained a new set of families. It takes time to adjust, it’s been almost 10 years, and I still am, but I love my crazy family and in learning to sacrifice, I am learning that my family is worth it.
  • Awkward: Sometimes I just don’t know how to handle different situations which results in awkward, uncomfortable conversations. What can I do?
  • I always doubt myself: When I was little I always used to speak my mind, I don’t know when I started feeling anxious about what other people would think or if what I was saying was right. I always second guess myself and it’s really annoying.
  • Non-confrontational: I cannot get angry. I mean I can, but I cannot get really angry in someone’s face- and sometimes you have to. Sometimes you have to talk about what’s bothering you and I am learning the hard way that it’s better to speak your mind sooner rather than later.
  • Impulsive: I do stupid stuff without thinking. Now that I’m 20, I’m realizing the impulsive decisions need to stop before I really get myself into trouble.
  • Lack self-confidence: I know I have good attributes, but when I was writing this I came up with 20 weaknesses so much faster than strengths. I just wish that I had a little more pride in what I say and do. I think I would be a lot happier if I did.
  • Obsessive: I focus on things that shouldn’t matter, and I realize how ridiculous it is, but I can’t seem to focus my attention on anything else if it is truly bothering me.
  • Selfish: I find it so difficult to spend money on people other than myself. I am so selfish when it comes to money. I hate lending people even a few dollars and I like to save my funds just for myself. Maybe it’s because I don’t have that much that I don’t like to spend it on others?
  • I care too much: about what other people think. I’m a grown up and I still feel like I’m in high school! I need to just not care and learn that if I don’t, other people probably won’t either.
  • I care too little: it’s hard to get myself motivated. I really struggle to put effort into something that’s not really easy or I’m really excited about.
  • I can’t say no: Because I have a hard time telling people my issues right up front, I get myself into trouble when I’m being asked for favors. It’s so hard for me to say no, even when I really cannot do something.
  • Indecisive: If I really want something I can make decisions on the fly, other times I have a hard time really figuring out what it is that I want to do.

4. What are your fears? 

  • Not being successful: I just don’t know what I’ll do if this whole “going to college, getting a degree, finding a job, living happily ever after” thing doesn’t work out. I don’t know why that’s my definition of success, but If I can’t reach it, then what? 
  • Not doing what I want to do (even though I don’t know what I want to do): All I know is if I end up in a cubicle at some company that I hate I did it wrong.
  • Living without my parents: Knowing that they’ll die someday is one of my biggest fears. I just can’t imagine what life would be like not having them around to talk to, and I know it has to happen at some point, I just don’t know what I’ll do when it does.
  • Never falling in love: I’ve had a few short flings, but I’m really scared I’ll never have a true love. My parents and almost every marriage I’ve known has ended in a divorce, people cheat, it’s scary wondering if love actually exists.
  • Not having enough money: People say you don’t need money to be happy, but I honestly think that money would make me so much happier. Just enough to live comfortably and buy things I don’t necessarily need.
  • Losing touch with old friends: I’ve kept in touch with my friends for years, it’s natural that you just stop talking to people after a certain point in time, but my friends and I have been through so much together, it would be devastating to lose those friendships later in life.
  • Death: I envy the people who aren’t afraid of dying. It’s mind-blowing just thinking  that you’ll die and disappear, and even if you made an impact, people move on but you won’t.
  • Being alone: I like being alone, but I’m worried about ending up alone or lonely with no one to turn to. A lot of people say that solitude is necessary, I agree, I just don’t want to end up that way permanently. I think I might go crazy.
  • Losing a limb: It seems kind of stupid, but it’s true. Life would be so much more difficult if I didn’t have a hand or my leg. I get overwhelmed with little obstacles, not having a limb would be a nightmare.
  • Rape: It’s sort of always in the back of my mind. It’s not that I go through life being terrified, but it’s scary knowing that it could happen to me no matter where I go.
  • Becoming a mom: I would love to have kids, but having that much responsibility for another human being is terrifying. I don’t know how my mom and dad did it. I’ve done some crazy things, and if my parents found out, I’d die (and they probably would too.)
  • Getting caught in a fire: Getting a burn from the stove is painful and leaves a sore for a week, being trapped in a fire and dying or making it out, but with severe burns is a huge fear of mine. The fact that you can start one so easily and it can get out control so quickly is unbelievable.
  • Drowning: I had a scary moment in the ocean once, I thought that I was drowning and it was the strangest experience. You’re calm but so scared at the same time. No matter how hard we try, it’s frightening that we’ll always be nature’s bitch.
  • My parent’s approval: I feel like I can never do enough to impress my parents. I know they are proud of me, but I also know they expect more. I keep telling myself that I’m still young and by the time I’m 30 they’ll be on board with what I’ve done, but what if they aren’t?
  • Contracting an STD: I think worse than getting the actual STD would be the label associated with it. The people you dated from there on out or the doctors you confided in would naturally assume something of you, even though it might not be true.
  • Becoming paralyzed: I always think about how I would react in a life-or-death situation, my worst fear is that  I just won’t know what to do and will become paralyzed. I won’t be able to scream or run or fight.
  • Having someone close to me commit suicide: I had a dream once that my mom committed suicide and it was the absolute worst nightmare I’ve ever experienced. I woke up in a panic at 3 am and called my mom frantically. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so many emotions and I hope nothing as terrible happens to me in real life.
  • Not being original: I know I’m not which is the worst part. I want to do something so profoundly different, but I don’t think I have the creativity in me.
  • Disappearing: It’s stupid, but you want to be recognized, or at least I do. I want people to be familiar with what I can do. I don’t want to be insignificant, or be forgotten.
  • Turning 21: As much as I’m excited to be 21, I’m a little overwhelmed. I don’t want to get older. There are all these milestones in life, but it feels like after 21 things are just going to keep getting more complicated.
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