The Battle for Paradise: Naomi Klein reports from Puerto Rico — Rise Up Times


via The Battle for Paradise: Naomi Klein reports from Puerto Rico — Rise Up Times


The Return



Life has always been more than just a walk in the park. With several detrimental changes from one extreme to another, life has been a walk through; caves, valleys, deserts and possibly the closest thing to Jurassic park. YET life finds ways to surprise your soul in the smallest moments; a stranger smiling at you, a warm summer night shower, or just your favorite meal. With all that has happened i had no time to write and now that i have the urgency to write…my life has been still and non eventful; yet here we are.

My World…incomplete

There is so much going on in the world today and yet I have not much to say. Videos of ISIS drowning people and throwing homosexuals off of roofs. Some white boy ran into a church and killed 9 people after being with them for an hour. The other guys who placed the bomb during the Boston Marathon was sentenced to life in prison. I finally escaped an illegitimate relationship with my high school sweet heart and soon after met a man in which I plan to spend the rest of my life with.

Yet, I sit here in front of a computer feeling as if the small pleasures of my life hold no importance compared to the sufferings going on nationally and worldwide. I have no words that could distract my mind long enough. My heart is full and burdened. The urge to be someone to make this world better, grows.

Life has to be more than just a goal to make my world, my Earth, my life…better.

Who am I?

This has been one of my biggest struggle. Now before I start, I have to say that this though has much to do with a blog my dear friend Gabrielle Lemming wrote (yo check it out she’s amazing) Her blog was about the ever annoying voice that whispers everything you can’t do. Well while reading it I started to think about a little voice that has caused many insecurities. A voice that screams that I am TOO strong, NOT feminine enough and the worse statement ever “How could God use a woman like me.” Not only did I worry about God using someone like me I wondered if it were possible to ever meet someone who would not be intimidated by my strong nature.

The women in my family are surpassed strong. Both of my grandmothers were known to tear the heads off of any individual that would come against them or their families. Growing up I struggled with my anger, though internally (I was shy) everyone in my family knew that I would have the worse temper the those that came before me. How could I escape it? Both sides of my family were doomed with it. My mother calls it the “Garcia blood.” Growing up simple things would trigger a rage within me that would over take me. Things simple as my nephew taking my baby doll and running away would not trigger a tantrum filled with tears of angers but with fists and kicks. Now before you judge me and think I was beating an infant, my nephew and I are only 8 months apart. I remember him punching me in the shoulder and I grabbed his hand and almost bit his finger off. twenty some years and 5 stitches later we look back and laugh about it but I have secretly always feared not only my anger but just my overall character.

Now in my…late 20’s (uff) I look back over the years, I look at my family especially the relationships between wives and husbands and I think to myself “oh lawd I am doomed.” People ask me for my opinion and I would see no reason to sugar coat it, I would express my thoughts and if people didn’t like it…well they shouldn’t have asked. This has made people either love me or hate me; even those who loved me may have hated me at times. I was okay with this…until I realized that all the women I would see being used by God were delicate fragile type of personalities. I am no where near this. Yes I have feelings and I am moved to tears when I see a child in need, a person hungry someone naked, I do all I can to help people; though I may not look or seem like it.

I got to a stage in my life where I figured no one would be attracted to someone like me. I always had many male friends and we would spend a lot of time together but nothing would ever come out of it. I was ok with that, until my 25th birthday which I spent in Jersey with a few friends from a church I was attending (I am a Chicago native and lived in Jersey for about 2 1/2 years doing ministry and figuring life out). Though I was surrounded by people…amazing people I was alone. I was not happy with who I was and who I wasn’t.

I started to wear heels…all of the time. In my mind to be “feminine” is to be pretty. I started wearing make up every single day. and my hair would see the dreaded hair blower and flat iron almost daily; soft women do NOT have a curly fro.It worked for my confidence and people took notice, but oh the drastic change that would happen when I had to teach/preach to the youth or when I felt as if I had to defend someone I cared for. After a few weeks…I grew tired of the façade. Who was I trying to fool? I was a curly fro, sneaker head, t-shirt and skinny jeans, hip hop, Jesus fanatic city girl. I would still dress up on Sundays but during the week my gorg curls would spring forth…sideways..and every other direction oh the freedom. Yet there was still a question within me…why wasn’t I like everyone else?

There were 2 powerhouse pastors I knew. One was my director from Chicago Master’s Commission and the other was the pastor of the church I was attending in Jersey. Now when I tell you that these woman were powerhouses I mean the anointing they had was none like any other…not even each other. They were strong willed woman. My director, Pastora Mari worked surrounded by other male pastors and though I know men MAY not do things on purpose but it is no secret that in our society men are valued higher than women. Yet when she walked into a room, the playing field was leveled and equal. It was visible and it was known. I had so much respect for her and I looked up to her more because I could relate to her… the only one I could relate to.

Pastora Lydia was strong yet she was still always dolled up in heels. When she spoke no one moved, so much strength and so much power. I witnessed her stand up against many individuals when they were wrong and need to be corrected and loved. It was with her that I revealed the biggest insecurity I had for years.

“I am too strong, too edgy, too loud, too opinionated, too different from what a women should be.”  she stopped and what felt for a lifetime stared into my eyes and said “The body of Christ needs strong women like you and myself. Women who pray and the walls fall. Women who are criticized because we don’t fit into the mold of what this society thinks we should be. Criticized because we refuse to water down the gospel and refuse for the enemy to shut us up. This is our cross but we have to bare it.” Those words… “this is our cross…” they gave me comfort and scared me. The body of Christ needs who I am?

Sadly the patriarch of the world fights against women like me. In the church world and the outside world.

What I Can’t Do

Strength in the Blues

WARNING: This may be more of a rant than a well thought out piece of writing. Proceed at your own risk.

What I can’t do. This is what I have been told my entire life. I am too young, too short, too old, too adventurous, too late, too early, too feminine, too skinny, too everything! I’m so done with people telling me what I can’t do. Especially as a woman, this has been especially true but I do not want to dwell on that today.

How many of us have grown up in a world full of can’t-ers and should not-ers? Pardon my grammar as I make up words to make a point but my frustration is getting the best of me. While everyone else is living their life and doing what they believe they can do and more, I am over here wasting my energy on just getting past these constant…

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Why Boys Need Feminism

Drifting Through


“Boy… You’re going to carry that weight,

Carry that weight a long time…”

-The Beatles, Carry That Weight

You realize a few things when you bring a baby boy into the world. Your mind swirls with emotion and awe and fear and joy. You start to dream immediately of the kind of life your son will have.

And somewhere in the midst of the love and elation and the dreams there are a few wishes. Please let him be healthy. Please let him have a happy life. Please let me be a good parent. Please let him always feel safe and loved. And also… please let him be tall and strong and bold and athletic. You don’t really say any of this out loud. In fact the last part is said quickly in your head as you rush to tick off the superficial qualities that you only care about because…

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Saturday – 27/6/15

encourage, comfort, edify

It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! (‭1 Cor‬ ‭15‬:‭57).
Sometimes I find it hard to thank God while I’m seemingly swimming uphill in la la … but here’s something I can wholeheartedly embrace. His Grace! His Awesome Amazing Grace IN me that keeps me afloat! X

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Goodbye friend… goodbye.

I love hard. I tend to push a bit when a person I love doesn’t feel as if they could go any further, when I know THEY CAN. I rush to find a pillow in case their landing seems as if it may be a hard one. My heart breaks when their heart is broken. I smile when I see them smile and I get angry when they are hurt or in danger of being hurt. I love hard.

I learned that this would be a flaw as it is a strength. I learned this at a very young age. As a child I was shy (yep, I know it’s hard to believe), insecure and didn’t speak unless spoken to. I had very few friends. The friends I did mysteriously make, I held closely; even smothered them a bit. As time passed by, my identity would grow and be heavily molded by what my friends saw as “ok.” Of course this isn’t their fault, yet it was a flaw of my own. I loved them so much, the thought of losing their friendship would emotionally handicap me. I did not know how to refrain from returning to the shy like timid baby turtle I once was…well maybe a baby turtle isn’t the best analogy considering that they are courageous and strong. I apologize baby turtles. I’ve digressed. My friends quickly became my confidence, my support system, my means of being and I was only in 7th grade.

High school was no better. Many of the friendships that survived graduation and summer “drama” would somehow disintegrate throughout those 4 ghastly years. The years where I became so lost because I lost the very friendships that molded me to person I was. I lost myself. All due to the fact that I love hard. And in loving hard you sometimes forget what you should be standing for. You lose sight of what type of person you want to be and you forget that you exist even when those you care for so much don’t acknowledge your existence.

This flaw had somewhat transformed into a disease. Living in a society (the politically correct term for “hood”), where from the first day we are able to comprehend complete sentences, we are told to guard ourselves. Growing up my father would tell me how people would pretend to be your friend but would always have some secret motive. A motive that would end up hurting you and stabbing you in the back. He told me 3 stories that would back up his theory, and those 3 stories would be stories spoken throughout my child hood. My mother was no different though she was less verbal. She only had 1 friend who never came over the house and my mom never visited her. They would go shopping now and then even go out to eat yet when my mother’s friend (who was much older) passed, my mother remained alone and would say, “It isn’t safe to have many people around in life.” Since then she has only considered one non-family member her friend; God Bless that 1 friend.

I on the other hand believe that life is meant to be lived with friendships galore. I have always made friendships through out the years. In my early twenties I was on a brand-new journey. I began a discipleship program, was a youth leader of an amazing youth ministry based in an amazing church. My brother at that time was a youth pastor of the younger youth group. The leadership quickly became close friends and I felt as if I had finally found those people I could have year long friendships with. Sisters from another mister…yep I went there. Yet life had taken me out of Chicago in 2011 for two and a half years. Those years were hard and liberating. I had my best times and my worse times there.

I left Chicago with no intentions of friendships dismantling; but they did. My heart was broken and I was traumatized.  My girls were getting engaged and married yet my phone never rang, I never heard the news being spoken with an overly excited voice. I found out through Facebook. Soon Facebook would be the only way I would keep up with all the great things happening in their lives. I was grateful to Facebook yet I also detested it, Why? Well, it revealed on hurtful truth. The girls who I would rush to call if something great were to happen, didn’t think of me at all. When I came to terms with this sad truth I thought of all the nights in a car I would hold a friends hand as she cried about her broken heart. I remembered my own tears I would shed when the guy of my dreams asked me to deliver flowers to one of my girlies who I hoped would pick him. I remembered the nights I stood up with her discussing our dreams and laughing over misspelled words drawn on 2 x 4s. I remembered nights where we laughed and laughed and our neighbors would protest (Sorry Arman).  I also remembered when I was completely overtaken by heartache and they were all I had. Just like that, our friendship was gone.

I love hard. When I returned I quickly tried to reconnect with “my girls”. Setting up dates, texting and messaging over social sites. In the beginning it worked out pretty well, but it just faded away. Time and distance had proven to be enough. Enough for us to realize that we grew and while growing we became different people with different schedules and different perspective. We weren’t who we used to be. It took time for me to realize that this is okay and this is normal. I had a moment in life where I would reflect on my flaws as a person. Reflect on my shortcoming and wonder if I just wasn’t good enough to be friends with them anymore. Could it be that God has such an amazing calling on their life that they are just at a different level, a level where I was not welcomed. Yes, my thought process was rational in the beginning but quickly became overwhelmed with insecurities.

I love hard and I refused to believe that my parents were right. I refused to be that the friendships that were made were only made because of the mutual friendship with my brother or because of convenience. I had to come to terms that friendships begin and they end. With no fault to be placed, no anger needed. I love hard, which means that I go through a painful heartbreaking process when those I care for dearly aren’t around like before. It used to anger me and it used to turn my world upside down.

I found something though, something that makes their departure a bit less harsh. I’ve realized that releasing them is a lot more easier then continuing the reaching out and being in denial that life has caused change. I have realized that love has not been lost and that though the texts/calls/messages lessened over time the growth received from that friendship/relationship was what was needed for me to be the person I am today. For that I am grateful. For that I smile and for that reason i look forward to the new friendships that will begin, for those that will end and those that will be eternal.

So I release you friend and pray for the best.

Goodbye friend… Goodbye.

A Muffled Love

In a world filled with selfish “selfless” people, it is difficult to become completely open and vulnerable with someone. To lay fully nude, emotionally that is, with people a part of a society that has made life about nothing but ones self. Not too long ago I found a person who I could be ugly with. He saw my moments of anger, moments of confusion, moments of depression and more petrifying, my moments of just plain sin; yet he was there. Our friendship came to be at a time I was vexatiously head or heels in infatuation with a person I falsely believed I knew and thought i could one day be with. I never paid attention to the other man in my life. I never saw my beloved friend with eyes tarnished with love or romance. I saw him as he was, for who he was. A man trying to find his role on this earth. A man truly after God’s own heart. Struggling with his own identity and still dealing with the many in fractures within his family.

He is a man of many dreams and wants. He wants his family to be whole and safe, he yearns for success and more than all, he yearns for security. I’m not sure he even realizes he yearns for security, but it has been visible to me in the ways he interacts with others. The agony he hides when someone he holds dear fails him as a friend; I’ve seen the distress. It’s noted in the walls he builds around not only around his heart but those he loves. It didn’t take me long to see just how unmatched he is. Sadly, the miles between us grew, and since the day the we physically parted, I have lived with an unnatural, aching and demanding void.

This distance between us viciously infected my mind, heart and even went deep enough to affect my soul. I returned to a land where I spent the majority of my life; but it no longer felt like home. My home surprisingly transformed from a a place, to a person. I didn’t realize this at first. I didn’t have a warm welcoming from people who were once my “clan”. Before my temporary move they were the ones who I had fun with, vented to, wasted time with and more importantly invested time with. Yet the time away had proven to be enough to dismantle the friendship we had…or reveal that there was never one. I was alone. Yes I had family and a friend or two who gladly reunited with me, but I was for the most part alone.

When I arrived back “home”, I didn’t leave the house for two weeks. I unpacked my clothes, my shoes and then…I arrived to a box full of memorabilia. I opened it and as i looked through pictures, there was a sudden pain. The void was there and it was growing rapidly. I stared at a picture we had taken together, I felt my fingers tightening their grasp on the photo as if i could some how feel his skin, touch his face maybe even press my body against his. In the photo we were not focusing on the camera, instead the camera caught a glimpse of our friendship. My head was down and slightly pressed against his chest, his eyes were closed and his lips were caught mouthing a word as the corner of his lips were turned up introducing a smile. The camera caught a glimpse of who we were when we were together, this glimpse was also a summary of our friendship. Pain swiftly smothered the joy I felt for a moment. Thats the moment my heart quietly whispered a secret it held from my mind. A secret that my soul had sensed but was afraid to embrace. A secret that could possibly change my reality. I put the photo away and wiped the tears that quietly found it’s way out of the cold cell it was forced in. That night I wandered into a forest of wonder unintentionally. With no knowledge of how this would change me. an unexpected journey that would forever have an impact on my life. Changing the unchangeable.

I speak a lot about taking risks, yet when it deals with things of the heart I become a bit cowardly. Maybe it’s due the superb sensitivity of the heart. Life seems more clearer when you see it in the eyes not yet tainted with love, and to take a risk is to have my perspective tainted. Opinions of who people really are would change. We give them excuses for their wrong choices, “misspoken”words, and even their betrayal.

When I was leaving New Jersey, he didn’t come to say bye…I waited for him. My closest friends were there, holding in tears as we said our “see you later”, and he was no where to be found. I had never been so angry in my life, never felt so disappointed. Who the hell did he think he was? How could he just not show up? Did he not care? Tears rapidly rushed down my eyes, a silent cry spewing out pain. A close friend of mine was sitting beside me as we took off for our long 14 hour drive. I was so scared she would hear my questions,read the concerns written on my face. She seemed not to notice my heart was broken and if she did… I am grateful she never asked. 

Now there I was almost 2 weeks later reading this picture like a romantic passion filled novel. Still somewhat dumbfounded, my heart and mind were both screaming. “I love this guy.”, “shhhh you just miss him doris… you just miss him.” I whispered to myself as I got up to grab my phone and talk to anyone who could entertain my mind so that i may avoid the whalings of my heart.

Months passed by… he visited me with one of our mutual friends 2 months after I left Jersey. He missed me. He was aggravated that it wasn’t just us like it had always been before. This fact made me smile, it made my heart smile and my mind cringe. Yet it wasn’t until last October, 2 years had already passed from that moment I saw the picture, that i was willing to listen to the still small whisper my poor weak heart still had the strength to say.

I had fallen for my best friend…what a horrendous situation.

It was his birthday, and I wanted to give him the world. Life has always figured a way to be difficult for him. I just wanted him to have an escape and be free of it all even if it was for a few hours. We and a pair of our mutual friends (who are married) had dinner at a Cuban restaurant in Time Square and then we went walking around. I should have known better.

I love New York City. The smell, the lights, the people and the style! I’ve always heard that NYC was the place to start new and fall in love, little did I know that this would be prophetic over my life, yet it doesn’t promise that the person you’ve fallen for will fall for you. After hours of walking around and acting as if we have never stepped foot in NYC,  we went to my second favorite cite just across the bridge; Jersey City. I had been here several time with him. He showed me his first home here in the states and told me stories about his childhood. He took me to this park with such an amazing view; you could see all of Manhattan. We met up with some other friends and as we were picking up some snacks before we head to the park, the void unpleasantly reminded me of my departing flight the next day. As if it was taking pleasure in its existence. I was falling apart inside, screaming with anger, trying to trap my tears and keep myself from being consumed by fear. The fear that I could possibly never feel this way again.The fear that I will never be able to lay emotionally nude with anyone again. The fear that I will remain alone accompanied only by this vicious void. I stood staring at Manhattan from Jersey City yet my tears found a way to contaminate the magic the city lights held.

The next morning I cooked breakfast as he sat in the living room. I thought of the way I should tell him I loved him. Maybe if he knew…things could possibly change, I could move back or he can move to Chicago. We could make it work. As I served him breakfast, I ran through the facts of who he was and the things I loved about him and the things I detested. I sat down and our eyes met, my lips parted…his brows moved a bit closer together as his head tilted to the side. He knew I was hiding something. He knew I had something to say. My breath ran away with every possible utterance.

I said nothing.

I smiled.

He still looked at me and waited so i swiftly asked if he was enjoying the food, he nodded. I failed my heart, i failed myself; I didn’t take a risk. I sat there petrified…
He waited as I dropped off my luggage and entered the line to be checked by security mob at the airlines. I hugged him twice and said “tag your it, see you in Chicago soon” and I walked away, walked away from the possibilities; endless possibilities. Now here I am typing away on the morning of my birthday. Wishing that he will surprise me with flowers, a gift, hell even a ring! But I know that he’s in D.R visiting family and that I won’t be seeing him anytime soon. Sitting alone…accompanied only by this void that painfully reminds me that I am still walking aimlessly in a forest of wonder and uncertainty but certainly in love with my best friend.

and YET she lives on

My opinion of love has changed drastically throughout the years or at least as much as it possibly can throughout a 27 year span.

I remember watching a Disney movie, where the girl is from one parent home and someway somehow she is in need of someone to save her. There goes the the overly done scenario of 99% of Disney movies. A girl (or young boy cub if you think of The Lion King) who desperately needs someone or something to come and save her. She is broken, she is hurt and somewhat incomplete. This enraged me as a strong Latina woman. Why do we need a man to save us? Why couldn’t Jasmine just stick up to her father and not be forced into a marriage she wanted nothing to do with. Why did Ariel have to succumb to her father’s overly protective and close minded rules? Why did Pocahontas have to stay away from another human being just because his kind was unknown? And why the hell did these woman need to be saved by the very men they were forbidden to love.

They painted love as the aftermath of some tragic process, as love could not just possibly happen to a young lady who is living life happily.

When I was younger, I used to dream of magic carpet rides with a man who loved me passionately. So passionately that he would in a blink of an eye jump in front of a bullet to save me. I would even look into the mirror, look into my own eyes and tell myself in a confident inner voice “I am lovable.”

I dreamt of finding someone during my high school years and falling in love. A puppy love story that would end in a young SUCCESSFUL marriage. Where struggles would come and go yet only make us stronger.

Well I went through high school with no relationships and no reciprocated feelings. I even went to prom alone! I thought “well maybe I’ll meet someone at church or college.” The years would go by and yet at every Christmas, New Year, Valentine and Birthday dinner I found myself being single. I was happy, yet there was a pinch of pain that would quickly be masked with a smile every time I was asked “Hey Doris, there’s no one special YET?”

YET.” As if everyone in my family and inner circle had a certain time in which people were to be paired off for life. YET, as if I had some type of built in radar that would lead me into the direction of someone who would not only be compatible but would passionately love me. YET became my enemy, and it also became my nightmare.

Now at the age of 27, I sit here and the longest committed relationship I have had is with my dog Cuco. It’s going on 2 years strong. I have no other dog, just him, and he has no other owner just me. Though he sometimes has his moments where he ignores my calls and runs into hands of another woman (my mother). I always forgive him and he always comes back 🙂

I had a “fling” once. What a distasteful word. Here’s the truth in my perspective, he was the love of my life YET I was just a fling. It lasted a few months but left me broken and empty. I went from a girl collecting earthly possessions with no care in the world, to diving headfirst into a shallow love whole heartedly…how stupid. His reason for wanting to discontinue whatever it was we had…He loved her, though he was with me. ouch.

“Prettier? Skinnier? More lovable…than me?” thoughts running through my mind as I look into the mirror now with so many haunting questions. I no longer looked in the mirror with confidence but now poked at my flaws.

Wanting to straighten my nappy natural curls, erase my thick eyebrows for thinner ones, plump my lips and suck in my stomach. Painted smile, white teeth, straight hair, painted nails… Oh the torment I put myself in, all in the search for a magic carpet ride that failed to come. The bullet struck me with such an immense force my ribs practically caved in; no one jumped in front of it.

YET the pain was not strong enough to shake the yearning for love. It amazed me how a shattered heart can pour out love as if its never been broken. How a shattered heart can yearn for the very same thing that will challenge it to take risks. Risks that may cause this shattered heart to be demolished. YET this is what it yearns for…to love and be loved. Not for what it may become but for what it already is…

Now I understand that love is not about a magic carpet rides, 3 wishes or a physical change that can make you apart of his world. Disney lied. Yet I understand how a strong Latina can have a few things in common with a princess who just wants to know what is out there. A princess who yearns to change her surrounding for something new. A princess who has been put in situations that has her vulnerable and scared YET she chooses to break boundaries, take chances, even take some risks. Then and only then does YET stop being an enemy, and starts being a word of hope.

Im not there YET
but I will be one day.

and YET she lives on