Sunday, May 11, 2014

And I thought I might be overreacting ... Am I a perfectionist?

When I was in high school,  I really enjoyed art class. I felt like that was the only class where I could just be me. I could create whatever I wanted and they wouldn't be wrong. I looked for harder projects that would push me to make my piece perfect. It always had to be perfect.

Time passed and I never payed to much attention to my need for perfection until I started this blog.
Since this blog, I've noticed that I might be a little bit to strict with myself. I pay close attention to the way my writing looks, says, and makes others feel. I'm constantly reading and re-reading sentences hoping I can make it better.

Though my amazing professor Betty Ming Liu tells me that she sees the improvement, I feel like it's not enough. I know that there's so much improvement to be made.

One night while I was stuck writing my first blog post, I decided to search for some inspiration in Betty's blog. After reading a couple of her blog posts, I really wondered. How am I ever going to get to this point? Her writing just seems so natural and effortless.

Then I discovered that I'm not the only one suffering from this problem called "perfectionism."

Betty explains and gives steps to recovery in her blog post Don't be a perfectionist: 5 steps to recovery. 

Of course, I had to read the blog post and all the comments.  One of the comments was written by Author Hillary Rettig. She left a very useful link to her own blog where she went in depth about perfectionism in her blog post Perfectionism Defined.

So I thought I had heard it all. I had found Betty's tip to recovery and Hillary's definition of my problem. Undoubtedly I could fight this thing! or so I thought.

Oh how wrong I was. While deleting emails I found a very useful link from LinkedIn. It was titled Its Not You, It's Science: How Perfectionism Hold Women Back. I immediately clicked on it and read the New York Times article written by Jessica Bennett

In the article she writes that our perfectionism is a result of our lack of confidence. That is the reason why we hold back, and doubt ourselves. She then writes, "But perhaps the most useful aspect of all of this talk about confidence is recognizing that it's a problem at all. Knowing that it's there, that it's backed up by science, that it's not just you - and then trying to correct for it"

Silly me! here I was thinking I have a problem, well maybe I do. But it's a little comforting to know that I'm not the only woman experiencing this. There are scientific studies to prove why I cut myself short thinking I'm not good enough. 

The insight and advice I got from these three wonderful, successful  women, will come in handy. 

As I work on perfecting every angle of my life, I'm also working on my self confidence. Learning to be patient, and overcome obstacles one day at time. Maybe I will never reach my idea of perfection, but the improvements will be visible. I know that when that happens I will finally obtain the confidence I need.

Walk with me

Every morning around 8:30 am to 9:00 am I take a twenty-five minute walk to work.

At first I thought that, if I had a car I wouldn't be wasting time walking there.

Things are different now, I'm learning to embrace the few minutes of peace and quiet I get.

Between a full time job, school and a boyfriend I have very little time to spend on myself. All the thinking and planning is really getting to me.I think and think all the time, to the point that I feel it's unhealthy.

I think about homework assignments, or test, about how I'm going to pay my bills and whether I should get a second job. If I do get a second job, when will I have time for school? UGH!!! I'm convinced, I'm going through a quarter crisis. But I guess it could be always be worst.

My morning walks let me forget about my self diagnosed crisis. The time alone with myself allows me to stop thinking so much and just enjoy the walk. Benefits of Walking by Tommy Boone, PhD, MPH, FASEP, EOC says, walking can "give you a feeling of detachment from daily pressures."

It explains why I find my morning walks so enjoyable. Walking gives me the alone time I need and love so much.

Though sometimes rainy mornings can be a pain, I don't mind them. In some crazy way, my mind feels like the rain drops are just washing away the negative vibes around me.

But nothing can compare to Sunny mornings.

Those are always the best. I truly love walking through North Lawn Ave. in Elmsford.

It's green trees at the peak of the hill are just perfect. Specially early in the morning, when the day is still cool, and the sun is out. Those morning always brighten up my day.

The 25 minutes that I take to be alone with my walks help me so much. I can honesty say that in those minutes I feel stress free. That's until I get to work and once again the thoughts start and the stress piles up.

But tomorrow is another day, and another twenty-five minutes of a stress free walk to work awaits me.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Yummy yummy in my tummy

Grand Lux Café
I think maybe my mother might have spoiled me a little bit too much.

From a very early age I was programmed to associate good grades and/or behavior with dining out.

Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love to eat. But what I love most of all is, to go out to eat.

I love discovering different restaurants and, trying new foods.  Learning and exploring multiple culinary cultures brings me joy, in my heart and in my tummy.

Sweet Caramel Chicken
That's why every time I visit a new restaurant I feel the need to share pictures of food, also known as food porn.

This past weekend, my boyfriend and I spent all day in Long Island. Driving back home hungry was not an option. So we stopped by the Grand Lux Café in Roosevelt Field Mall located in Garden City.

I found the décor similar to The Cheesecake Factory.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta
The great atmosphere and staff made our dinner pleasant and memorable. It was very clean, and organized.

Our waitress was great, and our food reached our table within ten minutes. It was truly a great experience.

Too bad that we didn't have enough room for desert, because they had a great selection.

Next time, we're in Long Island, I know we'll definitely stop by this café.

Dessert Station at the front of the restaurant

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

One forgotten, unpublished blog

Fall 08 Freshman Year STJ - NYC
I always thought I would have my life figured out and in order by the time I hit 25. Little did I know how far from it I would be. As I watched the movie "13 going on 30," I realized that I'm living my own movie. Feeling like I woke up one day at the age of 24, with very little recollection of the past 6 years.

I attempted to start a Blog once, but I never actually did it. As I looked through my Blogger, I found an old blog draft. The draft titled "What I've gained," was poorly written when I was 18 and a freshman at St. John's University

It was somewhat foreign to read it. I almost didn't recognize the girl on that blog. The grammatical errors were truly atrocious to read. But the recollection of the emotions I once had were eye opening. It made me feel like I got to meet a part of me I had forgotten.

My little sister and I on my 18th birthday
As I read it, the words played like a movie in my mind, reminding me of all I had lived and felt. "I was only working part-time and it's not like I had money to throw around. Most of the time I was short on money." I said as I continued to explain how difficult my life was. This blog was written not too long after I had moved out of my mother's house. 

Being on my own at 18 wasn't easy. Specially because I was still working on finishing my senior year in high school.  The change was difficult. I really had no idea what was waiting for me. This old draft highlighted a turning point in my life. I saw that at 18, I was overwhelmed by all the changes. Learning how to manage more than my money and time. I was dealing with a huge change, which was being on your own.
As I listed feelings and thoughts, I went back to that precise moment when I felt:
  • "Little did I know that moving away was going to hit me so hard. It's sad coming 'home' to a place that you can't really call home. It's hard to just sit there between four walls and wonder what's going on with your family" 
  • "I also learned that not because you are away your family, they are going to stop caring about how you are doing."
  • "I also became more responsible and learned to manage my time wisely."
  • "Moving out of my house taught me how to be responsible for my actions and myself." 
  • "Most important I learned how valuable family is,...I realized that I missed being 'home'." 
As I kept reading my unpublished blog, I started to analyze the younger version of myself. I saw what has changed in this past 6 years. I remembered that at the time, it was hard for me admit that I missed being home. I never shared those feelings with anyone until now. I was stubborn and determined to move forward.

"I gained strength to face new challenges," that's how I saw my life. "I still had to prove to myself that I could survive on my own." Regret was not an option back then, and it is not now. I saw how strong I had to be. How at times I wish I still had the same amount of strength. I wish I had stayed curious, I wish I hadn't giving into the routine that is my life now.

At 18 I felt my decisions had made me a "better person," and they really did. When I was younger, I was ready to take over the world like the Brain, from Pinky and the Brain. Now things are all about timing, being at the right place at the right time, meeting the right people, getting the right job.

 My teenage "adventure" as I described it, is no longer active. Sadly my life is far from adventurous. The challenges that I looked forward to have become part of my daily life, and it's far from what I had in mind. Perhaps I'm just going through a quarter life crisis, who knows. 

But one thing hasn't changed, my stubbornness. Though at times I get tangled in my routine, part of that 18 year old girl is still inside me. She's there refusing to give up. Looking back into that blog draft made me see that I haven't lost my essence.  There's plenty of new adventures and roads to discover. The only difference is that now, I'm a little older, and a little wiser. Those things that hurt yesterday won't hurt me tomorrow. Just like the Kelly Clarkson said in her song Stronger, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Last time I checked, I was still alive and I am stronger.