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First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Hello Bloggers! Welcome to my blog “Atrium of words”. Some of you may wonder what the title even means. Well, first of all, I’m a senior Med Student at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic; from those anatomy textbooks I took the word “Atrium” which are 2: The Right Atrium and the Left Atrium. These are the chambers of the heart in which the blood enters. The Right Atrium receives the deoxygenated blood from the vena cava, while the Left Atrium receives the oxygenated blood from the pulmonary veins. Just like blood flows through these chambers, words flow through my heart as I, since a young age, have been writing all kinds of things.

I’ve never thought of writing in a public space until a Thought Catalog editor named Marissa Donnelly gave me the idea to open a personal blog to have a chance of expressing who I am through the written word. Since I’m always studying at school, I’ll take the chance to write whatever comes up at any time so you can read.

Feel free to comment and share my work!

Welcome and enjoy Atrium of Words.

XO, Gina Ramírez Rosa

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My first Thought Catalog Acceptance

On July 17th of 2016, an article I wrote was published on Thought Catalog. After three submissions, I finally got a publication. Even though some dislike Thought Catalog for various reasons (myself agreeing with some), I see this as my first step into creating my blog. A month after having my article published, I sent another submission but they didn’t see it as a “great fit” for the site; so one of the producers, Marisa Donnelly, recomended me to create a blog as a way of showing readers who I really am; and it was an excellent advice. Thanks to her idea, I created Atrium of words.
Here is my first published piece:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/gina-ramirez-rosa/2016/07/10-things-id-say-to-my-13-year-old-self/

And I’d do it again

It was dark, but I found light

And that light was full of love;

And just when I was about to touch it

Fear told me it was not time.

Fear told me it was imposible.

A light has shown upon all this mess,

A mess that has been burning my back,

A burden that marked me like a cow for butchering,

A burden that made me numb…

Towards people,

Towards life,

Towards love.

It was dark, but I found light

And that light had a future planned out;

And just when I was about to join it

Hesitation told me it was not time.

Hesitation told me that this has happened before.

A light gave me a hand and helped me get up from the ground,

A ground where I had shed blood,

A blood loss that made me lifeless…

Towards family,

Towards friends,

Towards love.

It was dark, but I found a vague light

And that light was confused and uncertain;

And just when he told me to walk away

Love told me not to.

Love told me that this light is my light.

The light that made me trust love one more time,

The last time I will ever need to be in the dark

Because I am too full of light;

And when I am with this light, everything is good,

Everything is posible,

Everything is understanding,

Everything is love…

And if I’d had a chance to meet him in another life, I’d do it again.

How I went through depression and no one talked about it (part 2)

December was a time of solitude; confining myself in my room, laying in the darkness, crying, thinking why these things had to happen to me. I never left the room unless I was really hungry, to get a bite or two. December was the time I discovered good music, the kind of music that makes you either want to be a stronger person, scream from the top of your lungs or cry a bit more. I lost some weight (even though it was Christmas time), I lost a part of myself and had become a totally different person since then. A part of my innocence was crush and at the moment I didn’t want it back. That pressure on your chest, almost as like an angina; it was oppressing and it barely let me breathe. Every time I thought of him it hurt.

The pain was something I’ve never felt before. It was a deep pain in my chest; sometimes I’d get headaches and I didn’t know if it was from all the crying or part of it: the depression. My eyes were swollen half of the time. My cheeks were salty and unwashed. I didn’t feel like bathing or brushing my hair; and makeup was just the furthest thing I had in mind. I barely felt like waking up, since I found some comfort in my sleep; I could avoid facing the reality through my sleep: I was happy in my sleep. My desire at the time was to be asleep for the rest of my life where there was no sadness, no pain, no reality. I found some comfort in “stumbling” (Stumbleupon.com) and found some new, dark and mature music to accompany my swollen eyes; it was the second comforting thing I had. My book and violin were cornered in pile and all interest in friends were dead.

My mother noticed something weird about me that December. She noticed I wasn’t eating as much and that I barely got up from my bed. She had a feeling that it had to be about him because I wasn’t talking about him anymore or going out with him, so she told me one day: “It’s ridiculous that you’re like this because of a guy. You’re so intelligent! intelligent people don’t get sad like this by simple things as boys”. I felt really stupid when my mother said this. How could I be like this because of a stupid guy? I wasn’t like this. I was always professing self-love and high standards for oneself…what was happening to me? I tried at one point in “shaking off” the feelings; maybe it was all in my head. I started thinking in positive things for a few hours. I got up and took a bath. I sat on my bed and started watching a movie…I started crying…Why wasn’t I deserving of love? I thought.Why can’t I be happy?…then it all started over.

Christmas eve, Christmas day, new year’s eve, new years…it was all the same to me. Classes opened and I had to go back to reality. I tried the hardest to avoid him but he magically appeared everywhere. I had to cross these benches to get to the faculty and he was always there. I tried looking to the ground as I passed, looking straight ahead, even faking a phone call just to avoid any eye contact. I thought “How could he be so blantly happy after what he did to me”, “He is a frigging psycho”, “I was just an innocent girl and he took advantage”. My depression never interrupted my school, since I was so strict and obsessed with my grades. My girlfriend at the time was this very manipulative, double life girl I met in biology. I later discovered she had a species of call girl ring, where she introduced girls to rich men and she received some form of payment, while some girls innocently thought she was just being a normal girlfriend presenting her some guys not knowing that she received money because of it. I genuinely thought she wanted me to be happy; to forget him and go out to meet new guys. She used to tell me: “You’re so beautiful and intelligent. You have to meet some new guy. You can’t spend the rest of your life alone”. I started going out to clubs and bars. I started to go out with guys; some of them she found and presented them to me, some of them I met through that period of wandering.

dep

I felt numb. It’s a weird feeling. Nothing anyone says or does provokes any reaction. It’s like the people around you didn’t have feelings. You just don’t care. The guys I went out with were just pieces of human organs put together in a flesh-like box with clothing. A kiss, a hug, the contact of skin to skin…it was all the same to me. I always told them: “I don’t want anything serious. This is just a game”. I never knew if some of them did actually fall for me…I didn’t care. The intimacy was empty…I just wanted to feel pleasure and nothing else; I wanted to placate myself. I felt this false sense of strength, satisfaction and independence. John number one came, then number two, three, four…even I lost count. And each and every one of them I left to wonder about me. When I got tired of them on a random day I would simply block their contact, erase their messages or pretended they were complete strangers as I passed by them on the streets. I could look at them in the eye and make them believe that I was a stranger, something I never could with him.

Around April or May I had him very far on my mind. After all the guys I was with, I thought that I was definitely over him. I had so much things on my mind that I wanted him to know. I felt like he had to know what he did. I felt angry and upset. I felt I was the one that was going to make him know how he made me feel. Five months since we last spoke I wrote him a direct message on Facebook to meet up on campus one day to talk. We met at the cafeteria and I started expressing him everything I felt with what he did to me; everything I thought in that moment was out. I remember I even drank water a couple of times of all the things I said. He looked at me expressionless and moved his head down. He told me he was sorry and wished he could make it up to me. He even had the intention to beg me forgiveness on his knees in the middle of the cafeteria, but I immediately said no; my intention was not to ridicule him, but to forgive him for me so I could move on. After that we went outside and talked some more about various things; we eventually exchanged numbers again, since I erased his, and agreed to keep in contact with each other.

A couple of weeks after, I saw he had a profile picture with a girl and asked him if everything was going well with him and her, and he told me that it was. He told me that they only had a week going out and he liked her a lot and wanted to take it to the next step with her. I jokingly said “You guys have only a week knowing each other. What if you meet someone else on the way?”. I should’ve seen his answer coming…especially from him: the imbecile and jerk person he was: “I’m sorry but since I really like this girl I would really like to maintain something serious and not hurt her feelings. We can keep talking and going out as friends”. So yeah, he thought I thew him an indirect question at him meaning that I wanted to go back to him in some sort of sick way, but since he only had one week meeting this new girl, he wanted to keep things serious from the start. I was disgusted to think that he thought I had the slightest feeling for him still, but the thing that really struck me was that he was able to “keep it serious” with a girl he had met a week ago, but he spent 3 months dating me and and wanted us to just be “fuck buddies” and he even once told me (while we were 2 months into dating) if I wanted to have an “open relationship” in which we were together but he could be with other girls than me and I could be with other guys than him.

In that moment I realized the mistake I had made in believing we could act like normal adults. I spent three days thinking about the occurred. I can’t believe he thinks I still like him. Who does he think he is? I gave him a chance and he screwed it. He spent 3 months dating me and offered me to be fuck buddies and before that an “open relationship”, and now he’s met a girl for only a week and wants to keep things “serious”. 

Summer was beginning and I wasn’t going to let him block the sunlight again.

How I went through depression and no one talked about it (part 1)

​Having depression is something that no one understands. No one can hardly explain the feelings or thoughts that pass through your mind. You hear things like: “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re not depressed”, “Just forget about it and be happy” or “You’re too young to be depressed. Go out and have fun”. I wished I could’ve done all those things but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me, my mind didn’t want to, my eyes wouldn’t let me open them. “I can’t believe you’re like this because of him” my mom said.“There are hundreds of guys out there! You’re young and beautiful” a girl told me.
On a psychological consult 5 years later I understood that it wasn’t entirely because of him, it was because of me; and all the actions that happened after were not the consecuences, they were it: the depression.

I’ll start from the beginning…

I was a young, naive, virginal (in every sense) girl who turned 18 and was just enrolled in her first semester of pre-med. That year I met new people, new ideas, new places, new activities. I met him, I professed the autonomy of one’s body, I visited that bar where I got wasted every month and I learned how to roll up a joint. He was one of my childhood crushes and he coincidently went to my same university and studied the same career. We knew each other because our mothers were friends, but we weren’t exactly friends. I took advantage of the fact that I was new (and didn’t have any friends going to the unisersity with me) to get close to him by asking him advice and asking him to be break partners.

As time passed we got closer. We shared rides in his car with the windows down and John Mayer in full volume, we had long talks at the park and skyped until 5AM. He asked me out on my first date ever and gave me my first kiss. I wouldn’t say I was falling in love with him, but I was definitely in love with the ilusion of having a boyfriend who was so handsome, cool and perfect like him. Looking back now, I was so blind to identify the alarm signals: he once told me that a girl was “begging him” to go out on a date with her at a house party and he, right in front of his guy friends and herself, proceeded to mock and laugh at the “desperate” and “insisting” girl who left the party crying. So yeah…you can figure.

After 3 months of dating, he kind of noticed that I was indeed falling for him so one day he told me: “I’m not ready for a relationship right now. I just came from a long-term relationship and I’m not willing to commit right now”. I pretended to understand him and we decided to stop dating but keep going out as friends. I believed I could do such thing, but every day that passed I kept liking him more. On top of that, the kissing and touching never stoped between us. I naively thought that if this went on, he would probably change his mind and he would eventually forget his girlfriend and I would become his new girlfriend (Remember that I was 18, extremely naive, and virgin with boys, relationships and sex).
December came and I was convinced that he was going to take me as his girlfriend, especially after we took the next step into a non-penetrative act (oral). A couple of days later he asked me if I wanted to be his “fuck buddy”. When I read that on my blackberry, I had no idea whatsoever of what a fuck buddy was. I remember googling what a fuck buddy was and I read: “A sex partner with whom one has sex without any emotional attachment”. My jaw dropped. ANY EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT….so, he didn’t have the slightest feeling about me? After all the things we shared and enjoyed, he wants to have me just for sex? Do I have that less worth to him? He’s known me for years! My accomplishments, my achievements…I’m a good girl. How could he do this to me?
I felt ashamed, angry, stupid…5 years back I considered a fuck buddy as a way of getting sex for free, a degrading title… maybe that’s what I was for him…a prostitute, a bitch, a hooker. I felt crushed about the fact that of all people, he would be the one to degrade me in such way.

Wanting to fuck me and then discard me when he felt like it and keep acting as normal friends afterwards.
I felt crushed. My self-esteem reached the lowest levels. I was a nobody. The person I trusted and knew treated me like debris. December was cold and dark, just as my depression.

8 things every latina with a traditional upbringing can identify with

1.Don’t ever talk to strangers. It could seem a bit contradictory knowing that Latin Americans are very open, welcoming and friendly o anyone. You can literally meet someone at the bank while in line and five minutes later you end up talking about your grandmothers death; but when it came up to our parents dropping us into the real world outside, it was literally 3 things: Don’t talk to strangers, dress appropriately and don’t talk to strangers. Although if you ever bumped into a family friend and didn’t say hi (even if you didn’t remember who the hell he/she was), you were the most uneducated and unfriendly child they’ve ever had.

2.Stay a virgin until marriage. Yeah, some of our parents still believe in this virgin fairy tale (until I stopped being one). All our generations from our grandmothers, mothers and aunts have passed down to their beloved daughters the importance of being a virgin to maintain that “pristine” and “clean” image. They will even scare you or make up some non-scientific facts in order for you to stick to your hymen. Lies can go from:

  • Girls who have sex get a fat ass.
  • Your boobs are going to get saggy.
  • You’ll look old.
  • Sex is a tool to use women and discard them afterwards.
  • Men don’t like “used” women.
  • Being a virgin is a woman’s pride… and last but not least:
  • Our father God tells us to be virgins in the Bible.

When my mom knew that I was’t a virgin anymore she told me that I had “disappointed her” and I “tore my image up”. Of course, it has changed while time passed and I grew older, my mom even goes with my to the OB-GYN appointments, but, it wasn’t that easy for the stigma to go away. I even had an aunt who offered me a “hymen reconstruction surgery” or whatever that is useful for nowadays…

3. Having to learn how to cook and clean from a young age. My case was totally different than the rest. I had the privilege of having a house maid while growing up so I was never forced to do them, and since my mom isn’t the greatest cook, she never taught me how to. Most of my girl friends learned to cook as young as 9 years old. It not rare to know a 13 year old girl who can prepare a whole meal on their own. I, unfortunately like my mother, were never taught how to cook, and were left to figure it out on our own. I barely know how to do an omelette, but I can follow any recipe to a “T”.

4. No sleepovers, no questions asked. Yeah, I’ve never went to a sleepover, EVER! I have other latina friends that have but having super strict, traditional parents sleepovers are always a no-no because of reasons like:

  • I don’t trust young girls by their own your age.
  • What can you possibly do with your friends one night that can’t be done in one day.
  • I have a feeling that so-and-so is a bit weird, probably a lesbian. You’re not going.
  • There are men living in your friend’s house…and those men in your friends house can lead to another common teaching which is:

5. Bad men can rape you (actually, ANY man can rape you). Teachers, friends, colleagues, that taxi driver, your best-friends brother, your cousin…every man is a rapist. Of course, when you’re starting to get older and you start daring, the intensity tones down a bit but the paranoia lays in our subconscious. That’s why I get that adrenaline rush when that Uber driver takes an unexpected different route or when your boss unexpectedly invites you to his house to drink some wine.

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6. Not being able to start dating while your brother or male cousins were encouraged to, simply because you were a “girl”. So one day the four of us (mom, dad and my younger brother) were sitting in the living room having a family talk when my dad told my brother: “You have to start daring a couple of girls to gain experience”, and I said: “So, I can date a couple of guys also to gain experience”(I already knew the answer, I just wanted to trigger him). “No” he said “because you’re a girl”. In our Latin American culture, male chauvinism is very much encouraged and applauded in boys from a young age, while girls are taught to sit with their legs crossed until they reach the age to marry. In my family it wasn’t that oppressing towards women, but some situations and ideas were made with a base in male chauvinism, even if they were made subconsciously. Men are encouraged to not cry, not to do house work, exploit their masculinity and gain plenty of sexual experience while girls are encouraged to d house chores, go to school and keep their legs closed. Fortunately for me, my parents weren’t that determined to turn me into a Bedford wife, instead they helped me get a good education to not need to depend on a man in the future; but like I said before, some situations have a male chauvinism background that is embedded to our genes.

7. Always having to fill your family’s expectations. A lot of our parents and grandparents didn’t have the opportunity in their countries to receive a higher education due to a ton of factors typical of our countries in process of global development, so the only way they knew as a social and economical ladder for their future generations was doing hard work. Girls from my generation and a couple decades older were granted the opportunity to study, go to college, and even achieve a masters or doctorates, which leads us to be the main pride of our parents and the “hope” or “light” of the family. That’s why when your cousin Maria got pregnant at 16, she was the embarrassment of the family…Thank God you’re in Med School! That relieves the family shame.

8. Hating your parents during all the years you’ve lived with them for the strict, non-humanly rules they set you, but realizing afterwards that they only had the best of intentions. It’s not easy to be raised by overly-protected parents, but after years pass by you realize that you didn’t come out to be a bad kid after all. Maybe some of the rules and discipline might’ve been unnecessary, over-the-top or traumatizing, but it made you into the awesome girl you are today (and who your parents keep talking about in every conversation they have).

How Bukowski helped me go through my teenage angst

The first time I heard a poem from Charles Bukowski it was on this Levi’s TV ad back in 2009. It was called The laughing heart. I was so moved by the words to this poem that I immediatly googled it and wrote it in my diary as an important mantra for going through the rest of my adolescence.

I was always the geek in the classroom. I was always studying and did all my homework and projects on time. I graduated with a 3.9 GPA with the excellence honor. By the time I was 17 I spoke 3 languages, played and teached the violin, knew embroidery, knitting and scrapbooking (yes, I litterally do anything except clothes and tasty food). Beacause of all the curricular and extra-curricular activities, and having very strict parents, I never got to enjoy the typical teen things like sleepovers, dating or cinema nights. I was so obsessed in being perfect and building a base for my future. I’m not gonna lie, it was totally worth it; but on the other hand I can say that I didn’t enjoy my teenage years like a normal teen.

Writing helped me escape from all the teenage angst and lack of participation in normal teenage activities, that’s why I always had journals and notepads to just capture every thought, feeling or moment through words.

I didn’t suffer harsh bullying during high school, but I was outcasted by most of my classmates for being so “different” (for them of course). It’s not easy for an early teen to not have friends because they’re considered different or weird. I suffered pretty much on my transition from middle school to high school. We all had our akward phase, but somehow I felt mine was the most akward. Writing and reading really helped me exceed those tough teenage years and poems like these make a highlight in my life.
Today while I was cleaning my room, I found one of my diaries from high school and saw The Laughing heart poem written on one of the pages. Bukowski’s poem really motivated me to give the best of me and helped me find my path during my last teenage years.It inspired me to endure the rough times, because it’s not going to always be that hard. It reminded me that there is some light in the middle of all the darkness.

It’s an honor to share Bukowski’s inspiring words on this blog:

Your life is your life

Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.

Be on the watch.

There are ways out.

There is a light somewhere.

It may not be much light but it beats the darkness.

Be on the watch.

The Gods will offer you chances.

Know them.

Take them.

You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes.

And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be.

Your life is your life.

Know it while you have it.

You are marvelous the Gods wait to delight in you.

The raffle of Love

Love is something random. Each time you meet someone it’s like you were both in a raffle with only two possibilities.

The first raffle is to see if you’ll get to have a relationship or not.

The second raffle (if there is) is to see if that relationship will last or not; last until a break-up, last until divorce or last until death.raffle-ticket