What are your strenghts? What are your weaknesses?

So every time you have a formal job interview, these two questions are never left out: 

What are you strenghts? What are your weaknesses?

In my opinion, these are the hardest ones to answer; I mean, analyzing your whole personality in just 5 seconds is a moment of terror. It’s not that I don’t know myself it’s just that I’ve actually never had taken the time in my life to analyze my weaknesses and my strenghts.

The first thing that always come up in my head are the positive things: I’m very organized, I’m responsible, I’m a multitasker…and that’s about it really. (The nervousness and the 2 or 3 seconds to think are influencing factors). Then, while the human resources lady writes them down, you start thinking about your weaknesses…and then it all stops.

My weakness? I don’t think I even have them…man, I’m not that perfect but I can’t start saying all my defects to this lady If I really want a job…To be honest, I can’t even think of one right now.

And your weaknesses Ms.?

That is when time stops. 

Since I only have a couple of seconds to answer, I look at the window behind the interviewer and I look at her and reply tha first bad thing that pops up my mind: I’m very strict…meaning that I like things to come out in a certain way, I said.

The lady looks down at her sheet and starts writing what I say.

As a human being it’s rather difficult to find our weaknesses within. We might not even recognize them until someone else points them out for us.It’s not like people analyze themselves everyday either…unless you’re a yoga senpai or learned meditation at Bali (reference to Eat, Pray, Love).

Ain’t no one got time for that, I say in my head.

As we finish my job interview, I say goodbye to the human resources lady and walk towards the door. As I close it behind me I think: What are my real weaknesses?

It’s been a while since I don’t do an introspective analysis of myself; last time I did was at my psychologist’s office as part of the therapy like two years ago.

I admit, it’s not easy to identify within yourself the negative aspects of yourself. They are always kind of hidden beneath your bed in a locked box with a key that keeps loosing itself. Most of the times I do recognize my weaknesses, it’s usually when someone else points it out. Of course, it’s your job to identify the person who does to see if they’re doing it with a goodwill to help you, or with a bad faith to fuck you over.

After this interview, maybe I’ll take some time to sit down and unlock that box underneath my bed. Next time I get interviewed I hope I can answer: what are you weaknesses? with a full and secure response.

Silence

You can silence my voice, but never silence my words.

You can silence my actions, but not my ideas.

You can silence my art, but never silence my imagination.

You can silence my books, but never silence my knowledge.

You can silence my eyes, but never silence my memories.

You can silence my feet, but never silence my path.

You can silence my education, but never silence my conscience.

You can silence my letters, but never silence my words.

Human Being

Why be a human being instead of a rainbow fish?

I could dive into the darkest hollows of the sea and not have fear. I could feel the water sliding against my scales and not have chills.I could have the sea like my home, and never get to imagine the horror of going out to the forbidden place; the surface. There with my rock, I am safe and nobody can harm me.

Why be a human being instead of a star?

I could emanate my stellar wind and never turn off for the next million years.When the day of my explosion have arrived,I will turn into a big and intense Supernova. Nobody will envy me because I’m the most beautiful thing that could ever exist between galaxies; from the inside to the outside; from the earth to the UDFY-38135539.

Why be a human being instead of the wind?

I could move myself freely from one place to another without gas, without money, without acetylcholine; without family, without ring, without document. To travel in all directions and whistle my stealthy music in the ear of the loved, the living, the dead, the afflicted.

Why be a human being instead of your brain?

I could control your movements so that you can always be where I am; control your memory so you can erase what’s pain, and keep what’s happy; control your learning so you can learn from your mistakes and know to never make them again; control your insular cortex so you can emanate love to others and never hurt others feelings.

I don’t want to have Irritability to stimuli, nor Metabolism to obtain nutrients, nor Reproduction to multiply, nor Relation to adapt.0473de53846f8dbc578acd6d9a4c116a

I want to have Love before hate, books to obtain thoughts, spirit to spread everyone with joy, and I want to have you so that you can accompany me to…

Discover.

Undress.

Rehabilitate.

Discover my being, Undress my flesh and Rehabilitate my soul once lost, but now found.

 

 

Love like spines

I loved you once, and you betrayed me. I gave you a second chance and you chose to betray me again.

Why do you think I would ever love you again? 

Loving you is like moving your fingers towards the spines of a cactus: the first time you did you pinched yourself and it hurt for a few seconds, but you could bear the pain.

The second time you did, you thought that it wouldn’t hurt as much as the first time, so you pressed your fingers harder than last time against the spines and you wounded yourself. 

You wouldn’t think of getting your fingers close for a third time because, you know that if you do, the wound would grow deeper and even though you like the sensation of pain, it would take some time to heal or maybe it would never get to heal.

Why would you believe that I’d have the stupid idea to ever love you again?

The “whitening” of my latin hair

Latin America has a rich mixture of different ethnicities between African, European and Native American ancestry. It is estimated that 40% of the total population of Latin America has Afro-descendants which is why some of us have one other physical characteristic from our enslaved fathers such as a dark skin color, some facial features and hair texture. In most of Latin American countries, not only does your physical appearance influence your ethnic roots but social status and socioeconomic values are also involved; which it’s no coincidence why 60% of those Afro-descendants live in extreme poverty.

Having 2 Dominican parents and living for 15 years in the Caribbean has gained me lots of experience in the “whitening” process. “Whitening” in Latin America is defined as: the removal of any trace of African ancestry you have that can reflect itself physically; this includes the enlightening of the skin tone and straightening of the hair. It’s not a secret in high school when you have the opportunity of getting your first “Relaxer” as a quinceañera’s gift. I remember all the girls at school arriving the next day to class with a flat out shiny hair. Some girls with noticeable tight curls would admit they had the process done, other girls would just say it was thanks to the “magic of the blow dryer” in a way to take the dirt of negro heritage off their shoulders.

I am a living proof of the “whitening” movement. My hair is naturally curly; if I were to classify it, it would be like a type 3 which is a soft curly hair; since it’s fine it tends to puff up under humid conditions. Throughout my years at school I was never really bothered about my hair. I really liked; it was easy to have them curled as it was easy to straighten. I always went to school in a ponytail shaped in a big curl. When I started to grow up, I used to see that some of my classmates wouldn’t get puffy hair while doing gym time, which I would always end up with spiked hairs and curls out of nowhere from the humidity. When girls started talking about the “Relaxer” I was in shock! …I mean, my hair wasn’t as curly as theirs and I definitely didn’t have a “Brillo pad” hair, so I always thought I didn’t need any “relaxers” in my hair and decided to keep my original hair for time being.

As crazy as it seems, being part of the few girls at high school that maintained her natural curly hair, most girls seemed delighted to touch and complement my curly ponytail saying things like: “Oh, I wish I had your hair” or “You have such nice curls”. Ironically I would think to myself: “Well, if you stop using that relaxer, you can actually go back to the curls you used to have”. Those days I decided to wet my hair and mousse them up into my curls, those were the days I would become a hair phenomenon! I would hear things like: “Oh, you should wear your hair like this to school everyday” or “See? Your hair isn’t bad, it’s pretty nice”.latina

As time passed, the obsession of getting straighter hair grew bigger in a way that 9 of 10 girls in my class went to school with their hair straightened (counting that I was the 1 out of 10 that didn’t). Each year that passed I started getting more and more mad at my hair for not being in place when the wind blowed or puffing up at the slightest view of a rain cloud. When I was finishing my senior year I finally got the courage to go to my mother and tell her: “Mami, I want to straighten my hair for my high school graduation”. My mother said: “Ok, but only because I’m tired of you complaining about your hair”.

The day of my high school graduation I paraded the school’s entrance with my super sleek straightened hair; I also dyed it darker with a semi-permanent hair color since relaxing your hair “opens the pores of your hair so that the dye takes up faster” (said by my mother’s hairdresser who also relaxed her hair as well). While me and my classmates where sitting down on our outdoor scenario, I saw the sky getting grayer: “Uh-oh” I thought, but then reminded myself that I got my hair relaxed and my hair was not going to puff up. Till this day I’m still embarrassed of my graduation photos since my hair looks like Hermione Granger’s hair on her first year at Hogwarts. I thought: “This shit doesn’t even work on my hair. Damn this hair relaxer!”. After that, I relaxed it a second time a couple of  months later thinking that maybe it had been applied wrong the first time.

Since my “relaxing” days (which were only 2 times), I have applied on my hair different straightening processes like the “Brazilian Keratin Treatment”, which I stopped using after I almost passed out with the formaldehyde smell (yes, the main ingredient of embalming at the morgue). Then I stopped using Keratin after 2 years of usage and just started blow drying my hair every weekend at the beauty salon. I now have 3 years stuck to blow drying my hair every weekend which has, eventually, straightened out my hair till a point where my hair is now a type 2. Sometimes I go back to my old curly hair days and curl my hair with a diffuser, but it will never go back to the curls I used to have during my childhood and teenage years.

Part of me is disgusted by how I felt peer pressure into the “whitening” of hair. Lately I’ve been alternating the hair salon with fixing my own hair with a diffuser in one hand and mousse or coconut oil in another. Thankfully my mother never pressured me to “whiten” my hair, she just helped me get the best goods and treatments during the time I used relaxers, or the other time I started the Brazilian Keratin. She always told me that “The hair is the frame of a woman’s face” maybe one day I’ll stop blow drying my hair overall and wear my natural hair as it is on an every day basis. Meanwhile, I enjoy the few weeks of the year in which I get to keep my hair natural and free from the whitening culture every Latina has to put up with at some point of our lives.

 

People Say I’m Rich

People say I’m rich because I dress like an Escada model…truth is that I buy most of my clothes at the local thrift shop.

People say I’m rich because I walk like Naomi Campbell throughout the campus…truth is that my high self-esteem reminds me that I love myself and that I’m an important woman with a brilliant future ahead.

People say I’m rich because I went to a good private catholic school…truth is that my mother used to ask for payment extensions from Sister Alma because we barely made it through the month.

People say I’m rich because I live in my own home with my own bedroom and personal bathroom…truth is that my parents took big loans in order to finish paying off the house, one of the reasons why my mother asked for extensions at school in the first place.

People say I’m rich because I tend to leave the impression of a highbrow snob…truth is that I came from a humble upbringing in a small apartment on Elmhurst Ave. in Queens with a dad who barely finished elementary school and a mother who left her successful career to raise us. They also don’t know that my brother and I had Medicaid in order to pay for our health expenses and took WIC programs to be able to eat according to our needs.

People say I’m rich because I dine in nice places and enjoy the simple pleasures of traveling and exploring…truth is that I go to a public university where I pay US$11 dollars per semester and I work as a teacher’s assistant at school.

People say I’m rich because I speak four languages and play the violin…truth is that I’ve been awarded scholarships for some of those studies and that my violin professor never charged us for years in good faith towards his passions for arts.

People say I’m rich because of all of the above, but that’s because they never took the time to know my story, and they prefer to judge from the outside.

People say I’m rich because we live in a society that forms conceptions based upon your looks and appeals instead of your true personality.

People say I’m rich because the world itself is related with the materialistic goods you get to possess or enjoy instead of the values that hold up within yourself to make you into a better person.

Actually I do consider myself rich, but rich in perseverance, rich in dreams and aspirations, rich in family values, rich in hopes, rich in love, rich in goals, rich in tolerance, rich in honesty, rich in respect, rich in responsibility, rich in humility, rich in discipline, rich in attentiveness and loyalty.

People say I’m rich because instead of trying to change into someone better they waste their time looking at me and wishing they had what I have, meanwhile I plan my goal to be a person of academic success to contribute in the makings of a better world for our future generations.

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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