Am I Really Doing This?

So today is different.

Today I am working my last day on a job that I never liked very much on an island I still have not found my sea legs for.

I had planned this post as a farewell to an ugly chapter in my work experience but unfortunately it got uglier before that could happen. I left my job a day earlier than expected because shit happens and people can be horrible sometimes.

It’s been a rough year and a half here but it was necessary in order to keep moving forward.

Let me explain:

I took this job as a way to be closer to home in the event that Matt and I got pregnant and, this was a way to be able to attend night classes at Queens College. All of this leads me to the next big starring role of my life. Quitting my job and going back to school full time. This is incredibly scary for me. Not even gonna lie. This will be the first time in almost ten years that I won’t have a full time job.

When I first dropped out of school in 2010, I went straight to work. Full time work has been my backbone, my sanctuary and my source of pride (and income) for such a long time. Giving this up, willingly, has been a source of many anxious nightmares the past couple of months. Being the recipient of a generous scholarship for the upcoming scholastic year I had the option of going full steam ahead, quitting my job, and going to school full time and completing my English is degree. OR taking a couple of night classes like I have been doing (just for free this time) and continuing the slow move towards a 10 year bachelors degree. (Yes babe I’m exaggerating).

You would think this was an easy decision… but its not. Shit has been hard AF.

So here we are again at another crossroads with me changing up my entire life. I feel like every couple of years I do this. Change up everything around me and start over from the bottom. Mainly because I don’t think I’ve been feeding my passions in a way that keeps them alive and healthy. I thought moving to Long Island would end all my creative instincts but the opposite happened. They’ve become louder! Begging for attention and whining for quality time.

So I’m going to write. And I’m going to act. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to feed my soul. And I’m going to do my best to not to feel guilty about doing this because holy shit! you could be making 6 figures as an accountant! What are you doing?!

My ten year high school reunion is next month. I haven’t really decided if I’m going to go because “I’m unemployed and following my dReAmS” doesn’t seem like the glow up I wanted to have at this point. But! BIG BUT! Looking back on this ten years I’ve come to the realization that I could have fucked this whole thing up so much more. And for that I’m proud. This next journey is going to be interesting to say the least but I think I’m pretty lucky.

Until then Matt and I are taking some much needed time off and traveling a bit so be on the look out for those posts! Either way, there are still a couple of things up in the air at this point so I won’t share all my plans but if you do wander onto the Queens College campus, bring food, because ya girl is always hungry!

Thanks for sticking with me. I hope I don’t disappoint you.

-Besos! XO

Where Have I Been All This Time?

Hey there! Hows it going? How have you been?

Awesome!

Where have I been?

Well where do I start?

First I had school.

This past semester was my first one as an English major and let me tell you! I was definitely put to the test. I had class Monday and Wednesday nights, for 3 hours, after a full work day. I was reading and writing in bed, in my car, on the way to family events, and so on and so on and so on. But I loved it! I didn’t miss a class, and I made sure I was up to date on all the readings. I was actually excited to go to class every night. Even if it meant not eating dinner some nights or going to bed super late other nights. I haven’t gotten my grades back yet but I’m pretty confident I did well. My Creative Writing Professor even asked me to take his poetry workshop class next semester! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am on my way! Given I still have like 13 classes I need to graduate but I’m on my way… slowly, but surely. 

Secondly, I had an epiphany.

It started with a pizza run. In Long Island the Vegan pizza game is pretty limited. So one night we’re leaving the movies in Levittown. If you don’t know me and Matt by now, we go to the movies every weekend and we switch between theaters by our house because sometimes the one close to us doesn’t have every movie. Levittown is about 30 minutes away and is the only theater that has a bar and dine-in option. Unfortunately not many vegan options but we make it work. So, we’re leaving the movies and Matt suggest we go to That Pizza Place, or heaven on earth as I call it. A pizza place with both vegan and non-vegan options about 5 minutes from the movies and it closed in about an hour so we had just enough time. We grab some slices to go and on the way out I see a new awning had gone up on a store front right by the pizza shop. The Actors Workshop of LI. When I saw it a thought immediately entered my mind that it’s either now or never. Throughout the years I have looked into taking acting classes but I always had an excuse or a reason against it. This time, with the support of my husband, I decided to give it a try. I went in for a free trial class and right after paid for 6 more classes. I’ve already had an audition with an agent (set up through the workshop) and even though I didn’t get the call back i feel like I’m learning so much! I have two more classes left and then I don’t know what I’m going to do but I’m so happy getting to express myself creatively again. One of my biggest hang ups about moving to Long Island was not being able to be creative the way I was in the city. I feel like I’m starting to figure it out now though. 

Thirdly, life happens.

When I started this blog I was so sure I would be posting all day every day but you know shit happens. I’ll do my best and I hope you’ll still follow along for the ride. 

-Besos!


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Verse Of The Week

Before I was dating my now husband I used to go out to clubs and party. I used to say I was going because I wanted a night out or I loved to dance. That’s a lie.

I was going to find cute boys.

Almost every time I didn’t find anything worth pursuing or more than just a fling. And I never did.

I would spend entire nights worried about my hair and my outfit and getting drunk. I wasn’t even dancing the whole time because I was too busy scouting for boys.

My husband and I met at work, were I had a strict no dating coworkers rule. My selfish desires had blocked me from my blessing for three years before I would finally go on a date with him.

Now we’re married and I don’t go to clubs anymore. I don’t go out dancing and drinking at bars. Why? Because I’m not looking for anyone anymore so it’s not as much fun. I can drink at home with my husband.

We did have an experience when we went to Jamaica were we went to the club. I told him “tonight I want to dance”. And I did and it felt so good! Just dancing and drinking not worried about anything else. I realized once I took my selfish goal out of the night it was so much more fun. I wish I had this confidence and relaxation when I was younger.

I  mean in terms of Peter preaching to the Philippians; I didn’t solve world hunger. But!  BIG BUT! I now count my husband as more important than myself. I don’t want to dance when he’s not there to watch me. I don’t want to go out if he’s not there to enjoy the night with me. A small step towards selflessness but a step nonetheless.

  • Besos! xoxo

-Instagram: ReenaAlexis

-Twitter: @TheMrsAlter

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Verse Of The Week – My Breast Reduction Story

Happy Sunday Happy People!

You want to know my favorite body part? Shoulders.

Once in highschool I found out I had the strongest shoulders on the volleyball team and since then they have always been my favorite. I can carry the weight of the world on these bad boys.

I remember we were doing planks and our coach was having us guess who had the strongest (enter body part here) according to our team physical therapist. Some were really easy to guess but we couldn’t figure out shoulders until Chelsea Butner guessed my name and got it right. She immediately turned to me and said something along the lines of “I knew it was you because you had those big ass titties to carry around!” Facts.

When I was 16 Danny Brown asked me to the homecoming dance. I had a crush on him all through high school, so naturally, I thought he was joking until he convinced me otherwise. A week before that DECA was having a fashion show that we were all supposed to be in. The dress that I was going to wear was supposed to be fitted to properly cover my large breast but when I put it on (maybe an hour before curtain) it didn’t fit. They forgot to fit the dress. I was devastated! To make it worse the partner I was supposed to walk with never showed up! I didn’t mention this before but I was also president of DECA at the time so not walking was not an option. I broke down into an epic panic attack. A group of women and other student models band together, found some safety pins, and went to work. I honestly just remember people pulling and tugging and my best friend Rebecca telling me it’s ok. Eventually I was sucked in enough that no one was afraid of anything popping out.

The teacher advisor for DECA at the time, Mr.Rosan, told me that he’ll figure out the missing partner issue and to get ready because of course I was first out. The music goes on, lights, I’m given my cue and I walk out. As I’m walking out the safety pins  start opening! No lie I could feel them sticking me but I’m just smiling and walking and praying for this to be over. I hit my pose and wait. Out pops Danny Brown in full suit walking down the makeshift  runway. We walk out together into the hallway and he turns and says “we gave them a good preview for next week!” and then proceeded to tell me I looked beautiful. For me that meant a lot.

A week later and it’s homecoming. One problem, I don’t have a bra. My breast had gotten so big that I had resorted to using two, sometimes three various sized sports bras to cover them up. I went to public school so most days I just wore hoodies and sweatpants. It was my uniform because I hated the way I looked and I didn’t want to call any attention to my body. So my mother and I decided to take the bus to the mall and try to find something I could put under a dress. In the past I’ve used tape but in this dress it would’ve been visible and to be honest the amount of tape we needed was just excessive and painful and I always hated it.

Long story short we find a bra. Kind of. It was a 34GGG (triple G) and it didn’t fit me perfectly but it did the job as best as a bra could at that point. It was also the largest size we could find. I ran in late to the dance because of this and Danny was already there but when I got there he had a corsage waiting for me and told me I looked pretty. Teenage swoon! We took a picture together and everything! I don’t have this picture for proof but i saw it once on Myspace so I know it exist. Here’s one of me and Beccy instead:

I wish I could say that we danced the night away and he asked me to be his girlfriend and I was totally popular and cool after but no. We danced, I think, to one song and everything went back to normal after. I got back in my pumpkin and he never asked me out again.

A couple weeks later I had a doctors appointment with my pediatrician because of the unbearable back pain I was suffering. I had huge bruises and indents on my shoulders from the sports bars and I couldn’t stand or sit up straight for very long or I would get these spasms and couldn’t move until they were over. I was on the volleyball team so I was pretty active but working out wasn’t doing anything to help the pain. It was at that appointment that my doctor referred me to a specialist so that I could have a breast reduction.

These consultations were horrible. I was 16 in a room with a bunch of grown ass people having to be naked from the waist up while they examine my breast. My doctor would ask me how small I wanted to go and I would tell him if you can take them all please do. I hated every second of it and for a while I was morally conflicted. Some guy I knew told me one day that if I went through with the surgery it would be a sin against God because he created me like that. That stuck in my head for a while and I would pray and pray on it all the time. This was a heavy cross to bear. To add insult to injury this was the year of SuperBad. They had that horrible commercial talking about some girl who had just gotten a breast reduction and how it was like slapping God in the face. I used to cry to that commercial.

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That summer on July 21, 2007 I was on my way to the hospital to get my breast reduction surgery. Like all surgeries I wasn’t allowed to eat for 24 hours beforehand. I remember being so hungry! We were passing burger place after burger place. There was commercials on the radio for burgers. It was a rough ride. We got to the hospital and filled out some more paperwork. I was asked to changed into that paper gown and hairnet. The doctor came in to speak with me and then he broke out this metal device. It was like a really heavy, cold, protractor. He measured my breast again (at this point they were still growing) and he took a sharpie and drew lines and dots and all that stuff you see on TV. This part I hated the most.

The doctor left and a nurse came in to take vitals and get me prepped. Pretty much this is the point where they made me sign that paper that says BTW you could die but if you do it’s not our fault. Heavy stuff for 16 year old me. This stuff my parents couldn’t do for me either a lot of it I had to do and take responsibility for myself. The first time I ever had to do that in my life.  Then the nurse says its time to go and has me get into a wheel chair to head to the operating room. “Say good-bye to your parents.” I lost it. I started crying so hard as I gave my parents a kiss. Right there the fear hit me all at once. I remember laying on the table getting strapped in and the nurse asking me about my job at IHOP and what the best thing on the menu was. I fell asleep telling him about harvest grain n nut pancakes. No. Shame. 

They took around 12 pounds out of me and the doctor said he did as much as he could but if I wanted to go smaller it would have to be a separate surgery. Hard Pass. When I woke up the nurse told me my heart had stopped on the table. Then proceeded to offer me a muffin and ginger ale. The whole thing was very surreal. I remember trying to eat the muffin but I just couldn’t figure it out. I was highly medicated. I asked for my dad and eventually they brought in my parents. “Dad can we go get burgers now?”

As we were finally getting ready to leave the nurse said I had visitors. My friend Nazanin, her sister Mariam and their mother were waiting for me to get out of surgery with flowers. I started crying again feeling all the love and support. I hadn’t told them all the details of when and where my surgery was but they found out and came anyway. That kind of love could never be faked. I remember the ride home being painful and the walk up the stairs at home being painful. Also the neighbors came out of their house to watch me and ask my parents what was wrong with me.

The next day my father brought home a copy of the final Harry Potter book since I had missed the release the day before. Friends came to visit and eventually a friend of mine who worked with me at IHOP even brought me a burger courtesy of my boss. My mom made them all hold bags of rice so they could feel exactly how heavy the weight was that was taken out of me. She kept saying “Its like Reena had twins!”

After the surgery, my body was disgusting. I looked like Frankenstein’s monster come to life. For a while I regretted it and thought that my wounds wouldn’t heal and I would be stuck like this forever. My wounds did heal and I have very noticeable scars but they are a part of me now.

Going back to school that September I was nervous about what people would say about me. I put on the smallest shirt I could find and went to school. Some people made a big fuss over it, other people just spoke about me behind my back. I was in High School and people made very high school remarks. One story in particular got back to me. A Senior was in a class where I guess they were having a really heated conversation about me and my surgery. I wasn’t friends with this guy and I only spoke to him in passing but he turned to them I told them to stop talking about me that I didn’t do anything wrong and if they do they’ll have to speak with him. That story always makes me feel good. Like I had people watching out for me even when I didn’t know it.

And it wasn’t just the students, some of the teachers had my back too. I’ll never forget the first time I was cleared to practice volleyball again. I didn’t know I needed a doctor’s note to practice again. I figured the doctor said I’m good so lets put in this work. My coach called me out in front of everyone asking if I had a note. When he told me he couldn’t let me practice without one I broke down. I had been to every practice cheering on my team and all I wanted was to be normal again. I guess my tears swayed my coach because he let me practice and I brought in the note the next day. I gave everything that practice and I remember it was on the football field so it was all workouts and no actual volleyball. I didn’t care. On the walk home my coach was passing by in his car and called out that I did a good job. That shit made me so proud of myself! That year my team won the state championship too. Not because of me or anything I just wanted to add that in there.

Looking back on this, the insults, hardships and persecutions I endured just made me stronger. I used to have random guys come up and touch my breast because they were so big. This had absolutely nothing to do with how I was dressed either. I used to have people give me sex advice centered around my breast at 14 years old. Behavior that was both inexcusable, inappropriate and frightening for me sometimes. My body use to be a punishment for me but not I can appreciate my body more for having gone through this. I can look back and see the growth I had as a person because of this. Also, I can fit into cute tops now!

My shoulders are strong because I have had to live through the extra weight of my body and everyone’s opinions. I now have a husband who looks as my body and thinks it’s pretty awesome. I still run the risk of growing them back if I gain a bunch of weight or get pregnant but for now I’m good. I still get a bit of back pain from time to time but nothing as horrible as it was before. And I’m grown now. I’m not known or defined by this anymore.

This past summer I celebrated 11 years since that surgery. It’s something I survived.

-Besos! Xoxo

  • Instagram: ReenaAlexis
  • Twitter: @TheMrsAlterimg_0258-4

Verse Of The Week

I want to share with you something that I’ve noticed in my life since getting married and moving out of reach of the people who I’ve always surrounded myself with. There is a lot less drama!

No joke.

Another thing is people speak to me more now. People who never spoke to me before and people who didn’t have a vested interest in my life now have real conversations with me. Whether it be through Instagram or text or whatever; there’s a shift.

So what changed?

I stopped feeding the monsters under the bed. I stopped letting the negativity run my life and I try my hardest to live in the light.

One of my cousins, after visiting my house for the first time, sent me this really heartfelt message. He said he was happy being around me because I was so happy. He was proud of my lifestyle and it made him want to eat cleaner and live cleaner too. He said it was infectious and he couldn’t wait to come back. Messages like that really help on days where I question who really cares for me.

I have another cousin who has never been to my house. A couple of years ago, before I was even dating Matt, I would try everything in my power to spend more time with this person. I would take her out to eat, buy tickets for shows, invite her everywhere; anything and everything you could possibly think of. In return she would show up sometimes and leave early to hang out with her friends or use me as an alibi to go somewhere else so she didn’t get in trouble. It became toxic on my end. Eventually I stopped trying, I started dating Matt, we fell in love and I moved in with him in Astoria. This person never visited there or made the effort to hang out. I would get the “we should hang out more” text messages and guilt trips. Now I live in Long Island, and I’m married and its the same story. Only now I don’t get texts but she always gets an invitation.

The difference here is that I don’t let their negative pattern stop me from being happy anymore. Back then I would spend a lot of time trying to please that person and trying to get closer to them when it was very clear they didn’t care to be close to me. Now I keep living. They are always invited but I don’t let their absence ruin my day.

In life there will always be drama. There will always be people who try to blame you for their shortcomings.

Live in your own light. Be your own happiness. Eventually people will catch on. Until then the world is yours!

Besos! xoxo

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck

This book has it all!

Catchy, thought provoking, edgy title? Check!

Bright as fuck orange cover so you can see it a mile away? Check!

Blogger turned author living the gat-damn dream? Check!

Brash cursing dialogue? Check!

Made it on the New York Times best seller list? Check!

What’s missing? My will to actually read it…

I’ve read maybe a handful of self-help type books before and I always face the same issue. No matter how good the advice or how interesting it is written, I just struggle finishing it. Unfortunately this book was not an acception.

The things I struggled with here were the actual advice bits. I cannot for the life of me recall any advice actually given in the book. I can’t tell you this made me a better person or made me take a hard look at myself.

What I did enjoy were the anecdotes sprinkled throughout. The story of the Beatles and the soldier in the woods were captivating. The last story he tells about the death of his friend was especially poignant. If this book was only those stories I would’ve eaten it up. I guess I just had a hard time relating to the well of white man who slept his way through life until he decided to try something.

I also believe I was fighting the hype here. So many people I know have read this book and told me how amazing it is. It’s just not my flavor drink if you get my drift. Which is crazy because before I read it I bought this for my brother and even convinced an old co-worker to get it for my ex boss as part of secret santa. My husband even read it and he doesn’t read very often. I was a bit disappointed on my end.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?

-Besos! xoxo

Instagram: ReenaAlexis

Twitter: @TheMrsAlter

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Verse Of The Week

Hi! My name is Reena, and I am an habitual over-thinker.

I worry about everything under the sun, and will over-plan my life away if given the chance.

Will there be a vegan option for me to eat?  If not I should bring something just in case. But what if I’m super hungry? What if I’m not in the mood for this? Can I manage to bring fresh fruit without it going bad by the time I get there?

Our appointment is at 1. That gives me enough time to do two loads of laundry. Sweep. Mop the floors. Feed the dogs. Do the dishes. Sneak in a quick chapter of that book I was reading. And so on and so on and so on.

I am perpetually worried because I have filled my life with responsibilities and not with enough silence. Silence of the mind is so important for us.

Right now I am sitting on my hotel patio in Jamaica, with my husband, sharing a drink and silencing our minds. Tomorrow’s worries are for tomorrow.

I will admit that I need to be forced to relax at times but once I do I can feel the difference. I can be a better wife, worker, dog-mom when I have taken time out for myself.

Every two weeks I make sure to get my nails done. I do this for two reasons. 1. I think it’s dope when my nails are done and it makes me feel like I have my shit together. Even when I don’t. 2. It’s an hour and a half out of the house with nothing to think about but my nails and the book I read during my pedicure. It’s not a lot but I cherish my hour and a half.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the hell out of my husband but sometimes life is busy and you need to slow the fuck down. You feel me?

Spend a day working through the issues one thing at a time. Don’t over-think or hyper focus on all of it at once. Today’s problem: laundry, shower and walking the dogs. That’s it. I cannot handle anything more. Get it done. Then celebrate! Three problems solved and a glass of wine to prove it.

Our concierge said something today. He said “in Jamaica there are no problems, only situations.”  That. Part. I want to bring that mentality with me everywhere.

Today I hope that you are at ease. That you don’t have a laundry list of problems taking space in your head. That you take 10 minutes for yourself today. That your body knows relaxation.

Put on a face mask. Bake yourself a cake. Read a book. Take a walk. Do whatever you need to do to put your mind at ease.

Take a break. Because you deserve it!

Besos xoxo

-Instagram: ReenaAlexis

-Twitter: @TheMrsAlter

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