Why Alysia Montano wears a flower in her hair during every race

26 Aug


Even though she grew up playing football, shooting hoops and running races against all the boys in her neighborhood, U.S. 800-meter champion Alysia Montano never wanted to be thought of as one of them.

As a result, she started wearing a flower behind her right ear to remind the boys they were getting beat by a girl.

The flower remains Montano’s trademark even though her opponents are now world-class female middle-distance runners. The Southern California native donned a red flower to match her red Team USA jersey in London when she breezed to a victory in her heat during the first round of qualifying in the women’s 800 meters.

“The flower to me means strength with femininity,” Montano said in June after winning the 800 at the U.S. Olympic trials. “I think that a lot of people say things like you run like a girl. That doesn’t mean you have to run soft or you have to run dainty. It means that you’re strong.”



When Words Fail Me…

24 Aug

“And I’m complicated, you won’t get me, I have trouble, understanding myself.”

My Pursuit of Happiness

24 Aug

Last year was sort of a rough time for me. And by rough time I don’t mean the usual crap pms-ing girls bitch about. I mean 365 days of major screwing up.

Okay maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. I mean, I did have the occasional once-in-a-life-time moment and little achievements every now and then. But still, I did screw up big time.

What bothers me the most, is not my screw ups, for I have dwelled on those for far too long. But rather the fact that I let my mistakes turn me into a complete drag. For a long time, I was a walking mass of negative energy. And it was exhausting. For everyone.

Too much guilt, remorse and self-hate. And for what? No matter how bad I felt, I could never turn back time nor would I ever undo the things I did. So I got over it, and instead busied myself with searching for “happiness.”

And lemme tell you right now, that shit doesn’t work.

You won’t wake up one day with a brilliant epiphany about how to be happy. Nor will you find the answer in some pretentious self-help book.

All you need to do is focus on being a better version of you, and you’ll come to a conclusion all by yourself. Otherwise, you won’t recognize happiness if it hit you in the face. And all the advice in the world will sound more cheesy than a 12 year old’s facebook  status update.

Nonetheless, I decided to summarize my summer’s worth of ‘conclusions’ right here. You might find them useful, save for a little cheesiness here and there.

Here goes:

  1. It’s all in your head. You don’t control what happens to you, but you do control how you feel about it. So transforming your way of thought is the first step of any sort of improvement whatsoever.
  2. Think positive. There is ALWAYS a silver lining. Although hard to spot at times, but it’s always there. You only need to look close enough.
  3. What if it was me? This is a question that I try to ask myself every time someone does something to piss me off. After I control the urge to punch them in the face. (No YOU need anger management.) But seriously, it works. I try to imagine how I would feel if I had their lives and experiences. I almost always excuse their actions.
  4. Stop complaining. Someone out there just died from hunger, or abuse, or a chronic disease. This thought alone is enough to make all my problems seem petty.
  5. Be grateful. If you’re reading this, you probably have a personal computer and an internet connection. Chances are you have everything you need and more. But you just need to remind yourself of that more often.
  6. Take the blame. It’s always easier to blame someone else for your own shortcomings. But if you let your parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, or anyone make life-changing decisions for you, then it’s your own goddamn fault. Stop pointing fingers, and start taking action. You’re in control of your own life.
  7. Be present. Our world is beautiful. The real world, that is. The one that exists offline. Try deactivating your social network accounts for a week, and not only will you have a shitload of free time, but you’ll also realize how inane they really are.
  8. Workout! I swear on all that is good and holy, it is impossible to be in a bad mood if you workout on a daily basis. I’m not saying you should turn into a jock or a gym rat, just get those endorphins pumpin’.
  9. Eat clean. ‘You are what you eat’ never made sense until I started eating healthy food. Honestly, I’ve never felt better in my life. Keeping in mind that it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. I am 100% against depriving yourself of food that makes you happy, just as long as you decrease your portions and eat it less often. Just stay away from trans fats and empty calories, stock up on your fruits and veggies, and you’re good to go!
  10. Sleep. When all else fails, make love to your bed.

If you’re reading this (and not rolling your eyes) I hope you find any of it useful. If not, just spend more time philosophizing in the shower. It works.
I swear.

Who am I?

23 Aug


Describe yourself in 140 characters. This is one of the basic steps of signing up for a twitter account. And one that has continuously challenged me for as long as I can remember. I look from my keyboard to my screen and back, still clueless as to what defines me as a person.

As a child, every cell in my being longed to get out. Out of the house. Out of class. Out of anywhere, really. I’ve always hated any sort of confinement whatsoever. I just wanted to build things, climb trees or play football with the boys. I’ve never really had a main interest or a hobby, if you will.

Even now, as a teenager, I can’t seem to find something that I love and stick to it. It’s either unhealthy obsession, or utter nonchalance. There’s no middle way with me. I’m not sure if I’m yet to find something that renders me forever engrossed, or if I suffer from a severe case of ADD. I’m betting it’s the latter though.

So I decided to put an end to my lifetime of cluelessness. No more joining every single club and student group on campus. Or simultaneously reading 4 books. No more learning French one week, and Italian the next. No more spending days on end experimenting with food in the kitchen. Or starting a new programming language every other day.

I am going to spend an entire semester with no extracurricular activities whatsoever. *gulps*

For now, I’ll focus only on working out daily and eating clean.

I need persistence goddammit.




27 Jul

The house is quiet and still. The morning light peaks coyly through the shades, and flickers on my face until it’s impossible to ignore. Obstinately, I shut my eyes in an attempt to prolong the inevitable, but to no avail.

As I float on the surface of waking I can’t find myself in time; is it a school day or a day off? Am I sick? Why is it raining? I can hear the wind fling itself against the house. Rain pouring down in sheets. I hear it coursing through the gutters and drumming on the roof.

My senses start to come alive, ever so slowly. And likewise, an unsettling realization starts to sink in. It is over.

An all too familiar feeling starts to seize me; part emptiness and part unbearable sadness. I reminisce over a world that was cruelly snatched away from me. A world that bore a maternal affection; nurturing my mind and feeding my soul. One that would seduce me into it until I am completely and utterly engrossed. And now that it’s over, I am left lonesome and empty.

I turn over to my side, to find the trigger of my aforementioned misery. The last book of a series that had me bewitched for weeks on end, lies on my nightstand. I pick it up carefully lest I drop it in my morning grogginess. I flip through the pages, and re-read random passages that bring the memories flooding back. The words transform into a movie reel, filmed by my imagination. I watch and re-watch my favorite parts, until I am intoxicated with emotions.

What am I going to do with my life now? Living solely in reality is no longer a valid option. Neither is seeking solace in another book, for I can’t come to terms with leaving the old one behind. I need an adequate mourning period to let the pain run its course.

I pull the plaited quilt over my head, and will myself into sleep, silently praying to wake up with temporary amnesia, so I can read the books again like it’s the first time.


The Time Traveler’s Wife

24 Jul

I recently read The Time Traveler’s Wife and to be honest, I’m disappointed. The author manages to turn a brilliant premise into something very dull and mediocre. But I managed to finish it, all way-too-many-pages of it. With its labyrinth of plot twists, Humbert Humbertish sex scenes and endless lists of the 60’s rock bands.

The book dragged on and on and on, especially after I guessed the ending halfway through the book. I finished it only so it would be fair when I say that it sucked. For a supposedly touching love story, I didn’t sympathize with the characters at all, and the pointless complications of the plot is to blame.

I know my mini review is harsh, but I’m a little hard to please when it comes to sci-fi novels. Anyway, here’s a part that I thought was a perfect description of depression:

I sleep. I inhabit sleep firmly, willing it, wielding it, pushing away dreams, refusing, refusing. Sleep is my lover now, my forgetting, my opiate, my oblivion.

It is the afternoon, it is night, it is morning. Everything is reduced to this bed, this endless slumber that makes the days into one day, makes time stop, stretches and compacts time until it’s meaningless.

Now I know how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird.

And that’s about the only paragraph I liked.

Bottom line? Just because something is popular does not mean it’s good.

Tofeca’s 19th birthday!

30 Jun

It started seven years ago. She was the kind of girl I never thought I’d be friends with; too badass for my geeky old self.  We were in middle school when we started hanging out in the same group, but she was always closer to me than anyone else.

It was her devil-may-care attitude that I loved the most about her, and the fact that she always carried neon colored pens. (What? I like colors!)

When I remember my school days, it feels like a slide show of movie stills; snapshots of moments I never thought would mean so much to me.

I see us climbing over walls, drawing graffiti and jumping out of windows. I see us giggling when the teachers chased us around campus or sent us to the principal’s office. We really were quite the trouble makers.

I remember how her tongue was always stained orange by that popsicle she loved so much, and how she always sang out loud in class. (and still does) I remember the folder that she carried around for the sole purpose of turning it into a tabla and singing ‘tanoura’, she also had it covered with Usher’s photos. (she had a serious crush on him)

I remember when she painted her room pink and wrote misspelled words on the wall. I remember our obsession with anything emo/goth-like. I remember scribbling obscenities on cars and dressing up like dudes in public. I remember the water fights and spin the bottle games. I remember pretending to be boyfriend/girlfriend and creeping people out.

Two years later, she changed schools and we rarely saw each other after that. But that only seemed to make us grow closer. We helped each other through the phase of realizing the difference between right and wrong. We grew up. We made unrealistic plans. We changed. But most importantly, we did it together.

I then slowly realized that I wasn’t an only child. She was my God sent non-biological sister, because let’s face it, neither of our parents could handle both of us. And I couldn’t wish for a better sister.

She’s the kind of person who’d spend the week before her finals playing football with me when I’m depressed. She spends countless hours making her awesome videos for my birthdays. She always listens when I babble about my pointless dramas over and over again. She motivates, inspires and cheers me up like no one can. And I really couldn’t be grateful enough.

Happy birthday Tofeca!
I hope you grow old enough to race me on your wheelchair when we’re grandmas in Italy.