Why I spontaneously changed my name from Lauryn to Lalita

My journey to self-discovery at a spiritual commune in Costa Rica.

I never felt like I fit in, anywhere. I often wondered how I’d been born in my hometown, why there was so much hate for self and “other”, and why my parents wouldn’t let my grandmother take me to Spain and Mexico to better know my Latin roots.

The world I grew up in felt painfully white.

Void of creative self-expression and filled with rules I didn’t understand regarding how the world should work. Filled with uniformity and a profound contrast between who I felt myself to be and what was presented before me. 

I think the most palpable identifier was fear. Everyone was so fearful of being different, of setting out on the open road, of defying their angry male God, and of heaven forbid, leaving Buffalo.

I often found myself on the opposing downbeat of a completely different song.


Not in skin color, but in soul. In the richness, that comes from something of the night.

Public school felt like a war zone.

Much of my life felt like one, ongoing conflict. At home, in school, on the basketball court, and internally. I yearned to make sense of the endless madness around me.

Despite my surmounting accolades and ambitions, it felt like I had to defend myself constantly. In hindsight, I see that success gave me a sense of self, authority, and protection. It gave me a constructive outlet to channel all the anger and rage. 

The result was that I became the captain of my basketball team, an award-winning debater, and graduated in the top 10% of my class with a full scholarship to university. 

And yet, any natural and emerging sense of who I was felt diminished and wrong.

Before I knew who I was, I learned to hide. 

I hid my deepest sense of self in places I lost the key to so that no one could reach or see me. If ‘I’ did surface, I thought, people would see the inner conflict, the division of identity, and the heavy feelings of being broken and bad. 

I’d lost many key friends throughout my childhood that the fear of losing any remaining sense of community or security was terrifying. So I avoided additional conflict by hiding what I felt caused the loss: me. 

By senior year, I didn’t trust people, especially adults and authority figures. I wanted out of Buffalo. I wanted out so badly I could taste it, but where would I go?

When I turned 19, I flew to Mexico to live with my aunts and cousins. 

It was eery and uncanny to see that my Mexican family mirrored so closely that of my mixed family in the states. Both generations ahead of me were comprised of strong matriarchies consisting of three sisters. Each of the trios contained one sister that was married with children. All three sisters in both countries lived under the same roof, helping to raise the children.

My time in Mexico opened a door for me. I grew to know a part of myself that my grandmother was trying to show me since I was a little girl. My broken Spanish turned into full-on sentences and a sense of pride in who I was in this lifetime began to blossom. It was one of the first times I felt I had a say in who I was and what I wanted. 

Flash forward to seven years later. I was a success, but I still didn’t know who I was. 

In the course of the next decade, I threw myself into work. I enjoyed a loving relationship of eight years with a beautiful man and worked with some of the most successful people in business including Seth Godin, Jonathan Fields, Ramit Sethi and others. 

I attended school at the Universidad de la Habana in communist Cuba for six months. I was trilingual, started multiple businesses and worked at the prestigious USUN Embassy to Rome. I  boasted two TEDx’s, and traveled the world extensively, all by 27 years of age.

But I was still striving. There was a sense of emptiness and inner hunger I couldn’t quite quench. I was tired, self-aware, and unsure of what I was looking for. 

In 2014, my life shifted and I entered a proverbial shit storm.

That summer I was still in San Francisco job hunting. The health of my elderly family stateside was declining rapidly and within three months, my grandmother and her two siblings passed away, shutting the door to a generation and lineage that raised me.

A generation that instilled in me a profound work ethic, a palpable pride in being Latina, and a knowing of who I am above and beyond what the world thinks. And now they were gone. 

It was with her passing that I came to understand much of her unspoken story and the wisdom she passed on to me. 

 I was doing my best to make San Francisco my new home, but life had other plans.

Nine months after I started my job at Lyft — three months into 2015 — I was dumped by my new boyfriend and laid off a week later.

I found myself in the thick of the night, again. But I didn’t see any stars.

I didn’t sense anything beyond the deterioration of all sense of security, identity, and hope. I cursed God. I cursed my choices. I cursed myself.

I was left to look at myself, again, outside of the people, jobs, and accomplishments that had defined me most of my life. 

Everyone thought they knew me, but I felt like I barely knew myself.

Who was I if not a Ballesteros, an accomplished business woman, and Armando’s girlfriend? I wasn’t certain and that was frightening. 

I discovered a remote meditation center in the jungles of Costa Rica.

I was undergoing a reclamation of the soul — a profound spiritual death. This I knew. 

I also knew I needed to lay to rest a life that was no longer mine. To release myself of the baggage I was carrying and to properly and metaphorically die with ease and guidance. This would require a very special space and community. 

A friend of mine recommended I look into a meditation center her cousin attended the year before. This, I realized, was where I needed to go and I was terrified.

Shortly before leaving for the meditation center, while journaling, I had a premonition that I would be given a new name. The idea popped out onto the page as if it fell from the sky. It wasn’t a known desire of mine, in fact, it felt foreign. And yet, there it was, on the page in front of me.

Once at the center, I overheard some people mention a special name giving ceremony. 

It wasn’t advertised, they said. The student initiates the process and personally makes the request during the ten-day silence at the end of the summer.

New names represent a death of the old self and mark the transition into your spiritual self.

In my final week at Pachamama, we underwent 10 days of complete silence. During this extended meditation, we were able to write letters to the elders, describing our personal experiences and to ask for guidance. In two of my letters, I requested a new name. 

The truth is, I didn’t want a new name or the burden of explaining it to others. 

And yet, I knew I had to do it. There was no thinking involved in this decision. I was following a deep calling. 

At the end of the retreat, seven of us sat in a ceremonial sweat lodge to get our new names. 

I was one of the first to receive my new name. I remember thinking that I better like this shit. That it better look and feel beautiful and easy to brand.

As I turned over my rock in the sweat lodge, I remember seeing my new name imprinted for the first time.

Vira Lalita. Gentle wisdom.

It was Sanskrit.

I gasped as I saw the name Lalita.

I was given my grandmother's name. 

My grandmother had died less than a year earlier and Lala was her nickname. In Spanish, Lalita is the smaller version of Lala. 

I started to cry. I felt like I had come full circle and knew that I had been guided to Pachamama, to that sweat lodge, and to the desire for a new name. 

My grandmother had been such a strong presence in my life while alive and was an even greater supportive force while on my journey in Costa Rica.

Upon further research, I discovered that Vira Lalita also means the following:

Vira means brave, heroic, and powerful. Lalita is “she who plays”. Playful, desirable, lovely, charming, and gentle. Lalita is also a Hindu goddess meaning Divine Mother.

No one at the center knew my grandmother was called Lala and that’s the inherent magic of spirit. 

Vira Lalita immediately became a catalyst of sorts. It furthered my own journey of self-excavation to retrieve what I’d buried so long ago. It was time to uncover my true nature and rewrite the stories that led me to bury myself to begin with. 

One year later, I'm at a business conference, chatting with  Seth Godin —friend and mentor — sharing my desire to be on stage. 

My business is growing in leaps and bounds and I miss speaking and performing, I shared as we sipped tea. The one key obstacle standing in my way has been the ongoing inner conflict of who I am, I continued.

Am I really Lalita? Even if it sounds like the infamous novel Lolita? 

And am I ready to step back onto stage with a new name? 

Am I willing to truly commit to this new name? This new identity. 

In that moment, I realized I needed to choose the name I felt more empowered by. That this wasn’t about anyone else; it was about me. This was , in fact, the core lesson I’d been learning over the past two years. 

In that moment, it felt obvious. While I loved Lauryn, I felt empowered and aligned with Lalita. 

Changing my name has come with uncertainty and backlash, too.

First off, most people, unless Latin or Indian, have a hard time pronouncing the name Lalita. 

Secondly, friends I expected to fully support my decision, surprised me with powerful objections, saying my new name felt ghetto or weak. I found it interesting to see my friends mourn the loss of Lauryn in similar ways as I had. 

Thirdly, I’d built my own mini-empire on the back of “Lauryn”. To continue with a new name felt like I was throwing everything away. This made me question if entering the world as Lalita was the right decision.

I didn’t come here for approval. 

I came here to express myself and expression is a personal, fluid choice. It’s a gift. I do best when I give myself the space to express my ever-changing ecosystem and Lalita is a key part of that of that.

Lalita is a bold choice, but it’s my choice. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one where I dictate my own powerful story and declare who the f*ck I am, no matter how much or how often I change. 

I’ve got to claim what’s mine in this lifetime and climb into my own throne. #queening #in #full #effect 

It’s my duty to honor who I am, especially when the world challenges me.

So allow me to formally introduce myself. 

Me llamo Lalita. 

Estoy encantada de conocerte. 


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I can make up whatever f*cking reality I want.

One writer’s creative awakening while at a coffee shop. 

I realized that I didn’t have to live in the world that was presented to me. That I could write into being the very nature of the reality I experienced. That is what in fact all great novelists, storytellers, and writers have done. Star Wars, The Never Ending Story, To Kill A Mockingbird… 

We write into existence what we wish was so. We dream into existence what we feel to be real. 

We rewrite our histories from the fragmented bits that we pull together to create a magical amalgamation that’s lighter than the Frankensteins of our pasts. 

Less monstrous and more loving.

In that very simple moment, a door opened for me where I realized I could create various worlds people would rather live.

Create decisions, colors, and textures that people would wish for. This, I realized, is why dictators forbade literature. For it’s the very nature of dreaming. Of change. Of the soul. It’s the very reason we hide away on rainy days and read of far off lands and wonder what our favorite character is up to as if she were real…

Maybe she is real.

I no longer need to report what is before me. I knew this in business. I intuitively knew that for me to lead, I had to walk just a bit further than the pack, to speak to what could be, not what was. To set an aspirational tone of integrity, dreams and magic. To live this narrative that was my own such that others could see the possibility unravel in their own experience.

I’m not sure as of yet what exactly I’ve just landed on. But it’s something. It’s permission to take people on the journeys  I so often experience in my mind’s eye and permit them to bring back from this sacred place something foreign and sparkly, to take root in their present.

To offer light where there is darkness.

To invite darkness where death beckons.

To remember what it is to imagine worlds beyond the one we see before us.

Yes, that is the gift of great writers. To offer fourth a window of opportunity to the world at large. I’ve always known this and simply never considered that someone would want to step into my wild imagination and go for a joy ride.

Oh, how mistaken I was.

Nothing will ever be the same.


This isn't a dictatorship. What do you think?
is power of your imagination important? Why or why not? 
p.s. if you're into cults, don't join this one

I'm afraid of my emotions.

I run away from my emotions. I run away from this page, a place to harbor my deepest sentiments. I run away from the discomfort of feeling alive and from the possibility of heartbreak.

My heart broke this week. 

I run away from the itchiness of regret, the moments I can’t get back, and the bottled up tears from when I was five and I didn’t understand why the world was so loud, so chaotic, and so violent. 

I run away from scary men, border patrol agents, and true intimacy with sane men who deeply value themselves. 

I just. keep. running. 

I run to Facebook to check if he’s already dating someone new. 

I run to the grocery store to buy something, anything, to put in my mouth and help me feel less empty. 

I run to the end of the street, hoping that this lingering feeling of loss will vanish. 

I’ve run from continent to continent, from house to apartment to couch, from this guy to that guy, and from one feeling of discomfort to another. 

It’s not that I’m depressed. It’s not that I’m lost, necessarily. It’s that I’m running away from how I feel. 

More painful it is — and more confronting it would be — to sit and be with what I mistake for myself than to keep running. 

For my past shortfalls. 

For former bouts of neediness in relationships with unavailable men that lead me to pace my mind in the middle of the night, wondering what I did yet again to push them away, failing to realize they were most likely “already out” when I met them. 

From the fear of my father I had growing up. 

From this fear that now translates into moderate to extreme discomfort around super passionate and/or angry men. 

From the belief, this deep-rooted, insidious belief that lingers in the background of all the above superficialities I’m running from: that I’m simply not good enough

I realized that I have been impacted by addiction.  

I recently attended a seminar where I heard people share their personal feelings around growing up in homes and communities where there’s been substance abuse. I happened to grow up in an area with epidemic proportions of addiction, so this resonated, deeply

One of the most common traits of people close to addicts (self-declared or not), is their perpetual need to fix them. 

Relatives and friends of addicts believe that they caused the drinking, the distance, the relapse, and the [fill in the blank]. 

On a deeper level, the affected person maintains that if the addict loved them enough, if they could successfully manage the addict’s life and/or show them how good and full of love and solutions they are, the addict would change their behavior. And all would be well. 

But this isn’t often the case. 

We are powerless over the actions of others. 

I have a knack for dating people who need help. I experience the belief that if they would simply change, this would indicate that they love me and that I’ve done my job like a good girl.

I get my two stars, my nod of validation, and suddenly I feel safe, that the world won’t crumble down upon me. The chaos feels lessened and I feel a sense of control. 

Until they don’t call. 

Until they pick up a drink. 

Until anything happens outside of my scope of what should take place. 

Many of these people do need help. We all do. 

But it’s not my job to give it, not when it’s unsolicited and self-indulgent on my part. And why do I think I need to fix people to love them? 

The nature of my marathon running. 

I’m running from the discomfort that arises when I face the thing that made me run to begin with. 

I’m running from having to look the memories/people/past actions/etc. square in the face and own my role in the dysfunction without beating myself up. 

Underneath the rubble, is self-acceptance. 

Underneath the ashes, is self-love. 

In and around all of it, is self. 

Is me. 

Time to turn around and look at the big, bad wolf. 


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I’ve never smoked a cigarette.

Image via SkinnyGossip.

I’ve smoked pot a handful of times and barely drink. I was D.A.R.E student of the year in NY because of an essay I wrote on the importance of sobriety.

How could I have known then the importance of such self-awareness and the overall awareness that accompanies it when your heart is open?

I’ll tell you how. 

Because I was born with a f*ckin’ nun inside of me. 

Maybe it was my Catholic upbringing. 

Or Spanish guilt. 

Or fearful parents. 

Or a sensitive disposition that has shown me I don’t do well with substances of any sort, whether it’s refined sugar, caffeine or heroin. I mean, I never did heroin (thankfully), but I know a lot of people who have. 

I’m going out on a limb on this one and saying, I’m glad my body detests these states of fog and fumes. Because for me, to dabble in that space would mean I’d need to remain in that state. I would have to readily block out awareness, light, and good feelings. Otherwise, I’d be too attuned to the pain I was causing myself. I’d need to upkeep the fog, the fumes, and the wildfires that fuel them. 

Haven’t I enough water and fire on my own accord?

Back to my original point: I didn’t have one. 

I was entertaining an inquiry: don’t we all want life to work out our way?

Yes, of course, we do, but we’re all so different. The kids on the short bus would lobby hard for donuts and maybe a larger bus to reform the short bus stereotype. Wall Street would lobby for coke, prostitutes, and less regulation. Latinos with family still in non-US countries and/or who are illegal would lobby for less stringent immigration laws. Strippers would want… what exactly?

In a sea of opportunity and difference, it’s easy to become indifferent. To stop wanting what you want. To judge it as bad, impossible, or foolish. 

Maybe you too were born with a crone nun inside you. 

I don’t know. What are the odds?

Pretty good if your Latin and/or Catholic, I’d say. 

Our choices and desires aren’t inherently bad. 

Misguided, maybe. Even the most f*cked up of people are still doing their best, even if their best is deplorable. 

I spent this past week letting go of the no’s in my life to cultivate greater bravery to a bigger yes and to accept that maybe, just maybe, I like the illusion of being in control. 

I’ve had to remind myself it’s ok to want a life where I’m successful and well dressed. That these desires don’t make me a bad person, despite what the poorly dressed nun inside me says. 

There is no one way to live life. How can there be? We are all so different. We are each a portal to time and space beyond what we see, interweaved and interconnected within a never-ending ecosystem. 

How can one way of life be right for everyone?

How can one look, one flavor, one idea be the all-governing, “only way”? 

It can’t. How do I know? Because the evidence of diversity is all around us. 

I don’t have any answers, per say. Just endless questions. 

And ideas. And insights. And breakdowns. An build ups. And tears. And poorly lit selfies.  Online dating is the best and the worst and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. 

Because we’re not wrong for what we want and we’re certainly on the hook for how we go about getting it. 



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Here are some of the outtakes. Enjoy. :) 

I’m never quite sure what’s going to come out of my digital mouth when I sit down to write, draw, poeticize, or dance. Even in masturbation, we’re living, creative forces.

I used to, and mostly still, dislike the word masturbation. Enough that I want to add some sort of exclamatory character in place of a letter as if to indicate vulgarity.

We simply never know what is to come of these self-pleasure sessions. I’m not sure when I began a relationship with myself. I’m not sure that Self needs a relationship. Scratch that. She most certainly wants a relationship but the kind that’s immensely self-serving and of course, in the highest of all involved. Let us not forget to add our new age hymns to these uncertain rhymes.

I’m not 24 anymore. Curse the human body. Not because I desire to be enter the emotional chaos that was my entire life, exceedingly so in my early 20’s, or the running and suppression that was the second half of 2x10’s until I reached a point of absolute rupture.

What am I talk about?

I’m talking about getting what you want?

Does it even matter?

On some level, I think it does. But we’re all so different, the nun who lives inside of crones.

Shut-up, Sally, I think back to her.

Who’s born with a f*cking nun inside of them anyways?



My dream told me to write about this.

Image Credit: The Pillars of Creation, 1995 Hubble Photo via National Geographic 

My dreams are often startling in their ability to predict, reflect and inform me of my next steps, blind spots and vivid aspirations in waking life. 

Before I was laid off from Lyft and given the “I want space card” from a now ex, I had an eery dream where I was in a small, enclosed courtyard of sorts — similar to a tiny, NYC brownstone backyard. There stood my three, recién fallecida, female elders. Crones in their own right (my grandmother would curse me if her living self-heard me utter those words). There they stood, silent and powerfully expressionless .

It was dark and everything was painted in grey tones as if it were black and white but still with color. Resting in my hands was a black burlap sack of sorts. It was known to me in the dream to put the bag over my head and that when I did, I would die. Not a physical death but a massive spiritual one. 

I didn’t want to. I was alive and they were so silent. In waking life, they’d been dead for only a few months, but they stood there, ominously, waiting until I finally put the burlap sack on and committed to what would be a massive death of identity or as some call it, gathering bones.

We die and are reborn countless times in our lives. 

But this rebirth was more notable, both in my resistance to it and in the way it ushered in my feminine adulthood. 

It was only a few months after that dream that everything went to shit, again and that I’d find myself on a plane, back to NY, heart in hands, black burlap sack in its rightful place — over my head and willingly suffocating the remains of a life now gone, one of which was unsuited for the likes of me anyways.

Sometimes dreams push you into other realms. Death is like toothpaste being squeezed from the tube. You leave one container to enter another. The moment you pass through the opening is what we call death. But to toothpaste, it’s just making it’s way out of the tube, which is really transportation, so it can be delivered to it’s rightful place: your mouth. 

We are no different. 

What about that dream I had freshman year in college? 

I’d become good friends with my cousin’s best friend, Tom. I was 18 and he was 24'ish. A Georgia-boy marine who’d fought in Iraq, probably drank too much, laughed with the entirety of his smile, and cared a whole lot about everything. 

It was a Friday. My first night on campus and I was in Monique’s room as she was flat ironing my hair. You know… doing girl shit. 

I remember looking at the clock and thinking that I should call Tom. You see, Tom had developed a crush on me, so much so that he wanted to take me to my cousin’s wedding as his date and even invited me to his house in the Carolinas via a postcard. He was a romantic and if I were really honest with myself, I’d confess that I liked him too. 

But he was 24 and I was 18. He was my cousin’s friend and a marine and he drank and lived far away. Hair now straightened, I retired to bed to be met with a profound dream, one I would remember over a decade later. 

I was in a blank room with no walls. I’m not even sure if there was a floor. Diagonally and to the left of me stood a line of people I’d gone to high school with — all of which had died tragically, mostly from car accidents. 

There in front of the group was a friend named Dan Otremba (Dan had died in a car accident by my house freshman year of high school). It was obvious to me that they were welcoming someone and that I was different from them, separate even. I couldn’t see who they were welcoming though. Their back was to me. 

I woke up from the dream feeling uneasy. I glanced at the clock. It was late. I fell back asleep only to awake again later that night. I squinted at the alarm clock from across the room before I rolled over, destined to wake up one more time that night. 

Saturday morning came. While sitting at Subway in The Commons, barely one day into college, my flip phone rang. It was my cousin, Sarah. She wanted to let me know that something terrible had happened. 

Tom had been in a car accident last night.

It was a hit and run. 

He nor his friend survived. 

I was numb. 

I’m so sorry, she mumbled through tears. 

He was hit by the car while I was getting my hair straightened.

He died shortly before I awoke from my first dream. His friend died around the second time I restlessly glanced at the clock. 

Death was as much a reason for a communal gathering as it was something people forebode.

Death became a catalyst for coming together. A thing spoke of not in hushed tones — unless it was due to addiction — but as commonplace. 

Death and dreams have seemed to share the same space throughout my life. Where I was from, it seemed normal to have witnessed so many people die at a young age. I feel a strong connection to those who have moved on and I’ve sensed and known both Dan’s and Tom’s presence for years afterwards. Guardian angels of sorts.

It makes me wonder what lay in the way of death and dreaming. 

Are they not inextricable parts of the same mystical puzzle?

Are they not in fact two sides of the same coin?

My dreams tell of death, of shifting winds, of growing tides, of things unseen. 

Some are hard to translate and others still, hard to forget. 

We are all equipped with the capacity to dream as much as we are equipped with the ability to die. Death and dreams are not separate entities. 

Do we not run from both?

Do not both give us the chills, send us in to states of panic, even?

Do they not require one another to survive?

Dreams, for a long time, symbolized death for me. Dreams meant things would change, people would leave, and I would be left alone. 

As I come to terms with dreaming, equally so do I come to terms with death. The grim reaper may very well be a guardian angel misunderstood. 

What do you dream of at night and in your waking life? 

What do your dreams tell you?


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ass in the air: freestyle spoken word poetry on ________

 Image by Warner Bros via Movie Hole .

I’m a quarter of the way through a fine little book called The Artist’s Way. If you’re unfamiliar with this book, author Julia Cameron describes it as a spiritual path for creative recovery. If you feel stuck, bored, or like you’re not living into the creative being that you know yourself to be, this 12-week course was made for you. 

Upon picking the book up, I felt the power of it. I knew I would be changed for the better by undergoing this spiritual reformation of sorts that would be catalyzed by creativity. 

According to Julia Cameron, there is no difference. Spirituality and creativity are one in the same. 

I find myself singing more, feeling more, and overall, being more creative. 

This spoken poem (below) is my first off-the-cuff spoken word, ever, a result no doubt of this process. 


I’m sharing this because I think there are elements of it that are actually good. I’m sharing this because I’m on a one week media fast (per the book’s instructions), needed to still write my blog post for the week and was feening, quite literally, for some written word of any kind. 

I’m sharing this because I’d like you to witness spontaneity in hindsight, to see what can come of creative spirit, rising up and word vomiting all over the place. 

Biggest insight of the past week: My anger stems from repression and suppression. I hold back my ideas and feelings because I think they might make people uncomfortable. Ironic, isn’t it, given I’m a writer and blogger and all of that? 

This book is changing me from the inside out. 

I hope you enjoy the spoken word. 

ass in the air. classy.

Like ya really don’t care. 

Because I don’t. 

Not today, at least. #winkface 


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How to stop judging life, experiences, and people based on 'labels'?

 Image by Taylor Miller via Posture Mag.

[Note: today’s post is written by guest star Juanita (of Latin YouTube sensation #AskJuanita).] 

Hello my beautiful people. How are you doing today? I hope you’re reading this in my fantabulous Latin accent because that’s how you going to get learned ok. That’s where the magic happens. Get outta ya head and into my salsa-loving-life so you can fully absorb the beauty of what I’m saying. 

A very special reader decided to write in about her problem with judging people. She be on Tinder and sh*t, struggling like the rest of us to avoid pics of men’s little monsters. She writes:

How can I stop judging life, experiences, and people based on ‘labels’? If I meet a guy on Tinder (just as an example), why is my automatic reaction to judge him based on the University, job title…etc.? What the f*ck (sorry for my language) should be a filter to get in touch with the person’s internal world? — The Sexy Duchess

This is a really good question my little bruja from the Netherlands, which is why I wanted to answer to it. People be thinking there are only a few key questions to determine if chulo from down the block is a player or not, if he’s gonna try to get you knocked up or if he’s going to take all your money and marry a stripper named Lulu. 

You might be wondering…

  1. Does he have a lot of money?
  2. How many babies he got?
  3. Does he have a tattoo of his mother’s name? Is it on his neck? 
  4. Can he take you to classy places like Red Lobster? 

I be wondering all these things too, mami. All the time. And I gotta tell you like I would tell mi gente, that none of that matters. 

People be wanting you to change for them. 

They say they like you but then they want you to be like Obama and sh*t and I can’t be handling that kind of pressure. I ain’t even black. Como voy a cumplir una meta tan grande como esa?!

But you know what? We do that sh*t to people too. They not the only ones double dippin’ them chicken McNuggets and lying about it, ok. 

Double dip. Dunkety dunk dunk. 

Clap clap cuz why not. 

Aight, let me tell you a little story

One time I met this boy down the street or whatever. He was cute. You know, a little gordito but he had this tutu and I wanted that sh*t. 

He told me he was a little boy and mami told me little boys don’t wear tutus. She said he was a mar*con (i.e. bad word for gay guy) and that I need to be spending time with people more elevated in their mental capacity. 

But Juanita don’t be listening to that bullsh*t. I liked his tutu and he always shared his caramelos with me. He didn’t make me feel stupid for being fabulous or for singing Selena and not shaving my legs. 

Carlos liked me even though I be sweating a lot and didn’t have a lot of friends. 

I can’t be swiping right for Carlos these days, though, because he be on Grindr and sh*t and he ain’t really into Juanita. 

Mami saw a tutu and said boys don’t wear that shit. 

I saw a friend who liked me no matter what. 

I felt good when I was around Carlos. I felt safe. I laughed. I farted a lot and blamed it on the dog and he didn’t say nothing. 

Carlos wore a tutu and I had hairy ass legs. 

The block said we were weirdos and threw rocks at us. 

I lit cat poop on fire on their stoops and did some bruja spells on their asses. 

So what does all of this mean?

You gotta get right with the parts of you that you don’t want nobody to see. You gotta move in the world the way you want to, tutu and all. You gotta face the fear that somebody might throw a rock at you and that even if they do, mami you gonna be aight. 

Tu me entiendes? 

Al fin del día, el filtro es tu corazón y la magnitud de amor que te mantienes por tu misma. And if you don’t speak Spanish because you white like that, I said that at the end of the day, the filter is your heart and the amount of love that you keep for yourself.

It starts there, puta. The rest you figure out as you be fabulous on the footsteps of life. 

Juanita’s out. xo


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Image by Taylor Miller via Posture Mag.