Fix your shitty self with a "Toilet Paper Challenge"

Hey Stinkers!

 I welcome you to join me on this crazy mission of mine:

Start date July 10th, 2017

 -Grab a full roll of toilet paper.

-For 66 days you will do one thing.

-You may choose whatever you like.

-The smaller the task, the better.

-Make it easy enough that failing to do so would mean you’re no longer with us - as in, you’ve died.

-Every day you will take off one sheet off the toilet paper roll.

-Once you complete the 66 days, start a new “one thing” and continue taking one sheet off the roll

-Watch the roll get smaller

-Connect with me once you’ve completed your roll. Let me know what changes you made and how it impacted your quality of life.

Why the hell I’m I doing this?

Over the last couple years I’ve suffered from a lack of focus. I’ve failed at finishing ever goal I’ve embarked on. I gained weight vs losing, I failed my first architecture exam, I haven’t finished my secret passion project . My toddler still sleeps with me and I stopped reading at nights to her (because I’m exhausted) and the list goes on. Frankly, I don’t like the feeling that comes along with failure. And just to be clear I’m not depressed or actually living a shitty life (to be honest my life is pretty fabulous). But bringing it back on point, I want to make long life habits that will guide me back to my path of achieving my self goals, family goals, and professional goals. So with this little introduction I’d like you to join me with my “fix your shitty self with a toilet paper challenge”.

I don’t know if this has ever been attempted, I don’t know if anyone has ever thought of it, but here’s what I can say. Life is like a jumbo roll of toilet paper. It’s bulky at first and you feel like it will last forever. However, everyday you strip away one sheet of paper and before you know it --The roll is gone. Once you’ve completed that roll of toilet paper, you don’t go around walking with your butt full of poop. You start a new roll, and the process starts all over.

I know that when we make small changes it can create a snowball effect. That’s the plan. I plan to work myself out of this rut, one small change at a time.

Why 66 days? Well experts say that’s the magic number to form a habit, not 21 as originally thought, so for now, we’ll strive for that. It won’t be easy, that’s why I’m making this ridiculous post. To see if I can find some accountability partners to cheer me on as I fix my shitty self. My hopes are by the end of this year we will have no need for a new year's resolution because we will be months ahead of the “new you”.

The Bike that got away.

Nokomis Florida,  1990

Nokomis Florida,  1990

It was the day before Christmas, 1990. My uncle and mother were hunting down the bike I'd asked Santa for. They couldn't find it in their local Toys R Us so they decided to drive a little further north and see if they'd have better luck. 

Once at the store, they were able to find the bike and to their luck it was the last one. My uncle told my mom he be right back, while he went to go find a sales person. During this time a lady came over and was also wanting the bike. My mom told the lady that her brother was actually fetching the sales person because it seemed to be the last one. Maybe they have more in stock in the back.

This did not sit well with the customer and all of the sudden she started yelling at my mother and now Uncle who'd come back with the sales person. She stated that they needed to go back to their own country and that they were here taking jobs from Americans, I'm guessing their accents were not well received. 

My uncle and mom politely ignored the lady, which only added to her rage. The sales guy realized the situation and escorted them to the checkout and assured them, that the bike was theirs and to excuse the customer who at this point was still walking behind them yelling racist rhetoric. 

My uncle and mom left the store with my brand new bike and Christmas was saved.

The above story is a very common one, racial tensions in the United States are part of the US story. Every decade it's a new ethnic group that's targeted. The Bike Story is probably happening right now as you read this, and were in 2017. I originally wanted to share my own experience in Springfield, Missouri in 2010, but I decided that the Bike story served to better understand the consequences of what happens when people fear immigrants and decide to live in an isolated society. Even when we all know this country is founded on immigrants. 

My uncle was just starting his Medical Residency in the United States. Even though my uncle was a legal resident and contributing member of society, the experience above tainted his will to be part of this country. Shortly after this experience, my uncle left and never came back. Today he is a successful surgeon with three beautiful kids and resides in his birth town in Panama.  

People like my uncle are currently being turned away by our government. The rhetoric being spread in the underbelly of this country is one to be alarmed by. National Security is one thing, but the spread of xenophobia is unacceptable and yet here we are 2017, still dealing with the same issues that have always tainted the land of the Free. 

My grandpa always said, "The heart of this country is ignorant, please forgive them."

Yesterday it was us, today it's Muslims. So how do we fix this? How do we keep talented, class act citizens in this country? You know the ones who save lives daily? I'm struggling with this question now because I myself wish to join my uncle. I feel like I stole that bike from that lady in 1990 and should pack my bags and go.

To the lady in that Toy's R Us in 1990. I'm sorry you weren't able to purchase the bike you wanted. However your words were powerful and eventually, you got a portion of what you wanted. Unfortunately, you never stopped to ask yourself who the bike was for? A young 8yr old, who would one day grow up and be faced with the tough decision if she too should follow your advice. Americans complain on why blacks in America still bring up slavery?   As an adult I finally understand. The oppression your parents felt does not end with them, their stories are carried through you, their shackles become your shadow. You cannot hide from your shadow.

But I'm still here on the bike, against the path of least resistance. I've choose to stay.  There is no room in my heart for hate, for walls, for discrimination. I'm raising my daughter to know that diversity is a luxury that actually makes america great, that the wrong doing of a few, does not accurately represent the heart of the majority. 

BACK TO THE FUTURE......with Trump.

Last week was Parent Teacher conference at my daughter's school. Her teacher informed me that she loves playing the castanets, and forming a band with her classmates. She describes with a chuckle, “your daughter just starts prancing around the room, castanets in hand and before long other classmates are marching right behind her with diff. musical instruments.” A priceless scenario I would love to witness and quite possibly a forecast to current events.  Next item addressed was her teacher’s personal favorite (what can top spontaneous band formation?), she states that our daughter is really sweet and demonstrated compassion and empathy onto others. The example given to us was how our daughter always made sure everyone felt included, especially if they were new. My heart melted. I was surprised and internally gloating thinking “well damn I must not be messing up this parenting thing too much.” 


Now. Don’t be fooled, you all know how performance reviews usually start on a high note and then quickly escalate to and here are the following things that need your attention and can use some improvement. 


We were told that our daughter was very particular about how she wanted to do certain things. The example given to us was how she puts her jacket on (an extremely odd way, I tell ya’---it’s a 5-minute ordeal every morning), her teacher said we now refer to it as the “Rway” (my daughter's name starts with an R). Lastly, she informed us that our Daughter gets very upset when you try to help her accomplish certain tasks, she likes to follow through until the task is completed -- with no adult assistance. Which was met with an affirmation not worry, as this was a normal part of toddler development. However, knowing my feisty daughter, I know she is a tad on the extremist side of little miss independence.


So what to make out of all of this, while also going through the 2016 U.S Presidential Election? 


Here’s the deal, until the last couple of weeks I never thought I become so vocal about my stance on sexism, racism and the importance of higher education.  Never did it cross my mind that I become one of those crazy political activist holding up signs marching through Washington D.C. chanting catchy phrases. But then Trump happened…... and I could no longer sit still and be silent. Two weeks ago if you’d ask me how I felt about protestors, I tell you “Wao, look at all those Hippies, they care too much.” It wasn’t until I found myself looking for flights to D.C that all of the sudden it clicked “Wao I’ll be remembered in History as one of those crazy marching bodies holding up a sign saying, “I’m not a sign gal but Geez.” Or, “ I can’t believe I’m still protesting this s$%^.”


In conclusion, the way I’m processing both my daughter's teacher conference and the election are as follows:


When my daughter plays her castanets and forms her little band. I’m seeing her first signs of Leadership skills, and my foreseeable future. When my daughter goes over to the new kid and gives him a big hug. I’m seeing her empathy and compassion skills and how I must continue to break all those bubbles that divide us. When I see how she defy's the ways certain things should be done, I’m seeing her authenticity, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Which only reminds me that I too should remain open to new ideas, strive to find solutions but never be afraid to speak my mind and oppose what is wrong.  When my daughter fights me every time I try to help her put her shoes on or button her shirt, I see her determination and independence. Qualities I should not hinder but reinforce within her. 


This week has been rough and 2016 SUCKS! I’ve gone through all the stages of grief, but yet somehow, amongst the Chaos I see my Daughter and it gives me hope. Hope that the future is not as scary as we plot it out to be (stage 5, Acceptance), and the only thing to do now is put on our big girl pants and be an Example to our daughters. 


As corny as this may sound. They are the future and we must stay strong and united for them.  We might not be singing Kumbaya just yet, but today this notion helps me get through it all. 


My vow as a mother will always be to teach “R”, Compassion, Empathy, Authenticity and to always seek Truth. I don’t want her to ever feel like she needs to be popular and perfect to uphold her self-worth. I want her to grow up and learn to ask questions and be open to new ideas. But most importantly I want her to strive to stay humble amongst it all, and to help with this she’ll need to reach out to others that are not like her and try to form lasting bonds. 


As parents we always want our children to be better than we are. For example, I know I can be extremely arrogant, cynical, and judgemental. But I’m a firm believer we change over time to reflect the values we want them to have. 


Although this week has been hell. I’m happy it happened. It sparked something beautiful inside of me. One day I will tell my grown daughter. “ You know what happened on 11/9/2016?”


I drafted a personal manifesto, I became an Activist, I reopened my Eyes to the world at Large. I became a better mother, women, wife and friend. I even had an image of you all grown up, sitting behind an oak desk with the seal President of the United States. I will never forget that day. It started a Revolution inside of me. 


For those who read this today and stand beside me you know what follows next…….

January 21st, 2017.

My sign will read "Today I walk in Trump America, so tomorrow my daughter won't have to." See you soon strong Ladies. For more hope, see below.....#thefutureisfemale

CDS & a BABY - ARE's diary

Oct 3rd, DAY 1: 8:15 pm

I started, I finally felt it was time. I set my schedule to study for my 7 Architecture Licensure Exams. It wasn’t easy to mentally arrive at this point. Granted it took 8yrs of procrastination to finally decided today’s the day. I’ve mapped out what will be the next year and 6 months of torture. The ultimate goal is to finish all exams by June 2018..will I make it? Not sure, life is super complicated, all I can do is try my best.

Strategy: To not fall asleep from 8-10pm and study, every day for the next 21 months -- 80-100hrs a test -- buy me something nice for each passed exam.

Goal: Gain more background knowledge for the things I actually do on a daily basis. Get licensed so I can finally legally be called an Architect vs. Project Designer.

Methods: Read everything there is to read, listen to all audios, study study study, bug all my friends and cyber friends who are testing or have tested. Drink lots of wine from 8-10pm.

How did I do on my first day?

8:15 Start. Chug Wine

8:20 Baby R leaves her bed

8:21-8:25 Dad comes and tries to make her fall asleep. Adventures of Curious George play in the background.

8:26 Headphones go in with loud Spotify deep focus music

8:27-9 Read 6 pages of Chapter 56 in the Ballast on Building Codes and Regs

9:00 Self-realization how much this is going to suck

9:05 Baby R roams around the room (Dad is passed out). She lays beside me and tries to turn my Ballast book pages.

9:06 Mean mom locks her in her own room and shuts the door (Toddler screams in background)

9:07 Crank up the volume of music, chug wine.

9:15 Dad Rescues Baby R as she screams in her bedroom, brings her to bed with him.

9:16 I look at my watch and see how much progress I’ve made on this really exciting chapter of codes. Chug Wine

10:00 Give up

10:00-6:00am Dreams of walking through corridors chased by fire, waiting for doors to burn down in 20mins. 6:30am Chug Coffee.