She

She is the source of the air I breathe, the sun that lights my days.
She is the moonlight that lulls me to sleep each night.
She is my life.

The trees that adorn this earth are truly green only because she exists.                            The sky is blue because her spirit gives it its perfect hue.                                                 She is my world.

She is the reason that each star shines through infinite darkness.
She is the energy that moves it all in perfect unison.
She is my universe.

She is my love eternal-

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I Do!

We planned everything just right. We both agreed that this was a commitment between the two of us and this most important ceremony would be about our promise to one another and not about being a spectacle for others to bear witness to. The plan was simple; travel to the nearest legal state, book a nice hotel (since it would also serve as the official honeymoon spot), find a private and cozy space, dress up for each other (and no one else), recite our vows, and be officially wed. I found the perfect dress and she found just the right suit. We wouldn’t allow each other to see until the moment we revealed ourselves to one another on that very important day. The hotel was booked soon after and we conspired with a friend to serve as our officiant. Everything seemed to be in place and ready to go. We prepared for the road trip of our lives.

Road tips have always been a fun experience for me. Road trips with her are my favorite! This one would be nothing short of amazing, I just knew. We packed up the car and made our way. As we made the long trek across four state lines we talked, we planned our future, we laughed, we watched movies, we played games. This is why I am marrying her. Life with her is a life truly lived to the fullest. I enjoy the simplest moments to the very core. We finally arrived at our destination. We pulled into the fancy breezeway and our car doors were opened by gallantly dressed gentlemen helping us out of the car. The fairly tale had already begun. By the time we reached our room our bags had already been delivered. My dress shielded inside the pillowy white garment bag hanging prominently on the closet door and her suit safely tucked in its own zippered vault hanging right next to it. As the door closed behind us we both seemed to simultaneously process the magnitude of what we were about to do. We held each other in a silent moment and gently kissed. Not saying a word, we took in the moment. A few moments later we embarked out the door in search of the perfect spot. The accommodations we chose were so centrally located in such a beautiful area that it took just a quick stroll around the corner and we had found our perfect place. Now, since that was taken care of, we had the rest of the day to enjoy our last hours are single individuals. We had a wonderful romantic dinner and strolled around the area before we headed off to bed. With our special moment just hours away, we had to get plenty of rest.

We woke up to the sun just barely peeking over billowy clouds. My heart was so full of love and anticipation I thought it would burst before the hour arrived. She got ready before I did and headed down to the Café to wait for me. My aunt arrived and so did the photographer and our officiant. After make up and hair, they all worked in concert to get me into the straps and laces of my coquette and flowy dress. I made my way down the elevator and waited for the officiant to motion for me to approach. My aunt walked just ahead of me. As I walked out and around the corner, people stopped to comment; “congratulations!” I knew they were there and on autopilot I would thank them for their comments, but in reality, I was somewhere else. All I could think of was that just around the corner, there she stood waiting for me. As I got closer to where she was my legs began to betray me. I couldn’t feel the steps I was taking and as I caught a glimpse of her, I nearly forgot how to walk all together. I heard our wedding song softly playing and stopped, composed myself for just a second and found my balance once again. I slowly lifted my gaze and allowed my eyes to lock with hers. I was calm then. She always brings me such calm. As I approached her she smiled brighter. Her eyes sparkled in the morning sunlight as if she was its energy source. As we began to exchange our vows, although we carefully picked the words ahead of time, I couldn’t tell you what I said or what she said to me. It was so surreal. All I remember was taking in just how beautiful she was. All I experienced was being in awe of how the sunlight bounced off the strands of her hair in a way that seemed to just light up the whole world. All I could focus on was how lucky I felt that she would consent to walking by my side for the rest of her days. “I now pronounce you partners for life” I heard the officiant say. And with that, we gently kissed and the world around us faded into a blurry backdrop.

We spent the next hours with our photographer posing around town. It was a lot of fun. Folks would walk by clapping, congratulating. Some approached us for hugs and even words of wisdom. All the while, in the back of my mind, between serious and some not so serious poses, there was a tiny whisper reminding me; “she is now your wife!” The day could not have been more perfect. Soon after, we ventured out into the city to take in the sites as new wives.

Our day was absolutely special but what made it much more so was the fact that we both entered into this commitment with eyes wide-open full of realistic expectations. We have done the work and vowed to continue to put in the work that any healthy relationship truly requires. This wasn’t a romanticized notion that came to us on a whim. It was a well thought out commitment made to one another. With enough love to fill up this universe and respect to match, we embark on our lives together. Happily ever after!

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My Latest Article for Curve Magazine #2

A Girl Named Lucy

 

I met a girl named Lucy a few weeks ago. She is the middle child of a conservative family. Lucy is a 14 year-old Hispanic girl who identifies as bisexual. Lucy is also what some would refer to as a “cutter.” Being a middle child can be difficult enough. Being a bisexual one makes things all the more difficult. To be a young teenage bisexual middle child in a conservative family is more than Lucy can bear sometimes. And so, to deal with the pressures that come from all of the cards that Lucy feels are stacked so firmly against her, she cuts.

 

It started by accident really. Sitting in her room one afternoon, reeling in the words of her parents’ last tirade about how her Facebook profession of love to another female was bringing shame to the family, she scratched herself in a fit of anger and frustration. The scratch did something for her. Lucy said that it was as if a release valve was opened and all of the emotions that were overwhelming her from the inside escaped and set her free. Free from the pile of disdain and loathing that her family had just dumped on her. Lucy figured out rather quickly that she could not only make herself feel better by cutting, but she also found that self-mutilation was one thing she could control in her life. Her sexuality was not something that she could change nor could she change how her parents chose to deal with her. For Lucy, ‘cutting’ became that: a sense of control.

 

The freedom that Lucy felt she had gained from ‘cutting’ quickly became something else. Lucy was cutting so regularly as way to deal with life’s difficulties that it just became another thing that slowly took control of her rather than the other way around. What started out as small incidents of self-harm in secret corners of her bedroom quickly turned into a near obsession. By the time I met Lucy she had been hospitalized at least three different times and her cutting had become such a frequent thing that you could barely see a patch of skin on her arms that did not have scars or freshly healing wounds.

 

The first time Lucy opened up about her ‘cutting’ she talked about the loneliness of being different and the helplessness of not being loved by the ones who are supposed to love her, “no matter what.” There was such power in words adorned with so much pain. My job was to “fix” Lucy. Get her to learn better coping skills for dealing with difficult emotions. I did that. I taught her strategies to manage anxiety, cope with sadness, and deal with pain and disappointment. But every time that I left Lucy, I couldn’t help but wonder: was she really the one that needed fixing? Sure, she was using dangerous coping mechanisms to deal with issues that affected her. Certainly she needed help finding other ways to cope. But, all of the strategies in the world can’t help her family change the way they feel about her sexuality. No coping skill I teach her can ever make the pain of being put down by her own family at all bearable. How can any coping skill make her feel loved and accepted by those she loves the most.

 

Cutting is an epidemic that is much more wide spread than any average person could ever imagine. Kids today are doing it much more habitually than ever before and the cutting gets deeper and more widespread. Today it seems more like a team sport as kids are enlisting one another to join in the behavior. The sad part is that the fix is usually much simpler than their worried families may dare to believe.

 

Being a teenager is a difficult part of life. What makes it more difficult is that teens are not yet developed enough biologically to be able to solve life’s difficulties in very productive ways. They need “Us,” the adults in their lives to help them along. Why do we instead provide them with additional baggage to carry in the already heavy backpack of life. Love, accept, validate, embrace, support, acknowledge. These are but the things that they seek. These are the things that they require in order to survive life. It is what they deserve, simply because they are. Loving a child with all that makes him or her different is not a choice. It is a requirement!

 

“To all the Lucy’s in the world; we hear you!”

 

 

Short Bio

 

Liz Diaz is a wife and mother of two teenage kids. She is originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico (Ponce es Ponce…) She is a counselor and coach in the Metro Atlanta area working in the areas of substance abuse, parenting, anger management, self-harm, and LGBTQ issues. Liz works with children, teens, and adults but her specialty is working with teens who consider themselves misunderstood. She serves her community as an advocate, teacher, and mentor. Liz has spent over 14 years working with children and families in the community. She dedicates her life to helping others find their voice when they need it most. Liz hopes that her writing will inspire some and help others. Find her at liztruly@wordpress.com

Check out the actual published article here: http://www.curvemag.com/Culture/A-Girl-Named-Lucy/

 

My First Article for Curve Magazine

Latina girls are trained up not raised. From the moment we can stand on a step stool we are taught to cook and clean. By the time we reach adolescence we have become like a second mother to our younger siblings and once we reach young adulthood, we can run an entire household with one arm tied behind our back to the rhythm of any good salsa beat. Our Hispanic culture has deep traditional roots. Even the most contemporary families still cling on to those core values. One of those most deeply held is the idea of what a ‘woman’s’ job is versus that of their male counterparts. And so, from a young age girls are taught all there is to know about the art of being “a woman.” We are “trained” to do and be the best at every one of those so described ‘female’ jobs.

 

In our culture family is very important. It is quite common to see three, four, and sometimes even five generations of women working together in the same kitchen. When you have so many staunch examples of years of traditions, one is presented with few opportunities to consider that there may be other options to what we have been taught. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t those who manage to challenge the system and vacillate with ideas of those other possibilities. Plenty of us have daydreamed and talked about the things we would accomplish in our future that didn’t necessarily include fulfilling the roles we were taught to conform to. But in the end, there is great comfort in what you know and so for the most part, things just kind of remain status quo for a great many of us. We go on auto pilot blending in to the family roles and expectations without so much as skipping a beat.

As a Hispanic lesbian who came out much later in life, I struggled with understanding why it took me so long to figure myself out. I couldn’t grasp how I could have gone through so much of my life without really knowing who I really was. Eventually I came to realize that I was so caught up in perfecting my role as it was defined for me by generations of tradition that it simply didn’t dawn on me that I could be anything different. I simply took on the static definition I was given from the moment the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!”

 

Today, my traditional Hispanic values continue to run just as deep. I can still cook a mean pot of carne asada while leaving the kitchen looking like it had never been used. Like many of my Latina sisters, I do find some comfort in the traditions and in the role that I was taught to fulfill. The difference however, is that today it is not about female versus male roles but about taking care of my family as I was taught to do. Discovering your own identity in the midst of deeply held cultural traditions can be quite a challenge, but finding the right spot between the two is bliss.

The Desperately InLove Housewife

She kisses my still sleeping face good bye as she leaves to take on the day.

She’s off to bring home the bread, I guess I should rise and make it.

Laundry needs to be done, the pile waits for me with a look of neglect.

I grab the things she left at the foot of our bed.

Her sweet scent lingers in the clothes she wore the previous day.

A warm emotion flows through me, I believe in the power of pheromones

And her’s are more powerful than any.

I put on her shirt to feel her near me as I work.

The time for her to get home seems to come too slow now.

 

Busy is the name of the game. Dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping.

I know that the word used to describe those of us tasked with these chores is “desperate” but me, I’m just “desperately in love” and I love doing these things for my family, for my love.

With pride I buzz around the house taking care of things I know will make things cozy for them all.

 

Time to make dinner, she’ll be home soon.

There’s just enough time, I run to the market, grab fresh ingredients and a beautiful bouquet just for her.

The kids won’t be home tonight, romantic candle light kind of night.

 

I greet her as she walks in the door after a long day at work. Flowers gallantly displayed as the centerpiece to her candle light surprise. She takes me into her arms and with a passionate kiss I know she knows I’ve been thinking of her with love. In all that I do and everything that I am, desperately in love with her, I give. With happiness in my heart and fulfillment in my soul, I take on the role of wife. With pride I pamper her and make her feel every aspect of who she is to me…

My Wife, My Queen-

Going Places!

I just published my first article EVER! I am so excited to see that slowly but surely my life is shaping up to be exactly what I dreamed for myself. I hope that others find that they relate to my stories or at least enjoy reading what I have to say.

Follow the link to read my article on being Latina and Lesbian. Curve Magazine Online Edition on Culture: Skin Deep March Issue.

http://www.curvemag.com/Curve-Magazine/Web-Articles-2014/Latina-and-Lesbian-Living-tradition-in-new/