O.k I am going to talk about my LEAST favorite genre in the young adult books. This is also the one I am pretty concerned about because there are some themes that are being retreaded over and over and over.
When I was a kid, if you wanted to read YA romance novels you usually turned to sweet valley high. They weren’t perfect- they are pretty darn close to pretty little liars- but it seems Ya fiction has come a long way from that former assessment.
I guess romance novels have become a beast in of itself, and while I was sort of expecting chick lit- which I don’t seem to mind reading from time to time- this seemed a lot more like harlequin romances than anything.
They are also trending number one in teen novels…beside fantasy/ sci fi and dystopian novels.Which have the same similar themes. As I started to read them a lot of them became blurred into the same darn plot albeit some key changes here and there.

Lover Boy as the Bad Damaged Distant Guy

He has penetrating eyes, and strong biceps tends to be a ladies man but doesn’t seem to connect with anyone. He is damaged , in some way or another. He has a dark past which usually involves sexual, physical or some kind of abuse. He has horrible parents or absent ones. He has no direction in life until he meets….

Wimpy Damaged Heroine

Our damaged heroine is a victim. She has been a victim of horrible parents/death/rape/incest/domestic violence… but somehow is still pretty wimpy. She shivers a lot and is unaware of her captivating beauty. That all changes when she meets ( insert ridiculous name here ) who awakens her and frightens her at the same time. Even though he is dangerous, and can’t stand having anyone talk to her or any men around her she feels ALIVE. She has no real ambition of her own. We don’t know any of her talents, we don’t know how she thinks and quite frankly she is pretty annoying. Despite people saying how great she is, she is pretty one dimensional

I hated these two themes more than anything else because it promotes the idea that if you fall in love, your pain and scars will disappear… if anything without therapy a relationship with two very screwed up individuals can become even more conflicted , toxic and codependent. It is not a cure, and romanticizing codependency is an extremely irresponsible thing to do . They very rarely really deepen on how this pain affects the characters. If you really want to know the effect of physical or sexual abuse go read i know why the caged bird sings, among other books. It’s really very dark and you do not recover just by some manly man cradling your weakened body into your arms.

Unecessary Conflict
After a lot of misunderstanding they get close… like fall- in -love- after- three- days -close. And then like there is some random stupid barrier that doesn’t allow them to get closer …. some misunderstanding

At the last minute
They realize their love until

Another unecessary conflict
Usually someone is about to die, is going to die or will die. Only they don’t …they make some miraculous recovery.

The girl is always a virgin
There is a lot of very steamy love scenes in this which surprises me because it is catered to teens where the stupid inexperienced virgin ( that everyone is surprised she is a virgin at 17 ….) gets experienced finally by the bad boy.

All Characters are white and American…
These guys don’t get around much in terms of diversity.

The characters get married
They get married without finishing school, having any ambition or even a view of the future. Most of these characters get married within six months of knowing each other.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Bad romance novels bad. I am not a romance novel expert so please school me but surely we don’t have to retread the same plot over and over to appease teenagers.

We all have heard the claims that selfies cause mental illness. Truth be told, the amount of narcissistic tendencies that are derived from focusing entirely on our own self can’t be good. But we forget that selfies have existed since the dawn of time, we always were staring at our reflection . We were always obsessed on how we look to others… the problem is that it is exacerbated a million times through social media. The problems are bigger than selfies because we live ina  society that objectifies us and places a value only on our physical selves.

But we have heard a lot of these arguments over and over. Perhaps I can only see what selfies have done in my personal experience. Perhaps it is an interesting study on some positive aspects of the selfie. Before I started to ” selfie” I hated taking pictures of myself. You would have trouble finding me in ANY picture and if you did it mainly was me in the background being as inconspicous as possible. It was me allowing myself to be overpowered by others.  I hated taking pictures because sometimes I didn’t like the way they came out, because others were taking them. I had no control on the image that was produced.

When I started doing things like online dating or meetup groups or increasing my writing profile, I was finding that few pictures of myself existed. I started to take pictures of myself. Instead of seeing my flaws, which etched around me in every corner I saw my strengths. I didn’t see the big nose and large pores but I started to see my smile. I didn’t see my squinty eyes and large forehead but saw my pointy eyebrows and quizzical eyes.

I started to be more confident in how I looked. Yet even in the positive side, I also was become less aware of others around me. I was always content to look around me in coffee shops, to see who was walking about in the train. I always wanted to remain unseen. Yet when I started to see how I looked I started to wonder how others saw me. This is a dangerous game to play . We will never know that answer. I think this is the deepest problem with selfies and social media in general. We think we can solve what others are thinking based on comments, likes , dislikes. Humanity is far more complex than that.

FOr now, I remember that a picture is just a faded fleeting moment of who I really am but I should never shy away from it.

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Summer roads in Boston

Posted: September 22, 2014 in Third Culture Kid, travel
Tags: , ,

I had never spent the summer in Boston before, at least not the full summer.  Europe always beckoned, or the smell of home in El Salvador quietly motioned for me to come back. This summer, I took full advantage of the weather, which only a tiny fleeting moment. I did things I never thought I would do like go on a free cruise around the Charles, stroll through an organic food festival, dance in awkward Meetup parties, enjoy picnics with friends and strangers and go to free films.

I found it liberating not to depend on others to see things instead just enjoying my own company. Taking a stroll down the docks in the back bay, eating with a book club overlooking the water, kayaking along the Charles, salsa dancing in Central Square. I am surprised how different and transformative Boston is during the summer, and how when I let go of my own personal fears I could discover so much more.

The city hibernates in the winter so the spring and summer are when people come out in full force. You feel their frenetic energy and it can be divine.

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