Sorry? NO MORE… Sorry!

“I’m sorry, but can I ask you a question?”
“I’m sorry, I just need to grab that.”
“I’m sorry, but can I see the menu?”
“I’m sorry, but I really didn’t like it.”

If I were to ask you if these statements came from a male or female, what would be your guess?

My guess is that you guessed female, and I’m sorry to break it to you, but you would be right. There we go again. Apologizing for things that need no apologizing for. We need to urgently let go of this unproductive habit. Those two words demonstrate that from the get go we are subconsciously believing that we are inconveniencing the world with our presence. That everyone else’s time has more value than ours. That our opinions and our voice merits no attention as a standalone action without an initial disclaimer. If you research studies on why women tend to over apologize for things you’ll find varying opinions on this, so I’m not here to explain the why portion. Especially because there is no solid, singular reason that would encompass all women. The fact remains that it happens, and it happens more with us women. So, in essence, each one of us needs to ask the questions and urgently analyze our inner selves for the answer.

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Do you feel that apologizing is a demonstration of being polite? Politeness is definitely something we need to teach children, but if you are a parent of both boys and girls, do you teach them politeness any differently? If you are a teacher, do you remind your students to be polite but teach that it should be displayed differently depending on their gender? The overwhelming answer here would be, and should be no. And hopefully your own parents or teachers didn’t either. Note that men aren’t any less polite than women just because they don’t start off with an apology. Remind yourself that YOU can be polite without the apology. Try it…. “Hi, can I ask you a question?”; “Excuse me for interrupting, but there’s someone on the phone for you and it’s urgent.”; “Thank you for the suggestion, but it really wasn’t to my liking.” Polite statements without apologies are actually more effective for both parties.

Do you feel you disclaim with an apology as a form of respect? Back in the days of Kings and in some cultures even today, kneeling before a person of power was a respectful show of reverence and submission. I’ll take a wild guess here and say that you would never kneel before your boss. I’ll also take a wild guess and say that most of the men in your professional surroundings are not showing a lack of respect for their higher-ups every time they address them without an apologetic intro. You can hold someone in high regard and appreciation and still get your point across sans the “I’m sorry” portion of the program. Try it“Mr. Robinson, can I have a few minutes of your time to share with you my findings after analyzing the monthly financial reports?”; “Your Honor, yes, you would be correct in that statement.”; “Unfortunately Sir, the meeting had to be rescheduled. Let me know what’s your next available time to meet.” Each are strong respectful statements without minimizing the speakers confidence. Which then takes us to….

Maybe you’re apologizing due to a lack of confidence? This would be definitely the strongest of contenders of why you find yourself apologizing for practically everything. Once, I found myself even apologizing to the dog. The dog! When you introduce your ideas, your opinions, your needs with an apology, you give off the feeling that you are unsure or undeserving of the other parties attention or consideration. You give away power where none should have been allotted. This one is gong to take more time to help shift in a different direction since lack of confidence or a low sense of esteem is most likely rooted to deeper issues. But no need to apologize for that! You can still work on this by noticing or catching yourself each time you happen to apologize to others for things that didn’t require one. By becoming hyper aware of this habit, you gain the opportunities to understand the individual situations and why it triggered you to apologize in the first place. You take the moment back with you and you get to analyze things on your own time. I promise you… It works! When I started to notice WHEN I was biting my nails, with time I was able to find ways to stop myself when those same type of moments surfaced, hence slowly I broke the habit. You’re training your subconscious to notice before you do.

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Don’t rush your progress, be patient, but definitely prioritize this. By eventually letting go of this habit, you gain back control, you become more positive, more influential, you start to build confidence in both yourself and in how others should treat you. You’ll start feeling like a true participant in life as opposed to a burden. You’ll start holding others accountable and not sacrificing yourself for the sake of everyone else’s comfort. You’ll become your very own success story, one that deserves a “THANK YOU” and not an “I’m sorry”.

— The Pretty Platform

 

 

Quit Bellyaching Over Peter Rabbit!

Yesterday, my husband who knows me well sent me a link to an intriguing article about some parents boycotting Peter Rabbit the movie on the premise that it encourages “allergy bullying”. In a nutshell, this was due to a scene depicting the annoying fictionalized  bunnies who slingshot some blackberries in to the mouth of the farmer, knowing very well that he was allergic to the berry. Then causing the farmer to go into anaphylactic reaction and collapse, but thankfully had an EpiPen with him to counter the effect. As a result of this boycott, Sony provided an apology to all the offended parents  for the insensitive material.

I’ll have to admit that it took me more than just a hot minute to ponder over this and come to terms with how I felt about the situation. I mean, I have 3 kids and as any loving parent would, I worry about bullying on a daily basis. Initially I would not have thought much about it, but then all this pondering opened up a floodgate of many other things I worry about and find quite concerning with this movie. Here’s the thing though… I’ve searched the web, and I’m not sure why other groups are not speaking up.

Why isn’t the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (aspca)  boycotting due to what clearly is a depiction of animal cruelty as the farmer is always trying to trap/kill these rabbits?  Why isn’t the US Hunger Relief Organization boycotting due to the disregard for crops, when there are so many starving children in this nation? Why aren’t the Feminist groups boycotting the movie on the premise that the main character has a strong masculine name, Peter and his male sidekicks name is Benjamin while the females have names like Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, which denote weakness and appearance attribution? Why aren’t  Law Enforcement agencies  speaking up and issuing a warning on the movie due its glorification of gang-like behavior, as Peter Rabbit and his Gang shows outright disregard for the law as they consistently trespass the farmers property, STEAL his crops and even try to seek revenge?

I think I may be losing sleep worrying that these parents who are boycotting the movie solely on the bullying scene though are in effect helping society minimize all these other offenses that may mold and nurture our children toward a life of crime.

Between the gang, the stealing, and the bullying alone, I’d say this 1 hour and 40 minute movie is a recipe for disaster for all our children, undoing ALL the positive qualities we’ve been trying to instill in them since birth.

Are you sensing some interjected sarcasm? Maybe a little.

You see, sans the “allergy bullying” scene, I can say with confidence that prior to buying a ticket to this movie, I already knew that taking my kids to watch it would mean they’d be exposed to rabbit misfits, stealing, conniving, trespassing and battling with an adult. The fact is that we are provided with all that information in the long-winded trailers littering kid friendly television time slots, and hence probably why most kids jump at the chance to watch it. As parents, we too have seen the trailers, because, of course every responsible parent is fully aware of what their kids are exposed to on television. And every prepared parent logically researches the actual premise of a movie before exposing their innocent and vulnerable offspring to these larger than life influential images. And every intelligent parent knows well to never allow animation fool us in to believing that all is wholesome in the world of Hollywood. Take those cute anthropomorphic bunnies and replace them with actual human kids and BAM!, an off-limit flick. Or, forget human replacement. How about substituting these bunnies with cartoon characters the likes of the Simpson’s, and BAM!, still off-limits.

A piece of advice to parents that get offended by Hollywood’s portrayal of ANYTHING. Go big or go home. Don’t pick apart a movie just because YOUR kid suffers from allergies, then minimize or turn a blind eye to all the other probable worrisome faults of the same movie.  Food bullying? Sure, that’s definitely wrong. But then boycott the plethora of issues with the entire movie. If your expectation is that an entertainment corporation needs to be sensitive to YOUR plight, then make sure that you too are sensitive to everyone else’s plight. How else will you be able to teach your child to be inclusive? Or will your singular concern teach your child that only HIS issues are worth your time and voice?

Here are other pieces of advice. Research thoroughly the context of anything. Watch with clear eyes the trailers and information given on anything. Use those negative portrayals to teach our children valuable lessons. Let us also teach our children that the world cannot logically accommodate every one and every situation, but provide them with great tangible solutions on how to handle each. And last, let us all remember to put the responsibility on to ourselves as our kids main source of values and stop expecting Hollywood, or religion, or politicians or our neighborhood to do it for us.

At the end of the day, your kid will forget Peter Rabbit in a month and remember everything YOU taught them in all their years.

The Pretty Platform 

 

Dear Future Daughter In Laws – My Sons Know About Your Period

The following is an open letter to my future daughter-in-laws. If in the case my son or sons are gay, this will not apply since this letter is specifically regarding my sons knowledge of a woman’s period and all that comes with that knowledge. (I will gladly write another letter to my future sons in-laws).

 

To all my future Daughter-In-Laws,

As I sit here writing this letter, all three of my boys are still too young to even contemplate marriage. Two of them still recoil and “eww” at the idea of having a girlfriend. For those two, I am still the one and only woman in their lives. But just as with the oldest, and in the true nature of life, this will not last for much longer. And that’s definitely okay with me. I actually look forward to meeting you one day and getting to know the other half that will make my boys turn in to a gooey mush. I look forward to watching from afar those stolen moments of laughter, inside jokes, a touch of the hand, simple sweet gestures, and those moments you both light up as the other walks in to the room. I look forward to not only seeing how much you will make my sons happy, but how much my sons will make you happy. And this latter one is just as important to me as it is to your own parents.

It’s been quite the journey, but I pride myself in doing all I can to raise three respectable, authentic, loving, kind, hardworking men… not just for their own benefit, but mostly for the future you. I have made it a goal to show them clearly what it feels like to be a woman. What life is like when you are a woman, through my own experiences. I remind them that it is both a wonderful and hellish thing to wear the female crown. There are the ideal moments where we shine, and there are the unpleasant moments where we don’t. I continue to provide them with the tools they need to make those unpleasant moments that much less troublesome for you and their future daughters.

When you’re in a partnership, both parties influence the happiness of the other.

So with that, please have the below list handy for reference. I want you to know what they know. I want you to know that they have been guided on how to be a positive influence in your most difficult times. Do not ever let them lead you to believe otherwise. Their mom (that’s me) did right by them, by you, and by my future granddaughters. You can send me a thank you letter or take me out for sushi and wine. Either will suffice.

∗ Your Tampons/Pads:

  • He is fine with buying tampons/pads without an ounce of embarrassment.
  • He knows the difference between a light flow, a regular flow and a heavy flow.
  • He knows that the tampon/pad boxes are color coded for flow indication.
  • He knows very well that Pearl is better than Cardboard, and why.
  • He knows that pads have wings and will never joke about it.
  • He understands the urgency and will go out to the store at a moment’s notice if you run out of tampons/pads.
  • He knows that some women prefer pads over tampons and he will never have a say in either.
  • He will keep in his notes your favorite brand. Just let him know if this ever changes.

∗ Your Period:

  • He knows about the monthly calendar menstrual cycle.
  • He knows it can last anywhere between 3 and 7 days.
  • He knows that it can be messy.
  • He knows about overflow and about the probability of staining the sheets at night or your underwear and will never make you feel uncomfortable about either.
  • He knows that it is probably very painful for you. Let him know what usually works to help with your pain and he’ll take care of the rest.
  • He knows that it’s a natural process in life and knows never to bring it up unless you do.

∗ Your Mood:

  • He knows about the emotional and physical definition of PMS (not just the acronym)
  • He understands that each month you might feel different from the month prior. Some women are consistent and others are not.
  • He is aware that you’ll try on 3 outfits and each one will make you hate your body.
  • He knows that during this time the sound of your sweet children’s voices sound more like screeching nails on a chalkboard to you and will do everything in his power to keep them quiet.
  • He knows that you can feel old and ugly even when you’re young and beautiful and will never minimize nor maximize your feelings on either.
  • He understands that WHO you are during your cycle is ONLY a product of your hormones and not who you are normally, but will never point that out, knowing the dangers lurking if he does.
  • He knows that you won’t be smiling much during this time.
  • He knows that your sleeping patterns and your eating patterns will change throughout your cycle.
  • He knows that keeping your favorite snacks stocked can help you during this time.
  • He knows to watch that chick flick with you and let you cry without flinching.
  • He knows to be more affectionate without the expectation of sex, unless of course you want to.
  • He knows never to use the term “on the rag” and think you won’t come at him like a bat out of hell if he does.
  • And above all, he knows never, ever, under any circumstance to use your period against you. This would be detrimental to him and there would be no coming back from it. Safety is key.

With much love and understanding,
Your MIL and ally.

— The Pretty Platform

The Sound of Silence

We can all agree that radio, television, children, and gatherings are all producers of sound, both pleasant and unpleasant… of course depending on the receiver. Your favorite song. A funny sitcom. Laughter from your little ones. Great conversation with family and friends. All positive things for sure, and I thankfully find myself being a willing receiver to it all. But equally… well, actually if not more important to me is SILENCE. It’s in silence that I can “hear” my own voice. If we take out time to listen to other people’s rants on various topics…be it on the news, or a YouTube channel, or reading it in an article, then one should also take time out to hear (insert your name here) internal voice, thoughts and ideas. Surprisingly though, through my conversations with different types of people, I have learned that silence is a very scary thing for many. They cringe at the idea of having thoughts running out of their inner depths up to the surface of their minds, and hence they look to drown out the opportunity with outward, loud, consistent sounds.

I have no right to tell you that you need to change, because change is a personal decision taken when your current path no longer benefits your needs. But since you’re still reading this, let me tell you that silence CAN be and IS a beautiful sound. It’s a put your feet up and cuddle with a soft, plush blanket by candlelight kind of sound. It’s a watch the sunrise/sunset with your feet in the sand kind of sound. Its a soak in a warm bath when you’re cold kind of sound. Silence can help with relaxing the mind to then allow for an inner thought to be heard.

During that silence, alone with that thought….

  • You’ll be able to hear your thought and even be able to outline reasons for the thought.
  • You can mentally scratch out the thought as “done” after coming up with various solutions.
  • You can make plans, you can set goals, you can recollect memories, you can even have a conversation with yourself.
  • You can nurture your imagination and fantasize.
  • You can judge your thoughts or you can excuse them.
  • You can analyze where you went wrong, or relive what helped you succeed.
  • You can become that friend to yourself that always listens and uplifts.
  • You can give yourself the advice you’re always dishing out to others, and actually hear it.
  • You can swear as much as you’d like in thought without disrupting others. When my eight year old gets angry, he asks me if he can swear to himself in thought. I tell him that his thoughts are completely his and he can definitely swear through his anger. As long it doesn’t escape in sound to others. He’s happy and ultimately, I’m happy.

And there’s always time to be in thought. Driving is my favorite time to discuss things with myself. Especially when the kids are not in the car. But when they are, and I’ve given them enough time to express themselves, I require some silence for thinking. They find it interesting that I want to just think, but by osmosis it’s becoming part of their weekly routine. Hopefully they will enjoy it and benefit from it as they travel in to adulthood. My shower time is also mine to be in thought. I’ve read that some people’s best ideas have come to them when they are sitting peacefully on the commode.

I really encourage you to try it. I encourage you to turn off the radio and television. Take off the headphones. Sure, it might be scary to be alone with your thoughts, but so was your first date, and you got through that. You may discover an amazing friend within yourself. And don’t forget to be a friend right back. Happy 2018 everyone!!!

— The Pretty Platform

The Fear Factor

I don’t get it! What’s the appeal in jumping out of a plane anyway? My husband, during our first year of marriage went skydiving. One of those cool sessions where they even videotape you for an astronomical price, but you’ll have the memory forever on tape. When we gathered around as a family to watch it as he sat next to us safely in our living room, we saw something very interesting from this courageous soul. When it was time for him to jump, “one, two, three”, he grabbed hold of the edge of the door opening, stopping the jump. “I’m sorry, I did it without thinking”, he told the tandem instructor. “Okay, let’s try again”…. “one, two, three”, and his arms automatically and quickly shot up and stopped his jump again. As we watched, we all laughed. He laughed as well. Maybe out of surprise or maybe a bit embarrassed. The tandem instructor assured him that this was a very natural response from first time jumpers. That all he needed was a bit of a nudge and this time to brace his arms across his body. “One, two, three”… and out in to nothing they went, for what he says was the most amazing experience ever.

Fear is an automatic human response to help protect us from danger or threat. Hey, stepping out in to the open expanse of air with nothing beneath you is definitely a cause for fear. But fear is present even in moments where the end of your life is not an outcome. Like standing in front of a crowd to present a speech. Or asking the love of your life to marry you. Maybe you need to admit to your family that you’re gay. Or that you want to change your college major. Fear….even without a direct threat to your life, can stop you from taking that “jump” or step forward. It can paralyze you in to secrecy, or keep you stuck in your current situation.

But just like the tandem instructor told my husband, all you may need is a little nudge as you prepare yourself before stepping out. He didn’t tell him that it’s silly to be scared. He didn’t tell him not to be afraid. He told him to brace himself and accept a little help.

So, what would you do if you weren’t afraid? What would you do if fear was not a factor? What would you change in your life? The reality is though, you can’t stop the fear from occurring. But, you can admit what it is that you want to do, what you want to change, where you want to go, or who you want to speak to. Then…. take THAT knowledge and let the “nudge”, or help and encouragement from others to push you to take that all important step as you prepare yourself physically and emotionally to do it.

Here is hopefully the NUDGE you need as you brace yourself for your step out in to the open expanse of your new life. Listen to the video as I share my experience, and please tell me about yours.

— The Pretty Platform

It’s Getting Loud Up Here In My Head!


My thoughts are like unplanned and uninvited guests.  They usually pop in when I’m on my own during a relaxing drive. For some people it’s a stroll through the park as they contemplate the sights and sounds of nature. For others it may be a long soak in the tub as the lit wick of a candle dances in the dimness of the room. Sure, those seem to be an open door policy as well, but given that I find myself driving everyday to and fro from the daycare, during that daily hour it can get very busy and noisy up in my head. Personally, I dread the To-Do list thoughts like home repairs or shopping for back to school supplies. I prefer to shove those out and jot them down on paper to keep them from pacing around in my head. Then there are the thoughts that if allowed to put its feet up and stay awhile can be quite enlightening. On Friday, during my usual drive, a humorous and somewhat questionable bit of advice handed to me way back in my 20’s opened the door and walked right in. It caused not only a chuckle to escape, but it seemed to be an open call to many other pieces of advice I’ve received in my lifetime. From the profound to the useless. People will gratuitously provide us with information that we can consider either genius or just plain stupid, having acquired it from either tradition or experience. Many have stayed with me throughout the years. Some I’ll keep alive, while others I’ll make sure to keep buried forever.

Here are some I’m willing to share with the world. Some may be equally helpful to you as they were for me, while others just provide simple entertainment. Please share some of your lifetime favorites at the end of this post. My door is always open to good, weird, funny but effective advice.

From my Mother…

 

  1. At the young age of 20, I was about to be married and I was a virgin. The night before my wedding, my mother who had never spoken to me about sex which means I never received “The Talk”, had now offered up the following…. (original advice was given in Spanish) … “Make sure to have either tissues, wet wipes or a hand towel on your nightstand since having sex can get messy and you may be too tired to go wash up”. She told me to trust her. Yuck! Was this my “Talk”? Unfortunately I had nowhere to hide.
  2. “A sincere smile is the best beauty tool you’ll ever own”.
  3. “Don’t accept anything anyone tells you as truth. Always ask for proof”. I wish I had taken this bit of advice early on in my life.
  4. “Let go of the negative stuff and hold on tight to the positive”.
  5. “Don’t wash your hair everyday. It’ll dry it out”.
  6. “Sit up straight”.
  7. “Beware of men that feel a need to sell themselves like a used car salesman. Beware of men that remind you how great they are or how lucky you are to be with them. Let their actions speak for their true nature”.

 

From my Aunt…

 

  1. “Never lend out money to family or friends without a written and signed contract”.
  2. “Never invest in a brand new car. A used car does the job just fine”.
  3. “Forget the rainy day. Save, save, save, for when the storm comes”.
  4. “Hire a lawyer to settle your ownership of your house”. This one proved to be my saving grace.
  5. “Don’t judge others if you want to be accepted as you are”.
  6. “Take care of yourself first so you can then take care of others”.

 

From my Boss…

 

  1. “If you want something done immediately make sure to NEVER use the term ASAP”.
  2. “Go home. You can finish this tomorrow”.

 

From my Husband…

 

  1. “Who cares what others think. Be yourself. To the hell with everyone else”.
  2. “Find what you love to do and do it”. This replayed in my head a million times, then this blog was born.
  3. “Stop cleaning and relax”. Yeah right!
  4. To an article I asked him to critique before I posted it up… “It’s good, but not great”. This always pushes me to strive for great.
  5. “These shoes would look great on you”. I bought the shoes.
  6. “Never stop learning”.

 

From an ex-boyfriend…

 

  1. “Let him speak first. Wait your turn without interruption. Then you can go in for the kill with all information in hand”. His advice to me when I had to go to a child custody court hearing.

 

From a total stranger…

 

  1.  “I can tell by looking at you that you are NOT completely Puerto Rican. Go research your ancestry”. I’ll be doing a DNA test soon for my ancestry percentages, but this stranger was right after I did some digging. I’ll share the results after I complete the test.

 

From a friend…

 

  1. “Keep writing”. So simple but exactly what I needed to hear.
  2. “Rub the steering wheel twice around to the left, once around to the right and ask the Parking God to guide us to a spot, and now go straight. Trust me.”. I laughed but humored her. Then screamed when there was a spot waiting for us instantly. Take note we were driving around for quite some time and just wanted to get on the beach. Hysterical, eerie and weird!

 

From my seven-year old…

 

  1.  “Mommy, you need to brush your teeth. Your breath smells bad”. I had coffee breath. Kids are brutally honest.

 

Now how can I go on after THAT?! Share some of yours below.

— The Pretty Platform