Archive for June, 2019

Actualizing My Damage

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

Falling in love affected me so deeply because afterwards, I was forced to stare into the mirror. I was stripped naked, sitting cross-legged on the dark floor of my room as it reflected the darkest parts of myself: the wounds that never fully closed. I realized then that I was not equipped for a relationship because I had not healed from my past. I had endured trauma and abuse in many forms and that had affected my relationship with myself. It was not entirely the boy’s fault that this did not work out. It was mine, too.

My prior relationships had left me racked with numerous scars. Some were visible; I covered them with tattoos. The other scars were invisible to the naked eye because they lay dormant in my struggling soul. It is not the romantic relationships that had scarred me this way, though; it was my relationship with my family. My father’s alcoholism dramatically worsened following my mother’s abandonment when we were younger. People often say my mother and I are twins, meaning I was a daily reminder of his pain. Subsequently, I received the brunt of the abuse when he was drunk. Once, he wished me dead. I loved my father, but everyday he battled numerous demons. He fought as long as he could for us until May 4th, 2014. For years after he passed, I still flinched when I saw a belt. The first relationship I had with a man broke my self-esteem, so I rarely stopped other men that had similar habits. It was what I had become used to.

I also realized this past year that I felt guilty for my sexual assault. The pain that that caused me is one that I am still dealing with to this day. Six months after I moved out from “home,” I tried to salvage my relationship with my mother. But every single time we spoke, we were lying. We were pretending that everything was okay. She would still bring her boyfriend up. There were pictures of him in the house. I would have to hear his voice on the phone when he called her. And I had to be okay with it. But I was not. Her and I spoke every single day, so every single day I was being reminded of the night when everything came to a head. When the years of him grabbing my butt and making inappropriate comments mixed together to form the infamous night. The night that he grabbed his bulge in front of my face. The night that he held both of my legs open and while standing between them repeatedly asked me “Why not?” The night that he yanked me off the couch and rubbed himself up against me from behind when I wouldn’t let him grab me.

I was sixteen when he assaulted me. Two years after in college, I thought I had gotten over it. But when my heart broke in a way I never knew possible after that boy and I ended our not-relationship, I knew I was far from being okay. I could no longer pretend like that night— those years, did not happen. That man treated me as an object and I subsequently began treating myself the same way. I had to listen to my mind and my pain to put an end to it, starting with my mother. I could not speak to her knowing she was actively not protecting me. Knowing she was avidly moving to Florida this summer to live with him without knowing if I had a place to stay. So I told her the truth. I told her I was incapable of pretending anymore and everything blew up. My heart shattered for the millionth time as my mother left me on read. I walked her through the vivid details of what her boyfriend did all over again and she read it, but did not answer. She still has not answered. She has spread lies and spun narratives in which I am the bad guy. She has blamed the victim. That hurt my self-esteem more than any boy ever could.

This is my damage. I have grown up like many other minorities have in this institutionalized system: poor, hungry, abused. I did not succumb to my circumstances, but I realized I had still not overcome them. Some of those demons still clawed at me from beneath my bed at night. I spent many years being angry at the world, but I realized I can’t do that anymore. I can’t be angry that some people had nice houses growing up and have never gone hungry. I can’t be angry that some people have two parents that love and support them. I can’t be angry that some will never know the pain I have. I should be happy for them. I am happy now that many have not suffered the way I have. But I have to share my stories for the ones that have not been so lucky. For the ones like me that have had random hurricanes thrown in their paths without rhyme or reason.

Before I can truly help others, though, I have to help myself. I have to hold myself accountable for my own negative habits. I needed to stop hindering my own growth.


By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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How to Suffer Healthily – Guidelines to Surviving NYC Campus

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Chapter 1: A Healthful Reality

 

Anyone who moves to New York City has a goal. They have dreams and expectations and a vision of what their dazzling life in the city. Media has shown us so many encouraging stories about the struggle of making your way in New York. There are parties and fashion, runways and bankers, agents and food and artists and culture; all of these things are banded together in such a small place, it’s a wonder you get to somehow experience it all.

 

Yet, NYC college students ultimately end up asking themselves is how do you manage to stay healthy on a student budget while still trying to conquer New York?

 

To help out fellow peers, I’ve compiled a list of a few challenging realities that students should know to expect.

  1. Most Students are Still Growing Up

 

It’s not a shocking truth, but it’s one that hits home for many struggling students. It’s strange enough becoming an adult in a place that demands your attention full time, but students often move astounding distances to live in New York, leaving their family and most of their support system behind. These students must construct new routines and learn the ins and outs of solidarity. At the beginning, no one is making sure that you’re staying fit or eating healthy or eating at all for that matter. It may take a while to become adjusted to getting by on your own.

 

  1.  School is Important

 

Not only do college courses require an immense amount of focus, but now you’re paying for that focus. If you miss too many classes or your grades start to slip, it’s likely you may have to retake a class. What does this have to do with health? The human brain requires a nutritious balance of Magnesium, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and all of the B Vitamins. Without these elements in your diet the brain loses a significant amount of stamina, making it harder to do well in school. Of course, ramen and dollar pizza slices are staple foods for the regular student, but after a week of MSG and no vitamins, it gets hard to keep up with the fast pace of NYC.

 

  1. Movement is Key

Maybe this one is implied, but people in New York City are constantly moving from place to place and they are always hard-pressed to get there on time. With so much happening at once and with so much to do, it’s a wonder how students find time to stay fit. And while fitness is unique to the individual, it’s sometimes difficult to discern what exactly your body needs. It’s not essential to have a gym membership or to be a part of a sports team, sometimes it’s as simple as investing in a bicycle or scooter to get around town. Just be sure to remember, there’s a difference between being active and staying healthy. Walking around all day and running from one train to the next can be quite the workout; it’s beneficial to find time to relax and get plenty of sleep.

 

Despite all of those chilling realities, it is also extremely important to have fun. Staying healthy in school can be a breeze with the right resources, knowledge and motivation. In this book, I will explain a few tips on how to turn college survival into simply living.

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My Biggest Fear – Revealed

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

One day as I sat in the dining hall conversing with a friend, I broke down. We were having a normal conversation, but the entire time she was speaking, all I could think about was going back to my empty dorm by myself. The walls were cold and the room was dark. The small window in my low-cost triple dorm provided little to no light. My view was a brick wall. His room had always been so bright. As tears rolled down my face in the crowded dining hall, I realized I had fallen into the same hole my mother had.

I was scared to be alone. My mother is too. She has consistently been in relationships since she was nineteen. She continues to be in them, even when they harm her. Even when they harm me. I always told myself I would never do the same, that I would never be that girl who depends on a guy for her source of happiness and security, but here I was. I cried daily for a week and somehow found a way to make everything about him. And as I sat in that dining hall, I was being a bad friend. I was so absorbed with my own problems that I couldn’t focus long enough to listen to what she had to say. But the idea of being in my own company for a prolonged period of time felt as smothering as the four white walls of my shoebox dorm did. I was being suffocated by the feeling that I wasn’t enough for myself. Like if I wasn’t with someone else, what was the point? What did I have to offer… myself?

Then I became upset. I had everything I could possibly want: a full scholarship to my dream school, a dorm in the city that never sleeps, the opportunity to pursue my passion of writing. Why wasn’t this enough for me? Why did I feel so empty? I had also experienced pain more severe than this. I was abused mentally and physically growing up. I slept on couches and floors. My father died. I was sexually abused. I moved out at sixteen. This was nothing compared to all that! How had I conquered all of those experiences and the pain they yielded, but I was struggling to conquer this?

I realized though that that anger toward myself was counterintuitive, because it typically made the situation worse. And I can’t minimize my current problems just because I have had worse ones in the past. I am unable to control my emotions, and thinking I could was toxic to my health. I held myself to such a high standard that I became disappointed whenever I felt that longing because I am supposed to be “strong” and “independent.” This is what I taught myself but that is what I had to unlearn. I was definitely both of those qualities, but my definitions of them were incorrect. I was not weak because I loved and subsequently hurt; that is what made me strong.

There is this expectation in college that everything should be casual and that this is not the time for romantic relationships. My own friends made me feel abnormal for wanting commitment instead of a casual fling that lacked a label. I wanted  to love someone instead of just enjoying the pleasures of the flesh they would. I feel so much to the point that I thought I was feeling too much. But I realized I needed to stop apologizing for the complexity of my emotions. I know I hold no control over them, but I can control my actions. I can control how I react and can limit the amount of actions that will yield these deep emotions I typically experience.

The main problem was that I love other people with all of my heart. I give everything I have, even when it means that I go without more times than not. But I was not loving enough to myself. I was not giving to myself. I was not accepting myself for my flaws like I had unconditionally done for others. Of course I didn’t feel comfortable in my own company. I didn’t have enough respect for myself. Would you pass time with a person you do not love or respect? And while I was not loving myself enough, I also was not holding myself accountable. I was not acknowledging my own flaws and weaknesses. I was playing victim but failed to acknowledge that I was part of our downfall too. I didn’t fully acknowledge that until the night I went out with a group of friends to see a movie and he was there. I don’t even remember how we got to this point in our conversation, but we had begun conversing about when we were together. The conversation was half-joking, half-serious. I told him it was his fault that I was so distraught the week we ended. I implied that the whole ending was his undoing. He said “Really? Come on, Jae. It was your fault, too.”

I needed to hear that.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Falling in Love (Before I Knew How)

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

I fell in love for the first time this past year. It was passionate and messy and blew up in my face. However, it yielded much needed self-reflection and realization that facilitated unprecedented growth within myself.

Shortly after my first semester began, I found myself in something that resembled a relationship with another NYU student. I was hungry for life when I arrived at college and he nourished my soul. We thought we could get away with not putting a label on ourselves, though. He had just gotten out of a five-year-long relationship and I had just gotten over a short, mediocre one. My mistake was thinking I could control my emotions. I thought I could spend my days with this boy and be embraced with his sweet kisses without getting too attached. I thought wrong. I fell for him much more quickly than I ever believed possible.

As soon as I got out of class, my first thought was when can I see him again? Even if it was for twenty minutes, I wanted to be in his presence. He brought calm into the normal chaos that was my daily life. He held me while I had panic attacks and made me say every single thing I was grateful about, from my little brother back home to the cheese and grape platter I always bought from Sidestein. When I was with him, I didn’t think about the pain brought by the loss of my father or the invalidation from my mother. I didn’t think about the nights I went to sleep for dinner. He even stopped the daily night terrors I would have about my mom’s boyfriend.

The thing about college, though, is that we often get much more freedom than we have ever been exposed to before. I didn’t have to wait until my uncle was at work for a boy to drive twenty minutes to pick me up. This boy literally lived right across the hall from me. Boundaries exist for a reason, but I broke them. It felt too good to be with someone that had also struggled, that understood much of my pain. He was hesitant about us, though. He would constantly have talks with me to make sure I wasn’t getting too attached. He had just gotten out of a long relationship and made it clear he wasn’t ready for a new one. The last thing he wanted to do was hurt me. So, I told him I wasn’t falling. I lied.

 I lied to myself for a long time. I told myself that I didn’t have deep feelings for him. That we were just casual and having fun, but deep down, I knew. I wrote a poem two months in that went:

 

a beautiful night

heart inflamed

my soul awakens

in the presence of you

 

i love you

but im not in love with you

i promise

i know you dont want that

 

you dont want to be limited again!

you shout from the rooftops

you shout so loud that windows shatter

i eat the glass

 

every night

you hold me

but when im not there

i cry

 

i cry because i know

i love you

but not like in love with you

i promise

As our not-relationship progressed, I became dependent. I expected him to constantly  long to see me as well and to not be with anyone else, even though we had never made that clear. When my expectations weren’t always met, I began feeling empty. So, I started overcompensating. I stopped going out of my way to see friends. I spent more money on him than I had to spare. I sacrificed sleep each night to drowsily stay up doing homework with him. These were my own conscious choices; he never asked for any of it.

Our days were often sweet and bright, but I knew we were running on borrowed time. The expiration date was closing in on us like the four white walls of loveless apartments I grew up in. Because of this, I never had sufficient time to brace myself for the fall.

It all exploded one night. I saw him check in another girl to our residence hall. My friends were trying to keep me away so I wouldn’t see, but the plan failed. He walked past without even looking at me. My eyes locked with the girl. My heart shattered.

I walked outside and the cool night air wrapped itself around my cold skin as I collapsed against the brick wall. I can’t do this anymore. The nights when he spun me around and called me his girl, when we sat in Washington Square Park eating pizza and he told me his dreams about helping low income communities, waking up to his soft kisses after he got back late from the library, it wasn’t enough anymore. This hurt more than I can ever put into words and my battered soul couldn’t bear another moment.

He was a mess after seeing me and made the girl leave. He begged me to come over but I told him it would just make things worse. I would yell. He said it didn’t matter. I stormed in and let myself go. I stopped trying to be what I thought he wanted. I had never yelled at anyone like that in my life. I trusted him. I loved him. I told him he was selfish. But I left out the part that I was, too. I cried; so did he. He said it was his first time in years. Big deal, I told him, I had been crying all week. That night we held the pieces of what was left of us in our tired hands and attempted to mend them back together. They didn’t fit anymore. He texted me at two in the morning and said he wished I was laying in his arms. His bed felt cold without me.

My heart broke repeatedly that week. The next morning was my Spanish final. I tried to tell my friend what happened before it started but I ended up running to the bathroom and breaking down all over again. I am a writer. I write about my pain. But this? This was something I couldn’t even think about without feeling sick to my stomach. He said he was practically writing an anthology. I couldn’t bring myself to reflect on it long enough without feeling like my knees were about to buckle and my lungs would give out. It made me physically ill.

I have endured exponentially more awful experiences in my life than heartbreak, but for some reason, this hurt the most.

 


By Jaelynn Grace Ortiz

Jaelynn is a rising sophomore at NYU majoring in Journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis with a focus in Latino studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. The list of her hobbies is almost as drawn out as her majors are. She writes poetry, essays and stories, she dances, mentors high schoolers in the Bronx and often plans environmental events in NYU Residence Halls. She has a poem published in the introspective study Inside My World by the Live Poets Society. Despite vehemently condemning social media, she ironically has instagram which you could follow her on. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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