How I Dealt With Bullying by Marquesa Lola

How I Dealt With Bullying

By Marquesa Lola

I suffered from bullying for many months, but it did not stop me from hanging out with my bully, considering her to be my best friend. She pushed me to my limits and to do horrible things.

 Today, I want to share a bullying experience with you. What is it? How does it affect people? Let me tell you how I dealt with bullying?

Let’s take a journey back through my childhood. Picture a very stubborn five year old who starts school for the first time. Picture a teacher who believes, “La letra con sangre entra,” or, “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child.” It was not an excellent thriving environment for a stubborn child. I learned that submission was a better choice at school if I wanted to be spared of a good spanking. When teachers verbally or physically abuse kids, the abuse is rarely called bullying. My teacher was my first bully, but not the only bully in my life. 

When teachers verbally or physically abuse kids, the abuse is rarely called bullying.”

I became a shy and withdrawn child and the victim of another bully. She was a friend, and I looked up to her, she managed to make a puppet out of me. She demanded money, food, clothes, and any item she fancied from me.  My parents could not explain why I kept misplacing sweaters, coats, and toys.

I suffered her bullying for many months, but she was my “best friend,” so I did not stop myself from hanging out with her. She made me do terrible things. She intimidated me to steal small toys, pencils, or spit on other children’s food, and I was forced to watch them eat it. As a reward, I was allowed to have a spot in her team of cool kids. She was so twisted that at one point, she asked me to give a love note to a boy she knew I liked. I became the messenger between the two of them. At that point, I realized she was not a true friend. 

I was right!! From the time I told her I was no longer interested in her friendship, she made my life a living hell. I was subjected to an entire year of insults from her team. They would spread rumors about my family, and they use sarcasm and put-downs that were unbearable to me. I was so affected by it that I decided to tell my parents.  We decided I needed a break, and I was sent to live with my aunt for a few months. 

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If you or someone you know is being bullied, tell your parents or teachers about it. I know how lonely and emotionally daunting it is when you are the victim of a bully. And definitely I remember suffering from anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. I remember I could not concentrate on school work, and my social interactions at school were just limited to my bullies. If this is happening to you, please, find a trusting adult and share your concerns with them. Don’t go through this experience alone. My parents were very supportive when I finally told them.  

“If you or someone you know is being bullied, tell your parents or teachers about it.”

You may think that students who are bullied are the only ones affected by the bully. The reality is different. There is another group of kids who also may experience mental health problems: the bystanders. I remember when one of the kids from the “cool group” reached out to me and tried to protect me at times. Often, she watched silently for fear of retaliation. I believe she also suffered from anxiety due to the pressure to participate in the bullying.

She felt powerless to stop the bullying and guilty for not having defended me at times. If you are a bystander, you have a big responsibility. You should share what you know with a person you trust because not only will you help the victim move on and heal, but also, you will find closure yourself. Doing the right thing will help you recover from the trauma as well. I was very moved when this girl finally left the group.

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 “My friend,” the bully, grew up to be a sour adult.  She never finished school and had problems with substance abuse as a teenager. If you are a bully, consider talking to an adult who can help you figure out the reasons why you need to bully others.  You will find out that often it is not your fault.  It may be a byproduct of your environment. Usually, you can work things out with the help of a trusting person. 

It is crucial to tell your parents and educators if you are either being bullied or if you are engaging in bullying behavior. If you are not sure what you are experiencing is bullying, do a self-check:  Are my new friends making me do things I am not comfortable with? Did my behavior change? Did I change my eating habits? Are my grades declining? Do I have difficulty sleeping? Please, don’t ignore these signs and run fast to tell someone you trust.  

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I believe my own bullying experience shaped my personality. Telling my parents was the best choice I made. I also learned that it is painful to be ridiculed. And I promised myself I would never submit a person to the type of abuse I went through. I vowed myself never to force anyone to do anything against their will, ridicule, or insult them. And, to this day, I have kept my promise to the best of my knowledge. Other children are not as fortunate as I was, and instead of turning the experience into a life lesson, they end up experiencing severe mental health issues. This is how I dealt with bullying If you want, you can share your story with me, with Marquesa Lola. I am here to lend you a hand. Don’t let anyone dim your sparkle!!!!

I vowed myself never to force anyone to do anything against their will, ridicule, or insult them.

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I Am My Best Company by Marquesa Lola

I Am My Best Company

By Marquesa Lola

I have never lived alone before. I left my family home and I moved in with my partner almost immediately.  Five months ago, after 40 years of living with my partner, I found myself living alone in the middle of a world pandemic. And I realized that I am my best company. Today, I want to reflect on the benefits and challenges of this milestone in my life. 

Living alone is giving me the time to work on the most important relationship in my life; the relationship I have with myself. For many years, I have neglected the person I spend most of the time with “Me”. 

My whole life, I have dedicated my time to taking care of others, feeling I was not getting enough in return.  As the oldest child in a family of five siblings, my parents relied on me to be responsible for my sisters. That probably set me up for a lifetime of caring for others. Later, as an adult, I dedicated my life to support hundreds of students and my own family with all my heart.  I believed, at the time,  it was selfish to look after myself and rarely took the time to think about my wellbeing and happiness.  

I have neglected the person I spend most of the time with “Me”.

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Today, I find myself living alone, in the middle of a pandemic with only one person to take care of, Marquesa Lola, and I am loving it. All the attention I gave to others, I am now receiving from the person I trust the most, Me. I am learning to take the time to love myself because I deserve it. All that love and support I will continue giving around will be enhanced as I learn to embrace the concept of self- love. I read that a woman writes with lipstick on her bathroom mirror the words: “I am enough” every day.  I have tried it myself finding this simple act of affirmation extremely uplifting.  Let’s celebrate loving ourselves to be able to love others better! 

Living alone is allowing me to strengthen my relationships with family and friends. It has allowed me to examine those relationships and to evaluate the ones I don’t get much benefit from. I am learning to identify who adds positiveness and who adds toxicity to my life. This allows me to choose the people  I want to be present in my life as friends and who are those people I just want to keep as acquaintances. Solitude has provided the time I need to examine all my relationships and prioritize who I want in my life from now on.

“By far the greatest benefit to living alone has been to be able to make my own decisions, big or small.”

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Being alone has also allowed me the flexibility and time to explore new things. I always felt uneasy to do certain things in front of my partner or my family. You may ask yourself: What would you want to do without an audience? Well, I love sing-alongs and dancing.  Now, I can dance to my favorite music in the kitchen. I can watch any television show regardless of how silly the show is, go to bed, eat, go for a walk, paint, and meet anyone I want, at any time I wish, and without anyone judging me for it. This is a huge plus of living alone.

Living alone has allowed me to create my own spaces at home. When I found myself living on my own, I gave my bedroom’s furniture away and I redecorated my new bedroom. When I look around my new space, I see myself in it now. Everything around me is mine, my taste, and my choice. I feel more comfortable, to the point that I sleep a lot better these days. My room looks beautiful and I love it!

By far the greatest benefit to living alone has been to be able to make my own decisions, big or small. For the last 40 years, every decision I took was consulted with my partner or my family. Now, I don’t have to ask anyone for “permission” to make choices and that is liberating. I started with small decisions such as buying new furniture for my new bedroom and moved to more important decisions. I have adopted a pet without consulting anyone, I am making decisions for my retirement, and I am learning to manage my finances.

Living alone can be challenging, but you can learn to enjoy your own company

Living alone can be challenging, but if you can learn to enjoy your own company, add some healthy routines, and make regular plans to meet your friends and family, it can be freeing and rewarding. My experience of living alone is not a lonely one. If you live alone, YOU are definitely in good company!!!!!! Enjoy a single living!! 

These words of encouragement are dedicated to my lovely sister who, like me, is learning to walk this path alone but not lonely! Si se puede!

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Why Did The Narcissist Choose Me? by Marquesa Lola

Why Did The Narcissist Choose Me?

By Marquesa Lola

This is Marquesa Lola thinking out loud. I have always asked myself why did the narcissist choose me as a partner? He had met many other girls before me. On the day he noticed me, he was not sober, and he could have forgotten about me the next day. But, he came back to see me over and over, even though I was not particularly interested in him. Of course, after a couple of weeks, he had created a web in which he has trapped me for decades. But why me? Did I have specific weaknesses, qualities,  or traits that attracted him to me? What were those traits?

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The more I learn about narcissism, the more I see how I fit the profile of a person a narcissist would choose for a partner. When I met him, I was young and pretty, sharp, and compassionate. At that time, I had firm beliefs and many aspirations for my life. I wanted to change the world for the best. I had strong family support and felt loved by many. At that time, I was an extrovert and a dreamer. I was living the best time of my life, and I was confident and happy. Then, I met him.

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Narcissists are drawn to people who will nurture their ego.”

To begin with, a narcissist looks for a person who will be devoted to him. Narcissists are drawn to people who make them look good about themselves, people who will nurture their ego. They look for empathic people who validate their feelings, overlook their flaws, and who will not likely leave them during the narcissistic abuse. That is precisely what I provided for my narcissist. During our life together, I validated his ideas, choices, and family decisions. If those decisions were not to my full conformity, he managed to overrule my opinions, and I just let it happen rather than engage in a session of narcissistic rage.

Narcissists and empaths tend to attract each other. Narcissists see someone they can use, and empaths see someone they can help and fix. As an empath, I often want to please others and not disappoint anyone, which makes it hard for me to set boundaries, especially with manipulative people. This is one of the reasons why it has been effortless for my narcissist to take advantage of me. He knew that as an empath, I would rather fight to save the relationship and that I would never give up easily on my beloved ones. Certainly, I did not give up even though I knew that I was not in a loving relationship. I sucked it up and tolerated the manipulation to a degree. I was an easy target for him. 

Narcissists and empaths tend to attract each other. Narcissists see someone they can use, and empaths see someone they can help and fix.

A common misconception is that a narcissist looks for a weak person to manipulate. But, in my research, I found the opposite. He actually looks for a person who has talents, healthy family relations, and careers that have good standing in the eyes of others.  All these make him feel special through association.  

Narcissists have low self-esteem. I believe they are attracted to someone who reflects well on them in the eyes of others. This way they feel important. At the time I met him, I knew a lot of people. I think that was one of the traits that he thought was advantageous to him. He was popular because I was popular. However,  he tried to reduce the circle of my friends as time went by. Luckily, I did not allow him to separate me from my friends and family, and that has helped me cope with my life on many occasions.

More often than not, a relationship with a narcissist is all about control. He feels powerful in taking down someone who appears mentally, physically, or emotionally stable. That way, he feels more accomplished if he succeeds in tearing you down. As a young adult, I was a competent young woman. I was strong and independent. After years with him, I found myself doubting every move I made. I went through a series of self-doubt episodes that triggered severe anxiety and depression that lasted for years. 

“A relationship with a narcissist is all about control.”

I understand now how I was trapped in a relationship with a narcissist. I finally understand why a narcissist did choose me. Still, it has taken me 40 years to realize how, gradually, I was made believe I was at fault for the deficits in our relationship. The traits that once were what attracted him to me became weaknesses in his eyes. I began to believe the reason I was not loved by him was my fault to the point that I became a shadow of the person I once was. 

Once I was discarded by the narcissist, I understood that my life had been full of drama and heartache.  Once you admit you are in a toxic relationship, you need to take charge of your life. It is never too late to mend yourself after such a relationship. It takes time, but detaching from the past sure makes you smarter and a stronger person. Once you learn it was not you, it was HIM, your second chance in life begins again!!!

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Dealing with a Narcissist by Marquesa Lola

Dealing with a Narcissist

By Marquesa Lola

Since President Trump took office, much has been written in the media about narcissism. Trump has been labeled as the ultimate narcissist with a grandiose sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, and an excessive need for admiration. This is Marquesa Lola writing about my experience with narcissism. 

Before Trump,  I didn’t know much about narcissism. I thought a narcissist was a person with a huge ego and a disproportionate sense of entitlement. I got inquisitive about narcissism, and as I was learning about it, I started analyzing relationships in my life. I would have never called people around me, narcissists. Still, once I started researching about it, I realized the person in my life I was closest to was, in my assessment, a narcissist. 

I was surprised to learn that narcissism is a personality disorder (NPD), a mental health condition. This was shocking to me. I always thought narcissism was a matter of choice and could be turned on and off so to speak. 

I assumed a narcissist was a person who enjoyed posting one too many selfies or pics on Facebook, Instagram and liked talking about themselves constantly. I thought people who were narcissists could learn to be more humble and down to reality with a bit of help from a friend or a partner. It is not that simple! 

“He never learned to identify or trust his own feelings and would always have self-doubts.”

Not all narcissists are the same, of course, and it is not clear whether their NPD traits are inborn (nature) or they are nurtured by their caregivers and parents, or both. I believe the second to be true. 

Children who grow up to be narcissists have parents who are likely to be hierarchical and very focused on status and achievement. Thus, they are unlikely to teach or reward kindness and empathy to their children. Therefore, those children grow up with a lack of empathy and the inability to tune into the emotional world of others or their own emotional world. They usually feel unheard or unseen, and their feelings are rarely acknowledged. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many more causes and effects of this type of upbringing that it will account for the many varieties, levels, or degrees of narcissism in adults. 

As a child, my narcissist was valued by what he did rather than from who he really was. Consequently, his feelings were never addressed and were being considered a weakness; a personality flow. He never learned to identify or trust his own feelings and would always have self-doubts. He learned to pretend to look and act more important than how he really felt. He usually didn’t feel heard or seen, and he grew up frustrated, trying to find approval and attention at any cost.

Having said all that, one almost feels sorry for the NPD adult who manipulates others to be fulfilled. But believe me, if you are on the other side of a relationship with him, your life is a living hell!

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I identified four stages in my relationship with my NPD that I will try to explain:


My life with my narcissist started like a fairy tale. He was charismatic, charming, and skillful at creating a persona that suited every occasion. He could blend into any group of people. He was an old man with older people, a feminist with a woman, a millennial with young people. That is how he hooked me on his web. In retrospect, I remember he appeared to have the same core values I had. He would agree with me on practically everything. He thought everything about me was exciting and exotic. He loved that I was kind, hard-working, and an empathic person. He immediately moved into my life, and in a matter of months, we were engaged and married, even though I was not the marrying type. 

This is a stage in the relationship with a narcissist called “Love Bombing.” This stage can last for a few months or even a few years. Love Bombing is the time in which the NPD learns everything about you. Everything seems to be in perfect synergy at this stage. You can’t believe how lucky you are that someone like him is with you. This stage ends as soon as you are invested in the relationship. At least, that is when it ended in my case.


During this stage, the narcissist in my life began to cut down my self-esteem and my confidence. I did not see this coming. I remember it was very subtle but a very long process. He started to make it clear he was in charge. My opinions were not taken into consideration. I began to be relegated to the role of a mother to my son. My ideas were never honored. At times during arguments, he would accuse me of being too emotional, and a few times, he called me crazy. Other times, instead of arguing, he would give me the silent treatment, and he would refuse to continue any discussion. 

I learned to walk on eggs shells for years trying to become a fly on the wall. I concentrated on my work, my family, and my friends. I learned to take the manipulation and emotional abuse with a grain of salt. During this time, I started suffering from fear, anxiety, and depression and I grew very insecure and fearful. I started going to therapy, and I learned many tools I could use to become more independent.


I never predicted this stage. I was a believer that my marriage was forever. I was ready to grow old with him on his terms because my family was a priority to me. Consequently, this was a very traumatic stage for me. I didn’t know that in the last few years, he had been unfaithful to me. The cheating and the lying was something I was not prepared for. If I had not been discarded earlier was because I was needed financially, to take care of his mother, or to keep the status of “honorable man”. But I found out about the affair, and his mask fell off. He, then, left me without remorse. He left the house and went to live with her. 


This is the stage when you realize that a narcissist is incapable of loving anyone, not even himself. They just love the way you make them feel. During this stage, you learn to let go of the narcissist, but no contact is crucial during this recovery period. 

I am at this very stage now, and I find myself trying to redesign my life. I am slowly regaining my self-esteem, and I am looking forward to the day when my first-morning thought is not about him. I know, I need time.  

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I am on the road to recovery. It is a long road, but every day represents a considerable achievement that makes me proud to be me, a strong emphatic woman. 

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How to Rethink Your Life After Your Lover Betrays You by Marquesa Lola

How to Rethink Your Life After Your Lover Betrays You

By Marquesa Lola

How do you rethink your life after your lover betrays you as a newly single 60-year old? 

I am Marquesa Lola, with some thoughts about life from the perspective of a mature, vibrant woman. Yes, my 40-year-old relationship ended over two years ago, You know? Disloyalty and infidelity do ruin relationships. I tried to work things out with my partner, but it was obvious the unconditional trust I once felt in our marriage had vanished. Moreover, he was not too keen on doing much work to fix the relationship. In fact, he realized at one point that he did not love me anymore. He reconnected with his “friend” while I was still trying to heal from the betrayal. I did not realize at the time, but the fact that she took him back would end up being one of the best things that had happened to me in a long time. So this time, he left with her taking our dog with them. However, I realized how much peace I suddenly felt in my life. I sensed I was finally moving on. Moreover, I suddenly was the only person controlling my own life, feeling a sense of empowerment. 

I suddenly was the only person controlling my own life, feeling a sense of empowerment.” 

Now, I am less lonely than I was when I was living with him. When I wake up in the morning now, I smile, thinking I have a new chance in life. No one is around to criticize every move I make. I am now the master of my own destiny, and I have many good friends and excellent family support who fulfill my life.

But in terms of a new relationship with a new man… I’m still cautious. The real issue for me is to find ways to rethink my life and move to reorganize it in a way that it becomes a great life worth living. The happiness that I deserve. 

“I smile, thinking I have a new chance in life.”

Here are SOME TIPS I have learned that are helping me to start all over again and achieving the respect that I deserve: 

1- Learn to first respect yourself. Stand tall and confident, show your worth by developing a strong sense of self-respect that will help you fulfill your potential. You will make everyone around you see you as a person who is worthy of respect. 

2-  Acknowledge the fact that the only person who can make your life great again is you. At times, you may want to go home, stop thinking, and watch TV. This tends to isolate you and doesn’t help you move on. This means you must force yourself to get up, have a shower, get dressed, leave the house, and meet with friends. 

3- Take care of your body and your soul.  Exercise and meditation are great tools that really help you connect with the inner you. If, at times, you get lazy, make plans with a friend so you can be accountable and feel obliged to go. Healthy eating is essential at our age. Balanced meals help you keep alert and active.

4- Stop being a nice girl and set boundaries for yourself. I believe my generation was raised to think we needed to be the peacemakers at home and never make a big fuss about problems in the family. Our voices become small as voicing our opinion or disagreeing with our family is not expected. NO MORE! You don’t need to be a nice girl anymore. Learn how to say “no” or “that is not what I need right now!” Set firm boundaries for yourself. Whether it is a family member, a friend, or a coworker, you need to stop letting people walk all over you. YOU can learn to say no and let others understand that “NO, means NO! Establishing firm boundaries for yourself is a priority if you want to begin a new, more independent life.

5- Your needs are your priority. As a mother and a teacher, I relegated my own needs in favor of those of my family and my students. This is another mistake we should not make in our lives. It is your responsibility to find your voice and to have your needs met. You must make others know what your needs are, and stop assuming people know them. 

6- Get out there and get to know your surroundings if you are in a new locale. If there is a coffee shop in your area, become a regular for a while. As you get to know the servers, they will get to know you. This will encourage you to get out and meet new people in the process

“I feel I am lucky to have another chance to rebuild my life the way I chose.”

The journey is long and arduous, but not impossible. It takes determination and the support of great people around you. If you, like me, find yourself single unexpectedly, you are lucky, you have another chance to rebuild your life the way you chose. It could be the best thing that has happened to you, yet! Go for it! ¡Si se puede!!!

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Wearing a Face Mask Helps Your Mental Health by Marquesa Lola

Wearing a Face Mask Helps Your Mental Health

By Marquesa Lola

Hello, my friends, this is Marquesa Lola reflecting again on ideas that pop up in my mind as I inch my way forward through life. Today, I want to talk about the concept of wearing a face mask as an act of kindness towards other human beings during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Covid-19 has entered our lives, face coverings, social distancing, and constant hand washing have become essential, experts say. So, then, my question is: Why is there a revolt against face masks in some parts of our country? I am at a loss to understand this approach, and I am going to try to argue about it. 

First of all, until we get an affordable vaccine that works, we are reduced to utilizing three primary tools: face masks, social distancing, and hand washing. So what is the BIG DEAL about face masks? 

It seems people will not object to washing their hands; after all, we learn to do so from our parents since childhood. On the other hand, most people are OK with social distancing as people, in general, are very territorial about their personal space. At school, students are always encouraged to claim their own private space. However, I fail to understand why wearing a mask is our government’s infringement on our right to choose and on the liberties of our people. 

“To me, wearing a mask these days, though uncomfortable, is an act of kindness.”

In my mind, this argument lacks consistency in its essence, and I will disprove it by stating a simple analogy: the fact that we need to wear clothes while in public. If you walk naked while walking around downtown, you will be arrested. In this case, I have not heard anyone complaining about their right not to wear clothes. I can use the same argument about wearing a face mask during this pandemic. The reality is, in my opinion, that you have more freedom when you wear a mask because you are exercising an exclusive privilege to save lives. When you don’t wear your face mask, you make me feel vulnerable and insecure in my surroundings as I fear getting infected by you. Therefore, you are hurting my emotional being. 

To me, wearing a mask these days, though uncomfortable, is an act of kindness. I wake up every morning and prepare my running attire, which includes a face covering. I have many types of face masks. Some of the face masks I purchased from Amazon. They look like colorful scarves, and they match many of my outfits. Today, face masks come in different shapes and colors. They can be fashionable and colorful. Many of them, perhaps, are not adequate for all activities but you can choose to wear different ones for different occasions. If masks are here to protect us, let’s make the best out of them.

“Wearing my mask helps me model to other generations a sense of responsibility needed in this society.”

Wearing my mask helps me model to other generations a sense of responsibility needed in this society. It gives me the feeling that I am helping others stay healthy. In return, I find it very comforting when I see people wearing face masks during my daily run. I feel grateful to them because wearing a face mask, in today’s world, shows they care for others. 

When you wear a face mask, you demonstrate you have empathy for people who could potentially get infected by you. We must remember that even if we don’t feel sick, we could be asymptomatic and capable of spreading the virus to others. It is vital to me that you wear your face mask to protect me; it makes me think you care about me. I feel so happy when I see people wearing their face mask outside that I make a point to thank them for doing so. They usually feel grateful to me for acknowledging their effort. In return, I protect them by wearing my face mask to potentially save their lives.

We have to remember that we wear face masks to protect others, not ourselves, and that shows great care and strength of character. Subsequently, we should expect the same level of solidarity from the rest of the population. We must stop making this a political issue. Wearing a face mask is not a liberal or conservative issue. It is a health and safety issue and ultimately shows compassion, something that is not common these days in our world. I plan on printing and wearing a t-shirt to wear around. Its message, straightforward: I Wear a Face Mask to Protect You, Thank you for Wearing Yours to Save my Life. 

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2020 Has Brought The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Marquesa Lola

2020 Has Brought The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

By Marquesa Lola

As we were engaging in six feet apart conversation last evening, a good friend announced to me in a reflective mood, when the New Year was approaching, she thought to herself that 2020 was a beautiful number. It is so rounded and perfectly symmetric. She decided then that 2020 was going to be a lucky year. Suddenly, we both blurted out in silly laughter at once, relishing how untrue that statement had turned out to be.

The real irony is that 2020 has proven to be the worst beginning of any year we could both remember. As we were listing the events that had occurred during the first five months of 2020, the evils symbolizing the end of the world from The Book of Revelation sprung to my mind: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

“2020 has proven to be the worst beginning of any year we could remember.”

I am neither religious nor I believe in prophecies, but this metaphor seemed very appropriate for the times we are living. First, I envisioned a  white horse that appeared to be ridden by a certain President. This horseman seemed to dedicate most of his time to twist reality in ways that confused and divided humans.  

The second horseman, called Coronavirus, had been keeping our attention since March. Coronavirus rides a majestic yet intimidating black horse, and he is dedicating to spreading disease amongst us humans. 

Next, I noticed a pale horse ridden by Earthquake, the third horseman, who was trotting desperately to emerge from beneath the Earth. This horseman had been threatening us for many years. It showed himself once in a while as to warning us of his power.

Then, I heard a rumble, and as I turned around, I saw someone I was not prepared to welcome at this time. A fourth horseman was riding a fiery red horse and loudly announcing his presence. I recognized him immediately!  I had seen him around conspicuously hiding in cities all around the world. His name, I knew well: Racism. He looked deceiving and meanwhile riding on his red horse.  Then, I thought to myself, “All these four horsemen are galloping in front of us ready to bring forth the cataclysm of the apocalypse.” 

All these four horsemen are galloping in front of us ready to bring forth the cataclysm of the apocalypse.”

Even though the four horsemen looked equally dangerous, I could not help but concentrate all my attention on the fiery red horse. The horse was brilliant red and orange, ridden by a mighty feisty individual wearing an enormous sword. I had seen him before many times, but I seemed to recall him wearing a  smaller sword when I met him years back in the 90s. Or perhaps I don’t remember clearly as we tend to forget bad memories over time. It was then when I felt a chill down my spine. Racism was alive and more forceful than ever. 

This time around, Racism had crept out of his hiding cave at an unexpected time while we were all distracted by the horseman called Coronavirus. The last time I had seen this red beast full face was in 1992, although I had seen glimpses of him during all my years living in Los Angeles. 

“RACISM is a different beast altogether.”

I am an immigrant from Spain. So I did not have the misfortune of knowing this beast while growing up, although I had read about him. In my country, I had experienced other types of discrimination for being a woman, shorter than the norm, or for not having eight Basque last names in my ancestry. Therefore, in a way,  I am not foreign to the notion of feeling different amongst a group of people. In fact, I think most humans at one time or another are subjected to some type of alienation from a group that is considered to be the ideal norm.  

But RACISM is a different beast altogether. Even though we were weary and dull in our confinement hiding from the black horse and its horseman, Coronavirus, we could not overlook the brutality shown by this fourth horseman. And humans went out of their confinement and voiced their anger against this horrible beast. Every country, every city, every village got enraged and could no longer tolerate the injustice brought by him. This evil was eating up our society from the inside out. It is the reason why we thought we had overcome the past effects of his actions. He had been hiding dormant with one eye open, revealing himself through attitudes in our daily lives at supermarkets, at government institutions, or walking down the street on a Saturday night. 

From time to time, this evil horseman was associated with violent acts such as police brutality, making us worried and angry. However, it doesn’t always involve violent acts to feel his presence in our society. I have seen glimpses of him at school in the form of name-calling or exclusion from activities.  Racism has always been amongst us,  ingrained in our society in very subtle ways. So much, that not until the death of an African American in the hands of white policemen suddenly occurs.  It is then when society wakes up and realizes nothing had changed since Martin Luther King had a Dream. 

“WAKE UP!! Demonstrate and voice your opinions, griefs, and demands to achieve an equitable society for us all.”

WAKE UP WORLD!  The red horse and its horseman “Racism” have both been here, amongst us all along, getting stronger, offering us crumbs of the “goods” society has in store for all of us. Racism and his red horse make sure to keep us somewhat happy to be citizens of this great country. Don’t you be fooled by it. They only give us crumbs to keep us quiet, not the part of the pie we deserve.  

WAKE UP!! Demonstrate and voice your opinions, griefs, and demands to achieve an equitable society for us all. But, please, don’t go back to your regular life in two weeks. Do not forget again that a horseman named Racism is here and alive. Racism is here but not necessarily to stay.  Let’s make a conscious effort to defeat and eradicate it from our daily life, at every level.  Let’s unite to demand a change right from the government, all the way to the empowerment of the youngest child at school or at home. Racism alone is the most dangerous of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. 

United we can defeat Racism!!

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Why You Should Listen To Red Flags by Marquesa Lola

Why You Should Listen To Red Flags

By Marquesa Lola

When I was 21 years old, I met my life partner. Picture London in the 80s; a young Marquesa Lola, new in town from Spain. Going to school and working in a London hotel to pay for rent and school. Weekends were spent with school friends and perhaps going dancing. On one of those weekends, I met HIM. Why should you listen to red flags? Ignoring Red Flags lead to years of harmful emotional distress in my life.

The first time I saw him was on the train as we rode back from dancing with some mutual friends. That very first day when I met him, he pushed my physical boundaries as we rode the TUBE across London. In a matter of minutes, without warning, he proceeded to fondle me. I felt shocked and flattered at the same time. But mostly, I felt uncomfortable, yet I stood still in disbelief.

I later pushed this incident at the back of my mind. However, for the rest of my life, I have always wondered if that behavior was typical of someone who felt entitled to ignore women’s physical boundaries. I believe that on that first day, I ignored the first RED FLAG that has been the precursor of an entire life of his entitlement over me.

“I ignored the first RED FLAG that has been the precursor of an entire life of his entitlement over me.”

There were many other RED FLAGS I ignored from the beginning of my relationship, but I did not recognize them as such. I was very stunned at the fact that the first few weeks after we met, he would be extremely interested in all I had to say. His core values coincided with mine completely. He loved everything about me; my country, my family, my friends, my political views, my kind disposition, my sense of responsibility, the empathy I showed for others. We were made for each other too fast, too soon. He was just learning everything about me only to later use it against me. He would years later say, “you are too emotional, weak…” and that way, he destroyed my self-esteem one inch at a time.

In a matter of months, we were living together, but there were times when I felt a sense of loneliness, even in his presence. At times, I was given the silent treatment for something I didn’t know I had done. This became standard practice for years in our relationship. I thought at the time he was reserved, or he needed his personal space. So, even though I felt I was being punished for something I had no idea about, I ignored this visible RED FLAG that has been a constant in my life ever since.

He always made all the decisions in the household. He decided for us to move to America in the 80s, separating me from my family and friends. I did not complain; it sounded like a great adventure. That was another RED FLAG. My opinion was not asked, as this was a plan he had had for years.

“Would I have chosen to acknowledge the first Red Flags I would have avoided years of insecurities, fears, anxieties, emotional disconnect with my partner.”

He constantly told me what I should do, and his compliments were always shady, giving me a feeling that rather than a compliment, it was more like a put-down. He would say, “you could be a model, only if you were taller.” Well, if you think about it, he was just calling me short, not “a model”. These and many unnecessary remarks and put-downs were RED FLAGS again ignored by me that led to my decline and diminished self-esteem later in life.

Over the years, I became insecure, fearful, and anxious. When my son was born, I concentrated on his well being, and then, my partner found other ways to find himself busy. He worked hard and found hobbies that kept him out of the house for many hours. My son and I were invited to go with him if we wanted to be together as a family. That was the next RED FLAG. He never included our hobbies in his schedule; rather, we were included in his.

The wandering eye and the “gaze” was another RED FLAG I ignored for years that made me feel insecure about my looks. He would check every woman in a room and, at times, gazed intensively at them. If I called him on it, he would say I was crazy and that it was not valid.

All these RED FLAGS I ignored, have marked my life for good. Over the years, I learned to walk on eggshells and to take his word as the one ruling the family. The ultimate RED FLAG is when you realize that after taking care of him, his mother, the family, the house, and the dogs, suddenly, you feel alone. Your cooking is not good anymore; you are not slim or young enough. And little by little, you are replaced with a more youthful, shinier supply.

“We should always trust our instincts.”

As you can see, this last RED FLAG was the last straw for me that liberated myself from the emotional abuse I was suffering for years, allowing me to start being myself again. Would I have chosen to acknowledge the first Red Flags and set boundaries or end the relationship then, I would have avoided years of insecurities, fears, anxieties, emotional disconnect with my partner, and also depression.

One lesson I learned is that in life, we should always trust our instincts and notice how other people make us feel. If we think that a particular behavior doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it, it is a RED FLAG. Set boundaries, especially if that person is a family member, a friend, a boss. If it happens to be a partner, my advice is to run, run as fast as you can because you will not change them. Instead, they will tear you down over time.

Even though I went through all this, I now feel liberated from all the drama that surrounded me. Being in a relationship like this, I have an excellent opportunity to rebuild my self-esteem, recover the person I used to be, and just be Marquese Lola, not someone’s mother, wife, or teacher. I consider myself very lucky because having learned from the RED FLAGS I ignored before. I can now approach life with the certainty that the next stage in my life as a vibrant, free person, I will not hesitate to acknowledge the RED FLAGS, intercept them, and eliminate the source of them immediately from my life. The future feels liberating, and I look forward to the beginning of a brighter life. I feel lucky that I can recognize red flags for my next step in my life.

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Wearing My Emotions By Marquesa Lola

Wearing My Emotions

By Marquesa Lola

This is Marquesa Lola reflecting today on the way we use fashion to not only mirror who we are as people in general but also to express how we feel at a particular moment.

Just like artists use different lines and shapes to express their feelings, I consider clothes and accessories those elements of art that always hold meaning to the artists wearing them through their shape, textures, or colors. 

Many designers have chosen to express shoppers’ feelings on their garments. Shops like Forever 21 or Zara have been very upfront in printing messages of encouragement or affirmations for young shoppers.

But, I have seen messages more discouraging like; “The Worst,” “I am a Bitch,” or “Lonely.” These very blunt messages to me transmit a certain attitude or mood of the person wearing it. Sometimes the mood is part of their personality, but many times expresses a mood that the person is going through at a particular time. 

“Clothes and accessories help me maneuver life in a more bearable and positive way.”

But, even if I, myself, use these types of statements on my shirts sometimes, the real way I use fashion to express my feelings is, perhaps not unique, but very personal and meaningful to me.

Ever since I was a child, I liked using bright colors with the intention to bring the sun, the stars, or the ocean close to my body. The feeling of thinking these elements are part of my attire gave me a sense of wellness that I have perfected throughout the years. 

I believe the root of this practice for me started one day in September, 1973. This day was my baby sister’s funeral, and us, the rest of the four children were not allowed to go to church. I guess they thought it could be a traumatic experience for us girls. 

We stayed home with one of my aunts. My aunt was, most of the time, a very melancholic woman. No one hardly knew this fact, because she was always put together and fashionable. My aunt was always wearing bright colors, and oversized earrings and jewelry, . She was beautiful. She never had children of her own. So she took care of us girls at this very hard moment for my parents. 

“I realized how covering pain behind a beautiful dress and jewelry could help me feel a bit less afflicted.”

It is a tradition in my country to wear black for months in mourning after someone dies. The day for the funeral, my aunt, however, decided that she wanted to wear a bright yellow dress. In addition, she chose brown and yellow oversized circular earrings. I remember, she said to me,” I always want to dress as if I am about to meet James Dean. Even if my heart is broken and aching that day.” At that moment, I understood that grief has to be felt inside. And I realized how covering pain behind a beautiful dress and jewelry could help me feel a bit less afflicted. I was already very much fascinated with my aunt’s choices in life in general. And her sense of fashion in particular. Therefore, adopting this practice was a matter of days for me. 

I, too, use color, accessories, and styles to cover up my real feelings. My routine is not simple. I organize my closet by colors.

My sister, who is a fashion designer, submitted me to a thorough analysis of my body and skin tone. She identified me as “Autumn”. As a result, so I use mostly warm colors. I recommend everyone to take this study as you will improve your self-image tremendously if you follow her tips. I am lucky that I am “autumn” because I can use colors I adore; orange, yellow, Valentino red, gold, turquoise, earth, and hunter green. 

As you can see, clothes are just more than a piece of fabric covering up my body. It is a way of expressing my feelings at times. However, many times, it is a good way to hide those feelings, especially when things are not perfect in my life. Clothes and accessories help me maneuver life in a more bearable and positive way. 

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The Healing Power of a Bracelet By Marquesa Lola

The Healing Power of a Bracelet

By Marquesa Lola

Hello, this is Marquesa Lola. You don’t know yet, but I love bracelets, big or small. Especially those, which hold some type of deep meaning to me or represent a priceless memento. I wear them on both my arms, a few inches thick, looking a bit cluttered on my wrists. But, hey! I like them that way. And there, among all the bracelets, buried, conspicuous, unspoken for, there is a very small and special bracelet. Oh the healing power of this bracelet!

It is a bracelet I bought by pure chance at a local coffee place. It is not the best looking of my bracelets and hardly anyone ever noticed it on my wrist. However, It sits there heavy and at times it weighs a ton or two, making my heart feel heavy. My bracelet is always present in my mind. Every morning I rub it as if it were Aladdin’s Lamp  wishing  for freedom, my emotional freedom.

“Every morning I rub it as if it were Aladdin’s Lamp  wishing  for freedom, my emotional freedom.”

If I had to describe my special healing bracelet, I would say its leather straps hold what looks like a silver time capsule that holds a rolled parchment inside. I would have never noticed the fact that the parchment was inside the silvery cylinder, as I am not very observant, but this time I did. When I unscrewed it and opened it, the parchment popped out. I unrolled the parchment, and immediately I understood it was going to have an important role in my life. The paper had been designed for the purpose of healing me and that was the reason why it was there. 

Its purpose was to remind me of something critical. I was at a very low point in my life. So it seemed logical to me, I would use that parchment to write an SOS message to the inner me. This is what I wrote, “This bracelet will witness my recovery and it will only be opened at that moment, and the parchment will be burned in a special witchcraft type of ceremony, sprinkled with Champagne .” This will only happen the day I heal from the emotional abuse received throughout my life by the one person I trusted my life with,  the father of my child, my life partner. 

“It had been designed for the purpose of healing me.”

The day I will heal from the emotional abuse that led to self-doubt, self-judgment, and emotional deflation is not that far. I am beginning to feel moments of clarity which I had not had for the last two years. Some of the clarity, I won’t lie, I attribute to therapy, yoga, meditation, and walk with friends. But mostly to the fact that I am beginning to detach from the codependency that I suffered for decades towards this very toxic person. 

The note I wrote inside, has been on my wrist, locked for two years, hanging from my arms, amongst hundreds of other pretty bracelets. But, this inexpensive, subtle, plain bracelet is the only one that is a testimony of a promise I made to myself. I vowed to never remove it from my wrist until the day I will be totally healed. The bracelet remains on my wrist still today. One day, I promise, it will no longer be there.

I keep telling myself, “it is a matter of time.”

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