martes, 25 de diciembre de 2018

Los Malpaso

I had lots of imaginary friends as a little girl. I remember having long conversations with my stuffed dog Pepito and asking Libby, a Barbie doll, for advice on boys. And how could I forget my best friend Angélica, a flamboyant unicorn? I still blame her early influence for some of my most scandalous sartorial choices to this day. Sadly, as I grew up, I stopped paying as much attention to my imaginary friends, and consequently most of our relationships lapsed.

But many others have somehow persisted, remaining next to me and even managing to materialize in real life. That's how my Malpaso* family came to be. They're a series of clay sculptures that give form to the fun, beautiful, and colorful creatures that have been inside my head since childhood—and don't seem ready to leave my side anytime soon.

Each Malpaso character has a story to tell; some are fictional, some are factual, but all share a little bit of my essence. These little troublemakers are crafted with love by Colombian hands in a small pottery studio in New York City’s iconic Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Combining the colors and forms of the tropics with New York’s exhilarating, shape-shifting character, every Malpaso piece is surprisingly vibrant and evocative, yet friendly—and will definitely make you smile.

So come meet my real-life Malpaso family! May this be the beginning of a lifelong friendship!

*In Spanish "mal-paso" means "misstep," as in accidental creations that turned out to be great ideas, like Post-It notes, tea bags, Corn Flakes, penicillin, Slinkies, the daring apple that fell over Newton's get the idea.

domingo, 9 de septiembre de 2018

Along came Mad Men

I have never been a television fanatic. My TV is slightly bigger than my laptop's screen, I don't have cable, and until very recently I was one of the few persons on planet earth who had never watched Mad Men before. Until I got a hysterectomy. For those of you not familiarized with this term, a hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. It may also involve removal of the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other surrounding structures. Ouch!

How I got myself into this mess is beyond my comprehension. I thought I was living a healthy lifestyle by eating wholesomely, exercising daily, controlling stress, meditating, calling my mom regularly, etc. Surprisingly, a nasty sneaky fibroid was living cozily inside my uterus getting fat and big at the expenses of the organic, fairly-traded, locally grown, non-GMO, ethically-sourced food that I was eating. Life, my fellow readers is as unpredictable as the NYC weather. One day we are suffering under what I like to call the 100F Satan weather and the very next we are literally searching frantically in our closets for a fall jacket because the weather is now 40F cooler.

If in your next life you choose to be a benign tumor looking for a place to live, your best bet is to aim for the uterus. This organ is considered prime real state amongst other organs since it has all the perks that you as a tumor should be looking for. It is warm, it is located near food sources (e.g. eggs full of hormones), and the view is great! I mean, the uterus has unobstructed windows to the Central Park of the human organs a.k.a. the vagina. Unfortunately, my tumor treated his Fifth Ave. penthouse condo *clears throat* i.e. my uterus- as only a nouveau riche could. He indulged in each and every-one of the seven capital sins to the point where his neighbors The Ovaries, The Fallopians, and Mrs. Cervix along with people from other neighborhoods like Doña Bladder and his husband Mr. Large Intestine unanimously voted for his eviction.

My tumor didn't leave peacefully, he put on a fight that had me resting at home limiting my physical activity to the bare minimum. I had plans of spending my recovery weeks reading all the books that I hardly have time to get to on my "normal days" but in reality I could hardly concentrate since I was taking painkillers so strong that had me high as a kite or sleepy for the most part of the day. I needed something light and entertaining. And so I stumble upon Mad Men, and my life changed. Well, not really, but I loved the show so much that I binged watched 7 seasons in less than 4 weeks. I went from never turning on my TV to hardly turning it off. Mad Men and their incessant smoking and drinking habits kept me sane during one of the hardest yet most inspiring and life-changing events of my life. It also thought me that when in despair look for the silver lining, and so I did.

So to make a long story even longer, here are the Top-5 Lessons learned form a Hysterectomy -and Mad Men:

1. Be grateful to your body. We have heard this one before along with the obnoxious hashtag blessed but I mean, literally look at your legs right now and thank them for taking you places, look in the mirror and thank your eyes for letting you see the beauty of this world, even thank your reproductive organs for all the orgasms that you've been able to experience in your lifetime.  Never take your body for granted. Stop the self-criticism. Trust me, your thighs are not as wide as you think they are. You are perfect. In a world full of Betty Drapers be a Joan Holloway.

2. Embrace Change."And let's also say that change is neither good or bad. It simply is. It can be greeted with terror or joy. A tantrum that says "I want it the way it was". Or a dance that says "Look, something new". Don Draper.

3. Be patient. To be more precise, be a patient patient. Good things take time. Recovery takes time. We love instant gratification but your cells don't work that way. They are working hard to keep you healthy but getting anxious and expecting fast results are the kryptonite of recovery. I was directed by my doctor to take 6 weeks off from work. This forced "vacation" halted my life on its track. No going to the gym, no pilates, no yoga, no dancing. Thankfully, I felt better with every day that went by and slowly but surely I was regaining my mobility. My body reminded me daily that everything was coming together. My body had my back.

4. You are the captain of your destiny. Let's get real y'all. If I were to tell you that you have the power of becoming anything you want what would you do in your daily life? Would you quit your job? Would you get out of your long dead relationship? Would you start that beautiful dreamy boutique you've always wanted? Well guess what? You have the power of being the person you've always wanted to be because you are the CAPTAIN of your life. Stop coming up with lousy excuses. And now...I slowly disappear.

5. Get Netflix and Chill.  Ok, this one is completely unrelated to being in a hospital, or even being sick but I want to thank the Academy, my producer, my make-up artist, and all the others who made this possible specially Don Draper & Co. Thank you Mad Men characters for being so amazing in every way.

So for now I'm going back to my old ways where my TV is just a decorative accessory never to be turned on. I am going back to my "Hey Google, play Tchaikovsky" days and I'm going to pay more attention to my cat Nacho. Gone are the days of addictive binge watching. Let the new adventures begin.

With love,

Gloria E. Duque
Hysterectomy survivor, Unicorn Fantastique, Captain of My Own Life, Sculptor, Bad Ass, and CEO of Malpaso Fun Design. More on this soon...

domingo, 16 de octubre de 2016

The Beauty of Nonexistence

Por Estefanía Malpaso
Desde la Tierra del Nunca Jamás 

We met when we were six years old in a galaxy far, far away. We went to kindergarten together, laughed our way thru the preparatory years, faced the awkwardness of high school as a team, and eventually parted our ways when we started college. I never saw him again until last week when he surprised me with an impromptu visit to my work place. I didn't recognize him at first. I still remembered him as the shortest boy in class who suffered from severe acne and acute flat feet that forced him to wear awful orthopedic boots for years. Surprisingly, he turned out to be a hot ass human, an alfa male, a venti-pumpkin-spice-latte with foamy almond milk, a delicious chalupa.

My busy schedule, and the fact that I live in NYC -also known as the loneliest city in the world- limits my possibilities of finding appropriate mates; and by appropriate I mean attractive, heterosexual, and with decent manners. I can't stand the Homo neanderthalensis better known as the dude that burps, farts, and chest bumps his other Neanderthal buddies while watching football in a sports bar on any given Sunday. So if a hot man with an apparent interest in the opposite sex, that exposes a gentle demeanor knocks on your door (or shows up at your work place) you: a. Welcome that trouble-maker with a big grin on your face, b. Tell you friend Tina to shut the hell up with her never-ending "A man is not going to knock on your door, girl!" Well guess what Tina? He just did, he just did! and c. Give thanks to whatever superior force you believe in -or not- for this miracle because the possibilities of the described above scenario are almost none-existent (Hallelujah!)

I followed my very unreliable animal instinct and went out with my newly found hunk that night. After several glasses of wine and given the fact that I had recently ended my long term relationship –uh, three months- with whom I thought was my perfect match (the dude exposed early signs of what I like to refer to as tacañería crónica) I gave myself permission to indulge in the pleasures that only human male testosterone can provide. We danced, we drank wine, we kissed, we bit and sucked each other’s lower lip, we enjoyed each other, and we didn't want it to end. But it did, and at mid-night I turned into a pumpkin. I touched his perfect beard with my lips one more time and sent him -and his blue balls- home alone with the promise of calling him the next day.

Basilides, an early Gnostic religious teacher, believed that the best things are those that don’t happen. Things that remain in the “nothingness” are pure and perfect, away from expectations, degradation, decay, and eventually death. I wanted my "love story" to remain in the beautiful world of nonexistence. I wanted it to be perfect, I wanted it to never end, I wanted it to be magical and in order for that to happen it was better if it never occurred. Next day I woke up to three missed calls from "hunk". I kept my word and called him back but only to wish him safe travels. Shortly after he returned to his hometown he wrote a post on his Facebook page describing his experiences in The Big Apple: "New York City, you are such a delicious left me wanting more of you". With a huge grin in my face I typed back: "Cheers for the inconclusive cities, relationships, and situations that leave us craving a -hopefully- soon to be released sequel. Cheers for the never ending stories. Cheers for the beauty of nonexistence"