viernes, 8 de mayo de 2020

Self-Seclusion Thoughts...

Hell's Kitchen, NYC to the rest of the world.....Do you copy me?

What a weird yet fascinating time to be alive. In some years from now we will be able to go back and remember how most of the entire population of the planet went into forced isolation. We finally had an enemy in common that brought the human species together. The world stopped being an us-against-them and it became an us-against-the-virus. It was a sad yet beautiful period of time where we reconnected with love ones and became amateur bakers. Sigh...

If there is one big lesson Covid-19 has thought me so far is to cherish every moment of my life as the most precious thing ever, because it truly is. One day I was all dressed up enjoying a glass of wine & dancing surrounded by other humans at a crowded bar, the very next I was forced into self-seclusion, no cool outfit and no other humans to dance with. Ugh.

Who would have thought that the simplest things in life would soon to be consider dangerous, like hugging others. This is the stuff my nightmares are made of. Being the touchy-touchy person that I am, this lack of physical contact has proven to be extremely challenging. In times I wonder, how are we going to bring our guard down and start physical interaction again? How long until we feel comfortable shaking the hand of a stranger? Or how about kissing?! Or having sex? Are we doomed to become a touch-less society? Ugh again!

At the same time this can be such a powerful and trans-formative period of time. I kind of feel that we are living years in weeks and that we are witnessing in real time an evolution that would have normally taken much longer. This pandemic has given us the beautiful and rare opportunity to peel off all the unnecessary layers (literal and metaphorically) until we are left with the bare essence of what is really important to us. Things that once we thought to be critical soon were replaced by much simpler things that we had forgotten or that we took for granted (hello natural hair color!)

How about you? How has this period of time changed you? Are you so over this you can't wait to go out dancing with strangers? I hear you loud and clear! Count me in. Over.

Used MiuMiu shoes brought to you by Ebay years ago and still remain as one of my favorite pairs. #buylessbuysmarter
Chandas (Colombian slang for mutts or animals with doubtful pedigree) brought to you by my immense love for animals. Animals are my friends. Please don't eat your friends. 
Ceramic sculptures made with love in Hell's Kitchen, NYC by Colombian hands can be purchased here 

martes, 25 de diciembre de 2018

The Malpasos

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...