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A l y s s a E x p 贸 s i t o

American made w/ Cuban parts | motivator in movement | creator of community | writer of truths | 馃摡

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What scape goats do you lean on for hardships? Are you just the way you are, because it鈥檚 much easier to say, than the work it takes to get to and face your roots? What role do you play in your life? Have you taken ownership of it, yet? What does responsibility and accountability look like for you? Hopefully the little things you do have control over, you aren鈥檛 passive about. 鈿★笍鈿★笍

Grief has never quite stayed in the past-no matter the years that pass. Grief is omnipresent. Grief, more often than not, is always present at some capacity. Yes, time has a way to mend our healing but the wounds of grief are nothing acute. We simply cannot just 鈥渕ove on鈥 because when we are faced with a loss of anything, of any kind, it becomes an end to the life that we knew because truthfully, a piece of us is lost too. We are then birthed into someone who is inevitably, altered. 鈥 We morn the loss. We morn the past. We morn the present void that can never be filled. Trauma has taught me that the stages of grief can very well be collection jars. We drop coins every time we give energy to one or all of five of them- Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Some of us invest a lot more time in one or another. Some of us, skim all 5 and start the loop over and over again. Some of us, are told cliches to help us 鈥済et over it.鈥 The issue with this is, is that when we allude to this, we are basically saying to put it behind us instead of moving forward with it. 鈥 Our experiences, are a culmination of moments that who we are in the present. They are reference points to who we were in the past. The interesting thing about time is that, what has happened in our past is still very present in the here and now. I would not be the woman I today had I erased all of my past experiences, especially the most painful. 鈥 Grief is the most heavy because we cannot simply unpack it all at once. It will happens layer by layer. Day after day. Year after year. Hopefully, we find graces in every single one that reconciles the piece that we lost for some peace. This peace allows us to live and move forward with, our loss, our pain, our guilt, our grief. This peace allows us to understand that this incurable thing isn鈥檛 just one moment in time it鈥檚 something to remember because we always will. This peace comes from knowing it鈥檚 not something to simply and entirely 鈥渕ove on鈥 from; it鈥檚 to step forward with and into the parts of ourselves we haven鈥檛 quite faced yet. 馃摳 @jeannnes

鈥淚 want to be your soundboard鈥 and like music to my ears, it resonated. Had he known the instruments that needed one to amplify all the vibrations it absorbs? Because some days it feels like an earthquake and it timbre sounds like a violin, much like this heart, it lays its strings only to get plucked, and who wants to weather that? Beating down the bridge that holds them up suspending into proper position the production of sound goes mute if there is one without the other and perhaps I never knew my place or which part to play but I wasn鈥檛 going to sacrifice burning the bridge that was taking me to where I wanted to go... or stay Leaving me thinking, 鈥榠f life was sheet music, it would be the hardest score鈥 and maybe the notes meant nothing maybe we weren鈥檛 built to be perfect chords but a disruption of peace, the syncopated beat creating the noise to sound out the music, with all it鈥檚 crescendos because building leaves a lot of room to grow into, but you stopped playing... and what鈥檚 the use of a soundboard if there鈥檚 nothing to project all we ever have been and all of where we were going. 馃摳 @tutes

If this moment only comes, once...I鈥檓 going enjoy it to the fullest. 鈥 Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is celebrate yourself, your life, and all the small graces that remind you how far you鈥檝e come. When thinking and setting goals, it鈥檚 easy to lose sight of the here and now. 鈥 One of my biggest mentors told me 鈥...don鈥檛 forget to stop and smell the roses.鈥 Which for me meant, I have to remind myself that right now is more than enough and all that there is. Right here, matters just as much as where I want to be. 鈥 I used to propel myself in futures I hadn鈥檛 quite earned. I lived presently but always acted on 鈥渨hat鈥檚 next?鈥 Part of me still does, but I more mindful of the moments that will lead me there. When I began to give my hardest to the present moment I realized all the things I so grateful for. The abundance that is life. 鈥 I live in a beautiful city where the weather is the most cooperative. I live within my means, for myself, in a charming neighborhood, close to all that I need and want to explore. 鈥 I work part-time at my local independent bookstore @booksandbooks selling children鈥檚 books where I couldn鈥檛 be more grateful that a hobby of mine, can give me a mean and is for a great cause. (There鈥檚 nothing like seeing children read, especially in this technologically driven era.) 鈥 I a drive away from my fily, my closest friends, the house I grew up in. I have the most solid support system of people who believe in me beyond my own doubt and who actually want to see me strive and thrive. 鈥 I feel I have come full circle in many ways, but still expanding. I incredibly excited to work as a Senior Academic Advisor for the School of Education and Human Development @umiisehd at the @univmii where I myself learned how to be the health professional/ educator, I today. I so beyond blessed to have these little things I often didn鈥檛 pay much attention to. I so excited to learn, struggle, fail, and triumph. 鈥 This is the end and start of an era. One of continuously becoming. Here鈥檚 to you finding your graces, wherever they are, whatever they may be.

don鈥檛 mind me... mid-day siesta. 馃摳 @photoherby

I don鈥檛 know what compels me to do half of the things I do, but I鈥檓 learning to trust it and run with it. And there are moments that remind you to revisit balance. There are moments that compel you to remain humble. - - 鈥淪earching means having a goal, but finding means being free, being open, having no goal ... because in striving for your goal there are many things you do not see, which are directly in front of your eyes. 鈥 - Herman Hesse 鈥楽iddhartha鈥 - - It would only be cosmic law that maybe if I spend less energy concerning myself with the outcomes I can give myself the space to be proud of how far I鈥檝e come. Maybe if I spend less energy defending my defenses, I can open myself up more to welcome in the pockets of joy. 鉁

Remember sweets, returning to someone after they have shown they do not respect your boundary is showing them you don鈥檛 either. Red flags are signs that shouldn鈥檛 be ignored. Yellow is to lay low and proceed with discretion. Green is to proceed. Stop disrespecting yourself by ignoring that visceral feeling. Your gut stomachs truths your brain has yet to process. 馃殽 馃摳 @jeannnes

What is in a ne? Is it the history of all that we have ever been? Is it the guilt of what we haven鈥檛 become? Is it the forgiveness in shing ourselves to be anything other than who we are? Is it the signature we will leave on this world? Alyssa. 鈥 My ne was not supposed to be my ne. My mother wanted to ne be something rather biblical- Johanna. My father rather not repeat that like a prayer and ned me after another woman- Alyssa Milano. My ne was never mine for so many years. 鈥 From the time I could remember, I was called everything but Alyssa. The thing about nicknes is that you have no say in them. You don鈥檛 get to choose. You are gifted one to bare and you stick with it until it fades. Or until the people who gave them to you, do. I have been Aly, Aly brown, JellyBean, Tweetybird, Squirt, Smurf, Little one, M.O. (mighty one), Chiki鈥檚, Mimi, recently Sito Sweets. There was a time where many people didn鈥檛 even know my real ne. In many ways, 鈥楢lyssa鈥 faded behind all the others. In many ways, the woman did too. 鈥 I鈥檝e bared a couple my whole life time, some long enough to have cultivated an identity around them. The thing about nicknes is that you adopt a ne someone has personified for you. You almost begin to act how you think they perceive you to be. 鈥 Not until college and really, when I lived in NYC, did I really discover what my ne carried. The paths that I took. The ones I didn鈥檛 cross. The faces who have said it, the ones who refused. It was the first time I corrected someone for not calling out my ne, fully. The first time I corrected the mispronunciation of it. The first time I requested not to be given a nickne because I was finally making my ne, my own. 鈥 I began to say it as a full sentence. Alyssa. I began to spell it out so that no letter was missed A-l-y-s-s-a. I finally learned not to hide behind my ne with nicknes. I learned to say it in a kinder way of all that I and all that I becoming. Alyssa Johanna Exp贸sito. 馃摳 @photoherby

eyes that give it all away 馃憖

Just a papi and his jelly bean. Thank you for always loving me the best way you know how and always reminding me that I powerful. Thank you for instilling in me the belief in 鈥...there鈥檚 always that one percent.鈥 Thank you you for telling me that I a gem in this world when my ex walked in to the restaurant that day. Thank you for teaching me how to throw a ball, pack a punch, how to pick whiskey, and how throw a line and reel it in. 馃帲 You gave me a bit of edge and a lot of patience. I love you 鈾ワ笍

coming into my own skin has been a LONG one. I've always been "tiny" with eyes I thought to be "too big", a small mouth, a button nose, but a striking profile. I hate(d) my smile. (Still warming up to it) My two front teeth did not seem to want to be neighbors + I always felt that's what "perfect" looked like. I grew up knowing I would never look like the women displayed in magazines + commercials. // 鈥 Fast forward to a running accident that would forever change the symmetry of my . Whose trauma created scars, that hang off my skin, as if to be medals of survival. Here I was having to grow into new skin. Literally. Skin proliferating- healing, hardening, rising. It was almost like I was given a second chance to fall in love with myself. To fall in love with the imperfections that exude strength + courage. The flaws that were merely pieces to a masterpiece. They were shields against negativity. "She would be pretty without that scar.鈥 鈥 My new skin was creating space for acceptance + letting go of the notion that missing part of my limb, did not make me less than. It gave me freedom to be comfortable + confident that no one can take away what I've been given, unless I gave them power to do so. And I learned to resist. When I began to fall in love with the power + the ability my "tiny" self has, the more others did the same. 鈥 It's transformative when you begin to love the parts of you, you think others would deny. I believe it's because I began to settle it for myself. No compliments or aggressions would change the pillars I stand on. 鈥 It's all the same. I've built a foundation on resilience. This home has taken years to greet me with the words that punctuate "You.are.enough." + I greet you just the same. captured by: @photoherby

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It starts with words speaking boldly upon our intentions. Followed by the actions that will reverberate louder than the words themselves. It is making the time when there is none. Coming through time, after time, year after year. Commitment is the stuff that character is made of- it shows us the willingness to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism. Wrote this 11 years ago and I wonder what inspired this train of thought. A flashback musing.

Because when we hurt, we dig, and isolate- it鈥檚 rather easy to be calloused by a painful past. But what if we made peace with our past so that it didn鈥檛 live in the present? What if we began to learn from our mistakes and didn鈥檛 defend them? What if we found better ways to feel connected and present than making chaos our favorite hobby? I know it鈥檚 easier said than done. I know a part of you has felt like so much has been taken away, there鈥檚 little to give. I know that part of the process comes with feeling the pain, but hopefully you don鈥檛 harden and stay there. I hope you continue to welcome the softer sides of you. I hope you continue to share it with the world. The energy of caring and giving will continue to serve you. That I know to be true. That is living with gratitude and trust. It鈥檚 revolutionary what acts of love and service can do for change.

Do you pay attention and really see all that鈥檚 around you? Be aware of your surroundings, sweets. that鈥檚 not limited to the aesthetics of the things around you, but the by-product of what鈥檚 going on in any given space. is it toxic? inspiring? dark? Illuminating? What do you let live, rent-free in your mind? Be relentlessly observant- not just in the details of surfaces, but the matters of interactions. Be aware that what you surround yourself with doesn鈥檛 just put up a front, but also makes a space for living. What do you actively give energy to? These are the things you give life to. It is easy to see the shadows of things and confuse the measurements for reality. If there was no light to bend and give it shape, would it give you the same feeling and sense? Or do you actively/passively distort what is for what isn鈥檛? Pay attention. Look. 馃摳 @jeannnes

Sweets, if there鈥檚 anything I鈥檝e learned from my perpetual single hood is to settle for the person who puts the pizza rolls in the oven rather than in the microwave; this person knows great things take time. Also, (if this person eats meat) make sure they eat chicken wings to the bone. It鈥檚 a good way to see if they are committed / go hard in the paint. 馃槒馃崡馃崟 馃摳 @jeannnes

Monday, we meet again... 鉀堚様锔 馃摳 @photoherby

an essential time capsule piece. 馃拵 remember sweets, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

You鈥檒l get to a point in life where revoking people鈥檚 access to your life is your favorite flex. Not for anything other than, they are no longer supporting your growth, change, and how you have evolved. Sweets, if you find they are stunting this, the hardest/easiest thing you can do, is give them the boot. Establishing your healthy boundaries are key. 馃摳 @jeannnes

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