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  • Elsie Hernandez

If you know me, you know that I have a childlike personality, some may say that I look younger than my age, but who knows. I sure don’t feel my age, but I’m not in denial about it either. Ha, Ha. Like they say, aging gracefully, at least I think that's what they say. As I stop to listen to the birds chirping outside my window, I can't help thinking about how beautiful life is and how today I turn 48 years old and that's amazing. Hey, some don't make it this far and I can at least say I know things now, whole heartily. (8-31)



Like one person that I am totally fascinated by, is the beautiful Jane Fonda. Every time I watch one of her million interviews, I get inspired and it’s not because I'm older now. I actually watched her since I was younger. Her style is fascinating, she genuinely has an energetic spirit that spirals off with honesty and lot's of humor it almost feels like she’s speaking to you every time. Not to mention watching her on her latest show “Grace and Frankie”, it's totally entertaining. Okay, let’s just say basically everything about Jane Fonda is incredible. I mean she’s just awesome! I’d like to think I can be like her, well of course a little bit of me already is. At least I feel like it is. We often look up to people that we admire, because a part of ourselves wishes they can be like them or already is. Yet, sometimes we find trouble letting it out. In one of Jane’s interviews she spoke about the stages in her life and the experiences she went through in finding herself. So I wrote this blog, because I listened closely to what she said and instantly recognized that I feel the same way. In every stage of my life I have found a different part of me and in every part there has been a time when I have been at the very top of my happiness. As I like to say happiest to the 10th power. So, in this blog I speak about me and those happy moments, because only I can describe the true person that I am.



What are those stages you ask? According to Google the 5 stages in life are, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Each with it’s own biological, psychological, and social characteristics, through which individuals pass over the course of their lives. Now we all know something about these stages, because we are all going through them. Some of us, (as I give a small cough) are already in the later stages and who’s to know what our future lies. Well, except those fortune tellers that claim to see glimpses of what’s going to happen. Hmmm. It’s more than what it seems, I suppose, but in all the story, we live it and we have to love it. Each year, like most people I think of a new year’s resolution, except not on everybody’s New Year, I do it on my new year, my birthday. Which is today August 31st and lets just say I'm in the later part of adulthood. I’m excited, but at the same time a little scared. I guess it wouldn’t be great if I wasn’t a little scared. In this post you will see a little part of me in my stages, and some of my big experiences that lead to who I am today. Some good and some bad, besides as much as I love them, life isn’t always flowers.



In the first stage, which is Infancy stage it's more like vague to us humans, as I remember nothing (laugh out loud), except from what my mom can recall, which is the one story she told me about that took place on the first day of my life. She once admitted that she was going to abort me at first, (something I unusually found out when I was seventeen years old) however she kept me, but actually almost died having me. I mean, man, they called the priest into the hospital room and everything. Why am I not surprised that that's how I entered this world, after all I was born during hurricane season. The janitor seemed to like me, she said, she remembered him commenting on this beautiful baby with big green eyes in the nursing area. My mom had no idea it was me he was talking about. At least that’s how she described it. Well, there you go and it turned out that the first five years of my life I was a sickly child, I had a heart murmur and was often in the hospital. One thing I do remember from those years, was being in the hospital. On one occasion, I think I was like two. I vaguely remember my dad coming to visit and he brought me this wooden Mickey Mouse toy, that when you pulled the tail the arms went up and the eyes moved. So weird that I remember that. I have a few other memories, but lets not bore. The best time of those memories were my birthday parities. My mom or my aunt would always cut me a cake and have a party. Just like I did for my little girl, well not as elaborate, but planning events is my thing.



Moving on to the childhood stage. From my experience I had a beautiful childhood, my mom always went out of her way to make my life happy. She worked so hard to get me the things I wanted and helped me experience the wonders of being a kid. She was very supportive of me. I’m so grateful for that. From the red BMX bike that I got the week after my birthday, to the satin pink dress she made me on my thirteenth birthday. Those are memories I will always cherish.


I think about I spoke about this before on my previous post, on how I loved weddings. This particular memory is super special to me, because I discovered that not only did I love weddings, but that I also wanted to become a photographer. A photographer of love. I remember it so clearly, my cousin the bride of this wedding, was adamant about not having me as a jr. bridesmaid in her wedding, in fact she chose my sister as a bridesmaid. It was funny, because my sister was not amused about it all, but that’s a different kind of story. My mom brought me this beautiful rainbow dress, as you can see in the picture above. I photographed the wedding with my one/ten camera. Yep, the rectangular cameras with the flash cube on top. I thought I was a pro as I watched the photographer line up the wedding party and I photographed them alongside him on top of a hill. I remember angling the camera, just thinking about it makes me laugh and if you look at the shots you would understand what I mean. There are all diagonal. Unfortunately, my cousin never returned those pics back to me. All night I followed the photographer around, and he took a smitten with me, he photographed me in my rainbow dress. Years later, my cousin decided to give the pic to my mom, despite of how mad she was that the photographer even took a picture of me to begin with. I loved the whole concept of that pic, it's almost like it describes who I am today. A free-spirited person, that still loves weddings, still loves photography, is always smiling and laughing at something, has love for people regardless of whatever they think, is passionate and bold to still be able to remain to be myself in a world that may not be accepting of you. This photograph is powerful. That photographer saw something in me that I didn’t know and I am grateful.



Moving on to the adolescent stage

Yes, the old teenage years, the time where you trip over your feet and hope nobody is looking. Where you make many mistakes and grow from them. I think these years were slow for me. While many of my friends were busy breaking all the rules I was busy being goodie two shoes. Well, not in everything, but for the most part I wish I would’ve opened up more in this stage in life. However, I wasn’t a total a bore. I mean I didn’t just sit on my stoop writing in my journal (yes, I did.) (laugh out loud). No, all jokes aside. I had many crushes that I didn’t follow through with, because of my shyness. I'm sure there’s much more to the story, but this was a time that I quit many things, Like in High School I was on the bowling team, the swim team etc. and just got up and quit. I went to an Art high school where I studied photography and touched based on all types of art and after two years decided that I didn’t want to take the train to the city anymore to go to school, a part of me just kind of shut down, it was like I was purposely trying to sabotage my future, which kind of worked a little bit. It was the one time I remember my dad coming out for me. However, I’m sure he realized that the pressure he put on me kind of spiraled. Let’s just say it was a spiraling time in my life and even though I wasn’t a bad ass. I think I was more connected with nature than my own family. I would go away to camp, or rollerblade through Central Park every weekend, or often visited the aquarium when polar bears Ida and Gus were alive. I would sit for hours watching them swim and tiptoe like ballerinas over the rocky hills built for them. Yeah those were my teenage years. The greatest memories in my teenage years were when I was photographing people, or laughing hysterically about anything with my friends. I was forever in my dark room, well actually my bedroom developing pictures that I took. There wasn't a time that I wasn't laughing, but there were also some rough times spent with the family.



Creeping into the Adulthood stage.

Getting into FIT was weird for me, I can still remember my Photography teacher in my local high school, who was upset that I handed in some photo work to her at the end of the year. She scolded me about having talent and not being more open about it to her. Then there was college I studied at FIT for like almost two years, but unfortunately that quitting streak followed me and I left to study photo journalism at LIU and again didn’t get to finish, financially it just wasn’t in my cards. I got my degree later I years. I wanted to be a reporter, so, I got to go on some incredible internships, met a lot of great people at Americana Press and worked for La Mega radio station, the local Ridgewood Times paper, etc. However, I strayed away from that as well. Adulthood got the best of me and I like to think the experience m is at its best here now. Some of those best time Lenin my years were spending them with my twin nieces and my little cousin who I was constantly photographing and taking on little trips with me. Watching them all grown up makes me smile. watching my own daughter grow excites me, but also scares me. She has that spunk that I love so much, even though she drives me crazy sometimes.



Today

Now as I am still learning and still finding myself, getting closer to my senior years I feel like I understand some things. Now a mother and a stepmother, a writer, photographer and best of all still me. Loaded with experience and most of all loving me. I remember I how I use to say I hate my fat legs or that I'm fat. Meanwhile, that's not the case at all. So in these days, I look at myself in the mirror and I say I feel so pretty and I love to say it out loud. These are the days when I feel exhausted, yet I have nothing to say about anything. No one seems to annoy me and everything is just beautiful. I remember thinking this when I was a child, just looking at the beauty in everything. Just thinking how every object has energies trapped inside and how everything should be treated with care. I know it’s strange, but that’s the weird me. I say oh, I’m so sorry bag, but I can’t keep you anymore the ink just won’t come out. It’s funny.



The bottom line is that we experience, we grow, we love and continue to love life, because we know that often we get rocks thrown at us and often we overcome. Each accomplishment makes up for any bad decision you have ever made, no matter what time in your life. I’m just saying be true to yourself, spread lots of love and shoot for the stars in the stage that you are in now. I’ve always been the last of the Mohicans and that’s alright. My advice to anyone that’s has a free spirit, is to always love and don’t forget that people need you as much as you need them. So be kind but not too hard on yourself, because then you miss out on things and it’s not fair to you and another thing, don’t ever forget to be you. Also find your Passion!


"Love is the energy you have inside that is desperate to spring out to share with others"


Elsie Hernandez

Happy birthday to me....




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