Mental Health Awareness Month -Break The Stigma

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On May 10th I will be celebrating another year of life: D

And in lieu of gifts, I want nothing but peace of mind, and given that it’s Mental Health Awareness Month I felt it was appropriate to dedicate this blog post to all those beautiful  souls whom we have lost along the way.

Alright. so let’s start with the term “Mental Health” …Mental Health is such a broad term, I’ve always felt apathetic people associate it with being unstable, untrustworthy, and unreliable or  simply “crazy”

Just like countless others, I’ve gone through my share of hardships and traumas and at 17 I was ready to end it all, I hid it very well with my huge smile always on display but I was completely empty and broken inside. My depression growing up stemmed from suffering through things I had no control over. In school I was an honor student, well known and had boyfriends but I had low self-esteem and suffer from ADHD, so I had this constant fear of not being “enough” , not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough and constantly having to live in other people’s houses because of my households economic status didn’t help.

As I got older failure in my relationships, career plans and setbacks started taking a toll on my mental health.

Once again I felt the anxieties of my low self-esteem, feeling that if maybe I was prettier, the man that I gave my all to wouldn’t have destroyed me or if I had picked an easier career path I wouldn’t have to work so hard to prove to myself that I had the mental capacity to have success in such a complex field, or if I wouldn’t have been so giving, people wouldn’t have used me for personal gain. I was at wits end, I sought more than words of consolation, I sought rest. I tried everything from working out to boost my mood, buying all kinds of self-help books, spoke to counselors, therapist, “friends” but nothing helped, till one day I decided to try out spirituality. Mind you I was never spiritual, had never read a bible but I had hit rock bottom and  nothing else worked. I was emotionally drained, I needed God to kill me in order to finally have that rest or eventually I was going to have to build up the courage to do it myself.  But despite walking into an unknown world, I had found the help I needed for so long.  Everyone’s case is different, my rest came not from committing suicide but in my newfound faith in God, in my spiritual path. It has been my saving grace, not only has my spirituality helped me overcome my inner demons but it has made me a happier and overall better person and incidentally has given me purpose, a purpose to help anyone in need, because I know how it feels  to be hopeless.

I have met many incredible people who have gone through the same battles, even have sought cutting or doing hard drugs life heroin to find peace but have thankfully found their solution and are currently enjoying life, happy and healthy. There is a way out, but burning out isn’t one of them.

And lastly, to those who might suspect someone is in need of assistance, I can’t stress enough in having COMPASSION, please instead of judging or humiliating others, be compassionate with one another, care for the wellbeing of your loved ones, be a helping hand to your neighbor, consider that life is BS, but if we all helped someone, we can make each other’s life just a little bit easier.

This is the first time I have publicly admitted it because of fear, fear that I will be judged (again) by people who clearly have it all figured out, but the reason I decided to do it now, is because I know how crucial it is to discuss the importance of raising awareness on mental health and know you know too.

Thank you all.

 

 

Image souce HSE International, 2016

The People vs Maduro

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“We have a just, legal, constitutional and popular electoral victory,” – Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela´s Elected President, 2013

 

Fast forward to April 20th 2017, the mother of all protest manifested in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela against the Maduro Administration and his ¨socialist¨ regimen.

In the last 4 years Venezuela has been facing an economic crisis all thanks to government overspending and corruption wreaking havoc for the republic.

To contextualize the problem, the nearly bankrupt country (despite having the largest oil reserve in the world) were forced to plunge oil prices because they ran out of money, and not only did they run out but made the irresponsible and idiotic decision to PRINT OUT money causing the Bolivarian Peso (local currency) to lose its value, so you can say toilet paper is worth more than the Bolivarian peso,

What once was considered the wealthiest country in South America is now facing scarcity and hyperinflation (the highest rate in the world)

 

In Feb 2016, President Maduro , Hugo Chavez’s successor declared an economic state of emergency, traveling to different parts of the world to meet with other foreign leaders for funding, although he was able to receive funding, it was still not enough to supply the needs of the republic.

The world’s biggest economic crisis has lead its´ citizens to reach their breaking point, expressing it in numerous protest and riots.  The protesters and opposition leaders all demand that the government hold elections, free political prisoners, and reestablish judicial independence and the powers of the National Assembly. In a recent report by the Venezuelan Observatory on Violence (OVV) it calculated that the 2015 murder rate was a shocking 90 per 100,000 residents, a figure considerably higher than other well-known countries for violence like my beloved Colombia and Mexico.

If you’ve read my previous posts, you already know about the universal declaration of human rights and by being up to date with this news, already have identified the numerous human right violations made by the government.

 

So what can we do?

I’ve always said, you’re either an activist or an in-activist and since 90% of the media is controlled by the Venezuela government, there is no news coverage on the riots and protest, I believe it is our job as global citizens to replicate all the information on our social media platforms and demand our countries to be aids in this crisis.

I also implore all neighboring countries or countries who have had economic or diplomatic ties to come together for the sake of the human lives.  We can’t just sit here and watch the Venezuelan republic kill themselves in anguish and hunger because they are demanding the protection and exercise of their fundamental rights.

My recommendation is that the Venezuelan Supreme Court overturn their order and grant the opposition’s request to impeach President Maduro, a country cannot progress under a corrupt dictatorship, while the Dept. of Foreign relations of Venezuela must work towards reestablishing their diplomatic and commercial relationships and change their foreign policy. By reestablishing relations they can request foreign funding once again, by receiving a fixed income (temporarily) Venezuela Govt can start alleviating scarcity in food and basic supplies.

It´s also imperative that they find other forms of income, not solely depending on oil, because in reality, this was their mistake. 95% of a country´s currency income cannot come from one source, you must have multiple sources. Once other means of income are identified, they must exploit those new found opportunities, thus generating new jobs. New jobs require personnel, with more people working, every one can contribute to the rise in the economy.

 

I also call on all the countries whom once had a flourishing relationship with Venezuela to provide the all the assistance necessary to the republic, many Venezuelans have left their country to provide a better life for their families and themselves, not because they wanted to but because they needed to, but if we help them back up, there would be no need to leave and thus preventing future migratory issues.

Obviously this is my opinion, and it’s easier said than done, however I believe that in the event of an economic crisis, we all must come together.

 

¨These are serious internal problems that are undoubtedly being exacerbated, to some extent by U.S. involvement. By rights, we should be trying to support Venezuela to overcome its internal problems, not trying to light fires that will make them worse¨ – Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now, 2015

 

 

Photograph. Donaldo Barrios, Instagram

Sountrack to this post,  The Best of Clint Mansell and Hans Zimmer ❤

Law of War VS International Humanitarian Law

moab-bomb

 

On April 13th 7:30 p.m. local time, the U.S armed forces dropped MOAB- Mother of All Bombs (formally known as GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast) a 21,600 lbs bomb at one of ISIS’s operational spaces (caves) in Afghanistan. 

According to insider reports, ¨The strike was intended to deliver maximum destruction to ISIS fighters and facilities with as little risk as possible to Afghan and American forces in the area, according to U.S. Central Command officials¨ however, it has yet to be reported if  ISIS fighters were actually killed.

MOAB is considered a thermobaric weapon filled with fuel-air explosives (FAE) which means it can only be activated by sucking in surrounding oxygen which then sets off the blast, causing the longest sustained blast wave by a non-nuclear weapon.

So, when a fuel-air explosive detonates, kiss your life goodbye because according to a study by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency:  


“The effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense. Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness.” Another Defense Intelligence Agency document speculates that because the “shock and pressure waves cause minimal damage to brain tissue…it is possible that victims of FAEs are not rendered unconscious by the blast, but instead suffer for several seconds or minutes while they suffocate.”

 The issue with war, is not the defense/ offense, but the strategy and tools applied to gain dominance and triumph.

Everything in life, including war, is regulated, in this case by the international humanitarian law where countless countries agree to comply with general ethical principles of war, including the principle of distinction (between civilians and combatants, civilian objects and military objectives), the principle of necessity  and the prohibition on causing unnecessary suffering.  So civilians and combatants remain under the protection and authority of the principles of international law derived from established custom, from the principles of humanity and from the dictates of public consideration.

Unlike nuclear weapons, thermobaric weapons are approved by the Int. Humanitarian Law, so it is definitely an option for any country to use in war, if considered necessary. The thing with war, is that it becomes an open door to interpretation and creativity for evil forces, in other words, when you allow these kinds of weapons to be used, any demented rebel unit with the ability and motive can attack a considerably large group of people, causing a great deal of horrific almost torture like pain. THAT´s when it´s a problem.

Often times, these rebel groups, even world governments (cough, Syria) rarely consider humanity or its own innocent civilians, take for example the FAE attack back in August 16 2015, when the Syrian Gov. Jets struck a farmer´s market in Douma, a suburb northeast of Damascus, with no concrete evidence to support the attack.

Just recently on March 28, when the Syrian Gov. executed the chemical attack on a northern rebel-held area in Idlib Province, it turned the area into a toxic kill zone, killing at least 100 civilians, the victims slowly ceased in an agonizing death caused by the internal and superficial chemical wounds and to our horror, got a glimpse of these attacks when images went viral throughout social media. 

It´s clear, that ISIS has become such a prominent threat to the world, governments are willing to do just about anything to obliterate them by any means necessary, including bombing an entire region ¨in the name national security or for the sake of humanity¨. 

But when events such as the chemical/vacuum attacks are reported it makes you truly contemplate regarding the fight against ISIS, is this the easy way out? Don´t we count on more efficient options or have we reached our last resort?

The MOAB attack isn´t something to be proud of, but to be feared…how far will this go? 

Only time will tell. 

 

 

Soundtrack to this post:  Damn, Kendrick Lamar, 2017

World Water Day!

Water…What do you think of when you think of water?

Probably that you need to wash your car, you need to drink a gallon before you hit the gym or that you have to wash your hair tomorrow morning. But do ever think of the all the different ways we use water on a daily basis, for instance washing clothes, flushing the toilet, cooking, cleaning, growing food to sell among others?

Do you know incredibly fortunate you are to have something so precious absolutely free?

If not, give this a thought, for the past couple years the United States Government has committed several human rights violations regarding clean water.

Consider the Flint Water Crisis an ongoing  water contamination issue since 2014. The Flint water crisis initiated when the Flint river became the drinking water source for the city´s inhabitants due to insufficient water treatment, caused lead contamination in the water that ran through the oxidized water pipes and resulted in their water supply. I am not in the medical field, so I can´t list you all the health problems you can face, but I know that lead contamination can cause countless health issues from cardiovascular to neurological disorders, and what´s worse…despite countless lawsuits and protests, this is a problem that took about 3 years to resolve (sort, of) and yet no one has been processed and/or convicted.

Or how about the North Dakota Oil Pipeline, it´s purpose is to transport approximately 570,000 gallons of oil from North Dakota to Illinois. According to Time Magazing the pipeline would be a key channel in connecting oil wells underneath the Missouri River. Upon learning of the planned construction, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has opposed and rigorously protested against, why? Because the Missouri River is the primary drinking water source for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, a tribe of around 10,000 with a reservation in the central part of North and South Dakota.

These are only two  highly publicized examples, of the millions of cases that have gone unreported worldwide including Africa, Asia, even in Colombia, where due to the lack of access to clean water families have died, babies have been born with birth defects, mothers and daughters have been forced to ¨fetch¨ or walk long hours just to bring back portable water home to cook, clean and care for the family  which ultimately limits them from continuing or even initiating their basic primary education.

According the the Universal Declarations of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948, it´s purpose is to protect our basic human rights.

What does that mean? It means that you as a human being have universal fundamental that protect you and are inherently entitled to, NO ONE can take them away and it’s absolutely in your power to defend and demand the respect of each them.

Read the specific articles mentioned below:

Article 1:

We Are All Born Free & Equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way

Article 3 The Right to Life.

We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.

Article 8 Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law.

We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.

Articles 20: The Right to Public Assembly

We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.

Article 29: Responsibility

We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.

 

Now that you have read this, we can all agree that the inability to access clean water or to face police brutality for protecting clean water are human rights violations.

Despite the inaction of local governments, it is still our responsibility to demand the respect and the fulfillment of said rights.

 

That´s all for tonight, thank you for reading, goodnight! 🙂

 

The articles mentioned are the simplified versions for complete detailed information visit :

http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

 

 

Soundtrack for this post: Rather you than me, Rick Ross, 2017

Who is Miss Worldpeace?

Well, the question I get asked frequently isn’t  “who are you, Miss. Worldpeace?¨ But more like ” who do you think you are calling yourself that?”

I’ll have to admit  the name itself, is a bit self-righteous.

However, I am not self-proclaimed Miss Worldpeace, because I feel that I´m this holier-than thou person, who´s always politically correct and sees everyone as evil or clueless sheeple.  No, the moniker actually was inspired by non-other than Ron Artest, that´s right, The LA Lakers’ forward.

As I was creating my Instagram account, it was clear what kind of content I wanted to post and what message I was trying to promote in the realms of social media, however I couldn´t come up with a feminine yet thought-provoking username, so I just left it as ¨Lola Alejandra¨, till one day I was reading an article on Espn.com, and the news that day was that Artest, Metta world peace had signed with the Lakers again and as corny as it sounds, it just clicked in my head ¨Metta Worldpeace…Miss Worldpeace¨.

Honestly, the name is just clever wordplay that  incidentally correlates with my values, ideals and identity.

The woman behind the personal brand is  26 year old Colombian- Miami Native currently based in Bogotá D.C Colombia. Major in Foreign languages and specialize in International Relations and Human Rights. Initially participating in the Best Buddies Program back in high school, then after the 2010 Haiti earthquake moved towards humanitarian efforts  and activism , the March against GMO Monsanto back in 2014 being my first march/protest.

The sole purpose of this blog, is to write everything that I think/discuss regarding self-awareness, music, current events, world issues; ranging from humanitarian efforts documented in photojournalism to mental health issues, human rights violations and even the occasional political posts.

Why?

Because it´s important for me to use the voice I have been given, I am not a public figure in real life nor on social media, but I know that there are many individuals: philanthropists, activists, photographers, writers even the regular Joe trying to be a better person, through small deeds that share common interests and when a group of individuals unite for the greater good, through awareness or in action. WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. 🙂

Soundtrack to this post: More Life,Drake, 2017