7 Superstitions My Hispanic Grandma Taught Me

7 Superstitions My Hispanic Grandma Taught Me

Superstitions are crazy, but Cuban ones are even crazier.
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My grandmother, Tita, like most Hispanic grandmothers, was full of superstitions and words of wisdom, often giving off negative vibes with good intentions. She didn't speak a lick of English, didn't drive well at all, and was the definition of a strong woman.

After she passed, I knew I needed to do everything I could to keep her memory alive. I tattooed her birthday on my ribs, along with a gardenia, which was her favorite flower, and I looked for her in everyday experiences. Today, I carry her with me on my skin and in my heart.

Her influence on my life is still here today, and it has changed the way I carry myself. Here are seven things my grandmother loved to tell me to do:

1. "Para de hacer muecas," "Stop making faces."

"Your face is going to get stuck like that" was her reasoning behind this one-liner. Even if I was just chewing the inside of my cheek, she'd pop up out of nowhere and scold me.

2. "Ten cuidado con el sereno," "Watch out for the moonlight."

Alright, so this one was a little crazy. My grandma believed that the moonlight would get you sick if you went outside at night without a hat on. To this day, I still cover my head when the full moon is out.

3. "No te bañes si esta lloviendo," "Don't shower during a rainstorm."

So my grandmother had this fear that I'd be electrocuted if I showered during a rainstorm, not even a thunder storm. I cannot tell you how many times I waited for a storm to pass before I showered.

4. "No jueges con la perra cuando tienes la regla," "Don't play with the dog when you're on your period."

According to my grandmother, the dog could smell the blood and would try to bite me... so I couldn't play with dogs while on my period. So sad when all I wanted to do was cuddle with my dog when I had cramps!

5. "No te bañes despues de comer," "Don't bathe right after you eat."

If you took a bath after eating, it would paralyze your digestion and you'd get sick. Please don't ask for the science behind this one.

6. "No te aquestes a dormir con el pelo mojado," "Don't go to sleep with your hair wet."

If I went to bed with my hair wet, I'd catch an awful cold. This might be the only thing my grandmother said that's somewhat accurate. Nowadays, I'm more worried about waking up with serious bedhead.

7. "No camines sin zapatos cuando tienes la regla," "Don't walk barefoot on your period."

Walking barefoot while on your period was one of the worst things you could do, supposedly. It would cause cramps because the floor would be too cold and your body couldn't handle it... I didn't get it either.

Cover Image Credit: Elisa Nuñez-Rodriguez

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My Asexuality Is The Last Thing I Hate About Myself

Oh, by the way - mom and dad, I'm Ace!
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This week my fellow UCF Odyssey writer and asexual Chris Mari wrote an article explaining his asexuality and his complete detest for it. He goes into detail about how is sexual orientation developed, what it is, and how he feels about how it affects his relationships. It is a really insightful article about the accepting process of discovering your own sexuality.

However, I feel like Chris is taking this the wrong way. Being asexual, or any sexuality for that matter, is nothing to be ashamed of and you should never hate yourself for it. It took me a while to figure it out and it took me even longer to accept it. But once I did, my life, relationships, and my view on my asexuality got better. I don't see it as a curse or a disease. I see it as being a part of the awesome person I am (not to brag).

There are many things that I don't like about myself, but my sexuality is not one of them. I hate that I am messy, that I like to mix all of the fountain drinks into one cup, and that I am a terrible driver. I do not hate the fact that I am a five-foot-two asexual woman who eats a lot of pasta.

To be clear, like most sexualities asexuality has a spectrum with different attraction levels and variances between each individual. There are many types of asexuality and each type varies on sexual orientation, lack of sexual attraction, and romantic orientation, which is completely different from sexual orientation. At its core, being asexual means that you lack sexual attraction to others, have low sexual desire, and never initiate sexual activity.

Asexuality means many things to many different people. You can still be in a sexual relationship with someone and still consider yourself to be asexual. You can be attracted to others and still have romantic relationships and still be asexual. It does not have to confine you, your relationship, or you sex/non-sex life.

Unlike Chris, I figured out my asexuality as a teen. Around my senior year in high school, I noticed that I wasn't experiencing the same feelings towards sex and sexual desire as a lot of my friends. For a long time, I thought that there was something wrong with me. I blamed it on me being "too mature" for relationships in high school, and that "all the guys in my grade were unattractive." Which, by the way, was not true.

It wasn't until I started Googling these question I had that I found out what the issue was. I am asexual. And it wasn't until the first relationship I had that I realized I was more of a gray-asexual than strictly asexual. I sometimes feel sexual attraction to others, but only when a strong emotional connection is formed, and even then my sexual attraction is little to none.

Having sex does not mean having a relationship and having a relationship does not mean having sex. Trust me, I know. A romantic relationship is built on a strong emotional connection, respect, and intimacy, which does not necessarily mean sex. My past relationships were built on strong emotional connections and mutual respect. Sometimes there have been feeling of sexual attraction, but in a lot of cases, there weren't. If/when I am in a relationship, there is a lot of emotional intimacy, caring, and a lot more Netflix binging than in most non-asexual relationships.

Chris, it sounds like you are still dealing with the fact that you are asexual. And let me tell you, from my own experience, once you accept it your feelings towards it won't be so negative. There is an entire community of people like you and I that understand what you are going through. But this is something that you shouldn't hate yourself for.

Being asexual does not mean you are broken, have a disease, and are not capable of being in a relationship. If you surround yourself with accepting people, accept who you are as a person, and find that person who loves you for who you are and not your asexuality, then you will see how awesome it is to be who you are meant to be. Trust me, it's good to be part of the plus! We give it that extra credit!

Cover Image Credit: Jon Ly

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The Evolution Of The Definition Of Nerd Is Interesting

What defines a nerd now, and what defined a nerd before.
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In the last ten or so years, well ever since the existence of "The Big Bang Theory," there's been a new fascination with nerds.

When I was growing up in the 1990s, the nerds were the kids who were smart, the kids who the popular crowd cheated off of during tests. At other schools, nerds were the ones constantly bullied and manipulated.

Popular movies of the time gave all nerds certain looks and characteristics. Nerds wore glasses and metal braces. They had a wardrobe full of polyester, wool, plaid, and suspenders. They used pocket protectors. They had no social skills. With the onset of movies like "American Pie," nerds could now be male or female. However, last but not least, nerds were always white and they retained that label for the rest of their lives.

It wasn't until about five years ago that people of color started identifying themselves as nerds as well. We had Steve Urkel from the TV show "Family Matters," but he was often described with every other adjective but what he was: a nerd.

Currently, black nerds are different in that they claim the nerd identity for being smart in one subject. For example, a black person who reads large quantities of comic books as a child now calls themselves nerds.

The definition and presentation of a nerd have changed. The longevity of being a nerd has changed as well. One can trade in the nerd title once they achieve success in STEM fields. They are then known as their field title instead of being coined a nerd. However, for those who don't find commercial success because of their knowledge are still nerds.

I think one reason for the change in definition is time. As time passes the meanings of all words change to reflect a new generation. I believe the other reason for the change is the new generation themselves redefining a word that left them out of its original definition.

With the word nerd, I believe both forces are at play. The arrival of the 21st Century changed the meaning of many long-held definitions. In the 1960s and 1970s, we had Squares. Those puritan straight-laced kids from movies like "Pleasantville" and "Cry Baby" who upheld the status quo no matter what.

Then the 1980s and 1990s came from Nerds. Showcased in movies like "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," and shows like "Saved By The Bell." The 2000s brought forth Introverts. Smart people who spent their lives bullied by the popular kids until we started writing inspirational books like "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking" and get high powered jobs to justify the social rejection we always faced.

No matter how one comes to be a nerd, nerds have taken over popular culture for a change. Every superhero movie that comes out? A nerd created those characters. Every show that comes out? Marketing Execs slaved over endless numbers to satisfy the payout. Every Doctor that treats you? Had their noses buried in books to get that far? Nerds are everywhere.

The only questions now are what kind of nerd are you, and what will you be called 20-40 years from now.

Cover Image Credit: Godisable Jacob

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