Just a Quick Note: Self-Esteem


Today, I am at peace with who I am and am proud of myself. I say this not about achievements, grades, or external procurements (although I value those things as well), but more about my internal acceptance.

For years, I’ve struggled with my self-esteem and confidence. Much of it was due to pressure: pressure that I put on myself, pressure that my environment put on me, and this internal nagging that whatever I did, I was never going to end up feeling truly happy with myself. I hope to create an article about this one day that really goes in-depth, because I know I’m not alone in this ongoing journey of self-acceptance.

To anyone who has ever felt that they aren’t good enough, that they won’t be happy, or anything else like that: just know you are not alone and that you are WORTHY and CAPABLE of living the life you want. You are capable of success, whatever that word means to you. You are capable of creating, and you get to define what is worthwhile.

I have a couple videos from two YouTubers who really helped me start my journey:

  1. Marie Forleo: How to Stay MotivatedFeeling Behind in Your Life? Watch This
  2. Mimi Ikonn: Message to My Younger SelfHow to Deal With Negativity

I love all of their videos, but these were a few of my favorite 🙂

Again, amidst the college apps and all the craziness of wrapping 2017, this is all I have time to post for now. I hope in the coming months I can share more on this subject, and hopefully it helps anyone who also struggles with self-esteem. Upon reflection from January 2017 to the present, I have found that becoming your own best friend is a constant journey, and one that I believe is worthwhile.

I’ll see you in 2018!


Luisa Rodriguez


The Restaurant Metaphor

Hot Topics, Musings

I always lived with the belief that if you want something, you have to live with the attitude that will bring your desired outcome.

I like to think about a restaurant as a metaphor for life.

 You are the chef of this restaurant and you create all the meals. If you believe your dishes will be delicious, then you will put in extra effort to make sure the lobster bisque turns out just right. On the other hand, if you believe your meals will taste like garbage, then of COURSE you’re going to add too much salt or burn the soup. (Speaking of which, is the latter even possible?!)

I’ll come back to this metaphor later.

 I truly believe that what you put out into the world is what you get back. If you give love and positivity, those good things will come back to you.

However, in my AP Literature class, while we read Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which portrays existentialist traits of randomness and injustice in society, I began to question my initial beliefs. Look around at all the sickness, tragedies, and violence. Is the world really fair?

We were prompted to write a few sentences about our ideal city. My city included improved, free resources for dealing with mental health and abuse and ran completely on clean energy. I also described it as celebratory of all religions and the LGBTQ community. We were then asked to share. Unsurprisingly, my classmates answered with similar views: no violence, no poverty, the list goes on.

My teacher then asked us the following questions: Can we end poverty and sickness? Do you think it’s possible to end all war and violence? 

Personally, I’m not sure. I became skeptical about there being some “larger truth” of the universe. Maybe the world really is just a random, meaningless place, I thought.

Philosophers like Plato and Buddha dedicated their entire lives searching for the meaning of life… then hundreds of years later, Nietzche, Kierkegaard, and Sartre lay some major objection bombs and send the general public into a vat of existential crises. (Just kidding, listen to your humanities/history teacher for the real facts.)

While no one knows for certain if there is some higher truth about the world, I believe it’s important to not just give up and say, “Hey! You know what? Life is meaningless so I am just not going to care about anything!”

Instead, I got to thinking: can I do something to better the life of another human being? To which I immediately said (literally out loud): “yes.” For me, life about taking action and practicing what you preach (oh yes, I went there with the cliché).

Going back to the restaurant metaphor, I forgot to mention that you are not only the chef, but SURPRISE! You own the restaurant. This means that you are not only responsible for cooking delicious meals for yourself, but you also must be able to feed your customers and make sure there are enough seats to accommodate more than yourself.

To put it simply, the customers are the people around you who cannot afford to cook their own meals.

The ability to brainstorm a perfect world is a luxury. For many of my peers (myself included), we can dream endlessly of a perfect world and still have a life with—at the very minimum—our basic needs met. But simply thinking and planning are not enough. 

Life isn’t always fair. There is so much poverty, sickness, and violence around the world. Often, people in those situations are defenseless or have difficulty acquiring necessary resources. It is up to people with platforms and voices—the chefs— to be proactive in helping others.  

When I say, “if you put goodness into the world, you will get it back,” I mean: if you have the ability to influence a situation in your life, then take action. And if you are in a position to help others, spread that goodness around by taking action so more people can sit at the table. 

blog pic 5

Will we end poverty? Or war? Such broad statements are hard to answer. But can we bring more chairs to the table so more people can eat? Absolutely.

The world is not always fair, but we can make it safer, more welcoming, and happier if we use what is given to us to help others.

I challenge you to do something this holiday season, even if you want to start small, to help another person…And don’t forget to take time for yourself too 🙂 

Put your goal into writing and comment below!

All rights reserved (c) 2017 Luisa Rodriguez.

My current project/ inspiration behind this post:

I’m currently working on a school-wide fundraiser for YouthCare, a nonprofit (local to WA, U.S.) whose mission is to end teen homelessness in the Seattle area. As a school, our goal is to raise $4,000 and other needed supplies. If you wish to donate to YouthCare, please feel free to donate at this link (if you are affiliated with International Community School, please put “ICS fundraiser” in the comments of the donation link so we can track your donation to our goal!)

 For more information about YouthCare, visit http://www.youthcare.org/



Perpetual, Imperfect, Intersectional Feminism: Carrying Feminism in our Daily Lives


People wearing red, walking out/striking/protesting, changing their Facebook profile picture to the Women’s March rectangle: all of these actions have been taken for today, March 8th, A Day Without Woman (aka International Woman’s Day).

But what does this all mean? 

Today we have come together to celebrate feminism. Specifically, today we voice what feminism means to us and why we need it.

A year ago, however, this day meant something a little different for me: it was a day to be proud of being a woman. While I still believe 100% in the beauty of all women, I also have come to realize that “feminist” is not just a title, but a constant state of being. A movement that has life and breath. 

Feminism is a call to change. It is something we must carry in our lives not just today, but every single day. We have to voice our belief in equal rights. We must practice intersectionality. And we must be willing to make mistakes AND LEARN from them.

I guess a good way to put it is “perpetual, imperfect feminist.”

Perpetual: continuously, not stopping

Imperfect: not perfect, never perfect, yet always striving for improvement. 

Feminist: the belief in equitability, the practice of equitability, and a part of a movement bigger than myself.

Here are some everyday ways that can help us carry the Feminist force beyond today:

Be kind. Celebrate fellow women and their accomplishments. Gossip is poisonous and a cheap way to make conversation. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it. Giving kindness is a small gift that leaves a big impact. 

Eliminate derogatory terms from your vocabulary: Slut. B*tch. Whore. Many people use this word as a “joke” with friends, but is it really funny to call your friend something that has historically been used by men to degrade women? 

Know when to speak up- and when to listen. We are all born under varying circumstances and have different experiences, from race to gender to sexuality to mental/physical disability to economic status (etc.) check your privilege and be active on causes that not only affect you, but others as well (see point #4)

Follow organizations such as ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), change.org, and Women’s March on social media to stay informed about current events. A personal favorite website of mine is called http://everydayfeminism.com, which features so many amazing articles, videos, and comics on social issues. 
Of course, there are so many more things we can do to help one another, but these are just a few ways that helped get me started on my personal journey with feminism- maybe they will help you too! 

I vow to speak up more and be a better listener for issues that don’t directly affect me, but largely impact marginalized groups.

I vow to not apologize/humble myself for my accomplishments, my opinions, and my rights as a woman.

I vow to learn more about my Chinese-Puerto Rican heritage and love being biracial.

We will never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to become a more accepting, empowered, and equitable human race. ❤ 

Thank You Note


To all the wonderful people in my life- this is for you ❤

Dearest friend:

I am blessed.
I am blessed
By your beauty,
Your strength, 
Love and support.

I am graced with your glowing smiles…
Your laughter, your hugs.
I am fortunate
Because of the richest warmth
I find in your friendship.
For that I am grateful–

For that I know love;
And I am home.

Copyright November 26, 2016 Luisa Rodriguez 

Letting Go of It


Why is it that we hold on to the things we no longer want?

Is it because we hold sentiment and carry memories with it?

Do we actually really want it? 

I’ll let you interpret what “it” is, maybe something going on in your life.

Maybe we’re afraid we won’t find something better. Maybe we think we’d better hold on because something this great won’t ever come by again.

But the truth is, you can never find what might be better, more suited to you, more rare, if you only search and cling on to what you know.

Never settle for anything that doesn’t bring you joy or excite you about life.

I hope that one day you will find the spectacular, miraculous “it”.

I know you will.

Who Will You Become?


I believe that it is important to think about who we want to be. How do you wish to speak? How do you wish to look? Who do you admire and why? How do you wish to treat others?  These questions culminate into the bigger, most important picture: how do you wish to live? 

As philosopher and activist Mahatma Ghandi once said, 

“Your beliefs become your thoughts, 

Your thoughts become your words, 

Your words become your actions, 

Your actions become your habits, 

Your habits become your values, 

Your values become your destiny.”

We cannot afford to live a day where we do not consider these questions because a day becomes two days, then three, a week, month, year and so on. We are responsible for the quality of lives we lead. And only YOU can choose how you are going to spend your life. Make your time worth your while 👣💕