Why I Don’t Fear the Dark or the Light

Why I Don’t Fear the Dark or the Light

As we grow older, we realize who the real monsters are

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Today, I was woken up by a night-light.

I hate night lights.

They serve no purpose other than stopping children’s irrational fears.

I do not mind them in a dark hallway or even your dark bathroom at night.

But they serve no purpose in a bedroom.

Maybe I’m just irritated because I was woken up at 4:30 am by one.

I do not fear the dark because I have grown to realize that the real monsters in this world are people walking around in your average day light hours. They’re the people who force you to smile when you’re not happy and in general create the pressure to be someone you are not. They may not even entirely be responsible for having this mentality. In a way, I presume that people who are like this are just miserable and were not taught to love.

When you love. You accept. Regardless of the good and bad.

Of the roughness and the stress.

Please do not mistake what I mean. If you are in an abusive relationship, you should certainly get out of it and find the strength in yourself to move forward, if not for anyone else, for you.

I know for a fact that is easier said than done. Especially when children are involved. I do not know from personal experience in my own partnered relationships. But I do know this from experiences that my mom and sister have had around me while growing up. When you create a life with someone, a literal, screaming, pooping life, it is hard to disconnect from the person that you created that with.

Even when you have not had a child with a partner in a relationship. It is hard to let go.

Whether the relationship is good or not. You shared a life with someone.

And you may or may not feel that you want to share the rest of your life with that person.

But if your significant other does not feel the same, then it is up to you to either let them go and be happy or be miserable hoping for something that may not be in the plan for you.

It seems odd that anyone could be happy right after a break up and that is not ideal. But what you should feel after a break up is the feeling that you grew and learned something from your significant other. Whether you learned to not trust them or whether you learned something about yourself or them, you learned something.

I have learned that for me to feel free and comfortable with someone, that I  must be able to share my feelings with them. I know now the person that I am with (now or in the future) should not have to complete me. One of my good friends helped me and calmly explained that your significant other should not complete you, but they should compliment you. I had a difficult time grasping this at first, but I let it sit in my mind for a while after admitting my confusion to my friend.

I do not need someone to be at my beck and call all day. I should not have to talk to you all day to feel at ease, nor should you contact me all day to feel at ease. However, it’s my personal opinion, that if your partner has insecurities that you should attempt to work with them and put these insecurities to rest. And this is of course if you are in a loving relationship. I do not expect you to do this for someone who you just started going out with. That may sound ridiculous to some. But I am always friends with someone before I can even attempt to think of them in a loving way. Maybe I am old fashioned. But if I love someone, I love them completely. I have to genuinely like someone and their character, in order to love them. Maybe that’s overly logical or even sappy. But that’s my version of love. I cannot speak for anyone else. We all have different comfort zones and perspectives.

Now to the light.

The light is beautiful. I hate to get all philosophical right now. But don’t let it hurt your eyes

I remember the Allegory of the Cave by Plato from my freshman year of college. I also read it again, I believe, in my sophomore year of college as well, in a totally different class and college. I’ll admit my memory is pretty horrible so it usually takes a couple of times for me to process more deep works of literature. So the second time I understood it a lot better. Especially after dealing with some dark and light in my own life.

We all need some darkness to appreciate the light.

But we also should not fear either, or let the light wreck our vision.

This vision could be your literal eye sight, world view or perspective. I don’t say this to be complicated.

I believe everything that you see and do was meant to be to create the person that you are today. If you did not experience something, then you wouldn’t be the same.

If you went to a different high school, lived in a different city or borough (for my NYC peeps). If you made it into your dream school or your second choice (or third, or fourth choice lol, don’t give up!).

Whatever happened, happened. And you cannot go back. So like I’ve said before, easier said than done, but do not regret anything. Try the best as you can to move forward with yourself, even if you’re the only person on your side at the moment. I do not say this to be sad or grim. I admit I have felt many times that I was alone when I truly was not. Sometimes it is very difficult to see the love from others through your anger and insecurities. But when you do see it and feel it…

Screenshot taken by an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**
Screenshot taken by an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** You go too guy! Don’t worry about all the pink. Keep reading! lol. 

Give thanks.

The worst thing you can be during or after a relationship is ungrateful.

You do not learn anything from being ungrateful. Trust me.

All you learn is how to be stubborn and to only see your point of view.

The challenge of true love is living your best life while also keeping your partners perspective in mind and compromising when you need to. Or if you feel you should.

If you feel you should. Go for it. No one is stopping you.

The worst they can possibly say is no. Or get mad in some cases I guess.

Screenshot from an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Characters from Boy Meets World Topanga and Cory
Screenshot from an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Characters from Boy Meets World Topanga and Cory

The one thing I feel I should add at this point is relationships are not only about the good stuff. Yes, there are some bad days. Some days when you are so stressed that you hate everyone or want to share all of your anger with one person. And maybe they do not want to hear it. And you should respect that. You definitely should.

But if the person you are with cannot handle you. If your stress is too much for them. You need to find better outlets.

I promise I mean this out of the kindness of my heart. Whatever outlet you need. Whether it’s a best friend, or Tumblr. Or my personal favorite, my blog here on WordPress lol. This is not a plug I swear. If I got paid to say this I would not have shared my personal feelings with you all.

Whatever your outlet is, use it.

Go to a therapist if you genuinely think you could benefit. But for you. Not for anyone else.

You are your star and your priority. Your partner does not necessarily have to be your number one.

But they should be a priority. I will not put a number on it. Because that is not fair to some.

Some people are introverted and grow a small and succinct group of friends that they cherish and keep close to them.

Other people are extroverted and make friends in the blink of an eye and might not even talk to this same person they met a year from now. And that’s not insensitive, that’s just life.

Some people are not meant to be there forever. Some are there for fun. For happiness.

Maybe some are there to share in your grief, or give you another point of view to consider.

But give thanks. Do not let the people you love and cherish ever feel like they are undeserving or that they are worthless.

Everyone and every soul is worth something.

You are worth something.

Trust me.

Even in the dark I’ve had the benefit of knowing that I am worth something to myself at least, I need to be here for me.

To live a great life. Ending it does not solve anything. It does not teach you anything.

I have learned so much from my experience with the dark and I have also learned a great amount from the light.

Different things, but important nonetheless.

From the dark, I have learned what I can handle. I can handle death of a loved one. Even though I obviously miss them and wish I could have their point of view on someone that I love right now. I would love to have a long chat with my Papa about my problems right now. I know he would listen and after all of it he would probably tell a story and maybe a joke at the end. And regardless of the story or joke, I would feel better because someone listened to me and shared with me as well.

Screenshot taken with an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Quote with Pink (Artist/Singer/Entertainer)
Screenshot taken with an Android phone **The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Quote with Pink (Artist/Singer/Entertainer)

Maybe I’m simple, or maybe I’m complex. I do not believe I am either.

I am so in the middle of simple and complex that I am still to this day an enigma to myself.

I do not think we ever truly know ourselves. I think some might know. But I think we are all constantly growing and evolving and grow into ourselves endlessly.

I’m not sorry for my endless metaphors lol.

I’m trying not to say sorry anymore unless I need to. So the opposite of that is saying that I am not sorry.

I’m not sorry that I loved.

I’m not sorry if I lost the one that I loved.

I do not believe that I lost him. But if I did, life goes on.

I do not regret anything.

If you do not have closure I hope you get it somehow. I think I’ve reached my closure.

Tomorrow I could be crying all day about this again, who knows.

But I am constantly striving to be the best me I can be. Whatever that means.

Be the best you. If that makes you feel bad, then you’re being blinded by the light.

Do not hate me for trying to make you better.

Do not hate your mom for telling you to be safe when you go out.

Or your girlfriend for getting mad at you when you don’t share with her or don’t say goodnight back.

These people love you.

I love you and I don’t even know you.

I appreciate the dark and the light because they are important and have taught me so much about my number one

That’s me. I’m number one. Not compared to others.

I’m number one to me. For me. Nobody else. Unless they want me to be number one lol.

Cute hippo :) lol. All of you is beautiful. Trust me!
Cute hippo 🙂 lol. All of you is beautiful. Trust me!

Don’t be afraid to live.

Don’t be afraid to have fun.

Do not say no to something that cannot hurt you.

Say yes to life.

Yes to fun.

Yes to new experiences.

Otherwise, you’ll just be in your house or apartment all day hating the world.

Please do not hate the world. I understand hating some people (haven’t we all felt that at some point)

But as cliche as it sounds, the world is yours.

You create or destroy the fun.

You create or destroy yourself.

You create. Point blank.

I love to create.

I love to draw.

I love writing on this blog.

I love writing in my sketch book of all places.

Some people might have cringed just hearing that but my sketch books have always been like a personal diary for me.

Whatever I feel, I put it in the sketch book. I have literally three or four books to draw, paint and write in.

I have this blog too. Which is even better.

If you feel you have no one. Look again.

If you still can’t find them. Put yourself out there.

There may be someone looking for you too.

You have the power **Screenshot taken with an Android phone. The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Dorothy's red slippers.
You have the power **Screenshot taken with an Android phone. The Gaff Blog does not own this image** Dorothy’s red slippers.

Thank you for reading this,

Nicole

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

I have a poster in my room that reads:

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it. Robert Motherwell.


Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MOMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 - April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso's
I have always believed that art is an important piece of the puzzle of life. Without art, I would not be complete. (Two of many posters/images on my wall)                                                                            Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MoMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 – April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” Also, purchased at the MoMA.

Art has been a major influence in my life in a lot of ways. Not simply visual art either. Artists (visual and musical), paintings, music, film (also directors and screenplay writers), animation, writers like Maya Angelou (bless her soul and her beautiful poetry), even some clothing designers (You go Diane Von Furstenberg!), have all inspired me in some way. Even to start writing this blog.

When I look at the walls in my room, it’s easy to see how art has been an inspiration to me, even though recently I have hit a bit of a wall with my creativity. I’ve always been willing to try new things when it comes to art, as far as exploration and discovery go (in one’s art that is). But it seems whenever people tell me that they do not like some of my work, I take it too harshly. Should I or shouldn’t I? Nevertheless, I still draw and paint to my heart’s desire.

(In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell's quote again; Also Picasso's
An extended view of the pictures on my wall   (In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell’s quote again; Also Picasso’s “Girl Before A Mirror,” Andy Warhol’s “Chocolate Bunny which says: “I never met an animal I didn’t like;” Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” in a hardcover copy; Warhol’s Flowers in Red; Warhol’s Pop  Art Print – Shoes which says: “It takes a lot of work to figure out how to look so good.” (**All Artworks showed in this image except Angelou’s bought from the MoMA. All rights reserved to original owners**) **Image by Nicole Oliva**

Until recently, I was not too good with words. Creating visual art was my sole escape. Keyword was. I still enjoy drawing and painting, reading, writing, going to museums whenever I can. However, life has caught up with me and has become more serious. I especially struggled after I was rejected from a film program I yearned to be a part of ever since I fell in love with film: the ultimate visual art in my opinion, because it encompasses all aspects of visual art, but also utilizes music and dialogue (in modern cinema of course).

Art is my escape from reality because art does not force you to have an impression or experience you do not wish to have. Certainly, artists have intentions for their work when they create them. But experiencing art encompasses everything you have ever seen. Depending on your point of view, you will see something different from how I do. Also, creating art is a unique experience in itself as well. People have tried to describe the process of creating art. But it is not the same for everyone.

Pablo Picasso's
Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” **Image taken by Nicole Oliva. Artwork purchased from the MoMA or Museum of Modern Art in NYC.**

To me, “Girl Before a Mirror,” connects with my insecure side. When I look into it, I see myself looking into the mirror and think about how I pick apart myself and my flaws. But it is fair to say that this was not even close to what Pablo Picasso was thinking while creating this piece. Or while deciding on which colors to use, the shape of the woman’s breasts and hips, etc. He may have simply been fascinated with a woman’s habit of peering into a mirror. Picasso had more than a few women in his life. In the past, when I read about Picasso’s life and accomplishments I was fascinated about how he lived. He and the people he lived amongst revolutionized cubism during their own lifetime. Imagine doing that during your time alive? One could only hope to accomplish as much or even half of what Picasso did during his own lifetime. To be so successful, that your grandchildren do not have to work. If you do not believe me, google his grandchildren. He probably made most of his wealth after he died, and sure, he had his flaws, but can you say you are perfect?

** Original Artworks Created by and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013;  (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original  works shown here were created for a drawing class.
Drawings by yours truly   **Original Artworks Created by Nicole Oliva and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013; (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original works that are shown here were created for a drawing class.

Does Art Imitate Life or Does Life Imitate Art?


I do not think I could give a definite answer to that question but in my opinion, my art reflects my life. Sure, I have tried to redo some Picasso pieces. So in that literal way, I replicated art and was influenced by it. But I have always been an observer. Not necessarily a follower. Following this line of thought, some people may entirely imitate art, but the ones who revolutionize, their art imitates life. Not the other way around.

I believe all great art imitates life. Even abstract art. Abstract art in itself is a complex puzzle not meant to be solved. Just like life. Why are we here? I do not have an answer to that question either. Are we here to live and then die? What should be we do while on this Earth? What if we all have a purpose that is meant to be fulfilled? Have I fulfilled that purpose yet?

More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.
More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.

If you read through older posts on the Gaff Blog, you’ll see one post that mentions Lady Gaga, who is another great influence in my life. Say what you will about her. But her music, whether she was high while writing it or even making the beats certainly imitates her life. From Bad Kids to So Happy I Could Die, to Monster, if you dig deep into her lyrics, you can see the real her. Even Poker Face is apparently about her hiding a bisexual fantasy from her lover. The rawness of her music is what always attracted me to her as an artist. Also, her love of playing piano always inspires me to bring an aspect of what I love into my future work and career. Although her taste for leather repulsed me during my vegetarian phase, I accepted her for her flaws. Some may think she has more than others. But again, we’re all imperfect. Artists may simply be  more attuned to accepting their flaws.

To end this post, I will say that art has continued to be an immensely beneficial aspect of my life. If art has not benefitted you in any way, I suggest checking again. On your walls, on your clothes, maybe some place that I wouldn’t even think of. But find what makes you happy and pursue that, whatever way you can.

Last image from my wall.       Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg
Last image from my wall.      Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg. “Be yourself and enjoy it! Live healthy and love your body! Your confidence is your real beauty.” **Image by Nicole Oliva**

For more information on Robert Motherwell and his artwork, visit http://artsy.net/artist/robert-motherwell

#ArtTuesday – Women and Girl’s Clothing Choices’ for Spring and Summer Months

#ArtTuesday – Women and Girl’s Clothing Choices’ for Spring and Summer Months

It seems as the spring has come, the questioning of what girls wear to keep themselves cool/i.e.: not sweaty, has risen.

As a woman who was bothered by these dress codes while I was in high school, it worries me that girls are bothered for what they wear to protect guys, instead of teaching guys how to control themselves.

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Image shared via Facebook originally from Explore Talent. Questions whether the legitimacy of the girl who shared these fliers around her school. Of course she is right #respect #allwomen #allgirls **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

The poster of this image on Facebook: Explore Talent – Acting and Modeling, questions if the girl was right with her reasoning for posting these fliers around her school. Well I say the girl is absolutely right.

Do not teach girls and women that their appearance is what matters most. In the long run, when you bother girls for not having shorts that are a length that matches with the end of their finger tips not only are you singling them out, but also you are shaming them for their choice in what to wear. You are ruining an individual’s identity.

This is not to say that there is not such a thing as inappropriate dress. One should not wear anything similar to the size of a bathing suit to a school. That is logical. High school/ school in general is not a beach or your house. So bathing suits and slippers should stay in your house. And I understand if clothes are see-through or too short to cover ass cheeks. However, why is it a problem for people like myself to wear shorts to keep themselves cool?

I have been singled out in the past for this reason. My arms are a whole lot longer than most girls. I never pass the finger tip length test.

That test is bullshit

My sister works for Con Edison, and their dress code (along with the shoes they have to wear to protect themselves while on the job) is clearly told to every worker (and a uniform is given) before they begin their work when they are hired.

The same logic and reasoning should be applied to school, and anywhere else that enforces a dress code.

Even when a uniform is not handed out, if you need to make a diagram/picture of what is acceptable versus not acceptable then make it.

Decency is a thing. But do not demean a girl and her self-esteem for wearing shorts!

To end this Art Tuesday post, I say:

Respect girls and women for their choice of apparel to keep themselves cool in the spring and summer months, as long as it is suited for the environment that they are staying. While I understand that there are guidelines for certain workplaces, these rules should be stated outright to everyone including men and women.

I’ll let a post from Tumblr officially end this one 😛

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When a girl walks in… RESPECT HER #respectgirls #respectwomen #respecteveryone #respecteverybody Found image via my facebook feed, post made through Tumblr **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

***Update*** Found this picture on my instagram feed from a page called freethep (a group in the UK that supports making women’s sanitary napkins/pads/tampons free to all women). I thought it could not be more related to this post and the point I was asserting.

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**Image taken from instagram. The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

**The Gaff Blog Does Not Own Any Images Shared in This Post ** 

Thank you for reading: like, share and follow us 🙂

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Art Tuesdays – A Hand to God

As an art lover, artist and blogger I struggled with thinking about how to incorporate art into blogging. Realistically speaking, I do not have the time to go to exhibitions every week thus, reviews would be difficult to write if I can’t go to a museum. So I came up with this idea: Art Tuesdays.

Art Tuesdays will be dedicated to submissions of my own personal work, whenever I do not have external content to review.

So I will start this Tuesday off with my personal favorite:

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I drew A Hand to God on a day when I felt very lonely. If you look at the date on it, it is over a year old. But the message is still very clear in my mind.

I have gone back and forth with my beliefs if a god exists or not. At one point, I considered myself an atheist. The one person I knew who dedicated their life to God (my grandfather) passed away from complications with a brain tumor and I could not understand how someone divine nor all loving could let this happen to someone so dedicated to him or her.

Recently, I consider myself more agnostic. A brief definition of agnostic, for those who don’t know would be that I believe there could be a divine being but I personally am not putting a name on it. I only use ‘God’ in the title as a symbol. When I think about my life I consider myself very lucky. While I am not well off, I live comfortably. I eat everyday, sleep in my own bed. See my mom and step dad. Still talk to my dad occasionally although that’s awkward lol. But regardless of the trivial bad things that happen to me, I am lucky.

I am lucky to be alive with so much potential and opportunity available to me. So, to get to the main point of why I drew this is: if there is someone, anyone pulling the strings, I reach my hand out to them and welcome them in. Instead of criticizing them for their flaws.