Editor’s Note: Some names are changed to respect their privacy. Trisha, the author is responsible for the accuracy of the events in this story. We do not edit her writing. If you find some grammatical errors, e-mail [email protected] and we will fix it.
I am writing this from La Ventana, Baja California Sur, a two-hour drive from my home in Cabo San Lucas. Yesterday, I found myself at a dead end and had the need of running away.
It’s no surprise to any of you that I am a runner. I did not want to label myself like that but for the last 14 years, it has been very easy for me to pack my bags and leave whenever the situation is not fitting for me.
What are those unfitting situations, you may ask? Usually, it’s break-ups and difficulty dealing with family. But the majority of that is the thirst to speak another language and live in a different culture.
If you are a seasoned traveler, you know how refreshing it is to take on vacations and just get away from it all. It helps us gain new perspectives and center ourselves.
14 years on the road and 70+ countries later, I realized I am not ‘vacationing.’ In fact, I don’t even remember the last time I took a real vacation as I always travel for work. You know me publicly as someone who travels a lot, but really, it’s for work.
It’s not like I am laying on a day bed at some 5-star resort doing nothing. Traveling for me is work so I did a reverse version of vacations – when I am home, I wine and dine, I watch TV, I read a lot, I go to pool clubs, etc. But then, I still need to work even if I am home.
It is only by the end of 2021 that I found the best version of myself. I spent Christmas and New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro and found myself in an extra-large epiphany: I can’t keep running.
No matter where I go, the same demons will hunt me because it’s not the places I go to that I needed to change. It was ME who needed to change.
The never-ending crusade
The reason why I randomly left home and drove to La Ventana is that one of my American clients took advantage of me. After having a bad experience on a tour my team arranged for her, she refuses to pay the bills because she said her son vomited on a boat trip.
Of course, she said many other ridiculous things where I don’t know where she got from but I don’t want to reiterate it here because she is fucking exhausting – a real toxic person who comes to Mexico and thinks they can do whatever they want with their white privilege here.
I was not upset about the money. I was upset because it wounds me to know there are people like this. Did she not realize that the fisherman who took her and her family of 5 on a trip needed that money? Don’t white people realize that most of the world needs to work 100 times more than they do and yet they come here and don’t pay their bills?!
DISGUSTING. This is not the first time I’ve been served with my life is not fair pie. Every day of my life is an uphill battle because of my skin color and my gender.
That, I have made peace with. What I did not make peace with yet is that people of privilege are not willing to change their ways to better the world.
I was so down and depressed that I needed to take a drive. Many of my friends say this, “you are not a superhuman. You can’t save the world.” For most of the years, I refused to believe that. I believe in what I do and I strongly feel it is important.
You can’t save the world. Life is unfair. Don’t try to help everyone. Life is unfair. There are bad people. Life is unfair.
Those are the words that I kept hearing during the drive even if James Taylor and Hall & Oates were blaring on the radio. I was constantly reminded that life is unfair – by me.
As I arrived at my destination, I sat down, drank wine, and read a book. There were so many pleasant people around me (especially the guys here at the hotel) who I refused to speak with because I was feeling down.
I was not a good company is what I told them and I did not want to overwhelm them by pouring my heart out about the inequalities of the world. If I keep doing this, I will definitely lose friends and people will think I am a fucking lunatic.
In the middle of the night, I was reading The Viscount Who Loved Me and had this non-related thought: I need to stop focusing on my crusades because one person like me cannot change the world.
All this anger and bad energy were blocking me from living my life and being good to the people around me at present. I have used this as ammunition to blame others for making this world a wretched place.
I have been extremely overpowered by the people who have hurt, betrayed, and disappointed me. On this trip, I am trying to find a way to forgive them or to move forward while acknowledging that I can be angry and discouraged.
Most of all, I have to accept that I can’t save the world (like what y’all are saying) so from here on, I will not let my anger toward the world let me be all I am.
Because I know I am not an angry person and I am ready to admit my wrongs and shortcomings which will eventually help lessen the resentment I have towards our chaotic world.
I haven’t checked in in a while so here are some of the great highlights of 2022.
Lost in my passion
A conversation between Carla (my mighty assistant) and Mindy (my great publicist who is in charge of my public image):
Carla: She just needs a few days. She is exhausted from public life so please give her some personal space.
Mindy: Well, if she wants personal space, she shouldn’t be running a foundation for girls or appearing on TV/radio shows 3 times a week. Tell her to find a different job if she wants ‘space.’
Mindy is not inconsiderate. She is paid to make my business better. She has no room in her heart for my personal well-being. Other people on my staff are responsible for that (like Jenna or Maria).
For a moment there, she was right. Why did I choose this career when I know from the very beginning that I will always be in the public eye?
Maybe I should’ve chosen another job that will put me in the background like a clerk, an assistant, or a sous chef? What if I chose to live a dimmer life? Would that have been better?
Not over a year ago, I was sexually harassed in Georgia. I may have told you in detail what happened to that but only my therapist (and my then housemate Claire) had an insider view.
The moment I came home to Puerto Vallarta from Tbilisi, I had dinner with Claire and our friend Heather. We bitched about what happened to me. They asked if I was okay.
After lunch, I got home, hugged the dogs, walked into my room, and shut the door. I don’t remember the next days after that. I did not even unpack for the next 2 weeks.
The dogs spent time with me until they couldn’t take my energy anymore. Heather offered to walk them every day for the next two weeks while I refused to eat, answer phone calls, or even take a shower.
I have never been that angry and frustrated about how unfair life could be. I thought about all the girls who were not as strong as me and who did not have the tools to identify what is harassment, rape, or verbal abuse.
I thought about all the boys who don’t realize how every day in a woman’s life, we need to be extra paranoid about walking by ourselves at night. Men don’t have this burden and yet this doesn’t seem so important for many.
Every day, Claire and Heather would ask, “are you okay?”
Then one day, I was outraged and shouted, “Can you please stop fucking asking if I am okay?!!!!! OF COURSE I AM NOT OKAY!”
I realized that was mean because Claire was in her first trimester of pregnancy. She too had inner emotions to control, not to mention she is with auto-immune disease. She was dealing with both shit that was happening to her body but still was able to hold the fort.
“It’s not fair, Trisha. I know you don’t want to hear me saying this but I wish my baby will be a boy. I am scared to death to have a girl in this wretched world.
But remember, you are still here and many girls need you. You can push the pause button and excuse yourself from living. You can stay in your room for days – I will make your food, I will take care of the dogs, I will do anything you need.
The world will be more accepting and we will justify your actions because something bad happened to you first-hand. But this is probably not the last time you will be excusing yourself from the world. Life is not fair and shit happens all the time.
Many women and men depend on you for their jobs, for their daughters, for realizing their purpose, and many more than you can imagine. You have to go back out there and figure out a way to use this experience to uplift more women. “
And that’s what I did. The next day, I woke up, took a shower, run with the dogs, and started working. Claire and Heather hugged me with awkward smiles but they were glad I was back.
The problem was rejoining the land of the living was so instant for me. I was myself immediately. I put on my superhero cape to start empowering myself (and others) again. I did not put levels in re-entering society.
One of the emotional struggles I went through was after a month, nobody talked about what happened to me in Georgia. That conversation just disappeared. I am used to being the one who has her shit figured out (even as a teenager) so none of the people around me are worried about how I will cope.
I have always coped in ways I best know how but it somewhat hurt me that people think I am a Superwoman who can conquer it all.
I am truly lucky to be one of those people who have the freedom to have found something I am good at and have figured out a way how to make a living out of it.
Passion and money have come hand in hand through the years. It was never a problem. As usual, I carried on with my life with pride and head held up high.
I am not lacking in anything. I have loved, I have lost, I have everything I can possibly want in life and I can do things whenever I want, wherever I want. There is no reason for me to complain about my life.
Taking my health for granted
I had more work done than I ever had in my entire life. I was pumping and was just my best self with outputs. I was outstanding, excellent, with no flaw – everything at work was perfect.
I know you believe that nobody is perfect but if you work with me, you would know there is no room for errors in my workspace.
That was the kind of work ethic I have developed through the years because I know that people like me don’t get second chances. Women of color would fuck up once at work and they will be fired or crucified upside down. Society has a way of coaxing people like me into the corner.
I can’t afford to do this especially if my workforce is 95% people of color. They understood my system because they are also compensated very well for it. With this, everyone puts their best foot forward to the task at hand.
We were armed with a vocabulary that did not include the word impossible. I have made every single person in my team to respond to my ‘why nots’ when they said one project or idea cannot be done.
I took on a lot of projects, even more than my staff can handle. I hired new people. I put many ideas to life. Whenever an idea comes up from conversations, my staff skips a breath because they know I would like to have it done immediately.
It was awesome. More jobs kept coming. I worked from 6:00 – 22:00 every day, non-stop. I had so many TV interviews and accolades from all parts of the globe. I was fulfilled.
Sadly, it looks so glamorous on the outside. As usual, my friends, family, and colleagues were wildly impressed by me but nobody saw it was taking a toll on my health.
I skipped meals and was downing a bottle of wine every night. I smoked cigarettes more than usual and had to smoke marijuana to calm my mind from wild ideas at night. I was thinner than I was now – can you even imagine how I looked like?
On the morning of January 29, 2022, I felt my right hand being paralyzed and I couldn’t move. I was feeling this for months but I kept ignoring it because there wasn’t pain. It was just numb.
My left hand was so numb that I continued working on the computer and got used to that numbness. I did not even remember there was something happening with my hand because I was busy with work. The numbness became so normal to me that I continued my life with it.
That morning, my body started to shut down. Within 15 minutes, an ambulance (that my friend Alexa called) was pulling up my driveway and taking me to the hospital.
Together with that numbness, I couldn’t breathe, felt like I was losing my vision, had unbearable back pain, and asked the medic to just cut my left hand to get it over with.
The hospital where I requested to be taken to is about 30 minutes from my home in Cabo San Lucas. If you’re familiar with my city, you know that the way to the hospital was a rough desert ride – I truly suffered during this trip.
Finally, we arrived at the ER.
Medic: Patient is Ana Patricia Velarmino, 33 years old, experiencing numbness—
Doctor: — couldn’t breathe, losing vision, unbearable back pain. I am also certain she asked you to cut her left hand. I know her. I will take it from here.
For the last 6 months, I have been in and out of the hospital because of exhaustion so this was no surprise to him. I self-diagnosed to have carpal tunnel disorder but when they did MRI, a few spine injections that I had no idea what about, it was not CTD.
My diagnosis was extreme exhaustion. My body is so tired that it has been sending me signals through my hand. I was asked to take a break and do something throughout the day that isn’t work. Something leisurely.
I never took it seriously because I know I have time for leisure (meaning, to treat myself to fancy dinners and wine (not necessarily expensive). I like to eat well and this is what gives me extreme happiness, not going shopping like many people think women do when they are stressed.
Doctor: This is your 5th time in the ER in the last 6 months. 2 of those, you have to pay for the ambulance which you know, is not cheap here.
I remembered how unacceptably expensive Los Cabos is when it comes to this shit. But I don’t have to worry about that – my medical insurance will cover it.
I was just looking at him with a small grin while biting my nails. I did not want to speak. I know I will not win because he was right. I also realized I should have not called the ambulance and driven myself. Work deadlines are also playing in my head.
If you’re curious about the price, the ambulance ride in Los Cabos is US$650. Yup. Ouch.
Doctor: You know what is horrifying me? You are laying down on a hospital bed in the ER with unbearable pain and I can see it in your face how you see this as an inconvenience for setting you back from your work.
Me: I did not say that. I am here willingly so you can make me better. That’s why my friend called the ambulance.
Doctor: But you thought it.
The moment he said that, of course, he yet again, was right. When I arrived at the ER, I was silently wishing that he does not have to admit me and can be released to go home. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.
My doctor is also a friend and I know he was just looking out for me. Being hospitalized for exhaustion is not a minor thing. I took it lightly because it’s not like I have cancer or some kind of deadly disease.
They did another blood test and MRI and thankfully, I was healthy. No sickness whatsoever, good sugar/cholesterol levels, etc.
That day, I knew I had to change my lifestyle otherwise, my body will truly give up on me. I will not get lucky the next time. After 6 months of being radio silent, I walked into Pilates class the next day. My instructor was smiling awkwardly and said, “We missed you. It’s good to have you back.”
I was one of those people who make “I don’t have time” or “gym is too boring” as an excuse to not exercise. I also won the genetic lottery of my Asian heritage so I never really have to worry about weight management. I would look like this for the next 30 years and if you don’t believe me, go to Facebook and look at my 58-year-old mother.
But I am acutely aware that being healthy does not mean being thin. Being healthy is having a sound, mind, and body so when I discovered Pilates, I really loved it and religiously went to classes every day.
This was the only thing that isn’t boring for me so I continued doing it up until today (plus walking for miles in the morning which my dogs love me for).
In the next months to come, I want to integrate it with other physical activities in the hopes that I would be able to cut my ridiculous work hours and pay equal attention to my health.
“Please do not date someone my age.” my mother constantly reminds me of the age cut-off she has imposed on my dating life.
To be fair, I have never dated a 58-year old – the oldest was 54 but extremely fit, good-looking, and did not look like he is in his 50s’ at all.
It is public knowledge that I date older men. Somewhere between 40 and 55. Thankfully, society has been accepting of that and nobody looks at me and say, “she just wants his money.”
Because people know my business and what I do for a living, I’d walk into a restaurant with an older guy and nobody will say a thing. In fact, most of these men are impressed by how the receptionist and servers are extremely polite to me.
I do play my part by always dressing up. Well, you know I already dress up on regular days but at times like this, I need to go an extra mile. I learned a long time ago that if you are a woman in business in Mexico, you need to dress the part so as not to be called a prostitute or a gold digger.
Since I worked with these people and some establishments in Mexico are my avid clients, I get a pass from the gossip. They mind their own business.
I’m not sure where you are from but here in Mexico, the sugar daddy/baby thing is big. And even if it’s already a thing, people will scrutinize you for it.
I know very well that I have this privilege because of my business but if I were an ordinary brown woman, life would be 10,000 times more difficult for me — more than it is now regardless of my female power.
But this female power also cost me when dating guys my age. Men my age are insecure and don’t have their shit together. Some of them are starting their entrepreneur life and since I have been an entrepreneur for more than a decade, they seek advice and tips from me as if I was their mentor, not the girl they are dating.
I sometimes think they are asking me on dates so they can get tips on how I managed to build a successful business at a young age. I am not saying I don’t want to help them nor I am trying to be mean. I am not looking for a project. I already did that in many of my relationships and I ended up being so empty I had nothing more to give.
What’s discouraging about these dates is splitting the bill, or boys saying they forgot their credit cards at home yaddah yaddah. My 30-year-old self would say, “here, take my credit card,” because I was trying to show these guys that I am a woman who can afford a dinner bill.
Basically, I liked showing off. You do not have to worry about me. I have money. Paying the bill would always make me feel so empowered that I did not need to depend on a man to pay for my fucking food.
But that independent woman complex bullshit ended 8 months ago when I turned 33. I woke up to the horrific truth about the men I am attracting so I started to reformat my dating requirements.
All my girlfriends are also successful entrepreneurs and have the same income as I do. They were disgusted at the thought that I even split the bill. I actually thought they were doing the same since they also have money. Little did I know that it was only me.
My friends Ciara and Gaby (both black girls) are way younger than me but are equally successful would always remind me:
“Trisha, men and us, we are not equal. It takes us hours to prepare for a dinner date and it takes them 2 minutes to shower. We need to brush our hair, we need to paint our nails, we need to put make-up on, we need to put a nice dress on so that they’d walk in a restaurant with a beautiful lady in their arms.
If we ever engage in a serious relationship with them, they will get us pregnant, we will have to put our careers aside, we carry the baby for 9 months, we painfully give birth so painful you feel like you’re going to die. The children will be toddlers and all they will ever ask for is “Mama.”
Do you get the picture? WE ARE NOT EQUAL! So if they are NOT willing to pay for a dinner date knowing you’d be willing to do all these for them, well, you have a problem girl. Should I go on about the many ways we are not equal?”
I couldn’t believe I was listening to two girls who are 7 years younger than me and are already in the range of my income at their age. Maybe even more since they are both loud, powerful black girl Internet voices in the US. I always thought like me, they also prove themselves by splitting the bill.
I did not tell them I was splitting the bill for years because I thought it was the right thing to do. Now that it’s out there, they will probably smack my face on the next Martini sessions.
For the last 8 months, I realized and learned I am at a time in my life where I am looking for someone who can take care of me, who can accept I am a powerful woman and a caregiver at my workplace, who can understand that outside work, I want to be taken care of. Only an older man would get that.
I have been always the giver in relationships not because they were my age but because I am way beyond my years. And if you are the more successful one, every single man will fall painfully short of your expectations.
But not all older men have their shit together. You will read that when I publish my dating book, which is by the way, not a fucking bible to find the man of your dreams as I am in no position to give advice.
If you are sane, you won’t take dating advice from a 33-year old single woman who has been bumbling for the last 10 years. My book is all about stories which I hope you’d learn something from as I learned so much about men, our relationship with them, and how different creatures they are from us.
I’ve dated many men after I reformated my requirements: older, financially stable, I don’t mind if he has kids (kids actually love me), personable, independent, and is only interested in overpowering me in the bedroom – not controlling every life decision I have to make.
As I was seeing many different guys, I have also prolonged the dating period. Some of them lasted 6 months but none less than 3 months. I never have engaged in a serious relationship with any of them and I also did not sleep with all of them (FYI, Mom.)
See? They have their shit together! So what was the problem? Why did these beautiful, romantic, glamorous, chivalrous dates end?
Well, two things.
The first thing is that some of them got jealous that I was seeing other people. I was upfront at the beginning but in the middle of the adventure, some did not take that well.
These men never asked me to be in a serious, exclusive relationship with them. Ever. But they can’t bear the thought that someone else will have me. That’s why it ended.
Sadly, they all thought the same thing. No one manned up and said, “Trisha, please stop seeing other people because I want us to be exclusive.” Not one of them uttered these words. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Doesn’t sound like they have their shit together at all, ey?
The closest, most serious dating experience I had was with Anthony. My ex is also Tony so it was sort of weird for me to date him at the beginning. I never had to date two different people with the same name. Isn’t just icky.
Tony lives in the US but spent 6 days a month with me which means every other weekend when he does not have his 5 kids at his house.
Every time he’d come, I’d cancel my weekend. And he, ladies and gentlemen, did not fail to fly into Mexico to see me. *slow fucking claps*
I have never seen that willingness in my life but I also knew it was happening because of my reformatting. I was no longer sitting and waiting for men to do things for me. I was silently imposing it on the Universe so it is happening.
Of course, to be able to fly out 2 times a month to Cabo, you also have to have money so then I learned he’s not a fraud – he is truly financially stable.
He only stayed in my house on the 4th month of his visit because it did not make sense for him to spend US$1,500 on accommodations every other weekend. Which, Ciara would disagree to: girl, let him spend.
He never asked me to pay for dates, or Uber, or anything. So the least I can do is to offer him my home. It wasn’t a big deal and it was not like we are getting married or moving in together.
I was his Queen. He treated me well. He made me feel taken care of and at the same time, would not bitch if I needed to take an emergency phone call on a weekend. Well, don’t judge me. I really blocked my weekends when he came.
It was only 3.5 days after all. I informed my office to only call me if it is absolutely necessary. So far, I had 6 phone calls in that category. It wasn’t so bad and he did not mind. You see? An understanding and a well-put man. Bingo!
Now, you are probably waiting for the so-what-went-wrong-part. Like any other new relationship, we started talking about the future and the magical life that he and I will share together.
I grew up with a front-row seat of my cousins and friends getting pregnant at 14-17. Seriously, I am from a Catholic country where we are not taught to use birth control or a condom conversation is way too awkward to bring up. But not me. Not my family.
For many years, my friends didn’t understand why I was resisting having children (especially when I was in stable relationships in my 20s’). They were convinced that I didn’t want any because true enough, I really did not.
The reason why I did not want children is that I was in the middle of building my empire. I had to focus on my job so that one day, when the time comes that I will have children, I will be able to provide and impart knowledge as an adult woman.
Technically, we are still children until 26 years old (0-25 is the age of youth) so how do you expect me to take care of a child if I am still a child?
One month before my birthday last year, I just woke up and realized I want a child. That I am ready to be a mother. My mother jumped for joy, I tell you. She was so happy about my news so much that she thought that I wanted that child NOW.
Duh, mom. I just said I am ready but I didn’t say I will have it now. Besides, I am single. I am not some Virgin Mary who can conceive without a partner.
I knew she was only happy because it took me 33 years to be finally ready to be a mom. More so, she was proud that I have all the tools to be a great mother – mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically.
I knew that I am capable to take care of another human being, especially since I have aligned myself with crusades that will make this world a better place to live in.
She did say that the ‘physically’ part will be questionable in 5 years so I better hurry. Well, to tell you the truth, I am not in a hurry. I know that whatever is meant for me is meant for me.
From the big projects that I took on to the small victories that came my way, they did not fall in the hands of another person because they were made for me and no one else. If it’s not meant for me, then it would go in another direction.
Do you see where the story with Anthony is going? We ended it because he did not want any more children. He already has five and he is already fixed. For sure, there is vasectomy reversal and artificial insemination but he simply does not want any more children even if these medical options are available.
After having this I want to be a mom epiphany, I was in a place where I gave advice to my fellow women. My colleague Sandra is dating a 49-year-old man for 3 years now. Like me, she is 33.
As someone who grew up in Latin culture, Sandra wants to be a mom. But his boyfriend does not want it (because he already has 3) so Sandra never fought for what she wanted and accepted that as long as he is dating this man, she will not be a mother. She plans to continue this relationship because he loves him.
I sometimes ask her, “I know you love him. He is a fine man and he loves you. But you’d kill your dreams of being a mom because of him? Is that worth it all?”
My point is (and one of the most humbling lessons in this journey) is that you don’t want to waste your time with men who do not have the same dreams as yours, especially when it comes to building a family.
So no matter how wonderful, kind, loving, and almost perfect Tony was, I can’t set my dreams aside for him, especially if I know that a child would bring joy to our lives. It’s not like I was asking for too much. We parted ways and though he checks in regularly, he is still very firm about his decision not to have children anymore.
The more I dated older men, the more I realized that all of them already have children and don’t want more. The more it brings me to the thought that those guys my age who don’t have their shit together will willingly have a child with a woman like me. What a dilemma, hey!
So from today, I am taking a break from it all and will stick to continuously improving my well-being, focusing more on my health, and keep manifesting the man who ticks ALL the list I made for me.
What is meant for me is meant for me. Happy April and I hope y’all are doing a monthly self-check!
Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She’d like to believe she’s not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.