BY Dominican Pie (@DominicanPie)
A couple of days ago, a friend and I, a Dominican man in his late thirties, got into a conversation about men and women, that was in many ways, very clichéd. At least it was until my friend pointed out that he doesn’t really see people from younger generations, like mine, committing to being in relationships. That’s when the conversation got interesting. I desperately wanted to disagree with him and quickly began to think of people I know my age who are already married or in committed relationships and was hard pressed to find any more than a handful.
Is it true? Has our generation lost hope in committed monogamous relationships? The romantic in me refuses to believe it. My generation is filled with hopeless romantics, those in search of true love, of true fulfillment not only in our personal lives but in our professions as well. Now I don’t want to sugarcoat the situation, being a single woman in New York City is not an easy thing. With all the men (and sometimes women) hitting on you, wanting to play little to no role in your life, other than some sad attempt at “hitting it and quitting it.” Now this is not a stab at men, we women don’t make it easy either, often times setting standards for their men that are quite hard to achieve.
Though difficult for some, there are those that are able to find the humor in pain, especially the sting associated with heartbreak. One of those talented few is Sujeiry Gonzalez, a writer who uses love and comedy as the main ingredient in all of her work. Known best for her blog lovesujeiry.com, she has been a featured writer in Latino digital and print media for some time now. Although her main focus has been writing, Sujeiry is spending more time creating videos featuring her unique characters and their point of view. Sujeiry is Dr. Ruth, meets Oprah Winfrey, meets Walter Mercado; she is irreverent, insightful, and always funny. Sujeiry is a talent to keep your eye on.
The following are my seven questions with Sujeiry Gonzalez.
Q: You describe your blog as the digital space where love meets comedy. What about these subjects cause you to blur the line between the two?
A: I’ve been writing about my relationship drama since 2005, professionally since 2006, and for the most part, always poke fun at my mistakes. I have made tons of errors, hence the title of my former column and soon-to-be book, Love Trips. But I don’t take myself too seriously! If I did, I’d be a bitter jamona who hates men and lives with her mother with twenty cats. Ok, I live with my mother, but no cats yet! That’s what’s great about visiting lovesujeiry.com. Men and women can relate to my stories, learn what not to do due to my mistakes, and laugh while they’re at it! I call my vagina a pepa, for Pete’s sake. If that’s not love meeting comedy, I don’t know what is!
Q: Although you are focused on writing you have also started creating your own videos where you showcase different characters that you create as well as original content also created by you; when did you start doing this and why?
A: I actually began shooting videos in 2007 when I worked for SiTV. That was four’ years ago. But most people don’t realize this and peg me solely as a writer. Writing is how I began with Migente and, again, on SiTV. I was a dating blogger and ghostwriter first, but then they gave me the opportunity to do something extra. I chose to star in a vlog called Love Trippin’ with Sujeiry, which took the main themes of my relationship posts and expanded them into man-on-the-street interviews. Soon, the ideas grew bigger and bolder and funnier and I decided to release the characters in my head and put them on screen. I’ve always been told that I am funny. At first, I would be insulted because it was mostly men who’d look at me, laugh and say, “You’re funny!” I would insist I wasn’t funny because I wanted to be sexy. Now, I know it’s a great quality to have. I am one lucky gal and I am really excited to show the world that I am as great of a comedic actress as I am a writer.
Q: Are you single? If so, how what’s the advice that you would give other single women living in NYC who are trying to balance career with a personal life?
A: I’m single and ready to mingle . . . with the right man. As for how to balance singlehood with career and city life, it’s simple: get creative. Mix friends so you can go out in a group. Put together a mastermind group with friends and family to set professional and personal goals. That way you are spending time with loved ones while getting work done. As women, I really think we can do anything as long as we get organized. If we really want to, we can work a great job, have a relationship and still spend time with friends and family. All you need is focus and to cut out the extra crap. Say no to that person you have no business hanging out with or that project that will not advance your career. Put your needs first and don’t get lost in the shuffle.
Q: Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
A: Writing is my first love but when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I didn’t think it was a possibility. It’s an unconventional career. Honestly, in my mind, it wasn’t a career at all. I thought I needed a job where I worked from 9-5 and received a steady paycheck so I could pay the mortgage on my pretty house. But I was always writing. I’ve kept a diary all my life and, at 12, I even “self-published” a book. And by self-publish I mean I ripped pieces of brown construction paper, slipped them into a typewriter and wrote the Latina version of Sweet Valley High. I still remember the main characters’ names; Ashely and Jelani. So, yes, I always wanted to be a writer. I just didn’t acknowledge it till much later.
Q: Who are your influences, the authors, writers, and performers that you look up to?
A: My first influence was Julia Alvarez. I went to Andover, a preparatory high school, and my English professor recommended How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. My professor wanted me to realize that I had a voice, that my story was important, especially since I was the only Dominican in my graduating class. I’ve continued reading her books since then and also enjoy Alisa Valdes and Junot Diaz. In terms of performers, I really admire John Leguizamo as a comedic actor and monologist and Tina Fey in everything she does. And I want Chelsea Handlers career minus the potty mouth.
Q: What is the next project that you are working on?
A: I am working on multiple projects, but my main focus right now is self-publishing my book, Love Trips, a collection of personal essays where I depict my journey and stumbles in love. It’s the anti-relationship book. The what not to do relationship book. Because I’ve been an idiot! I’m planning to self-publish before the end of the year. That’s right, by December 31, 2011! What can I say, I’m ambitious and a kick ass over achiever. Once the book is complete, it will sell as an ebook on LoveSujeiry.com. I’m hoping it will be successful enough to sell in print. My other project is Sujeiry Radio, a podcast on love, gossip and all things Sujeiry. Go http://lovesujeiry.com/podcast/ for more information on the start date.
Q: What was the one piece of advice that you received as a girl that has stuck with you to this day?
A: Mami always said to me, “Sujeiry, el que quiere, puede.” As in don’t accept people’s excuses. I’ve tried to live my life by this motto but it’s always made my life more difficult. I am very sensitive to disappointment and unmet expectations, partly because of my daddy abandonment issues (more on that in Love Trips), but also because I give my all when something matters. So, el que quiere, puede has been a double-edged sword. I expect a lot from those in my life. Not in a complicated way, but in regards to loyalty and keeping ones word. It’s a lot of pressure to be my friend or lover, because I give and expect to receive. If someone can’t handle that, then they’re just not for me.
Check out: http://lovesujeiry.com/
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