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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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Entries in Self-Esteem (3)


Announcing the Winner of the BEAUTIFUL YOU Giveaway

This was an incredibly difficult giveaway to select from! I wish I had seven books to give away ~.~

The good news is that I scored a visit to my school by Rosie Molinary on Oct. 26th from 12:30-1:30pm during which she will be doing a lunch time series presentation in our library -for girls, women, teachers, staff, parents and male allies at the Imperatore Library and she will have books available there!

So if you are affiliated with the Dwight-Englewood School in anyway try to be there!


Ok so the top contenders addressed the audio interview with such conviction it made my heart smile everytime! Take a look at some of these comments:


  1. Colin- "...the best part's when y'all are talking about process, and how it's destination vs. journey when really it's always just been about journey."

  2. Luisa- "i loved the part where you talked about the toxins to your body that no one really mentions like gossip, and criticism. it reminded me of a scene from mean girls where they al look in the mirror and take turns saying something they don't like about their bodies. rituals like these seem to happen often and have become almost routine. the become addictive, you tend to keep going and going and you keep finding little things here and there, and when your friends join in its just a hate bash on our bodies..."

  3. Carla- "I sooooooooo related to the struggle with people commenting on your weight loss and the discomfort around that. I actually wrote and performed a piece about that very thing years ago and it prompted me to find it. It's called 'Serenity'..."

    ...I mean someone will say, "You have such a beautiful face" and in the back of my head that little voice is translating it as "It's a shame your a little overweight, otherwise you'd be a knockout", "a knock out", yeah, a knockout"...
    -excerpt from Serenity by Carla

  4. Jane- "I loved both your questions and Rosie's responses. The aspect that spoke most loudly to me was about her thoughts on straightening her hair - "to make her life easier." For nearly a decade, many years ago, I permed my hair "to make my life easier." How interesting that we saw doing opposite things to our hair was perceived necessary and a means to being more presentable than what is our own natural state..."

  5. Laura- "...One topic that I can definitely apply to my own life is the section about not joining in when your friends decide to criticize themselves. This is something that I would never have thought about before because it seems like such a natural reaction. Now that I am more aware of it, I hope to not do it again."

  6. Tania- "...I've a ton of opinions and thoughts on this subject especially as a woman of size who is ok with being of size who accepts herself fully. I'm the girl who does straighten her hair but I do it not for society or praise but because I like the way it looks on me, but I also embrace my curls..."

    And last but not least...

  7. Gera- "Omg, this interview was so great and it really touched my heart. I definitely understand each and every one of Rosie's points and they were all eye-opening and just plain genius. I am a young woman (HS) who is totally aware this notion of image; however, I try my best to not let it get the best of me. I am a woman of size and am completely comfortable with my body. If I ever decide to change something, it'll be because I want it for myself and not because of other people's opinions. I can honestly say that I am so excited to read this book and I know I will love it just like I loved this interview!"


    So what is a blogger to do??

    Well I took a suggestion by my co-worker Caitlyn, and I placed the numbers 1-7 in the bingo machine and let the wheel of fortune take the decision right out of my hands!                               The winner is...drumroll please...wait for it...


    The Poster For Rosie Molinary's Visit to the Dwight- Englewood School!



A Book Blog Tour - Rosie Molinary's New Book - Beautiful You A Daily Guide To Radical Self-Acceptance

Today I'm going to review the new book Beautiful You A Daily Guide To Radical Self-Acceptance by Rosie Molinary and published by Seal Press.

The subject descriptors listed on the back of this book read Psychology and Body Image. However, I think the descriptors could easily include 'Education' and 'Self Realization/Self-Emancipation'. These latter subjects may not be actual descriptors in the biz, but after reading this book, it can easily be classified/shelved in these areas as well.

For this review, I read this whole book from cover to cover and deprived myself from the thrill of using it as it was designed to be used: as a daily page turner revealing exercises that are there to; encourage, challenge, demystify, educate and improve/emancipate your patterns of thinking about beauty and self-perception.

In addition, I embarked on a new form of expression - podcasting!


Rosie Molinary

This book is an action plan for a year of introspection. It will have you unveiling the external, often unattainable fictions about what you're supposed to look like. Rosie demystifies the source/origin of our contentment and satisfaction by having you actively engaged in realizing it is fully within your power; and within your strengths, passions and capabilities that your light will shine most beautifully. However, if you are a woman who is intelligently conscious of these truths it is still a different matter entirely to be ready, present and willing to do the deep hard work of the exercises.

Rosie successfully challenges our ability to look within ourselves with authentictity and integrity. Through a wide range of films to watch, authors /quotes to read, and anecdotal experiences, Rosie shepherds us through a labyrinth that leads to our core.

In addition, she challenges our sense of responsibility and accountability to our greater community- to our gender. By guiding us to serve as active mentors and members of the greater collective female consciousness, Rosie has us face what it is to be globally minded, working on behalf of others and developing a voice. Lastly, the educational merit of this book for educators and parents alike was mind-boggling to me. All of us at one point or another will be faced with modeling a behavior or guiding a younger generation and how we do that can be life-altering.

If you are ready and committed to the experince of this delightful book on day 345 you could be contemplating this,

...When I was teaching, I heard Gloria Steinem speak*. The auditorium was packed and as she began a small infant began to weep. The mother couldn't silence him, so she tried to discreetly sneak out of the auditorium, hoping, I am sure, not to bother the other audience members. "Don't go," Steinem said, interrupting her remarks. "We put up with so much noise in our lives- beepers and cell phones, sirens and car alarms. The least any of us can do is be patient with the sounds of child." That remark has stayed with me so many years later. I was impressed by Steinem's acknowledgement of the child's voice, the humanity she exhibited in noting his humanity, and the way she cut away from her prepared remarks to teach all of us a quiet and powerful lesson.
- excerpt from Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary

*Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934) is an American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist who became nationally recognized as a leader of, and media spokeswoman for, the Women's Liberation Movement in the late 1960s and 1970s.


I was fortunate to score a phone interview with Rosie! I recorded that informative and eye-opening conversation and I know that you will just love to hear it while you go for a walk, commute or whateva! The podcast is located at the end of this post so PLEASE click on it and LISTEN to the interview.

Rosie will have you begin your journey on day 2 by signing a contract with yourself. This thirteen point pledge of allegiance is dynamic and severely truncated here in this excerpt, but it will give you a three point taste:

The Body Warrior Pledge: Because I understand that my love and respect for my body are metaphors of my love and respect for my self and soul, I pledge:

  • To stop berating my body and to begin celebrating the vessel that I have been given. I will remember the amazing things my body has given me: the ability to experience the world with the breadth of senses, the ability to perceive and express love, the ability to comfort and soothe, and the ability to fight, provide and care for humanity.
  • To understand my body is an opportunity not a scapegoat.
  • To be the primary source of my confidence. I will not rely on others to define my worth.

GIVEAWAY!HAVE 30min? WIN A FREE COPY OF BEAUTIFUL YOU: Listen to the podcast interview with Rosie and comment to this post with one aspect of the interview that spoke most loudly to your soul. This will be one step required to qualify. The next step to qualify for the giveaway is to go to Rosie's Facebook 'Beautiful You' Fan page and 'LIKE IT! letting her know Amarettogirl sent you ;)

You have until Friday Oct.15th Midnight Eastern Standard Time to submit your entry to win the book. HEY BTW! This is open to ANYONE ANYWHERE!

Though the podcast and the giveawy stay here, On Oct.13th this blog tour goes to: Imperfect Spirituality Follow it!

For those of us deliberately doing this kind of work there will undoubtedly be exercises you have done before and goals you may have already set for yourself. Yet that results in a wonderful sense of accomplishment and on those pages/exercises you can do what I did...draw a large smiley face on that page and write 'Did this!' Furthermore, trust me, there's no way you've done even more than an 20% of the creative and interdisciplinary exercises in this book which leaves you with 80% of a beautiful self yet to unveil!

PODCAST- Rosie Molinary Interview


On Championing My Body

Well I said things had changed around here, except these changes were self-initiated and in no way thrust upon me ;) I'm about to share it all, but not without a pretty strong dose of responsibility first.

In 2007 I was sitting on the sofa and I decided to wake up and be an agent of change. I invoked the words of Ani DiFranco

any tool can be a weapon if you hold it right...
My weapons of choice, a camera and paint brush.

At the time I was inspired to action by Oprah. She had just opened her school in Africa for girls, The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy. Seeing some of those girls walk to school through violence, destitution and seemingless endless odds, inspired me to my core.

Imagine for a moment that we all do currently hold within us the memory and experience of the collective consciousness of women throughout history and all of their adversity. Then imagine that we also hold a common bond with all women globally - does this not create a tremor in your soul?

It seemed at first, that so many other disciplines are more conducive to DISSENT and revolution than visual art; music, theater, film and video.

Click photo by m.diaz

If I could, I was determined to find a way to use my skills as a visual artist and my occupation as a visual arts teacher to provoke change in this world. I wanted desperately to begin to try to address the daily frustrations around me in my own backyard. Therefore, I developed, designed and implemented the HERstory project at my school (you can see the photograph component of the Herstory project if you click HERE). I embarked on a mission to unlearn lies and re-educate with the truth inorder to assist young women (at the time specifically young women of color) to analyze the image-based world they live in, perceive themselves and their bodies in a manner that did not derail them from; wisdom, potential, capability, self-sufficiency and leadership.

2007 Herstory opening the girls & me

I debuted the HERstory project publically in Boston, Mass. in 2008 and presented it again refined and improved nationally in both New Orleans, Louisiana, and Denver, Colorado at the National Association of Independent School People of Color Conference - a conference that consists of primarily educators, students and administrators of Independent schools. Seeing as the face of the nation has changed so has the demographic of private schools around the country. So many of our young women of color co-exist in these schools still as minorities - when often they come from homes, communities and public schools in which they are the majority.

I have now spoken to a room of over 200 educators from around the country about the importance of implementing out of the box teaching methods to inadvertently inspire self-love, acceptance and potential for leadership. Educators who can should teach about; the history and origins of cosmetics, altering definitions of aesthetic beauty, the lure and volatile power of physical attraction- that of the female enslavement to it (one of the greatest acts of mass self-deprication in lust for an unattainable and non-existent ideal that I have ever seen), and most importantly how not to punish but to love, nurture and embrace all that they are.

Yet I've known all along that the reason I was doing that self-less work after school and teaching myself public speaking to peers was perhaps because the one who needed the most self-acceptance was me. The truth is, I came from public schools, inner city life and a divide between two islands (Puerto Rico where my father has lived his whole life and Manhattan where my mother and her family traveled to during one the first air-borne diasporas to this country). My youth was troublesome to say the least, and keeping up with the Jones' in my adult life has also caused its share of self-deprecation in my life. It was so much easier to do all the hard work at the service of others than to face that reality in myself.

me today

Yet doing the Herstory project began to inadvertently affect me. By doing all the research and the developing of the innovation; the classroom application, the gathering with the young women and doing readings from 'Women Who Run with the Wolves' I was slowly transforming myself. Shepherding young women served me as much as it did them. I was inadvertently and unknowingly planting the seeds I needed to sprout my own inner core of confidence and self-acceptance. Of becoming a person who lives life not as a body champion- because that would imply that I have arrived and well I don't ever expect to arrive...instead a person who is fully present in the act of championing her body.

Everyone seems to be obsessed with my fat cells and the question 'how?'. Not as many seemed to be concerned with my health. Or why it was that I was progressively developing a weaker and weaker immune system every year. I had maxxed out with five bouts of chronic bronchitis in one year. I have been affected by every respiratory infection I could get. In the last five years I have made it up to two inhalers and concerns of silicosis. My energy level has been the bane of my existance since any one who knows me knows I want to do everything.

I began two years ago with trying to cut back on white refined sugar usage. Who I was: 8-10 bags of sugar in hot tea in chinese restaurants, tablespoons of sugar in cereal, every dessert always. It all seemed not to have too bad an effect when I lived in the city and walked everywhere...always. However after leaving the city and instantaneously losing all opportunities to walk anywhere, it all began to take its toll, especially on my health. When I first pulled back on white sugar I transferred the need to honey. Yet as my brother-in-law eloquently put it 'honey is still sugar'. The jury (science) might still be out on white refined sugar and its actual effects, but thats my verdict.

Last year I stopped my daily addiction to coffee and transferred to tea and finally began to enjoy unsweetened ice tea. This summer I terminated my co-dependent relationship with caffeine completely. Now I can enjoy a cup of tea every now and then but don't NEED it everyday.

This summer after seeing my father and his battle with diabetes, I took my health focus to the next level. I did fast for 48 hours to clean out my system and I detoxed (Chinese herb tea is and Chinese herbs are great for this). I retrained my taste buds. I would say that was the hardest part. I retrained my brain to turn away from anything that was processed and clearly unhealthy. I NEVER skip a meal. I did skip every opportunity to have summer desserts, but NOT to punish myself but to stay committed to treating my body as sacred. I drink water now 'like a fiend' roughly two twelve packs of bottled water a day. I taught myself what the size of my stomach is and I learned to honor that through portion control, instead of satiating myself to sleep. I EXERCISE every day on the treadmill that was gifted to me this summer when my intention was made clear.

me and my children photos by m.diaz

Final answer when folks ask how - the real answer is SELF-LOVE- real love, like a husband who wants his newly pregnant wife to eat only organic food- I chose to love myself that way. If you love yourself deeply - it doesn't matter how you eat. What matters is that YOU ARE HEALTHY, at peace and treat the vehicle that is your body with respect.

-Ciao Amarettogirl