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Writing  by Luz Michelle

Artwork by Justin Negard

Dear Luz,

I’m in love with my neighbor. We’re both married to other people, but she’s my soulmate.  She’s everything I always wanted in a woman, and I’m pretty sure she feels the same way about me. We have these really amazing conversations about everything from parenting to philosophy. I want to tell her how I feel, but I don’t know how to do it. Any ideas?

– In love with the woman next door

Excuse me…I fell asleep for a second…

Dear Hopeless Romantic,

Ah, the classic tale of the forbidden suburban love next door. My go-to suggestion for couples is always, couples therapy – because who doesn’t love airing out their marital drama with a professional referee? And, of course, you should also indulge in some one-on-one therapy, because you’ve got to figure out if this crush is a midlife crisis or just a fleeting fancy of destruction for everyone else.Oh, and for distraction, might I suggest taking up a hobby something that doesn’t involve betrayal? You could try reading, knitting, golf, marriage lessons, screaming yoga–there are so many options, my friend. 

Cheers to gracefully dodging neighborhood tea!

Dear Luz,

My kids are begging me for a pet. And not just any pet, a capybara! It’s the world’s largest rodent, and that’s just gross. While I will always laugh at the Rodents of Unusual Size in “The Princess Bride,” I don’t want one in my home. Quite frankly, they are kinda cute, for a rodent. But in my home? No. It’s all my kids talk about it. All day. Every. Single. Day. I think their plan is to wear me down until I give in. How do I get them to stop asking me about owning a rodent as a pet?

– NOT a future capybara owner

Dear soon-to-be rodent-owner,

First thing’s first – props on the “Princess Bride” reference!  Now, about those capybaras, the misunderstood heroes of the rodent world. They’re not just rodents; they’re actually the James Bonds of the animal kingdom, known to be charming and social, #justsaying 

So, your kids are on this capybara crusade. My suggestion? Skip the capybara-sized headache and bring home a guinea pig. It’s like the capybara’s fun-sized cousin. Tell the kids it’s a capybara in disguise (the 007 version, of course). You get a pint-sized pet, and they get a secret agent rodent. Win-win, right?

Stay strong, Mama! 

Dear Luz,

Kids can be so cruel. My daughter is getting bullied at school, and it’s really getting out of hand. Kids are posting mean things about her on social media and teasing her in the hallways. She doesn’t want to tell on them and be a tattle tale, but I can tell it’s really affecting her self-esteem. Do you have any ideas of how she can “fight back” and get these bullies to stop?

– Worried Mom

Dear Worried,

As someone who’s navigated both sides of bullying, I’ve learned that everyone craves understanding. Those who resort to bullying often harbor deep pain. 

And as we all know, social media makes schoolyard bullying even worse than it was when we were kids. So until Congress actually does something (besides grill Mark Zuckerberg–at least they agree on something), it’s up to us parents to protect our kids. 

I’ve witnessed my children’s interactions—some positive, some not. But things are changing, and there’s now more emphasis on open communication and support networks.  

I’d like to suggest a radical approach: engage in deep, uncomfortable conversations with your child, with other parents, with the community, and introspectively. Foster local talk groups, share your child’s experiences, and let her voice be heard. I strongly believe it starts with one. Speak up together, and most importantly, show up together. 

Much love and warrior energy to you both.

Dear Luz,

My 12-year-old is obsessed with rap music! It’s full of bad/obscene language and, quite frankly, disgusting sexual content. What’s worse, she’s repeating those songs and words at inappropriate times. We hear them at the dinner table, and she’s received several school detentions for inappropriate language. How do I get her to listen to “safe” music like her older sister, who is a die-hard Swiftie?

– My ears are bleeding

My dear sensitive Mama,

Here’s the scoop: if your daughter’s already vibing to explicit rap, she won’t suddenly groove to MC Hammer or Mariah Carey overnight. Let’s build a bridge, close that gap, and meet her halfway. As parents, we can’t change our kids’ tastes, but we can introduce more motivational jams and show support instead of judgment. There may still be some “bad language,” but take the win. Otherwise, she might bounce to listen elsewhere and think moms aren’t cool. That’s why I’m all about the “lean in” approach. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Lose Yourself” by Eminem: This track is an anthem for seizing opportunities and not letting them slip away.

“The Best One Yet” by Black Eyed Peas: A positive and uplifting track encouraging listeners to appreciate life.

“Remember the Name” by Fort Minor: This track is all about hard work, dedication, and making a name for oneself.

“Started From the Bottom” by Drake: A reflection on Drake’s rise to fame and a reminder of the hard work it takes to achieve success.

You got this!

This article was published in the March/April 2024 print edition of Connect to Northern Westchester.

Luz Michelle
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Luz Michelle has channelled her unique life experiences and background into a successful comedy career, gracing stages such as Caroline's, Gotham Comedy Club, The Stand, The NY Underground Comedy Festival, The North Carolina Comedy Festival and more, with her malapropisms and unique style. As Founder of Hard Headed Comedy™, a comedy entertainment company, Luz produces live and streamed showcases featuring a diverse mix of established and up-and-coming comedic talent.