One, Two and Three

Yesterday, the frozen city sparkled in gold, green, red and white. The holiday spirit crept through the avenues, blocks and streets. Alcohol seeped through the cracks, filling the air with a stale smell. Laughter and stupidity dripped from the people’s mouths. Broken carols off tune filled the air. One round, two rounds and three. Some people knew nothing of their whereabouts. Others dancing and moving to the sounds of the beat. Atop of rooftops, on top of bars, on dance floors waxed with beer, you saw their feet shuffle and their mouths slur. More alcohol was poured. My insides were glowing and beaming. 

*Delivered* flickered my screen. One message, two messages and three. Next thing you know, I was on the subway. Going up, up to your town. Up one stop, two and times four. Two hours before the clock hits midnight, I’m almost at your door. My heels stomp the pavement, the men whistle, toot and holler. Buzzzzzzzz, I went up one flight, two flights and three. You stood in the doorway, tall, glowing and tired. I giggled and brushed your cheek with a kiss. Your smile made my inside warm. 
I unbundled and sat next to you. We briefly shared our day and then turned to the tv. We glared at it, sometimes it watched us. Exhaustion overwhelmed our bodies. In a moments time we were in your room stretched out. I laid there vulnerable. The light flickered and you took over my soul. Our souls danced, intertwined, and whispered; just once tonight. 

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An excerpt from a letter I penned to you

 

…To begin, you must know that I have never been bewitched by someone’s spirit the way yours has bewitched mine. Was that intentional? I doubt it. Do I believe you are special? Yes, I am certain of it. I’m sure you are quite aware as well…

…I enjoy being in a place when you are also in that place. I enjoy hearing you, learning from you and just being. Your perspective matters to me…This is not because…This is due to fact that I am genuinely drawn to your personality, demeanor and physical being.

I write you because words unfold me best…

…you make me happy so I do not want to leave you alone. You are a good person and I yearn to do simple things with you. As humans, we are biologically wired to get into relationships, drawn into dangerous waters. I want to be there with you, I can deal with your absences…it makes sense to build a wall so you don’t fall…

…It’s almost as if I have known you before in another time and we have been rewarded the time again. We did not see this coming. I may seem unsteady and questionable yet, you are inexplicably drawn to me. I want you…I want to be there in your continuing growth, in my growth. I am not looking for someone to complete me I love who I am and who I am becoming. I adore who you are and who you are becoming. I want to see your fire, your flames, never go out.

I believe you are like magic and I want you too see me dazzle you.

You don’t run from the darkness, we must embrace it. We did not meet by accident. You must know this.

The one for you won’t run from you.

If I do not hear from you after you read this, I will be ok and understand I will be happy for the spark that went out, because it existed.

If I do hear from you after, I’d just want to lay near your chest and listen to you breathe with your hand entwined in mine, watching the water hit our beautiful city.

With passion,

D.

 

j.Chronicles continued

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“You don’t remember how we met?”

When you wrote me this, I sat there quite dumbfounded. Then you shared how we met, my mind went through the many virtual file cabinets. Well, there it was one of my clearest memories….Your face was hidden, but your inner spirit dragged me towards you. In that time period, my mind was trapped by a demonic, wicked spirit that made me bruise time and time again. Thank goodness your spirit recognizes my healing.

That day, when I first saw your shape, I did not realize who you were; it was like something took over me, whispering in my ear that we were supposed to converse. Although, we never spoke again until that Sunday started the week.

Almost a year had passed…

Monday/Tuesday

I opened my eyes to whiteness. More than a 1,000 miles from you, I laid in the midst, in a mist of whiteness: comforter, pillows, walls, everything around me was as if I was in billows of white, smoke. The sound of the ocean hit my walls and I did not move. As I woke up, I reached for my iPhone to see what the world looked like outside the clouds I lay in.

I opened the application, and then a notification popped up in the right hand corner. You wrote me back. The night before, you complimented my beauty or the sea’s, you were never specific. I replied, “Thank you, as is your art.”

I still had no idea who you were, I thought you were a literal stranger… You invited me for coffee or drinks when I returned from my vacation, but I did not know your name. So I sat there pensively and then, eventually our conversation deepened. You started to reveal yourself to me. Those first replies, were not me, but my spirit again and again. Something took over me and whispered a sweet song to determine who you were. Your spirit whispered, “remember me?”

I did, vividly.

Tuesday night

Shortly after, my plane landed and my body appeared in your car. All of sudden, my physical body listened to your melodic voice. You spoke softly, you smiled secretly. We ate dinner, as if we always knew one another. We conversed that night until the shadows crept beneath us.

jueves 

You came, not in the literal sense but arrived. There was no turning back from this night. Margherita filled us and the NYC lights enchanted us. We shared pieces of our journeys and let our tongues become a vein that carried our spirit of gold. You were sold, for you invited me the night. I crept in your space, observing each inch of you. That night was timeless, I fell asleep in your arms and then woke up in your mist. Another, white comforter. My eyes wide and very aware of who laid next to me. I snuck off, your body awake and mind asleep. I made my way out of your creative lair.

When you awoke– you lettered, “Was last night a dream?”

It wasn’t.

sábado 

Sleepless, mindless, I fell into your bed again. I felt every piece of you touch my inner soul. Your voice comforted me, your touch calmed me, your spirit welcomed me.

lunes 

You’re a creator, a solver, a builder. Your affection is one–for it almost has me won over. I didn’t realize I had anything for you, but whatever I have I want it connected to your spirit.

I want to hear your beat and play you in my mind over and over again until the spirit drags me far away.

If you didn’t know, now you know that…baby you found me in the clouds.

 

 

A never ending puzzle 

As I ride the train, sometimes the most random memories travel through me. I remember when I first moved to Brooklyn and the choices I had made as a 17 year old turning 18 and a 19 year old. It’s amazing how the teenage brain believes it’s decisions are the utmost best choices one can make. The confusion our young minds go through searching for “love,” happiness and success. 

Even though I am only 22 years old, who will be 23 this Fall. I can see the change that has taken place in the four and half years of my life. Some of my goals gave remained the same and have also progressed. I notice that my first “adult” relationship as a teenager was far from what was right. Don’t get me wrong I put certain things first and certainly ended it when I was able to see what little of a future I truly had if I chose to settle with a soul that was not intertwined with mine. In reality, I guess what I look back at are my actions once I became single. 

I began to value the single life, but not for myself. I still continued to put others before me and leaned the hard way to truly be comfortable in my own skin. I focused on school, but allowed the world of dating, partying and materials things to surround me. How I wish I would have been more wise in my spending habits and other daily choices. 

I know what you’re thinking, you’re still young! Yes, I am! Although, it is hard to get into the groove of consistently making choices that will benefit you even if the outcome is not everything you want. Now with only one semester left until I earn my Bachelor’s Degree I continue to reflect on the beginning of this journey. As I search for the road to take in pursuing the rest of my career, so many thoughts flood my mind. The thoughts are more so questions; like, what will give me the outcome I want, what will allow me a network of valuable resources? It’s a shame I could not have a handbook to answer my every thought, but I guess that is what experience is all about. 

I won’t share my future plans just yet, but I took the time to write this post because as an adult you just really never have it all figured out. Life while we live it, is just a never ending puzzle, constantly putting pieces together without the cover to guide you. You must reflect and move forward towards what ever your goals are of the moment. 

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Lost is when the words won’t come out 

When the thoughts aren’t there 
When the mind goes blank 
Being next to someone who somewhat understands
But doesn’t know what to do 
Someone who cannot find the words to say 
Or is addicted to an unhealthy art 
But what can I do 
These chains are real 
Society and you
Oh someone tell me what to do
I know what’s wrong 
But I can’t get a grip 
Cause nothing’s ever been right 

Autobiographical Vignette about my ethnicity

Throughout my life, I have become subject to fill out paperwork that had often left me puzzled when it comes to checking the box titled ethnicity. From health care forms, standardized testing, and job applications this box is almost always there. There is no class in grade school that teaches you what to check off your parents tell you, or your experiences in society make it clear. In this vignette, I will describe related accounts that have helped me realize what my ethnicity actually is. This paper will also explore the definition of ethnicity and further react to my personal reaction of understanding my ethnicity.

There is a question I have heard countless times from many, “what are you?” Throughout middle school and high school, many of my peers of color would often ask me what I was mixed with. It felt good to not be assumed to be only Hispanic. My mother is fully Puerto Rican and my father is Puerto Rican and African American who spoke only English and considered himself Black. I would often tell others I am Puerto Rican and Black, but sometimes I would respond saying American. I was proud of my families’ origin, but there was a short period of time I liked saying I was American. This was when I lived near Atlanta, GA in 10th-12th grade, where the majority of hispanics were Mexican and peers sometimes assumed I was an immigrant. At this time period in life, it bothered me be assumed an immigrant. I felt it would be easier to say American since I was born in the U.S., than identify with being Boricua(Puerto Rican)or Black. From elementary school until 9th grade, I attended predominantly white schools in Suffolk County, LI, NY. I was looked at as the hispanic girl by peers, even at a young age I could tell society placed a deficit viewpoint on my parents backgrounds, being that we were considered minorities. I was never asked about my background or culture because there were very few around me who resembled my family make up. I think when I moved to Atlanta, and was more accepted into the culture, ethnicity somewhat made sense. If I responded American to my southern peers, I automatically heard, “NO, where are your parents from?” Somehow, in my young teenage brain I put where my parents were from and ethnicity together. This is why I began always responding to “what are you?” with, “Do you mean my nationality or ethnicity?” Although, what really is ethnicity?

Before I can define ethnicity, I will briefly mention race. In my own perspective, race is a socially created construct unfortunately based on skin tone, while ethnicity is a more realistic term. It is more realistic because to define ethnicity, one must take into account many different factors, other than only skin tone. In the article titled, “Race as Biology is Fiction, Racism as a Social Problem is Real,” the authors state,

Ethnicity refers to clusters of people who have common culture traits that they        distinguish from those of other people. People who share a common language, geographic locale or place of origin, religion, sense of history, traditions, values, beliefs, food habits, and so forth, are perceived, and view themselves as constituting, an ethnic group…(Smedley and Smedley, 2005: 17).

I agree with this definition of ethnicity, but these factors Smedley and Smedley state may or may not truly define one’s ethnicity. This is because one’s cultural practices, language, religious beliefs and traditions can evolve. “…Ethnic groups and ethnicity groups are not fixed, bounded entities; they are open, flexible and subject to change; they are usually self defined…” (Smedley and Smedley, 17). For example a common language can change in an ethnic groups because first, second and third generation children of (im)migrants may be forced to assimilate into English only schools, as I was. Even though the language Spanish was first spoken to me, I am more comfortable speaking in English because all of my schooling was in English. Since my English is stronger I also felt it was easier to respond to my peers that I am American.

Although, when I tell people I am Puerto Rican they may assume I speak Spanish more than English or worse that I speak Spanish incorrectly. In tenth grade I had peers who recognized I was Puerto Rican just by the way I spoke Spanish. They would belittle my Spanish and say how Puerto Ricans cannot speak Spanish correctly. I often thought to myself, “How could I be Hispanic if I couldn’t even speak Spanish correctly?” I grew up responding to my mom in English and spoke Spanglish often. By high school, I became ashamed of my Spanish and looked to “improve” it. I thought I had to speak Spanish correctly to truly be Hispanic, even though I had no immediate family from Spain. I purposely changed my accent, and remember my mother reminding me that I did not have to change my accent for anyone and to be proud of where we were from. Even if I only spoke English she told me I would always be Puerto Rican. She told me the music we listened to like Hector Lavoe, Tito Nieves, Jerry Rivera and the food we made like pasteles, arroz con gandules y pernil is part of being Puerto Rican too. She said, “You can cook these meals and dance like me, certainly you’re Puerto Rican.” She didn’t forget to tell me to be proud of being black either, she would say, “And Daddy’s culture, soul food and jazz what would we be without that?” I was proud to live in home with two different cultures combined, not a mainstream white American lifestyle, even though we were viewed as minorities.
As a young adult I further began to understand my ethnicity, as I made it part of my identity. With my ethnicity I “ …automatically fall into a minority category, and more specifically into the “Hispanic box,” [it has] provided me with a lot of issues to rethink and deal with as to my own identity. “Minority” is by all means an imposed and disempowering label” (Torres, 2004; 127). Being a minority can be frowned upon in American society, due to white supremacy, white privilege and the culture of whites being portrayed in the media as the most influential. When I went to predominantly white schools, I sat at the minority table during lunch. We accepted the label and all those of color sat at this table since we were definitely the minority in that setting. At the time I didn’t mind being labeled a minority because it was nice to be with peers who understood your everyday battle. Now, I believe the word minority is oppressive to people of color, especially since we continually contribute so much to the U.S. society. It is most notable to mention immigrant and slave labor has contributed to the USA being a world power. Also as I am learning in my Puerto Rican and Latino(PRLS) courses, Latinos have contributed to the present day U.S. more than society mentions. We should not be looked as a smaller group, we are a strong people and we are not a minority when looked at globally. Torres mentions in her home country Colombia, being Mestiza was being part the majority (2004; 127). This is true of all Latin American countries, my family in Puerto Rico are also of this mixed make up. This Hispanic(meaning of Spain) box becomes easy to check off for those who come from Latin American descent. Yet, most Latinos have never been to Spain, some of our ancestors are of Spain. Even though in the US Census, Latino is listed, most forms do not list it, as they should. I like calling myself a Latina because, “Latin@s can be black, white, Asian or other,” as I have learned in my PRLS 1001 class. I think this is important to also prove, how race based on skin tone does not make much sense.

These different experiences within encountering my ethnicity have shaped my identity profoundly. I know I am a U.S. born citizen, but I come from parents whose places of origins have deep roots in the African and Latino diasporas. I have become so proud of this as I have entered my college career and learned more about my culture’s histories. It has impacted me to become an activist, a bilingual educator, and this yearning to learn more about a history that was left out of my K-12 studies. I am working on becoming a balanced bilingual, so that I can help other L@tino students become emergent bilinguals. Being proud of my ethnicity has motivated me to want to teach in urban communities and eventually get my PhD in Urban Education. I consider myself not only Latina now, but Afro-Latina because of the deep legacy of African roots in my mother’s homeland and my father being black. Other’s may deny their blackness, but I am proud of my identity, my ethnicity. No matter the boxes society asks us to check off on paperwork, I know who I am, because I define who I am.

Works Cited

Smedley, Audrey, and Brian D. Smedley. “Race As Biology Is Fiction, Racism As A Social    Problem Is Real: Anthropological And Historical Perspectives On The Social Construction Of Race.” American Psychologist 60.1 (2005): 16-26. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.

Torres, Myriam N. “To The Margins And Back: The High Cost Of Being Latina In “America.” Journal Of Latinos & Education 3.2 (2004): 123-141. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Mar. 2015.