I just Facetimed Tristan, I already feel that I might be missing him if I leave. People started panicking, I saw them rushing in and out the supermarkets when Tristan was taking me back home. We were having lunch when I received a text from Allison telling me about the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in LA.
My family texted me from Phoenix, they told me to go back, but I just made groceries for the week and I just can’t throw it all away. Also, in two days, Tristan and I are going to be eleven months since we’ve been going out. My teachers are already talking about online classes… bullshit. Allison is leaving tomorrow, I might be sending some stuff to my parents with her.
They haven’t suspended anything at the café. The good thing is that I have some savings, well, some of it is for Tristan’s present. I might invite him to stay a few days to keep me company, I hope his parents don’t mind. I already have everything planned: once he takes me out to eat, I’ll have a few things ready at home. I bought some cute lingerie, wine and some perfumes, that damn virus ain’t ruining my plans.
I would write a poem, but the dust in my keyboard just told me to look at the blank page. “Give the soil the water it deserves”, said letter B. These sand flakes arrive unexpected, similar as when I met you during those hot August days. Now I’m here, about to write how much I wish to kiss you, not inside our secret rooms, but outside where people push, kill, cry and laugh. Last night, I wandered in a warm what if and I smiled. I imagined my snaked fingers, drawing on the tip of your sea stones: so bright, hard and yet, so small. I praised death, and blew the candles of the Bible pages to die between the grace of your lips, to be crushed by them. I begged for a rock to land on my head and make me eat the dust of the Q W E R T Y…
Then the question comes back, what if I kissed you? There, where the Gods kneel upon destiny. It wouldn’t be a safe place, but you whispered enough protection. “We’ve battled greater wars”, said your eyes to mine. My Hydriaic tongue was cut again and again. No amount of words were enough. Being crushed by your lips is now a blessing. During cold nights I remember your warmth, typing to remove the sand out of these letters. I want you, but the statues you created will not move. A desert of your perpetual gaze, I run and find an arm of stone. I desire the day in which I find your lips over the dust. Maybe a flower will grow, or a tear might fall from the heavens… maybe you’ll stay forever, if I kiss you.
I was browsing Instagram when a notification popped up, I read it and thought “Another mass shooting?”. I immediately noticed my lack of empathy and now that I’m writing this post I question myself, Am I getting accustomed to reading about these hate crimes? I really wanted to dive a little on what I feel about this, me: a mexican literature college student who is supported economically by teaching English; language that I learned while living in the US.
What does the US mean to me?
First of all, living in the United States, gave me a lot of beautiful memories during my childhood that I cherish. Not to mention that it helped me get a good part time job while studying.
I lived in Farmington, New Mexico, a long with my sister and mom. I loved it there, the parks, my school, the libraries, everything seemed perfect. The only thing that I didn’t like that much was living in a trailer house. But basically, that was the preocupation of the seven year old me, most of it, related to location and space (ironic, now that I think of it). I returned to Mexico when I was in Fourth grade. But “returning” wouldn’t be the correct verb, they actually took our visas away when we tried to cross the border in El Paso. I remember thinking “Oh no! does that mean I’m not going to return my math book to class?”. It took a coulpe of years for me to understand that a visa is only a permit that allows you to stay for a certain period of time in the US, which makes a formal residency an illegal act. That was our fault. My mom still regrets that trip when we visited the family of my stepfather in Ciudad Juárez. Once we were in Mexico, the first few months seemed like we had the chance to go back to the US, but then my mom got a divorce, after that, the five years penalty they gave to my sister and me passed, then my mom’s seven years penalty also passed, and to this day I’m writing in the kitchen of my house in the border city, Agua Prieta, after fourteen years of that incident.
But I still think those years in the US were crucial and I can’t help but to feel appreciation and love for that country just as I learned to love my own.
Would they bully me because I’m Mexican?
There is a moment when the world seems like a huge playground, then you learn about a bunch of issues that surround mankind: religion, politics, sexual identity, economy, and so on. Sooner or later, you get to know that people are willing not only to offend and make you feel worthless based on where you are from, but they also kill for that reason.
I sometimes think of what would’ve happened if I stayed, I imagine an older version of myself that grew up in the US. Would I be picked on for being Mexican? Would I deny or be ashamed of my Mexican origin? Would I use ethnicity as a form of verbal abuse? Would I bully or be bullied? Would I tolerate hate speech? What would of been my political views? I might never know, so I prefer thinking that I would be able to stand up for my culture and defend it, without diminishing others. Just being proud of where I came from.
For now, I can only deal with the fact that these horrible actions also damages society. I am scared of flash news, trends that blow up and vaporize in the shadow of another criminal act. How can I help from where I stand? How can art, literature and humanistic projects heal the wounds that affect us, not just as mexicans, but as humans.
How are we any different?
After reading the news and commenting about it, I notice that we need to talk about our lack of sensitivity and avoid adding it up to a murder counter without considering that we are talking about human lives. We have to acknowledge the victims: children that play in parks, teenagers and adults, people who are part of families who also get major injuries when a loved one is taken away.
Just as I was writing this post, we received guests, which made me put pause to my writing. As we spoke, my mom, who happened to arrive two days ago, was talking about central americans that were in the bus with her during the trip (a two day trip). During the conversation, my mom, aunt and uncle, said stuff like “Those people are lazy and ungrateful”, “By hiring them, mexicans are going to lose their jobs”, “If they delayed the bus, they should have left them out there to walk, either way they ‘re alread used to it”, “They are very dirty people who do not clean over their stuff”, “They are a bunch of stealers”. I almost felt like I was listening to Donald Trump speech, in my own house! I interfered and told them to listen to themselves, and made them think that a lot of american families might be having the same conversation, refering to mexicans. They run away because their countries are in conflict, surely this is a topic with major complexities, but we can’t judge the people of a whole country based on one or two of their citizens.
El Paso and facing the problem
Entering the comment section of a post related to gun regulation is overwhelming. One would think that a lot of people would be against current gun laws just by looking at the news such as the ones reported this weekend, but no, there are a lot of people who are OK with the actual policies. Then there’s the person who puts New Zeland as an honorable example, a country that banned semi automatic weapons after a mass shooting and executed a plan to avoid having another incident like it. I also remember a comment I once heard in a podcast (I’ll paraphrase): “The prototypical “american”, was known in movies as a white cowboy with a huge gun always by his side”. Compared to the bohemian mexican mariachi who had his guitar. This is very generalized way to depict a culture, but it does play an important role when you comment about it. Although, when a problem reaches a cultural level, it messes with their foundations. So how can a society change ideologies that seem to be tatooed on it? My guess: By questioning. We need to question ourselves more. I say this because I sometimes find myself following traditions that do no good to my environment and society. It is a slow process, and I hope gun regulation does solve the issue, but I doubt that the whole resolutions is there. Society needs healing, and we should start that process now by talking about the issue and how we are processing it as individuals that are part of a bigger society.
PD: I wrote this in English as a way to have a dialogue with my own beliefs, where acts like the one in El Paso, resonate in me. Thanks for reading.
I was with a friend watching this gay show during the pride march in my city. There was this dude singing with a stripper on each side. My friend told me that she had worked with those strippers in the same type of play/show (which is a monologue with semi naked dudes). She mentioned that they danced in a local gay club. They seemed like they were having a nice time, people were looking at them, and they were just there doing their thing: dancing, entering and exiting when they were ordered to. For a moment, I wanted to be a stripper, but I didn’t really know why. Do I want to be praised like them? Is that some kind of self validation? Do I feel like my youth is no being exploited enough? Do I want to enjoy dancing and make money out of that? Maybe my curiosity was a strange mix of all those questions.
Youth equals beauty?
I may not have the answer to that questions but I can drift away in it. As a 25 year old bisexual male, I feel like I’m in a hot spot. I sometimes ask myself, is this really what I’m doing with my life? Where’s the action? Where’s that heart pumping emotion? Where’s that roller coaster ride that movies sold me and that I naively bought? For god sake, where’s that living knowledge?! I’ve found some delicious stuff in books, wonderful stories, horror, drama, romance… After all that, I want my own story. How much can I write before I get stuck in an office?
Honestly, even though a life like that excites me, it also scares me. I can’t avoid thinking about the speech Elio’s father had on that Call me by your name movie:
We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster that we go bankrupt by the age of 30 and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to make yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything—what a waste!
I truly admire those close friends who react in a childish way to new experiences, new relationship stuff that spark joy in them. I’ve made love a mathematical dynamic of probabilities. Any life decision that involves a brave jump, is a coin in the air. Heads: an awesome life experience; tails: a rip out process and regret. I’ve had nice and beautiful experiences, but I feel that recently, everything has been “meh”. Is life supposed to be “meh”? Am I not looking to the important stuff? Is my desire for excitement making me not see that maybe it’s right in front of me? Or is it that excitement could be in the quietest life style also?
Maybe I want stories to tell for when my body is old and “nobody wants to come near it”. I guess that I’m relating youth, with a possibility of pain and sorrow, not in a bad way, but more like in a “I’m alive… this feels nice” way.
How you live your life is your business. Just remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once, and before you know it, your heart’s worn out. And as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now, there’s sorrow, pain; don’t kill it, and with it, the joy you’ve felt.
Youth equals beauty because of those first times. The emotion, the physical reaction, the tingling, that weird feeling when you want to cry for someone and realizing that human side, so strong yet so delicate. Being young is beautiful, seeing my teen students brings me joy, feeling not so far away from when I asked myself the same questions that they’re to afraid to ask. Now, a few years later, I have some answers and looking for new questions… The main question: what if?
Look at me
Rihanna found love in a hopeless place. I think hopelessness is OK, it makes me feel that I don’t need to worry. That maybe if I keep going, I’ll eventually find a nice situation that I can cope with. But the coin is still in the air, I’m on the stage and hopefully somebody is watching and walking towards me.
After the loudness and kisses are over, a cup of tea and a good book will do us good. I hope that person will accept these naked feelings and this raw body. And I also hope that I won’t give up on tossing coins in the air.
PD: My friend said that one of the strippers is married and has a child. I think that living that lifestyle in that particular scenario might be different, right? I don’t know.
PD II: Escribí este post para extraer el pie de página para un vídeo que postearé en IG. Espero hacer las notas de la marcha del orgullo que fue el día de hoy.
Blame society for being a herd, for unconsciously imposing ways of living that we barely understood.
Blame it, them or us, for giving that gaze and those words of disgust.
Blame my mother and father for not raising their voice, making me believe that I had no choice.
Blame me for accepting that “truth”, for walking strange footsteps, giving up my dreams and youth.
Let us all accept that we can be blamed and reflect on those prejudgments that catch a hoping fire and fade in the flames
Maybe then we might learn, that hatred and words leave scars. In a whisper we cry upon shooting stars.
So I stand for those generations to come, hoping one day we respect one another, looking upon how much we’ve accomplished and done.
I wrote this because I want to make a statement of how some basic elements such as clothes, can divide people. This week I wore a skirt, I treated it the same way I would treat any other piece of clothes. It belongs to my mother, she personally gave it to me. Her first reaction when I asked her to give me a skirt to wear was “No! you’re crazy, why would you wear it?”. Once I told her that I can ride my bike through Hermosillo (city of a northern Mexican state) in the middle of the night and that I would feel normal, not having to worry about being raped, even though it is also possible, she understood where my actions were going to and she even gave me another one. I told her that I wanted to use it and will be using it constantly to try to bring personal awareness of how women have to struggle through harassment. I’ll be posting about how it felt, but in general I believe that this can be taken all the way to areas like sexual orientation and nationalism, because we grow up believing in a certain type of speech “YOU ARE A MAN, AND MEN DO THIS” “YOU ARE MEXICAN AND WE BELIEVE IN THIS”. It’s time to doubt and question ourselves about what they made us believe as true and start searching for equality and respect for others.