I Want To Start a Farm

I am a self-proclaimed hermit, recluse, and extreme introvert. One dream that always brings me the best kind of joy is winning the lottery, buying a ton of land and a small cabin in any mountain range, and living my best off the grid life for as long as the wilderness will have me. I still have high hopes for that dream, but now it includes a farm and less hermit-like tendencies.

For those who know me, this is a pretty common introduction: I come from a huge family. My mother is one of 14 kids who all average about 2-3 kids among them and my father is one of 3 boys who at minimum have 4 kids each, and this of course doesn’t count Latinx culture on both sides of the family where second and third cousins are just as important and prominent in my life. That’s a lot of grown-ups, a lot of kids, and generational differences galore. It may partially explain my introversion! Part of a big family group means you learn to be part of the social processes and my favorite part whether anyone believes me or not is providing the food. My mother instilled a deep love of service, especially through food. I loved helping my mom organize who was bringing what dish to the family reunions before she passed the mantle on to some of my elder cousins; hosting and taking care of folks when they come to my mom’s for lunches or dinners that she plans; and helping her set up her vegetable gardens in the backyard when she had to switch to a vegetarian diet for her health. Food, to me, is a big part of family life, community life, not just because it is a basic need, but also how it brings people together for delightfully short periods of time before everyone goes back to their lives until the next get together.

Being outdoors is another passion of mine, and one I am probably most known for besides my slight obsession with reading. Climbing trees, going to parks, going on hiking expeditions from a young age grew to solo hikes, organizing camping trips in college with friends, and using the outdoors as a way to bond with my social groups. There is nothing, in my opinion, more healing than nature. It is my church, my temple, my ultimate religious experience. I can wax spiritual poetic on the natural world all day, every day.

Visiting farms in the Maryland area where I live, as well as family farms in the Dominican Republic when I visit with my mother, gives me a sense of peace I only ever feel when I’m outdoors. Who wouldn’t want to feel that way all the time? So the thought hit me in the simplest, and still most complicated way: I want to start a farm. More importantly, I don’t want to wait for the lottery or retirement or any ridiculous milestone most people wait for to make huge changes in their lives. I’m taking the next year to save up and build my credit, finding a good few acres of land near a river if possible, and ordering a ready-made home. I outlined how I’m going to start growing my farm thanks to interviews with farmers in and out of family that I met with over the last six months. This blog will probably feature more outdoor living/farm life information as I do more research and get closer to that specific goal. I’ll be curious to the changes in my writing and poetry while I go on this journey, and the folks I’ll continue to meet on the way. I hope you lovely readers will join me for the ride!

Oh, did I mention this farm will be in Puerto Rico? More to come! Ta ta for now!

One Day At A Time Made Me Feel Seen

Last August, I wrote a post called Where Am I? An Ongoing Conversation on Representation to try and deconstruct the importance of the #RepresentationMatters and why I will never stop pushing for the impossible dream of seeing someone just like me on television or in film. I highlighted how frustrating it was to have to seemingly break myself into different identities just to feel like I can properly relate to anyone on a screen. One of the characters I listed was Elena Alvarez from the critically acclaimed show One Day At A Time. The show streaming giant, Netflix, decided to cancel 2 days ago because there weren’t enough people watching the show. I would call bullshit, but I am just too exhausted to do anything but feel sad and irrelevant.

It wasn’t just the lesbian Latinx teen who was everything I wish I could have been at that age. It wasn’t just the adorable queer couple who was just trying to figure themselves out, giving me hope for the multitude of queer kids out there who need Elena and Syd (Elena’s Syd-nificant Other) way more than I do. It was also the loud, proud Latinx family with the immigrant matriarch trying to live their version of the American dream. It was also the struggling mom with depression/anxiety and PSTD; a conversation that is so hard to have in any family, but for my personal experience, especially in the Latinx community. It was the little brother trying to find his place in the world with a big sister placing huge, almost impossible, expectations on his shoulders (Adiel, I love you and you know I’m still trying). The Alvarezes were a representation of the stories in my family. They were me. Where am I now?

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The Face of My Depression

Fair warning, this is not a pretty piece of prose. My head is a hot mess right now, and it’s a miracle that I was able to put this together. I am posting it as is because the psych major in me has always been fascinated by my own mental health issues and for once in my life, I am somewhat able to document it. More on that later. Why am I making it public? Because maybe someone out there would be interested in conversation, or maybe they’re thinking the same thing and they want to know if anyone else knows what it’s like. This is my fleeting moment of “sobriety”. I’m clearheaded enough to know that talking about this is important. Lucid enough to understand and feel some kind of empathy with others who might be going through what I go through.

I’m not posting this because I want anyone to feel bad for me. On the contrary, I don’t really think I’m worth the effort at the moment so anyone trying to say otherwise is probably wasting their time and I’ll just look at you funny. That’s just where I am at. Cry someone else a river, they deserve it more.

Also, trigger warning, I do talk about suicide. I do it in a pretty blasé manner. If that disturbs you, please go read something else.

Now on to the shit show…

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I Am My Mother’s Daughter

I am my mother’s daughter, she hates it.
Hates the strength and independence she bled into my veins,
hates the haughty glare in my eyes when I talk back,
hates my careless disregard for tradition.
She hates my loud, boisterous laugh,
hates how I roll my eyes and scoff at society,
hates that I don’t give respect unless earned.
Mostly, she hates the depth of her pride in me.

Forget Me, Not

forget me, not because I am forgettable,
but because the memory of me is too painful.
forget me, not because you can easily move on,
but because I haunt you.
forget my smile, my laugh, the taste of my lips.
erase from your mind my touch, my love.
forget me because to remember me is worse than death.

A Letter to The Ones Who Came Before

Dear ancestors,

I do not know your names. Your history is lost to me. An entire generation of forced silence beget a generation of grieving ignorance that beget generations of familial orphans. We are lost to each other. You will never know my smile, I will never know your laugh. Did you enjoy mangos as I do? Were any of you allergic to seafood or is that something I just developed?

Perhaps I exaggerate. My frustrations are exacerbated by the unknown. I see in my mother’s face an aunt, an uncle, a grandfather that I will never know. I feel in her love a strength and resilience passed from mother to daughter since before the time of slaves or conquistadors. My father’s chuckle, or the chainsaw snoring are ingrained lullabies from ancient times. The love of food and cooking and family gatherings near the kitchen are buried in DNA blessed by God or evolved after millennia.

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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: To Go Forward, We Must Go Back

It has been 3 months since the debut of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, and fans worldwide are continuously stuck in the debate of whether or not the newest addition to the video game franchise is true to the story that began in 2006. As a fan myself, I’m on the side of evolution which Ubisoft has taken in full force to recreate the series into a fulfledged role-playing game (RPG).

One of the first upsets to many fans with the announcement of Odyssey was the timeline, going back to 431 B.C.E. which is about 400 years before the creation of the Brotherhood of Assassins, as we found out in Assassin’s Creed: Origins. How can a storyline that takes place before the Creed still be considered an Assassin’s Creed story? The simplest argument, which myself and Sokrates would argue (we’re best friends now, so I can name drop him), is that the story is not about the historical figures we play for the majority of the game. We are the modern day Assassins playing a simulation to use history for a fight during the 21st century between the Brotherhood and the Order of the Templars. We are not the misthios, or mercenary, wielding a broken spear during the Peloponnesian War. We are, in Origins and Odyssey, Layla Hassan trying to figure out how to use the Pieces of Eden created by the Precursors, the advanced civilization the Assassins discovered who were supposedly responsible for creating and enslaving the human race. Before that, we are initiates into the Brotherhood as well as Desmond, and other members of the Assassins who use the simulations to try and gain information on the war against the Templars. Because at least for now, we cannot change the timeline (although I have plenty of theories on how Layla will be able to do so after Odyssey in future games).

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What I Want in 2019

Change.

I want change. I need change. I am going to get it one way or another.

2017-2018 were hard years for me professionally. I was working with an association that had recently changed leadership. With the new CEO came culture changes that were hard to handle and deeply saddening. Harassment, racism, ageism, and a strong distrust of the staff are just the highlights of an organization that needed a fresh start, but instead was given nothing but rot. Content providers were terminated, or forced into quitting simply from the abuse of new bosses that had no managerial training. Not everyone suffered. Some people thrived with the changes, although I don’t think that is something they should be proud of considering what that shows about their character. About 20 people, myself included, have either resigned or were fired in a staff that was almost 30 strong when I first began working with the association in 2016.

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Where Am I? An Ongoing Conversation on Representation

There is nothing more impossible, even now in 2018, than asking to see myself on the television screen. As an asexual woman loving Afro-Caribbean Latinx woman, the chances of me seeing myself for a accumulation of those pieces in one person alone on a television series or in film is like asking for the sun, moon, and stars as well as a billion dollars. It’s totally possible! The probability of it is definitely there, but I shouldn’t hold my breath either. So I break those pieces down, and find comfort in characters that sort of resemble who I am. I look for Afro-Latinx, Black, or brown characters, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. I look for queer folks, regardless of racial/ethnic identity or gender identity. I find empowerment with any characters who could be genderqueer or androgynous because I can identify with them as well as female identified people. I cast a broad net and find a bit of myself with everyone because it’s the only way I’ll be able to see something of myself on screen. It’s been that way my whole life.

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