Toxic Work Environments

I have had the unfortunate experience of working in toxic work environments. InHerSight had a fantastic blog on the subject where they define a toxic work environment, which they called a toxic workplace, as “one that negatively affects your well-being, causing you stress, anxiety, worry.” The blog also gives some amazing statistics and points on how to identify if your workplace is toxic, so I definitely recommend it if you would like to read more on the subject.

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Finding The Will to Write

I have been avoiding this blog worse than my journals, and that needs to stop. But it is kind of complicated. I don’t know if you’ve heard, we’re kind of dealing with a global pandemic. I am still unfortunately trapped in the United States which is probably the worst place to be regardless of who you are, but especially if you are Black, Latinx, queer, and a woman. The depression and anxiety is real.

However, I have words dancing around in my head. They shout and whisper and buzz at all hours of the day. I have ignored them for months. I can’t anymore.

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Making Farming Moves

I am inherently impulsive. When I want something, I throw myself into it wholeheartedly and sometimes without proper preparation. Not this time, folks!

Some months ago, I voiced my desire to start a farm. I made outlines, plans, strategies, and more. Interviewed folks, spoke with people who made big transitions in their lives, bugged the farmers in my family and more. And then realized that all this was still not enough preparation. I know how to garden, how to raise enough food to feed a small family on a very small plot of land in the right seasons according to charts found on Google. These skills are good, I’m not going to knock them, and I’ve honed them well. I’m proud to say I am confident that I could be successful in the urban gardening community. But, that’s not farming on the scale of my dreams.

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So I’m Taking A Writing Course

Improvement is everything! So I decided to hop on over to EdX.org and signed up for Academic and Business Writing which is being offered by the awesome folks over at BerkleyX. Hey mom, look, I’m a Berkley student!

Our first assignment for the course was a journal entry, which I first wrote in my journal, then rewrote on their forum because I don’t know how to edit without just rewriting an entire work. Here’s the forum version:

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So 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.

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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.