[NOTE: This blog post was originally written on 10/01/2018]
Welcome to the first installment of La Letra! My pen hovered over paper for a long time as I deliberated on what should be my first topic out the gate. There are too many to discuss… What is the best way to start a (hopefully) continuous and interesting conversation between you and I?! Too much pressure... So I will give you a Cliff Notes range to peruse.
This time last year, mi gente en Puerto Rico were beginning their recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. One year today was the first time I’d heard my father’s voice in months. I cried like a baby I was so relieved. I’d heard they were ok thru the family grapevine but it didn’t really sink in until I heard that deeply accented timbre rumble in my ear. My mother had gone into the hospital for heart-related surgery before the storm hit and the last contact I'd had with her was text messages when the storm hit, then nothing. Didn’t know if she’d had the surgery (Thank God the hospital had generators) or if my papi was safe at home with their puppies… Did mami ever make it home or was she still hospitalized? Did the house sustain any damage? Were the rest of our loved ones there safe? Too many questions going out to a silent island stranded in the darkness. But I heard papi’s voice and I could finally breathe.
It’s hurricane season again and the predictions for every storm are met with ever-increasing trepidation. I pray they pass my beautiful island by. We’re still recovering; some struggling more than others. The thousands dead struggle no more. “¡Dios lo bendiga y bendiciones!”, as my abuelita used to say. “God bless them and blessings [upon them]”.
For anyone who is not a wealthy, powerful, cis white male; we live in scary times. We’ve lost our humanity and history is being thrust back to repeat itself at the cost of our precious lives. We are a nation at civil war, though there is absolutely nothing civil about it. This is not a world for our children. But I and those like me will teach the next generation how to survive and not lose those things that make us truly human.
Mental illness has become so prevalent that schools in NY will be implementing curriculum addressing it. About damn time if you ask me. I’m very open about my struggle with anxiety and depression, as well as navigating the raising of children on the autistic spectrum. I’m currently working my way back from a 2 to 3 week depressive bender. Writing this and sharing with you helps. Hopefully my experiences will help someone or, at least, let them know; you’re not alone and we’re on this crazy journey together. (I’ve got the ice cream, blanket nests and everything! Lol!)
Part of what keeps me sane is creating. Whether writing, drawing/painting, crafting, cooking… whatever gets my wheels turning in better directions… productive and positive ones! So I downloaded the Tasty app and binge-watched food videos and spent the past weekend starving and craving food I don’t have in my house. But I made my first totally from scratch pizza dough and, FYI, kneading dough for 5 to 7 minutes… exhausting! Great arm workout though! (Pizza wasn’t half bad either!) Attempted falafel but it was a tasty disaster. Will try again though. (BTW, I’m actually a very good cook. I love to experiment! And yes, some fail lol…c’est la vie!)
Music is often playing when I cook, shower, do laundry, run errands… whenever. For vibing out, I’ve been playing the “Indian Chill” playlist on Spotify. (Hopefully you got Premium to get rid of those pesky commercials. Full disclosure: I have not. #brokeandcheap) My permanently saved chill mix is their “Mellow Beats” playlist. It speaks to my poet’s soul.
To get moving and grooving I’ll put on “Bollywood Party”, “Baila Reggaeton” or “Latin Party Anthems”. When my muse calls me to paper, if it’s not “Mellow Beats”, it’s “Neo-Soul Essentials” or “Gold School”. And for kicks I’ll hit the K-Pop with BTS (OMG them boys are fine!) For Hispanic Heritage Month I hit up “Represent: Puerto Rico”, which has a blend of new and old joints, from reggaeton to salsa. ¡Azúcar!
I love animation, particularly anime. I binge watch Crunchyroll like peeps binge Netflix! (I binge that, too… let’s be real! Lol) Currently being watched on Crunchyroll: “Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food from Another World” and “Kakuriyo - Bed & Breakfast for Spirits”. Finished on Netflix: “B: The Beginning”, “Godzilla - City on the Edge of Battle” (part 1 was “Godzilla - Planet of the Monsters”; part 3 to be announced), and the live-action movie of “Bleach”. (Totally off topic; I’ve watched every episode of Forensic Files on Netflix. All. Nine. Collections. Summary: A lot of spouses getting killed for life insurance money. Moral: Don’t get life insurance. Just saying. Less temptation is all I’m trying to say.)
Anyhooo… I guess that’s enough to get things started. Hope I gave you something to think about (or, at least, a good chuckle!) We’ll chat again soon!
Cójelo con takerisi, que tienes buen dia y hasta la pasta, baby!
PS Ask your local Hispanic to translate... Weeeeeeeepaaaaaa!!!! :D