notes to self

write down flashes of dreams on crumbled receipts found in pockets, just to get it down because it might come in handy one day for that story or just because.

dreams are important

scribble the lines of poems that sound better in your head. write them down anyway because you have to at least try to aim as high as your subconscious, right?

swap sci-fi stories over bottles of craft beer in washington heights apartments owned by fly dominicanas because there’s nothing else worth doing.

eat three day old pizza with the television on mute while blogging in your pajamas because it’s wednesday and you’re doing just fine.

call your brother.

and leave a voicemail and then text him all of the hearts and pick the fuck up when he calls back.

know when to end a conversation because you need to take a nap and that nap will serve you better than pretending to listen in between yawns.

the person on the other end deserves better anyway.

count your pennies and put them in a fucking jar.

split up the dollar bills in your pocket. one for you. one for the mariachi band performing on the A train. one for you. one for the young black man reading poetry on the 2 train. one for you. one for the old woman begging on the corner and if you got a spare, give her that one too.

if your mom is still alive, kiss her on the cheek and make sure it makes a sound. cuz she’ll laugh and you need her laugh more than you think you do.

put milk and sugar in your coffee and add some cinnamon or put nothing in it and revel in the shimmer of its blackness. you’re a badass motherfucker, drinking your beautiful black coffee.

write down all of your fears, all the ones that keep you from doing the things you love. say them outloud, over and over again until none of them make sense, until you can cross them out and throw them away and know that when they rise up, you’ll be able to spit them out of your mouth and be ok.

put your phone away and sit in the dark.

water the plant that’s dying on your windowsill. sing to it and apologize for being a bad plant mother.

take a goddamn shower.

rub lotion on your ass and hips and breasts. ashy nipples are no fun. ashy nipples will hurt someone.

laugh at your own joke. laugh hard and wet yourself a little because you’re worth it.

keep her in bed with you for twenty more minutes. make sure to kiss along the curves of her skin and bones. turn off her alarm and ask for fifteen more minutes until you’ve watched the sun rise and set along her ribcage, until she’s fallen back to sleep in your arms as the clouds roll away from her forehead, until you’re sure that she knows how much you love her.

make sure her alarm is set for the right time tomorrow.

don’t ask anybody for a damn thing today.

put on a clean pair of socks. warm socks. socks that make your whole body feel safe and ready. you have this pair of socks somewhere. they’re the ones with the sharks on them.

do not respond to foolishness.

contents under pressure: release valve and breathe, baby, breathe.

i’m trying to be good to myself. i tend to stack freight cars of pressure onto my back in order to terrorize myself into being productive. it’s worked in the past, especially when i drank more and partied more because i could swallow all of that pressure and anxiety down my throat, chase it with a lime and a beer and call it a night.

now that i have better coping skills, skills that i’m working on every single day, skills that a village of beautiful queers and writers and a girlfriend and a mom and a therapist and all the people who love me have helped sharpen- i find that weighing myself down with the weight of the earth isn’t helpful. in fact, it produces massive anxiety attacks and sleepless wretched nights. all i can sputter out are ‘shoulds’ and ‘why haven’t i’ and ‘ i need to be’ and ‘i’m failing’ over and over again. and i can’t breathe and i’m swallowing mouthfuls of salt water and holy shit, will i survive this?

it’s just too much. it’s unnecessary. which is a word that i’m always spelling wrong, jesus take the wheel and drive us both off this cliff. or maybe just take the wheel and drive us to mcdonalds so i can get some french fries and a toy and we can watch the stars light up the parking lot. how’s that? sound good to you, Jesus? good, let’s talk about therapy and coping and writing.

i gave my therapist a list of things i wanted to get done in my two days off. she looked at it and said that I had enough things on that list to cover two weeks. feeling hyped and ready, i told her i was just excited to be off of work and had a lot i wanted to do. we sat in silence with the list between us. i thought about all the other times i’d created such tremendous, over-stuffed thanksgiving dinner type of lists and how i’d crumble a bit when most of it didn’t get done. like as if i just wasn’t hustling hard enough and never would and it would spiral into all the reasons i’m not enough.

so we sat with the list between us some more, in that good silence that you have with your favorite elder or a solid therapist, and the sun poured in through the massive windows in her office and some dudes wiped the windows clean and we watched the city move all around itself.

i don’t need to do all of these things in two days. i’m going to pick the things that are manageable, that will be fun for me, that will enable me to love myself and guide me into the next week, the next day, the next hour. i will do no more than that. i will above all else, above this list, i will be kind to myself.

she smiled and said that being kind to myself sounded like the best thing I could do with two days off.

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21296-you-alone-are-enough-you-have-nothing-to-prove-to-anybody

writing in this space is how I’m kind to myself. i’m practicing my craft – yup i said it, if i’m gonna call myself a writer then i have to fucking write- and I’m dissecting all the emotional shit going on in my life. i’m learning how to name my emotions without placing blame on other people.

and people reach out when i talk about this vulnerable shit. and i need that too. not the attention of it, but the palm to palm solidarity. it’s ok to just write about myself and the things going on around me that are like little m-80s popping off on the block causing me to jump and duck and cover. that here in this space i don’t have to be a political identity or a cultural representation of an entire group of other people who may share similar skin color and bedfellows. ya know?

and i don’t have to keep up with the news cycle of the internet because it’s exhausting. there are many other writers of color out there struggling with that very thing: how the fuck do we keep up? y’all want me to write for free or for an appreciated but small fee about all these things happening every five seconds and like i can’t even process my own shit that quickly let alone some huge national story and all i’m going to turn in are lines and lines of my immediate reaction which is probably mad shortsighted and fuck all this, i’m going to binge watch American Horror Story: Coven.

so many of us are exhausted by the constant stream of violence against people of color on our feeds anyway, imagine having to churn out substantial writings on all of those instances every day. i think if i wrote a blog about how many people of color the police have killed in the united states since last thanksgiving, i’d be so emotionally and spiritually drained that i wouldn’t know how to function. and maybe that’s not my purpose and that’s ok too because someone is out there writing that blog and they are committed to it and it’s their passion, their fight for justice and the revolution and they’re sharing it with us and i don’t have to be that person.

all i can be is my weird little self.

and do i really need to be the one that writes about Katy Perry’s appropriating boring ass? do i need to be the one writing about how some other white artist stole beyoncenickirihannaellafitzgeraldritamorenogloriaestefanselenas style? i’d rather not waste the energy. that’s my energy. i don’t knock other people writing about that shit because i love to read that shit and it’s important for us to dissect these images and reframe them with our ancestors at the center. i will reblog and share your posts til the break a break of dawn but i don’t need to pressure myself to be the one who writes about everything our thirsty ass society has deemed important. like taylor swift. like fuck that.

and again, no one is asking me to do that, to care about all of those things, i don’t think, but this is pressure that i put on myself. i think ‘shit, if i’m not writing about this very important thing that just happened then i’m letting my community down, i’m not being that brown voice in a sea of whiteness that sends out the brown bat signal to all the other brown queers that we are here and hey, hi, hello, it’s me and i’m reaching out and sharing these feelings with you, and oh my god, if i’m not that person then who will be and am i letting everyone down again? i need to write all the things.

should be that person. right?

and the flip side of that is ‘who the fuck do i think i am to even think my words are of any importance’? there’s that beast too…

some of the anxiety i’ve felt with keeping this blog updated is that i ‘should’ be writing about X, like I have to write about police brutality. i have to write about anti-blackness. i have to write about colorism in the latino community. i have to write about fat-shaming and i have to and i have to and i just can’t and i shouldn’t and one of the major things my therapist checks me on is my use of the word should.

fuck should.

fuck that pressure to explain everything all of the time because i’m brown and queer and poor and fat and and and and…

it’s totally ok to write about just being fucking sad because i am a human being.

it’s totally ok to write about how much i fucking love un-frosted strawberry pop-tarts.

it’s totally ok to write about the fact that i hate having sex dreams about men because i feel like my brain wasted an entire night’s worth of dreaming when i could have been happily finger banging nicki minaj instead.

it’s ok to write about how i think rosario dawson is one of the most underrated actresses of our generation and could we just cast her in everything that people put jennifer lawrence in? or could they just be in a movie together where they fight evil white dudes while driving fast cars and falling wrecklessly in love with each other?

you know?

it’s ok.

and the other night, I couldn’t sleep and so I was scrolling through tumblr like it was my job and came across the words of Ngọc Loan Tran and everything around me stopped. I was meant to read these words and here they are for you to inhale:

for queer brown writers

who sometimes feel that their words only mean something to them

who – out of self doubt and self consciousness – seek to copy and mirror because they are convinced they cannot create for themselves

who write about what others write about and what they have written is not read in the same way

who stop writing for months or years on end because it is scary to create and feel like no one is there to receive it

who write about deeply personal, intimate, private things and are asked then to make it “political” or about “the revolution” when writing to write for ourselves, for our peoples is revolutionary in and of itself

who write academically when our heart carries more to write about our feelings, identity, and experience

who are not marketable or consumable but when we are writing about self for self we are demanded to write for others

i see you. the power of your words are valid. you, more than anyone, know why you write. and always remember that it is our peoples who have carried themselves through letters through wartime, through movement, through migration. it is our peoples’ writing, it is our writing that has transcended and molded history, broken borders and pierce through time zones. your words are readable. your words are yours. you are enough.

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i reblogged their words. i reread their words. i fell in love with their words. i needed to read them, see them, and pull them deep into the chambers of my beautiful brown beating heart.

“writing for ourselves, for our peoples is revolutionary in and of itself”

holy shit. i’ve read that line multiple times and every time i’m struck by the enormity of it, by how simple and beautiful and powerful it is. and that it’s at once gentle permission to be free and a reminder that we’re connected in acts of self-care and self-love and those acts are what create community and build upon ancestry and lead to actions that benefit all of us.

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i will be kind to myself.

i will be kind to myself.

i am kind to myself.

i am kind to myself.

i write. i write. i write.

i share.

i read.

i am revolution.

for me. for us. por vida.

we are revolution.

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revival

aight. so i’m just gonna try and be as honest as possible. it’s hard right. like worrying about people knowing your business and judging you for it. people love judging other people. it’s like a thirst, this dryness in the back of someone’s soul that aches to be quenched, i think a lot of us get it sometimes but some people have it all the time. why do i even worry about that? cuz like most people are too busy worrying about themselves to worry about me or anyone else.

it’s probably just fear. fear to be honest.

but also there’s this weird mentality. to me it’s a hood thing, but it’s in other places too.

the whole like ‘don’t let people know what moves you’re making’, that ‘real g’s move in silence like lasagna’, that whole keep your business to yourself.

it’s real. it’s the difference between being about your shit and being full of shit. allegedly.

and i’m down with it to a degree. but also i want to dismantle it. for myself. with my own shit. cuz carrying things, even good things, like a basket of clean clothes or a big ass caldero full of rice, are heavy. we’re forced to carry shit all by ourselves all the time. it’s heavy. i am tired. we are tired. why do we always have to keep things to ourselves. fear? we’re afraid. also, the hood mentality is real cuz like if we talk, if you talk, if someone talks, bad shit happens. we could all go down with this smoking ship, this defunct subway car ablaze with all the things we did wrong with all the deals we couldn’t make because we couldn’t shut the fuck up long enough to realize them.

so be quiet. be a g. be real. don’t talk. don’t share. no new friends. don’t be a bitch.

i’m tired of that and also i think i’m moving forward from it, again for me. some people need that boundary. sometimes talking is the worst thing you can do. sometimes you have to bite back words until there’s blood all over your lips and it’s your blood so you can’t forget the taste.

but other times it’s too much.

i want to tell people things because i like it when other people share things. sharing. it’s good.

what the fuck am i talking about? ay. here. here, let’s do this. let’s share things.

there’s this badass latina director/writer/powerhouse named Linda and I’ve spoken about her before. and i look up to her from a distance and from up close and from an angle and from all the ways that are clouded and illuminated, i look up to her. Linda makes moves and then she shares them and she tells the world how it all got done. her words and experiences give me hope. like oh look at this badass latina doing things for the community and for herself, look at her talking about ideas, and projects and her failures. oh my god she failed in public and she’s still moving, oh my god, if i fail in public, i will still be able to move.

my other homegirl, vanessa, she writes and she writes and she cries and she shares all of her screams and triumphs with the world. with the huffington post, with her blog, with her friends because she texts and she tweets and she shares all of the secrets to finding ways out of misery and ways to dive into the beautiful fires of realizing ones dreams. and if vanessa can do it, then we can all do it and i can do it.

so please don’t move in silence. and i beg myself to please stop being so quiet and so afraid to talk.

there’s a huge difference between being a humble braggart and someone who is proud to live in their own skin and to grow new cells and write new poems and connect with other artists and to fall down and scrape knees in front of crowds of people and still get up to speak. there’s an honor and blessing involved in sharing those things.

we all need blessings. sometimes. or every day. i think i need them every day.

i think if people didn’t share things, i wouldn’t know what i was capable of or what beauty looks like. not knowing is the worst.

and there is a difference between sharing and lying because it doesn’t help anyone if i were to make up stories and dress them in up truth and paint their faces with lies that i used to know were lies but i’ve told them so often that now they’re fucked up truths. none of that ever helps. and i think i can tell, can you tell. doesn’t it feel different when someone is lying about their life?

it’s like you can knock on the words and feel that they’re hollow cuz it rings inside of your ribcage and it stings.

but when people share their truths, ay. the sun rises. and all the oranges and pinks flood over everything and it’s rebirth.

kind of, right? or something? and maybe sometimes it hurts like an earthquake and everything gets ripped apart and this is me talking about me because sometimes i see other people shining and i want to wretch out all of my failures onto the earth and pray for tsunami. cuz i don’t measure up. so i am silent. and i am miserable and i’m a literal hater choking on my hate.

and it’s harmful. but lately, i’ve begun to recognize what choking on hate feels like and i’ve started to forgive myself for it and understand that jealousy is as natural as brown skin and gay girl kisses and so it’s totally cool as long as i swallow and take a deep breath and find the space inside of me that is all human and no bullshit. when i find that place, i sit in the jealousy and let it turn bright green and sparkly and then i release it into the air and wave. and then i’m proud of the person who i was just jealous of and i admire their work and i honor their dedication and it’s all ok.

and i want to be that person who shares things and isn’t afraid. i want to be the person that lets out a little light and helps other people grow just by sharing cuz that is real and its possible and i believe in it.

my therapist told me that reviving this blog would be good for me. i believe her and i love her cuz i think my grandma sent her to me cuz i didn’t have any old ladies in my life to keep me in check and impart that good wisdom anymore and if my grandma was alive, i think she’d want me to keep writing here too cuz it keeps me connected to myself and to everyone else.

and i don’t want to be afraid of sharing, i want to be proud of myself in private and in public. all the time. and i want other people in my life to tell me when they’ve climbed the top of the eiffel tower to eat marshmallows with the birds and i want them to tell me when they’ve written the greatest poem ever and the new york times is going to publish them and i want the beautiful weirdos to tell me when their hearts have been crushed and they used the pieces to make a sculpture of frida kahlo and anything is possible if we move past silence and into song.

and so if i was going to share things, which is the plan but sometimes i gotta state the plan first, if the plan is to share then here’s a share: i’m working a minimum wage job at a cool place and i wrote a book and it’s going to get published and who knows when because nothing is ever solid and i’m living in limbo until something is concrete, until a date has been set, until i move out of new york, until i can be on tour with this little book of mine and send love letters to the girl who has my little brown heart tucked away in her breast pocket from other states while i move around with my words and if that could be more than just a dream, i’d be ok and i’d be more than ok, i’d be living that life. and limbo is ok but it’s not the world and if i had to share more truths, i’d say i’m moving out of the bronx but even that’s in limbo and if i had to be even more honest, i’d say that i’m in the middle of a monumental shift and all i can feel are grains of rice under my feet and metro card swipes between my fingers and that’s better than being depressed and bed ridden and if this is what truth looks like then boy i’m a looker, ain’t i?

i have to believe in sharing. i have to believe this. i do believe. i do believe. i do believe.

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