Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Born Day Reflections at 31

Not much to reflect on really. Least nothing new since what I've already written on in terms of my experience getting older and maturing. Growing up, my parents never made a big deal out of my birthday. Every other other year they would do something for me, but it was just too awkward and forced. I'd rather just spend the day on my my own than having to sit through forced conversation. No, much to reflect on really. Things in my life are in a place in which I can't complain. I have a routine, I get funky once in a while, and I ride my bike when I can. I'm thinking that my 30s are going to be some of the best years I'll have because I'm, more or less, in control of where I am going and I have the freedom of choice to do whatever the hell I want. That wasn't always the case. I'm expecting some awkward moments from others who don't get my passiveness for born days, but that's about it. I had a party with my new house mate and I had lots of fun drinking, dancing, and hanging out with friends. I didn't even mind cleaning up the mess the next day either. This dog gif pretty much sums up how I feel about my born day.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Grumpy Young Man

My born day is this month, I'll be 31. I like getting older and that it seems to me that's pretty much all I've been writing about and according to the public court of opinion that is social media, I've also turned into a grumpy old man. If I am indeed of the grumpy disposition, it wasn't over night, I can assure you of that. But it was hilarious to see the reactions I got after posting an instagram video of my neighbors having a tamborazo. The general consensus was that I am a grumpy old prude for hating on my neighbors having a tamborazo. Had I been invited, then of course that video would have had a much more pleasant caption to go with it, but I wasn't and all I wanted to do that Friday night was chill out home after a long week at la chamba. However, if there's one thing I've learned about livin' in the hood, it's that compromise is the name of the game. Hell, not even that. Sometimes you just end up living next door to a bunch of ass holes who don't know how to socialize and think they fucking own the block.

I was born in a barrio in Mexico City and I grew up in them here in the US, this is nothing new to me. I've learned to live with stuff like neighbors blasting music hella early or hella late. Neighbors who have pets and don't care for them, so they become a public when they get lose. Neighbors who'd call the cops on you because they're fucking haters like that. I grew up with it and I understand that's part of the deal, but I'm at the point now where I'm like, no. Ya, ya, yaaaa 'stuvo guey. Ya parale que no? Again, if I was invited over or I was the one having the loud as party, different story. I'd be drinking and dancing it up, but I wasn't.

That incident with the video got me thinking that for the last year or so, I've just been drinking haterade as if it was on special at Food 4 less. Hanging out with a friend from outta town and her friend who I met for the first time that night, I got to talking about why I'm a grouch when it comes to going out. Mind you that a few years ago, I was way more proactive about going and having fun with folks. I use to go to art show openings, shows, concerts etc. It was fun and I was sharing it with friends. Now adays I think about going anywhere and I just list all the reasons why I should not go out and stay my lazy ass home and cuddle up with some Netflix.

I hate crowds. I hate being in public spaces. I pretty much hate people in general. People mind you, not individuals, cause then other wise I wouldn't have any friends at all. Me pesan los huevos to make an effort like that and it's not because I'm grumpy, but I am over it. Events and outings can be predicted with a certain level of certainty, at least enough for me to be like nah. I'm gonna stay home and watch Bloodsport for the 1,000th time. Being in that mind set just became normalcy and I got stuck, rather I still am, stuck in a rut. I know going out will be fun and relaxing, but it just turns into routine. There's nothing new about it that makes me want to put in that extra effort.

Part of that is also cause I've been single. The few dates I've been on have never gone past that initial meet up for beer or coffee. If I were to be with someone, then doing all those old boring things would be fun and new because I get to experience them through someone who hasn't. It's like when a friend from outta town visits for the first time, you take them to all the spots you never go to even though you live in the same city. That's the kind of rut I'm in. Except for a few things here and there and going to the movies, I've been sedimentary as I get older.

Add to that, the realization, much like Homer did that one episode where he realizes to stopped a rockin' and get left behind by the times, that I am getting older in my taste in music, movies, anime, books and general entertainment choices. I went to the Anime Expo and I couldn't recognize the majority of characters people dressed as or what the current popular shows were. I didn't care about anything going on there except buying some art from this one artist who was in town and taking a pic or two with some cosplayers that I recognize. Honestly, it's just a trip to be able to see this happening to me like a thread from a sweater unraveling.

But just as that thread unravels, it can be rolled up and used again to make another sweater. One that won't unravel so easily. As someone who replied to my twitter rant about this very existential moment put, it is a universal experience that everyone goes through, but the best thing about it, is that we can still make it our own. Boom. With that simple reply to my non-sense, my self identity forming part of my brain kicked back in and reassured me that we've always been like this. For too long all of my interest were branded as the other, ignored, ridiculed is now all of a sudden a common one. Yeah things are changing, but if there's one thing I learned from being a dork all my life, it is that it isn't about what other works other people created you use to self identify with, but about having that inner strength to never be the norm and just do you.

Fuck everyone else and where they at. Ain't no time to be wasting on those that are just gonna nay say you and harsh on your buzz. Just do you. Even if that happens to be a 30 year old, pokemon watching, video game playing, comic book reading something that hates loud parties, stays in all the time to watch movies or read. He'll out grown it in a few years again.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Guest on the Nerd Out

It should come to no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love being a nerd, geek, dork, otaku etc. I dressed up as Princess Leia for pete's sake. In my circle of friends, I rarely get the chance to nerd out because I'm just too cool and no one else can keep up with me. You have to understand that I'm not some casual fan or really into whatever. No, it goes way deeper than that for me. Right down to my core really. I learned pop culture and the English language from watching the Simpsons and 90s sitcoms. I formulated my identity through comic book characters before I knew what to call myself. The nerd life taught me life lessons that I still use today, no joke.
That's why I was excited to be on the Nerd Out with the homie Ritzy Periwinkle and her homie La Lisa. We got to talking about all sorts of stuff, specially after a few glasses of Jameson. Listen to the show here and be sure to follow the Nerd Out #nerdsuphosdown.      

Friday, June 19, 2015

Kinfolk

I don't have the best relationship with my family and that's ok. Growing up I always wondered why my family wasn't like the ones I saw on tv. It took a minute for me to catch on and realize why my family was nothing like the ones I saw on tv, despite finding things here and there in common. However, my family was nothing like my friends families either. While we were all Latinos/as, I would hear stories of relatives doing this and that. Of parties, traditions, and rights of passage that seem like everyone except me went through. It took me longer to figure out all of that than it did to learn to play along and just agree with everyone else so as to avoid being singled out or awkward. Lotta good that did me.

Then there's the whole being undocumented thing as well. For years I thought that was the singularity that separated my familial experiences from everyone else's. No, turns out that wasn't it either. I realized that once I got involved in DREAM Act/immigrant rights organizing spaces. While everyone else shared stories of perseverance and aspiration, I just kept making comic book references. Every other person would mention what their families sacrifice for us to be here and have a better life. That we persevered and fought for our families and all this and all that. I never identified with any of that, but I did agree to it for the sake of being part of the group and again, not being one to be singled out and make things awkward.

It's so much easier to just agree with folks and be done with it than trying to stick out and counter them. That's pretty much how I still go about things when someone inquires as to my family. It's easier for me to tell them what they wanna hear so they'll leave me alone and not ask about it again till I bring it up or there's some sort of parental holiday around the corner. While I share some of the dysfunction that's in my family, it is never more than what others share when talking about there's. It's in that dysfunction that common ties are found and we can all look at each other and say, 'you're family is just like my family. Let us laugh out loud and go on about our day."

It has taken me years of processing mentally and emotionally to be where I am with my family right now. For so long it was easy to just blame everything on them because I had no control over anything. I didn't get to choose what school I went to, where we lived, how I spent my free time or any of that adolescent growing up stuff. I was a kid, of course I didn't have control over anything, let alone any kind of understanding. In those times, I felt robbed and cheated outta things. I always questioned why I couldn't hang out with friends and why I had to help with the family business. Why did I have to work while everyone else was having fun, stuff like that.

I get all of that now and I realize how important those experiences are in my development as an individual, but that still doesn't excuse them. I still carry some of that anger and frustration with me, but not out of resentment. No, it's more along the lines with tragedy really. My biggest turn around point came when I realized how my parents raise me and my sisters. The rotten tree didn't start with either of them, but with their own families. I heard how they grew up and what they went through and it clicked you know. I saw why things played out a certain way, usually a violent way. Why there was never any understanding, talking or even the sharing of any kind of affection. That shit was just implied and done out of some guilt trip so as to not feel left out and awkward.

I realized that I will never get that kind of relationship I wanted with my parents because they never had those kinds of relationships themselves. What's that you say? I can be the bigger person? I could drop the decades of drama and trauma and create the relationship I want? Nah, it don't work like that B. It's already draining enough to change what I learned from them, let alone trying to save them. Nah son, things don't work that way. Not everyone can have a healthy relationship with their parents and that's ok. I know my family and I know where the lines are. I choose to live away from them for too many reasons to get into, but one of them is for my own well being.

Distancing myself rather building is the easy way out when it comes to my family, but it's also the healthiest. I learned all I could from them and I have made those lessons my own to either continue building on them or stopping them completely. In many ways I'm fortunate enough to have both my parents still be alive and some what healthy. I have a lot of friends who grew up in single parent homes or who have lost them to the next world. I grew up with both of them, for better or for worse. I stopped romanticizing my relationship with them and my experiences growing up.

I stopped blaming them long ago as well, but that doesn't change what happened. I'm not expecting an answer or retribution for what happened. I have moved beyond that and made up my mind on where I'm going from there. It's a decision strictly for my own self preservation. It's not my responsibility to save anyone, not even my family. Doesn't mean that I don't care for them any less, after all, they're my family. I am who I am in part because of them.      
 

 

     

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Housing

Moving is such a pain, but then again, having the privilege of stable housing can be easily taken for granted. A big part of my life has always revolved around my housing situation. Growing in Mexico, I lived comfortably in an apartment building with my family and then a ranch out in rural Mexico. It wasn't until I came to the US that having stable housing was something that was always out of arms reach. First placed I stayed at when I first got here was an uncles apartment. From there it was another then another, bouncing around from relative to relative. At one point, my family and I ended up in a studio apartment with 10 people living there all at once. There were intervals in which things got better and there was stability, but it never lasted.

My father would draw out the process anyway he could to buy extra time from whatever place we were getting kicked out of. I myself in the better part of the last couple of years relied on others for housing support. From crashing on a couch to sleeping on the floor of a crowded room at a friends house. The generosity and sympathy others have had with me is the only reason I'm still around today. I was never the greatest of house guest, but I did what I could to help out and to get out of the way, but it was never easy. I was just another burden.

Its only been in the last two years or so that I've had the financial stability to live on my own. To have a place that I can call my own, walk around without pants, and do whatever the hell I want without having to be considerate because I am a guest in someone else's home. For a good couple of years, I just went from one friends house to another. Always in transition, never setting my roots down because I knew the situation was only temporary and I would be moving before I knew it. I think back on those years and I choke up a bit at the generosity and compassion shared with me.

Now I find myself moving once again, but this time by choice. Living alone isn't feasible in the long run, specially in a city like Los Angeles, so I'm moving in with a friend to cut down on cost where I can. I'm grateful that I'm able to move in a friend who I trust to be part of this new chapter in our friendship. At this point, it's safe to say that they are going to get the best of me. All my years of being a guest and having to share spaces have helped me be mindful of the space I occupy, how things get decorated, cleaned, and how to make a place feel like a home.    

I'm genuinely excited for this next phase of my life, specially since this is the first time I'm going to be sharing space with someone on an even plane. There will be growing pains and we will have to get use to each other and our habits, but that goes for any kind of relationship. This new place isn't where I'm going to set my roots down, but at least I can let them stretch out a bit and enjoy the comfort of a different pot and fresh soil.
 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Willing Subjugation

Deathlok Annual #1 (1992)
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is voluntary. If you qualify and can afford it. If you want to ease the different responsibilities we all carry as individuals to our family, friends, loved ones, and to society. DACA makes all of that and more easier to carry, but it also piles on more stuff for an individual to carry once that status is achieved. Couple of days ago I started getting serious about what I would need to do if my DACA renewal didn't arrive before it expired. Fact is that in the last two years that I've had this quasi-legal status, I've gotten too soft. I no longer have to hustle as hard as I use to before having it. I'm pretty comfortable where I am. Having stability is something I have little familiarity with. I've been use to going from one point to another all my life that at times, I find myself wondering how I ended up where I currently am. My life consist of going to work and coming home. I still see friends and go out once in a while, but for the better part, that's about it. Part of it is because I live on my own. Back when I would be crashing at someones house, I would go out and stay out for as long as I could because I didn't want to be where I was staying at. I wanted to be out of the way as much as possible. Now a days I just find myself bored with stuff that's going on around me, partly because I've been around it for so long. I know others wish they lived in an active community like the one I live in, but it's all the same stuff over and over again. Same faces, same art, same music, same pedo.

When I finally got my DACA in the mail, there was a sigh of both relief and of frustration. The thing is no more than a privilege card. A physical manifestation of years of work people all over the country put in to make it happen. A physical manifestation of the political games played in this country with the lives of immigrants. A physical manifestation of the willing subjugation I and a about a half a million other immigrants sign up for because we can and because we want the easier path. Every day I'm inundated with stories, pictures, videos, art etc. on the different kind of suffering and torture immigrants are going through in this country. Just because I don't care, doesn't mean I don't understand.

I make no qualms about my decisions and my politics. I don't hold up my nose and say 'no' from whatever moral high horse people need to get on. I talk a bunch of trash, but I take ownership of that as well. For me, it's important to know what I'm really looking at every time I look at my work permit and the access it gives me that others don't have. DACA is a lot like those mail order DVD clubs. You get a few for a penny, but then you have to buy 3 more at regular price. It's important for me to always remember that because I don't want to the kind of individual that sees that work permit as the answer and frankly, salvation to all of my problems as an individual.

Blindly accepting DACA as salvation in your life means you don't want to see the world for how it really is. You're too selfish to care about others and while actions you take may say other wise, deep down you're just scared of having it taken away from you. Of having to go back the kind of quality of life you had before DACA and how much that sucked. You aren't about that life and if you were, you're trying to leave it as far behind as possible. I know because that's the kind of stuff I thought about when I entertained the idea of not having a work permit anymore. That's my reality. I like romanticizing what my life has been as a kind of badge for others to see. I earned my stripes and as such, I lose no sleep as to what others think. My work permit is a physical manifestation of that.