Friday, March 3, 2017

Blessed

* Disclaimer: Definitely the most random (unstructured) blog post yet.
Hey loves, I know I have been MIA lately, which has been do to several reasons, the biggest being school. These past two months have definitely been one hell of a ride, not only have I been faced with difficulties in my academics, but I also have faced difficulties in learning to fully embrace and love myself (something that I thought I conquered last year). Nonetheless, I remain grateful (I mean how could I not when I am currently writing this in a beautiful library, surrounding by such brilliant minds, at the number one public university in the world). When things get rough at school and when I feel stress taking over me I give myself time to reflect and think about why I am here. I truly belong here. I have so much passion and so much to contribute that I must stop doubting myself. My goal if anything is to take my education as seriously as possible, while still setting enough time to have fun and relax. I want my parents to be proud of me, but most importantly I want to look back at these four years at CAL and be able to say that I did all the things I set out to do.  
What else have I been up to these past two months..you may ask? Well, a lot of things. I was part of a wonderful production called the Vagina Monologues where I got to meet women who were so exquisite and so trusting. These women not only taught me just how powerful a women could be, but they also taught me about the power of loving yourself. I think one of my proudest moments of these past two months was me coming out, and receiving the love and support from my friends. That was the best feeling. Furthermore, the show was such a success. It was beautiful to watch the audience’s reactions when they learned about these issues surrounding women. Although the show may have been stressful, with rehearsals and all, it was definitely worth it because I gained 30+ friends who I know will be there to guide me through the rest of my years here.
I am also in the process of apartment hunting which is pretty damn scary yet exciting. Like wow...I am going to live “on my own” next year, which to me entails being an adult...and like...I am a baby. I mean people have always considered me to be very independent and mature, in fact at least once a day someone tells me “Wow, you are a freshman I thought you were an upperclassmen by the way you carry yourself.” I still don’t really know what they mean but I guess it’s a compliment lol. Anyways...I am very excited to have an apartment next year and to be sharing it was such amazing people. I am ready to decorate my room all cute and shit and I am ready to have baking parties and wine wednesdays. But I must confess, I will miss my dorm room and my current roomies a lot next year (If my roomies are reading this, I love you both).
(Sidenote: My mind is all scatterbrained, so sorry if this post is very random lol. I am currently writing this while listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album, which entails me half focusing on writing half crying at Ed’s angelic voice).
These past two months I have also met some amazing people. In fact, just by being in their presence makes me so damn happy. I may not be the best at opening up to certain people and I sure as hell have issues with telling people I love them, but please just know that I do love you all and I am always here for you.
What I wish to get across through this post is just how grateful I am feeling. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were for all the sacrifices my parents have made in order for me to receive all the opportunities they were never given. So I end this “welcome back” post with the essay that got me into CAL and has allowed me to experience the feeling of getting drunk on a Tuesday night because why the fuck not, the feeling of receiving my first midterm and getting an ‘A’, the feeling of having a crappy ass day but then being able to cuddle up with my roomies, and much much more <3
White Van

    Our family car is a white, beat-up van with a crooked “DJ Tony Silva” sticker on the back, which my dad swears he meant to put on that way. It is a total eyesore. It’s also as big as a tank, which undoubtedly intimidates all those cute new Mini Coopers trying to share the road with it. Though it is quite large, it somehow still feels claustrophobic inside. You would think the solution is to open the windows, but they are old and only open a crack. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the passenger side door which only opens from the inside, meaning you have to get in through the driver’s side, lean your whole body over to lift the latch, and practically kick the door open. Yet despite all this, whenever my dad brings up getting rid of it, there is always a resounding, “NO!”

    Our van may be a wreck, but it houses fond memories, many of which took place while driving down to Disneyland. It may not be an upscale trip to Cancun or New York, but to us, it is the happiest place on earth. Even the year our van broke down while climbing “the grapevine” was unforgettable. My dad set up his laptop so we could watch movies while he got the van up and running again. That was the closest experience to a car DVD player we ever had!

    I can well imagine our van has been the source of laughter for many. Even so, I love it. It represents my family’s values. Instead of investing in a new car or a better vacation, my parents chose to invest in my education. The van is a constant reminder of the sacrifices they’ve made to provide me with endless opportunities, and I wish to one day repay them for all they’ve done. I hope to start by adding a University of California seal alongside my dad’s sticker before piling into the van and heading out to what I anticipate will be my happiest place on earth for the following four years.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Coming Out

DISCLAIMER: If you are a homophobe, this is not for you! Thanks.
“I hate God, I don’t know why he would make me a girl,” says my seven year old cousin, Isabella. I am not exaggerating when I say, Izzy is the most intelligent and brave seven year old I have ever had the privilege of knowing. When I talk to her, it is as if I am talking to an educated adult. As young as she may be, she has the gift of being not only a great listener, but also the gift of understanding complex concepts that even I struggle with comprehending. Furthermore, when I ask her a question, she doesn’t respond with a monosyllabic answer like most seven year olds do, rather she responds with an answer that leads to an open ended conversation. She also uses words and phrases that I have just begun to master! Moreover, her intelligence brings about her sassiness. She is such a character!
Isabella is from my dad’s side of the family, which is much smaller than my mother’s side. My dad only has one sibling, a sister named Liza, who is the mother of Isabella. My tia Liza has fair skin and Isabella’s father is a white man; therefore, Isabella is fair skin with blonde hair and blue eyes … nothing like her primas (cousins). When she was born she had “silver” eyes and light blond hair, she was (and still is) a beauty. Around her toddler years, her hair grew out to be perfect little curls. In fact, there is a picture of her that I have on my refrigerator with her “goldilock curls” in cute little pigtails. When she was around three years old, she began wearing more “masculine” clothing, wanting to only shop in the boy section at stores. She sure loved her Marvel t-shirts, and her Star Wars jackets. At around five years old she cut her own hair, giving herself a bob cut with slanted bangs. Shortly after, my tia took her to get her “Elvis Presley” haircut she had been asking for. It was such a cute cut, that definitely fit her personality! Furthermore, in February of 2015, Isabella had her baptism. Her mom sent me a picture of the shoes that Izzy chose for herself: sparkly silver flats with a purple bow. That was quite a surprise! But when we entered the chapel and I first saw Izzy I understood why she chose those shoes … it was because they matched her silver tux and purple bow tie! She looked so spiffy!
Last year Isabella entered a new, private school where her class size was rather small. She began Kindergarten with her “best friend” from preschool. However, that friend of hers began to torment her throughout the school year, causing others to bully her because of her “tomboy” appearance. My sister said that one day she was reading “Pete the Cat” to Isabella. (If you are unfamiliar with these stories, they are about a cat that stays positive despite the fact that he is “different” from others.) Thus, after my sister finished reading the book, Izzy told my sister that it wasn’t okay for him to be different. She said this because at school, through the bullying, Izzy was learning that it wasn’t in fact okay for her to be “different.” She later said, “I hate God, why would he make me a girl.” When my sister told me this, it hit me like a ton of bricks, because at that point in Izzy’s life she truly hated God. She couldn’t understand why he would make her a girl when she had always identified herself as a boy. I began thinking, “Why would God do that? It’s going to bring about not only external, but also internal conflict that no child should go through. However, I am grateful that Izzy has been raised around a family that accepts her for who she is. My grandma, despite being a dedicated Catholic, has supported Izzy’s genderqueer identity.
This pass Monday, my tia told me that two months ago Izzy saw a movie where two womxn were kissing. Initially, Izzy said, “That’s so gross!” Her mother explained to her the concept of various sexual orientations, saying “It’s not gross Izzy, you can love whoever you choose to love, be it a boy or a girl.” Thus, on Monday morning Izzy went up to her mother and said, “Mom, do you remember that movie where two girls were kissing? Well, I think that was pretty cool.” That evening as I was helping Izzy with her homework, I brought up what she had said to her mom, and I told her that I thought it was pretty cool too. She responded with, “Yah I know right! I’m already planning to date my friend in 8th grade (mind you she’s currently a first grader) and then we can get married and then I’ll become a mechanic!” All I could say was “Wow.” The fact that Isabella is so sure of herself at seven years old is so beautiful to me. She’s smart enough to understand that she’s going to go through “hell and back” for being “different.” But I don’t worry too much for her because 1. She has a supportive family 2. I believe that when she grows older she will be instilled with more confidence 3. She is and always has been a tough cookie.

It’s crazy and yet amazing to say how much Izzy (despite being seven years old) has impacted my life and my way of thinking. She has taught me to embrace who I am in spite of those who will not “accept” me. So here it goes …  I am bisexual. Yayyy! If you are uncomfortable with that, well… you gotta live with it. Until next time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

South City, My City

“If only I had a dollar for every time I had to explain that South San Francisco is a city South of San Francisco…”
I moved to South City in 03’ because my parents wanted my sister and I to live in a big house with a nice yard where we could go out and play. The house that I live in now was once my grandparents and before that it was my tia’s. As I have mentioned in a previous post, this house was built by my mami’s tio who was a mere five feet. Thus, this house is fit just for my family, since we are all pequeños (short). This house holds countless memories, as each room has a different “purpose.” For instance, the kitchen is where my mami makes her famous food, such as her mouthwatering sopes. It is also where friends and family are welcome over to eat. The living room is where we host Christmas Eve each year, and when I was younger it was where my cousins and I would dress up and put on “shows” for our family. The dining room is where we have lit dozens of candles for birthdays and where my family and I have tried to sing Las Mananitas on key. The backyard is where my cousin and I would make mud pies for hours and where we tried to “perfect” our double dutching skills. Lastly, during the summer, the front yard is where I would play in the sprinklers and where there would always be a lemonade stand set.
As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate my home and my city more than I used to. For instance, I am lucky to have a majority of my family live in close proximity to me; the farthest being my lita (grandma) in Daly City and the closest being my cousins who live just around the corner from me. Not only does my family live in close proximity to me, but so does my best friend. As a matter of fact, she’s my neighbor! We met at Head Start, our preschool, and have been friends ever since! Who else is fortunate enough to say that their neighbor is their best friend? Cause let me tell you, that shit is awesome. For instance, when I want to “escape” my household all I need to do is walk across the street!
Another aspect that I love about South City is that I consider it to be a primarily working class community. I feel like most of us who live in South City struggle everyday to make ends meet; nonetheless, we are willing to lend a hand to those in need. Thus, I feel like South City truly is one large community … we even have our own lingo. For example, if you’re from SSF you better know what OP stands for … (Orange Park). South City also has the bombest food! For me personally these are some of the best places to get yummy food:
  1. La Tapatia located on Grand Avenue: Their carnitas and frijoles are to die for!!
  2. Little Lucca Sandwich Shop located on El Camino Real: This place is teeny tiny (hence the name), but the sandwiches are not!
  3. Raymond’s Sourdough Bread located on Spruce Avenue: Legit planning to work there over the summer just so I can get free bread. It is that good.
  4. Panaderia Hernandez located on Grand Avenue: “Don’t be self conchas.” Yo, their pan dulce smells like heaven on earth.
Furthermore, I might be a bit biased when I say … Grand Avenue is way better than Burlingame Avenue (or any other downtown for that matter). I mean sure Burlingame Avenue has Tpumps and overpriced restaurants and stores, but what it doesn’t have is Grand Avenue’s authentic restaurants and quality thrift stores. I’m not trying to “diss” Burlingame Avenue, but … I mean … yah … we’re better. Also, Sign Hill “shits on” other city’s scenic view because 1. It is a nice, short hike up 2. If you bring cardboard you can slide down the letters 3. At night, the view is breathtaking. 10/10 I would recommend going up there, it’s a chill environment to go with friends and or a reflective environment when needing some alone time.

I want to end this by saying how blessed I am to have been raised in South City. Not only has it caused me to become “physically and emotionally” closer to my family, but it has also led me to become the hardworking womxn I am today. I am most definitely proud to say I am from South City.