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Almost 3 semesters of college down and I have never wanted to be finished so much before. I mean I know its a little early to be over it but guess what, I’m over it. I think its because I don’t know what I want anymore. When I first started I was so determined to be a theater major and then I got discouraged and was an English major, and then I got discouraged and here I am clueless once again.
Its the worst, at least one of the worst feelings in the world, to not know what you want to do. Its like getting on a bus and a train and a plane and still having no idea where you’re going. That’s pretty much how I feel right now. I mean I have ideas of what I want to do with my life but at the same time I don’t.
I wan’t to act. I want to write. I want to bake. I want to be a stay at home mom with loving little kids. And I know what your saying. You can do all of those things. Its not impossible. But from where I’m sitting, it sure does look that way. How do I get into acting? What do I write? Where would I learn to bake? How am I going to be a stay at home mom with loving little kiddies when I’m single and my current relationship status is: “Asexual until someone is good enough to make me forget all my self defense guards and open myself up.” (I mean that isn’t even an option when you fill out forms for jobs or taxes or whatever). So yeah, its a hard position to be in. When people tell you its easy to be 19, they’re lying to you. It’s not. Not even a bit.
I’m getting a semester off in a few weeks and I can honestly say that I’m so relieved. Its not just because I want to stop going to school or anything. I started this and I will finish it. Trust me on that. Its mostly a financial thing, my moms paying for my school and things have gotten a little rough on her end so she asked me to take a little leave of absence. Of course its not my place to object to that so I’ll be one semester behind when I come back in the Fall. I think I can use this time to find myself. I had a passion once. I mean, I still dance and sing and perform entire musicals in my bedroom when I’m home, but I once was super determined to make that dream come true and now I just sit around thinking “If only” and I don’t even know what happened.
I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve been 19. I mean life hasn’t changed 100% since then. Its become an interesting change though. So close to 20 yet so far from 18. They’re both only 1 from 19 but I think its the mindsets that differ. At 18 I was just so excited to be 18 and out on my own and doing my own thing and in college and working and being an “ADULT.” But I wasn’t even slightly an adult. I depended on others soooo much and I saw a lot of things through this childish lens and I didn’t take anything too seriously and I didn’t live life too maturely. At the same time I had this liveliness about me, I’m not too sure that that is an actual word but if not I’m making it a word, (yes I have that kind of power, at least I do here). I danced and dreamed and made moves I would have never thought of doing before.
And then I turned 19. Like I said not a lot changed. I still live with my parents, I’m still going to school (for now) and I’m still working but I learned and I changed and that was all mental. A week after I turned 19 I go into work, I was working with Kodak at Planet Hollywood on 44th St in NYC, and its around 9:30 because we have a meeting and turns out it was to let us know we were all unemployed. Yep, they let us work up until our last day without even a hint to start looking for a new job. I don’t know if that was a cruel joke or if that was company policy but it wasn’t cool. So here I am, not in debt but with a family that needs me and things that need to get paid and things that need to get done. Jobless. I was pretty good at being brave about it in front of people but inside I didn’t want to be stuck there. I didn’t want to be dependent on my parents again. I hadn’t noticed how serious my job had become or how much better my life was since I started working and when I did it was a huge smack in the face now being unemployed. Like an unappreciated girlfriend/boyfriend who you notice is important to you only when she’s/he’s leaving. Thank God I had a new job exactly a week later. THANK GOD So that was just the start of it all.
Among that and other things I realized that I needed to be alone for a little longer before I could be in a relationship. I learned that there are many things that I need to emotionally resolve before I can emotionally attach again. For example I used to be really mad at a certain person for leaving. And by leaving I mean disappearing. I got attached to a point where I was considering things I had never even glanced at before because of him and then he was gone. That made me insecure, made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, made me feel abandoned (And I’ve dealt with these things for a while because of other people in my life) and now someone I cared about did it and I was back to those feelings. I’m the type to cover my hurt with anger so when I’m really hurt I get really mad. So I was mad at him but I was mostly hurt, I was mostly confused and I felt dejected. But I wasn’t too mad as I was depressed or sad or confused or whatever. I pretended none of it mattered because I was mad but I still stared at the corner where we had our first kiss, I still compared other guys who tried to talk to me to him, I still attached a lot of emotional value to the shirts I kept of his, I still missed him and I would never admit it.
I got over it though. I spoke to him and he apologized. We both did. Another thing I learned at 19 was sometimes, most of the time even, you should and have to apologize as well. It is almost never completely the other persons fault. If you were involved, you had some part in it too. They’re not perfect and neither are you.
So now I appreciate what we had. I appreciate what was and what now is. I’ve learned to take a step away when I need to. I did it the other day actually. I was…am…was..are…I’m not exactly sure if I’m over it or I’m still in that state but I was talking to this guy and it seemed pretty good and then something was revealed that halted it at the moment. We were out with a few other people and I knew if I stayed things wouldn’t end up resolved. I would end up more entangled and if its one thing I learned from looking back at my high school escapades its that I don’t do well when entangled. So I wen’t home that night instead of staying and I think, I know I made the right choice. I might not have stepped away from the person completely. That’s always a little harder to do and I doubt I will ever master that (though of course when I get married I will be stepping away from everyone else and latching on to someone for the rest of my life. That’s how you know they’re special. I’ve got commitment issues and communication problems, in real life I mean cause apparently you can’t solve every relationship problem by writing it out, you actually have to talk). But I’ve stopped myself from getting entangled and am now able to look at things from a new and more thoughtful angle which I think is good.
When I’m 20, which is in exactly 8 months and 22 days (I have no idea how people figure it out down to the hours and minutes and am too lazy to Google it right now too). I probably will have either a similar or entirely new and different mindset. Or maybe I’ll just be adding to these thoughts a new set of guide lines or beliefs or whatnot. Its interesting to see.
Hopefully you’ll still be around with me to hear it, whoever you are, I have to say its been really great to see that people actually read my stuff. I mean I REALLY appreciate that. I hope I can continue to keep you guys entertained and hope that maybe one day something I write can really touch you.
This is Xiomara, 19, quite lost and confused but still alive and kicking, signing out.
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Currently working on a new entry for The Things I Didn’t See. I’ve had a pretty….confusing day so I don’t think it’s gonna be up any time soon tonight but it should be up hopefully before Tuesday.
Let me just say this before I go. BE STRAIGHT-FORWARD. It makes life a lot less complicated.
Anywho, this is Xiomara, signing off.
The first few weeks were difficult. I could only see in blurs and had to relearn a lot of things. I didn’t think it would be too hard. I was wrong. Looking back on it now, I’ve often been wrong. It wasn’t something new.
I learned to walk again with my sight, to eat and drink while be able to see what I was doing. I learned the letters and how to write them. I still close my eyes to read sometimes, and then I realize that the book in front of me doesn’t have any dots. My fingers had once become my sight. Sidekicks to my ears, who filled the empty void that was always in front of me. Now, things were drastically different and its hard to adjust to.
I’ve stayed at my school since my surgery. Another way to help me adjust. At first I wanted to leave immediately. I wasn’t handicapped, let the doctors and nurses and teachers help the ones that were. But once again I was wrong. Another thing to “adjust” to. Being wrong. More than that, having people point it out.
I could see now. Everyone was well aware of it. But there was still so much I didn’t know, so much I couldn’t do for myself because I couldn’t figure it out with my eyes open. I just expected everything to click inside me once I could see. I expected it to all be clear and dawn on me like the warm sunny days my mother would sit me on the grass to feel. But they didn’t. One night, I had to stay a little longer at school for evaluations and homework and when I left I was the last student in the building. I stood at the elevator for about 15 minutes before I started to wonder if they turned them off at night. They didn’t. They never do. I’d always had the button pushed for me. I was the girl who couldn’t see where the button. And I’d always thought that elevators just came to you. When I finally made it outside my father had sent my older brother to pick me up. “I thought you’d be out at eight?” It was almost 8:45. That feeling of utter embarrassment was something I would have to get used to…just another thing on the list.
I stood at the school. I let them teach me how to apply my new sense to the things I already knew. I let them show me what society was like when you were not disabled. I wasn’t too much a fan of what I saw.
There are many children and teens with disabilities at St. Francis Academy. There are only children and teens with disabilities at St. Francis Academy. The school in fact has no affiliation or connection with the Catholic Church or its Archdiocese, we don’t learn religion or how a good christian should act, we learn how to act in a world where we can’t properly function. I’ve never been catholic but I don’t think we share any similarities. The school in fact was named after the founder’s brother, Stuart Francis, who lived his life with an extreme case of cerebral palsy yet brightened and blessed the world of everyone he met. People got around to calling him St. Francis because he didn’t really like Stuart but he was like a little angel in disguise. At least that’s what the dedication in the school lobby says. In words, in braille, from a small speaker you can push a button to hear and from a tv, at wheelchair level, that shows a sweet boys face smiling and waving at everyone near him.
I always pictured this place to be heaven for the handicapped. Here, we were all normal and we were all struggling. Even though we battled different giants and some of our fights were fiercer than others, we were united in the fight. Because no one was too better off than the rest we banded together. More often than not we pretended that the teachers and doctors were the ones missing out. The more time we spent together, the more time we believed that.
“They see the world for exactly what it is Annie, the trees are just trees and birds are just birds. But to us. People who can’t see the world. The ones who can’t hear it, Or who can’t understand it. Its like….you remember that book Mrs. Gruelle read us? The Chronicles of Narnia? To us thats the world. For us it could be anything we want. We don’t have to accept exactly what we see because we can’t see it. Does that make sense Annie?” My best friend Jacob once said that to me. He is blind like I am. He is blind like I was. And he never wants to change that. He sees the world in his own way, and hes never even seen it. He was born blind and he his entire family was like my mother. They believed that he was perfect just the way he was and they didn’t think he was handicapped. They forbid him, his teachers and his friends from using that word around him.I always felt like there was an evil stare coming from then whenever someone said something even close to that, even though I couldn’t see them.
After my mother’s death Jacob was my hero. He held my hand through everything. Literally. I don’t know how he found me during the funeral, I was pretty young and still figuring out how to use my ears as my guide when I was alone and in the unfamiliar funeral home I had no clue where I was standing. It was the most reassuring thing to hear his voice say “Annie, Its me.” He said nothing else the entire funeral. But he held my hand. And that was better than any of the hugs or I’m sorries I got that day.
Now that I see him I know why his parents never allowed anyone to put him down. He is beautiful. He is like the boys I see on tv, the ones in boy bands who have thousands of girls fawning over them, the men in ads that fog up your tv screen from their brooding glares. If you couldn’t see the gray glaze in his eyes you would have no idea he was blind. You wouldn’t know he wasn’t like everyone else.
I get so mad at school these days. Over the littlest things I notice myself fuming. Being part of “able” society and knowing what it is like to be part of the “disabled” society is something most people that work here at St. Francis don’t understand. They’ve all been able bodied human beings all their lives and continue to be that way. I don’t blame them really, none of us chose to be in said position but I still find myself hating them.
Since I got my sight, I’ve been put in special classes but still stay in some of my usual ones. I notice a lot of things now. Things I couldn’t see before. Like the way the teachers look at all of us with pity. How they tiptoe around us like ice sculptures on a high wire. How they talk to us like we can’t even remember our names.
And its not just at school. While I’m out with my dad or with my brother I notice the way people look at someone in a wheelchair, someone with a disability. They don’t stare, or they do but in every inch of them there is this sense of discomfort, this confusion, this agony, and they aren’t even going through it. When my father took me and a few friends from school to a concert not long after the surgery I could see it everywhere. The way the moved out of the way of the wheelchair our friend Rebecca uses, yet they’d stare down at her like if she was a macy’s float but there was nothing in their eyes but fear. How girls looked at Jacob with hunger and then noticed he had a white cane in his hand and confidently prodded in front of him with it. There was this pout then. Not the pout that pretty women get when they don’t get what they want, I’ve been watching a lot of tv since I got my sight which I realize isn’t the best teacher but its a teacher none the less, its a “thats too bad” pout.
Its NOT too bad. Its not bad at all. If they knew Jacob they’d know he is the most talented, imaginative and supportive person I know.
There is nothing wrong with him. There is nothing wrong with any of us.
Well I’ve been sitting here for a couple of hours trying to get myself to write more but I’ve been on Tumblr and Facebook and other non-writing sites. I have learned however that I can’t watch any episodes of Doctor Who without being extremely emotional no matter what and that Willow (Allyson Hannigan) from Buffy is married to Wesley Wyndam Price (the guy who tried to replace Giles as watcher) in real life so that was unproductive but interesting. And the 10th Doctor (dixiem medicin in french) and the girl who plays the Doctors daughter are married in real life and her dad played the 5th doctor. Its all an interesting web that has nothing to do with my tale.
I couldn’t go to my People Power Politics class yesterday cause I wasn’t feeling well but before I head home to have an unsettling night I had a pretty helpful talk with my professor about The Things I Didn’t See. I’ve been grappling with the struggle of “do I make this story intersectional” as it would be if it was a real life story or should i just focus on gender and equality between men and women. For those who don’t know what Intersectional or intersectionality means (I sure didn’t before it was taught, don’t feel bad) its the belief that oppressions are interlinked and cannot be solved alone. That is to say that it isn’t a competition between different kinds of oppressions. Ever heard of the oppression Olympics? Well it isn’t that. Miriam Dobson, here on wordpress, made this very adorable explanation. Take a look at it:
The way I see it, we’re all Frankenstein’s monster. No one of us is really made up of one part or come from one place alone. We’re all bits and pieces of different peoples and different cultures and different everything. We can’t ignore one part of us more for the other because if you have a Hispanic leg and prefer your Irish arm more than your leg you’d never get anywhere. You’d be stuck limping where ever you go because you don’t want to admit that your leg is Hispanic. Does that make sense? Maybe Dobson’s explanation is better but that’s the way I understand.
My realization is that regardless of whether I don’t want to include things like race or class, just having my lead be female and disabled, or formerly disabled, that’s intersectional. I don’t think she would just ignore everything that she once dealt with while disabled just because she can see. So for me not to look at more than one thing is almost impossible. But the question that arises is how do I look at these things? How do I not make this 500 pages, or come to a point where I get overwhelmed and it ends up feeling or seeming unfinished?
I’ve decided to make it more like a journal or diary. Not with like specific dates, but more like entries detailing certain moments that she noticed or were life changing. That way I can make it connected but still look at the way shes affected by the different oppression’s in her life.
Make sense? I hope so.
In other happy news, Julie’s baby should be here soon! I cannot wait till I can cuddle that little one! I can’t decide which one to teach her first, all about musicals or about harry potter or Disney?! Oh great goodness…
Oh and I think I might have to get my stomach pumped or something. This constant nausea is becoming murder. I can’t do this without reason for the next 20-30 years. I mean really, just lying in bed last night it hit me like a truck and I had to take pepto bismol to be able to sleep and make it to school tonight. AND I HATE PEPTO BISMOL! Its like swallowing winterfresh gum. I know you don’t care but I’ve told you anyway.
So there it is, chapter 2 or entry 2 should be out soon! This is Xiomara, signing out.
The Things I Didn’t See
I am about to see the world for the very first time. It has been seventeen years since everything went dark and tonight is my final night waiting in the darkness. I am blind. For seventeen years the world around me has been mash together of sounds and touch that have forced meanings. But it must be like that for everyone growing up, even those who can see. I lost my sight at the age of two; some drastically advanced degenerative disease in my eyes. I never bothered to learn or remember the name. Why contemplate it? Blind was my life now, no use getting angry or depressed over. I spent a lot of time in therapist and doctors’ offices after that. Acclimating and adjusting to a new sightless life, being reassured that I would be okay and that I didn’t have to be sad that I couldn’t see. I could still feel and live and that’s all that mattered they said.
My mother was the best teacher I had after I lost my sight. Hers was the only face that stayed with me. I could never recall what my father’s face looked like or my older brother, in a few hours it will be like I am seeing them for the first time although I am not. But my mother’s face is engraved in my memory. They tell me that out in cattle farms ranchers sometimes brand their animals with hot metal, to distinguish theirs from another ranchers stock. I like to think this is the way my mother’s face was left in my memory; burned into it, searing hot, and permanent. But it’s not painful, it’s never painful. I always thought my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world. Kids usually do think this way, but my mother really was. When I studied Greek history I imagined my mother as Helen, the cause of great wars and battles. She was smarter than any of the people that were supposed to help me learn to adjust to the life of the blind. She let me experience things. “Life is so much more than those models they make you feel in your classes Annie, blind or not. Today we’re going to get out there and live it” she’d say. We’d wake up early and get dressed. She taught me clothes by describing it and then letting me feel it and letting me try it. I can still hear her laugh as I tried putting on pants on my own. I’d wobble and she’d catch me. That was my mother, she never let me fall.
My mother and I took trains and planes. She took me to places you had to see to enjoy and taught me to enjoy it anyway. She let me feel entire boats, every inch, to imagine what it might look like. She created adventure in me that would rival Indiana Jones. She got me on rollercoasters, and taught me to float and even helped me ride a bike. My mother was unstoppable.
And then she died.
I was fifteen when she was killed. She was on an early morning jog in our neighborhood and there was a man. He’d been watching her for days the police said. He followed her and tried to have sex with her. When she fought back he hit her. He killed my mother that day.
My life changed drastically after that. It was back to the doctors and therapist and specialist to see if I was okay. Was I coping with her death? Did I understand what happened? My father didn’t know what to do with me. Like me, my mother had been his source of life; his excitement and fire. He was a paleontologist; he spent his life looking at bones. He didn’t understand how to live through feeling. He could only see what he loved to do, he couldn’t feel it. My brother was a football player. We were close as children but by the time of my mother’s death we’d grown apart. Mom said he’d become a little shallow, like water when you could stand up in it without much effort, she said he was in a phase where he only saw girls and didn’t understand them. She said most boys his age were like that.
Without my mother to show me life, I started to read about it more than live it. And just when I was starting to get comfortable in that my life changes again. Isn’t it funny how life works?
Tomorrow, the world I’d only felt and heard will be given to me. It will take a day or two for it to be clear according to the doctors but I’ll finally see the world my mother loved so much.
The hospitals have always smelled like fear to me. When you’re blind, they say that all your senses heighten ten times to account for the lost sense. As kids my brother would describes movies to me as he watched them. He’d describe the characters movements and where they were and I would listen to what they said. My father used to think it was cruel for my brother to do this. I wasn’t going to understand it he’d say. One of my favorite movies is Titanic. I understand it completely.
He once told me about this movie that was terrible but I would love it anyway. “Daredevil” he said with this weird excitement I hadn’t heard in his voice since he last saw me through the entire Star Wars Trilogy. “This kid is like maybe twelve when he is blinded by toxic waste but it makes his other senses super heightens and he fights crime, it’s got terrible acting and the writing is even worse but you can imagine it better than it is since you can’t see it.”
I was no Daredevil crime fighter, and to my knowledge humans weren’t actually able to smell the pheromone that was secreted by the human body when one was afraid but this is what I imagine it would smell like if we could. Mixed with the sound of someone wailing in the distance, crying children and beeping machines, hospitals were fear factories.
I am not scared though. Not today. Today my life begins. I mean, what’s the worse that could happen? I’d have to wear glasses?
Blind humor; It’s never really funny.
As we get closer to the surgery doctors prep and poke me endlessly. The room is cold and silent. I’m eager to get started, to see the world even if it’s through blurred vision. My father is in the room somewhere. He is silent but I can smell the musk of his cologne. I can almost hear my mother’s voice tell me about it again. “Your Daddy really hates that cologne Annie, but you can smell it a mile away can’t you?” Yes. “That’s his way of making sure you always know he’s there. If you ever need him, he’ll always be right there.”
“Annie, this mask I’m putting on your face will put you to sleep alright. When the surgery begins you won’t feel any pain and you’ll wake up after it like you just took a long nap alright” The nurse slides on the mask and instructs me to count backward from ten.
“Ten..Nine..Eigh—whose were they?”
“What?” Doctor Ramsey answers me quickly in confusion
“Seven…the eyes…Who’s were they before?” I fight the anesthesia and force my unseeing eyes open.
“They belonged to a 23 year old female of Hispanic descent, Annie now rel—”
“No! Who was she? Her…name?” I could hear my father sigh deeply across the room. I imagined everyone’s eyebrows raised at me questioningly.
Doctor Ramsey came close to my face and whispered in my ear, “Her name was Genesis” and I was out.
Firstly, let me start off saying that I have had 20/20 vision almost all my life. I don’t know what its like to be blind and I can even go as far as to say my entire family (and by entire I mean my mom, dad, and brother) all wear glasses and I have never had them even prescribed. I’m no expert on the lives of the blind and do not make myself out to be. I know all of three blind individuals in my 19 years and one of them I don’t actually know. He’s a man that lives in my area who I’ve helped onto the bus before and see quite often. But on being blind I am no expert and I do not mean to offend anyone who is blind or who knows someone who is.
Over the next few weeks till the end of the semester I will be posting what I guess I’ll loosely call chapters of my short story “The Things I Didn’t See” here on my blog. This story is part of a final project for my People Power and Politics class at Brooklyn College. My Professor expressed interest in seeing me post it on a blog, hey look at that I already have one of those, and including my thought process and what its like to write it.
I got the idea for a short story because– and I’m going to be completely honest here– group work is difficult. I don’t mean difficult in the sense that I’m antisocial or that the work is essentially hard, but relying on others to get work done for which I will be graded, that’s a nightmare. I’ve been known to have an insane schedule so meeting up with people isn’t easy and then coming up with something everyone is content and capable of doing is another playing field entirely. I hope I don’t sound like a jerk right now. I’m also considering a English Major in Creative Writing so maybe this will be more than just a class final some day.
The concept of blindness is something that I think everyone thinks about at least once in their life, even if its just in passing. In elementary school we were taught about the five senses and my school demonstrated sight and blindness in a very interesting way. A student was blindfolded and given a partner. It was the partners job to guide this student out of the classroom, out of the building and across the street. They would then switch and each student experienced sight and blindness respectively. It was difficult to be the one blindfolded because even if you’d spent the past 100 days walking the halls of that school you couldn’t manage it easily without your sight and relied heavily on your partner. It was just as hard for the person who was guiding the “blind” person because since you could see it was just as easy to forget that the other person couldn’t. You would expect the person who knows how the desks are set up in the class to avoid them as they get up out of their seat so you don’t guide them and they almost fall over and knock into those around them. It was an interesting experience and one I won’t soon forget.
The project is also a look at Gender and Equality among male and female. Today there is “equality.” But its just spoken. Looking at America alone the gap between men and women is not small. The other day I was scrolling through tumblr, which I spend a lot of time on believe it or not, and there was a screenshot of two list. One was the highest paid women of 2013 and the other was the same for men. The highest paid man earned about 203 million (That’s not exact but its around there) and the higest paid woman only 53 million. There’s clearly a gap there. I realize we must take into account that they were in different areas of expertise but the look at the highest paid man and woman in the same field. They are not going to be getting paid the same thing, you know that right? All over the world women are mistreated and underrepresented and disrespected.
My mom laughs at me sometimes because I have the innate ability not to have an opinion on some really important things. When they killed Sadam Hussein everyone cheered or smiled or had a reaction. Me? I literally said “oh will you look at that.” Later on when a professor asked me if I thought it was right for people to get excited about someone being killed it took me longer to answer than the other students. I just hadn’t thought about it. So I guess I’m not the best activist. I’m not going to even pretend to know what should be done about the inequality between men and women and I don’t have a clue as to how to solve it.
This is just a look at it. I want to see what it would be like. I want to stretch my literary legs, so to speak. And take into account something very important and often overlooked. If you were hoping for my first short story to be about teenagers and vampires, sorry, I cannot stand vampires that don’t stay true to the Bram Stoker version.
I welcome all feedback and all comments, good and bad, since I’ll be posting it online. It is entirely original and is my of my own creation. Any relation to any persons living or dead is a coincidence. I’m not looking to offend, I’m looking to create.
So be expecting the first chapter up soon!
Growing up I had an awkward phase for a really long time. In elementary school I was adorable. I mean I was this tiny,cute, semi 2 foot tall little girl who was just the sweetest thing. Then came middle school. I got made fun of a lot for my birthmark and I hated it. I have this really distinct birthmark on the left side of my chin. It’s an almost perfect circle and they had a million nicknames for it when I was a kid. It doesn’t rise up, it isn’t a bump, its just a spot and kids made fun of it non stop. I hated it up right up until about the 8th grade when I started getting a little more comfortable in my own skin.
Funny thing about it is, after I realized that those kids were jerks, I learned to love it. My grandmother Diana, from whom I get my middle name Dianne from, died while my mom was pregnant with me. I never got to meet her but I hear she was amazing. She was the sweet and caring my mother says, and my father says she was brave and adventurous.
My Dad tells stories about how she would wash clothing in the morning and then get his little sister, My aunt, dressed and they would head out to the city or to Coney Island and spend the entire day out. His dad would stay home those days, worried she’d left him– he wasn’t always the best husband but he loved her more than anyone in the world– and she’d come home late and kiss him, give his sister a bath and go straight to bed. I imagine her getting on all the rides with my aunt and laughing and when she saw that her daughter was scared of trying a ride she would look at her and say “Be Brave, I’ll be right next to you the whole time.”
I never knew what she was like for myself but I can only imagine she was wonderful. And all I have of her is my birthmark. She had the same birthmark in the same exact spot. And that is probably the most beautiful and amazing thing she could have ever given me.
When my grandfather was alive, he died last year, we would visit him at least 3 times in a year since he lived all the way in Pennsylvania. He and I weren’t close, and as a kid when your grandad’s tv has no signal and you have to sit in a car for around 3 or 4 hours you don’t always get super excited about those trips. But the one thing I always loved about trips to see him was the moment we got there and we walked into his apartment.
If I close my eyes and think about it, I can see it. His apartment always had a billion knick knacks, stuffed animals, porcelain figurines photos all sorts of things. The furniture was mismatched and he had two different beds and three tv’s two of which never worked. And we’d walk in and kiss him and say bendicion. And he would hug me and take my face in his hands and say “Tu te pones más bella, y ese lunar?” which translates into “you get more beautiful, and your birthmark?” He would then turn my face and look at it with this smile . LIke he was wasn’t just looking at me but he could catch a glimpse of her.
These days, when I haven’t got any grandparents, Its nice to know that they’re still with me. Its nice to know that while I never met her, my grandma Diana is always and has been with me from the start. That maybe I might be like her without even noticing it.
And that makes me love myself. It makes me love her and who she was. And it makes me love myself, who I am, and who I will some day become.