Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spokes & Words: South Central

A bit of explaining first. Three months ago I started organizing a bike ride called "Spokes & Words." Riding once a month to different parts of Los Angeles from East L.A. we share the road and words at various locations while having fun riding as a group. This week the group took a ride to South Central, specifically to the Watts Towers. Pretty ironic considering my last post was about how i hate South Central and here I am organizing a bike ride back there because bike groups don't ride to SC. In fact, anyone with common sense doesn't go into SC unless they have to. Why ? Because of the same stereo types that movies, music and people make about the hood. Some of it is true and the rest exagirated, but like I said, if you've live there then you know what's up and if you don't, then you'll just keep on being scared of ever gong there.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

South Central

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I hate South Central. I hated growing up there and now that I'm older, I have a better understanding and comprehension about things, it still hate it. If you've never lived them for an extended period of time, then you can't understand it. When you live in South Central, the majority of the time it's not because you have a choice, it's because that's what you can afford. Your options extremely limited and you have to make the best decision possible given the means you are provided with. If you aren't familiar with South Central for some reason, here's the Wiki version of it.

My family lived in South Central for a few years back and forth throughout the entire 90's. We were there for 3-4 years, then moved to Long Beach for 3 yrs. Came back and lived there for another 2 1/2 yrs before coming to East L.A. again. Over all, I wanna guess-timate a total of 7-8 years that we spent there. It's a big chunk of who I am as an individual because of the nature of life in SC. My experiences are not that different than others and I'm lucky to say that it was better than what was normally portrayed on tv or in movies. That doesn't mean I still saw and experienced things that pierce into my psyche and being.

Yesterday I just happened to be in SC again, visiting a friend to go to a party. Ironically, he lives mere blocks from where I use to live. Walking around the old neighborhood again brought back all those memories and reservations about the community. Not making eye contact, not taking out my phone, acting like I'm not scared because in reality, I still get nervous when I'm there. I can go on for days, but I digress. Just being back there again kinda made me feel good about being where I am, like a splash cold water on my face. I don't ever want to be in a position to have to move back again. I hate South Central.

Friday, October 22, 2010

LA Dreamers in New York Times

I know these beautiful ladies personally and I'm proud to call them sisters in the movement. The article focuses on them because women are leading this movement. They talk about the civil disobedience and the other things the movement did this year. Check it out. 

Many of these women are daughters of nannies, housekeepers, landscapers — a generation of immigrants who tended to keep a low profile. In contrast, their daughters have been schooled in a more vocal American culture. “We did what we were supposed to do,” Fabiola, an undocumented activist and a recent U.C.L.A. graduate who came to the United States from Mexico as a toddler, told me. “We are the cream of the crop. But because of something we had no choice in, our entire lives are on hold.” Living in the shadows, she said, is no longer acceptable.

“I just wanted to let you know I’m wearing my ‘I’m Undocumented’ shirt right now,” she wrote. “As I was putting it on, I remembered telling you about my fears when it comes to wearing this shirt, but I didn’t feel like that today. I feel like I am finally taking control of my identity. ”


I notice today something that I've been walking back and forth on, but never put my finger on it. This is something that is universal actually, a feeling of disconnect between yourself and your parents. For me, this disconnect becomes much more obvious and wider because I'm first generation everything. Every now and then, I'll talk to my mom about how things use to be back in Mexico. The memories we made there, actually having some sort of normal life there. Considering the way things were going when I was a kid, my mind gets the better of me in thinking what would have happened if we stayed and never left.

Today I kinda spaced out and saw this disconnect between my parents and me. While we share the unconditional love all families have, I feel so disconnected from them at times. I can explain and tell them what I do, but there are levels beyond explaining. My parents life went that way and mine is steadily going this way. Yet, I see that it's in that same disconnect that we are connected. I wouldn't be going where I'm going if it wasn't for them. No matter how big or small a role they played in that. Some of the biggest things in life happen with the falling of a simple leaf. The leaf that didn't fall too far off from the tree.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dancing Days

There have been few times in my life in which the world and my problems didn't exist anymore. I don't think about not having a job, the struggles ahead of me etc. They all go away or more succinctly, they get danced away. I was never one for dancing because I was too self conscious and all that mumbo jumbo that comes with being a teenager/young adult. I can't remember the details of how I finally got over all that dumb stuff and let go. Dancing to rhythms because I have no clue on how to "properly" dance. And I ain't talking about club dancing, break dancing or anything like that, I'm talking about music from the heart. Cumbias, rancheras, corridos etc. This is the kind of music that flows through my essence. Whether I'm drinking or not, I dance my ass off till the cows come home.

Monday, October 11, 2010


It happens almost on a daily basis really. Every individual has their good and bad days. We all have our own issues within our lives. Everything from abuse at home, drug addiction, single parent house holds etc. So you take all that normal stuff and add being undocumented to all of that to spice things up. It gets pretty tricky. I won't get into details cause that'll take too long and I don't wanna give someone their thesis either. But I consider myself almost an unofficial expert on this because I live it. That and I'm still alive right ? Well, again, I won't go into details as to how to deal with this because it just doesn't seem right. Although I am very open about my life, this kind of information is too private, even for me.

P.S. For any haters out there who don't like immigrants like my self, suck it.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A Frida kinda of life

Watching the Frida movie the other day reminded me about an art class in which we studied Fridas art and her life. I became very familiar with her works and who she was an individual. All the hardships she endured in her life both physical and emotional. Her romantic relationships with Diego and everything else in between that influenced her art work. Truely, she is one of the few people who have lived before me and I have found a connection on a personal level. My writing, much like her art, reflects what is going on in our lives because bottling it up inside won't do. With me, it's my poetry of course. While I'm not prolific, I am getting better at it. Practice makes perfect. I've also come to realize that while I choose to define my individuality through other peoples works, I can better define myself. While it may be a good analogy to describe to others, my life is my own. With so many people in the world, similarities are bound to come up.  

Monday, October 04, 2010

Restless Nights

I honestly don't know what ails me some days. For the last week or so I haven't been able to sleep right, and it's not just because of the heat wave in L.A. At night and in the early morning, my thoughts and mind seem to wonder into abysmal thinking. Not purposefully, it just goes that way. I think about everything that is wrong in my life and well, it just gets depressing. The horrible home life I have with my parents, school, my situation, friendships and other normal stuff that everyone goes through. I guess because I've never had someone to go to when feeling like this, for me, it just accumulates non-stop. I'm good at hiding it from everyone, but it still shows through in my demeanor, usually cause I'm quite. So, I think I'll shut up for a while.  

Friday, October 01, 2010

Mexican memories

I was talking to a friend and I started reminiscing about my childhood in Mexico. Days of future past as I refer to them. In particular, the time I spent at my great grandmothers ranch. I don't know where it is, in what pueblo or region. I just know that we took a bus to get La Huacana, my uncle would pick us up in his cab and we'd be there in no time. I remember care free days of walking to milk a cow. Catching chickens to eat. Fresh tortillas made by hand on a clay furnace. Hills, dirt roads and loving faces for miles.

Part of me romanticizes these memories because they belong to a seven year old child. A child who knows nothing of social identity, retaining his native language, the concept of one group of people being better than another or of what it means to be a Mexican. Those three months were the best I ever had. I woke up with the sun and went to sleep with moon. Adventure was the daily ritual, wondering around the pueblo, swimming in the arroyo as my mom washed clothes on rocks up stream. Chasing pigs around the house and causing mischief every where I went.

It's ironic that I got a taste of eden before being cast out from it. Living in purgatory. Killing myself to live. Being undocumented through no fault or choice of my own. That pueblo that is in my mind and heart is no longer there. The warehouse with filled with corn as far as I could see is gone. The arroyo is dried up. The family and friends I had there are gone as well. All I have left are memories of days of future past. If I had a Mexico to go back to, I would, but the U.S. made it so that I can't. I can't return to what isn't there anymore, not to a memory.