Friday, September 26, 2014

Getting an education is a funny thing. For as long as I can remember, that's all I ever heard from everyone around me. Go to school and better yourself. Do more in life than we did. We need more people of color going to college and being professionals. Even in kindergarden, teacher would ask the class who wants to go to college, and everyone would raise their hand. If you didn't, which I did from time to time, they would single you out and shame you because you didn't have the same ambitions as everyone else.

It pretty much keeps going on like that and reinforced in every which way possible up until you get into college. So the other day I was thinking how I'm a college drop out now. I dwelled on that idea for a bit, you know, chewing on the fat on how I got to this point. More than anything, it's because I hate school. Rather, I hate the unfairly balanced system that fails to prepare individuals for the world and then penalize them for not being able to succeed within those already askewed permitters. Like, I sometimes I try to do things and it just doesn't work out the way I want it too.

And it's not like I don't understand or appreciate the power it has to empower individuals an lead them on a path that goes beyond anything else possible when you live in the hood. That there is a great need for POP to be active in those spaces, but at the same time school makes people into ass holes. Course that's not the standard by way of amazing teachers I've had and friends who aren't ass holes, but school is a fucked up institution that is not for everyone. I like to think I'm one of those everyones.

There's alotta push and pull factors when it comes with me and higher education. When I stop to think about it, enrolling in college was a literal turning point for me in my life. High School was nothing more than going through motions and graduating. I didn't start junior college until three years after high school, and even then my experiences went unorthodox and working class, with the added on layer of being undocumented. I went to school part time and I worked part time. I made my way forward chipping away at the stone bit by bit.

I was introduced to journalism through college and I wouldn't the person I am if it wasn't for that. I mean, I loved going to English class and discussing anglo saxon poetry because it reminded me soo much of heavy metal. I loved taking art history and deepening my love and appreciation for art. I took math because I had to and struggled the entire time. I don't deny that I was a passion for learning and education, but having too many shitty teachers and negative experiences drained all the fun out of it.

Me explaining how I spent seven years at a community college really has to do with the lack of direction, planning and splash of cold water to the face I got once I was in there. That whole narrative of being undocumented, going to school and working really hits you in the feels, so much so that I believed it myself. A lot of people invested and supported me in those years more than I could ever repay them back. From hot meals and floors to sleep on, I wouldn't be here without them nor been able to stay in school for that long.

Yet the idea that I still have to spend at least two more years in an institution of higher learning and writing papers and shit kills me. I have no doubt that finishing school would help me in some shape or form and I would finally finish what I have invested so much in, but I don't want to go back to school right now. The skills I have cultivated over the years put me in on par with anyone who has a college degree in what I do. Yet, I know that I'm limited in how far I can get and what opportunities are available to me, specially working with non-profits.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Never Tell My Story The Same Way Twice

Recently, upworthy, a click-bait wed site, decided to highlight an old-ish documentary I was a part of, Limbo. I for one thought it was hilarious how they dug it up and got some clicks out of it. There was a cool minute of folks seeing it for the first time and recognizing me. I'm proud to have done this documentary and I'm always happy to share it when appropriate with others, but something about Upworthy just bugs me the wrong way. It feels like my work is being taken for someone else's purposes, as if they're not sharing it correctly, that make sense? Nother thing I started to think about was how I never told the same story twice. I catered to different crowds, but more than anything I just got at "telling my story." I've practiced it so many times that I knew which points to hit and at what crowds to not only engage the audience, but to fuck with people too. They expect you to be all sob story and inspirational because you've over come adversity, but I'd be up there telling jokes and being all casual about it, because that's how I am. For example.....

In this video, which was made a year ago, I am completely being myself and purposely doing what you see me doing in those pics. Why? cause fuck it, that's why. I'm not trying to look "cool" or show off, nah. At that point I was just tired of the same old rhetoric that is that of the "DREAMERS" movement. I've since long stopped identifying that way and have moved beyond it because of the complexities of the human experience. But I ain't gonna lie, I ham that shit up hahaha

Monday, September 01, 2014

Life Lessons from Riding a Bicycle

I've had a bike for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I would ride around the neighborhood with friends until I was called home. I would go around knocking over garbage cans on pick up days. I would go to the store or just ride around the block. I've also had numerous bikes on the count that I would be careless with them. It wasn't until I got tired of skating that I became serious about riding. What started out as a need of being able to get around, blossomed into a love for everything cycling.

I was beginning to connect with friends and spaces that used bicycles as a point to connect to larger, systematic issues of in equality, harassment, lack of equal representation and advocacy. I never heard the phrase 'accidental environmentalist' until I started becoming part of those spaces and I realized how just riding my bike was another tool to organize with.