Friday, December 29, 2017

Burnt Out

If I'm honest with myself, I've been feeling like this way longer than I realize. The ebb and flow of everyday life, along with in-between surprises, keep me from dwelling too long on that feeling. Thus, I carry on. THere are days in which I feel utterly defeated and others in which I question my motivation to continue doing what I do. Now more than ever, I have never felt stuck in an endless routine that did nothing to nurture my growth as an individual. My actions having no meaning other than just helping pass the time till the next day came. This has also lead to me being in the worst shape and health of my adult life. Realizing how far I have let myself go was hard to swallow, but it also pointed to my lifeless routine the last couple of months. Drive to work. Sit at the computer. Drive home. Sit at the computer at home. Go to sleep. Repeat. It's so easy to fall into this rut that I feel helpless at times to do anything about it because I know I will eventually fall back into it. It's easy, it's comforting, and sometimes it's the only way I'll get any sleep.

The shit going on that I have no control over also has a role in all this. Everything from what will be the final decision on DACA and how that'll impact the future one way or another and what I'll have to do in response to that. Police violence, gentrification, the skewing of laws and policies that will criminalize the poor and lock them out of basic services like affordable internet service to long-term impacts all this will have after the current muther fucker in the white house is gone. It also doesn't help when those who are fighting back against these changes use a star wars reference as the name of their movement either, but whatever. I've been around social justice movements long enough now to know who to trust and who to work with in making thing happen.

At the end of the day though, I don't know where I'm going anymore. Changing things up in terms of employment and where I want to go has been on my mind for more than a year now and while there have been opportunities, things just didn't fall into place. So I stay where I'm at and continue to put in work because even though I've grown as much as I've can where I'm at, I still believe in the work and those I do it with. Which then leads me to ponder on the future of my work and how I do it, through media and social networks. Thus far, I've been able to adapt as needed and grow alongside how stories are told in our society today. I may not be the best at it or doing it for the biggest organization, but I do it with more integrity than others. While the way in which information is exchanged keeps changing, the foundation I have built for myself still holds up to this day. This usually means learning new tricks here and there, honing them in with practice and the support of friends. Still, at the end of the day, all you are doing is telling a story, something I will never tire of doing.

Another side to all this is age and time. Most folks I know are stuck in a bubble of accomplishing social norms and personal goals that I have distanced myself from them for one reason or another. Other than ensuring that I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my stomach I have no real pressures from said social norms or any kind of personal goals to speak of. That is to say that I wouldn't want to have permanent stability in life that would give me the freedom to set some and go after them, but I fail to see the point. Sure, I have aspirations of traveling to different countries and cities, buying a house and stuff like that, but longing for such things has mostly lead to me being resentful, frustrated, and angry about things in which I have no control over but somehow they have control over me. At this point in my life, there is very little that I want or long for. For better or for worse, learning to detach myself from those kinds of ambitions, has led me to find comfort and peace in simplicity.

What's most frustrating of all is knowing that I don't have the leeway to shift things around myself. This may be self-imposed or something else that goes unnamed, but priority one has and will be ensuring I can take care of myself. I've slept on too many floors and crashed too many couches to lose everything I have built up to this point. That fear is what pretty much keeps me going 80 percent of the time now. It usually leaves me feeling empty inside until I can somewhat recharge my batteries by doing something I wholeheartedly enjoy. Then the cycle repeats itself. I won't last much longer if I keep going like this, but at the same time I have no definitive answer or alternative to work toward that will help me change things. It's easy to be complacent until I'm forced to change things one way or another. Last time that happened, I got hella lucky and managed to bounce back after spending two weeks in complete fear of losing everything I worked for.

I dunno what I'm going to do with my life, but I'll do enough so as to not get fired.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Your Version of the Movement vs My Version

My last blog post, in which I shared my thoughts on the hysteria of saving DACA, got more attention than I could have ever predicted. Keep in mind that when I share something in this space, I'm mostly doing it for myself. To think out loud. I've been doing it for so long that at this point it is just a natural instinct to write about what's on my mind. As you can see by this screen grab, that daca post became the most read blog post ever. And that's saying a lot considering that I posted it in September. 

After posting what I wrote on social media, I saw it get some traction here and there, nothing out of the ordinary. Just folks sharing their thoughts and me sharing mine. In-between all that though, I noticed that other people started commenting in other individuals post, mostly wondering why I'm such a salty hater and why I didn't provide more context in the post itself. First of all, I ain't writing no thesis, if you've read my stuff before or know me personally, nothing I write really needs explaining. Unless I'm being unusually cryptic and hungry for attention via social media. Second, it reminded me of how big the gaps are in how little others know about that undocumented youth movement, past, and present. And to an extent, the immigrant rights movement. Everyone is used to having everything handed to them or asked to react to something without real context or history. If it isn't a click-bait headline that further pushes a narrative of fear, good immigrants, and capitalism, then no one wants to hear it. Then I started reading comments in social media post after folks protested Nancy Pelosi at her press conference.

In-between all that noise, I remembered the opening of the PBS documentary The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and the analogy shared at the start.The analogy of four blind men all describing an elephant from their point of view is one that is old and has taken on different forms as it's been retold, but the meaning hasn't changed at all. I looked up the clip on youtube and I said to myself, holy schnikes! There it is. All the years of arguing with who did what where and why things happened the way they did, it all makes sense now because I never considered others experiences, nor do I care to really. I checked out of that movement long ago and now I only pop my head in every once in a while to talk shit cause I'm petty like that.

None the less, that analogy about the blind men and the elephant helped me center myself and stand back for a moment. With all the hysteria going around, the fear created by uncertainty, and what the next few months will bring got everyone rattled in some shape or form. This kind of desperation is what is reflected in all those comments on social media. The fear that what little folks have been given will be taken away, yet the majority of those same folks don't know what it took to get there or the years of movement building behind it. Then those same voices are augmented by trash reporters looking to write stories that perpetuate the same fear narratives and do nothing to move things forward. It's a cycle and one I am extremely familiar with because I worked in the past. At this point, I'm done with it. It isn't my responsibility to hold peoples feet to the fire when it comes to history lessons or who gets to speak on television. All I have is my experience in the movement and my recollections of whose an ass hole and who isn't.

For now, things have calmed down for the better part. The October 5th deadline has passed and now everyone is holding their breath that something positive will happen come March. Then the cycle will start all over again and that's fine. Folks have every right to be scared and taken advantage of by non-profit organizations who also proliferate problematic narratives that center them over those directly impacted in the name of funding. The world will continue moving forward and the worst day of your life is going to be just another Tuesday for me.


Monday, September 04, 2017

The Hysteria Over Saving DACA

In times like these, I often question if there is something wrong with me. While the majority of folks are sharing vanity social media post about a decision that hasn't bee officially made or verified, I'm tuning out the world and going on about my day. I went through this once already through the build up the 2010 Federal Dream Act. Everyone making phone calls, having meetings, changing their social media profile pictures to be in support and news stories about what it would all mean if it passed and if it didn't. Back then, I was actively invested in the campaign. I was giving media interviews when I was asked, going to meetings, rallies, and generally helping get the word out. When the vote finally happened and everyone realized that the bill didn't get enough votes, everyone dealt with it and eventually regrouped to make DACA happen.

All these years later and now the day has come in which DACA "must be defended" because the program is going to be shut down by the current administration. Can't say that I didn't see this day coming, oh wait, yes I did. I watched the 90s X-Men animated cartoon on Saturday mornings. I saw the how the mutant registration program and Sentinals targeted mutants unjustly because they signed up for a program. I have analogies for days when it comes to making sense of what's going on, it's the reactions I've been seeing from those impacted, those in solidarity, and those who are new to this that has me doing double takes. Some of the rhetoric and narratives being used are by the books. Highlight that individuals with DACA are the best of the best, they contribute economically, are highly educated, they are Americans without papers. They deserve to keep their temporary work permits because the country would lose X amount of money. Oh and let's not forget that they're all innocent kids who were brought here as children and they themselves are still children. We have to think of the children.

No, much like other experiences, this has been one of the few times in which something old is new because of the way the internet and social media are used for and against it. It's like when Instagram first come out and old things became new and fun because you were reliving them through social media. These last few weeks have been the first time I've seen folks who I never imagined talking about saving daca, supporting those who have it, and saying how dump is a cruel person for doing it. Wanna be twitter celebrities who act the part and repeat the same talking points from media and non-profit organizations are getting play because we all live in bubbles and want to participate via Facebook activism. The nature of social media is to share something with out it being vetted, like a knee jerk reaction. All this does is cause panic through click-bait headlines that drive a narrative of fear and twitter threads of how bad things will be if daca is taken away from individuals. I can see the puppet strings, yet I can't do anything about it or rather, am I supposed to do something about it?

There is a tidal wave of misdirected support behind this current push to save daca that is lead by the usual suspects, immigration non-profits, local and national, who are taking credit for something they had nothing to do when it was barely getting off the ground but are now taking full ownership of it. A homie of mine broke that down in a Facebook post in response to everything that is happening and they're right. From daca being abused to exploit funding opportunities, branding, media exposure, and social media likes/followers, this has been nothing but a show on both sides of the fence. At the same time, whenever I see someone share their story or struggle, I wanna roll my eyes and tune out completely. It's nothing I haven't heard before and while I'm not the intended audience, I pause for a moment and tell myself that I shouldn't be dismissive of others fears and anguish. While I may have a different understanding and perspective of how things are playing out, that doesn't give me the right to dismiss others so easily. Getting sympathy from me is like getting ketchup out of a maple tree, so I just let the moment pass and do my best to respect others putting in work.    

And more or less, that's how I get by these days. Instead of getting angry and sharing that anger on social media, it still happens once in a while though, I just tune it out and focus on what I have on my plate. I haven't talked to any media, but they don't call me up anymore. Whether it's because they've used me one too many times or because they have someone else who can give them the soundbites or click-bait headlines they need, I've been hands off. There have been times in which I come across a social media post and I wanna chime in with a history lesson about the immigrant rights movement, why the term dreamers is used, how daca came about, and how it all plays together but that isn't my responsibility. If there is one thing I have learned from the immigrant rights movement is that they will toss your ass to the curb one day and then pick you up to toss you underneath a bus the next.

The current narrative to save daca doesn't allow for those who are older and have history to be at the front of this push. Folks me like won't stick to talking points and use fear to garner sympathy from media, politicians, funders, and facebook activist. Folks like me will tell you that those with daca are classist and too assimilated for their own good. That losing daca means going back to doing the kind of work these young folks look down on with their parents. That they can't fathom a world in which their upward mobility is taken away and they have to go back to eating top ramen three times a day. I'm too old to be manipulated like that and because of that, what I have to say doesn't matter anymore. I'm just a hater and they're right. I'm not willfully ignorant, thank jebus, I speak my mind, and find a way to hustle from one day to the next. Daca or not, I'll keep moving forward one way or another.  

Monday, August 14, 2017

Gentefied Afterthoughts

This show has been on my radar ever since I first heard about it. Over the weekend, I was able to see the entire seven episodes of the series and listen to a Q and A discussion with America Ferrera and ‭Aaliyah Williams, who were executive producers, director/creator/co-writer ‭Marvin Lemus, co-writer Linda ‭Chavez, Josefina López of Real Women Have Curves and the homie Nancy Meza repping Defend Boyle Heights. The screening was the first time the entire seven episodes of the show were shown in public, with three previously being screened at Sundance. I myself didn't do any research about who was putting it on, the director, the writer, actors etc. because I wanted to go in there cold and just take it for what it's worth. When I initially bought the tickets to go see it, I was expecting it to be a traditional q/a shesh between those who worked on it, so it was a nice surprise to find out Nancy was going to be part of the discussion the day of. That being said before I start getting into the meat of things, take this as your semi-spoiler warning for the show. They themselves don't know when the full seven episodes will be shown publicly again or where, so if you want to see them without any of the contexts I'm going to get into and brief descriptions of the episodes, click here instead and read this after you've seen the show.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Born Day Reflections at 33

Nothing special this year. I realized that for the last five years, I was consistent about having a party at my house or at a friends house. Those parties have always been a blast and a great time to catch up with folks that I rarely get to see. Not to mention that alcohol and piñatas are always a guaranteed good time. I just wasn't feeling it this year, so I kept it low-key. It was just another Saturday to me. I went to work for the first half and then some shopping for back issues of some of my comic books. The special treat was being able to spend it with my girlfriend as well. All in all, I enjoyed being able to spend my time how I wanted. That's pretty much it. No existential pondering or questioning of things I'm currently going through or that are happening. Am I worried about losing my DACA work permit? Being deported? Losing everything I've worked for? Nah. I'm busy enough in my day to day routine and various responsibilities that I never give it much thought other than fully understanding that the end is important in all things. How and when is a different story for another blog post. For now, I'm grateful for everything I have going on and everything that is yet to come. This year has really been about putting in work on various levels, but at the same time, I feel stagnant as well.  

For so long, my livelihood has depended on both my digital organizing and story telling that I can't see myself doing any other kind of work. Now I'm getting to the point of not wanting to be in front of a computer screen because of eye strain and because so much has changed as well. I've been able to keep up and adapt to keep myself relevant to whatever is going on, but this year I started shifting and loosing up on a few things as well. For the longest time, I had my own unwritten rule book about how things should be posted, when, how they should look, ways to maximize engagement, impressions, views etc. It's something I developed from my days in college and being a journalism major. I treated social media as an extension of journalism, so there had to be some basic structures and guidelines to things, other wise it would all be unusable randomness that couldn't be tracked or quantified. Said unwritten rules have helped me other the last 10 years, but things have changed so much now that I want to continue experimenting with new and traditional ways of getting information and stories out there.

I have ideas, but not enough time or resources to pull it off on my own. At the same time, if I start something, how far will I see it through? Quality takes time and energy and some days, I could care less. As fulfilling as it is, I don't want it turning into another item on my to do list that I need to grind through. At the same time though, there are so many new voices out there today that it becomes overwhelming. I remember a time when content creators of color were a rare and you had to go out of your way to find them and support them because many didn't last that long. Now I have a smorgasbord of content to chose from at any given time, but again, it's just overwhelming. If I wanna listen/watch discussions about a show, I first have to be caught up w said show to avoid spoilers & to be engaged in the discussion. Not to mention the endless possibilities that are possible thanks to the intersectionalities of our lives and everything in-between.

I think about all that and kinda wonder where I would fall in, you know. What do I bring to the table that will be of interest to others but also be sustainable. Facebook and Twitter have become my go to outlets for speaking my mind and sharing what I'm into at the moment. Not too long ago, I had a few blogs in which I could share what was going with me or around me in a more communal form. now, except for this one, I don't really have those outlets anymore. Like I said, way more voices are in the mix now and some get more play than others for one reason or another, it's the way of the world. I think back on those times and I was having a blast in spite of everything that was going on. I made it work and it helped me get where I am today and where am I today? Being a curmudgeon who wants to avoid large public gatherings, over rated restaurants, annoy people, and other consumer related habits that take over your life if you aren't careful.

Repetition and routine are most definitely the themes of 2017 and it's a good mix up from previous years. While at times, it feels like in a rut, I realize that even that in itself is a kind of blessing, but one I don't want to bask in for too long, lest I become bitter and a complete ass hole. Right now I'm just semi-bitter and a partial ass hole. We'll see how the rest of the year plays out and what it brings.    


Monday, July 10, 2017

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Thi Bui's memoir hit close to home on many levels for me. Books like hers hold a special place for me for some obvious reasons, but the biggest is that it's a story of immigration told through a comic book. I constantly keep an eye out for books like these and immediately pick them one when I learn about them to read them for myself. At face value, Bui shares her families story of coming to the United States from Vietnam and that alone is an amazing story. She weaves historical moments in-between her families experiences growing up, having kids, trying to raise kids, and eventually having to leave their home country. I don't wanna get into details because I don't wanna spoil it for you when you read it, but what she shares reminded me of my own experiences of growing up as an immigrant but also the complex and toxic relationship I've had with my own parents. Her use of water colors and her personal style give a kind of painful beauty to some of the emotionally intense moments in her story. It can be a lot to take in at times, but it keeps you enthralled to continue reading and learning more about Bui's life and her family.

Once I finished reading her book, it took me a few days to process everything that was drudged up in relation to my own immigrant experience and the toxic relationship I have with my parents. Like Bui, I myself have gone down that path of trying to better understand my parents as individuals, as human beings. Through age, developing emotional maturity, and piecing together their lives like a scattered jigsaw puzzle, I came to a place of understanding, both of them and for me. I've spent years trying to better understand how things happened and why they happened when I was growing up. For the longest time, I just took it as face value because they could never explain the why of whatever was going on at the time. Instead, it came from a place of you're a kid, you don't understand anything because you waste your time watching cartoons and playing video games. Least that's how it came across for me back then. Again, time and maturity have helped me process and make sense of a lot of things with no real closure. The more I analyzed my parents and what they experienced growing up, it was clear that they themselves were denied emotional support from their families, so how could they convey something they never got to their kids?

Once I came to this understanding, my own relationship with them started falling into place. In the beginning, all I felt was frustration and extreme anger. I would get all existential to the point that I would question why they even had me in the first place and what cosmic joke was being played on me for having to experience this. I would reflect here and there on instances from my childhood and break down what happened to try to find a way to place all the blame on them so I could have myself a pity party. Over the years, I made it a point to distance myself from my family for a lot of different reasons, but at the core of that was trying to leave behind what I picked up from them. I looked to others for the support I longed for from my family and at times I also formed my own chosen family of friends. Through them, I learned to let go of a lot of things and continued to grow because of their support and understanding. Still, dealing with trauma is exhausting and the growth I make is in small steps, but steps that are moving me forward.

Through all this processing and understanding, I've created some peace for myself in order to continue growing as an individual. In choosing to stay away from my family, I've had to put up with societal norms that can be annoying as a mosquito bite or as painful as a burn. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that wants to talk to my parents and work everything out to a point of closure but the damage done is too deep for me to want to do that with them. Which is not to say that I don't care about them, come on, they're my parents. For all their toxicity and best intentions, I'm here doing work and thriving just like they wanted me to when they would tell me to do good in school so I wouldn't have to spend the rest of my life making a living like they did. For sure, these feelings are going to keep getting more complex as time passes and maybe I'll do something about them then, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Like Bui's parents, mine were just trying to do the best that they could.  


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I Didn't Think I'd Get This Far

When I graduated high school, I was depressed because I didn't see a future I liked. The reality of no longer being in school and having to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life was depressing because I wasn't able to see beyond being undocumented and all the hardships that come with it. In those years, I was doing manual labor and helping out in the family business, which varied on whatever get rich quick scheme my dad was trying to pull off at the time. Eventually, I enrolled in community college, found better employment opportunities, started becoming politically engaged, and I began walking down the road that I find myself on today. For everything I have built up and accomplished since then, the future isn't something I give much thought to. DACA has made it easier to take advantage of opportunities that would have been blocked off otherwise. Yet, I still don't really plan beyond the two years this work permit grants me. In the back of my mind, I contemplate on whether this will be the last time I get approved and what I would need to do if I don't get renewed.

As I've pointed out in previous blog post, I'm at that age in which transition is all around me and while I usually don't give it a second thought, it gets overwhelming at times thanks to being hyper-connected on social media. I smile and nod till the moment passes, but recently, there cracks in holding back my existential thoughts have been getting bigger. I spend a lot of energy holding back because my attention is needed elsewhere, but alas, I find myself at another existential crossroad in which uncertainty follows me at every turn.

This current lapse in self-confidence was brought on by something I wasn't expecting that related directly to my future employment options and what I wanted out of them. It was like something out of Office Space. I like my current employment situation, mostly because I'm employed. When it's slow, I'm working two part-time jobs and when I'm busy, that usually turns into three or four. I'm able to balance everything out on a regular basis, but there are times in which everything is happening at once and I go into overdrive mode. I just came off one of those this month and it gets harder and harder each time. It makes me question if it's worthwhile to continue taking on multiple gigs at once and the work that I do. It literally feels like withdrawals at times.

It's hard for me to think about the future because I never planned on being here in the first place. And by here, I mean that in both the literal and existential kind of ways. At best, I can keep my depression at bay by keeping myself busy with work, extra projects or just doing things I enjoy. At worst, it bogs me down to the point of me not being motivated to do anything and just wallow in pity while still going through my everyday motions. My current work in communications wasn't planned because it didn't exist. I grew along side it through some major growing pains and because of the journalism skills I picked up while in community college. That lead me to the immigrant rights movement and that lead me to bicycle advocacy. The mishmash of skills I've accumulated over the years have helped me get to where I am today, but now I question if I reached my limits or am I content with how things are. In the job of life, am I just working hard enough so as to not be fired?

More than anything, I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. For all the growth I've made in these last few years, both professionally and personally, I come up short when I being to think of where I want to go next. At the same time, I feel like I'm starting to get left behind because of my hybrid set of skills. I remember when no one really took digital organizing and communications seriously. Now everyone and their mom thinks they're an expert because they know how to use social media. It just makes it harder to stand out when there's so much static noise. It also makes me question whether I should finish college, but the thought of paying for something that I hate fills me with rage and disgust.

That being said, it keeps getting harder and harder to find the motivation to do what I do where I do it. There are days in which I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else and days in which I was anywhere else, but that can't be helped. Eventually, I'll get over this hump and find motivation to continue moving forward beyond the need to work for the sake of working. It's just extremely difficult to find that motivation when you can see the puppet strings but are helpless in being able to do anything about them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Diminishing Empathy

Having empathy for others has always been an issue with me for a bunch of different reasons. When I started going down this train of self-analyzing, it was because I found myself becoming numb to the news of what is essentially a constant state of fear and hyper panic by immigrants. For the last few months, all you read in the news is this person is being deported, that person is being deported, this family is being torn apart, that family is being torn apart. I'm at a point of major disconnect and I don't like it. I wasn't like that before either. It's cliche to write this, but earlier in life, I was more optimistic about life, my immigration status, and what the future could hold.

That optimism and hope were fueled by the people I was surrounding myself at the time. It kept me going through some hard times despite being an immature knucklehead who didn't deserve the kind of help and support I was getting. Of course, as I got older and I lived through shit storm after shit storm, I found maturity in spades and began being more selective about where and who I invested my time in. Nowadays though, I can't help but notice how much more isolated I've become from others and the world in general.

The obvious and easiest response to that is that I've been caught up with the multiple jobs that I hold down and other responsibilities. At the end of an average week, all I wanna do is catch up on domestic matters at home, watch some guilt-free television, and not have to worry about everything else that's going on till I have to go back to the grind the following Monday. Sometimes I stop and think if any of the work important at all in the long run of things or am I just going through the motions of life as a working adult? By the time the end of the week rolls around, I'm too exhausted to give a rats ass about anyone else's problems, truth be told.

That's the easy answer. The real answer is a lot more convoluted and harder to articulate because it's coming from so many different angles. At the end of the day though, despite the kaleidoscope of excuses I muster, I'm making an active choice to disengage from feeling empathy for others who aren't in my immediate circles and brushing off everything else in the world. I don't like that. It's turning me into a sour and bitter person that no one wants to be around in any capacity. Hence why I've isolated myself as of late.

At the same time though, I realized that in my current age and stage in life, I'm naturally being ghosted by life moving forward. So many of the people I use to hang out with in years past are getting married, having kids, and settling down in general. Yeah, I'm isolating myself but at the same time, the number of folks I can reach out to for a spontaneous activity is dwindling faster than I realized and when I did, it bummed me out. Nowadays, everything has to be scheduled in and coordinated because our time isn't our own anymore. From responsibilities are our jobs to responsibilities with their partners and families, every second of time is being pulled in multiple directions.

It's a bit surreal to come to this conclusion as I'm writing all this down, but I severely underestimated how much influence others have and have had in the development of my mental, emotional, and societal growth. Left to my own devices, I've turned into a grumpy man who waves his fist at clouds. As I start to think back to all the times when friends have helped me attain a grasp on ideas and concepts by talking to them and listening to their point of views, I realize that my initial issue with my empathy diminishing is directly tied to who I surround myself with.

This is going to take some finagling and time for me to process, but as always, mentally vomiting my thoughts into words always helps facilitate my movement forward. I went into this thinking one thing and I came out the other end realizing something else. I'll have to dig deep for this one, but I'm lucky to be able to reach out to others if need be.        


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Immigration Déjà vu

Sometimes, I tell myself that I'm putting too much into nothing. That the connections I see are ones I'm making up and that things aren't they way I'm perceiving them to be. As of late, though, those connections I that I see are no longer just me thinking to myself, but the way things are being played out in the real world and it trips me the fuck out. The past is repeating itself and no one has really made that point or connection to the current context of current events dealing with immigration. I'm 32 and while I haven't been around the block as much as others, I'm also not one to forget the past to the extent of being petty about it. I even went on a twitter rant about it.

Every other day and week, I read news stories on immigration via social media. Dreamers this, immigrants that, Trump this, federal court that, ice raid this, stop posting ice raids that. I  have reached my media consumption threshold and as much as I wish I could just unplug from everything, my paying work involves being on social media and monitoring what is going on for a variety of reasons. Unplugging over the weekends feels like taking a breath of fresh air after holding your breath for an extended amount of time. It's all static noise that only further numbs me from the realities people are actually facing.

The current events unfolding because of this new president is nothing new for immigrants. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Operation Wet Back, all the rhetoric about safety, American values, jobs etc. is just trifle ass bull shit meant to justify policies, laws, and the horrid treatment of individuals. What is going on right now is just the current iteration of a flawed system designed to only prosper at the expense of others. Like in the Matrix movies.

There is a sick circle that is repeating itself and from what I can tell, the majority of people are in it and don't even know. You start with the 24-hour news cycle and the vast arrays in which information is disseminated, which is mostly through social media. Click-bait like headlines and buzzwords start to dominate the content of reputable media sources because of the need to make money. After all, the news is just another business struggling to change with the times. From presidential announcements to arrest of individuals, you are bombarded by articles from different media outlets all telling the same story in their own way by your well-intentioned friends who see what is going on, are mad, and wanna chime in with their two-cents. The tweets and facebook post are published like clockwork.

After the information is processed by individuals, they then seek out help from within their networks to get confirmation and reassurance about what they just read. Eventually, everyone turns to non-profit organizations who are fighting back, but all they find is flowery words that eventually ask them to donate, sign up to a database, become a member, or share their social media content. Facebook activism 101. You feel like you did something when all you really did was spread more misinformation and cause further panic/hysteria. You realize what you did only after the damage has been done and that's the point.

This country goes after immigrants every other administration and while progress has been made, it keeps getting worse for those that aren't able to make progress within the current systems. The many are thrown under the bus for the few. *cough *cough DACA *cough *cough. From the Mexican Repatriation act during the great depression, proposition 187 here in California in the early 90s, to the 2006 immigration bill HR4437, this shit ain't nothing new. There has and always will be an anti-immigrant sentiment in this country. There will always be people, communities, and organizations to fight against them. And that's the point. On an existential cosmic level, my personal beliefs and views of the world are validated without a doubt, but at the same time, I know I'm not the only who should be able to see the connections between the past and the present. Especially those who are physically older than me and were actually there for some of the shit that has already gone down. It's in that line of thinking that I question what is going on now in the fight for immigrants.

Other movements learn from the past and are active in not replicating past mistakes again, even though it's unavoidable at times, but non-profits and similar institutions seem to double down on replicating all the same problems over and over again. As if there is money to be made in the suffering of others and being seen as the only resource that should be trusted to lead the fight. I feel like this current moment is a nexus point in which history is overlapping itself, but there are enough variations to merit this new existence as well. After all, life moves in cycles and that's why all this feels like Déjà vu. A glitch in the Matrix.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Hyper Panic

For what seems my entire life, the Simpsons have always provided me with the context to be able to bridge and understand the complexities of real life events. To be honest, this goes beyond the Simpsons and spans almost every form of pop-culture and entertainment I have consumed in my life, even to this day. So, given how things are going and fires are being lit left and right, causing all this disarray, I got to thinking about which Simpsons episode best sums up what's going on right now. "Much Apu About Nothing" is the 23rd episode of the 7th season, back when the show was still golden. It's the one about immigration. The episode still holds up and the fact that I'm older only helps me pick up on things I missed previously, like how the episode was inspired by the fallout of Prop 187. Everything comes around in circles.

I mention this episode because I dug the analogy Lisa used when explaining the faulty logic behind the line of thinking that how believing in one thing will/won't necessarily have an effect on something else. You know, like building a wall to keep immigrants out or banning people from coming to the US from specific countries. To the same effect, everything that pendejo has done up to this point has had the same result on those who would be impacted and those in solidarity. What has been tripping me out over these last few days as I've been chewing on the fat, is that while all these different situations seem to be repeating themselves more or less, I can see everything playing out, more or less.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

2016 Was A Good Year

It sucked for society all around, but personally, it was one of my best years of my life. *knocks on wood* Most of my end of year reflecting has been on the traveling I got to do this year and my continual growth as an individual in all the different spaces/identities I hold down. The year flew by because I was always doing something, whether it was working or volunteering, there were times in which my day was spent being in meetings or on conference calls planning more meetings/calls before the actual event that was being planned took place. At one point, I had to literally stop everything I was trying to do all at once and refocus my priorities on what needed to be done in order to continue being employed. I didn't like that feeling, not just because it was exhausting, but because I got caught up in the moment, thinking I could take on anything and everything. An experience that looks different for everyone, but the lesson is universal, we can only do so much before it all becomes too much and everything breaks down.

Since my time was devoted to other responsibilities, it meant that I wrote less here as well. I started the year by reflecting on the last 10 years of keeping up this block and then shifted my focus because no one wants to hear me whine and pine about being in meetings and planning. I still wrote here and there, but for sure this has been the first time in a good while that I haven't kept posting regularly. I reflected on that in a post and that's just where I'm at in life now. Thank baby Jesus I'm a lot more mature than I use to be and still have much growing to do, but at least I'm not where I use to be. I also haven't had the existential crisis' I had when I was younger, nor drama, which meant less writing it's in writing that I work out the wrinkles in whatever I'm chewing on.

Hell, even the personal relationships I've had with individuals have changed drastically this last year for a multitude of reasons. For one, this last year was filled with announcements of babies, buying houses, marriages, and folks settling down into adulthood in general, myself included. It's not like it use to be, in which I could put a call out to friends and go on a midnight bike ride to the beach with no regard to having to work the next day or having to catch up on rest from working so much. As much as things pick up in other aspects of life, others slow to a crawl or just completely stop altogether. Some for the better and others not. I chewed on that line of thought throughout 2016 and at one point, thanks to an older than me homie who shared life wisdom, I realized he had a point. Nothing was new or exciting anymore or rather like it use to be. Which again, another universal experience that comes with growth and older age, that you don't go out to get fucked up drinking. Sure, they'll be exceptions here and there, but I'm not about that life. Nor am I about the life in which I go to events and see the same people I see all the time. Not to say that there's anything wrong with that, but it gets to the point where I know what'll happen and in my decision-making in contemplating on whether I should go out or not, I decide not and caught up on movies/tv/reading/video games/getting lifted. I became a homebody is what I'm trying to say and putting on clean clothes in order to go out in public became a chore. Yeah, gross, I know.

Overall, 2016 was a good year for me. I still had a few downs here and there, but damn was it a fun ride. 2017 is looking to pick up where things left off and taking a dive into a dumpster fire. That's cool, I've weathered worse with less than what I have now and I survived. I'm blessed to have an amazing support network and blessed to be gainfully employed. I have no plans on changing that anytime soon, so it's just a matter of taking things as they come and continuing to move forward. I won't get into dribble on what I hope this new year will bring or the fights that are coming because I'll just keep doing more of what I've been doing. Growing on the positive and leaving behind the toxic the best I can. It isn't revolutionary or life changing, but its been working thus far.