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On Dying… She’s Dead.

She’s dead. I am on my way back home to mourn her loss. Yesterday I got a call at work and was told “if you want to see her while she is alive, you had better come now,” so I took off. We all knew she was going to die. She stopped talking last week and this week she stopped eating and drinking. Swallowing had become too painful… we think.. as she couldn’t verbalize it. The nurse said if they were to transport her to hospice, she might die en route. So they left her home to die comfortably. With her family. With those that loved her. In her own room. On her own terms. Yesterday she opened her eyes wide, gasped for air and life exited her body with an exhale… I was told.

I find myself saying “she died” so matter-of-factly and stoically then an hour later my face tightens up like a walnut and I want to scream. Scream until all the pain leaves my body. I’m not grieving her loss but I grieve the life she could have lived if given the opportunity. I grieve for everyone who is now lost without her. I grieve for the people that did not respect her as much as they should have. I grieve because my future children, if I have any, will never meet her.

Since being in the know about her impending death, I kept thinking of legacies and cycles. Things are cyclical. She leaves not only a legacy of persevering through adversity but she also leaves a legacy of poverty, abuse, neglect, depression, suffering…. A legacy that I have seen repeated by her progeny.

A legacy I have chosen to leave alone. To live across the country and shut my eyes and block my ears to. A legacy that whispers to me in my dreams and harasses me while I am awake. I’ll continue to persevere through adversity but all of that other shit can stay in my hometown. I’m good.

Spanglish Lesson

Dear friends,

I wanted to teach you a handy comeback that is usually used in the Caribbean Latino community, from my experience. Anytime someone says something fucked up to you, you say something back and then add “¿en qué quedamos?” Here is an example:

Her: Tu eres una fucking bitch!

You: …and you are a puta so ¿en qué quedamos?

¿en qué quedamos? means “where does that leave us.” Think of it as the American, “and what?”

That’s all, carry on.

To Live and Die in LA… With Mexicans

I moved to LA in September of last year and it has definitely taken some time to get used to. Talk about culture shock! I have always been around a lot of culture or so I thought. Being Afro-Latina, I was always comfortable in my surroundings as most of my friends were from the African Diaspora and mostly Latino. I never knew many Mexicans. Everyday I am learning more and more about their culture. When I first moved I thought, hey we are all Latino and share a language, there has to be common ground somewhere… right?  WRONG. Today I said something and laughed because I am fucking nut. At dinner, in a Korean tofu restaurant, with Mexican friends I talked about wanting to have a balcony or a porch. When I moved here I just took any old apartment I saw on Craigslist and moved in sight unseen. A great cozy (read: tiny) place in Koreatown. I told my friends that

although there is no balcony, there is a courtyard. When asked if I ever hang out in the courtyard I said “hell no, it is like fucking Mariachi Plaza out there. Music blaring and kinds running around and shit.”  I laugh now because  think, what must Mexicans feel 

when they move to the north east. I bet in the same conversation someone would say, “hell no, it

is like fucking merengue mania out there,” describing the rest the same way I did. There is so much to learn here and so much culture to absorb. I am totally up for the challenge. I will keep you updated on my progress.