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Thursday, December 13, 2012

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED!

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Hey everyone. Please click HERE to visit my new blog location and follow me over there!

All's mostly the same, except the layout and the fact that I'm now with Wordpress instead of Blogger. The limited templates were just finally getting to me, though Blogger is so easy to deal with otherwise.

Monday, October 29, 2012

#Sandy

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If you're cozy in bed or in your house right now, please think of the folks who are homeless in areas that are getting worse winds and flooding. Think about the inmates in prisons that ARE NOT GETTING EVACUATED. Think about the scope of the storm and how even if it's a Category 1, it's fucking HUGE (the largest hurricane in Atlantic history), and its damages are way beyond a few showers and some wimpy gusts of wind.

Then think twice about making jokes about it.

Though a crazy-ass intense storm might be interesting hypothetically (and trust me, I've been there), it's not so interesting when you're navel-deep in water or have your home destroyed, so let's get real and stop wishing for "more of a real storm." This is as real as it gets, people. Lives are on the line.

P.S. it's DISGUSTING how some people are saying "this storm is the gays' fault."

Some links to check out:














Saturday, September 29, 2012

So Where Do We Go From Here?: Talking and Writing When Trust Is Gone

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Some people talk to themselves, but I prefer to write to myself. Whether it be on stray sticky notes, in paper journals, online, whatever--the medium doesn't matter too much as long as it's written down and I can process my thoughts that way.

My second partner and first "big" relationship (read: we're primaries and going on 3 years now!) wanted me to share my thought processes with them as the thoughts were happening. As an introspective only-child who's obsessed with documentation, this was REALLY HARD. I wasn't used to talking my feelings out as they were happening, but instead spewing them out in writing and doodles, organizing them, and then presenting people with a neatly packaged finished product that made sense and was easy to understand. Alas, my partner wanted to be part of my process, not just someone who got handed a nice little package at the end...so I started to talk things out more, though I was still writing a lot. He also made himself vulnerable with me and shared his feelings/thought processes, so it made it easier for me to do the same.

Fast forward a bit under a year, and I've embarked upon my second "big" relationship (simultaneously with the other one because helloooooo non-monogamy). This new partner also wanted me to share my thought processes as they were happening. Since I'd been practicing, it was easier, and by then, not only was I so wrapped up in that new relationship that I didn't have much time to write anyway, but we were talking so much that the thought processes had no other choice but to come out. 

...and then there was a breach of trust. 

Won't go into too much detail, since this is not just my story to tell, but he violated the boundaries we had negotiated in regards to his ex-partner. When he told me, I felt like my chest was caving in, like the flood-boards had turned into quicksand and I was going to sink down down down beyond all the floors in the building and into the earth. After the shock and some words, I started sobbing--ragged sobs that seemed to be pulling my insides out with every one. And though we talked, it felt like my brain was a mess and that talking through things was no longer going to work. There were too many feelings, too many thoughts, and to speak to him would mean censoring myself in order to not be hurtful. It would also mean coherence, a linear thought pattern, and I needed something else.

So when I went home, I started writing and drawing again. I wrote and cried and wrote and cried and diagrammed and organized myself into something sensical. We had many conversations afterwards, and the following is part of a larger text file I wrote for myself (soon after finding out what happened) that outlined many of my thoughts, including what I was bothered by/why I thought what they did was messed up (which I'm not sharing because...well, that's shit's private.) While this doesn't say WHAT my boundaries were (since that was a previous discussion), it lays out part of the "what happens next," which I think can be one of the biggest hurdles in dealing with a boundary violation within a romantic relationship. This is what my brain came up with:
you didn't want to hurt me, but because you were thoughtless, you did.
so where do we go from here? to be with you, i need you to seriously reevaluate your relationship to X and, most of all, respect my boundaries. i need her to respect my boundaries too. i need you to stand up for those boundaries if someone else is disrespecting them, or getting really close to the line. i need you to respect me, and them, in spirit, not just by following the letter of the law and trying to find loopholes. this is why it's so important to me that you understand my thought process regarding my boundaries; so that if anything is shady, you either stop, err on the side of caution, and talk to me about it, OR you make a truly informed decision that tries its best to be aligned with our joint comfort zones. 
i'm not asking that you stop hanging out with X, but in my ideal world, you WOULD be willing to do so if hanging out with her meant that our relationship was eroding, either because she didn't respect me, or you guys couldn't be around each other without high degrees of sexual tension and discomfort, but that's not something i'm going to demand of you. it's something i'm going to put out there...and my decisions as to how we should proceed will be influenced by that. 
if that's not something you can do, or not something you are willing to do, then i am not comfortable being in any sort of relationship with you. this is an issue of trust and safety and comfort at its core. if i can't feel any trust, safety, or comfort with you, i am not willing to be with you. and i want you to understand that you have already fucked with my trust. and that this is only made scarier by the fact that now i'm more worried about how alcohol/weed would affect your interactions. i'm not sure you wouldn't have made the same decisions if you hadn't been sober. 
i don't want you to begrudgingly not be romantic/sexual with her. 
you said "I can't promise that this won't happen again," but if this is inevitable, why continue? 
I understand why you're saying this, because you thought you'd try hard to not make it happen this first time and it DID anyway and now you're feeling shitty and insecure, but if you can't give me at least an ALMOST-guarantee, why should i stay involved here?
what type of relationship do you want to have with me? what type of relationship do you want to have with X? based on what you told me that night in my frat's basement, you want me, and you want to be friends with X and have shit not be complicated. but if you can't have that, what will you try to have instead? what does that look like to you? 
basically, i need you to make a decision so i can make mine. are you willing to do what it takes to move our relationship forward in a good, respectful, healthy manner? are you willing to respect me? 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Latino Blog Challenge Day 6: Crossing Borders

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Prompt: "Immigration: For or Against?"

I'm for people moving when they want and/or need to, and I'm pro immigrant/migrant rights. I'm pro youth getting an easier path to citizenship when they didn't make the decision to migrate without papers, but were under the care of a guardian who made that decision for them.

Not a fan of conditions that make it so people HAVE to migrate against their will, so that families are separated, so that people work in subhuman conditions to send money home or feed their families. Not a fan of heavily controlled borders and the dehumanizing language around undocumented people (e.g. "illegals" and "aliens"). Not a fan of super difficult processes to become a citizen of a country where someone is working and/or fleeing and/or trying to provide for themselves/their family and/or be part of the community.

Latino Blog Challenge Day 5: Paging Dr. Obvious

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Prompt: "Romney or Obama?"

IS THIS EVEN A SERIOUS QUESTION?

NO.

Because no one in their right fucking mind would vote for Romney.

As a queer Puerto Rican, NO. I AM NOT VOTING FOR ROMNEY.

I'm voting for Obama, but Jill Stein is in close second.

The end.

Latino Blog Challenge Day 4: Rollcall of Awesomeness

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Prompt: "What Latino blog I recommend"

Well I can't just pick ONE, obviously! So here are a few!

I want to focus a bit on the intersection of queerness and Latin@ identity because my induction into my queerness was not through a lens of queer Latinidad. My queerness was part of my conscious identity before my ethnicity, and it was hella whitewashed in terms of theory because that's what was mainstream and available. Now I'm doing my work to deconstruct that and try to live my sexuality in ways that feel authentic but also connected to my ethnic history and homeland of Puerto Rico.

To that end, I'd love to highlight some awesome queer Latin@ blogs, and I gotta start with Tumblr: Fuck Yeah Queer Latin@s  and Fuck Yeah Jot@s. I also had the lovely experience of connecting with Max during a webinar and simultaneously finding their blog, but not making the connection until a bit later. Finally, the Latinidad section of QWOC Media Wire is another awesome collection of articles. An honorary mention in this section, because it's not solely Latin@ but pretty awesome and QPOC-y, is QueerBrownXX.


Now, not solely a queer latin@ blog, but instead a general one that does touch upon sexuality is the Latinegr@s Project. I gotta give mad appreciation to them because as someone who benefits from light-skinned privilege, I like seeing spaces that actively cultivate strength, pride, and power in being afro-latin@ and visibly so; that post art and music and jobs and resources; that critique white-washing and frequent negative media portrayals of dark-skinned characters; and highlight the marginalization even within already oppressed communities. In the same vein of fabulousness, check out Latino Sexuality and Vivir Latino (the latter is geared primarily towards folks that are part of the Latin@ diaspora in the U.S.).


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Latino Blog Challenge Day 3: Feed Me, Seymour!

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Prompt: "Favorite Latin Cuisine"

HARD QUESTIONS! I'm a total foodie and just spent a weekend in Puerto Rico having amazing Latin-American food. At Tierra de Fuego, we ate Argentinian food; at Perurrican, we ate Peruvian and Peru/PR fusion food; and at home we ate comida criolla.

I think the defining feature of my favorite Latin-American cuisine, though, is the lack of heat and the blast of flavors. Having grown up in Puerto Rico to a boricua mom and a Cuban dad, those cuisines are definitely my favorite, though I do have soft spots for Argentine and Dominican food.

But let's just get our mouths watering now, and I can share some food memories:
  • Milanesa (a breaded cutlet dish) a la napolitana (with ham, cheese, and marinara sauce) or a caballo (with a fried egg on top) from El Deli in Puerto Rico, an Argentine place where I drank the mushroom & wine sauce like a soup, where we could draw/sign on the walls with big markers.
  • Abuela making short-grained white rice with tocino as I sat on a small, white wicker chair and watched cartoons.
  • Picking out the black rice grains from the big measuring cup full of white rice as I stood on a chair helping a neighbor when we visited Mayaguez.
  • Picking parcha (passionfruit) and sugar cane and guineos (bananas) and carambolas (starfruit) and little medicinal herbs and recao from our backyard.
  • Christmases with arroz con gandules, home-made pasteles wrapped in twine and banana leaves, arroz con dulce with that little cinnamon stick. A roast pig on the spit and Christmas songs about going to see Jesus, about the jibaritos on the mountains.
  • Limbers made in plastic cups and eaten after school, bright yellow corn ice-cream with cinnamon on top (or guava sherbet with creamed cheese balls), and shaved ice piraguas in Old San Juan.

Latino Blog Challenge Day 2: Visitando la patria

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Prompt: "What Latin American Country/Island have I been to"

Well, I've lived in a Latin-American country most of my life--18 years to be exact--though some debate if Puerto Rico is even a country at all. It's actually an archipelago, for starters--a collection of islands in the Caribbean, part of the Greater Antilles--that's still not sovereign. PR is a commonwealth of the U.S., a strange love-child of the Caribbean waters and the U.S. empire.

Aside from that and perhaps touching the shores of some other islands when I was too young to remember more than a few snippets, I've never been anywhere else in Latin-America.

Hopefully one day I'll visit other places, but here are some at the top of the list:
  • Cuba--my father's homeland. He and his family fled Fidel Castro's regime and thus hopped over to Mexico, Florida, and eventually Puerto Rico while my dad was just a small child. They all said they'd never step foot back there until communism fell and/or Fidel and his line died out. 
  • Argentina--we had online friends there in the late 90's due to my dad's love of Argentine Dogos and my mom's tech savvy, friendly nature.
  • Costa Rica--pretty pretty!

Latino Blog Challenge Day 1: Latin@ in America

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Starting late, I know. This was supposed to start on the 15th, but I'm starting today because I was traveling (to Puerto Rico, coincidentally).

Prompt: "What I love most about being Latino in America"

First of all, I'm assuming "America" here means the United States of America? Which is a pet peeve of mine because the USA is NOT the entirety of America and I think it's strange how US folks call themselves just "Americans."

But anyway.

I love that we're a presence that complicates notions of race and belonging--that in a black/white country we come in too many colors to easily pinpoint and identify as Latin@, and that while all our Latin-American countries have their own histories, we as people have histories with living in the U.S. too.

I like that our mere presence can turn racialized notions on their head. Here in the U.S. we organize more based around country of origin and/or language rather than the color of our skin because skin does not dictate our full cultural landscape (though it does affect it). Our origins, overall, are mixed and complicated so that questions of race can throw many of us for a loop. How much of our blood is black or native or various flavors of colonizer? Is it even a question of blood anymore for those folks who have immigrated into Latin-America from other countries and been there for years, decades, or even centuries?

I love that even in the face of antipathy and harsh immigration laws and racism and xenophobia and stereotypes, we are still overall a proud set of people, that we congregate joyously and there's always food and conversation and community.