Seeking People of Color for Mayor of Albuquerque

abq skylineAfter some recent frustration with national and local politics I have begun to return my attention and energy towards public policy and social activism.  I’m glad to say that I’m not the only one who has begun to become more active.  Although, I will say that I have heard a lot of terminology and mislead statements being thrown around.

Terms like intersectionality for example are being used with little understanding of what the term really means and it’s impact.

When defining “Intersectionality” (Patricia Hill Collens, Intersecting Oppressions), a White Man, on the scale of discrimination, is the one who sits at the top in that he experiences the least amount of discrimination.  If he experiences any.  Also, “reverse racism” is not a thing.

At the other end of the spectrum is the black woman who is most discriminated against because she is in fact black as well as a woman.  This is on a scale that sits within the normative hetero/homo-sexual context (The Transgender Studies Reader/Judith Butler, “Critically Queer,” The Routledge Queer Studies Reader)

Continuing on, there are many people out there who are aware of this gap in education and are intentionally capitalizing on the mislead people of Albuquerque.  Now, not everyone is unaware of what is going on and if you believe that you know everything, then I ensure you that this opinion based blog is not for you.

If you feel like you need some guidance in local politics and issues from the perspective of a male person of color, then welcome.

When it comes to race, accurate representation is tremendously important to me.  Many may say that the race and gender of a candidate does not matter, what matters is their qualifications and in the past when the state of the world was a bit better, I would have ignorantly agreed.

Another reality is that local politics is hardly a priority for a majority of Americans.

Let me tell you now that the upcoming Mayoral Election is more important than any Presidential Election.  Mostly because local politics and policy effect you more directly on a daily basis than any other political event (The ART Project for example).

As a person of color I’m willing to go out there and say that seeing a white man as my mayor does not leave me feeling adequately represented.

Yet, that’s a completely different blog post that I may or may not get to.

So I ask all the Hispanic, Black, Latino, Asian people of Albuquerque whether they believe that a white man will ever understand what it’s like to wake up as person of color.

If a man were born in the poorest part of Albuquerque and that went to the worst public school but were born white, he would have more opportunity of rising up the socio-economic  ladder than any of his “minority” counterparts.  Even if he had a Spanish last name, this wouldn’t exempt him from experiencing the privilege of being white.

Let it be known that this is not an attack on white men and that in fact I know a lot of white men and have them as friends.  So it’s cool.

I firmly believe that the time has come to stop electing white men to public office in Albuquerque.  There are people of color, but more importantly women of color running for office in this city and they are not getting elected.

Why?

Why is it that when a white man runs for office they are seen as automatically qualified for the job.  When a woman of color or even man of color runs for office, their integrity and everything else under the sun comes into question?!

It’s time, ALBUQUERQUE!  It’s time to elect a representative for Mayor that represents and reflects your beliefs as well who you are on the outside.  Only they can accurately keep your best interest at heart.

In all reality, I’m asking you to vote for yourself because you are no longer the minority.  You are no longer meant to be cast aside.  I encourage you to run for office and if you can’t then vote for People of Color.  Let’s make it about you for once.

List of Candidates!

Advertisements

Person of Color in Recovery

It was the second time I had been asked to share my story in a meeting and I remember being scared because of the first time was at this run down club house full of old timers I didn’t really care to impress.

Not this time.

This time I was at a bougie joint where the drunks had money, status, and primarily a milky white complexion.  My entire life it had been engrained in me that in order to succeed as a first generation Mexican-American I had to assimilate to Anglo-Saxon culture and ideology.  I went to schools with primarily white students and played sports with the white kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it.  A majority of the white people I was around liked having a token brown friend around.  Even if it was subconsciously.  They aren’t bad people and I still speak and hang out with a lot of them till this day.

The real issue was that when I shared my experience about having the alcoholic mentality while growing up, and that I always felt a little more apart from the rest than the typical alcoholic because of the skin of my color, I was told that it wasn’t special.

An older white man approached me and told me that I wasn’t any different and that I was just like him because he grew up white in Texas.  At the time I was only a year into sobriety and hadn’t yet learned the importance of boundaries and standing by my experience.  So, I said ok.

It wasn’t until I began to go through certain experiences in the rooms of not being forgiven when I had seen white counterparts doing worse and being told it was all ok, that a fire was lit inside of me.

I can understand how this can come across as a bitter rant.  By all means, I’ve taken this into consideration.  It’s just that it wasn’t until a few years into my recovery that I started to own being a Person of Color (PoC).

Being a Person of Color in the rooms was and continues to be difficult.  There is a performance I see being put on, including by myself in order to adapt to occidental, Anglo-Saxon norms and behaviors.  There are some that I see resisting and slowly but surely I see us People of Color coming closer and closer together.

There is a level of restraint being practiced by People of Color when in a room filled with white people.  Lets keep it real, a majority of the rooms are dominated by not just white people but old white men.  So, if you’re white and reading this I want to let you know, YES!, we sure do talk different when you people aren’t around.

The thing is that it’s not just how we speak but our demeanor and what we speak of.  We want to be ourselves.  At least I know I do.

In a recent conversation with a Woman of Color who is also part of the LBGTQ community, I asked her if she would be willing to start a meeting for PoC with me.  She responded by enlightening me that it had already been attempted but white men kept showing saying “We deserve to be here”.  The suggestion that followed was to start a non Twelve Step group that would be a safe place for us to hang out and organize if necessary.

My question now is, how can there be a respect for Women’s Meetings, LBGTQ Meetings, but none for a meeting for People of Color.  Are old white men that scared of us brown, black and yellow folk?!

Is it only ok to organize if white people are allowed?

Where are we as a society if People of Color still can have a safe space to be themselves.  A place to share their experience, strength, and hope without fear of being told, “NO!”.

People of Color stay strong.  People of Color stay grounded.  People of Color stay soulful.

To my fellow People of Color I say, “YES!”

 

Beginnings of Fall

A feeling rises within me, almost like something reminding me that I’ve missed you from within.

The feeling itself is a mixture melancholy for what is yet to happen and a disorientation.

By the time I realize that the Earth has tilted, the lighting is softer, and the air is more crisp, I’ve already fallen off into memories of our past.

The joy, the laughter, the long brisk runs, but also the tears, and times of struggle.

Although there don’t seem to be many bad times,
until you leave at some point in the twelfth.

It is always my body that warns me that you are near,
as if it can sense your aura.

All the good you carry.
The beauty you create.
Love that you cast out for the world to consume.

At times I feel like the world sees your arrival as the end of the good,
but not I.

In my eyes, you are only the beginning.
The beginning to a year of inspiration,
creation,
content.

Welcome back my dear friend.

Anxious Mind

Anger

Arises from feeling left out.
Feeling controlled.
Not knowing what is to come.

Fear

Rejection.
Not being good enough.
Being hurt.

Sadness

Past.
Maybe I’m not a good partner.
What my ex said was true and no one wants to be with me.
I’m difficult to live with.

Cynicism

I should live alone and be content.
Travelling.
Not letting anyone down

Loneliness

I want to share my life with someone
It’ll never happen
Everyone hates me

Nothing

Don’t react
Sit in it
No matter what, just hold on for the ride

It may turn out that nothing will be ok but it may be that this is the way it’s supposed to be.

The Darkness always comes…

The darkness always comes and when it does it feels as though I’m welcoming an old friend.  It is my belief that we all experience pain differently but when it comes to falling into that dark pit of hopelessness, I can’t help but believe that what others feel are the internal sensations I also experience. After coming in and out of these periods all my life it is now that I consider these moments as inspiration.  I no longer lock myself away and instead find a way to express what I am feeling.  It is during these times that I feel the most creative.

Understanding that I’m in the beginnings of a creative blip has been possible because I’ve grown tenfold in the past two years and can now keep aware of my emotional state.  Not only that but contact with an old muse has re-centered me.

It took me few days to recognize what I was feeling this time and it all arose from doubt that I deserve what I am getting in life.  When most people say that they  don’t feel that they deserve what they’re getting they’re typically upset about getting handed a raw deal.  In my case everything is going great.  Grad school is well, I’m emotionally stable, my finances are great, and I’m enjoying being a father to my wonderful children. If you’re still reading this, you probably think that I should stop writing and should get back to my life yet I can’t help but over think, in my typical fashion, why I feel that I don’t deserve these things.

I think of myself as undeserving due to my social conditioning that I need to be in a certain socio-economic state because of my “humble” beginnings.  I wonder to myself how many other individuals feel that they don’t deserve the good things that life has granted them or that their accomplishments need to be diminished because they have a complex about being praised, as I do.

I think to myself that maybe I should just buckle down and work a normal job to provide for my kids instead of following my dreams but then I remember that doing what I love is the best example I could set for my children.  I’m surrounded by amazing, intelligent, emotionally-evolved, and inspiring people.

As many of my colleagues have, I have worked hard for the opportunities that I have been presented with and deserve everything in my life, for better or worse.

So now I welcome the darkness because it allows me to look within and grow.  To love, to share, to create.

How much is too much?

As I write this in a fleeting moment of loneliness and self-pity, I rationalize my dark thoughts by telling myself that it is my responsiblity as an artist, writer, even just as a human-being to share my feelings in the case that it can help comfort someone who feels the same way I do.

I know that I am desirable, that I deserve to be loved, and that this too shall pass.  Yet, a conversation I had with a colleague a few years back about cynicism in regards to relationships keeps creeping back into my mind.  She mentioned to me that a friend of hers who was in her mid-forties had just met a man and that they had been hitting it off.  Although she liked this man, she had her reservations about taking it any further because of her past experiences.  It was the fear of them both beginning to like one another, to start a relationship, then begin to resent one another, only for one of them to end up hurting the other.

I told her that my thought was that it only got easier as one got older and she convinced me that it was quite the contrary.  One only becomes more cynical with age, especially in romance.

My refusal to believe this could be chalked up to my romantic personality or in reality it could be that I was just delusional about how romance works in the real world.

As I moped around I recounted all the events of my most recent attempt at a romantic relationship and what could have been the moment that my counterpart decided not to continue.  Although I know that 99 percent of the time it is not oneself to blame, I felt as though it could have been the baggage of my past.

Despite being in recovery and having been able to tell some of my peers the “destruction” from my past, and then being told that I finally belong with others who have been through the same.  It doesn’t seem to change the fact that sometimes baggage is just baggage, regardless of who you surround yourself by.  The details of my past are not important, although I’m curious as to when baggage becomes too much baggage.  When should one just say, “Well, I’ve created so much destruction that I’m just going have to get used to treking through life on my own.”?

Of course I’ll have friends and family to support me but should I reach a point of acceptance that I’ll just have to live life as a single man?

I already have children. I’m educated and soon to move further up in the academic ladder.  I’m living a life of balance, spirituality, and sobriety.  I’m relatively happy as well.

I would just like to be able to believe that I’m done with romance and that I can just live life without the worry of meeting someone who will absolutely crush my soul in the most beautifully horrifying way possible.

To live life knowing that I will never feel romantic heartache again.

All those who are in relationships say, it will happen when you least expect it. Or, when you finally stop looking the love of your life shows up.  I feel like those sayings are some serious bullshit.

Maybe I’m missing the point but maybe I’m actually ready to be done.  Maybe I don’t want to give up because I’m affraid when I get settled in my being single and happy that I’m going to meet that one person who will destroy me.

Life will go on and I may or may not meet someone to walk beside me on this journey of life and  I’m ok with that.  It just feels like people are all too willing to try at a romance but not capable of breaking things off in an emotionally considerate manner.

The sweet isn’t as sweet without the bitter but shit man.

Maybe I’m Not Funny?

Despite having been in relationships, I don’t ever think I have ever been loved romatically to the capacity that I love others.  When I like someone, I give myself to them.  Some think that it’s too much and that I must play the game of pretending not to care but that’s just not who I am.

It comes off as ingenuine to me and I don’t want to start something based of manipulation.  It seems like most relationships these days are based in a power struggle. If this is the only way one can find love then I want nothing to do with it. I’d rather have genuine friendships than manipulative relationships.

Something real and long lasting is all I ask for.  Maybe I’m just not funny enough to sweep a woman off her feet.  I make it seem like I try to hard and that maybe I’m picking out poor matches when in reality these women tend to just happen to me when I’m not looking.  It makes it all that much more tragic.  I’ll be doing just fine and going about my life when out of nowhere they crash into my soul and ruin me all over again.

Don’t let your guard down so easily is what I have been told. It’s not that I let my guard down it’s just that it seems like the universe knows when to strike.

Universe: He’s perfectly happy on his own right now and doesn’t need anyone.  Lets fuck up his shit.

Eventually they lose interest and I’m left there with an emptiness inside all over again.  A part of me never stops loving these women.  I just love them in a different way.  More of a grateful way.  I’m thankful to them for having let me down once more.  For having toughened me up a little more.  For teaching me a lesson about life, once more.

All I know is that I have never felt like the center of someone’s universe or loved in a head over heels sort of way.  That kind of hurts.  Who am I kidding, it hurts a lot.  Such is life I guess.  I’ll go on and wait for the next one to destroy me.

Or maybe, I’m not funny enough.

Trusting your gut

This morning I woke up pondering where I am in my life and how despite my natural desire to sweep a woman off her feet that I need to let time heal and to be patient.  “After all, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”  Despite this being a biblical sitation, I’m not a religious man and only recently found a sort of non-traditional spirituality that best suits my… personality.

I decided to write about how I was feeling but as my day started happening I found myself pushing it back.  This only forced me to dwell on my thoughts and to struggle with the ups and downs of my rationalization.  It wasn’t until end of my day that I realized I had come full circle to my initial thoughts of this morning.  Love is patient, kind, and is not proud.  My initial gut instinct was right all along.

All too often I find myself caught up in seeing how my life isn’t that I fail to see how lucky I am to have all that I’ve got.  Kind and loving children, an understanding family, and non-judgemental friends.  Most of all is the capacity to love.  In love we tend to doubt ourselves and sabbotage something that we may actually want.  We do it out of the need to self-preserve.  Feeling hurt is what we avoid to the point that we would rather not feel.  We forgot how to trust ourselves.  We must choose to feel regardless of where that leads us.

The person I may have feelings may not be in a place to feel, love, or be romantic and that’s okay.  This is just how life plays out sometimes. In my new found spirituality I’ve found that I must not rush things and though I’m not giving up I accept that after some time things will change.

I don’t believe that anyone falls out of love but that the love changes.  I use love now because that’s what it is now and that can easily turn into love for a friend or just a melancholy sort of love of a happy point in ones life.  Time will definitely tell.

Time is something that I have been guilty of taking for granted along with my generation.  We must enjoy the process.  All technology does is create distance and a disconnect.  A need for instant gratification because we now have the whole world at our finger tips, why not love as well.

I recognize the irony of my blog yet I write it so that I can have some peace of mind and in hopes that others may relate.  Maybe even some positive affirmation.  I am, only human.  My intention is not for this to be some romantic gesture that someone may find later.

Back to the point, I do find myself trapped by technology though.  I sometimes wish I lived in a time when people who liked one another still spoke and had to meet up in order to connect.  All we have now is a tenuous digital connection of contsant nothingness.  Exchanging likes of instagram photos or facebook posts in order to demonstrate our interest and to feel better about our utter lack of effort.

It is a difficult time to be a romantic although I must try.  I cannot change my ways.  It’s engrained.  If I feel, I must express.  I will continue down my path and all signs point to me moving on but never really forgetting the way the butterflies made me feel.  It will be a long time before I can say I’ve moved on but maybe just maybe nothing will change on my end and the stars align for an experience of a life time.

All I can do now is wait and be the best human being that I can, and stick to my gut.

Home…

feet

Albuquerque hasn’t been home in a long time. The people are familiar and help with the day to day. I try to remember what’s said about home being where the heart is. I forget that it doesn’t mean where it is physically. My time with you had me feeling like I was home again. I don’t know what the future holds but what I do know is that all the bad fades away when I feel at home. That is something that I can get used to.