Your true color is dark gray, muddy, half devoid of substance as if it couldn’t be enough. Your halo is gray and tilted to one side and I saw cracks in your demeanor. For a while I looked at myself and saw some of you reflected as I slowly turned light gray from a pure white. Your color is dark gray, beautiful, but grimy and it brings me down and I wonder what it must feel like to carry that weight with you of pouring out uncontrollably as you hold on to fragments from when you fell to the floor and shattered. I am an act of self-love, in constant motion, and ever so willing to give the little pieces of light that I hold in my hands, but I can’t share that light if all you’ll do is obscure my path.
I am a woman who already knows what she wants. I can’t sit at my kitchen table waiting when I’m in a state of perpetual motion.
Today I smiled at the thought of deserts consuming entire cities.
It’s not up to you to fix what you did not break. It’s not up to you to chase what does not want to be followed nor to lose your peace for those with no peace in their hearts.
What you’re meant to do is to live well and freely without shackles imposed on you by others. You are meant to cut the threads connecting their words to your head so that you may think truly without their hidden agendas influencing your actions.
You don’t deserve a half-baked innocence.
He thins me, to which my response is a laugh. A woman, looks at me as she overhears and laughs to which I wonder if it is part mockery. No matter, for I still maintain civility. I am small, but as the man said, a thin that will not break. Perhaps I am almost rubber band-like—my body with its refusals to fray as I spread myself out larger than she thought ever possible.
I too was naïve in the way that girls are, feeding into romance novels thinking that things called love could be unconditional. There are always conditions and those that say otherwise are lying. It is based on your genetics, your fundamental beliefs, or your culture. If “love” were truly unconditional then you wouldn’t have endings to beginnings. Terminating great love is never easy, yet compromises cannot be reached always. Some things will “break the camel’s back” as some say, yet I believe that orgullo is behind that saying and many more. It was naïve of me to think that the things I loved someone else would love the same. My little moon, staring out the window. I don’t know if animals are capable of unconditional love, but I know that I will not give reason to doubt. Perhaps my error is in my honesty, it is so blatant that if you don’t peel back the layers you’ll never get to understanding.
Bitterness is in my garden for blood and sweat were not enough to make roses grow out of this dirt. I cut myself wide open and let my waters flow through the rivers of within me, yet dams blocked seeds from saturating and the sun just beat down too damn hard. The leaves in the trees rustled lies, lies, lies and I heard from miles away without ever having to have been in the room. My energy took me to the ocean once again, where I could dip my toes into the salt so that I could build up my reservoir of tears for later on when Cubans cross the ocean in bathtubs in the downpour of the deep dark sky. To me came Mother Mary and she spoke to me to let it be, but my ship has never capsized without a fight and I fought, first myself and then you.
Like Warsan Shire, I dimmed my light and crawled into myself so that I would take up less space, but my mouth couldn’t stay shut and what little space I tried to not occupy, my body rebelled and grew big and full. I hoped that I was enough when I was picked up like the serpent that I am, sharp, poisonous, and headstrong. I was never welcoming to meek mice, for I needed to feed and lick my fangs every time someone uttered hate in my direction. My paralyzing toxins are those that you cannot see and now I am angry because I protected the pack during my time as a wolf, but the vipers still snuck into my snake nest as I transformed.
Have you lost track of time? In moments I will only be a figment of your imagination and you will ask, was she real? The dust particles in the air will hint that I was, as the volcano within my soul erupts one last time to clear the path. I will forget one day: you, me, him, her. See how I put myself second there? That will be the only time.
I want to be INFLUENTIAL, to let the wealth of my knowledge flood every aspect of my life. I want my family to see that their sacrifices achieved their version of an “American Dream” that did its best to push them out of the system. I want to BE that dream, breathe it, exude it, and foster it. A life of wealth in all regards of the word to show people that the people from my island are stronger than the oceans surrounding us. We use adversity to our advantage by surging over the waves towards our goals if we have to. Crumbling structures don’t keep us back, they simply provide us an escape from the jail that is the government. When treasure is buried deep, we dig it out and give to our loved ones their fair share. We learned sacrifice early on; my mamá sacrificing herself for me by fattening me up as a baby while her muscles shriveled onto her bones from lack of food. Seventy-six pounds is what she weighed when she had me. Six of those pounds were me so when they told her she made only a small ripple in the river she uprooted the whole Earth to show that she and I were the entire ocean making waves. Our mothers sacrificed their education, our fathers did as well all for a generation that they believed in. Our grandparents did the same. We are children loved with souls as powerful as the universe and spirits made bolder by the santería we practice. We put soul into the world by giving soul. My parents don’t know how to put it in words yet, but I’m MORE than the American Dream. I’m the CUBAN dream.
Military style is how we think they learn. Sound a beep that plugs them into work like those sedatives used to restrain a “crazy” person. These kids are treated as if they were lampposts, only to be used for illuminating the way for the higher members of society.
I see the frustration in their eyes and with every moment they feel betrayed by the system. I’m just standing there telling them that I believe in them and they can do it, but that won’t be enough. I tell them and they’re momentarily defeated, but some of them want lift their heads high and say that they are NOT merely cogs in the system.
Fight for your lives, my little troopers. You mean the world to me.
My kids are exhausted like magnolias falling off of the tree.