2011 was a tough year for my family and me. I really struggled financially, culminating in painfully choosing to move out of our little Corona apartment, Casa Mala. I just couldn’t afford it anymore no matter how hard I tried to move money around. The constant battle against rising rent and utilities was taking a toll on my mental and emotional health. I found myself, over and over again making choices between gas and electricity, internet and food. At one point we even went without gas for a few months. It was easier to let it go.
Two other things that I let go of, were the the physical bodies of two of my great aunts who passed from this earth this past year. Titi Elena, or Titi Chacho as my Tio Ruben liked to call her just to annoy the hell out of her, struggled with her health this past year. My sister and mother were lucky enough to be able to see her and the part of our family in Ohio that cared for her, before she died. I carry fond memories of her from my many childhood stays in Long Island. Titi Geno was just shy of her 100th birthday when she passed away in her sleep. She was never seriously ill and retained so many vivid memories of early 20th century life in Western Puerto Rico where she grew up with my grandmother and other great aunts. She would tell us about seeing the first car on the island and offer an eyewitness account of the violent economic shift that U.S. colonialism contributed to, especially in the sugarcane fields where many of my family members labored with machetes in hand. Titi is a very special title in my family and it makes me sad that there are two less but they gave so much for me to carry forward.
I had to let go of or more accurately, loosen some of my relationships with individuals and organizations. Collaborations by nature are challenging, but I this past year I placed myself in positions where accountability remained in the conceptual realm and not the practical one. At times I lacked the selfishness I deserve and ended up feeling really used and wounded. I own that I too played my role in not effectively communicating these feelings and I admit that I needed to be more transparent or at least offer more tangible closure. This is something I hope to continue to work through in the new year but not at the expense of my personal values and goals.
But for everything that is lost : a home of one’s own, physical and emotional relationships with loved ones – there is more space opened for things to enter, to gain, to grow, to evolve. 2011 as a year of taking risks by opening my heart towards the West. Social media and mutual friends worked together to connect my path to another’s. That person has developed into an amazing friend, lover, and partner. Past relationships behind me in a sold way I never thought possible, I am working on building something complicated and beautiful. Long distance monogamy has it’s challenges and drawbacks, which deserve a few posts. But it is also unfolding into amazing experiences, lessons, and love.
While I have been blogging less (you can read more about that here)I have been developing more as a writer. I have written for local and national publications, have performed, and am much more settled in my identity as a writer.
As 2011 closes, the current trend all over twitter and other media is to look towards the coming new year with top 10 lists and and catch phrases to put onto personal brands. As a person who views her life as media, that is how I live sends messages out into the world and universe, I cannot and will not even attempt to ecapsulate my goals, visions, and plans into a neat, 140 character package. Before I can do anything for my future, I first need to embrace the mixture of failures and triumphs of the last year and understand that the true definition of success is what I take away from from that mixture.