Personal reflections on Home, Belonging, and Self
MARCH 2020: March ended very differently than it started for all of us. I have been finding comfort in the ways that I have been preparing, knowingly or not, to be home. To ground into what home means to me. I am grateful for the unexpected yet precise (thanks Tony Hernandez!) way that Covid 19 Social Distancing has asked me to feel more into home, define home, and explore how home changes. The photos here are me seeing myself as a multi-faceted yet together person. I think I have been really good at compartmentalizing myself for my different social spheres and work environments and how despite that skill being helpful at the time I am quite tired of it. I am leaning into my own integrity and wanting to smooth some of those compartments out. Transforming boundaries and figuring out how porous or not porous they should be. My bedroom feels like a sanctuary and I share it now with my soon to be husband. I am reminded that home includes both of us or all of us (see Lucia napping on the ground in the last image). I am reminded that my home can expand and grow to include those close to me AND I can now shape how my home looks. I am learning that I belong to many homes. My bones and blood claim Boriken and Quisqueya as home. And my body claims the Bronx as home and my body also claims Lancaster as home. I am home at my parents house and now able to take up a different kind of space and shape that space in my new home. It still feels new but it also feels familiar. Like visiting an old friend after many years away. I am now pivoting my project to be more virtual. Working on my first interview in April and trying out ways that I can still create something meaningful despite not being in the homes of the folks I want to hear from. I am remembering that god is change and change is god.
FEBRUARY 2020: So this is home now. I have filled it with light and color. Plants and Lucia. I am still waiting for the moment where it will feel fully like home. I am bathing in the sun that streams through my windows. Taking photos of myself looking through mirrors and glasses and curtains. I am waiting for my feet to meet the earth and my sigh to sound like home. I am not sure how soon or how long or how hard I will have to continue to settle. Settling feels foreign when I have to build my own home. I am happy and tired. I am ecstatic and want to lay still and soak all of this in. I believe homes have energy. Their own energy as containers and all the energy of the folks that came before. My home was a rental and so I can still kind of feel the energy of so many bodies passing through here. It still occasionally smells unlike me and my fiance. Though when we first saw the home it smelled so much like my grandmother. I could smell her food and her perfume. So in some ways when the old smells creep through the walls on occasion, it's still familiar. I have a difficult time with new big transitions because I am always expecting to feel something shift inside. I also have a hard time accepting imperfection and therefore often look around my new home and only see the things I need to fix. This is changing now as I practice acceptance and slow crescendos. Lucy helps too. She doesn't care about anything other than walking and playing and getting all the rubs and pets she can. I am learning to simplify and regiment from her. Her eyes are kind and look for me in crowds. I am learning that she doesn't see the trim that needs painted or the tile replaced. She just see me and Oz and our home as safe and that is enough. I am striving toward that kind of enough.
JANUARY 2020: I am still thinking a lot about transitions. These are the last photos I took in my bedroom before I moved. I am now fully moved into my home and exploring what Home looks like for me. Home here, then, for so long, was the container my parents made. I fit inside like a nesting doll or the pit of an Aguacate. With time, I felt the pull of building my own home. This is almost everything I own. My art, my books, my research, my writing, my magic, my bed, my life. All of this can now stretch and grow or shrink in my new home. It is amazing what we find when we move too. I have found, recovered, and rediscovered parts of me that I forgot. The parts of me that exist in old diaries, in old art, in photos and kept mementos. Today they are arranged delicately in my new home- my first Home. They remind me of who I was and how all the "me"s I ever was and will be are in my body-home. My home is a time-capsule. It allows me to time-travel. I can fold and flip time in my home. I can unfold and stretch who I am in my home.
DECEMBER 2019-JANUARY 2020:
DECEMBER 2019-JANUARY 2020: I believe the rythm of raspando is in our bones. It is the way we make food. The way we make art. The way we make magic. I love this clip because my Dad's hands are my favorite. He is so strong but the biggest teddy bear I know. At the end you can hear him singing along to Never Too Much by Luther Vandross. I like this as an example of what it means to be Boricua here. I grew up listening to as much Gran Combo as Mos Def and Luther Vandross and so. much. Disco.