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If last week's post was about yang (shadows) this is about yin (light). And I'm learning not to apologize for that light. I'm also learning not to blind others with it; no one asked for that.

I'm sorry if I've ever imposed my beliefs or learnings in what should have been a casual conversation between homies. I'm still learning to embrace my light and walk down the path to my destiny; without doubting my whole existence... It's been a shaky journey with temptations and distractions, yet if we've talked in person over the past 2-3-5 years, you've heard me go off about the work I do or the work I love as if it's the only way. AND IT IS– for me. Sorry, not sorry. I carve out this space (blog) so I can release what I need to be saying and make external progress on my project –without overwhelming those closest to me with the eternal spiral I live on: #ontheway

Long story short, I was raised to be a good Catholic boy. I fell in love with the arts and the deeper I dove in, the more my sense-of-self outgrew the safe shell that I co-created with my family & friends growing up. I'm still evolving. And through this evolution, I learned:

  • to see the beauty in all life –AKA, God

  • tao, flow, the way is the life force that runs through all things

  • La Virgen de Guadalupe connects many of us to the land in a way words can never do justice; she is the Goddess of fertility but most importantly, our mother.

  • agape (unconditional love for all things) is what really made Martin Luther King Jr. a threat to the State: imagine if we loved everyone instead of dividing ourselves 😳

  • Jesus's Aramaic word for God was not father, it was Abwoon.

Abwoon: a blending of “abba (father)”and “woon” (womb) one interpretation of the opening line of the Lord's Prayer (El Padre Nuestro/Creadore Nuestro):
O Birther! Father-Mother of the Cosmos, you create all that moves in light.

I do my best to move in light, acknowledge and dissolve the fears that interrupt flow; only then can the Holy Spirit to move through me and do the thing I was put here to do... BE AN ACTOR

JK. I'm meant to do more than act BUT I am no longer looking down on that part of myself or that part of the work I do. I do a lot of different kinds of things: and I'll fill you in on recent endeavors NEXT WEEK. But as a mindful media storyteller & educator I will channel my time and effort into a handful of projects this season:

OTWay H🌀ME (the trip & the documentary)

No surprise that even after arriving in West Chicago, my journey isn't over. I'm still learning to reclaim my space and sense-of-self where I am perceived as the person I was instead of accepting the person I am. That's okay, I'm not asking you to change or accept; I just need to ease myself beyond discomfort and own my sense of home no matter where I find myself.

That being said, this September, I hope to travel to my first home away from home: Syracuse, NY. Even if it's by train or plane: I want to spend time with myself and the people that helped me break out of my shell– in the place where I first said," HELLL, why not be myself?"

My priority is to release vlogs to help build out a community; take this OTWay project to the people. Build out a comunity page here on the website for folks to share their mindful media resources and creations and most importantly, ask for help.

Family History Project

I've been talking about this for over a year; I don't think it's feasible to complete round 1 in the next 2 months but it's why I've returned to my family in the MidWest. So, I'm not gonna let the fear of rejection keep me from sharing a project that is personal as much as it is professional.

My priority is to plant seeds with the households willing to participate; I'm inviting 8 families to work one-on-one. That entails, sharing the seed packet and setting parameters so that the garden can grow with each family's desired intention. This way, we have a common language that families can use 'trim' any weeds that they do not feel are important to their family history or values.

Mxn of the House

I developed a TV show!... in college. I was so scared the world might find this fictional autobiography and share it with my traditional Mexican grandfather, that I buried it. I began re-exploring the divine through my creativity (with the help of J.C.'s The Artist's Way), I need to revisit the story that scares me the most: my own.

Mxn of the House follows a twenty-something year-old Latinx vlogger/Tik Tokker as they unravel their unconventional gender-identity (in front of the whole internet and their family): sounds familiar. Tooo familiar. I wrote the Pilot (episode 101), and a whole TV bible (outline of the first season and beyond), as well as a Director's look book (how the show should look and feel).

My priority is to re-imagine and rewrite the pilot episode as a short film that I could produce with the help of friends and family. So before I return to LA, I will have a new draft of this story and have a way to share pieces of it here on the website. I kept my creativity a secret and I lived a whole new world in my LA apartment; it's time to come out, lol.

And I hope I can give loved ones an authentic taste of my voice and love.

Abwoon/flow/what you call the beauty of the universe

I can only speak for myself but I can't do this alone. I learned early on that it takes a village and I rely on my faith to get me through the loneliest moments. On this trip, I have already encountered people who challenge my whole existence and doubt the work I know I must do. That's okay, because I know there are countless coalitions, neighbors, and loved ones who see beyond the fear of us VS them and understand that to thrive in the uncertain future that awaits, we are stronger together: us vs the problem.

Thank you and the light within you for all the joy and love you are. May you keep shining, may we see each other soon, ontheway.

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This is the yang to the yin: the fear behind the love. I continue because I have no other choice; my path is forward. Yet old and new scars from past visits linger on my mind– I just need to name them (and avoid intellectualizing my pain) to move on.

In other news... I MADE IT HOME! kind of? I am currently in Chicago, I visited my parents and grandma in West Chicago but I still need to ground myself in the intentions I set for this trip. As part of my journey, OTWay H🌀ME, I wanted to pilot a personal project I'm developing, with my family. The Family History Project is a 5-step collaborative process designed to pass on knowledge through intergenerational storytelling; culminating in one final project of your family's choosing.

But since the last time I visited, I've been facing resistance imparted by family members on behalf of other family members– oh, the drama. I really do want to listen to the critique and get better at what I do; and I hope we can all extend grace, compassion, and forgiveness as we stumble through the next chapter of this thing we call life. Also, I'm learning to trust my gut and not let others' perceptions cloud my vision of what's possible.

"people don't like change

and they won't be receptive to what you're trying to do or how you're trying to impose it!"

I've heard this from a few family members now. I hear the message loud and clear, life is really scary and having the family queer trying to run a different show is not the most inviting or enjoyable time. I apologize if I ever imposed my point of view or way of life on anyone, it's never been my intention; I can respect our differences, I hope you can too. My insecurities might have gotten the best of me when I was 23 but I am now 25...

*For context* during the first wave of COVID, I tried to implement LA-level safety guidelines on a Midwestern family who had already had plate full of grief before I showed up with my COVID-Safety Circus.

But what, am I supposed to lay down and let others' fears keep me from living out my dream?Well I don't want my dream to be someone's nightmare, so let's be mindful.

INSTEAD of driving myself crazy trying to corral the entire family at one gathering; I'm gonna try to schedule individual household visits to plant the seed before the date of a pre-set zoom call: to try and get everyone on the same page for the zoom call. I can show up, respectfully wear my mask/keep my distance, and go about my business one family at a time.

Ask for Forgiveness, Not for Permission

This is advice I received by a photojournalism professor and I use it in every context except 2:

  1. Matters pertaining to my grandma or other family

  2. Matters pertaining to sacred land

I am not perfect and do not pretend I will never make this mistake again; but I share my lessons because I lost the most precious footage I had taken when I did not ask for permission.

I still feel as though I owe my grandma an apology for recording my grandfather's hearse on its way to the cemetery. I also owe the ancestral spirits that watch over the Sandia Mountain an apology–– I really thought I was so slick and quick (some of my best maneuvering). Yet in both cases, the footage never saw the light of day, it got wiped before reaching my laptop.

This is a commitment to ask for permission before recording our conversations; I hope we can document some beautiful stories on the trust we build.

Corn Quing's chicken-scratch

you won't be accepted as you are

I share to remind myself why I was ready to make this trip and it wasn't to be accepted and welcomed by the family. From this chapter to the next, I will keep evolving and my time in the Mid West is temporary so I hope to share as much of my love as I can, while I can... and I can't do that if I am afraid.

I found refuge in the pages of Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands and yet I try not to 'relate' to a fear expressed by a lesbian college student she taught:

"I thought homophobia meant fear of going home after a residency." And I thought how apt. Fear of going home. And of not being taken in... For being unacceptable, faulty, damaged.

Reading on I couldn't help but feel that same fear, as if it were mine. Yet, I write my own future: I'll wear my truth on my sleeve, then I won't have to worry about my shadows being unacceptable. I'm trying to strike a balance between radiating the same charm I've known to carry and express while also remaining grounded in who I am becoming.

I have no choice because I am done hiding.

In the present, we encounter a convergence between the illusion of a 'normal' life we've been taught to protect and the truth many of us have quietly learned to silence –☯️– I live in that in-between, that borderland; acceptance of myself and the reality we share. I hope that we can get better at building bridges or portals (conversations) so that we can meet each other where the other one is and not have to hide behind masks.

I love you and I accept you.

So, now that I have written through another therapy session, I realize, I might be physically home but I have not entered emotionally... this is the next step I must take for me. Then I can take the next steps for the Family History Project:

  1. set dates for one-on-one visits with fam: invite folks to plant a seed

  2. set a date for a family-zoom call: decide on one media-project to collaborate on

  3. send young ones on a quest: collect media and stories

  4. assign roles and responsibilities: establish benchmarks for the project.

  5. enjoy the process

  6. share it with other families

I do not want to change the family, I just want to co-create a structured way of connecting and sharing; a way that can be beneficial to generations to come.

Thanks for tuning in. Here's a recent rewritten excerpt to my poem, Never Forever Land, hoping you can realize what you've been wishing for.

counting off my blessings & notice all that’s missing. I’m aligning with Allah, just so i can start dismissing– all the lies, from the serpent’s hissing. set my eyes, beyond reminiscing–> realize, all that i’ve been wishing. at least i try.

Upcoming BLOGS (I hope this helps me stay on schedule):

1: projects I'm prioritizing while H🌀ME? 08/17

*1 1/2: I could share the wildest encounter I had with a stranger in ABQ, NM

2: What has home yielded so far? 08/24

3: ask for help 08/31

stay fluid: a picture of water I took years ago

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