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:
Matters pertaining to my grandma or other family
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.
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:
set dates for one-on-one visits with fam: invite folks to plant a seed
set a date for a family-zoom call: decide on one media-project to collaborate on
send young ones on a quest: collect media and stories
assign roles and responsibilities: establish benchmarks for the project.
enjoy the process
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