Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”- Paul Tillich
Days 9 and 10
I am officially over the rocking of the train. Maybe because this train, the Cardinal which goes from Chicago to NYC (stopping at Philly in 1 hr) does not actually rock. It's like what I imagine being in the pouch of a mother kangaroo must feel like. I don't know why, but this train is so bumpy and bouncy! I literally have to hold onto the rough in order to not fall over when walking around. Trying to type and work is a challenge as the words are bouncing in front of me and my hands keep missing the keys, and my long legs keep hitting the desk. Somehow I've been doing it.
Thankfully there is not much need to walk around as this sleeper has a side table that turns into a toilet. There is truly nothing stranger than typing away at my little desk, then sliding over a few inches if I have to pee. There is also a little sink which I thought was a wall, and a bed above me that slides down, it even has little straps on the side to keep you from falling out of it. Honestly, this sleeper has all the accommodations of my one bedroom except for a kitchen. Who knows maybe one will slide out from underneath my seat or something...
I had a lovely time arriving in Chicago yesterday. I went to Giordano's to get some deep dish pizza. YUM. I understand why it became the stuff of legends. I met up with two lovely theatre ladies named Elizabeth Nunguray, and Deanalis Resto. I always appreciate just how easy it is to establish camaraderie and realness when dealing with people who are so much like yourself. Latinx Theatre makers gotta stick together! We talked about the ways we came into being proud of our Latinidad. I told them how when I first came to college I didn't want to associate with my Dominican-ness for fear of being seen as less then. It took me joining Lambda Theta Alpha, a Latina Sorority before I started feeling really proud of my heritage. Elizabeth told me about her visit to Mexico for a family emergency and how aware she was of the fact that the dark skinned Mexicanos barely interacted with their light skinned countrymen.
We talked about self-hate within the Latinx community, how so few Latinos want to associate with their African ancestry. How finally Afro-Latinidad is starting to be embraced with pride. We talked about the term Latinx itself, how it was introduced, and how some people are still not quite on board with it. For the record, I love it. Inclusion is the solution y'all.
Deanalis shared how growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood and going to a predominantly white college left her always feeling like the 'other', and how she is still learning to embrace her heritage and history.
All the realness.
Of course, we also just talked about theatre nerd stuff and the great projects the three of us were working on respectively. Keep doing good work ladies! I hope we meet again soon :)
I was so glad that when I reached out to my fellow Latinx artists that I was going to be in their cities so many of them took the time out of their days to sit and chat with me about the arts in their communities. I am also glad that being an outgoing theatre person, and so many years of babysitting in strangers houses and some online dating have left me with absolutely no fear in meeting with strangers and striking up a conversation. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be shy on a trip like this. I'd be so lonely by now. I have enjoyed the relative solitude, but I very much miss my little apartment, and my cats. I complained about them keeping me up before I left and now I can't wait to hear them scrambling about the house chasing each other. Not having the weight of their little bodies on my legs as I sleep has been sorely missed.
Today this bouncing train was almost empty, I sat with an old man at dinner who didn't seem to able to talk loudly enough for me to hear him, so I mostly just smiled and nodded and laughed when it seemed appropriate to laugh but I couldn't really tell you what he was trying to talk to me about. I frantically answered emails I've been ignoring, I scrolled Facebook and remarked about Beyonce's twins. I was not super productive but I'm okay with that. Sometimes you just have to sit and hear the CLANG CLANG CLANG of the bouncy train.
I'm thankful. This trip has been extraordinary. It has flown by, yet each day felt unique and important. I am thankful to all you amazing people who have been reading and sending me messages telling me you were reading! I have you in mind as I jot down these thoughts.
I'm thinking maybe I will keep doing this blog thing, maybe not everyday, but for future trips, or special events. Even if no one reads, it helps me to reflect and really think about the day moment by moment.
It's too soon yet to really know what the biggest take away is, or what I will remember most. I left two days after the inauguration of our new president and so much has happened then to make me lose faith in people and governments. For now, I know that I have new appreciation and love for this country and all its beauty. I feel more deeply what it is we are really fighting for.
Until next time :)