What a day. Where to start?
At the beginning!
Today started out a little rough. I had a hard time getting to bed last night due to a wisdom tooth that has to go, and a cold that wants to sneak up on me. Thankfully, I packed a bottle of Vix with me like a proper Dominican. I rubbed that all over my body last night and that helped me get to bed. I also went to the Lounge Car on the first floor of the train and bought a bottle of whiskey to rinse my mouth out with so my tooth would stop hurting. I'm getting that baby pulled next month. It was also hard to find sleep due to the overwhelming news I took in before going to bed.
Everyday it feels like an assault on all I believe in and stand for when I see what new antics this administration is up to. I close my eyes and all I think is: He's only been president for 5 days and it is already a nightmare. What else do these crazy, old, powerful, white men have up their sleeves?
I feel really helpless, and then when I look out at the beautiful landscape passing by outside my window I think: How much longer will this Earth be here? How can these people not care about our beautiful planet?
I woke up this morning feeling a bit despondent. I hadn't slept well due to my sore throat and stuffy nose, and I felt nauseous from the anxiety. I went to breakfast late and ended up sitting by myself. I called my boyfriend and hearing his worried, loving voice made me feel better. Things are bad, but there is still love in this world. Love is much stronger than hate. I believe that 100%. I decided then that I would stop focusing on my fear and anxiety and try to channel that into love in every way that I could think of. I had service for a few minutes and checked Facebook. Speaking of Love. The city of brotherly love made me proud today.
My city rocks man. Click here if you don't know what I'm talking about. #resist #lovetrumpshate
My day took a fun turn when I heard a woman in the hallway say, "Hi, I'm an Amtrak resident writer."
I popped my head into the hall.
Her name was Tamara, and she works as a journalist for the Associated Press. We had an amazing conversation, and it felt good to know there was another creative aboard the train with me. I can't really talk about what we talked about because she is a journalist, and journalists aren't allowed to have opinions really because they have to be neutral so... I guess I'm not going to be a journalist. Tamara is interviewing people for piece she is working on, when she posts it I'll be sure to tag it here. :)
I started noticing as we went further and further west that more people of color, and more young people came aboard the train. I even had the pleasure of sitting with man at lunch who told me all about the cheap clothes he was able to get because his partner worked at Nordstrom. The man sitting next to him squinted for a moment when he said partner, it was delightful to watch him connect the thoughts. Even more so when he answered with, "Check my tag on my shirt, Nordstrom." I can't afford to buy Nordstrom, but apparently they are great company that only promotes from within. I learned a lot more about Nordstrom than I needed to at lunch, but I won't bother you with all the details.
The snow was melting away, and we finally crossed into beautiful California. I let myself take a little nap before we arrived so I would be well rested because I was heading out as soon as I arrived at my Airbnb.
In December I was lucky enough to me an awesome artist named Dorothy Martinez at the Latino Theatre Commons convening and she is showing me the wonders of the Bay area over the next few days.
Tonight I checked into my room in Oakland, threw on a dress, and ran out the door to hop on the BART (metro) for a gallery opening at SOMArts that was curated by a fellow Latinx artist Javier Hurtado. The theme of the event was about honoring the lives of sex workers.
I was NOT readyyyyyyy.
It was an extremely powerful exhibition which made me think a lot about my own preconceived notions of people who work in the sex industry. There was a live performance by a transgender man who figuratively shed the skin of his unwanted femininity and stood in front of us naked and scarred, but so strong. I don't think I've ever seen anything so brave. I looked around and saw all these beautiful, white, brown, straight, queer, artists sending nothing but love and admiration to this man. I closed my eyes and drank in the healing power of art, even hard art that hurts you a little. The curators urged us to think about the individual power we have as citizens. I looked around at mi gente and thought: Yes. There is hope. We are POWERFUL. As long as this room exists we will not lose.
I started off the day feeling a bit lost and unsure and now as I head to bed (exhausted) I feel empowered by the resilience of my community.
Y'all, these are scary times, but the bad times are here for a reason and I think one of those reasons is to show as just how strong we really are. And to test our convictions and what we stand for.
So.. go, live your truth, make art, fight. I know I will.
Hasta luego mis amigos!