Broken. For a very long time I lacked the language to describe how I felt. To explain how my past and my hurt rested inside of me. Saying that I was broken made the most sense because that’s exactly how I felt—not whole, incomplete, in pieces. By believing I was broken and by telling others I was broken I made myself vulnerable to being treated like I was already broken. And, it has been my experience that other folks don’t treat broken people with kindness…
I think of my family when I see the snow. A few Noche Buenas ago, in Chicago, when there was already snow on the ground, my siblings and I rushed outside after opening presents because it had begun to snow. The ripped wrapping paper strewn about the floor. Reds, golds, greens left on the floor for my mother to clean up as we almost tripped over each other putting on coats, boots, hats, and gloves. We ran down the stairs and out in the open, brisk air.
As an undergrad I didn’t often meet many people of color in my English classes. That’s what I had decided to major in—English. I didn’t quite understand what that meant—an English major. But my high school counselor said I excelled in my English classes and so it made sense to major in it. ¿Pero que iba a saber yo? I wanted to go to college.
I have felt paralyzed by fear ever since the results of the election. I couldn’t bring myself to leave my place on inauguration day. I was afraid to go outside. My fear stems from multiple reasons including that I’m new to this city and that all of my family is in another state. But my fear has been amplified recently.
Lately I’ve been having a lot of dreams about my younger brother. In one dream, I saw two incarnations of his present 18-year-old self― one of him was mad at me and the other one was mad at my mother. In another dream, I saw my brother as a 9-year-old boy again as he died in my arms because of something I had done. I usually have very intense dreams and even if I can’t recall them the next morning I can feel them linger.