Here’s the thing. I don’t know much, really, about anything. Still trying to figure so much out and I turned thirty this year, which felt big. I’ve always been in love with stories- on film, on TV, in books, music, photographs, canvas… I think our art showcases the best and worst in us and that always moves me. Beyond that there’s not much I can say for certain.
What I do know about is people. I’ll give you a couple reasons why.
I’m the colour of a roasted peanut, ‘café con leche’ in Spain. My mother’s side of the fam is Jamaican. A few generations up our family tree is a slave who fell in love with a Scottish landowner who loved her right back, building a home on his land for them and their family. My father’s side is Puerto Rican and my grandmother insists there’s native Taino on her mother’s side while my grandfather was mostly of (the conquering) Spanish descent. The point is this- where we’re supposed to hate sometimes we love and pretty soon nature reclaims the building prejudice is housed in- the vines grow until the cement cracks and the glass disintegrates, leaving nothing but a frame for life to grow, take root, flower and bloom in.
My parents divorced soon after I learned to walk. They both remarried and divorced again- one was a peaceful negotiation, division and sharing of responsibilities and assets. The other was sprawling, vicious warfare that left a crater with an irradiated zone in the middle of my teenage years. Not an unusual story, just a painful one.
I grew up in the USA during the summer with my father and Ireland for the rest of the year with my mother, visiting my grandmother on a hill in the Puerto Rican countryside or lingering over curry goat with my Jamaican grandmother and her church music in her house in Long Island, getting ready for the house to be filled with drinks and reggae when aunts, uncles and cousins came pouring in later.
What I’ve picked up from my family history past and present is how we’re all the same. We all seem to be recipes that require the same ingredients: home, safety, food, water, love… (music, books, movies and art I would argue too but that’s just me)
Having had a front seat to three divorces I can also say that you love someone by listening without judgement, by accepting that everyone is just a person prone to mistakes- lover, parent, sibling or friend. Trying to be kind and trying to understand changes everything, for everyone. It’s hard work because we’re all a work in progress. Sometimes I work in a library and I’ve seen how some people crave kindness like a person parched. There’s no reason it should be that way.
Anyway, after panicking about being picked, I thought I’d share this. Hope you all have enough to make life happy. Thanks for all the stories. Keep ‘em coming. Drop me a line and let me know what moves you.
For me, it’s playing music loud, a good book to hand and maybe a movie later. Cooking good food, loved ones and maybe the odd adventure. The sea. Sunshine. Forests. Mischief and silliness. Writing. Podcasts. You know- the good stuff. Everything else is gravy.
Be well :) xx