Posts Tagged ‘Puerto Rican’

I Got Asked

March 13, 2018

I answered a phone call today, a phone call with a number that I did not recognize.

I knew immediately it was a number I should answer, it was not an odd ball number from Indiana or Wisconsin asking me if I wanted to renew my health care or a telemarketing scheme from some small town in Florida.

No.

It was an Oakland number.

Therefor local.

Therefore, necessary to answer.

I am a well-trained monkey, as part of my recovery I stay connected to people in my community by phone.

I often give out my phone number to complete strangers.

Women!

Only the ladies, thank you.

So that’s what I thought the number was.

A support call from someone, someone who I gave out my number to, some one who I may have recently met.

Happens quite frequently and when I am able, I answer those numbers.

It was not who I was expecting.

It was, in fact a woman, and it was also a stranger, but not from my fellowship.

From my school!

I got the call!

I got the call!

I got the call back to go in to interview for the PhD program.

I have made it through to the next round.

I mean.

I am going to sound a little cocky, but I am fairly certain I’m getting in.

Nonetheless.

It was thrilling to talk to her on the phone and to set up a time to go in and interview.

I will be interviewing with the department on Wednesday, March 28th at 10 a.m.

I have already cleared it with the mom to go into work late that day.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I just did.

I finished it before I started to write this blog.

I sent in the Diversity Scholarship application.

I got my financials together to show proof of need.

Hello.

I could just say I’m a nanny and I live in San Francisco, doesn’t that prove need?

But I sent in my tax forms to be transparent.

And the application itself as well as the personal essay explaining a little bit about me and what I am going to do to further diversity in my community.

I think I wrote a pretty good essay and I just let it flow.

Here’s what I wrote:

Diversity Scholarship Application

My name alone should alert one to the applicable nature of the scholarship, Carmen Regina Martines. I am Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Polynesian as well as Caucasian. I am a melting pot, I am a mix, I am the person who straddles the line between. And in that space I have an important role to play. I have dealt with the internal racism of my family, the white part as well as the non-white part, apparently neither side of my family wanted a “half-breed” a moniker one set of grandparents gave, while the other referred to me under their breath as Hapa Haole, a prettier way to say half-breed.

I am neither and I am both. I have found myself often wondering to which side I truly fall, not realizing that all along I fell along with the Puerto Rican and Polynesian parts of me—at least physically, if not spiritually (your  great, great-grandmother was a witch, my mother told me, on the islands she was well-known and revered). My great, great-grandmother was a midwife and a medicine woman, in other words, a witch. I have brown skin, brown eyes, curly brown hair, wide flat Polynesian feet, a wide Puerto Rican nose, full lips, I have been called a “wet back” I have been told I should go back to Mexico (I am neither Mexican, nor have I ever been to Mexico). I have had my name constantly and continuously mispronounced and misspelled. An Aunt, my favorite aunt on my mother’s side of the family recently spelled it wrong on social media, an aunt who lived with my immediate family for years.

If my own family cannot spell my name, then who can? I can. I lead by my example, I lead by strength and resilience, and I spell my name out to the world and I keep correcting the world until it sits up and listens, I am not here to be quiet any more. I am here to meet the two worlds halfway and instead of being somehow lessened by who I am, I become more. I have advocated for myself to get into the ICPW program at CIIS despite extreme financial hardship when I applied, I won the Diversity in Leadership award and that helped greatly, and then I won something else, I won self-advocacy, I won my voice, the full strength of it and I have every intention on using it, growing it and advocating for others, especially women, especially now, to step into their power and find their voice.

I began that journey by getting sober and abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and though I never felt different __________________, I will say I have felt different in school where I found myself to be the “only” quite often in my cohort. I grew strong first in _____ and then in school and I believe that between the two I have created a kind of crucible for change that I do not believe many have the capacity to manifest. I plan on carrying forth this deep identity and passion, my voice, my person, my experience, forward in my studies to help others embody their own power and story, and also to create new narratives, while not letting the old stories die, but rather to have them inform the new. I do not wish to stare at my past, but rather to acknowledge where I have come from—extreme poverty, neglect, violence, abuse, racism, classism, and sexism, and show how those defects, thrust upon me by others to create the worlds they needed to move through, are in actuality, assets by which I have grown, and grown through.

I have a roster of multi-cultural clients at my practicum (soon to be internship!), some full; some half, some mixed ethnicities, all with their own traumas around diversity. I am so situated to hold those stories and help reframe them in meaningful strength based ways. I believe that the continued furthering of my education will only help me to continue as a strong voice in my community, in recovery, in San Francisco, in California, and yes, I do believe, that it does ripple out, one person to the next, throughout the world, landing where it is most needed and welcomed. That is what I believe.

 

Ta da.

Hopefully that works.

And though, it’s not the essay I was planning on writing, it was what came out and I am happy with it.

And now.

I am happy to wrap this up.

I have done enough work for today.

Supervision, before work, work with a screaming baby (poor little guy has a UTI!), two clients, and all the work on the application.

I am done.

I am good.

I am so happy it’s all in.

And.

I go the interview!

Yes.

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Don’t Mind Me

February 2, 2017

Singing French music slightly off-key at the top of my lungs.

I felt like singing and well.

There you go.

And French music makes me happy, especially when I am listening to a play list that my best French friend made for my on my Spotify.

It’s pretty awesome, a. a friend who makes a play list for you and b. that it’s mostly French music.

Although there’s some English music in there, it feels very apropos as I have been thinking a lot about travel today.

Paris in May.

Ten days.

Ten days.

Oh, let me say it again, ten days in Paris in May.

Paris in Spring.

My heart sings.

My feet tap dance a little, I just did a twirl about my room to the guitars and the vocals of Je t’aime Paris before I sat down to type.

I’m also making some other travel plans.

Puerto Rico.

In, wait for it.

July.

I know.

That sounds nuts.

And it’s actually funny, the only other time I have been to Puerto Rico was actually in July, a friend that I worked with at the Angelic Brewing Company got married there, she and her husband were both from Puerto Rico, what the hell they were doing in Wisconsin, I’m still not sure about.

But.

They wanted to get married in the oldest cathedral in Old San Juan.

Where, apparently, everyone who is Puerto Rican wants to get married.

The wait list was years long.

Unless you got married in the off-season.

Like, um, ha, July.

I think they still had to wait a damn long time for the date they did get, but yeah, it was hot.

But you know where it’s not hot in July?

Yeah.

San Francisco.

The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.

Mark Twain had it pretty spot on.

Last July was colder than last February.

In fact, I remember making out with a guy last February on the beach, barefoot and it was warm, surprisingly warm, one of the few nights where it was warm enough to be down at the beach and bare foot.

I remember him kissing me and the moon was sinking slow behind me, it was the day after Valentines Day and for whatever reason, I think it might have been ski week for the private school kids I was nannying, I had off that week.

I had school that weekend and then I had gotten dressed up on Valentines Day, passed out Valentines Day cards to my classmates and after class let out, I went up to the Castro and did the deal and spoke a big gay men’s gathering.

I met my Puerto Rican fairy godfather at dinner that night before the meeting.

We hit it the fuck off.

Fast forward to my birthday this past year, he brings me a bag of coffee from Puerto Rico, a jar of Adobo spice, and a guidebook to the 100 best places to go to in Puerto Rico.

He had just gotten back from a business trip there and it turns out is there currently and will be back mid-February.

He will be making a few more trips back for business and one of those trips, yes, in July, I will be going with him.

I wasn’t originally planning July, but July just happened to happen for me.

I found out from my family that they will be going on a big family vacation for three weeks.

I will have three weeks off in July.

THREE.

So.

Definitely Puerto Rico.

I have the airline ticket voucher from when I cancelled my trip to Wisconsin at Christmas.

The airline happens to fly to Puerto Rico.

I am thinking a week there.

Then fly back.

And.

Then.

Alaska.

Yeah.

I know.

Big fucking mood swing travel.

But.

I have always wanted to go up to Alaska during the summer and I have friends that live there and the fellowship is great.

And.

Um.

My dad is there.

I haven’t spoken to him since I left him in a coma in Anchorage two years ago.

I do not know where or why the thought popped into my head, but pop it did and it felt so right it gave me shivers.

“Go see your dad.”

That was not my thought.

It was planted there.

And I realized as soon as I had it that yes, I need to do that.

I’ve got his phone number and I figure I’ll contact the recovery center he’s been staying in and just feel it out.

I certainly don’t want to make a huge deal out of it.

Although, it is a huge deal.

I just felt very compelled to go and see him and do it soon, I don’t need to question it and though I had some trepidation about it, it feels very much like what I need to be doing.

It’s more for me than it is for my dad, I think, I need to heal a bit more around the relationship and I feel that a face to face, eye to eye, would do me some good.

Oh.

I’m sure it will be painful too.

But through that, growth, and I long for growth.

I want to heal those spaces and holes in my heart and be fully capable of saying I did everything I could to rectify my relationships with my parents while I can.

I also, really have wanted to go to Alaska during the summer and I have a couple of friends up there who just got married and it would be great to see them and maybe get out into the wilderness a little and take my camera and explore.

Then.

I had another thought.

Well heck.

Why don’t I go to Portland too?

My sister just moved there with my youngest niece and it’s been a couple of years since I have seen them.

I could fly back from Anchorage to Portland, hang out for a long weekend, then fly to San Francisco.

I looked up flights with the estimated dates of travel and I could do one way tickets, SFO->Anchorage->Portland->SFO.

Total cost.

$361.

I can freaking swing that.

I’m not planning anything yet, I have yet to get confirmed dates from my employers, but I did agree to take some of those days as paid vacation time and they agreed to pay me for my time for the other two weeks.

I had already bought my ticket to Paris when I had interviewed for the job, that vacation and those days off are part of my vacation pay.

Which means, that I will actually get another three weeks paid off.

Mind blowing.

And the right thing to do.

I’m contracted to work for them and I get paid a minimum of 35 hours per week.

They don’t use me for those hours, they pay me regardless.

When I find out dates I will go from there.

I know Puerto Rico is happening.

I will sit on Anchorage and Portland, talk to my people, make sure I’m making a spiritual decision and not an ego centric driven one, but rather be coming from a place of humility.

It’s family and I have challenges navigating family.

I’m doing better than I have ever in my life.

There is that.

But it is still vulnerable for me.

And who knows.

I may be in practicum and be tied to the city, so who knows.

No plans yet.

Just slow cooking some travel on the back burner.

And hopefully.

In the back woods, the G.reat O.ut D.oors, sounds damn good.

And a coffee shop or three in Portland.

I could get behind that.

I like coffee

Just a little bit.

Heh.

 

 

 

Once Again

January 5, 2016

I felt like Charlie Brown with the football.

Hey, Lucy, sure, I see that ball, let me kick it and fall on my ass.

But.

At least this time I circumnavigated a little discomfort by making a phone call.

That’s right.

My readers for my next semester of classes are not ready.

Nothing says good times like making plans before you fall asleep at night to have them changed abruptly.

I rolled with it though.

I took care of what I needed to take care of for myself and I also had a little unexpected free time.

I did some extra writing.

That always helps.

I called some people and left some messages and just in the leaving of messages my brain chemistry changed.

When I share the crazy, the crazy, magically, is not so crazy, or at least I can hear it, deal with it and let it go.

Forgive myself and move on.

Sure.

I fell in a pothole, but I got myself out.

Then.

I actually had a nice phone call with my mom.

That lasted more than five minutes.

We must have chatted for twenty minutes and it was light, although some of the subject matter was not, and funny, and connected and it was nice.

I also quizzed my mom a bit on some family history.

One of my classes for this next semester, handily one of the classes that doesn’t have it’s reader ready yet, has something on the syllabus in regards to knowing about ones own family background.

I know zilch.

Well.

Maybe not zero.

But I don’t know much.

I have heard bits and pieces here and there, but nothing really outside the basic facts.

Which are: on my mom’s side I’m German and Scot and on my father’s side I’m Puerto Rican and Polynesian.

I mean I really don’t know much.

But I have always been curious.

I will be reaching out to one of my cousins on my fathers side, if my internet ever comes up, yeah, that’s right, another day where it’s not working.

I need to say something to my house mate, my utilities include a hefty chunk towards internet and it’s usually not that great, but four days in a row is not cool.

I have things I could be doing.

Reading the reader links for one of my classes that the professor put up since the reader is still not available.

Um.

Yeah.

I’ll be right on that.

When and if I can ever get the fuck online.

I am honestly not certain how the hell I was able to post a blog last night.

It was a complete Hail Mary and it went up.

But I wasn’t able to do anything else.

Like e-mail my cousin and ask after the ancestry information he has.

If I recall correctly, there was a conversation I had briefly with my cousin that someone in the family, him? Another cousin? An uncle? I cannot for the life of me remember, had done some research.

I am going to need that for this class.

I don’t know more about what I need since I can’t access the online syllabus.

Like I said, this whole not having internet is like cool for about a day, maybe two, yes, I did do a lot of pleasure reading, but enough already, I have things I need to do.

Damn it.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I did have a talk with my mom, who basically re-iterated to me the German and Scot thing on her side, with the possible Scot side maybe even coming from Iceland and the German side possibly have come from Switzerland?

Ok.

What I found fascinating, however, was the story from my father’s side of the family.

I knew that one of my ancestors had been taken from Puerto Rico to work on the plantations in Hawaii before it was a state of the United States.

What I did not know was that there were two of them, and they were brothers, and they were really young, twelve and fourteen.

She told me there names and that they had been taken to the island of Maui.

They were supposed to be given money to send back to their families in Puerto Rico.

Well.

You probably know how that went.

The brothers both married and one of the women, whom I am apparently biologically related to, was a, wait for it.

Witch.

Fuck yeah.

Which means.

She was probably a healer or a midwife or a doula or some sort of natural path.

Or a witch.

Ha.

My mom said, “healer” after letting the witch part slip.

I found myself fascinated by that and recalled a time in my life were I explored voodoo and witchcraft—Wicca as its traditionally known as, and I was also curious about a lot of other non-traditional spiritual practices.

Hell.

I still am.

According to mom, and by that I mean, second hand through my dad, who is probably not the most reliable source, the brother who married the witch divorced her and remarried.

I do know as well, that my grandmother was born in Paia, on Maui, in 1928.

I also found out that my father was born on Hawaii before it was naturalized as a state, so in some dystopian way, he doesn’t find himself to be a real American, he considers himself a “Hawaiian.”

Now.

I had heard that from him before, when, couldn’t tell you, my conversations with my pops were not always the most factual or honest and so much of the relationship was fantasy in my head anyhow.

My dad was not there after a certain point of my life.

And he’s remained not there.

And that’s ok.

I did my work around that.

I am still doing my work around that.

That sweet little girl, alone, cold, wet, abandoned.

Yeah.

I know her pretty well.

I try to scoop her up and dry her off and tuck her into bed with good stories and hot tea.

Most of the time, it works quite well.

Once in a while, she freaks out, but that is ok too.

Yes.

I am aware I have digressed to speaking not only of my inner four year old, but also in third person to.

I digress.

The conversation with mom was great and piqued a lot of curiosity.

Now.

If I can ever the fuck get online.

I’ll send my cousin and email and get so more stories.

I can always use more stories.

They are the stuff of life.

My life.

Anyway.


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