Back in April, I shared a poem called From I to We. Here are the first few sentences: From I to we, that is the transformation I see unfolding during this quarantine. Things are happening to us, not only me; it is we what matters not only me. The poem ends with: We surrendered, we will live, all of us not only me.
With this poem, I was trying to express how quarantine changed my mindset from worrying about me to worrying about us, from being thankful for my health to be grateful for everyone's health. By us, I refer to my kids and me, my family, my friends, the people down the street, and people I don't know but is also quarantined.
A good friend replied to the poem, "Do you really see that? It's never been a time as racist, classist, and inequitable as this one." I answered, "I see everything, but I prefer to focus on positive things." she continued, "Focusing on the positive is a moral choice, you know? Black and brown poets and writers in this country have never succeeded by writing the same things any white folk would. It is on the depth that we read them. Go deeper. Trustful. Shameless."
I decided to meditate on her comments and answer her questions in my journal. Yes, some people are racist, but some people openly embrace our humanity and our diversity. Every day, I choose to focus on the positive and do my part on loving and respecting all human beings. In this way, I am one more person who embraces the diversity of our world.
I believe there are writers and their stories, there are past experiences and daily dreams, wounds, pain, and hopes. We all undergo them because they are part of our human experience despite race, color, culture, or gods. Color does not make a difference in the set of emotions and feelings available for humans to feel.
My stories are about personal awareness, empowerment, life struggles, privilege, and lack of it. The stories I share have been influenced by people, culture, and society, just like everybody else's. Yes, we come from different walks of life. The places we lived in provides a unique set of experiences, but the feelings are universal.
The last part of my friend's reply talks about success and what "white folks write about." For me, a brown Latina, passionate about sharing stories, success is to connect and touch hearts with my words. I really don't know what white folks write about that I can't write, but I am not trying to copy anyone independent of the answer. I am just writing.
I am just writing to understand life, feel it, and process it. Sometimes I write with a clear purpose, like to join forces in protesting against a dictatorship in my home country. Other times I write to inspire and motivate inner change. I am writing to fulfill my calling, I am writing because I can't stop my pen. I am writing to release my words and let them be found. I am writing to live my life the best way I know how, regardless of the color of my skin, cultural flaws, social influences, and privilege or lack of it.