In April, I shared a poem titled "From I to We." The opening lines reflect the transformation I witnessed during quarantine: "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 concludes with the sentiment: "We surrendered, we will live, all of us not only me."
Through this poem, I aimed to convey how quarantine shifted my focus from personal concerns to collective well-being, from gratitude for my health to appreciation for everyone's health. By "us," I refer to my children, my family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers sharing the quarantine experience.
In response to the poem, a friend remarked, "Do you really see that? It's never been a time as racist, classist, and inequitable as this one." I replied, "I acknowledge everything, but I choose to concentrate on positive aspects." She pressed, "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 took time to reflect on her comments in my journal. While acknowledging the existence of racism, I choose to emphasize the positive aspects and contribute to fostering love and respect for all human beings. In doing so, I become one more person embracing the diversity of our world.
I believe in the universality of emotions and experiences, transcending race, color, culture, or beliefs. My stories delve into personal awareness, empowerment, life struggles, privilege, and its absence—elements influenced by people, culture, and society, much like everyone else's experiences. While our backgrounds may differ, the emotions we feel are universal.
My friend's discussion about success and "what white folks write about" prompted me, a brown Latina, to ponder my definition of success. For me, success lies in connecting and touching hearts with my words. I don't know what topics white writers explore that I can't, but I'm not attempting to imitate anyone—I am simply writing.
My writing serves as a means to understand, feel, and process life. Sometimes it has a specific purpose, like rallying against a dictatorship in my home country. Other times, it aims to inspire inner change. I write to fulfill my calling, to release my words into the world, and to live my life authentically, regardless of my skin color, cultural background, social influences, or the presence or absence of privilege.