Embracing My Culture

Holi Image © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar
Image from © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar

Growing up, I was always, in a way ashamed, of my culture because of the ridiculous stereotypes that came along with being south-Asian, so I never really wanted anything to do with being south-Asian. I remember my parents always trying to force me into listening to Hindi and Bengali music or fit me into traditional attire and I was having none of it. They would be so angry, that I was trying “so hard to become American”. Although they never understood that it was not because I wanted to become “American,” but rather, it was because I did not want anything to do with the stereotypes. To me, Hindi music was always something foreign because of the very different instruments and rhythm used. Not knowing Hindi was also a major setback because I had no idea what the singers were singing about. My parents used to play the core Bollywood classics like “Kal Ho Naa Ho” or “Tujhe Dekha Toh Yeh Jana Sanam” to the point where I have the words engraved in my brain but I have no idea what they meant. Continue reading “Embracing My Culture”

Advertisements

What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?

negative-words-1200x1422
Image taken from: http://howigrewtoday.com/2013/10/how-i-grew-today-19/

I heard it, I felt it, and then I took ownership of it.
The label was my enemy, and my scapegoat.

When I was in fourth grade, I was called dumb for the first time by a classmate. I was called dumb because fourth grade was the first year I was put into a reading help class. I could not read as fast or as well as the other kids. I specifically remember sitting in class one day during reading time and looking over to see the girl next to me reading Harry Potter and then looking, shamefully, back down at my Junie B. Jones book. I could not even fathom trying to read a Harry Potter book. Harry Potter looked like a dictionary compared to the books I was reading. I know it should not have, but this set the tone for me for the rest of elementary school, and even followed me through my high school career. Because of that, I always felt behind everyone else. I was always struggling to keep up, even with the extra help classes. Continue reading “What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?”

Final Thoughts: Move Forward

amazon-1300350_960_720On,Tuesday, April 18th, I had my first interactive tabling session and it was a success! Many students participated by taking the time to reflect on the many types of losses and by answering one of the following questions:

  • What’s one thing you told yourself to get through one of these types of losses?
  • What’s one thing you would tell someone going through one of these types of losses?
  • What is one thing you wish you could tell a loved one you lost or a person you lost as a friend?

The types of losses that the students reflected on were loss of motivation, loved one, identity/sense of self,  friendship and academic/career opportunity. I was amazed that so many students could identify with at least one of these types of losses and/or would know what to say to someone who was going through a similar situation. Something I’ve talked about a lot in my blog posts this semester was the power that words hold, and it was evident that other students are aware of that power as well. Continue reading “Final Thoughts: Move Forward”

The Chronicles of a Queer Afro-Latina

Fran Dom 3I grew up in an immigrant household. My parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic about twenty five years ago. Being that they both grew up in this country, they have a very specific way of viewing life. They brought their culture and traditions to this country and made it a point to immerse me and my brother in it. They raised us with the intentions of teaching us our history. My father used to make me read books on the formation and birth of the Dominican Republic. My mother made it a point to teach us how to read, write, and speak Spanish, the native language. They raised us listening to merengue, bachata and salsa, and taught us to dance. They sent us to visit our family members in the Dominican Republic every summer.  Continue reading “The Chronicles of a Queer Afro-Latina”

Clichéd Experiences or Something More?

erica a4

I guess it’s true. Time really does fly when you are having fun. I am not even apologizing for the cliche, because if you have been following this series, you know that cliches are to be expected.  Back at home, even before returning overseas, “tumblr quotes” were merely a platform for jokes in my eyes. Of course, some of them were so, hilariously extra and they still are. Disobeying such a direct order from the universe to use them would be a disservice to us all, and that just will not do.  #InWittyMockeryWeTrust

I am also a fan of hashtags.

But here,  “here” being not only Firenze, but countless other magical cities across Europe; the very cliches I once smirked at are the ones I find myself exuding more, and more intensely every day. Though I felt it for three weeks last year in London and have been feeling it for even longer this semester, I still struggle to describe this feeling, this “it”.  Continue reading “Clichéd Experiences or Something More?”

Is Isolation Good for You?

isolation

If you are someone like me, you are probably a person who really enjoys time alone and solace. My favorite season is winter because the world comes to a pause and all I have to think about is the silence that falls upon the world. To some people, this may be an odd thought. Being alone or wanting to be alone sounds depressive and out of the ordinary. We grow up in a world where you are expected to learn how to work with others and communicate. This is probably why I became a Communications major. Continue reading “Is Isolation Good for You?”

Unboxed

audre-lorde-quotes-2So far I have written about coming out, dealing with family members who are not supportive of my sexuality, and struggling with self-identity. Writing this blog is actually very therapeutic. It is a way for me to help others, as well as expressing my emotions and thoughts about this topic in a healthy manner.

One thing I really want to emphasize as I reflect on my previous posts is that we are not defined by one aspect of our person. To be in that mindset of being equated to only one part of your personality is a very frustrating thing. I am a person. An afro-Latina, a daughter, a sister, a student, a lover of languages, a feminist, an advocate of human rights. I am more than a queer person. I am more than a girl who likes girls. And I think it’s important for people to remember that. Don’t focus solely on what makes you stand out, whether it is your weight, your mental illness, your disability, your sexuality, your race, or your gender. You are MORE than any these things. They do not define you. Continue reading “Unboxed”

Journeying into Brave

 

claim it.  all of it.  release what no longer serves you.  journey forward.  be unashamed.  be unapologetic. love yourself anyway.  – Alex Elle

969da36b126d54576d6263605cc56b3b

The English major in me, has been obsessed with reading ever since I can remember.  When I was younger, it was graphic novels, mysteries, and silly paranormal romances. Now that I am older it is a plethora of different fictions, memoirs, and poetry.  This is why I have ended and, now, started my last couple of blog entries with quotes, especially those from Alex Elle.

She is someone whose work has captured me in a way that has reminded me of my own personal journey through college and life.  From what I have read, a lot of her work is influenced by the importance and the foundation of self-discovery, self trust, and self love.  And while I know I touched upon that topic a little bit in my last blog post about my love for Valentines Day, as I have been reflecting over the theme of my blog this past week,  “Be Bold.  Be Brave.  Be You;”  I realized that a lot of my theme is rooted in this idea, this mentality of self worth and self love. Continue reading “Journeying into Brave”

Sky High

interlaken.jpg
So, I did it. This past weekend we traveled to Interlaken, Switzerland – the extreme sports capital of Europe –  and I freaking did it. After a picture perfect venture, with some fast but surprisingly genuine friends, I took the ultimate plunge, and skydived over this gem of a city. And let me tell you, it was worth every single franc. It was not what I had initially hoped, no; it was truly far beyond I could ever have imagined. Indescribable, really. Which is great because, although I do not regret any part of it, I sure will be making QUITE a few coffees at Dunkin Donuts this summer to recuperate my bank account. Maybe, for the purposes of writing this post, it being “indescribable” is not the best thing. But, for the purposes of my life and that experience that will stay with me (forever, I hope), “indescribable” is perfect.

Continue reading “Sky High”

Into the Unknown

caution.png

2ee006d8672ccf77702e9dc43f2fd7bcSitting in my mandatory class meeting for EOP, Maritza Martinez, had said something that resounded in me and my current life issues: “employers want to see that you have taken a risk in you”. She was talking about why we should all be taking an interest in applying for internships and studying abroad, and how taking those actions show personal growth and character. It shows people that you are willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations and rise above it. It shows that you are willing to take a risk on you, and maybe they should too. I never thought of it that way. I believed that doing the things you really wanted to do took courage because of the obstacles you had to face, I did not once think that doing the things I wanted to do was putting myself in a risky situation. Continue reading “Into the Unknown”