Note: This is a personal post reflecting on my writing, intended for those interested in understanding me a little better. Not sure why I am posting it…but it is in my voice…so que se joda!
For as long as I can remember…I wanted to be heard, I wanted to be seen. and be remembered. It started when I was young, my aunt (Titi Lissy, who was only a few years older than me) and I used to perform shows for our family. We would act out songs like "I will Survive" and countless songs from the Jackson 5, The Osmonds and the movie Grease.
When I moved to Puerto Rico at the age of 10…I introduced Hip Hop Culture, Poppin and Breakdancing to Reparto Flamingo, Bayamon way before you can see it on TV. Kids on my block would be rocking out to the Fat Boys and Run DMC.
When I returned to the Bronx, I aspired to be the graffiti artist whose name would passed on from generation after generation of graf heads for years to come. I wanted them to look up to me like I looked up to the greats like Lee, Seen and Lady Pink
In high school, I was the class clown that joked around but made you think about the ironies of life (like Chris Rock does). They would hear me and be like…"yooooo…it's funny because it's true"
In the workplace, I was the guy that took pride in working my way up from the entry level to be senior management. I have done this a few times…and still doing it to this day.
In college as a member of a Latino fraternity (Phi Iota Alpha), I was the guy that wanted to be the Don Simon Bolivar of the Latino organizations, uniting them to do things in the neighboring communities that the community would never expect us to do.
As a poet, I wrote and recited sometimes painful verses about experiences that I endured, knowing that someone in my audience has felt the same way at some time, and never talked about it. I also recited verses of pride having overcome all of my obstacles in life…and making it this far.
As a father, I hope to continually offer my children my experience as a
road map so that they can learn from my mistakes and my success. Eso es una lucha…diaria.
When I started this website 13 years ago, I dreamed of being a media mogul of Latino culture, not so much for the financial gain (if you know me, you know I do not measure success financially), but for the opportunity to lead the world to understand us and our experiences. I wanted to be the source of reconnection for people that had never experienced the beauty of our heritage. I chose the internet as my platform early on, when the only Latinos on the web were high end professionals and college students.
This website was originally housed on GeoCities, then Mi Gente, then a self hosted website, then a blog that has inspired projects like Capicu Poetry with a base of thousands of people that follow me around like the Verizon network that have contributed to the growth of this medium. I have made so many good friends over the years. I was reminded just yesterday that 3 of my favorite people when I started with Social Media 13 years ago are still around me today. Those would be my partner Papo Swiggity, My radio co-host Latyn Jazz and my friend J.F Seary…I am blessed to still have them in my circle.
In a nutshell…I always wanted to captivate an audience, I wanted to be a resource, I wanted to accomplish more than what people thought or even imagined I could. I wanted to have my voice heard, my face seen and recognized as a contributor to our success as a people.
Which brings me to what started this post. I was watching an interview with journalist Maria Hinojosa and she talked about "trusting her voice". She said some things that made me think…After all these years, I wondered why I re-write and re-edit blogs all the time, why I burned hundreds of my poems, why I have stopped writing memoirs of my life several times. It dawned on me at 10:35 this morning…I realized that there are times, no matter how much I know, I do not trust my voice as much as I should, and I am not really sure why. I am not even sure why I am posting this, maybe as psychological challenge to be different and try new things as a writer. I do not have people directly telling me what and what not to write, and the end of the day, you decide whether or not I am worth reading…and you stuck with me all these years. At the end of the day, I have always done it for you.
I have decided that I am going to begin the process of trusting my voice more knowing that what I have to say will bring value to someone in some way. I will take some more chances as a writer and run away from the comfort zone I have been resting at for some time. What you will get in return is even more of me, my experiences and a deeper look at what I am learning as I continuously explore the areas of our culture I still know nothing about.
As I always say…
As I am,
The Urban Jibaro
Follow me on Twitter @UrbanJibaro