Tis very true… I have not written anything for a while. For a moment I was depressed, I thought of my writing as not being good enough. I wanted to express so much, and I was lost for words. I thought of resignation, but that did not seem so courageous, so here I am venturing out on a new path, with new ambitions.
My writing has definitely changed over the course of the years, after hearing some criticisms of my writings, Spanish readers told me my English writing was far superior than that of my Spanish writing.
As you can imagine, this was something painful to hear. Everything I did was in Spanish and the majority of things that run through my mind are in Spanish, thus why I even refused to write in English during my first years as a young writer. I thought of it as an insult to my culture, my heritage and my first language. I didn’t think I would end up writing in English, but here I am and honestly I am unashamed by this fact now. I will still write in Spanish because I would like to immerse in that beautiful language, but I can’t deny my love for the English language.
I can’t escape it. As a 12 year old living in Guatemala, I would listen punk rock in hopes of grasping a better sense of that foreign language, and by the time I finally got to the US English, was something I rejected. In some part, I was reacting to a change, a culture shock, coming from upper class Guatemala to nothing in the US was something that completely changed my heart and my mind. It took me years to recover from that nostalgia and another psychological traumas that I endured, but I will write about that on another blog post.
Writing is something, that gives me life. The concept of creating a new world based on words gave me thrills, and excitement, until I started doing it for selfish reasons. On that instant when I realized that what I needed to write, needed to be heartfelt I think everything changed. I am no longer interested in creating stuff so people can admire me or praise me. I want to tell stories and I want honest criticism, because I will simply like to get better at what I do, everything else is secondary.
My trip to Guatemala helped me get in contact with my roots. Honestly I fell in love with my country again. After almost 12 years of not going back I had lost faith in ever going back, I was distraught by other things and my vision of going back seemed dismal. I even lost my Guatemalan ID on purpose because I thought I was never going back…. but oh boy was I wrong!
Going back made me realize how blessed I have been throughout my entire life. I realized I had many stories to write about, but needed to organize my thoughts. I know writing is a craft that needs to be repeated over and over in order to perfect it. I apologize to all my readers for my absence, but now I am back! Ready to write.
I had been waiting for this weekend for months. I remember a couple of months ago when my friend and one of my mentor’s Ray, texted me asking me to go on a hiking trip. I love hiking but was unsure of the costs and time for this trip, until I finally decided to head on an adventure.
The day I had been waiting for had approached and I hadn’t even packed but was still excited about the whole ordeal. I had no jacket nor boots but was able to get a cheap one from Ross and some family friends were able to lend me the boots for my trip. I was set!
As the meeting time was approaching Ray asked me to help him get the van from the airport. I hurried and finished packing all of my luggage and headed straight to Ray’s in-law’s house. After a couple of minutes, we headed to the airport to pick up the creeper looking van. They just needed to sell the glasses and the mustache for $5.99 and it would have been a perfect match! We parked my car at the airport and headed to UH to pick rest of the group.
As we approached the city, I took a picture of the whole downtown skyline and said goodbye. Even though I’ve lived most of my life in Spring, every time I go to the city, I feel this sense of home. As I watched the skyline from 59 my mind started thinking about traveling and experiencing new locations… I was excited.
When we got to UH. Everyone was waiting for us with the same excitement. Some of us had eaten, others like Ray and I were starving. So when we finally gathered every single one of us in the van, we decided to stop by Whataburger and enjoy one last Texas meal before we headed to Razorback country.
After the perfect Texas meal, we headed to Arkansas in what would be a long six-hour ride. Our destination was set on a cabin in Mount Ida. As the hours passed and everyone started to sleep, I looked out the window to observe the different signs and lights on the road. I’ve never been able to sleep in the car, I always want to absorb my surroundings and be in the moment. Every time I am on the road and admire the houses and ask myself what do they do? How did they get there? What are they doing? It is always intriguing to see a lonely house on the road and ask myself these questions. As I look at the stars and travel I always wonder how much can I see and how far can I go? I feel as if I was made to travel and explore. My mind awakens.
We made it to the cabin around 4:00 a.m. Amid the pitch black night in the forest, we found the cabin up on a hill. It was silent and obscure which made it seem a little bit creepy.
As we entered the wooden cabin, we realized it had a welcoming and cozy environment. It was small but spacious and although we didn’t have as many beds as we wanted we made it work. We divided and conquered and we slept as soon as we could because there was a long day ahead of us.
I woke up at eight. As instructed, but nobody else wanted to get up. So to get everyone on the same page, I quietly decided to brew some coffee and sure enough, the aroma would wake everyone up. I served myself a cup and sat outside on the balcony looking at the woods. I was grateful I could contemplate the immensity of that moment. I could feel the cold penetrating my body as I smelled the earthy scent of the woods and the coffee.
After everyone woke up, we headed to a famous Mexican restaurant around the area. The restaurant wasn’t as great as the reviews made it be but their staff was very friendly and the food was dirt cheap. I had some chilaquiles which were served in a weird way but were okay. The chilaquiles had sour cream and a chipotle sauce, I was expecting some green or red option but it was okay.
After we finished eating. We headed to Caddo Bend Trail which was a 30-minute drive from the restaurant. We were all excited and ready to take on the challenge that was to come. We knew it was a 4-mile hike and we were anxious to see the trail. Riding a big ass van through a narrow road with hills and curves was definitely a memorable experience.
But was was most memorable, was definitely the scenery we encountered. The sun was shining and there was not that much wind. The trailed welcomed us with favorable weather and a beautiful lake that was breathtaking.
The lake was my favorite place. It was truly breathtaking. I thought for a minute how grateful I was to be there, experiencing the lake at that exact same moment. The water was crystal clear and it was blue, unlike the man-made lakes I have seen around populated places. In that exact same moment I wish I could be a rock expert to talk about the beautiful rocks we saw, but the truth is I don’t know much about rocks and I am okay with it. I just thanked God for being able to take in all of the scenery, I also wish I had a boat to row around Lake Ouachita and observe the bald eagle. But since we weren’t rock experts nor had a boat, we decided to do something that we certainly knew how to do… which was take pictures.
There were a thousand pictures taken of the scenery, but it cannot do enough justice to explain the beauty of it all. On the road, I wanted to get inspired by reading Keats and there was a piece of a poem that I felt had talked to me. The piece reads:
“Stop and consider! life is but a day;
A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way
From a tree’s summit; a poor Indian’s sleep
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad moan?
Life is the rose’s hope while yet unblown;
The reading ever-changing tale;
The light uplifting of a maiden’s veil;
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;
A laughing school-boy, without grief or care,
Riding the springy branches of an elm.”
After the hike, we headed to the little city of Hot Springs, where we ate some burgers and sandwiches at a local place and then headed back to the cabin to do a bonfire. We stopped at Wal-mart first to buy all the supplies we needed and then started the fire. As the fire started slowly. I thought about how some philosophers viewed fire as their essence. Unpredictable, beautiful yet so destructive. The fire that burns within ourselves is something that we must keep alive. I thought about this as I blew some air with a piece of cardboard to the fire. Watching the fire become alive and catch flames made me reflect upon myself, and how I wish that the fire inside may always keep on burning. That the little spark of curiosity may never leave and stay. That it feeds off those stories surrounding it and that it stays present in my soul.
In the words of Socrates “The unexamined life, is not worth living”. If there is something this trip has taught me is that I learn more and more each time I travel and that it is never enough. I am always looking to learn and experience more, just like the fire but unlike it. I know not to be consumed by my desires but instead spark it, in time of need.
Throughout my life, I have been through ups and downs. I have come to do things and meet people that I would have never imagined I would speak with. Today I am grateful for all the experiences life has given me. As I have enjoyed I’ve also lost and mourned for things I could have done or could have changed, because although I’ve been high up I’ve also come crashing down.
Throughout the years I’ve learned that I can’t truly trust everyone around me, that the heart is sacred and that the only people that matter in your life is very few. I learned how to value quality over quantity, and to hold those who I love really close to me and those who do not, I just wish them well.
Throughout the years I’ve also learned to focus, which has probably been one of the strongest battles with my life. Alcohol and bad decisions have turned things around but they also have taught me valuable lessons. This may be true, I am not where I want to be, and that is okay. I know I will get there, once I take things step by step. Life isn’t always a party and I sure as hell know that for a fact now.
I have seen people giving up on their dreams because of betrayal, alcohol or lust, and although I have experienced all of these things, I’ve come to realize that life does not stop despite your hardships. That your worth is enormous and despite everything that we might hear or read in the news, there is always a new hope, a new beginning, a new day.
Don’t put yourself down because of lost opportunities, look for a better way there is always a better way. My dad has taught me that there is a solution for everything except for death. So while there is still life in me, I am still willing to fight and pursue my dreams and aspirations.
Although I’ve lost one and a thousand times. I’ve come to know my own worth and that is more than enough. With these thoughts, I speak to you my so kind reader. I challenge you, to follow your dreams, to pursue those things that you might think are impossible, and to guard your heart like a treasure.
Jamás pensé que el huracán Harvey llegará a ser tan catastrófico. Estaba atravesando un periodo muy difícil en mi vida personal. Estaba muy estresado y muy asustado por el futuro que se me venía en frente.
Mi familia fue muy prudente en tomar las medidas necesarias para estar preparados en caso de cualquier emergencia. Mi hermana esperaba celebrar junto a familiares y amigos su primer baby shower en el cual nos sorprenderían mi tía Susy y la esposa de mi primo, Stephanie con su hijo Oscar Fabian, también conocido como “El Canchito”. Llegaron de sorpresa el viernes por la tarde, en uno de los últimos vuelos con destino a Houston ya que, al llegar acá, las noticias informaron que los aeropuertos estarían cerrados y todos los vuelos serían cancelados. Mi tía Berta había llegado también el martes, 22 de Agosto para unirse a la celebración de mi hermana.
Mi hermana también estaba a punto de mudarse a lo que sería su primera casa. Jairo, mi cuñado estaba ya pintando el cuarto del bebé y haciendo unos últimos arreglos para que se pudieran instalar en su nuevo hogar la semana entrante. Todos los preparativos estaban casi listos pero la noche del jueves, intentando instalar la lavadora y la secadora, la tubería del agua en la casa de mi hermana se explotaría haciendo que el agua se paseara por toda la casa.
Mi familia de por sí ya estaba preocupada por los daños ocurridos en la casa de mi hermana. Llegó el viernes con Harvey, mi tía, Stephanie y El Chanchito. Todos en mi casa estábamos asustados y contentos por la llegada de nuestros invitados ya que siempre es un placer tener invitados, solo que llegaron en un momento donde se aproximaba una gran catástrofe. El entorno cambió completamente desde el viernes y empezaron las lluvias. El huracán Harvey llegó a Corpus Christi alrededor de eso de las siete de la noche, pero ya había precipitaciones de lluvia desde hacía unas horas antes del huracán. Después de venir con tanta fuerza y ser categorizado como nivel cuatro al tocar la tierra Harvey perdió su intensidad. A pesar de haber pasado a un huracán de categoría cuatro a una tormenta tropical Harvey dio un golpe muy grave.
Harvey hizo un trayecto que lo llevaría a la ciudad espacial. Las inclemencias del tiempo se hicieron presente y empezó lo que se convertiría en un diluvio. Tenía una entrevista de trabajo después de dos meses de haber buscado, pero Harvey tenía otros planes. Aunque no se me concedió tener la entrevista de trabajo, no puedo quejarme de como Dios me ha bendecido en sí. En mi casa nunca se inundaron las calles ni entró agua a mi casa. En ningún momento se fue la luz, ni se cayó la señal del teléfono. Ver todo el sufrimiento en la televisión te hace apreciar lo que tienes un poco más y aunque mi vida ya era un huracán en sí, me di cuenta que aun como estoy de jodido (temporalmente) todavía puedo servir como una herramienta de ayuda para otras personas. Me di cuenta que la vida y las pertenencias se nos pueden ir en un abrir y cerrar de ojos.
Amigos muy cercanos lo perdieron todo y aunque no tienen hogar por el momento estaban contentos con el simple hecho de estar vivos. La casa de mi hermana por poco y se inunda, pero gracias a Dios el agua nunca tocó el interior de la casa. Las aguas llegaron alcanzar el garaje, pero no pasaron de allí. Durante los días lluviosos hice viajes esporádicos a la casa de mi hermana, solo para chequear que todo estuviera bien. En esos viajes vi como los vecinos de Medaow Hill Run en Spring, se organizaron para alejar el agua de sus casas. Entre todos cavaron el suelo para formar una zanja para que fluyera el agua. Entre quejas del distrito y analizando la logística de está zanja, la comunidad dejó a un lado sus diferencias para mantener el bienestar de sus habitantes.
Después de cuatro días de lluvia, el cielo finalmente se escampó. El sol volvió a mostrar su cara, pero a pesar de que las lluvias casarón, hay mucho trabajo por hacer en la ciudad. No escribo esta historia para vanagloriar mi estado, solo la escribo como una vivencia.
Aquí abajo dejaré un link por si les interesaría donar a aquellas personas damnificadas por el huracán.
At times we might look at a person and admire their physical appearance, but as soon as they start talking we might start to find that person unattractive. Why is this? Why is it that despite their physical appearance we are taken aback by their words? Perhaps it is because “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”? And what does that quote mean?
This ancient Greek saying is expressing subjectivity in beauty. Since who are we to really set up what is and what is not beautiful? Are there really certain rules we must follow in order to be beautiful? Can the mind be attractive as well?
Being attractive is more than just looks. People are naturally drawn to confidence and personality. Our mind works like a magnet. A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison made students in a classroom pick other students that looked physically attractive. As the semester progressed the study showed those students who did less work were found as less attractive than at the beginning of the semester.
Ancient philosophers like Plato would speak about the beauty of the mind, and how is it possible to fall in love with it.
“After this, he should regard the beauty of minds as more valuable than that of the body, so that, if someone has goodness of mind even if he has little of the bloom of beauty, he will content with him, and will love and care for him, and give birth to the kinds of discourse that help young men to become better” wrote Plato in The Symposium.
In other words, what the excerpt above suggests is that, once you find someone with a beautiful mind, his or her appearance is of no relevance. A great example of this is Pablo Picasso. Picasso had a total of 7 “muses” or lovers. He had two wives and four children by three women. Although Picasso wasn’t a Zac Efron or a Channing Tatum, Pablo Picasso did have a brilliant mind. Not only was he known as one of the fathers of cubism but also his art had great messages. Picasso’s piece “Guernica” which depicted the atrocities of the Spanish Civil war sent a great message of peace.
People like Picasso, have something that attracts us. Plato talked about knowledge in the allegory of the cave where a person spent most of his life in a cave. This person was tied to a chair and was forced to watch the shadows. After watching the shadows for so long and believing the shadows to be the ultimate truth, this person was released, to the station where people made the shadows. His eyes burned, but he got used to it, and he began making shadows for the people that were tied down. When this person got extremely good at making shadows he was sent out of the cave. Where he saw the light, the trees, and the water, which Plato would represent as the truth. But how does this relate to the truth?
The allegory itself talks about a society living in a cave, watching shadows, which can be things that distract the mind until someone opens up his/her mind, and begins to break free from the norms of society. That’s what Plato meant by the truth. Thus saying we can’t just see someone’s physical appearance and say they are beautiful until we really get to know the truth (who they are).
Another case that I see in daily life is that of singers. People are attracted to the ideas these individuals interpret through their music and lyrics. People relate so well to the situation the singer is portraying and they are immediately attracted to it. A vivid case of this example could be the salsa singer Marc Anthony who sings about love and even though according to the media he might not be qualified as one of the most physically attractive men in the world, he has the charisma and personality people are attracted to.
Therefore let us not be blinded in this world full of physical appearances, especially in the case of women. Throughout the years, people have set standards of beauty. Before 1915 it was okay for women to not shave their armpits until a fashion magazine named “ Harper’s Bazaar” came up with an ad depicting a woman with no armpit hair. Although not shaving armpit hair has many benefits like softer skin and fewer irritation women today still shave their armpits. A person shouldn’t be judged by his or her looks but rather for who they are.
In the words of Dr. Seuss “Today, you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”.
With that being said, I think it is upon us to feed the mind. To see the beauty beyond takes time, but is not impossible. One is beautiful by the way he or she is, one just needs to expand the mind, and the right person will come along.