One Day at a Time

Listen, I grew up feeling very represented: dad was in congress, mom was a doctor, and (she crosses herself) Shakira, Juanes, and Sofia Vergara. There was no thing a Colombian could not do.

I remember moving here and watching lots of Mikes and Mollys, Hanks and Peggys, Jennifers and Rachels. One Lopez. I didn’t think much about it at the time. I didn’t have to, I had all that Shakira gumption. But it’s been sixteen years now.

Sixteen! And I remember crying over the balcony at ON YOUR FEET! The Musical so its author wouldn’t notice. Because I was ugly crying, completely overwhelmed. I realized that after eight years in conservatory, and fifteen pursuing theater, I had never, ever, ever heard a salsa number on stage. While I had felt represented all my life, I realized– snotty and M&Med up– that I had never actually seen or heard the sounds I left sixteen years ago on a theater stage. You know, that thing I went to conservatory for and paid gazillions of dollars to get good at? That dream? Snot aside, it was the first time I understood what representation does to a body. I didn’t know I needed that. Dad was in Congress, remember? But I did. It undid me. Disarmed me. Made me feel seen when I thought I was already in plenty of spotlight. It made me call my parents and thank them for their ridiculously generous hearts and impecable work ethic, both of which made it possible for me to even have that very experience. Because I was being represented in MY dream.

So yes. I support you #OneDayAtATime. Whole heartedly and full of gratitude. Because Latinos deserve laugh tracks and yellow living room scenes, too. So please keep writing them, and writing them well.

 

For more on this awesomeness, click here.

Today’s TBT #BlackLivesMatter

REAL LIFE LOS ANGELES TRAIN (yes): 5 o’clock to Culver City.

FEROCIOUS BUSINESS WOMAN: 40’s, black, French cuffs, Louboutins, red reading glasses, French twist. PRISCILA watching Wesley T. Jones‘ latest video (on latest shootings), sans headphones. Proud.

PRISCILA: Oh my.
FEROCIOUSNESS: That your friend?
PRISCILA: Yes, ma’am.
FEROCIOUSNESS: Hm. You in your twenties?
PRISCILA: (I nod) 22.

(I repost, open up NPR App on my phone)
FEROCIOUSNESS takes off her reading glasses, places them on her head. Holds her hand to her mouth. Then chin. Inhales.

FEROCIOUSNESS: Let me ask you something. Did you just move here?
PRISCILA: (smiles) what makes you say that? Indeed, I just did.
FEROCIOUSNESS: Hm. We don’t see bodies like yours around here much anymore. Girls come out here and disappear.
PRISCILA: I’m sorry, I… Boys are getting shot and you want to talk to me about the circumference of my thighs?
FEROCIOUSNESS: They’re related.
PRISCILA: Oh yeah?
FEROCIOUSNESS: You want truth?

FEROCIOUSNESS: You see mama, whenever a girl loses another damn pound or straightens her hair or changes the way her mama taught her to make a meal, they’re bleaching our histories and burying our bones and the STRUCTURES THEY COME IN six feet underground. Execution all around. Where you from?
PRISCILA: (breath) Colombia.
FEROCIOUSNESS: Hm. (Puts glasses back on, gathers her Prada, Newspaper, and takeout, stands) I lost my two brothers to Chicago and then I moved out here. I was twenty-five. Whenever they shoot another brown boy, they’re also shooting at your curves and at the language you speak when you call your home. So yes baby, when I see you I say to myself, “she better keep ’em thighs strong.” Stay blessed, child.

Train stops. FEROCIOUSNESS nods, and steps off.

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