Sunday, January 06, 2008

"Where I am from"

This year has already been a bit awkward for me, to say the least. And I know I can do better, I know I can soar. The year has just started, so I have to switch up modes now, so that I feel I'm not wasting any more precious time.

In the summer of 2006 I went to a leadership institute where one of the exercises was to write a piece titled "where I am from". That was all we had as a guideline, the title. Everyone went a different way and for 15 minutes we wrote. I wrote a lot, but nothing with real meaning. Not only did I not have enough time to start (I already said here how hard it is for me to start things... including writing), but I had a lot of things I wanted to include, but then when I read over the composition, it didn't feel true enough, so I didn't read it out loud, like others did (that was the second part of the exercise). Some came up with beautiful poems, I just wrote down thoughts... unfinished thoughts.

So just now, I thought I'd give the exercise a second try. Just to see what comes out, and to see if that gives me clarity for this new year. Because you have to know where you're from, to know where you're going.

Where I am from

I am from an open family. An unconventional family.
Mami y hermana. And close outsiders.
Papi y hermanos... three more of them, two boys and a girl,
growing up together.
The family of different colors, towns, religions, and music.
I am from a childhood in which no one really understood how my family functioned. No matter how many times I explained.
Not a set picture, for me, familia meant close loved ones living under different roofs.
I am from fear of staying over at my dad's house on the weekends, fear that I wouldn't come back home.
I am from home, home that's not a place anymore, but a state of mind. Safety.
I am from a country whose children leave to have a future. I am one of those children.
I am from a window at the apartment at the third floor of an orange building. Eyes on the sun of every morning, the trees dancing for me and a volcano keeping me company. Nights of tropical breeze.
I am from where death is only a river that takes you to the other side.
I am from scars. Scars are a process of healing. A reminder of the journey from worse to better.
Scar over scar, my body is a reminder.
Green casts, nails and non-absorbable sutures. Hospital lights and smells. Nurses in white.
I'm from here. Remembering every smell, every step, every pharmacy, from counting minutes waiting on a doctor that took too long to visit with another kid.
I am from smiles and laughter.
I am from a box of watercolors and a piece of white paper, moments away from becoming a masterpiece.
I am from covering my face with color paint and making other kids laugh. Clowning came so natural.
The fire of hope coming true to me. No religion can ever top that fire.
I am from giving. I am from leaving. I am from looking. I am from staying true.
I am from a journey that has just started.
Jan-6-08

2 comments:

Coco said...

i like it : )
maybe i should give it a try, too.
give myself "perspective" in this new year...

bendiciones y fuertes abrazos.

Chris & Lindsey Wheeler said...

Bertha,

All I can say is "WOW"!! I am crying. First, I am crying from the prayer you spoke over Xiomara....thank you, thank you!! How absolutely beautiful that you wrote it in Spanish!!!! Then, I read your latest blog....it is amazing!! You are so gifted at writing. I am excited and praying for your journey.

Blessings, Lindsey