Ten years ago I learned that Carlos took his life. I still do not fully understand processing grief and trauma-informed practices though I’ve been trying to read and learn from art, music, movements, articles, books, workshops and talks etc for the past few years. Carlos and I shared few moments, few memories that I now have. I wanna share the funniest one:
My hook up ran late. I told them upon arrival that we had less than 30 minutes because I had class and that this particular day was important because I had some sort of presentation. I said I had just showered and done my hair so I could not be touched above my shoulders. We were tidy. Until we were not. At the important part of the story, my lover had me picked up against the wall for a moment before suddenly falling over. Motherfuckin motionless!! MOTIONLESS. I told them I had been gaining weight like crazy. “I’m too heavy,” I said. I swear I protested. I mean, yeah, I protested gently…
By the time I started freaking out about what to do about the situation – the motionless body on my living room floor – I look at the clock. FUCK ME. I slapped, sprinkled water, nudged… until I got my keys and jangled them over their face: *gasp
As I began the, “I told you so’s” that I was “too fat” to pick up, baffled, they point to the window half-shouting: “Why is it so HOT in here, Jesus?”
Footnote: Oh yeah. My heater was on even on some hot days – like on this unfortunate summer day. In my Harlem apartment 2009-2011 I had no control over some things. The heater, for example, was on full blast at, like, 90° literally 24/7 for a few months of the year. There was broken shit and steam LITERALLY just spewed out of random spots of the pipes – I probably can find some burn marks from those days. I swear it was so worth it – teaching full time, taking on part times, master’s full time and paying $1k for that apartment. Harlem and I have such a tumultuous love affair…
We cleaned up and I push my lover out of my home. I yelled about the… in my hair for like half a block. Ratchet af, yes, I know this.
Dear Carlos, That look that we gave each other as I entered class abruptly (to me). No one else noticed. Our eyes met and we lost it. Y cuando nos reímos a carcajadas – tu a tu manera tan pero recontra Dominicano… in the middle of whatever “Pedagogical Theory 101” class… Que dulce! What a great fuckin moment to share!!
I miss even the tiny moments we had even though they are few. This sounds apologetic because I’ve been conditioned to be less empathic, to use only logic when exposing what’s going on in me. I also only very recently learned the word trauma, though I’ve been fighting for that shit in schools since I met you. Another memory I have of you is when a lot of us were all excessed and looking for work was a pain in the ass. Obama had just bailed out banks and left us poor af people even more poor af – You me and Luis were up for the same position at that Yankee Stadium school. I was so proud of you for getting the job. Then, entre our bilingual plática, I was so sad and angered to learn how they treated you and the students. I’m sad that school, like so many in NYC, was devastated by divestment in our People of Color communities. Then the way they informed the community about your death was devastating at a new level. I was crushed. We were crushed by your passing. I still feel pain today. Yes, tu sabes, the pain is linked to how I’m still being treated in educational institutions.
Ay, Carlos. Fuck this Corona y tomamos unas juntes some day. I wish you and your family much love and wellness ❤
Abrazos, compa 🙂
Ayanna’s got me thinking about
safe spaces to grieve…
Grief is real and deserves space
supress with positive things
Thriving does not exclude very real spritual, socioemotional, psychological and physical pain.
15:50 alarm for writing group #1
16:58 I am not writing as I “should be.” Instead, on Twitter, I’m on this:
Estados Unidos: 156 931
Italia: 101 739
España: 85 195
China: 81 897
Alemania: 63 929
Francia: 45 169
Irán: 41 495
Reino Unido: 22 448
A 17 year old was denied medical attention because of no insurance and a 65-year-old, Rushia Johnson Stephens, a former DeKalb County music teacher, was denied medical attention because she was turned away from doctors.