Year Three

The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse. ~Jules Renard

Where has the time gone? I looked up at the calender to and realized what today was. I have been in the blog game for 3 years now with no intentions on stopping. My journey had changed but my desire to write has remained the same. Somehow I have managed to gain more followers each year and I appreciate that. I would like to think that this has been a shared experience.

When I think about the focus of this blog I think about how it reflects me as a person. I always have had issues with focusing in general so it is not a surprise that there is no one single focus. However, I am still consistent with my messages that may have evolved of the last 3 years. When I wrote about why I started this blog in 2009, the last sentence states: I am writing this blog because the truth hurts.

This still holds true no matter what I write. I noticed that my emotional states have changed so much. I think that during my first year I wrote about so many emotional things that it has really helped shape what this blog has become. My journey was one of self redemption that I needed to work out. My marriage fell apart which lead to the ultimate divorce. Now I am in the middle of a very satisfying relationship which shows that anything can help within such a time span.

I can say that for the first time in a long time I am the closest to happiness than I have ever been. I am not entirely sure how this is possible considering that there have been times where my life almost fell apart several times last year. Maybe it is because I am on a new journey where excuses are not longer allowed. I am now doing the things I have said I would do regardless of the level of fear. Maybe it is because deep down I know that I don’t have to worry about being alone anymore (which sounds crazy but guys do think this way…just rarely admit it).

This year will be rough because it will be a year full of risk taking and fear conquering. I can try to make that commitment to write more on this blog, but with other blogs I have, a book I am writing, a class that I am taking, and the book club that I am still apart of, I may still be as infrequent as last year. However, the quality will still be the same. I am taking my motto of no more excuses very seriously. Life is too short and I need to focus on what is important.

As usual, I look forward to documenting this year, which is a big one if you think about it. The Presidential elections are in November so that means the debates will heat up in the summer. I am quite sure that I will have tons to say about that as well as this being our final year on this planet according to those who believe in the Mayan Long Count Calender. I would like to travel a bit this year and the only place I know I am going to for sure in Boston in March.

Afro Latinos will still be a topic and I plan to share some of my writings from my book as well as my short stories. Poems will continue to happen in April and I found out that I have a 20 page paper due in May. All this writing will be interesting and I cannot thank you enough for all the support. I am dedicating the song below to this year and my journey to being Limitless.

Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure. ~Don Wilder and Bill Rechin
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Undergraduate Reflections

I feel like this is a big month for me. There is countdown clock in my head that is ticking down the days until I get this letter. It is becoming all that I think about. I cannot give myself a real reason why I would not be accepted to Sarah Lawrence College. I really feel that this is a right fit for me.

However, I look back at my undergraduate years and I think about how I could have done so much better. I was so lost in everything that was not my books. I went into college blind to how hard the environment could be. I went away to get away from warring parents. I continue to think that this was the best choice for me. Syracuse University is where I eventually found something within myself.

However, those 4 years were indeed hard. My grades certainly reflected this. I spend the first 2 years trying to figure out what I want to do in life. I took all these liberal arts classes that were ok, but there were some that I could not wrap my mind around. Math was something that always kicked my ass, but it was African American Studies classes that kept me somewhat focused.

Women were foreign territory to me. I had no idea what I was doing and they distracted the hell out of me. I got lucky a few times by fooling around with some girls here and there, but I was so convinced that I was just not good enough. I was not confident in myself despite the fact I may had a few girls who liked me. The one thing that really noticed was the fact that it was only black girls that seemed interested. I spent much time wondering why women of my own culture were not interested.

This was part of me recognizing my place in this world. I began to figure out that I didn’t quite fit in either black or latino culture on campus. In the end, I ended up hanging out more with my African American friends. I felt that I connected more with them, but I was just beginning to understand my own roots. My grades still suffered because I was really not thinking about school as much as I was thinking about just surviving day to day. Sure, I went to class but, I was taking classes in things I really did not care for.

Then, by my junior year, two things occurred. I finally selected my major and I finally got myself a girlfriend. She was not technically my first girlfriend, but she was my first real relationship. In terms of my major, I finally chose English. I also became a student leader on campus and it seemed all things were going right. This is where I finally felt that twinge of confidence. I begin to love my classes and love the person I was becoming. My grades finally improved but, I ended up graduating with a GPA that is not what I call to great.

I think about all of that now and I cannot wish that I could do it all over. Everything that has happened in my past has shaped my present. I am who I am because of the path I walked. So, I have to live with the bad grades because I was just no focused enough. This is why I have such an affinity and understanding with the students I mentor and supervise.  There was no one like me back then. I make the choice everyday to make sure that students know I am here and I have been in there shoes.

My grades in graduate classes are what they should be. I am averaging an A-. Although, it was just three classes, I took them while working, on average, of 55 hour weeks. I just hope that it is enough to sway the panel of admissions or whomever makes the decision that I am indeed good enough.

Year Two

“Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.” – Wayne Dyer

The journey continues. I myself cannot believe that it has been two years ago today that I start this blog. I have witnessed myself change from a man who was not sure about his life to a man who is now certain of where to go. I very much consider this blog to be the reason for it all. I have found the courage to admit to myself all my fears and frustrations while turning them into motivation to be better.

Personally, I think that I have been on a great ride. Good or bad, I feel alive. I can admit that I have feelings and emotions that I am very sure that I was not in tuned with a few years ago. Someone mentioned to my that I was pretty much a closed individual before I started writing everyday. That is so very true. I cannot express how much of a release it is to put words on paper (or type them on a screen – semantics, I know). I have learned to channel my emotions in written form so that I can share it with everyone.

I cannot be the only one that has seen the change not only in me, but in my writing style. Over the first year, I feel that I was so wild and undisciplined. I would write on just pure need to release. I think my second year was harder because I wasn’t sure where to go, but I developed a craft that I am hope will launch me forward into year 3.

I was concerned that my addiction to Twitter would effect this blog, but that is so not the case any more. I really believe that they now both go hand in hand. While I express my deepest desires and fears on here, I can really be myself on there. Without realizing it, I have developed an online persona that I am very ok with. My plans are to use all this as a stepping stone to something larger.

I still plan on doing something for Black History Month in honor of Afro Latinos. That is just a given. I am still debating doing another month of 30 Poems in 30 days in April. Of course, there is the anticipation of getting into Sarah Lawrence College and the possible move back to the greatest city in the world. Lastly, there is Latino Heritage Month, I will definitely being doing something special for that. My new journey is just beginning and documenting it have been a blast.

I feel like I am always being sentimental in thanking everyone for reading, but it is your words of encouragement that shows me that I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. I am also very humbled by the fact that people have been telling me that I have inspired them to go back to school. We are NEVER too old to go back to school and make ourselves better. We are meant to evolve and change. It is not about money to me anymore because I cannot take with me when I die. It is about knowledge and the quest to fulfill that destiny that I was meant for.

My apologies. I do not mean to get all existential right now. I have a feeling I may have to write more about that later.

In any case, let me dedicate this video below to my blog. I recently fell in love with this song I feel that at this would have been my theme at some point over the last two years. Enjoy.

Resolutions

Over the last couple of days, I had to really look back and ask myself what do I really want for this new year. Before the years was up, I really did not think about 2011 and what I may have in store of it. Alas, I did not want to get to a point where I felt I was just coasting through life. I need to make sure that I do everything I can to ensure my happiness even in times when I feel the most lazy.

I could have done many things better last year. I know that my biggest enemy is myself. It is like that for so many students that I see who come through my door. We tend to be our worst enemies because success is not an easy thing to attain. It is damn hard and many times it is easier to make excuses rather than battle through whatever obstacle is in our path. I feel that I have been lazy last year. I was so busy waiting for things to happen that I lost sight of many goals. I cannot do that anymore. Even as I type this, I know how hard it is to stay motivated.
So for the sake of my sanity, yesterday, I created a list of resolutions that I need to work on for 2011. These are not superficial things. These are things that I need to do in order to get back to the essence of me. I have always been able to look at the potential of others, now I have to look at my potential. I have struggled to recognize my worth for the longest time and now that I have gotten a sense of that, I need to figure the perimeters of my potential.
I want to start by clearing my credit card debit. Now, my debt as whole is larger that just credit cards, and a lot of that is due to owning a home, but I want to concentrate on this seemingly small portion because I need to put my money to better use. I think that by doing this I can afford more and worry less. Now that I have three roommates, I think that I can fulfill this goal fairly easily. Do not get me wrong, I am not paying them all off and then discarding them, I want to pay them off and continue use them responsibly. Now that I am fully living the single life, I need to live a little more and have my money work for me.
Although I have been in relatively good health, I feel the need to get back to the work out regime that I had in 2009. I need to start running 3-4 times a week like I used to. I would use just about anything as an excuse to not run. I need to stop that. For months now I have been concerned that perhaps I started putting the weight back on that I lost 2 years ago. I have attributed my lack of soda drinking to my weight loss so the least thing that I have done is to continue to stop drinking it. However, I still feel that I may gained some back.
The funny thing is my pants still feel and look the same. So I do not feel a tightness, however, I feel like perhaps my shirts can be too small. Granted I am probably thinking too deeply into this because I am still relatively slim but, as I get older, things like diabetes and blood pressure may become an issue. In any case, I had to face whatever this feeling was that perhaps I am gaining weight back. When I was in Harvard last week, I weighed myself. I am 167 lbs and I was shocked. I am still relatively the same weight. Maybe my shirts are shrinking…
…the next day when I was having dinner with 2 of my paternal aunts, one mentioned that I am not as slim as I was last year. I heard that and I said to myself. I need to run.
I then thought about how quickly the 2 year anniversary of this blog is coming. I feel that I have at times neglected this site as well as my writing due to my laziness. I need to always make sure that I am on my game. Which is why I have decided to shoot for a goal of at least 175 blogs for 2011. That is about 15 entries a month until the end of the year (I rounded up). I need to push myself further so I make this be happy about what I can do with my writing. I know that I have used my tumblr account strictly for my poetry…but that may not be the case anymore. I think that site has become a whole another animal entirely.
With the thought of increasing the number of entires per month it is only natural that I think about broadening my audience. I would like to get more followers. I am not sure how I am going to do this. I feel that this blog is a product of me. I think that I share my stories and my journeys because I want to leave my mark on the world. However, I still know that I write for me and not for others and yet I want more people to follow me. I think that is just the nature of being a writer. I want people to read what I write with the understanding that I am not here for anyone in particular.
However, I am enjoying so very much the interactions I get on Facebook and I would love to continue that. I feel that I can get ideas from the people who read me. Often times when I am thinking about what to write it can almost be like a conversation and in many ways the Latinegro page has allowed me to have that conversation. So, I want more followers because I feel that I want more people to join into whatever conversation that I am having on here. 
The final goal has been an on-going goal since 2009. I need to move back to NYC. I think in many ways I have been lazy about that to. Not that I have lost the desire, but more that I think I lost a little bit of hope last year. When I ended my last entry for 2010 I said that I wanted to hope more and dream less because I think I thrive on hope. While dreams are something we all have, I think people can spend too much of their time dreaming and less time living. I plan on getting back on my grind and getting back to NYC as soon as possible. 

Last Decade until the Next…

Last of 2010 and I have been thinking about my life all day. I made a very brief trip to Harvard yesterday with my cousin because she had some errands to do. Neither one of us wanted her to drive alone so I went along for a nice ride. I have to admit that I do like Harvard. I didn’t see as much of it as I should have but, that will be another reason to go and see her again in the future. Maybe it will be one of my first trips of 2011.

I wasn’t going to write anything tonight but I decided to because I am somewhat disappointed in myself. I wanted to finish the year with 150 blogs and clearly that will not be happening. I wanted to at least do one more entry before the year ends so, as usual, I am writing from the heart.

I haven’t really thought about any resolutions, which is odd for me. I have been on survival mode for such a long time that there is narrow view of where I want to go. I don’t want to think that the difference between this year and last year was 50+ blogs because I think there were many posts in 2009 that were straight up trash in my opinion. However, I think that since I am always in a constant state of thought, it now takes me longer to figure what I am going to write about without repeating myself.

I am also disappointed in myself because my bio for Sara Lawrence College is killing me.  I am up to my third draft because the other two versions sound like short story. So I have decided to make mine sound like I have an entry in Wikipedia. Once I started doing this I realized how much I hate writing this way. Plus, I am 36 years old and I have a lot of story to tell! I have to squeeze everything into a 1000 words.

What also has not escaped my attention is the fact that one decade has ended. I think about my last 10 years and I can barely fathom the fact that I have known people who have been born and other people who have died. I have witnessed many tragedies and lived through one. But me being married and divorced within this decade, I am not sure I would have ever foreseen that a decade ago.

Then I think about where my heart has been over that same amout of time. I think about my maturity level. I am a totally different person. I have learned so much that I have trouble keeping it all straight. So not only do I not have a resolution for this New Years…but I am looking into the next decade with no exceptions. I have a literal clean slate that I can do anything with and it is kinda scary.

The only think I can so do is just try my best to be a better version of myself. I think I would like to start hoping more and dreaming less. Happy New Year!

Poetry: My Top 5 of 2010

These 5 are a combination of the what spoke to me as well as feedback that I received. It is very strange to actually go back and read these. Because I know where my mind was when I wrote them. If I had a choice I would start with these in any shows I may do in the future. Mind you, I sorted these out from 15 poems I felt were good…

My Love Affair
I am in love with you again
we used to see each other
all the time
but, I had to break it off
make a clean cut
you were violated
and I hated
that I could not deal
your appearance is forever
altered and it took me
such a long time
to even like you again
so I left you
with a goal to never
to go back to you
we had to move on
I had to follow my goals
the problem is
I never forgot
all the great days
all the train rides
all the baseball games
all the trips I took to see
you in all your glory
I would only visit on holidays
I liked the way you looked
in all your special ways
you flirted
to get my attention
and yes, I must mention
I liked it
but i tried
to push that aside
because you don’t need me
but lately
It is I, that needs you
it has been so hard
reading about you online
seeing you on tv
hearing about you on the radio
I even look at that old photo
It is clear
we are meant to be together
I cannot keep this lie with me
being in you is my destiny
each visit with you
has been a secret affair
that I can barely contain
my attraction to you,
I can barely explain
but I have no expectations
of what we have become
I may beg to to be
with you, so please no pity
I love you because you are beyond pretty
I love you because your style is so gritty
Most of all,
I love you because you are New York City
My Butterfly (English Version)

My beautiful butterfly
how I yearn
to see your wings
I am in love
with your flight
you live within
the flowers
that grow
from my heart
the flutter of
your wings
match the beat
of my heart
My butterfly
you are beautiful
in every way
your shape
your form
I want to
fly with you
and share the sky
until the sun sets
and share the
moonlight
until your wings tire
my beautiful butterfly
nothing comes close
as watching you
spread your wings
I may not be able
to keep you
but I will always
love you

Mask

Alternate persona
I show you
what I want you to see
my secret identity
is hidden behind
my refined mask
of sarcasm and wit
I grow tired of giving a shit
for the callous
and the self absorbed
those who live in glass houses
and repeatedly judge
my mask is for
your protection
not mine
a hardening muscle

that can turn to stone
beating in my chest
its use is practical
no one needs to see
underneath the mask
the outer shell
has it’s own story to tell
emotions release
with ease
the sleeve
is dirty from
the wear and tear
people assume they
know me
because I have
no pokerface
they do not know
we are not even
playing the same game
I am playing
truth or dare
without the latter
no need to dare me
about the truth
it wont matter
I am past the lies
that men tell
I am past the games
women play
I am past the past
so I need
to wear this mask
and an invisible cape
to help me escape
the revelation
that you are not
on my level

Manipulator

Playing games
is what you do
playing hearts
while disguising the truth
pretending to be aloof
when it was all you
pulling the strings
to this puppet show
a manipulator
in this
marionette opera

with songs being sung
of “whoa is me”
with a tissue
in one hand
and a machete
in the other
using your curves
and your words
to pursue your motives
both ulterior
and interior
but on the exterior
your game fools
only but a few
I can see the
strings and where
they go
every move and twitch
made by your puppet
hides the truth
that you are a bitch
that plays hearts
in a game of spades
operating on your
own set of rules
to obtain an audience
your affinity for drama
makes you a
puppet master
that gets the
reaction you want
with the puppet you flaunt
while never taking heed
that even
a master can bleed
the strings you hold
so tight
will one day bite
and when the show is over
and the curtain falls
your puppet
will see your flaws
a false Gapedo
nothing but ghetto
it will be your nose
that grows
with every lie that flows
from a mouth
that you use
to eat your puppet’s soul
and swallow another man’s pole
a manipulator!
I see your strings
and how they
attach
to a now wooden toy
who used to be a real boy
pray this opera
never ends
and he never gets a clue
because the curtain
will fall on you

Intensity

Deep
Flowing
Intensity
like a well oiled
machine
you do not need
a quarter to ride me
you just need
the hips
lights out
above the blankets
dancing the dance

entering your doorway
of blissful
exuberance
warm
wet
dripping with sweat
heaven is meant
to be just
like
this
lets die like this
seal it with a kiss
send it with a bite
pull away
to capture a moment
of closeness
you will ever be
to being one being

and you try not to flinch
when you feel every inch
of passion
that makes every
hair on your body
stand up
back arching
muscle tightening
intensity
that will make
you remember that
there is a God.
Perfection is
met when
two people
cum together
for that
one moment
of intense
satisfaction
that is only achieved
by a heavenly body
open your eyes
to your surprise
heaven can be
real hard
to gain
but not tonight
take one more bite
of this Intensity

Reflections of 2010

It is funny that I find myself here again reflecting on the past year. I stated last year that I felt the year went by slowly and feel the same way again this year. I am not sure why that is. Perhaps I have been able to take note of what is going on in my life via this blog or perhaps I am trying to stop and smell the roses along my journey.

One thing is for certain, 2010 was definitely better than 2009. I think about all the things that I have been through and all the personal victories that I can claim. while this was the year my divorce process started and was completed, it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would have been when the year started. There is no personal vendetta in this equation and it works. However, I am amused that other people harbor negative feelings about the end of our marriage as if it had anything to do with them.

I set out to explore more of my poetic side this year and I am so very glad to find that I am better at poetry than I thought.  I think I must have written close to 50 poems this past year. I have not counted how many but I think I am so what close that number. During the process of the the 30 for 30 poems, I think I really found something creative within that is making look onward to 2011. It has not escaped me that I haven’t written many poems over the last few months and couple that with the fact that my poems are generally in a different site all together, I am going to put my top 5 poems that I wrote this year on this blog.

I also spent a lot of time on the cultural side of things. I dedicated the month of February to Afro Latinos. I enjoyed doing that so much but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I felt that my lack of knowledge of this subject really showed and I was not proud of that fact. However, I also feel that I taught myself so much when it come to Afro Latinos that it all balanced out in the end. What I did like very much was when I did the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. This was an undertaking that provided me with attention that I did not expect. This was another challenge I put upon myself that I took seriously. In the end, it provided me with a glimpse of what I want to do in the future.

My speech at Utica College showed me that I can do two things: speak publicly about anything without seeming like a fool and read my own poetry without seeming like a fool. This made me very happy. Not only did I get paid for something that I love to do, but they audience actually listened to me and responded. I am not sure that it will always be like that but I do want to find out. Because of this experience it has made me realize that I really need to go back to school. Which is why I am currently working hard on my application to Sarah Lawrence College. I would love to be professor and help cultivate the art of writing for those who love it as much as I do.

I also cannot forget my trip to the Dominican Republic. This was something that I will never forget, not just because of the wedding, but because of the timing. I needed to escape all my issues and just be in a place where nothing matters. I was with family and friends and they all related to me. I can remember the times I looked out into the ocean and thought about how beautiful it was and how fortunate I was to be there to see it.

All and all, I think I had a very good year. I think I explored myself the most during this year. 2009 highlighted the pain of my journey and I would like to think that 2010 highlighted the hope of my continuing journey. I continue to check off things from my list of goals, like getting roommates, and I will continue to do for me. I think the fact that I added a facebook profile to this page also helps me interact to those who read this blog. I am very grateful and I look forward to carving out what 2011 means to my journey.

A New Chapter

If I had to tell a tale of my 30’s , it would be a tale of struggle, new experiences, opportunities gained, opportunities lost, and a road to a new chapter. My dear friends, my divorce is now final. My ex wife made the phone call to me this evening as I was dozing off. She told me that she received the letter today in the mail. I was in that sleepy shock.

There was a moment in which we were both silent over the phone. I think that was the moment in which we reflected on the last 8 years of marriage and 10 years of knowing each other. I am always amazed about how overwhelming finality can be. We all seem to underestimate how it feels to actually end anything. Is it no wonder that when athletes end their career it often times, ends in tears. While there were no tears for this I think there was mutual feeling that we finally ended something in our own terms and not in the way most people wanted.

Thus it is a start of a new chapter for me. I was 26 the last time I was truly single. I feel that with all this experience I have, I can write this new chapter of my life with very few issues. Which, in terms of writing, comes at a very good time considering that I do have to write an autobiography in about 1500 words for Sarah Lawrence College. I am more confident in the things that I want to do. I feel like I take care of myself better. The best part is that I don’t feel like I need a girlfriend. The possibility of me being alone is no longer a fear for me.

I feel that I have recognized all the things that I have done wrong and have done everything in my power to correct… me. What is funny to me is that the finalizing of this divorce comes at a time in which I normally reflect on the past year. Instead, I reflect on the past decade as I venture into the next one.

People have taken the time to congratulate me on this and while I am on my fifth glass of wine I can say, I am not sure that this is inappropriate.  I do not think that people are celebrating a failure of a marriage but a creation a new journey for me. It is like have a celebration for a phoenix, a life cycle that is turbulent and ends in flames but then is reborn from the ashes…

Be Thankful

I feel like as I grow older I get more sentimental about life. I wonder if that is just the nature of getting older. Is it that, at this point in my life, I have things to look back on and wonder if I could have done things better? Perhaps I should be thankful that things are not as bad as they could be. But, seeing how the holiday season has arrived, my thoughts are always focused toward reflection.

This week has been so very interesting in both breadth and scope. I have often talked about me being on the precipice of something great but I have not been able to take that leap of faith. There always seems to be that one thing that keeps popping up that I need to take care of before I can continue on my journey. That thing is never the same thing, it is always that one thing that blocks my path; another obstacle that stands in the way.

However, it is those obstacles that keep me humble in who I am as a man. I am thankful for all those people in my life that I never seem to say thank you to. The people who constantly check up on me to make sure that I am doing ok or that I am even still alive. I know that there are many people in this world that are not blessed with the amount of people who seem to care.

I am so thankful for being able to get through this particular year with roommates that have been able to pay rent and while that may sound a little funny, I have had to use that money to repair many things around the house that seemed to malfunctioned or just straight broken down. I think someone in heaven is looking out for me because had I not had those people living with me, I am not sure I would have been able to survive last month alone.

As I sit here and type this I can say that right now I am generally scared. I am not sure what to do at this point in my life. Well, that is not entirely true, I do know what to do, I am just afraid that I will fail. Sarah Lawrence College has such a beautiful campus. I was so amazed about how there are so many places within that college that would enable me to get my work done. It just makes think about what will happen if I get in…but then what if I don’t. Either way, I have to just be thankful that I even have that opportunity to apply.

Somewhere through this I have been listening to Kanye West’s Album all week, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and I have become so addicted to it. The beats, the lyrics, the vibe, has been so trance like for me that, during this time of reflection, it make me think about my goals and more importantly, the fact that the only person who is going to take care of me is me.

“Lost in the World” – Kanye West

Then there is my love life, a subject I rarely talk about because it is a complicated as…well as complicated as women. I guess I should be grateful for what is and what is not happening in this portion of my life. I do feel that everything happens for a reason. I know that there are people in this world who are utterly alone with no sign of comfort or human touch. I am thankful that I have not gotten to the point of bitterness toward the world. I have come to notice that unhappy people in this world tend to be people who have no one to love them. It is at this point that I want to say that I am very thankful for my dog, Rocky, for showing me what unconditional love means (I thank my dad too…but I talk about him all the time…lol).

I also want to be thankful for those people who wish me to fail and not succeed. Those people who think I am worthless and those who have held me back over the years. They have provided endless amounts of motivation for me. I do know my shortcomings, but I also know that I can do anything I put my mind to. It is these people in my life that end up feeding into my fears as well adding fuel to my fire. People who will anonymously comment on a certain blog post to bring up a long dead issue from the past that will ultimately give me more motivation to be a better man. Thank you.

Thanksgiving to me is not just about the food or the family, it is about reflection. It is about all things that I should be thinking about before Christmas. I remember going through this last year, in which it seemed that just about every post I did in December was one of reflection. I have to chuckle because I am not sure I have just limited that reflection to just the winter time.

Most of all, I want to thank all of you for reading this blog. I was never sure where I was going with this sight. I wanted it to be solely about about my soul. I think you have seen me at my highest and at my lowest. While I have been on the straight and narrow with my writings, I know that there is a side of this Gemini heart that you have not seen. Perhaps I am not comfortable in sharing it with the world because quite frankly some of the things that I write scare me. In either case, I am grateful for the comments I get on my Facebook page. It is good to interact. I do not call anyone a fan, I would rather call you a reader. Thank you.

In the end…I want to thank that one person who manages to make me smile everyday.

9/11 Reflections on Xenophobia

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Today is has been all about reflection. I debated about writing about this day. I have already done it several times and, of course, I will never forget. But, the one thing I do not want to do is talk about this day over and over every year.  I think we need to focus on lessons learned so that hopefully this will not happen again. However, on the 9th anniversary of 9/11, I feel that we are increasingly surrounded by ignorance.

There is so much animosity over this Mosque at ground zero. The people who are crying foul about this whole thing believe that it is disrespectful to what has happened and that quite possibly there is some ulterior motive in the long run. Of all of this just fans the flames of the man, Reverend Terry Jones, who originally wanted to burn the Qur’an because “Islam is a evil”.

This becomes a case where people do not know their history. So let’s set the record straight on a lot of things. I am, by definition, a Catholic and I have been recovering for some time now. But, I do know a few things about Christianity when it comes to violence and killing under the name of Jesus. I could use several examples on this. We can talk about how settlers of the United States felt that the indigenous people were too savage and either need Jesus or needed to die. Perhaps we can talk about slavery and how many of the slave owners used religion to oppress slaves in order to get rid of their heathen beliefs brought from Africa. However, I think the best example is the Jewish Holocaust under the hands of Nazi Germany. After all, Hitler was a devout Christian who was simply was killing Jews under the name of God (He used to also sanction the burning of books…hello Reverend).

Do the action of many people in the history of the world who used Jesus to kill others mean the Christianity and all its forms are evil? Clearly not so much. What people also do not seem to understand that Qur’an is like the next installment of the Torah and the Gospel. Muslims believe that everything in the first two testaments with the exception that Mohammed is their messiah. So if you think about it, we all believe in the same God.

Now, I will not lie and say that seeing a Arab on a plane does not scare me a little because it has. I was on a flight to California a few years ago and an guy whom I thought could have been Arab (he could have been Indian too) was sitting next to me. I remembered feeling shamed that I was hoping that he was not going to do anything that may result in my death. It sounds so messed up but we all see the images on TV and they do have an effect on the psyche.

It is those types of images that scared people after the attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941. The xenophobia was at an all time high that many Japanese Americans were detained in internment camps. This type of fear and hatred is still possible in this country and the fact that Islamic Americans cannot even build a mosque near ground zero is a bad sign.

It is my hope that 9/11 does not stand for a day when we become more divided on issues of Religion because there were Islamic Americans who died in those buildings that day as well. Our movement to a global society gets hindered when people simply do not understand each other.