My partner and I have broken up in the past. Our first breakup rocked me, shocked me, literally skinned me and hung me up to dry. I was working a hefty corporate job at the time, typing between tears and writing weepy poetry in between calls. I would lie in bed, my entire body feeling like a cramp, unbelieving that this whole break was actually happening. Stunned at how much I loved the man and paralyzed at the thought of losing him forever. The wild thing is that I didn’t realize how deep my love for him was until two weeks into the break up. I was shocked at the heartbreak, not because we did it, but because it even came. During that time, I stopped drinking— funny enough, while it took me until this year to fully commit to my sobriety, putting the drink down has always been the first thing I have done during times of great heartbreak or great stress. If I’m gonna get over this shit quick, I’m gonna just feel it all out now, I say. I ate better, I woke up earlier, I cried my eyes out for hours on end, but I took walks, I wrote poetry, I got mad, I was alive. I was alive falling in love with him all over again realizing I had completely missed out on him for the better part of two years. I was mending. Until the decaying raccoon came. Read More
I’ve engaged in countless conversations this week about Harvey Weinstein— with men I love, with men I admire, with men who are my champions— about holding other men accountable. Some asked how they could help, how they could be a part of the conversation. Most acknowledged that they were nothing like Harvey. Their behavior nowhere near as bad. But when asked if they would be willing to hold another man accountable, the most common phrase I heard was, “Well from my glass house…” And what a strange place to stand: acknowledging that that while you might not be rapists, you admit to some questionable behavior, and that makes it impossible for any man to hold another accountable. “From my glass house…” How very convenient.
It will be too easy for your peers to look themselves in the mirror and say they are not as bad as Harvey Weinstein. That they haven’t raped anyone. Or groped them. Or showed up to their hotel rooms naked. But the amount of #MeToo’s shared on social media last night, make it so that the numbers don’t add up. I was on the phone with my father this past weekend and while the news is our currency, this one was a difficult conversation. We talked about all the public moments in which powerful men were taken down for their sexual harassment— Strauss-Khan in France, Bill O’Reilley, Harvey Weinstein. We talked about their perversion and their need for help. We talked about their undeniably inappropriate behavior. And yet there was a comment made about how women can also be complicit, about how women can also be extortionists. Read More
I thought my rock bottom would look like it once did— over a toilet, missing yet another get together, a bleeding throat, topped off with a pack of cigarettes. It’s hard to believe that that’s what my reality looked a mere five years ago. So I’m back in a complicated relationship with another addiction and so I thought— I have to get something great out of ten years of bulimia. Wisdom. An open third eye. A resurrection. And I did, a bit. But I misheard the voice for a while. The tiny little whisper that let me know that alcohol could lead to the same path. I wrote about it. I was open about it. Real cute on the whole matter. “I haven’t hit rock bottom yet, but I know I could, so this is all preventative!”
I thought rock bottom would look like lots of missed phones calls from my closest friends, waking up in strange beds, wrecking my relationship, calling home to cry to my estranged brother at 4AM in the morning. I thought rock bottom would mean showing up to the Writers’ Room with two bottles of champagne in my belly, looking forward to the third when we let out. So I thought I just hadn’t. Hit rock bottom, that is. I don’t do that. So I must still be fine. This is fine! I’m fine. Totally in control.
Last summer I was 20 pounds lighter. I think, I don’t weigh myself, my pants told me so, maybe 30. Yikes. I had gone through both a romantic and a professional breakup and while I was more miserable than I ever remember being, the former anorexic in me always welcomes these bouts. Take up less space! God forbid people see you through your failed attempt at love! And, well, thinner is the winner! So fuck that guy! It’s the revenge body situation, the I’m thin and so the narrative here is that I have my life together. Unless I’m Ashley Graham. She’s the only big thighed woman with her life together. Right?
I thought it would be different in my twenties. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. At least late twenties. I thought I would arrive at a place where my big azz thighs would genuinely make me proud and any fluctuation would be welcomed. Or that I would stop fluctuating all together. I do so much un-learning, after all. My shelves are filled with Deepak, and Marianne, and Gabby, and Thich, and Jesus himself. I dig and I make lists, and I text, and share, and call, and pray, and meditate, and record and affirm. But when I tell you that my world falls apart when I look at a picture of me as I am today? I’m paralyzed. I’m supposed to have all the tools. I have all the tools. I know what to do. What’s that mantra again? I just. I must not be getting it.
There’s nothing glamorous about writing. The moments of exhilarated inspiration when I seem to be channeling a power greater than myself are so few and far between that most writing is actually staring at a wall, hoping, at least, that my next stage direction will make sense. So it takes discipline. And I’ve got that— I leave my honey curled up in bed to go run early in the morning when I’m training for something, I show up to the office on Saturdays, I color code, I do Whole 30’s, I send follow-up emails, I show up; I even told an employer once that I manifested them and when they didn’t believe me, I showed them months worth of my “Goals and Visions” lists with their name written all over them as proof of my commitment to my desires. I take what I want very seriously— or so I thought.
When Beyonce’s first visual album dropped, I remember feeling a new kind of exhilaration. The kind that wakes you up, confuses you, scares you, propels you; a magnetism so strong, an understanding that you don’t know quite yet what just happened to you, but you will do everything you can to find out. I remember sitting on my bed, five days before my 23rd birthday, watching “Grown Woman” for the first time and really letting the words sink in. “I can do whatever I want.” “I can do whatever I want.” Having grown up away from my family, I’ve always thought that to be exactly my life’s philosophy.”Priscila is always doing whatever she wants!” Sometimes, a praise. Sometimes, an accusation. But this was different. Because I love structure, I thrive in structure. I love the conquering of a structure. I make structure my b*tch. Crude? Yes. But it’s exactly how it feels.
“I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want.” “I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want.” I think it might have been the first moment in which I totally and 100% realized that there was a world one step wilder, smoother, more colorful than mastering the structure. And I was old enough to grab it. Beyonce in that moment presented a possibility I had never recognized and from that moment, I was hooked. I wanted more.
I don’t think I’ve mastered the subtle and necessary art of not giving a damn, or the art of celebration: of self, of womanhood, of all my loudness, my harshness. Celebration. I’ve been inching into it. Slowly. But something also happened when I turned 25. An age at which I thought my brothers were already grown men of the world, belonging to the suits and the ties, and part of the solution for potable water in disenfranchised parts of Colombia. And they are. And they were. So what’s my 25? I’ve thought more about pleasure and what pleasure means in my life. Pleasure.
I’ve always chased pleasure. I smoked. I drank. I threw up. I kissed too many. I chased too much. Slipped away too many mornings. I wrote. I ran. Pleasure. Pleasure. Pleasure quietly ruling my life. The late realization has been tremendous. That word. Quietly, pleasure, quietly leading my life. Realizing that I will take any and all opportunities to feel good, to “feel myself,” to celebrate and to be celebrated. And yet. Quietly. And why?
SITTING ON THE A TRAIN ON MY WAY TO JFK:
P holds her “I’m an immigrant sign,” listens to Hamilton.
White man sits across from her.
WM: Are you actually?
(Signals that he’s trying to talk to her, takes off her headphones.)
WM: Are you actually an immigrant?
P: Oh. Yeah. A real actual one.
WM: You look perfectly white.
P: What does that mean?
WM: If I were you I just wouldn’t say anything. You’ll be just fine.
Passing. This is the concept of passing. And it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot since Pendejo was elected. That very night, I thought, shamefully, “well, at least mama is French and my skin is white.” I pass. And it’s not that I thought, “it’s 2017, the fact that I’m thinking about passing is shameful!” No. Minorities the spectrum over think about passing everyday in our country. And you know what happened next? I looked at Eric in shame because he doesn’t get that stupid choice. He does not get that shameful privilege.
Shameful to feel. Shameful to share. So I’ll go back to it, we must acknowledge privilege where we have it. When you’re a man, when you’re white, when you’re richer, when you’re prettier, when you see better, when you can see farther. This is the time to use that. This is when your privilege comes in handy. As Luvvie Ajayi reminded us all, when you walk in a white body, you walk in privilege. It’s part of it. Acknowledge that. It’s time to harness that. Because I can go to a protest today and a cop will move a barrier for me so I can get to my train faster. Privilege can move mountains where people have been climbing all along.
Listen, the comfort of our privilege is what got us here. So I will no longer accept it. I will be hard on you. I will be hard on you because Yoga and drinks can be rescheduled. I will be hard on you because if your fight doesn’t include muslims, refugees, black women, black men, Latinas, Chicanas, you name it, then it’s only for you and that is nonsense. I will be hard on you because I assure you refugees are more tired than you. I will be hard on you because I love you. And yes. Self care is important. But don’t self care so much that you forget. So gather your friends, get them marching. Organize. Raise money. Make noise. It will bring you closer than your three glasses of wine.
I’ll see you all tomorrow at 2PM at Battery Park. We must become the mountains.
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, I unintentionally locked eyes with a dude who had been very intensely starring at my face the entire time we shared the sidewalk.
I feel very small when I get stared down or cat-called. Frazzled, extremely anxious that my entire space is being invaded and I had no say in it. So you’ll imagine my terror when I lock eyes with creepy-blue-eyes.
But then, as he’s about to pass me- walking the opposite direction and mantaining eye contact- he makes a fart noise. A surprising, full on, Grown Man raspberry. Of course, I immediately “WTF, Dude”-ed him, but as we walked away I laughed, realizing it was pure genius!
I needed a new tool to handle my cat-calling distress. Telling people to f*ck off is getting old and makes me feel worse. So, should you get stared down while being your badd self, stare back, and give the fart noise a try. It’s a great and simple way to disarm the patriarchy.
Thank you, creepy sidewalk man.