Thursday, January 17, 2008

Happy New Year!!! 17 days later... DON'T SHOOT ME!!!

It's 2008!!! I have had a birthday (I'm a Capricorn) since my last posting and I've been busy. I had to complete two fellowship applications, debate about my preparation for Law School, and determine what things I'll be improving about myself this year. The other reason for my absence has been my own undoing... laziness! I just haven't felt like writing much of anything lately, but I feel the spark today. This will probably be a very lengthy post, but so much has happened that I want to play catch-up.

New Year, New Start, New/Re-connections

My New Year was EXCEPTIONAL!!! I had an absolute ball as I spent it in NYC with some close friends and one of my cousins who is also gay. It was wonderful being back in my old stomping grounds and I was surprised that while much had changed-much still remained the same. GGG Bar and the Monster were still going strong, Chi-Chi's was the hot spot for the hot boys, and my friends had gotten apartments in Chelsea and the West Village. New York is unlike any place I've ever been to or lived in this country. I spent New Year's Eve in the presence of a very handsome man I met at Chi-Chi's; too bad he was from New Jersey and not DC. It was cool though. After a night and early to mid morning filled with revelry, I ended up visiting family and staying a few nights for the rest of my trip.

New and Re-connections

I met many new people with whom I will probably stay in touch. I also made the end of 2007 my "unofficial" time to reconnect with family members I hadn't seen since I was a child or teenager. During Thankstaking 2007, my mother's family converged on Long Beach, CA for a family reunion honoring the oldest living relatives in our family. It was quite a coincidence that we had both patriarchal and matriarchal representation. See, over the years our family had torn themselves apart over trivial squabbles that were blown out of proportion. Some of the people I saw during that time I hadn't seen since I was 7 or 8 years old; I'm in my early 30's. However, when we all got together and we began to recite the Black Family Pledge during our dinner program, people seemed to forget about all that had happened. My mother cooked enough seafood gumbo (from a recipe that's been in our family for 7 generations and she and I are the only living relatives who know it) for an army and as it seems, there were more than enough people there to devour it. Suffice it to say, we have vowed to keep in touch and we are planning our next reunion in Beaumont, TX and we'll be making a road trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Reconnecting with my Spanish Side

The last time I saw my father was in 1997. The last time I saw anyone in his family was probabaly 1990. There are many reasons why I chose to keep myself from him and his people that I won't get into now. I did have an opportunity to tell why I resented him so much, why he was such an awful parent, why it was time for me to let go of all of that. I do not expect us to start having this idealized, after-school-special, type of relationship. I just didn't want to carry around anymore negative energy. Anger, hurt, bitterness, and resentment affect us in ways that we don't realize until it's too late. I didn't want too late to catch me sleeping. Truthfully, I am sure that there was some cosmic reason for him to be absent from my life when I needed him most. He was in no shape to be a father; active drug addiction, unresolved issues with his own father, and an overall propensity for irresponsibility were reasons enough. At the time that I did live with him, he convinced my mother that he was stable enough to be my father; he lied. Had it not been for my stepmother (my mother was 3000 miles away) and my desire to have a relationship with the man whose sperm created me, I'd have gone out of my mind. At this point in my life though, I think I turned out alright despite everything else. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing and I realize how liberating it is when you practice it.

On New Year's Day, after one hell of a night in NYC, I joined my father, his new wife and daughter, and the rest of the family for dinner. The women all got together and made Siparro (I don't speak spanish, so I'm sure I have butchered the spelling), a stew with vegetables, chicken, lamb, pork, and beef, while the men sat in the living room, drank beer and rum shots, and did nothing. When I went into the kitchen to start helping with the meal, the women started yelling at me (in love and jest) of course, because I didn't fit into the traditional Dominican male role.

Now in my mother's house and in our family, you better volunteer to help unless you're a guest. Even if you're a guest, when you volunteer to help my mother says that it's a sign you have good home training. With my father's family, the roles are very gender stereotypical and specific. Women cook, clean, and maintain the house. The men go out and work, but even if the women have jobs, they are still expected to maintain their domestic duties at the same level as their non-working counterparts. I was uncomfortable to say the least, but I didn't want to offend. Quite an interesting dynamic and everyone spoke spanish except for me. Needless to say, I felt isolated and I think they understood my body language because they stopped speaking so much in front of me. Note to self: Must purchase Rosetta Stone!!!

New Start

2008 promises to be an excellent year for me because I say it will be. This is the year that I'll be applying to Law School and in the fall beginning a health policy fellowship with an opportunity to work on the hill. There are other things that I have in the works, but I'll have to keep you posted as things develop.

ALL THE BEST IN 2008!!!!!

1 comment:

Attorneymom said...

Hey, Blkseagoat. Thanks for sharing your story.