It has been raining for days. There are moments that it stops and the birds chirp by my bedroom window. I am waiting for their message. Wondering if I will understand them this time.
It has been three years and seven months since I moved to Oakland. I remember my going away party in Prospect Park. Just before leaving my friends asked me when I was coming back. I knew that it was because they loved me but dang can I get out first and then decide? I think they knew as much as I knew that I was probably not coming back. Maybe for a few days or weeks or a month like I did this past fall but not forever. I’ve wanted to leave Brooklyn right when I knew that leaving was an option. When I was five years old. It just took me a long time to do it.
Oakland has been good to me but it’s been raining. Raining for days. We needed the rain and I know I needed it, too. My body felt a lack. I felt I needed a cleansing. I grew up in a home where we had lots of cleansings. White flower petals in buckets full of water and perfume. Flower petals in my hair, my shoulders, my tummy, my toes. They touched the ground and left trails around the apt. My body doesn’t necessarily need that kind of cleanse. I need to jump into the river and have her carry me. It is cold. I could technically jump into a river near here but I don’t think I am brave enough.
I danced on Saturday. Another form of cleansing for me. I grew up in a home where we danced. I don’t have those quick casino moves. I dance like old Cuban grandmothers to boleros. But give me some soul music and it’s a different story. This I learned from my brother. I was little, like 5. He was big, like 18. He blasted his music and let me watch Soul Train with him Saturday mornings.
I danced, and danced, and danced. I felt good. And it cleansed me. But cleansed me in a way that I got more sad as the rain continued to come down. As if something was moving past me. And this is me that came from a family that believes that everything that is wrong in our own personal lives is because someone gave us the evil eye, they did some brujería, or there is some bad spirit that is tormenting us and doesn’t want us to succeed. There is no accountability. There is no reflection, like, hmmn, maybe there are somethings that I have to change about myself. And there are things I have to change. And thank God I am a believer or else these transitions would be torturous.
When I danced I saw myself in India. I’ve never really wanted to go to India but sometimes I shouldn’t question my visions. I thought about my uncle (who was married to my aunt) going to India to see his guru. I remembered when he told us the story the last time I saw him before he died. I remembered how beautiful it is sometimes to be around my family: the potty mouths who are for reals all the time. He told us the story of when he went to the bathroom at the hotel and there was no toilet paper. He went downstairs and requested toilet paper but the man at the front desk explained to him that they don’t use toilet paper. My uncle was shocked. My mother was even more shocked that before India he had never washed his butt after making caca. My mother always washes her butt and taught us to wash our butts. I didn’t realize that not all Cubans do this. Like not all Cubans come from a family of healers and clairvoyants like me.
In my bathroom the shower curtain is a world map. I map out the places I should go. I make a trail with my index finger. Going back and forth.
Sevilla-to dance flamenco and touch my gitana roots
Morocco-to drench in all the hues of blues
Egypt-to take some Arabic classes and spend time at the shrine and masjid of my Muslim namesake-(Sayyidah) Nafisah
Palestine-because I should
India-to purge and sing
Indonesia-to see Fifi, eat mangoes and swim for days
Maybe I should do it in reverse and dance it all off in Sevilla. This is what I think about in the shower where the map and letters are backwards. This is what I think about doing with my very low nanny salary these days. How do white people do it?
I haven’t left my apt for two days straight but I am thinking of leaving the country. Two visions. Once with my dad last summer over the phone and I told him I had to tell him I was leaving the country. I had to tell him in that moment even though before that moment I didn’t know that would happen. Second, when I was at my friends’ house this weekend to see their newborn child, Lila Joy and her big brother Zeke. I was explaining to my friend’s parents how I wanted a lot of kids, like 5. I am too old to have 5 kids. Meadow says I could adopt. I say I can have a partner that already has kids. They said I could be a kindergarten teacher. I said, no I want them near me at all times. That is when I had the second vision, me in Malaysia surrounded by like 7 children. I’m 33, I don’t think I can birth so many.
I have to go to work tomorrow morning. I have to leave the apartment. I have to go out into the rain. I am hoping it won’t rain in the morning so I can take a long walk to BART. That way I can pass by Lake Merritt and I will refrain myself from plunging into it. It’s kinda of gross.
I leave you with my inspiration for the day.