It’s Because I Feel Too Much

I recently bought a waterproof mascara because I’m known to be emotional. As a child, I thought it was odd to cry as much as I did, but now I tell myself, its because I feel too deeply. I even wrote a song about it a few months ago called ” Validation.”  Its because I feel too much and things get real too fast. Sometimes I even think, I’m dealing with my own ancestor’s/ family’s trauma in this generation and that’s probably why I’m like this. Whatever it is, I have to thank my emotions because I have creative outlets as coping mechanisms. Like one of my close writer friends once told me,  “Kiki, can you believe that we’re SO lucky that our outlets are creative, we’re writers!” Yeah, I would say he’s one of my most enthusiastic friends…

I read “My Mexican Name,” at Outloud SB’s literary reading last week. My hands were shaking from how anxious I was. I was afraid they were going to coin me as the “radical Latina” who hates on the  American system or worse they were going to mentally check during my reading like I was invisible. I walked into the reading alone with no friends or family into a room of strangers. Then I saw Ross Brown, the MFA Creative Writing Director of my program, which made me feel a little better. As the readings began, I was intimidated by everyone. Why is my story important? I thought to myself. A few readings later I saw another familiar face, Lowell, from my MFA cohort and his daughter. Then, it was my turn to go. I walked awkwardly to the podium from the back of the room and everyone was silent. You could only hear the clink of my heals, which terrified me.  All I couldIMG_7620 think about was I hope the mic is short enough for me and it was. I quickly adjusted it. 

After I let out an awkward laugh, I was able to read a story called “My Mexican Name” about my childhood visits to Mexico. I reread this story to my family when I got home that night and I couldn’t stop crying. Although these were not painful memories, I could really imagine Mexico, I could feel Mexico, and I realized miss Mexico and I miss my childhood. I was proud that I could share this story that focuses on the identity issues one faces as a Mexican- American. Like Michelle Obama shares in her “Becoming” memoir, it feels like “a sense of being unrooted in both lands.” I’ve been reading her memoir and she understands this idea of “in-betweeness.” 

This reading felt like a transformation. This is the beginning of something big. I can feel it in the air. I’ve been walking with my head held high lately and ignoring people who make me feel less than my worth. It’s a breakthrough! There’s something else going on…

I’ll tell you about it when it’s ready…

-KIKI REYES

Look at this photo! I look so sophisticated!

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