thoughts

My experience with friendships as a socially anxious woman of color.

My life goal has to been a real life version of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. A group of friends that seem to never go to work, hang out in a unrealistically large apartment and have a good ol' time. Unfortunately I've never been really good at making friends. I was really shy as a child and now as an adult my social anxiety and inability to start or keep a conversation (probably due to being shy and never learning how to have a conversation) has made it difficult to create meaningful relationships.

I never had a best friend and I always resented that. By the time I realized this it seems like everyones best friend positions was filled. I made friends in high school ( I mean, I kind of had to). I made acquaintances in university. Now as and adult, I find myself alone 90% of the time ( the other 10% percent is because I actually have to go to an office with other people for work). I had to ask myself about friendships. My past friendships, current ones, and what I seek in future friendships.


I grew up in the suburbs of Alabama. I went to a private christian school attended mostly by white people. There was a sprinkling of black people, approximately 3 latinx, and one West Asian person who was in my class (we occasionally bonded over what we didn't really realize was racism towards us). Even though I grew up in a latinx household, most people I knew, were white. Therefore, most of my friendships were with white people. Looking back, I didn't have many latinx people in my life that weren't family. Which I also resent. 

Most of my friendships in high school, university and now have been with white people. I blame it on my surroundings, but I'm not quite sure if that's the case. As a child, I tried really hard to assimilate. I made sure my English was grammatically correct with no traces of an accent. I tried to act as "white" as possible, whatever that means. That together with my racially ambiguous skin color lead me to being white passing. It wasn't until I wasn't allowed to go to a sleep over that my own culture hit me in the face ("Para que vas a ir a dormir mal alla si aqui tienes cama?" - my mother).

People would be surprised to find out I was Latina. Which lead to microaggressions ("You don't look Mexican? You don't have an accent? You're white"- Classmate, btw I'm not Mexican) which unfortunately I found as a compliment back then. No matter how white passing I wanted to be, I was still the token latinx friend. 

There were 3 other latinx kids at my school. They were all siblings. And with my brown skin, large nose, and black hair; most people assumed I was the fourth sibling. Even though we were all latinx, we never became friends. I blame it on the fact that maybe we were all in different grades. In many of my friendships I was the only latinx, making me feel tokenized. I wasn't just the token latinx friend, I was the token latinx student in my class. 

I love my high school friends but I have to ask myself, would we still be friends if we would have met under different circumstances? Now I ask myself, dow we even have the same views and priorities?


As I graduated high school and started to learn and really mold my views I realized I didn't want to be friends with people just to avoid the feeling of loneliness. I want friendships where we like the same things, have the same views, have similar experiences and are on the same frequency. Which I guess is why I didn't really make friends in university (that and the whole social anxiety thing). I made acquaintances. I made some friendships, but I am afraid they will fade away.

Now at 22, in a new city, where I know very few people in general, I want to find people in my same wavelength. This has made me think about what exactly I am looking for in a friendship. I've realized that having people of color in my life is really important to me. I want to be around people that share similar experiences to mine, speak the same language as me, have similar views to mine. But I also want friends with different experiences, people I can learn from and grow with. People I have a connection with. So far that has only been with white women. But as I see art, writings, and other works but women of color, I can't help but feel I have a stronger connection to fellow women of color.

Now the questions is: how do I make those friends? I have always made friends because of proximity (school, work, etc). Much like dating, apps and social media are go to's now a days for finding like minded people. To me, that still sounds terrifying. I have no idea how to make friends when I'm not forced to be in a confined space with them for long periods of time. The idea of going out alone and making conversation with strangers makes my stomach flip. 

In the 8 months I have lived in Atlanta, I have made no friends. And I admit, this is the loneliest I have felt in a really long time. I don't need a lot of human interaction. I am pretty introverted, I like my alone time. But the truth is, humans need connections. So I ask, how do you make friends? Will you be my friend?

Donald Glover, Creativity, & Purpose

It's no secret, I'm a huge fan of Donald Glover.

 

I moved to Atlanta in July and the idea that he may or may not be walking the streets of Atlanta throws me for a loop. It's very easy to put people on a pedestal and forget that they are humans. Glover has always seemed more than human to me. To many, I think. The way his mind seems to work, his seemingly effortless creativity, the way people seem to know there's something special about him, amazes me.

I joke that I am not sure if I want to marry Glover or be him. He is the textbook definition of renaissance man. Living in Atlanta I have realized that everyone knows everyone and the degrees of separation from one person to another and quite small. And it dawned on me, Glover is a human, and actual human constantly in this same city. ( Could I sound more like a crazy stalker?) The thing is it's not in a "Oh, he's only human, he's no better than any of us", no, it's more in a "oh my god he's actually human. A human hold this amount of creativity?"

After reading the recent New Yorker interview he did, this part really stuck with me:


Is there anything you’re bad at? “To be honest, no. Probably just people. People don’t like to be studied, or bested.” He shrugged. “I’m fine with it. I don’t really like people that much. People accept me now because I have power, but they still think, Oh, he thinks he’s the golden flower of the black community, thinks he’s so different.” He laughed. “But I am, though! I feel like Jesus. I do feel chosen. My struggle is to use my humanity to create a classic work—but I don’t know if humanity is worth it, or if we’re going to make it. I don’t know if there’s much time left.”


He's amazing.. and he knows it. He knows he was chosen. As a kid, I felt that. I felt as if I was destined for something. At 22, I feel like I'm running out of time. Like my time on this earth is almost over, and I haven't found my purpose. Like I haven't done what I am supposed to do this earth. I want to do so much more than what I am doing know. My background is in visual design but I want to be an artist in every sense of the word. Most of the time I am afraid to tell people what, mostly because they seem like pipe dreams I should have grown out of my now. I want to make art, I want to photograph, I want to act, I want to make music. I haven't even gotten my foot in the door with some of these. I don't know how. I don't have the means. Do I even have the talent? Do I have it in me? I lose sleep over the thought that I am striving to be something I'm simply not. I'm afraid of failing and being corny.

That's what's so beautiful about Donald Glover. He's a genius so effortlessly. He's always been picked out for his talent. Am I putting him on too high of a pedestal? 

I try to make art and not let my thoughts distract me that I shouldn't care about validation. The ability to create and share my truth and vision however I can should be enough. I should do what I can and work as hard as I can and things will work out, right? Does my eagerness make me less interesting?  Does my need to pay my bills make me less genuine? 

At the end, none of this is real. Nothing really means anything. Why am I so afraid? But I'd be lying if I said it didn't get to me.

old film

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I'm really bad about developing my film in a decent amount of time after I finish a roll. This is the first time shooting on a Canon AE-1 my brother got me and I love the way they look. I want to get into the habit of shooting more film. Here's a round-up of some film from last year and a couple from the last shoot.