glitch25: (Default)
I often wonder if other prop people and people who costume or otherwise need different bits of things for projects are just people trying to manage their hoarding tendencies... or you know.. if it's just me..

I have come by my desire to save things honestly. Mom has certainly been inclined. My grandmother even moreso.

I bring this up because I feel like one of the big life struggles of mine... one that keeps me fairly busy is the fact that I am constantly trying to pare down the pile. It takes up a lot of room, and it interferes with life in ways that are uncomfortable. It isn't stuff that is total shit, thankfully. And a lot of it stays contained.. though in containing it, it takes up space and has a tendency to sit unaccounted and unused.

So I take time out of my weeks to dig through it all. Box at a time. Sorting things out. Trying to find ways to get rid of stuff, or organize stuff I don't want to part with yet. It feels never-ending.

I am finding the freecycle communities helpful for some of it. Between that and recycling events, I've finally managed to get rid of some of the bigger things that were taking up room, and I've replaced them with organizational plans including shelving!

It is daunting sometimes, since some of the boxes are not particularly well sorted, so part of the battle is first sorting it out, and then deciding what to do with it. Some things stick around. (Amazing the treasures you find when you dig through a box that has been hiding for months). Other things get thrown out immediately. Still other stuff gets sorted out and left to be dealt with on the whole at a later time.

There has been a lot of progress in many ways. Doesn't stop it from feeling like a huge weight tied around my ankle. I think as I get close, and as I continue to develop strategies to prevent it in the first place, it gets better. It is truly a struggle, but as slow as the progress is some days, it is undeniably progress.

So what have YOU been up to lately? :-)
glitch25: (Default)
..mi ritmo! Bueno pa' gozar, Mulata.

I got reminded today about an interesting part of my life that I sometimes struggle with.

A coworker, whom I believe served a mission in a Latin American country but is otherwise non-natively Spanish speaking, and I had a short conversation in the kitchen in Spanish. I've been making greater efforts to throw it out there since I am otherwise surrounded by native speakers, and I knew this friend spoke it well enough to at least exchange pleasantries. We both admitted after a short while that we'd reached the edges of our conversational ability and talked about our backgrounds.

I always find it interesting talking about that. In my case, I was born to a family whom both my parents are native Spanish speakers, and yet I don't speak Spanish very well. Neither of them made much effort to teach my sister or I, and we even spoke to our grandparents in English. However, because my parents often spoke it to each other, and to their parents, I learned to understand the vocabulary.

The grand irony of aspects of this is that my Dad was a teacher, and working on his masters thesis for teaching Spanish while an exchange student in Guadalajara, Mexico. He had a knack for linguistics, and was able to break down the phonetic learning process for pronunciation and the like. It is part of why I learned to speak and read very early. I still remember lessons on the phonetic blocks when I was maybe 3ish. I'm told that he had the ability to take someone with a very non-native accent and have them speaking with an almost native Spanish accent.

And yet....

All of this for me had the added bonus of making traditional Spanish classes in school boring as hell. My vocabulary was significantly more advanced as a result of being exposed to the language, but my grammar was atrocious. It made things difficult from a learning perspective, and due to other upbringing issues I was never overly inclined to ask my parents for help.

I muddled my way through grade-school Spanish classes without much notice of anybody. I learned a little, but never managed any significant degree of fluency. Sometime later, in efforts to make college easier, I opted to throw in a Spanish class for my elective credits, and suddenly, all of that past caught up with me. :-)

On the first day of class, I remember walking in and sitting down. It was an entry level class, though the professor spoke almost entirely in Spanish. I believe it was her goal to get us acclimated to hearing the language, and she prompted the class along as needed for those who were truly beginners. Maybe it was that I didn't look in the slightest bit confused or concerned. I remember others around me answering questions in Spanish, and I did as well. I don't remember standing out in any way. However, as the first class ended, she specifically pointed at me and told me to stay after... Hmmm! So I did, and she then proceeded to talk to me in Spanish, and nearly berate me for being in her class. She told me that I didn't belong there, and that I should be taking the Spanish for Spanish-speakers class. I was very amused and left both feeling like I had had some long-kept secret revealed, and also really encouraged that somebody actually took the time to see the signs and notice and have useful suggestions.

I did stop going to that class, but I never made it to a more appropriate one. Then again, I never finished the degree either, but that is a whole other post for a whole other time. Ultimately, the point is, being of Spanish descent (Mexican, really) and not speaking Spanish is interesting. I am very definitely not alone in that. I stumbled on a documentary not too long ago on Netflix that talked about the Tejano music out of the Rio Grande valley and there was a young group that talked about growing up second-generation Latino to include a very strong accent, but not being able to speak Spanish and how they had to learn the songs phonetically when they decided to start playing them, and that is how their Spanish education began.

It's an interesting thing.

Some years after I was grown I seem to remember asking my parents why they never taught me or particularly encouraged me to speak Spanish, and I was told that they didn't want me to live a stigmatized life. Back in their time, integration was different. They were ostracized and discriminated against because they spoke Spanish first. Our parents didn't want us to endure that. And that is sad. Both for them and their experiences, and for the fact that by the time we came around, things were already changing. Granted, there still is discrimination and social issues with speaking other languages, particularly as a first. Too many calls from so many ignorant people that we in this country should only speak English. Not only ignorance of our founding as a country, but the ignorance and fear that perpetuates our intellectual ignorance and makes us natively inferior to people from other countries where it is normal and expected that they AT LEAST know two languages and often several more.

It certainly makes me realize that at my age, I've continued to do myself a disservice by not bridging that gap. And it encourages me to throw a little more out there when I get the chance. I may stumble and fall, but who doesn't?
glitch25: (Default)
As the holidays come around, I become keenly aware of things in my life. Things for which I'm grateful. The status of things.

One of the things that always comes around is the disposition of decisions I've made about my family.

You see, the holidays are often a time for gathering with family. Blood, chosen, and otherwise. A time to share, a time to love, and a time to enjoy or otherwise accept the ties of the relationships to those with whom we are related.

Over the years, and for various reasons, my ties to my blood family have come undone. As a part of my decisions to live a better life and to be true to myself, I've felt it necessary to back away from these relationships. Not just a case of not being accepted, but also very deliberate and abusive actions that prompted me to finally say no more and to push these things away from my life.

So during the holidays, I don't spend time with blood family (or any other time of the year), but because it is a time to do so, I often having feelings about the fact that I don't.

I think part of it is that I remember a more innocent time in my life when I was a child and less knowledgeable about the things going on around me, and I remember enjoying a lot of the holidays with family. I realize of course that not much was really different then.. I just wasn't capable of seeing the bad things at that time. But it does make me feel a sense of loss when I later began to see things differently and couldn't understand why it seemed so starkly different.

Over the course of my childhood, things became more overt and there was less pretense about the abusiveness and about the things that went on. I realized as I got older that I was given a gift of ignorance in my childhood. One that my younger sister didn't get. It is possible she had her moments of not knowing better, but by the time she came along, my parents made less effort to hide the problems, so I'm fairly confident that her childhood in that was different than mine.

Among my friends and chosen family, the ratio of good to not good family experiences still leans heavily to the not good, but it is also nice to see families that still make an effort and seem to want to appreciate their bonds.

Beyond my relationships, I don't foresee having kids of my own, and I'm happy to not have to pass on the legacy of luggage just on my own side, much less that of others.

As for my own blood that remains, in spite of the hope that we could somehow manage occasionally to respect and enjoy one another, I choose instead to call it a done deal and to let it die where it sits. It is a rough choice for me, and likely for them (though they do their own level of pushing away as well. This is hardly one-sided).

Instead I try to be thankful for my chosen family and for the relationships I've forged outside my blood family. I've had to learn to overcome the influences and experiences I've had, but in doing so (and continuing to do so), I've been able to give my chosen family the respect and honor that they deserve. I've found a place where we all can enjoy one another and boost each other up and do the things that families do.

It isn't all perfect all the time. We each work on it daily. But I appreciate being a part of something where we all care. We all want to be better and we all try and we mostly succeed.

For those of you with family issues, I hope that you can find or have found peace with it. It can be a rough thing to do, and it is something that I continue to struggle with. For those of you with the "seems to be better than average" families, I hope that what you have is healthy and meaningful, and I hope it helps boost you and give you reasons to live a good life and to continue to treat each other well.

July 2017

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