It’s not you. It’s not me. It’s this fucking planet.

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It all started with an isolated incident. A couple months back I was in the process of getting everything ready for my wedding. My mom met me in the dress boutique. As I slipped into my gown my mom casually mentions that my aunt and her boyfriend are joining us for dinner. I stared at my mother for a moment before reluctantly nodding my head.

We met them at restaurant right off Miracle Mile in Coral Gables where they already had a table reserved. We went over small talk. Questions like, “how’s the wedding planning?” or, “how’s your fiancé doing at work?”

I briefly responded to each question while scanning the menu. I kept glancing at my phone as my attention went in and out of the conversation. My mother turned to aunt and asked her how my cousin was doing, She leaned back in her seat and looked at her boyfriend for a minute.

“Her and her boyfriend are moving into my house this week,” she said.

I couldn’t really believe it since her and my cousin, Lex, always had a volatile relationship. I pretended not to listen and continued to eat shit on my phone. She went on about how they were looking to save money and really buckle down on school. My mom nodded her head and said it would definitely help them. My aunt stared down at the table for a moment while nodding her head.

“I did tell them that they are not allow to smoke weed while they live in my house,” she said sternly.

I remember letting out an audible chuckle before meeting the eyes of everyone at the table. Now this reaction may not have been appropriate but there are a few things you have to understand:

First is that the last time I had seen my cousin was a couple months back when she was torching the nail on her rig so I could do a fat dab at her place. Second, my aunt has been a chain cigarette smoker my entire existence and in that particular moment continued to smoke knowing it could trigger an aneurism.

“She’s twenty-two years old!” I said.

My aunt looked pissed while her boyfriend looked visibly uncomfortable.

“If she’s living in my house, she’s going to live by my rules,” she said with her arms crossed on the table.

I paused for a moment then said, “No, I understand if don’t want her to smoke in your home but she’s going to smoke somewhere. She just quit cigarettes, which are cancer sticks. That is something you should forbid in your home.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “Weed is illegal and is a drug.”

At this point in the conversation to say my mother was giving me the death look is an understatement. My mom has always known and has grown to accept the reality of my relationship with cannabis.

I threw both hands up while sinking into my seat and said, ”I’m just saying that I’d rather my daughter smoke cannabis than have her smoke cigarettes.”

I didn’t say anything else for the rest of the lunch. I just sat while they filled the silence until the waiter arrived with the check. We said our goodbyes and parted ways.

When I got home I sat on couch and turned on the TV. I searched my through DVR as I lit the joint that was in the ashtray on the coffee table. I put on Happyish and settled deeper into my couch. In episode four of it’s debut season, the main characters ask a question I have found myself asking everyday ever since: “Is everything on this planet ass fucking backwards?”

 

I Never Knew What I Wanted to do When I grew Up…

I just knew the type of person I wanted to be.Photo on 2-5-15 at 12.02 PM

As a child, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I never knew how to respond. For years I would answer with anything just to move on from the subject. The people around me weren’t convinced. Through out the years they made suggestions and questioned what I would eventually do. As my 18th birthday approached, panic officially set in. I constantly felt anxious and depressed for failing to meet expectations.

The summer before college I entertained the idea of becoming an attorney. I doubled up on Adderall and really buckled down. For a while, it actually worked. I made deans list and had my sights set on Columbia Law School. The Adderall began to catch up with me during my sophomore year as I was finishing my internship at the State Attorney’s Office.

I spent months in a windowless office organizing a mountain of boxes filled with files from a famous homicide case from the nineties. Once a week the other interns and I would go to the courthouse and observe regular court proceedings. I remember looking around the room and having my stomach drop because I knew it wasn’t meant for me. After a week of being in my apartment my mother decided to drive over. She sat on my bed brushed her hand through my hair as I lay there and weeping. I no longer had the next five years of my life planned.

During that winter break I took that time to reboot. I went out with friends. I danced. I laughed. I stayed out all night and in that moment I was fearless. I found myself in cannabis rotations that placed me in circles with people I probably wouldn’t have come across otherwise. Each time the blunt or joint made it’s way around the room you could feel the persona’s slowly fade. The dialogue began carry substance as dove head first into each perspective.

I listened carefully and felt a special bond with each one that took the time to share who they were and where they had been. Some stories had my cheeks sore as I struggled to catch my breath; others left knots in the pit of my stomach. My mind expanded with each interaction and while I didn’t always agree with each perspective, I respected their right to have it. I offered my insight when asked but I mostly listened.

While listening I learned a lot about myself. I realized just how sheltered I had been my entire life. I don’t mean that in the context of my parents being strict, even though they were. I was so blissfully unaware of the perspective of others. I never took the time to think how they have fought and endured. It is easy to lose your accountability as a human when you are raised in a culture that encourages an “Us vs. Them” mentality.

From that point on I took on life with a fresh perspective. I believe it is human nature to be selfish and self-serving. I do also believe that what separates us from other animals is that fact we have the ability rationalize. I’ll admit to being someone who constantly jumps to conclusions and letting my ego get in the way.

Restrictions or not, I grew up as a cis gender Latina (who is constantly mistaken for a white woman) who has lived a life of privilege. While I have faced challenges personally, I feel it’s my obligation as a person to place my time and efforts into being an ally to those who have been treated as second-class citizens too long.

I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up and at this point in my life I’m okay with that. I just knew the type of person I wanted to be. I want to be someone who could empathize with you. I want to be someone who has the audacity to stand with those who’ve been mistreated and weather the storm with them.

At times I feel alone and feel as though no one could possibly relate. I’m sure everyone feels this way at some point. I encourage you to challenge me. I don’t know where you’ve been or what you’ve gone through but I’m here to tell you that you aren’t alone.