Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Adequate Skills to Pay the Monthly Bills

Went on a job interview recently and it left me lingering on a few different things that I haven't really given much thought to. Without giving away the money shot, I work at a non-profit as a communications manager. Fancy titles aside, I'm basically the person in the office that handles the posting, sharing, creation etc. of everything that can fall under communications. From writing/sending email newsletters, posting on social media, managing press, and light manual labor from time to time. This allows me to live comfortably enough that I spend around $50 a month buying comic books without having to think twice about it. As someone who has been working some kind of job ever since I could remember, this is my current pinnacle given that I live my life two years at a time because of my DACA work permit and quitting community college after seven years of back and forth.

This job I interviewed for was a full time gig doing basically the same thing I'm doing now, but full time and in a much larger capacity. That gig would have given me the kind of pay beyond anything I have ever had within my life time. For a cool minute, I let myself think about the kind of life I would have if I had a legit full time gig like that. I looked forward to the idea of not having to have two part time jobs and side hustle anymore. To go into the office, do my thang Monday through Friday, and occasionally on weekends, and not have to worry about money. However, I didn't let it get past the bus ride home after that interview because that ain't for me.

For all the skills to pay the bills that I have, I doubt I'll get called back for a second interview. As such, I got to thinking about it. I have never truly felt comfortable owning the skills that I have for two reasons, one being that I procured said skills to pay the bills through a combination of "each one teach one" back when I was part of the "Dreamer" movement, and a few years of being a writer for my college newspaper. Secondly, I just never take myself too seriously when it comes to the work that I do for a lot of complicated reasons.

The years I spent in community college and at the school newspaper got me where I am today because I just took what I learned and applied it else where. I got a rush from writing stories and seeing them in print, knowing that someone would read it. I didn't get the same rush when I began blogging here, but I did get it when I started blogging about the neighborhood I live in, Boyle Heights. I look back at those old post from time to time and I cringe at how bad my grammar was because I didn't have someone to copy edit me like I did at the school paper. None the less, despite my horrid grammar, I was sharing things no one else was and by default, I became the go to person. My neighborhood was my beat and in the hay day of this blogging/reporting, I was having the best time of my life despite being broke as a joke, working part time at a fast food restaurant, going to school part time, sleeping on the floor of a friends house, using a first generation iphone as my digital tool box to take pictures and write stories that I would later flush out on a borrowed computer. I had everything going against me, but I kept at it over the years and I got lucky here and there by scoring some paying gigs from time to time. Boy I tell you what, there wasn't a better feeling than getting paid to write.

Through said writing I was able to connect to folks that were holding down the Dream Act movement back in the day. Eventually I got to the point where I had met in some shape or form, some of the folks that helped build the foundation of this movement here in California. Eventually I gave up on journalism because I didn't want to be a reporter anymore. Being objective wasn't something I could be back then, so rather than writing about the movement, I joined up and put my skills to use there. Like a lot of folks back in those early days, we just did work and made it happen one way or another. Over the years, I added even more skill-sets that complimented the foundation I already had. I worked media with a homie I've had the pleasure of knowing for years now. Naturally, as my skills and maturity grew, I took my skills to the next level by doing internships at labor unions and learning, complimenting everything I picked up when I was in the "dreamer' movement. Before I knew it, I had a reputation for being a 'communications' guy. Fact of the matter was that I just knew how to do the most basic of things when it came to doing digital organizing. I didn't see the need for me to go into a university and get a degree in something I already knew how to do better than most folks that got paid to do that work at established organizations. They would come to me for help when trying to do things, but the name of the non-profit game calls for those fancy degrees and eventually I just faded out on everything and got to a place where I could finally live on my own. Within the circles I was in, I was able to get multiple part time jobs that allowed me to put my digital organizing skills to use and make a living, which to me was the pinnacle of my career since that was never my plan. I haven't taken full ownership of my said skills because it doesn't feel right to be making bank off something that was shared with me with the intention to help me grow, rather than make money.

Which leads me to why I have never taken my skill-set seriously. I acknowledge that I am where I am because I am good at what I do, but I am not perfect. My current job situation is one where I have never been happier to be part of an amazing space and get support in the work that I do, but my limits are starting to show. Only so much time can pass before what amazed folks in the beginning is now just another common every day occurrence. Even I get tired of doing what I do every day, at the end of the day a job is a job. There are plenty of new skills I can add to my tool box not just because I like keeping up with trends, but because that's how fast digital organizing moves. So many things to keep up with everyday that I get overwhelmed sometimes and that's part of why I don't take my skills seriously. I read so much crap on a daily basis from being on social media that by the time I get to work I already have a headache and I'm annoyed by the trends going around. Being able to read through all this crap is a double edge sword cause while I shift through everything to find the good stuff to read or share, I have to eat double that in what I see other people posting online. These trends change daily and while they can be predicted around specific times, instances, moments etc., they change twice as fast. I'm over here trying to make sense of snapchat while everyone else lives on it. Next thing I know I'm yelling at kids to get off my lawn while shaking my fist in the air. So much drama tied to our digital lives now that I can't take it seriously without being heavily drugged on something. Then before I know it, I started another twitter fight that leads to hella indirect black mailing with something else that had nothing to do with it. Bruh, chill. And yet, there in lies my problem, I forget that not everyone else doesn't not take it seriously. They take it seriously. And so conversations are had, butts get hurt, and things move along.

I know that I will have to eat through a hell of a lot more job rejections before I am seriously considered for the kind of gig people would take it and stay till they retire. Sure, I can be just like everyone else and fake it till I make it. Own everything and blemish here and there to get the gig, but a moment will come where you bluff is called out and you'll have to make the magic happen and pull it off some how. I don't like those situations. I've used up all my life lines already were another situation like that come about, I would go down with that ship. I'll just take the rejection and avoid that altogether. In the mean time, I'll just continue as planned and keep growing where I am at like I had it planned for the next two years, per DACA. Not like I would have used that dental and health insurance anyway. *Cough *Cough *Cough


Sunday, October 25, 2015


I am not comfortable around norms. Depending on the situation, it can vary from slight annoyance at having to be somewhere or participate in something to being physically ill. Totally not being dramatic, I get sick in certain situations, probably as a self defense mechanism, but it happens. Whether they're social or cultural, norms of any kind pain me. It's been that way ever since I can remember. A lot of it has to do with the way I grew up, my family, and of course my experiences here in the US. Everyone at school would be sharing a similar story about their families did on holidays and I would never say anything cause my experiences didn't reflect theirs. That continued on until a reach a point of agency and the ability to chose to participate in norms.

Once that happened, I avoided them at every turn. Like wearing your Sunday best. It didn't hit me until later on how uncomfortable I felt and actively avoiding routines like that. I also spent a couple of years house surfing from place to another. As such, I had to participate in familial events cause I was a guest. Birthdays, holidays etc. You have no idea how many times I just wish I could leave and go be somewhere else alone. I'm grateful that now I have choice in how I spend those kind of days and how I can take advantage of them in different ways.

Now adays, being on social media exasperates those feelings of nausea with new norms and old norms over whelming me. That's why I avoid social media on national holidays or around specific celebrations. There's just no point in me looking at social media feeds cause everyone is out there taking selfies, pictures of their foods, babies etc. I chewed on that one year and asked myself if I felt grossed out by norms because they were reflections of thins I wish I long for in my life. That shook some old foundations, but I realized that I was wrong. If I wanted what everyone else had and to participate in norms, I've had plenty of opportunities to have them in my life.

Except, I don't want that. The culmination of my demeanor is too intricate for me to try to put down in a blog post. I just know what I like and what I want, simple as that. While I avoid norms like the plague, I've gotten to a place where I can be in those spaces without being a dick and spoiling things for others. Sure, I'll talk my trash and make my comments on social media, but you won't see me turning down free food, drinks, and cool peeps. And like everything else in my life, having a different perspective on things as I get older have lead to rejecting all new kinds of norms now. Except now when I complain, it is usually followed by an 'old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn' joke. So, get off my lawn.    

Monday, September 14, 2015

#UndocuMoney #MigrantsOverMoney


In the last beef among folks in the immigrant/undocumented youth movement, specifically those (myself included) who have been part of the DREAM Act/DACA movement at one point and/or still are part of said movement/fight and the newer crop of folks coming in, why putting a monetary value on the lives of individuals is problematic. Didn't know this was an on-going beef? Well then there are two answers as to why that is. One, you aren't or have never really been part of the "movement." Two, you just don't care and go on about your life. If you are number two, then good for you. If you are number one, then I can't help you there. For everyone else, this is nothing new.

Mind you that it's only been in the last few years that individuals, myself included, have been scandalously vocal when it comes to talking trash on campaigns, actions, and individuals that are problematic. It's so easy to drink haterade, you don't even know. So then, #undocumoney versus #migrantsovermoney. Got it? No? Puez click the hyper links and read it for yourself cause ain't no body got time for that.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Mexican Superman

Clip from the new Superman v Batman movie.
My affinity for comic books is something everyone knows about me. Specifically cause I've used the "Superman is an immigrant" analogy, along with a few others when talking about my experiences growing up undocumented. It's also one that has been beaten to death in the last couple of years by those who don't understand the history of the character, how it has changed over the decades, and why someone who is undocumented would gravitate toward that kind of mythology. I've written about this a few times here, here, and here. I've also been featured writing about that analogy here. This post isn't about a campaign, petition, or cause. It is purely comics based with a bit of social commentary and my thoughts on the new DC animated movie Justice League: Gods and Monsters. So unless you speak geek, feel free to check out cause I'm doing something I rarely get to do, which is to totally nerd out. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Born Day Reflections at 31

Not much to reflect on really. Least nothing new since what I've already written on in terms of my experience getting older and maturing. Growing up, my parents never made a big deal out of my birthday. Every other other year they would do something for me, but it was just too awkward and forced. I'd rather just spend the day on my my own than having to sit through forced conversation. No, much to reflect on really. Things in my life are in a place in which I can't complain. I have a routine, I get funky once in a while, and I ride my bike when I can. I'm thinking that my 30s are going to be some of the best years I'll have because I'm, more or less, in control of where I am going and I have the freedom of choice to do whatever the hell I want. That wasn't always the case. I'm expecting some awkward moments from others who don't get my passiveness for born days, but that's about it. I had a party with my new house mate and I had lots of fun drinking, dancing, and hanging out with friends. I didn't even mind cleaning up the mess the next day either. This dog gif pretty much sums up how I feel about my born day.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Grumpy Young Man

My born day is this month, I'll be 31. I like getting older and that it seems to me that's pretty much all I've been writing about and according to the public court of opinion that is social media, I've also turned into a grumpy old man. If I am indeed of the grumpy disposition, it wasn't over night, I can assure you of that. But it was hilarious to see the reactions I got after posting an instagram video of my neighbors having a tamborazo. The general consensus was that I am a grumpy old prude for hating on my neighbors having a tamborazo. Had I been invited, then of course that video would have had a much more pleasant caption to go with it, but I wasn't and all I wanted to do that Friday night was chill out home after a long week at la chamba. However, if there's one thing I've learned about livin' in the hood, it's that compromise is the name of the game. Hell, not even that. Sometimes you just end up living next door to a bunch of ass holes who don't know how to socialize and think they fucking own the block.

I was born in a barrio in Mexico City and I grew up in them here in the US, this is nothing new to me. I've learned to live with stuff like neighbors blasting music hella early or hella late. Neighbors who have pets and don't care for them, so they become a public when they get lose. Neighbors who'd call the cops on you because they're fucking haters like that. I grew up with it and I understand that's part of the deal, but I'm at the point now where I'm like, no. Ya, ya, yaaaa 'stuvo guey. Ya parale que no? Again, if I was invited over or I was the one having the loud as party, different story. I'd be drinking and dancing it up, but I wasn't.

That incident with the video got me thinking that for the last year or so, I've just been drinking haterade as if it was on special at Food 4 less. Hanging out with a friend from outta town and her friend who I met for the first time that night, I got to talking about why I'm a grouch when it comes to going out. Mind you that a few years ago, I was way more proactive about going and having fun with folks. I use to go to art show openings, shows, concerts etc. It was fun and I was sharing it with friends. Now adays I think about going anywhere and I just list all the reasons why I should not go out and stay my lazy ass home and cuddle up with some Netflix.

I hate crowds. I hate being in public spaces. I pretty much hate people in general. People mind you, not individuals, cause then other wise I wouldn't have any friends at all. Me pesan los huevos to make an effort like that and it's not because I'm grumpy, but I am over it. Events and outings can be predicted with a certain level of certainty, at least enough for me to be like nah. I'm gonna stay home and watch Bloodsport for the 1,000th time. Being in that mind set just became normalcy and I got stuck, rather I still am, stuck in a rut. I know going out will be fun and relaxing, but it just turns into routine. There's nothing new about it that makes me want to put in that extra effort.

Part of that is also cause I've been single. The few dates I've been on have never gone past that initial meet up for beer or coffee. If I were to be with someone, then doing all those old boring things would be fun and new because I get to experience them through someone who hasn't. It's like when a friend from outta town visits for the first time, you take them to all the spots you never go to even though you live in the same city. That's the kind of rut I'm in. Except for a few things here and there and going to the movies, I've been sedimentary as I get older.

Add to that, the realization, much like Homer did that one episode where he realizes to stopped a rockin' and get left behind by the times, that I am getting older in my taste in music, movies, anime, books and general entertainment choices. I went to the Anime Expo and I couldn't recognize the majority of characters people dressed as or what the current popular shows were. I didn't care about anything going on there except buying some art from this one artist who was in town and taking a pic or two with some cosplayers that I recognize. Honestly, it's just a trip to be able to see this happening to me like a thread from a sweater unraveling.

But just as that thread unravels, it can be rolled up and used again to make another sweater. One that won't unravel so easily. As someone who replied to my twitter rant about this very existential moment put, it is a universal experience that everyone goes through, but the best thing about it, is that we can still make it our own. Boom. With that simple reply to my non-sense, my self identity forming part of my brain kicked back in and reassured me that we've always been like this. For too long all of my interest were branded as the other, ignored, ridiculed is now all of a sudden a common one. Yeah things are changing, but if there's one thing I learned from being a dork all my life, it is that it isn't about what other works other people created you use to self identify with, but about having that inner strength to never be the norm and just do you.

Fuck everyone else and where they at. Ain't no time to be wasting on those that are just gonna nay say you and harsh on your buzz. Just do you. Even if that happens to be a 30 year old, pokemon watching, video game playing, comic book reading something that hates loud parties, stays in all the time to watch movies or read. He'll out grown it in a few years again.