“Much like young Benito, explains Martínez, “the boy simply is different from everyone. A group of boys bother him, they steal his bike. But when they steal his little hat, they uncover his third eye. And then that’s when cars start to fly, the sky darkens, people get hysterical. So he runs home, to his room, where he feels safe.” (Source)
On multiple occasions I’ve mentioned that I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. For every day that goes by, I gleam in pride for having been born into a rich, complex, vibrant, resilient, and loving culture. I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection (when am I not participating in self-reflection? lol), where I began to try to get to the core of what’s currently “missing”. San Diego’s geography and weather can hardly be paralleled, but as with all locations it certainly has its limitations. You know what I’ve been missing? CULTURE. San Diego doesn’t have a particularly rich culture. While living here, I’ve never come across eye-catching fashion, make-up, hairstyles, etc. San Diego is pretty homogenous. In many ways it feels like the Boston of the West Coast with a sprinkle of surfer culture, militarism (it’s a large military city), and infinitely better weather. I was mentally comparing San Diego to Miami, and while the weather and geography in San Diego blows Miami out of the water, Miami IS culture. The people in Miami are gorgeous (and know how to dress and present themselves). The music in Miami is vibrant. The art in Miami is interesting. The food in Miami is fascinating. I think it largely comes down to the grand majority of occupants in the city – 70% of Miami’s occupants are Hispanic or Latinx in comparison to only 30% of those residing in San Diego. That may not mean a lot to you, but it says a lot to me! (Also the large majority of Hispanic and Latinx folks that live in Miami are Cuban (descent), Dominican (descent), and Puerto Rican (descent) in comparison to the majority of Hispanic and Latinx folks that live in San Diego are Mexican (descent)- very different Hispanic/Latinx cultures.).
After we hit a plateau in this COVID situation, I’m going to make an effort to connect with the sub-populations I’ve connected with here in San Diego. I’ve particularly felt connected to a number of Filipino folks I’ve met while living here. Their culture reminds me of my culture.
Regardless, it was nice to identify that I’ve been feeling lonely because I feel that I’ve been lacking culture in my life! This discovery was triggered by listening to Bad Bunny’s latest album, then talking to my grandmother in Puerto Rico on her birthday. He was also recently on the cover of Rolling Stone. Read the interview here: Bad Bunny in Captivity
<<Appearing on Zoom, Martínez looks as chic as ever: A stack of gold chains and pearls gently cradle his neck, dangling a small gold cherub, a cross, and a Virgin Mary pendant over a T-shirt emblazoned with the corpse-painted visage of WWE wrestler Sting. Martínez’s tight curls are subdued by a beanie, and his brown eyes are framed by a ginormous pair of Gucci glasses. “I always look luxurious,” he says.>>
“I always look luxurious,” he says – May God fucking bless us Puerto Ricans.
PS. This past Thursday, I chatted with my (maternal) grandmother on her 79th birthday. The grand majority of the conversation revolved around her views on how she’s so displeased with the Puerto Rican government. My grandma aligns with the el partido popular (though she’s NOT about the current establishment /not feeling the November candidates because they’re more of “the same”) in Puerto Rico and is a wildly liberal, passionate, and opinionated yet deeply sweet and nurturing woman. During one point during our conversation she referenced the Bad Bunny interview and added that she agrees with him on his view on Puerto Rico’s politicians. I adore her. I’m wishing for a miracle: I’m hoping that it’s safe enough for me to travel to the island in December to spend the last 2 weeks of 2020 with my family in Isabela.
Bad Bunnny, gracias por el album y la entrevista – me trajeron un poquito de calor dentro de tiempos de aislamiento frígido.