I have recently encountered two individuals who, possibly without knowing, offended me greatly. One of these individuals is a classmate of mine who has some knowledge of my background and another is an ex-coworker from the restaurant that I am currently working in. You see, I discuss my plans for the future with a lot of people because most of them ask “Well what do you wanna do with that?!” after they hear I’m majoring in Political Science. I respond by saying that I plan on going to Law School after which they inquire, “Where do you want to go to Law School.” I give them my usual response and amazed by them, sometimes shocked, most will say, “Those are really hard to get into.” I’m not sure why this would shock them. After all, nobody accomplished anything extraordinary by taking on the easiest of tasks. This conversation was one, like mentioned before, that happened often but when I had it with the two individuals mentioned above, both made a certain remark that contained underlying motives.
My former classmate knows what it is to go through the process of Law school preparation. She is familiar with the process. Usually, a student, during his/her Junior year of college, will begin to prepare for the LSAT. During this semester, it is recommended he/she only take 12 hours and minimize his/her involvement in extracurriculars as a way to shift all focus on this exam. Being that I work two jobs out of the need to pay bills and tuition, and need my extracurriculars to boost my resume, I felt this was not an option for me. I need to keep taking 15 hours to graduate on time and simply cannot afford to quit both of my jobs. After hearing of my busy semester, my classmate assumed that my LSAT scores would suffer due to my inability to minimize other obligations. She then advances the conversation and says “Well I’m sure if your scores aren’t good, you’ll have no problem getting in.” To which I respond, “What do you mean?” “Well, you’re gay and illegal, you’ll be sure to get in,” she responded, “NO OFFENSE,” she stated. I dismissed her comments and went on about my day. A few days later, this ex-coworker of mine and I had a similar conversation and he simply said “Dude, don’t sweat it, you’ve got a lot of things going for you: you’re gay, you’re hispanic, you’ll be sure to get in.” Offended once again, I ended the conversation and went on about my day at work. Both of these encounters brought many ideas to my attention. One: ignorance still prevails in the minds of many. The thought that one’s hardship/source of conflict can be used as a magic carpet ride to anything amazing is pure ignorance. Two: The labels of an individual have a way of becoming more important in the mind of the ignorant, than the actual accomplishments, attributes, and qualifications of the given individual. Three: People will justify that which is unknown to them with irrational explanations. For example, it is hard to believe that a hispanic teenager can graduate 2.5 years early and get admitted into a top tier law school- to which they explain, “Well he’s gay, and hispanic- diversity is on his side.” Being gay does not causally explain one’s success in the field of scholarship. Being hispanic does not logically explain one’s ability to take on difficult tasks. The only thing that these labels can explain are the attitudes taken on by the individual to which they are assigned.
My being labeled as gay caused a lot of tormenting and bullying in my past, which only served to form my current attitude. My hardships as an undocumented individual only served to provide me with my passion for legal matters and a fervor that drives that passion on a daily basis. Both individuals mentioned above failed to consider my current merit accomplishments. In their minds, my two labels were the only thing responsible for my success in scholarship. To them, my hard work,my GPA, my determination, my dedication, my contribution to organizations and previous experience in the field did not matter. To what extent does the ignorance of an individual impede them from thinking through matters rationally?
I guess my point here is to correct the misconstrued belief that an individual’s hardship is the sole reason for his success. Take this idea and apply it to those who have been physically and sexually abused, to those who come from incomplete families, to those who are considered orphans or foster kids. Yes, their experiences play a major role in shaping who they become, but by no means does it take complete responsibility for his/her accomplishments. I understand that in some cases above, the individual will receive certain benefits from the government, but not all of them. My point here is not to try and group all hardships in the same category, for I know they differ in great degrees, but it is to suggest that others take the time to look beyond the label of an individual before making a conclusive statement about him/her. As mentioned before, most of these blogs are written when I learn or experience something I find noteworthy. If you have a friend who happens to be given such labels, realize that these labels do not comprise his entire personality. Always be mindful of such experiences, but remember that after some time, he/she takes on certain tasks, such as applying for law school, college, or a job, in the same way that you would. Don’t make the mistake these two individuals made. I hope you enjoy this small thought that has been inhabiting my mind. Until next time.
Wired. Differently? Yes. Differently.
It’s been about two and a half weeks that I have been home for the summer. After spending 9 months in a different environment, it’s almost as if I forgot what it was like. The feeling of being home, the feeling of warmth that embraced me everyday was still here, but one thing was missing. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was until now.
You’ve heard the term black sheep, haven’t you? Well it’s safe to say that I’ve always been the one in my family. I never saw things like my family did and I always found a way to let it be known. Many things I would tell my family would be ignored, and later, would show to be true. I always felt as if they never listened to me or they did not care to do so. To me, they never tried to understand me. Now, don’t think that this is one of those depressing blogs in which I sit and rant, there is a point, trust me. This feeling was only strengthened when I finally told myself I was gay. HOW COULD I BE?! In a “christian” family, how could it be that I was going to, once again, be different? This feeling was one that proved to be very restraining. I found myself lacking self confidence. On the outside, I always showed confidence and I still do, but deep inside, I realize that I am just as insecure and unsure of myself as the next person, if not more. Many people do not see that side of me. The scared side. The side that’s insecure. The one that is always nervous, always estimating himself. You see, I carry myself in a very positive way and it would be hard for anybody who knows me personally to believe anything that I am writing, but it’s true. I felt, and at times still feel this way. It’s a very vulnerable place to be. After a while, I myself believe the front that I am putting up, but then I hit a big wall that reminds me who I am. It’s hard at times. Isn’t it? I tend to normally write these blogs to people who can relate and I guess this one is for all those who are misunderstood. Those who can never seem to find their niche. Those who always feel as if nobody around them can relate to them. I felt down and sometimes still do. It’s hard to feel ignored for x amount of years. It’s hard to feel misunderstood. When people don’t understand you, they don’t know what does or doesn’t hurt you. When people don’t understand you, or for that matter, take the time to do so, they end up hurting you more than they ever thought they could.
Like mentioned before, I recently came back to my house after 9 months of being away at a university. It wasn’t until I left that I for once felt that I could truly be myself. I found myself surrounded by others who did not care what I did with my hair or clothes. The fact that I was getting an edgy haircut did not spark a week’s worth of criticism like it would back home. I loved the freedom there. I still do. At times, I wish I was always there because to me, that place is home. Yes, home will always be home, but there are times when home becomes uncomfortable. After coming back, I realize how much I’ve changed and I’ve realized that it is not a bad thing. I am so grateful that I am different. Had it not been for my differences, I would be living a life in which I would be conforming to the norms of society. A life dictated by the expectations of others. A life dictated by the image I was trying to maintain, not one that was sincere. It takes a lot of courage to be different, but more, to be a pioneer. A good friend once told me to be a pioneer in these matters. After giving my friend’s comment some thought, I couldn’t help but realize how right he is. My friend mentioned and told me to simply become the epitome of whatever it is that I am trying to represent, but to be the best representative. He told me to never force anything upon others, simply carry on being who you are.
Did you notice that? the change in tones from the beginning of this blog to the end of it? I hope so. Because that’s my point. I want you to turn your differences into confidence. You wanna stand for your beliefs or choices, then do so strongly and do not, by any means, let others’ expectations dictate the strength of your representation. Be the best black sheep there is. Take home the blue ribbon. Don’t let your life be led by others. Lead it yourself. It’ll be hard at times. It’ll be hard when you see people who are extremely close to you, at times relatives, speak out against your choices, but as long as you are being true to yourself, you will know that you are making the right choice. I have many family members who do not agree with my being a gay young man. As much as I love these people, it hurts me to see that after seeing somebody be affected by bullying and inequality, they would not become allies, but that’s part of this process. I know that they do not understand anything that I am experiencing and it’s only natural, for we only truly know of things that we personally experience. As I write this, I sit here and thank God for allowing me to be the beautiful black sheep that I am. I’m still a sheep of the family, I’m just wired differently. My thoughts, my ideas, they are products of my being different. I guess this time, my point is to try and instill some sort of sense of hope and maybe purging to those seeking it. Writing this alone helps me and allows me to process thoughts, and maybe, somewhere out there is a reader who can relate or an author waiting for the sign to start expressing themselves through the wonders of words and punctuation, mixed perfectly to create a wonderful work of literary art. If not, this blog can serve one purpose, and that purpose is to help me clear my thoughts. That’s it for tonight.
If you’re reading, I hope you have a wonderful day/night and I hope that through my writing I have been able to help you see something or notice something that you have not seen or noticed before.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I make my way to my morning class. The walk there is quiet, for at times, it is too early for anybody to be awake. I recall one day thinking about the wonderful opportunities that have presented themselves to me. I am an 18 year old illegal immigrant who has the privilege to study at one of the state’s best universities. The opportunities here are endless and I can’t help but to be more than grateful for everything that I have. Before you get uninterested, this isn’t to boast my personal achievements. As this overwhelming sense of gratitude brought me to the verge of tears, I cross paths with two individuals. The two individuals, both hispanic ladies, work for the university as part of the custodial staff. One of the ladies seemed to be in her mid-40’s, but the other individual, she caught my eye. Her face was noticeably filled with eagerness to learn. Have you ever encountered somebody and with one look, you know they yearn something. Her face, full of desire, was almost asking me to begin a conversation. As all these thoughts filled my head, I look over to the girl and flash a smile and a genuine “Good Morning.” She responds with another good morning and I ask her, “How are you?”
She looks at me and says “Ok, in an almost broken voice.” I could not understand the meaning of this encounter, nor could I believe that this was happening to me. How could I, a simple kid from Waco, be stuck in an encounter that seems to only happen in books? Intrigued by her answer, I knew it would be a good idea to continue the conversation. Coincidentally, the girl and her co-worker were headed to the same building in which my class would later start. As we’re walking I was her about her age. By this time, we were talking in Spanish, something that allowed the awkward feeling of two strangers talking to go away. As we continue our conversation, the girl tells me her age. 18. Eighteen years old. Once again, I will reiterate the fact that I am grateful for everything that I have. Just to think, where, in our completely two different paths of life, did fate decide to give me a shot at education? Where along our paths did fate condemn her to work at such a young age? She told me her story about coming to the United States at a young age and entering the work force at the age of 16.
How is that fair? How is it that out of two illegal immigrants, one is enjoying the opportunity of an education and the other is pretty much sentenced to work until her and her family feel financially stable enough to put her through school, which by the sounds of it, wouldn’t be for another few years. So what’s my point? I guess my point lies in the fact that we complain. Many of us at times don’t take the time to appreciate many of our opportunities. As I sit here typing, all the other people in this library, except one, own a Mac laptop. As I sit here, I am surrounded by up to date technology provided to us by the university. I sit here knowing that I will wake up tomorrow and have a chance at bettering my future. Recently, there have been a lot of videos condemning our attitudes as a society towards post-secondary education. Has it gotten to that point? Are we at the point where we, the privileged, are beginning to reject that which is good for us? People argue that we will never use the pythagorean theorem or figure out the value of ‘x’, but that’s not the point and to the people who believe that it is, your attitude toward the matter reflects it. You see, school isn’t COMPLETELY about learning the square root of a negative number. School builds character. School prepares us for the workforce. School puts us in an environment where we are given many tasks, with the smallest amount of direction, and a deadline. In the same way that our future managers will ask us to complete a given task. It’s quite ignorant that people do not see the use of the great discoveries that have been made before our time. Things that are common sense to were once a world mystery, and somebody was bright enough to discover it. I guess what I’m trying to say is, be grateful. Just because a video of somebody daring to be different goes viral on YouTube does not mean you have to agree with it. Stick to your guns. Stick to your beliefs. Know that you are bettering your future. Many people do not have that chance or opportunity. Many people are worried about the well-being of their family, and not their personal advancement. Many young people, like the individual mentioned in the story are left with nothing but a face full of knowledge, desire, and hope. Hope that one day she will get the opportunity to better her future. Hope that she will one day get to lead the normal teenage life and go through the college experience like many of us do. That’s all she’s left with. Hope. So listen up struggling college student. Listen up graduating senior who is ambiguous about continuing his/her education. Take advantage of the opportunities while they’re made available to you. Stick it through and be grateful for the wonderful things made available to us. There are people who pass up great opportunities and don’t fully realize their potential. A lot of these ideas can be seen in the novel “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho, which I just finished reading and maybe that’s why I was able to observe the proposed idea. Regardless of the motivation, the observation has been made and you have been able to see a small thought that sits in my brain.
That’s it. For now anyways. Remember, we’re the lucky ones. ENJOY LIFE and never forget to tell those around you how much they mean to you.
In honor of Miguel Hernandez, an 18 year old Aggie, lost this weekend to a car accident.
I find myself in a situation that doesn’t seem fair to me. One that I believe shouldn’t be happening. One that I believe could have been prevented. Earlier today, two friends and I received news that their friend had passed away on his way back to A&M from a visit to his hometown. I think to myself. This 18 year old student had an entire life ahead of him. He had a future. This student was a victim of a drunk driving accident and I can’t help but to be infuriated. Why? Why am I infuriated if I didn’t even know him? Think about it. I, along with my peers, am hundreds of miles away from home. Hundreds of miles away from comfort. We are all around the age of 18-20, so what is it exactly that you’re supposed to do when these things happen? What do you do when your friends run out of the building that you’re in, broken into a pattern of hard sobs and disbelief? What do you do?! I don’t think you can answer this question, and I don’t expect you to. A hug isn’t enough, and I can’t say it’ll be ok, because we all know, that never works. But this brings me to pose the question, “Why?!” Why did this happen? As I write this, I look at my friends’ face- starring at his FaceBook page in disbelief. I see them broken into tears, not being able to concentrate on studying the material that will be on their mid-term tomorrow morning. I wish I could take the pain away and stop them from crying. I wish I could stop their hurting. I wish I could reach into them and take it all away, but I can’t.
You know, I sit here in tears as I write this because it’s not fair. It is not fair. Because somebody decided to be irresponsible and drive drunk, we lost him and other young lives. Think about it. Is it worth it? Was one night of fun, worth ruining and interrupting the live’s of a large amount of people? I don’t believe so. This section is the small section where I make a PSA. YOU NEVER KNOW HOW CLOSE THESE THINGS CAN BE TO YOU! I remember sitting through numerous amount of assemblies with personal testimonies and stories, and it wasn’t until today, that I find myself listening.
Out of all the people on the highway, out of all the people in that city, in that state, in that country, in that continent, on this planet for CRYING OUT LOUD! WHY HIM?! Why??? It doesn’t make sense to me. The thought that he’s in a better place is somewhat comforting, but it’s not comforting enough to stop the tears of my friends. As I keep writing, I sit and think, there could be a purpose. By no means am I here to state that I am glad this happened and by no means am I underestimating the horrifying pain felt by his family, friends, and fellow AGGS. I can see it, and it’s anything BUT EASY. Is this what we needed? Is this a rude awakening, calling all of us to attention? Is our community losing control of their rational thinking? Could be. This could be a gateway to the beginning of a new group of students who will take a bigger stand against drinking and driving. This could be a lesson that we are all learning. I am simply 18 years old and I do not want anybody to get the impression that I am glad this happened, nor am I writing about this as if it were a casual happening. This is a very unfortunate event that will prove to be difficult for us, but will definitely bring out family of Aggies together.
To address the issue of WHY HE was chosen. I won’t be able to. I DO NOT KNOW the answer, and none of us do. None of us can explain the frustration, anger, and frightening feelings that come with such an event, but we can look at each other and try to be there. So if you or anybody you know is going through something, allow them to cry it out. It’s ok to be scared. It’s ok to feel lonely. It’s ok to feel angry and infuriated, but remind them, that there comes a time where matters are no longer in our hands and all we can do is hope for the best. In this case, there is no best, and we lost young lives who had goals to fulfill and plans to succeed. Don’t let this be you or your friend. STOP drinking and driving. STOP thinking it’s ok. A $30 cab fare is cheaper than the lives of people. One night of fun is not worth that price. Keep that in mind. As for now, that is all. My prayers and deepest condolences to the family of those lost and all of those who knew him.
The Time Is Now
New Years Resolutions? Nah… I’m not into them. You’re probably thinking, “We’re more than halfway into the month of January and this kid is just now blogging about New Years Resolution?!” Don’t think of it like that, this is just my way of relating to you, the reader. Back to the subject, as I said, I’m not really into new year resolutions. Why? Well I feel that if we think a change is significant enough in our life, we should not have to wait until the start of a new year to make that change. If that change is THAT important to us, we should make it right there and then. And that’s what most of this blog is going to be about, TIME and changes to one’s self.
Where to begin? For consistency’s sake, I’ll start with time. Have you ever looked back and thought about school as a kid? You would go to school for what seemed to be an eternity, only to enjoy one free hour of “Recess.” As you kept growing up, you couldn’t help but to think “Damn, time keeps passing by a lot faster than it used to.” Well let me tell you, that feeling will never stop and the older we get, the faster time will continue to get; there comes a day during your times of deep thinking that you will realize exactly what this means. Time going by fast doesn’t just mean growing up and getting to buy your first pack of cigarettes or your first case of beer. Time going by fast doesn’t just mean being able to hang out with your friends whenever you want to. Time going by fast means growing up and taking on a lot more responsibilities. Time going by fast means losing many loved ones, sometimes, way before expected.
The other day I sat in the library and I was looking through some pictures on my mom’s FaceBook. As I looked through these pictures, I came across a screenshot that my mom had taken of a letter titled “Letter from Mother to Daughter.” (http://www.agingcare.com/Discussions/mother-to-daughter-letter-150678.htm) While reading this beautifully written letter, I was brought to tears by the words that had been evidently meticulously written. Through this letter, a mother explains to her daughter to be patient with her. To not get upset, as I’m sure we all do, when she asks things more than once, for she never got upset when we asked for the same bed time story time after time, night after night. The mother mentions to her daughter to show tolerance whenever it comes to explaining new technology, in the same way that she explained and showed the daughter how to care for herself, physically and emotionally. The mother continues to explain to her daughter to be patient whenever it is that she will need to hold on to her for physical support, in the same way that she was there as physical support during her first steps, stumble after stumble. The content of this letter allowed me to develop an even greater appreciation for my mother, and later, my father. The amount of time and energy that our parents have invested into raising us. The amount of self-sacrifice that they give just for us. All that our parents do for us simply cannot be encompassed within the text of this blog, or a million blogs put together. Unconditional love is an understatement. As I came to realize all that my parents have done for me, I couldn’t help but feeling LIKE SHIT! YES. Like shit. I haven’t done enough to show my parents how grateful I am for them. You can sit here and argue that you parents never did anything for you, and that you alone have gotten yourself to where you need to be. But your parents simply took care of the basics. They taught you how to walk, talk, dress, eat, act, deal with stress, problems, and many other things. No, they didn’t go to school for you, but they taught you how to act in school in order to be successful and whether you listened to them or not is a different story. Regardless, the point is that I began to realize how important my parents are to me.
As I kept scrolling through the pictures, I see pictures of my mom with both of her parents, which are now deceased. In these pictures, I see my mom’s face full of joy and happiness and love. Then I think about how early in life my mom lost her parents. I couldn’t contemplate the idea of losing my parents this soon. It’s way too scary of a thought. I have so much left to learn. I have so much more love to show them, but when do I do it? When should I do it? Well as the title of the blog says, The TIME IS NOW! That’s my point. Don’t let time slip out of your fingers. Enjoy every minute of it and don’t get caught up in the little things like drama and gossip. If there’s a problem, go to the root of it and fix it. Be courageous and adventurous. We have one life to live, but if we do it right, once is enough. Don’t allow your life to be ruined by bitterness, hatred, anger, or any other negative feelings. Those feelings make an individual feel tired. Trust me. I’ve been there. A lot of the feelings that I am explaining probably come apparent to one as they begin to mature more, or experience more, but if I could do one thing for you, the reader, it would be to save you the trouble and help you appreciate life more. Don’t be scared to try something new. Don’t be scared to do anything, and remember, always be grateful for what you have and who you still have. Make sure you show them how much you love them. I mentioned I would go into another blog about the changes to one’s self, but this blog has gotten lengthy. That’s it for now. Goodnight to all.
Anonymous said: just thought I'd let you know that you're adorable :'3
I appreciate your compliment. Thank you. I’m sure you are lovely yourself :)
1) My name is Enrique Chavira Cantú Jr.
2) I am 18 years old
3) My Birthday is June 24, 1994
4) I live in Waco, Texas
5) I was born in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
6) I attend Texas A&M University
7) My favorite colors are gray and maroon
8) My favorite song is I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
9) My favorite artist is Fun.
10) My favorite book is The Great Gatsby
11) My favorite movie is Why Did I Get Married?
12) I have a twin brother and an older sister
13) I’m Gay
14) I am a Democrat
15) I don’t like cheese
16) Sweets are definitely not my thing
17) The glass is always half full
18) I believe in KARMA
19) I can be extremely confident at times
20) I’m a HUGE hopeless romantic :D
As a gay individual, it is often times, difficult to find that one person in whom you can trust. Growing up, society teaches us that matters such as first loves, first heartbreaks, crushes, ENGAGEMENT , and MARRIAGE (ohmy! how exciting!) are all things that we, as children, and later on, young adults, should confide in our families to speak about. But how does one go about doing so if it is their own families that does not support that individual’s significant other, let alone, their personal preferences?
Inspiration for this blog came from a movie on Netflix. In this film, one can see two gay hopeless romantics struggling to find their significant other. Both feeling hopeless end up trying online dating and the movie builds itself on several complications that ultimately result in a relationship between both hopeless romantics. Throughout the film however, one of the hopeless romantics had a best female friend for guidance and the other, an older gay man, more like a mentor. It was through this female best friend that I began to ponder on the importance of what society calls a “Fag-hag.” In this film, the female best friend always made sure to guide her gay friend with straight-forward and objective advice. In all of the “Gay&Lesbian” Genre films that I have seen, the role of a fag-hag is always fulfilled by a strong and supporting female best friend.
So what’s the point? Well, watching this movie made me realize exactly how MUCH HELP these girls are to ANY gay man. I can’t imagine how hard my journey as a gay man would be, had I not had these girls and their advice. The simple coming out stage to myself was devastating, as I faced that alone, I simply cannot fathom the difficulty of the rest of my journey when speaking in regards of coming out to family and other friends. How is a gay guy supposed to re-act to his first crush? How about his first love? First Heart Break? Furthermore, how is a gay guy supposed to react to these things once they happen for the second or third time? Better yet, who is that gay supposed to depend on for support and advice? Well, in most cases, parents are out of the question. This is not the case for a few, but for most is. Even if parents accept their kid’s choices, one, as a homosexual knows that parents are not completely comfortable with speaking of such things. Like mentioned before, I cannot fathom the pain and emotional struggle without having an outlet and guidance from good friends. Whether it’s somebody there to give you those cold-cut words or somebody to give you a hug, somebody who holds you whenever it is that you reach that breaking point. Whatever it is, whoever it is, and however it is, I have to say, my journey has been made way easier because of them.
So what’s the point? Well, this time, there’s two. First, I write for those who struggle with their sexuality. I write for those who cannot find a comfort zone within anybody. I advise you to use all those resources that are around you. I guarantee you there is at least 1 person who is willing to be there for you at all times. I also write for those who HAVE that fag hag. Be grateful for them. Thank your girls everyday and tell them how much you appreciate them. These girls go through enough on their own, and for them to turn around and help you sort out all of your gay boy drama can, often times, be very tiring (Don’t act like gay drama isn’t the worst.) These girls, have been with me through a lot. Some I just met 4 months ago, and some I grew up with. Regardless, they have shown me the meaning of a true friend. They have seen me cry, they have seen me smile from ear to ear. They have seen me fall for a guy and they have seen a guy leave me. It is because of these girls that I have come to be the person that I am. Through their guidance, advise, and motivational speeches, I am often able to find relief and motivation to continue being myself and maintain hope. It is through them that I am able to smoothen my edges and become a strong individual. My last point is in honor of them. The term fag-hag is one that, when said, simply sounds ugly. Simple is that. It’s ugly. I don’t like it. Not for one bit. I would like to rename these girls. These girls are heros, they are defenders. These girls are advocates, friends. In honor of them I introduce a new term, may not be popular, but much more deserving of their respect: “Sal-Gal’s”, short for salvation girls. Without these girls, I’d be a less optimistic person than I am. I know for others, these girls have been able to convince others out of suicide and other self damaging behaviors. This one is for all those who can relate but most importantly, for my Sal Gals.
As I have mentioned before, I am a student at Texas A&M University. Besides being a student, I am also a server and have been so for about two and a half years. This past summer, I started working at a restaurant in Waco and I fell in love with the team that I became a part of. The way things ran in this restaurant was impressive to me. Shortly after, I moved back to College Station to start school again, but I was fortunate enough to keep the same job, just transfer locations. Upon my start at this restaurant, I couldn’t help but compare this new location to that from which I came. It was new. It was different. The environment was not always the most comfortable, and to be honest, I did not like it when I started. It’s normal. As human beings, we feel discomfort at that which is strange to us. During the Christmas Break, I had the opportunity of going back to Waco and rejoining my team for a short amount a time- one month to be exact. This month spent in Waco was my inspiration for this blog. While there, I developed friendships unlike any others. I found myself coming in to work looking forward to developing conversations that were left interrupted the shift before. I looked forward to going out after work with my server friends to eat and talk about our days. It was great. I also came to develop friendships that one would say, “Last a lifetime.” It was silly to me. How is it that in less than one month, certain individuals were able to create and nurture a bond as strong as that of a long-life friendship? The thought of this idea straddled my mind for a few weeks and I came to gain a new appreciation for my job. You see, serving tables isn’t always a job that makes one happy. Like all jobs, this job has its bad days. But it is those bad days that allow an individual to grow. It is through these bad days that coworkers in restaurants are able to relate to one another. All of the members of our service staff had one thing in common- the simple fact that they are servers. Besides that, most servers came from different backgrounds and had a wide array of interests that did not seem to intersect. Which only begged the question, once again, how are such strong bonds created in such a short amount of time?
I thought about this for weeks and realized that these people I call coworkers understand what it’s like to have to work on holidays. They understand what it’s like to have to work on your birthday. In most cases, servers spend more time with their coworkers on holidays than they do with family, forcing them to create a family within themselves. Break-ups, fights, issues, and other problems are sometimes hard to leave out of the work environment, and these too, become issues and experiences shared by servers of the same team. The late night hours worked by servers reduce the pool of friends who are available to hang out after work to people who work just as late as themselves. It’s very weird, the impact that being a server can have. It changes a lot of things for an individual. I have always said that I believe every individual in the workforce should experience a few days as a server. It’s very eye opening. Serving teaches an individual a lot about others, but most importantly, a lot about themselves. I worked with people of all ages and different educational backgrounds, but it did not matter because at the end of the day, we all knew what it was like to be a part of the workforce that is often misrepresented.
Last month was a great month for me. I met wonderful people. I went back to my original team and had a great experience. I met a few girls who proved to be very supportive in my plans for the future and always made sure to remind me of their support. I made friends with new servers and was able to nourish old relationships with coworkers whom I had worked with in the past. It was very touching, to say the least. When time for my departure came, I teared up at the idea of leaving such wonderful people. I teared up at the idea of leaving my coworkers, my friends, my family. My work family. I teared up at the idea of leaving my comfort zone.
When the Christmas break was over, I came back to College Station and began to work in this location. Today was my first day back and to say the least, it was great! When I walked into this place, I realized how much it was that I liked it. Seeing my “new” team again was great and the feeling of discomfort I once used to characterize my experience at this location were nothing more but an empty and false accusation. Today, I realized that my new team, just as my old team did, has the same amount of potential for life-long friendships. Today I realized how much I actually missed my new team and how much I actually appreciate them.
I guess my point here is to celebrate and state the perks of being a server. Most people look down upon servers and at times, see this job as one for people who are of a lower caste, but it’s a lot more than a minimum wage job. Serving has taught me many things and I’m sure it will teach me a lot more in the future. A lot of people are servers temporarily, while they prepare to enter a new stage in life, and others make a career out of this, but despite the purpose, we are all able to come together and run that busy dinner shift. Besides the cliche “Working as a Team,” lesson, serving has taught me to be open minded. It has taught me to be more understanding of the backgrounds of others. Serving has taught me that just like myself, every individual has a unique story that sets him/her apart from others, and that story is always worth listening to. The friendships, experiences, and memories created from my time as a server are unforgettable. If you’re a server, I hope you are able to relate to something I mentioned here, and if you are not, I hope this helps you see all of your servers in a new light. Just like you, we are all people, trying to make it through and trying to advance to the next stage in life.
Strength. What pops into your mind? Is it a person flexin’ their muscles? Or perhaps, it could be an individual working out at the gym. Often times, we tend to associate the word strength, with physical strength. It’s only natural. We live in a society where vanity is a common thing. I remember being told, “You are less of a man than me because…” To this day, the individual who spoke these words to me, thinks of me as less of a man. To him, and a lot of individuals, strength is based on machismo and physicality, but this individual knew nothing about me. You see many individuals may seem weak on the outside, but on the inside, one would think they were looking at a warrior. Enrique, why are you saying this? Well, this blog is for those individuals with a gay friend. I realize that what I am writing can apply for other people who are considered underdogs, but considering that I am gay, most of this blog will relate to those individuals.
On the outside, I am a tall and slim individual. People can look at me and think that I wouldn’t have the physical ability to “beat somebody up,” and it’s true. I don’t. I weigh 137 lbs., do you really think I can do any physical damage? NO!!! I mentioned earlier that my “manhood” was once undermined due to the simple fact that I am gay. Many people fail to realize the hardships and struggles that gay individuals face. Through all of middle school, I was bullied. My name was changed from Enrique to Enrigay. I was constantly picked on and threatened physically by the other guys at school. They knew I couldn’t fight back. I guess it was their way releasing anger. For whatever reason, it was cool to pick on the gay kid. After middle school I thought things would change, but they didn’t. Through high school, people kept talking. By this point, I had learned to ignore it. Jr year of high school I thought it time to come out to my parents. My father, I’m more than certain, saw me as his biggest disappointment. He took away my laptop, my cellphone, my TV, my digital camera, and told me I wouldn’t be allowed to go anywhere. As I look to my mom, I see her face full of pain. I knew my mom was hurt. I can still see that look on her face and every time I think about it, it brings me to tears. My twin brother, angered by this, began to scream biblical reasons as to why I should not be gay. He didn’t wanna have a “gay twin brother.” My sister, I remember, came into my room and told me “I am going to fast until you change because I can’t imagine my brother going to hell.” I tell you this, because for any other individual, this would have been enough to run away. All of this would have been enough, for others, to call it quits and end their lives. You see, my case is one of the better ones. There are many gay individuals who experience worse reactions. So what’s my point? Well my point is this: If you ever see a gay individual who you may think is a strong individual and for that matter, a happy one, take that strength and multiply it by 10. These individuals often work a lot harder than others and experience a lot more than others to achieve that level of strength and happiness. I am, by no means, writing this to praise myself, but only to make sure that you look at your gay friend or relative and see them in a new light. Don’t ever underestimate the strength of a gay individual, or for that matter, any individual who has gone through rough times. Puberty itself already comes with challenges and when you throw in those that come with the bullying and tormenting for being gay, you can only imagine how much harder it gets. The picture above is the epitome of this blog itself. At first you may see an individual as the arm on the left, but after reading this, I hope you seem them as the arm on the right. I realize that many people get bullied and tormented, and they deserve praise too. My point here is to get people, the few that may be reading this, to realize just how strong those underdogs are. To my bullies and all those other bullies, this is for you too. Yeah, you got me. Yeah, you may have hit me. Yeah, you may have made fun of me, but at the end of the day, you helped me become a stronger individual, and for that, I thank you. If you happen to have a gay friend, I hope you gain a slight of bit of admiration towards them. If you do, let them know. It’s not easy being gay. I once expressed the latter thought to a friend and she said, “That seems like a personal choice to me,” to which I responded, “What is a choice? Being Gay?” Unfortunately, her answer was yes. The belief that being gay is a choice is one that would make up another blog, but like I said, it is hard, and if somebody is able to overcome that and come out on top, know that he/she is strong.
That’ll be it for now. I hope somebody out there agrees, and if you do, feel free to share with others. Like always, stay informed, and be sure to be grateful for what you have.
I often find myself thinking and contemplating about many things that happen in my life. As I sit here on the couch, in an attempt to sleep, my mind troubles itself with the events of this weekend. My blogs are normally inspired by a lesson that I feel I have learned or simply a deep thought of mine. This one was triggered by my hair dresser. As I sit in this chair, I pull out my phone and show my hair stylist a picture of the hair style that I want. Once she gets a clear idea, she gives me a sign of approval and begins to prepare the first tool that she will need to begin. Before turning on the clippers, after a few minutes of casual chatter, she turns to me and begins to tell me about a talk that she had with her son, who she has always noted to be very similar to me. In this talk, her son expresses a lack of motivation. He mentions to his mom that he no longer feels the drive and passion he once did, making him feel as if there is no point to anything he was doing. She continues to explain to me what he was saying and poses the question, ” Has that ever happened to you?” When she asked me that, I couldn’t help but to feel puzzled. Was this an attempt to reach a more personal level with me, in order to increase a tip? Or could this have been a desperate attempt from a parent, doing everything she could to provide her son with the best support she can? (The appreciation of all that our parents go through to provide answers for us can be found in my blog “The Time Is Now.”) The point of this blog is not to analyze the social interaction between my hairdresser and me, but instead, one to analyze what it is that her son told her.
Have you ever felt like that? Now that I sit here and think about it, I can’t help but to remember that I didn’t answer her question. After her question, I simply responded, “That’s weird, could just be senioritis.” (Her son is one year younger than me.) As I here now, I think of what I could have answered, “YES! Ofcourse it has!” To be quite honest, I am still going through that phase.
Many people get to a point in their lives in which they feel as if nothing they are doing matters. Through this process, that individual begins to lose motivation for his/her actions and, many times, gives up on a dream, or goal they once held so high. This discouragement can be caused by many things. I, for one, realize that my discouragement comes from the constant surrounding of people who do not believe my career to be a credible, let a lone, a useful one. I am surrounded by people who doubt me. Others may lack the support from their loved ones, or others may simple become impatient. With the increase in social media, many videos on “different points of view” have grown in popularity, amongst those, a video that discredits the usefulness of education. I hate to note that after watching this video, I have been questioning the usefulness of my education. The video discusses that education, especially post-secondary education, has become another social norm that we are all tricked into believing will one day help us. Whether or not this video holds truth to it would call for another blog, but one thing this video did do, was induce a long thought process. Come to think of it, there’s always going to be doubters and there’s always going to be people who discredit you and what you do, our job, is to carry on.
This past summer, as I prepared for my transition to A&M University, I lacked the support of many around me and the odds were all but in my favor. My family did not support my decision, nor were they willing to help me move out. Being the first to move out, it seemed as if I would have to do this all alone. I remember venting to my best friend, Edith, explaining to her the difficulty of staying motivated amidst everything going on. On the way to one of our lunches, the song “The Fighter,” by Gym Class Heroes Ft. Ryan Tedder began to play on the radio. A certain excerpt from the chorus seemed to take hold of my friend’s attention
"Then they’ll say to me, say to me, say to me
There goes the fighter, there goes the fighter
Here comes the fighter
That’s what they’ll say to me, say to me, say to me,
This one’s a fighter”
As this part of the song came on, my friend turns to me and says, “Enrique, this song reminds me a lot of you.” After asking why, she mentions that my personality is well-reflected in this song, after seeing me face obstacle after obstacle in order to obtain my longterm goal, which would need to begin by obtaining an education.
So, you might be asking yourself, “What’s the point of this blog? Are you really going to sit here and brag about your friend’s impression of you?” Of course not. The point here is to make a point. People always mention that one must work hard for what he or she wants. The longer the fight the greater the victory, right? We hear sayings like these all the time, and we know that nothing will ever be handed to us and in order to obtain something we want, we must fight, and must fight hard. The point here is that we will face obstacles, but not just obstacles imposed on us by society and others, these obstacles may at times, be ones that we make for ourselves. Fighting for others to believe in you is one obstacle, but not allowing yourself to fall into their attitude of disbelief is another, and if you have already fallen into their attitude of disbelief, getting yourself out of it, is yet, another obstacle you must overcome.
So here’s the point. Look into yourself. Why is it that you are feeling that lack of motivation and drive? Have you been letting others attitudes affect your own? If so, take some time to give yourself credit for the things that you know you have done, and things you know you are good at. Remember, you are pursuing that goal for many reasons. It may be something you are good at, or simply something that is able to devour your attention, giving you a deep love for it. YOU know why you’re doing what you’re doing, THEY do not. At many times it’s hard to feel as if you are working towards your goal, especially if your goal is long-term, but hang in there. You, like myself, may feel like a chicken who just got their head cut off, hectically running around in no particular direction, but trust me when I say that only time can tell, and for now, you can only worry about those matters that are in your own hands. So listen up procrastinating college student pulling an all nighter for that test tomorrow or that paper due. Listen up struggling senior, dealing with senioritis. Listen up individual who has no clue what to do. Listen up. Think of your lack of motivation as another obstacle you must cross to reach your ultimate goal. Channel the fighter within you and make him/her fight hard. Boxers constantly train and fight hard in order to win a title or championship belt. Fight hard for you goal. Work hard towards your dream. Fight hard for your championship belt fighter, but whatever you do, do not give up.
As for now, that is all. Excuse the length of this blog. I hope you enjoy.
Testing the Waters
"This blog is kind of overdue. The idea for this blog has been lingering in my mind for a while. I’ve come to realize that every time I notice something about what’s going on around me, how things work, or simply learn something new about life, it become a blog. For this one, inspiration came to me in a weird way. Since my first visit home, I had the beginning ideas for this blog. I wondered why it was that people came back home and felt out of place. Why was it, that in this place that I grew up, I was no longer able to feel comfortable. What was it that was changing? It was my way of thinking that was changing. Then I thought to myself, why is it that my way of thinking is changing and not theirs? Well, I moved away and tried something new. I fiddled around. I tested the waters. One of my new friends, a good friend I must add, posted this picture on his tumblr and the title of this blog is a phrase that he uses a lot. As a matter of fact, this friend of mine happens to have a profound love for water, in all of its different forms. So this one, this blog, is to my good friend."
Those first day jitters. Those blushing moments when your crush tells you he/she likes you back. That feeling you get when they take you out and later, YOUR FIRST KISS!!! Or how about your first day at a new school? Graduation?! Now you’re moving in to college. WOW! Time goes by fast doesn’t it?! Yeahp it does. Now think back to your first this, your first that. Remember? Those feelings. Anxiety. Nervous. Scared. Frightened. You feel scared because you do not know what to expect and you simply can’t seem to pull yourself together. Now bring it back and look back. Silly huh? There was nothing to worry about. Well. There was, it’s just that you got used to your environment.
Have you ever jumped into a pool? What does it feel like? As soon as your break the surface, your body is welcomed with a cold shock that wraps around your entire body; gradually, this cold feeling begins to be taken over by a nice and warm feeling of belonging. At one point, you as an individual become comfortable in the water, and later, feel cold when you exit the water.
Enrique, what’s the deal with the pool? Well, here’s my point. Often times, we freak out and spend so much time doing so before trying something new, that we forget to live in the moment. We get so caught up in the small stuff that we forget to enjoy the great opportunities that are in front of us. I have seen people settle because they were simply scared to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. I have seen people miss out on full ride scholarships to universities outside of their home simply because they were too scared to leave. Look at it like this. In the same way that you go from one environment (Locker Room), and get so comfortable in another (Pool) that your initial environment (Locker Room) is no longer comfortable- you will find your place in the new environment. In the same way that I left to college and got comfortable there, and I no longer find home to be “home” anymore, realize that it’s all normal. Yes, it might take some getting used to, but eventually, you will find your new niche.
And this doesn’t only apply to moving away from home. It applies to anything that you see as new or different than the usual. I recently got a “talk” about gay relationships. Me and this guy were talking and he told me he wanted to take baby steps. He told me he didn’t wanna rush into it right away. Now, for me, this is different. I’ve never been the “take it slow” kind of guy, but why not give it a go? To this day, with some getting used to, it has proven itself to be the best step for the both of us. This guy, is the same one that I spoke of earlier in my blog. Regardless of who he is, I realized that even though it was a new environment for me, it would eventually be ok. So don’t let anxiety or fear hold you back! GET OUT THERE! Do it! TRY NEW THINGS! EXPERIENCE!!!! Don’t take anything for granted and be sure to enjoy and savor every minute and moment of life.