As the birds fly home for winter, so do I.
They cherish the moment in where they go and flee from the cold, for a brief moment, but remember why they flew out in the first place. The thing is, Puerto Rico- where I live, lies in the perfect spot in the Caribbean. It has perfect sunsets, copious amounts of beautiful beaches, colorful people, in short as many locals call it in social media #paradise. The problem does not lie in the beautiful, geographic aspect of the island, no; the problem lies in its economical stress and little job opportunities creating an unstable environment, where the happiest island on Earth is tormented by metal illness, poverty, and constant forced exile.
When I was in my undergrad, I went to the InterAmerican University Metro campus, where an alumni gave a conference about musical therapy. While I was toying with the idea of applying once more to graduate school to further my musical studies, one thing stuck to me about his keynote presentation. “Sadly, we (all of you who are sitting and are close to my age) are the generation of lost dreams and forced exile.” In this economy, which it worldwide, everybody in their “prime” (age group 21-35) are leaving Puerto Rico. Why? Because we cannot find a job. Cost of living is high, and if you find yourself lucky, the first job opportunity are offered is… a cashier in a fast food establishment. Not saying that this is not a stable income or unworthy employment, but I am talking individuals with Doctoral degrees, Masters degrees, doctors, lawyers, teachers are either at these types of jobs or homeless. I’ve read before that “the island of enchantment”, as we call our country, is one of the most educated places in the world, while simultaneously have these individuals flee from our island, myself included, to find better opportunities. Area of Choice? The United States.
It is in the United States where, compared to Puerto Rico, one can do the same job, but twice as much than in PR. While the grass is always greener on the other side, families are forced to find jobs in the US for they want to have a better life. The sad aspect of this is what we leave behind. A rich culture that we have to try to carry with us alongside our traditions. Friends and families, as in my case go somewhere alone where nobody knows you and start from scratch. Essentially, a life. And go to uncharted lands and start anew. Most people fail and have to go back and try to make amends, but most of us. We thrive. We make most of the situation and fight for what we want, but as nature intends we fly home for winter. Even if it’s for a small window of time, we fly home, visit where we come from and know that our sacrifices will not be in vain. That our sacrifices makes us stronger, and it’s there where we are unique. It is there where we are resilient. And in resilience, there is power.
Words have power. Words can convey emotions and passion… Words can save or kill. Words can bewitch, hurt, and steal. Musicians and writers are “gods” don’t you see? They can play with you (and you volunteer). Alter your reality, state of mind, and emotions we will. Until we accept the concept of life in which we live.
A tumultuous sea. This can be a definition for life. It starts abruptly, like a sudden typhoon. It can suddenly soften as a warm towel against your skin. Life can sometimes be as intimate like a chaste kiss or as hard as fifty kilos on your back. Life, as it seems, is a roller coaster. We must brave the waters, and mind the hatches. In life we must try to “pass the storm”, and try not to drown. But, what happens in that moment when we start to “drown”? Everything and anything turns overwhelming. “This is where you show your true strength” people usually say to each other. “You’ll be stronger after this passes.” they tell you as advice. How do they know if they may not be living (or have lived) the situation, or a similar version of it.
So what can we do? Do we get swallowed by the sea? Do we “brave the storm”? Do we “the storm pass”? Because the reality of most situations is that during the situation, we can’t do anything. We can do something “after” the storm. I believe it’s “after the storm” and the actions that we take during that time is what shows who we are. It’s ok to do nothing. It is acceptable to cry. It is human to do nothing. At least, for a while. But, after the slump, we must take back what is ours. We must yell at the storm, at life itself, scream to the heavens that we can overcome whatever it is that we face. Show life that we can get stronger.
“If you allow yourself, you can become stronger in the very places you were broken” – Jane Fonda
The reality of life is that we are always going to get hurt. We are always going to get broken. The majority of this comes from the people we trust, care, and love the most. What can we do? The only thing I can tell you is what I read a couple of days ago:
One may tolerate a world of demons for the sake of an angel- Madame de Pompadour
And if that angel is the one we humans call “soulmate”, well we can weather any storm. Why? Because they make you stronger than ever before.