Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Identity

Here are the go-to details about my background: I was born and raised in Camden County, NJ, but as a sophomore in high school I moved with my mom and a few siblings to Bucks County, PA. My mother is a waitress and has remarried twice in my lifetime; she left my dad when I was 3. My father, who works for a law firm, is a Cuban refugee and a Vietnam war veteran. My siblings: Michael is 28 and an electrician who wants to completely cover his body in tattoos by 2010; Gabrielle, 26, whose heart is as big as Texas, lives in Baltimore and teaches art in a middle school there; Justin, 21, a TKE brother who just transferred from Drexel to Temple, has changed his major from Engineering to Biology to Psychology to Sports Medicine; Laura, 13, is a mathematical genius who lives with our mom but likes her dad and our old home in NJ better; Charles, 11, has autism and still doesn't talk to or associate with us much, even though he's been going to a good school for children with autism since he was about 4.

In class Sept. 15, when everyone saw my teany bottle, the words volunteered to describe me were pretty accurate. I got health-conscious, into organic foods, different, trend-setter, always thirsty, vegetarian, likes going to the gym. I also have never been vaccinated, and I'm a proponent of alternative medicine, alternative lifestyles, breaking the mold, and ultimately just thinking outside the box.

I am a Cuban German Polish Chinese African American with a French first name, a Spanish last name, and a tendency toward English language and literature. I am fascinated with Eastern culture, religion and art, and I want to travel to every country in South America and play soccer with the locals. And my all-time favorite book is by the brilliant Russian Fyodor Dostoevsky.

As you may be able to tell, I am very global-minded. My biggest goal in life is to travel, and I have already been to and fallen in love with many places (San Juan, Miami, Charleston, London, and the mountains of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho); but I worry all the time about where in the world I’d be the most happy. I can list the places I know I want to visit—but where could I settle down and finally feel at peace? Should I follow my heart, which longs to help people in Sudan, the Philippines, or Ecuador, where I already sponsor a little girl living in the slums of Quito? Should I satisfy my soul, which yearns to go to India or China to learn the arts of yoga, meditation, divinity and spirituality? Should I listen to my mind, which thirsts for the great thinkers and writers of Great Britain, France, Spain or Russia? And what of my taste for the exotic?—I could seek treasures in Turkey, Morocco, Egypt or Nepal, even though I wouldn’t understand a word of their native tongues. What about my historical and mythological cravings, which would be sated in Greece, Italy, or what was once ancient Mesopotamia or Persia? Then there’s my blood to think of—I could trace my ancestry from Cuba to Spain and Ellis Island to Poland and Germany. Finally, I could stay here, the country that will always be my home, known for welcoming immigrants of all sorts, from all the countries I just listed and all the corners of the Earth? I have so much to offer here, so much work that could be done to improve our communities and educational systems, and develop the youth of the generations yet to come…

Ultimately, this is what I know will never change about me: I have a nagging curiosity that I doubt I'll ever be able to satiate. I love experiencing new things and learning more about people and the earth and the universe. I constantly look to the future, and I have a terrible memory. I'm an Aquarius, with a ton of Capricorn (six Planets) mixed up in there to ground me, a pinch of Aries (Rising), and a touch of Gemini (Moon). I love my friends more than they know. I feel at home in any old book store, in any campground in the mountains, any deserted beach, under soft blankets, deep in the woods, with animals, in/on the ocean, jumping and playing in the rain, and surrounded by deep thinkers.

Oh, and on a side note: as a huge fan of Heroes and great poetry, after Monday night's new season premiere of Heroes, I can't get over how perfect this poem is. I've always loved Yeats and this poem, and I was just blown away by how perfectly it applies to the direction the show is taking:

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Jessie said...

Hey Julie, I really think it's cool that you live your life by the beat of your own drum.( I couldn't think of another way to word it) I can relate to wanting to discover diffrent sides of myself and feeling like there is so much out there to do . I would like to travel as well and want to see what the world has to offer. Oh I thought the poem by Yeats was great.

Lyndsey said...

Julie --

Thank you for your kind words on my blog! I am very grateful to you for writing them.

I know we don't have a comment due for class or anything, but I've read your post at least twice now, and I'm just fascinated by how open and free you are, mind and soul. I can't remember if you said how old you are, but I have a feeling you have an old soul in your young body (not a bad thing -- us old souls have to stick together).

I admire your path you've chosen in life, to think outside the box of society. I can relate to that on many levels, partly because of my faith, and partly because of me just being me.

I, too, love language, and I am fascinated by its complexities. All language intrigues me ... I can only muddle my way through Spanish, as far as extra languages go. But I'd love to learn more in my life. Writing has always been a passion of mine, though I ignored it for a long time. I've written poetry, songs and beginnings of novels ... I have to work on my attention span, since it seems to stop the novels' progressions.

But, I digress.

What I like the most about your post is the fact that you defined yourself while leaving everything open. You didn't say "this is me", but rather, you allowed yourself to consider what you could do than to recall what you have done. I like that you're not defining yourself by your past or present circumstances, but are letting the future take you where it will. It's hard for people to truly be able to do that, so hang on to that quality!

As far as your question about being homeschooled, I almost always felt strange or odd being homeschooled, because I was doing it when it wasn't popular. Still to this day, people are impressed that I've made it this far in my education. They say things like, "Really? Only 2 years of public school? How did you get good grades?" So I guess I get annoyed and disappointed in people for being so ignorant. Just because I wasn't taught in a typical classroom for most of my life doesn't mean I'll automatically be behind. But, I guess it's like how people see you living without going to the doctor, or eating artificial foods -- it's different, so people don't know what to think of it. I'm proud to have been homeschooled; yet, I regret not having more friends growing up.

I am glad to sit next to you during class and I truly hope to get to know you better throughout this semester. I think we're more alike than we realize!

God bless :)

Lyndsey said...

Hi! I'm sorry I didn't get your comment back until just now (at 12:30AM)! I would love to get together after class ... I am obsessed with Barnes & Noble and Starbucks, so that sounds perfect!

My birthday is 5/25/84 ... I'm a Gemini, and even though I honestly don't follow horoscopes much, I fit into the Gemini category pretty well. How about you?

I'm totally excited to connect with you -- this is awesome! I do have to warn you, though, that you are correct in saying that I'm losing my mind lately with the wedding-planning ... but that's the perfect reason to get a latte and chat. :)

I hope you have a great day tomorrow ... well, actually today.

See you on Friday!

PS. It might be easier to email me. It's