Miami LGBTQ Pride Parade and a Baptism by Glitter

Meandering my way through a crowd splashed in the colors of the rainbow, I found myself fully immersed into a parade that not only celebrated the pride of being fabulously different, but also the bond of a community bound by their love of loving freely.

Miami’s yearly Gay Pride Parade, a weekend-long celebration, once again proved that the Magic city is the home for unapologetic misfits. Throughout my re-exploration of Collin’s Avenue, where the streets were closed off to make way for extraveggant floats and dancers, I came in contact with people of all ages, ethniticites, and religions. That weekend, only one thing mattered: unity.

The crowd sparkled in the sunlight with their vibrant costumes and glitter. A man, sporting the latest makeup trends while holding a sign that read “Free Glitter” approached me as I was merely participating in the parade as a speculator through the lens of my camera.  Before I knew it, my face, clothes and hair, was drenched by a silver waterfall.

And just like that, having arrived as a stranger, I emerged from the crowd illuminated by glitter and as a member of the family.

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Why I Write

There is nothing that keeps me awake at night more than words. Because of them, I toss and turn ceaselessly, hoping not to disturb my mom as she snores softly beside me. I try to stop the words from flashing through my mind as they build phrases then sentences then paragraphs until, finally, I give in. The words don’t stop unless they become something I can’t wait to put on paper.

“I’ll write this in my next article,” I think to myself. “Maybe, just maybe, I can make a difference.”

And that’s what I can do with words. Every day I walk into my journalism class, though I am exhausted by the strings of words that kept me awake the night before, I choose to use them for good. Some people find freedom speeding down the highway at midnight, but I find freedom in my writing. What I cannot say, I know I can write. I use that freedom not only to express my innermost thoughts but to try and move the people in my community to make a difference in their lives and in the lives of others.

Whether I’m writing about teenage homelessness in South Florida or the endless bloodshed in Syria, I find great satisfaction in keeping the students of my school and the local community educated about issues going on in the world. Creating conversation excites me. It moves me to write even more, seeking to find local stories in the globality of my writing and, vice versa, scavenging ways to make my local stories more global.

I spend most nights sitting in front of my computer screen, fussing over comma splices and fragmented sentences because I want my message to come across eloquently; I work hard so that my readers can indulge sentence after sentence without interruption as I immerse them across seas and into the battlefields where the greatest violations of human rights occur. Then I shift them back into reality, showing them that there is something that can be done, something that they, themselves, can do.

And so, as my mom sleeps quietly beside me, I rise from our bed and pick up my laptop. I sit in the bathtub so that the click-clack of the keys do not wake her and I turn down the harsh glare of the brightness to a soft glow. I allow my thoughts to take hold of my fingers and I type away into the night where the world unfolds before me, beckoning to be put in words.

Okeechobee Fest, Here I Come

Next week, Friday, I will be embarking on a new journey — my first music festival. Three days and two nights of nonstop music are awaiting as I prepare my daily playlist in preparation. This is an entirely new environment for me and, quite frankly, I don’t know what to expect. Maybe that’s what makes this soon-to-be experience so exciting. 

Continue reading “Okeechobee Fest, Here I Come”

Flowers in Her Hair but She Don’t Care

It’s been a while since my dear childhood friend and I have met up, let alone conduct a much needed photoshoot! We pranced around various parks in search for the perfect lighting and just the right amount of color. What resulted was a series of CoverGirl worthy shots, all of which were taken by visionary and future trendsetter, Nia Marie.

Continue reading “Flowers in Her Hair but She Don’t Care”

Damien Rice in Concert is Magic

On November 8th of last year, I had the pleasure of seeing Irish folk artist, Damien Rice, in concert. When I found out that he would be coming to Miami for the first time, I had just finished obsessing over his third album release, “My Favorite Faded Fantasy.” After a 7 year hiatus, he had come back lyrically and musically stronger than ever before. And thankfully I was able to witness it.

A few days after, I decided to write about my experience but never got around to posting it. When I came across it again, I thought it would be appropriate to post it today, exactly a year since the concert:

Damien Rice knows how to captivate his audience. As the lights dimmed, the sound of laughter and chit chat quickly faded. Damien stepped out of the darkness and into the spotlight of the stage, greeted the crowd, and began to sing.

Right then and there, I was enchanted.

It was just him and his guitar. That’s all. Yet he managed to echo the heartbreaks, grief, and pain of hundreds. He would begin a song with a soft melody and end up bent double, viciously strumming—no, beating the guitar. The lights would suddenly go out disorienting us for a second, leaving us holding on to chord of the last song yet yearning for the next.

Often between songs he would tell a story. He jokingly told the audience about how growing up a Catholic boy made him a guilt-ridden man as a prelude to the opening of “9 Crimes.” He also shared the story of a man who thought he had a chance with a woman he fancied. After taking a few sips of wine, he slurred the lyrics of “Cheers Darling.”

But it was “Volcano” that showed the artistic and creative genius Damien was and still is. He made us a part of his performance by dividing the theater into sections, each with a different verse. At his cue, my voice joined the chorus-like sound of the many who sung along. Damien then proceeded to sing his line, his voice rising above ours.

And in that moment, it was just the audience, Damien, and his music. Nothing else mattered except for the undeniable string that connected us all to one another. 

New Theme, New Me

As my final year of high school approaches — three days to be exact — I’ve felt the need to take a step back and re-evaluate how I live my life. The past three years have been a series of worrying about college, stress eating, and going to sleep at 1 a.m. to meet deadlines.

I don’t want to live like that anymore. I don’t want to drown under the weight of the high expectations I set for myself. It’s not healthy. I want to live a well-balanced life where I feel comfortable with who I am and where I’m heading — wherever that may be.

That’s why I decided that this year will be different (or so I hope). This year I will try to put myself first: Eat (somewhat) healthy, drink more water, and feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to start treating myself to the little joys of life, even if that means I have to set aside my homework to spend a day with family and friends.

Ultimately, I want to be at peace. And I will try to share this experience of changing my lifestyle on my blog (the good, the bad, and the ugly). But first, a new blog theme to set the tone.