Your sense of hearing can be the strongest altered mood trigger. Listening to music, specifically.
Unplugged versions of messed up punk rock songs can be quite effective plunging one into a crying fit. If it's got a piano and a violin in it, if the lyrics hint at mental illness, if the singer has a plaintive voice, I am screwed.
This is what I choose to write about after a long sojourn in the non-blogging world. Middle-aged female depression. I couldn't help it. I happened to catch the tune as I was re-watching an episode of my favorite dystopian TV show today. It made me tear up.
Not true. I have been listening to it for days. This mood has been brewing. I downloaded four different versions of it, all covers. The original just never did it for me. I even made a playlist for my iPod click wheel. Wow, does that sound retro or what?
The rate at which things evolve, change, become obsolete is increasing exponentially right as I march inexorably into an age where it takes longer to find my bearings. Make no mistake, though, I always find them. I have so far escaped every culling unscathed. But as I see the world I know change to the point of discomfort, as a new generation takes over, all of a sudden I find myself in a mentor position, a walking encyclopedia, a benevolent veteran. I'm not sure I want to accept this role I am being cast for.
This is what I choose to write about after a long hiatus. Me, myself and I. Depression is selfish by force. When you are trapped in your own mind it is difficult to step outside the navel-gazing.
There is so much more I could be writing about. The economy of my native island is falling apart, thousands of my compatriots are leaving the place every month, jumping the puddle into the mainland, looking for jobs and the dream of a better life. Texas, my adopted land, is becoming a popular destination, growing at a faster rate than the top two favorite destinations of the diaspora. Of course, when your volumes are small to begin with, growth rates can look impressive, but we got nothing on Florida or New York yet.
If you happen to stumble upon this blog because you googled boricua in texas, I am sorry that I am not more informative. Or relevant. Search the many groups on Facebook that have sprung up to facilitate a sense of community in this state. It is a big state. Get ready to do a hell of a lot of driving.
I am not THE Boricua in Texas. I am just one of many.
Sometimes I dream of going back, when I'm old, when the kids are grown. I think all of us do at one time or another. Nostalgia is a powerful trap. If I go back I will feel out of place. My slang is hopelessly outdated; I have no clue what a yal is. People were not being propped against the wall, dressed up as boxers, or staged at the domino table for their wakes when I lived on the island. There was no tren urbano. Filiberto had not been killed yet. A woman had never been governor.
I have been here for quite a long time. The experience of living here has changed me. Being a single mom, getting married again, having another child, all that life lived has changed me. My job trajectory has certainly changed me, in ways that surprise me sometimes. I used to love a clever turn of phrase; but living in the land of elevator pitches and corporate buzzwords, I often grow impatient with languid prose.
I would have changed just as much if I was still on the island. Make no mistake. But I would have become a different person than who I am now. We like to think we are a singular consciousness drifting through life, but this is an illusion. We all change, every single day, no matter where we are. However, on the island I would have had the fantasy of a continuity of self, a shared national experience with my fellow boricuas.
So I choose to maintain a tenuous connection to my past life by filling my Facebook friends roster with high school classmates; even the mean girl who spread rumors about me having lice in middle school is my Facebook friend. But these people don't know anything about me. How could they? It has been so long since we were classmates. Many of them have also left the island, and may have nostalgia issues of their own to deal with. And that's OK. We are all trying to come to grips with our evolving lives. Sometimes all it takes to find our bearings is to write.