Might As Well Call Me Dora

It’s official! I am claiming it, I am Dora and as the artist formerly relevant Yeezy once said, “Nuh uh, you can’t tell me nothing.” I am sold on this idea because since being in Montréal I have had some exciting and odd experiences, but nothing too crazy. You know we do a lot of things here but we don’t do crazy.

There is too much that happened between that last post and now but I shall do my best to recap well. The second chapter of the journey begins on Saturday when I decided to explore the neighborhood of Mile End, and when I say that this area is heavily hipster, I mean like 90s-fashion-rip-off-hipster-who-claims-they-started-the-choker-trend-and-buttons-on-jean-jackets-and-wearing-docmartens type of hipster neighborhood.

Here’s what I mean.

or…

 

Honestly, sometimes the millennials of today just remind me of every 90s sitcom character you can think of, except we have iphones and apps for everything. Also, side note: those little polaroid-like cameras trip me up all the time because all of a sudden polaroids came back in style even though I think that is one of the best inventions since sliced bread, physical photos instantly in the palm of your hand!

*end of side note*

There I was, excited to explore the town and the small shops and cafés so I left the house a little after noon and first I just casually walked around looking left and right to take everything in, but of course I didn’t know where I was going. I was actually looking for a pharmacy because I was sick and needed to medication and that is when I had my first experience when Canadian money. I didn’t exchange my American currency while in the states so I just used my American dollars and got my first exposure to Canadian money when the clerk gave me my change.

Then…

  1. I went to a book shop that sold only comics (and no manga!) Again, I ask how?
  2. I went to a Vietnamese restaurant and had vietnamese tea for the first time. The food was decent but not four stars. But there was this magic soup that I had with my meal that I credit to my quick recovery. I documented it all on my snapchat.

While I was at the restaurant I got to have an interesting conversation with the owner of the shop who told me a lot about her passion for cooking and Vietnamese food, then she told me about her family and how she wishes she had time to study. She told me about how she hoped to learn Chinese one day and perhaps be able to write Vietnamese with Chinese characters instead of the roman alphabet. She was so pleasant I had to take a photo with her.

      3. I played around in an artisan jewelry shop, and I thought I saw the light because I love nice jewelry. I bought a couple of rings, because rings are to me as two chains are to 2chainz.

4. I went into two vintage stores and in one I got an awesome button with Drake’s face on it. Am I the world’s biggest Drake fan? No, but I know too many songs off of too many albums to say I am not fond of Aubrey. Then as I was trying to get a man to take a picture of me in front of some art, he had the nerve to try to ignore me, but he didn’t speak French. Then he used his English to say, “I’m sorry, I’m so used to homeless people asking me for money.” And I went off!

In his partial defense he wasn’t looking at me because he was bust trying to pay for a parking meter but I told him off. I told him to look at me, I oozed nouveau riche, I oozed elegance and refinement and 1% status. (None of those statements has to be connected with next, by the way.) Anyway, he apologized profusely and took my pictures, then I insulted him by telling him that the Chicago Blackhawks were slaying his Canadian hometown in their own sport.

5. I went into an amazing café and ate some chocolate croissants then, I finally returned back to “home.”

But WAIT, there’s more! Don’t forget it was a Saturday. I took an uber to an uber queer friendly neighborhood for the drag show. My driver, Jean, was hilarious and full of personality. When I got in the car, I belched immediately much to my chagrin but it tickled him pink and throughout the 20 min car ride he talked to me about divorce, poutine, and Arcade fire. He even tried to speak a little Spanish with me, much to his chagrin.

 

My friend and I planned to see a drag show and we surely executed that plan but not until after going to a karaoke bar and SLAYING Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, mind you, I know all the moves to the dance. We danced with some nice people and left to the drag show, where I had to “pop out.” As soon as the Destiny’s Child Bootylicious came on it was time for me to come into my element. I swore I’d keep my powers a secret but the black girl magic was too much to contain. I twist everything, popped, locked, dropped, picked it back up, and then some. The drag queen didn’t know what was coming for her.

Our dance off got so heated that they put the spotlight on us and the crowd was shouting and hooting. I knew we had to give them a show and we slayed. My slayage earned me free refreshments. It was spectaculaire! Finally, the show started and I can say that my life will never be the same after all of those acts.

The night was wonderful and I cannot thank my friend enough for being a part of my it all, and for taking a video of my slaying the drag queen!

Til’ next time, folks.

Be breezy and beautiful, but never easy.

 

 

 

Your Girl Is in Canada!!!!!!

Beloved,

There comes a time in life when thou needest a breaketh from thy work and thy stress.

“What is the most optimum way that I could chill the heck out,” is exactly what I asked myself a little less than a month ago. I somehow came to the conclusion that it was time I head off to Montréal, Québec. When I came across this idea I thought that I would do the norm and go with a group but then the idea to go by myself seemed more appealing because that meant that I would be going on a true “Eat, Pray, Love” journey. I would go to a country I had never been to, try new [safe] things, and get better at flirting in French. Let’s be honest–I came for the Canadian cuties.

 

…and for the opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture, Mom. Here was my thinking: I have got better than average French, some decent funds, an adventurous spirit, and a whole bunch of airbnb credit. So, people of all genders and agenders, that is where our journey begins.

As with every truly adventurous adventure, something is bound to go wrong and it is important to run with the punches. But luckily, I do kickboxing so, I know how to swing right back.

     You all should firstly know that your girl was on point with the preparation. I mapped out all my buses that I would take, pricing, and booking for my airbnb and so far it has worked flawlessly…almost.

Where Things Went a Lil’ Wrong

  1. Three days before I was to leave I started coming down with a cold. But, I said, “Not today, Satan!” So what did I do? Medicate, medicate, medicate! I’m talking Vicks, Cup Noodles, crackers, juice, expensive Naked drinks, soooo much TEA. BTW, listen to Sippin’ Tea with Bri every Monday @2pm et, let’s sip tea on pop culture trends, you know shade will be thrown on wrmc.middlebury.edu *end of plug*

 

2. Exhausted from the unnecessary amounts of work thrown my way, I waited until last minute to do laundry and pack. So I packed my stuff about twenty minutes before my bus left. I left the house at 1:29. My bus was scheduled to leave at 1:30.

 

Lesson learned: Don’t push it when you’re on a tight schedule.

3. Forgot to exchange my American currency for Canadian currency, because if I did I would really be balling out right now. That exchange rate is beautiful. 1.34 to the US dollar. Amen! But on the bright side, when I was at the information desk inquiring about a currency exchange machine, I got to talk with a nice man named Bill who loves horses and Black women. Yes, he volunteered that information. He talked my ear off for a good 15 minutes but he was such a character I couldn’t stop him.

“You know I’m from Maine but I was raised in the south and I dated many a black woman. Once a black woman made me some southern food and she had such a passion for horses like me, I darn near married her,” he said.

I responded, “Well, what happened, why didn’t you marry her?”

“Well, she wanted to have a busy life and I couldn’t hold her back and if you love someone you let them go. But you know, we’re still friends on facebook.”

This guy was, as my cousin Gail would say, “a hoot and a holler” so, I had to get a photo with him.

But wait! There’s more! I got on the bus and my bus driver was the chillest trillest man in the world. He was so chill, he was on his phone for most of the ride and told us to simply chill. He also interrupted everyone’s rest to tell us about his lottery numbers. Love it. 🙂

 

The quality is bad because I had to take the photo on the low.

While I was on my bus ride to Montréal I thought my French was too rusty to attempt conversing with anyone on the bus. But, the strong woman in me popped out with the carpe diem rhetoric. I turned to the older man behind me and started the conversation about subway sandwiches. Next thing I know he invited me to sit next to hit to talk about how he thinks the youth of Haiti are lazy and want to be like Americans. He talked about his friend who had cancer, his family of 4 and his teenage kids that he wished spoke Créole or French. He taught me some creole and offered me a piece of his sandwich. I refused the latter offer because your girl is adventurous but still cautious.

Side note: Tell me it wasn’t just me who watched Law and Order religiously with their parent. I watched Snapped, Criminal Minds, every Lifetime murder mystery, Fatal Attraction, Silence of the Lambs, Misery. Honestly, I think I’m a detective.

So, you know even though I am loving my adventure, I am still keeping my eyes out for everything. EVERYTHING.

 

This is a photo of me and mon grandpère haïtien, my haitian gramps.

Finally, a little after 6 I got to the central station I was prepared to put that young problematic UBER into action. But, like this year’s Grammy’s they disappointed me. 

 

How did they not have cars????? How, Sway???! So, then I had to take a cab but not without help, a nice Chinese girl helped me out. She didn’t speak French or English but my limited Chinese helped me out when I needed it most. (Shout out to my laoshi men.) She helped me call a cab, then I took a taxi to my location. My cab driver was also haitian and when I spoke to him he thought I was haitian. Ayyy! But nah, I’m Black American and proud. He got me to my airbnb safely and took my bag up the stairs, and I am pretty sure I gave him too much tip but whatever. Power to the people!

 

Finally, I met my host and her roommate, a gastronomy expert apparently, because I kid you not, he talked about cuts of bacon for at least eight minutes. They generously gave me tea and welcomed me into their home, and now I am recording my entire day on my laptop while planning my day tomorrow. I’m thinking drag bar?

I know this post was long, but don’t lie, it was really entertaining. Stay blessed. No stress. Forget Kanye West.

#bars

 

Now watch me Cana-dab. (I had to do it.)

 

Netflix and Trill

We have all heard of the saying, “Netflix and Chill.” Some of us love netflix and chilling but what about those who simply want to kick back with few lemon San Pellegrinos, some Chinese food, and comfy clothes?

 

Here’s a list of shows on Netflix that you may want to check out when you are in one of your many moods.

Feeling…

Hotep: A Different World

Existential: 3%

Ponderous: 13th

Romantic: How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Dramatic: Lo Que La Vida Me Robó (What Life Stole from Me)

Powerful: How to Get Away with Murder

Silly: Parks and Recreation

Chismosa: Gossip Girl

Superhuman: Ajin

 

If you try any of these shows and like them, leave a comment below! As usual, stay true and real. Stay trill, divas.

<3

 

 

 

 

 

Take It Back!

Everyday that we are living is filled with black girl magic simply because we exist!

 

“I blame the media.”

“The media is toxic, we need to unplug.”

“The media makes me feel ugly.”

“The media is so filtered.”

Who is the face behind this infamous character, “the media?” Someone, please help a sister out?

In the age of digital media, there are a lot of arguments for and against this mysterious, ubiquitous entity called “The Media.” We hear a lot of people blaming “the media” for this, that, and the other, but who or what is it? Technically the word media is the plural form of medium so it would be more accurate to say what are the media. So what are media? Media include newspapers, books, radio, blogs, television, insanely amazing blogs like this one, greens, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, lambs, ram, dogs, hogs, chicken, turkey, rabbit, you name it!

You see, in this modern age we have the ability to share information at the press of a button. This allows for more connection and shared authorship of information around the world. This also opens up a window for people to create unrefined bs (bologna salami). This allows for people to use some media outlets to propagate inaccurate information, and as a result we get despicable material like the cartoon below.

 

It is the blatant disdain and disrespect for black women and for women for color such as that exemplified in this drawing that is angering! If you look closely at Ben Garrison’s cartoon, you can see that FLOTUS (one of the most highly respected women in the world) in this drawing was meant to be less effeminate, angry, and aggressive, many names which bigots too often equate with black women. However, this picture simply displays the insecurities of a someone’s racist and misogynistic mentality.

The drawing of Melania is clearly a blatant sexualization of her body, with the spilling cleavage, the high slit of the dress, and the smile that conveys, “I am here to be silent and look pretty.” On the other hand, FLOTUS is depicted grimacing, with a muscular build, however there are women with muscular figures and that makes them no less feminine than women of other body types. It is the strength of women like FLOTUS and other strong black women that threatens the average straight male white supremacist. And to that we respond with a, “Forget you, forgot you, never thought about you.” We say it in our oscar worthy performances, in our speeches, we reiterate it in the art we create, in the math we create, in the research we do. We sing it in the melody of our voices, dance it in the sway of our hips, exude it in the things we innovate. Everyday that we are living is filled with black girl magic simply because we exist!

Don’t forget it. Stay fierce.

Black girls deserve to learn free from bias and stereotypes. Share this video if you agree and visit www.nwlc.org/LetHerLearn to learn more.

Posted by National Women's Law Center on Thursday, January 5, 2017

 

 

 

Conscious Poetry Break

Raise your hand if you feel certain social justice 101 words and phrases have been slowly ingrained into the everyday vernacular of millennials! Words like cultural appropriation, system, oppression, inclusivity, privilege have been mixed beautifully with casual dialogue. I am so happy that we are finding ways to have conversations on social justice in academic settings but I am ecstatic that we are not limiting these conversations to those spaces.

Recently, I came across a video of a person who identifies as black and latino (because some people believe you can’t be both) who did a phenomenal piece on privilege. I can’t put into words how much this poet’s words struck me. But, please check out this video. It’s kind of amazing, jussayin’.

Are you uncomfortable?

Posted by We are mitú on Wednesday, January 4, 2017

 

 

This Year, I’m Going to Lose Some Weight!

“I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.” – Destiny’s Child

Happy New Year, everybody!

If you’re like me, then you probably had some bomb food during this holiday season. If not, I’m sorry for you but if you are woke, feel free to come to the cookout. The password for entrance is black lives matter. But, if you’re only thinking about one specific black body that matters, then you can stay at home. (Imagine me singing this) Blackness is so diverse, we’re not a monolith, don’t box us in or you get your butt dissed.

#bars.

That was a necessary tangent but as previously stated, we have made it to the new year, and usually a lot of us start making resolutions at 11:59pm on New Year’s Eve and then break them at midnight!

Here are a few things you may have heard or told yourself before/during New Years.

  1. I’m going to be more organized.
  2. I’m going to to drink less.
  3. I’m going to meditate more.

Of course, I cannot forget the most important promise that we make to ourselves every year.

4. I’M GOING TO LOSE WEIGHT!!

Yes, we promise ourselves that we’re going to lose those 20-50 pounds of baby fat that have been with us ever since McDonald’s introduced the drive-thru. Some of us are successful so, kudos to you all. However, for those of us who have a proclivity for all things artificially sweetened and excessively salty, then our weight-loss resolution often fails soon after we make it. But this year is the year!

I will lose weight!

Only instead of losing weight in the traditional sense, I’m going to lose a different kind of weight.

Goodbye to the weight of feeling the need to lose weight to be desirable, pretty, or just dope. Deuces to the weight of perfectionism, bye Felicia to the weight of always feeling the need to be a spokesperson for our races. Bye. Bye. Bye.

 

Instead, let’s focus on slaying even harder in 2017, loving ourselves and others more. Let’s be more black girl magic, more compassionate, more human. If you’re not black, have no fear, you have your own magic, whatever your background. Continue to be latinx excellence, East Slaysian or South Asian fire, be African royalty, Native American strength, queer, non-binary queens etc. ( I know I’m missing several groups but that is all of the names I can think of for now.)

I know that these suggestions could be easier said than done but if we take it step by step, it is achievable. Let health, physical and mental, be an important goal in our daily lives. We don’t need to get juiced at the gym, we don’t need to aspire to be athletes like Serena Williams. But, if we want to have more energy, popping a squat every now and then will not hurt. Sleeping and eating are important, having supportive relationships is needed, and visiting and supporting this blog with shares and comments can be one of the best things that you could do for your self. 😉 The point is that we are all amazing people and it would suck immensely if we made changes to ourselves this year simply to appease a society that’s not ready for our slayage. Forget the haters, let ’em be gone in the wind.

Break free, divas!

 

 

 

 

 

Delta…more like Omega

Screw discrimination! Screw bystander-syndrome! Screw Silence!

If you have been on the book of faces, the twitter, and/or instant gram, then you may have witnessed the appalling interaction between a famous Youtube prankster Adam Saleh (in the picture below on left) and his companions who were forcefully escorted off of their Delta Airlines flight. He has on camera footage of his being allegedly forced off of his flight for having spoken a different language.

In the video he says that a few white men around him said they felt “uncomfortable” because he spoke a few words of Arabic. ARE. YOU. SERIOUS?! But we know what this was about, just put it out there. Here’s a brown man with a beard speaking arabic on a plane, and then the idiots in the room said, “Hey, perfect opportunity to display my discriminatory ignorance.” (By the way, screw all of them.) People without the capacity to think took it upon themselves to try to think for once but their blatant schematic stereotypes screwed them over and in turn, they felt uncomfortable so, they had to get the bearded brown Youtuber kicked off the plane. This is ugliness in a form of discrimination, and the silence of from passengers around them with which this situation was met is disheartening. According to the logic of the passengers who complained about Saleh’s speaking arabic, ARABIC= SAFETY THREAT?

In the video, members of the crowd behind him mockingly wave him and his friends goodbye as Saleh questions the workers who are adamant about getting him off the plane. This is disgusting. This is bigotry. This is unacceptable. 

We got kicked out of a Delta airplane because I spoke Arabic on the phone with my mom and to my friend slim…. please help spread the word

Posted by Adam Saleh on Wednesday, December 21, 2016

You know the twitter and the book of faces had to get involved. Peep this meme.

Also, if you are secretly hiding some of the same stereotypes, please get help. Check out the other video below. Why suffer from ignorance when you don’t have to.

But don’t just stop there! Here’s another video.

Wait, you want MORE?  Pick up books about anything, maybe read a few scriptures from the Quran. Read about people and places different than your own. Talk to people. Don’t remain ignorant. 

CHOOSE LOVE. CHOOSE COMPASSION. CHOOSE HUMANITY.

 

Privileged to Be White, Honored to Be Queer

I guess I’m outside of the box because I have a vagina and am dating someone who also happens to have a vagina.

 

Bringing you gifts of holiday cheer, come get woke, courtesy a dope person who’s queer. People of all binaries, meet Lex Scott, a queer, gender non-conforming student at Middlebury College. They are an artist who has a thing for all things mud, trees, and wilderness. When they are not attempting to whisper sweet nothings in Arabic, they are listening to their favorite music artist Quinn XCII. They blew me away with their responses in the interview. Y’all better give it up for Lex.

1. What’s your family like?

Two older sisters (both married), two married parents. 8 cousins.

2. What was it like growing up for you (i.e. environment, familial, social, spatial)?

My dad is a neurosurgeon and my mom runs his private practice so, my sisters and I grew up in the hospital. We all went to private elementary schools, and then Catholic middle and high schools, so we were sheltered as hell! But, we traveled a ton so, we were kind of cultured. My parents are pretty conservative but since I’m the youngest I didn’t experience all of their insane strictness, which sucked for my sisters apparently since they couldn’t get away with half the stuff I did growing up.

3. What are three of the many identities that make up you? Why?

I’m a queer, gender-nonconforming, Middkid. Those are the three identities that I experience most tangibly most often.

4. Please share a memory that you have of how you came to find any of those parts of yourself.

I was watching a YouTube video by Cammie Scott (no, they’re not related, y’all) and she was talking about when she realized she was gay/her coming out story, and she said something along the lines of “and I had this moment where I realized holy shit I’m not weird – I’m just gay!”


Then, my inner queeritual animal said to me, “Lex, she’s you!” I’m not weird; I’m just gay, too.
This was my revelation in the fall of my senior year of high school.

5. Choose a part of your holistic identity and tell me what’s something that people assume about that part of yourself? Does it say anything about your character?

I think that people assume that I’m an asshole because my family is wealthy and I come from an absurd level of privilege. Once they get to know me, I hope that’s not what they think. I do my best to be a good human being.

It’s not hard to not be a dick.

6. What is something that you are tired of people assuming about you? Something you wish society would stop pressing upon you?

I guess I was tired people assumed I was straight, so I cut all my hair off. I wish society would stop pressing the gender binary and heteronormative ideals upon my partner and me just because I look more” masculine” and they look more “feminine.”

7. What is something about you and people like you that you wish others outside of your community cared about?

I wish they cared enough about people who don’t fit into the heterosexual cisgender box to educate themselves.

8. Why are you outside of the infamous ‘box?’

I guess I’m outside of the box because I have a vagina and am dating someone who also happens to have a vagina.

*drops the mic twice*

 

9. Are you proud of your identity? Why or why not?

I’m hella proud of my identity. And I’m so proud of my partner and their courage to embrace their identity as genderqueer.

10. Are you happy to be yourself, why/why not?

So happy. Like ridiculously happy. Sure, it’d be so much easier to be straight and cisgender, but I can’t imagine myself in that way and I love the life I live. I love all my queer friends and my queer relationship and I love challenging the world’s stereotypes about gender and sexuality.

12. What is a message you want to say to the world about yourself and people like you?

I think it’s important to let your voice be heard and I appreciate rare opportunities like this, and it’s so important to love and to remember that you are loved. People like me, who don’t fit into a box, are perfect, just like how people who do fit into a box are perfect. The variety of humanity is beautiful.


You are loved.

 

They Call Me Rotisserie

I DO find men handsome and I DO find women beautiful, but what’s ugly is trying to force people into a box for convenience. If you want to give me a label, then label me Martin.

Love is love. People are people. Haters are going to hate. These are indisputable facts. Meet Martin Torres A.K.A Rotisserie, a Chicagoan-turned-USC Troy Camp counselor who has a passion for life, kids, and leaving his haters in the dust. His favorite color is a blue caught in the middle of light and darkness, like a contour done right. His hobbies include all of throwing shade (very strenuous) and he says he will perhaps in the future pick up a sport but, it’s doubtful.

I had the pleasure of playing 20+ questions with this guy in an interview and these are his raw responses. When I say, raw, I mean RAW, y’all. But he brings his truth and I hope you can vibe with that.

      1. Current favorite song/artist?

If you saw my Spotify most played song of 2016, it’d be Closer by The Chainsmokers and that is embarrassing. I blame LA for making me this basic, or maybe more basic than what I already was. I haven’t had a favorite song or artist but I’m still hoping Rihanna will headline Lollapalooza next year.

     2. What’s your family like? (Siblings? Cousins, uncles, aunts? Direct family only? No one?

Direct family, I have both my loving parents and a younger sister who is already in college. I’m not close to my dad’s side of my family so I will skip them but on my mom’s side, it’s mostly women in their 70’s like my abuela and tías.

    3. Do you feel at all connected to any immigration experience?

I’ve had a good life. I lived with my family as a child and upon moving to the U.S., despite just having the core 4 Torres fam, we managed. I’ve always been a big city boy the idea of living in the suburbs is cute but I can never see myself not living in a city. I’ve always had the support of my family and I see the sacrifices my parents have made for my sister and so, I owe them everything.

   4. What was it like growing up for you (i.e. environment, familial, social, spatial)?

When I was 9 I came to the U.S from Spain, and I’ve lived more than half of my life in the U.S. I think Chicago is a great place to grow up in since it makes you grow up quickly. People always ask me if I would consider moving back to Spain and truthfully, I wouldn’t. I miss seeing my family everyday, but my life here is made; I have friends, adopted families, mentors. I think many people don’t realize how difficult immigration and being an immigrant is. It’s an expensive and lengthy process! People think all immigrants just cross a border or board a plane and come here but it’s more than that.

When I was 9, I didn’t feel American. Fourth grade kids were cruel and there was a huge culture clash. Even now at 19, I still feel this divide as “other.” I was reminded of my “otherness” when at 17 I interviewed for an Ivy League. After discovering that I was an immigrant, my interviewer commented that I “had better English than Hispanics born in this country.” To this day, it remains the most back-handed compliment I’ve ever received. It was an insult to me and all other immigrants. So, screw that interviewer.

    5. What are three of the many identities that make up you?

I will say there is a distinction between Social Martin, Martin, and Rotisserie. They make me me.

6. Please share a memory that you have of how you came to find any of those parts of yourself.

My identity as Rotisserie truly changed everything for me. This past summer I got the pleasure of working with a friend as my co-counselor and we had 9 lovely 3rd grade boys to make our cabin B3 in Troy Camp’s annual summer camp. It brought a lot of surprises and I was always exhausted but the kids and I loved every second of it. The last night of camp during the last bonfire we all gathered and sang a special Troy Camp song only sung on the last night. With the first chord, I began to cry, like full on sobbing crying because at that moment I realized how special Troy Camp was and how special I was to the kids, my kids. I finally understood who Rotisserie was. I was supposed to be their mentor but they mentored me.

 

People assume that I get everything easily. Hell no! I put in work.

7. What is something that you are tired of people assuming about you? Something you wish society would stop pressing upon you?

Ever since I was 7 all people have ever said is “Martin is gay.” Well, shit, when I was 7 years old, I didn’t know what sex was, I didn’t know that I could be attracted to boobs, penises, butts or vaginas. All I wanted to do was go home and watch the next episode of Power Rangers. This has followed me my whole life and it took me until I was 17 to let go of it all and stop caring. I let go of all the emotions and resentment going forward and I just let people believe what they wanted. I do find men handsome and I do find women beautiful, but what’s ugly is trying to force people into a box for convenience. If you want to give me a label, then label me Martin. I can date anybody I want and I can sleep with whomever I wish to. Society pressures everybody into thinking they can only be gay or straight, that being bisexual is one step closer to gay. Nobody in my opinion is 100% straight or 100% gay, there is always some in between and society is still pressuring others into seeing those sides. People need to wake up and realize this ain’t the 60’s anymore where it’s either black or white. There are shades of grey everywhere, darker and lighter, and within the grey there are reds, blues, pinks, greens, etc. My point is, Martin is Martin and that’s the only label I want to go as…bitch!!!!

8. What is something about you and people like you that you wish others outside of your community cared about?

Follow your dreams. I’d rather happily say, “Well, shit. I’m broke,” doing what I want than say, “Yes, I got money” and hate my life every day. I think society needs to realize that we live once and that if you don’t take those chances and adventures now, you never will.

9. Why are you outside of the infamous ‘box?’

I am outside the box because I am me. You will never find another Martin Torres as funny, charming, good looking, and sassy as myself. But thinking about it, I am not this oppressed Hispanic immigrant that many people want me to be. I am not a man with a label on my sexuality despite people wanting to give one. I’ve had toxic friendships and relationships that tried to keep me down, and today those friendships are no more. I am not this person who settles without voicing my opinion. I am unapologetic and one who is unafraid to tell it how it is.  I think there are people out there like me, but there will NEVER be another me.

I am outside the box. And to my haters, stay in your lane, because I am driving a Ferrari down this highway and it’d be a shame if you got into mine.

 10. Are you proud of your identity? Why or why not? (Of course, it’s okay to say you don’t know yet.)

Of course! 6 years ago I was not the man I was today and I am happy. Even from 6 months ago, I have grown and matured exponentially because I have let my experiences shape and teach me lessons about who I am. Do I know who Martin is? I think so, but I am always willing to keep growing and learning to make a better me in this ever-changing world.

 11. Are you happy to be yourself, why/why not?

I am happy. My life goal is to be happy. Those who support me give me the strength to keep fighting. Those who hate me give me the determination to prove them wrong.

12. Aside from helping a friend or associate, why did you choose to be a part of this project?

I wanted to share my voice and really show who I am. I’ve felt put in a box for majority of my life and as soon as I got out, many people have been saying I am different, not the same, and have changed. And that’s ok: Life is about change and discovery and I wanted people to realize that.

13. What is a message you want to say to the world about yourself and people like you?

My best advice is Fuck the Haters. Do you and keep doing you. Never apologize for who you are, the decisions you make, your personal opinions, and NEVER and I mean NEVER apologize for how you feel. A good friend once told me that, and I live that everyday because that’s what makes Martin Martin. To the world, I am ready for the challenges and bumps I will face but I am excited to keep learning and growing and just being the best version of myself that I can be.

You are loved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Don’t Try to Box Me In’ Announcement

Boxes exist to contain things. Some are filled with cupcakes, presents, tampons, etc. What boxes are not meant to do is contain people. You may be thinking, “Well, duh. I already knew that.” But, get into your inner Dr. Seuss and think metaphorically. Society just revels in labeling and boxing. “What are you?” “Which way do you swing?” “Why do you like doing that?” “You’re too blank for blank.” “Are you this? Why aren’t you that?” “You’re too this.”  ENOUGH! Screw patriarchy, screw racism, intolerance, every intolerance-based phobia, screw sexism, screw gender expectations, binaries, assumptions, boxes! We are done. I am proud to present to you the beginning of our new ‘Don’t Try to Box Me In’ series, real stories about real people who refuse to be monoliths. We are taking our box cutters and shanking (cutting) the heck out of the four sides of the infamous ‘box.’ We shall instead promote understanding and compassion by posting individual profiles of different people who have generously offered to share parts of their life journeys with us. I am so grateful to have read all of their stories and I hope that you enjoy them too.

So to boxes we say,

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