Friday, September 6, 2013

82 Rooms by the Distorted American Dream

HelloGoodbye to all, my name is Kimberly Lead Rodriguez.
I do not know where the middle name Lead came from, but feel free to call me Lead, Pb, #82 on the periodic table of elements or simply Kim. Any will do.

Before writing this little blurb tonight, I was at the Museo del Barrio saying hello to Junot Diaz and catching up with an amazing friend, Dario Collado. And I was exactly where I needed to be. I was precisely the person I ought to be which isn't usually the same as the person you are. I was surrounded by art and humility and people with the desire and NEED to change this world for the better (through both talk and action) and I was never happier or more in a "right" place. I think if anything sums up who I am, it is that encounter right there, the intersection of people you don't usually expect together, creating and molding the world for the better by coming together and exchanging ideas, words, actions.

Logistically, this is who I am: I was born in Los Angeles, CA, the daughter and sister of illegal immigrants who have since retired back to Bogota, Colombia. I grew up half in Queens (mainly Elmhurst and Jackson Heights) and the other half in a small town called New London, CT. I am an English Language Arts Major and a minor in Political Science. I am 25 years old. I am married to a freckly Irishman with a funny accent. I have a dog that I named after a character from Monsters, Inc: "Sulley." I work as a bookkeeper for a high end watch wholesaler and my boss is a millionaire while I struggle to pay rent. So it goes.

Ideally and hopefully in actuality, I am a dreamer. In waking hours, I dream about writing and finally becoming a journalist. I also dream of all my friends brought to this country as kids finally getting full rights just like me. I dream of marriage equality and an end to sexual abuse and physical abuse (especially among woman and children). In the wee hours of the morning when I finally get to sleep, I dream of science fiction worlds the likes of Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury. Last night I dreamt I hiked through the jungle and looked over a cliff to see the clearest ocean I ever saw and through it, a huge humpback whale. I am also an activist, a writer, a feminist and a lover of books. I happen to be a rock climbing, sarcastic, salsa dancing, story-telling, coffee drinking, sitting-in-my-car-writing, jazz listening, trumpet playing, infinite abyss exploring adrenaline junkie. I am a confused identity: a legal alien. I am the distorted American dream.

The first time I wrote anything and realized the power that it gave me to create, I was ten years old. I had an assignment to write about Edward Hopper's painting Rooms by the Sea. As I write this, that same painting hangs over my desk. Every day I am reminded and inspired all over again.

As a consumer and maker of media, it is hard to ignore the way the media shapes us. The ideas of gender, race, sexuality, age and class (among an infinite amount of others) we have to adhere to that are usually defined very explicitly and allow no variation. Everywhere I turn, women are defined in extremes. If they aren't sluts, they are married with children and our only concern for them should include one or both of those things and nothing else. Today, when I opened my homepage (Yahoo), the first story that popped up was "Kate's First Days with Baby," seriously do we know anything about Kate Middleton that isn't about her relationship to Prince William (marriage and baby)? This isn't just women, it's race, class, and sexuality too. As a heavy consumer of media on a daily basis (I watch TV, listen to the radio, read blogs, use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), it is hard to pay close and critical attention to all the ideas and societal definitions given to us. I hope that as a creator of media, whether through my blog, videos and even my FB or Twitter posts, I am able in some way to give a little less of these not so subliminal messages and free us up a little more instead for discourse and critical viewing.

A link to the video about the women in Colombia:
Stay Tuned for my aunt Aseneth Suarez's and her husband, Patrick Alexander's new documentary: Parador Hungaro. HANDOUTS TO FOLLOW.
Also, a link to "Chongalicious," just because I was listening to Fergalicious today and got reminded:

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