Tara over at Me and the Mexican nominated me in her own post to create a Seven post. The premise of the list is to select one of your own blog posts in each of the following seven categories. As has been the case with most people, I had a hard time choosing only one for some of the categories; rather than force myself to choose, I selected two in some instances.
My selection for most beautiful is my poem, “Written”. I do enjoy writing poetry, but I do not write poems as much as I write personal narratives and essays; I feel that this is amongst the best pieces of poetry I have ever written and is currently my favorite. It is evolved from the sappy pieces of poetry that I wrote when I was younger.
My family knows my poetry best from a poem I wrote for my grandmother after she died; in it I wrote sugary sweet about how she was an angel and a piece of heaven, not so much because those were the words I wanted to write for her, but rather because they were the words I knew my family would like. For a long time, this poem defined myself as a writer, due to the attention I received for it; I was all about making people cry.
“Written” is a more mature piece, created after I had begun college and lost the connection with my creative spirit. In much the way the my poem for my grandmother served as a piece of mourning, “Written” is something of a eulogy to the innocence of the writer/creator I once was. It reflects the development of my own critical eye towards my work as well as the loss of the joy I took in it. All of this connects back to the type work and reflection demanded of my in my college studies.
I felt the need to select two different posts as my most popular. “25 Things” has easily received the most views of any post on my blog, numbering into the hundreds; however, I consider that artificial inflation as it was part of a group project and many individuals who are not regular readers took the time to read this post.
“Silence of the Lambs” racked up close to 100 views and did so entirely on its own merit. This post could easily have been selected for the surprising success category as well. When I wrote the post, I thought it was funny enough, but I didn’t feel that it was anything capable of reaching out and grabbing my readers. However, it seemed to click with more people than I could have imagined.
I think that the post has several elements which speak the type of people who read my blog. There is the mixed-culture relationship and the inevitable cultural divide, the back-and-forth marriage dynamic (though not married just yet in this post), and the added craziness to the given situation due to the presence of family. Perhaps it wasn’t that the post was all that great, but rather that it had the perfect storm of elements that grab my readers.
I have yet to make a post that has ruffled any feathers, at least to my knowledge. There have been no crazy verbal sparring matches in the comments or rude emails fired off to me. However, when I wrote “Student of the Month”, I felt that there was a controversial element to it.
This element comes from the fact that this post inherently criticizes certain practices in the classroom which are quite beloved by many parents and educators. While the post is about my personal experiences within a certain school setting, it could be interpreted as an attack on the incentive/reward system in schools. Within education, there is a lot of debate about the merits of such systems, and a decent amount of research points to them causing much more harm than most would imagine (see “Punished by Rewards” by Alfie Kohn for the best known work on the topic). My post could easily be taken as being in support of the Kohn side of the debate; I personally see a difference between celebrating strengths/giving positive feedback and using incentives/rewards to create an external motivation in children rather than developing their inner driving force and decision making compass.
I decided to include two posts for this category as I have not actually written many posts that seek to be informative. This first one is about watching American television programs online from other countries. I hadn’t realized what a problem this could be until I took my first trip to Pachuca. While I had previously been in Mexico, it was in Juarez and the hotel we stayed in offered American channels; there was no worry about missing new episodes of my favorite programs.
In Pachuca, there isn’t much in the way of American tourism; the hotels feel no need to include American channels. I arrived, hoping to see the season finales of my favorite shows, only to discover that one channel even aired my shows, and they were all repeats. I decided I would just watch them on CBS.com or HULU.com, only to discover that they block viewers from outside the US.
By the time I returned in December, I had discovered these methods for watching my programs abroad. Since I know that others are concerned about this, I decided to share.
Now that I travel frequently, I have come to discover the frustration of the baggage carousel–and the pain of trying to distinguish my black duffel bags from every other black duffel bag. My solution: colored, printed duct tape.
“Everyone is Mexican” is a post about misconceptions, stubbornness, and sprinkled with a bit of “Mexico vs The Rest of Latin America”. I had hoped that it would resonate with some, just so I could rest assured that my husband was not the only dork who does this, but I did not expect that so many would have things to say on the matter. I think that this post could easily have become quite controversial with some healthy debate in the comments.
I am glad that it was a successful post, as I enjoy going back and reading it. As with most of my writing, it didn’t seem like anything special when I wrote it, but with time in between in becomes engaging and gives me a good laugh.
In general, I keep my content pretty light, though I do think that much of it has deeper undertones. When I created this post, I went darker than normal in an effort to begin exploring a topic that has come to bring me a lot of pain in the last so many years: racism.
Racism isn’t something I have been aware of for my entire life, though it has always been there. It is a privilege I am afforded as a white person in America. My awareness grew slowly throughout my childhood and adolescence; I noticed the undertones of comments made by my family and friends and I began to learn that words that people used weren’t silly-made-up-words but racial epithets. I picked up on under the breath comments from strangers in stores and noticed that I could be treated different than the girl next to me, the only apparent difference between us being our race.
However, racism was always something that was restrained as everyone seemed to understand that it wasn’t socially acceptable to flaunt it. The racism I observed was undercover and/or institutionalized. It wasn’t until I worked in restaurants that I entered what could be described as an insular, overtly-racist community within the larger society. Servers and other staff were openly and unabashedly racist so long as they were inside the walls of the restaurant, and this racism was condoned and practiced at the highest level of management.
I note in this post that what I cover is not even the ugliest I heard in my time as a server, and I am not certain if I will ever bring myself to actually write about those other moments; part of me says it is important to do so, but then part of me feels dirty for having even been present when it was occurring. And the part I think disgusts me the most is that when I would respond and stand up to them, they always seemed shocked that I would act such a way after they had confided in me, as though I was supposed to see the world the same way they did just because I was white and waitressing.
I had hoped that this post would inspire some conversation on the topic, or that it would at least be noticed, but it is among the least visited posts I have ever created.
“A Second Honeymoon” was a difficult post for me to write. As selfish as it is, I shy away from writing posts that show too much of my ugly side; I prefer funny moments between myself and my husband. However, this post covers some very dark feelings I had when going through the immigration process, and a loss of love that my dedicated and caring husband never deserved. I was hesitant to write what I did as it is hardly becoming to say that you felt hatred for your life partner, but I wanted to be honest. This may be the most raw post I have ever written, but I am happy that I did. I hope that perhaps someone else in a similar situation will read it and take strength from it.
Now, 7 people I would like to see create their own Seven post (and perhaps they already have, it is hard to keep up with everyone!):
- Borders Aside
- Bienvenidos a Jali-Wood
- Corin in Exile
- Erica’s Living in Mexico
- From One Country to Another
- In Veracruz
- This is Life
And I would also like to take this moment to apologize to Val from This is Life, as I thought I had her on my links page, but I have apparently somehow neglected to add her. Sorry! I read your blog so much I would have sworn you were on there!
If you complete a Seven post, whether I tagged you or not, I would love for you to link up in the comments.