The numbers are staggering. Specifically in the Latino community. COVID-19 has devastated so many parts of our daily lives in the last several months, and now, as we prepare for what promises to be an even more difficult winter season in terms of the number of deaths and hospitalizations related to the global coronavirus pandemic, things are even more serious than ever before.
This year, I haven’t written very much about Hispanic Heritage Month. Well, I haven’t written very much at all. But for the first time in as long as I can remember the month known as Hispanic Heritage Month has arrived and it hasn’t inspired so much as a second thought from me.
In life we grow up to explore our strengths and weaknesses. That’s because, we let those two things define and determine the outcome of our futures. I believe it’s safe to assume that for every human in existence a goal has been set. Whether that goal is to lose 10 pounds by the end of a week or simply to make ends meet and put food on the table for the family. Some of these goals are met and others are tragically given up on.
We were in Denver recently visiting my brother. Edgar and I were. It was the first time we had both been in that city since my brother moved there a couple of years ago. I’ll tell you more about that trip in another blog post, but one of the places I definitely wanted to check out while in Denver was the Museo de las Americas. Mainly because for years now the museum has been sending me email updates about its exhibitions and events. They always sounded so interesting, and since it’s usually Latin American art it’s right up my alley. We were surprised that the museum itself was pretty small, especially because we had heard the Latino art scene in Denver was pretty huge. However, what it lacked in size it more than made up for in its punch. The exhibition we got to explore, which was closing a day or two after our visit, was Pachucos y Sirenas.
There’s something about driving a pickup truck that just makes you feel like a Texan. People look at you differently. It says something about you, and there’s a certain sense of pride that comes attached with the keys when they are in your hands. Don’t believe me? Try it and tell me I’m wrong. I have always been a sucker for big trucks with a lot of power so it was only natural that the brand new 2018 Chevrolet Silverado High Country would win my heart over as soon as it arrived at my driveway a few weeks ago. All of five minutes later ya yo estaba en ¡MI TROCA! Notice how I claimed it as mine immediately. Two seconds after that I was cruising down my neighborhood all pumped up about how nice the interior of the truck was as well. I mean, it came equipped with the works. You remember how you used to drive around in your very first car hoping to run into people you knew so they could see you in your new car? Well yeah, that was basically me the whole time the truck was here. It was very, very nice.
I’m not sure how or why this new genre of music has caught my attention the way it has, but something about the rawness of it makes me want to listen more closely. To be honest, I didn’t even know this style of music existed until Cardi B. That probably tells you everything you want to know about my perspective in this discussion. But if you still want to continue reading anyway I sure do appreciate it very much. The other trap artist that’s on my playlist right now is Bad Bunny. Funny enough, both musicians are the “it” collaborators on so many different tracks – from JLO to Bruno Mars, Karol G, and so many others, in English and Spanish. You can hardly find a playlist or radio station on the air that’s not playing at least a small piece of something by either artist.
We don’t want to tell people about our family problems, the drinking, the mental illness, the trauma, the sense of sadness, and the feeling of loneliness we carry around with us all the time. Because as soon as the camera is pointed in our direction we’re smiling and posing ourselves to make sure the digital version of our lives is enviable and worth piquing the curiosity of others. We want to put our best foot forward always, even if the world around us is shattering to pieces. We’ve been trained to air our dirty laundry at home. To not give people a reason to second guess us as human beings, to not challenge the status quo because it could make the difference between getting that next opportunity in our careers or not. “Everything online is out there forever. You can’t take it back.” In doing so, however, we’re also denying ourselves the opportunity to be truly genuine with one another. More importantly, we’re failing to learn from each other and our respective mistakes.
We knew the road to financial independence would not be an easy one, and we expected to hit more than a few bumps on the road. What we didn’t expect was that our lack of knowledge on simple things like how to register our business for tax purposes could make such a huge difference at the end of the year. The self employment tax is no joke, let me tell you. But that’s the thing – we’ve realized – that nobody teaches you about this stuff in our community. At least not in our families or the education system we grew up in. I didn’t take an economics class until high school, and even then what we learned had little to do with everyday wealth-building techniques or practices, much less with building a long term financial legacy. Those are things we have had to learn on our own, not too often the easy way. I guess that’s why they call it the school of hard knocks, right?