Day 1: Water, Motherhood and Nature
In this untitled mostly nonfiction series, Tiffany Hernandez, a 20-year old NYC writer and visual artist, explores the different ways the Blues presents itself in everyday life. Using vignette format, Tiffany writes on the struggles of relearning your native tongue, writing all you could about a lost love, a sisterhood and so much more. All visuals were created by Tiffany in attempts to come to terms with what "the Blues" mean to her.
I've always thought there was something magnificently powerful about the way the ocean sweeps its way to the shore, drunkenly stumbling onto the feet of the east coast, west coast, the anywhere-on-the-earth-because-we-are-literally-surrounded-by-water coast. Consistently and constantly, without fail. The ocean never stops kissing the shore, the waves are in a constant cycle of giving and receiving.
I've always thought there was something magnificently powerful about the way that the Earth is 71% water. Human brain and human hearts? 73% water. We, our intricate and complex species, came from a single-cell bacteria. That bacteria, as far as we know it, was birthed by good old h20. And droughts have shown us how essential it is to our survival. You get where I'm going here.
I was never good at science but I am really good at thinking of things metaphorically, philosophically, theoretically and spiritually. What I'm really trying to say here is that the driving force of our existence — which by all mathematics seems to be water — is blue to the human eye.
And the sky? The sky is blue, even on the rainiest of days, you can find an undercurrent of indigos, midnight blues and pale cyans above us. Pulsing with what seems to be our life force on Earth.
As a little girl, I liked to climb trees in my white tennis shoes. Just so when I found steady ground again, I could examine the damage that mother nature could do — the way it could push my own mother into a rage of emotions once I got home, trudging my muddy feet up and down our tiny hallways. When it rained, I would stare out of my bedroom window and consider how a rumbling storm reminded me of my mother once she noticed I ruined another pair of sneakers. The way a storm would roll in slowly and all at once, erratic and steady — the way my mother would scream at the top of her lungs, but her voice wouldn't tremble. And how, eventually whether it be in ten minutes or ten hours, the rain would come to a halt as would the yelling. Eventually, the black-and-blues of tirade would end. When silence replaces the sound of the downpour of rain and rage, something bittersweet replaces it. The smell of wet concrete, the feeling of a sore throat, the gray clouds that slowly dissipate and take my mother's anger with it.
Those days were the days I began to grasp the concept that us, this Earthly condition and the Universe itself are not far from one another. The cyclic, infinite concept that says human beings are made up of the same things that the stars and planets are made out of. That concept. I came to find out that we are all retelling the same stories, just through different means and devices.
What is the real difference between the rage of my mother and that of Mother Nature's?
Unlearning and relearning my native tongue feels like trying to correct a crooked spine — excruciatingly painful and endlessly frustrating. Something similar to growing pains.
Some days, it leaves a sour taste in my mouth and I go to bed overwhelmed, covered in blankets of sadness. Some days, trying to embrace this language feels like a wasteful battle. Especially when the tides of disappointment nearly drown me as my heavy, useless tongue falls short of pronouncing words like guardando, izquierda, and lluvia. These are simple words. Guarding. Left. Rain.
Eventually, I'll get it right. But, the next day, my tongue sticks out like a piece of unseen furniture in a foreign house and emotionally, I fall face flat into a puddle of my inadequacy. I'm a writer, I'm a natural-born reader for God's sake. Somehow, I'm six years old again with no grasp of literacy. I know, in rational thought, that learning a language as an adult is a hearty task labeled as "Very Difficult" and I need to have patience, compassion, etc. But, like I said, I've come to inhabit my six-year old self again. Logic and patience aren't a child's favorite tools in our emotional toolbox.
So, by the end of it all, I find myself exhausted by this baggage of getting back, to what is suppose to be, my roots. At night, with what feels like water-filled lungs, I go to sleep sounding out the English words in my head — guarding, left, rain — until it rocks me to sleep like warm milk in a baby's mouth.