Day 3: Sisterhood, Music, and The Color Blue
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.
"Write about me," she says after I express my concern over writer's block, "Here's some inspiration," she says, "start off with 'my sister is so cool, like the color blue.'"
I think immediately of Gwendolyn Brooks' We Real Cool, We
Left school. We
Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We
Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We
Jazz June. We
I wonder and, in the same instance, doubt that my sister would know the reference. She doesn't necessarily love reading the way I do. She reminds me that humans can just, quite simply, not like the same shit as you. That's something to be expected, she reminds me. Not everyone reads as a form of self-care and not everyone, namely her, can spend hours sifting through the local Salvation Army's book section. And most importantly, some people just can't stand the Smashing Pumpkins in the morning. But, despite this, we are partners in life. Esperanza and Nenny and glass-shattering laughter. Our sisterhood is cool, like a glass of cold water in the middle of the night. Cool, like the corner lady's mango icy melting on your tongue and dripping out of the corner of your mouth. Cool, like Aaliyah's voice at 2am. Cool, like a perfect verse over a tight beat. Cool, like the color blue.
I like my beats smooth, each shift in sound slipping into one another the way you slip into silk pajamas. Sometimes, there's a pause between the changes — a pause long enough to allow those last ten seconds to sink into your skin. It leaves me in awe. Every time. My thought process, immediately, is: Jesus, that was beautiful. I like my beats speechless — when trumpets replace aching voices and pianos are the humming of a song. There is no need for words in this space and that is my favorite part. Even as a writer or maybe because of that, words tire me. I carry them, like a burden, on my back at all times. I have permenant backaches from constantly heaving this bag of nouns, verbs, adjectives to and fro. Verbal communication can be so jaded, a murky dark blue cloud that follows me and this baggage through my days. Sometimes, that cloud brings rain. It pours expressions of sadness, loss and trauma. I know there comes frustration with not having the words to express yourself. But, there also comes a frustration with always having a name for your pain. And for that reason exactly, I love wordless music. Music that speaks without having to be spoken to. It's a pleasant silence. But, at the end of the day, I am grateful for my tongue, the words it has birthed and the way I can pack it all into one space and always have them close. Without this bag of tricks, I wouldn't be able to tell you how music makes me feel the same way watching clouds go by on a summer day does. That music is something that is infinite, a timeless thing in humanity that will outlive us all because music exists in nature — we didn't create it. No, music is an element in nature that we just learned to mold for our personal enjoyment. You'll know this if you hear how trees let out cries of surrender in a frigid winter night. Or the way streams cascade down mountainous structures with rhythm, with precision. Or the way leaves rustle, softly and gently against the touch of wind. So, I guess if I'm going to carry these words with me, I might as well use them to make you understand.
If you would've asked me what my favorite color was when I was 12, I would say purple because it was the middle ground between the gendered predicament that pink and blue finds themselves in. And most importantly, it was my older sisters favorite color. And at 16, maroon because it was the mature version of purple. Now, as I ponder the depth of blueness, I think I've found home in it's shades. Picking sweet fruits off the metaphorical tree that is blue. All of blue — the color, the genre of music, the mood. The loss, the growth, and the pensive thinking that occupies it. The rain, the ocean, the sky — that cyclic, infinite concept we talked about. You can find me spreading my legs out underneath this tree, flipping through a good book and letting the breeze take me for a ride.