La Tribu 

   

I remember being a little girl and admiring my grandmother’s strength and aiming to be just like her when I grew up, everything minus the pistol. That’s right my Abuela toted a 38 Special wrapped in a white handkerchief like any true gangster would. The images of Latina women would always pop into my head when I thought about determination, feistiness, power and la chancleta. She was a reflection of the women in her life: Belen, Berta, Ester, Rosalina and Maria. Unlike the women in Sex in the City, these women wouldn’t gather to discuss dating over Martinis. They were too busy trying to conquer issues of upward mobility, raising Latino kids with dual citizenships and identities, and making sure no one’s husband cheated. They were a group of the sweetest old ladies. A gang of gun-packing doñas (yes, they all had pieces) that were not playing any games. And, they had each other’s backs. My Puerto Rican grandmother would send medicine to her friends’ families in Cuba. Ester took care of the kitchen when my grandmother lost her son, and everyone took care of Berta when she was diagnosed with cancer. They were connected in so many ways and would be of support to one another like family even though they were from different countries.

Actually the rapport that they had was more of “The Godfather” than “Sex in the City”. And yes they had their disagreements, chismes and escandolos, but they had a bond and loyalty that any gangster, anywhere would envy. They raised their children and grandchildren together, they guarded our neighborhood and made it a village together and eventually all died together. But what they had was glorious because they created a tribe far away from their homes. A tribe where they participated in a cultural exchange that was incomparable. When old ladies from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua and the DR gather what you get is a beautiful barrel of jokes, colloquialisms, spells, stories and experiences that you can brag about for generations.

That was when I was a little girl.

As I’ve navigated through the many stages of my own womanhood, I’ve had such a tough time finding that Latina village. As a lover of my fellow woman, especially the one that looks like me, talks like me and more importantly, feels like me, it is my natural instinct to reach out and seek sisterhood. Yet, this experience feels like something of the past. I once auditioned for a TV show on a popular Latin network and got feedback that I was too dark and that my Spanish wasn’t Mexican enough. This news came from my own people: Latinos. How about that? Two things that I could never change. But what was most hurtful was that the dagger was delivered by a fellow Latina who was “white” and felt a bit pompous and condescending when she delivered the information. I guess this was something that I was supposed to come to terms with as an older woman who I looked up to explained, “ No esperes el apoyo de tu hermanas Latinas, están perdidas. No te pueden querer si no se quieren ellas mismas”. QUE? I refused to accept as a reality that my number one nemesis would be my very own people. I am Latina and I beam with pride every time Rosario, Salma, Jennifer, America, Gina, Zoe and the rest of them, no, US wins.

We can’t deny the disconnect amongst women because we are socialized to not trust and to hate each other. If all women stood in solidarity we could shut shit down. I believe in Latina power. We are so impactful and colorful, we can move mountains with our hips alone. We dance like nobody’s business, cook like nobody’s business and hold shit together like nobody’s business. Does it matter if you’re Cuban, Nicaraguan or Dominican? What is it that makes us feel that we can’t love Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek? Why can’t we all be pretty whether we have straight hair or pelo crespo? Chica, it is time for all of us to get it together!

So, let’s stay in solution. How do we work on making this pesky nat of a divide go away? Start by looking in the mirror and loving yourself, all parts of you. Yes, even the part with the non-English speaking Grandmother. Read about your glorious history. Not the ever trending headlines about Trump’esque thinkers highlighting the worst parts of us, but books about our rich cultures. We are all connected. Remember girl, your greatest ally can be someone who shares in your experiences and forming partnerships only empowers you despite what you’ve been fooled into believing. Now go and find your tribe, you owe it to yourself!

You like athletes, don’t you? 

The other day as I was checking my Facebook page, I came across a comment. A boy I used to know left word that he was looking for me and left his phone number on my page, but that wasn’t the only number he left. He signed off on the comment with his high school football number. I thought it was pretty corny and indicative that someone was living in a time warp, because honestly, it took me some time and research to put it together. 

One of my stalker, male friends saw this comment and his automatic reaction was to ask/accuse: “You like athletes, don’t you?”My initial response as a woman would be to defend myself and say “no”, because there is a level of judgement that goes along with being a woman who likes a man that plays sports. 

My response: “Physically? What’s there not to like?”

I know very well that not many (if any) would ask a man, “You like super models, don’t you?” And if it is asked, it’s usually not met with skepticism. But for a woman to have to admit to like an athlete, you are also expected to be a gold digger, groupie and possibly a whore. 

Fuck that…

Who doesn’t like a 6’2, 205 lbs Adonis with little to no body fat? And why do we have to be ashamed of it? Do you know any men who duck in embarrassment over the fact that they think that Beyonce is hot? Probably not, because there is no moral implication associated with the admission. But for some reason, there is nobility in a woman liking the average Joe (not that there’s anything wrong with that) while men get to scape goat with this bullshit notion that men are visual creatures.

GET. ALL. THE. WAY. THE. FUCK. OUT. OF. HERE!

Guess what? Women are visual creatures too. 

Lebron James without a shirt can make a legally blind woman reach for a magnifying glass.  Derek Jeter is like a piece of a cloud that fell onto a baseball field. Alex Rodriguez is simply candy. That being said, like many women who feel like this, I am not leaving my family to pursue these guys on the road. Still, I can like them, yes I can. 

Being superficial is a part of who we all are, we are drawn to what is appealing to our eyes. That doesn’t make us bad people, what we do with it makes us who we are. 

Some of us are going to be shallow assholes and there is nothing you can do about it. Then there are those of us who can appreciate, celebrate and masturbate to some of those beautiful creatures who turn us on… 

and then carry on with our day. 

I was in a long term relationship with a man who became a professional athlete and he was the most beautiful thing to me inside and out. I was with him long before he got into the league but I can’t deny that he was quite the specimen in my eyes and my attraction to him could not be matched. His body type became my favorite body type and I would like it if he was wide receiver for the Dolphins, a nurse at the hospital, an astronaut, a truck driver, worked at H&R Block, was the UPS man…You get the picture. 

If you are a man and find yourself judging women for being attracted to men with superior bodies, perhaps you should decrease your complex carb intake and increase your strength and conditioning. And next time you’re whacking off to that Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, just know we too have our own Sports Illustrated magazine, the one that issues year round.   

And.

“I ain’t sorry.” – Beyonce 

Dear ‘Omar,

Today is your birthday, we sure did it, didn’t we? Through all of the things that we have been through, I think the birthdays are always the best because they are the reminders.  The reminders of one amazing trip through life with the person you wake up for every morning. When I was pregnant with you, I hid out so that no one would get any bright ideas like trying to drive me to the abortion clinic. I was told that I was being a fool because I wasn’t ready to have a baby, even the doctor said that my pelvic bones were’t fully developed, he was such a hater. 

I have always been thankful for you because you have been such a source of joy; a reminder that I do good things. I am so glad that I didn’t break you because there were many times when I was just winging it. I remember when you tied a jump rope around your play turtle’s neck and would drag it around like a pet, you were so creative; a genius in the making.  

 
You are one of the smartest, funniest and interesting people I know, I think they made you in heaven. If so, I’d like to go there because I truly want to always know everything about you. Thank you for saving my life, it was pretty bland before you got here. Watching you grow up has been awesome, you have done some cool stuff, I look forward to seeing more. I love you. 

Multiple Caller-Shaming.

I have serial callers and YES my mother is one of them, she had me at 16 and didn’t chose to abort me, she can call me ALL DAY LONG! For some odd reason, certain people (who are not my mother) feel  that THEY (and what they do and talk about) are more important than me and my shit. 

Or at least that is how it works it out in my crazy mind when—-> you call me and I don’t answer, and THEN you call me again AFTER you’ve sent a text and liked my picture on IG (to let me know you’re watching). Perhaps, (let’s put on our thinking caps for a second) I CAN’T TALK RIGHT NOW, DAMNIT and you are being very fucking annoying. 

What? 

What did you say? 

What if it’s an emergency? 

Do what the white lady says on all of the recordings you hear: HANG UP AND CALL 911!!!!!

*I don’t even know CPR. 

Hi, I’m @FunnyAida and #ILLSAYITFORYOU 


 

Shit got weird last night.

I wondered if I was the only one that noticed that I wasn’t on stage last night. The thought that I was, is what makes me want to take pain killers in abundance. It is so hard to just be a regular human when you’re a comic, I’ve been trying it this week. Let me take you through my day.

I woke up early, like most civilized humans that have to work.

I ate breakfast, I never do that, this is why I have excess fat around my waist.

I went outside and people were smiling, WTF is that?

I walked around and realized that I didn’t have shit to do because I haven’t booked a TV job, something about them not looking for 5’10 Puerto Rican/Domincans.

I wrote some jokes that I actually hated and threw the notebook away.

I walked around some more and realized that I wasn’t going anywhere because I was in a room.

I hate people.

I checked the headlines.  Yup, Donald Trump still hates people that don’t look like him, Mark Rubio thinks Vancouver is in America and Sarah Palin’s daughter is a blogger and not a star of an MTV show.

I walked around some more and then headed to do my podcast (like most winners do).

I ate a salad, I hate them more than people.

I went to the UPS store and marveled at the guy who works there explain the different types of tape and their upsides. I wanted to crash into the glass head first, but opted not to.

I had sushi for dinner at Katana and wanted to jump over the balcony when I realized that the people at the table next to me were discussing the benefits of Botox.

I hate people.

I got in the car and raced to the nearest bed so that the day could be over and then I realized that I was having a major melt down because I was not on a stage.

image

The Fight Club

My last fight didn’t take place in middle school where most fights are laid to rest, nor did it take place in high school where some had to fight for their rights against some social status and wrecking monster. I wish that it could have happened, at the very least, during one of those college moments where drunk people get into those fights they laugh about the next day over bandages and pizza. I am one of those women that you see on one of those awful reality shows that depict women of color as being on a war path in Red Bottoms, I was one for just one night, not too long ago.

I come from an environment where fighting is celebrated much like you see on World Star Hip Hop and YouTube, a place where you can actually grow tired of fighting against that same girl that won’t give up because she’s vowed to beat you into the ground for no sensible reason. Living in a new city, under a new identity as a grown up and with a completely new life, I was sure that I would never have to square up and “throw hands” again.. WRONG!

Before we get to the dusty round up, let me give you a little back story. I am a direct descendant of RAGE, I come from a long history of feisty Puerto Ricans that have pretty solid records in the proverbial street ring. My mother once choked a neighbor and tossed her into a fence seamlessly (you hear me, SEAMLESSLY) for calling her son ugly.

My grandmother had a shoot out with the local drug dealers (in her 60’s) for cursing my grandfather. My uncles fought the local police for beating up on Louis (a local, special kid who we all loved in my hood) and went to jail with bruised faces and knuckles, while I sat with a social worker.

I have dealt with a level of anger that can drive someone a little less unstable to THE place of NO RETURN! I am conscious of that and so I try my best to avoid any and all situations that can drive me to strategically placing my entire foot up someone’s ass, you go to jail for that now. I remember being at my son’s football practice once and being “tried” (that means to be provoked in a bullying manner) by a very disturbed woman with many, many issues that had nothing to do with me. I did a very good job at ignoring her because I knew that it would turn ugly. I was very aware that I was a single mom, living 3000 miles away from my nearest relative and that my son was 50 feet away. What was most traumatic about this situation was being judged by two of my so-called friends at the time for not fighting, losing street-cred amongst mothers that I thought were on the same thought track. I’m glad that I kept my head because ultimately I did the right thing for my kid, who unlike me had never been exposed to the type of violence that I was familiar with. Besides that shit is just down right embarrassing for a young man. At some point the ghetto shit has to end, or so I thought.

That being said, we all fall.

Here we go, no more prolonging.

I wore a white blouse with blue wide legged trousers and a blue Stuart Weitzman pump, my hair was freshly done ( I got highlights earlier that day) and very natural make up.

10:00

Dinner reservations at the White Lotus restaurant and club. I had a Spicy Tuna Roll, a Crunchy Roll and Albacore Sashimi with Jalapeños and chased it with a glass of Chardonnay.

11:30

I step over to the night club with my friend/co-worker Lewis Curry, the place is packed.

11:45

We head over into the V.I.P. section, we are overlooking the dance floor and have just enough space to get our dance on.

12:00

An entourage of scantily clad dressed women infiltrate the section, their attitudes are as unforgiving as their outfits, they came to do damage.

12:05

I dance my way further into an isolated corner, my business casual outfit is no match for the spandex and stripes party taking place to my left.

12:10

Furious Red (that’s what we’ll call her) heads over to my section. To this day I am not quite sure what her or any one in her crew were ethnically, they were just that ambiguous looking. But I can tell you that Furious Red and crew were really smelling themselves as they scattered about that V.I.P. section ferociously with the dance moves that truly belong on a pole.

12:13

Beyonce comes on and every woman in the club (including me) transforms in the lead singer and everything in the background fades, like in real life.

12:14

I am in the middle of what I feel is a spectacular move that has captivated the eyes of a few fellas in the orb.

12:14 ½

About 16 ounces (that’s what if felt like) of dyed, processed, extended and smelly auburn hair slap me across my face and snap me out of my dance move.

Furious Red has moved into my space and decided to take us all to the Spearmint Rhino (you know that’s a strip club, right?), she’s directly in front of me. I think, she thinks, she’s taking me to school while I need eye drops.

12:15

Me: “Excuse me, you hit me in the face with your hair. I moved over to give you your space, please watch your hair.”

Furious Red: Whatever, they want to watch me, this is what I do.

12:15 ½

I move further into the corner, my co-worker is a few feet away and tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

12:16

Furious moves right in front of me AGAIN and is now purposely slamming her tresses in the direction of my face.

12:16 ½

Me: Is there a problem? I have moved over twice and you keep hitting me with your hair, please stop.

Furious Red: Ha!

12:17

I slide over in the opposite direction and continue on with my dance, Lewis offers me a drink from across the way and before I can answer SLICK (that’s how it sounded) right across the face one more time.

I know you think this is the breaking moment, but no, you’d be proud of me. I tried to reason with Furious again.

12:18

Me: Listen, I told you to please stop and I’m not going to tell you again, you need…

Furious Red cuts me off by mushing me in the face.

12:18 ½ – 12:22 is still a blur, I just remember Lewis prying Furious Red’s head out of my hands while part of her body hung over a rail. According to Lewis I choked, punched, kicked and tried to slam her over onto the dance floor but her shoe got stuck on the bannister. I thank God for that because I would have gone to jail for seriously injuring Red.

Lewis and security stopped the fight, I ran to the bathroom to regroup: I was a mess, my hair looked like a wig and I had this awful red lipstick all over my face. I looked in the mirror in shock, I just had a grown up fight in public, that was so embarrassing. I just wanted to get out of that place immediately!

What was so weird is that when I walked out there were small groups of people in the club cheering me on for my victory. A woman walked up to me and proudly declared, “You won that fight girl”. I smiled and walked away awkwardly, “Where the hell is Lewis?” I wanted out of there. When I got back to him, he and the security guards were still laughing about what had happened. Lewis: “Aida, I didn’t know you had hands like that.” I grabbed Lewis and we were out of there, I travelled far and hard to get away from the violence that used to keep me in terror any time someone stepped out of bounds with my family. I just wanted it to be over, I had scratches on my right knee from Red’s heels, I guess as she struggled not to go over that rail.

When my kids asked why I limped the next day during brunch I lied, my kids are civilized people. I look back at “the incident” knowing a few things.

A. I don’t ever want to fight again.

B. Always travel with someone that will talk you out of a fight.

C. Leave the V.I.P. section when the strippers get there.

D. I am sure that Furious Red is now a respecter and upholder of the 5 feet rule.

*In the hood you are advised to respect proximity and give others at least 5 feet of personal space.  


Flight 1982

A few days ago I was headed to a gig in Florida and had to catch a flight through Atlanta. My flight was delayed (as usual) but what took place on the flight was like a scene from a bad movie. I live tweeted the situation and one of my followers challenged me to write a script about it. Here it is…