I’ve been trying to write down all the words I have for this land.
Something I can give back to a place that has done me so many favors.
I want to use my best words to say thank you to Cancun for making me so uncomfortable. For showing me all the cracks and places I still had left to grow. For being a land I had nothing in common with and forcing me to sit still and to hold up a mirror to myself. To see the parts of me I avoid.
I want to thank the heat and the dust of this beach town for showing me that you can flourish under any circumstances and that maybe it’s my time.
I want to take my best words and throw them in the sky and let them rain down on Mexico City.
I want to say thank you for reminding me that my fears exist but they don’t need to stop me.
I want to welcome this city into my world of words just like it made room for me in it’s colorful neighborhoods and winding streets. Just like Coyoacán helped me rest and breathe and Roma allowed me to get lost with myself and Hidalgo let me discover.
There is more to this city than what we’ve all heard. I went there to find it and I found more of myself through other people’s eyes. I found smiling round faces and gorgeous chocolate eyes and ladies who have seen the world from their little street corner.
I saw myself in late nights on open air patios with friends from New York and South Africa and France. They saw me and I saw them, night after night there on that rooftop in Mexico City after the warm rains split the day.
I want to use my best words for the city I thought my soul might already be in, while my legs were in Mexico City and my mind was still in Cancun. I want to use my very best language for Oaxaca, because I feel like it was mine before I ever knew it and now that I’m here, I’m sure.
Eight hours after leaving the city, through valleys and up dusty mountains, we arrive and it’s just like I knew it would be and how long did I have this Mexican dream in my heart?
How did I know this place already and when did my mind learn the colors and cobblestones and the church on the corner? How did I know the locals would welcome me and show me their city and the language would come easier and the colors would be brighter?
Has Mexico been there my whole life? All those years I spent running and wandering and trying to be free? Looking for warmth and safety and smiles that don’t stop?
I’ve found it. I’m alive here.