As her hands moved through my hair, I felt the hands of time turning back. She braided my hair. I had been asking her for months to braid my hair, and she would laugh. One day I asked what is so funny she said I don”t do well with white hair. I looked at her in awe, my Latina curls bouncing in the light I said what are you talking about? Girl, please, you are going to do my hair! It is quarantine, and your hands are going to be able to do anyone’s hair by the time we are let out again. I grew up with my hair braided all the time! French braids, multiple braids, Beach braids, you know. Hot weather hair! We braid straight, curly, etc.! I felt younger and younger as she pulled. I even laughed, telling her to make it tighter so my wrinkles would stretch with every twist. I remembered moments of my youth in rollerblades laughing with my friend Carolina as we jay rolled. Crossing the street on our blades while rolling a joint! Miami in the early ’90s. When she finished, I looked in the mirror and laughed so hard as I looked shinny and young, my eyes sparkled, bringing even more attention to all my beautiful grey hair!
Song. Songs languages. Places Adventures… A song can take you back! I remember the songs from a kindergarten life in Miami, Florida, in the early ’80s. The hair was big, and nails had become a huge fashion statement. My friend’s mother had a fingernail that had its own earing dangling off the end. I never understood it, but I was mesmerized. My mother would wake me up to the song you are my sunshine with a heavy Colombian accent “Jew are my Sonshine. Jew are my Sonshine jew make me happy Jew know the rest.” Well, I loved and still love this song I hear it in a toy box and boom I am once again sitting next to my mother no matter where I am in the world. Play me some “Con mi burrito habanero Voy Camino de Bellen”, and there I have transported to Christmas time in Miami. Today I play all kinds of songs and music. I mostly enjoy local talent and find myself lost when the radio is on. Most songs make me dance. my feet will move to any beat, even a car horn repeatedly can cause me to shake my booty. #latina. Within songs and memories are sensations at times my body sinks into the ground with the bass, and my feet need to be bare! I want to feel the earth between my toes. And other moments, I fly into a twirling sky with a violin. A song can have no lyrics, and yet I will sing, a song that can have no music, and however, we know it. Children sing repeating words they do not know or understand. 1 little 2 little 3 little Indians. Wondering whose culture they are learning. Songs that break our emotions apart songs that help us heal from loves lost. The power of a song to unite people. Songs of nostalgia and faith, love and hate, songs for every moment, silly songs for passing moments and most of all the songs that have been lost the languages that will never be heard again. Somewhere in the sky between the falling stars are these lost songs. Let us keep singing our songs into the universe and moving our bodies to feel the connection to more than just self. We might be in isolation at the time, but we are more connected to our songs our people our planet than ever before. Keep sharing your song!
How does the saying go? Life happens when your busy planning. In the past few weeks, I am living in the moment. This is not a new feeling for me, but one of the circumstances I am usually a day by day woman. I plan ahead very little but do think about it. I am a comedian, and my life is a joke. Literally. I look and feel fabulous, but my account has not ever managed to reflect me. I have lived above my means since I can remember starting to provide for myself. One day at an open mic in NYC on ave a & 2nd, I remember a comic talking about budgets and living life with economic accountability. I found that 5 min “set” very informative. No one ever really spoke to me about bank balances or budgets. To me, money has been a JOKE! Money rules the world, and mostly old perverted white men had the money. But to hear this young brown comic speak made me think. About the way, I made money and how I never missed it. How I had just enough to cover my costs, and still, I lived this fabulous life. I looked and dressed current with style and class. I went to fancy places, usually VIP or performing. I met creative, talented people one night, Tango Dancing Isabella Roselini said to me, “You are Beautiful.” I felt I could go anywhere at any time. Like doors and opportunities open for me. I am now 42. I live in Berlin, Germany, and I still have the same budget and money habits I had at 24; yes, I understand more. But somehow, no matter how much I plan How much I try to get ahead to create my income as a producer and performer. I find myself in situations that I can not control. Now the whole world is on lockdown, and all y income creatively has come to a halt. Yet I am loving every minute of having to slow down and regroup. Stay healthy and remember money is a joke, and life is worth living!
Am I happy with the person I am? The end of the year is near and we must all (should all) do a little check-in with ourselves. I try to do this not just yearly when everyone else is making their lists but also on a shorter and more often timeline. I Liliana Velásquez M. am now 42 years old and I did not expect to be where I am. Never in my wildest dreams would I be living in Germany and succeeding as a performer. I have definitely lived an exciting life so far. In my youth, I dreamed of being a Broadway star! A triple threat. I feel like I have accomplished what it takes and then some extra threats. My path has been rocky at times but mostly because I took risks. The adventurous spirit and invincible mentality of youth lead me to NYC. I walked down those streets in my twenties still believing that one day I would be married to a man maybe have my career and children to raise… The children were very far back in my mind. Not one of my goals but something that felt like well it happens to the best of them… almost like catching a cold. But I must have been vaccinated against children because let me tell you pregnancy is not something my body is good at! more often then none I have taken the morning after pill or done rails of cocaine (cheaper than the pill for me) to make sure I was not pregnant… Turns out I could have saved time money and the bad company had I known how impregnable my body is. I guess you live and learn. My previous partners now have children and wives. And I am living the same life I had in my 20’s but with better choices knowledge and company. I find myself guiding other artists and making the best out of this freedom. Now I am this magical 42 and out of a whim I ended up in Berlin. With love and support of a funny German man, that offered me, unconditional love! Something I had never witnessed before. Something that is difficult to understand. But it happened. He died this past year. It is still something difficult for me to believe. I talk to him daily and have his voice always in my head. He changed my life for what I would like to believe is better. As the government in the USA went downhill. I began a new life in Berlin the only part of Germany where you don’t need to speak German LOL, but you should still learn it, as I am learning now. Am I happy with whom I have become? YES I represent the migrant life, I represent Women of Color, I represent freedom and femdom. Not many women have made and learned from these mistakes. I have tackled my demons and abusers I have overcome my own addictions and mental states of despair. I have learned to love my flaws and to encourage others to accept there is no NORMAL. Take that society’s pressure to fit in. There is no in or out, there is only is “to be or not to be”. And you and only you can decide what you want to be. Only you can ultimately make that person a reality. So ask yourself Am I happy with the person I have become? And remember there is almost always time to become the person you want. Lead by Example! Understand that we are fallible and pick up the pieces when they break sometimes broken is even more beautiful and strong! Find your tribe and don’t be afraid to speak your mind. Tact is something that I am still learning as my mind is strong and willful with a loud Latina tone! So if anything for 2020 my new goal is to be gentler in my delivery of NO (my favorite word) I will continue to ask for what I deserve, I will continue to grow in all directions mind body and soul, and I will continue to allow people opportunities and also cut them out of my circle if they overstep. My boundaries are clear to me and yes they fluctuate I pray to the Goddesses that surround me to give me strength and kindness. To allow me to stand up for myself and be forgiving. To let this NEW YEAR represent the best I have to offer. Happy New Year Beautiful Humans!
As a freelance artist I constantly need to check value vs time and learn to speak up for myself.
I have often said too many people that negotiating is a skill that needs practice . I have been learning the hard way and I have no regrets.
So every time I come along and article of knowledge for freelancer negotiating skills. I would like to share it with my fellow artists I hope this helps you as much as it has me . Enjoy this great read or Audio if you ate a medium member
2019 what a year! I turned 42, and I am still and living like I’m 24. Oh, Berlin, the land of Peter Pan People. I am concluding every year that balancing giving and receiving is a constant dance. I lost my best friend unexpectedly this year. He gave me unconditional love & support, changing my life direction when he invited me to live in Germany! Wow, now I have been here for seven years, my whole life is here. I have a cat again! We had a bargain, pero te la cobro en la proxima! Through his generosity, I was able to build and grow within this misfit Berlin artist community. What a whirlwind. His support gave me the freedom to produce the shows I wanted to see. To offer me a stage, not just any stage the whole city of Berlin. Access to international talent, access to so many European cultures. He always told me to watch my circles of energy. To be careful and to replenish my energy. Seeing me and knowing me since my NYC years. This man seemed to understand my soul. I have overextended myself for people often. I am coming from a large Colombian family and the sense of community of circles that trade and help each other. We idealize these moments as children the flow of large families. As we move away and travel the world, we begin to place strangers into similar dynamics as the strangers become friends and friends become chosen families. My family always said, “if there is food for one, there is food for two, and so on.” So sharing anything from food to clothes to stages and developing a circle. Somehow this is something that I do naturally and innately. I offer friendship thinking of what it is like to be the new person in a land. The life of a traveler. Some longer-term friends some short term friendships and I encourage people to be the best that they can be, to lead by example, take risks to jump on stage and be creative or to stay at home and be creative to learn something new, whatever way possible. I am grateful for the Male Female and D’Lo of the stand-Up world that guided & spoke to me with a mentoring tone.
Now I am 42. I often find myself to be the one with the mentoring tone, transparency in work ethic, and open door creative hostel. There are times I must repeatedly express my need for alone time. Christoph taught me how to appreciate alone time. He loved his alone time! Alone to take off the mask to look past other people’s layered emotional costumes. To keep what are my memories, my stories mine. As often, you share a story on stage, and people talk to you as if they had been there in that story. To breath into my moment and flow back into the infinite universe and become small and still significant. To remember that trust starts at 0 with each new stranger, and it can be built or lost, but not both at the same time. To rely on the unique moments created day by day in the present. The NOW. You can use my writing to get insight into me, but only the now will develop into a long-lasting exchange that creates the balance in the dance. The people we can argue with, then move away from and hug again upon seeing. The friend that overstepped a boundary of yours unwittingly and was able to see past their sense of importance. Knowing how to communicate their intention and acceptance of your truth. And the ones that tell you when you are the asshole!