Last Friday I started my first Artist in Residency at an elementary school.
For months, I kept the news secret for several reasons:
1. Imposter Syndrome is real, especially as I see myself surrounded by so many talented storytellers deserving of as much or maybe more credit and opportunities as I.
2. I didn’t want to jinx it. I was afraid that new Covid variants suddenly would start up restrictions and renew cancelations, I was hesitant to allow myself to believe the program would go as planned.
3. I can’t hardly believe my current life
Last week, I had the honor to visit Schaumburg H.S, last night I was one of the Keynote Speakers at the Virtual Essa & Multilingual Illinois Conference for teachers and administrators. Tomorrow I get to start my artist in residency and for the rest of the year I will be performing at schools and Storytelling Festival around the nation, including the Connecticut's International Festival of Arts & Ideas, The St Louis Storytelling Festival, the Timpanogos Storytelling
Festival and more!
I don’t mention all of that to blow smoke up my own horn, but totally the contrary. For many years I was reclusive and shy due my stutter. Then my family came to this country, and I found myself undocumented and unable to understand English. I had no voice.
I was hurt and afraid, I hated myself. Even worse, I hurt some of people that I love the most.
Many times, during those years, I lost my faith, several times I contemplated ending my own life.
Now, after years of struggle I have been able to control my stutter, I speak English with a sexy Latino accent, I am a US citizen and I have become a storyteller. In more ways than one, I found my voice, and, in that process, I found self-acceptance and love. Although, I still much to learn and to correct about myself.
Even more amazing, I have the blessing to give voice and a platform to the stories of immigrants like myself, we even took our show across the nation and turned it into a podcast!
Who would have ever thought, that the boy that stuttered would grow up to be a storyteller.
Thank you friends, family and fellow artists for helping me find my voice. I hope that I can help others find theirs