Being Latino, Creative and Lost in the Fold

Medium. Hmm. I never considered this avenue in terms of plastering my thoughts somewhere. I’ve tried blogs… didn’t work. I’ve tried Twitter, but 140 characters never really cut it for me. This… could possibly be something interesting.

I am a creative behemoth. The ideas that my mind spew forth are sometimes frightening, sometimes insightful and at other times, downright genius. Granted, the genius moments are rather sparse but work with me here. I figured I could use this space to explore all avenues that my mind chooses to take as I usually run through 87 different streets on one thought process. I’ll try to keep things on track though as I abhor rambling… ← Like that.

I am a Latino in NY (of Dominican and Argentine descent). I work in NYC and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens and was there for the first 27 years of my life before I went NW to the Boogie Down to live with my, now, wife and daughter. I am an actor, heavy metal vocalist, voice over artist and sometimes writer.

As a Dominican male, certain things become “expected”. I should be a womanizer, love cars, go to the club religiously and wear my shades in the dark and maybe even wear chancletas with my socks on. I’m supposed to be with a “good” Dominican woman and make money being a super or some such. Sadly though, none of those things are accurate. On the contrary, I am not a womanizer; I treat my wife like the Queen she is in my kingdom. I like cars, but I am not obsessed with them. I wear chancletas (barefoot) like normal people and I am with a Latin woman that supports what I do and doesn’t expect me to be something I am not.

Growing up in High School, I never felt like I truly belonged to ANY specific kind of social group. I never really hung out with the Latino’s because I wasn’t Latino enough for them. Not enough sazon in my taste due to my love of Rock. I didn’t hang out with the white kids cause… well, I was TOO Latino for them. Instead, I hung out with a ragtag group of kids that all had my same issue. Where do you fit in when you’re not a stereotype? We were the Wolf Pack. Corny, I know, but hey, it worked for us and our group was our group. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t anti-social by any means. I knew almost everyone… I just never actually hung out with them outside of school or for longer than 5 minutes at a time.

Since High School, the social dynamic has changed and I actually have a vast set of friends. Very close friends from all walks of life and a wide spectrum of ages and wisdom. Thankfully, my “lost in the fold” feeling was gone but yet… I still felt like I didn’t really belong. I still feel this way and I know why. It is my strong sense and identification as a Latino, yet I don’t feel as though I am a part of this group. I am not sure why, but I think it may be because I haven’t “struggled” as much as some have. Should this lack of struggle make me any less worthy of being in this group though? Can’t I show that “I am a Latino, I am creative and I am doing great thus far”?

I can. I know I can but I do not. Should I shout my heritage from the rooftops and gain some validity? Is this what I am missing? I am not sure. There are some things though that I do know. I know that I am a Dominican/Argentine American born actor. I have my own website and I built it myself. I am a Voice Over Artist and have been fairly successful for just a years worth of experience; you can even hear my voice on TV. I work in the theater regularly as one of the longest players with Mind the Art Entertainment. I have been critiqued by theater critics and they all have enjoyed my work. I am Unionized. I have written a novel and planning a second book for this years National Novel Writing Month. I don’t need someone to tell me that I am successful in my own creative right. I know that I have done a lot and still have so much more to offer.

I am Latino and I am damn proud of it. If you’re Latino and have felt the way I have, don’t worry, I feel you.