Late in 2020–like many of us, I was just trying to survive.
Oh man, if I could have only gone back and warned Rubio years ago, when she wrote her last blog post–to tell her that we would be enduring a global pandemic in 2020. She would have freaked the f*ck out!
Ok, so I did freak the f*ck out. But that’s not the point of this story.
I was spending the last part of 2020 reflecting on the fact that I did not lose my mind, and in fact, regained some semblance of what my true self could become. Aging alone during a time of a lockdown somehow leads to some unbeknownst wisdom materializing, something I thought would never happen.
But more on that later.
In December, in the midst of reflections and wondering about 2020, and what it all meant, and what it meant for my future and the future of the world, I was alerted to an email from someone unfamiliar.
Subject: Inquiry re: The Tortilla Kid.
The Tortilla Kid? Despite renewing the domain every year, it had been years since I had sat down and even written anything about it. To be honest, I can’t even remember the reason I stopped writing on this blog, as the last post was certainly not a despidia.
(Oh, wait–I do remember. A writer told me I shouldn’t post my stories anymore and I listened instead of just doing my thing.)
I opened the email, and it said,
“I’m reaching out because I’m embarking on a new project ______________ and the idea is that______________________________________________________________________________________. ______________________________________________, and I’d love to tell the story of your family and the tortilla.
So clearly, I’m not going to share much, because we are in the midst of something super cool. However, what led me to rereading the message over and over again, researching the name and making sure it was legit, was the following line:
“I’ve read your blog (which I very much enjoyed) and I know that you feel like the media has told the story incorrectly and exploited your mother’s goodwill. I want to tell this story the right way, with empathy rather than derision, and with a focus on what you and your family went through.”
First, how dope is it that someone reads my blog after all of these years? Secondly, the purpose for why I embarked on writing this blog in the first place was the sincere fact of telling my mom’s story the right way. Giving my mom a space and a platform to tell HER story has been really important to me. While I can’t share much about this project–at least not yet, what I will say is that it has unveiled to me so much about myself, the familia, and the importance of taking up space to reclaim what is rightfully ours–our stories, in ways that I have never felt before.
In the first month of January, 2021–with a global pandemic in the backdrop, thousands of lives lost across the country, and now serving in an elected capacity and trying to address the inequities that exist across our state–during this first ever remote and virtual legislative session, I have also been reflecting a lot on what the Jesus Tortilla means to me at this moment in time and in my life. I am also reflecting on what the tortilla, its impact, if any–had on me and my family.
Would life be the same had it never happened? Is the life that we have now because of it? I am also thinking about the publicity that it received back in the early days, the Donahue and Oprah shows, and the number of stories written about it. The things that were said by the public were not very pleasant, and today, in the age of social media–I am also wondering about what the unpleasant things will sound and look like as me and the familia commit to and dive into this project wholeheartedly.
But one thing that I have also been thinking about is, “what if it turns out ok?” What if my mom gets to have her story told by someone else, in a way that it has never been told before?
As my parents head into 2021 facing an eighth decade on this planet, and watching the world and their family navigate the rapidly changing times, I can’t help but wonder about what this project might do for them. Will it bring some closure? Will it not? Will it unravel some things that have never been said before? Will it be just a conversation down memory lane? Or will it be a transformational process of healing and addressing what many of us ache for, and that is to just be seen.
I can’t speak for them, but over the course of the last few weeks, so much has evolved for me. Around the time that I received this inquiry, I also started to see a new therapist. So much of what I have struggled with in my life, especially now as an adult in her early 40s, is this disconnection with little Rubio, something that I have never really addressed before. Perhaps this “inquiry,” and the story being told for the inth time, will not only reveal a new 21st generation narrative about the Jesus Tortilla and our family, but ultimately provide me with some more insight about myself, and also provide me with some of my own healing too.
Stay tuned, ya’ll. In the meantime, I’ll be back to writing some stuff here on TTK, and hope you’ll come along with me for the ride.
The Tortilla Kid