There’s Nothing Wrong With Her… #AutismAwareness

MimiTVA on....

There’s Nothing Wrong With Her… by Mimi Machado-Luces

#MimiTVA #LaVidaEnBlack #BlueDivaDesi

My mother droned this into our heads when we confirmed my daughter’s autism. “That child is brilliant you know, Mimi,” she repeated in her sing song-y West Indian accent, “you ent’ have to worry about she,

DesiMummyLouisLenaDesi goin’ an’ change dee world you know. God give ya’ dat child for a reason.” And she was right as mothers always are, magically so.

It was a process. Excited and relieved, I felt Autism was something that she could live with, that we could handle, some studies even said we could “cure” it. But that whole “cure” talk sounded like there was something wrong with my little ray of Sunshine, Mi Solita (little sun in Spanish.) My clone (everybody says she looks just like me) would babble, laugh and communicate in that special baby way until she was practically a toddler…

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La Reina de Azùcar y los Afro-Latinos

La Reina de Azùcar y los Afro-Latinos

Ay Celia… I celebrate her this September – October in my La Vida En Hispanic Heritage Month posts and I would be remiss to not celebrate La Reina, So here ya go! 
As a constant source of inspiration you never fail to impress, Celia you still reign supreme in a world where you were meant to be just a this or a that.  But it was your destiny to touch hearts it was your purpose to make your people proud, that those who looked like feel as though they to could be respected and revered by their grace, talent, beauty.  

  
As the ONLY Afro-Latina with her very own expansive exhibit displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington DC, you had weaved yourself into the very fabric of this country, unlike any other Afro-Latina in the world.  The exhibit was complete with costumes designed by you and your music it was such an amazing thing to see and enjoy. 
 A Grammy nominee, ten times over, Celia sang only in Spanish because as she used to claim her “English was not very good looking.”    

She received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award, a National Medal of the Arts, and honorary doctorates from Yale and the University of Miami. A street in Miami was also renamed  in her honor. 

  

Her trademark orange, red, and white polka dot dress (an original Celia design) and her personally designed shoes have been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute of Technology. According to the European Jazz Network, Celia “commands her realm with a down-to-earth dignity unmistakably vibrant in her wide smile and striking pose.”

   

Celia was a big star in Cuba before she came to the US.  She replaced the Puerto Rican singer Myrta Silva in the famed Cuban Orchestra, La Sonora Matancera in 1950 much to the chagrin of the white aristocracy in Cuba.  This singular move would propell the orchestra and Celia to international stardom. She became one of the first Afro-Latina women to lead an orchestra and Sonora Matancera took Cuban music around the world with Celia Cruz as “La Guarachera Cubana.”

  

I will never forget the way I felt driving down Constitution Ave, when I saw this mega building sized poster of Celia emblazoned with her battle cry to sing  Azùcar! in DC.   Our national museum of American History had this beautiful icon covering the front of their building it was a win.  And I remember thinking ..wow Celia, you were

A Cruz Original
 
It was amazing to see An entire exhibit devoted to our queen, our music, the ancestors were so very pleased.  Couldnt you feel it in her voice? I can, to this day, still hear her singing in my heart,  felt her spirit in my soul, “La Vida Es Un Carnival”
La Vida Es Un Carnival Live  

I was filled with an inexplicable level of pride at who Celia was and what Celia Cruz means to me and people who look like me.  She is irreplaceable our Queen, La Reina! It was confirming to see that Celia Cruz a naturalized citizen, of these United States was still honored and revered with her own exhibit. She was a treasure. 

 

   I have my favorite songs of Celia’s I love “Usted Abuso” with its lovely arrangements and of course “La Negra Tiene Timbao” my anthem because I am Ese Negrita que esta caminando… 

But the song that just breaks my heart in its mastery of lyrics is a cover En Español of I Will Survive.  Recorded just months before she succumbed to brain cancer. Her voice rich but strained emmitted the wonderful Adios of this legendary singer. 

“Yo Vivire, en el alma de mi gente, en el cuero del tambor, en las manos del congero, en los pies del bailador, yo vivire, ahi estar, mientras pase una comparsa, con mi rumba cantare, sere siempre lo que fui con mi azucar para ti, yo vivire, yo vivire…” 

(Translation) “I will survive, in the soul of my people, in the skin of our drum, in the hands of the drummer, in the feet of the dancer, I will survive, and there it is, while my song is playing, with my rumba I will sing, always being alive with my azucar for you I will survive… I will survive” 

Below every latin vocalist from Gloria Estefan to Jose Feliciano and Marc Anthony come on stage with Celia to sing one last song with her. A truly proper goodbye.   I am always rendered to tears each time I see it. 

An All Star Tribute To Living Legend Celia Cruz

I Still cant listen to any of her music without breaking out in dance either… So this post is in gratitude… Thank you God, Mil Gracias a Dios por la Vida En Black of La Reina, Celia Cruz! 

There’s Nothing Wrong With Her… #AutismAwareness

There’s Nothing Wrong With Her… #AutismAwareness

There’s Nothing Wrong With Her… by Mimi Machado-Luces

#MimiTVA #LaVidaEnBlack #BlueDivaDesi

My mother droned this into our heads when we confirmed my daughter’s autism. “That child is brilliant you know, Mimi,” she repeated in her sing song-y West Indian accent, “you ent’ have to worry about she,

DesiMummyLouisLenaDesi goin’ an’ change dee world you know. God give ya’ dat child for a reason.” And she was right as mothers always are, magically so.

It was a process. Excited and relieved, I felt Autism was something that she could live with, that we could handle, some studies even said we could “cure” it. But that whole “cure” talk sounded like there was something wrong with my little ray of Sunshine, Mi Solita (little sun in Spanish.) My clone (everybody says she looks just like me) would babble, laugh and communicate in that special baby way until she was practically a toddler. Then she just stopped – babbling. She began exhibiting a series of behaviors – flapped her hands, rolled her eyes until you saw nothing but the whites. And the noises that came from her throat, were often scary & high pitched… “eeeeeee”

And all the while, I knew she was smart. She liked Big Bird and her dad playing the guitar. She would mimic him on the guitar at times – she sounded just like him plucking away. But she did not speak. Not a word and I thought, is there something wrong?

I can’t stand those stories that start out with “I knew that something was wrong with (insert childs name here) like if being “normal” was the right thing. Autism is not something wrong. It is something different. I learn something new from my daughter every day, that can’t be something “wrong”. She is here to right a wrong.

Desideria graduates!
Desideria graduates!
She is here for a reason, Mummy claimed that and I believe it’s the truth. I can rattle off and identify many famous people with what is commonly known as Autism Spectrum Disorder to make you more aware but it’s not worth it. You’re probably already aware, if you’re taking the time to read this, remember and mark my words – Autism is not a disease.

My definition of autism – It is a different reaction to the manner in which certain individuals interact with the world in which they reside, considering human interaction, reaction to environment, food and other sensory stimuli. To me people with Autism represent evolution. They are the product of our “modern” society. They are a proof that the times in which we live are tumultuous and inventive, cruel and kind; all in the same space and time. Consider these facts. Information that used to take months, years, even decades to disseminate; can now be broadcast on the WORLD WIDE WEB in a nanosecond from our phones. We are what we eat people and that includes sensory stimuli. No wonder the stats of children born with autism have gone from 1 in 700 in 1995 to 1 in 70 in 2015. Consider all of those different people with Autism in one generation of time.

I wanted to have her naturally. But Desi was breech so I had to have a C-section and from birth Desi has done things in her own unique – different way. Not to be turned, she arrived one beautiful spring morning to her father’s and my delight. Named for her Great grand and grandmother, she is a person blessed with a wise old name. She has big bright eyes and always seems to look at you as if she knows things you will never know. That is the truth. Her perceptions, her insights are ALWAYS different from mine. She is intuitive to a fault. She knows what people think of her instantly and reacts accordingly.

Desi is an artist as well.  Her paintings and drawings depict happy and joyful things she sees in her “Blue Diva Desi ” mind – her friends and family laying on clouds, swinging from rainbows and sliding into an enormous pot of gold at the end of that rainbow…   Check out an interview with Desi about her Valentine’s Day Card…

My Art Interview

BlueDivaDesi

I asked her what she wanted people to be more aware of, about people with autism. She repeated a line one of her teachers told her, or so I thought, she said, “I want people to be aware that Autism is invisible.’

And I thought she’s repeating what Ms. Diedre told her. And then she hit me with, “it affects the way my brain works, but I can see it.” Profound, evolution, this young woman is on another level mentally.   And anyone’s thoughts or musings within the autism community and beyond that think they have this figured out, Do Not!