© 2019 Bronx Native

Tell me about yourself, Sofie

 

 

I am a queer Ecuatoriana photographer and writer from Soundview, The Bronx.

My writing tends to have a documentary lens on them. Perhaps it stems from my independent journalism, but as I strip professionalism and rubrics to completely collapse myself into my poems – there’s still a documentation of a person, a past version of myself, or a memory.  

Memories can be painful I’ve learned, but through my writing, it serves as a testament of my growth.

 

feeling like I (finally) get myself chronicles my turbulent transition to nineteen. Becoming nineteen completely ripped apart my former self and made me shed that insecure skin and allow myself to bloom. It’s the most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my life.

 

fotos de mi tia is a public diary entry as it details my fascination and frustration with someone who is supposed to be one of the most important women to me but can only be an enigma because of circumstances out of my control. I had been dealing with these feelings and emotions since I was a child. It wasn't after a visit with my grandparents in Ecuador where I stumbled upon a film print of my tia. I saw myself in her; almost being a splitting image of me despite never seeing any resemblance before – something overcame me.

I understood then that to write is to heal, and for a moment, I felt at peace.

 

 

 

 feeling like i (finally) get myself 
By Sofie Vasquez aka Bulls 

 

we repeat cycles because it’s familiar 
sometimes growth can be slow, 
but it will always be prominent 

 

if we allow it to be 

 

nineteen began with pain and revelation 
it was the push, 
the change 
the transformation 
that overwhelmed me 

 

but I allowed it to wash over me 

 

the transfiguration came through the appearance of 
music
photography, 
and a new friend
all in the same day 

 

the realization broke me down 
sinking me almost to my knees
as choked sobs and red eyes consumed my body 
in a public space for everyone to witness

 

it occurred to me then 
only nineteen days 
after my nineteenth birthday 
that until that moment 

 

I have always felt alone
displaced, misunderstood
mistreated, threatened 
forgotten, misdirected

 

but no longer 

 

the changed immediately took charge 

 

it’s been five months since my transformation
when you say it out loud it seems like nothing at all 
but this is the happiest I’ve ever been 

 

there was a time, my art became a burden 
it weighed and choked me down 
killing my passion
leaving me like a zombie 

 

now I relish and flower. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fotos de mi tia
Sofie Vasquez aka Bulls

 

In 2005, my aunt Eugenia was killed in a car accident in Florida. 
Prior to her death, my seven-year-old
self wasn’t aware she even existed. 
With the years to come, I have struggled consistently trying to learn more about her, 
In the hopes that I could piece the puzzles of who she was and gain some closure 
as ever since she died, I have felt incomplete. 

 

These poems are my unanswered letters to her. 

 

Nineteen seems to be the age you vanished, 
Hair cut short, uneven bangs 
Blue glitter smeared on your eyelids 
A smile reminiscent of Mercedes 

 

I am my mother, but I can see myself in you 
Yet I don’t know you, met you for a second that I cannot remember 
I have your high school polaroids, your Beatles vinyls but it’s not enough 
I ask about you, but it’s a sensitive subject, a “tough topic” to discuss 

 

Don’t make grandma upset. 

 

Don’t make your mother cry.
 
Why did you leave? Who pushed you out? 
Was it an argument gone wrong, and a stubbornness only your father could match? 

An argument he won, but regrets. 

 

Does it make it up with his grandchildren? Knowing he couldn’t with you. 

 

What was the fight? The final word? When did you stop picking up calls? 
When did you reach out to say I’m here but don’t let him know. 
The last photo of you is after a ten-year gap, a wild teenager to a woman.
Heard you moved down south, found a lover and settled down.
Heard you were making contact again, my little sister had just been born. 

 

I heard you were going to make up for lost time.