Hello friends & loved ones:
We hope that you and yours are well and have weathered the challenges of the past 11+ months. In the spirit of staying connected, we’re happy to share a few updates and reflections.
Ah, 2021. This has been a long, strange, rewarding, heartbreaking ride of endings and beginnings. We wrapped up our California lives, left our deeee-luxe apartment in the sky, and moved to our house in North Carolina to ride out the pandemic closer to family. We look forward to setting up digs in the DC area thanks to Cedric’s new role at the Obama Foundation, Omicron permitting. I was finally able to lay Mom’s gravestone in her hometown of Skibbereen, and during that same visit, started a new chapter by launching an Ireland-based coaching and consulting practice (RayCoach Enterprises, Ltd., thank you veddy much.)
I’m proud of the increased impact my coaching practice is making. RayCoach/US has boomed this year, we added consultants and launched the ThinqTanq video series, and I am very optimistic about the prospects of success in Ireland – including a residence there as soon as circumstances permit.
I said goodbye to “early years” Miss Coco López (and her predecessor, Miss GInger Extravaganza!) I donated my early drag costumes and associated papers to the GLBT Historical Society’s archives in San Francisco. The lot includes elements of queer Latin@ history from her old Boston, Miami, NYC and San Juan performances. The society was pleased to receive more material to bolster its resources in documenting queer Latinx community development, and I am proud to have been a part of that effort.
Our family sustained two key losses this year: my Aunt Emily, who was my mother’s best friend since childhood, and my cousin’s wife Angelina, a Cuban firecracker who always greeted us with joy and flava. I miss them both very much. Another cousin, who I had not met, passed due to Covid back in Cuba. I end the year mindful that my Dad has just been in and out of hospital, and my tío Ramon (Tuto) is in hospital in Cuba as I write this.
I am grateful for each of your presence in my life and hopeful that we get to spend time together very soon.
As many know, leaving my beloved Bay Area after 31 years was THE big personal news of 2021. While I terribly miss my community there, it seems to have been the right move at the right time.
Ray and I remain here in North Carolina, where we’ve spent 17 of 21 months of the pandemic. Our intention is still to relocate to the DC metro area–most likely Montgomery County, Maryland–for my job once public health conditions allow. Meanwhile, we’re sitting tight, saving money, and spending low key good times with hometown family.
After seven months, I can reasonably declare that I’ve found my footing at the Obama Foundation (I explain one of the programs in this video) and am starting to build momentum! I’ve even had several fun interactions with the man himself, which has been *thrilling!*
In the creative realm, I’m proud to have produced The Shape of Blackness virtual art exhibition this past spring. I was also able to kick-start a literary award named after one of my heroes, Randall Kenan, through Lambda Literary, and help launch AFRE’s splendid PanAfrican literary magazine.
Ray and I have also been fortunate to enjoy a few precious travel adventures, including Ray’s six day cross-country roadtrip towing our stuff in a packed UHaul (not me chile; I flew first class haha!), and a fall visit to Ireland for a memorial and business reconnaissance.
Other than that, I’m doing the same stuff as before–exercising, reading, serving on three nonprofit boards, working on our house, fighting isolation, noticing beauty every day, and trying to maintain connections across miles and through screens. Thank you for your friendship; even occasional interactions are happy-making and special. 💙💙💙
We wish each of you a safe, happy holiday and a healthy, joyous 2022.