The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.
Without ever having been to San Antonio — or even Texas — before, I moved here with two bags, a backpack and a few suits in August of 2014.
I was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica, lived in Miami and then served in the Marine Corps. After my enlistment, I discovered that my experience in the Marines didn’t really translate to much in South Florida. Miami is a fast city, and when you live on the other side of the railroad tracks, chances are slim to find any upward mobility. Not only did I need a foundation to build on, but I truly needed to find solace to heal, break cycles and start to truly grow. I was willing to start over.
Fast forward eight years to today, I live in Southwest San Antonio. Off 410 South, along the Palo Alto access road and two miles from Texas A&M University-San Antonio (my alma mater) is where I found the perfect home which doubles as my art studio.
In my area, there are taquerías on every corner and a variety of fruiterías to choose from — and the limonadas you can only get on this side of town. I’m also conveniently located about 15 minutes away from Southtown, the St. Mary’s Strip, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Carver Cultural Center, Nommocni Art Gallery and other spaces that inspire creative energy.
The most important part of living here for me has been the people. The people who show up to your house to celebrate your birthday when you didn’t really tell anyone it was your birthday. The people that put it on their calendar to make sure you go to the VA appointments you’ve been putting off. The people who ask you if you’ve called your therapist. The people that call you “mijo” and “brother” with sincerity to let you know they have your back. The people who push you to be a better artist. The people who take time out of their day tell you about the Black history of San Antonio, reminding you that you belong here too. Your mindset begins to change from scarcity to abundance when you shift your focus to the love around you.
I have so much gratitude for being able to connect with others through what I create. There is freedom but there is also a sense of purpose when I make art because I want others to feel as well. We can feel our feelings for the times we didn’t get to feel them as children.
Even with all the socioeconomic confusion we’re experiencing, the city of San Antonio is still evolving. My hopes are that the policymakers don’t forget about the underserved children in the area. When proper funding is in question or getting food on the table is a major issue, art is the first thing getting cut. I will do what I can from where I am to help.
The Southwest Side has provided me with the capacity to create and serve others. It has also given me the space to heal and encourage others to find stillness in their journey.