An Admittedly Subjective View of Miami
The stories of cities have always had a profound impact on me. Their identities, their dead, their living, their buildings, their energy, their mishaps, their strengths are a hurried culmination of the human experience. I’ve never attempted to encapsulate the wholeness of one because I’ve always considered the task too daunting and my perspective too dependent on my own identity. But, since I have been trying to embrace the idea of celebrating the range of the human experience, I can’t short change the value of my own personal perspective. So here it goes, Miami through my eyes.
Shades of beige jog, walk, and talk intensely canvassing Brickell Avenue. The red or yellow Ferrari that is sure to pass speeds through unfriendly, pedestrian-filled streets and the occasional tall chocolate brother is brought down to size as he is swallowed up by the background of skyscrapers. Miami exudes. It exudes sexuality, it exudes promise, it exudes confusion, it exudes life, it exudes poverty, it exudes heat, it exudes stuffiness, it exudes freedom, it exudes an unspeakable wealth and flashiness that can undoubtedly rival anywhere on earth. It is a manifestation of paradoxes. It is a modern city with changing identities whose past has been squeezed into small artifices scattered throughout the city.
Miami sells itself for the now. This city chews up history like tasty tobacco and turns it into “mierda.”
It hits the ground with a speedy force and with what is left it creates cutsie, unrecognizable symbols.
But I feel at home in this city, in its idiosyncrasies, in its blatant injustice, in its latent history, mostly because I cannot escape the overwhelming reality there is a lot left to accomplish in this world. This is not a city you move to and jade yourself into thinking that the world is alright, that there is peace, that there is equal opportunity for all, that the rich aren’t selfish, that racism is dead, that the scales are always balanced. This is a place you move to when you don’t want to forget. Where you try to formulate your strategy to change, where you learn about the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between.
I am tied to Miami’s growth. I have witnessed it mature into a teenager, grappling through identities.
Miami is gritty, posh, affluent, impoverished, painstakingly skinny, overwhelmingly obese, it is a bump that swells and retreats, swells and retreats, swells and retreats, and then eventually explodes unforeseen matter .
That unforeseen matter will reformulate itself, recondition itself and turn itself into someone’s successful business.
Miami is the sexy, creative lover you’ve always wished to be with. It does not fail to give you stimulation, it does not miss a beat caressing you with salty, ocean air. It does not fail to seduce you with turquoise painted waters. It does not fail you with its creativity.
It fails you when you want more, when you are ready to move beyond the bed and into the kitchen. It holds no real conversations on poverty, homelessness, racism, inequality, affordable housing and a lack of jobs. It fails you when you realize that the mansion you have been admiring is the home of a former, ruthless dictator.
It fails you when you have to dig below taut skin, and silicone treasures. It fails you until you regroup and realize that this city too is trying to find itself. Like we humans, it’s applying a million different treatments to a short acne-pocked history.
For now, it’s my home and I will take its not so gentle reminders of the beauty, perversity and complexity of human nature.