Carmen Zujaila Bitar

BIO
Carmen Zujaila Bitar was born in Miami, Florida, raised in Miami Beach. Her father was born in Venezuela and her mother was born in Honduras. She is the last of the Mohicans. Her paternal grandfather was born in Lebanon. She has a 25 year old son and a 15 year old daughter and she is a single mother. Carmen always wanted to write a memoir since she was a teenager but never took the time to write down her journey. Her story can serve others to help navigate and develop tools necessary to ride the waves.

Language


1.
“A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.”


                  - Emily Dickenson


2.
When I was a little girl my dad would speak with me and say. “Don’t you sink?!”
I would secretly giggle - because I would imagine him “sinking”!
“Sink”. “Use your brain”.


3.
One summer in 2018 a Venezuelan woman gave me a cold look and said:
“TU ERES UNA GRINGA!”
I laughed and felt I was in a comedy scene.
“¡YO NO SOY UNA GRINGA!”
“¿Tú naciste acá, en los Estados Unidos?”
“Si!”
“¡Pues, tú eres una gringa!”.
I withdrew myself.
I felt perplexed and confused. I began to wonder why I was perceived by another latin person
who shares the same birth coordinates from another person whose blood runs through my veins that
I am different.
I AM A STRANGER.
As a result of my naturalization paper, a geographical
location, a place where the coordinates indicates a place on earth, where the sun is shining anti
the meridian or post meridian, the moon lighting her light and creating a portal that I am like a
biocide, a pesticide to remove unwanted organisms.
I sink.
I sink.
I think!
I need to focus on my aperture and capture the shot I want.
I understand the pain from wounds we receive is so strong it creates a mark, but the scars are a
sign of beauty and something to be proud of and display.

4.
I may have been swallowed by the ocean’s raft to cleanse, wash away my pain, or is this her
way of nurturing, protecting. Was I sinking, thinking, drowning? I am a foreigner who speaks a
language not native to her ancestors.
Show respect for the ocean.
Don’t sink!
Did my ancestors survive the rough seas as they navigated their journey of discovery?
There is no way to fasten your seat belt in the ocean. You have to let go and believe.
Am I diluted?

5.
Perhaps a vapor.
Condensation in the atmosphere, like a New York City summer
strawberry moonlight evening.
The beauty of the mist manages to paint a canvas with her aura.
I am here for you!
My story is your story!
Energy knows no miles or coordinates on a map but
the heart loves and builds strength to speak a language that connects you and I. You and I can
think, talk, love, express, smile, laugh, cry and all the normal universal emotions we have.
I have a hint of South America, a dash of Central America, a hue of Lebanon and other
mountains, seas, rivers, shared with other ancestors.
We are all interrelated, feeling the ripples of the river from Los Andes to Upstate New York.
I am not the filter to remove the particles - I am the result of the blood which runs from the
Jordan river, the Red Sea to be parted for my history of discoveries. A particulate matter. No
carbon dioxide here.
Can’t you see?!
You should be proud!
I am just like you!
I bleed - feel pain, feel strength, dedicated but no - Shame on me for Growing up with Gomer
Pile - Beverly Hill Billy’s - Knight Rider - The Jeffersons - “Put on my blue suede shoes and I boarded the plane” - “when you haven’t got a prayer, you
got a prayer in Memphis”
“Like Hiiii! OKayyy!

6.
I learned sometime in the 80’s that Venezuelan people loved,
Perros calientes con salsa rosada y potato fries.
Los caracas.
El centro - Las montanas, the morning dew and mist covered the rivers before the sun rising,
vapor dissipated as the water would warm up, the beautiful beaches, swimming with the fish on
my boogie board! The memory of watching the 1988 Olympics in Seoul on the television in a hotel while I was in Venezuela!
6.4238 N is the latitude point that shows Venezuela is located in the northern hemisphere.
Situated near the equator where warmth provides a sense of welcome. The longitude is
66.5897 W.
Yes - it’s all complicated being still.
There is pressure in being still.
There is freedom in it too but
It's still complicated.

7.
Music was a universal dance and language!
Listened to english songs but my dad played Latin tunes
“somos los curanderos del alma - los curanderos del corazón”
The latin or Middle eastern wanted my siblings and I to play music - to be a band - one dances,
one play las maracas, the other play el guiro while my dad embraced his cuatro with his long
nails sparking the notes.
What is my dad? Arabe? Venezolano? What other continents have his ancestors walked on?
They all have received the light, love, energy, whispers of the moon.
Thank you dad for giving me music. I always have it and carry it with me - I used to have a band
with you - 3 guys remember?!
“Vamos juntos hasta Italia, quiero comprarme un jersey a raya!”
What kind of a Spanish person are you?
I am the last of the mohicans!
Bitar - sounds like Guitar! The ancestry meaning is “wild” or “proud” - possibly an altered
spelling French Bitard - from a noun derivative of middle french bite - possibly an occupational
name for boatman. The urban dictionary says that person came from nothing and achieved
great things”
I don’t want to sink, I want to float, ride the wave and speak the language of laughter, heart,
strength and character! A language which shows you the valleys, the seas, stars, from
languages unknown to my native tongue and parents who don’t know the roots of their history.

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