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Daily Inspiration: Meet Luivette Resto

Today we’d like to introduce you to Luivette Resto.

Hi Luivette, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico and proudly raised in the Bronx. Even though I have lived in Los Angeles for 19 years now, I carry the Bronx and Puerto Rico with me. It can be heard when I speak Spanish and in the way I carry myself. I was fortunate to attend Cornell University and experience a different space and community during my college years. Those years really left an impression on me. I learned a lot about myself and identity. From the professors to my fellow classmates, I learned more outside of the classroom at times than I did in them. Even though I was born in Puerto Rico growing up in the Bronx in the 80s and 90s taught me invaluable lessons about resilience, confidence, and fearlessness. I think of these things when I walk into a faculty meeting and when I teach my students about literature and the difficulties of grammar. I remind them that I didn’t speak English when I entered Kindergarten. That I codeswitch regularly. That I grew up as my family’s translator. Many of them are in the same position. They know that feeling of having to speak one language with family and having to switch gears at school. I can tell they appreciate the empathy and compassion.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has not been smooth, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons that I still reflect upon today. As a kid and an only child, I felt spoiled by mom, aunt, and grandparents. However, in hindsight I can understand, see, and respect the sacrifices they all made for me to have an education, clothes, books, and favorite foods. I was the first one to graduate from college, and the weight of that responsibility I felt every day at Cornell. I was their investment, so I better pay off. Today, I feel like I have, but there were times such as when I decided not to attend law school at the very last minute, I could see the disappointment in my family’s eyes. Telling them, I wanted to be a writer wasn’t part of their plan. How was I going to sustain myself with poems? Financially, my mother made many many sacrifices for me. Sacrifices I can empathize now as a mom of three.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a poet, so my specialty is immortalizing my experiences and others’ joys, traumas, accomplishments, aspirations, and disappointments. I am most proud of my children, to be honest. They are my legacy, and they are the motivation for my writing. I dedicate all of my books to them. At the moment, I have three books and three kids. A coincidence they jokingly don’t let me forget. I write because I always want them to remember that they can be and do anything. That they can be scientists AND artists. They don’t have to choose between one or the other. There are always options. Also, I hope I am modeling that passions are worth fighting for. That passions can help them learn and grow as individuals. I think what sets my work apart from others is my wit and honesty. I don’t hold back in my poems. I share a lot about myself in my verses. The poems are vulnerable sprinkled with humor just like me.

Can you talk to us a bit about happiness and what makes you happy?
Happiness is great but I rather experience joy. Joy is any time I am with my kids. It has been a privilege watching them grow up into these amazing human beings. They are inquisitive, funny, compassionate, and smart. Not just academically smart but emotionally intelligent too. So for me, anytime with them brings me joy. They are my horcruxes as a friend of mine likes to remind me. They are each the best parts of me. Joy also comes from my community. I firmly believe that community is integral to the center of joy, and I am blessed to be in community with quite a few amazing educators and artists. They keep teaching me new ways of learning, creating, and growing. Lastly, joy is sitting by the beach with a bottle of wine, friends, and delicious food.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The first set were taken by Reynaldo Macias The last two (Wutang shirt and all black dress) were taken by Alexis Rhone Fancher.

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