For Selena

By Austin B. Hahn

Dear Selena:

Wow! I can’t believe you’ve been gone for 20 years. I remember when I heard you sing for the first time. I was 18 years old, and I knew that you had been long gone, but I wanted to know who you were, so I watched you on YouTube. You sang “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” at the 1994 Tejano Music Awards. I swear it was like listening to Whitney Houston and Luis Miguel for the first time; my heart exploded. I couldn’t stop dancing and saying, “bidi bidi bom bom.” I love your music. My favorite song of yours is “Fotos y Recuerdos.” I also loved watching the interviews of you and Rock n’ Roll James on Puro Tejano. You guys are so funny together. You two are like brother and sister. Although I’m sad that I won’t get the chance to meet you in person, I hope that you can sense my spirit when I dance to one of your songs like “La Carcacha” or “El Chico del Apartamento 512″ y otras canciones. =D I’m writing this letter for myself, so I can have closure. I’m writing this letter for the fans. I’m writing this letter for you, Selena.

When I was younger, I used to think that the world only had so much space and that maybe if more people just died that it wouldn’t weigh so heavy and that our problems with overpopulation would be solved. I’m ashamed to admit it, and I am not proud of myself for such a despicable thought. (Selena fans keep reading. There’s a point to this.) I was a junior in high school, and my human anatomy and physiology class had gone on a field trip. We went to a university to look at some human bodies and observe the parts that we were studying. During our time there, all I could remember thinking was, “How incredible to know that these were once living beings. They loved somebody, they laughed with someone, they lived  … they affected people!” That was my first enlightening experience with death. I became aware of my mortal limits and that my soul on the inside has intentions, but it’s my body that has the ability to put them into effect and create change on the outside. It was a powerful moment for me … then I discovered you.

If someone died, it never bothered me – not because I’m a cruel person – because I know that death is inevitable. We are all going to die one day. I never really missed anyone until you came along. I watched all of your music videos, interviews, performances, and I read about you. You fascinated and devastated me at the same time. Besides your boutiques, fashion, and exotic music, your work with a Battered Women’s Help Hotline and the D.A.R.E. program to keep kids off of drugs, along with your efforts to encourage high schoolers to graduate, astonished me. I don’t know of any famous person today using their status to help people in their community. We are only left to wonder what more you could have done for the world if you had continued to live.

It’s unfortunate that my generation will never get a chance to experience the joy of you other than by watching old video clips from the 80s and 90s. Whenever I watched you laugh, I would think of my best friend laughing, so I’d start laughing, but then I felt sad because I would think, “How could someone murder this amazing person!?” Someone shooting you would be almost as if someone were to shoot my best friend.

I realized that I had grown to love you. I felt foolish for loving a dead person who I never met, but you changed me, Selena. All in the same year, I got to see dissected human bodies at a university, and I learned about your life. After my close up with death, I no longer thought of it as a solution to our problems with world population. I no longer thought of people as space occupiers. Everyone affects someone. Through your death, as tragic as it is, I became a better person. If I can fall in love with you in your death as a complete stranger, then I can look forward to meeting all the wonderful people I will love in life.

It’s a shame when we don’t open up and allow people to get to know us; we might be missing an opportunity to meet our best friend or the love of our life. If Selena was reserved and never shared herself with the world, we wouldn’t know who she was, but she did. She showed us, through her personality and her actions, that we don’t have to throw someone under the bus to have success, and that’s one of the reasons why people love her. On a more personal note, all people outside of our families come along as total strangers at first, but the decision to open up is ours. We all have something in our souls that others will find to be beautiful, but as long as we’re closed off, they can’t see it. Selena shared herself with the world. Imagine if everyone else did. We could meet people who are better than anything we envisioned in our dreams! Selena might have died because she was too trusting, but the loss of never getting to know her would have outweighed the pain of her death. To end on a final note, but not to conclude on her life, as human beings, the chance to leave a lasting legacy is one of our greatest gifts. What will you leave behind?

Thank you, and rest in peace, Selena.

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Selena Quintanilla-Pérez

April 16th, 1971 – March 31st, 1995

Nunca olvidaremos lo que significó Selena para nosotros . . .

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