RSS

Re-imagining the Home through Conscious ways of Healing

Like Anzaldua I have attempted carrying home on my back but sometimes carrying home includes carrying a lot more, to the point that it becomes overbearing. I have been divulging in the words of Eden E. Torres the Chicana academic who brought us Chicana Without Apology; however, her words struck me when she began talking about the difficulty in maintaining mental health. And I wondered, what happens when home becomes a threat to your mental health?

I’d like to start with a quote by Friedrich Nietzche—“the most spiritual human beings, assuming they are the most courageous, also experience by far the most painful tragedies; but it is precisely for this reason that they honor life, because it brings against them its most formidable weapons” And what does that mean to a queer Chicana who has struggled with mental health issues from a young age?

Let me take you back. I suffer from a history of mental health issues and I have to protect myself in a way that I am able to maintain my wellbeing not only for myself, but for those who share a home with me too. It is our responsibility to hold ourselves accountable first to stop ourselves from perpetuating trauma within our home through conscious acts of healing. That we must learn to heal to make good use of our pain and our coraje in order to continue fostering loving relationships within the home and for our community.

It is difficult to live within a home where situations or persons continuously harms us through their actions—actions that create a hostile and dehumanizing environment within our home. A part of healing includes being able to set boundaries for our own protection—away from pain. Unfortunately, we have become accepting of pain enough to live with it and re-create it even within our own home. A part of healing and allowing others to heal is a part of setting boundaries to protect ourselves even from the ones we love and the ones that say they love us but do not show it through their actions.

Like Eden Torres states, it is crucial to protect ourselves against overwhelming pain. We would rather become numb to pain—separating us from that experience that brings us so much trauma.

Through these years of pain and suffering I have found music and art to be healing. But I have noticed that I have been coping in ways that numb that pain within me, ways I would prefer not to engage in but because I more than often find myself unable to reach out I’d rather maintain that grief within me. But like Eden states, grief held within is a wound that will not heal and more so now that a normal mourning process has been interrupted by the ordinary need to survive.  And thus I push my grieving behind, thus I push my mental health to the side because I would rather not talk about these issues. Thus I now come out with my story to reach out to other women of color who also struggle with maintaining mental health while striving to construct loving homes and maintain family.

As a graduate student of color in a white-dominant university, I have to maintain my mental health to make sure I wake up everyday to put on my warrior mascara, a mascara that yells CHINGONA as I walk through those halls knowing that people assume I do not belong there. That mascara along with my warrior botas give me strength. Although there are days I would rather not show up to lecture and instead I would rather rage, yell, and scream, which is in itself a form of healing, but I also need to make sure I show-up to work in order to pay my way through graduate school. I do not want to go back to being the person I used to be before a series of years of intense therapy and counseling. I do not want to go back to being that depressed and suicidal person that believes running away from her problems is an easier route.

So I ask you all to be mindful of your mental well-being as well as of others. To those who have attempted to foster a loving home for me, I am not running away from you or our familia, but I need to define those boundaries for my own well being, for my mental health, and simply so I can continue striving rather than just surviving.

Know that I am not pushing anyone away. If anything I hope this serves as a lesson that pushing away the people you love will not create any meaningful change, but if that is your only option then by all means do what is best for your situation. However, I would like to point out that it is not fair to push people that we once loved away from our corazon. That if we are to create family and community we need to accept that people are within their own journeys. That we are not here to judge (which is different from holding someone accountable) but embrace one another for our fortaleza acknowledging that living and waking up everyday is strength passed down from our ancestors. And that the legacies within us, the histories we have endured are not meant to harm one another.

Let us celebrate our existence; look at the strength it has taken us to survive this history and our current situation(s). Look at the strength it has taken people struggling with mental health to continue being here, living. If anything our ancestors embraced both life and death, but we more than often forget to embrace being alive and we would rather continue living as dead, but let us not forget about one another, let us not work against one another. Let us begin to embrace one another through conscious ways of healing. And as Anzaldua states, may we continue dancing in the face of our fears.

Advertisements
 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I Swore My Heart Away When I Was 14

I Swore My Heart Away When I Was 14.
I remember lying in bed rogandole a la virgencita to please keep my dad safe from harm
hoping for a call I knew I wasn’t gonna get.
Praying I wouldn’t get a phone call that he’s been found dead by some dumpster.
I remember a night in particular when I got tired of praying for him
So I prayed for me.

Le pedi que me isiera no quererlo mas
Que lo sacara de mi corazon

I cried big heavy tears that soaked my pillow and mixed with bugers and saliva.
I woke up the next morning disappointed because I still missed him, con coraje, like every other day but missed him still.
Eventually I didn’t think about him so much and I forgot about my prayers I didn’t cry at night and I could sleep in complete darkness
I had long forgotten my pleas and gone on with my life

Three boyfriends and many sexual encounters later I remembered my prayer.
The one where I begged Mi Morenita to take my heart out and lose it in the cosmos
I realized Im 20 years old and have had 11 men walk in and out of my life, use and dispose of my body. Told them I loved them and hated them all in the same breathe.

I didn’t care to notice when they left or how three boyfriends and eight sexual partners who I’ve never even been with long enough to know their last name had gone through me.

My first boyfriend took my virginty because I guess my eyes said it was up for grabs the moment I let him lay on my bed. We dated two weeks, had sex for about 10 minutes, said see you around and I never cared to see him again

I regretted losing my virginity to him

So I told my second boyfriend he was my first. He was older… Way older. Like ‘ready to settle down and have kids’ ready. He saw me as the type to wife up and use my child bearing hips to carry his off spring. I couldn’t stomach the idea of having his kid and having to keep a piece a piece of him forever. So I didn’t. I ran away as fast as I could from that situation by blaming everything wrong with me on him. Made myself unbearable because it was easier for someone to leave me than it was for me to walk away. Even when I can’t love I can’t leave, the guilt of not being able to give back holds me.

My third boyfriend was accidental. We weren’t meant for each other but when it’s so cold out and someone shows you warmth with their own body, one tends to think thats a special trick no one else can do. To have someone want you for sexual favors makes you feel of use or somewhat important to someone and that can sometimes even make you feel special. It had been a long time since I could make a man happy with just a kiss.

I don’t remember how this ended I just know that it stopped.

After him I didn’t want anymore boyfriends. I wanted to keep thinking i was of use. I wanted to feel wanted. But I didn’t want to love. The trick is to always keep your eyes shut.

I thank my dad for teaching me body parts are just as disposable as whole bodies. He removed his daughter to find happiness while I simply removed my heart.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Her stories, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

les escribí una carta a mis padres…

Queridos Padres,

Les escribo con amor y honestidad y siento que esto es la manera mas segura y correcta. Quiero empezar con decirles que los aprecio y los respeto como padres nunca me han dado para abajo y siempre quieren lo mejor para mi. También se que me dieron amor y un techo por muchos anos y eso nunca se me olvidara. Me ensenaron los buenos modales de trabajar duro ser valiente y honesta y humilde con todo ser humano y esos valores nunca se me olvidaran. Eh estado pasando por un camino de confusión y reflexión en este proceso estoy creciendo y madurando como una mujer profesional. Pero con eso también viene el hacer honesta con ustedes no tenia el valor en decirles como realmente me eh sentido Y quien me atraía como persona gay porque no quería causarles dolor y mirarlos tristes. No encontraba la manera de decirles y por eso no sabia como actuar y me alejaba de ustedes y empecé a tomar para sacar lo que traía adentro. Se que en los ojos de ustedes es algo difícil de comprender a un pero yo soy ser humana y sigo haciendo su hija y los sigo amando y queriendo siempre. Espero que me entiendan y no me miren diferente porque ya me canse de vivir una doble vida. Quiera a quien quiera quiero ser libre y poder expresarme y ser sincera con ustedes y darlos a respetar aun mas. Los adoro a todos y espero que después de esto estemos aun mas unidos como familia pero se que tengo que darles tiempo para reaccionar. Aquí estaré esperándolos con mis brazos abiertos los adoro mama y papa siempre!

Con mucho amor y cariño su hija.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Gender - there is no box!, Her stories

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave Love Left Where Love Died

Because I thought I could change you with ‘the right kind of love’, I took whatever you gave me.

Because drunk meetings in dark closets and rooms were romantic enough to let you take off all my clothes.

Because I thought that you holding my hair back while I gave you head meant you cared.

Because after spending an entire day right beside you, secret eye signals kept me content.

Because I thought that when you told me stories about your mom and dad, you gave me keys.

Because when you really did give me keys to parts of you, you didn’t want to deal with holding mine.

Because I still reply to your late night text at two in the morning and ask what’s up, even though I already know.

Because I always hope that we’ll have another drunken night like when we laid there and talked about leaving.

Because you can easily say lets stop doing this and ignore me but I can never let go so I patiently wait.

Because I know you’ll call two weeks later using some cheesy pick up line that I’ll call stupid but will still swoon over.

Because ill save your text messages as proof that I’m not crazy and you really do hit on me.

Because when someone caught us you threw me under the bus.

Because I expected better from you.

Because you still think that after three years of being secret nothings, we can still be friends.

Because you really thought that during those three years we were actually friends.

You were never my friend.

Because Love don’t hate.

Because I’m walking away and leaving whatever you wanna call this where it should’ve died years ago.

Because last time I said bye I really meant it.

Stop drunk dialing me, stop texting me, stop pretending we’re still cool,
Leave love left where love died.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2013 in Her stories, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

La lucha, they say, is no place for love letters

It´s finally sunset on top of the mountain but the shades of red are simply the sky’s reflection of the anger in your words: “I don’t understand how your mind works. I don’t like how your mind works” you said. Between shades of silent frustration, I hear again and again the echo of those words, as I  struggle to ground myself in the poems and tales of those who were abused by their compañeros within the movement. La lucha, they say, is no place for love letters.

 

“I don’t like how your mind works. I don’t like how your mind works”. I try not to silence my memory and reuse my dry seeds to replant ideas of healthy relationships between comrades. I gather my tears and save them for communal sorrows as I repeat a survivor’s mantra: My mind is powerful, my mind is beautiful. Your mind, mujer, is powerful; it´s beautiful.

 

That mind , tan  hermosa, tan coqueta, that seeks  foreplay, excitement and climax in ideas of liberation.

 

That mind where thoughts of conspiracy are being nurtured with the most intense political sense of rebellious motherhood.

 

That mind, that subversive mind, that is never competent with half answers and incomplete sentences. That mind that screams with rage at historical inaccuracies and euphemisms that hide genocide.

 

That mind that can trace the origin of myths and dogmatic perceptions that keep our collective consciousness hidden between pulpits that preach fear.

 

That mind that challenges orders.   

 

That mind that questions power.

 

That mind where gardens of decolonization are watered by  banned books and guerrilla lover letters.

 

That mind where poems are born.

 

That mind where songs are sung.

 

That mind, the engine of this mouth, that chants for freedom.

 

That mind, compañero, that mind that you claim in anger to not understand is where our everyday revolution is consolidated in love.

That  mind that today firmly replies, in my mother tongue, adiós.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags:

Let the revolution continue…

And on that day without plans

We all had agreed that a revolution was the goal

Angela said that a revolution lies in the principles and the goals that you’re striving for, not in the way you reach them. And Malcom agreed with her—by all means the revolution would take place with or without us. But Marcos had the last words, stating that we would always be able to question the means but never the revolution itself. That is when the words of Marx resonated in our heads. I remember him telling us that a revolution cannot be judged by its consciousness, but by its contradictions.

                           

It all made sense now.

 

So when did the revolution contradict itself?

We got too caught up on the revolution’s definitive statement

We forgot we were the catalysts

We forgot we were the tools

 

We didn’t want nothing short of a revolution

But we stopped growing

As soon as we stopped caring

We lost balance

And we stopped healing

We forgot about the process

Unwilling to seek truth  

We chose to not deal with our pain

…no more

And with that we lost sight of the revolution

 

We perpetuated the antithesis that has now become part of our process

To unlearn the tools of the oppressor 

Realizing we were hurting ourselves all along

 

All we have left now is to hold one another accountable

Acknowledge how we perpetuate and contradict ourselves

Admit that the revolution contradicted itself

As soon as we began contradicting ourselves

 

Altogether we lost sight of the revolution because

We forgot about us

We forgot about we

We forgot about you and me

 

It makes sense now

The revolution contradicted itself

As soon as we thought a revolution only took place on the outside

All this time we forgot about the revolution within us

 

Let the revolution continue

Lets remember about us

Lets talk about we

And lets us take care of you and me

Audrey told me that’s a part of self-preservation

 

Lets help one another move beyond survival

To heal

And relearn to love

To be brave

And to see beauty in our existence

 

 

Let the revolution continue

At least within us

Between you and me

With us

together we heal 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Keep Ya Head Up

When the fears start to reveal themselves, but your no longer afraid you’re just so sad it took you this long to understand. Then the tears run down your face because of all the pain you put yourself through, and you wonder how you managed to pretend you were so strong when clearly you were wrong. It’s like a self-inflicted wound that gives you ecstasy, but drains and brings along so much pain after the fact. But no one is there to kiss your scars, and until you find a way to love yourself in the aftermath of this craziness you’ll never allow anyone to come close enough to. You’ll spend your life pretending. Not trying to pretend, but you’ve become so disoriented that any idea of comfort or love fills the void he left when he took your most prized possession.

You go over and over it in your mind, blame falls on yourself each time. Because society tells you it’s your fault you got drunk, and that you wanted it. So you feel at a loss and things no longer feel the same. You’re in search of an emotion you can’t describe or never had, see he took away that chance too. You begin to look for that love and connection in every encounter you have. Although with each encounter you feel more and more drained and your energy and aura are no longer the same. Some will lie and you’ll fall for it, and it will make you feel even more lost when you discover your illusions have fallen ill. It becomes so bad to the point you feel it’s best to be alone, but the inner innocence that is still left in you tells you that there is more out there, there must be.

The dreamer in you believes in hope that someday women won’t ever have to go through this, and men will cherish the creators of this world. That the patriarchal society will someday break, and things go back to the natural order. That people won’t judge what they won’t ever come close to understanding being that, that person can’t even begin to figure themselves out, because a big piece of them was taken. Losing all self-worth one day I hope they will begin to see their true selves. I hope one day I’ll be able to see my true self.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 24, 2013 in Her stories

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,