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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.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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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.

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

 

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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 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Love without walls…

I never understood the concept of love how my friends and family defined it or maybe I just had a different conceptualization of what this meant.
 
Because growing up I felt unloved by my own mother, the person who gave birth to me yet who also wished for my vanishment was hard. I grew up thinking that love did not exist, at least not for me. That love was only meant for others, but not for me. From an early age I decided to redefine the concept of love. 
 
Redefine the concept of love not as forever, but temporary. Not as with one person, but with many. Not as possession, but an experience. Not as anything someone said to me or I said to them, but as something I felt and something I acted on. Not as something that someone gave me, but I gave myself and shared with others. Not as something I thought, but lived. Not coming only from within myself, but learning and appreciating that love goes beyond person to person, it is an act that we need to learn to acknowledge because it surrounds us. 
 
The hardest part for me is being able to accept love. Because if my own mother couldn’t love me why would you? So I put up walls taller and thicker than anyone was ever willing to take down. Walls I protected and reconstructed throughout the years because I wanted to make sure that love would not go through those walls, at least not for me. 
 
As the years went by I decided to take them apart brick by brick. It has taken way too long to deconstruct them and I got tired. I forgot about them because I got so used to living within those walls–a prison that became a home. I was safe; safe from the world, but not safe from myself. 
I became my worst enemy, while thinking I was only protecting myself but unknowingly perpetuating my own unlovableness because I thought I didn’t deserve it, at least not from anyone but myself. 
 
Your love came to me like a bomb. A bomb that exploded all those walls and I was inside, scared, naked, and vulnerable.
But my pride and prison state of mind kept me within the walls you tore down because I still imagined them. I kept you away. I was too proud to say that I loved you too. I was too afraid to accept that someone could love me the way you did. I kept your love away. I kept my love for you within me, hardly ever sharing a drop of it. 
 
I was too proud to let go of everything I had worked so hard for…too much pride to just let you in like that.
I am once again redefining the concept of love, but this time without walls. 
I am tired of breaking my own heart…
 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Her stories

 

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