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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Reflection… Correction… Direction…

Here’s the thing — a little more clarification is necessary since it seems that the confusion continues.

First of all — this is not a competition for fans or views or reads. When we set out to launch malintZine on December 21, 2012 we had a vision of offering an anonymous space for women to speak their truths. Truths that had been silenced for too long. MalintZine has been and will continue to be a radically safe space that will ferociously protect the anonymity of our authors. But malintZine and her authors are not just the women who you’ve seen in photographs — we’re everywhere!! Indeed this space has been used to call men on the mat for their straight up bullshit and specific instances of fucked-upedness, but it has also been a safe space for sharing experiences than span the spectrum from fear to rape. We were not under the impression that the presence of our truths would come easily for anyone involved including ourselves. The truth tears down barriers, destroy relationships and bring others together. While we might have hoped otherwise, personal attacks were expected.

Since December 21, 2012 malintZine has grown into a larger community than we could have imagined that stretches from LA to Colorado, New York and Baltimore with a strong core of amazing mujeres in Tucson.

We were honored and blessed to have participated in and hosted events in the last week in Los Angeles and in Tucson. We were invited to speak in Maylei Blackwell’s class and sit on a panel with Maylei and Anna Nieto Gomez. In 1971 M.E.Ch.A held a mock funeral procession that was a ritualized attempt to kill Las Hijas de Cuactemoc. They carried caskets and walked with candles to a makeshift graveyard with gravestones for Hijas leaders and a lynched effigy of Anna Nieto Gomez (with her name inscribed). It was an honor to meet Anna, who stood up to the misogynistic Chicano leaders of her time, and a humbling privilege to sit beside her on the panel.

On Friday March 8th we had the pleasure of hosting Andrea Smith for a powerful discussion about accountability with well over 150 people in attendance followed by a launch party that brought together the community of malintZine readers, authors and editors. The ability to have the physical manifestation of the safe space that had been created online at malintzine.com was quite the event. There were poetry readings, zines, and plenty of music. Yes, there was a piñata and yes it was male bodied and yes we beat it with a stick until tamarindo, chamoy, lube and condoms gushed out. Yes, a drag king who resembled Three Sonorans attended the party and photos that have since been made public were taken. Three Sonorans has become the living embodiment of contemporary chingon politics. By his own doing, DA Morales has turned himself into a caricature of a 50-year history of misogynistic one-sided Chicano Movement narrative that holds its male leaders in blameless esteem.  Herein lies the point — maltinZine was created to counter the continuation of that narrative and on Friday night we celebrated.

And finally, we expect that you will continue your personal attacks on our motherhood, on our loyalty, on our motives, on our writing skills, on our education or lack of education, on our age, on our perceived sexuality, on our children and on our character — but your attacks don’t blight the truth. You may know who we are but you should also know that we are not going away. If there is a month where you cease to spew your false problematic narratives — we will be happy to keep your name of our blog (maybe!).

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malintZINE accepts submissions!

For more photos of March 8th’s International Womyn’s Day events hosted by malintZINE click HERE!

Calling upon the Chicano Pope to Reflect

How was the Chicano Pope chosen? Did I miss the anointment ceremony? The Chicano Pope proudly grinds the biggest axe to attack those who do not heed his mandates and demand for complicity. This is a call for the Chicano Pope to thoughtfully engage in the issue of accountability.  After all, it was the Chicano Pope who wrote, “What is so frustrating about politics is that there is so little accountability. We can continually screw up as my students would say and are not accountable. Because we as a society are ahistorical, we are unable to sort out the lies that our leaders tell us or correct our own errors…The biggest obstacle to furthering a Chicano, Latino, or anything you want to call it agenda is a lack of accountability.” Wise words but is the Pope exempt from heeding them?

The Chicano Pope feigns objectivity and freely admits that “In times like these I have found myself trying too hard, and becoming a motivational speaker instead of a teacher, relying on what some may call hyperboles to make my point.” He also proclaims that he is “protective of the legacy of the sixties.” Is the Chicano Pope trying to suppress intellectual inquiry that does not fit into his hero making narratives?  Are the accusations that Reies López Tijerina molested one of his children off limits? Or does this history not matter?  A few months ago the Chicano Pope openly encouraged us to embrace another “martyr” by boasting, “Based on my reading of history the stock of Sean Arce will reach epic levels. If he were living in California or Texas there would have been at least a half dozen corridos (ballads) written about him.”  The Chicano Pope has been silent on this issue, why?

Maybe the Pope “dreads” going to NACCS in San Antonio because for the last two years he has used the organization to peddle charlatan leaders who silenced and threatened those who disagreed in Tucson. Or does this history not matter?  People donated to ethnic studies and defense funds because the Chicano Pope had blessed these fundraising efforts.  Are these organizations going to offer yearly reports that detail where all the funds were spent?  The Chicano Pope asked us to donate to these causes and held the collection basket in his hands as he blessed those who reached into their pockets. Where is the accountability?

The Chicano Pope has made it clear that, “If people would be held accountable, this would put people on notice.”  Chicano Pope, this is your notice.  You have sold Chican@s short and out.  The paper trail you leave in this lifetime grows each time you lead the Chicano choir in nationalist hymns and engage in perverted reasoning aimed at silencing dissent in order to achieve a “Wonderful Life.”  What you offer is delusion.

Stop using smoke and mirrors to encourage ignorance and to discourage deeper examinations into shameful, antifeminists and homophobic histories. Stop casting stones against your CSU Northridge colleagues, NACCS and anyone who disagrees with you. And, realize that you do not have the power to dictate where outrage should be directed. This message is also a call for the Chicano Pope to examine his conscience. Stop seeking conformity.  Embrace new ways of thinking and listen to youth instead of preaching to them. This is hard to hear because your narcissism gets in the way, but Chican@ Studies will not crumble if you retire. New forms and people will step in and build on what it is and once was.  And, yes, it might even be better. Don’t be a Chicano Pope who presses for the conservative and traditional.

Step aside.

It is time.

Letters From the Palestinian Border

It would feel like if you ate
Gorged yourself in front of a hungry person.
But the starving one is the one who cooked the meal,
Grew the garden,
Nurtured the abundance
And then they just took it.
Ate from another’s plate.
For 63 years.
 
This is the border between Palestine and Lebanon
Between Palestine and us.
Between you and I.
This is what the border must look like
To the thirsty
To the hungry –
Dry, cracking Earth where I stand
Dying, withered weeds
Trash.
Zionist wrappers.
Empty
Bottles of water
And then-
My eyes feast on the overwhelming abundance just over the electric wall-
Rolling greens.
Fertile.
Plentiful
Life.
 
I feel numb.
I keep staring at the thirsty ground under my blistering feet.
Looking up and across
Creates a blocking in my throat.
She tells me when she was a little girl-
She wanted to be wealthy
Wealthy enough
Just enough
To buy her village back – she laughs a little.
I begin to sob so I carry my eyes to the ground again-
Weeping, parched, blowing plants
Struggling in the heat.
 
This time I look straight up.
Two flags
Scorched from the unbearable sun
I remember to wipe my brow.
 
I hear the UN solider behind me.
Questions.
Invading the past and present histories.
Memories.
And I can’t stop crying.
 
Thousands come to see their home-
A young woman yells in Arabic
“Palestine do you hear us?”
“We are here to see you”
“We are here to see you,”
“To love you,”
“To be with you,”
“To live you,”
“To live with you,”
“To live in you again.”
 
Then a little girl-
Running alongside the fence, happily chanting-
“Palestine”
“Palestine”
“Palestine”
She has known it her whole life.
Her grandmother looks up to the sky
“Ya Rab”
“My Lord”
“May we return to Palestine.”
 
Ya Allah-
May I return with healing hands and clear eyes
To see Palestine
To be Palestine.
 

Why malintZINE?: A Letter From Your Editors

One Zapatista philosophy says that a community should move as quickly as its slowest member. When people first see me, many falsely assume I’m that slowest member. Within the United States our language, our economy and our norms are part of a legacy of conquest that pushes me to that abject space—a place in society, in our communities, in our homes—that few embrace, initially anyways. I limped through the margins, silently fearful and with the world’s weight on my preadolescent, adolescent, early adulthood’s shoulders. The veil was in place, and I couldn’t have dreamed an alternate reality; this is life, and I am powerless. Or so I thought.

I needed that authority, college, to begin lifting the bandana situated over my eyes. Fuck, I’m so privileged. I needed those “experts” to tell me good job and validate my queer, my krip, my brown, my poor, my violated existence. No teacher ever pushed me to think of myself as powerful. My mama, tias, primas, Yaya, and sister validated me all my life—but their opinions didn’t matter though because our concerns came second, third, or never. Mentors—brown, poor, (dis)Abled, rich, white, hetero, queer, abled, angry, abused, tired, frustrated, powerful—people took my hand and pulled me from the outskirts, walked me to the podium, and told me my voice mattered.

Theory in the Flesh. The Personal IS Political. Your Voice Matters. You Are Unique and You Are Alike. It’s Okay to Dwell en La Frontera.

And I learned how to be powerful. I learned what power is. I learned that I have an important place en el mundo. And I will keep learning.

MalintZINE is an open space where that “slowest” community member can shout out, “slow down and wait for me” and the community stops to listen to that individual’s needs. The community does not try to throw out excuses for the community’s (in)actions, justify its too-fast pace, or ignore that individual. In fact, many within the community are thankful that the brave “slow one” spoke up and expressed a need or needs because others within that community were too scared, too intimidated, too hesitant, too unsure to speak up themselves. MalintZINE limps along with me declaring that it’s okay to slow down. It’s good to voice your concerns, needs, dreams, and desires.

She is a space where mujeres all over the world can feel validated and safe from ridicule, rejection, or retaliation.

Our Voices Matter.

Nuestras Herstoria es Importante.

Contigo.

From: The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House

“For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but
redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is
rediscovered. It is this real connection which is so feared by a patriarchal
world. Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social
power open to women.” ~ Audre Lorde
 
 
 
“Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male
ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs. This is an
old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with
the master’s concerns. ” ~ Audre Lorde

Are you a boy or a girl?

“Are you a boy or a girl?”

I walk into a gas station convenience store, pick up my Snapple and head to the register to pay. “Good evening, Sir. How are you doing today?” I ask, with a smile on my face.  “Good, how are you?” the clerk responds.“I’m doing well” I say. He tells me my total and I hand him a $20 bill. While making my change, he keeps looking up at me. I know this look. He is trying to figure me out. My baggy clothes and fitted hat are making it hard for him to identify me.  He looks me in the eye and says “are you a boy or a girl?”. I hate this question. It makes everything awkward. “Does it matter?” I respond “I just need my change”. I can see my change in his hand. I can see the look on his face. It has quickly changed from a smile to a scary look of anger, confusion and frustration. “I need to know. Why won’t you tell me? Why are you doing this?” I shake my head, take my keys out of my pocket (just in case I have to run) and I say “What am I doing to you?” hoping he will see how ridiculous this line of questioning is. “You look like that and you won’t tell me if you’re a boy or a girl.” I look him in his eyes, snatch my change out of his hand and quickly walk to my car.

“Are you a boy or a girl?”

I am pacing in front of a public restroom again, my eyes darting back and forth between the two signs. Heart racing. Palms sweating.  Men. Women. Men. Women.  I don’t fit into either category.  A mother walks out of the side marked “Women” with her kid, so I figure this would be a good time to go in because it’s probably empty. I dart towards a stall and I see a woman standing at the sink washing her hands. I walk into the stall and latch the door. “Excuse me. Excuse me. EXCUSE ME! Are you a boy or a girl?” the woman at the sink yells. I don’t know what to say. My deep voice is only going to make the situation worse. She is now banging on the door, trying to push it open. The door is shaking in front of me. She isn’t letting up. I pull up my pants, close my belt and open the door. I rush past her and walk out of the restroom. I can hear her screaming after me. I just want to get away from the whole situation. But I still have to pee.

“Are you a boy or a girl?”

The workweek  is over. I am ready to enjoy my weekend.  I walk to the corner, raise my arm and try to hail a cab. A group of young men and women are standing on the sidewalk 10 feet away from me.  They are looking at me and laughing. I’m trying my hardest to ignore them. “Yo!” yells one of the men.” “Yo, I’m talking to you. What the fuck are you?!” I am starting to panic. I begin to walk away. “Don’t fucking walk away from me, I’m asking you something!”. I can hear his footsteps running up behind me.  He grabs my shoulder, steps in front of me. He’s pissed off. I look at his face and think “he looks like he could be my brother”.  Same skin color, same face shape, same lips and nose.  He grabs my collar with both hands and slowly says “are you a boy…or a girl?” I get myself out of his grasp and say “just leave me alone” and I turn around to walk away. I see stars when his fist knocks into the back of my head.  I turn around and begin to defend myself, but my brain and body aren’t responding the way they should. I can’t believe this is happening in broad daylight, with people all around us. As he is punching and kicking me, I can hear his friends laughing. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me but I always hope it will be the last. “Maricon!” he screams as he kicks me one last time. He picks up his backpack, joins his friends and walks off with a smile on his face. No one helped me. No one even noticed.

You don’t have the right to ask me that. It is none of your business!! Because you really don’t care about how I identify and respecting that identity. You want to know what is in between my legs and furthermore, why?? You don’t have a right to my body. You especially don’t have the right to get angry or violent because I don’t want to answer you. 

The man from the last story shattered my knee. It is a source of constant physical pain in my life and with every step I take It’s a reminder of what hate and ignorance can do. It is also a reminder that although we shared identity and community as people of color, he still hurt me. Where are we going wrong that we are making victims of the most vulnerable people in our own communities? Whether it’s sexism or transphobia/homophobia played out through hate-crimes or domestic violence, there is a problem. How are we to move forward, if we are causing pain in our own families? We are supposed to heal each other, lift each other up. And as of now, we are failing at that. 

“Although only an estimated 2 to 5% of the population is transgender, 1 in 12 Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming people will be murdered. The average life expectancy for a transgender person is 37 years old. 49% of transgender people attempt suicide. A nationwide survey of bias-motivated violence against LGBT people from 1985 to 1998 found that incidents targeting transgender people accounted for 20% of all murders and about 40% of all police-initiated violence.”- transgenderlaw.org