los dreamers

i am not a dreamer, and i cannot image the heartbreak of those who are.

today, our president committed an inhumane abuse of power; he terminated the deferred action for childhood arrivals program (daca). daca recipients are forced to renew their work permits within the next 30 days (if eligible), only to be potentially granted two additional years of “protected” status. needless to say, thousands will be left without legal status in the united states, and in turn, unprotected by the very government they chose to expose themselves to. they will be left unprotected by the law they have upheld and respected. they will be left vulnerable to communal and legal abuse because they will be left stateless in a country they were permitted to participate in only yesterday. individuals will suffer from such institutional manipulation. families will crumble financially and emotionally. more people will live in fear in the “home of the brave”.

i have not been proud of the united states for a long time. i have been disgusted by it; i have loathed it; however, i have appreciated the privileges this country has offered its people. i am grateful for the opportunities it has given me. but, today illuminated the encroaching terrorism that has plagued black and brown communities for centuries. today is another example of how bigotry is entrenched in our policies. in our people. our government.

i am outraged by today’s cruelty.

dreamers, i am here to serve you the best i can. we are praying and fighting for you. you are loved.

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the little choices

we sit at the oversized, red-toned mahogany table a salesman pressured you into buying. you have never admitted this to me.

my sister recounted the transaction, while you were showering. you were on the hunt for a sturdier, slightly larger table than the plastic black one you had. it wobbled when you put down a cazuela, so no, it wouldn’t do.

and, at a thrift store, this tall, reddish brown table caught your eye. the reflection of the spinning ceiling fan on its glossy tabletop hypnotized you. however, it was too large for the studio apartment. it wouldn’t do, you mumbled.

a lurking salesman noticed your lustful gaze and offered you a price. you shared that you were interested, but that it wouldn’t fit. how would you even take it home? it’s just too large. he said not to worry–he’d bring it to you and set it up for free. you politely declined. he insisted.

you both are at the apartment. you’re sitting on the couch, with your legs crossed, sipping an iced coke while he’s kneeling beside the table, piecing it together. he makes small talk. the weather is lovely. you are lovely. do you only have one daughter? she’s awfully quiet. is her mouth sewn shut? people must walk all over her.

you agreed with him. you wished aloud that she were more outgoing, talkative, and confident.

my sister watched you in silence.

she says you didn’t want this table, but at least you got to choose it. choosing is important to you. you remind us that our dad never let you pick anything that went on the walls. he never let you select furniture. he never let you choose.

you chose this bulky table, and you’re keeping it.

a rambling

whenever i feel inept, it’s those small accomplishments that satisfy the ego:

i brewed my morning coffee to perfection;
i arrived to work on time;
i left work on time;
i read that library book for a little while;
i slept on time;
repeat.

but with this self created paradigm these accomplishments soon become mundane. the ego says i’m not simple, thus my routine shouldn’t be. it says i need complexity, i need variety, i need more. i add the following:

i reach out to an old friend;
i see my significant other;
i explore parts of town;
i exercise;
i purchase a new blouse;
the ego is content with these stimulants.

with time, it still craves more. it feels restrained, undesirable, needy, confused, frustrated, and unique. i want to stop craving but the ego tells me my cravings make me unique. i am unique from those content with simplicity, from those who become complacent with satisfaction. i desire more from life because i desire growth.

i tell myself that stagnancy is not mutually exclusive from growth, because there are things to be learned from stagnancy.

i tell myself to stop wanting so much. the ego says impossible. it’s the unfulfillment of those desires that make me unhappy, not the desires themselves.

i need self care. i need self love. i need self forgiveness.

i need to get out of my head

my mestiza consciousness

i woke up this morning and there were so many thoughts slipping and hovering throughout the motions of my morning routine and i am inclined to untangle everything on paper. what you are about to read is an unedited stream of consciousness, an in-cohesive essay, a rambling. this is an extremely long read.

you have been warned.

now, let me start by describing the wallpaper on my computer (it relates, i promise). my wallpaper is a painting of a beautiful young latina who wears a red dress and sits on a mexican and united states flag. her gaze is fixed on something beyond the flags she lounges on, and an enormous aztec calendar rests behind her. i do not remember the painting’s title nor the artist’s name.

this painting evoked many thoughts, one of them concerning the dual identities that xican@s navigate today. the identities that i am referring to are that of the host country and that of the country of origin. for example, as a xicana, my dual identities are mexican and estadounidense. many xican@ scholars have described the plethora of identities that makeup the mexican culture and influence mexican identity, specifically indigenous identities. these scholars, and other xican@s, have affirmed their devotion to their indigenous identity that has been hidden and ignored by many before them. this identity is a current reality for many and an obscured ancestral memory for others; this trinity of identities, then, is what many xican@s are accepting and honoring as their own. this is a wonderful and much-needed aspect of the movement that has continued to expand and has lots of work to do throughout the states and latin america.

i want to briefly state that i understand the complications of trying to separate identities to make sense of them; all cultures intertwine and are influenced by each other, but i am hesitate to describe mexican identity as indigenous. the mexican culture does practice and preserve many aspects of its indigenous roots, and there are so many cultural variances and overlappings that exist within mexico that i cannot fully distinguish indigenous culture from mexican. however, i am describing indigenous identity as one that practices and bathes in its native languages, beliefs, cultures, and customs. of course, the extent to which one practices these aspects are relative, but i contend that there is a difference between indigenous and dominant culture in mexico, a dominant culture that has tried to hide and eradicate the existence of its indigenous roots and peoples throughout its history.

with that being said, there are many xican@s who feel a sense of responsibility to accept and pride themselves on their indigenous identity although they are disconnected from it. this sense of devotion to a once hidden and shamed element of their historical identity, of their ancestry, has sparked questions of identity for me. more specifically, who qualifies as ancestry? when will we also acknowledge the multitude of historical cultures and identities that have shaped our peoples today? i am thinking of the how ancestral blackness is not celebrated, nor asian, and other identities that xican@s may not practice today but have surely influenced our culture, like the indigenous identity. although it can be contended that the emphasis on indigenous identity is an overall attempt to empower native, mexican culture that was oppressed and diminished by colonialism, such thinking depicts indigenous culture as pure, untinged by other influences. it still does not insist on valuing and exploring other historical influences that may have enriched or added to mexican culture. my thoughts have also stemmed from the recent, cruel and horrific attitude of dominican leaders to ethnically cleanse the state. whose culture is worthy of acknowledgement and value in our own?

many may wonder: what is the point of knowing one’s ancestry, despite the need to soothe that curious craving to uncover one’s past? by understanding our pasts, we can better discern our identities that help us maneuver current societal conditions and institutions. in other words, the past defogs the answers to questions of why we look the way we do, why we speak the way we do, why we believe in the things we do, the foundation of which our families and communities have grown and lived in, and how all of this helps shape who we are today.

and, despite the abundance of racial diversity in latin america and the seemingly overwhelming denial of racism that xican@s say come with it, i am wary of the argument that latin america is ignorant of its racism. many xican@s have argued the latter, but i believe such thinking is another version of internalized colonialism. i am confident that latin american scholars have explored race relations in their country. i am confident that there are latin american scholars who have studied how racism manifests in latin america. now, whether xican@s have access to their findings, theories, and studies is another story: in general, the west is portrayed as the sole incubator of liberal thought when that is not the case. or, at least, i do not believe it to be so. whether or not these scholars have evoked social movements to move towards racial equality is yet another story, but even then i am sure there has been some type of work done. there has to have been.

these are incomplete thoughts, and i welcome more thoughts, complete or incomplete. i know i have much research to do: i plan to read more xican@ literature and investigate the work of others, especially those in latin america, who have delved deeper into this abyss.

*****notes*****:
**throughout this piece, i refer to xican@s as those of latin american descent who grew up in the united states, in general xican@s refer to those of mexican descent but i think this experience can be applied to those of other ethnicities.
**i refrain from saying “american” to describe united states residency because central america, south america, and latin america are all americas. estadounidense refers to being from the united states without designating the u.s. as a focal point in the americas.
**mexico has experienced mass migrations and influences from the aforementioned peoples i mentioned. i am sure there are many others that i did not mention as well.

healthy breakfast recipe

The following ingredients may be modified to your liking.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
4 tbsp of fine ground coffee
1 cup of whole milk
1 tsp of baking powder
A pinch of artificial sweetener

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To preheat, massage temples with warm fingertips.

In a large mixing bowl, spread the brown sugar over yesterday’s memories to sweeten. Then, drizzle vanilla extract on brown sugar and knead ingredients together until the mixture becomes thick and firm. Add coffee to heighten sensations of self-awareness and expression. Pour milk to fortify the skeleton of your ambitions and aspirations. Use baking powder to froth over the aforementioned with humor.

Use an electric mixer, set on low, to blend. Add artificial sweetener to enhance vigilance. Once blended to your liking, spread consistency over today’s goals. Bake for 5 minutes, until the day becomes golden brown.

midnight ramblings

my heart thumps as loud as the boom of a grandfather clock. it pounds repeatedly and the more i try to focus on something else, like the galactic nail polish i painted on my toe nails the other day, the harder it ricochets against the inside my skull. the sound overwhelms the chambers of my head, to the point where i can’t compartmentalize its howl, and i let it compress me. i let it surround me in an invented, bare space i call home, and the sound muffles as i sink down to a linoleum floor.

i hear a groan, and i realize that irritable noise is escaping me. this vexes me, because i know i need to break that wretched grandfather clock, i need to do what buffy does and slice these dark demons away, i need to be the person i wish i was: strong, passionate, brazen, and courageous. i need to get up because time, as relative as it is, won’t wait for me to catch my breath. i know these things, i do.