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.

word vomit⎮ summer reflections

as my summer comes to a close, i have been thinking about how i spent it. it is my last summer vacation, and i still cannot fathom what that means to me. i think that it’s so difficult for me to grasp because it reminds me of my youthfulness, my lack of responsibilities, childhood traditions, and that i will soon enter into adulthood officially once i graduate from college. i am excited, frightened, nervous, and eager to enter this new chapter in my life.

anyway, during the beginning of my summer vacation, i googled job and internship opportunities day and night. i filled out countless numbers of applications, contacted many employers, and went to several interviews. thankfully i was accepted as a volunteer for a wonderful nonprofit organization. due to high transportation costs, i didn’t volunteer as often as i wanted to—i only went 4 times. even so, after my last day with them, the nonprofit still emailed me a thank-you note and invited me to volunteer with them in the future. it meant a lot to me considering that i wasn’t such an active volunteer.

when i volunteered the few times that i did, i felt like i had a purpose. my purpose was to clock in on tuesdays and assist the organization with their weekly citizenship clinic by translating application forms for clients who couldn’t understand english very well. throughout the rest of week, however, i felt like i was wasting my summer away. i think i felt that way because most of my friends were spending their time interning, working, or attending summer school. i kept comparing my volunteer work to theirs, and for a time, i was dispirited. i chastised myself for not spending my summer more wisely.

in an effort to speed up the rest of week, i indulged in reading (for leisure), a pastime i didn’t explore since entering college. after finishing my first book this summer, i realized how much i missed reading. i made weekly trips to my local library and read fiction, autobiographies, and nonfiction works. soon after, i also rekindled my passion for writing.

i stopped writing when i entered college because i felt intimidated by my peers and professors. then, three and a half years later, one of my study-abroad instructors commented on how she enjoyed reading my writing (we had to write responses to creative writing and critical thinking prompts). at first, i thought she probably said that to everyone. but, a small voice whispered, maybe not…?

needless to say, i decided to try writing again, just like i had with reading. it was difficult at first. i used online creative writing prompts to trigger my thoughts, and disciplined myself to write at least once a week. at the same time, i posted these writing exercises on this blog. gradually, i wrote more often, and next thing i knew, i remembered what i had once loved so much and now love even more: writing. i missed tasting words, feeling their texture, rearranging them, and imagining them. i missed experimenting with poetry and creating stories. it’s true, as cheesy as that all sounds. and, i’m grateful for all of my WordPress readers and friends who have and continue support me on this writing journey. your likes, comments, views, and followings mean a great deal to me. thank you for that.

essentially, i thought this summer was going to be a waste of time. i thought that because i didn’t get an internship or job i would be even more lost on my path to adulthood and life. if anything, i’ve realized that this summer has been one that has brought me wonderful joys: self-exploration, long contemplations regarding life, revived passions, and spending time with those who are close to me. it was a different, much needed, well spent summer for me.

word vomit ⎮ the body, the soul, & spirituality

Lately I’ve been reading a couple of books, one of them being Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La frontera: The New Mestiza. In short, the author discusses her experience being in the middle of the U.S. and Mexican culture. She touches on several different topics, such as Aztec history, spirituality, and language. It’s a great read if you’re interested in Chicana or Women’s Studies. However, me asking you to read her book isn’t the point of this post. I have been thinking about one of her ideas. She left me with so questions after reading this paragraph:

[Some] religions encourage fear and distrust of life and of the body; they encourage a spilt between the body and the spirit and totally ignore the soul; they encourage us to kill off parts of ourselves. We are taught that the body is an ignorant animal; intelligence dwells only in the head. But the body is smart. It does not discern between external stimuli and stimuli from the imagination. It reacts equally viscerally to events from the imagination as it does to ‘real’ events. (Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La frontera: The New Mestiza, pages 37-38)

All my life, I have been taught that my body is nothing more than a vessel that my spirit will leave once it can no longer hold me. This idea comforted me. I’ve always told myself to fear nothing because my body will be what’s damaged and not my soul. My body will be the part of me rotting in the ground while my spirit soars throughout space and time, interacting with other energies. Now that I am intrigued by this new possibility, the comfort I felt before is fading. If my body and my spirit are linked, and not as separate as I think…if my body is damaged, will my spirit be affected? If my spirit is low, will my body be?

I like the concept that Anzaldúa presents: the notion that the body is more than a vessel, that our bodies and spirits are joined in some way. Perhaps our bodies teach our souls a few things, and our souls teach our bodies a few others—an exchange of thought, feelings, realities. Now that I’ve had more time to think about it, it isn’t a bad thing that our bodies and souls are intertwined. If my body is healthy, my spirit would be too; if my body is hurting, my spirit would learn to heal; if my spirit is sad, my body would express it. This quote has described the importance of taking care of the two, seeing them as a team instead of being separate entities. I like it.

I also agree with Anzaldúa in that the body isn’t an uneducated, oblivious creature. It recognizes the realities we experience (from the common reality we all share to things that are otherworldly). Some of us feel a cold air, goosebumps, or our heart stops; it’s our body signaling a strange occurrence to our minds, our souls. Our souls and bodies work in conjunction. It is not only the spirit that experiences our lives, but our body as well, and vice versa.

This may all seem like common sense. But to me, it’s something I’ve just discovered a few days ago and it clicked. I love reading/hearing different perspectives regarding spirituality, and at the moment, I enjoy this idea that Anzaldúa introduces.