Dia de los Muertos…going beyond the trend

panteon

Dia de los Muertos has exploded onto the scene with crazy face-painted hippies and colorful calavera coasters made in China. Could it be that for one of the first times ever, it’s actually popular to be associated with Mexicano-ness? Well… if you notice, the Mexicano roots of Dia de los Muertos have been conveniently left out. Day of the Dead this and Dia de los Muertos that… but nowhere to be found in the description do you find the word “Mexican.”

bike riders

Although I have to admit that I like to paint my face and that of my children, this has always marked a time of reflection and nostalgia. Despite the newest and coolest Muertos parties, we can’t allow ourselves, especially us Mexican@s to forget what these days (not just one day) means for us and for our antepasados.

We Mexican@s have always been so in tune with the cycles of life that “death” became something to be remembered, respected, and celebrated. To be alive means to have an end. That is our ultimate fate as living creatures. But for us “death” does not equate to the goriness and fear as is often depicted in American Horror flicks. For the Mexican@, death symbolizes transformation and the entering of the next stage to Miktlan – el lugar de transformación.

This time marks not only the transformation of human beings but the transformation of our precious land. It is the transformation to the resting period of our tierra that unselfishly provides us with sustenance. For those of us here en esta tierra de Atrisco, it is also the transformation of our acequias for they are entering their resting period as well and our precious water will cease to flow through them.

So behind my cool calavera face I am remembering those loved ones who have arrived in Miktlan and who are patiently awaiting our arrival as well. Death is never easy but as we were taught by our abuelit@s, we don’t ever truly die until we are forgotten – for our loved ones continue to live on in our minds, our hearts, and our beings…

Abuelito…

Donde estarás?

Ya no te encuentro abajo de ese árbol que te daba de su sombra,

Allí sentadito en tu silla con tu paquete de faritos en tu mano y tu biblia en la otra, que tantas veces la cargaste y leíste que dejaste la huella de tu dedo por encima.

Mi abuelito tan trabajador, desde los 5 anhos ya entre los borregos.

Paletas, limpieza, bracero en la siembra y cosecha de este lado… siempre un trabajador.

Si pudiera regresar el tiempo tan engañoso, me iba corriendo a nuestra madre tierra para poder verte una vez mas.

Tu sonrisa, tu mirada, tus cuentos y enseñanzas siempre vivirán en mi ser y en mi corazón.

Abuelito… no te he olvidado y pronto estaremos juntos.

faritos

#lablogadora #xicana

Chicana Heaven

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Did I die and wake up in Chicana heaven or what?!

From listening to the words of the great Ana Castillo to the nostalgic sounds of Las Cafeteras, I was in complete Chicana bliss yesterday night.

I kept thinking about how important those reminders are… reminders of who we are as people and how we are all connected – children of the border – as one of the singers said.

Tears at some point flowing because the sounds emanating from those bodies brought with them so many memories of the concrete jungle I grew up in, streets I ran free on as a child, my family as many others since then shattered and dispersed, primos lost to the other side, time and people gone to never be recovered…

la sunsetBut most of all the sounds made me feel this surging sense of pride as I looked around and saw all of the beautiful brown faces in the crowd and for this moment in time we were together, contentos, and of all places in this institutional space that still tries to hold us down but regardless of what it does to us and how it pushes its overbearing weight on our beings, we move forward and we survive.

So many images of mis abuelitos y mis tias chulas, still so missed but never forgotten. Como nos han enseñado – you don’t really die until you are forgotten. Entonces aquí viven en mi corazón y en mis ojos y en mis palabras.

Today I am so thankful for all of the powerful people I have met on this path and for who we are and what we strive to be.

Today I puff out my chest and strut my East Los stuff because soy Xicana guerrera y juntos vamos a seguir en la lucha!

#lablogadora #xicanapride #lascafeteras

FB Friends Forever

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So the other day I was out and about at an event I helped to organize and in the near distance I recognized a person I’ve been Facebook (FB) friends with for awhile now. I was busy running around making sure everything was going smoothly when I was almost in “hi” distance with my FB friend. I was about to let out a huge hola when she turned and walked off. “Que?!” I brushed it off and thought well maybe she didn’t see me and continued the work I had to do. A bit later I realized she had left. I kept thinking – seriously not even a hi, but I thought we were “friends?”

This leads me to my point. How many of us have a bunch of FB friends that we don’t even really know? I mean yes we’ve run into them here and there but if asked, we couldn’t even tell you much about them. We don’t really know their history, where they’re from, or even if we share similar philosophic values. And no what you’ve learned about them from FB spying doesn’t count people!

But this is what I’m tripping out about. Here we are “friend-ing” people up on FB and giving el random Joe Blow and La Juana access to our private lives but yet we don’t really, really know them. I mean I’m not the Facebook-ie that has any crazy crap on my account but still, my FB friends can peer into my family life and a lot of moments that have been important in my life.

So this has me thinking, is FB a reflection of the slight shallowness of our society and how we treat relationships with people? Okay before you get loc@ on me, let me explain because whether I like to admit it or not, I kinda like Facebook (ugh I can’t believe I said it out loud!). Okay this is what I mean – could it be possible that we have lost a bit of those real personal connections with people because of FB? We have come to know people through a virtual reality that can be deceiving. Like the person I mentioned earlier. I was really surprised that she didn’t say hello. I mean if she went out of her way to friend me up and even look through some of my albums (only know because she liked a really old pic), shouldn’t she have spent even more energy coming over to say hola to me in person? Nowadays it’s so easy to “like” what’s important to you and others through virtual space but not in the flesh and blood? Hmmmm…. don’t know if I completely agree with that.

All I’m saying gente is that there is something voyeuristic-like about FB. By accepting the friend request we basically give someone (whether we really know them or not) access to our lives. Before FB existed, would we have done that? Would you have handed over your family albums or your albums full of selfies to some vat@ that you didn’t really know? Yeah and what’s up with that people? Last time I was FB spying a bit on someone who I admit don’t really super care for, more than half of her pics were of her face taken in different angles. Seriously who does that? Am I behind o que?

Okay okay I’ll stop… Sorry to take up your FB spying time with this rant. Just something for you to think about next time you’re in a FB friend-ing frenzy.

FB friends

#lablogadora #FBfriendsforever #chalewithFB

How do we gauge “success?”

shopping

Is it by the chanclas we wear or the ridiculously oversized gaudy purse we carry? “Wow Suzie nice Jimmy’s…”

Or is it by the number of people we help? [Do you ever stop to think that someone’s chanclas and purse are so damned expensive that the money the loca (or loco) spent on them could have helped an immense amount of poor folks? What if we converted the amount to how many burritos it would buy for the hungry or how many school supplies could have been purchased for struggling children?]

Is it by the number of digits in your yearly salary, or is it by the number of yearly digits you give to others?

Is the best measure of man/woman directly proportional to their material acquisitions? Or is this a mis-measure imposed by capitalistic thinking?

I am asking this not to be facetious, but I really have been spending some time thinking about it all. I mean according to dominant standards I would probably be considered a “failure” because I still earn a student salary [Wait… should I say that out loud? My pay is so shabby I don’t even show up on the Sunshine portal gente! Ha! Speaking of Sunshine portal, I encourage you to explore it during times of boredom, it’ll snap you right out of boredom to possible anger so watch out!]

I’m just saying have you stopped to think about how you measure your “success” and the “success” of those around you? What are the standards you use? Are they standards defined by the hegemonic beast or are they one’s your abuelitos would be proud of?

So next time you’re about to pay this exaggerated amount just to sport someone’s name, think about all the people you could help instead.

#lablogadora

Eye twerk problems

eye twerk

Yes I know it’s been a while, been so consumed and slightly overwhelmed with las batallas.

But I had to take time to write about what happened today because I’m still laughing over it. So for the last couple of weeks I’ve developed this strange twitchy eye thing and it’s only my left eye. The best way to explain it is that it starts jumping or twitching or maybe twerking (haha!). I think I’m noticing that it tends to flare up during moments of pressure, extreme stress, and from simply being over-caffeinated.

I’ve tried not to become too conscious of it because then I know it will bother me even more. So today I was given a “get out of jail free” pass to write and there I am drinking my foamy triple vanilla latte when the eye twerk starts. I was trying to ignore it as best I could. And as most other normal human beings of course I take moments here and there to glance around and observe my environment. There I was minding my own business looking through the window opposite from where I was sitting when I notice this young-ish guy looking right at me with a sly smile. I was taken aback for a moment and quickly regained my cool and provided a semi-smile and started working again.

There I am trying to concentrate on the dissertation while trying to control and ignore the twerky ojo when the guy comes over sits right in front of me and says “hi there lady.” Que?! At this point I have lost a bit of the Latina composure and I shoot back with an “excuse me?” Then he says too happily “so how are you today?” said in an ever so supposedly cool voice. By now the eye is totally out of control and I’m like “do I know you? Were you my former student?” and he’s like “no I don’t think so” while raising his eyebrows at me several times

Then it hit me like two tons of bricks that this poor dude mistook my damn twitchy eye for me winking at him! Ay dios mio en que problemas me va meter este ojo loco!

In the best tone that I could possibly muster while holding back this intense need to LOL, I said “I’m so sorry I think you’re mistaken. I’m not looking for a random coffee hook-up, I have a twerky out-of-control eye.” “See!” as I point to the crazy eye.

You should have seen how fast he bolted out of the shop.

So next time you’re out and about and think someone’s winking at you, just make sure that before you glide on over with a pre-fabricated pick-up line that it’s not the eye-twerk syndrome.

;-)

#eyetwerk #lablogadora