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

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Say No to Zombie Developments

Originally posted on La Jicarita:

By VIRGINIA NECOCHEA

Editor’s Note: The author is a member of the Contra Santolina Working Group, which is made up of various organizations, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, community leaders, and concerned community members. They decided to join forces against the Santolina Master Plan so they could align efforts and advocate more effectively.

I’m hoping that by now most Albuquerque residents have heard about the looming Santolina Master Plan. This is the massive 13,700-acre development that is being proposed for the city’s West Side. The plan area is bounded by I-40 to the north, 118th Street and the open space to the east, the Pajarito Mesa on the south, and the area adjacent to the Rio Puerco Valley on the west (Bernalillo County). At build-out it is expected to have 37,930 dwelling units with a population of ~ 95,000 people. This would be larger than the present City of Santa Fe. But…

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Who needs enemies when we have each other?

mujer calavera

Alright raza when does one finally earn their stripes? Please don’t tell me when I’m 6 foot under or actually in my case, strewn all over the Califaztlan coast.

Let me explain a bit more. I’m referring to the unfortunate reality in our communities, especially among activists, of the practice of “hating” on one another. When did we forget that we are all (or should be) working towards the same end goal? Or aren’t we all most concerned with the progress, success, and well being of our gente?

Last time I was at a community meeting I was pretty much torn to shreds and at one point I felt like losing my superficial cool and shouting – “who died and made you the patron/patrona of all activists?!” Chingao!

Isn’t what matters that we want to demand and make change in our white-ified institutions and in our communities or at least function as the perpetual thorn in their side? Do I seriously need to start carrying my activista CV and read it aloud during introductions? Hmmm… no, that might not go to0 well.

All I’m saying is that I’m tired of all of the divisive fronteras within us. We fight against the fronteras dividing our families but what about those darned fronteras we’ve set up among ourselves? We can’t successfully and completely tear down the outside fronteras until we destroy the ones between us.

I know, I know… I’m not supposed to be publicly talking about our garras suicias but how else will we confront and hopefully solve this problem we have.

I don’t think I’m above and beyond anyone of my camaradas. I read all that crap about the nature of internalized oppression and the colonizer/colonized mentality long ago. We hold each other down because we have learned from the bad example set by society. But what has put my perspective most in check is knowing what it feels like to constantly be at the bottom rung of the activist ladder.

Raza let’s stop wasting time choosing the best knife to insert in each other’s backs and instead see the power and beauty in working juntos – now that’s how we’ll put them in check.