Los Borregos and Acts of Inequitable Compassion

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Most of the Mexican@s and Chican@s reading this will most likely know what “borrego” refers to and for the rest, no I’m not talking about some fluffy sheep roaming about the pasture.

“No seas como los borregos,” or, “No seas una borrega.”

Loudly hearing those phrases my dad has continuously said to me since I can remember. “Mija, don’t be a sheep.” Baaaaa.

So why am I remembering this today and sharing it on the blog? The events of these past days have worked to shove me in that space. Some of you who actually know me, I mean really know me, may have heard me say that I’m a slightly unidirectional FB user. Meaning that I’ll post but don’t spend much time gazing into the lives of my FB friends. No se, looking at your pics makes me feel a bit like a peeper. Here and there I tend to look at the newsfeed but not much more than that. Anyway… so this weekend I couldn’t help but notice the raza exhibiting borrego behaviors. Here I will refrain from specific examples because my point is not to incite conflict, I’m just trying to reflect a bit, use more of a critical lens when I interpret worldly events, news, etc.

I just couldn’t help but notice how so many of the raza were borregiando you know. Media says, “Jump!” and we say, “how high?” Well f$%# that. Serious. If we are about compassion, if we are about empathy, if we are about being critical, if we are more than all of this B.S., then where was/is the equity? [No not equality because we all know that’s a crock of crap.]

Seeing my gente follow along like a flock of sheep made my brown skin cringe. My Xicana eyes witnessing the stark reminders that Brown, Black, and Red bodies are STILL not equitably regarded with the same amount of compassion and dignity.

Hundreds, if not thousands, de nuestras mujeres still missing.

43 students forever gone.

Beirut bombings.

147 dead in Kenya.

Lifeless Brown and Black bodies torn to shreds – images for the whole world to see.

But none of that seems to have the same effect on hearts, eyes, and minds across the globe. Don’t tell me that it does. Puras mentiras.

As I sit here, gazing upon the FB feed and seeing one after the other, faces painted blue, white, and red, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of grief and shame.

Amazon propaganda shouting – “Solidarité!”

O si? Apparently solidarity is demanded only when valued bodies bleed.

#lablogadora #nosoyborrega #Chicana

Dia de los Muertos 2015

DDLM 2015

What more is there to say? Most of those cabrones don’t even have a remote idea of what Dia de los Muertos is about.  In their shallow minds the day has become equated to painting your face and of course partying.  Ignorance at its best represented by the current commercialization and co-opting of a Mexicano tradition by mainstream America, but what’s new? Anyways… just had to make this short statement.

Gracias a mis maestr@s for showing us better, sus enseñanzas están en nuestros corazones hoy y siempre.

#lablogadora #dayofthedead #diadelosmuertos

Indigenous Resistance Day

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Today many of us who are cloaked in shades of brown skin will refuse to even acknowledge, much less celebrate, ese hijo de la fregada.

You are not a hero to us. You did not discover spaces that were already thriving before you and yours stepped one savage foot on the land.

Today we acknowledge that many of us continue to carry the imposed historical and political traumas. Haunting memories that still run throughout the veins.

So as some celebrate this day by immersing themselves in capitalist traditions that allow them forgetfulness …

          “Everything on sale!”

          “50-70% off!”

“Buy one get one free”

we remember all of those who suffered and died, images too painful to describe and revive.

To their dismay and surprise, we continue on even if some of us stagger, even if we may lose our footing here and there, we continue on our paths.

So instead of celebrating your foul name, we will celebrate our resilience and strength and all of those beings who continued on the traditions and languages even if it meant losing their lives.

You should be afraid that despite all of the conscious atrocities committed against the people, despite the intent to completely eradicate, we have not only survived, we have thrived.

#lablogadora #indigenousresistance #resilient

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte Incident: “I’m not white!”

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So the other afternoon my daughter and I were at Price Rite [a knock-off version of Smith’s located in the South Valley that doesn’t look at all like any of the other Smith’s around town]. As we were walking down the aisle she pointed out that the Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte was on sale for $2.99. I hesitated for a moment thinking – “hmmm… pumpkin spice? I don’t know about that,” but I went ahead and placed it in the cart after seeing her excitement. I’ve always liked chai tea and so the decision to buy it was made in seconds.

It was a quick one-item trip that always ends up in 5 or 6 but we made our way to check out in less than 10 minutes. There we were minding our own business trying to make it out of the store in less than 15 minutes when the chamako that was packing our groceries muttered something to us as we were waiting for him to finish – “Pumpkin Spice Latte, I don’t know about that.” I was like “What?” and then he says, “Well I guess for you white people.” Oh hell no did that mocoso just call me white! If you know me at all, you know that I definitely didn’t stay quiet. I suddenly found myself yelling out on instinct and defense – “I’m not white! Do I look white to you?! I’m Mexican [you fool!]! Que viva Mexico!”

Yup I managed to get all of that out and didn’t even think twice as I managed to make a scene at the front of the store with the majority of folks looking our way and laughing. The chamako now looking at me wide-eyed, surprised and laughing as well.

This leads me to my next thought – what up with ASSuming a person is white just because they happen to buy Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte? Did I need to explain as the cashier rang me up that I was buying it only because it was on sale? Did I need to justify my actual liking of chai spices? Last time I checked chai spices and chai tea emerged from India, not the US. No people, Chai Latte does not belong to Starbucks or some other US corporation. That’s another problematic issue to address – the cooptation of products that historically and traditionally are rooted in other countries. Like this – the cooptation of chai latte and the cooptation of yoga and Cinco de Mayo celebrated more by the party hardy frat boys on this side of the border than many Mexicanos themselves.

I was disturbed that I had to justify my Mexicana-ness to this lil’ cabron. Pero lo perdono because I know he doesn’t know any better than to associate Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte with the privileged whites and raza that have the luxury (yes luxury) of blowing $5 on a trendy seasonal drink.

So as I regained my composure and held my Mexican head up high, somewhere in the recesses of my mind I screamed – “Damn you Starbucks and Oprah and your corporatized version of Chai Latte!”

#lablogadora #pumpkinspicechailatte #notwhite #wtfchamako

Los Gatekeepers

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Many of you already know what gatekeeper refers to but just in case you forgot, here’s a refresher.

Gatekeepers are individuals who whether they like to admit it or not, decide whether you are worthy (or not) to receive what could be seen as a benefit to you such as a job promotion, a connection to a network, important information needed, etc.

Gatekeepers are people who have gained relative power in the system and now believe that they are entitled to evaluate your worthiness of receiving their help or better yet, their connection to something or someone that could possible benefit you in the long run.

What I have found through careful observation is that most gatekeepers will end up making sure you do NOT receive the possible beneficial connection or information. Gatekeepers end up functioning as exactly that – “keepers of the gate” – to systems and structures in place that are definitely not equitable or fair or just.

But what is most troubling in all of this is that the worst gatekeepers seem to be our own gente. Yeah you heard me – our own gente. It’s painful to even say it.

Logically you would think that once our gente get into positions of power or at least have more access to resources and information, that they would make sure the rest of us get at least a micro-slice of the privileged pie.

But what eventually happens is what most of us cannot escape (despite the indoctrination of religion, rigorous education, traditional upbringing, etc.) – human nature.

As you are out there walking in the world you will notice that los gatekeepers come in all shapes, sizes, and types (listed in no particular order of offensivity):

  • Non-Profit Industrial Complex Gatekeepers
  • Higher Education/Academia Gatekeepers
  • Religious Gatekeepers
  • Raza Gatekeepers
  • Patriarchal Gatekeepers
  • Wannabe Gatekeepers

The list can of course go on indefinitely.

Maybe what we should all do, especially as we move up the rungs of the deceptive ladder, is to put our feet to the fire and constantly question what our motives are when we consciously choose not to help our people. This is especially so for those who consider themselves allies to justicia and the cause.

Come on people don’t we already have it hard enough trying to ‘make it’ (whatever that means) in this lopsided society?

Chale with los gatekeepers!

#lablogadora #gatekeepers

Can’t we all just get along?

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I seriously had to just stop everything that I was doing to burn some sage in an attempt to ward off the cloud of bad mojo floating around me and write this. Writing is the way I process things or at least try to process them so I can be more rational-minded, whatever that means.

I keep asking myself the same question – are we in some type of astronomical funk o que? It seems that these last couple of weeks, especially this last week has been overfilled, I mean spilling feo, with misunderstandings, conflict, and straight-out unnecessary aggression directed at human beings. The planets must be in misalignment right now because I’ve noticed that it’s happening beyond my own personal space of locuras, the intense and ugly energia is everywhere.

These past days I went from someone aggressively asking me if I had a problem in a meeting to someone trying to school me via email to having to deal with the b.s. chisme related to someone’s insecurities about not being el mero mero.

When things get so bizarre like this I feel like withdrawing to cave-mode and just avoiding everything and everyone. But what good does that do, right? The power of el ojo will find you in whatever rincon you’re hiding at.

As I talked to my maestro this morning he reminded me of one of the four agreements – don’t take anything personally. I think I had to repeat that phrase muddled among some maldiciones at least a few dozen times before it started sinking in.

“Don’t take things personally…” “Don’t take things personally…” Repeat.

Can people cut me some slack here, por fa?

But like I said it’s everywhere so watch out or maybe you’ve been part of it and if you have been then maybe you should take a moment and give yourself one or two good swift kicks in the rear.

Let’s stop hating people, it doesn’t get us anywhere. Ugh.

#lablogadora #fullmoon #angrygentegohome #chicana

Tribute to a fallen Sundance brother.

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Last week one of our Sundance relatives passed on to the other side. He was only 5 years younger than I.

I can’t express in words the power, the beauty, the overwhelming emotions I felt as your lifeless body was carried into the arbor by your relatives for what would be your last dance.

I haven’t and will never witness a sight so moving, so loving, so intensely profound.

That sight reminding me that life holds no guarantees for any of us and that is why our abuelitas/os and maestras/os constantly remind us that on the Red Road you live every day as if it were your last. This is not to be misconstrued into Western notions of living irresponsibly and foolishly. What is meant is that every day that we awaken and walk on this Earth we are to be thankful to be alive, breathing. That we should take at least one moment to recognize this and to love those around us fully and completely.

Is it worth holding those petty feelings against tu hermana? tu mama? tu hija? tu vecina?

Even though I was not your blood relative I had a difficult time leaving your grave and as we finally drove away the tears fell again thinking that would be your first night below the ground.

I think about you E. A. and how the light of the Sun will never again touch your beautiful brown skin. It will miss you and so will the people, the drum, and the tree.

We are told that you are in a better place… Now with mi hermanita [32 years later and I still haven’t recovered], with mis abuelitos, with our carnal, and so many others that live on in our hearts and minds.

Life shows no favoritism people. Live it fully and love deeply. I write this because I am also trying to learn the lesson well.

May you rest in peace brother, forever hearing the beautiful drum and those Sundance songs wherever you may be…

#lablogadora  #chicana