Un Año Que Viene, Otro Que Se Va

It’s that time of year, time to wrap presents, make coquito, and look back at the year that is just about to come to a close and what a year it has been. I’ve traveled more for work more than ever. I committed more time to blogging and writing and relationships ended and started and not in that order. A ver los cambios y plans….

blogging

First off, you will note that I am not even at my mamitamala.com blog because I can’t!!! It’s been a little frustrating pero hopefully in the new year I will have my own domain and server and get back on the mamita mala blogging track. One of my resolutions this year was to blog everyday here  pero I was battling techinical difficulties, work, mamihood, and struggling with how much to reveal/not reveal in this space, including being unusually quiet about things I would normally scream about or the equivalent of screaming on a blog anyway. Me thinks that this new year I will have my own domain, server space and a new design pero also a new lease on returning to my roots as la Mamita Mala, meaning unapologetically honest and naked porque that’s what this space was created for. Not for you who choose to read but for me who needs to write and kind of likes being an exhibitionist.

So I will be working to make this more a regular space, especially now as I enter in single mami’hood again. I want this space to be about negotiating my mami’hood identity with my puta identity with my poeta identity and yeah maybe make some progress on this damn book. At one point during this year

Relationships

Ay so much to say here with so many concerns about privacy and others’ feelings. So mcuh of my blogging this past year was censored. No one requested that it be that way, it was something I chose to do to protect people’s feelings and at one point my own physical safety. In this past year I went from cohabitating, to being physically abused, to having what would be called “an affair” I suppose, to separating and becoming a single mami again. And it’s even more complicated than it sounds.

Pero in all of that I strengthened my own identity. I was able to bond with other radical woc in Detriot, I survived and then some  thanks to the circle of sanity in Denver during the DNC. I recognized how tenuous and superficial some relationships with other artists are especially when they question your Latino cred. I realized how little I have in common with the so called white attachment parenting anti-racist community. I realized how little I want to be a feminist when I am so much more than what that label could ever hold.

My own relationship with myself has come full circle. I disappoint and amaze myself. I fall in and out of love with myself and alot of it has to do with if I am true to myself or not and I spent so much of this year not being true to myself. When I did start to open up to what I really wanted, needed and deserved, the shift in feeling was amazing. That’s not to say that i am not working on a million parts of myself pero I almost killed Mamita Mala this past year, not the blog pero that whole side of my identity because I thought it would be easier than dealing with the backlash. Pero then I realized that I, Mamita Mala was too important to kill off, that I have so uch more to do with so many people. So as I tie up a few loose ends in my life, like making sure I have a roof over my kids’ heads, in 2009 Mamita Mala will rise again.

Writing and Reading

This past year my writing has taken me all around the country, speaking to college students and organizations, speaking at political events and recording powerful poetry. I was inspired to write in Spanish and then translate to English for the first time ever pero no I still haven’t written my damn book pero in the new year it will be because it has to be. I already have readings lined up for January and am working on Feburary and I am planning on maybe speanding the summer out of the city to write away with less distractions.

May the new year bring happiness, light, clarity and justice and love (and some good sex would be nice too).

I’ve been Away

I took a vacation. A time away from the craziness that is the logistics of a breakup. A time away from the need to post a certain number of blogposts per day in order to reach a certain number of hits, a certain amount of money. A time away from the constant demands of mami’hood and responsibilities to communities.

Vacations are pure escapism yet my vacation in a super secret location was also about living painful realities, sitting with them, hiding from them, and facing them again. It was about sleeping in and witnessing patterns of daily life you dreamed about. It was about long walks under moonlit skies, wine, coffee, nakedness, food, familiar sounds coming from unfamiliar places, breathing in new air, mourning and then hoping again only to mourn some more.

I made a game about not telling people where I was going, about being all clandestina when it wasn’t a game at all, rather a request, a courtesy, a respect for myself and others and I guess a need. A need I still am not content with and resent the same way I resent all the compromises i make. I have started to question when consideration for someone else trumps your own path to happiness and if it should.

Now I brace for the long winter of change, emotionally sleep and hibernate, using my stores of knowledge and experience to survive and wait for the spring hoping it will remain true to its promise of new beginnings and rebirth.

What Mamita Mala Wants

Last week I was honored with the opportunity to speak at the NYC stop of the This is What Women Want tour.

I had written and chosen my words carefully and well and was nervous pero happy with the reception. I wasn’t ready however to see a woman I admired, a woman whom represents so much of my own struggles as a Puerto Rican woman. I thought I saw her before I entered the theatre where I would be speaking, pero I wasn’t really sure till I was up on stage, all nervous and energized. I knew it was her by all the places she applauded at: at my mention of Richie and of Puerto Rico. You can hear her bracelets moving in the video above. And after my speech, as I stepped down , she was there, with open arms to embrace me. I couldn’t help but cry.
“Do you know who I am?” she asked.
“Of course” I said
She was Dylcia Pagan, former political prisoner, always Rican freedom fighter.

Mamita Mala wants to keep working for freedom.

Mi Vida es Mi Trabajo

My work is not my life pero my life is my work.

It is an extremely privileged position to be in, to make my living with transforming my life into words. It’s a meager living in terms of money, no doubt, pero I didn’t choose this life for the money. I chose this life because I wanted my daily routines to be rooted in me and my values and my community. I am so so grateful for this gift.

That said I am behind on my work. I am behind on my life. I feel like I have wasted time in bad spaces with negative people and influences and I feel that only now am I opening my heart and soul wide fucking open. It’s not easy. It’s even painful at time, not just to me pero to people around me as well. Just as we write and then edit, we live and then reflect and move forward.

My dear prima said I seemed happier and more focused than ever, and she’s right. I am.

Just to share one of my most recent intersections of life and work. Last weekend I was honored to read from a blog piece published in Just Like a Girl.

You can see pictures of the amazing evening here.

You can read the original post here.

What was so amazing that night was that women weaved their tales about their bodies, their loves, their hurts and we all in some way make our lives our work.

Gracias to all who came and supported and the new people I met.

It bugged me out being asked to sign books, sign on the pages where my name was printed. I still need to learn to take ownership and pride in my life/work, tag my name on the paths where I walk porque coño, my life/work leaves its mark. I need to make sure it’s my mark.

Tonight la Mamita Mala Acts Just Like a Girl

Soy pura mujer: Esa chica walking into the bar that you couldn’t resist, la madre de tu hija x2, twitterputa, blogfresca, Puerto Rican poeta. I am honored to have a tiny pedazo of me inside  Just Like a Girl:

Just Like A Girl is a rough-and-tumble, sassy, kick-ass travelogue through the bumpy, powerful, action-packed world of GIRL. A world where girls and women know how to pick themselves up and brush themselves off. These are the clever girls. The funny girls. The girls who know there is no sin in being born one.

Tonite in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, home of many Malaventuras,  join editor Michelle Sewell and contributors Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Maegan “la Mala” Ortiz, Sara Herrington, Jade!, Ellen Hagan, Tanisha Christie, Penelope Laurence, and K. Coleman Foote for a sizzling, provocative, and boundary pushing reading.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 – 7:00pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
New York, NY

Y mira, not for nothing, the piece I have in the libro, came straight from my blogging, and is hot. Hope to see some of your there.

M

Tanto Espacio Y Todavia Falta

I feel like I’ve been living in borrowed space, borrowed time with borrowed people for a little bit now. It’s been a week or so since I’ve been locked out of my online casita, MamitaMala. It’s funny. I was Mamita Mala before I was a blogger and yet, blogging and the community carved from it, has been unbelievably important, full of impact and implications. So, call me an addict for missing the blog as an outlet, but it really is an extension of myself and my life reaching in and then out.

So the chica, who struggles with the desire for home and homeland, the mujer who fights against borders, outlines and claims another space, an tent city for my exiled words, aqui.

It feels a little silly, the attention paid to the details here. The dark colors reflecting my morning/mourning mood this morning and now the meticulously designed banner courtesy of Xolagrafik , (mil gracias Nezua for capturing) reflecting the Nuyorican poeta/puta. All this for a home that is not permanant, pero rather an in between space.

Pero it makes sense. It reflects my in between heart that knows where it wants to be but has a long way to go to get there.

So si, bienvenida to the neon lit ciudad until it too, burns away.