10 Year Cycles

Nostalgia has always been a haunting presence in my life. Too often let my mind wander into the what ifs and I hone in on key moments, key people. At age 41 you’d think I get over this nasty little habit, stop feeding the bad spirits so that they recognize they can’t have a home in me but then again at age 41 you see the cycles so much more clearly.

Tragedies, history, trauma – I have come to believe are all cyclical and I wish that all the therapy and self care in the world would wipe that truth away – allow for clean endings and even neater beginnings pero la vida no es asi.

10 years ago I was writing about politics from a somewhat safe distance. My (measly) paycheck depended on it but in a different way than now. I could write about who was running for president, family separations at the borders and within, the politicians on both sides of the aisle talking out of both sides of their mouths and the nonprofits that propped them and their policies up – the same nonprofits that were once in lust with the likes of media makers (ahem bloggers, err journalists) like me with little repercussion except for counter posts, canceled contracts, blocked access to alleged insider information.

10 years ago I was equally as careless (or carefree?) about writing about my romances, my motherhood, my lack, my want, my desires. It was the the death knell for relationships but also the opening of other realizations about what (for better or for worse) I was capable of.

10 years later I have become capable of things I only dreamed of – I fantasized about moving west with/for a chain of lovers and here I am, in a house in Los Angeles . 10 years ago, the same non-profits ,whose practices I disparaged , are now part of my day to day.  10 years ago I imagined what it would be like to not fund raise (now crowdfund) for basic needs. I don’t have to imagine but there are still basic needs unmet.

I still haven’t written that damn book(s) -although I’m working on it. I still haven’t finished school – although I’m working on it. I still haven’t found that safety that romantic/sexual love was supposed to bring. That I think I’ve given up on. I’ve provided a decent life for my daughters but have also put them at great risk and now I seek a different type of safety. A different kind of security that can only come through deep heartache and learning from that heartache.

I’ve always given few fucks about certain things like rules, expectations but now from a place of precarious comfort and privilege I give even less fucks. I still have deep desires, deep hopes, and deep expectations of what I am capable of. I have proven to myself that jumping in the pool ( to steal a baby daddy’s quote) , holding my breath and hoping I will surface yields some progress but also costs so so much.

So 10 years later- the first day of a new month, when the veil between this world and others is transparent I don’t just ask the spirits, what they would do, but I ask my past self. And the answer is clear – as Audre Lorde said – it is better to speak. We were never meant to survive and yet here we still are. IMG_20181027_170314715_HDR

Danger

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The other evening, on my bus commute home from work I was reading the Parable of the Talents and suddenly I recalled how my mother understood the danger my work/life puts me in before I did. I burst into tears on the bus

When my little apartment in Corona was broken into and ransacked, around the time I was writing about minutemen, she was the first person to suggest this wasn’t a regular break in. Nothing was stolen. My laptop was on my bed where I left it. I didn’t want to believe my words, actions, being had power or could perceived as a (counter) threat to a revived white supremacist movement. Now as doxxing, harassment, and other forms of digital turned real violence has become more commonplace, it’s easier to believe, even for me.

But there are other betrayals, violences, violations that our parents, our families don’t warn us about directly. Over the holiday break, on our last evening together between wine, cheese and the Real Housewives of somewhere, I confessed some of the challenges I was facing in my cohabitation. This felt like a huge admission as I moved cross-country to be in this relationship, leaving my family, my support networks, my city behind. She became emotional and I wasn’t sure if it was because she felt bad for me, felt sad for me, or if she was being empathetic. She said that after her own marriage with my father ended, she never trusted men again.

“ I know this is wrong,” she admitted but it was what it was.

I fought back my own tears. I felt sad for relationships she could have had and didn’t, relationships she did have and maybe never gave them all they deserved, and the relationship she thought she had but in the end didn’t.

I felt like she was crying because she was afraid for me. She doesn’t want me to end up like her. I worry that it’s too late – for both of us.

Volver a Empezar (2018)

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I am actually writing this as 2017 is coming to a close. It is the night of the last new moon of the year and I have a horrible cold that I swear was my body and spirit detoxing from a hard hard year.

The cold came a day after a day of hangover symptoms even though I didn’t have alcohol. Peeps in my office had me convinced that office yoga moved some energy in me. I also could have just been exhausted from two weeks of travelling (LA to Chicago to NY to LA to San Fran and to LA again). Did I mention I traveled with my 10 year old?

2017 was an intense year that screamed at me that things needed to change in my life. The outside world was doing its own screaming. We have our 45th president. I turned 40. My personal/family life was a mess so I began therapy. My adult child moved out. My partner and I started couple’s therapy. Two exes told me how wonderful I was for them because of all I did for them and all of this left me heartbroken and feeling like, to quote my 10 year old, my cup of care was empty.

There are a few things that did manifest themselves at the end of 2017 that seem to me like breakthroughs/visions. One of those things is how much I miss writing and performing and that the veil that I think exists between me as a “professional” and me as a media maker is an illusion. People in the NPIC where I now draw a paycheck knew me (and resented/disliked me) as Mamita Mala. No one talks about it because in the Los Angeles NPIC very few people are direct about anything. There is a lot of chisme and talking behind people’s backs. I prefer to be direct.

In December when my dear amiga brought me to an open mic and I read a piece almost as old as my older child, word got around quick. It felt good when I read at make/shift’s closing and it gave me the opportunity to reclaim and stand in my role as media make/writer. So I will spend much of 2018 figuring out how I reclaim and hold that part of me alongside the rest of me.

I’m not leaving my job anytime soon – as I – much to chagrin of many – am good at it, and I actually enjoy working with the people I work with and there are goals that I have for the org I serve that I would like to see achieved.  However I’m under no illusion that I will be in my role forever. That’s not healthy – not for the org or for me, and honestly while Los Angeles has been so good to me, it also has broken my heart and left me feeling very very lonely. I suspect I will also figure out a path that will eventually bring me back to New York. Again this will likely be a long path but it needs to be drawn.

Also I have recognized that for much of my life I have sacrificed too much of myself for the care of others – especially lovers- in the hopes of someone, someday eventually offering that much care and attention to me. It has proven a fruitless war with myself thus far – although there have been many beautiful moments of love, affection, beauty, sweetness and yes – good sex. There is something however to the words of lovers who have called me nurturing and even a doormat, all at my own expense and perhaps even at the expense of the well-being of my children.

So much of 2018 will also be about learning to put myself first, get my needs met first and not externally. I can take care of myself ( I have made it thus far – a little wounded but alive) and I need to put a more concerted effort in mothering myself, my work/writing, and my children.

The ever present exhibitionist in me invites you along for this journey

Welcome 2018

Pa’lante

 

 

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).