The Chicana in me ~ Embracing my identity


Special shout out to Ruby Chacon for hooking me up with the beautiful images I included in this post. 

Today I read the seventh chapter of Anzaldua’s Borderlands. It’s a piece on conciensia of the mestiza (Mestiza consciousness), I’m writing down some things that I felt. 
A thought came to my mind, mainly the humility I see in my parents and that often times was passed down to me. The idea that I didn't know better, that I needed something or someone to help me figure out who I was and what I needed to do. I find this notion to be empowering in my relationships, which I have found are some of my most valuable possessions. I call them possessions because for me relationships are tangible in the health they provide to my body through the nourishment of my esencia, my soul. 
The Ritual by Ruby Chacon, local Salt Lake City Chicana Artivist
I have found that embracing my culture is not actually an act of pride but instead of amor. That my parent’s concern with maintaining humility in my culture wasn't about thinking I was less, it was about finding more. Amor for my ancestors, and love for the line of mujeres that created me, and that nourished my consciousness. Even though sometimes I feel disconnected from them, my ancestors, because of my naivety as a participant in a world of materialism, when I take my shoes off and dig my feet into the earth I understand. This understanding is not an abstract thought, or impermanent state, it’s a physical force that warms my heart and moistens my eyes. At times because of that teaching of humility from my mother and father I kept these deep spiritual feelings a secret. I know this passion and warmth comes from inside me and is linked to a lineage of strong spirits that yearn to see me grow. 
“Rigidity means death” explains my struggle with rebellion and my intimate desire to seek truth to find peace. Reading these books and excerpts explains the why and how I have felt for a long time. It’s powerful to learn through the Chicana lens, I wonder if this is how white people feel learning their history, their methods and their ancestral culture as they learn to navigate their system of values through their academic journeys. I often wonder why I did so badly in high school and the beginning of my college career. I wonder if I had taken classes that applied to me and catered to my experience, would I have been more successful? Finding Venceremos and the Chicana journalism model was essential to my success as a student in a predominantly white college, so I guess the answer is yes.
Going back to reading, when thinking of the uprooting of dualistic thinking I realize it is a powerful notion that can be thought of as the smashing of the boxes society has placed each one of us into. Why can’t I be Mexicana, Tejana and Colombiana? Why can’t I be de aqui y de halla? Why can’t I hate being a mom and also love it? Why do I have to choose this or that? Why can’t I choose this and that?
I have decided I don’t want to teach my children everything I was taught and I find this hurts my parents at times because they don’t realize that I am still teaching them most of the things they taught me. I am teaching them all the things that I remember made me feel happy. As a woman of color, by ripping away the chains of a nationality, religion, homeland and race, that have been imposed by white supremacy, I can choose from here, I can choose from there and I don’t have to feel like a traitor to anyone. My spirit isn't weighed down by guilt of oppression to others. I have loyalty to my shameless spirit and to my ancestors, the ones who know what’s up because they have crossed over.
El Baile by Ruby Chacon
This reminds me of the freedom of becoming transparent, of learning and teaching through vulnerability. Through the power of honesty with our most deep self and our most pressing intuitions. La intuision de la mujer, the feeling that lets us know what is right, and what is not right at that moment. This feeling that refines as you become the creator of life, literally. Although I understand having children and rearing them is not the only purpose of the woman body, it is one of its functions. I feel this strong assertion from within that this function was given to the woman because she is the original creator of life, the architect of soul and true love.
Recently as a mother of three, two of which are in elementary school. I have learned I do need white allies, not only because I live in a white dominated space but also because it heals wounds and helps stitch parts of my heart that were broken by other white individuals. Some years ago I realized this resentment and anger only perpetuated the purpose behind the construction of whiteness, divisiveness to gain power. I realized that if I didn't learn to make amends with that part of me I would always remain wounded and vulnerable. I have consciously decided to make connections with white people and because this desire came from an honest place, I can say I have honest relationships with white women, who acknowledge their whiteness and value my brown skin.
Re-reading Anzaldua this week and recovering these beliefs has brought a lot of clarity to my mind because I remember why I've made certain choices and it gives me the strength to keep making them. It moves me forward to continue creating paths of choice and opportunity for my hijos, mis pollitos. And to continue my journey to seek truth that leads to new paths of happiness, understanding and uncertainty. Anzaldua is a powerful soul who transcends fortaleza through her words, I am grateful for her spirit. 

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