today is my birthday.
i am 22 years old.
it feels odd to be here.
i met up with marijo and we collected notebooks from marypaz and victor.
i just finished reading them. they are beautiful.
this is what i came back for. these kids.
how could i ever forget those two beautiful kids?
and they are still just as beautiful.
and the way they trust me!
i love them so much and in a way i’ve never loved anyone before.
all the cards from the kids in class, all the singing and the cuadernos have made this the best birthday i could’ve ever asked for…
their dreams are becoming my dreams.
i fell asleep last night imagining a day when i could show enrique the forest of santa cruz. when i could show him all the naturaleza and trees.
to walk to the meadow with him and stand there with the trees surrounding him-making him the center of the universe for a moment.
i thought about a day when i would travel to ensenada to watch victor’s university soccer team play a game.
i imagined a day when judith would be on my tv wearing the latest fashion trend which was, of course, designed by nelly.
i can even imagine a day when mari can show the world how much she loves her daughter.
when she can overcome that womanly need for male attention and simply live for her babygirl.
this is how the world should be.
we should dream together.
our dreams are not these isolated thoughts that appear in our heads.
they are only realized together, supporting each other in a world that doesn’t always support us.
there is this nobility about the boys in 6B.
they seem uneffected and uninterested in girls.
and if put to the test, almost all of them would stand up for what’s right.
they don’t always do what’s right, which sounds contradictory, but it’s not.
even though some of them tease the other kids,
if someone truly hurt that kid, they would do the right thing.
i wonder where this nobility goes.
not that i think they all lose it-it will always be in there,
but it’s like it gets buried somewhere
under all the ugly things in the world.
and these beautifully, noble boys
become men who abandon children,
men who break hearts just because they can.
not that these boys will be like that,
but it must happen with a lot of 11 year-old boys in the world.
because i tend to see more bad men than good men.
and maybe that’s way i was so attached to isaac.
i met him when we were young, in 7th grade.
he was still good, innocent, noble. but then he changed.
i couldn’t recognize him anymore.
his nobility became manipulation and his goodness became lust.
what will i do?
you can’t make sure everyone stays good.
all you can do is stay good yourself.
even when everyone else is becoming more and more corrupt,
as more of the people we’ve trusted and loved and cared for
become as bad and as ugly as some parts of this world,
you have to stay good,
stay beautiful, stay golden.
none of the boys ever sit on the same couch as me.
none of them.
i will sit on the big couch in the very corner and the house
and all 6 boys will be crowded around the love seat.
the only people who will share a couch with me are nelly and perla.
as if i’m some hypersexualized temptress,
just waiting with my blonde hair and light skin
until they get close enough to pounce on.
he never lets me walk alone either.
as if i’m not aware, as if i don’t know.
i know i look different. i know the men watch me as i pass by,
they wave and whisper and yell. i’m not stupid.
i can walk alone. i can handle myself.
he has to trust that i’m aware,
that i know the response people have to me,
that i know my place,
that i can walk one block alone and be ok,
that i can handle any situation.
i was checked on my privilege last night.
i’m trying not to take it too personally,
i’m telling myself that they are reacting to the system, not to me.
but maybe they were reacting to me.
because i am the system. i am a representative of the system.
a system that’s keeping them here and allowing me to move all over the world.
the fact that my dream to travel and live in spain was possible
is like laughable to them.
part of me wants to cry-
i already felt so out of place here,
with everyone staring and talking about me,
being the only girl kickin’ it with a bunch of straight boys,
listening to them compare girls physically
and now they bring up this difference too!
my brain might burst!
one the other hand, i want to chastise them.
yes, i have the privilege of traveling,
but look at how far your male privilege is getting you here?!
where are your girl counterparts tonight boys?
at home taking care of kids whose dads left long ago?
or being under the watchful eyes of their parents?
meanwhile, you’re all here kickin it with wifi
and chips with chamoy!
but i must remember that i’m here to try to understand.
to learn from them-i’m not here to defend my privilege,
or chastise them for theirs.
only the oppressed can liberate the oppressor
and i am not here to do so, nor can i, liberate anyone.
so, i’ll take the hit, analyze the moment sociologically and culturally,
sigh for my bruised ego and thicken my skin.
i was checked on my privilege-it’s a good thing.
how can they say so much about the craziness just across the border
and not expect me to be interested in what’s really over there?
there’s no hot water in the house,
so irma warmed some water on the stove and gave it to me in a bucket.
if you ever want to get to know your body, wash it.
with our hot showers, we just sit there passively and let water fall on us.
actually putting the water on yourself requires you to be active.
getting accustomed to madrid, that was easy.
getting accustomed to any big city could be easy-
everything moves all the time, so you just start to move with it.
but here, getting accustomed to jaramillo,
to feeling dirty all the time, to drinking anything but water,
to working through the poverty-working in it and with it-
it’s going to be harder than i had expected.
the big city, it’ll take you in and smack you around a bit,
but this small town poverty-it’ll kick your ass.
so many young, pregnant girls.
i literally cannot imagine it.
23 years-old with one toddler and another on the way,
16 years-old, t-shirt stretched out over your belly,
skinny jeans unbuttoned to accomodate the changes,
headphones sticking out of her pocket.
and the mujeres here put the stepford wives to shame.
they work and work and work.
i read somewhere once that the quincenera is the only day in mexican culture truly dedicated to the girl/woman.
it seems that way.
but a lot of the women i’ve asked haven’t had quinceneras-
probably because of money.
can poverty be sexist?
we know it’s classist and racist.
but is it sexist too?
does poverty simply confirm all the -isms? perpetuate them?
one thing’s for sure, poverty definitely craves religion.
as we were walking around this morning,
i thought jaramillo reminded me of the field behind my yard when i was little.
how much i loved it.
i would play for hours, till it got dark in the tall grass and the dirt.
i would bring home all kinds of treasure-broken glass, tile, metal, trash,
along with bug bites and splinters.
but it’s like their whole life is that field.
i don’t know if i would’ve liked that.
the hardest part about being here will be realizing that these next 3 months are not about me.
i have to be flexible, go with the flow, always happy and bubbly-
they have all done so much to accomodate me
and they’re still giving me everything they have.
i have to be grateful. all the time. especially to armando.
- Paolo Friere; Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- Paolo Freire; Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- Paolo Freire; Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- Paolo Freire; Pedagogy of the Oppressed
- Paolo Freire; Pedagogy of the Oppressed.
walk up in the club like “end rape culture, unlearn sexism, question gender, fight back”
I think I loved the wrong person.
We had been friends in middle school and on and off throughout high school. I guess our relationship was always on and off like that. We talked on the phone a lot. About everything. We had fun. I was fun then. I trusted him. I don’t trust a lot of men; I doubt that many girls do. I was twelve when we first spoke.
Then I went away for college. We continued the relationship. He called every night. Then he asked me to a dance that he had to go to. I said yes. Said I’d buy a dress and fly home. Said we could hang out over summer before this dance. We did. We hung out the first few weeks of summer. We kept it casual. Then one day he called and told me he couldn’t do this. I still don’t know what that means. Do what? Go on a date? Watch movies together? Kiss? Keep talking on the phone? What was it he couldn’t do? Our relationship was more or less the same. But I said okay. I was confused and sad. I was nineteen. My best friend and I burned everything-pictures of him, letters we had written, anything he had ever given me. Hey, I was nineteen.
I don’t remember the first time we got back together. I don’t remember who called who or what was said. But somehow, we started talking again. We met up once when I was home. We made out in his truck. But truly neither of us knew what we were doing. I deleted my number from his phone and said we would never see each other again, but I was very wrong.
We got back in touch and this time I wanted more. I wanted to be with him. It had become obvious to me that this relationship was not temporary and with him in my life, I couldn’t see anyone else. We agreed to be friends with benefits. I went with the flow, but deep down I believed it would lead somewhere. It never did. He didn’t want what I wanted, didn’t feel whatever it was I felt. So, last summer we broke up, for good. I left the country and I cried all the time for at least two months and then I moved on. I was sure this time that it was over, that I’d never see him again. That was eight months ago. I was wrong.
He started IMing me. He told me he was sorry. He told me he was wrong. He told me I held a special place in his heart. I said that’s all well and good, but no-no, I don’t want to be friends. I thought I was okay. He called me on Skype. He still didn’t know I was in town. I told him to leave me alone. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.
And then I saw a picture of him and another girl. It broke me. I cried for days. I’ve never felt so betrayed. We don’t have any pictures together. We never made it to his Facebook page. But this girl, she had. I called him incredibly upset.
We texted and called for the next two months. Mostly just friendly. A lot of arguing. When I realized our relationship wouldn’t end, I said maybe we could be pen-pals. Like friends, but more distanced. And eventually, it’d fall apart. After this agreement, he still wanted to meet up. As friends, he said. Platonic friends, he promised. We would have self-control, he’d told me time and time again. It wasn’t platonic and it wasn’t friendly.
In the end, I guess I turned him down and I should be proud of that. But I’m very hurt. I loved him. I cared for him. I cried for him. And I wasn’t anything but a booty call. He lied. He didn’t want to be friends. After so long, after sharing everything with each other, after letting him in and trusting him, he could not be my friend.
What do I do now? Plaster his neighborhood with “Lost Dog” fliers with his face on them? Send his mom a letter? Tell one of his girls he’s a jerk? No. No. I won’t do any of these things. I am twenty-one now. He has been in my life for ten years. I spent three of those years trying desperately to love him.
So, I guess I will just accept it; I think I loved the wrong person. I wanted for years for him to be right. I blocked out the rest of the world to let him in. I spent time, emotions, energy and a certain love I had saved my whole life on him. And in the end he couldn’t respect me enough to simply be a friend.
But am I foolish? Moronic? Idiotic to have trusted him again? No. I just loved the wrong person. That’s all. I just loved the wrong person. You can’t always trust the people you want to. Even after years and years together. And maybe someday I’ll love a better person. But for now, the right person to love is myself. And I will love her more than I ever loved him.
i trusted you.
i don’t trust you anymore and you’ve given me no reason to.
he was right, i am gonna have to lose a friend.
but i don’t think i want you as a friend anymore anyway.
if someone had told me then that he’d be a better man than you,
that he would value my trust more and not take advantage of that,
i would’ve never believed them.
funny how things work out.
funny how people change.
“kiss me like you miss me,
fuck me like you hate me,
and when you’re fuckin someone else
just fuck her like she ain’t me.”
we argue in circles about the same thing.
and i just wonder why you want to see me, you want to touch me again,
hold me again, feel me in your arms, you want to talk to me,
but you don’t want me.
it doesn’t make any sense.
and i keep trying to show you that you do love me, you must.
if you keep arguing, if you keep fighting, if you want to see me.
but you can’t possibly love me if you haven’t figured it out by now.
no gender role fulfillment or quarter-life crisis would keep you from seeing what’s so obvious for so long.
“why do you wanna break my heart again?
why am i gonna let you try?”
and my inability to let you go will keep me here.
right where you’ve always had me.
but just like before, if you’re around, even as a platonic friend,
i can’t see past you, i can’t see around to everyone else in the world.
you cloud my vision, send a fog into my world.
and i’m no good for you either.
the way we are now makes me crazy.
it makes me insecure, impatient and suffocating.
you said so yourself.
why do we continue to hurt each other?
i know it’s not a game,
but then why do i feel like i’m losing?
If you wanna be my lover, you gotta be ready to tackle all forms of institutionalized oppression and topple the bastions of ignorance and bigotry that permeate all aspects of our lives, ya gotta get with my friendss!
i’m just sayin.