The strength of the women in my life.

My grandmother moved to the United States from Mexico when she was in her 20’s, looking for work to feed my mother. She gave up everything she knew to start a new life. However, immigration told her she could only choose one, a life in Mexico, or one in the Unites States. Under her agreement, she was not allowed to declare residency in the United States, and even if she did, she was not allowed to travel across the border. She did both. My grandmother couldn’t go two years without seeing her daughter.

My mother crossed the border with a student visa when she was 9. She excelled in school, way more than any other kid. The education system here has never been the best. She grew up in an era of racism, gang wars, and through the second wave of feminism. She bought mens 501s and sat in bathtubs of blue waters to fit them to her female curves. She sewed her own prom dresses and wore her hair long and wavy like a true Californian. And through it all, she never got along with her step-dad, who treated her like a servant–demanding the world and more from her. And although I wish she had it easier, as no one should wish hardship on others, it made her the strongest woman I know. Her nurturing raised me, my sister, my friends, and children we have never seen again since their grade school years. She taught us all how to hold pencils and ride bikes, how to be polite and how to stand up for our own beliefs. She’s a powerhouse of a being who isn’t afraid to admit her faults and never feels the unknown. And I love her so.

Recently, my mother told me a story about her crossing the border. My grandmother had illegally crossed back to Mexico after illegally declaring residency so she could visit my mother, numerous times. On my grandmothers cross back to the United States, with my mom’s small hand in hers, the immigration guard checking their papers said to them, “I knew it. I knew there was a reason you kept crossing back over. I’ve checked your papers each time and something told me not to turn you in. She’s your reason.”

There are good people in this world. Sometimes they don’t know it, and most of the time the rest of the world doesn’t see it. If it weren’t for that guard keeping it silent, I may not be here today, my mother probably wouldn’t either and my grandmother could have been in huge trouble. But here we are.

And the strength of the women in my family. They are all so beautifully strong. I can only hope I have a sliver of that strength in myself.

Happy United States Mother’s Day!


A Home

I’ve realized that I can’t afford to move out. I can’t afford the time, the money, or the stress. But the stress part could be a lot more short term thinking. In the long run, feeling free in my own house could outweigh the stress from having to pay higher rent. If I hadn’t already experienced feeling uncomfortable and not welcomed in my own house then I probably wouldn’t consider this viewpoint. 

So now I’ll ignore the rest of the house. I will use it for my needs and that is all. 

I’ve begun to rethink my space. My room is not a place to store my needless things. It is now a place to rest, a place to make art, a place that keeps me warm in the winter. It is not anything more than four walls, separating myself from the rest that can’t seem to understand me. 

I feel like my last statement was out of a terrible scifi movie.

Well I guess that’s what happens when people let their ignorance get the best of them. I won’t have it. I thought they knew me better. If they didn’t then, they do now. 

I want to free my space of all unnecessary items that won’t relax me, help me in my artwork, clothe me, help me sleep, or make me look less like shit in the morning after getting 2 hours of sleep. I want to be able to have my work setup at all times. I want to see it when I wake up, use it throughout the day, and see if when I fall asleep. I want my work to be a part of my everyday, like it used to be. It’s a shame the time I’ve spent away from it, hoping the spark would come back. I’ve finally realized, when I’m in an environment like the one I’m in, I have to fight to keep the flame lit. All my energy lately has been negative towards my space. I wake up asking, “Why am I here again? What was it that I was expecting out of agreeing to live with close-minded people?” I remember once convincing myself that it would be good for me. As close-minded as I perceive them to be, they probably perceive me the same way. I kind of knew something would go wrong, and hoped that it would open my eyes to the amount of ignorance in the world, thus, canceling out my own ignorance of this reality. I think it worked, but I failed to accept the possible severity of a situation. And then one arose that threw me for a loop.  

My friend told me the other day, “You have a home here as long as I’m here.” So I have to keep on keepin on. He may or may not have known how much of an inspiration he was when he said that, and how much he still inspires me. 

Home is where you’re loved.