Lucinda and Bill

I visited Cozumel recently, and on one of the happiest days there, I met a couple in the pool area. The man was in a wheelchair, and his wife was an expert at putting him in the pool. I could tell from the look on his face that the lightness of his body in the water was soothing. He looked happy being out of the chair. I felt a little guilty, watching the woman struggle getting her husband in the pool, but she looked strong and determined. When she was about to get back to her poolside seat, I spoke to her and confessed, “I’m sorry I didn’t help you. I didn’t know if it was appropriate to ask.” She turned around and said to me, “Oh, don’t worry about it. We’re all set here. Thank you for asking now.” Then what happened surprised me.

She introduced herself as Lucinda, and her husband was Bill. “Short for William,” she said with a big smile on her face. She then proceeded to tell me the story of her life. Her warm, comforting voice had me craving to know more about her. It was about 4 or so when we started talking, and I returned to my room close to 9. I had such a blast hearing her story and falling in love with it.

Lucinda told me Bill was a veteran, and she believes what caused the breast cancer she had and later on Bill’s progressive, paralyzing disease was his exposure to a nuclear warhead he had to work around when he was deployed to the Gulf War. She told me how they met, about her beautiful children and grandchildren, and even about her German daughter-in-law. She talked about how happy she was about life in general, despite all the losses and the continued deterioration of Bill’s health. “He lost control of his right side this year, you know,” she told me. It broke my heart to hear her talking about this. But then we talked about being thankful, about how happy I was to see him walking around the pool, and how he made me feel grateful for all the blessings in my life: the ability to walk, to move around at will, to have my health. 

Then Lucinda moved on to the amazing story of why she and Bill were in Cozumel. It turns out that Bill belongs to a diving club, and he was traveling with a group of people who have all kinds of injuries that cause them to be in wheelchairs, as well as people with cerebral palsy. Right when we were talking about this and how they all actually dive, two people from the group joined us, both of them in their late 20s or early 30s. They openly talked about their injuries. The man happened to trip once – as Bill stated, “a bad trip” – landing in the wrong place at the wrong  time, and that was it – he dislocated spinal discs C6 and C7. He showed us the huge scar that runs from the base of his head nearly all the way down to his shoulder blades. He lost feeling from the area around his nipples all the way down his body. The woman had simply jumped into a pool and smashed her head on the bottom or side of the pool. She said she doesn’t entirely recall the incident because she lost consciousness and almost drowned. When she woke up, she learned she had smashed her C6 and C7 beyond repair. Her scar runs from the middle of her throat to the base of her ear. The surgeons lifted all that skin and removed the pieces of bone that were floating around. “I really smashed it good,” she said with a smiling face.

They were so open and kind, talking about their injuries, their group, their constant, CONSTANT pain, and how diving helps them release the pressure in their spine. They especially described the freedom they feel in the water and also explained that they dive with a partner who has full movement and is usually very experienced. The professional diver takes them around, helps them move around, and shows them where there is good stuff to watch. The diver is their guide, their legs, their propellers. I had never felt more humble, being around such wonderful people. I had never felt more appreciative of the multitude of blessings I have in my life. We laughed together as they recounted their stories, and above all, I learned so much. They were so eager to share.

When the others left, Lucinda and I kept talking. I told her that she was a goddess, and she was surprised. She said, “OH, NO! No, no. I believe in God, and there is only one God.” I told her that I didn’t mean it like that, but that she is taking care of this man with whom she’s deeply in love, she survived cancer, she’s been the head of a household all by herself. I told her I noticed that she smiled every single time Bill would come around the corner of the little island he was walking around in the pool to tell us, “One more round!” with a huge smile of his own and the best attitude possible. I could feel the enormity and warmth of their hearts. Bill was teasing me, saying I have a man in every port, but saying he was a hopeless romantic who fell in love with Lucinda the second he saw her pass by. “I didn’t care if she was married, a widow, had one baby or seven. That was it for me, Mono. She was for me.”

There is no way that I won’t keep in touch with this amazing couple. You know how you just kind of love and admire some people immediately? That’s what happened to me with these two. They gave me an open invitation to visit them, which of course I will do because I can’t wait to see them again and share our life stories once again. 

When I said goodbye that day, Lucinda said to me, “Please say hi to your parents from me. They have raised an amazing daughter,” and Bill blew me a kiss. 

Be grateful, be happy, be alive, be well. 

EL último esfuerzo

Es muy curioso como encuentro la simbología en las cosas cuando miro atrás y analizo con calma y es muy curioso también cómo la inspiración llega a las 3:29 de la mañana a pesar del silencio sepulcral que ya va a cumplir casi una semana.

Me esforcé! En no encontrar de nuevo simbolismos y repetición de ciclos, no había puesto mucha atención cuando me fui a Canadá aquella vez, pero puede que también en medio del viaje llegara un mensaje, igual que llegó en Japón en aquella litera que decía “I don’t love you anymore” igual que llegó en España con ese cuaderno que decía “I believe I was a great love novel in a past life”… pero ya no en esta, verdad?

Una última noche juntos, compartir el miedo de que vuelva a suceder, pedirle al universo que no sea así y mágicamente, desaparezco. Me aferro, me esfuerzo, escribo, comparto a diario, quiero que seas parte, te empujo para que lo seas, te siento aferrándote a esta historia, pero algo pasa, lo que siempre pasa, te sueltas.

Qué pasó? si yo supiera lo que pasa, no lo sé, no sé si las cosas serían diferentes pero algo pasa que aún no termino de entender, será la distancia? será el trabajo? será el estar con alguien más que borra todo lo demás? que borra las risas que nos hacen llorar, que borra esos abrazos que pueden durar horas, que borra todas las lagrimas de felicidad compartidas, que borra todas las cartas que al final si pudiste leer, que borran esos besos que sacan chispas, que borran ese sexo que parece de novela erótica, que borran esas noches platicando sin dormir ni un instante, que borran todas esas caricias eternas, que borran esa laguna, esa vía láctea, esa magia compartida y manifiesta? QUÉ PASÓ?

Todo se borró… TODO.

De este lado que pasó? Una persona esperó que se rompiera el ciclo, que cuando me sintiera desaparecer, todo eso que pasó en este último periodo regresara a tus recuerdos, te tocara como lo hace conmigo e hicieras el esfuerzo conjunto de seguir. No pasó, el afán de mi parte fue enorme, para no insistir, para no forzar, para no hacer algo de lo que me fuera arrepentir después. No fui prioridad, no soy prioridad, ni lo voy a ser en el futuro, cómo lo sé?: tuve un accidente, sabes quién fue la primer persona en enterarse? TÚ. Sabes quién fue la única persona que no mostró el menor interés en ello… TÚ, pasaron horas, me llamaron tantas personas, le dieron seguimiento todavía más, aguanté, el no poder respirar, el moretón gigante en las costillas, en las piernas, en los brazos, las botas rotas, la chamarra chamuscada, no dije nada. Aguanté. Me dolió más tu indiferencia que el golpe, mientras todos querían ver fotos del golpe, de la moto, saber cómo ayudaban tú solo escuchaste que alguien más ya había apoyado y desapareciste. Ahí está la razón de todo, tu indiferencia, tu falta de interés mermó mi interés. Merezco algo mejor. Pero aguanta, tal vez es el horario, llega a la siguiente etapa y tal vez ahí la cosa pueda cambiar.

Llegar a México y saber que tampoco hay el más mínimo deseo de escucharme. Ni saber cómo estoy, mientras tanto las llamadas del resto de la gente se dirigen a la siguiente etapa del viaje, la más difícil, la más demandante, mientras tanto, el cuerpo va acumulando toda la tristeza, todo el dolor. Llegar a Veracruz no fue difícil, fue un rush de adrenalina de 6 horas que acabó conmigo tumbada en una cama a las 9 de la noche caminando como zombie sin saber qué pedo con la vida. Esperándote.

Son las 6 de la mañana, ya vamos de camino al malecón, fotos, emoción, nervios, me asomo al mar y comienzo a llorar, estoy muerta de miedo, quisiera que estuvieras ahí, carajo estás ahí! pero sé que este es el último viaje en el que me vas a acompañar, el sol está saliendo así como estás saliendo de mi vida, levanto los brazos y lo único que me sale es lo de siempre lml_ por última vez.

No me lo esperaba, pero Clo me toma del hombro, me ve directamente a los ojos, -TÚ PUEDES CON ESTO, ES DIFÍCIL, VA A COSTARTE TRABAJO, PERO HAS PODIDO CON COSAS MUCHO MÁS DIFÍCILES QUE ESTA, Y AQUÍ ESTOY YO, AQUÍ ESTAMOS TODOS, TÚ PUEDES- contengo las lágrimas y ahí estás, apareces por un instante, el temblor de las manos y de las piernas desaparece “ánimo” me dices, y luego te vas. Me subo a la moto y vienes conmigo en el viaje más difícil de todos, 13 horas, (las mismas de un vuelo a Japón curiosamente) pensándote, acompañándome, en cada caseta en la que sentía desmayarme, en cada subidón de adrenalina por las curvas a 140km/h, en los momentos en los que quería llorar pero no podía porque tenía que guardar cuanto líquido me fuera posible para evitar deshidratarme, en la comida de teques… porque teques, en el hermoso atardecer, en todo momento, traté de retenerte, me esforcé por llevarte conmigo. Llegamos a la foto a la playa, te sentí irte, era momento de dejarte ir, no querías estar conmigo. Para este viaje ya no. Y mi cuerpo se rindió. Te sentí partir, sentí que ya no querías compartir, la goma mágica había borrado todo, de nuevo, esta vez para siempre. Lo supe y me sentí morir, literalmente.

Tu silencio me dice absolutamente todo, la decisión a la que has llegado, las prioridades en tu vida, lo que quieres, tu actitud habla más que mil palabras, ya no estás, ya no vas a estar.

No importa lo que diga, lo que haga, lo que pase… no es suficiente.

Mi padre no llora

Hace un par de días, mi Papá mandó al chat familiar la imagen de un niño japonés durante la segunda guerra mundial esperando su turno para cremar a su pequeño hermano muerto. En la imagen reza la historia de la foto, en la que el niño mordía tan fuertemente su labio para no llorar que le sangraban las comisuras de los labios. Palabras más, palabras menos, la imagen hasta hoy en día es símbolo en Japón de fuerza, y a la foto le acompaña un texto que dice así:

“Que esta foto sirva de ejemplo para los pequeñitos modernos que sufren por palabras, que creen que el mundo se terminó porque la novia deshonrada le cambio por otro. Niños que dicen sufrir de depresión y se cortan con láminas (que supongo son navajas) en sus habitaciones, haciendo que sus padres lloren de disgusto por los chantajes emocionales. Maduren!!! Vayan hombres, el mundo se está jodiendo por sus traumas. Su única alternativa es ser fuerte en este mundo…”

Me dio muchísima pena, y no fue el pequeño que en la foto trae cargando a su hermano a cuestas, obviamente sin vida, me dio pena mi padre, mi hermano. Este par de hombres a los que se les dijo C O N T I N U A M E N T E y a lo largo de su vida que llorar “no es de hombres” que sentir “es solo para las mujeres”. Este tipo de roles de género a creado una sociedad que no quiere pretende aceptar, no solo que los hombres lloren, sino que exista equidad en nuestros géneros, tampoco permite o juzga que exista más de un género, que juzga y que limita nuestro entendimiento del amor, de la familia, de nuestro rol en la sociedad. Que castiga y estigmatiza a quien se ve diferente, que nos pone etiquetas por permitirnos vivir en libertad el amor, el sexo, carajo, hasta los deportes!!!

El llorar, no le quita su hombría a mi padre, ni a mi hermano ni a ningún hombre sobre la faz de la tierra, sin embargo se les ha dicho que sí, y qué es lo que pasa con toda esa energía que se acumula cuando no podemos llorar? Bueno pues eso es muy fácil de explicar, cuando en México mueren 11 mujeres víctimas de feminicidio, cuando la taza de suicidios de hombres supera por MUCHÍSIMO la taza de las mujeres, cuando vemos que los hombres en general y en todo el mundo mueren antes de las mujeres, y no creo que sea una cosa que tenga que ver con lo que comen o con biología, creo que tiene que ver en demasía con la constante presión que se le pone al género masculino para ser fuerte, independiente, proveedor, líder, ganador, capaz, buen padre, buen amante, buen hijo, buen esposo, buen hermano, buen amigo y SIN QUEJARSE, SIN LLORAR, -eso es para las niñas, eso es para los maricones-

Qué me gustaría que pasara? Que tú, que tienes un hijo, un hermano, un primo, un amigo, conocido, allegado hombre, que ves que sufre porque no puede siquiera estar en contacto con su llanto le aconsejes que vaya a un psicólogo, que le digas, -LLORA CARNAL, DESAHOGATE, ESTÁS EN UN ESPACIO SEGURO- que permitas que las figuras masculinas en tu vida se den la oportunidad de abrir su corazón para que no se les cierre la vida. Tal vez no llorar te haga parecer ante los demás como fuerte, pero está debilitando tu alma.

LLORA, SIENTE, RIE, VIVE. AQUÍ YO NO TE VOY A JUZGAR. Te quiero, bye.

The Senses

La primera vez que fumé marihuana tenía 22 años, y desde aquella vez tengo contadas tal vez con los dedos de una sola mano el resto de veces que la he fumado. El efecto que tiene en mi es de verdad muy gracioso. Como decimos los mexicanos “se me sube el payaso” y es que me comienzan a dar unos ataques de risa INCONTROLABLES que pueden durar horas. No es algo malo, pero es una experiencia que prefiero que se quede como una que pueda repetirse en pocas ocasiones para poder disfrutarse como debe ser, eso y que en realidad tengo una personalidad intensa que no necesita de mayor ayuda para pasársela bien.

Sin embargo hace unas semanas, estuve de visita en Denver CO. Fui sin mayor plan, a visitar a amigos y resulta que por allá el uso de la marihuana con fines medicinales es legal y hay dispensarios por todo el estado, la persona con la que iba conocía varios de estos lugares y yo tenía muchas ganas de probar un comestible, así que nos decidimos por algo muy pequeño con una baja concentración de THC, una “gomita”, una vez comprado el paquete, salimos del dispensario, y sin más abrimos el paquete para probar, yo debo señalar, soy extremo cobarde para este tipo de asuntos, me imaginé que me iban a pasar muchas cosas y me acobarde de inmediato, pero mi acompañante me aseguró que era una cosa tan pequeña que seguro no sentía nada. Siendo él el experto, me sentí segura, tomé la gomita, la comí y lo primero que salió de mi boca fue un “wow!!! Sabe deliciosa!!!” Y eso fue todo.

Nos dirigimos a nuestro Airbnb y preparamos el carro así como una pequeña maleta para ir a Lost Gulch Lookout, yo me senté en un sillón y pasó por mi mente la primera vez que había probado marihuana y recordé que me daban ataques incontrolables de risa y entonces sucedió… comencé a reírme de manera incontrolable, estaba segura que la gomita empezaba a hacer efecto y cuando entró mi amigo a la habitación me dijo, -Es en serio?, no he sabido de nadie a quien le haga efecto esto de esa manera- y el ataque de risa continuo, cuando subimos al auto, yo ya había perdido todo sentido de la realidad, mi cuerpo se sentía ligero pero mi abdomen me dolía de una manera indescriptible (era la risa) mi lengua comenzó a alentarse y las palabras salían de mi boca con una parsimonia incomprensible para mi. Las ventanas del auto estaban abiertas y mi pelo revoloteaba sobre mi cara pero la lentitud con la que respondía mi cuerpo al impulso de retirarlo de mi cara era tal que cuando por fin lograba tocar mi cara no podía creer lo que sentía, era como si todos y cada uno de los átomos de mi cuerpo eran sensibles y existía un micro espacio entre la piel de mis dedos y la de mi cara. Todo esto me resultaba tan increíble e inexplicable que traté de pedirle a mi amigo me grabara para tener testimonio de lo que me estaba pasando, en mi cerebro las palabras se aglutinaban en inglés pero salían de mi boca en francés, en hebreo, en español, pero el inglés estaba completamente bloqueado, me reía de ello y mi compañero no entendía lo que sucedía, lograba entender cada palabra que me decía en inglés, mi cerebro podía procesarla, contestarla en mi cabeza pero las palabras solo salían en esos otros 3 idiomas y no lograba entenderme.

Para cuando llegamos al mirador, mis piernas no respondían y no podía salir del auto, mi boca estaba completamente seca y en mi cerebro las ideas se aglutinaban; muchas cosas pasaban por mi mente:

  • Esto es normal?
  • Imagínate si hubieras comido un brownie o algo más grande
  • Y si no hubieras estado en un estado positivo en tu vida cómo sería la reacción de tu cuerpo?
  • Por qué no puedo moverme?
  • Por qué mi cuerpo no me responde?

Y entre cada pregunta me reía de todo y nada salía de mi boca más que risas. Obtuve ayuda para salir del carro y sentarme en el mirador, mientras mi amigo revisaba el auto que por cierto,  se había sobre calentado, yo me sentía súper culpable con él al estar en ese estado tan deplorable y no poderle ayudar en ese momento y ser una carga más que una ayuda, cuando trataba de decírselo el inglés sí fluía y entonces me decía, -no, no, no te preocupes, pensé que bromeabas pero puedo ver en tus ojos que estas completamente fuera de ti, disfruta tu viaje-

Y entonces créanlo o no, comenzó un verdadero viaje, me senté en una banca del mirador y esto fue lo que ocurrió:

Frente a mi, se levantaban las montañas y yo comencé a hablar con ellas dentro de mi cerebro, me contaron la cantidad de años que llevaban en el mundo, lo que se sentía ser una montaña, que cayera la nieve sobre ellas y que los árboles crecieran en ellas y me hicieron sentirlo, me contaron también que iba a nevar pronto y debía poner mucha atención a sus cimas. En un instante me volví transparente y permeable y el viento atravesaba a través de mi cuerpo y me podía elevar como un papalote, sentí como cada uno de mis órganos sintió el viento por dentro y luego desaparecían y me fusioné con toda la naturaleza, me sentí el viento, me sentí lluvia, tierra, árbol, agua, fui todos los colores y después ninguno. Perdí por completo el sentido de la gravedad y todo mi cuerpo se elevaba, mis brazos se movían hacia arriba al igual que mis pies y perdí todo miedo, todo dolor, todo sentido porque era una con la naturaleza, fue hermoso, pero en un momento sentí absoluto pánico, no entendía lo que estaba pasando y agradecía los momentos de lucidez donde efectivamente me puse a grabar todo lo que sentía, olía, probaba y pensaba, me perdía por completo y estos momentos de lucidez se apagaban mientras mi cuerpo volvía a entrar en ese letargo, empecé a sentirme incómoda porque me percaté que había gente viéndome, sabía que probablemente se daban cuenta de lo que me pasaba y procuré meditar, cerrar los ojos fue otro viaje completamente distinto. Me percaté que era total y absoluto vacío y ahí me quedé en la inmensidad de la nada, contemplando la negrura, sentí que me quedé ahí sentada contemplando el vacío por horas enteras, perdí todo sentido del tiempo también.

Estaba oscureciendo y nos fuimos, no sé como llegué al auto, no me percaté del viaje de bajada al mirador, no recuerdo nada desde que la gomita hizo su efecto hasta que logré comer habían pasado 6 horas aproximadamente.

El hambre me invadió y comí hasta el cansancio pero mi cuerpo se seguía sintiendo diferente, de repente mi cabeza se tildaba hacia atrás sin que pudiera regresarla al mismo lugar por algunos segundos y pequeños ataques de risa acompañaban a todos los activos de mi viaje en su camino fuera de mi cuerpo, jamás había tenido una experiencia ni medianamente parecida, ni en un sueño, tal vez en una meditación pero por lapsos muy pequeños, esto, es materia de un tejido indescriptible de desmenuzar y fue fantástico. Pero al igual que aquellos ataques de risa que suelen darme cuando fumo, creo que experiencias tan maravillosas como estas no deben ser abusadas, fue, increíble porque fue único y especial y no quiero sobre escribir en esta experiencia tan bella e irrepetible, fue, lo que fue, en el momento que debió de ser, y ahí se quedará, como el día que perdí el sentido de todo para sentirlo todo, con todos los sentidos y en todos los sentidos.

(La foto adjunta fue tomada por mi en el lugar que tuve la etapa más bonita de mi viaje, y las montañas al frente son esas que describo al final del texto, la banca que ahí se ve es donde me senté a experimentar esa experiencia )

What feels dangerous

No sé en qué estaba pensando al confundir Malinalco con Amealco, al leer las instrucciones de la invitación y ver que el trayecto sería de 2 horas y media, para mí era el total del la ida del regreso, no 5 HORAS en total! De verdad no sé dónde tenía la cabeza, pero el compromiso estaba hecho, la moto preparada, el lunch en su bolsa, las rodilleras, el casco con el intercomunidador cargado y el tanque lleno de gasolina. 

No, no era mi primera salida a carretera, pero sí que era la primera que iba a durar HORAS de ida y HORAS de regreso, la cita, confirmada y a las 7:30 am estaba reuniéndome con las primeras mujeres del convoy. Una rodada aunque mixta, conformada en su gran mayoría por mujeres, mi moto, curiosamente era de las cilindradas más pequeñas 310cc, empezaron a llegar las demás, 800, 1200, 1800cc!!! Empecé a emocionarme!

Cuando ya éramos 7 motocicletas emprendimos la salida al segundo punto de encuentro al norte de la ciudad y solo una moto más tenía la misma cilindrada que yo y de todas solo una tenía la cilindrada más pequeña que la mía 250cc, sin embargo era una moto mucho más alta y se veía imponente una Yamaha Tenere.

Un total de 14 motocicletas, 1 auto, 3 niños 14 mujeres, 3 hombres. Todos desmañanados, completamente equipados recibimos pequeñas instrucciones de seguridad, cada quién aprendió su lugar dentro del convoy y entonces se empezó a hablar de velocidades, 120, 130, 140km/h llegaron a escuchar mis odios, y toda la emoción que había sentido cuando partimos a reunirnos con el segundo convoy se convirtió en total, absoluto y completo MIEDO, no aquel que paraliza, sino ese que te pone alerta. Una de las chicas y su novio se acercaron a decirme -Todo bien?, se te ve preocupada-

Lo que pasa es que sí, esta niña, se daba cuenta que estaba saliendo a rodar por primera vez al ritmo de otras personas y no el que ha tomado cuando se va al valle del conejo o al Ajusco con sus amigos, un máximo de 100km/h mientras piensas en quesadillas y tacos de cecina no se compara con un grupo de 14 motocicletas con 13 pilotos femeninas que llevan su propio ritmo y su ritmo no es para nada al que estás acostumbrada y por 2 horas y media!!!! (solo de ida). Me sentí tan nerviosa que me fui a mi moto, abrí el TopCase y me comí una manzana, si no hacía eso me hubiera comido las uñas hasta quedarme en muñones. Lina se me acercó y me dijo -Muy rápido MoNo?, no te preocupes, yo me voy detrás tuyo y te cuido- Acordamos en la velocidad más baja posible para una carretera como la de Querétaro 120km/h y aunque seguía pareciendo mucho para mi, me sentí segura y entre hermanas, nada malo pasaría. Amén.

¡Salimos! Al principio y estando todas juntas las cosas son mucho más sencillas, las punteras indican todo, baches en el camino, velocidad de crucero, todo, y tú solo tienes que seguir las instrucciones y todo está bien, todo está bien hasta que llegan los trailers. Esas moles enormes que por inercia empujan todo el aire que te tiene contenida y cuando pasan a tu lado te dan un pequeño impulso hacia los lados, tienes que tener TODOS tus sentidos en alerta, mientras la moto ruge y alcanza velocidades a las que jamás la habías sometido, las curvas son otra cosa, otro animal difícil de digerir pero que se va haciendo cada vez más ligero, más sencillo. 

Como respuesta a mi miedo y sin darme cuenta, uno de mis hombros estaba completa y absolutamente paralizado, la tensión se apoderó en su totalidad de él y mi clavícula apuñalaba mi cuello, cuando me percaté de esto y traté de relajarme me di cuenta de todas las pequeñas cosas que mi cuerpo hacía para combatir el sentimiento sin que yo terminara paralizándome, las manos completamente cóncavas, sin opción a estirarse, las ingles y espalda baja completamente rígidas, la mandíbula apretadísima, el cuello tenso y los ojos viendo a todos lados, atrás, para ver si me seguían, al frente para seguir a mi convoy, a los lados para cuidarme de trailers y carros que pasaban, cuando me percaté de todo esto, y traté de relajarme me empezó a dar frío, todo el cuerpo temblaba, las manos, las piernas, los brazos. Fue entonces cuando traté de recordar que el miedo también es una protección, todo ese mar de adrenalina protegiéndome de los elementos y manteniéndome alerta, respire, comencé a escuchar más claramente la música que sonaba a lo lejos en mi casco y aunque seguía tensa pasó el miedo y se convirtió en atención, absoluta, total, completa. Empecé a escuchar mi respiración dentro del casco, rítmica y continua, y el camino se volvió mi compañero y todo a partir de ahí fue disfrute. 

Cuando la tensión fue reemplazada por atención me di cuenta de lo bello del paisaje, de lo inverosímil que es la campiña mexicana, pero sobre todo de la magia que crea el tener comunidad, una tribu que comparte los mismos sentimientos que tú al mismo tiempo que tú, lo que significa no solo andar en moto sino formar comunidad con mujeres que también son motociclistas y darte cuenta que esa tensión, ese miedo, esa adrenalina es compartida al mismo tiempo y en el exacto mismo espacio en el que tú estás. Todas hemos sentido miedo, todas hemos experimentado historias parecidas porque somos mujeres y amamos la vida en dos ruedas y qué bonito, qué bonito compartir y vencer el miedo… Juntas.

Heritage

The more time passes by, the more I am convinced why I never had any children. I was raised by  and with a tribe of people of all ages and ideas, even different backgrounds: my mother’s mother María and her younger children Maribel, Toño and Alejandro; my father’s mother Quina, her husband Juan; my uncles and aunt Miguel, Carlos, Chavo, Francisco and Lety; and also later on by a family that rented a space to my mom where she had a laundry business. They were the Jaramillos: Mr. Raúl, Mrs. Luz María, Alejandra, Raul and Luz Ma.

None of these people had the same upbringing and ideas, not even the same religion or culture. This made me a mix of all things, which made me “weird.” There was one thing, however, that they all shared, they all knew, they all agreed upon and without realizing, they all left as a heritage for generations to come: MACHISMO!

I really fought this monster my entire life without knowing I was doing so. I never even heard the word “feminist” until I was probably in college, and I thought it was a bunch of lesbian women fighting for their rights. It took me literally a lifetime to understand the cancer that machismo is in our society.

For as long as I can recall in all the houses where I grew up, there was always a motherly figure  who would take care of everything around the house -laundry, dish washing, cooking, cleaning, paying the bills on time (with the money given by the men in the family). When a man would come to the house, the women in it would move around like little ants answering to whatever needs he might develop even before he thought of them. It was magical. (For them of course)

When I was well into my teens, and I was at home with my parents, it drove me crazy to know that I needed to set the table so my brother and father would sit there and eat, and then I would have to pick up the dishes so my mother could wash them and put them away when dry. All they had to do was eat and say thank you. 

Why was I asked to perform all these roles, and why did my mom also always do them with grace and without hesitation?

When I started dating, my mother would always say, “Agg MoNo, those guys you date. They are such hippies, not paying for your things, not opening the door for you, not asking you to marry them. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” My answer was always the same, “I work to pay my own bills, Mom! I don’t need a man, a woman or a quimera to do that for me. If so, why am I even working?”

When I experienced my first rape attempt, I didn’t share it with anyone but a friend; first because I felt it was my fault, going out in the street at such an hour, and alone with no money. Then my friend said, “Well, nothing happened to you in the end, so why would you complain about it?” After almost a decade, I shared the story with a group of friends and my mom, and she said almost the same thing and thought the comments were intended to make  me feel like it was my fault. Why was I out at that time? Why did I do this instead of that?

My feminist quest didn’t have an exact moment of appearance. Several events triggered it; for example, when I started living on my own at age 22. Back then, in 2002, it was such a weird thing to do as a woman without being married. The quest continued when I started working, and I saw how women treated other women in the workforce. I couldn’t pinpoint it, but the competitiveness didn’t feel “sane;” it felt more like a crazy-ass, winner-takes-all competition. My journey into feminism continued with a set of wonderful women I began meeting along the way. Not only did they show me the importance of my own voice, but also the similarity mine had with their voices, which was further consolidated through the #MeToo Movement.  I heard so many women telling stories that resonated with mine. All the memories, all the insults, all the fear, all the pain. All of it started to emerge from inside me and poured out like an endless fountain. It hurt. I cried. Inspired by all those feelings, I created a workshop for women only to learn personal defense. It felt like something I needed to do, but later I also realized that this isn’t a battle for women to fight with fists, but with knowledge and by changing our state of mind.

Later when I found out my brother was going to have a baby girl, I was crying tears of joy, but then I got extremely serious. His father-in-law came over and put his hand on my shoulder and  asked me, “MoNo, aren’t you happy you are going to be an auntie?” I got up with tears still rolling down my cheeks and told him, “Happy? No, I feel afraid and extremely responsible for a little girl who is coming into this world. I need to step up my game.” I think he got a bit scared, and he just smiled at me and left.

Still to this day at my parents’ house, all the responsibility falls into a single person’s hands: my mom. But it is very important to state that it falls into her hands because to this day, she still doesn’t ask my brother or father to help with simple tasks like loading he washing machine, doing the dishes, sweeping the floors, or whatever. She has two reasons for this:

  1. She says that they do it wrong.
  2. She would rather do it herself.

But isn’t it funny that if I do it, there’s no problem? 

Is this the heritage I would want to leave to my children? Is this the heritage I would want to pass on to my niece? Is this the heritage we as women deserve?

I actually never intended to not to have children because of these issues; but the more time passes, the more these problems surface, and I find myself grasping the real baggage of machismo. I feel like I made the right decision. 

I can talk to my niece about all these things, but what I feel I should do – and actually have been  trying to do – is share my experiences more openly with my mom, ask her to listen to podcasts that talk about sexuality, machismo and feminism. I’ve taken the responsibility to educate myself, my family and the people I love, in order to live a life that might set an example of what happiness stands for outside the stereotypes of previous generations. 

To me, the best heritage for my niece would be to show her that all human beings deserve happiness, and that the pursuit of it is different for all of us. Because of that, her happiness will depend solely on her, on her values, ideals, ideas and faith. Furthermore, I want her to know it’s ok to go against the tide if that is what her heart tells her. That institutions (all of them) should be questioned, and she should make her own conclusions. That going down the road of intelligence rather than conformity is a hard and tortuous one, but that following it does bring the greatest of satisfactions. 

Above all, the heritage I want to pass on to my niece is to resonate with the sound of her own voice and femininity. I want to be there for her and for all women and sentient beings that I  possibly can be, in the best way I can possibly offer. After all, she’s the future of our race, and she and all the members of new generations deserve better than we had. I owe it to her and to all the women before me. I just hope she understands the importance of it.

CQ, CQ, this is W9GFO…

En noches como esta, y a estas horas es precisamente cuando más te necesito.

No nos confundamos, por favor, me di cuenta hace un tiempo ya, que desde hace muchos años te necesitaba, igual que tú a mí, como mi confidente, como mi hermano. Eras mi mejor amigo y yo la tuya. Qué difícil no? Darnos cuenta entonces de que era solo la más hermosa de las amistades. Cuántas mentiras y cuánto daño nos hicimos para tratar de conservar algo que no era más que una divina, rara, compleja, una en 7 mil millones, la mejor de las amistades.

En noches cómo esta quisiera tomar el teléfono y llamarte, esas llamadas que duraban toda la noche y llorar, y reír y por supuesto quedarme dormida cuando saliera el sol. Simplemente saber que contaba contigo y que me dieras la seguridad de que todo estará bien porque ya hemos pasado por momentos como estos y hemos salido avantes.

El peor enemigo de nuestra amistad fue el apego, el pensar que algo tan hermoso e inimaginable no solo podía ser eso… amistad, fraternidad, cariño. Qué sencillo nos fue confundirnos y simplemente aferrarnos. Caray! no me lo tomes a mal pero ya no tenía ni siquiera atracción física hacia ti, era solo aferramiento y que daño te hice, que daño me hiciste, que daño nos hicimos.

Magia, también puede ser amistad, la amistad también es amor, insistimos en hacerlo algo más y perdimos toda perspectiva en el camino. Perdimos una amistad única en 7 mil millones.

¡Qué inmaduros!, nos perdimos otro capicúa, un cometa, otro Cosmos, un bebé, el resto de nuestras vidas (aunque ya sabemos que ahí estábamos, en la memoria, en los recuerdos, en la mente, y probablemente ahí sigamos toda esta vida)

En noches como esta, extraño a mi mejor amigo, pero sé que estás bien, me lo dicen mis sueños y nuestras pláticas en ellos. Yo también estaré bien.

Pero en noches como esta precisamente es cuando más te necesito.

… PLEASE COME BACK?

Next life for sure, and we will make it better, my dear, dear friend way better, I promise.

Fear and Love

FEAR

noun

  1. an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something dangerous is likely to cause pain, or a threat.

LOVE

noun

  1. an intense feeling of deep affection.
  2. a great interest and pleasure in something.

They made love in the shower. She had somehow developed a kind of a ritual with him; it was either kissing for the longest time or making love. She would just jump on it – start her music with the little waterproof speaker and then wash herself. When the warm water passed through her hair, she would face the wall and close her eyes. His timing was almost perfect every time. The moment she would turn around, he would be inside the shower, grabbing her by the waist, kissing her on the lips, and moving his way down her neck, shoulders, chest, and breasts. She would melt and get carried away every single time. She loved him. This time, they were making love in a different shower. They had traveled for the weekend to a lake house they had rented on a website, and the shower was rather uncomfortable, so he turned off the water, and she understood immediately – it was time to take this to bed. Their hair and bodies were all wet, but they didn’t care, and all the sheets got soaked. He loved to look her straight into her eyes, and she always felt staggered by him doing this, even after all this time together. He was too much, he knew her too well, he felt too much, he craved too much, he needed too much. He was too much. 

Making love to him always left her with no energy. Was he an incubus? She fell asleep right after, over the damp sheets.

An energy woke her up with a scream. He knew about her nightmares, but this one felt different. A fear surrounded her, and she started crying profusely. He held her in his arms, and she felt that horrible energy taking over the entire room, the entire house. 

“I’m so afraid I’ll lose you,” she said.

“Don’t worry. What did you dream?”

“I don’t even remember. I just feel like I’m going to lose you. We’ve come so far, we’ve worked so hard for this. I’m just so afraid this will end, but I don’t know why. I just feel like I’m going to lose you, and it’s so scary.

He kissed her forehead and said, “Please, don’t worry. I’m right here.”

She had to take a very long trip as soon as they got back home. They made promises to talk to each other as much as possible while she was far away, and 15 days later she was about to get back to see him. They were ready to meet, and he had said he had a surprise for her, but somehow it sounded distant, weird.

When they finally met, it was all very theatrical like they loved to do. He had also taken the time to travel while she was away, and gifts were given, exchanging places and spaces that reminded them of each other, heartfelt moments and Polaroids of the places they shared, even when they were apart. 

A lamp

Stamps

A Hat

Figurines

Origami paper

Erasers

Candy

And a book… 

Walking Trough Walls, a memoir by Marina Abramović. The moment she saw it, she started to cry. He had never read the book, neither did she, but she got the subliminal message that she was pretty sure he didn’t even realized he had given to her with the book.

She was Marina. He was Ulay. And it was time.

Somehow, her fear had become a reality. But it had to happen. She knew it, she just waited for him to say it. 

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “I just can’t be with someone I don’t love anymore.”

“I understand,” she answered softly. 

Have you ever heard those stories of people that have close to death experiences? And how their whole life flash in front of them? 19 years flashed in front of her on a second. The good, the bad, the ugly, all. Nineteen years. They had been together for 19 years. She knew it was over. She knew the love was there, but it was different. She knew the fear was there, and it was real.

And that was it. She got up and walked away. To never look back again. To start walking her own path without him. Without fear, just filled with love a different one, but still LOVE.

A Photograph

I’m crying my eyes out. I feel so sad, so impotent. “You cannot force people to love you they way you expect them to,” my therapist repeatedly told me. Still, no one can prepare you for that when it relates to a member of your close family, and it’s hard. It’s fucking hard!

I try to take my mind off of it by browsing through my phone, cleaning out old or repeated pictures, and I stumble upon one of me as a baby. I say to my younger self, “This, too, shall pass.” What else could I say to little me to be able to overcome this hard, sad time?

Just look into your past and realize all the things you’ve accomplished! Realize all the things you’ve missed, and my God, all the things you are still waiting to do! You should know that all the times you thought about dropping the towel or even jumping off a bridge were not worth it.

I wish I could stumble upon my younger self now that I’m almost 40, to tell you this:

-You are a consequence of all the people, places, friends, food, religion, books and pets you have crossed paths with, so savor it! All of it – the good, the bad, the ugly. It all will become part of your life and memories.

-Save money, my dear! I know you’ll come across so many things you’d love to buy, places you’d love to travel to, clothes you’d like to wear. Trust me, having a little bit of money to spare will save you a great deal of problems in the future. Just put some money aside. You won’t regret it.

-Love, love with all your heart and soul, but I hope that you can also understand the difference between love and attachment. Loving someone and being loved by someone should come easily, like waves in the ocean. They might come strong at times and wash over you, but at times they can also be calm. Just let love be. Don’t push it, because if you have to, it’s probably not love and has become something else.

-Embrace your awkwardness. You will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you shouldn’t change who you are just because you are not liked by everyone. You are an acquired taste, and if some people don’t like you, maybe they should acquire some taste.

-Do not take things so personally. The world doesn’t revolve around you.

-Be safe. I know that a lot of times you’ll feel like there will be no consequences for your actions, and you will grow to be a very lucky and fortunate person, but don’t push it. 

-Growing up you will hear people say that you are very intense, and you will not perceive that in a positive way. I wish you could understand how beautiful and important this intensity will become to you. You’re not crazy, it’s just who you are. OWN IT, GIRL!

-Follow your dreams! But do not expect them to play out in the romantic way you see them in your head. Following your dreams is also fighting for them. Do everything in your power to show only yourself that you are capable of doing anything you’ve ever put your mind to. Persevere. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

-School will be hard for you, very hard, because you are a dreamer. Just understand that you have to push yourself. Unfortunately, our culture needs you to go to school, just try not to be so lazy. You are smart, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It’s just that the format doesn’t work for you. But guess what? You’ll eventually have a college degree! 

-You will understand quite late the meaning of gratitude, but once you do, your life will revolve around it, and it will be beautiful. Be grateful. Always.

-Do not say yes just to be polite. You can say no when you want. If people don’t like it, again, do not take it personally. Maybe they aren’t worth it.

-The shape of your palate… yeah, it’s not that common. You think it is, but it’s actually quite rare. And oh yeah, one of your ears grows to be quite a bit bigger and different from the other, and your belly button is crooked. But again, my dear, even though you think early on that all of these are horrible things about you, they will be quite handy for impressing the boys! USE THEM TO YOUR FAVOR!!!

-Trust your instinct. It will feel like witchcraft sometimes, BUT THAT’S OK! You are full of magic. No one but you needs to understand this. You’ll save yourself lots of tribulations if you trust your instinct.

-Say what your heart feels. You’ll have to let it simmer, and let it pass through your brain to get absolute confirmation of what you want to say, but don’t let other people dictate what you say and do. Your heart has a voice, too. Let it resonate, or you will explode. Let it speak.

-You will suffer a lot of losses, and you’ll always ask yourself what you could have done differently. Maybe a few things here and there could have been avoided, but all of those things have brought you to this moment, to this precious, imperfect life that you love to live.

-Accept your femininity. It’s not a burden; IT’S A WEAPON – the most powerful one you’ll ever have. Embrace it, accept it, own it, love it, feel it. BE IT!, BE A GIRL, BE A WOMAN! BE YOU! 

-Going to therapy is not only for crazy people. Trust me, it will change your life. Sometimes the best thing to do will be to just put your heart out there for someone to show you why it’s hurt and how you can heal it.

-We are all different. What society sees as a standard regarding your education, livelihood, appearance, sexual preferences, shape of your body, color, race or whatever, shouldn’t shape you. Just be yourself. Don’t be what people or society tell you to be. Above all, do not feel bad because you are not what they ask you to be. It’s ok.

-Forgive and forget, but don’t let whatever experiences life gives you go down the drain. Bad things (more than good ones) also carry lessons. Trust me on this.

-Let go, my darling, let go. This too shall pass…

Heartbreak

My grandmother was very young when she lost her first husband. The family legend says that she lay in bed for a whole week when he passed, and the eldest of her sons (my father), who was nine or 10 years old, lost his childhood in the blink of an eye. I have no further information about my grandfather, none whatsoever. It was a taboo subject, and my grandmother never mentioned his name again. NEVER. I think that when she lost her husband, my grandmother’s heart cracked in such a way that it could never mend again. The fact that she never mentioned my grandfather’s name kind of confirms that. Whenever she referred to him, she would call him “El Finado,” which literally means “the one that found its end.” The dictionary translates it as “dead.”

So, none of the six children my grandmother had (then) really overcame the death of my grandpa. My father cannot speak more than two sentences about him because the pain and loss overwhelms him, and his voice breaks and his eyes become watery. So no, no talking about EL FINADO.

My grandmother remarried very shortly after the loss of my grandfather, and her new husband Juan León was the only grandfather I ever knew and remember. He was a very darkskinned man, and I always remember him being at the entrance of my grandmothers house, looking at the horizon or in his garage, cleaning some piece of a motor or something. Grandpa Juan (as I used to call him) came to mend my grandma’s heart. She used to call him Gordo (fat).

Grandpa Juan was a weird person, but he was always sweet to me. I was his first granddaughter, and he was very patient with me. I grew up in their house because my parents were very young, and they worked all my life, so my grandparents raised me my Grandma Quina, my Grandpa Juan and my Grandma María.

Grandpa Juan LOVED to read, and he LOVED crossword puzzles. He also loved Coca-Cola and to have a smoke after lunch. I don’t think he ever had a steady job, but he would do one thing here and one thing there. He was always at home and was my Grandma’s companion. He did love to travel, though, and he joined a radio club called “Conejos Liberales.” With those friends, he would go up and down Mexico, and he would have long radio conversations with them when he was home. He was a very quiet person, and he loved my mom. They would always go and have a cigarette after lunch. He would give her honey candy. He would have one, too, and then they would smoke their cigarette together in the entrance of the house while looking at the horizon.

Grandma Quina was older than Grandpa Juan, and she always used to say she would die before him and ask him to take care of her children when she was gone. She had six from her first marriage and shared one with Grandpa Juan. They all got along pretty well, I think.

One day, Grandpa Juan went to the doctor for a checkup, and he never came back. The news of his death was a total shock for the entire family, especially for my grandmother. Her heart was absolutely shattered. The same thing that happened with Grandpa Felipe had repeated, and my Grandma had a meltdown. I think she had to be sedated, and she slept for days. I do remember, though, that when I finally saw her again, she had aged. She looked so old, so sad, so heartbroken. It was hard. It was extremely hard.

As time passed by, Grandma Quina started to get back to her normal life of cooking and keeping herself busy, but he light in her face was gone. She never actually recovered. A year passed by, and we met her for Christmas. She was sitting in a corner of my grandpa’s garage and solemnly said, “I miss my Gordo, dear family. I’ve done my best, but this is the last Christmas I’ll spend with you. I’m sorry.” We all pumped her up, telling her she had so much to live for, that we loved her, etc, etc. She had tears in her eyes but still managed a small, gentle smile. I felt for her.

On December 2 the following year, Grandma Quina had a stroke and died. She kept her promise and didn’t spend that Christmas with us. Even though the death certificate stated she died of complications due to her stroke, I knew she died of a broken heart.

I should confess something at this point. Grandma Quina was my favorite family member, and when she left, she broke my heart, too.

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