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.