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.

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.