Tuesday, February 05, 2013

It seems the times are changing. My friend Janet Gates used to always say, "the one thing you can count on is change." She passed away in 2008, along with my friend Sharon, who used to say, "all you have to do is get through the day." I am proud to have dedicated my collection SEVEN to these beautiful women who died too young.

The times are always changing, and today the "browning of America" is in full force. I think Richard Rodriguez first coined that term. Speaking of changes, I have always struggled with my own identity. Culturally I was confused. My adoptive step-father wanted to beat the "hispanic" out of me. He tried very hard to instill shame about identity. I never knew my real father until I was 35 I believe. I count the women in my life my cultural makers. And yet today, being Latino/a will soon be being in the majority, so yes, times have definitely changed, but there is still a long way to go, at least in some instances. People are still rebellious about the variances of culture. They are still reactive to the celebration of diversity. They are still hostile to cultural pride. They still see things as pure or impure, culturally one must be "authentic" and this term in and of itself is charged. What does it mean to be authentic?

I was raised when I was very young on the U.S. Mexico border by a grandmother born in Mexico. Does that make me Latina? I was charged and political throughout graduate school because there was such resistance to anything deemed "political" in art. Does that make me Latina? Overall, I'm tired of struggling with these issues and have decided I define myself. Note I am not even touching "Chicana" or the preferred "Xicana".

But the rage for La Raza isn't with me most days. Although I nearly blew a gasket reading what an old grad school colleague (?) wrote about the inaugural poem by Richard Blanco. So, I am full of contradictions and know only that everything is constantly changing, and surprising images bombard us daily.

Today, I read a bit of TRES by Roberto Bolano. It was pretty good. I enjoyed it. The speaker speaks of the text, which I find very post-modern adopted. The speaker seemed to write in an autobiographical manner of being without a Visa in I believe Spain and being poor at 28. For some strange reason this gives me hope. But poor at 48, oh I just don't know. Our culture judges our status by our economic value, our monetary power. I'm losing that battle gladly, although there are anxieties about the future, but I must stay grounded in the now.

I bought 3 books today. RADICAL ACCEPTANCE: EMBRACING YOUR LIFE WITH THE HEART OF A BUDDHA by Brach,  THE PLACES THAT SCARE YOU: A GUIDE TO FEARLESSNESS IN DIFFICULT TIMES by Pema Chodron, and a book of interviews of twenty five poets titled POETRY IN PERSON: Twenty Five Years of Conversation with America's Poets.


Adrian said...

"But the rage for La Raza isn't with me most days."

Brilliant line. I'm Chicano, in my thirties, and I have trouble finding the rage. In fact, I don't have any at all. I studied history at one point, so I think I understand, from the outside, why there might have been calls for "revolution" or even a "La Raza" movement. But I personally don't identify with it. I think my generation, and the ones the come after have all the chances that anybody else has. So, I'm glad to see that you think the way you do. Life doesn't always have to be fight. We can just be. Thanks for sharing!

Dana Bennett said...

Sheryl, I always learn something about being Latina when I read what you write. You're generous and kind when you convey information with never any bitterness. Thanks, Dana
And I just joined your blog!