Archive for June, 2006

Honestly!?

My latest… geographic tongue disease. Who the hell has something called GEOGRAPHIC tongue?!

I almost made a lascivious comment when my dentist told me that’s what I have, and furthermore she also has it. LOL

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Bad Latina!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… don’t tell. Kay?

I’m a bad latina.

There. It’s out. See, I don’t quite meet all the requirements, but I am claiming to be one anyway.
I’ve got the birthright, the culo, the dark skin (which is actually optional), I’ve got the language (which is an obstacle for many who want to enter the club), but.

I only have one cousin. And I haven’t really talked to her in a year or two. Not like upset big drama kind of not talking, just we don’t really have a lot to say to each other kind of not talking so why bother with the social awkwardness of it all. Yes. One cousin. It’s disgraceful I know.

I have a small family. I am an only child. My other middle name should be princess although I did get called “center of the universe” when I was a kid. I don’t know hardly any of my extended family due to who knows what kind of feuds or drama. The weird part is, instead of getting together every Christmas to rehash the drama over lechón and too much Palo Viejo, the ruptures were so complete I don’t know these people’s names.

I don’t ask mami for the bendición. I don’t have a lovey dovey kissey huggey relationship with her anyway. I have never had a family reunion or party.

My parents were not religious, so the one time I tried to say grace I was laughed away from the table.

I don’t have an adoring abuelita, I don’t have tons of sobrinitos, I don’t have parrandas every year, I don’t have deep family connections.

I don’t have a collection of Rosarios I lovingly fondle when under duress. I don’t cook with jamonilla. I don’t think salad is iceberg, greenish tomatoes and mayoketchup. I don’t think Teve guia counts as reading a book.

I don’t think men doing housework causes their testicles to atrophy, nor do I find testicles all that interesting in general truth be told.

I don’t wear a flower behind my ear and shuffle (with my hips) to play a role.

When I read Latina magazine, I see I’ve got a lot of work to do before I can find myself in the glossy Spanglish pages.

But do I even want to see myself there? Is it easier to cling to the myth of the noisy, loving, frentic, big family, loud music, big hearted variety of dysfunction? Or is it possible to establish new grounds? New hybridities and new borderlands with no fences and fluid shift.

Just call me the utopian latina.

Newyorican blues

I was listening to a remembering the 80’s weekend show and heard an old dance song, I am guessing the title is “pump up the jam” or at least that’s the chorus. It took me back to jr high where in a desperate attempt to fit in (do I even need to add the word futile?) I tried to join a dance group to do a dance for some school event. I think it was an English Day event. A day worth an entire blog itself! Anyway.

The sisters who were organizing the dance were newyorican, fresh off the island–of Manhattan that is of course. I was looking for common ground being less fresh off the island. Of course we all spoke English. I said Fuck a lot less though in those days.

It became immediately clear that I did not fit in, and that I was not born to breakdance or hip hop dance or be a fly girl EVER. LOL

My parents were upset that I was even trying to hang out with these girls. They were newyoricans. That made them Trouble. I was not Trouble. I was not newyorican.

I never understood that. I too grew up in New York, although not in the city proper. I did not have a Long Island accent (THANK GODS!). I had been called a spic when I was in kindergarten. I had been teased, hit, tripped. I had stood around the playground while the kids brought out boxes to break on. But, I was not ghetto. I would be scolded and told off if I ever tried that word out as a source of identity for myself.

This doublethink was a source of much conflict in my house. See, we had books of poetry by Pedro Pietri, autographed no less, we had a history of political activity and even a copy of the little red book, we had a painting called “Los tenis” which was an abstract of sneakers hanging over the electric lines, time honored code of ghetto shadiness. But I was not newyorican.

Newyorican was lower class, was welfare (which has a whole slew of derogatory implications in and of itself), was undereducation, gangs, drugs, teenage pregnancy. It was also poetry, and art, and parties with guitars and panderos that went on till my little girl eyes could no longer focus on the Rican Afros surrounding me. It was not being able to speak Spanish, capital sin. As if all it took to get your credentials was the ability to correctly put acentos on words and know the difference between hecho and echo.

Maybe if my dance skills had been better, and maybe if my glasses hadn’t hidden my eyeliner, and maybe if I’d not been the chubby nerd for so many years, maybe I could have been a fly girl too. Maybe. But not bloody likely.

No funding!?

I had applied for university money to enable me to go to the conferences I’ve been accepted to in the Fall and I got my response.

No.

I’m disappointed and a little desperate because I don’t think I can manage to go without funding.

It’s good to feel my scholarship is supported.

The work I do is not considered academically rigorous by traditionalists. It is not seen as relevant to an English Department, is not seen as serious.

The denial of funding may have nothing to do with this disdain for cultural studies. It may have nothing to do with the fact that I’m a lowly graduate student as many wonderful members of the faculty have made it their mission to remind me. It may have nothing to do with the controversial and politically charged nature of the research I am doing for the conference. I am certainly feeling sorry for myself so that certainly has something to do with my reactions. The end result is still that I have no support.

I’ll get over it I’m sure but right now, I’m disappointed to tears.
It feels too much like a personal rejection and too much like a betrayal.