Lessons from my Grandmother: Little Voices

Somebody I know believes that your soul decides where it needs  to go before you are born. I’m not sure if I believe that, but if it is true I think I came into this body to gain wisdom from my amazing grandmother. If you haven’t already gathered we are extremely close as I was at her house nearly every day for the first twelve years of my life. We live in a sick world in need of healers and I was lucky enough to be born into her apprenticeship. It took me awhile to figure that out especially since I was sick myself, but now I realize that that is a tool rather than a hindrance. Continue reading

Mesquite Flour, A Manifesto of Sorts

We interrupt this broadcast of angst-ridden quarter life crisis rants to bring you…a recipe! Finally. I told you I’d get around to it and this one is a real treat.

I have deep roots in Texas. Aside from a few stints abroad it is the only place I’ve ever lived. I love this damn state even though it infuriates me with all it’s crazy talk about pro-life this and pro-gun that. My mama’s family has been in South Texas for nearly 500 years, since the time it was known as New Spain. On my dad’s side, according to family legend, one of the oldest corpses in the El Paso cemetery is my great-great-great (great?) grandmother who was a Tigua Indian. Back then the border was more of a suggestion than an actuality. On both sides of my family tree borders have shifted, names have changed, but the people remain. Sometimes I wonder if I’d still remember my name if I couldn’t go back to revel in the exploding sunsets and barren rocky mountains of West Texas.  Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

Currently, I am reading Women Who Glow in the Dark: A Curandera Reveals Traditional Aztec Secrets of Physical and Spiritual Health by Elena Avila, a registered psychiatric nurse and curandera. The book is about her journey from a young, poor Mexican American growing up in El Paso, Texas to one of the most respected curanderas (faith healers) in the United States.

Curanderismo is something I have been drawn to for awhile now as it integrates the whole body, mind and spirit into the treatment of illness. It’s history is fascinating and comes from the blending of indigenous, African, and European cultures in the “new world”. There is a heavy emphasis on plants, the natural world, spirituality, community and tradition (ancestors) and when done correctly it is really quite effective.

Much of the book has resonated with me as I too grew up on the border of two cultures and faiths and have struggled with my own path/identity. I could babble on about this topic forever so if you have an interest feel free to message me, but for the sake of the blog I want to focus on one thing that really caught my eye: the power of names.  Continue reading

Decolonized Mirror

Like most young women in the United States I have spent far too much time disliking things about myself. I did not like the shape of my body, my funny laugh, big feet, face that blushes easily or nerdiness. I don’t really remember when I stopped liking myself, but it was pretty early on. It seemed like no matter what I did I would never look like the girls in the magazine or have it all like the television promised I could if I just had the right products. I saw the women around me lamenting their fat, hating their faces and gossiping about each other behind their backs. By the time we hit puberty my friends and I were mirroring their behavior. I can’t tell you how many of my peers have struggled with eating disorders, self-harm, or low self-esteem which lead to all sorts of self-destructive behaviors. Highschool is still a blur.

The thing is…disliking yourself takes up a lot of time and energy. Time and energy that could be spent on making the world or at least your community a better place.  Deciding to like myself has been one of the most radical steps I have ever taken. It means I can’t be sold products I don’t need or pressured into activities that further colonize others because I am secure enough in myself to listen to my inner voice (a.k.a conscious). It means I’m less afraid to try something new because failure is less terrifying when you know you are enough. It means you can give of yourself without giving it all away.  Continue reading