Crossroads

“Love is balance. Amor es paciencia. Love is Kind. Amor es amiable. Love is Vulnerability. Amor es Humano. Love is feeling through the pain. Amor es a aparecer. Love is layers. Amor es entero. Love is being. Amor es destruccion. Amor es creacion. Amor es Presente Presente Presente. Estamos Presente. Amor es una invitacion. Love is receptive. Love is tamed Love is wild love is liberating love is free Love is joy love is grief. Love is essence, it is spirit, it is life. Love is repetition. Love is always beating again and again Love is our natural rhythm. Thumping loud and proud against our chests. Love is the Universal Heartbeat that unites us all; the calling that beckons us to create Una Nuova Familia; Una Communidad en Unidad. Love is our PULSE.” –excerpt from Estamos Unidos by La Espiritista

 

Love is the Universal Heartbeat that unites us all; the calling that beckons us to create Una Nuova Familia; Una Communidad en Unidad. Love is our PULSE.

 

Familia has been a word which has always brought me a great deal of grief. The grief has stemmed both from the concept of the way a family should be in Western White American civilization, and the way familia should be like in Latinx cultures.

 

The standard American family is portrayed as one with a household of a father figure, a mother figure, and a couple of children. This household lives in a quiet neighborhood in a two-story house and have a dog at minimum. These families regularly go on vacation to exotic countries and lands they have no association with for non-spiritual reasons. The importance of property is evident with the sense of privacy and rights enforced with these kinds of families. The children in these families are raised with entitlement and expectations of what is to come in various stages of their lives. For example, going off to college, or being able to obtain mid-level or higher-level positions of authority upon going into their careers, and if they don’t achieve this having the luxury to be at home with parents who are established well socially and financially. There is a profound sense of competence for life decisions and individualism.

 

On the other hand, Latinx families are portrayed as being extremely huge and vibrant. Although like Western American White families in having a father and mother figure, there is usually the portrayal of many other members of the family stepping in to care for the children: Abuelitos, Abuelitas, Aunties, Uncles, etc. Unlike Western White American families who have family members living in their own individual household units, Latinx families are usually condensed into the same household structure. There is less physical space between the family so it becomes more of a collective and a harmonious way of living. Latinx families are portrayed as having many fiestas and celebratory gatherings. There is barely time to be among one’s own self. They are hard workers and everyone in the family has their proper function for work and home to ensure the dynamic of life flows smoothly. Both these portrayals have pros and cons. Although, they can be relatable to some of these demographics they are merely just that: portrayals and not applicable everyone.

 
However, as a Latinx-First Generation American, I have found myself in this gray mixed area. Neither of these portrayals have ever fit my story. My Latinx roots stem from Peru and Cuba where many of my relatives still reside. The one’s in America range from NYC, New Jersey, and Florida. My ancestors chose (and the reasons for this are very debatable) to move. There has been a huge displacement of my familia due to the decision to uproot from our original lands. Whether the decision to uproot was voluntary or conscious, it has been ultimately to seek a better life within recent generations. I am learning to forgive my ancestry and am wanting to learn more about them.

 

Lately, I have been experiencing a deep sense of sorrow from the lack of physical space I had growing up in cramped apartment spaces in cities away from nature. I have been feeling sorrow from not being raised by a huge community of family members due to the Latinx diaspora. I long to know nature. I long to know my indigenous roots. I long to know the lands my ancestors are from. I long to know my history. I long to reclaim myself.

Esu Elegba
Ibara’go ago mojuba, Ibara’go ago mojuba
Elgaba Esu lona, Elegba Esu lona
Iba’se mo dupe

To my Ancestors
Mojuba fefe iku
Mojuba fefe iku
Iku-o, Iku-o
Yenti loshi joba egungun

 

I long to know myself. The history in my veins. The blood which was shed onto the rivers in Peru and the shoreline of Cuba. It is so hard to relearn when there are barriers and borders barricading most of my family. Many who I have never met and barely know. I long to learn from the lens of my ancestors. I have been grieving because their voices have been erased. Lately, I have been being called to learn more about plants. About the healing knowledge deep in my bones from the wilderness of Peru. I will revisit my father’s land within the next few years. I want to learn the medicine there. The medicine which has been passed on to me. Which resides in me. The spiritual power of ayuhausca. The power of the shamans, of the medicine men/women/people.

 

I look at photographs of the indigenous people of the land and dream of how their features relate to my father’s face. I look at the photographs and receive so much joy by seeing the flowing expressive fabric they adorned. Vibrant colored cloths with mixtures of red, yellow, and white commanding to be seen. Similar to expressive outfits I am starting to be drawn to, just like similar attributes of mestizo blood staring back at me.

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