Instagram Post

I am not an instagram post

My dialect is difficult to digest
These images are too complex to see
I belong on pages too long to process
I live in words that are hard to pronounce
I don’t appeal to the vast majority

My body is not curated like the perfectly placed coffee mug next to the flowers and a book you’ve never read
I’ve got wrinkles and dimples on my skin that no photoshop can blur

The raw and realness of my life is still too explicit for audiences
I hide them in hopes of normalcy, my past traumas are too triggering, not quiet enough to be an ambassador or inauthentic enough to be spokesperson for a cause that isn’t pure

I am not easy to follow, that button is too hard to push for those who crave gentle reminders and motivational speak

I can’t tell you where I am, I can only tell you where I’ve been
Yet check ins are for those who know the location of my soul, who take time to reach that soft spot of my heart, loving me purely for where I’ve been instead of where I’m going

The end of the world

Have you wondered what it’s like to witness the end of the world?

Time stops and hearts break. The clocks exist for no reason. The days don’t matter and the nights don’t end. There is no end in sight but the end is near. We love so hard after all the time we wasted. The hugs are longer, the food tastes better. The mundane becomes extraordinary. We saw the world differently and now it’s exploding. With grief, fear and panic, underlined by hope, love and a simple recognition of humanity.

We see you now, the human in you, the human in me. The oceans are breathing again, the skies are clear. But the world feels heavy. It is on the weight of shoulders that were never meant to carry it so long, so far, alone. They keep holding. They keep caring and carrying. Their tears camouflage in the sweat from their work to stop the world from ending. They are human too. The human in me sees the human in you.

The humans ending the end of the world are draped in sky blue and cannot break to see the sky.
The humans ending the end of the world pick our fruits when the rest of us are too scared to die.
The humans ending the end of the world are trekking thousands of miles alone to provide life sustaining ingredients.
The humans ending the end of the world are holding the hands of our elders as they take their last breath.
The humans ending the end of the world are tiny and reminding us to forget.
The humans ending the end of the world are compassionate dreamers giving their time and sacrificing their lives.
The humans ending the end of the world are spreading joy through echoes of cries.
Our fears weigh them down but those spirits hold on tight to hope. And it crashes like a falling star.

May the end of the world be exactly what we need for a new beginning. Imagine a recipe of generosity, humility, tranquility and a passion for living. May it embody the desire to treat her a little kinder. May we leave behind the ways we’ve mistreated the earth and her precious living things from the creatures to the leaves to other precious human beings. May we recognize the divine that guides each of us higher. May we allow the souls of this kingdom to flourish as we aim to do, by giving them space to roam this earth again too.

May we continue to center our lives around what matters when the end has ended. And a new beginning begins.

Cana

January 7, 2019 Republica Dominicana

I keep thinking about blackness and slavery. We are Caribbean, we are black, we are colonized.

When I see my Dominican brothers and sisters I see their deep, deep melanin and while I swell with pride I realized they’re covered in a hazy white film of sunblock, meant to protect them from the sun but also a way of reinforcing the shaming that comes from turning blacker and blacker from each exposure.

I also see a fake city, created for tourists to learn about the history of DR. There are words like “settlements” and “European” in the historical panels I read to my kids at Amber Cove. I correct it, “conquered” and “white colonists.” I don’t know as much as I should, but I refuse to teach my children the wrong history. They are Dominican too, through me, and the other strong Dominican women they have the privilege of knowing. Their skin, though light, swallows up the sun, too.

They see me and they already know I am one of them, connected family but far away, Americana. Our complexions match, but mine is light and pale from the cold winter and is thirsting for the sun. One day wasn’t enough for my skin to catch up, I tell myself not to put on sunblock so that I can swallow all the rays ive been missing. Our skin is black and looks sweet, the white folks lay all day wishing they could become just as dark and increasing their chances of cancer. We’re simply not built the same, when will we be proud of the privileges we have? To stand in the sun and not burn, as women to bleed and not die…?

One day I’ll come back and stay for a while. Explore more of what makes me. Today I’m just a tourist who knows how to say “Three Kings Day” easier than tres Reyes magos.

Selfish

What am I so afraid of? Why don’t I write?

because writing feels selfish.

As a mother, I feel my heavy ego creep in with intellectual thoughts that like a bandit steals my attention away from my children.

An ego so vain that it begs for space in my mind at the most inopportune times.

Write me.

Free me.

See me.

As a partner, it’s a constant battle deciding to spend time with my lover.

I feel like every second I spend thinking of writing, that I’m forcibly choosing my lover or my pen. That I’m cheating…

Negative intentions that steal away the darkest corners of my imagination, that take the intimacy away from him. I look scattered.

I forget promises and leave the laundry in the washer, fantasizing about my opinions and formulations, dreaming of putting my fingers down and running away with time.

Self Care

Self-immersed and blended and mixed with others who take and consume and require so much of you.

Your friends need your shoulders, and they drench you with their tears and concerns.

Your children exhaust your arms, your breasts and rest on your aching hips.

Your feet are tired of running after everyone and your back is breaking from labor.

Your eyes can barely see what’s in front of you but you’re expected to see what’s all around you.

Your lover squeezes your heart and your head is pounding from the way you hit the pavement each and every morning at the break of the sun rising.

Your goal is to be strong and unbreakable while you’re withering away.

You profess about the need to be everywhere and do everything, morphing into a seven-armed goddess whose tears never flow long enough to water her dried up gardens.

You continue to do and do and do until you can’t do no more.

And they say “self-care.”

Survival of self is more like it… self-care is for the privileged, those with time, those with means and those with liberty. Those who have the ability to breathe clean, crisp air deep into their souls. Those who don’t have a care in the world… not for those caring for their entire world.

Even when we are coerced or pushed to care for ourselves it ubiquitously transforms into caring for others, evolving into self-sacrifice justified.

We flag away lack of dignity at medical facilities with “too busy”s to make time, to not just rub our tired soles, and heal our breaking souls but also to prevent falling apart while growing old.

We never take the time to crack our hands, backs and hips, and we justify our pain as part of our life cycle. Struggle is key to our self-survival, but when will we thrive?

Why can’t we dip our toes into the waters that cleanse our spirits and be grateful that we made the time to self care? When the world wants to watch us collapse and burn, why don’t we show them our own flames by rising in our own healing powers?

It’s time to separate ourselves and push every grabbing, screaming, pulling hand and voice that is gripping us and choking us. If we can’t breathe, how can we live? If we can’t sleep, how can we evolve? If we can’t put ourselves first, how will we ever have the strength to hold on while everyone is dangling from our feet?

If we can’t… how can we?

Warrior Wounds

These are warrior wounds from my warrior womb. My radical motherhood permanently etched on my torso and hips. I cannot deny that I don’t sometimes look at my skin and wonder how it could’ve been…
My skin stretched to the farthest lengths to carry these human beings inside of me and all I can do is worry about my warrior wounds?
Then I look down at these little baby boys who will in the blink of an eye become men towering above me. I gave them life and I sustained them.
The marks of motherhood run deeper than skin;

It runs through our breasts as they ache at their hunger pangs.

It runs through our veins to move the hormones that connect us to them.

It runs through our minds as we become hardwired to respond to their cries.

It runs through our hearts where it skips a beat when we check if they are happily asleep and still breathing.
Dear womyn, you see, when our children grow old these marks remind us of the power our bodies had and how we will always be mothers. These are the roots of our trees of life. The remnants of our transformative souls seeping through our skin, begging to be seen.
We should be proud and not ashamed, we survived the most human pain and did the closest thing to a God that a human can do. Even those who have bore life and loss have these scars to prove they are mothers too.
Warrior goddesses are walking this Earth everyday; fertile and fierce in our womanity with love in our hearts, pride in our bodies and nurturing in our souls.


Art credit: Atlanta graphic designer Britt Davis

The Goddess In Her…

Time had made her wiser, but her heart was always soft at possibilities. She remembers a mentor once scolding her about her “bleeding heart.” Thinking to herself to always believe in the good nature of other humans, men and women. Forgetting periodically their propensity to obliterate this trust of hers. She needed to check herself. “You know the potential end, you know what could happen.” But it was too late, she was enthralled and captured. Her imagination began to wander to distant places, ideas sprung to life and danced in her mind. She listened, believed and swallowed up every ounce of what that mouth had told her. She created a plan, in an attempt to mindfully execute the extreme possibility; she was no optimist, just a perfectionist by nature.
And so it began, more words poured through her body, her imagination was running wild and it was becoming a dire need for her to turn back or keep going. She hated areas of gray, and because she didn’t understand it she studied it and dissected it until she could mark every swirl of black and white into that color. The middle wasn’t for her, she needed the top or nothing at all.
The urge was getting stronger, and her artfully painted picture intensified it. This is how it happens until someone drops the ball, then she picks up hers while she drags the other. She then coasted to the gray area for safety, protection; knowing its fallacy. “It doesn’t matter, I won’t feel some type of way.” But she often forgets that her fear of potential rejection is stronger than her need for perfection. You can’t fix what ain’t broken, if it never was. The truest fallacy is in believing something without any basic principles of verisimilitude.
She took a detour and ran through the red lights. She loved to speed with caution, if this doesn’t exist it does in her mind. The slurred words blurred her vision. The eyes saw right through her chest and squeezed the blood out of her little bleeding heart. It rushed to other parts to make her warm. Her head felt like it might explode from the Picasso painting drowning in blood. Sensitivity returned and instead of understanding her state of fight or flight, she confused it for right.
Then from that very mouth came the soft caress from the little pillows on his face, the swirl of his tongue that went deeper inside her and consumed all the energy she needed to ensure her survival. She melted into his cage, through the bars she fell apart in a liquefied mess. She couldn’t pick herself back up again. She returned to the possibilities and believed them more than ever before. It was all she had left. His hands wouldn’t let her go, she belonged to him in all his glory. He wrapped her around his ego and was cloaked in her beauty, donning it as a prize he was sure to claim. His victory was established. She had fallen… apart. And under the impression that this swooning would cause him to rescue her.
She was carried, but he wasn’t rescuing her. Her body was being conquered, it was the field where both minds battled to obtain dominance. But her troops had retreated, fighting a war she didn’t believe in. “Who wants the perfect love story anyway?” She did. But while in his possession she lied to herself so that he didn’t have to. She genuinely believed in his words because his compliments reassured her confidence in herself; the problem was in using his observations to establish trust when these were things she already knew.

The seduction was the least complicated, it was when she was divorced from her bad cerebral and coronary influences. She was primal and devouring. In this state she would consume just as much and use her body the way it was made to work. She re-established some power, however arbitrary, she needed to reclaim some of what she lost in the war. By fully engaging in the pleasure she had anticipated she took back her goddess gift. She knew that her weakness was her mind, but her strength was her intimate womanity, whereas this man and any man’s weakness was the very thing that made him masculine. He attempted to dominate her but her pleasure principle made her smile throughout this encounter. She made him bow down to a goddess. He had to walk away and not care, forced to follow the codes of masculinity that restrict him from loving and valuing such a beautifully complicated creature. She saw it in his eyes every time she flashed a smile that he was hurting from not being by her side. Under the guise of being a guy, he suffered at her heavenly sight. Her recovery was slow and her heart was still sore, but after squeezing out the last bit of liquid that made her his prey, she realized she was the one who broke his heart that day.

Amazing Latina Pinup Portraits by Derek Santiago