Boobzilla

I feel like I’m a sexy mom. A fun mom. I never say that aloud, I just want people to know that I enjoy time with my kids and time as an “adult.” Time not panicking about who pooped, peed or put something in their mouth.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to the ends of the earth but damn it feels good to put my heels and makeup on and go out and not have to listen to one more fucking word from Caillou. Yo can all parents unite and ban him from television? And can we shut down Kids YouTube? That thing is like crack for toddlers. They sit in their room full of fucking toys I spent money on and watch OTHER kids play with toys. The fuck? Does that even make sense? I spent fifty bucks on a Baymax yet you’re watching this little kid Ryan play with the same Baymax you own?

Anyway, I digress.

What I was saying was I like to party, go out and still have fun–“adult” fun, anything x-rated, preferably with alcohol, cursing, and the musings of sexily clad women, including myself, who talk about “adult” things like sex, or fancy dinners. Though we usually wind up talking about THE sex that led to the kids and THE fancy dinners our kids don’t let us enjoy, so yes, we wind up talking about our kids dammit, but that’s not the point!

[she loses her train of thought]

Where was I going? See, this is what happens when you’re perpetually interrupted with “mom, mom, mom, mom, mommy, mom, mama, mom” in the middle of profound thoughts about… [she forgets AGAIN]

Ugh. As an “adult” I decided to travel to Las Vegas, the City of Sin (twice) because I love the emphasis on vices and adult fun, both times I was breastfeeding.

[she goes off track again]

I like how we say “adult” like if having children makes us children again although eating nuggets that fell on the floor because your kid won’t eat it, memorizing and randomly singing every single Disney song ever made, secretly wishing the child who just hit your child falls on his face and curling up in the fetal position and crying because you don’t wanna leave the house today maybe qualifies as proof that moms are no longer adults when surrounded by their children.

Back to Vegas, I was breastfeeding. Which, of course, even preparing for the trip was an ordeal. You’re talking extra breast pads, extra bras, breast pump, bottles for dumping! All because my ass wanted to travel without my babies suckling my boobs! Then there’s the absolutely profound guilt, of leaving your two or five or eight month old behind.

[gasps exaggeratedly]

What kind of mother are you?!?

I’m sure THOSE judgmental moms would flip if they knew I went out to the clubs at nine months pregnant (twice!). Sipping on pineapple juice and watching all the women roll their eyes as I tried to dance my babies outta me. I would give them the look like, “y’all gonna learn today! How the hell you think we got pregnant?” Duh! Sex! Moving sexy, looking sexy and feeling sexy with our man. It’s usually that good sex too–I never understood why people think being a mom makes you completely NON-sexual. Birth control done left y’all jaded.

Anyway, I was at a pool party and having a grand ol’ time. I knew my baby was being well taken care of so I put on my “adult” bikini (the one you don’t wear at the family pool) and danced and drank the day away– [contemplative] which is what I usually do at home on my days off anyway at 11am just in sweats.

Time must’ve escaped me, because all of a sudden I felt like there were drunk vultures all around me, more than usual. And that’s when it struck me… like literally the pain from my boobs almost exploding. There was boobs on the top, boobs on the side, boobs exploding out of the bottom. I felt like BoobZilla! It was like I grew two cup sizes in 4 hours. I started to panic and I told my syster we had to leave but we were having a good time and we knew they would never let us back in since the party was lit and the line was around the corner.

So while tipsy I went to the bathroom with the wet floors, smelling like chlorine and cheap body mist. And I went to work. I mean I took those bad boys in between my hands and starting to squirt that milk like if it was a competition on Survivor or something. There’s a whole technique for hand milking, THINK milking a REAL cow by hand only in this instance I was the cow, and milking myself. You gotta squeeze then tug, squeeze then tug.

[she modestly demonstrates]

Finally after a good ten minutes I was able to leave the bathroom and return to the pool party, traumatized but not swollen anymore like if I had just undergone breast augmentation.

I was traumatized because I was so drunk and couldn’t believe that I couldn’t save that damn milk for my baby because I had been drinking and I wasted it all by squeezing it into a toilet (profound guilt). Talk to any breastfeeding mama about her liquid gold and you will understand the tears. Then I realized I was in Vegas again, AND drunk and thought “how the fuck would I have sent it anyway?” So I sat down in the middle of this pool party while the world famous DJ was playing his set and googled “how to save expressed milk while on vacation away from baby.”

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911

Puerto Rico, I promise we have not forgotten about you.

I promise that we, your brothers and sisters here in the States, have not forgotten and will never forget. That the pain you carry in your spirits, in your spines, in the soles of your feet that we carry deep inside our hearts, in ways that we can’t quite understand.

We “feel” your pain but we know we could never feel the blistering heat from no electricity. We cannot feel the loss of our breath because there is no more oxygen. We don’t feel the thirst on our tongues or the hunger in our bellies. We don’t feel the stream of tears on our faces from losing everything imaginable and never knowing when or if it will ever be returned to us. Our souls are suffering for the 911 and counting souls whose bodies have been desecrated and whose ashes have been tossed away because even in death our people can’t return to the land from which they came. We know of colonization, well some of us, but we are witnesses to you being subjected to it every second of every day through systemic, oppressive silence.

We will never know your pain as much as we are hurting for you. But we will never forget…

Your scholarship tells a story…


At the second annual Sisters In Conference, I facilitated “Your Scholarship Tells A Story”, but with the myriad of women in the room we decided to discuss the methods of emerging as a wholly authentic woman of color whose identity informs her professional and academic story. We honed in on mentorship and transparency as keys to emerging as a confident and capable leader of our own communities. While also purging ourselves of insecurities rooted in imposter syndrome and institutional oppression which hinders our ability to embrace our stories. 
We tell the stories of our communities. 

We are who we’ve been waiting for. 

We learn through love and live through pain. 

We plant the seeds of systerhood to grow the tree of dreams envisioned by our ancestors. 

We are “bulletproof” magical beings who live through wars and manifest our worldly womanity for all to witness. 

Never be afraid. Never fear your power. Always be vulnerable and capable… learn from your systers, your elders and hold up the younger generation of women who are following your footsteps or walking alone in a new path. 
#sistersinconference #proudsister #selflove #collectivehealing #latinasinacademia 

Lessons from my Syster

My #syster taught me how to dance… I went to house parties (& college parties… & clubs before my time) and earned the rite of passage of killin’ dance battles and percolating. I remember always hearing her in the background yelling, “that’s my little syster!”
My syster taught me how to be a big sys… she showed me how to be tough but still love my younger syster through thick and thin. (And I thank her for giving me style in middle and high school because I borrowed–okay stole–her clothes everyday and, in turn, my little sys did the same to me.) 😩😂
My syster taught me how to be smart… she showed me that working smart beat working hard any day. She showed me how to make systems that weren’t meant for me actually work for me. She created pathways that made it easier for me to walk through, simply because she had shown me what was on the other side.
My syster taught me how to fight… I mean, literally and figuratively. She was small and tough and never backed down from her biggest enemies. (Like seriously, you would never want to fight her) I remember her standing up for me against bullies and showing me to always have courage to defend myself and protect my family. But internally, I fight to the finish in all I do because of her tenacity. 
My syster taught me how to love… with all of my heart. I admired her constant loyalty and desire to remain connected. I knew her limits in love deeply because they were the same as mine and I appreciated her will to remain as well as walk away from whatever wasn’t serving her anymore. Even when her heart felt tired, I knew the day would come when she would free herself. I never doubted her trust in herself. 
But my syster taught me so much more than this… like how to sneak out of the house as a teen, how to get As and skip class, how to get into college, sage my house, deal with difficult family, and even model on a runway. 

I even held the same jobs in high school she held, and turned down other universities to go to Penn State like she had. While I always wanted to be like her, my syster gave me the gana to be better and to always be myself above all else. 
I’m thankful for her for always being the person I can call when I’m in need since I was a little girl–from what to do with my kids to what to do with my job. I am grateful for truly being a role model in life to me, a woman I could aspire to become. Love you syster and thanks for a lifetime of lessons and #memories. 

Happy birthday 🎁🎂#happybirthdays #love #family #systerhood #friendship 

That Forever Kinda Love 

I cried yesterday. I mean, I sobbed like a baby. My babies were watching, concerned but smiling, trying to figure out why Mommy was in tears but not upset. Trying to figure out why Daddy was kneeling right in front of her holding her, but not moving. I had just turned to look for a non-existent gift under the tree and when I turned around that’s when it hit me… that feeling, that never went away that’s always moved me, inspired me and kept me strong and sometimes weak.

 That realization that hit me was accompanied by the fact that it’s been almost 15 years of “firsts” and “finallys” and “forevers.” It knocked the wind out of me so much because I had just been reconciling the thought in my head that some things don’t happen in certain ways and that it’s okay, especially on a day like today. I decided to be grateful for what I have instead of being unhappy with what I didn’t have yet. 

The days of this past year have been long and trying, some months were rough, but something kept us going… an amazing support system who knew that while raising children takes a village so does supporting love. Our commitment to our children. Our understanding that 15 years of perfection, progress, periods of growing pains and rough patches means a different kinda love. But whatever it was, we “finally” feel like we made it. And that feeling that hit me of overwhelming love and relief and joy and dreams coming true all culminated when he gave me the gift of true everlasting love, asking me to be his partner for life, his wife. This is a re-do, an attempt to turn back time, a quiet whisper of commitment, a giant leap into the sky as we soar together into our future. 

This year we almost didn’t make it, but it was a year like this that we needed to realize this is a forever kinda love. There were “moments” but time has shown us that even in our worst moments we’ve learned to still love and uphold each other, something we didn’t always practice nor understand. Growing up in love has been challenging and many saw us epically fail over the years even though we had good intent in our hearts for one another. But since I was 15 years old I knew he was my soul mate, and that I was his. I have love letters I wrote to him detailing every aspect of our dream wedding, envisioning the day we finally say “I do…” I was okay with how life continuously threw wrenches in our vision, changing the course of our lives. Many times I thought we were saying our last forever good bye but we always found our ways back to each other’s lives, remaining indelibly stamped on each other’s hearts. This isn’t the beginning of our love, it’s the continuation of our life journey that we’re sharing together.

So it meant everything that our sons August and Mehky witnessed this moment this time, quiet and intimate by the Christmas tree. Little Augy in all his delight smiling up in between both of us with my tears dripping on his forehead. Then Mehky consoling me saying “it’s okay Mom.” He then proclaimed “whoa” as he saw his Daddy slid my ring on, then ending with a relieved “Thank you Dad!” Like if he knew something I’ve never told him. Like if he knew my insecurities would drift away once this proposal was accepted–by all parties involved 🙂 Because we fought for this “finally” because he is my first. Because we did this for our love, because of love… that forever kinda love…  

 IX XXIX MMII 

LYA 

Soulrise 

Let your soul rise… With the giggles of tiny humans, and the love from their smiles. From Mother Nature’s caresses and her breaths through your body. 

Let your soul rise… 

From the success of your systers and fellowship with your friends. With the vision of your future and the dreams that never end.

Let your soul rise… 

From that feeling of emblazoned passion burning in your conscience, sifting through remnants of “what coulda beens” because they are now what will be. 

Let your soul rise… 

Above the infiltration of our society’s condemnation of your individuality. 

Let your soul rise… 

To ascend our earthly existence and transcend life into “actually” living. 

Let your soul rise… 

With the laughter~dance~ancient songs of our grandmothers who died for us to live here and now will never be again. 

Let your soul rise… 

To the vibrancy of voices of systers who’ve made choices fully and fearlessly forever. 

Let your soul rise… 

To your pleasure with your partner, put aside as secondary, when really this intimacy is necessary for your survival. 

Let your soul rise… 

To the blazing sun and the moon’s crescent shadow, to the goddeses whispering in your spirit. 

Let your soul rise… 

Let her soul rise… 

Her soul rides. 

Soulrise. 

The [Un]Apologetic Academic Mother

I’m sorry that I’m a mother and an academic.

I’m sorry that my academic life is balanced with my family.

I’m sorry that I enjoyed my pregnancy while teaching.

I’m sorry that I get sprinkled with kisses and hugs while writing my work.

I’m sorry that my children are the center of my life.

I’m sorry that I can’t make it to every meeting or for drinks after events.

I’m sorry that my life doesn’t revolve around the department or university.

I’m sorry that I get my work done. And more…

I’m sorry that society doesn’t see the value in motherhood & family is not a priority.

I’m sorry that I’m a regular mom doing normal things with her children but seen as extraordinary because of extraordinary institutional prejudice and discrimination.

I’m sorry that my motherhood makes you uncomfortable or that you only feel comfortable asking me about my motherhood.

I’m sorry that you feel better asking me questions about my pregnant body or how my children are being raised rather than the academic work I am engaging in.

I’m sorry that you feel more comfortable with my role as a mother than with my pursuit of life in academia.

I’m sorry that I did not give up my life for your prestige and reputation.

I’m sorry that this mother unashamedly carries her baggage into your “All Boys Club.”

I’m sorry that I did not choose one or the other as you wish I would.

I’m sorry that I chose both, being an academic and being a younger mother.

I’m sorry that I did not wait.

motherhoodacademe

Yet…

I am [un]apologetic about my miraculous and magical motherhood, I am [un]apologetic about my presence in your halls, classrooms and other spaces that you claim.

I am [un]apologetic about my crying, affectionate, hungry, picky, breastfeeding, laughing, potty-trained or diapered, joyous and learning, quickly growing children.

I am [un]apologetic about my life outside the ivory tower in my own chaotic castle.

I am apologizing to myself for every “sorry” I ever said in reference to my motherhood and my [struggling] success.

I am apologizing to myself for ever thinking that it could not possibly have been this way; for letting their prejudice and discomfort cloud my mind.

I’m not sorry anymore.

Sincerely,

The [Un]Apologetic Academic Mother

“Is it unfair for academic mothers to have to work so hard? Yes. Is it worth wasting the time to complain? No. Should we all do whatever it takes to change the system for future academic women? Absolutely.” -Miglena Sternadori

Read more about overcoming the STIGMA of Academic Motherhood:

https://chroniclevitae.com/news/738-the-no-matter-what-rule-of-academic-motherhood#sthash.10fEddoL.dpuf

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/mothers-work-life-balance-in-the-academy/2006036.article