Tijuana, conociéndote

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Tijuana, ciudad fronteriza, te voy conociendo por primera vez…Este finde pasado, reí, soñé, abrasé, embarnecí, descubrí y recordé que por el otro lado de la frontera, mucho fluye mucho permanece mucho vive. 

I toured, ate, and dram my way through Tijuana this past weekend. It’s been a while since I traveled through a Mexican city, and in an impulse and urge to feel the sensation of crossing into a space different from the climate of alienation and distance, I so much associate with U.S. living – where the saludo de besito is unheard of and where everyone values and protects private space as something so easily usurped by anything and anyone – I made my way south to the city where the sun sets over iron gates that sever both seas and linguistic, cultural and political terrain.

When writing about cities, I gravitate toward the gigantic and perturbed urban spaces created within and because of Mexico. Among them is Los Angeles, my beloved transborder stomping ground, which I consider one of the best and most outstanding neomexican cities I’ve come to know. Here life is animated with the aroma of atole and tamales, the colors and themes of ice cream trucks and neon signs along avenues that feed the pochx-mexi-central american appetite and spiritual sustenance, and the sonorous backdrop of elote (wo)mens’ horns and hollers that fuse with the banda cumbia and occasional punk melodies along the East LA suburb. And maybe by Mexican city, I mean where harmony and dissonance meet in colors and sounds that seduce your soul – and can I have 2 tacos with chile on the side – kinda city.

But cities like Tijuana and Mexico City are of a significantly different nature. Meanwhile all are cities of hybridity and culture produced by multiple and contradictory migrations, all unraveled within distinct urban spaces, Tijuana is a city that expands far beyond the great wall of Mexico. It twists and flows above it and below it, and flows at the rhythm of the more than 100,000 trans-border workers, lovers, and transients who cross everyday – with these numbers increasing during the weekends, when tourists and seekers of the Tijuana nightlife stream south to revel in the mezcal and tequila of the burgeoning and decaying nightlife of downtown – making it the busiest border city in the world.

During my childhood in LA, I grew up surrounded with this sense of uprootedness, displacement and yearning. I yearned to return to Mexico, inspired by Los Tigres del Norte at backyard family parties, the bi-monthly conversations with family in Durango, the realities I knew that the realities I felt and confronted everyday were informed by this strange and mysterious entity that was simultaneously very present and far away. However, traveling and living through a few days in Tijuana, I had the sense that these removed cultural and social dualities were far closer and more interconnected.

The cultural, political, social, linguistic, and urban cityscape are completely united to the life that flows through the border to the north, and the flows of life and breath that are segmented and left stagnant along it to the south.

I was able to discern Tijuana from atop a hill in Colonia Altamira, where the rolling hills of people and life lay nestled below, sunbathing. There is still much to learn about Tijuana, to travel and move through. It is a cityscape of constant movement. It moves and grows despite decay and despite broken dreams, as if it serves as its sustenance and resilience.

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Ruptures and reencuentros

There is a strong overwhelming sadness when you begin to let go of something you love; sadness and anguish seeps into you, winds and spins down into your soul, to erupt, para derramarse, to flood your entire being.  There is so much that ties me to people and to places.  There are certain places that I love beyond measure and beyond articulation, it astounds me.  It overwhelms and inspires me.  When it comes to a place and experience like Mexico City, I have become so enamored that the thought of having to relinquish my plans of establishing myself there more permanently frightens and overwhelms me.  But what else is there?  What comes next?  What happens when I let you go?

I don’t know what to work for, other than for my own happiness.  I am living now, I lived yesterday, I will -maybe- live tomorrow.  I am only aware and present that I am living this exact fleeting precise past instant. I am here and I have everything here, with me. When it comes to ruptures, sometimes I prefer to block people, hoping they’d forget me, so I could forget them.  I think it becomes easier not to feel certain people so present if they themselves separate my image and smell and taste from their senses and memory. And that scares me also.  Because, once they forget me, who will I be?  What will I be? This is always possible.  This always happens.  And we still exist.  They still exist, too.  You exist separately, like you did all along, always independently.  No one belongs to any one, somewhere along the time shared and given, we forget because at a certain point we seemed to have fused together.  But we all live parallel lives; we all exist independently; you were someone before you met him; you were someone before you visited Mexico City; Mexico City was Mexico City before you; he was himself before he met you.  This is the law of history and destiny since always.  You are now a different person, perhaps more beautiful perhaps more enlightened perhaps more aware.

But then there are people you adore and love and although you may  not see them often, you adore and love just the same.  So why is there a need for a rupture?  Perhaps because it is more like a departure. Depart but leave the goodbye open for new hellos, new convergences and renewed embraces.  Sometimes I oscillate between goodbye forever or be with me always but perhaps life need not be so extreme. Leave it open to new encuentros.  El amor es eso; they will return, you will return, love always returns.

Dulce Esperanza

What’s in a name?  A bit of investigative work and short conversations regarding what’s behind my name, my parent’s explain that it means “dulce esperanza”.  This, along with all of the symbolism encompassed with being a daughter of two mexican migrants now living in Los Angeles via way of Durango and Sonora, and who I am becoming, has prompted me to write this short piece in Spanish.  Espero que les guste, muchos besitos:

Yo tengo alma de ave, me seduce el viento que acaricia mi piel, como si animarme a tomar vuelo.  Desde pequeña me gustaba correr, brincar y jugar sin fijarme ni preocuparme hacia cual rumbo me dirigía, sin importar que me tropezara o me cayera, y un día de jugar era todo un éxito cuando terminaba con moretones en las rodillas y en los codos y empapada de sudor y tierra…a la angustia de mi madre.  Jamas me he dejado vencer o desanimar por miedo a causarme heridas, tras años de deporte de baile de viaje he aprendido que tengo un cuerpo muy fuerte y resistente.  Sí temo defraudarme a mi misma y esto me causa enfrentar retos con temor de ser insuficiente, de no creerme digna de lograr aquello que tanto me asombra, pero persigo aquellos sueños con tremendo empeño y cada día con más paciencia y amor y valentía. Porque me fascina la sensación de volar, de percibir la inmensidad del hermoso entorno; de vistas nuevas viejas y antiguas que se vuelven nuevas con cada día.  Me gustaría discernir las rutas por las cuales puedo volar, con amor y esperanza, para navegar por el mundo con la curiosidad y confianza desarrollada de niña y con el amor propio que voy desarrollando como adulta.  Y con la esperanza engendrada en mi por mi papá y mi madre, por mi familia y comunidad, por el mundo hacía mi y yo hacía el mundo.  Me gustaría navegar el mundo volando, con valentía y con la mira hacía el horizonte perpetuo.

Despegando, to begin..

I want to to string together my thoughts and elaborate them like beautifully vibrant papel picado.  There are so many thoughts and emotions and anxieties that slumber in my body that plead to be acknowledged and articulated. They demand to be strung together, given a space longer than a few sentences in a Facebook status.  I think this will be a good exercise for the mind and spirit, a release of my creative energy as a gift to my self. I’ve been told that I am a great writer, and in the very few efforts to articulate and share my perspective, I have received encouragement to keep going, to continue writing, to pursue the articulation of my own creative spirit.  And it feels good to ensue this pursuit, this articulation of my creative self, this becoming of my words thoughts and desire to bring together within and share.

In an intellectual and abstract exercise of communicating and fending for myself in the world of academia, I exercise my mind until exhaustion and anxiety.  When I run, I exercise my body to silence and appease my overworked mind.  When I nurture my yoga practice I synchronize my body and mind, emanating the tranquility and balance nestled within me throughout my body and spirit.  In an existence in which I make use of so many of my energies, I have found that there is a void, an inquietud, a desire to discover more ways to articulate and bring together all of my powers of creation and articulation.  Writing, creatively and harmoniously, is a pursuit in the direction of fulfillment and appeasement of the creative demands that slumber within me.  This year, I have sought out creative endeavours like learning how to play the guitar and learning French, and the creation of a blog because I see these as synonymous with the desire for creative output and happiness.  Pursuing all of these is fulfillment, is satisfaction, is process! I not only relish in process and in experience but I am transformed by it.  I feel grateful to be able to pursue these projects, to have them parallel and compliment other pursuits and projects in my life, because they echo a yearning to come into harmony with my greater self:  an intellectual, a dancer, a creator, a debater, a daughter, a friend, a sister, a lover, a community member, an observer, a participant, a mind, a spirit, a body.

What shall I write about?  Everything I’ve been wanting to write about for a very long time.  Where will I begin?  I will let my creative writing juices inspire the content and form of this blog.  However, I foresee posts on my on-going Mexico City adventures, having to reminisce back to 2011 until the present and beyond, perspectives on culture and politics within, beyond and just outside of the borderlands, and the music, people, art, and cultures I love.

Despegamos…¡muchos besos!