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beauty and fashion

I (try) to Sing the Body Electric…

I (want) to celebrate the me, not yet to come, but the one who is here now who has had a long journey and is a bit tired and always slightly uncomfortable with the way I look.

I always think I’m taller (I’m 5’4″). I always think my eyes are less squinty than they really are (slightly cross eyed–it’s a family trait). But above all there’s my mom body. I was never a thin person nor did I care to necessarily be one. I don’t mind my hips or thighs or breasts or any other areas people complain about. I’m not sure that I love them–I’m not an overzealous person like that.

But I really appreciate the body positivity movement and the women larger than I that have the ovaries to put it all out there. I have the social conditioning of ‘but what if my grandmother sees this?’ that keeps me from doing such things. Sin Verguenza!

But I am envious of that sort of nerve, that sort of power of not giving a shit. I’m writing a book about it after two years of research on the topic. Throwing the Curve, it’s called. I’ve done about a dozen photo shoots now since I started the book. I’ve gotten more confident with myself and my image–even though I look like me.

Another thing throwing me is weight loss. I spent 2016-2017 on book writing hiatus because I was leaving my husband of 14 years instead. That in and of itself is an all consuming job. And we have teenagers who turn into asses frequently which is another full time job. With the depression that comes with knowing your life must change and not having a clue how to best go about it, I did two things: Some days I ate too much; most other days I didn’t eat at all.

And then people would say how great I looked what’s my secret? And I would say depression and divorce. Oh.

They don’t want to hear that. They want to hear about a fat girl’s new found appreciation for diets created by thin people and an adherence to thin people’s exercise regiment. They don’t want to hear that you were a vegetarian for 25 years and know a good deal about food and that you already exercise every day–you just added depression and divorce for that added temporarily gaunt look.

Well then…I met someone. And I’m not depressed and the divorce is final on July 12. And the kids would be asses anyway at their age. And I have good work to do, a play to produce, writing projects and the only thing that depresses me now is the Trump Administration and its crimes against humanity and the environment.

I still don’t know how I feel about my mom body. I’m still trying to embrace this idea about being comfortable with aging. I feel like Gen Xers just don’t buy into the idea of having to dress a certain way at a certain age. Be respectable. Etc.

So this was one from one of my last shoots. There are more of course but this one I really like. It’s the most like me I’ve ever been in a shoot. Minimal make up. Minimal hair. Me. I want to sing the body electric. Right now I’m clearing my throat and the first notes are whisper singing out of my mouth.

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A Chancla Thrown at School District Nonsense

Not long ago, my kids’ school, ¬†was–when you get right down to it–bullied by the local school district. Almost since its inception, our school has been accused of ‘recruiting’ students to its programming–though most arrive on the doorstep of our charter severely exhausted at what amounts to beating one’s head against a wall advocacy of one’s kid in the traditional school setting. Our kids wound up in charter not because we’re religious fanatics, our mountain crazed hippies, but because the school district refused to meet the needs and goals of our children. Plain. Simple.

Earlier this year, the school district began a campaign against our school which I deem to be one of those last straws kind of arguments. They accused our school of racism saying our school didn’t have enough people of color and therefore we were effectively, an elite and racist school. Come again?

Dude, we live in a county that’s pretty damn white. How white? According to the Census Bureau we clock in at 90.5% white. Asian American, African American, and Pacific Islander ethnicities alone COMBINED don’t add up to 4%. Latinos and Native Americans make up the rest at staggeringly small numbers. But the school district says our school is racist because we don’t have non white students.

And this is where I, the mother, need to throw a chancla at someone’s head. Because we DO have Mexican American, Latinx children at our school. We DO have children who have Native American blood running in them. What is being said without being said is that our children, my children (Mexican American_, don’t count. My son’s girlfriend’s family (El Salvadoran) doesn’t count. Along with many other kids whose families are bicultural.

My kids are invisible and do not count the way successful ethnic minorities never get counted. You only see us in the negative. You don’t see us when it’s positive.

I’ve been asked if my kids had the same father (they do) because of the melatonin variation in their skin. Ummm…have you seen large Mexican families?!

I’ve had a lifetime–as has my mother–of people making ass backwards comments that go along the lines of “Wow. You guys are Mexican? But you’re so educated…” Heh. The department chair of my old department said as much to me. Somehow in her eyes, I wasn’t allowed to be Chicana because no one in my family had picked vegetables.

My kids speak English. They go to school. They are by and large successful students. One holds down an after school job. One does gymnastics and dance and both are in musical theater. But the vibe I’m getting from the school district is that since neither one of them is in a gang, sells drugs, or is pregnant, they somehow aren’t brown enough. Trump logic. Pendejos.

So, PUSD, come after us. Go ahead. My chanclas are ready to thwack that nonsense right out of your two-bit heads.