So many stories, and yet only a few I can publish.

Yesterday evening I spent time at my grandma’s going over our family’s history, of which I know trop peu, and from this I gleaned two peculiar stories. One pleasant, the other tragic.

The first one I didn’t listen to very well (at least, I didn’t follow the details). All I know is that my grandma’s grandfather (or some male figure in her family) did not like to eat alone. So whenever he’d get home and his family had already eaten, he would take a little trip outside his house and look for the first person who’d walk by, proceeding to invite him or her for a free meal.

The second one I really thought strange and unfortunate.  Apparently, my grandma’s mom had made a type of superstitious covenant with God by dressing little Geronimito in white every day for five years (and she showed me pictures as evidence). The day of his fifth birthday he was going to wear a cowboy outfit. That day never came. The day before his change of attire a tornado took the lives of both my grandma’s father and brother.

So there are the stories I can tell you. The rest will have to wait!

23/90

It only takes an episode or two of Mad Men to remind you how far women have come in carving out a place for themselves in the previously male-dominated landscape.

Today did not display that. And who am I kidding–men still dominate many spheres of life.

To celebrate their prodigal son’s (my brother) overnight stay at home, my parents decided to have a carne asada, or a barbecue. As if on cue, the men (my dad, brother and an uncle) sat down at the table while the women (my mom and aunt) got to work. The men watched a lousy fight on TV. The women sliced the ripe avocados. I, however, observed.

I don’t like watching fights, in person or via a screen, and I don’t like slicing things. I also don’t like shifting my behavior or my actions to take on pre-defined gender roles. Hence the intentional distancing of myself from this typical gender bender, this collision of expectations and inclinations.

I sat there taking mental notes. The women didn’t even eat with the men. They ate outside, where they were grilling the meat. The men stared at the TV. At one point, my brother asked the women “Why don’t you eat?” (He hadn’t noticed that they already had.) I, in my deliberately snarky way, answered “Why don’t you cook?” Nobody heard me. The TV was too loud.

It reminded me of when I came back home after my first year of college, and having taken a sociology class on race and gender and having learned what the “F” word meant to me, I was a changed woman and not afraid to stir things up a bit.

An opportunity quickly presented itself when my mom asked me to make my brother’s bed, in addition to mine. What, doesn’t he have hands? I thought. And then I voiced it. I told her that in instructing me to do so, she was further perpetuating these gender roles that we were conditioned to play since birth. I told her how she was a victim of it, and how I, because of her own ignorance of her situation (think Beauvoir’s La Femme Rompue, think Plato’s Allegory of the Cave), had been subjected to live up to these nonsensical expectations.

She was taken aback by my brazen explanation (most likely because it was a bit impassioned, which is common for me because my beliefs and emotions are inextricably linked). Since then she’s been much more aware of her own servile condition, the one her mom and most prominent women in her life taught her and the one her father, her husband and other important male figures only served to reinforce. Fortunately, because of this little incident, we’ve talked about it and debated it at length in a cliche girl-power type of way as well as with a more serious tone.

She’s no longer the naive 21-year-old she was when she got married. Yes, today she cooked and served the men present, but I must admit my mom LOVES cooking, so it’s not really a burden for her.

But she’s come a long way.

21/90

Thoughts lurking in my head today:

1. Did I ever believe in their mission? Maybe yes, but not the organization. I didn’t feel at ease with their propaganda in the end.

2. Rifle sightings today: 3

3. This is Facebook on steroids.

4. Did he really just say that companies are not employing people because the execs are waiting for Obama to leave the White House?

5. What would I do without my mom’s tiramisu?

6. Ugh, I’ll miss my mom’s cooking.

7. Am I supposed to use all of these three social networks at the same time? Kind of a pain.

8. Lentes!

9. I really admire how well she takes care of her mom.

10. Why aren’t their handles popping up? Maybe they blocked me.

11. Thanks, Dad, for ruining the ending to “The Old Man and the Sea. “

12. I didn’t know he worked there.

13. I hope they don’t misunderstand my LUsers circle. Can they even see how I label my circles?

14. Que es esto?

15. How did he think my name was spelled Liss? Has he never heard of the name Liz?

21/90

I’m incredibly overwhelmed with thoughts about a number of topics and now I don’t know what to write about. I’d even planned out one post, but I’m just lacking motivation (and it’s one of those you-have-to-feel-it-in-the-moment type of posts, if not, there’s just no point in writing.)

So, instead of me doing the talking, I will leave you with two messages from two drastically different people–one from Yemen (or at least based there), one from Mexico.

I wish I were the one to have said what you’re about to read or listen to, as many do when in awe of powerful and truthful words and actions. But, I realize that if I try to explain their messages in my words, I will be doing a disservice to you and I will not do them, the writer and orator, justice, and so I leave you this:

From Raja Althaibani, retweeted by Andy Carvin :

Ive heard a lot of jokes about Saleh’s appearance tonight: “he looks crispy” “next time we’ll ask that he’s not medium rare but well done” “looks like he came from a jersey shore audition”.. these all are funny. But I can’t help but feel uncomfortable while reading them. We shouldn’t celebrate moments like this. It is unfortunate and a travesty that turning to violence has become the answer for us. No matter who they are or what they’ve done. Violence should not offer relief. What we are fighting for is justice. And the truly just understand that true justice is achieved in the face of violence and in the face of retribution.When u are offered the choice to avenge and u refuse it, for the sake of peace and justice. To truly reject this as a solution. To be convinced it isnt the solution. If we can set aside our desire of vengeance, we will truly understand what it means to be peaceful. Being peaceful is when even in the face of your enemy, you don’t wish them harm. Peace is where violence and pain are no surrogate for grief. Peace is consistent and should never falter. I pity president Saleh, and I hope this experience will help him empathize for those who have faced his violent repression. I would have rather he found empathy under less brutal circumstances.
 

From Emiliano Salinas:

After reading and listening to this man and woman, what are your thoughts on violence?

20/90

I didn’t celebrate the 4th because I was on the Mexican side of the border, which got me thinking a lot about…a lot. Bear with me. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s because I don’t make sense.

The notion of a country, to me, is hazy. As I was ranting to my mom yesterday (I think I scared her because she told me, nicely, that I live in a fantasy world, and, well, maybe I do) that borders are so arbitrary, I was further convinced that we’ve taken the modern concept of a nation for granted. Or, really, that we don’t understand it and its purpose. We get to watch great displays of fireworks and chow down juicy hamburgers, all while claiming to celebrate independence and this collective entity we call a country.

Yes, we are independent. From Britain (anybody see that poll? sheesh people). We’re free to do whatever we want as a nation. We decide our laws, our customs, our norms, our everything. And for the past 235 years, since the moment (and perhaps even a bit before) we declared independence from King George’s taxation without representation, we’ve been doing things our way, the American way. (see that our? I’m identifying with Americans. It comes and goes.)

The matter, however, ceased to be about independence a long, long time ago. Today, it’s about codependence and about nourishing it.

Now, I know the word has a very negative connotation. What I mean is a dependence on each other as citizens, as people with one shared goal (not one common trait) given that we are geographically confined to a certain piece of land.

Here is where patriotism comes in. I’m not a huge fan of it. I feel it’s often a blind, unquestioning and superficial faith, at least in how it is expressed, and when dispersed by the masses. Like Karl pointed out, it can be displayed as jingoistic chanting as in the case of Osama Bin Laden’s death.

Most countries are plagued by this kind of patriotism. I’ve seen it in Mexico, whether in groups of people or in individuals. I’ve participated it in this zealotry, only to regret it later. This type of modern-day patriotism, though very much visible, it is ultimately a flashy hindrance to our collective potential.

(You will note that I do not want to say, “our country’s potential” because I feel that in using the word “country,” we separate ourselves from it, when truly, we American citizens are what make up the country. The country does not make us.)

The type of patriotism that is vital to any country, though for the purpose of this post I will narrow it down to the U.S., is not the one where we chant “U.S.A. All The Way!” It is the one where we continually ask ourselves, “Have we built the nation we wanted?”

A particular example, at least for me, of someone who displays these qualities is Ashley. She believes the American prison system is flawed.  From her June 29 post:

I’ve always been a person that needs answers. I have several about our corrections system. Most of them relating to the intended purpose of the corrections system, whether that purpose is being served, and if it is, is the status quo really the best way to going about doing that. 
 
I value her sense of urgency in taking matters into her own hands and saying flat-out, “there’s something wrong and we’ve got to fix it.” If more people thought like her, we’d be better off, and our independence would not have been in vain. 
 
19/90
 

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Last night, on my way to pick up some tacos, I discovered these messages all over my hometown and decided to document them today.

I have never seen any of them. Maybe because they’re new, or maybe because I wasn’t paying attention, but they had escaped my eye for the past month. For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, “paz” means peace. In the other two pictures, you’ll read “El mundo se acabo” or, the world has ended, and “se vende Mexico,” or “Mexico for sale.” Below the latter is the name of one of the richest men in Mexico and the world, Carlos Slim. He owns much of Mexico, hence the message.

How would you interpret them, in context and together? Or simply how do they make you feel? Tell me.

18/90

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