unlearn fears

March 7, 2017

when your Mami told me we were pregnant, i went down on my knees. my legs couldn’t support my body’s newfound emotions. i cried. i cried hard. i cried for the 28-other months that i held her while she cried after we read another negative result. i cried for the 28-other months that we either walked into a sterile exam room or met up with Doddie, filled with all the hope of creating a family on our terms. sometimes in the middle of work weeks we’d drive into the city and back on the same day, days in a row, just to try again. i cried for the over thirty injections i gave Mami every night for two-weeks (her abdomen filled with puncture bruises -i tried my best to be the most gentle nurse). i cried for the day we went in for egg retrieval and i sat in the waiting room alone, sending positive energies and calling you forth. i cried for the day when they did the embryo transfer but i was hospitalized the night before and wasn’t able to be there. i cried for the day, ten-years ago when i had a hysterectomy and said farewell to you from my own womb. but i cried mostly because Mami’s heart broke so many times before the day we finally received the good news. i was overwhelmed that the Happiness of You had finally come to heal our broken hearts.

and just as quickly, fear settled in.

how do i unlearn almost 39-years of learned fears? of doctrine and dogma? how can i make sure that i don’t teach you this? will i be a good parent? how can i make sure that you won’t hate anyone? especially me? will lack of biology affect our relationship? will you be bullied at school because you have two moms? will my family see you as one of us? will their religion get in the way of seeing you in all of your beauty? will they see us as a family? and why do i even care about what others think?

the layers run deep.

on december of 2007, Mamá had a hysterectomy. i still remember that day clearly. your Mami and i had not yet met. i seriously thought that the reason i was unable to have my own children was a direct result of a punishment reserved for me for being queer; for not being what the world wanted me to be. and so on that day when they removed the crib that i thought would one day hold you, i became womb-less and actually believed that i was less of a woman because the sum of my parts no longer added to the expected whole woman necessary to bare and raise children.

we have waited a long time for you. every heartbreak along the way has strengthened our Love for you. but before it strengthened us, it broke us into a million shattered pieces. when you Love someone the way i Love your Mami, and you know they want something so wholeheartedly, that every time they don’t get their wish, a piece of your heart experiences necrosis. it dies. it feels unrepairable. and it’s not that i didn’t want it as bad as Mami. it’s that i had already reconciled it in my head that you were no longer a possibility in my body, so i shut that down and hardened my heart. so when Mami and i were ready to start the journey to you, i chose to focus my energies on helping her bring your Light to this world. and each time we received news that we were not pregnant, i witnessed Mami’s pain and i couldn’t place it anywhere but inside of me. i didn’t want her to see my hurt and i felt that i needed to be stronger for her.

when your Mami and i met, one of our first conversations was around raising children. we talked about everything related to this , including and questioning if this was something reserved for “the others.” we struggled with questions around heteronormativity and whether we were trying to assimilate to “them” (as if parenthood is reserved for just one set of people). we struggled with the idea that if we went through with it, we’d have to find an environment where you would be safe and you could thrive and grow, happy and healthy… and safe again.

i feared the church. that place that watched me grow and screamed from the pulpits that i was an abomination. i feared what others said, that our Love was null in front of the eyes of god because “it wasn’t real.” i feared it would show up in places that would affect you and your emotional and spiritual development. i feared you’d hate us, or just hate me because the biology wasn’t there. And well, blood is thick and heavy and it weighs in. but it also flows…

i was immediately on defensive mode thinking that at school you’d be “the weird kids.” i was scared that anyone would harm you, either physically or emotionally. I for sure would catch a case and end up in prison because i already Love you like i have never felt Love before. if anyone even attempts to hurt you i will literally loose my shit. you see, your two little lives, are always be protected by my own and Mami’s as well. you should also know that you are officially covered under the insurance of our Love. that means that no harm will come your way that you are not equipped to handle. that means that you are always protected.

all of these fears, my little big Loves, are just fears based on my upbringing. this world will try to teach you things that you will need to unlearn real quick. i will do my absolute best to make sure you don’t learn those lessons that come from a place of other people’s void or ignorance.

the truth is always in Love.

this world you’re coming into is pretty scary nut beautiful. and it is going to try so fucking hard to show you otherwise. this world will want to make you think you are something other than Loved. some will never see us as Family, some will want to make you think you don’t belong here or you are something different than your peers but i will raise you to know and understand that you are perfect, whole, and complete as you are.

you come from a deeper Love. you come from a place of Hope and Faith. you come from Fight and Struggle. you come from Joy and Peace. your existence is powerful beyond measure. your existence is a revolution all its own. ignore the noise of other people’s fears projected on our lives.

we are Familia. punto.

when your mother told me we were pregnant, i went down on my knees and an overwhelming gratitude filled my entire body. you became not one but two heart beating reminders that fears dissipate when i surrender to Love..

 

#52essays2017

 

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reflection: the D word

December 26, 2011

recently a friend of mine posted something to the effect of how LGBT POC’s needed to speak up about the realities of depression in our lives. i’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks, as i have been battling my own “demons.” the season doesn’t help either; short and cold days mixed in with holidays that are suppose to be “the most wonderful time of the year” only throw me deeper into this state of “wtf?”

i’m a positive person. and for many in my circle of family and friends, i’m considered “the life of the party.” when i have shared with people that i suffer from depression their first reaction is “really?” which has often left me to keep silent about it because i don’t want to be seen as anything but that “happy self.” god forbid i should say that sometimes it gets bad enough that i have to take medication to “level me out.” and when you add that piece to the mix you are then seen as unstable to many and if it’s on your life “record” and you decide to apply to certain jobs, your ass is shit outta’ luck ’cause well… “you just might GO crazy.” it is after all, the thinnest line.

culturally, it’s a taboo. as Dominicans and Puerto Ricans immediately will categorize you as “crazy.” they don’t necessarily believe in going to talk to someone about your problems either. and don’t you dare mention medication. i mean, that just puts you on the sidelines for good. my behavior changes when i’m feeling this way. i find myself sleeping more and disconnecting myself from loved one because i don’t want them to see me like this. because i don’t want to “change the image” they have of me

i’m a happy person. it’s just that sometimes i’m not.

i would be the first to encourage a loved one to seek help, to trust that things will get better, to believe that whatever it is they are going through is “momentarily.” and when i am going through it myself, i keep repeating those same words. intellectually, i understand that “this too shall pass.”

but it’s in the moment that this shit is toughest.

it’s in the moment where your thoughts take over. in the night time when the silence is loudest, all you can feel and hear and see is a fucking desire to just disappear. because you believe that in the absence of you, the rest of the shit that weighs you down will somehow disappear as well. that maybe, you become free of the shit that you carry if you’re no longer around.

and you look for places to find encouragement. reading quotes. quoting scripture. talking to a friend. finding ways to find ways out of your own self is a conscious fight we must make.

i can’t tell you what the root of my depression is. i can tell you the many places in my life where i feel unaccomplished. alone. sad. hopeless. helpless. i don’t know if this shit is nature or nurture. i just know it is. i have dealt with it throughout my lifetime. and yes, there have been days when i didn’t want to deal with it and i thought about other options. it is difficult to wake up to our respective realities some times.

yes, i know that there are people who have it worst. but i compare myself to no one. i am carrying my own weight.

i agree with my friend that we must speak out more about this. it helps to know that we are not alone. it helps to talk it out with others in similar situations.

i know that this will pass.

but for the moment… it sits with me. breathes with me. sleeps with me. and weighs on me. and i walk with it.

open letter to campaign x

December 5, 2011

dear campaign (fill in the one of your choice there are hundreds to choose from),

please, under no circumstance, mistake organizing with campaigning.

organizing is when you gather a people, have THEM identify the issues, provide the tools necessary so that they may advocate for themselves and they LEAD the way to systemic change created from within.

campaigning already has a set agenda and you invite others because you NEED them to meet your goals.

did you catch the difference? (i hope you do. i mean, you and all your law degrees and political jargon and your corporate behavior dressed in non-profit should see it clearly).

the former starts from its people, works with its people, and then its people create the change they wish to see. the latter, well, just wants to move a personal agenda and when it realizes it doesn’t have “enough people,” they scramble to find tokens in a jar of spare Blacks, Latinos, Queers, women, low-income people… throw us a t-shirt and some event, catered by who else but us… and expect us to join or even more baffling, fight for… what YOU want.

well, shit… have you stopped to look at your campaign from the perspective of the tokens in your jar? have you taken the time to really look in your jar? i mean, honestly… stop looking at people like they’re just people. it makes you insensitive, shallow, and disconnected. plain and simple. take the mutha’ fucking time to really learn a people. go with intent. sit and have a cup of coffee with someone you might never sit with. learn their struggle. see if you can taste it. learn what moves them to continue in light of their struggles. try to have a genuine human connection that tugs at your heart.

…but you won’t.

you’ll keep pushing your campaign based on political strategies created by the same people you claim to be fighting against. in the end, you might win… ’cause money, well… money is money.

and conversely, in the end… you will not have changed anything. because the system remains the blueprint for legislative oppression created by the oppressor.

but please, do me at least one favor… don’t call it a movement if it ain’t moving.

sincerely,

Sarahí Y. Almonte

crucifying verses

October 6, 2009

(A reading from the first book of Sarahi to the Religious Oppressor)

i have biblical verses in distress
causing me stress
deprive me of rest
claiming to tell me what’s best.

but i must clarify
to rectify
and crucify
words that nullify
my very existence.

i didn’t come from no ribs
that’s all just a fib
that gives permission for men to sit wearing their bibs
pouring sauce all over our lib–eration
to create an erection
multiplying for recreation.
the sensation,
a connotation
…this is…
how it’s supposed to be.

i am no man’s crown,
for i will make him drown.
pull him down,
with the weight of my frown.

don’t force feed
my desire to need
the complete opposite
of your greed.

no man is head of me
cause i was born free.

here is my own book of revelation:
my relation,

an elation, a declaration,
an affirmation…

and so i crucify those verses
and resurrect a new scripture
that paints the real picture:

i am beautifully and wonderfully created.

~Sarahi Yajaira, 2009

based on a true story

September 23, 2009

last night
the moon
spotlighted
on us

as we showcased
our love.

gently,
tenderly,
we offered the night
a kiss for every star
that witnessed our love.

undressed
our desires.
slipped into
passions.

tasting
savoring
honey
coated
love.

the stars
called for  an encore.

without hesitation,
we obliged.

the night
gave us
a standing ovation.

bowing.

curtain falls.

our love rises.

~sarahi yajaira, 2009