reassault

July 25, 2017

three months ago i was with a male friend at the pharmacy picking up some meds. i was standing at the counter. he was standing right next to me, shoulder-to-head (i’m a bit shorter). when the pharm tech says, “Sarah” to confirm that the last name matched with the name written on the order, i nodded in my typical i have neither the time nor the energy to engage in the importance of names. my friend’s reaction to the tech completely disregarding my name was to discreetly and very matter-of-fact grab and pinch my ass…i knew that this awkward response was his way of telling me that he wanted me to speak up. but in that instant, i felt anger. it had nothing to do with my name. something sat in my throat. and i couldn’t give it voice.

as we walked through the pharmacy towards the exit, a mixture of emotions resurfaced throughout my body. i didn’t say a word. and he was in his own world. he had no idea what was happening to me. when we got to the car he continued talking about quien-carajo-sabe. i took a deep breath and said, “if you ever grab my ass again, imma’ beat the shit outta’ you.” he laughed lightly and kept talking. completely oblivious to both my body language and my verbal language. i stopped him and said, “no. you really need to listen to me. i mean it. if you ever grab my ass again, imma’ beat the shit outta’ you, Zack” (not his real name).

it landed. i could tell he both listened and saw me. clearly.

in typical victim/survivor behavior i started to explain myself, “it’s not that i think you did it with malice but…” he interrupted me immediately. he was visibly upset with himself and stated that i did not owe him any explanation. instead he apologized for being an “insensitive and privileged-asshole.” he owned his shit. all of it. with every word that came out of his mouth he affirmed what many men ignore and dismiss.

he went on saying that regardless of the fact that he was aware of my sexual abuse history, even if he didn’t know the information he does, his action was completely out of line. i have never given him permission to touch me. i didn’t need to say anything. he was working it out in that very moment. promised to do better every day. he came from his Heart. and a bit of my trust was restored.

last week i went to visit some friends. i have to preface that one of the friends, Carlos (not his real name either) was drunk. upon our arrival the energy was happy. we caught up on how work was going for everyone, how our babies were doing, and the usual talk-time spent with friends to reconnect. we went to spend some time and enjoy a distraction from the intensity that is our current life.

we were discussing breast feeding with another friend who was there. she was sharing her experience with us about breastfeeding her children. when a bursts from Carlos screaming, “teta!” with a ridiculous degree of volume, interrupted our conversation. he decided that he wants to focus his attention on women’s breasts. it was beyond the annoying drunk. and we tried to ignore Carlos until he decided it was ok to touch my partner’s breasts. she immediately responded by saying that if it happened again he would get kicked in the balls.

the energy has shifted significantly. and quickly.

i looked at my wife and said, “let’s go.” our other friend stood up quickly, told him to shut up and invited us to come in to the kitchen to see what he is cooking. we spent some time in there speaking about something he wanted to share regarding his health and we all went back out to the yard. as we stood outside, Carlos comes from behind and grabs my breasts. i turned around, with all the anger and fear that i experience every. fucking. time. someone touches me without consent running through my skin. and said, “every time you do that, you trigger me. you trigger every sexual assault i have experienced. from being molested to being raped. you bring it all to the surface.”

he paused, perplexed in a noticeably sober moment, and says something to the effect of how he can’t understand how he, a person of “confianza” would trigger that in me. i stopped him real fast, “this is not about you. this is not about you. this is NOT about you.” i repeated it multiple times.

i could tell his head was spinning as he tried to process this out loud. he stated how he also grabs so-and-so’s breasts and so-and-so, as if that shit has anything to do with me. i could only listen for so long before thinking this will not be a conversation that i could engage in real talk given his etoh intake… he paused and realized it wasn’t about him but i could tell that something had not quite connected. and a bit of my trust was lost.

i’ve been sitting with all of this. and a day hasn’t passed that i don’t think about it since it happened. my body is holding all of this shit. when these things resurface i just want to beat the shit outta’ the person who triggered and everyone before him. and there are days that i hate that my initial reaction is always to talk and not just go fucking violent. it’s like my need to keep things “peaceful” gets in the way of a more complete expression of my feelings. like fucking him up.

but my body, it just holds on tight. pero algun día voa’ reventar. i have no idea what that looks like. and that is very frightening to me. for now, i hold. and continue to digest what i should immediately vomit.

in what world can anyone think that just because it’s person of “confianza,” it’s ok to touch another body? every male who violated my body was always a person of “confianza.” the majority of the perpetrators are. this world chooses to ignore that fact repeatedly. they don’t respect female bodies. they don’t care to respect female bodies.

women and girls experience sexual assault every day. multiple times a day.
your daughter.

women and girls experience sexual assault every day. multiple times a day.
tu madre.

women and girls experience sexual assault every day. multiple times a day.
your sister.

women and girls experience sexual assault every day. multiple times a day. in the language used to speak to them or about them. we experience assault in the wandering eyes of someone who looks to undress. we experience assault in the “casual” grabbing of our body parts. we are assaulted with every cat call that makes us lengthen our steps and increase our pace.

i have two baby boys to raise now…they will know their Mamá’s story one day.  They will write a new narrative where informed consent is always a given and bodies are respected.

#52essays2017

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whatever you’d like

May 25, 2017

we always thought we were gonna’ have a girl. La Nena. we had picked her name out much quicker than the boys’. so when we learned that we were having two boys something shifted. there was a sadness. i can’t deny that. not that i wasn’t happy to have whatever we were getting, just that i wanted a girl because well, i’m a girl. and i wanted to raise a strong girl. independent. luchadora. bad ass. rockstar. queen. bruja. that was gonna’ be our girl, Luna was her name…

“it’s two boys,” said the radiologist as she pointed to it’s genitals and typed the word “boy” with an arrow pointing directly at its penis. that was when i had “that” moment. the one where shit gets real real. we have to raise two boys… two boys. who have two moms. who happen to be Latinxs. who happen to be queer. in a world that seems to be tearing at the seams. in a world that just on your genitals alone have placed an exaggerated, ridiculous amount of expectations on you that are unrealistic and just dumb. fucking stoopid’.

i’ve been guilty of some of those expectations. it’s the environment i grew up in. that “boys will be boys” bullshit. i’m working on changing that every day. so i am already thinking about a few things. if you are indeed cisgendered males, know that i have no clue whatsoever about your body parts except what i know from my education as a nurse and the few, often negative encounters with male bodies i may have had. but i trust that you are here to teach me a thing or two. i also believe you’re here to heal me around some of those not-so-pleasant experiences.

it’s not at all about your body but, because of your body society will make you think you have to “act a certain way.” please pay no attention to the distractors from Self Love. your body is simply your vessel. the temple in which your soul resides in this time and space.

discover the many parts of you. pink is for everyone. you can play with dolls. you can dance. you can cry. you can have long hair. you can paint your nails. you can wear whatever you’d like (though trust that i will check you before you walk out the door and make adjustments if needed. porque utede’ no pueden ta’ andando’ por ahi como loco tampoco). you don’t have to be strong. you don’t have to know about cars or sports. you can throw out the trash AND you can do the dishes.

you have brown skin. your names will be mispronounced. this has so many implications, most of them terrifying, so please be mindful of all of your actions because even your inactions are bound to set something in motion. usually, that motion is against you. stand firm in who you are. especially in moments of injustice.

you have two moms. so you also got that. which we think is pretty cool. and someone may have a thing to say about that. pero tu los mandas pal’ carajo and keep it moving. do not waste your time arguing with mojones que no cojen cabeza. i do promise you that you will have very positive male role models around you. and you will know that it takes a village and Our Village is beautiful and big and strong and they Love you.

we have so much to learn from each other. and i will do my best to be my best self for you both. and i promise you that i will honor and respect whatever you discover about yourself along the way,  i will encourage and provide all the support i can. and my only expectation of you is that you be your genuine Selves, wherever you may stand. there will be no boxes to put you in. you are perfectly made.

still, imma’ raise two bad asses. two brujos. two conjurers of justice. two respectful humans. two luchadores.

you are the painters of your canvass. i will be your easel.

#52weeks2017