08 November 2018

Finding a Community: Las Doctoras and Latina Mothers Collaborative

It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since I joined the Latina Mothers Collaborative (LMC).  Invited by my dear friend Carolina Adame, which I know from our Spanish-based unschoooling group La Manada.  In my first meeting with LMC, I found in this intimate group of muxeres like minded friends.  One of these muxers, Dr. Renee Lemus, I knew before the collaborative; our children attended Maple Village together.  We had talked at length, watching our children play unstructured and safe, about our doctorates, our gender and ethnic studies classes, and our identities as latinas.  I found a sister this year for sure. And together, we are embarking on a dream journey: Las Doctoras, an online class outside the university with our social media presence on IG as @las.doctoras   We are even working on Las Doctoras, a podcast to explore the topics at hand.  Really there is so much to be grateful for this season of  holidays and joy.

02 November 2018

A Sense of Freedom

Sometimes you just want to get out. Out of the daily grind. Out of the mother’s circles. Out of the weekly commitments. Out of whatever routine you’ve developed for yourself. Yourself, that is, and your family. Sometimes you just want to get out of the family life that is now your life.  This life may be some of choosing; however, at the end of the day, this life feels like it has been chosen for you. I mean: do you really want two cars and a commute to work and a closet full of clothes that you continually have to give away and get new ones? Do you really want to read books on parenting and simplicity and consciousness, and do you really want to have late fines from the library and a calendar starting to brim with holiday plans for the next few months? All these things could be so normal and so beautiful, but sometimes don’t you just want to be free of it all?  And not just sometimes but all the time?

Perhaps it’s how I hold it? How I hold these life doings. Too heavy. Too significant. Perhaps it is how my parents held them? How I saw them carried out in my family? How my parents saw my grandparents carry on with life.

Image result for statue of person emerging from metal


This sculpture is about the struggle for achievement of freedom through the creative process. Zenos Frudakis

31 December 2017

A Newsletter

Summer 2018 Newsletter: EASE AND JOY


Mid June, and I am finally writing our annual newsletter. Bebe is playing, I am teaching a couple Gender Studies courses online with CSUDH, and Zack, after finishing his semester at CSULB, is off to Alaska to fish for Salmon. 

Our summertime intentions include: ease and joy and rest and...writing.  So let me begin with writing you all a little note about what’s been happening in our lives. These are the late spring/ summer days of Little Robinbird and Abuelo Oliverdog with Dada and Mama, in the style that Mama shares at bedtime with “Bebe”: Once upon a time, in the beach loft on the Peninsula in Long Beach, Little Robinbird and Abuelo Oliverdog woke up and usually found that the sky was blue, the sun was out, and the ocean was calling. Robinbird would stretch and say, “Good morning, Mama and Dada” and “Hi, Oliver”  or just tell us a story about how a snake bit him but then a bird carried the snake away; Mama, inspired by one of Robinbird’s books, might say to Robinbird “Your eyes are the ocean, your skin the golden Earth, your smile the sun, your laughter the playful wind.” Then, the little family would climb downstairs for coffee. Oliverdog would follow with a slow but steady hop down as well, and each would say ‘mornnin’ to the family whose photographs decorated the stairwell wall.  (Abuela Grammie passed this year, and she has an honored place there).  Robinbird would help Mama make breakfast and water the ‘babies’: the little peas and cilantro and malunggay growing on the porch. Sometimes, if Mama was very lucky, while Robinbird pretend played, Mama took a moment to journal at her “sit spot.”  Soon, Oliverdog would ask (by scratching at the door) for a walk, and so began outdoor time walking or bicycling around the boardwalk. Art or music indoor time followed, and after lunch would be naptime. On the walls of their room, you’d find Mama’s artwork, Dada’s octopus ink print from our Alaska travels last summer, and a painting of the ocean that Mama and Robinbird created this year. Later afternoon brought beachtime with friends or an adventure to the museum or aquarium or Disneyland.  Altogether, it was a pretty wonderful summer for “Team Sea Jaguar,” but for Dada being in Alaska. Mama was so grateful for her Little Robinbird and  Abuelo Oliver. Fin.

And, that is our lovely little life. Last summer, we traveled to Hawaii and the Northwest. This summer, we have a Caribbean cruise and the Colorado Plateau.  We hope to see you all very soon. Bebe can show you his grito he’s working on, and we'll all shout “I am proud to be your family!” - Mama Cristina

15 January 2017

Diwang Pinay

Image result for diwang pinay

Last evening, I spent at the Uptown Business Center in North Long Beach with mujeres from Gabriela, a Filipina led organization that advocates for gender issues.

Together, we read true stories of the lived realities of Filipina migrant women who have been manipulated, trafficked, into the US.  Told lies, brought into great debt, and coming from a great need to provide for their families, these Pinays somehow survive.  The story we read aloud last night from the account of an Ate C struck home with me.  It's a story of abuse that is not unlike the story of my Lola.  Although nearly 80 years has passed since Lola came to the US as a War Bride following WWII, these Pinays continue to experience abusive relationships tied in with desparate hopes for the American Dream or Nightmare if you will. For my Lola, this was surviving in a relationship to a violent white (in every sense of the word) husband (my grandfather) in Missouri and then California, and for the Ate whose story I read last night, surviving in the hell of under valued caretaking of white elders in Arizona.

I had to risk it. 
 -- not enough for my family.
They were selling us.
-- I told my children I was ok.
They listened to my conversations and told me not complain.
-- money for education, money for food.
I knew I was in trouble. 
-- (crying)
I borrowed money to pay for training, the passage, the visa.
-- my god. 
There was a naked old man on the couch.
-- trembling.
I arrived in Phoenix and waited for over 8 hours. 
-- my god. 
I had to risk it. 
-- my friends drove out from San Diego with their grandkids in the middle of the night. 
Just me a three elderly people to take care of. 5 hours of sleep a night.
-- my god. 
I had to risk it. 
-- I called my friends. 
I told my children I was ok. 

13 January 2017

Challenges...and essay challenge 2017

Took on a challenge to write weekly, and here it is January 12, and I've not written a thing.  Today, I finally took a moment in the chaos of motherhood to, at least, begin:
Here's my inspiration:

from “In the Subjunctive Mood” by Michelle Morano:

IN language, as in life, moods are complicated, but at least in language there are only two. The indicative mood is for knowledge, facts, absolutes, for describing what’s real or definite.  You’d use the indicative to say, for example:
            I was in love.
            Or, The man I loved tried to kill himself.
            Or, I moved to Spain because the man I loved, the man who tried to kill himself, was driving me insane.
            The indicative helps you tell what happened or is happening or will happen in the future (when you believe you know for sure what the future will bring).
            The subjunctive mood, on the other hand, is uncertain.  It helps you tell what could have been or might be or what you want but may not get.  You’d use the subjunctive to say:
            I thought he’d improve without me.
            Or, I left so that he’d begin to take care of himself.
            Or later, after your perspective has been altered, by time and distance and a couple of cervezas in a brightly lit bar, you might say:
            I deserted him (indicative).
            I left him alone with his crazy self for a year (indicative).
            Because I hoped (after which begins the subjunctive) that being apart might allow us to come together again.

Indicative mood and facts -- for example:
I am a mother.
Or, my child is giving the dog his pacifier.
Or, the light is coming through the window on the couch so perfectly just now; I can see the waves glisten too.
Or, I need a nap because I am a mother and my child is sharing his pacifier with the dog and the couch is so perfect for a nap just now.

Subjunctive mood and uncertainty -- for example:
I thought we could lay down together and take a nap.
Or, I am waiting for my partner to get home so I might nap.

Later, after my perspective is altered -- if I ever get a drink -- I could say:
I’ve been up all night nursing a sick and teething baby.
I will be starting the semester teaching in a couple weeks.
Because I am swamped with sleeplessness and teaching prep I hoped that my child would nap with me in the sun.

28 November 2016

(Re)connecting and Oshun

Hard to believe a year has passed since I last posted on this blog.  I had hoped to turn it into a website -- but it's hard to choose the right formatting. I think I keep hoping Google will develop a website and that my blogger posts will easily transition into that system.  Alas, hasn't happened yet.

Too, I'm now the mama of a 14 month old, so writing (especially when the computer is down) is somewhat challenging.  It gets put in the final stack of "to dos." 

I have been able to journal and record bebe's growth and my own, and I've found time in the mornings to paint and be in quite meditative creation space.  Thank goodness.  Still, writing -- I find this writing just now delightful - a breath of fresh air -- powerful -- soothing.

This soothing is what I've been experiencing lately as I think upon my African ancestry and its influence on the curanderismo I carry.
Image result for oshun art
Oshun -- artist unknown

11 January 2016

Annual Newsletter

When I think about writing an annual newsletter for 2015, I know it’d be easy to just say 2015 was THE YEAR OF THE BABY. Pregnancy confirmed January 20, 2015 (first day of my women’s studies class Spring Semester at CSUDH), and baby birthed September 23, 2015 (at home on Autumnal Equinox). But, you know there’s so much more that happened as our Robin Sea Jaguar was developing in my womb. 

To begin, we made a few trips out to the Channel Islands with our sailing vessel “Abundance” and a couple great friends. We went diving for lobster, and the sea gifted me with an abalone shell. And, swimming through the great kelp forests out there was comparable to my times diving in Hawaii. Seriously, it was amazing, and I am so grateful for our sailboat and these priceless trips to places that are so close but so far for most us from So Cal. We kept our boat in Ventura, and although the commute from DH to Ventura wasn’t ideal, the boat life was worth it. 

Some achievements of the year: I celebrated my first mother’s day as a mother ever. I was also invited to speak at the Association for the Study of Women & Mythology as well as the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. Then, I had my first academic publication in the Gloria Anzaldua “El Mundo Zurdo” anthology. And, some of my pieces from “Sacred Heart of Mango” were chosen for publication in JOTA. Finally, I began work on a new art series on pregnancy; my “Anak Talong” is above. It felt good and still does to be an academic as well as a mama. 

Throughout the year, we were honored with a handful of wonderful baby showers hosted by family and friends from the Bay Area to the LA Area. There’s so much love in our community for this #beberawr as I call him, and I certainly felt it as we celebrated the baby yet to be born in Huasna, in Whittier, in Ojai, and more.

Although we sold the boat in May and moved into our new place on the Peninsula in Long Beach in August, I enjoyed a great “summer of pregnancy” while Z was in Alaska fishing. I stayed at the family home in Whittier swimming and yoga-ing as well as seeing the chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, and psychologist (I have great health insurance through DH). I think it all culminated in my 36th birthday, which I spent at Glen Ivy (my first time going there ever). 

As you can imagine, the year peaked with the birth of baby binhi (“seed” in Tagalog), which went so well thanks to our birth team. If you are interested in the birth story, I can send it to you. We got to bring baby out to visit his ancestors in San Gabriel and Santa Maria in November, and then, of course the holidays were precious with a baby.

Loads of wintry love,

Me and the Rose-Hawkins Family