Interest: I am the granddaughter of Priscilla of New Mexico and Concepcion of Cebu. I am the mother of Jaguar of Long Beach. I am an artist and a thinker. I am a reader. I am a survivor. I teach Gender Studies part time at the University. I choose to teach part time so that I can be a full time mother. I am 40 years old this year. I live, sometimes, above the poverty line, and I want you to know that I consider this thriving not just surviving. I am my ancestors’ wildest dream as a mother and a professor. I get to spend time with my child. I write because I cannot help myself. I write to process my day’s work and to affirm my family and home culture. I collaborate whenever I can. I co-founded a podcast called Las Doctoras. I am co-authoring a book called Semillas de las Abuelas. I am co-facilitating a workshop for mothers and daughters on first menstruation. I aim to work only 30 hours a week. I try to not buy new things but to reuse and reduce and recycle. I have to put my hands in the Earth every day. I like to have frijoles de la olla on the stove. I had them cooking while I gave birth at home. My comfort food. I believe children are magic; I create space to witness and affirm my child’s magic.
Person: A medium once told me my heart told her that I am more eccentric than I let on. As a Virgo, I dress simply. I speak with intention. I control my environment as much as I can. As a survivor of trauma, I live simply. I cultivate spaces of clarity and safety. I hate the TV. I listen to when I feel uncomfortable and when I do not know how I feel. I organize. I meditate. As a traveler, I love packing up my duffle bag backpack for the next adventure. Airports are among my favorite places. I pass as a local in many countries. I learn the local dances. I paint what I see. I write what I experience as a woman of color.
Artist: In the morning, my child and I wake, and together we make art: writing and painting. I have a water-color station for us set up in our home to pull us into this art time. I am working on an oracle deck for children as a part of Semillas de las Abuelas. The cards of the deck contain poems and paintings. Each morning, I work on one of these cards. Community/ Comunidad. Earth/Tierra. Share/Compartir. In the afternoon, while my child naps, I work on my manuscript Becoming a Woman of Color: A Travel Memoir. I read from my work-in-progress at a reading in San Francisco for Weekday Wanderlust facilitated by Don George of Lonely Planet and my travel/memoir writing teacher from VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation), Faith Adiele. I submit this piece for this application.
Artist-Parent: I compelled to integrate mothering into my artwork. I want my motherhood to change my life as a person and as an artist. I believe that this union will bring greater gifts than I can even imagine. I understand that the messages I receive in dominant sources of media suggest otherwise, and I choose to listen to the messages of my ancestors. These messages reveal to me that my mother-child relationship is key to art and life and more. And, at the same time, the balance can be challenging to create. There is little model. I require time alone in my artistic process. I require moments to reflect in meditation which my child can only participate in in short bursts. Thus, my ideal balance is to create moments of play and paint and lying on the ground and laughing as well as moments of observing my world and my creative work and writing in the early morning hours. This is my calling and daily practice.
Interest: This award would permit me to write, to have the time to write, to have the means to write, the room to write. Currently, I write in the bathroom or in the car recording notes on my phone or while my child naps. I write, and, at the same time, I long for space and time to cultivate my art. I long for the monetary energy to take space to write, create, breathe, and be present to the thoughts and stories in me. This award would be pivotal in my creative work.