23 July 2013

Obstacles as Opportunities: Life is What Happens to You When You're Busy Making Other Plans

Golodrina Creative Meditations
Last night I was speaking with my friend who sees letters and numbers in color.  "Cristina Rose Smith" comes out altogether as a mix of true red, tomato red (ochre I call it), and watermelon red.  There's some brown in there with the "n" in Cristina; however, when I add "Golondrina" (the Spanish word for river swallow and also the name of the town my Gram is from in New Mexico), my name takes on much more brown because "G" is also a brown color, a dark Earthy brown.  

And, I like that because I've been thinking about my Earth colored skin, and I've been seeking a more grounded sense of self.  In fact, I feel more grounded just thinking my name is a dark Earth brown and my body is a copper Earth brown.  Of course, I also appreciate all the reds in my name too.

So, reds and browns.  What does this have to do with my dissertation? I think a good deal because a lot is coming up for me, which is not a new story in my blog world or my personal world.  I mean, let's be honest, I talk about this all the time.

And, lately, I've been wondering how part of my issues, which are pretty intense these last few weeks, are related to my hesitancy to give up -- even if it's an illusion! -- my sense of White privilege.  I wrote a friend, ""I think there's safety for me to take sides with my Whiteness, and I can understand how my ancestors before me chose to identify as Hispanos/as instead of indio or Mexican or Filipino."

Although I've been identified as a "woman of color," what happens when I self-identify myself, and I still struggle with what that would be called.  I'm aware more and more that multi-ethnic or Mestiza have been, as AnaLouise Keating writes of multicultural, "co-opted and used to support existing conditions."  She says this so well when she puts forward:

"Rather than examine racism and other power issues, commodified multiculturalisms ...ignore systematic issues by offering facile celebrations of diversity that encourage individuals simply to 'tolerate' difference."

I'm sad to confess I think this is where I'm lingering, in commodified or "melting pot" multiculturalism.  Yet, I desire to break through this lens and box, and I'm learning so much from Keating and other scholars. 

And, I know that the intensity and challenges I'm encountering in my writing journey are obstacles and opportunities and the real real real substance of life. (So, too, I want to say, are the funerals and family time I've had these last few days.)  

Let me not forget this, I pray.

Ancestor Altar with Maps and Images

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