This morning I wake and ready myself to dive into my Methodologies chapter. I write how I take a "Mestiza approach -- with feminist and Indigenous lenses (with Earth-based, Creativity-centered, Multi/Trans-celebrating, and Spiritually-engaged attributes) -- applied to ethnoautobiographical and literary critical methodologies." Kind of a mouthful I guess. My writing mentor asked me, after we read a poem of mine, about the complicated sentence structures I use in my academic work in contrast to the simplicity of my poetry.
I need to think about that.
I also rise up this morning and begin to think a little bit more about my journey in navigating life as Mestiza in conjunction with these concerns about appropriation. I read an article this morning entitled "What's the Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation?" and I am a bit caught to the quick. I'm in love with these popular sweaters these days, and I wonder about this trend to wear Indigenous looking patterns. I marvel at how I feel compelled to have one, and I don't even watch TV!
Still, I've been pretending I am Pocahontas for a long time. You know, as I was reading Miscegenation Blues: Voices of Mixed Race Women and I read a woman's story about being black and white, and yet feeling like the Tahitian women she saw on the television were really her people. I think that's how I felt about Disney's Pocahontas and how I felt about Mariah Carey as a teen too. I grew up watching a lot of television, and feeling Out of Place in my LA suburban hometown. I didn't feel that a Xicana or Filipina sense of self was available to me, and so I looked around and found role models where I could.
Now, as an adult embracing my multi: ethnicitites, cultures, and homelands, I struggle knowing how to honor my Indigenous ancestors while recognizing my Euroamerican privileges. I've said it before, and I feel it a lot.
I love my lola and abuelo, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the cultural exchanges I have been invited to be a part of as a granddaughter, but I hear concerns (internal and external) about always giving respect. My mentor uses the phrase babaylan-inspired, and after a conversation with a Mestiza mujer about her own concerns of Anzaldua's use of the word nepantla, I say nepantera -inspired as well.
And, yet, I know there is more. There really is just so much to learn, and (sigh) I trust I am on the right path because it is in my story, family's story, family's bloodline, family's family family....