Writing Prompt: They say that wombyn are the bearers of multiple families (generations), through one womb. They grow the seed of life and share a deeper strength from its pains. (This piece is meant to be presented as a monologue in spoken word)
Introduction: I was born on April 23, 1974 as the 1st grandchild in my family and daughter to Sara E. Bustamante, who consummated her marriage at the age of 17 with Rafael C. Garcia. I experienced death at the age of 13 but have yet to discover true love at the age of 36. I’m a thirsty vagabond who flees before roots begin to grow but I romanticize about finding permanent ground on a daily basis. Among my many diverse life experiences, giving birth has not been one of them. I have been fortunate to witness familial wombyn embrace the joys and struggles that begin in the womb and travel through each generation. Ultimately, their labor pains have built my inner strength. My deepest secret: I don’t see my sexuality as an insecurity. I embrace my rendezvous as a man that sows his wild oats. It does not keep me from being myself or believing in love. Wombyn Lineage: To Be Determined.
A widow for almost 22 years yet she was only married for 15 and had three children by the age of 22. Sara has chosen to not re-marry. She has had a number of proposals along with four distinct heartbreaks. The first being the death of her father when she was six, then her Tia Carmen’s violent murder, third her beloved husband dying at the young age of 36 and recently, her eldest brother left her before his gray years. She shared giving life with her mother, they both gave birth to their last child, both daughters, only three months apart. She struggles with independence but acknowledges her triumphs through the lives of her daughters and grandchildren. Her deepest secret: she wishes to fall in love, again, in order to sleep with only one man for the rest of her life. Wombyn Lineage: Mother of three wombyn and grandmother of one wombyn child.
Sara was born 2nd child to a wombyn sculpted by personal tragedies. Catalina. I would state her last name but she’s had too many. Not by birth but by death. She was an orphan at ten and buried her only sister many years ago after she was slayed by her lover. She’s twice a widow and the father of her last child, which was conceived via an extra marital affair, also died before his time. She stopped drinking due to health reasons, had a stomach tumor removed but continues to raise children in her home. She helped her eldest daughter deal with widowhood and picks up the pieces when her other two daughters struggle through unstable relationships and motherhood. She recently buried her eldest son. Death has aged her spirit and callused her mind. Her deepest secret: she lives by another name. Wombyn Lineage: Mother of four wombyn, one which died at the age of two, grandmother to eight wombyn and great-grandmother to two wombyn children.
Rafael was born 1st child to a wombyn whose lips have never touched alcohol and once lived in a house made of adobe. She was married to the same man for almost 60 years, with countless stories of his infidelities. Maria Luisa Castillo still makes homemade tortillas, had a brain tumor removed and buried her eldest son a long time ago. She helped her middle daughter survive breast cancer and a complicated divorce while her eldest daughter healed from lung surgery, twice. She recently watched the only man she ever kissed on the lips deteriorate from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. She continues to be a pillar for the family, even though she has suffered the most. Her deepest secret: she loved another man before her husband. Wombyn Lineage: Mother of four wombyn, grandmother of six wombyn including one wombyn child and great-grandmother to one wombyn child.
“This was inspired by the many bike and bus rides I have experienced in the last month as well as this past weekend’s empowering events that reminded me of my Chicana pride! A salute to SantAna!” — Sarah Rafael Garcia, March 22, 2010
I’m on a bus to Santana, where my past exists and the roads that lead to foreign lands beg for my return. Donde se encuentran las flores mas brillantes and the aromas consist of pan, carne asada y chile picante.
I’m on a bus to Santana, where the people speak Spanish and Chente is heard from cars that read “Viva Mexico, Michoacán y Zacatecas”. Where I can find, mazapan, mangos con chile y limón, and homemade tortillas from a Taco truck along the busy streets. Where I find myself entranced by the past in order to change the future.
Santana, filled with people who remind me of my abuelito’s beautiful brown skin, who get to work on foot, on bikes, only to do the labor no one else would choose. Filled with community leaders of diverse backgrounds, determined activists and our youth who embrace the arts.
Why am I on a bus to Santana? I go to fill my heart with culture, to walk hand in hand con la raza, con la gente, con la proxima generación.
I’m on a bus to Santana, so people could ask, “Where are you going?” and I can respond with pride. So I can direct them to El Centro Cultural de Mexico, Calacas on 4th y a la misma vez – to my favorite agua de horchata.
I’m on a bus to Santana to change childhood memories, empower nuestro pueblo – nuestro orgullo, our City of Santa Ana!
A Compilation of Moments in Remembrance of Mi Papi
Rafael Castillo García, born October 26, 1951 – died February 27, 1988
In my first year of life, a dark figure holds my hand and helps me take my first steps. He was sweaty and dirty but I couldn’t help to hug and kiss him, I must have been two by then. Princesa, only he called me that, along with mi gordita y mi primera hija.
When I was five, I wore a pink, night gown labeled with the word princess in white that he bought for me. It was my favorite pajama. I remember running out to the living room and finding lots of presents under the tree, “He worked a lot of overnight shifts for this Christmas,” mami said. He braided my hair a couple of times and then one year he took me to get a haircut instead. I had feathered hair in 4th grade and he took a picture to prove it.
When I was eight, he made us get up early to watch Twinkie, our dog, give birth while he explained the birds and the bees. He introduced me to all kinds of food, including patas de rana – yes, frog legs, but his brisket and carne asada were the best. He taught me how to ride a bike and I made him proud by riding with my hands out to the side. In 5th grade, he took me to my school presentation on the handlebars, of that same bike, because the car had broken down – you see I couldn’t get sweaty since I was wearing my special Mexican dress – he had said.
He mowed the lawn, built us a swing and planted roses for mami, always wearing his boots and cowboy hat. One Christmas, he bought mami a new diamond. He made her smile like no one else could. He gave me a book, a new book, for my birthday and Christmas every year, he signed all of them with his own name. He called us las niñas, mis niñas.
At twelve, he bought me my first silk nightgown to celebrate my transition from childhood to womanhood as a family. Mami said it was hard for him to watch me grow up. That summer, he drove us along Pacific Coast Highway in a beat up camper RV, all the way to Yosemite. It was the best trip in my life and his last one. I fondly remember that he climbed up the waterfalls and waved back to us.
At thirteen, I begged him to take me to watch Dirty Dancing the movie. He did, against my mother’s wishes, and even sat several rows behind my girlfriend and me, making sure to not embarrass us. In eighth grade, I got my first set of bad grades – he cried, but didn’t know that I witnessed it. Then, my parents got separated, this time he cried in front of me. He traded in his favorite, old mustang for a newer car, just so I could be proud of him. I can still see the look on his face when I told him I prefered his old mustang. Weeks later, he met my first boyfriend and hated him, but gave me money to buy a Valentine’s gift. And a month after the bad grades, he wrote me a letter expressing the importance of education and la familia. I received it after he was taken to the hospital. He died at the age of 36, I was still thirteen.
At sixteen, I became editor of the school news paper; I thought he might be proud. At eighteen, I moved out of my mother’s home and started college, it was hard without him. It was really, really hard without him for so long.
But when I received my Bachelors of Science in Sociology, climbed the pyramids in Mexico, visited the Caribbean – twice, ventured up the mountains in Canada, trekked the Great Wall of China – sixteen times, got lost in the Grand Palace, ate grasshoppers in Bangkok, skiied with my sisters in Colorado as a family and finally swam with the turtles on the Great Barrier Reef while backpacking Australia at the age of thirty five - he was there along my side, I felt his pride.
He was there when my sisters got married, toasting with my tios. He was there when his first grandchild, Rafael – Rafito, was born. I saw his spirit pat my brother-in-law on the back. He is in every part of my life, in my first book, in the stories I share, when I teach my students – when I strive to change the world. After all, he was the first to show me the meaning of perseverance. Yet, he witnesses all my heartbreaks and, without fail, continues to remind me of real love.
He was in yesterday’s bike ride, will be in tonight’s dreams and tomorrow’s lesson. Papi, mi Papi, is in all my memories, even the ones that have yet to be experienced.
Corruption, Gangs, Guns, Crime.
Pollution, Racism, Injustice, Global Warming.
Poverty, Hunger, Natural Disasters, Death.
Why does it take a huge loss to bring us together?
One of the questions I often ponder is “Why do we wait for the problem to get worse?” I never understood why we, as societies, can not come together to prevent the issues at hand. Often it is our beliefs that are supposed to bind us that actually keep us apart.
Religious Groups, Democrats, Republicans, Environmentalists.
Educators, Activists, Community Organizers, Civic Leaders.
Writers, Reporters, Role-models, Charitable Donors, Entrepreneurs.
We all have the motivation to address the issues we feel passionate about, but somehow we lack the ability to unite unconditionally. Some have ideas, others have access to the public, and financial resources to make it happen. Why do we wait for the problem to exist? Why do we wait for communities to experience loss, over and over again? As if we are waiting for the last of the hope to be eradicated from their minds. Why can’t we unite?
Greed, Money, Power, Egos.
Opinions, Distrust, Righteousness, Stereotypes.
False Leaders, Political Gains, Caste Systems, Borders.
It just takes a movement from one side to the other. It just takes an unconditional objective. Imagine how the world would change if religious groups advocated birth control and addressed sexual abuse openly or if politicians worked together to free people from statuses and end our global wars or just the simple notion of providing unconditional support to our non-profits who promote community empowerment and help their efforts unite.
Why can’t we, as global societies, invest in prevention and unity instead of eradication and separation? It takes more than just some of us, it will take global unity.
Humility, Communication, Agreements, Education.
Unity, Empowerment, Trust, Motivation.
Peace, Life, Happiness, Global Sharing.
Contributed by Rainbow Coan (Sarita’s Cousin)
I feel my best
When I see my breasts
Displayed to their perfection
Pronounced in my reflection
They bounce with every change of tone and inflection
I find them jolly and full of life
Though weighty mounds they make my demeanor light
Bringing happy thoughts to all who know them
I often think how best to show them
God says to give and share and love
My breasts fulfill all of the above
Two towers perched on a priceless temple
Now a special mention for the nipples!
They are so cute
Two taboo treasures
Two perky peaks of playful pleasure
Poking in at their own leisure
Should I also mention how lovely it is
To gaze upon my lovely cleavage?
An enchanting child of well rounded sires
What more could any girl desire
SO though it is naughty and though it is vain
I find myself dazzled by my breasts again and again
But why shouldn’t I and why shouldn’t you?
You can enjoy my breasts too!
Enjoy their perk, their curve, their hue!
Because I feel my best
When I see my breasts
And none of us should feel anything less.
“I need a good drink to go with this life,” I said outloud.
While puffing a cig and feeling ever so proud.
“Would you like a nice bottle of wine,” the gentleman on my left replied.
Giggling I stated, “No worries, mate! I’ll just slap the goon sack on my side!”
He grinned only to question my blunt rejection,
Blowing smoke, I began to tell him my life’s reflection.
“You see, I travel light and sleep under a net,
So honestly, how sophisticated can I choose to get?
I’m wearing my bikini as underwear,
And yet life keeps getting more than just fair!
I work for food and don’t have a dime,
But everything is still awesome and quite sublime.
I got creative friends who understand what’s in my head,
Life is grand! Can’t say I’m lonely or misread.
Life is grand, as I had hoped for it to be,
No one owns it, not anyone, but ME!”