Why Resistance and Healing?

Resistance and healing are key to my continual progress and success generally, but especially at a predominantly white institution (PWI). Of course, I wouldn’t know this until being knee-deep in the pain of it all–until I first picked up Gloria Anzaldúa’s La Frontera, read the first few sentences and I started to cry. Lloré.

Healing is painful, especially the needed healing you have learned to repress in order to succeed–the visibility and validation you have had to learn to live without, learned never to expect.

I still can’t just read xicana works. I still cry.  Pero, “no hay tiempo ni espacio para llorar”–Si, el dicho that serves as the title of the intro de Chicana Sin Vergüenza, because it is true that “it hints at the urgency of working toward change” (Torres 3) and “also implies that we might have to work through some pain in order to accomplish effective relationships” (Torres 3).

Academic papers for class, scholarly proposals and articles must be written. Work must be done.


Writing traditional academic papers as a ventriloquist is not my goal. My voice, I have decided, because of who I am and what I want to accomplish in this world, must be more. As I began to read xicana works, I realized that I have never been alone in this thought. Many before me have felt and believed as I do. Many continue.

As I sit here at home and write, I see that acts of resistance such as this feel empowering. But, I know that is only half true. Acts of resistance are also damaging because it is painful to challenge the Dominant. This is true because my culture is, in Anzaldúa’s words, “es una herida abierta  where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country–a border culture” (25).

I am not an either/or. I am an and living in situations that call for more or less of what surrounds my coordinating conjunction.


PhD Progress: 2 Years Completed

The first career I ever dreamed of was singing. In fact, I wanted to be “a singer like Selena.” Currently, it’s a writing center director (like Michele), but eventually I want to be an Associate Vice President for Student Success (like Nancy). From Tejano singer to higher ed administrator. I am not sure which, statistically, would have been more probable considering my background is more like Selena’s than Michele’s or Nancy’s, and more like Michele’s than Nancy’s. Both are, most likely, highly improbable outcomes for their own reasons.

“Amor prohibido murmuran por las calles
Porque somos de distintas sociedades
Amor prohibido nos dice todo el mundo”[1]

Alas, here I am. Two years into a 5 year PhD program. I’ll be starting my third this fall.

Two years. Almost halfway.  Ya mero.

“Carcacha, paso a pasito
No dejes de tambalear
Carcacha, poco a poquito”[2]

Estoy mintiendo. Nunca se acabará.

Mis obligaciones son para siempre. Cada momento. Cada palabra que leyo. Cada palabra que escribo.  Lo siento.

“Aaaayyy! Cómo me duele”[3]

La realidad de ser Xicana caminando por este camino me daña y a veces pienso que . . .

“No me queda más
Que perderme en un abismo
De tristeza y lágrimas”[4]

Pensando en las injusticias, la discriminación y las perjudicas que nuestra comunidad ha sufrido

“[Ha] llenado de luto mi vida
Abriendo una herida en mi corazón
. . . [y] . . .
[Es] causa de todo mi llanto
De mi desencanto y desesperación”[5]

Pero yo sé que lo que hago no es para mí. El cambio es necesario. Tengo que continuar, luchar. ¿Si no yo, quien?

“Y se emociona (y se emociona)
Ya no razona
Y me empieza a cantar (cantar)
Me canta así así
Bidi bidi bom bom”[6]

Y la verdad es que es un ciclo de sentimientos y experiencias—hope, passion, strength, contentment, surety, tolerance, isolation, powerlessness, homesickness, intolerance, apathy, sadness, rinse and repeat. I do my best to stay within the good feelings. No doubt the wonderful people I have met on this journey help curb some of the bad feelings. But sometimes, it’s the Tower, the “peer” in class, the feeling of being the token, the ache for family, for my (Other) culture, that gets me, the tug-o-war of the us or them when I just want to be me.

“Amigo, no soy una muñeca
Que le das cuerda cuando quieres”[7]

It’s the resistance, for me, that leads to persistence. Knowing que hay algo en el otro lado de esto para mí, algo más que yo, que me da motivo para continuar, aunque no me quieran aquí, aunque creían que no merezco estar aquí, o aunque no soy la clase de persona que típicamente perciben poderosa o inteligente, no concederé. A todos que me duden:

“Quiero verte hasta sudar”[8]

  Yo voy hacer yo y . . .

“Si en mi no encontraste felicidad
Tal vez alguien más te la dará”[9]

Por supuesto es difícil, pero

“Ya me cansé de escuchar
Oh excusas y más mentiras”[10]

[1] Selena. “Amor Prohibido.” Amor Prohibido, EMI Latin, 1994.

[2] Selena. “La Carcacha.” Entre Mi Mundo, EMI Latin, 1992.

[3] Selena. “Como la Flor.” Entre Mi Mundo, EMI Latin, 1992

[4] Selena. “No Me Queda Más.” Amor Prohibido, EMI Latin, 1994.

[5] Selena. “Tú Solo Tú.” Dreaming of You, EMI Latin, 1995.

[6] Selena. “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” Amor Prohibido, EMI Latin, 1994.

[7] Selena. “No Debes Jugar.” Selena Live!, EMI Latin, 1993.

[8] Selena. “Techno cumbia.” Amor Prohibido, EMI Latin, 1994.

[9] Selena. “Como la Flor.” Entre Mi Mundo, EMI Latin, 1992.

[10] Selena. “La Llamada.” Selena Live!, EMI Latin, 1993.