equalized by our repressions

artist: Arvida Bystrom

What you give, you get.

Thursday I ran my fingers over the white picket fence posts so I could feel something solid. Like the first signs of spring, it takes a while to recognize life returning from a winter of discontent.

I sat up, spine straight, in the oasis of the Redwood park. It felt good; right. The ferns danced from the wind of man-made machines. The landscape is preemptively changing. I choose to see joy in change, in evolution.

When I am lost, I return to what I know.

This current journey of (re)discovery has yielded results unexpected. To quote Gloria Anzaldúa, “For if she changed her relationship to her body and that in turn changed her relationship to another’s body then she would change her relationship to the world.” Anzaldúa was a seminal force in my understanding of the potential and the power of having a sense of self shaped by feminism.

When I first found her words, Gloria’s naked honesty about del otro lado resonated with how I was beginning to make sense of how my childhood landscape of isolation did not have to equate desolation. I found a language and an epistemology that planted seeds of joy in the shadows of my repressed desires and restrained possibilities. Her intimate and radical belief in an inclusive identity, a rejection of fragmentation, was revolutionary. I returned to her words a month ago, through an impulsive purchase in a Portland bookstore, and once again found solid ground to stand.

When I was in Portland, a stranger asked me, “What’s the upshot?”. I think the answer is change which implies transformation.

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