Dangerous Compassions

the power of weird, what is authenticity, Mexican-Americans

“If I left some cough drops with a note on the fence for that neighbor, would that be weird?” I asked Ming.

“Yeah,” he said.

“But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it,” I said.

“Right,” Ming said.

“It’s not like weird would really hurt them–they’re already hurt.”

The first year our friend P made food for the Sacred Peace Walk, he used a pot that he didn’t want back.  It was not that great a pot.  But we ended up washing it and bringing it back to him.

I was thinking if we ever got a pot again that was unwanted, I could use it to make soup and bring soup to those neighbors.  Then we wouldn’t have to worry about getting the pot back–I explained all this to Ming.  “Then if we did get the pot back after all, I could make them soup again!” I told Ming.

Would they eat it?  Would they think it was poisoned?  Poison seems like an old-fashioned thing.  I used to watch Perry Mason reruns in grad school.  I think you could get poison at the pharmacy, long ago.

Perry Mason comforted me.  He looked like a nice Mexican-American guy I wanted to be my relative, but I think he was a white guy.

Wow, looking at the wikipedia article, I see Perry Mason first aired the year my dad was born, 1957.  And Raymond Burr had a longtime partner boyfriend, and he loved orchids.  I’m laughing about the orchids.  No wonder I wanted him to be my relative, those sad grad school years.

Friday was the board meeting, which we had at Freedom House.  Saturday was the roundtable at UNLV–Ming was out for several hours.  Sunday was the celebration at Happy Earth Market–Ming was there all day.  Monday was the desert peace vigil day–Ming was out all day then also.  And yesterday was Pride at UNLV–Ming was out all day again, with our friend B, tabling about the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective.

It was well-attended, and they had a good time.  We were invited because the event’s organizer had been at the Co-Zi zine fest and saw our table there–amazing how thing can lead to thing.

Today life starts to get back to normal.  The guests are gone.  The people who were in town to clean out the office in the back house are done also.  They filled up our trash cans–this morning the trash gets dumped, so there will be room in the trash cans for Ming to dump our house’s trash again.

Sometimes I get a happy feeling, like the world is ok, people can be kind, there’s good food to eat and I get to eat every day, bed is comfortable, fall is gorgeous.  Music is amazing, and poetry, and Ming.

Other times, I get scared, thinking about death and how it’s impossible to hold onto what I need.  Death feels like a huge problem, and the suffering of neighbors, confusion of conflicting needs.

Last night Ming got a spot on his favorite shirt–the sink drain in the bathroom gets clogged up, and he puts some product down the drain to clear it.  It made a small spot on his shirt like bleach.

He seemed sad, and I wanted to buy him a new shirt, but life is really about letting go.  I can see if they still make that shirt and buy him a new one, but death happens–you can’t hold onto things.  It put my mind on a bad path.

I felt for a moment like I understood hoarding.  I wanted to hold onto the things, but it seemed really about wanting to hold onto people, and that’s not possible.

I got overwhelmed with sadness and anxiety, and was worried I couldn’t sleep again, having little panic attacks all night like a few nights ago, but then I slept just fine.  Thank goodness.

It’s 3am, and my little skeleton in a sombrero is dancing.  I try to tell myself that death is normal.  It’s a part of life–we’re all skeletons, inside.  I want a better attitude.

There’s a local Day of the Dead event I saw on facebook–it has all these activities inspired by Hinduism or new age whatever.  Cleansing the third eye, balancing your chakras, some breathing thing…

It seems like standard new age hippie activities, but I thought for Day of the Dead, there’d be some Mexican aspect.  It seemed like an excuse to do all the hippie things, and two of my friends who I love and respect marked “interested.”

It made me long for something more connected to the thing it was supposed to be about.  What is authenticity–I tend to think there’s no such thing.  Beans come from the Americas, but isn’t rice from Asia?  I mean, those accordions come from Germany, right.  The tuba in the mariachi band.

Almost everything is from somewhere else.  Most Mexicans speak Spanish, but that’s the language of the invader.  I don’t have a chance at getting fluent in Spanish, let alone a Native language.  Good luck with Nahuatl, Laura-Marie.

Going back, this was Mexico, but what was it before that.  The countries are made up.  There’s what’s real, and there’s what happened a long time ago.  Who knows how it really went.  History is written by the victors, and the people who can write.

Sometimes reality feels like a joke.  I mean, I have right now.  I ate half of a blueberry muffin.  I can hear traffic on MLK.  Ming is sleeping.  My typing is a tapping sound, and my right knee feels uncomfortable.

I love reality more than anything, but I’m feeling like there’s no shared concept of what’s happening and what it means.  When I put my feet and hands on rocks, I learn about what’s solid.  When I breathe, the air is real, even though I can’t see it.  My own body is real, though I spent a lot of time feeling disconnected from it.  I touch my own hands and forearms and say, “That’s me.”

I would go to the graveyard and sit at the graves with my relatives all night, candles glowing, but they don’t do that, in Lompoc.  I’m longing for a history I don’t have.  I’m definitely not Mexican, barely Mexican-American.

My dad liked to sing this song.  I think his favorite part was that part about not wanting to get up early.  But the part about going to night school to take Spanish and get a B is my favorite.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

One reply on “the power of weird, what is authenticity, Mexican-Americans”

I found your post very relatable. I think about death a lot too. I think because I’ve lived with uncertainty for a long time I’m acutely aware any moment could be our last moment. Everything can change in less than a heartbeat, then change again.

I also want to sit in a cemetery and light candles for my relatives but it’s rainy where I am and the graveyard I’m thinking of is dreary. I also wanted to leave food out and do rituals for people I know who have died but it didn’t feel right.

I think it’s hard to let go. My partner goes mad if he loses £5. I’m much more relaxed about things like that but I have my hot button issues that terrify me.

I’m in a hotel full of corporate Daves. It makes me think so much of life is beside the point. I like the marrow, the poetry but sometimes it’s painful to be so sensitive in a world of grey.

I feel strongly that I have to move out of this northern British city and relocate to Berlin, Montevideo, Seoul. I feel the need to escape the palid nature of England. England is like a horrible puddle. I need the bright lights, the ocean, glamour…

I dunno. I keep spinning my wheels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *