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Dark Ecology: Race, Gender & the Environment

English 252 @ Hunter College

Author

belloame

Latina/Student/Artist/Freedom aspirant

Women’s Rights are Human Rights

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On March 8, 2017 I attended the women’s Strike in Washington Square Park. Knowing that we were all there for a common goal to speak on issues that affect us as women daily really inspired me want to do something more for the cause. A photographer who started a women’s series project for the month of March reached out to me about possibly sharing my story. While we were there he interviewed me to be featured in the series. At first I was a little spectacle to volunteer, I didn’t want to get judge for sharing personal feelings. After much contemplating I decided to do it because being scared of getting judge wasn’t a good excuse. It was silly for me to turn down an opportunity that would possibly impact other women in my same position. Below is my interview. It is extremely personal but I’m sharing it because I know it is an issue that many daughters and mothers faced. It’s a relevant issue for women.

 

Interview: In High School, I didn’t have many worries. I often would be hours at school because it was better than being at home. I avoided drama whenever possible because it remind me of what I was trying to escape. In high school I used to have fun, I was passionate about things and I remember always having a smile on my face and laughing all the time. When you are that young it seems like nothing can really ruin your life, until something actually does. When my father left it was life changing. And not because I was destroyed in the fact that he left. I actually wished countlessly that he would go. When your dad starts. But my mother and I didn’t have similar feelings. So when he left it destroyed her. She didn’t know how to pick up the pieces. She didn’t know how to pick herself back up again and I had to pick up the pieces. I was no longer carefree because I spent my days worrying and caring for her. It was a heavy burden to bare and it definitely took a toll on me and our relationship. She went through a deep depression and I was forced to grow up not because I wanted to but because I had to. Everything was different; I wasn’t passionate about things anymore. I think I lost myself through my mother’s pain. I wasn’t even able to deal with my own pain because I was worried about fixing hers. I was concerned with her healing; I was obsessed with her getting over it. In an odd way I thought, “If she got over it then our lives would go back to normal”. But that didn’t happen, for a long time things weren’t normal. When I was younger I was really artistic and it came natural to me, it was one of the only things I was passionate about and suddenly I just stopped, I quit making art. I put it aside for a long time because in a way I felt guilty for pursuing things that I enjoyed. My mother’s misery weighed heavy on me and giving up art was one of the hardest things I think I’ve ever had to do. I lived a lost and stressful life for a very long time. One night I broke down, I just started crying and I couldn’t stop. I think that after maybe hours of dry heaving and ugly crying I realized how unhappy I was and came to the realization that even though my mother was going through something it wasn’t my burden. So, I turned to art, I needed a way to release my pent up emotions. Eventually it helped me find my youth and myself again.

 

My advice or I guess mantra to other women would be to embrace challenges. I feel like embracing challenges made me who I am today, without them I wouldn’t have a story. I dealt with resentment towards my mother and her decisions after my father left. she often talked about taking her life away and is was painful to hear because I had this image and expectation of her. I wanted her to be strong and courageous but she wasn’t. I realized I had to be those things for the both of us. what i’m getting at is that many of us like to judge other women and put them down because they aren’t the “ideal” woman. I was guilty of it, but this only creates barriers between us when we should be untied rather than out casting other women for choices that you don’t agree with, why not lend an ear, a hand, a hug, why not help? why not embrace your challenges and understand theirs?

 

 

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Lets no longer be lost?

For a feminist art show on April 22nd entitled “Treat Yo Self”, in which the purpose of the art show was to empower women through art and to create a platform for women to express their individuality. Many female artist made up a collective to show off their artistic talents and passions. I created two works of art that were displayed for exhibition. Along with the art works I created poems that represented by influence behind the process of those pieces.

Both works of art are centered on the theme of oppression within a relationship. I try to convey the consequences that come from women not controlling their own roles in a relationship. when women allow the male in the partnership the permission to govern over their lives we lose our sense of self. Even though there might seem to be times of peace and affection, these act of control go on for a long span of time. Often women lose their identities and ability to think for themselves as well as the freedom to show up as a person in the relationship.

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“Drowning”

She found herself hopelessly anchored in love

Weighed down by cosmic kisses beneath salty foamed galaxies

In a celestial darkness, drowning, sinking, uprooted.

Left disturbed where she landed, fading.

Her rusty arms dangled, swaying above her casting shadows onto her as she immersed into the depths of this static earth bound sky,

Flooded by lucid dreams and a sea of stars

One swift breathe in,

She saw the light.

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“Castaway lovers”

Helpless, hopeless at the edge of a waterfall

Afraid of what may lie at the bottom

Shattered pieces everywhere

As I drift closer to our end

End this I tell him

End it

Incapable of escape

Utterly impossible to avoid

Seduce me so I’ll never have to leave

Engross my thoughts

Ignore the fact I am falling

Falling for him?

Drowning

Crashing through to the center of the world.

You black hole

Dismantling my walls

Has me by my heartstrings

I’ll do anything to take back control

Fear of losing myself

Hoping to be rescued from myself

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/snow-white-doesnt-live-here-anymore/201106/why-do-women-still-feel-oppressed

http://www.emerson.edu/news…/israeli-playwright-explore-role-arts-social-change-emerson

What I forgot

The brightness in the room was pleasantly overwhelming; the curtains did very little in containing the light outside. But I did not mind because it was a soothing way of waking up. Although my eyes were closed, I could clearly see the white, yellow and orange shadows dance above my face and even though the window was closed I could feel the warmth of the sun tenderly sizzling on my chest. In the kitchen, I could hear my mother singing along to a song playing on the radio and the awkward sound of aluminum trying to be gently folded. It was Saturday and she was making sandwiches because soon we would be on our way to the park. My mother made a habit of always packing enough food to last us the entire time there and the left overs was often given to the squirrels, which I always believed was a peace-offering for allowing us to use their space that day.

I was my happiest on Saturdays because it meant being outdoors. And I loved the outdoors, the warmth of an afternoon summer breeze, the fragrance of grass that tingled my nostrils in the most delightful way and the feeling of accomplishment when I would leave with the scent of nature soaked in my clothing. When you are a child nature is not complicated, kids enjoy and cherish it because it provides them freedom and security, they build a relationship with nature and it’s gifts. when we were children we climbed trees, picked flowers, ran on the grass, and rolled down hills. Nature was our playground and we took comfort in it always being there for us. which makes us take it for granted and so we stop going to the park. We convince ourselves we have better things to do and play into the myth that we are too old to roll down hills and the smell of dirt mixed with sweat grosses us out. We resign from nature and confine ourselves to living an unnatural life based on routine. Where we spend most of our day in spaces that make us prisoners to hues of yellow produced by a bulb attempting to mimic what we once knew. I’ll admit I was one of those prisoners and I dismissed nature from my mind.

Until one day a friend asked me to meet them in the park. As I walked through The Ramble in Central park I noticed the sun as it shone brightly on the water, I had to squint through glimmers of light to see where I was going. And it struck me that I had lost sight of the beauty that I once embraced as a child. Nature had made me the happiest I had ever been and I needed to feel that way again. So the next day I went on a hike and made a promise to nature that I would never abandon her again.

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