A blog by Amanda Alcantara

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I Write To Survive

I took this photo in Prague, Czech Republic 

I write because if I didn't write, my entire life might suddenly disappear before my eyes. I write to make sense of my existence.

There's this anxiety behind my writing, as if my ideas will expire from my head so I have to expose them before they disappear.

As if my life needs to be documented so that I don't fall into oblivion.

Lately I've been writing more, and posting less. Except for this one instance- right now. I've been feeling more. I've been feeling anger, desperation, fear, frustration, pain, anxiety. I have wanted to switch my life completely, let go of everything, I've been wanting to give up.

The truth is I'm exhausted. I'm exhausted of performing day-to-day life in the internet and in person and the constant competition to be right. I'm exhausted from day to day activities. I want to sleep. And be outside. I want to plant a tree and grow a garden. I want to do more work with youth. I want to dance. I embody dance and light.

And I feel hope.

I write to document my emotions. As if I can only make sense of my experience through words.

Or perhaps it comes from a place of power. Because I also write to end the silences, my own silences. This blog was once called "Born 2 B Loud" to fight back against those who told me I was too loud.

This is art. This is power. I write to preserve my full self. To survive. To tell the world that I am here. For self-empowerment. To tell myself that I am here. And when I do, I give up a piece of myself. Some folks believe photographs can capture parts of us and our spirits--writing is the same. After writing, purging, I have to reenergize especially if it's made public. Please, don't take a writer's work lightly. Don't take this lightly. This train of thought is running through my head and landing on this page with fierceness that I can't contain.

This is energy that is often harvested for a while. I write to survive. I write to let go and hold on. To share and keep. To hold on to love and let go of despair. You see, there's hope in typing these words.
And there's also pain.

In every word that I write there's a thousand myths breaking about a little girl who's ideas don't matter. In every word that I write, there's a scream excited to take up all the space that it needs to take up.

I write to knit my love into the fabric of society like my mother and her mother and my dad's brothers and sisters, who's knitting expertise happens in small apartments away from the lights. I write to make sense of my own mortality, expecting words to live beyond me today and in the future. I write to survive.

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Brujas and Sisters Who Encourage Us To Heal

Art by Kassandra De Jesus (https://www.instagram.com/rebirthyoursoul/) as seen in Brooklyn, NY. 

I encourage myself to believe the answers I seek are within me, though this isn't always easy. As women, we have been taught that inherently we aren't enough, that we have little-to-no worth on our own and that even caring for ourselves shouldn't be a priority. We are taught that we are not whole. Even from a spiritual perspective, we are taught that God is inherently male, and feminine images were very-much stripped of their power or full complexity during the times of colonization and other processes, with only some spiritual practices (which are often afro-indigenous and seen as non-credible) maintaining examples of complex non-male deities or feminine and or non-binary spirits. Therefore, as women, the process of healing and considering ourselves full-human beings can be a difficult. You see, representation matters. (There's a great essay on the importance of representation and specifically Santería written by Elizabeth Tracy for her graduate school thesis here.).

I've written about friendship as a way of healing here, but I also wanted to take a moment to highlight bloggers who challenge these concepts of women as not being whole. Please note that not all of these write of spirituality but rather healing (hence why the title of this piece is brujas *and sisters*). By healing I mean finding inner validation, by healing I mean working to maintain self-love.

All are women of color (most Afro-Latinas). Some I know personally, others I've never met and have been recommended by friends. Check them out:

Tatianna Tarot: 

She's a tarot card reader and ritual practitioner based in Brooklyn, NY who posts general readings that folks can follow daily, and also does a reading through YouTube midway through the month. I took a dancing class with her and did an in person reading-she's so on point. I like that her daily readings are very encouraging. They feel like a daily boost of energy and reminders that we're one with the universe. 

Website: http://www.myurbanillumination.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tatiannatarot/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIFsaGXPW7mIx8l6XJP_a8w

Ynanna Djehuty: 

She's an afro-latina midwife vessel of knowledge and strength. In her blog she writes about reproductive and feminist issues. She also does reiki and in person healing sessions that are truly transformative- book her if you can. She recently wrote a piece about Dominican medicinal knowledge with some tips over at La Galería, check it out here. 

The Hood Witch
The Hood Witch seeks to honor timeless knowledge that has either been forgotten or ignored. On her site you can find astrological insights but also a shop for various tools. The best part is that if you shop from her you're supporting a small business. 

Reclaiming Isha
The author of this blog is a courageous and inspiring afro-dominicana who I personally have learned a ton from. Through this blog, she is "Learning to love myself one self care act at a time." She uses this space to write about her own healing process and throughout the way gives insight into healing practices while encouraging us to stay strong. Her writing is on point as she reminds us to take time for ourselves.

 Website: http://reclaimingisha.com/

Fearless Leon
This is a website started by an afrolatina for the woke woman searching to live a fearless life. Fearless Leon led by Ghislaine Leon features writings by women on self-care and healing, as well as music. They also highlight other Fearless women with their series "Fearless Leonas of the Month". 

Who do you follow for healing or encouragement? Let me know, comment below.

*These are a suggestions, what resonates with one person might not work for you*. 

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