A blog by Amanda Alcantara

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Descolonizando el afecto


Really, this photo is unrelated to the post. I just want y'all to see how fly I look with my new hair cut. 

Se me pierden las palabras en la ansiedad de decir lo que quiero. Y de querer decirlo claramente.

Es que quiero escribir sobre la soledad, sobre la falta de afecto, sobre un reguero de cosas, pero las mismas cosas de las que quiero escribir son las que no me permiten continuar. Es como si mis palabras se desaparecieran.

Can you live without physical affection? Without touch?

Tengo gripe. De esa que dura días para irse del cuerpo, así que toca levantarse y seguir porque los bills no se pagan solos. De esa que crees que se fue hasta que te das cuenta que sigues medio...groggy. I have a tick in my eye too, the right one. En verdad me duele el cuerpo. Me duele to. No puedo dormir bien. No puedo usar el baño bien. And I really feel like writing this in Spanish, but someone told me my Spanglish is better and my exhaustion is just making me forget my own voice.

Tengo miedo de escribir que cuando te tomé de las manos el otro día fue cuando me di cuenta que lo que me falta es afecto. Tengo miedo porque contrale! Why does everything has to be about boyzzz? Yo sigo de pendeja, sufriendo. And now I'm realizing how much of that is tied to wanting afecto, afecto físico. Not just so-called Daddy Issues which society assigns some pendejas like me.

What makes us want afecto? Is it innate to all humans? I don't think it is.

Una vez en la universidad tenía una resaca malísima. No me podía parar de la cama. Me quería morir. No paraba de vomitar. Ósea, yo 'taba vuelta un tollo. Y una amiga vino y me comenzó a acariciar el pelo de la forma más casual. Ella en verdad era más amiga de mi roommate que mía, y estaba ahí visitándola a ella. Pero se puso a hablar conmigo y al jugar con mi pelo, se me quitó la resaca. Con eso me sané. I even said it. Like damn, love really does cure everything.

Ahora, con toda esta mierda de Donald Tron, el afecto me hace hasta más falta. And how nice would it be to have a friend just come play with my hair...But would that send a mixed message? Would I develop feelings for her? Can I have a guy over with a promise of just cuddling and not guilt myself into thinking I owe him sex? 

Dije, en inglés, que sería chulísimo tener a una amiga que viniera a jugar con mi pelo, como la vez esa cuando estaba en la universidad. Pero no sé si sería posible hacer eso. Ni si quiera sé si pueda invitar a un muchacho a que venga a acurrucarse conmigo, sin la promesa de tener sexo. 

¿Cuantas de esas cosas fueron aprendidas en el proceso de colonización? ¿Se puede descolonizar el afecto? ¿Querer a un amigo como se quiere a un amante? Pero después entonces el amigo se volvería amante ¿No? Cuz that's how people fall in love right? Maybe this is beyond afecto then. 

Me estoy desapareciendo. Little by little me desaparezco. En verdad no, pero eso es lo que a veces siento. Así se siente cuando el aire del heater, que está tan seco que te hace sangrar por la nariz, es lo único que te arropa. A veces duro horas debajo de la bañera, dejando que me caiga el agua caliente encima. The spontaneity of the water drops which I can't predict the same way in which I can predict my fingers helps to imagine I'm being loved. Coño...que vaina mas triste.


This might or might not be part of a larger series on pendejismo which started with this post
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Untitled



It’s only week two and already I’ve got a bit of writer’s block.


I drink my shot of liquor that la señora from Dajabon gave me, and get to writing. Vocal chords dripping from the side of my lips as I try to manifest words unto the page, speaking them out loud, I wanna sound like a poet but what does a poet sound like?


Black keys on the keyboard staring back at me.
White words on them. Just like they try to paint on us. Paint their words on us. Descriptions on us.


I just wrote a line and erased it cuz he would've known I was talking about him.


This is what pain sounds like. Trying to fit a sentence into a breath as if it was the last one. I’ve never had a writing ritual before. I write on trains and as I'm falling asleep before going to bed. But tonight feels different. Cuz the moon is full and for the first time in a long time I'm writing for me.


This is my gift. To my skin. Take back those words and make them black, like ink.


Speak through me I ask.
But I'm only speaking to myself, because I am them and they are me.


I wonder if I’ll erase this after I post it. I wonder if it’s making sense.


I stop myself to think instead of letting it just come out. Did u know that I wanted to write about Barack Obama and the bullshit that it is that I cried during his bullshit speech cuz his charisma is so strong and our hearts are so weak right now desperately searching for a way out?


I think about Cuba and news around Cuba and how somehow my family ended up here through a Cuban connection. And that means I'm antillana. And I'm negra. And I'm dominicana. And I'm not negra enough. And I'm not dominicana enough. And I'm just Amanda. And I have to write this year. I said I was gonna write, dammit.


Do I really want the world to know I'm a pendeja? That’s what I asked myself before writing a story last week precisely about how pendeja I was, and now hundreds of reads later, my small world knows it and it feels like a revelation. Like a release. Para tener coraje primero hay que tenerle miedo a algo. Let me translate. To have courage you must first have fear of something.


I wanna write more. More. moor. Myrrh. I heard that’s what the three Kings brought Mary after she gave birth to what many considered the greatest story ever told.

I wanna show y’all this trick I’ve been learning but it’s not coming through right now. My magic is failing me right now. My magic is words. And y’all haven’t even seen everything I can do yet.



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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Pendeja



Acción Poética, Santiago de los Caballeros, República Dominicana


I wake up and immediately look through my texts. Did he send a message while I was asleep? 

I see a message from someone, and I start reading with excitement. Contrale, maybe el muchacho came through, por fin!

I look at the sender y nada que ver, el buen ridiculo no me mandó na. Era un mensaje de mi tío, de esos que mandan a un reguero de gente en Whatsapp. I swear those chain messages should've died when hotmail died. I deleted the message knowing that I was now condemmed to mala suerte por 10 años, and went back to sleep.

I have been oversleeping these days. Es que it's easier to wait while being asleep.

I'm not really waiting though, more like trying to forget, more like trying to ignore, more like continuing on with life knowing I have this disease called pendejismo. El pendejismo es cuando uno tiene miedo. Pero no es así de sencillo, el pendejismo es también cuando uno se deja coger de pendejo, o cuando a uno lo cogen de pendejo. Basically, cuando creen que uno no se sabe defender y se aprovechan de uno. When they think u can easily get played. Not to be confused with Pentagonismo which is how the Dominican Republic let(s) itself become la pendeja de los Estados Unidos.

In this case, my pendejismo, is where I stick around for dudes who don't deserve me. Where I patiently believe their every word, and even in knowing they could totally be lying, I believe them porque sí. 

I wonder if he'll read this. Because even as I'm writing this, I'm hoping he'll check this out. Is it good enough? Should I talk about something he might be interested in? I hope he's impressed because this is in Spanglish and not proper Spanish/English, so like super cool and artsy (he's not an artist, he has a regular job like any regular person but he wishes he was an artist, his drawings are so cool...so I guess of course he's an artist) (I say that and yet my stomach fills with butterflies cuz he's like such a fly artist). 

Coño! Pero e' verdad que yo soy pendeja. 

I mean, in reality though, I'm not. Because he does like me, whenever I ask why he doesn't text me he comes up with a legitimate excuse. Being busy is legitimate. Having a 9 to 5 and sometimes more than 5pm is legitimate. Having kids to tend to is legitimate. Having una mujer to tend to--he's not with her though, I promise--is legitimate. Listen, he's into me, he just doesn't show it how others do. Y le creo.

And I'm totally getting something out of this. A veces le mando una foto super sexy, y el me responde que me veo "tan linda". Reminds me of the words I craved as a kid. De niña, I'd bring notas buenas a la casa para que me digan que inteligente soy, busting my ass every year in school, only to hear "Amandita is so smart". I knew being told pretty couldn't be earned, I was born with this cara and skin and skinny legs and round nose. But praise for being smart, that could be earned, so I earned love that way.

Now I take sexy half nude photos looking fly just to hear the pride come through in them texts from them boys, pa' que el me diga "que linda" "bella" "I want you".

Coñazo. Ni cuantos dique traumas sin sanar.

Anyway, I'm legit not trying to end this though. Because like I said, I legit believe in him, which is the whole thing with pendejismo.

My thing is, what if he's saying the truth and I'm really just a nice person who believes him. 

You know when people ask "who hurt you?" I've never been asked that, because I'm too trusting. Yo me muthafucking entrego. Completamente. Hasta a los pendejos fuckboys que se creen que estan mas bueno que el culo y que me van a coger de pendeja. I know their game, I just fucking pretend not to know and then end up falling for it como una pendeja pariguaya coño. (The irony, pariguayo comes from "party watcher", a result of US intervention in the DR which gave birth to pentagonismo, not to be confused with pendejismo, though pariguayismo is el hermano del pendejismo) (Amandita is so smart). 

Back to el muchacho, he's not a fuck boy. Y en verdad si el quisiera pussy, yo se lo diera sin todo el decorations and shit cuz I'm independent and I can fuck whoever I want without strings attached. 

Back to pendejismo, I remember the first time someone called me pendeja. It was so fucking hateful too. Man people are fucked up, why do I trust them so hard?


Anyway, I was maybe 8 years old, with Mami en una clínica waiting to get a shot. I was terrified, I hated having blood taken out. I still do. Estábamos ahí, y me iban a sacar como 7 tubitos de sangre. They always pick the same spot too, a protruding vein in my right arm that looks like the veins they draw on cartoon's foreheads when a white cartoon gets angry. I was fighting, crying hysterically because I didn't want to get a needle put inside of me. Then una muchacha ahí, she must've been maybe thirteen, looked at me and said "que pendeja". She was making fun of me, but the hate in her face was so hard that I even remember it now. She was showing off that she wasn't afraid to get a shot herself. I remember I told Mami I felt bad about it, and I forgot what Mami said. Creo que me dijo como que no le diera mente, she laughed "eso no e na".

I kinda feel like crying thinking about that moment, I wish I had had the backbone to walk up to her and smack her. Of course she was way bigger than me, but still que estúpida. I was a kid, I was allowed to be scared, buena babosa. 

Sigh. 

Look, what I'm saying is, I'm a pendeja who knows I'm a pendeja therefore I'm not a pendeja because acknowledging it means I'm aware and awareness voids the thing from actually existing, right? Cuz el pendejismo no se elige, y yo lo estoy eligiendo. 

Damn, look at how clever I am. (Is he reading this?)

Still, knowing is not enough because knowing no lo cura. But then, cuál es la cura? Is there a rehab center for pendejismo? Where can I get the will power or support to dejar las pendejadas que me tienen pendejiando como una buena pendeja?

Okay, but fuera de relajo, I know my worth. And I know that all of this is tied to needing some sort of validation from men. Cuz I grew up believing my humanity was tied to that. But I'm already 26 years old, ya está bueno de estar dealing with that internalized oppression bs. How do I heal from that shit? 

I try to curarlo, I drink té de rosas to love myself more, té de lavanda for the anxiety from realizing I can't stop thinking about him, and I touch myself every night (every.single.night) to remind myself I don't need him or nobody for sex. And I have my healing stones, and I've learned to travel sin compañero. And I'm independent, to the point where me dejo coger de pendeja by offering to pay for shit these dudes should be paying for, only cuz I don't wanna feel I owe them anything (but really, I think I just feel bad letting anyone pay for me). Pero en verdad, those new age medication shits can only do so much. Yo necesito una buena galleta de una amiga que me diga "mira coño deja las pendejadas, do you not know your worth?!" Don Omar himself needs to come through singing "Pobre Diabla" to me. Shit, I heard Nicki Minaj left Meek Mill and I'm just like yassss girl, pero yo aquí con uno que me tiene hanging by a string, cuz a string is all he can afford to give me, though I got la fucking soga que le da la vuelta tres veces a la luna for him, and it's as thick as the thickest tronco de un árbol en el caribe- cuz I love dudes the same way la Madre Naturaleza loves us, sin nada a cambio. She's there dying, being burned alive, but still loving the shit out of us. 

He's not just any dude though. 

He's telling the truth, I don't have a reason not to believe him, and I kinda wanna support him. And I know it makes me sound like a pendeja, but he makes me wanna write more. He inspires me. Having him in my life then is good for me right? Does it have to be a transaction? Can't I just care about him? Why do our relationships have to be transactions and not just like connections based on similar likes and goals?

See, I told you I was clever.

Shit though, I'm still sitting here, waiting for a goddamn text, como una pendeja. 



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