Archive for November, 2007

November 30, 2007

on forgiveness.

by la rebelde

This funny thing has happened to me lately. I keep meeting up with people who I went to school with a long time ago—that is, people who knew me when I was still dating my ex or people who knew him well back in the day. It’s a strange feeling.

Earlier this week, I was catching up with an old colleague who asked me about him and what had happened. Despite my resolve not to divulge too much information—especially to people I don’t even know that well—I found myself unable to hold back key details about the breakup and its aftermath. Then last night I met a friend-of-a-college-friend for the first time. She mentioned that she had run into my ex and his wife (and their baby) on the street in Brooklyn a couple weeks ago. I was able to withhold the details this time, but I couldn’t stop myself from making a snide comment. It just came out. She asked if I was okay. And the truth is, I am. It’s just a knee-jerk reaction whenever I think about him.

That’s when I realized it. I may have moved on. I may have become a better person without him in my life—someone who I actually like. But I haven’t forgiven him for how he treated me, how he treated our 7+ year relationship. It just didn’t have to be like that. And honestly, almost 4 years after the breakup, I don’t know if forgiveness is in the cards for me. My Catholic upbringing says one should always be a bigger person and forgive when one has been wronged… Maybe it’s not enough, but all I want, is to be able to contain my annoyance at the mere mention of his name, to keep from wincing at the memory of the pain, especially with strangers. Is that so bad?

November 22, 2007

history and thanksgiving.

by la rebelde
I have a poster in my study area from a conference that was titled “liberation through learning.” It was a gift from an elder of my college dormitory, where our programming and spaces were dedicated toward anti-racism and anti-colonialism–and the other “-isms” having to do with inequalities too. The conference itself happened a few years before I started college.

But it was in that dorm, with that community, that I started to learn how to articulate my experiences, to confront inequality through conversation and activism, to do my best to contest privilege–my own included. I have changed so much since then, but I am still learning. And I am thankful for having been a part of that community, with or without the dramatic moments.

This article reminded me of them and their legacy. And why I do what I do.

clipped from

Abuses of history go on in the former empire and the former colony. History can be one of the many ways we create and impose hierarchy, or it can be part of a process of liberation. The truth won’t set us free, but the telling of truth at least opens the possibility of freedom.

As Americans sit down on Thanksgiving Day to gorge themselves on the bounty of empire, many will worry about the expansive effects of overeating on their waistlines. We would be better to think about the constricting effects of the day’s mythology on our minds.

blog it

You can read the entire article by Robert Jensen here.

November 16, 2007

mid-november madness.

by la rebelde

Today. In no particular order.

  • Morning routine. One hour.
  • Meeting with the archivist, in which he basically said I have to trudge through the old card catalogs using “brute force” because I study people who weren’t rich and white and/or male. One hour.
  • Flipping through card catalogs and typing notes—yes, notes about the cards. Five hours.
  • Lunch with a very nice professor from a quaint east coast school. One hour.
  • Commute, errands and gas for the car so I can go to the Spiffy again tomorrow. One hour.
  • “Rest” and eat dinner. One hour.
  • Work on fellowship essays and figure out what my dissertation is about so I can talk to mi profa about it on the phone tomorrow morning at an ungodly hour. Five hours.

I’m exhausted. How did I manage to completely lose 3 waking hours? It’s like those times when I couldn’t figure out how I lost track of five bucks in my wallet, when I’d actually spent it.

That nagging feeling is back. The one where it seems that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything you need to get done, done. It’s that kind of feeling where you feel a fluttering in your chest, like a caged butterfly banging its wings against your ribs.

At least I can sleep tonight knowing I’m not alone in this. It is November after all!

November 14, 2007

surviving the stacks.

by la rebelde

I believe libraries are wonderful things, I just don’t enjoy being in them. I love being a historian, but there is not a moment when I enter a library that I do not question my decision to become a one. Yesterday was no different…

It was the first day of my month-long research fellowship at a huge private collection with a very “regal” sounding name, that I’m going to call “the Spiffy-ton” or “the Spiffy” for short.

Taking the morning to work on fellowship applications, I decided to head over to The Spiffy after lunch. I have been to there a few times before, but never to the library part, because you have to show lots of ID and fill out lots of forms—it’s all very official. Different from university archives where there are only a few researchers at any given time and undergrads also work there, the Spiffy operates sort of like an academic department/conference. All the researchers are encouraged to interact daily and chit-chat about their “work” and stuff (I learned right away not to say “dissertation” unless it comes up.) It’s all about nurturing the profession and the field, I guess… (I have more to say about that, but I’ll save it for another post.)

After an hour-long orientation in which I was given a thorough tour of the library facility and completed the necessary paperwork, I spent another hour pouring through card catalogs. And then about 20 minutes at the weekly coffee/snack reception, where I participated in banal academic banter. (It seems I’d forgotten how to interact with academics since I’ve been away from campus for a while….they try to be witty and clever, but dang y’all, I roll with some dorky folks.)

Fast forward two hours. I decided to request some photocopies after exploring the stacks for a bit. When I entered the hallway, all the lights were out and no one was around. The library had been closed for half an hour! In the stacks, no one else had been exploring near me. There were no clocks. No bells. No flicker of the lights. Nada! Panicking slightly, I re-shelved the books and headed back to the locker area to get my stuff. The viejito at the reception desk gave me a stern reprimanding about how I shouldn’t be there at that hour. And how I could have been locked in overnight, if the guard and everyone else had gone home before I got there.

¡Hiiiiiijole frijole! I couldn’t help but think that my absent-minded, probably-more-dorky-than-I-admit ass could have passed out in the dusty stacks and might not have been found until (maybe) someone happened to walk by! There’s a book I read when I was in elementary school (can’t remember the title) about these kids who run away from home, packing their clothes in their musical instrument cases and they hide in the museum overnight. I could have been like them—only accidental!

Today was much better…even though I still can’t find my way around. This time I watched the clock religiously. I’m still not a fan of the library….

This very cool flickr image is by brighterorange. For attribution info click here.

November 9, 2007

on youth, small-college-towns and growing up.

by la rebelde

I’ve been working on a fellowship application that asks lots of questions about the kinds of courses you would like to develop for undergrads at small liberal arts schools and how you would teach them. I only have two course descriptions so far. I’m worried that all of my ideas are more suitable for upper-division students, and not for first- and second-years.

I went to a SLAC and I admit that sometimes I tend to think that my undergrad classes were much more challenging than most of the ones I’ve taught as a grad student at big state universities. Maybe it was the culture of debate at my campus. We definitely learned to articulate ourselves—I mean OVER-articulate—and all the time. I assume there are pockets of this kind of culture in large state schools, but it seems fewer and further between. Anyway, I went online to browse the course catalogs of my alma mater–to remind myself what the courses generally look like. (When I was in college, the catalogs were not online, so I can’t even look at the course descriptions for classes I actually took!)

And for a moment, looking at the catalog and the website, I felt a little nostalgic. As I’ve written in this blog before, I hate libraries. Still I have fond memories of laying on those colorful couches under the sky-lights, with my books scattered all around, flirting with silly boys/my then-boyfriend, discussing topics that, at the time, seemed SOOO important and life-defining.

There’s something about these teeny schools. They’re super privileged and really white and really rich. And except for professors and administrators, you rarely interact with people outside the 18-22 year old range. I remember it as a more carefree time, when I was more innocent, more optimistic, and very dramatic. Ooooh, I do not miss the drama. But I miss being excited about learning new things—everything seemed new then. I miss my less cynical self, who was more open to discussing ideas, to exploration, to love. I had struggled before. I had felt pain. But I hadn’t yet been crushed.

Of course, things can sometimes seem rosier in retrospect.
And I’m a grown-ass woman now.

I’m applying to these teaching fellowships because I need to eat next year. And because I like to teach—that’s why I went to grad school in the first place. But I’m anxious about the possibility that I might end up in a small, white, rural town with nothing else but the college. I’ve seen single/separated young women of color faculty end up in those places. They were amazing teachers and scholars, but they seemed lonely, isolated, and I’m wondering if they went more than a little stir-crazy. If I feel at all like that in LA, where brown people abound, how will I feel if I end up teaching in a small college town?

It’s all very daunting. I never imagined that I might one day be a faculty-type person. And who knows if I’ll even get an offer. But the whole thing has made the twitch in my left eyelid come back. It hasn’t been around since I was grading finals while preparing for comprehensive exams!

November 8, 2007

just when you start to relax a little…

by la rebelde

I was doing my usual email check this morning when a friend of mine forwarded me an announcement for a panel in my research area. As I scrolled down I realized that one of the panelists, a doctoral student in my discipline, will be presenting on a topic similar to mine. So, of course, I googled the person and found that said person’s committee is made up of all the big-wig (men) in the (our) field. Now, I don’t know what this person’s entire dissertation is on, or even if we overlap that much. And still, a small wave of panic has washed over me.

Even though I know that if our research overlaps we’ve probably got completely different takes on the subject…. And even though I don’t even want to believe in the idea of owning knowledge or the competitive, individualistic bullshit that academia so instills in us…. And even though I’ve been told time and time again that in the end you just have to focus on your own work…. When I read the email, my heart started beating a little faster, palms got clammy and my stomach did a little gymnastics in my chest.

I plan to send this person a friendly email and a coffee invite this afternoon. Hopefully this person will be cool.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty fuckin’ pissed that one of my favorite committee members (a woman of color) was denied tenure this week. Are you listening academia?! You and me–we are not cool. No I’m not leaving, but you can kiss my pretty brown ass!

Now back to those fellowship applications. A mujer has got to eat, ya know!

November 5, 2007

home for the weekend.

by la rebelde

My gramma and I were preparing lunch this weekend during my visit home. The fun thing about cooking at Manito’s house is that he has a big kitchen and really nice cooking utensils–wedding gifts he got to keep. I love kitchen utensils! You’d think I’d cook more often…

When lunch was ready, we called the men, who were sitting in the livingroom, to the table. (The gender dynamic—or as Manito likes to say, “genderfication”—is like that in my family.) As they slowly ambled to their seats, my gramma and I chatted about the how well the vegetable peeler worked.

“I really like kitchen accessories,” I said.

“Me too,” my gramma replied.

“If I don’t get married by the time I’m 40, maybe I’ll register for gifts anyway, so I can get some nice kitchen accessories!” I joked.

Manito and Gramma chuckled.

My very devout Catholic father was silent, thinking. A few minutes later he said, “If you don’t get married by the time you’re 40, you should just become a nun.” (He wasn’t joking.)

Say what??? Forget about being a whole person or all the work I’ve put into my schooling. Apparently my father thinks I won’t be complete until I marry a man—if not the human kind, than the Godly kind. Not to mention, it was very insensitive and actually kind of mean.

I love my dad, but sometimes he says messed up things. Parents aren’t perfect, but because they’re your parents, their words seem to sting in a particular way. The trick is figuring out how to let it roll off the back. Not sure I’ve figured that out yet. Dang.

On another note, there’s nothing like the Nuevo México sky–with or without wafting smoke from the SoCal fires. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re really missing out!

November 1, 2007

‘that’s for years of humiliation, bitch!’

by la rebelde

One of my college friends put this on my myspace page and it had me ro-llin!

Favorite part? Well, I don’t want to ruin it. But let’s just say, I’ve been feeling a lot like Charlie the last few weeks. You know, tired of folks who say one thing and do another…I think I’d like to kick some ass too. Of course I mean that in the nicest way possible. ;)

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Happy Halloween y’all!