I will tell you a small story. Maybe yours is similar to mine; after all, we are human.
I am a child of the ’70s. I grew up in a part of town that had a bad reputation for drugs and gangs, but that was my neighborhood, home and beauty to me, a place I belonged. The smell of the Rio Grande saturated summer nights, its cool air settling over the lawn. I am a daughter of the Americas, a mestiza, between two worlds and part of both. I remember listening to the adults speak two languages, immersed in a love of books, natural science, and art. There was an anger beneath the surface of my father’s skin sometimes. There was a playful side to him as well. There was the smell of cheap beer on his breath the deeper into the evening it got. When he came home from work, he brought home computer paper, IBM paper, for us to draw and write on. He took us to Bag and Save and would buy 5 toothbrushes for a dollar.
My mom called him cheap, but he grew up in poverty, and so had she. She grew up in a small mountain village in northern New Mexico, where English wasn’t spoken. My mom was an artist when I was a child, selling paintings in galleries and writing for Sunshine Artist magazine. Because my dad worked hard for us, and because my mom was always calling us to look at nature, the colors in the sky, the birds, and even the concrete shapes of the city, because I grew up in a household where one’s eyes were open to truths, and I was fed creative nourishment, I became more and more a child of imagination, a child of dream.
I began writing my thoughts, recording my dreams and daily experiences, and sitting outside or walking down the acequia roads lost in communion with Tierra Madre, opening myself to her offerings of beauty and solace.
Experiences in the material world manifested into an ability to open myself to messages of a more spiritual nature, those from the realm of animals, dreams and sometimes spirit, or intuition. I began writing my thoughts, recording my dreams and daily experiences, and sitting outside or walking down the acequia roads lost in communion with Tierra Madre, opening myself to her offerings of beauty and solace. In my teens I began to write poetry in honor of what I received as I wandered in the mountains, or down by the river, or sat on the grass in the backyard watching birds, lizards and insects. Even driving home late at night through the city there were raccoons crossing streets, the swoop of bats in street lamps.
Being a very shy child and teen, I had few friends and used poetry to vent feelings of anguish and, with my first boyfriend, love. As the years went on and that love became a thing of toxicity and enmeshment, I never quit writing. Writing became a balm to heal wounds but also a Llorona wail in the dark to savagely vent anger or rend the fabric of my sadness to shreds, an offering of release to the full moon. Poetry allowed me to write pain and shadow, to lift the veil of deceit and lance the poison from my body. But it was also still a tool to honor the Great Mother. Mother Earth. Even with a bruise around my neck, I could sit still by a stream listening to its stone songs and become one with it, one with its riverbed dreams. I could look up at the Milky Way, a spectacular geode, and feel the light of Goddess in its embrace. So I wrote those poems, too.