Falling in Love with New York – Finding Myself Again

Posted in Denver and identity on March 1, 2011 by djqueenb

It was sitting in the panaderia on a cold Saturday morning in brooklyn, writing furiously on the back of receipts, old boarding passes and anything else expendable in my wallet, that I realized the part of my identity that once considered itself a writer had been left in California three years ago. When have I ever traveled to a new place without my journal? I was disappointed in myself, disillusioned so to speak. I remembered the last time I wrote, it was over a boy I fell so fucking hard for I couldn’t do anything else but write and write and write. I wrote about how electric our first kiss was on that ferris wheel, and how when he touched my lips for the first time, James Brown’s “Try Me” couldn’t help but penetrate our aura as it played in the background. That record has never felt so good. But that was last summer.

At the panaderia, I drank coffee that was reminiscent of the daily cup that Mandrake and I drank on our rushed route to spanish school in D.F. summer of 2006. Italy won the world cup that summer, Zinedine Zidane made that epic head butt, handing over the defeat and I hated Italy for it. Among the brisk air in Brooklyn, the sweetened condensed milk in my coffee warmed my everything, including my nostalgic heart. Musica ranchera played loudly and I was yelled at for the protocol in this tiny little bakery, I had cut in line mistakenly and the women behind the counter were just not sure if I spoke spanish. But I did. I bit into a muffin de nuez, an horeja and a mexican style canoli almost all at the same time, and I chatted up the locals from the neighborhood I had never visited but had heard about so often from friends, JayZ songs and movies. Because you know, JayZ is my only reference to Brooklyn, LOL.

I needed this moment of magic in the midst of feeling so conflicted about being where I was. I was staying at a friend of a friend of a friend’s house, in a 1 bedroom 2k a month loft with hardwood floors, high ceilings and amazing baking items in the pantry. It belonged to a white punk rocker, vegan baker and class action lawyer (I am not talking shit right now, just stating the facts, and this is someone who by the end of the weekend I grew a total soft spot for). But I was skeptical at first, being in Brooklyn on a Friday night with three white folks, one of them my partner. Right across from the projects. How was it that I ended up here?

It felt confusing. Apparently we were on the cusp, the line that separated old brooklyn from what brooklyn is slowly becoming, as Cristy C. Road so honestly put it, derailed.

I decided, with the extra push from faffs, who I am now eternally grateful for, that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of seeing Green Day’s American Idiot live on Broadway in New York, what could have been my second major green day regret in life (the first being offered the opportunity to be an Assistant to management on one of their tours a few years ago. I was in the middle of grad school, had scored a prestigious faculty internship and was teaching my first Women’s Studies class, I was on a different path, gawdammit). This weekend would be the last weekend that Billie Joe Armstrong would be starring in the role of St. Jimmy, so impulsively, I got us tickets with a third in hopes we could ask Cristy C. Road to be our date that weekend. Cristy was unavailable but she invited us to see her and a number of other QPOC writers read at BlueStocking Books in Manhatten. Fuck yes. It was at this event where I both mourned the death of and gave birth to myself all over again.

Cristy C. Road read about growing up cuban , and queer in Miami falling in love with green day and discovering who she was. A very distinct memory of sitting in the car after school, waiting for my mother to finish running her errands while I listened to Green Day’s Dookie on blast came to mind. I was fourteen and feeling heartbreak for the first time. Getting broken up with by a seriously hot mexican punk rocker who just didn’t think I was punk enough because of my love for green day at the age of fourteen felt really fucking hard, like OMG my life is over! And maybe I really am a Poseur?

Back to the poetry reading though, the other performers were equally life changing, Elisha Lim read out of their calendar entitled 100 Butches, brilliant, and Kit Yan spoke loudly and kept it real, and fierce. I walked out of there having had an emotional experience that I just cannot explain in words. What happened to this writer I had left in california? Where had she gone, had I abandoned her? Had I left her on a curb somewhere punk in drublic? Had I decided I just wasn’t a good enough writer? Did I leave writing for fucking baking school? I walked out of that bookstore with the overwhelming feeling of desperation, I needed to find her, soon. Otherwise I would go insane.

Our lovely host in Brooklyn agreed to be our date to the Green Day Musical the following day. It was a nice “thank you for letting us sleep in your house kind of thing.” Ps.  I also attempted a vegan Apple Pie which for the most part was delicious, but it was my first time using white whole wheat flour, it’s an interesting ingredient.  Zach wore an AVAIL hoodie to the show and I definitely had a moment where I wondered, oh man is he gonna think this is wack? Neti la poseur que no? Even in the most confident of moments, I can sometimes feel small.  In a rushed journey on the subway that felt too fast paced for what I am accustomed to, we made it with minutes to spare. Our seats fucking rocked and the show made me cry. It took all of my will power to refrain from singing every single world in the musical and I thought about my life for just a second, Green Day has been my favorite band since I was 13 and I will be 30 in April, shit that’s like 2/3rds of my life. At one point in time, I owned 8 green day tshirts, and I have a photo of ghetto Neti when I was 14 standing in front of our Lincoln, in some cray hoops (not unlike the ones I wear now), some black oversized pants and a Green Day t-shirt. AWKWARD. And I might get that image tatted on me some day.

Sunday night was our last night in town, we stayed in Washington Heights with Faffs’ old friend from his UU days. They live in a mostly Dominican neighborhood and have a 14 month old baby named Julissa, precious as all hell. I fell right in and felt at home. I could have stayed another week if it meant being in community with them some more. All of said words above were brewing in my head all morning on the commute to the airport. I could never live in New York, but it’s a damn beautiful city, with some damn beautiful people, and some damn beautiful magic happened to me while I was there.

On Monday morning, I sat down in my assigned seat, cramped and uncomfortable, buckled my seatbelt, shared a headphone with faffs while we listened to American Idiot, and opened up Cristy Road’s Bad Habits, which we picked up at the reading. The first paragraph spoke of the beautiful street signs in Brooklyn, she reminisced about the corner of Graham and Siegel, two street names that felt eerily familiar, especially for someone that has never been to NY before. I thought for a minute and realized the panaderia I sat in on that Saturday morning was at the corner of Graham and Siegel. It was in that paragraph and in this city where I had found her, and openly embraced the part of my identity that had traveled three thousand miles to see me again, it was at this panaderia where I welcomed her back into my life. And today, on the airplane ride home to Denver, I am excited about the days to come.

I think it’s safe to say that it’s official. New York: I love you.


I hung out with Jesus once…

Posted in sex & politcs on February 9, 2010 by djqueenb

I was at Red Trolley the other night with a dear friend.  I overheard a woman talking to a couple of friends about her drama.  She is in love with this guy that asked her to marry him.  But she isn’t marrying him because he isn’t a man of faith, “He isn’t a born again.  How am I supposed to marry him?”  She said. Whoa!  That’s literally what I screamed in my head.  Who still thinks this way?  Riiiiight, I get it, as I remind myself that I usually have the same reaction to conversations about monogamy, lol.  She went on to talk about how burdened she felt by the fact that her best friend of 12 years is also not a born again and therefore needs to keep the most important part of her from their friendship.  I think my heart sank at that moment, not because I am judging her, but because it got me to the thinking.  Mostly about my own experience as a born again, and who I was then.

Then I remembered that over the summer, I had an amazing, yet short lived conversation with an old friend I once knew about religion.  Apparently when we were in high school (CVHS vs Eastlake!) one year for his birthday, I gave him a book titled, The Politics of Bad Faith.  The title is misleading of course.  I have no recollection of this at all, but even just the idea that it might have happened doesn’t seem surprising to me, although it does leave a bad taste in my mouth.  So I have been feeling a bit reflective.

I recounted my experience as a born again Christian, it was a complicated time period where I somehow felt roped into an institutionalized religion at the most vulnerable point in my life, surviving an abusive relationship.  I realized that I wasn’t seeking religion; I was seeking a relationship with spirituality, some kind of kinship and understanding with the order of things.  Although I felt connected to a core set of values, I mostly inhaled and exhaled my way through bible studies and spent most of the time challenging the “word of god,” or feeling resentful towards my brothers and sisters for judging me so harshly.  Me + Christian rhetoric never made a good couple, ever.  And is it all that surprising considering my politics on monogamy?  During that time, I was always assured that it was a healthy thing to question the bible, that we all have doubts, they said.  Uh huh sure, just as long as it was sealed tightly in their home made and evenly distributed candy wrapper.  At one point I began to feel like Mary from the movie Saved, minus getting shoved into a mini van and getting a bible thrown at me by Mandy Moore.  I assure you however, a number of people did indeed pray for me in fear that I had fallen off the path.

I spent so much fucking time feeling guilty.  Once at a retreat I was told, in not so many words of course, that I shouldn’t be hanging out with so many non-Christians unless I had been planning to “evangelize.”  I spent so much time listening to other people confess their  indulgences and hearing how guilty they felt, and I spent so much time feeling self conscious about how good of a “Christian” I was that I lost sight of what I was really searching for: a relationship with faith and the order of things.  And maybe a relationship with myself that felt empowered by giving into my indulgences. =)

I am sure this entry will piss people off, and quite frankly, I hope it does.  But I am not talking shit about individuals; I am not talking shit about Christianity.  I am engaging in a thought process that questions religion as an institution and the impact it has had on my mental health.  I am interrogating the process of taking Christianity and stripping it of its integrity and calling it something else: a religion based on hypocrisy.  I guess that’s why I can appreciate punk rock Pastor Jay Bakker, even though I am not a Christian.  He talks about grace and I can get down with that.

These days I like to joke about how I am a recovering Christian and I have been clean about seven years now.  Sure I joke about it, but my experience as a born again Christian was nothing short of traumatizing.  Yet I survived it as a more spiritual person now than I have ever been.  So Augustine, my old friend, sorry about giving you that bullshit book.  I am so glad that ten years later we can laugh about it.

Here is a poem I wrote a few years back about my trajectory in becoming born again and finally, developing a relationship with the cosmos, with faith, with trusting that the universe has a plan for us.

*****PS.  I have tried posting this a  bunch of times but the formatting always messes up.  Oh well.

My Love Affair With Sin

by Eneri Rodriguez

I learned a lot when i was a kid.
Like how when my brother and I used to thumb wrestle during mass
It wasn’t just because I was young

or trapped in a language of religion never broken down into syllables for me,

It was because I fell in love with sin.

He proposed a love affair with me
that stretched over ten years of orgasmic guilt,

It was the casual encounters and lonely hotel rendezvous’ type of a situation,

over gin and tonics, illegal parkings and sinful spreads in the park.
During a gap when sin and I weren’t speaking

I met a new lover.
But sin would still visit me at night, bring me insomnia
Hound me about the in town hook up type of arrangement

Jesus and I were having.

Sin embodied every step I took.
He painted images of himself as I dozed off during worship on Sunday mornings.

He planted himself inside me in between every flirtatious gaze, weightless kiss and pink pearled bunny rabbit;
he lived in the particles of my inertia,

clammed up in every drink of beer and bong rip I had

to prepare me for “Investigative Bible Studies,”

that’s what they called it.

He even branded my name into his arm.

One night among the scent of sea breeze,

cracked sand dollars, broken beer bottles and enveloped seaweed

he found Jesus and I swimming in our swirls of erotic lust, legs stretched and entwined,

drops of sweat dripping from his body through mine dampening the blanket beneath us.

Sin called me a whore!

These elusive affairs consumed me,
stretched me and shot me out to present day orgasms that define my identity,

that have deconstructed my calamity into melodic clarity.

My entire being was meant
for so much more than Holy Communion,

fifteen Hail Marys and

stale dark confessionals that I longed to make out with boys in,

touch myself and fantasize in.
Confessionals that haunted me as a child.

All in all, Sin and Jesus have only ever taken me so far.

The last twenty six years have left me tired, worn out,

exhausted and hungry.

My religion has blasted
out of my soul like a spare electron.
It lies somewhere in the resentment of

being strapped into a straight jacket and institutionalized

and the shakras of a past lover,

a lover who has transcended religion

and now speaks in tongues with their higher being.

He showed me how to love.

I was hungry,

starving for someone who had been shot out to oblivion like me.
To exist on multi-dimensional planes with,
to grow recipes for my continuum and sanity

and build cookbooks about the order of things with,

I lusted for someone new.
But a new person to undluge with in and out of back seat wasn’t the answer,

a new soul lost and erratic would only taint my quest, my journey,

my entrance into the now.

And then one day I met her.

Around the corner from Jaycee’s Market she stopped me in the alley,

smoked my bowl and introduced herself to me and her family,

the cosmos.

I had never read a book this thick, listened to a song so long,

written an epic poem or hiked on this long of a journey.

But she was all of these enwrapped into divination.

The universe stopped moving,

time lapsed and I saw the order of things stand still,

The words of the I-Ching popped right out of that binding and into my being,

It indicted and forgave me, branded and made love to me.

I have lost the photo strip of Sin and I from that old stuffy booth that one time.

And the memories I have of Jesus and I have become faint, cold,

and simply just that: memories.

The nightmares have fled

I will sleep for days,

because I am a wild spirit.

And I am full.

Monogamy, Airplanes and Family…

Posted in sex & politcs on August 15, 2009 by djqueenb

I spent the morning at the airport and on an airplane from San Diego to Denver.  It was one of the first times in a long time I felt overwhelmed by everyone around me, I felt self conscious.  Maybe it was because I wore a tank top to the airport, something I try my best to avoid.  I get pulled into secondary inspection 2/3rds of the time I fly already, and coincidentally when I cover up my tattoos, it’s a score.  But not today, today I wasn’t pulled into secondary, the security guard flirted with me and gave me his business card, and I made it to my flight with a bold 15 minutes to spare.  But maybe it was because I have a freshly worked on piece on my back that’s crusty, and scabby and has stained parts of my arm with the ink that bled from the open wound.  Tattoos scream an invitation to stare, a crusty scabby back piece screams an invitation to make faces at you that involve judgement, gagging, and discomfort in an unexplainable way.   Maybe I am self conscious because no one acknowledges me when I walk up to the counter and say, “excuse me,” or maybe it’s because of the world I am forced to interact with during the entire travel experience.  It’s like that one time out of your schedule where you are expected to have your worlds collide, in the most torturous and painful of ways, whether by rubbing elbows in tight corridors, feeling overcrowded in the middle seat, bumped in an aisle seat,  or being manipulated into engaging in meaningless conversations with normal people that just need to hear themselves talk.  As I was boarding I was looking at all the faces sitting in the aisles before my number.  15E, a middle seat, damn.  I walked down the aisle of mostly pale middle aged white folks, some with children, others with infants, others in business suits, American flag apparel, sports gear, and many of them with wedding rings on.  They gave me cold stares, and confused faces, the kind of face someone gives you when its clear they think you’re a freak but are trying to be nice about it.  It’s moments like these where I wish I had covered up my artwork, and I wish I was packing something deadly that had made it through security, just so I could indulge in the sight of cutpunching someone.  I dwell in the cloud of pessimism that is overshadowing  the good weather that had come in unexpectedly a few days before.

What’s even more interesting, I am puzzled, intrigued and frustrated all the same by my time spent on this airplane.  I have never been so sure about my politics, my philosophy, and what my heart tells me about myself, as I did in that moment.  I have never felt so sure about the kind of life the universe has given me, until that moment.  I never quite felt so sure about the liberation the I-Ching was speaking about, until that moment.  In front of me was a family of three.  A teenager and her parents.  The mother spent the entire 2.5 hours of the flight either nagging her husband about any fucking thing or prying into her daughter’s personal life.  She was desperately wanting to be cool, mentioning other young men on the flight and asking her daughter if she thought they were handsome.  I almost did a vomtoss right there, on the floor of the airplane.  In my head, it happened in slow motion, I was petrified, outraged and incensed by this woman’s very presence.  I had spurts of dreams in between feeling sick to my stomach and reading for the upcoming class I am teaching.  In these dreams I saw myself reaching over the seat and pulling this woman’s hair, socking her in the face and telling her to stop making her husband and daughter’s life so miserable!!!  LOL, I know it’s sounds dramatic, but fuck!

Sitting on my left was a man, in his thirties I would guess.  Everything about him was perfect.  I pictured him in a fraternity in college, maybe in sports, but definitely straight, definitely a chad, definitely someone that might need to call in to our radio show when it’s finally up and running.  He was wearing pleated cacky shorts and a black button up shirt, a nice thick wedding band, perfectly molded hair, and pretty fancy sandals.  He was handsome and indulging himself in a Boating Magazine and circling all the equipment he was interested in.  I realized shortly into the flight that on his left in the other aisle was his wife and their two children.  His wife was also perfect in every traditional, stereotypical way.  She could have been prom queen, president of her sorority, she could have been a model, she was probably resented in high school and maybe college for her perfect beauty.  I thought of the sorority at SDSU, can’t recall the name, but during Fall and Spring Rush, they wear shirts that say, “perfection by selection,” and yes, she was “perfect.”  I subtly watched them, in between stories out of US Weekly,  she would give him condescending stares and would mumble things to him about his hobby whenever he would show her photos from the boating magazine.   And in between reading, snoozing and being incensed by the family in front of me, I would just watch them, or listen, and my heart would break little by little.  They were married with two children.  The entire time they communicated with their facial expressions, trying desperately to keep their kids in line, refusing to let them do anything.  She would glare at him, and he would give her a shrug.  The cherry on top came at the end when it came time to collect baggage from the stow away area, this is at the end of the flight when everyone is grumpy, and the nagging inflares, the snippy remarks become volatile sometimes, and people just want off… the airplane?  They seemed so unhappy.  The looks in their eyes were saddening, the snippy remarks and glares across the aisle, and ultimately, their frustration with their kids is what made me feel truly sorry for them.  This went on the entire flight, I managed to look into the eyes of most people around me…  it was a harsh reality.  I was surrounded by the American Dream, by the social construction of everything, by societal’s pressures on how we are expected live, I was surrounded by misery.  I was surrounded by complacency, by couples who resented each other, annoyed by each other, and just wanted off… I was starting at society’s nuclear model,  and I thought to myself… god I love my fucking life.  I love everything about my life, and how I live it.  We are brutally socialized with expectations of who we are to be, how we are to live, how to be in relationships, how to communicate, how to live the American Dream.  It’s a nightmare.  I was in America’s nightmare.  And all I wanted was out.  I sat there envisioning the possibility of a crash, I needed an exit strategy, I needed a way out.   I thought about Lost, and the crash and for the first time since I began watching the show, I wished I were on that island, anything to get me the fuck off this plane.

And this is what my mother and I argued about slot of the time I was in town.  I face the constant disappointment of my parents, the constant challenging, the constant questioning of how we choose to live our lives.   I love my mother, I love my father, but seeing the constant disappointment in their faces is heartbreaking, shattering, and miserable.  For having such radical parents, they sure are pretty committed to maintaining the status quo when it comes to gender construction and relationships.  My father is baffled that I would rather take on Arauz, our Portuguese ancestral name rather than Riederer, Matthew’s.  My mother is confused to know that Matthew is making less money than I am, and that he is moving to Tucson without a plan for our financial stability.  She is dissapointed to learn that I am expected to take responsibility for my own car and it’s needs, because you know, “It’s the man’s job,” and that we don’t share bank accounts.  She is heartbroken because she thinks I have abandoned her, but I am heartbroken because in the last 8 years, her and my father have never taken interest, or shown acceptance fo our relationship.  She tells me she just never expected her daughter to be living such a radical life, she always wanted something different.

This is coming from my hero, my mother, who has taught me so much in life, who has shown me the value of work, this is coming from my mother, who I have made all of my decisions for, who I live my life for.  Everything I do is for her, for her happiness, for her sanity, for her dream.  But I feel like a dissapointment, and she feels valueless as a mother.  I don’t know if it’s the stupid piece of paper that states Matthew and I are married that has become such an unhealthy stumbling block, but I would rather burn that piece of paper than to continue dissapointing my parents.  It pains me to know that they suffer, that they feel hurt, and sadness, and anything else.  I want to take their pain away, but as long as I am who I am, I can’t.

Yet, I sit on airplanes like this one and I realize that I love my fucking life.  I am a tattooed queer brown woman that grew up on the border and is proud of her sluthood.  I don’t believe in monogamy, I will probably never have kids, I want to make enough money to always sustain myself on my own, and I don’t ever want to feel the constant desperation of being poor, or constrained, or silenced anymore.   I am a first generation, educated feminist of color, and I live to fall in love with the world, regadless of gender, sex, race, etc.  My partner is my best friend, queer and hybrid like me, and this feels so fucking liberating and so empowering.  I can only wish that someday, my mother, who I love and have always looked up to, can understand how liberating this life is.  I miss her, I miss our friendship.  I want her to be happy, and I want her to be able to one day stop working 7 days a week and enjoy her life, to live it every single day and not have to worry about money, and about me, and about the house, and about my brother.  I want to liberate her too.  But until that day comes, I will continue sitting on airplanes, heartbroken over the reality of America’s perfect dream, and how many people are silencing themselves, their bodies, their hearts, their desires, in order to desperately fit into an unrealistic expectation.

With that, I need to make it clear that I am not hating on people that choose monogamy, or marriage, or raising a family.  I am also not hating on my parents, I love them, live for them, and work my ass off every single day of my life in order to provide them the support they need.  I live for my family.  And I know and love that everyone is in charge of themselves, everyone figures out what does and doesn’t work for them, and I respect all of my friend’s choices, whether it be monogamy or something else.  But I am simply affirming  what feels most important and liberating for me, and what I hope my friends are also doing for themselves:  Always live your life.  Always.

Liberation Comes in Waves…

Posted in Denver and identity, sex & politcs on April 7, 2009 by djqueenb

I have been thinking alot about sex and sexuality.  Before moving to Denver, my sexuality and my polyamory looked so much different than how it looks now.  I asked the I-Ching what Denver had in store for me and it had a lot of really rich things to say about what I would find here in Denver.  One of them was liberation and deliverance.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the universe had a plan for me.  Liberation comes in different suits, and I was excited to find my own liberation.  I fell in love with Denver.  I fell in love with the world that populated this city, and the different anatomies and genders coupled with smiles and genuine hearts pretty much gave me an instant orgasm.  I would come home from the end of the day, whether it be from work or from hanging out with friend, with my panties wet.  That is how hot and how turned on I was/am by the beauty of Denver.

I met someone here in Denver.  Actually, I met a lot of people.  Some who grabbed my heart and squeezed it so tightly I felt overwhelmed by their love, and others who just took my heart and attempted to puncture it several times over.  And I can talk about those who have implanted their love into my womb and have led to the birth of me as a new being, but I will refrain.  Juicy details are best left unspoken sometimes.  In my case, they are best left to channel in my dreamscapes.  But regardless of love and loss, I understand now that it was really through leaving California, that I felt able to begin all over again with who I am as a sexual being.  I didn’t realize it then, but in reality and even in my non-linear fantasy world, I was suffocated in California.  I think back to who I was sexually, and I get overwhelmed, frustrated and I lose my ability to breathe.  I was suffocated by ex-lovers who I could never quite get away from, ex-lovers that left seeds of hurt and hate running wild through veins.  I was trapped by the fact that I only lived thirty minutes away from an abusive ex boyfriend that manipulated his way into my life and spit me back out on to the streets when I was still in my teens.  I was trapped by the ghost of his powerful hands that still haunts me at UC Santa Barbara.  I was trapped by the abusive ex lover who blamed me for every fucking problem in his life.  Yes, I will say that Enrique was abusive to me.  While he never lifted a hand against me, we are all smart enough to recognize the drastic and hurtful forms of abuse that exist in dating relationships that are not physical.  I am not sure who he mourned the loss of over more, his lover or his mommy.  And truthfully speaking, I felt boggled down by the pressures of my culture and my family to venture out and try things I had always fantasized about.  And even in the height of my exploration in San Diego, I still deeply feared being outed and dissapointing my family.  Being brown on the border with all of your family makes it hard to be a slut sometimes. Hehe.

And, I will admit, I felt trapped by the image people created of Matthew and myself.  Granted we played a significant role in providing elements to this image, but deep down inside, I wanted to exist as an autonomous person.  Not a person attached to another name.  I didn’t want to be a married person that was able to hook up with other people.  I didn’t want other lovers to feel threatened by Matthew in any way.  I so desperately wanted us to be seen as independent of each other, not two people enwrapped in a traditional polyamorous hierarchy where language like primary and secondary partners and ground rules were a part of our trajectory.  I just wanted something different, something new.  I didn’t know what it looked like exactly, but I definitely knew what I didn’t want it to look like.  The Ethical Slut is so overrated and spoke to an identity of whiteness and privilege that I just couldn’t see myself in.  And even Wendy O-Matik’s book Redefining Our Relationships, while more intriguing, it still felt so distant to me.  I didn’t’ see myself in any of those images or scenarios or chapters of advice.  Where the fuck was the book written by a first generation queer Latina polyamorist in an interracial relationship??  Where were the conversations about the difficulties of dealing with a Machista father, or the conversations about race and class and their vines entwined with my identity as a poly person?  I guess that’s why I am writing this.

And some of these feelings are not the fault of us, or the people around us. In San Diego, you just couldn’t have your own room if you were a starving artists or a student or an activist or someone who believed in a structure that looked like anything other than capitalism.  Well you could if you were lucky.  But California just doesn’t work that way.  So after four years of being poly, having had a wedding ceremony, and sharing a room, it was really out of our control how people viewed us.  I felt trapped by the idea that sometimes I was made to feel not “queer” enough.  The queer community can be so harsh sometimes.  I remember being in Grad School and being told about the GLBT dinner that was organized by my own Graduate Advisor, yet I was not on invited.  And this isn’t to say that I don’t recognize the heterosexual privilege Matthew and I carry, I do.  We do.  But we are also hungry to be validated as the queer peoples that we are.  And sadly, that validation came at a hard price sometimes.

I realize now, that while I am so so so in love with Califorinia, and it is MY HOME, I will never allow myself to feel trapped again.  It’s just not what the universe has in store for me.  And I will never let myself be boxed in again like I had for so many years.  And people will say that Matthew and I were so un conventional, that we were role models for so many people who wanted to bust through the possessive seams of monogamy.  And while I understand that for a lot of my friends, this was a healthy thing, for me, i still felt trapped.  Because I was always, regardless of what I wanted, Matthew’s partner.  And Matthew was always mine.  We were always “Eneri and Matthew.”

When we moved to Denver, the biggest priorities I had were to live in a community that looked like me (check), and to get a house where Matthew and I could have our own rooms (check).  This alone felt so fucking liberating.  I think back to that time now and I am understanding that I was then and still am on a trajectory towards liberation.  I can say this now in confidence, that the liberation that was prophecized for me was a profound sexual liberation.  A liberation where I can allow the path that was meant for me to be created step by step.  And I am not going to feel guilty for being a slut.  I am excited, confused and scared all at the same time about this liberation, about this journey, and excited about the new friends and lovers and I am trying on and taking off.    I am enwrapped in exploring this liberation.  And between enacting my deepest fantasies of being treated like a slut by a dude bro, falling in love with a Denver anarchist crusty punk, constantly seducing my dear friend Erica’s roommate, fearing the idea of getting banned from Red Trolley, or posting an ad in the erotic services section of CL for “translated french” so that my boi lover Alex can come visit,  it looks differently every day.  It drops in and out of my life like 80’s spandex.  Well, I don’t wear spandex but some of my friends do.  =) Regardless though, it comes in waves.  And the forecast for the current waves along the coast of Neti’s journey?  Well, that’s best left for another blog…

The Leaves are Changing in Denver

Posted in Denver and identity on October 24, 2008 by djqueenb

I stepped outside of my house this morning and was stunned at the pallet before my eyes. My car was covered in leaves of so many colors, I was speechless. As I got into my car I felt the brisk air hit my face and I knew I wasn’t in San Diego anymore. It felt good, it felt exciting, and I was nervous. I drove to work, taking the 6th Avenue bridge connecting the working class neighborhoods of the west side to the ever trendy ones in capitol hill, over to Josephine and headed north of Colfax to York Street. I must have driven by hundreds of tress, all having the same experience, all sharing their lives with us, and throwing pieces of themselves at us. Every tree in the city of Denver is experiencing this transformation, a transition from season to season, a rotation in the cycle of life, engaging in a party with the cosmos and shedding it’s layers for the universe.

The deep reds, oranges and yellows fascinate and intrigue me. I only ever saw these images in movies and on television. I always wanted the huge trash bags with Halloween faces stuffed with leaves in front of my house, yet at 614 B Avenue, we only had a palm tree or two. Yes, the cliché and stereotype of California is true, we had palm trees on our street. So every year I begged my mother to buy some of these trash bags and she would say to me, “what are we going to fill it with mija?” Hehe, I never had an answer and every year that passed was another year that I grew more fascinated with Autumn, never quite experiencing it, but wanting it to hit in me in the face so bad. And so, I never understood the colors for Autumn, the browns and yellows and reds that came with the centerpieces at Thanksgiving or the window decorations that we would see at the Veteran’s thrift store in L Street in Chula Vista. I just never understood.

I heard from a coworker recently that if you drive to Estes Park, Colorado during a specific time of Autumn, you can sit there all day and actually see the leaves falling from their trees, with all of their colors changing, flying through the streets and on to the ground. They have a renown taffy place she said, and she told me that she does this every year, eating taffy and drinking hot cider. I don’t like taffy very much and I can’t say that I have ever truly had home made cider, but the idea of that sounded amazing. My lover from home is coming to visit soon, all this talk and falling in love with the leaves brought out the romantic in me… “huh, i wonder if Alex would like to drive to Estes Park with me and drink cider and watch the leaves?” I thought. Sadly, I was informed that I missed the boat, and the transformative moments to witness in Estes Park had passed.

So there are moments when I feel so lost here in Denver. Moments where I spend the entire day at home, working on my room, making it livable and lovable and then I wonder if I will ever have people in my life here to share my room with, and not just my bed, but all the work I have put into making these walls my home. A new friend came over the other night to talk about polyamory, she is in a relationship that is complicated and it was nice to have tea and cookies with her. I showed her my room and I could feel myself excited about being in their with her, and so I began to tell her about every photo and every piece of art that I had hung up. “This is a birthday card that Thanner made me, we used to play Soul Caliber a lot and this is the character I loved. And this is a poster of the last art show we had back home, Eddie made it, and another birthday card that Sani made me and she sent me this photo album of my friends in San Diego, and here is a postcard my roommate Danielle made for her birthday party.” I think she enjoyed taking the small peek into my life, but mostly that process was for me. Matthew and I talked about this the other night and I realized that I am in such need for dialog and conversation and sharing and cuddling and touching, like I used to have. The Maple House had a way of being comforting in that way, of knowing when I needed to be touched at any moment, and Matthew could crawl into anyone’s bed and cuddle with them, and we woke up to mornings where five roommates and two dogs would greet us good morning in our beds. And here in Denver, I will take moments of that at any moment.

Here in Denver, I don’t have many friends, but the ones I do have are really amazing. And I am excited to get to know them on a deeper level. The I-Ching said I would find liberation here in Denver. And so its moments like this where I begin to not feel lost anymore. I can feel it with the friendships I am developing and my new job working with youth, and the baking and cooking.

I can feel it in every leave that drops from the trees and falls onto my car. I feel it when I drive to work and see the bright yellows and oranges and reds. I feel it when i see them dancing in the streets just before they fall onto the ground, and I feel it when a friend comes over and I can show them a piece of my identity through art, and I can feel it when the cold brisk air makes my lips go numb, and when my dog Max buries his bone underneath those leaves. And I can feel it when I realize I have a new crush, and I feel it when I ride my bike, and I can just feel it coming. It’s a beautiful feeling.

And so I say, Dear Universe: I trust why you have placed me here. And I can’t wait for more magic to happen.

Coming into Myself as a Sexual Being…

Posted in sex & politcs with tags , , , on February 28, 2008 by djqueenb

I am realizing with each passing day that I am in lust, if not fully in love with my sex and sexuality. I grow anxious without the touch of another and i can feel the warmth flow through my veins when i do. I like to get touched inappropriately, the kind of touch that makes me wonder if my facial expression might be too disturbing for the public eye. That feeling only gets me hotter. Lust and I have a love affair actually, we drown each other in sweat, penetrating the sheets with our juices, and i wake up each morning with the biggest smile on my face, my lover lays next to me, sometimes, more than one, with my legs and armed entwined between them, fuck it feels good to love the world, to flirt with it, be naughty with it.

Sometimes i wake up, wet. Ingrained in waters of lust, i feel biotic, erotic, and fucking hot. I had been dreaming of wearing my harness and fucking my former husband, now life partner and best friend on the desk in our bedroom. I realize as i awake, “fuck I am wet,” and that it wasn’t a dream. I feel queerer at that moment with him, than I ever have before. I like to top him, make him cum, validate his queerness. I haven’t wanted his penis in a while, but i am turned the fuck on by how queer he likes it, and how queer i am standing there, giving it.

Bell sends me a text sometimes, “Hey girl. Im tired tonight but let’s get beers soon? Excited to see you. Xoxoxo.” She radiates energy from her entire being that runs shivers down my spine and between my legs. She and I make out sometimes, mostly we’re just friends, but the kissing feels good. I have wanted to kiss her for a long time. The fact that my fantasy is coming true entices me to indulge in all of the other dreams i only write about in my journal. Yes, the world is my fucking oyster. Now if only I ate seafood. But really, her lips send shockwaves through my entire being. I want to spoon her more than she could ever know. But mostly, I am in love with the way she listens. She has a way about her that allows me to feel safe, outside the bounds of her kiss. Vulnerability is scary sometimes, but polyamory creates spaces where I can conquer that fear. I wonder if she knows that I love her.

And I am not finished smiling from that overwhelming feeling, slightly hung over from beers and lip locking with her, when the mail arrives. In this mail is a package from Indra. She lives in Denver. I have never felt her kiss, but the touch of her hands, her face against mine, the warmth of her body flowing through me, the love and lust in the words she writes, the theory she produces, the energy that pours from her smile, only makes me want to beg her for more. Sometimes, I want to be her submissive, and we still have so many moons to see rise and fall, so many conversations still to be had. She doesn’t know this yet, but I want her to be my guide, my midwife, that is, when I am ready. I want those hands to touch me, to guide me into giving light to a new being, I want her energy inside me. She heals mind-body splits on levels unrecognizable.

I haven’t felt as sexy before as I do now. Funny how things work, my body weight has fluctuated over the years, battling borderline eating disorders at times, and even when i was a size nine, i didn’t feel as sexy as i do now. I stood in front of a camera the other night, in a tutu and fishnets. I harnessed her in as photos were being taken. Without even hesitation i told her i wanted to suck on her cock. It was purple and delicious. She licked my nipple without asking. The rush felt different, sexy, as if somehow even though boundaries were crossed, i wanted them to be crossed more. Her cock made me wet. Those photos affirmed me, validated how sexy i felt at that moment. I went home that night and had sex for hours with my tranny lover. He fucked me with my purple dildo all night long and then, he let me fuck him. He had never let someone do that to him before. And I don’t know where we will be a month or six from now, but I know that moments like this engrave themselves into my skin, like inked flesh. And he can ink into my flesh all he wants… I hit the pillow hard, into a deep sleep, a slumber of erotic juices dampening the sheets around me. Polly, our jack russell came in and crawled underneath them. I am sure she fell in love with me right then too.

Yes, I am in deep. A deep love affair with my lust, my sex, my sexuality. At times i feel the need to step foot into a catholic church, even though i haven’t known one for fifteen years. I have images of walking into a confessional and sharing my lust, my intimacy, my polyamory, my queerness, my wetness, my desire and want to be touched all over. Then I wonder if I would just make the priest hot in the process. And it makes me want to confess even more. My affair, my lust, or intense love for my sexuality provide the air in which i breath, the grain of sanity that keeps me going in the day, it’s a light i never knew had a light switch before. I have only recently began to acknowledge this relationship I have. I grow weary sometimes of hurting people, or in the process, allowing myself to be hurt. But i grow stronger every day. And fuck it feels good to be touched, really fucking good. And it feels just as sexy to flirt with the world, or at the very least, flirt with those who crack a smile at me. Sometimes, the flirtation in one’s energy can be hotter than anything else. And most of these relationships have a deeper connotation, a sense of vulnerability, of truth, of just being fucking real, and sometimes i wonder if its just that, the ability to rock a conversation with the other person, that turns me on more than their touch. I imagine it’s an equal balance.

I have been toying around with the idea of writing a zine based on my ever so fabulous queertastic journey into sex, sexuality and tranny chasing. I still don’t know how I feel a bout the term “tranny chaser” and i am bothered by the idea that i could be labeled as one. Mainly because I hate to be boxed in. It feels so binding. Because you can’t tame a wild spirit. You can’t box her in or control her in any way. She lives in the now, in the beauty of others, in the waters of lust, she is a wild spirit, riding into sunsets, crossing borders, creating hybrids and soaking in hot springs. She cannot be tamed, boxed, labeled, controlled, regulated, or bound. So, i write, and i continue to write, and i continue to chase after what i believe helps my body-mind-spirit be whole, because i am in lust, if not fully in love with my sex, sexuality and the people who are written into my life. I don’t write many people in, and I have certainly written many out, but those that I have written in, they are the blood that keeps my heart pumping, the wetness between my legs, the sugar on my lips, the curves on my body, the touches i feel daily, the smiles that radiate energy, the ink tattooed into my flesh. Yes, the world is my fucking oyster. And I have officially fallen in love with seafood.

Panocha Platicas

Posted in sex & politcs with tags , , , on November 27, 2007 by djqueenb

I have been wanting to post this for a while, I have just been preoccupied. In December of 2006 myself and three other Chicanas came together to form a group panel to present at the Sistersong (http://sistersong.net) 2007 conference in Chicago. Our idea came together from Irene Para, Ph.D.’s vision of hosting a workshop of sorts on “healing sex and sexuality in community,” that is creating a space for women of color to come together and dialogue about how our sex and sexuality, and how our bodies have been wounded and how they need healing. In order to prepare ourselves as facilitators, we needed to engage and participate in the ritual of healing as well. Begin: Panocha Platicas. Our group has been meeting off and on every month since January. It has changed my life. I never realized how wounded my panocha actually was until I thought critically about those concepts, that is, concepts of assault and wounding stemming beyond mainstream representations of those terms. I never knew that my panocha could be psychologically wounded in addition to physically. This is as close to therapy as a person can get, and it’s done homemade style, from the lint in our pockets to the sweetness in the pomegranates we eat, our shit is home made, revolutionary, and stands in protest of western ideas around healing work.

We produced a zine for the conference and in May of 2007 we came together with 25 other women of color from across the U.S. and engaged, all 29 of us, in a panocha platica. Here is the introduction to our zine.

Entering Panocha

by Sophia Arredondo, Jessica Far, Irene Lara, Ph.D, Eneri Arauz

What is “panocha”? Panocha is a sweet dessert, a cone of brown sugar shaped like a passageway. It’s a delicacy, indulgence, sustenance, wetness, sweetness, spice, blood, pain, life, pleasure, joy, and empowerment. Panocha means vagina and/or vulva and holds a cultural resonance for many who grew up with the word or have come into it through Chicana feminist writings. Panocha conveys an embracing of our whole selves–bodymindspirits–in a way that the proper scientific terms vagina and vulva do not.* We join others in speaking panocha because it’s homemade- a way for us to express sensuality and eroticism, on our own terms.

As women with roots in the Americas, we love that “panocha” may be related to panoltia, a Nahuatl word. Panoltia means “to pass, convey something [or] someone from one place to another.”** From this perspective, the panocha encompasses birthing, dando la luz/giving light, the wetness of desire, the bleeding of menstruation, the vibrations of pleasure, and the movement of energy. The panocha is a borderlands passageway, evoking images of connection, negotiation, bridging, travel, transformation.

We reclaim panocha, brown sugar, transforming this racialized word that at times has been used against us as women of color. This is a way to claim ourselves, our sexuality, our bodies, our being, and a way to resist how our histories have been denied and silenced. We resist the histories of slavery, colonialism, militarization, and imperialism that have kept us from owning our own panochas. We resist those times when our panochas were used against us—whether in hushed tones by our families telling us we were dirty and shameful or by the media that continues to stigmatize us as Chiquita Banana Ladies, Hottentot Venuses, Geisha Girls, Harem Girls, Squaw Princesses, Virgin Mamas, Welfare Queens, Jezebels, Sapphires, Dragon Ladies, Lotus Blossoms, Veiled Victims, Hot Tamales, Mammies. Once a word spoken with disdain, we reclaim panocha and shout it loud and proud with smiles across our lips.

We have been forced to close our legs and open our legs. Our panochas have been wounded in our attempts to set our sexuality free, in our attempt to liberate ourselves from systems of ownership, occupation and violence. They have been trampled on, spit on. Although, we welcome spit during foreplay, and sometimes our panochas like to spit back. Our panochas have been conditioned to never recognize desire, fluidity, and wellness. Now we are calling out with our legs wide open for what we yearn.

Plática, a chat, a dialogue, suggests a heart-to-heart intimate conversation in which healing is implicit or explicit. Panocha pláticas deliberately create healing in community in direct defiance to those who say this kind of talk is better suited for the confines of a therapist’s office. This plática not only takes place amongst the women of our group but also brews between ourselves and our own panochas. We prioritize our panochas, we pay attention to them, we listen to them, we explore them, and we worry about them. Heart-to-heart, panocha-to-panocha, panocha-to-heart. We view our pláticas as a great big bed—a space we look forward to for comfort, warmth, laughter, and deep connection. Intimacy here includes an understanding that we are expressing love and caring for our selves and each other. We strive to practice supportive listening and speaking without judgment while maintaining awareness of how our own histories impact our thoughts and behaviors.

Panocha pláticas are a path for remembering. Remembering our stories, the stories of our blood and created ancestors and re-membering our bodymindspirits in defiance of the colonizing splits we are continuously subjected to. We continue on the wings of our ancestor’s storytelling traditions even as we fly to our own rhythms, our ebbs and flows. And as we speak and listen we fly, leaving new traces, painting new codices/scrolls/ancient books/carved stories/woven tales. Traces on and to our panochas, our embodied panochas, our mindful panochas, our spirited panochas.

We continue this ritual as homage to our mothers, grandmothers and strong mujeres, women in our ancestral lineages who spent lifetimes and eternities en platicas and storytelling in the kitchen making rice and beans, shelling shrimp in the factories, in long lines for the bathroom, under hair dryers at the beauty salon, at the playground, in the drum circles, in the back of the church, in the bedrooms, in the breakrooms, behind peepshow glass, at the bars, at the markets, in the office. We carry this ritual among each other and to younger generations as a movement to keep our herstories alive. These oral traditions persist in our songs, our call and responses, the carvings on our ancient ruins, the marks on our bodies, the art tattooed onto our flesh, the spoken word over bonfires honoring the full moon. These oral traditions are kept alive by our plática, by our panochas rejoicing in healing and collective memory.

It is a revolutionary act to love and respect panochas such as our own. Having a panocha plática is a big “fuck you” to a society that has continuously attempted to use and abuse our panochas, our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. We think about the unthinkable and we speak about the unspeakable. We challenge sexist mindsets that claim panochas are powerless objects. We challenge racist views that teach us darkness is something to be feared, controlled, tamed. We challenge classist views that claim our panochas reproduce like rabbits just to be part of a welfare system that doesn’t care about our well-being. We challenge homophobic views that push our panochas into closets where we’re supposed to wait until heterosexual marriage sets us free. We challenge patriarchal religions that silence our desires and conceptualize pregnancy as a one-woman act. We challenge able-bodied views that assume disabled women’s panochas are incapable of sexuality. We challenge ageist views that insist wrinkles and sagging breasts need to be fixed. We challenge body image views that tell us fat women aren’t beautiful. We challenge rigid views of gender that restrict boys from wearing pink hot pants and crying, and girls from sporting buzz cuts and kicking ass. We are warriors, healers, curanderas, brujas, witches, alchemists, poets, lovers. As we challenge and transgress these views, we transform—through plática, in plática, from plática.

It takes time to platicar—a resource we do not all have in equal amounts. But we strive to prioritize heart to hearts as a way of creating well-being. We desire to inspire radical plática practices that are infused with the yearning to speak, listen, be spoken to and listened to with care and respect across our similarities and differences. Panocha plática is a practice that we can take with us everywhere as a decolonizing tool for justice and social change, for making love polyamourously.***


*“the canal leading from the vulva to the uterus” and “the external genital organs of the female, including the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris and entrance to the vagina”

**Nahuatl is the language spoken by many indigenous Mexicans), also source for definition of panoltia

*** ethical, honest non-monogamy.