I AM JOY(OUS)

I’m shifting through the cajas beneath my mother’s house having just arrived home days before. I’m thinking of my mom who always has a project. It keeps her busy now that only one of her six kids lives at home now. She wants me to organize, compact, donate, and throw away the stuff I’ve let accumulate over the last several years. Her words trail my thoughts as I open and let breathe the memories we’ve stockpiled beneath trying to find my own.

There’s my older sister’s quinceanera memorabilia, photos of family across decades and the many places we’ve called home, letters, documents — an archive that my belongings are interwoven throughout.

This paper, and larger project, is derived from the physical processes of holding onto memories in their physical form. The archive of our lives is constantly shifting and adapting itself to the space we give, or do not give, ourselves to hold. And while this is the place where my project derives itself from, it is hardly the end of it. This project exists here and across social media platforms. Those can be found here, and dispersed throughout my twitter account. 

This project is testimonio and counter-archive for the self.

I hope it breathes. 

 

“I write because I want to leave a discernible mark on the world” (Anzaldúa, When I write I Hover).

Sep. 8, 2018: 

it is a terrible feeling to not be able to help, and hold, and care for the people you love because of distance.

homesickness hurts.

Oct. 11, 2018: 

Grad school (in my experience) creates distance between the self, community, family — b/c you literally move away from it & have little time to talk & become enveloped into a system that your family doesn’t understand fully. Pursuing one of the highest forms of education — (1/x).

— is an immense privilege, and albeit hard, I am grateful to be able to pursue this journey. I cannot but help, everyday, to think about this distancing as symbolic of the processes that being disciplinary trained requires (2/x).

— and idk where I’m going with this tbh, but I’m reading about structural violence and thinking of how operating within the academy can/is violent for bodies like mine and how distance in the physical and abstract contributes to these processes (3/x).

— so to conclude I’m thinking about how we sustain ourselves as we navigate graduate school & how social media offers avenues or community as support systems for us to do so. & that i miss all five of my siblings and parents and community and home. (4/4).

Oct. 20, 2018: 

“Know your dreams wild and sweet will sail from your waist to surround non-lovers. Dreamers. And you will rise up like newborn armies refashioning lives.

Louder than the sea you come from.”

[“Graduation Notes”, Sonia Sanchez]

Reflecting back on this poem, that I came upon last night while reorganizing my space and read initially as a sophomore in undergrad when I couldn’t wait to graduate and was thinking of grad school, but was uncertain what that journey looked like for me — I needed to find Sanchez again, and come back to this piece, and remember. 

Oct. 24, 2018. 

the full moon reminding  me tonight that I am always whole — even when I am immersed in the darkest parts of myself. 

Nov. 4, 2018:

I love full and deep laughs; the kind that only come when you’re fully comfortable with the people you’re sharing space with, ya know?

Shared laughter is so healing 🌱

Nov. 10, 2018: 

I love reading the acknowledgements sections of books.

It really shows you the intimacies of how much community goes into the process. 

Nov. 22, 2018: 

A note to say that grad school isn’t meant for working class people.

Dec. 5, 2018:

my love language is inviting people to share space and write with me in coffee shops.

Dec. 14, 2018: 

Grad school sucks like 75% of the time, and the other 25% is finding the words for things you’ve always wondered about and kickin’ it with (woc) colleagues/professors that make you feel safe and loved and like a human being in this neoliberal-will-eat-you-alive-institution. 

Dec. 19, 2018

it is a small joy to find light in this journey, and a greater joy to find people whose light sings to you, literally, seamlessly while writing.