Starting my first year of grad school in a new city thousands of miles from home. Promised myself that I will not sacrifice my body to the white academy. I will honor my inherited stories while engaging in different/new modes of thinking. I will not forget practices in gratitude and self-care because fat brown femmes need to survive and thrive in academia.
"They say I’m a beast. And feast on it. When all along, I thought that’s what a woman was. They say I’m a bitch. Or witch. I’ve claimed the same and never winced. They say I’m a macha, hell on wheels, viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone, man-hating, devastating, boogey-woman lesbian. Not necessarily, but I like the compliment. The mob arrives with stones and sticks to maim and lame and do me in. All the same, when I open my mouth, they wobble like gin. Diamonds and pearls tumble from my tongue or toads and serpents, depending on the mood I’m in. I like the itch I provoke. The rustle of rumor like crinoline. I am the woman of myth and bullshit. (True. I authored some of it.) I built my little house of ill repute. Brick by brick. Labored, loved and masoned it. I live like so. Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow. Rowdy. Indulgent to excess. My sin and success— I think of me to gluttony. By all accounts I am a danger to society. I’m Pancha Villa. I break laws, upset the natural order, anguish the Pope and make fathers cry. I am beyond the jaw of law. I’m la desperada, most-wanted public enemy. My happy picture grinning from the wall. I strike terror among the men. I can’t be bothered what they think. !Que se vayan a la ching chang chong! For this, the cross, the Calvary. In other words, I’m anarchy. I’m an aim-well, shoot-sharp, sharp-tongued, sharp-thinking, fast-speaking, foot-loose, loose-tongued, let-loose, woman-on-the-loose. Loose woman. Beware, honey. I’m Bitch. Beast. Macha. !Wachale! Ping! Ping! Ping! I break things."