Nah, Fuck That
By the time I say these words, usually, alot has happened and I'm not about anything that has to do with forgiveness, listening, logic or much outside of whooping ass, rolling up into a fetal position and crying, both or some other option that includes hurt.
I grew up with 2 older brothers and my father in my life and house so my mother and I were rodeadas (surrounded) by male energy. The kind that says Nah, Fuck That alot in many ways. Permission before taking something? Nah, Fuck That. Being considerate of others? Nah, Fuck That. Working together to find solutions to a problem so everyone wins? Nah, Fuck That. My mom was grooming me for the type of femininity she grew up with: Yes, and. She was a Yes for everything anyone wanted, ever, AND whatever else you didn't even think of, know you needed or could exist. And there was no limit - atleast for the boys and men. For me, well...
Me: Mami, yo puedo ir a jugar afuera?
My Brothers: Bye ma! We going outside!
Mami: Miren! Esta frio! Llevense otro par de media en los bosillos y bebanse esta avena con chocolate ante de irse.
(Once the boys leave)
Mami (with a big smile): Ven Heidi, a bebe chocalate con tu mami aqui mi hija?
And in my head I'm like, Nah. Fuck That. So I grew up with stark examples of Nah, Fuck That and Yes, and. Unfortunately, what the world reinforced is that I would get ALOT farther with Nah, Fuck That then that other shit. My mother was getting ground down! Going up and down five flights with so much laundry by herself for years because everyone, including me, was a Nah, Fuck That. She was working tirelessly cooking, cleaning, making sure the house always had everything we needed and at some point, very early on, I decided that wasn't for me. Who would choose that?! My brothers and father were always playing outside! They were free! And they still had chocolate caliente and big plate sized pancakes! I wanted that life.
So when people talk about softness being lost on women, in me. When folks desire women of color to be open, loving, trusting, vulnerable, I think about my mother. I think about the ways that when we be that, we are ground down. We are taken for granted. We are not even seen in all that we do to hold up not just half the sky - the whole fucking planet, literally, the work of Mother Earth. So, I'll take both. I'm glad I learned my Nah, Fuck That so early on. I needed that to be able to be the tomboy my little queer ass needed to be. I needed that to be able to explore and roam a New York City that was calling my soul. I needed that to put a stop to the sexual violence I was experiencing. And, having the example of the Yes, And was powerful in ways that I am still uncovering.
My mothers' unconditional love is what softened the layers of callous that Nah, Fuck That brings. I'd be exhausted after a long day of working and going to school at night, and I'd call my mother in tears and she'd say, "Mi higa, coje un taxi. Yo te lo pago. Tienes hambre? Te tengo una yuca con cebolla esperando." And she would. And a hug. And, when I'd let her, she'd stroke my hair a little while I sat and ate. I was so angry and tired then that I didn't allow affection in as often as I wished. Because I miss her, so much. She died. And I think her imbalance of Yes, And with not enough Nah, Fuck That killed her. Because in this world, women of color are expected to just be one or other other and either way, nos jodimos (we're screwed). Constantly caring for others, relentlessly showing up, it's exhausting. Hardening, putting up walls for protection is exhausting. My mother could change and swing and she would've done it within the context of a world, and in this our family as a representation of that world, which punished her no matter what.
So what do I do? Here's my recipe for Yes, And Nah Fuck That Balance:
*Intentional Joy and Faith
This recipe varies over time, the components that fall under each of these are flexible and these over-arching areas stay consistent.
So my questions to you are: Where are these present in your life? Where can they be? How's that going? Let's share recipes so we can make them our own just like any other recetas: we never really know how much of each ingredient is needed and we taste as we go along to make adjustments.