Sunday, December 19, 2010

In Defense Of My Immigrant Bosom

I have never had to consider my breasts as much as I do now that I live in New York. Never before did I have to stop and reconsider the socio - political implications of my breasts and their presence. This is something I was not prepared for, after all this is the land from whence such bosomic (bosomal?) range covers burning the bra and the Victoria's Secret fashion show. How would I ever come to expect that these breastal celebrations were approached with a double standard, primarily protected by women who call themselves feminists.

It seems America has a problem with my breasts, and I take great offense at this. We'll have you know, we are quite a formidable team. My breasts and I have forged into hostile boardrooms of anglo expat males in Asia who needed ME to convince THEM that I was the expert on Asian women's motivations in the beauty business and not them. My breasts and I have dealt with female health issues which most likely impede my ability to bear children or nurse my own offspring. Flanked by fellow women warriors and their breasts, my breasts and I have ousted a dictator to install a female president. We have conquered male dominated corporate scenarios, have built a successful career that traverses three continents, and have made it in the mythical city where, if you make it there chances are you will make it anywhere.

I am not alone, either. America has a problem with your breasts, too. Yes, you with your tetas, pecho, your suso, du sein, matiti. What else would explain the way women in America scoff at the sight of another woman breastfeeding in public? Or America's antagonistic relationship with your nipples, when they have the gall to show through your clothes? Or their condescending attitude towards cleavage, as if its mere presence ruins all chances that people would take seriously any woman in proud possession of one.

Well, my bosom and I will no longer take this nonsense. We will no longer silently bear your judgment or coddle you through your bosom hang-ups. We will stand proud and strong, all supple and fleshy as the female design. With confident swagger and sensuality, we celebrate fellow warrior women and remember those lost to diseases that attack our woman parts. With eloquent grace, we will speak with authority and will be taken seriously even by those we make uncomfortable.

Breasts of America and the women who bear them, we come in peace. We love our breasts and love yours too. One day we will shimmy together in unity.  But until then, we will have to agree to disagree.

Just because you have issues with your breasts doesn't mean I am going to start developing issues with mine.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Love, Sex and The Spaces in Between

Yes, they're real and yes, they're mine.
"Are you polyamorous?" asked the beautiful black woman in braids at the after party in SoHo. Long thoughtful pause. "I guess I can't be, since I'm not sure I know what the word means."

This was my first Sex and the City-esque experience as a New York resident. The simple exchange is layered with commentary about me and especially about America. Where I am from, there isn't a lot of sex talking. This is not to be mistaken for a lack of sex, indeed people enjoy healthy sex lives. It's just not something most people casually, openly discuss. We're more a doing kind of culture than talk-about-doing. More feeling and vibing, our communication is often more about what isn't said, the meaning between the words, the subtleties of timbre and lilt, of eyebrow raise and lip purse.

America is different. In America, there is a rational and almost blunt word for most everything because it is a culture that processes with head more than with heart. This makes the language of American seduction as simple as it is complicated. In its directness, it can sometimes feel blunt and rather un-sexy.  Consider the action word - the Americans say pick up and the British use the word pull.  One pursues and the other invites pursuit. You see, when it comes to sex and seduction, I come from the philosophy of the pull, clearly I am sexing and seducing in the wrong language!

Years after that first conversation with Tara I don't think I'm any better at speaking America's seduction but I understand it better. I appreciate how they make room for different lifestyles and ways. I like that their language fuels tolerance by creating words that potentially lead to acceptance which eventually brings about understanding. I also know now more than ever the importance and yes, the sexiness of the things we can never pin down to a single word.

So here's the thing, me and my tribe are making America sexier. We come with our sensuality and our brand of loving to challenge the American pick up and luxuriate it with a double shot of the pull. We color the way America loves with alba, amor, cariño, alab, init and so much more. You will love us, we will seduce you,  you won't have to narrow it all down into a single word and yes, it will be sexy. It already is.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Places We Belong To

Have you wondered about your own sense of place? Why some places just feel right and others, well they just make you feel so out of place. As much as we like to think we are in the driver's seat charting out the flight path, I have come to think that places choose us. What else could possibly explain feeling a sense of belonging to a place that has no connection to your past, knows nothing of your people's history? How else does it happen that you walk into a room of strangers and instantly recognize that you are among your tribe?

Life in America is complex, it is also richly rewarding. Living here will reveal facets of yourself you had not known before, skills and smarts you did not know you had in you. Whatever innocence you came with will be tested. You will question the stuff you're made of. You will find that you are made of better stuff than you thought. Because America continues to make room for us and all we are, in enough time we begin to belong to America. And in enough time, America begins to belong to us.

We come from all parts of the world with our rich flavors and cultures that challenge America to grow, to make room. We warm America's heart with our affection and fire up her belly with our convictions. America chose us so she can love better, eat better, see better. She wants her language to evolve, she wants to broaden her thinking. We answer to many names and love in many tongues. We can spot each other anywhere. We are America's chosen ones.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Dare You to Call Me This

Living in New York NY and spending a lot of time in Taos NM you realize quickly you aren't really living in America. Perhaps this is why I love these places so, why my heart reverberates with feelings of home and why my creativity is fired up and turned on. I could only ever live in places where people are simply, wonderfully people. This is the tribe I identify with, we know our kind and we gather 'round. There is no us vs. them, and if these lines exist within this cities, I don't know those parts.

It is difficult to fathom why all these man made lines that get drawn between people still exist in today's world, but they do. Who made anyone the line-drawing police, anyway? What puts anyone in the position to say who is better and who is worse? First come the lines then come the labels. Who comes up with all this? Who tells children not to call each other names then turns around and with concepts so absurd, like fagot, nigger, godless.

The biggest bigotry is to assume oneself superior, to draw a line between oneself and those deemed lesser. To this, I say call me fagot, nigger, immigrant, sinner, whore, weak, illicit, extraneous. I dare you to call me all these words, call me and my tribe of fagoted nigger immigrant sinner whores who know hard work and rich culture, and pray to gods who see only our divinity. Call me and my tribe all this to our patchwork faces of culture and color. Call me this so I can say, as all Gods surely did...'eat my fagoted nigger sinful immigrant dust.'

I dare you to call me your bigoted labels

Saturday, December 4, 2010

They Call Me

They call me Beautiful, these ethnic men of New York City
We all own these  streets, we walk them strongly as immigrants do
each stride a love letter to our homelands, they recognize my cadence
A glimmer of home in a land so different so far away from the lush greenery
from the salsa, the creole, the harana, the movida, the rasta
They see all this in the swish of my skirt and the supple thigh peeking through there
They see their sunsets in my smile and smell ocean breezes in my skin
and this, all this in a flash turns them on, and I like it

They call me Gorgeous, these men and their fancy drinks in the Lower East side
all wielding their weapons on this sultry spring night, it is on
the wit, the strong brow, the expense account, the accent, the worldliness
How many times have we played this game in our lifetime? And still we play
We all want the same thing after all, crave affection masked by line after line
We all want the same thing after all, ache to be seen in the smokiness of it all
So we give some if it away, some kindness, some truth, something of the heart
And this is where the spark happens, the hooking up, the possibility of sex

They call me Angel, the ones I take to my bed, these lovers in progress
Games well played, lies well told it is all naked now and bare
it is after the sex that they see the angelic in me, only after the sex
it is after the sex that I see the real man, spent and softened, sweaty
he paints pictures of home on the scar beneath my navel
I breathe fables and folklore into the spaces between his ribs
It is only after the sex that we can touch each other like so
It is not for everyone, this honesty, this sweetness that burns