"Tu eres mi otro yo. You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti, If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo. I do harm to myself
Si te amo y respeto, If I love you and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo. I love and respect myself." - In Lak'ech
For the sake of survival, if you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Sometimes, it is not about whether you are taking the easy way out or not; it is about what are the opportunities available to you.
My circumstances and community in Santa Ana, California, and in Tolimán, Jalisco, México built in me different ideas about how I needed to be like in order to survive. These two ideas and way of life are different from each other--or at least they are expected to be different--but they are both part of me.
In this painting I make reference to Frida Kahlo's "Las Dos Fridas."
I asked you that, when you look at this painting, think about your privileges. Think about the political stand and issues between United States and México.
This is my experience and it is also the experience of many other Mexicans.
Para poder sobrevivir, si estas en Roma, has como los Romanos hacen.
Aveces, no es que uno esté tomando el camino facil; es acerca de cuales son las circunstancias a tu alcance.
Mis circunstancias y comunidad en Santa Ana, California, y en Tolimán, Jalisco, México crearon en mi diferentes ideas de lo que tenia que ser para sobrevivir. Estas dos ideas y tipos de vidas son diferentes del uno al otro--o se supone que deben de ser--pero las dos son parte de mi.
Esta pintura hace referencia a la pintura por Frida Kahlo, "Las Dos Fridas."
Les pido que cuando miren esta pintura, miren sus privilegios. Piensen en la política y temas entre Estados Unidos y México.
Esta es mi experiencia y es también la experiencia de muchos mexicanos.
MIRANDO M´AS PROFUNDO -- LOOKING AT IT MORE DEEPLY
Mujer cabrona and La gringa
Growing up, not knowing the value of education, I just wanted to become someone who would quickly gain power and money. Folk songs always talk about drug cartels and how rich and happy they are.
I guess, I should strive to be that.
Mujer cabrona, despampanante, like those that come in Regional Mexican musical videos. Always de arranque.
Give a child a gun instead of a book. See what happens.
It is not that I decided to be born there. It is not that I wanted to commit crime. I just wanted to get out of poverty. No opportunities and being surrounded by only people who either join crimes or migrate to United States--almost half of the people from my town live in the United States--that is if you really want to survive... because with $100 pesos a week, you are not gonna make it. Specially if you are a woman. Use what God gave you. Objectify yourself or find a husband who's gonna support you.
In United States I discovered you don't have to join these "bad people" to get out of poverty. There is education. You don't need to objectify yourself... at least not a lot... your brain can count this time.
But... there is still something missing. That's why she cries. She's like a bird, in a golden cage... Studying and studying... it is boring.
For one, it is her objectification and a gun, force, which gives her strength. For the other one, it is a degree. Yet, neither are really free nor happy.
Have you ever been to Tijuana? Back in México we call it "The Mural of Shame." It has many crosses. Some with names, some without names, "anonymous," people found dead trying to cross illegally to United States.
Each cross, that could have been my--your--cousin, uncle, aunt... me, you.
I, I might not have died in my way to United States... but I wonder, how many people might had sacrificed themselves in order for me to be here? That's why I draw skulls in the bottom of the "gringa" Dulce. They are there, with me, all the time... and now that I am here, I need to take advantage of the opportunities because they sacrificed themselves for me. They probably have not realized it, but, what if I am the reason why some girl in a abusing family could not get a visa to United States so she could escape from her future? What if I am the reason why some other person died in their way crossing the desert? I am aware of how much my parents sacrificed in order for me to be here. My fortune might be the sacrifice of others.
Despite the differences, they have something in common: death.
"El día que yo me muera, no voy a llevarme nada. Ahí que darle gusto al gusto. La vida pronto se acaba. Lo que pase en este mundo, nomas los recuerdos quedan. Ya muerto voy a llevarme nomas un puño de tierra."
Neither can exist without the other one. One is the dreams of a better life. She's studious. She's sad. She's trapped. She is thankful... because she is aware of what could have happened if she had stayed. She is grateful that, at least, she now has a better life, hopes for a better future.
The other one is the ghost of the "what if I had stayed?" She is my classmate from the low performing classes who dropped out of school. She is the one who has friends in jail, dead, or still playing to the "sicarios." She is my cousin who got pregnant at a young age and is beat up by her boyfriend. She is my family member forced into prostitution. She is the one who, most likely, might had end up married anyways... -- But she is also the partying person. The happiness. The one that celebrates death and that when she hears music, she sings, she dances, tiene los ovarios pa' salir adelante. She's daring.
She is the other me. She is me. I hold her hand everyday. I see her walking around. In the streets of Santa Ana, in the streets of my town in México. She gets lost in the mirror, but she is deep inside my heart. When I sing to a ranchera. When I hear a corrido. When I hear the name of my motherland--that's when "la gringa" comes out. Dropping tears wanting to go back. Is this really what I want? Yes, I want this to change other girls mentalities because there are other ways to get out. I carry on my back the stories of other people. If I fall down, they might fall with me. Both of them are me. They are me. All of me.
Estoy aqui por culpa de mi govierno! If I am here, in a foreign country, I blame my homeland's government!