Chicana Diasporic: A Nomadic Journey of the Activist Exiled

On Navigating Chicana Style

Sometimes life is as random as talking a walk, seeing what you’re going to see and remembering it. What you see you will store away, in the many filing cabinets of your mind. Chicanas do this all the time—see and remember things however, when we store them away we don’t always have control over when they come back.

Sometimes they come back as songs, as chistes (jokes), the things we see, flowers, a stop sign, a lamppost, a three legged dog, will end up in a song, or a poem or a painting. Most often if it is a three legged dog—ideas often end up in a prayer. 

We talk to God a lot. Texas artist Adrienne Garcia said once of Chicanas and prayer that it is a conversation that happens in moments of sitting. Chicanas don’t often sit, as they are always taking care of someone or something or somewhere because it has to be taken care of. Chicanas are mothers to all, history to none, cultural guides to Mexican protocol because they know you don’t serve frijoles de la olla to guests—those beans better be refried. Chicanas make white corn tortillas because yellow corn is what the pigs eat. Chicanas also know to make roasted elotes with mayonnaise and not butter. 

As random as these words may seem, there is a path through them. It is how a Chicana thinks—connecting everything to everything and everywhere else. Chicana thought is about the “random as simultaneous”—looking at un pajarito amarillo cantando en el arbol and wondering if the song is the same as the one sung by a parakeet from her childhood that disappeared the day after the family got a cat to deal with the infestation of mice. That parakeet was blue with a yellow chest, just like the small yellow finch in the tree outside the window of her new apartment in Las Cruces, New Mexico where she is teaching the performative act of chicana literature at the local university. Do parakeets live independently in the desert? Of course not, but this singing bird is not a parakeet—it is yellow like the color of her mother’s newly tinted hair, or the color of a roasted elote, even the color of the sun, when it is seven at night and will not rain tomorrow because the sunset, now so achingly beautiful in its ochre and yellow confirms it.

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