a few quick notes:
1.)My Independent Study Project is one story based on themes of the women either we have spoken to as a group or who I have talked to individually. It is a story that highlights the commonalities and differences between these women who live in this country of Guatemala, one heavily influenced by inequality and machismo. How do the small every day things in their lives impact the whole? How does the large of the whole impact the small everyday things? And, we always start by asking these women, “so- do you like it here in Guatemala?”
2.) This is supposed to be a spoken word piece, and is written as such. Something I personally have been exploring over the past two years or so is the difference between storytelling and written works, and how they feed each other. This was written with the intention of being spoken aloud, so in these long sentences that seem to drift, I encourage you to imagine a woman in a chair, speaking to you about her story, a thick, woven, colorful blanket draped across her lap as she finishes tying the tassels at the end.
So, do you like living here in Guatemala?
Hm. I need to think about that one for a bit.
I learned to weave when I was ten. When I was ten, I learned how to weave, and I saw color for the first time, saw it for what it was and what it could be. I knew I had found a friend in these colors.
I was eleven when the world turned black—when my father left one day and then would never come back. Everyone thought sad, black thoughts, wore sad, black clothes, told sad, black stories. I did not think my father would have liked it, would have preferred a less sad and black color. So, my friend in the colors helped me choose a blue so blue it looked like it had been borrowed from the the sky itself, and so I wore that to the funeral instead. I didn’t even care that I stuck out like a sore thumb.
I was fifteen when my brother left to work in a place with nice houses and less dogs in the streets. He left when I was fifteen, and in the years that have past, I haven’t seen him since. It is not a scarlet of anger anymore- rather, a deep cobalt of sadness.
After that, I lost touch with my friend in the colors, choosing instead a world of fast monotony, of sliding grey, of perfunctory change. The city was very different from my home in San Juan- the work ethic was completely different. Many times, I wanted to take people by the shoulders and scream red that objects tone matter, that when you are happy in your should, everything falls into place. Nothing made sense- this was a world where, if I like green and you like red, we cannot talk- our families, or family members, or community, or community members, or world, or world members—cannot talk. This was a world where my worth and success was determined by who I slept with—a beautiful body rather than a beautiful mind—a world where the successes of others was built on its, where the success of the whole felt like an infinite car race—going in circles to nowhere, but at least they are going nowhere fast.
I only stayed in the city as long as I had to—for school.
When I did return to my home in San Juan, I just remember seeing the open window ledge of a house I didn’t know covered in rich, violet flowers for sale under a rich, blue sky, and I started to cry. I had not realized the size of the space colors took up in my heart, and then the size of the space left when they all went away.
I’ve since come to realize that no matter where I am there will be division. But I do prefer to live here, in Guatemala. I may not have much, but at least here I have my friend in the colors—and I can make enough of what I want from that.