Cuban Heroes (I wish I’d known as a girl): Ana Mendieta

Above image: Ana Mendieta, Film stills, Sweating Blood, 1973

Starting in July, my birth month, I will be doing a bi-monthly research exercise on “Cuban Heroes” for my blog. I believe that seeing yourself reflected in the world around you (in pop culture and beyond) is powerful, and I was starved of that privilege as a young girl navigating the white-centric suburbs of Orange County.

A bit of an introduction before beginning My mother immigrated from Cuba in the 1970s and married my father, a red headed Irish-American from Southern California. Growing up, my contact with my father’s side of the family was rare if ever, so I made sense of “family” through the connection I had to my mother’s side: my Cuban Grandmother and her sisters (my Great Aunts). I truly believe that I understand what Love is today through the love I received from the gaggle of Cuban women who raised me as a child. Looking back, when I think of “home”, I think of them, and feel them deeply in my core still. So with all that said  why is it that when I was sorting through the building blocks of my identity and searching for role models, that I looked past them and only found value and importance in white-stories by straight-white-men within the framework of white-society? In short, it is because I was a child of an immigrant, and cultural assimilation was key to my social survival. When I looked around me, those were the narratives that society held up and gave the most worth and I followed that way of thinking without ever examining why (that would come decades later). As a child and young adult, I took these adopted narratives and hid in plain sight. My fair-skin and culturally-ambiguous looks afforded me that. I thought by doing this, I was pushing myself out of the ethnic minority and giving myself a “fair chance”, a belief that is complex, problematic, and reinforced time and time again in my life.

After my mother’s passing 2 years ago, I spiraled into grief. Grieving her, and the loss of “the last” of my Cuban identity slipping through my fingers and into the ether. Never again would I feel and hear the energy and sounds of her hard Cuban-Spanish accenting my life. The audible sounds of love through language, calling for me as, “Ginita”. I think after the death of any parent, it is quite normal to question existence and ask questions of “why”, and that definitely came for me in full force and is something I still reconcile today. So — this is to honor my Mother, this is for my Grandmother and Great Aunts, but mostly this is for the little girl who needed an extra push in understanding her roots, her place and their natural value, and in turn, her natural value.

Continue Reading

Total Solar Eclipse in San Francisco

We spent this last weekend in San Francisco and thought we’d stay an extra day to watch the eclipse with friends. I read that Los Angeles would only be getting 62% moon-to-sun coverage, and that San Francisco would be getting 75% coverage, so why not! We scrambled to get eclipse glasses at the last minute but it ended up being okay, as it was so foggy, when paired with sun glasses, the veil of fog made it a little easier to look at the sun.

Continue Reading

How to say goodbye.

It’s going on 5 months, and I still wish I had words big enough to express how I am feeling, even today. I still feel so lost and so deeply sad, but I don’t want to let my mother’s passing fade away without speaking up. 

Continue Reading

A Year Ago Today…

I wrote the following stream-of-consciousness on my Facebook a few days ago and I gave it some thought and decided that it should live here on my blog as well.

A year ago today, I shot Sia‘s wedding in Palm Springs. It was a day with wicked weather that started with heavy rain and lightning bolts that threatened flash floods through the desert resort town. It all seemed so sudden and strange at the time, but I suppose that is what I’ve come to understand about life.

Continue Reading

2014 Snow Globe (“Brighter Days Are Coming For Us”)

Above image: A handmade snow globe for Corey.

I made Corey a snow globe for a present this last Christmas. A lot of outside forces made 2014 a difficult one for both of us to chew. I thought I would make a snow globe to acknowledge and pay homage to these darker days, a marker in time that we can look upon later in the future.

Continue Reading

No more posts.