Lemon Water


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the This matters category.

The Piece Of Glass

Heya. It is the day after the operation, and I think I’m pretty much okay.

Except for waking at 3 am this morning to discover that my foot hurt like hell, biting down on my blanket so as to not scream, and fumbling to take the painkiller and water bottle my parents had left at my night desk. Also, the foot never stops hurting- it’s like the wound is always getting stretched, no matter what position I put it through. Thank (Something) for painkillers. The pain is bearable now, though in this moment, I fear the painkiller is beginning to wear off. It will be worse when I go to sleep, because I have to put my foot on a pillow.

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Let’s Talk About Racism and Classism – Peru’s Middle And High Class View of “Disposable Human Beings”

Before I start, I’d like to add that generally, I really like living in Peru.

But this is one of the reasons I would really really like to move out. Peru can be a very oppressive, mean place at times, especially in comparison to a lot of places I have been in. There is a reason why I agree with the saying “Perro de Hortelana” with a lot of Limean psychology, which basically says that “neither will eat or let others eat”. The mind drive is very much “free for all”, “every one for his or herself”, and selfish, selfish, selfish. In general.

Before I turn this into a complaint of Limean society, which is not my purpose, because I have found great people here, both Internationals and Peruvians, and I don’t want to insult my Peruvian friends (but… you’re blind to this because it is what you have lived with all your lives…), I’ll give a bit of the general Latin American history of colonialism and oppression, racism, and the formation of the oligarchies.

As you all know, in the wonderfully gory history of colonialism, Spanish colonialists came down to Latin America began conquering both the advanced and not advanced people here. Yes, there were advanced people in Latin America, please don’t fall to the myth of “primitive savages”, and keep in mind that there has been in fact new discoveries that actually point out that the Americas had the most advanced civilizations, thanks to a few biological factors due to population density, which I will not explain. Before you argue that they can’t have been advanced, since they lost and were destroyed, let me say three magical words:

Guns, Germs, and Steel. Read that book and it will basically fully explain it to you.

Basically, about 90% of the indigenous population was wiped out due to the germs that were imported by the colonists. Part of the reason why they had never developed as much variety in strains of resistance to diseases like the Europeans, is due to the lack of domestic animals. By being closer quarters with domestic animals, Europeans were more exposed to disease, and only those who grew resistant survived. Since this did not happen in Latin America, resistance was not developed.

So basically, 90% of the people died due to disease.

Guns and steel are easy to see – for reasons I will not go through, because already I am going slightly off topic, the Europeans developed the technology and better weapons that overwhelmed the weakened indigenous Latin Americans.

So colonialism occured.

With it, grew the power base of powerful white families, that kept to maintaining their blood “pure” by marrying only white people. As the manner of power changed with governments in time, so did the manner the white descendent’s maintained power, later forming the rich oligarchies whose descendants can be seen in the white children of these families, to which I belong. These families kept the same racist and classist views and old prejudices, working only for their benefit and power. Whenever mestizos (mixing of the race) occurred, which is a lot, as you can see by the features of the people all around, the whiter ones where typically favored. This is a pretty standard pattern around Latin America, and is still in force.

You now have the historic background. Let me tell you the modern situation.

While rich people here still maintain the general power, I am happy to report that more social inclusion is occurring… kind of. There is a strange double standard in place. White people can be prestigious based on actual wealth and status, or previous familial prestige or wealth. Basically, you kind of have a decadent charm to you if you are not rich, but rather middle class, but your family was one of the Big Families. They keep the status and respect, are part still, of the social group. However, I have heard a saying that “cholo para siempre”, basically, “one always stays cholo”. (Cholo is often used as a derogatory term for mestizos or those of darker skin. Some people deny this, and say it really only means to a people of a specific area, but whether that is the actual dictionary definition, the social and popularly used term, which is what I am talking about society, is definitely a derogatory term, racist laden and prejudice driven and – whoops, long sentence.) Basically, the dark skinned, no matter how much wealth they gain, will always be excluded, based on the racial and class based prejudice that there is against them.

But the really bad point that brought me to write this first, to talk about disposable human beings, which is not something that exist, but that some people (or maybe many, I’m not going to pretend to know) here believe. I’m going to talk about an anecdote.

Now, my mother has a childhood friend that lived here until last year. She lived in an apartment complex, middle class, that was right on Javier Prado, a very very busy avenue. Across the street and up two blocks, lies a Wong, which is basically the biggest supermarket chain in Peru. Now, there isn’t a bypass on this avenue, or at least, at all nearby. And crossing the avenue is pretty damn risky and scary- I know because when I first started going to my school, we were staying at this friend’s house, and I’d walk to my school.

That avenue is friggin deadly.

Now, a lot of the middle class people have maids. Middle class families are also usually and in their great majority, Caucasian. Maids are in the great majority (Actually, I would be surprised to find a single white maid, though it is statistically necessary) darker skinned, mestizas. Maids are easy to come by, and pretty cheap – there are many women desperate for jobs, flocking this city, which is huge, and probably accounts for over half the population of the country – and basically every middle class family has one. Now, these maids often have to go shopping for the family they work for, crossing the deadly avenue back and forth.

So, my mom’s friend thinks about this, and decides she ought to appeal to get a bypass built. She does some research, learns she needs to get some signatures or a petition signed by other people who think this is a good idea, and puts up the paper in the notice area of the building complex/building condominium/call it what you will. She keeps this up for about a month, and I think she barely got two signatures in total. Finally, she got very politely told by the gate keeper (also a mestizo) to please take it down. The friend expressed confusion at the few signatures, when a neighboring lady passing by said “But it’s no problem, we can drive across to buy anything we want!”. The friend explained that it was mostly for the maids that she was worrying about. “Oh, don’t worry, one dies, and a million come in her place.”

This was one of the most chilling anecdotes I’ve heard, and one of the first I heard when arriving to Peru.

This lady considers these maids as disposable human beings for her convenience. Why should she bother to protect their life and interests? To her, I must assume, they are less then human. And it is based on this historical prejudice and context of racism and classism, (both are related since the darker skinned races are of the lower and poorer classes, and suffer both), that they are viewed as inhuman, as commodities.

No human is disposable. No human is a commodity. Not for convenience.

That such a mindset, subconscious or conscious, is even possible today, disgusts me.

But hey, I’m just that naive globe trotter. This is condoned here, what can we change? This society accepts it, I mean, why bust your ass or conscience over something you are not guilty of?*

That still does not mean that it isn’t wrong. And because it is unethically wrong, it has to change.

If anybody wants to discuss why the mindset they have is justified, I hope you like teeth.

*Actually, I have a guilty feeling due to heritage. I am a white descendant of the oligarchy. My father’s paternal family owned mines. My father’s maternal family is from Belgium. My mother’s family on both sides, is definitely part of the old families of white supremacy that existed here (NOT going into details). I am one of the highly privileged people in Latin America: I was born into a family that had far better opportunities, gave me these opportunities, a safe life, free of most prejudice, especially that of racism and classism. Because my father’s job made me see the problems, people go through, I felt obliged to help other people – because this isn’t fair. It isn’t my fault, but I also have a privilige that is constantly undermining these people. I don’t want to be part of the problem. I want to be part of the solution.


I HATE YOU I HATE YOU I HATE YOU PATRIARCHY

I am much too angry to stop thinking about this. Or to even have the sense to take away that title and modify it to something more tolerable.

Patriarchy. Sexism.

FUCK YOU.

FUCK YOU TO THE ENDS OF HELL; FUCK YOU TILL YOU FEEL THE PAIN OF ALL THE WOMEN HUMILIATED, ALL THE WOMEN HURT, ASSAULTED, RAPED, MISTREATED, DAMAGED, PUNISHED, PUT DOWN, HARASSED, PERSECUTED, IGNORED, TREATED AS AN OBJECT, AS STUPID, AS INSANE, WORTHLESS, AS LESS THEN HUMAN. FUCK YOU. YOU FUCKING BASTARD, ASS WIPE, YOU PIG, COÑO, CABRON, VETE A LA MIERDA Y NUNCA VUELAS, PIERDE TUS HUEVOS O CASTRATE.

I do not know how to express the burning fury I have. Perhaps because at some level I am still naive, for all that I know and heard about sexual assault, and been at the ends of thankfully soft levels of harassment and discrimination.

But this, this, just breaks the limit. Reaches. The straw that broke. The Camels Back. Drop. Overflowing Glass.

FUCK YOU

She was defending herself. She was kicking ass, and hitting him with all the fucking right she had to. You think women should be weak, and even if rape is wrong, not fight back? But then, they are always carping that the answer is to have “self defense classes”. WHY THE HELL DO YOU INSIST ON US LEARNING TO FIGHT WHEN WE GET PUNISHED IF WE DO? YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE, YOU PRICK, YOU.
So basically, the men are just surprised that a woman could defend herself, and begin attacking her? They’d just seen she had been sexually assaulted. If a man was assaulted, even for a mugging, and he acted exactly like she did, straddle and hit the assaulter, nobody is going to be angry at him. Except the assaulter and family, or perhaps the odd friend. But a man is allowed to be angry, to be strong, to fight.

She fights back, and what do they do?

One guy unclothes and fondles her, and then pushes her into a hell winding circle windmill of hell where they beat up the “bitch who dared fight back”.

Oh I am so sick of you.

I am 16. I am a teenager. A girl. I am a walking target, and every day I walk knowing this. This is why I don’t go on taxis on the street on my own. This is why I tense up if somebody, especially a gang of men, whistles at me. This is why I try to look threatening. This is why I really hate walking on my own, and always bother my friends to help me get home or just walk me back to school, or something, and if I say “I am a girl, I am a target,” they just think I’m paranoid. But hey, look at that article. Look at it. This happened in the USA, a developed country, a safe country, a modern, safer, more feminist country. Now look at where I live- developing, third world machist society with poverty.

Don’t tell me I’m fucking paranoid. Go live in my shoes. They aren’t even very bad. But I am still. Fucking. Afraid.

And Fucking Angry.

I just fully understood what Willow means by the good girl/whore/bitch definition men have of all women. If you are a Good Girl, you are a virgin, always do what told, meek, submissive, pure, will do as told, even lose that virginity, which confuses the definition. The Whore, is the same as sexy, means a lot of sex. And the bitch? The bitch is anything that goes against them.

FUCK YOU.

I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY AT YOU: I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO CAMPAIGN CAMPAIGN, SHOUT AND SCREAM, MAKE YOU PAY ATTENTION NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU DISMISS MY CLAIMS, BECAUSE THEY ARE TRUE. THEY ARE HERE, REAL, AFFECT ME AND OTHERS, AFFECT ALL FEMALES AND IS A HORRIBLE THING. STOP DENYING IT. STOP JUSTIFYING YOURSELF.

Let’s breathe for a second…She got beat up for defending herself. Come on. Read that passage.

“A small crowd had gathered, mostly men. Now they seemed shocked. I was supposed to have been a victim, and I was breaking out of the mold. I hit him in the stomach, while clenching my legs around him to prevent another man from pushing me off. In all, it took three men to pull me off my assailant.

He got up and ran off, yelling at me, as if I were the would-be rapist.

“You just assaulted me,” I yelled in my own defense – first to him and then, to anyone who would listen, “He just assaulted me.”

Since the police were shutting down the parties at Celeron, there were thousands of people on the path.

Another man, around 6’1″, approached me and said, “You think that was assault?” and he pulled down my tube top, and grabbed my breasts. More men started to cheer. It didn’t matter to the drunken mob that my breasts were being shown or fondled against my will. They were happy to see a topless girl all the same. I punched him in the face, and someone shoved me into a throng of others. I was surrounded, but I kept swinging and hitting until I was able to break free of the circle they had formed.”

Oh fuck you. Fuck you.

It scares me.

I’m the type of girl who fights back. I have no problem hitting people now, if they hurt me or the people I care about. I’ve gotten past some of my personal barriers.

What if something like this happens to me?

Fuck you machistas de mierda. What if one of my friends is hurt? No, what if any girl of my school is hurt? Lima? All of Peru? It happens. It happens to much. I’m still angry for the girls that are hurt. Afraid for them and me and my friends.

No girl should live up in fear.

Fuck you.

[Edit]

My friend Patrick pointed something out to me that has merit.

We don’t know if the group gang assaulted her because she fought back. It could have been a group of abusive guys who wanted to cop a feel because, well, they were only listening to that “OMG BOOBIES!” instinct that is so apparently cultivated and encouraged. -_-

I’m keeping the original entry, because I value my reaction. I still would get intensively angry at what happened to her, and I know that a lot of women are punished for fighting back.

But I do not really know in this case.

See yous.

PS: I would also like to note that I rarely swear this much. In fact, this is probably the most I have sworn, both in written, thought, or oral form. My friends know how little I swear XD up to the point that sometimes they do hear me swear and they go “I didn’t know you swore!” though they have known me for a year or so. To quote my friend Pat on reading this post: “Wow, that second line [in the Capital Swear Paragraph of Doom in this post] is totally unlike you.” Paraphrasing from what he said. Of course.


Weighed Down By Memories

I was writing an English commentary over a poem, when the introduction ran away from me. But it said somethings I’ve been needing to say. Because the poem woke something up from me, due to the symbolism it has. The Weight of Sweetness, means that the sweet memories in life will weigh us when the loved people that gave us this sweetness pass on, will weigh us down.

I lost my grandmother and my great-uncle within a week of each other, about a year ago. Both where people that did not impact me incredibly in my life, but were mere passing mentions in my life, since I only saw my grandma Bertha when we went to visit my family in Bolivia, and my great-uncle Fernando in the short year in which I lived in London. But somehow their deaths hurt me, and the memories still haunt me to my day, because I never realized how important they were.

I remember mostly talking to my grandma about roses, literature and art, in a roundabout conversation that would start at the same point as she forgot what she had said. During one of those repetitive turns, I used a phrase she had used before, and she stopped, uncertain and stared at me. I felt so guilty I dropped her gaze and forced the conversation forwards. I never called her “Abuela”, “Grandma” in Spanish, but called her by her name because we had grown up used to her being Abuelita Bertha thanks to how my dad called her. I didn’t know until her death how much it mattered to her being called Abuelita- something my dad told me at some point. I don’t know. I don’t remember. My dad also unearthed a photo of her when she was young here in Peru at some time- he said she looks exactly like me, and I put the photo away in my art folder. Sometimes, I’m afraid of looking at it, of seeing the grandma I never got to know closely and who forgot me, and seeing myself in it. Mostly, I still have this feeling of guilt, which the few people I’ve told about tell me is displaced. But for some reason, I cannot think of my grandmother without feeling tight in my chest, and my throat. And she comes into my life in strange moments, though not often. There was the time we, my family, were eating lunch or dinner at some place, and my father stared at me for a second, looking concerned a bit unfocused. “Right now, you just looked your Abuelita Bertha.” I wanted to know what I had done. Anything that would connect me positively with the grandmother I neglected. “I don’t know what, pero hiciste un gesto, you made a gesture, that reminded me of her.” I didn’t pursue the subject. I was too afraid of what it would mean emotionally to both of us. And sometimes I think that if I had really wanted to figure in my grandmother’s life, I could have made her a picture, which she could keep with her.

My Great Uncle Fernando does not affect me as closely emotionally. He died a brilliant man, his mind very much alive and active, a respected man who was much admired in Japan, where he often exhibited his artworks. I only knew him for a year, and it was he that received us in his musty house when we first moved to London, where I watched in awe at the man who had made the paintings hanging around our house, wherever we moved, since I can remember, before becoming distracted with life and being a child. I remember, at least I think I do, wanting to show him my art but feeling it was not enough. I cannot even remember if he ever saw any of my drawings, ever. But I felt pride in being a relative to such a great man. I felt happy that despite being quiet and removed, he was having us stay over, that he would care for us. And my mother loved him dearly, I believe as much as her father. One of my happier memories involves the whole extended family in London going to see one of those heritage buildings that worked as a museum, with large gardens in a pleasant summer day. We had a wonderful picnic, after walking and admiring the house and the furniture. And his house was close to ours, a musty and somewhat uncomfortable, but still safe place. Still a safe place.

My little cousin, Eduardo, who knew him far more, wrote this for him:

I was there with him, in his white-walled studio. There was no sound other than the quiet rustle of his rough tweed jacket and the clomp of his red leather shoes as he walked to and fro, from his easel positioned professionally in the middle of the room. A faint smell of burning came from the fire and the smell of the egg-tempera paints filled the room.

I sat entranced. In front of me was a painting, but I was not consciously sitting in the chair. I was over a thousand miles away in Bolivia on the Alti-plano, watching the silhouette of two indigenous people stride over the flat expanse. The light slanted through the cracked remains of the window of the sun. In a few moments the sun would set and the moon would rise, forming the arch of light. Suddenly the light of the setting sun flickered and poured through the arch. At the same moment the moon rose and the silvery glimmer penetrated the dark and entered the arch. A beam of purple light flashed through the arch and was gone.

Then I returned to the studio. The painting was finished. My grandfather turned. His lips were twisted up in a smile. His eyes glinted blue and slowly he reached out for a new canvas and began another.

How old is my cousin? Seven years old? And he wrote this? Amazing.

The death of these two have been haunting me for months now, and these memories hurt and weigh me down. But I don’t want to throw them away, because they are all I have left of the precious opportunity I had and wasted. I have been depressed, blocked for moths. Some of it has gone away. Some of it returns and goes.

So sometimes the memories are bittersweet ones, that hurt and eat me inside. But they are more precious then my pain. And I will eat the bitterness and digest it, till I have as much of the sweetness as I can, even if it will always have a tinge of bitterness.

But hey, maybe it’s like the sour candy- it will add to it. And make my life all the more important, since I now appreciate those around me more.


-E-n-t-e-r- -T-i-t-l-e-

I just finished playing Scrabble with Patrick.

Which made me realize something, but we’ll talk about something else.

So, today everybody got to see our art interventions, of which I will post photos up hopefully tomorrow. so, yay! People liked it! They seemed to be more impressed by the web, but whatever^^. I’m quite proud of it. There are like five others, but I’ll write about it later.

Today was also the NHS Induction.

Now let me start off this part by congratulating Ming Hee, Helen, and Steph for making it! You guys are now NHS!

I am, to be honest, especially happy about Steph. Of those three friends, she’s the closest to me, and in my point of view, the most deserving, (Although I definitely could see Helen getting it). I want to hug you, and buy you chocolates, all three of you, and go all happy.

I’ll admit also, that I am dissapointed.

In myself. You see, I applied. I didn’t make it. When I first got into NJHS, I thought “Wow! I definitely need to get into NHS when I become a freshman!” but moving and all that got in the way. But I wanted to persevere. So, on comes this opportunity, when I should be able to make it, if I was worthy- I am not. Ok, I can live with it. It still is really disappointing, and a huge blow at my confidence in myself, since I have always prided myself in scholarship and studies.

There was a moment where one of them said “Last but not least” today, and I had a flashback to when I got into NJHS- I was the “last but not least” that day; and the idea that I would be that again… well, the momentary hope there surged based on that deja vu.

Anyways. Got over my urge to cry when I realized I had three freaking friends inducted that day. Well, I get along with Kelsey and I like Pauline, but they are not exactly friends.

So after beating myself up mentally several times, I come to the conclusion that I am going to fucking fight my way through now. All of Senior year. No more slacking. Of course, I have said that to myself a million times now this semester. But this time I really want to.

Fucking hell, I am also pissed at myself at that. So you will see a lot of determination- I am not going to forgive myself if I miss the last chance next year. If there is a type of attention I have always hungered for- it is academical recognition. I want to know that I am worth something, I want to be recognized as a good, hardworking, intelligent person that cares about what happens to the world around her, can lead people, who is overall, what I want to be. So fucking hell.

Nothing is going to stand in my way.

Insun tried, even if I didn’t talk a lot about or express much grief over not being inducted, how NHS is not everything, doesn’t matter, it’s not going to change your life, you know?

I still want it. I want everything, I want to be the best, the strongest, most intelligent, hardworking, creative, innovative, sensible… I want to be the best. I am that girl who wants to have 100%, but also have a great social life (Thing is, my definition of a great social life is different from that of most of society), and be involved everything, (Oh God, everything interests me), and be noticed by adults and the mature kids as being there, as mattering, as being a foundation and a role model. I want to be the fucking best.

So I am going to fight my way up. I need to face on everything I haven’t been facing on these days, and fight it head on, face it, defeat it, master it.

Master my laziness, my gluttony, my fears, my mind, my lack of organization, my lack of will at times. I need to master my self.

So that you know.

So I disagree on that Insun. It matters greatly to me. The one thing I took pride whenever I moved from country to country was my scholarship. Well, one of the main things.

Patrick, who is a great friend, took me to the side twice today and reassured me about NHS, partly because he is in NHS, and being as understanding as he is, didn’t need any telling to know how dissapointed I was. I don’t know how I made such a good firned, but wow.

Later on, Insun, Patrick and I went out, ate pizza at Chacarilla Mall and stuff. Then Insun went home at around 9, he and I walked home, surfed the web, then played wii, then played scrabble.

Anyways.

The main points in this post in no particular order.

>>Patrick and Insun and I went out today.

>>The Art Intervention was today

>>Patrick is a great friend

>>So is Insun.

>>Stephanie got into NHS OMFG YAY WEEEEEEEEEEE YAY YAYAYAYAYAYA SQUEEEE EVERYBODY HUG HER

>>I am dissapointed in myself

>>I am going to fucking fight and make my time matter now.

Ok, so they do have an order, but you can figure it out yourself.

Goodbye people. I need to sleep for tomorrow’s defeat at the hands of Markham Team D in the Copa Markham.


Cause The Hardest Part Of This Is Leaving You

My Chemical Romance was playing on tv today, and my brother decided to be nice and let me see it while he went downstairs and got some stuff. So he comes back, and cuts me halfway through a song I had not heard from them, called Cancer.

So I search it on YouYube, and watch the video.

That is one of the most touching videos I have ever seen. Please excuse me while I go wipe my face.

Please take a look around you, and be thankful, and love what you have, who you have, and take as much chance as you can to really live.

Because what we have is beautiful. Life is beautiful. Despite all the problems, and the heartaches.

And loving everybody is worth it, even when we die and suffer, and if we dissapear, and fade, and the people we love too.

Because we existed, and mattered, and still matter and will matter, and just that existance and the mattering of that existance is worth it, dammit, even if death comes and takes us apart. Because we loved.

And I don’t think that disappears.

And I think those moments matter, because they existed… even if they are past, they still were. They are.

Goddamit everybody. I love you.

And I’m going to fight for every fucking thing that matters. Even if I will die in time, and my family, and everybody that has influenced or mattered to me.

Because they did. They will.

And I everybody, I want you to know I love you. I want to make sure you know you matter, you mattered to me. I don’t want to lose the chance to let the people that leave, leave without knowing this, I never let my grandmother know. So what if she didn’t remember me? That moment would have mattered. To both of us. I never let my great uncle know. He died, also of cancer.

The hardest part will be leaving people behind.

And moving has made me do that too much without letting people know how much they matter.