Clínica Tepatí Serving Latinx/Xicanx

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Hace unas pocas semanas, recibí un mensaje de texto de mi hijo en el que me hablaba con orgullo de su trabajo de voluntario en la Clínica Tepatí, en Sacramento, CA.

La Clínica Tepatí fue fundada en 1975 como una organización sin fines de lucro para proveer servicios básicos de salud a Latinos y Chicanos sin seguro médico y desasistidos.

El 95% de los clientes de la Clínica Tepatí está compuesto de hispano hablantes. A pesar de que sólo el 50% del personal médico es bilingüe, al menos el 70% tiene lazos con la cultura Latina o el idioma español. Cuando no hay un médico bilingüe disponible, voluntarios como Pablo están en el consultorio con el paciente para asistir en la comunicación. El trabajo de Pablo es asegurarse que el paciente entienda las preguntas e instrucciones del médico, y que el doctor esté consciente de las preocupaciones del paciente.

El equipo profesional de la Clínica Tepatí incluye médicos (preceptores), bilingües o no, estudiantes de medicina buscando experiencia para sus carreras, y voluntarios estudiantes de pregrado. Para trabajar de voluntario en el programa, los estudiantes de pre-grado deben ser bilingües y tener un Promedio Académico mínimo de 2.7. Aún más importante, el estudiante también necesita comprobar compromiso con la comunidad, y demostrar compasión y estima por la población Latina/Chicana atendida en la clínica.

De los más de cien solicitantes, sólo 15 son aceptados cada año. De esos seleccionados, al menos diez quieren ir a la escuela de medicina. El resto de los voluntarios vienen de otras escuelas como salud pública, docencia, psicología, y gerencia.

Los principales servicios ofrecidos son medicina general y gineco-obstetricia. También tratan enfermedades crónicas como diabetes, artritis, y escriben referencias a dentistas. Además, farmacias, podólogos, y optometristas visitan la clínica regularmente y ofrecen sus medicamentos, servicios, y lentes a precios solidarios. La clínica también extiende referencias para abortos si es necesario. Use este enlace para más información sobre los servicios de la Clínica Tepatí.

Pablo Badra trabaja en Tepatí desde hace más de un año y recientemente fue seleccionado como Co-Líder del Comité de Salud Mental. El dice que los Latinos y Chicanos no suelen admitir tener problemas mentales. “Ellos vienen a la clínica por otras razones, no porque están deprimidos o tienen ansiedad.” Durante el triaje, si es evidente que la persona puede estar sufriendo de depresión, se procede a usar un set de preguntas estándar para evaluar la salud mental.  Luego el caso es referido a la consejera Aury Gutiérrez.

La Clínica Tepatí tiene un presupuesto operativo muy limitado que se logra a través de donaciones, subsidios, y eventos de recaudación de fondos. Para donar a la Clínica Tepatí haga clic en este enlace.

 

Tepati voluntarios

Estudiantes de pre-grado voluntarios. Pablo Badra está de pie atrás y en el centro. Yo soy su mamá.

 

English Version follows.

A few weeks ago, I received a text message from my son speaking proudly of his volunteer work at Clínica Tepatí, in Sacramento, CA.

La Clínica Tepati was founded in 1975 as a nonprofit organization to provide basic health care to uninsured, underserved Latinx/Xicanx population.

A 95% of Clínica Tepati’s clientele is composed of Spanish speaking patients. Although only 50% of those who work at Tepati are bilingual, at least 70% have ties to Latino culture and Spanish language. When there is not a bilingual doctor available, a volunteer interpreter like Pablo Badra will be in the room assisting each party in their communication. Pablo’s job is to make sure that the patient understands the doctor’s questions and instructions, and that the doctor is aware of the patients concerns.

Clínica Tepatí’s professional team includes doctors (preceptors) who may or not be bilingual, medical students who need to gain experience for their career, and undergraduate volunteers. To volunteer in the program, undergraduate students need to be bilingual and have a min. GPA of 2.7. Most importantly, the student also needs to demonstrate commitment to the community, and show compassion and regards for the Latinx/Xicanx population served at the clinic.

 

Of the 100 volunteer applicants, only 15 are accepted every year. Of those selected, at least ten want to go to medical school. The rest of the volunteers are pursuing majors in public health, teaching, psychology, and business.

The main services provided are family doctor and obi-gyn. They also treat chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and write referrals for dentists. Additionally, pharmacies, podiatrist, and optometrist visit the clinic regularly and offer medication, services and glasses at low cost. The clinic also provides referrals to abortion providers if needed. Click this link to learn more about the services provided at the clinic.

Pablo Badra has volunteered at the Tepati for over a year and has recently been selected as the Co-head of the Mental Health Committee. He says that ” If it becomes apparent during triage that the patient may be experiencing depression, the volunteers use a standardized set of questions to assess mental health.” The case is later referred to the on-site counselor, Aury Gutierrez.

Clínica Tepati operates with a limited budget put together through donations, grants, and fundraiser events. To donate to Clínica Tepatí click on this link.

 

 

 

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Hypomania Symptoms / Síntomas de hipomania

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Hypomania Symptoms image of busy woman

Even without the bipolar condition altering my life, my platter is full.

Unemployment sits at the center, alongside marital issues, with a side of home for sale, and a home country on the brink of a civil war, slathered in the profuse sweat of menopausal heat, all topped with the determination to launch my book before the end of the summer.

I recognize hypomania symptoms. First there is the visual chaos.

I dig out a piece of clean paper from the pile on my desk to write down my to-do list. The list will disappear during the course of the day, leaving me unable to focus on any task. On my kitchen counter, a pile of folded clothes has been sitting for over a week. Three-day old dirty dishes fill the sink. I haven’t done my bed in a while.

Then there is the mile long to do list and the rush to check every item as if there is no tomorrow.

On any given day, I blog, edit my book, talk to a family lawyer, request quotes from three movers, get an offer on the house and then counter, check the images of Venezuela on social media, comment, repost, cook dinner, do my workout, wash clothes, fill out a job application, then another, tidy up the house for potential buyers, rewrite invoices for gigs I’ve done and never received money for, and browse the web for apartments in cities I can afford without a job. I get a lot done, but I don’t feel well. I cry easily. I’m prone to anger.

I know I have to prioritize, but I can’t.

“Mi cabecita va a explotar. No puedo más,” I text my husband. After he comes back from work, dinner gives way to conversation, then to heated discussions. At times loving, at times toxic, my husband struggles to keep up with me, especially when I wake him at nights to talk even more. He recognizes his part in creating the chaos, the noise he has brought into our lives. A good step forward, and yet our relationship shakes. Sometimes a shoe flies out of my hand into a wall.

“I’m losing my shit,” I text a friend.

Spanish Version follows

Aun sin los síntomas de desorden bipolar, mi vida, mi plato está lleno.

El desempleo se encuentra al centro, al lado de los problemas maritales. De acompañante tengo una casa en venta, y mi país natal a punto de una guerra civil. Todo esto esta cubierto de la capa de sudor profuso originado por la menopausia. Y de tope, la determinación de lanzar mi libro antes del final del verano.

 

Reconozco los síntomas de hipomanía primero en el caos visual.

Excavo un pedazo de papel limpio de la pila de sobre mi escritorio para escribir un lista de cosas por hacer. La lista se desaparece durante el curso del día, y me quedo sin poder enforcarme en nada. Sobre el tope de la cocina hay un montón de ropa doblada desde hace una semana. Y dentro del fregador hay platos sucios de tres días. No he tendido mi cama en cierto tiempo.

Tengo una lista de cosas por hacer de una milla de largo y la urgencia de chequear cada punto como si no existiera la posibilidad de futuro.

En un día cualquiera, escribo mi blog, edito mi libro, hablo con la abogada, pido presupuesto de mudanza, escucho una oferta en la casa y hago una contra oferta, chequeo las imágenes de Venezuela on los medios sociales, comento y comparto, hago la cena, hago ejercicio, lavo la ropa, lleno una aplicación de empleo, después otra, arreglo la casa para que vengan a verla compradores potenciales, re-escribo una factura para un cliente que no me ha pagado, y busco apartamentos en ciudades más económicas. Hago bastante, pero no me siento bien. Lloro fácilmente. Y me dan ataques de rabia.

Se que debo establecer prioridades, pero no puedo.

 

“Mi cabecita va a explotar. No puedo más,” le digo a mi esposo en un mensaje de texto. Después que el regresa del trabajo, después de cenar, seguimos conversando y luego discutimos. A veces cariñoso, a veces tóxico, mi esposo tiene dificultad en llevarme el paso, especialmente cuando lo despierto de madrugada para seguir hablando. El reconoce su parte en este caos, el ruido que trajo a nuestras vidas. Un buen paso hacia adelante, y sin embargo nuestra relación está débil. A veces un zapato vuela de mi mano y se encaja en la pared.

“Estoy a punto de reventar,” le digo a mi amiga en un mensaje de texto.

 

Melinda Young and Her MFIT365

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MFIT365 Melinda

Melinda Young teaching her bootcamp at Fit For Her, Owasso, Ok.

To stay mentally healthy, I try my best to live a healthy life that includes meditation, contact with nature, good food, dancing, and a regular exercise routine. I workout with Melinda Young in her MFIT365 online group.

Melinda went from the Texas panhandle to Oklahoma when her husband was transferred. Like many corporate wives before her, she found that her education and experience alone wouldn’t take her far after moving to a new place. So she added a new certification to her 23-year career in fitness and started new. This mother of two reinvented herself to find her own footage in the tornado alley.

First Melinda found work in two different gyms in the Tulsa area. One of those gyms was Fit-For-Her, a women-only boutique gym in Owasso, OK. That’s where we met.

I loved Fit-For-Her and its amazing instructors. But when Melinda started teaching on Saturdays, I couldn’t keep up with her and took frequent breaks, sometimes to puke in the bathroom. I secretly admired her strength and hated her for pushing me so hard.

In 2013, my husband was transferred from Oklahoma, and I followed him nine months later to Los Angeles, CA. Obviously, I tried to recreate my routine, but I had grown used to the individualized service of the small gym.

So when Melinda created her own fitness company called MFIT365 to teach her demanding boot camps online, I jumped in. Today, I’m happy to be one of MFIT365’s 60 members, and I join from the LA County in California. For what I believe is a reasonable price, Melinda offers three intense 40-50 minutes workouts a week, in four-week sessions, based on the Metabolic Effect. Her workouts are rest-based, which means work out till you can’t go anymore, rest till you can proceed.

Melinda Young Workouts

 

Here is a sample routine, which she then explains in the video below

Session 5
Week 3
Workout 3

Down chain from 10- you will do 10 of all the moves and then do 9 of all. Then 8 of all and so on and so on to 1 of all the moves. Set your timer 20-40 minutes.
You will down chain to 1 or until your time runs out. If you know you only have 20-30 minutes then go ahead and start at 7 of all the moves.

  1. Hip thrust (go heavy)
    2. Roll ups
    3. Russian twist sets
    4. Push-up/half burpee (combo)
    5. Plank row/front raise combo (total)
    6. Squat jump/lunges (or low impact)
    7. Power squats (per leg)
    8. Single deadlifts (per leg)
    9. Sumo squat/wide leg dead lift
    10. Burpees

 

https://www.facebook.com/melinda.young.98/videos/1391816100909241/

 

At the end of each workout, the participants’ responsibility is to login to say we finished, and report on any difficulty or modification we made. Sometimes we video-tape our moves to send to Melinda, who checks my form and suggests changes and variations where she sees me struggling.

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I stay hydrated during my workout drinking cold water from my insulated ThinkSport bottle.

I honestly never stopped to learn about Metabolic Effect because that’s not what draws me to her classes. Melinda knows about my mental condition and helps me to use exercise effectively to produce the endorphins I need to beat depression, to stay focused, and structure my day. For instance, if I don’t log in when I’m supposed to, she texts or calls to encourage me to exercise, or to offer words of wisdom to help me beat the blues.

It doesn’t mean that Melinda nags me to go to the gym, but twice in five months this year, I have appreciated Melinda’s call when I was too sad to move.

Today, I feel like a sexy old mama showing off my toned biceps and able to lift 20-pound dumbbell with one arm. It might not look like much to others, but it’s a great deal to me. That’s what I love about Melinda’s MFIT365: it accommodates to my life style, personality, and metabolism.

If you are interested in learning about Melinda Young’s MFIT365, please contact her through social media, through Facebook at MFIT365, or Instagram @m_fit_365. 

 

Venezuela, no te rindas. Do not submit.

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Bailarina protestando

Ballerina protesting the Venezuelan regime. Borrowed from twitter. Lorena Scorzza Photography.

I live in two worlds. In the USA, I am a woman struggling to find a solid ground to set roots. A middle class immigrant woman with a book to publish. I enjoy a good life, but have a on-and-off relationship with the love of my life. Decisions need to be made soon.

The other world sits between my lungs and my rib cage, deep in my heart: Venezuela.

My home country is on the brink of a civil war. It’s a civil war of the people against the tyrant. A brave people who will not submit to lining up for a ratio of split rice when those who broke the country enjoy lavish living in other places across the globe, when a band a criminals abuse human rights on a daily basis.

Devastating images of the struggle of my fellow countrymen and women crowd my social media feeds. I can’t look away. I can’t turn if off.

I join a demonstration in Los Angeles, retweet, and join discussions online to help dissipate myths here about the political crisis there. I want to do more.  But my effort is infinitesimally small compared to the struggle of the “guarimberos,” those who barricade their local neighborhoods to fight the armed forces of the regime.
I call home, asking what can I do to help. I don’t know of a doctor who could write me a prescription for my father’s hypertension, or my mother’s thyroid issues.  Instead, I buy aspirin 81 mg. to send to my father for his health issues, a bandaid to stop a hemorrhage. I learn that my nephews and nieces haven’t been to school in more than ten days. The fight is so intense that schools have closed.

I reach out to offer guarimba/refuge to save those I can. My sister will hold to the end. She doesn’t even stop to listen when I offer to take her son out. Even this atheist learns to pray, “Venezuela, no te rindas, por el amor de dios.”

In my house in LA, I receive a call from my realtor: a showing is scheduled for 3 p.m. I leave the house to the potential buyers. My days go between preparing my house for showings, filling out job applications, blogging, submitting work for publication, editing my book, working on a marketing strategy for self-publishing.

At times, my mind caves in: between Venezuela’s situation, my personal decisions,  and building a career as a writer, my brain has all it can handle.

 Like the guerrera on the picture, I find refuge in dancing.

But I also need words of wisdom, which I find in the book of poetry, Codeswith, Fire from My Corazón, by Los Angeles poet, Iris De Anda

“When.”

When falling into unrest

do not submit

look up, reach out, & scream

like lightning

under rain

know you’re worth more than

you could ever imagine

when descending into madness

do not resist

fly beyond, ignite suspicion, & dance

like wind

under trees

know your essence is more than

you could ever imagine

CodeSwitch, Fires from Mi Corazón. Iris De Anda, Los Writers Underground Press, 2014

Dance Away Sadness / A sacudirse la tristeza

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By Lisbeth Coiman

“Dance me to the end of love” Leonard Cohen

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Los Angeles salseros at LACMA’ s Latin Sounds May through September photo by Constantino Badra

Growing up in my native Venezuela, where every family gathering ends with good music, I danced regularly. I danced at house parties on Saturday nights in my hometown of Guarenas, or at bars in Caracas as a grown up woman. Naturally, my feet easily catch any Latin rhythm, from cha cha, merengue, to salsa. My hips sway to the beat of the conga.

Dancing makes me smile broadly, feel sassy, and playful. Maybe it’s the endorphins release when I exercise. Maybe it’s the placebo effect, but dancing helps me come out of the dark hole when I feel depressed. I’m learning to dance away my sadness.

But I don’t dance West Coast salsa. West Coast salsa is the competition level of weekend dancing. Any dance club in the Bay area or in Los Angeles on a Saturday night looks like a scene from “Dancing with the Stars,” sophisticated and flamboyant. Salseros move in lanes, and the women pretend-comb their hair at with their right hand at every turn, while straightening their tiny dresses with the other. I didn’t hold much chance to find dancing partners.

After moving back to Los Angeles late last year, I decided to learn West Coast style. I went to Warehouse in Marina del Rey to dance on a Saturday night and noticed a petite woman dancing with the DJ. Her moves were precise, like a classic ballerina’s, but she had the hip and shoulder swag of the Latina dancer. I was mesmerized.

 

Carolina Solorio

Later, I asked her, “Where can I learn to dance like you?”

“With me,” she said giving me her phone number.

Soon I was taking private lessons with Carolina Solorio. She showed me how to follow the lead of my partner by sensing his subtle tugs at my hands. She knew how to make the best of my natural rhythm to teach me basic moves like cross-body lead, open break, and the more complicated Cup and Titanic. She also encouraged me to bring the feminine side to make those flirtatious hand moves and to “shine” in the salsero scene of Los Angeles.

Carolina started classic training when she was seven. Since then, she has become a true professional entertainer. Apart from teaching styling, salsa, cha cha, Latin jazz, bachata, and Latin hustle, she also designs elaborate choreographies and produces amazing shows. She is currently teaching an eight-week beginner-intermediate salsa class, focusing on “lead and follow” at Legacy Dance Academy in El Segundo on the first and third Saturdays starting at 7:00 p.m. Classes have already started and will finish in June.

 

If you want dancing lessons with Carolina Solorio, contact her at linasolc@gmail.com.

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Legacy Dance Academy has a solid dance curriculum for all ages. Lisa Diaz, the owner, has over twenty years of experience teaching dancing. She speaks proudly of her programs and states that teenagers in dancing classes are less likely to get in trouble because of the discipline and enthusiasm dancing brings to their lives. She also points out that her 70-year-old mother took salsa dancing and is hitting the clubs regularly. Legacy Academy is located on 730 S Allied Way in El Segundo, CA 90245, and their phone number is 1(310)322-1500.

I’m not an expert in West Coast style, but I try hard. ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?

 

Versión en Español

“Báilame hasta el fin del amor” Leonard Cohen

Cuando era niña en Venezuela, donde cada reunión familiar termina con buena música, yo bailaba regularmente. Bailaba en fiestas privadas los sábados por la noche en mi pueblo Guarenas, o en los bares de Caracas cuando me hice adulta. Naturalmente, mis pies agarran con facilidad cualquier ritmo latino, desde el chachacha, merengue, hasta salsa. Mis caderas se mueven al ritmo de la conga.

Bailar me produce una amplia sonrisa, y me hace sentir desinhibida y juguetona. Quizás sean las endorfinas emitidas durante el ejercicio. Quizás sea el efecto placebo, pero el baile me ayuda a salir del hueco oscuro cuando me siento deprimida. Estoy aprendiendo a sacudirme la tristeza con el baile.

Pero yo no se bailar el estilo de la Costa Oeste. La salsa de la Costa Oeste está a nivel de competencia. Cualquier club del Area de la Bahía, o de Los Angeles en una noche sabatina parece una escena de “Bailando con las Estrellas,” sofisticada y extravagante. Los salseros se mueven en línea, y las mujeres simulan ordenar su cabello con su mano derecha a cada vuelta, mientras se arreglan el vestidito con la izquierda. No tenía mucho chance de encontrar quien bailara conmigo.

Después de mudarme de vuelta a Los Angeles a finales del año pasado, decidí aprender el estilo de la Costa Oeste. Fui al Warehouse en Marina del Rey para bailar un sábado por la noche y me fijé en una chica menudita que bailaba con el DJ. Sus movimientos eran precisos, como una bailarina clásica, pero tiene el sabor en las caderas y en los hombros de las salseras latinas. Me quedé fascinada.

Más tarde le pregunté, “¿Dónde puedo aprender a bailar como tú?

“Conmigo,” me respondió y me dio su teléfono.

En poco tiempo estaba tomando clases con Carolina Solorio. Ella me enseño a seguir a mi compañero sintiendo cómo tira suavemente de mis manos. Supo explotar mi ritmo latino para enseñarme movimientos básicos como cuerpos cruzados, ruptura abierta, y movimientos más complicados como la copa y el Titanic. También me alentó a sacar mi lado más femenino para hacer esas coqueterías con las manos y a “brillar” en la escena salsera de Los Angeles.

Carolina comenzó en ballet clásico a los siete años. Desde entonces, se ha convertido en una verdadera profesional del entretenimiento. Además de enseñar salsa, cha cha, Latin jazz, bachata, y Latin hustle, también diseña coreografías elaboradas y produce shows extraordinarios. Actualmente está enseñando un curso de ocho semanas para principiantes y hasta nivel intermedio, enfocado en “llevar y seguir” en la “Academia de Baile Legacy” en El Segundo los primeros y terceros sábados de cada mes comenzando a las 7 de la noche. Las clases ya comenzaron y terminarán en junio.

Si usted quiere tomar clases con Carolina Solorio, por favor contactarla a linasolc@gmail.com

La Academia de Baile Legacy tiene un pensum de baile sólido tanto para todas las edades. Lisa Díaz es la dueña. Ella tiene más de veinte años de experiencia enseñando baile. Lisa habla con orgullo de sus programas y dice que los adolescentes en clases de baile tienen menos posibilidades de meterse en problemas debido a la disciplina y el entusiasmo que el baile trae a sus vidas. Ella también señala que su mamá de 70 años toma clases de salsa y va a los clubs regularmente. La Academia de Baile Legacy está ubicada en la 730 South Allied Way en El Segundo, CA 90245, y su número de teléfono es 1(310) 322-1500.

No soy una experta en el estilo de la Costa Oeste, pero me defiendo. ¿Quieres bailar conmigo?

 

Indestructible

By Lisbeth Coiman

 

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Photo appeared in The Economist on Nov. 10th, 2016.

 

On Tuesday night, at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, we heard the crack of our hearts breaking among the hushed voices while a muted TV displayed statistics in red and blue. Some shook their heads in disbelief. What was planned as a night of celebration, turned into the funeral vigil of democracy in America.

At home, I cried with my friend on the phone because there is nothing we can do to change his immigration status and shelter him from the xenophobia that now rules the land. I toyed with a CD I bought at SF JAZZ center the previous Sunday.  Indestructible by Diego Cigala. I broke the seal, and ripped the cellophane wrap. But I was too tired and sad to listen to it.

On Wednesday, I woke up to the day after in America, yet went to work to try, once more, to convince the powers that be that non-credit education is the only option for adult undocumented immigrants to go to college.

The news got even worse. They took the house, the senate, and soon will try to appoint the most conservative judge they can find for the vacant seat at the Supreme Court. Gas masks, bomb shelters, soylent green, gilead, newspeak. The symbols and language of doomsday literature invaded my mind. Back at home that night, I took the CD out of its case and played it.

The music filled my kitchen with the conga beat of the Caribbean, and the elongated vowels of he Gitano singer, musical syncretism. I danced with myself allowing the blood to pump into my brain, the endorphins I needed to flush the sadness off my body. Cigala sang

“Con sangre nueva, INDESTRUCTIBLE
Ayy unidos venceremos y yo se que llegaremos.”

Indestructible. United we’ll win, and will reach with new blood, indestructible.

On Thursday, I wrote, ‘This is not the end of an era, this is the beginning of social consciousness in America. This is when we become advocates, activists, and badass revolutionaries. We must organize and we must use the Civil Rights Movement as the model to follow. We are now in the resistance.”

We must exercise the new guerilla warfare: collectively finance Planned Parenthood, crow-fund the legal efforts to bring the bigots to court, marry the undocumented immigrant, offer a hiding place if necessary, stand up against abuse, denounce hate crime. But I am not a leader, so I scanned Facebook for any invitation to join a movement, here or in LA or wherever I might live. I want to fight.

Then Leonard Cohen died. “I want to dance to the end of love,” played in my head repeatedly.  I want to dance this sorrow away, this heartbreak, this disappointment with a turn, a sly movement of my feet, and with the sway of my hips.

Friday night I head to the Oakland Museum of California. AfroLatinos and African Americans, salseros from the East Bay, we all find our way to the 10th Street Amphitheater where the Gbedu Town Radio band played slow afro-urban music.

dancing

 

When the band played “Lagrimas Negras,” I felt a knot in my throat. Right foot out, turned. Shook my shoulders and my eyes met those of a tall black man who soon approached me and invited me to dance. He lifted his hand, my signal to pass under his arm and turn, sliding my hand softly on the back of his neck, smiling back at him when we faced each other again. “I want to cook for you,” he said sometime later, and I smiled at his pick up line, my head tilted backwards, the broad grin coming deep from my place of hurt.

For a couple of hours, I let him and other men I didn’t know lead my salsa steps on the rough concrete floor of the amphitheater. When I took a beer break, I told the woman behind me on the line, “This is the therapy we all need after this horrible week.”

This is how I am going to cope: I am going to join protests in my community, become vocal, help the undocumented immigrant with small rebellious acts, and dance this sorrow away.

Con sangre nueva. Indestructible.

 

Spanish Version follows

 

El martes por la noche, en La Peña Cultural Center en Berkeley, escuchamos el crujir de nuestros corazones quebrarse en medio de las susurros mientras una televisión sin volumen desplegaba las estadísticas en rojo y azul. Algunos negaban con la cabeza sin poder creer. Lo que había sido planeado como una noche de celebración, resulto ser la vigilia del funeral de la democracia en Estados Unidos.

En casa, lloré con un amigo al teléfono porque no hay nada que podamos hacer para cambiar su situación de inmigración y protegerlo de la xenofobia que ahora rige a esta tierra. Jugué con un CD que compre en el SF JAZZ Center el domingo anterior. Indestructible, por Diego Cígala. Rompí el sello, y el papel celofan que lo envuelve. Pero ya estaba demasiado cansada y triste para escucharlo.

El miércoles, desperté al Día Después en Estados Unidos, y aún así fui a trabajar para intentar, una vez más, de convencer a aquellos que pueden que la educación “non-credit” es la única opción para que los adultos indocumentados vayan al college.

Las noticias se pusieron peor. Ganaron la cámara de representantes, el senado, y pronto asignarán al juez más conservador que puedan encontrar para el puesto vacante en la Corte Suprema. Máscaras de gas, refugios subterráneos, “soylent green,” “gilead,” “newspeak.” Los símbolos y el lenguage de la literatura de fin de mundo invaden mi mente. De vuelta en casa esa noche, saco el CD de su cajita y lo toco.

La música llena mi cocina con el golpe de la conga del Caribe, y las vocales alargadas del cantador gitano, sincretismo musical. Bailé conmigo misma permitiendo que la sangre bombeara a mi cerebro la endorfina necesaria para lavar la tristeza de mi cuerpo. Cigala cantó:

“Con sangre nueva, INDESTRUCTIBLE
Ayy unidos venceremos y yo se que llegaremos.”

Indestructible. Unidos venceremos, y llegaremos con la nueva sangre, indestructibles.

El jueves escribí, “Este no es el fin de una era. Este es el comienzo de la consciencia social en los Estados Unidos. Ahora es cuando no convertimos en defensores, activistas, revolucionarias cuaimas. Debemos organizarnos y usar el movimiento de Los Derechos Civiles como el ejemplo a seguir. Ahora somos la resistencia.”

Debemos ejercer la nueva guerra de guerrillas: financiar colectivamente a Planned Parenthood, financiar los esfuerzos legales para llevar a los intolerantes a las cortes, casarnos con los inmigrantes indocumentados, ofrecerles refugio si es necesario, oponer el abuso, denunciar el crimen de odio. Pero yo no soy una líder, así que busco que alguien me invite a unirme a un movimiento, aquí, en Los Angeles, o dondequiera que viva. Quiero pelear.

Y después se murió Leonard Cohen. “Quiero bailar hasta el final del amor,” sonó en mi cabeza repetidamente. Quise sacarme esta tristeza a punta de baile, este corazón roto, esta decepción con una vuelta, un movimiento suave de mis pies, con el vaivén de mis caderas.

El viernes en la noche me fui al Oakland Museo de California. AfroLatinos, y AfroAmericanos, salseros de la Bahía del Este, todos nos encontramos en el anfiteatro de la calle 10 donde la banda Gbedu  Town Radio tocaba la música lenta, afro-urbana.

Cuando la banda tocó “Lágrimas Negras,” sentí un nudo en la garganta. Saqué el pie derecho y gire. Agité los hombros y mis ojos encontraron los de un hombre negro y alto quien pronto se me acercó y me invitó a bailar. Subió su mano, mi señal para pasar por debajo de brazo y girar, deslizando mi mano suavemente por detrás de su cuello, sonriéndole de vuelta cuando estuvimos frente a frente otra vez. “Quiero cocinar para tí,”  me dijo algún tiempo más tarde, y sonreí por su atrevimiento, con mi cabeza hacia atrás, con mi amplia sonrisa surgida del lugar donde reside el dolor.

Por un par de horas, le permití a él y otros hombres que no conocía que me guiaran el baile sobre el piso de concreto del anfiteatro. Cuando tomé un descanso para beberme una cerveza, le dije a la mujer detrás de mi en la cola, “Esta es la terapia que todos necesitamos después de esta semana horrible.”

Así es como voy a sobrellevar esto: me voy a unir a las protestas en mi comunidad, voy a abrir la boca, voy a ayudar al inmigrante indocumentado con pequeños actos de rebelión, y me voy a sacar esta tristeza a punta de baile.

Con sangre nueva. Indestructible.

 

My Work on Hip Mama Magazine

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In April this year, a challenging job took me away from writing. I seemed never to find the time to sit down for three, four hours in front of the computer, pouring my thoughts and creativity into words.

Determined to recover my writing routine, I enrolled in Ariel Gore’s Literary Kitchen Essay intensive in early September. For the next two weeks, I arrived home from work, had dinner and set to write following Ariel’s prompts. This exercise resulted in drafts, for 4- 1000 words essays, and a long, 4200 words piece.

Today, Hip Mama Magazine published my essay “Starting Over from Seeds,” in which I muse about starting over one seed at the time.

http://hipmamazine.com/lisbeth-coiman-starting-over-from-seed/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork.

Thank you for your support.