Mexican-U.S. lovers exchange Valentine’s day greetings, it’s beautiful, love without borders…

Made me think of parts of a book by Chicana feminist writer
Gloria Anzaldua (RIP): Borderlands/La Frontera.

La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness (Anzaldua)
Una lucha de fronteras/A Struggle of Borders

Because I, a mestiza*,
continually walk out of one culture
and into another,
because I am in all cultures at the same time,
alma entre dos mundos, tres, cuatro,
me zumba la cabeza con lo contradictorio.
Estoy norteada por todas las voces que me hablan
simultaneamente.

As Anzaldua writes:

“The ambivalence from the clash of voices results in mental and emotional states of perplexity. Internal strife results in insecurity and indecisiveness. The mestiza’s dual or multiple personality is plagued with psychic restlessness. In a constant state of mental nepantilism, an Aztec word meaning torn between ways, la mestiza is a product of the transfer of the cultural and spiritual values of one group to another. Being tricultural, monolingual, bilingual or multilingual, speaking a patois, and in a state of perpetual transition, the mestiza faces the dilemma of the mixed breed: which collectivity does the daughter of a dark-skinned mother listen to?

“Cradled in one culture, sandwiched between two cultures, straddling all three cultures and their value systems, la mestiza undergoes a struggle of flesh, a struggle of borders, an inner war.” (McCann & Seung-Kyung Kim Eds., Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives, p. 179.)

I wish I could copy the whole essay here. In the rest of the essay Anzaldua talks about how people who live in-between places, i.e. an African in Australia, a South Asian in Norway, must come to tolerate ambiguity and perplexity and, in a word, contradiction.

*Mestiza is a woman of mixed-race ancestry, especially European and Native American. “Mestiza like corn, is a product of crossbreeding, designed for preservation under a variety of conditions. Like an ear of corn- a female seed-bearing organ – the mestiza is tenacious, tightly wrapped in the husks of her culture. ” (Anzaldua, 182)

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