As I hit the keys on my beloved laptop spelling out one of the biggest writing commitments I have embarked in, 52 weeks, 52 essays, I feel militant, decisive and still trying to convince myself that once again, I could be getting carried away by my emotions. I refuse to accept my self-imposed exile of only writing when I feel like it and a week after making the faithful promise, I am still as committed as the day I decided to get out of the writing closet. Through this challenge, I hope to break more than a record for myself as a writer. I want to undertake in the adventure of self-discovery that others who have completed this challenge speak of with great pride and relief. I want to treat this challenge as my own personal 52-week long cognitive behavioral therapy session. I want to write with purpose, with passion and desire and to uncover moldy memories that haunt me and others that bring me peace and joy. I want to conquer those malditos demonios that have shadowed me throughout my life. I want to publically quash my fear of sounding elemental, inexperienced and worst of all, vulnerable. Vulnerability is not something I have allowed myself to escape from under my super woman persona I have worn well for much of my adult life. I spent my life working on the image of la dama de hierro. I believe is part real and part fiction. I inherited those traits and proudly and hesitantly took them on as my own decades ago perhaps as a method of self-defense.
I want to write 52 essays in an effort to find my voice as a Latina living in a society that stereotypes what’s different. I want to translate the changes happening in the world through my eyes. I want to document my awakening to injustice and inequality and celebrate what it means to be a woman today. I want to break through the wall of ignorance, prejudices and mirages created by a society the refuses to leave behaviors that have been passed down by our ancestors through a combination of ignorance and refusal to mentally depart from more than a geographic location.
I want to embark in this journey to explain to myself why my mind constantly moves to the rhythm of a potential story. I observe every day scenes that most people take for granted with a writer radar on. I think about the UPS driver as I see him delivering a package in my neighborhood and imagine that he could be attacked by a fierce Chihuahua and all the drama that it would cause in the neighborhood if he is bitten by the mighty bestia. My writing switch activates early in the morning during my commute while observing my fellow humans in their daily grind. I grab my favorite pen, my black marble composition book, my dell and the beverage of choice and I write and it feels as natural and comfortable as writing my last name.
My name means war, and I have taken that meaning to heart. I keep it present as a token of gratitude every time I write and remember how I finally believed in my craft after holding my need to express it hostage for two decades. Shame and insecurities might have plagued my writing beginnings, but I pledge to defend it and commit to share it for the world to read and see me as I am exposing all my vulnerabilities, fears and hopes. This challenge will be my emotional spring cleaning and I will write to rid my closet of old and stale emotions !Pafuera telarañas!