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1AC

I lack imagination you say


No. I lack language.
The language to clarify
my resistance to the literate.
Words are a war to me.
They threaten my family.
To gain the word
to describe the loss
I risk losing everything.
I may create a monster
the word's length and body
swelling up colorful and thrilling
looming over my mother, characterized.
Her voice in the distance
unintelligible illiterate.
These are the monster's words.
[Cherrie Moraga's poem, "It's the Poverty," from Loving in the war Years.]

Middleton 12 [Middleton, Kianna Marie. I Feel, Therefore I Can Be Free. Colorado State University. Spring
2012. Accessed 21 Nov 2014. AP]

Anzalda (2007) describes La Facultad as the capacity to see in surface phenomena


the meaning of deeper realities, to see the deep structure below the surface the
one possessing this sensitivity is excruciatingly alive to the world (p. 60). The
rawness of being able to examine the world from a position of marginality , from a
position of invisibility, from a position of survival allows those possessing and
utilizing La Facultad sensitivities to feel and to sense things within their lives
that bring about transformation and consciousness that is world-shifting
and powerful . Anzalda continues, Confronting anything that tears the fabric of our everyday mode of
consciousness and that thrusts us into a less literal and more psychic sense of reality increases awareness and la

Anzalda argues for consciousness and change that rips us from our
temporal, dualistic, and moralistic worldly perspective and places us deep within
our spiritual selves where feeling and bodily balance take hold of our conscious
facultad (p. 61).

minds. Everything unsafe

(p.61)

and dark is embraced as positive realms of

energy collection; every pain and fear is confronted and deconstructed for
deeper meaning. As bordercrossing, queer women of color, we continually confront
our deepest fears. The unsafe is reality, and the safe is a theoretical space that is
obtainable only when we shut ourselves off from the harshness of daily life. We not

only have Anzaldas sensitivity, many of us cannot ignore our souls ability to
process what we feel, see, smell, hear, and taste as exceptional, inspirational, and
monumentally groundbreaking experiences of freedom and captivity . The moment
when we share the experiences that tingle our senses and awaken our bodies
we deconstruct and reformulate ideas about how our bodies are supposed
to act and how we are supposed to feel as people lacking sociopolitical
power . Cindy Cruz (2001) explains, the deconstruction of the body may offer the possibility of revealing how
identities are discursively created and how the brown body is constructed through the narratives and the social

Paying particular attention to the bodily senses and how


we enact them through narrative inscription assists in our learning about what is
difficult to convey, what is suppressed, and what has been deemed dangerous
mainly knowledge of the brown or black female body. Simply, if we hope to gain
bodily and psychic freedom through writing and reading narratives we must not be
afraid to listen to and unpack our everyday sensualities.
mores of our communities (p. 664).

Organs, constricted behind stretched skin


bloodied under the border
Separating inside,
from outside;
From inside
my temple
I hear colonies of wasps
attacking my origins,
to survive
I must protect my organs.
I slice myself open.
Blood erupts
like a volcano revolting
from centuries of oppression;
her destruction spreads from
underneath the surface,
crimson lava.
I rip myself open.

I peel back
the layers of sin
written onto my skin,
and I reach inside.
Just a little at first,
But its deep and its wide.
Am I dead,
alive,
Or maybe something in between?
They tried to bury me,
But they didnt know I was the seed
Lugones 10

[Maria Lugones. Toward a Decolonial Feminism. Hypatia vol. 25 no. 4. Fall 2010. Accessed 7

March 2015. Ap]

Modernity organizes the world ontologically in terms of atomic, homogeneous,


separable categories. Contemporary women of color and third-world women's
critique of feminist universalism centers the claim that the intersection of race,
class, sexuality, and gender exceeds the categories of modernity. If woman and
black are terms for homogeneous, atomic, separable categories, then their
intersection shows us the absence of black women rather than their presence. So,
to see non-white women is to exceed "categorical" logic. I propose the modern,
colonial, gender system as a lens through which to theorize further the oppres- sive
logic of colonial modernity. Its use of hierarchical dichotomies and categorical logic.
I want to emphasize categorical, dichotomous, hierarchical logic as central to
modern, colonial, capitalist thinking about race, gender, and sexuality. This permits
me to search for social organizations from which people have resisted modem,
capitalist modernity that are in tension with its logic. Following Aparicio and Blaser,l
I will call such ways of organizing the social, the cosmological, the ecological, the
economic, and the spiritual non-modern. With Aparicio and Blaser and others, I use
non-modem to express that these ways are not premodern. The modern apparatus
reduces them to premodern ways. So, non-modern knowledges, relations, and
values, and eco- logical, economic, and spiritual practices are logically constituted
to be at odds with a dichotomous, hierarchical, "categorical" logic.
I understand the dichotomous hierarchy between the human and the non- human as
the central dichotomy of colonial modernity. Beginning with the colonization of the
Americas and the Caribbean, a hierarchical, dichotomous distinction between
human and non-human was imposed on the colonized in the service of Western
man. It was accompanied by other dichotomous hier- archical distinctions, among
them that between men and women. This distinction became a mark of the human
and a mark of civilization. Only the civilized are men or women. Indigenous peoples
of the Americas and enslaved Africans were classified as not human in species-as
animals, uncontrollably sexual and wild. The European, bourgeois, colonial, modern
man became a subject/agent, fit for rule, for public life and titling, a being of

civilization, het- erosexual, Christian, a being of mind and reason. The European
bourgeois woman was not understood as his complement, but as someone who
repro- duced race and capital through her sexual purity , passivity, and being homebound in the service of the white, European bourgeoisieman. The imposition of
these dichotomous hierarchies became woven into the historicity of relations,
including intimate relations. In this paper I want to figure out how to think about
intimate, everyday resistant interactions to the colonial difference. When I think of
intimacy here, I am not thinking exclusively' or mainly about sexual relations. I am
thinking of the interwoven social life among people who are not acting as
representatives or officials.
I begin, then, with a need to understand that the colonized became subjects in colonial situations in the first

Under the
imposed gender framework, the bourgeois white Europeans were civilized; they
were fully human. The hierarchical dichotomy as a mark of the human also became
a normative tool to damn the colonized. The behaviors of the colonized and their
personalities/souls were judged as bestial and thus non-gendered, promiscuous,
grotesquely sexual, and sinful. Though at this time the understanding of sex was not dimorphic, animals
modernity, in the tensions created by the bru- tal imposition of the modern, colonial, gender system.

were differentiated as males and females. the male being the perfection, the female the inversion and deformation
of the male.2 Hermaphrodites, sodomites, viragos, and the colonized were all under- stood to be aberrations of
mate perfection.

The civilizing mission, including conversion to Christianity, was present in the ideological conception of
conquest and colonization, judging the colonized for their deficiencies from the point of view of the civilizing mission

justified enormous cruelty. I propose to interpret the colonized, non-human males


from the civilizing perspective as judged from the nonnative understanding of
"man," the human being par excellence. Females were judged from the normative
understanding of "women," the human inversion of men.3 From this point of view,
colonized people became males and females. Males became not-human-as-notmen, and colonized females became not-human-as-not-women. Consequently,
colonized females were never understood as lacking because they were not menlike, and were turned into viragos. Colonized men were not understood to be lacking
as not being women-like. What has been understood as the ''feminization'' of
colonized "men" seems rather a gesture of humiliation, attributing to them sexual
passivity under the threat of rape. This tension be- tween hypersexuality and sexual
passivity defines one of the domains of masculine subjection of the colonized.
lt is important to note that often, when social scientists investigate colo- nized societies, the search for the sexual
distinction and then the construction of the gender distinction results from observations of the tasks performed by
each sex. In so doing they affirm the insepatability of sex and gender charac- teristic mainly of earlier feminist
analysis. More contemporary analysis has introduced arguments for the claim that gender constructs sex. But in the
ear- lier version, sex grounded gender. Often, they became conflated: where you see sex, you will see gender and
vice versa. But, if l am right about the coloniality of gender, in the distinction between the human and the non-

Gender and sex could not be both inseparably tied and


racialized. Sexual dimorphism became the grounding for the dichotomous
understanding of gender, the human characteristic. One may well be interested in
arguing that the sex that stood alone in the bestialization of the colonized, was,
after all, gendered. What is important to me here is that sex was made to stand
alone in the characterization of the colonized. This strikes me as a good entry point for research
human, sex had to stand alone.

that takes coloniality seriously and aims to study the historicity and meaning of the relations between race and
gender.

The colonial "civilizing mission" was the euphemistic mask of brutal access to
people's bodies through unimaginable exploitation, violent sexual violation, control
of reproduction, and systematic terror (feeding people alive to dogs or making
pouches and hats from the vaginas of brutally killed indigenous females, for
example). The civilizing mission used the hierarchical gender dichotomy as a
judgment, though the attainment of dichotomous gendering for the colonized was not the point of the nonnative
judgment. Turning the colonized into human beings was not a colonial goal . The difficulty of
imagining this as a goal can be appreciated clearly when one sees that this transfonnation of the colonized into

But turning the colonized


against themselves was included in the civilizing mission's repertoire of justifications for abuse. Christian confession, sin, and the Manichean division between
good and evil served to imprint female sexuality as evil, as colonized females were
understood in relation to Satan, sometimes as mounted by Satan.
men and women would have been a transformation nor in identity, but in nature.

The civilizing transformation justified the colonization of memory, and thus of


people's senses of self, of intersubjective relation, of their relation to the spirit
world, to land, to the very fabric of their conception of reality, identity, and social,
ecological, and cosmological organization. Thus, as Christianity be- came the most powerful
instrument in the mission of transformation, the normativity that connected gender and
civilization became intent on erasing community, ecological practices, knowledge of
planting, of weaving, of the cosmos, and not only on changing and controlling
reproductive and sexual practices One can begin to appreciate the tie between the colonial introduction of the instrumental modern concept of nature central to capitalism, and the colonial introduction of the modern
concept of gender, and appreciate it as macabre and heavy in its impressive ramifications. One can also recognize,
in the scope I am giving to the imposition of the modern, colonial. gender system, the dehumanization constitutive
of the coloniality of being. The concept of the coloniality of being that I understand as related to the process of
dehumanization was developed by Nelson Maldonado Torres (2008).

The world is not a safe place


to live in.
We shiver
in separate cells
in enclosed cities,
shoulders hunched,
barely keeping the panic below the surface
of the skin,
daily drinking show along with our morning coffee,
fearing the torches
being set to our buildings, the attacks
in the streets.
Shutting down.
Maldonado-Torres 07 [Nelson Maldonado-Torres, On the Coloniality of Being,
Cultural Studies. Vol. 21 Nos. 2-3 March/May 2007. Pp. 240-270.]
Misanthropic skepticism doubts in a way the most obvious. Statements like you are a human take the form of
cynical rhetorical questions: Are you completely human? You have rights becomes why do you think that you
have rights? Likewise You are a rational being takes the form of the question are you really rational?
Misanthropic skepticism is like a worm at the very heart of modernity. The achievements of the ego cogito and
instrumental rationality operate within the logic that misanthropic skepticism helped to established. That is why
the idea of progress always meant in modernity progress for a few and why the Rights of *(hu)Man do not apply
equally to all, among many other such apparent contradictions. Misanthropic skepticism provides the basis for the
preferential option for the ego conquiro , which explains why security for some can conceivably be obtained at the
expense of the lives of others.27

The imperial attitude promotes

a fundamentally

genocidal

attitude

in respect to colonized and racialized people. Through it colonial and racial subjects are
marked as dispensable. Ideas of war, conquest, and genocide here bring up another fundamental aspect of
coloniality.28 The question about whether the indigenous peoples of the Americas had soul or not was framed
around the question of just war. In the debates that took place in Valladolid in the sixteenth century Sepulveda
argued against Las Casas that the Spanish had the obligation to engage in a just war against subjects who, in their
inferiority, would not adopt by themselves the superior Christian religion and culture.29 Once more, just like it
happens in respect to the question about the humanity of the so called Amerindians, the outcome of the

The discovery and conquest of the Americas


was no less than an ontological event with many implications, the most dramatic of
which were established by the attitudes and questions that emerged in the context.
By the time when the question about engaging in a just war against the Amerindians was
answered the conquerors had already established a particular way of relating to the
discussion is not as important as the question itself.

peoples that they encountered. And the way in which they pursued such relations did not correspond to the ethical
standards that were followed in their countries of origin. Indeed, as Sylvia Wynter argues, Columbuss redefinition
of the purpose of land as being one for us , whereby for us meant for us who belong to the realm of Man vis-a`-vis
those outside the human oecumene, already introduces the exceptional character that ethics is going to take in
the New World.30 As we know, such exceptional situation gradually lost its exceptionality and became normative in
the modern world. But before it gained such a widespread acceptance and became constitutive of a new reigning
episteme, the exceptionality was shown in the way in which colonizers behaved in relation to the indigenous
peoples and black slaves. And this behavior coincided more with the kind of actions shown at war, than with the
ethics that regulated live with other European Christians. When the conquerors came to the Americas they did not
follow the code of ethics that regulated behavior among subjects of the crown in their kingdom.31 Their actions
were regulated by the ethics or rather the non-ethics of war. One cannot forget that while early Christians criticized

slavery in the Roman Empire, later Christians considered that vanquished enemies in war could legitimately be
enslaved.32 Indeed, in the Ancient world and the Middle Ages it was for the most part legitimate to enslaved some
people, particularly prisoners of war and the vanquished. What happens in the Americas is

a transformation

and naturalization of the non-ethics of war, which represented a sort of exception to the ethics
that regulate normal conduct in Christian countries, to a more stable and long-standing reality of
damnation. Damnation , life in hell, refers here to modern forms of colonialism
which constitute a reality characterized by the naturalization of war by means of the
naturalization of slavery, now justified in relation to the very physical and ontological constitution of
people _ by virtue of race _ and not to their faith or belief.33 That human beings become slaves when they
are vanquished in a war translates in the Americas to the suspicion that the conquered people, and then nonEuropean peoples in general, are constitutively inferior and that therefore they should assume a position of slavery
and serfdom. Sepulveda draws on Aristotle to justify this position, but he was more than anything translating into
categories ideas that were already becoming common sense. Later the idea was going to be solidified in respect to
the slavery of people from Africa and become stable until today under the tragic reality of different forms of racism.

Coloniality, I am suggesting here, can be understood as a radicalization and naturalization


of the non-ethics of war. This non-ethics included the practices of eliminating and slaving certain subjects
_ e.g., indigenous and black _ as part of the enterprise of colonization. The hyperbolic expression of coloniality
includes genocide, which is the paroxysm of the ego cogito _ a world in which the ego cogito exists alone. War,
however, is not only about killing or enslaving.

War includes a particular treatment of

sexuality and of feminity: rape. Coloniality is an order of things that put people of
color under the murderous and rapist sight of a vigilant ego. And the primary targets of
rape are women. But men of color are also seeing through these lenses. Men of color are feminized and
become for the ego conquiro fundamentally penetrable subjects.34 I will expand more on the several dimensions of
murder and rape when I elaborate the existential aspect of the analytics of the coloniality of Being. The point that I
want to make here is that

racialization works through gender and sex and

that the ego

conquiro is constitutively a phallic ego as well.35 Enrique Dussel, who submits the thesis of the phallic character of
the ego cogito, also makes links, albeit indirectly, with the reality of war. And thus, in the beginning of modernity,
before Descartes discovered . . . a terrifying anthropological dualism in Europe, the Spanish conquistadors arrived
in America. The phallic conception of the European-medieval world is now added to the forms of submission of the
vanquished Indians. Males, Bartolome de las Casas writes, are reduced through the hardest, most horrible, and
harshest serfdom; but this only occurs with those who have remained alive, because many of them have died;
however, in war typically they only leave alive young men (mozos) and women.36 Joshua Goldstein complements
this account by depicting conquest as an extension of the rape and exploitation of women in wartime.37 He argues
that to understand conquest one needs to examine: (1) male sexuality as a cause of aggression; (2) the
feminization of enemies as symbolic domination, and (3) dependence on exploiting womens labor. My argument is
that these three things come together in the idea of race that began to emerge in the conquest and colonization of
the Americas. Misanthropic skepticism posits its targets as racialized and sexualized subjects .

vanquished,

they are said to be

Once
inherently servants and their bodies come to form part of an

economy of sexual abuse, exploitation, and control.

The ethics of the ego conquiro

ceased to be only a special code of behavior for periods of war and becomes in the Americas _ and gradually the
modern world _ by virtue of misanthropic skepticism, the idea of race, and the coloniality of power, a standard of
conduct that reflects the way things are _ a way of things whose naturalization reaches its climax with the use of
natural science to validate racism in the nineteenth century. The way things supposedly are emerge from the idea
of how a world is conceived to be in conditions of war and the code of behavior that is part of it. What happens in
modernity is that such a view of the world and code of conduct is transformed _ through the idea of race _ and
becomes naturalized. Thus,

the treatment of vanquished peoples in conditions of war is


perceived as legitimate long after war is over. Later on, it wont be their aggression or
opposition, but

their race which justifies continued serfdom, slavery, and

rape . This represents a break with the European medieval

tradition and its ethical codes. With the initial

exploitation of Africa and the colonization of the Americas in the fifteenth century, the emerging modernity comes
to be shaped by a paradigm of war.38

Woman does not feel safe when her own


culture,
and white culture,
are critical of her, when the males
of all races hunt her as prey.
Alientatied
from her mother
culture, alien
in the dominant culture,
the woman of color does not feel safe
within the inner life
of her Self.
Petrified, she cant respond,
her face caught between
los intersticios,
the spaces between the different worlds she inhabits.
The ability to respond is what is meant by responsibility, yet
our cultures take away our ability
to actshackle us
in the name of protection.
Blocked, immobilized,
we cant move forward,
cant move backwards.
That writhing serpent
movement, the very movement
of life,
swifter than lightning,
frozen.
[Gloria Anzuldua in Borderlands/La Frontera

Anzaldua 2005
EntreMundos/AmongWorlds: New Perspectives on Gloria Anzaldua, Edited by
Analouise Keating, Chapter 4: Daugher of Coatlicue: An Interview with Gloria
Anzaldua by Irene Lara 2005
GEA:

That act of invasion is a trauma, a wound which the whole country has

not recovered from or attended to; it keeps bleeding in the psyches of

Mexicans, Latinx*s, Blacks, Asians all the different peoples who have
been exploited. Dominant society has this great denial: these atrocities
belong to people who are dead. This is the major trauma that this country
is suffering under , but its un desconocimiento, theyre not acknowledging it. We, in
our bodies, feel this trauma every day. Its like a repetition of that
invasion, the genocide , the exploitation of nature. Its a major wounding on many
levels, including a colonization on our minds and consciousnesses.
Theyre still exploiting our energy. Our chief resource is our energy, what
were attentive to. If you have be attentive to
white

tomato plants twelve hours a day, or cleaning

persons house, or working in a factory, wherever your attention is placed,

youre giving that energy

to these other people. When you use your energy to do your own thing, to
take care of your own agenda, thats when youre free. But as long as
youre putting your attention on somebody elses agenda, theyre
exploiting you . Most of us are caught up with survival. Because we place a lot of our attention on all the hurts, the
racism, the discrimination, we cant focus on resolving the problem ,looking toward the future and enacting our vision. They keep us
busy fighting each other. But its not just indigenous and people of color who are in a struggle against neocolonialism, its white
people too. Were all struggling for the autonomy to do what we want with our lives, to give our energy where we want to give it.

Dead,
the doctor by the operating table said.
I passed between the two fangs,
the flickering tongue.
Having come through the mouth of the serpent,
swallowed,
I found myself suddenly in the dark,
sliding down a smooth wet surface
down down into an even darker darkness.
Having crossed the portal, the raised hinged mouth,
having entered the serpent's belly,
now there was no looking back, no going back.
Why do I cast no shadow?
Are there lights from all sides shining on me?
Ahead, ahead.
cuddled up inside the serpent's coils,
the damp breath of death on my face.
I knew at that instant: something must change
or I'd die.
Atgo .tenia quecambiar.
[Gloria Azulduas Poem Sueno con Serpientes from Borderlands/La Frontera]

Middleton 12 [Middleton, Kianna Marie. I Feel, Therefore I Can Be Free. Colorado State University. Spring
2012. Accessed 21 Nov 2014. AP]

When we speak, when we share storieswhether our life stories or our imagined
narrativeswe are raw writers and dreamers. The text is our body and the page our
skin. Many queer women of color writers use this metaphor of writing and the body.
Cruz (2001) on Cherre 77 Moraga argues, reclamation begins with the body that
houses multiple identities. Each component of the brown body has its own story to
tellthe lesbian mouth, the bent back in the fields, the dismembered daughte r
and its deconstruction is a necessary process of reclaiming and re-imagining the
histories and forms of agencies of women who are unrepresented and unheard (p.
663). Reclamation of the body requires an embodiment of the writing and
speaking we do. We embody our texts to undo the erasure of the past. And we
embody our texts because not embodying them would state that there is no
connection between body, mind, and spirit that what we write is distanced
enough from us that it does not hurt and that it does not have an immediate
connection to our psyches.

Robina Josephine Khalid (2008) inspires a way of destabilizing body versus mind (or
theory, writing, or reason) hierarchies so that imagined spaces where body and
mind equally flow to and from and each other is possible (p.706). Accordingly, if we
regard written word and the body as equal and conversive entities and neither
privilege written word over bodily speech (i.e. the way experiences effect our
senses, pain, illness, joy) nor claim that bodily knowledge can be completely
independent of writing, then we have created the possibility of mending the
space between theory and lived (phenomenological) experience and the
hierarchy that dominates and suppresses community speech or everyday
knowledge produced by communities of queer women of color.
Our pain on the page must be taken seriously and must be examined through a lens
that is influenced by La Facultad sensitivity . In an effort to extend Anzaldas
theory and utilization of La Facultad I pay special attention to the senses within
these narratives. The energy exerted and felt from cultural and familial dislocation is
specific. The violence and attempted eradication of our lives is specific. And the
moment of woman-to-woman connection, both physical and emotional, is specific.
These occurrences are multifaceted and spiritual. We must feel all aspects of our
lives if we hope to radically alter the way we process sensitivity and how we
challenge the notion that our viewpoint is insignificant, irrational, improvable,
and apolitical. And then we must translate our sensitivities, spiritualties, and
politics, onto the page permanently. Deborah K. King in Multiple Jeopardy, Multiple
Consciousness: The Context of Black Feminist Ideology (1995) states that As black
women, we decide for ourselves the relative salience of any and all identities and
oppressions, and how and the extent to which those features inform our politicsIt
is in confrontation with multiple jeopardy that black women define and sustain a
multiple consciousness essential for our liberation, of which feminist consciousness
is an integral part (p. 312). Therefore, feminist of color consciousness becomes
political by way of our very navigation of multiple oppressions. Our knowledge
base of social, sexual, and racial/ethnic devaluations makes our feminist
epistemologies acts of political resistance to main narratives that lack
recognition of our existence .

that anger bone mal mama


that rattle painted red, painted fresh blood, slaughtered
enemy
hung with strong feathers, guts of vipers
I'll knock down this old long house this weary war horse
these dry rituals called
how are you
I want that brown thigh bone
carved with eagle beak
that club dig it out of the dirt
mal mama spirit stole my bones put them in her burying jug
sealed me up in wax & ashes
I crack out
arrange my bones in their naming places
I take what I want
shaking my sacred hair dancing out taboo
I mark out the space I am
with knives
[Chrystos by Cherrie Moraga in This Bridge Called My Back. Pg. 197]

Middleton 12 [Middleton, Kianna Marie. I Feel, Therefore I Can Be Free. Colorado State University. Spring
2012. Accessed 21 Nov 2014. AP]

However, it is a battle to become speaking women who dig from our unconscious
the desires and experiences that ache in our bones. Nonetheless, repression of
feeling, of love, and of pain, has driven some us to turn violent upon ourselves. To
erase ourselves and our stories from communal passage , to destroy that
which we cannot and have not been able to understand and nourish either
physically, spiritually, emotionally, or sexually, thus literarily killing and repressing
pieces of ourselves. We may get lost in this space created by dominant rule that
disallows us to grow and acknowledge our strength , or it can also be a place
of discovery, of transition to higher modes of conscious living . Anzalda
deems this space as the Coatlicue state.
Anzalda (2007) states, in order to escape the threat of shame or fear, one takes
on a compulsive, repetitious activity as though to busy oneself, to distract oneself,
to keep awareness at bay. One fixates on drinking, smoking, popping pills, acquiring
friend after friend who betrays; repeating, repeating, to prevent oneself from
seeing (p. 67). The wavering hope of sight is made possible in the coatlicue
state as also it is the compulsion of repetitious pain. These activities or Coatlicue

states which disrupt the smooth flow ( complacency ) of life are exactly what
propel the soul to do its work: make soul, increase consciousness of itself. Our
greatest disappointments and painful experiencesif we can make meaning out of
themcan lead us toward becoming more of who we are. Or they can remain
meaningless. The Coatlicue state can be a way station or it can be a way of life ( p.
68). What either pulls us into destruction or pulls us into knowing has to be
managed or ignored in this transitional state.
I argue that repetitious, painfully sensitive and raw writing has the potential to
represent this psychic battle inherent in Coatlicue states. Whether the authors or
characters emerge from pain and manage their border-crossing otherness is a
question of importance. Anzalda claims that if I escape conscious awareness,
escape knowing, I wont be moving. Knowledge makes me more aware, it makes
me more conscious . Knowing is painful because after it happens I cant stay
in the same place and be comfortable. I am no longer the same person I was
before (p. 70). Discomfort and mobility must become synonymous with
conscious advancement in our lives. Comfort denotes a false reality in which
nothing bothers us, nothing grasps us at our hearts or encourages us to progress.
Knowing is painful because it is a deeply internal process that leaves individuals
alone with themselves. Pain and desire speak and we are forced to hear them newly.
And if we truly listen, we are bound to find new ways to articulate pain and
desire . Stories on paper can be our skin to the rest of the world so we must learn
how to understand our senses, how to emerge from the Coatlicue state.
Colonization has taught us to fear ourselves, has taught us to remain trapped in
Coatlicue states that prevent the process of decolonization and re-tellings of our
pasts and present as sexual and racial others. Speaking even when our words are
broken, new, and jumbled leads to conscious action and cathartic psychic
release, which is crucial within a feminist of color discourse . In The
Transformation of Silence into Language and Action (2008), Lorde writes, we have
been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and
definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the
weight of that silence will choke us (p. 44). The dark depths of self-discovery and
self-reflexivity, however frightening and bare, must be deconstructed and spoken
ferociously until our whole bodies are hoarse yet soothed.

It begins where it ends,


I descend into black earth,
dark primordial slime,
no longer repellent to me,
nor confining .
The four winds
fire welds splinter with splinters.
I find my kindred spirits.
The moon eclipses the sun.
La diosa lifts us.
We don the feathered mantle
and charge our fate.