On Anzaldúa; or, writing is hard but I do it anyway

I’ve always had mixed feelings about writing. That much should be obvious to anyone who’s glanced at this blog: writing is essential to my life (this blog exists), but writing is hard (this blog hasn’t been updated in oh no nearly two months now). The fact that I’m a massive procrastinator and I put off things that I don’t have to do certainly doesn’t help. But it is only in putting thoughts into words that they become worth anything, and so I write. I keep trying, because a few words every few months is still progress. I know from the outside I look lazy, complacent. But complacency is my sworn enemy.

Which is why I had such a reaction to reading Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.

It’s a book that would have changed my life had I read it in high school (or maybe early college). So much of what Anzaldúa talks about makes sense in the context of my life, such as when she talks about growing up in the borderlands between two cultures. Even though my personal experience is less physical border and more psychosocial border, I know what it’s like to exist with two homes, neither of which can fully hold you. Like Anzaldúa says, “I am a turtle, wherever I go I carry ‘home’ on my back” (43). And when she talks about languages and how you ever decide which to use in a given context, I understand, because I live that life. There are people I’ve known since before birth, that cause me to stop and wonder what language I should use to speak to them (as discussed in the section on “Linguistic Terrorism,” 80-81).

More than this shared experience, however, Anzaldúa’s text resonates with something deeper: a shared worldview. Anzaldúa voices that which I dare not say: writing is the struggle of life, and it’s fucking hard.

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