Waves and Paths
Alitza Nichole Cardona
Edited by Elizabeth Rose
A landscape of female nature and other places
(your heart may take you).
I am writing as if I am talking to you my great granddaughter whom I don't know yet, and may yet never get the chance to know. I tell you, if our eyes could see harmonies of sentiments, there would be a landscape composed of places of quiet and great symphonies, signifying the spaces where great intensities of emotion have filled underlying moving structures, ever shifting as time is transferred. Throughout life we encounter multiple carrying structures, some of them are people that greet you, they converge or exchange frequencies of knowledge and feeling, that fill our own emptiness or enlarge it. I don’t want to scare you, but you should know that carrying a little bit of space within you is normal, please do your best to fill it with compassion.
Powerful verbs either destroy you or build you in a way, you become a bridge of movement until your body ceases to exist. Currently, as we fight for our women’s rights, I want you to be aware that your individual aspirations outlive your body in the minds of others, in the same ways you carry the memories and the empty spaces of others within you. As our bodies articulate present moments of necessities and hopes, western history–as many histories– could be regarded as a product of exchange, a tradition from past situated power, structures, sourced and allocated to what has been described as the masculine; power of destruction and technical creation antagonize the unconscious creative ability of the feminine. As carriers of worlds, wombs host life in miniature realms within their bodies. Caretakers of memory, feminine structures nurture heritage of change as these secure an architecture of reasoned phenomena upon ecologies that contextualize the worlds within. The beginning and end of life is just a possibility within each human delivery, including those conditions that brought you here. As you read this, I assume you are maybe aware that there is another invisible place ---an otherness or a creator signified through emotion and partially articulated through desire --- as we cannot hold that place, we aim to transform verbs into bodies of its physical realization, by creating, doing, making and being.
Continuously referenced by material traces of physical existence, experiences persist in memories. That’s how we represent, associate and transform realities. These remain as fluid as the stories we articulate, virtually, and physically, to impact the discourses that shape their meaning through expressions of value. Memories could be described as a product of convoluting schemes of reasoned and expansive imaginaries made to explain how phenomena situated in what we perceive as the world. Schemes in your mind are ever evolving. Collectively, they negotiate future conditions of value that subject our existence to contrasting similarities and differences. Humans, as a functioning body of parallel components and conditions with intersecting purposes, constitute the technology that generates meaning either to support or destroy the existence and transformation of an idea, as either an object or an experience.
I will explain how memory weaves reality through the spaces you inherit through your Puerto Rican colonial heritage. Our culture and place of origin is as contradictory and alternative as it is traditional. Its language, how its people explain the world, has assimilated perceptions and thoughts of resistance though the associated and represented spaces that became before us. Puerto Rican history and progressive development can be perceived as a collection of “colonized” transmitted fragments of ideas that construct a sense of sense through a heritage of corrupted stories with--at the same time-- displaced and situated values. Nevertheless, Puerto Rican culture is filled with care and compassion in the spirit of survival of its people. Without diving in sociocultural or socio-political commentaries, the female figure within this collection of stories can often be regarded as one of the most prominent conditions of Puerto Rican cultural reference and progress, either by virtue of their caring nature or by its representation in relation to objects, image, relationship, or imagination. Between 1973 and 2022 the narrative of progress in the Caribbean can be referenced through topics of consumption, political and economic crisis, postmodern architecture and objects of pleasure. 1973 was the year my grandmother divorced, and it was also the year the supreme court of the United States ruled that the constitution indeed, protects a woman’s liberty to undergo abortion without governmental restriction (before its overruling in my time, currently in 2022). I do hope that in your time, this has gotten better, and you are able to see your body as an extension of your free will towards production and manifestation within society and not as the subject of some moral debate between power structures that ignore the experiences of those suffering through the conditions they enforce.
My grandmother was a strong woman, not to be necessarily judged by her short height or her temperance, her will was strong while carrying in her eyes a green sea of worries. She was kind, incredibly smart, even if she left high school without a moment’s thought, to marry her only life-long love, my grandfather. Spoken images have a powerful connection with our will to become aspirations of another’s vision when we have yet to recognize our own. Socio-cultural landscapes are filled with the struggle of our idealizations. We collectively seek acceptance from the other, even if it costs us our reasoned concepts, which may be a product of conflicting experiences that emanate from our interactions with needs and sense of meaning through spatiality. My grandmother gave up her freedom of knowing more of herself as a subject of the social nature’s conditions, to be the subject of my grandfather’s concept of freedom. He projected in her and her eyes a world of value filled by our heritage past aspirations of form and function through family and behavior. She lost a son while doing laundry, after my grandfather determined cleaning to be the verb she was responsible for, it was her social duty after all. I imagine, sometime, as she bled, her heart flooded. The light of what could’ve been my uncle and his unspoken words of hope, just disappeared. Her heart became emptied of aspirational ideas. As life was becoming fleeting, moral aspirations became reshaped and what was a landscape of an idealized female nature became something unidentified, waiting to be explored. While my grandmother’s circumstances developed, somewhere in the world a woman was having an opportunity to choose a life after a ground-breaking decision. In that other reality, this woman was regaining agency of a power lost to historical discourses and primordially male-oriented power structures. Ontological boundaries can become as fleeting as the decisions that come with impulse, or as concrete as a change of life by the merits of security and peace. You see, the male gaze, through its biology or as a cultural construction with assigned roles, perceives a reality that does not necessarily consider, within its operational exchange with nature, the phenomenons that are shaped by the conditions of female biology and psychosomatic needs. The female metaphors that become symbolic of a reality’s architecture are expansions of a world that nurtures its sustainable viability by an awareness of reproduction, care, and rooted understanding of functions that make sense through synchronic connection and feeling. Returning to my grandmother, as she left water boiling in the stove, she collected her things and the significant belongings of her three daughters. Not long before she had turned on the stove, in the same context, another woman’s nature had encountered that of my grandmother’s and communicated she was my grandfather’s lover. If love was indeed embodied by the color red, every degree of red was lost in my never born uncle’s unachievable future and fully emptied through the communication of this woman. Red could now be whatever color my grandmother wanted, much as her future. She took out the pot of boiling water and communicated to my grandfather her need to be free. My grandmother wanted freedom from this man that had built a sphere of ideas as her world. As a response to uncontrollable reactions that result from violent resistance –and a lot of alcohol– she threw the water to him. Her “protective” bubble shattered as unforeseen circumstances became a reality. Hot water stripped off the power of her “protector''. She fled home with her three daughters, and she never again loved outside the heritage of her womb.
History teaches us how Puerto Rican women were subjected to experiments, resulting in the creation of “the pill.” Although often regarded for their “beauty” in pop culture, Puerto Rican women’s mythical descriptions extend to a narrative of behavior represented through memes and idealized personas projected by celebrities. As culture becomes an object, we can perceive that the innovation of it comes with a paradigm shift when the intensities that accompany responses become recognized within a social landscape of actions. We can adjust so much before we need to change. Identities become reevaluated as narratives are re-interpreted in relation to available resources and technologies. Aspirations change as spaces of emptiness are filled or continue to expand. Corruption is an editing process, where intention and objective shape foresight of commodities and pleasurable aspirations that operate in service of investors of many means. Our memories are shaped by the paradigms we decide to consume, this, to condition future decisions in function of beliefs, let them be moral or radical. My grandmother was a beautiful container of worries and moral beliefs supported by the insecurities sustained by the fragmented stories delivered by my grandfather, who further sustained his pleasure through other females’ natures, generating empty expectations of love and pleasure. I lived in my grandmother’s womb through my mother. For twenty-four years, I was an empty sphere, a space for possibilities. After being able to experience life’s conditions, prolonged emptiness also inherited through practice, the other and language, produces fissures where fluid emotions fuel motivations. In this case, these motivations were extended to two generations of women who sustained the responsibility of mending, rebuilding, and healing empty future spaces.
For every decision we take, there is an effect and affect. The conditions each generates, when converted to an origin of something, later converge in the ego or expand in the capability for compassion. As we build bridges of stories and movement, we interpret realities with perspectives of production in a sense we share the efforts of creation of a moment with many others. For each woman that took the pill, memories of the women who shared the reality of my teenage grandmother live through them. Their decisions are the effect of their affected ancestors’ worlds of uncertainty. This is the manner in which intensities continue to exist through you. As I seek to produce and love a family, my heritage makes me evaluate each decision with the emptiness that was formed with the abandonment of my father. I share a circumstance with many women before me. Not long ago, before I wrote you this letter, I commenced a career in what I believe is my passion. Not without hard work and challenge, I believe to have become someone that deeply cares. As many other women whose entrails are a sea of inherited worries and beliefs, I care about time, others, and about making the most about others and their time. I think I am deeply passionate about being the product of my grandmother’s heritage while at the same time carrying the burden of the responsibilities one assumes after seeing a powerful woman die. After fifteen years of preparation in my career of choice, the masculine voice still disrupts my discourse subjecting its intentions through phrases such as “you talk pretty but”, “your output is very emotional”, “I think you need to answer with less emotions,” “are you sure you are not on your period”, “your generation is a little bit sensitive”, without even analyzing the conditions of its intended message. My intended message, as for many other women who I share a context with, currently, gets frequently corrupted by domineering male voices. I know that if you analyze other women of my generation’s stories you would see a battle, a resistance to how our communication is cut short upon undermining assumptions, specially by those who are filled with idealized masculinity and follow through expressions. I believe history has always been filtering our voices, limiting our intensities within your future infrastructure of being. After all, until now, history has been aggressive, its milestones are embellished with some form of war. It is possible to agree, landscapes of our present and the construction of the present are filled with empty female natures and their futures, that got cut short of deployed conditions that could’ve balanced the power structures. Those structures that history has come to overrule, also without the input of the less but powerful voices that lay within the experiences historically situated within the masses. A structure such as the invention of history cannot hold the weight of multidimensionality without support from each dimension’s conditions of nature. In that sense, within the female voice lies a perception of the reproduction of those things that foster a harmonious existence with the emptiness that comes with probabilities, the unforeseen and the meaningful. Our wombs are extended to the world through caring and through boundaries. Heritage, in my opinion, is the progressive accumulation of decisions and pondering of perspectives that continuously affect the conditions of transmission of human reason, either materially or virtually, and its relationship with phenomena of many natures, aware of them or not. As we discover other expressions of conditions, their assimilation acquires a sense of ownership and value transmuted through intersubjective identities.
As I put on some bolero, I open the windows to gaze at the landscape filled with many female natures. Hoping that they are not cut short of possibilities and hoping I may have inherited you all the possibilities in the world, I will say this, while in our wombs, we carry the impossibilities of our ancestors, education and care fill the voids we inherit. These start to fill the emptiness of schemes we inherit with images of unmeasured hope as possible futures start to become from consistent acts. I hope you may share a reality that leads you to reason beyond these ideas. When left to construct over canyons of distress we vow to give our future humans the consistencies that harmonize the silence of the spaces that have never heard about love. I am my own father and I hope that my child was the best grand-parent you could hope for. I thank those that continuously lend me their love to fill the gaps another human will get to inherit as full. I intend to convey to my children their selfless capability to care for another human and I hope you do the same to yours.
Pleasure remembering with you,