Tag Archives: Gloria Anzaldúa

Finding My Home in Psychic Restlessness

by Lizeth Gutierrez

“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


Gloria Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldúa is my academic godmother. She has provided me the tools to create a sense of home. A space of survival. A space to call my own in the academy. This piece is inspired by Anzaldúa’s work, specifically her writing in Borderlands/La Frontera. Anzaldúa provided me the tools to name my restlessness. “Finding My Home in Psychic Restlessness” is about my journey to self-discovery. In this poem I recite ‘culture’ and ‘race’ as homogenous markers of identity only to strategically address the multiple identities I wear on my body. I do not seek to homogenize identity or discipline racial categories of identification. Culture and identity, as Anzaldúa’s writing reveals, are complex, multifaceted and fluid.

I wrote this piece when I was an undergraduate student at Grinnell College. As a current PhD student at Washington State University this poem continues to speak to me in painful ways. I am a first generation Chicana college student from Los Angeles, California who decided to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in small town Grinnell, Iowa. I oftentimes felt dislocated there and swore to myself that I would never go back to rural towns. I did not belong in those spaces. Ironically, my distaste for small towns brought me back to a similar rural town: Pullman, Washington. Maybe I am a masochist. Perhaps it is in that masochism that lies my sense of home. Who knows, but it is with this knowledge that I offer you a piece of who I am.


!Ya no!

No quiero sentirme marginalizada por tu hipocresía

Me exotizas por ser Latina.

Me llamas “lazy” por ser Mexicana.

Y te burlas de mi acento porque no es como el tuyo.

Tú dices “pizza” cuando yo digo “piksa.”


You tell me I can achieve the American dream, and yet set boundaries that aim to intimidate me and make me question my own abilities.

Si, vivo en un lugar de contradicciones.

I am in a college where I am the “exotic Latina,” pero soy la “outsider” en mi familia.

La “pocha.”

La “ya te crees muy miss thing porque vas a coh-ledge”

No me encuentro ni aquí, ni allá.


Why do you make me feel like I have to choose only one culture?

Soy mestiza, una hybrid, una mixture.

Anzaldúa me lo grita al oído in my dreams.


I, like Anzaldúa, believe in the new Latina consciousness.

Una conciencia que reconoce y tolera las contradicciones de mis dos culturas.

I love frijoles y las tortillas hechas a mano, and let’s not forget the smell of el cilantro en la salsa roja.

Y adoro el crispy chicken sandwich with large fries de McDonalds.


Soy Mexicana como mi abuela, like my mother who must constantly fight against the machismo of our patriarchal culture.

Y soy Americana: conquering my dreams and goals a como de lugar is the mentality of my gobierno capitalista.


Tú  te sigues sintiendo perdida, abandoned, ahogada en un mar that restricts your identity

because it tells you constantly that you are not enough Mexican, ni suficientemente Americana.

Date cuenta that you are more than one culture, no te de vergüenza, no te escondas.


Do not let the waves of assimilation trap you.

No te dejes.

Nada. Nada más rápido. Defiendete, you can do it.


Our history has shown us that Chicanas are guerrilleras.

Tú como yo somos la negotiation of two distinct worlds.

Anzaldúa dice que vivas sin fronteras.


No dejes que la corriente del mar te lleve.

Do not let it make you choose one culture over the other.


Lucha por tu crossroads.


This internal fight no acaba hasta que hagas tu propia negociación de identidad.

Revolutionize your sense of self.

No eres prisionera.


You are not less than one culture or more than the other.

You are all cultures.

La güera. La negra. La india. La mestiza.

Eres la voz de la nueva Chicana and you have the inner-strength to create your third space of survival.


A space Anzaldúa so proudly calls “una conciencia de mujer.”


Lizeth Gutierrez is a graduate student in Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University. She researches representations in popular culture of gendered and raced Latinidades and is particularly interested in the commercialization of mainstream Latinidad in relation to U.S. discourses on second-class citizenship.

Considering Transformations at the SSGA Conference

May 28, 2012

"Grapes of Light." October 6, 2007. Photo by Maria Yu. From Flickr.

“Grapes of Light.” October 6, 2007. Photo by Maria Yu. From Flickr.

By Theresa Delgadillo

Back home from another stimulating gathering of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa, a conference held every 18 months at the University of Texas at San Antonio, hosted and sponsored by the Women’s Studies Institute. Kudos to Professor Norma Cantú, Chairperson of the SSGA, for putting together a great program, and to Professor Sonia Saldívar-Hull, Director of the Women’s Studies Institute, and Carolyn Motley and other WSI staff, for the program, funding and logistical support to SSGA.

The theme of the 2012 conference was “Transformations,” and so many of the presentations and lectures and papers shared at this conference so thoughtfully and productively addressed this idea and practice in both Gloria Anzaldúa’s ouvre and from the perspective of other fields and bodies of knowledge in relation to Anzaldúan thought. Dr. Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, President of Northern New Mexico University, and Dr. Norma Alarcón delivered plenary speeches that challenged us to do the transformative work, in our actions in higher education as well as in our consciousness and self-growing, that so occupied Anzaldúa. I was not able to make the trip to Anzaldúa’s burial site, where Dr. Aida Hurtado also delivered a talk. The Noche de Cultura was a beautiful and energizing evening of song and dance with original compositions performed by Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, traditional and original mariachi songs from Carmencristina, folk music from Brenda Romero, fandango from Martha González and Quetzal who also joined the finale performance of Fandango Tejas. Fandango is fun! Since my explorations of Anzaldúa’s work have centered on how she queers the religious imaginary, I was particularly interested in the panels on indigenous worldviews, spirituality and religiosity in all its forms, though I could only, lamentably, attend a couple, but that’s a good reason to look for these papers in published form in either the published conference proceedings / Mundo Zurdo volumes or the MALCS journal Chicana/Latina Studies, or to research on a trip to the Gloria Anzaldúa Archives at UT-Austin.

From readings of and about Anzaldúa’s work, from conversations with those who worked with her, from hearing and witnessing her in action — in my case, in the early 1990s at a campus-wide lecture/presentation she gave at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (where I was a returning undergraduate student many years ago) — we know that transformation was at the center of her project, that it was a life-long project, that she hoped to win others to engaging in this life-long project, and that in every level of academia or sphere of community or professional/career/work life in which she found herself, she lived that project, consciously and daily.

Theresa Delgadillo is on the faculty at Ohio State University and a Moderator/Editor ofMujeres Talk Blog. Her book Spiritual Mestizaje: Religion, Gender, Race and Nation in Contemporary Chicana Narrative (2011) addresses Anzaldúa’s theory and method of spiritual mestizaje.