Love as Survival by Isabel Piña
Much of mainstream media (white feminist rom coms, telenovelas, etc.) portrays “love” as heteronormative and “true love” as finding, or having, a significant other. Love is much more complex than that.
The love and passion we experience outside of our work sometimes translates to the work we do. Much of that work is reclaiming spaces in media and within larger society that excludes WOC and POC (and Brown love, Black love, etc.). Love in our spaces can take forms such as reclaiming self-love, our cultures, sexualities, histories, among other forms that exist beyond love as being exclusively that feeling we share with someone.
Sometimes I get passion and love confused, especially when it comes to work. They say that passion is what you love doing. So, what is love?
We continually evolve as people. Sometimes, our interests change, passions change, our ideas change. Our ideas of love evolve.
What drives us when the people we work with aren’t passionate about our vision? I believe that a huge driving force is definitely the love we have for our futures. By our, I mean both personally and as a community.
We are here because of the vision our ancestors (or past guardians) had for us. They wanted our survival, through the survival of their children who are now our parents, grandparents, etc. The love/passion we experience with our work deals with survival. The survival of our futures, of our community, and especially of ourselves in a world that tries to break us down. Without our vision and the passion we put into our work (whether it be our projects, jobs, spiritual/mental work on ourselves), who would we be? What would happen to our imaginaries and our survival?
Love and support from our culture, family, loved ones, and most importantly ourselves is the nurture we need in order for us to keep working on our visions. We foster that love in our work and workplaces by remembering where we came from, and where we are going. And the opportunities we create for ourselves, no matter how small, come from love and healing.
Love is revolutionary when we expand the notions of what love really is. Love for oneself, and for another. Love is personal growth. And we shouldn’t let go of our passions because that’s the light in life.
More on Isabel:
Isabel Piña is a Xicana artist and advocate. She graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Latina and Latino Studies. During college, she volunteered as a health educator for the Peer Health Exchange where she taught at Chicago public high schools about community advocacy (and other topics). It was then that she learned about the importance of awareness on a variety of social issues for communities (especially youth) of color. She also worked as a research assistant for cognitive and social psychology research projects that made her realize the lack of Latinx representation in the field of academic, psychology research. Her passions include art, music, dance, education, film, Xicana/Latinx theatre and literature, and social justice.
She is learning to create art with a social justice/awareness focus and is interested in using social media to bring awareness about social issues that are stigmatized in communities of color. She started created Pixoa, a bilingual social media project that creates awareness about domestic violence for the underserved Spanish-speaking immigrant population. She is currently volunteering for a domestic violence shelter and she hopes to one day teach at high schools about interpersonal violence, resources, and mental health awareness, and aspires to speak up about issues that deal with immigration, mental health, gender, sexuality, and race to youth and the greater public.
From Mundelein, Illinois and currently based in Chicago, IL