Where I Am by Angie Guerrero
EAST LOS ANGELES, California
My best understanding and written definition of what it means to be necia and chingona was written by one of my favorite Xicana writers; Sandra Cisneros:
“How to be Chingona in ten steps:
1 .Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.
2 .Discover your own powers. What floods you with joy?
3 .Find true humility and practice it.
4 .Keep your palabra, your word.
5. What are you using to cover or mask your pain? Address it.
6. Your only true possessions are your actions.
7. Seek forgiveness.
8. Live in the present moment.
9. Depression has a purpose if you use it before it uses you. (Profound wisdom). Transform it to light. Compost it through art. If you can’t do it by yourself, see a professional curandera (healer, therapist).
10. Listen to your body.”
Who Am I? How Did I Get Here? Where Am I Going?
I think those three questions within themselves already have so many different answers. I am unapologetic, I am chingona, I am loved, I am fuerza in a big beautiful brown body, I am Xicana descended from my Jalisciense & Sinaloense antepasados, I am necia. I think being “necia” saved me, becoming a vulnerable yet fearless individual not afraid to speak my mind saved me. It got me out of my depression, it got me out of emotionally abusive relationships and friendships, it got me out of my loneliness, it brought me out of toxic spaces and into safe ones, it got me onto a road of self-love and discovery. I didn’t know being necia and proud would have such an effect on me. I believe the biggest example of a true necia, for me, is my mother. My madrecita never lets anything get to her, she always holds her gorgeous brown head up high; but never forgets about the roots and the dirt she had to walk on to get where she is at now. I like to think I am a reflection of her when she was my age. In a way scared of the future but not letting that fear get to me.
I think that’s what being a true necia is, aside from being unapologetic, chingona, and being entirely true to yourself; I believe a part of being necia also means allowing yourself to be vulnerable. To know that it’s okay to be afraid or sad sometimes, but also knowing that it won’t bring you down. Knowing that the hard may come but you’re going to push through it.
The radical act of practicing self-love and care also allowed me to fully identify as necia. Another thing my mom always did while I was growing up, was self-care and healing. Now I find myself taking on the same practices she once did. I enjoy creating safe spaces for self-care, sometimes my safe spaces are in plazas or spaces where I can see and reflect on the beauty of my culture; but most of the time they’re out on a tall mountain or cliff where I can see my city as a small architectural display. I enjoy the healing practices of mi cultura, I think I also owe a lot of my journey to that. I enjoy the radical and complex history of healing within my culture. That definitely helped me separate myself from toxic spaces and energies, and it brought me unto a road of self-love and realization.
With that realization, sometimes it meant being cabrona, and being “la que le vale”, but I think that’s part of being necia too. Not giving a damn what people think, and doing you. When I think of what brought me to where I’m at now and how I got here, my answer will always be the same; it’s because of my madre but also because I allowed myself to be chingona, osicona, brown, y above all, proud.
As for where I am going: I never really like to answer that question. I don’t know where the next five years will take me, honestly I don’t know where the next six months will take me. I like to think I am a chameleon living in a big city. My heart, mind, and body, is constantly evolving. I definitely have dreams and hopes, but for now I’m going along with the ride. All I can say for sure is, I’m going on a continual journey of self-love, self-discovery, and self-care. As long as I have those three things, I truly believe I can go wherever my head or my heart tells me.
Con/Safos y Con/Fuerza
Desde Los Angeles,
Angie Guerrero aka Guerrillera
More on Angie:
I am a well rooted first generation Xicana living in East Los Angeles. I am guerrillera born from my Jalisciense mother and my Sinaloense father. I am a business owner, an artist, a writer, a traveler, occasional photographer, mental health advocate, and above all an unapologetic strong mujer. C/S.
Born, raised and currently based in East Los Angeles, California.