Love Letter to my Friends

By: Keren Escobar

As a girl I didn’t have sisters, but I have them now. A family isn’t necessarily defined by blood, rather it is formed by those who lend an ear, voice, hand or heart when needed. I’ve fallen in love with the networks of women that have been woven between women in Mexico, the United States and Central America, crossing borders, overcoming physical distances, and seemingly manipulating temporal distances, as they always find time and space to cry, learn, support, yell or dance together.

However, it’s not all sunshine and flowers, as there are gray days when we ask ourselves to what point we as women actively control our lives and what the consequence is of social forces that are out of our control. We, our mothers, grandmothers, are all victims of victims, of a systemic cycle. Who will break it? Have we begun to form a chink in the armor that has controlled us and kept us sad for so many generations?

These and other questions stalk us in a hostile environment that seeks to ridicule that which is feminine and exemplify weakness. If only they would let us be so that we may be allowed to seek to become something greater, but…maybe we just have to dare to try. I have seen a resurgence of women once confused by love disguised as selfishness who now fly high but lower themselves when needed to cry with other women, who fall down by making mistakes, but are able to build themselves back up and rise again.

It’s beautiful to know that I have been able to hug so many brave women, like you, friend, who decided that nobody would tell you that you could or could not put on makeup, that you could not cut your hair, get a tattoo, drive a truck or have a glass of wine. You who became a warrior and now live alone, making music, reading philosophy and accepting with dignity that you can fall in love as many times as necessary.

You, friend, who walks carrying your camera and recorder, questioning our political, economic and social system, doing your job well, though you may not be paid well and though you are discriminated against for being a woman and though they want to censor you for saying what so many keep quiet.

You, friend, who travels far from home, from your family, friendships and familiar streets, who drives through traffic to go to work, though the men stare at you with abusive gazes.

You who returns home tired and alone to sleep with the conviction that independence is the way.

I’m fortunate to see your fight, friends. What an honor to see how you have had faith in yourselves and gotten involved in politics in a system designed for men, by men! What a joy to see how you have risen up as defenders of Mother Earth and the peasant, fearlessly denouncing and making proposals. What satisfaction to see that thanks to our efforts we are creating spaces where we have influence and becoming feminists!

Thank you, friend, for teaching me that, though we may be a conservative machista society, this doesn’t mean that we are unable to change that fact. I think about how you get up at the crack of dawn to say goodbye to your children and your mother before going to work in the city, no matter that you’ve been abandoned or that you’ve been told that you can’t, or that you’re too young, weak, or soft. I think in how you have been able to study in the university, get an important job, take care of yourself and return to sleep in that maternal womb where your family awaits you.

When I think that everything is determined by a controlling and wicked system that attacks us with violence, fear, ignorance and pathetic moralism, I see the solid steps that all of the brave and independent women have taken. Then, I sail with hope towards new horizons, where we can all be a bit, or even much, freer, without determinism, repression, nor painful legacies.

Thank you, sisters, for teaching me so much.

With love for all of women, my friends, especially Jacky, Vonnie, Yuse, Emma Vicente, and Allison.