I didn’t know I loved…

There’s so much I want to write about but I get stuck in the writing of it. Somewhere along, in the sentences, I get caught. Unable to sieve through the emotions that it brings up. The anger. The frustration. The resentment. The what the fuck of it all. (Maybe that’s why they say you have to allow time between the experiences and the actual writing of them?)

I am a processer.

Today my sister, Cynthia Dewi Oka, gave me a writing prompt: write about what you didn’t know you loved. As soon as I read it, I responded, “Shit, you’re killing me.” But I trust her so I did it.

“I didn’t know I loved my different.”

I’ve always been “different.” When you’re a kid, different isn’t a good thing. You want to fit in. You want to be a part of the family, the crew, the clique, the squad, the everything. You just want to meld. I didn’t. And I didn’t know that I loved that part of me until much later on in life. Well into adulthood. Until then, being different was an onus. A burden. A chore. Being different was fucked up. What fucked me up. What hurt. What I rejected. Because mom beat me because I was different. Because I was told so many times, “girls don’t do that.” Because I was bullied for being different.

Too loud
Too open
Too angry
Too in pain

Because so many of my loves assaulted me for being different.

“You think you’re a man.”

“Respect you? Tu tienes grajo?”

“We men aren’t taught deal with woman like you.”

I didn’t know I loved
The way his hands grabbed
And bludgeoned
I didn’t know I was letting him do
What I couldn’t do to myself

I didn’t know I loved the earth
Beneath my hands
Between my fingers
I wanted to bury

I didn’t know I loved the death
The life

I didn’t know I loved
I didn’t know I loved
I didn’t know I loved

I never knew that for some men, loving a woman like me was hard. I wanted so badly to be loved. To be wanted. I wanted someone to be scared to lose me. I wanted someone that would hold on. Hold on. Always hold on. (Shit, I still do…) But “you can’t make a home out of human beings…”

I was the only girl to play stickball with the boys.
I was the only girl who wasn’t a cheerleader.
I was the only girl who climbed trees.

The little girl who ran into the junk yard next door
To explore
To step over the needles
And climb the piles of splintered wood
Rusted nails sticking out at all angles
The rusted license plates
The old tires
Shredded rubber
The stench of rats
And vials underfoot
The feral cats who scratched
And purred in my arms
I would rather explore the dangerous
Than play in the safe
Because there
In the rubble
I was safer
There my different was

Today I’m sitting with my different. How I learned to love my different. The woman who will quit her job to live this dream. The mother who decided to do it alone because it was safer to do it this way. The woman who doesn’t know how to not go hard. Who will hold you through it when she’s just now learning to hold herself. (“I know why you take care of me. Because no one took care of you.”) The woman who still climbs trees. Who whispers but is more prone to loud. The woman who is not tamed. Who is wild. Who is loba. Who is learning when to be silent and when to scream. Who is learning to defend herself without cutting because approach is everything. The woman who still questions and wonders and is now letting herself feel what she’s run from for so long. Open. The woman who will say she doesn’t care when she actually does. The woman so many think they know but really few do. The woman who shows her heart in her work and will always surprise you.

The woman who is learning


my wild seed arrived on the wind today
split up swiftly like fertilized egg
nestled in uterus lining
she dug in her roots and blossomed
dandelion iris lily
poison tipped rose venus fly trap
for those who dare
velvet petaled violet
for those who want more

me llaman criatura salvaje
unharnessed unrefined uncontrolled
loose disrespectful bad girl
soiled sullied and used
because I dance in the streets
and scream when my throat itches
I will not be tamed
I will not be caged
I’m not a fucking horse or bison
you cannot toss a rope around my neck
drag pull whip
until I acquiesce
I will not be yoked
don’t fuck with this Wild Woman

I run with wolves
howl at the moon
even when she’s not full
and she purrs back
croons her sister song
for she too is wild like me

Ella, la que sabe,
She was the ocean before the tides pulled
the sky before She married herself to the earth
the stars before They made heaven
their blanket

She takes hold of me
grita la historia de la Mujer libre
untethered and unbound

so these are the Women I write for
the one enslaved in brothels
the one flinching under a fist
the one whose hands are blistered and calloused
from toiling the fields
the one that walks for miles to bring water to Her son
the one that’s been told for centuries
that She’s not good enough
just a piece of Adam’s rib

I write for her
because at night
when all is silent
and She’s finally alone
She remembers and honors
that wild woman
the one you hear
feint whispers in your ear
that roar like dragon’s breath
telling you you got this, baby girl
Tu eres La Loba
She lives on
In You



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