A story of a woman who finds herself trapped in two worlds that are so distinctly different from each other: Myanmar as an emotional space filled with nostalgic childhood memories and the United States as a physical place symbolized as freedom to think and speak. No matter what she thinks of herself, her identity and sense of belonging are repetitively challenged and scrutinized under cultural, linguistic and societal norms of both worlds. She is continuously pressured to just pick one. Which one does she choose at the end? Does she remain Burmese or does she become an American?
We experience different kinds of love for different kinds of people. Some, we would love to kiss and spend time with, others, we would love to kick and punch. This is a story about love and the ways it can drive us crazy. A Lesson in Loving Yourself: High school was tough for a multitude of reasons, and each one lead me to further believe that I was a failure. Despite all the extracurricular activities, the good grades and the long hours spent in school, it was never good enough for my peers or my parents. I hated myself for not being good enough, and drove myself into a corner. It wasn't until the end of my senior year, that I realized I was fine just being me and doing my best. A lot of hurt goes around when we're young, but the one person we should never hurt is ourselves. A Lesson in Loving Someone Else: I'd had a crush on my childhood friend for the longest time, and when we were kids, we said that we would get married. Though it's unrealistic to believe in a childhood promise, I held onto the hope that one day we might be together. But as we grew up, we also grew apart. No more late night calls, goofy texts or knight in shinning armor waiting to save me. So in his absence, I made a new best friend and she brought out the best in me. She was goofy, outgoing and creative. I told her about many things, including my childhood crush. Then one fateful year, my crush was finally going to attend the same school as me. I was excited to get closer to him, until my family moved into a new neighborhood It wasn't until then, that I found out my best friend and my crush started to date. It was a devastating feeling, but I loved them both and wished the best for them. It wasn't until years later that I started talking to my old crush again, and he apologized. They both knew about my feelings. A Lesson in First Loves: I haven't had the privilege of loving and being loved, so I can't understand just how strong the bond can be but I saw what happens when it breaks. In a time where my parents were growing further and further apart by the day, my mother and I began to notice strange changes in my father. Then one morning while my father was still sleeping, I stole his phone, unlocked it and found a horrible truth. He was cheating on my mother. Needless to say, the news destroyed my mother, my family and my relationship with my father. My sadness evolved into anger then absolute hatred. I didn't want to see him, and I didn't want him in my life, but to my mom who had held on tight to him for 20 long years, couldn't let him go. This is a story about how love can hurt us and bring us together. A Lesson in Love: Despite the distance, the hurt and the doubt, (and the cliche cheesiness) love can bring us back together. I found a way to love and respect myself, by accepting that I am different, and that's not a bad thing. My childhood friend and I reconnected and spend time together like we did when we were younger. Then after three years, my father comes back home and we're currently trying to support him in quitting his drug addiction.
A Mexican American woman returns to the United States after a decade of living in pre-revolutionary Venezuela, where she worked as a bilingual journalist and English teacher and raised her daughter alongside her husband, a young engineering student she met at the University of Colorado Boulder. Back in her native Colorado again, she spent the next 20 years as a “wrap-around Latina” and prodigal daughter, struggling to repatriate, reconnect with family, and readapt to life in her ancestral homeland. “I am not an immigrant, but I’ve lived the immigrant experience, and see shades of the exile’s double world, where nostalgia and yearning survive untouched by time and geography.”
Most days you will find me riding the FF2 to and from the CU Boulder campus to Union Station in downtown Denver. This 45 min, 60 min, sometimes 4 hour (in a blizzard) bus ride represents more than simply a commute from one city to another. As a first-generation Latinx, Mexica, Xicana (first generation born with US birthright citizenship and first generation to complete a post-secondary credential), this commute represent a physical and metaphorical transport to and from different "worlds". I will be the first person in my entire extended family, including all of my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents from my mother's and father's sides of the family, to complete a doctoral level academic program. I would like to share, confess even, the ways in which I navigate the cultural, linguistic, academic and inter-personal borderlands that this travel entails and the consequences of this journey (reference to Dr. Gloria Anzaldua's work entitled "Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza").
I have attempted suicide twice, and would like to talk about my experience after each when I was attempting to find reasons to live again. I have taken medicine, done intensive outpatient programs, been inpatient, lived in residential programs, and seen counselors. It has been a draining experience, but I would like to talk about the process of trying to find hope.
Powerlifting is predominantly viewed as a male sport, but what does it look like when women enter the sport? How can powerlifting be empowering and allow a woman to feel powered by the capabilities of her body? Novice turned local competitor, I competed in my first national powerlifting competition last fall. This is my story, this is my journey through powerlifting.
*CANCELED DUE TO ILLNESS*
"Why doesn't she just leave?" When witnessing domestic violence from the outside, it is easy to judge and easy to simplify the choices that exist for someone who is being abused. It wasn't until it happened to me that I fully understood the complexities as to why women don't -- or can't -- simply leave. If the abuse is primarily psychological, verbal, or financial and no physical abuse is present, it can be all too easy to justify the abuser's behavior, and it is much harder to identify your own relationship as an abusive one. In my own case, I had grown up with a poor model of relationships from the beginning. My father showered love upon me, and in fact, treated me more as a woman on a pedestal in a romantic relationship than as his child. At the same time, he treated my mother poorly and was emotionally unavailable to her -- just as my abusive partner did to me. When my father died young of an aggressive cancer, I irrationally blamed myself -- and found myself in the same kind of relationship my mom had endured -- only much worse.
She wasn't supposed to be a successful professor, teaching at a research one university. As the youngest daughter in a family that was riddled with poverty, alcoholism, and mental illness who came from a neighborhood where over half of girls like her never finished high school but rather became pregnant or had gone into drugs or gangs, she was destined to follow the same path. But what made her different? When all the odds were stacked against her, why did she make it out of her barrio to earn three academic degrees? Where did she get the resilience to become who she is now? This is a story of a Chicana, a first-generation college student turned professor, who lives every day as a counterstory. She could have chosen any profession with her advanced education, but she chose to be a professor who works with students who are much like her- from marginalized backgrounds and are “The Only Ones” in their families to advance on to higher education. This is her story of proving people wrong, of showing others the act of proving people wrong, and surviving and thriving in a world where expectations for Brown girls are low while expectations for herself were always high.
*CANCELED DUE TO ILLNESS*
A brief walk in the life of the not so model minority on the CU campus and the constant compliments on "distinct features" as tied to peoples uncomfortability and fascination with "other" people. And, of course, a couple cringey stories around my transformation into the go to "magical negro".
It's been four years since Milu has heard from her father. No texts, no emails, no mailed letters, not even a birthday card or a call. After contacting her mother and her brother about this and learning they both have not heard from Carlos either, Milu enters into a state of anxiety, desperation, mourning, and resignation. Each of these stages are not easy for Milu, and are consequently met with numerous odd encounters with people Milu did not imagine she would meet and places she did not expect to visit. With a detectivesque feel and an adventurous mindset, we learn of Milu's random experiences that make her feel closer to her father like the aroma of a particular dish soap, a rocky and sedimented pathway, or even the random haircut of a passerby. We also learn of the columns Milu writes and fictionalizes about her search for Carlos, and of her latest conjecture about his disappearance: is Carlos dead? Or is he part of a cult? Did he leave on purpose? What we are left to conclude with Milu is that Carlos might (or might not) be a living disappearance.
I was quite young when I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. I was 11 when I had my first panic attack. It wasn't until my mid 20s, during a very dark period of debilitating anxiety, that I was also diagnosed with comorbid Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I always thought OCD was for people that had quirky obsessions with cleanliness or had to ritualistically wash their hands. I had no idea my constant rewriting of everything from personal emails to articles for my freelance writing jobs - a process where I would lose entire days to sometimes as little as one or two paragraphs worth of words - was a compulsion. I didn't know going back and rereading the same emails or articles several times the next day, after I finally managed to send them, because I was afraid of saying something harmful, hurtful or just plain wrong, was also a compulsion. There were countless examples of these "checking" behaviors in my life. None of them brought me peace, they just fed on each other in an endless feedback loop. It's been about a decade since my diagnosis and although I'm never going to be "cured" I've come to an overall manageable place with my compulsions. By sharing my story, I hope to provide insight, hope -- and a touch of cathartic humor -- around this misunderstood disorder. P.S. It only took me an hour to write this!