Rest in Mystery Evita


Absolutely fascinating person.

NonUseMuse

eva-peron

What if you were a small town peasant, born out of marriage, at a time when being an illegitimate offspring was the same as having been born to a prostitute with ties to the devil?  What if you jumped on a train and moved to the big city and became an actress, at a time when being an actress meant that you were – pure and simple – a prostitute… but, you don’t care about that anymore, because you come from a town where you were doomed to be a prostitute WITH ties to the Devil, anyway? What if you made it in the big city and met this charismatic-socialist-well spoken-handsome man with the destiny of a world leader?  Well… I bet in those circumstances, by that time, you would have the balls to slip a piece of paper with your phone number and  insinuate your availability for a tete-a-tete…

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Cuba, Between Dreams


 

 

How can I be sympathetic towards the regime that stole my parents’ hard earned money and made them flee the country where they thought that they’d be able to raise their child? How can I not question a regime that brought equality in a totalitarian way? How can I be accepting of a regime that wanted to take away my little earrings because they were gold?

I think that what some Cubans feel, more than hatred towards Castro, is envy of what they think it’s like to live in a ‘free’ country. Isolation is a dream that creates monsters. While it relieves you of having to think of other possibilities, it also provides fertile ground for an imaginary ‘grass is greener’ mindset. I have mixed emotions towards my country of birth, ranging from admiration to irritation. Admiration for the Cuban spirit of survival and irritation for the Cuban victim mindset. Think of Scarlett O’Hara and you’ll begin to grasp it.

My  Cuban family have been able to come to Spain and visit every four-five years for as far back as I can remember. The family here have paid for their trips and they’ve enjoyed one or two months’ vacation all expenses paid. We, the ‘free’ part of the family, haven’t been abroad quite so much, in spite of all the freedom we have and the money we make. In fact, I haven’t left Spain since I came here in 1981.

I believe many Cubans feel cheated out of a capitalist lifestyle, which they’ve idealised. They don’t see the truth of Spain because they only come every so often and everyone does their best to make them comfortable and welcome. They’re amazed that most of us have mortgages. They think we work too much. They are experts on anything and everything from medicine to history to cooking. They freely give their advice regardless of your interest. You feel like you’re being sized up and are not quite up to standard.

They have a way about them that at certain moments seems like entitlement. Their  mostly unconscious reasoning  goes something  like this: I come from a poor country where we don’t have liberty so you owe me! It doesn’t matter that you have a problem making ends meet. You’re a free person! I like this, and this and this…and that dress over there…and I want to be wined and dined and taken for outings. If you need to cross the country for me to see whatever monument, so be it. If you wait up for me til one a.m. because I allowed myself to get sidetracked on my way to your house, deal with it. No matter if you’ve got to get up at 7 to go work and it’s summer and the heat won’t let you sleep. You owe me! I’ll give you these cheap souvenirs for tourists from the airport and you’ll give me a new phone, shoes and jeans. And of course, I’m sooo modest and humble that I won’t actually ask for most of these things. I’ll just look forlorn and mention in a soft whisper how much I admire technology and that the only restaurants in Havana  are for tourists. I’ll guilt trip you into giving me money when I finally leave, after weeks of wreaking havoc in your family’s schedules, causing you to spend more money on food, drinks, sweets, trips and miscellaneous items.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s just my surreal family or my peculiar perception.

In any case the UN has acknowledged that Cuba has no child poverty, little to no homelessness and a good health system, lacking some medicines but universal. They also have an excellent education system which leaves no one out and consequently they have the lowest illiteracy rate in all of America, at least South America.

I cannot condemn the regime totally, however I may disagree with its totalitarian methods. Here in Spain, ‘free’ as we are, there’s a child poverty rate of around 20%, unemployment is also around 18-20% and more than half of Spaniards cannot afford to go on vacation in the summer, much less go abroad every 4-5 years.

I think that Cuba is not as helpless or naïve a country as it may seem. I see the population quite capable of heading full steam into capitalism and succeeding because they have that good ol’ Cuban charm…’Tu saabe, mi amol,…’ followed by a demure smile has caused many a foreigner to feel ready to fight any obstacle in order to experience that unique sugar and rhum cadence again. Their charm and inventiveness, coupled with their will to succeed and the great number of people with higher education will stand them in good stead in the future.

Castro evidently headed a failed revolution. It failed not only because of obvious flaws in the socialist system which forces equality among people by steam rollering over every shred of individual aspiration or merit and rendering useless the very human urge to excel. It failed because the predominance of capitalism in the world was too strong for it and other countries resented it having the slightest success as it would cause capitalism to seem too cold and heartless . And it ultimately failed because in the end too much power corrupts even angels and too much isolation, whether forced or self imposed  can lead you to dream of what lies beyond  your limited view and idealise it while denying the very real value of all  you have within your grasp.

Families, Roles and The Green Dog Perspective


 

What is your role in your family?

Are you the mother of all even if you are only the mother to some? Are you the eternal child, coddled by all? Do you feel ‘sandwiched’ in between generations?

This definitely defines me. I’m a Green Dog , living -or trying to- between generations.

Ahead of me, my mother who is less herself every day, although she holds on to bits and pieces of her personality with a fierceness that sometimes startles me. She will not give up or back off even if she’s wrong. She claims the right to make her own mistakes and stand by them.

Coming up, my sons, the following generation. Young and brilliant, bored to death of this modern, senseless world, they make me stretch my intellect to its limits trying to understand their ideas and reactions and encourage them to be themselves in this world that constantly pushes you to be anything but. They are the biggest long term project I have ever undertaken, a fascinating adventure. Watching a child develop from birth to adulthood is awe inspiring. You learn as much from them as they learn from you.

And in between teens and tweens and dementia, this Green Dog juggler moves from day to day, striving for peace, working for all the members of the family, feeling overwhelmed, discredited, misunderstood, stressed, undervalued and hassled. Of course, there are good moments, even great moments. It’s a good day when I can get my mom to laugh with me instead of grumble at me. It’s a good day when I can finally sit down and write (like now…I started writing this a couple of weeks ago, though…) because there’s no one demanding I listen to/look at /do something. It’s a good day when one of my sons says “You were right, mom.” and actually means it. It’s a great day when I can focus enough to see my dreams and the way to get there even if only for a little while. Those days, I feel I can get through anything and beat any odds.

This is something that I heard a few days ago, a woman speaking about her firstborn granddaughter:

‘I’m glad it’s a girl because, as everyone knows, girls belong to their parents more. Boys depend on who they get together with.’

Selfishness, ignorance, chauvinism…

Does this mean that you’re happier to have a daughter rather than a son because you want to have someone to wipe your mouth when  you’re old? So you have a free maid? Is this fair for men? It brands them as insensitive and dumb because they are influenced by those they ‘get together with’.

Basically women, who are both the maid  and the  manipulator.

Black and white.

Yes and no.

Dumb and smart.

Whores and saints.

I personally know many cases of the opposite. Furthermore, I AM the opposite case. My mother in law only had one son and I didn’t abandon her. She didn’t abandon her own mother in law, who had only had sons.

It’s shameful in this day and age to hear these things. I have two sons and I don’t believe they will forget me because of the company they keep as they’re men.

And yes, I do believe this is chauvinistic both for men and for women.

 

I wonder, as I always do, if it’s just me or if there’s other women out there who have sacrificed so much and withstood so much and come out the other side to find that they’ve lost sight of themselves and have to fight to remember who they were before becoming someone’s wife, someone’s mother, someone’s neighbour.

They  had to break loose from their parents first, a warning of what life would hold for them.  They were told to pipe down, buckle up and get moving. Obey your parents, be responsible for yourself and others.

They were told that they were the boss in their house, so they thought that they could organise things and people would collaborate for the common good. So they set about being the best boss, inspiring and tackling things head on, leading by example. They thought that if they do their share and more willingly, the rest will see that it’s in their best interest to do the same. Time showed that this is often not the case. So they did more and more, and started nagging because they felt that something was out of place and that if they just insisted enough and pushed enough, if only they could drag that half dead ox that was tied to their ankles a bit further, the ox would realise that it was for their own good. It just so happens that this is not true. I know. Been there, done that, got the divorce to prove it.

In the end, it proves to be true that you can only change yourself. In my case, I have changed myself to become myself.  Every day I search for the bits and pieces I’ve lost along the way.