The women in my family see ghosts. The women in my family get feelings about things, and react according to those feelings. I remember resenting this about my mami in my teenage years because this woman would always know when I was up to no good. And I was up to no good a lot as a teenager! I wanted my mom to stop being so sensitive to the energies and powers that were meant to protect me. I wanted my mom to stop being so weird. I wanted my mom to be “normal.”

The women in my family see spirits, good and bad. They have nightmares that turn into warnings.  The women in my family feel when you are doing something that might be dangerous. The women in my family are phenomenal at reading people.

And when you are dating, at whatever age, and your mom feels that the man you’re seeing and falling in love with, “No es bueno para tí,” you begin to hate her feelings. You begin to roll your eyes at these premonitions that your mami has about your life. You begin to tell her that she is crazy. You dismiss her feelings.

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But then life starts to happen, and you find yourself heartbroken by someone your mami warned you about. You begin to get into some serious trouble because of things you did behind your mother's back, but she somehow still managed to warn you about, but you rejected it because you thought she was just being loca again. Things to start to make sense, and mom's spiritual connectedness seems to ring true to your life and your experiences.

Then you meet that one person who seems genuine and brilliant, but you walk away and your good friends all ask: What happened? Is everything okay?

You reply: "Something felt off, I did not feel right about that person." And you realize that you have become your mother and you grin because you are now sensitive to energies and listen to your dreams because your mother has inadvertently passed down something precious to you and to your female line.

I now use the term bruja as one of my self-identifiers. It is meant to shock people and make people question their own negative assumptions around this particular identity.

Men, since the beginning of time, have been deemed more cerebral and logical. Women, on the other hand, have been seen as connected to a different, "less intelligent" form of intuition. So when women get a sense about things, they are dismissed. We are seen as inferior yet again. But my mother’s feelings have saved me from a lot of hardship and pain, so I know better now. I try to listen to my body and my rhythms more. This, of course, makes me loca to some in this patriarchal culture, which labels all things feminine as inferior.

But it is okay because this was not passed down to them, this was all passed down to me through the women in my family. The women in my family see ghosts. The women in my family get feelings about things, and react according to those feelings. The women in my family are essentially brujas. They would never call themselves that, of course, because they are religious and conservative and carry deep within themselves those same negative assumptions associated with that word. But this type of spirituality does not come from Christianity. This has other roots, deep roots. I will pass this sensitivity on to my children, and teach them to acknowledge and cherish those feelings, that intuition, and to react accordingly. Because too often as a society we cherish logic above all else, and I have been in many situations that were logical yet did nothing for me. I've also followed my gut feeling on things that made zero sense but ended up being the best thing for me.

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I call myself a bruja to reclaim that word, which has been used dismissively about other spiritual connections because I refuse to let that term remain a slur:

I am a bruja and proud because the universe and my ancestors are constantly protecting me and guiding me. I am alive and have been kept safe many a time by the brujas in my family line. With my mami’s dreams in mind, I walk the world more aware and with more care.