photo: Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, Marissa Pina, Vivala

As a Latina, I was told that I would eventually find a husband and that I would build a home with him. Home was not only an actual place of dwelling, but also meant children and represented the life we should want for them and ourselves.

My mother told me that mujeres de la calle (literally translated as women who are in the streets, but with a much deeper meaning) were not people I should mess with nor aspire to be. My mother made it clear that inside a home, I would be safe.

I was told that I would find solace in a home, that without a home or a husband to build this home with, I would be lost. Lost women are a disappointment and basically a waste of an incubator, because women breed, and we become mothers in the process of becoming women who deserve homes. If I did not or could not carry my own pregnancy, I would do everything in my power to become a mother through some other means, adoption preferably.

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I was taught I needed a husband to have a home and to be safe.

But I was also taught to be ashamed of my body and desires at home. Why is it that the first man to ever raise his hand at me was my brother, in the home my parents built? Why is it that I was shamed for wanting a boyfriend at 15 (thus "obviously" wanting sex) in my own home? Why have I spent a decade undoing all the things that were done to me at home? 

They say that home is where we avoid being mujeres de la calle. They want us at home, aspiring toward their homely lives. They say that we are in danger otherwise. But my very autonomy was slowly threatened and chiseled away at home.

I devalued my voice because of what I was taught at home. Somewhere along the way, we forgot that las mujeres buenas do not always come from these “safe” environments. Somewhere along the way we began to make excuses for our shitty outlooks and ourselves, because we were told that being at home was safer and just accepted it.

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My mother tells me that I need to find a man and throw myself into the relationship. But I do not want to be a respectable woman with a home. I do not want it because there is a high price to pay, and I feel as though I am the one on sale. I am supposed to go to the highest bidder, whether that's current wealth or potential net income. Or maybe just the lightness of his skin will make him desirable for my family line. Either way, I am to be whatever he desires, and then I am supposed to be proud that I am not a mujer de la calle.

Well, I call bullshit.

Si las mujeres de las calles tienen mas poder sobre sus cuerpos y sus decisiones, quédense con sus casas, yo prefiero arriesgarme en las calle que sofocarme en el ataúd que muchxs llaman casa.