Comida Mexicana, Family Memories, Mireles Family History, Mi Mama Mireles, Food Anthropology,
The Lion of Serengeti or When Machismo Becomes Violent!
August 13, 2019
I was twelve years old, and the men were lined up against the street, near Lassen Market vterbally harassing me with catcalls in Spanish, “oye Chula que bonita estas” as I walked rapidly to run errands for Mi Mama en route to the grocery store or post office.
They looked at me as if I were a juicy steak instead of an innocent child.
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Initially, I cussed under my breath and red-eyed them as I called them stupid idiots since I didn’t know what else to do. In time, I said it to their faces! I know this behavior was not right, but I felt powerless and did not have the tools to defend myself. Secretly, I hated them doing this, my body would shrivel with embarrassment.
I now realize why my family was so strict about us being alone, wearing shorts or short dresses.
My father forced Mi Mama to wear long dresses made from the fabric of flour sacks. While he wore perfectly starched white shirts, which he demanded for her to have ready to wear out to the bars on Friday and Saturday nights. At first I though my father was displaying traits of machismo. And I don’t recall when the beatings began. He treated her like a second class-citizen, he silently and not so silently tortured her, she had no voice! He would cuss, call her horrible names, slap, pull her hair and beat her. Merely writing this, you can imagine the pain this still causes me, but I also know that writing is cathartic.
They were so poor Mi Mama rarely had medical attention. She walked with her head lowered; she was a defeated beaten woman.
I also recall the fear we as children lived and endured.
<dI also remember the beatings especially when he came home drunk, which was almost every week-end. Anything, would set him off, if his food was not the right temperature, if his eggs were not cooked right, or if he didn’t like his meal or meet his approval. If his clothes were not right. I recall Mi Mama was beat once when she gave my grandparents permission to take me with them on a short errand without his permission.
He was literally a walking time bomb….so full of rage, he was a lion of the Serengeti.
After my Father left, Mi Mama began to spread her wings she hung out with two Girlfriends; Teya and Estefana, they were the original Ya-Ya Sisterhood of Huron, who were instrumental in helping her. I think she was finally able to boost her confidence and eventually develop a voice. We as children also felt free and a sense of relief.
Thank You, Father
She had bad teeth and after my father left she finally had all her teeth removed and she wore false teeth, but she looked so much better, this also helped her self confidence.
Ironically or not, as she developed a voice, so did her children.
Mi Dios y Mi Mama Abrió Mi Boca Adar Me Libertad.
While researching the topic of “Machismo” I was disgusted to find that the majority of the posts dealt with women in and from Mexico or immigrated women. And not women like Mi Mama who was born here and married a man from Mexico.
<divI realize that machismo and domestic violence are not synonymous. And, two entirely different phenomenons. My interest is or has been to study the character traits of what machismo is and isn’t and when these “traits” become violent.
And, was even more disgusted to learn
“the effort got a boost on International Women’s Day, when President Enrique Peña Nieto called on Mexico “to launch a frontal assault against all expressions of machismo.” He urged the eradication of “a deeply rooted machista culture,” one that “ultimately and truly generates violence against women.”
Because President Pena has urged the eradication of machismo culture, that’s it! As
if it’s going to magically disappear. This is hilarious!
There needs to be stricter laws and jail time, there needs to be housing policies, food assistance, financial assistance, psychological assistance, and most importantly healing and empowerment and job training for women who have and are experiencing violence.
He was also asked during the interview if he knew the price of a kilo of tortillas, he responded quickly, he was not the lady of the house!
Although, this may appear as a feminist article, it’s more about human rights and treatment; specifically how Mi Mama was
mistreated and why she would allow this type of treatment. Unfortunately, this type of treatment is very prevalent against women and not exclusive to Mi Mama.
I have spent the majority of my life trying to understand the psychological causes of why Mi Mama would subject herself to this type of mistreatment, from someone who was suppose to love her and treat her as a queen. In retrospect I think, “this is the woman who “fixed your papers, you jerk!” Mi Mama gave you your freedom from Mexico and even your son, Gregorio from your Mexican marriage was born here, due to Mi Mamá fixing your papers! He would not be here if it wasn’t due to Mi Mama! He now lives here and all of his family is here!
I am finally able to understand many of Mi Mama’s behaviors; one being low self-esteem causes women to think that they’re not worthy of something better and this is caused by verbal and psychological violence.
But, many I will never be able to understand.
Why my father was so mean, frankly I don’t care to exert much energy on his issues. He had some very sick deep-rooted notions of what it was to be a man and I know he felt powerless.
And yes, he was mean to Mi Mama, I never recall him spanking us nor he being mean to me or my siblings because he would only visit us occasionally. Although, he never paid child support so this is a form of child abuse.
I was his “consentida.” I have had a love/hate relationship with him.
But, now in retrospect I think you cannot be mean to Mi Mama and not have hurt us. He most definitely did.
I am so happy that she was finally able to leave, forget him and find a voice for herself.
And just when I think it is done, and I have resolved it all. It’s not, something innocently will pop up and a slow simmer indicates I still have not resolved nor forgiven my father. I pray for me to be able to forgive my deceased father, simply put he was very sick! I see his face in those Mexican men lined across Lassen Market making catcalls.
I need to seek the Lord for strength.
I was an adult woman when I confronted my father about why he beat Mi Mama? He denied it to my face. I told him, “I saw you and remember.”
For the health of all families it is important “to transform [your] boys from immature youngsters into honest, caring men who will be respectful of women, loyal and faithful in marriage, and secure in their masculinity. And of course, the ultimate goal for people of faith is to give each child an understanding of Scripture and a lifelong passion for Jesus Christ.”
That is my prayer for my own family.
Machismo may not kill as quickly as a gunshot, but it is a silent and insidious torture.
I am perpetually creative, and my eyes “feel” art everywhere.
Who am I, I am an open book. I believe that sharing “from the heart” with one another is what connects us, heals us, and inspires us!
My love for my Lord, family, friends, cooking, crafting, gardening/nature, vintage, sewing and different cultures; these passions and too many more to list, have moved my hand to paper, thus, Abrazos y Besos.
In addition to a nudge by my baby sister, Dudies.
My last name is Hug which means Abrazo in Spanish, hence the name of my blog: “Abrazos y Besos” translating to “Hugs & Kisses.”
I will focus on our personal life journey with Mi Corazon (Augie Hug) sprinkled with love, spice and fun. Please tune in.
Philippians 4:13 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
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