I don’t know about you but I know my third-world female line loves me by the prayers they send out into the universe for me. When I think of strong women I think about the women in my life. I think about them praying for me and doing the best they could by me and me family life before and after me.
Growing up poor and being a brown Latina, means that family connections have a lot to do with community support. It also means that family connections, inheritances, trust funds, and even just access to spaces and places that will financially and personally introduce us to newer opportunities and bigger platforms ß this does not exist. These open doors do not exist for us, rather we find ourselves in front of a lot of doors that have been slammed shut. That is why the women in my family pray.
Graduating high school was a feat, and a struggle. Getting into college was so hard, because applications are not meant for immigrants with Spanish/foreign language speaking parents to help maneuver through. Graduate school, as a first generation, was also terrible to apply to and understand. Once inside I almost failed in my first semester because I was always catching up and trying to keep up due to the obstacles of racism, classism, and sexism. This is where my mami’s prayers came in.
Growing up, people do not believe in people like me because I was never the smart student ever, no one pushed me to be better because little was expected from girls like me, no one cheered for me because it was always a surprise that I didn’t drown. My mami’s prayers are all I had – because when my own family was not sure about what I was trying to achieve, my mami never stopped praying for my protection and for some guidance.
I’ve never wanted a seat at the table, I am used to sitting at another table built with the tears and sweat of WOC, who were never considered “good enough,” “smart enough,” “white enough.” I sat at another table built by the prayers of my mami, my tia, and my abuelas.
I don’t necessarily believe in the institution of the church, and I don’t live the life that would reflect one of purity within mainstream Christianity. But I pray because prayer is not something reserved for those who adhere to some theologians notion of purity and sinlessness, rather prayer is my herencia – my inheritance. Prayer is how I understand that systematic oppression is real but my soul needs healing – so I pray for guidance and pray for healing.
The women in my family line pray, and they are fuckin great at it. They hold hands. They bless the younger generations. The place hands on us, because this world is meant to keep women down, especially poor women, brown women, women of color. And when I’ve done everything I could physically do to mediate and manage something, and still I haven’t succeeded: I pray. I pray because I don’t know about you but I know my third-world female line loves me by the prayers they send out into the universe for me, so I practice what I was taught and I hope to make them proud.