Saturday, March 10, 2012

Product of the Writer's Retreat: My Letter to Maria Teresa, a sister in the book, In The Time Of The Butterflies

Maria Teresa, I am about to have a conversation with you.  I know you are dead, but I have a lot to share and ask you about.

When reading your story, I have to tell you, there are all of these ways that you and I are alike. 

You write so tenderly in your little book everyday stating that you can't believe how advanced you are for your age. I'm often living with the same perspective because I've never lived with thinking that I'm going to be young forever. You know when someone perfectly sums up something you've been having extreme difficulty to explain? Stevie Nicks made everything seem this easy - she said "if you're into writing, and situations of life, you get a kiss of sadness in everything you do," which I strongly suffer from. Do you know what I mean?  There is never a moment of pure happiness that doesn't get an overlook into reality and worry for the future, and the moment that's decaying. Even at the happiest moments, I can't help but think about the friends that have stuck with me, the obstacles I've overcome, the loves that were true, and the moments that have either healed or traumatized me.  I have a feeling you think about this stuff a lot - am I right?

I understand what it’s like to be young and to not be taken seriously as if adults say "your brain hasn't fully developed" so you're shunned for having an opinion because you're not yet experienced. Experience doesn't have to do with how old you are. Actually experience is an age-less effect in which you use your age to an advantage to get heard. As a child our innocence is intriguing to the adult world however our common sense about wars, fights, and disputes is rather simple. There's such a contradiction of when adults listen to us and when they tune us out. We see there is something wrong with the way we're living even before we know the history of the problem. If the solution is so easy to conclude why are we still debating about it? You did this when you were a kid.  You knew what Trujillo was doing was wrong when you were just a kid.  You had a gut feeling about it, just like I do in my life all the time.

And so I continue to live my 17 years of life experience with curiosity and fascination as if I'm experiencing everything new, and the 17 years never passed.  You were curious too, and you just kept asking questions even when you knew the right answers.

I once read out load in front of the class that we've been dying since we were living - everyone laughed, and I received my assignment with my teacher writing on it "this isn't true." How is it not - we are constantly dying while we're living, isn't that rather strange thing to think about? And what happens is we have Lana Del Rey come out and sing "Born to die" and everyone calls her deep and a genius.

As if we need to be an authority to receive approval from an audience. That’s our flaws as humans - we don't listen to people amongst us who are "no one’s" in the public eye just like no one listened to you and some still want to ignore what I say. Ignorance isn't bliss - it's just that ignorance. But "regular folks" are the most honest because no one's watching them, so they don't have anything, or anyone to represent or live for. Why is that? Why can't we open our ears and listen to the people without an agenda? The ones that aren't getting paid to say things and the ones that have an indescribable awareness for social justice just like we had. It's no longer common sense that does the talking, its rip able greedy money. It's eating away our emotions.

Lobbyists and campaigns don't exist for regular people, so why are we taking part in a corruptive system? Wouldn't you say the same Maria? It hurts me knowing how many things Trujillo got away with because of his rank, and profit.

What if scientists, and philosophers stopped thinking because they were comfortable - because they were outnumbered by people telling them that the answers have been found, that the system has been produced. What if they stood by the side lines? Where would the challenge be?

Now, can I ask you some questions about life that I have been having?  You might have the answers.

I cry while watching old people, I grow depressed when listening to calmer music; I debate against myself after reading my diary entries. Something about growing up and being older is depressing.  Knowing that I want to do all of these things, but my body physically won't let me do everything when I am older and it becomes harder to move around.  Maria, what did it feel like to die when you only lived half of your life? Are you proud of your diary entries? Do you wish your life story remained private or was told so you can become the "known Maria?" How does it feel knowing that you're respected today? That you left your legacy behind? Are you the type of humanist that wishes to remain anonymous for your actions without applause or did you want your story to be told to keep it alive? What happens when you become an adult and enter into the world of no teen angst, or frustrations? To me being stable is unstable because life is constantly changing and it should be a flaw to be content.

It's hard to fight for a cause knowing that arguing won't get anywhere. As women we need to stay strong together

What if your family didn't support your soul with all its doubts, insecurities and dreams? Should you live loyally for your family although it’s not a mutual friendship with your morals? What’s a personality trait you wish you had, but somehow seems impossible to gain - how about standing up for yourself? That’s something I'm still trying to learn. How can you be nice but still stand tall for your convictions? Mother Teresa says "building something can take all night, and the next day someone could destroy it, but build anyway." I'm constantly trying to build anyway, and to be thoughtful anyway, even to people who don't deserve my hello. Why do I strongly stay the same positive, uplifting person towards everyone even after I've been wronged by someone? Because I believe in hurt. I believe that although people are a majority, it doesn't mean they're right. It just means they have a bigger audience to work with. Last year I ran for President in my high school and a boy told me that I can't be president because I'm a girl, but I proved him wrong. He continued cutting classes, while I continued taking classes and I broke the cycle of being intimidated by men and being seen as the 2nd citizen in mind. "All men were created equal?" I don't believe so-"all humans are created equal!" 

This is the last thing I want to say to you, Maria Teresa:

Maria, don't ever let someone tell you you're not worth something. Don't just say so, do so. Take a stand for the respect you deserve, and the opinions you're voiced so powerfully from your lower register. Protest. Write. Ask. Participate in life, and don't let the majority rule you down. Stay strongly planted like a 200 year old tree with unbreakable endless roots. Plant your seed of magic into the world and rise-open yourself like a lotus flower. Your gut feeling is authentic - listen to it.


  1. Bravo, Nova!
    Fiery, forceful and TRUE!

  2. Nova, i LOVE your writing! It's so inspiring!

  3. Nova, you are so BEAUTIFUL.