A Personal Letter to My Abuela
Honduras has always been my second home. I can vividly recall the first time I stepped foot on the airport and felt a wave of ease come over me. It was also the first time I’d be meeting grandmother. How the asylum-seeking system currently works stalls my grandmother from getting the chance to visit therefore my family’s trips abroad to Honduras served one sole purpose: operation visit grandma. Her name was Angelina Reyes Posada, and she was everything you would expect a Hispanic abuela to be like. She knew no boundary when it came to personal space and would offer way too much food. Baleadas were my entry dish to Honduran cuisine. Angelina made sure everyone- beyond family- had a roof over their head and food in their belly.
I hadn’t known the cultural depths of her cooking only after this past visit. Survivability isn’t always equated to cooking but with the dichotomy of a Honduran women’s identity being directly tied with their ability to cook a mean plate of frijoles and tajadas, insensitivity aside, sexism isn’t that robust- my grandma’s livelihood existed in a complicated paradigm that took its doctrine from the patriarchy. Up until her husband’s passing, my grandfather, Angelina followed and lived by her husband's rules. Her autonomy diminishing each time he set a new mandate and she abided by it. My grandmother grew impatient of her husband’s towering role on her daily affairs, so she took it upon herself to live by her own agenda. My grandmother’s act of defiance carried the weight of millions of women before her who sat idly while their husbands chipped away at their independence. The Latino culture favors the macho (the men) versus the Mujeres, there is no sugar coating that or denying it. This isn’t a case of generalization but rather confronting the sexist culture that prevails in Honduras- one that accounts for 65% of femicide murders between 2010 and 2013; encouraging the implementation of a special unit in the Honduran government 2016 budget for femicide investigation.
My grandmother was an impeccable woman who taught me my first lesson in feminism. She defied the submissiveness and countered societal norms. She was unapologetically herself and owned it in every sense of the word. She made herself up everyday to impress the girl staring back at the mirror. She took walks to the park and beach, and had everyone for dinner. My grandma, my abue, Angelina Reyes Posada passed away three months ago on March 19th.
I will forever live according to her rulebook, one full of badassery and self-love. Rest in power, abue.