Archive for the ‘Women don’t Cry’ Category

Or the lack of it…


Gravity is technically a force. Actually the most powerful force in the universe, holding planets and stars on course. The reason why they connect gravity with seriousness, in crimes, it’s because there is also gravity in intention. With purpose a route is set, a path that can be walked step by step, toward a core that draws us, preventing us from hesitating, from taking a turn, from thinking it twice, from floating away. Indecisiveness is like floating away, when the core has lost strength, or when the core is there no more.

tree rootsI have done my backpack, and then undone it again. Feeling that your backpack stares back at you is a good sign of floating. Just floating. Not even away. Then I discover: that´s why plants have roots.

Without purpose, the way to stay on the ground is having roots. Or at least an anchor that ties you to the port, while the moment comes to sail away. Sail to another destiny, to another harbor, or simply to a shipwreck.

woman triggeredThere’s gravity on projects, and a migrant tends to take a path following a project. The project could be survival, or love, or change. But what happens once we are passed survival and we are supposed to be living, or change turned into habit? Then there’s the unbearable lightness of being. Then there are no roots, and without roots, anchor or a strong intention, there’s only floating.

Say, moving to a new country, or a new city, it’s like meeting new people. It’s awesome. It’s being in a mission, if for survival or success doesn’t really matter. All focus is placed on a goal, on a core. It’s aiming at a heart, or running away from the shot. That’s danger: anticipation. then there’s the peace that comes right after the bomb exploded, the shot was taken… When we either hit target or dodged the bullet. When danger is past, time freezes. Or rather, there’s only time. With much time, indecisiveness.

There’s something special to the feeling of meeting an old friend. There’s gravity in old friendship. There’s memory, a recognition of who you are in who you were. Gravity is continuity.

Re-Cognize. Someone remembers you from another time, another place. That’s a proof that you exist, you’re not a figment of your own imagination. It is also evidence that you were able enough to remain in someone’s mind. There must be some worth in that.


A friend told me once that I had developed a dangerous addiction to changes. Another friend had told me later that lack of gravity is what exile is. I hadn’t connected both till now.


El risco

Posted: April 1, 2014 by jennroig in Fiction, Spanish, Women don't Cry
Tags: , , , ,

cliffNinguna de las dos recuerda la última vez que estuvo allí, al borde del risco. Varios metros más abajo el mar se ve calmo, profundo.

La costa en esa parte es una pared de roca, que se sumerge en el mar muchos metros antes de unirse con el fondo.

Ambas saben que la madre venía a menudo, sin decirle a nadie. Sofía lo sabe porque la vio aquella vez. Nadia lo sabe porque Sofía se lo dijo.

Aquella vez Sofía se quedó oculta detrás, entre los arbustos. Woman-LookingOutToSeaEsperó mucho, sin que Rosalía, la madre, hiciera nada más que estar sentada con las rodillas abrazadas al borde del risco. Sofía le veía la espalda derecha y el pelo enredándose en el viento. No podía saber si Rosalía miraba algún barco, si miraba las nubes, si quería quedarse ciega mirando fijo al sol. De pronto la vio de pie. De pronto la vio saltar. No pudo verla volar. Sofía no gritó aquella vez. Se tragó el susto y con la boca tapada se acercó al borde. No vio nada, sólo el agua tranquila, de un azul tan oscuro que casi se volvía negro. Sofía y Nadia tenían doce por entonces, pocos días después las dos ya eran señoritas.

Nadia sí recuerda el momento exacto cuando llegaron a la casa a traer la noticia de que el cuerpo de Rosalía no se encontraba y que la búsqueda iba a parar. Pero eso fue después del ciclón. Rosalía corrió lejos de la casa, lejos del faro, cuando la ventolera empezaba a ponerse más fuerte. Nadia quiso correr detrás pero su padre la agarró. Y luego no intentó más, porque vio a Sofía sentarse en las escaleras del faro quieta, serena, con lágrimas botándose de los ojos. Lo único que encontraron de Rosalía fueron las ropas tiradas a metros de ese mismo borde, sucias y mojadas, enredadas entre las rocas y los matojos. El viento pudo traerlas. O quizás Rosalía las dejó ahí.

Las dos llevan rato sentadas, con las rodillas abrazadas, sin mirarse ni hablarse, al borde del risco. Sofía se levanta primero. Nadia la ve quitarse la blusa, y luego zafarse el pantalón. Sabe lo que va a ser su hermana. No en balde llegaron a este mundo casi al mismo tiempo. Y de una se pone de pie y comienza a desnudarse también. Saltar no puede ser peligroso. Puede doler, pero no va a ser mortal porque Sofía la vio saltar a Rosalía aquella vez. Y ese mismo día Rosalía llegó a casa más tarde. Y sonreía, y cocinó y cantó. Y las tres fueron felices hasta que el padre llegó…

Sofía salta antes. Nadia un segundo después. Por un instante comparten el éter, el espacio sin nada encima o debajo. Puro tiempo presente sin memoria o mañana.

It happened today at midday. I was talking about possible job opportunities in my field, in this part of the world, and I heard that same question… once again. What’s your plan? Where do you want to go? What do you feel passionate about? What do you see yourself doing in 5 or 10 years?

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890, Van Gogh

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890, Van Gogh

Those questions keep popping along the way, and I keep freaking out because I either find myself lying, pretending to be a different persona, or showing to the other person the “seemingly” scary fact that I don’t think my life in those terms. At least I don’t do so anymore.

And I mean it, in every possible way… It’s about vocation, career, family, geography… I’m thinking now, how does this person I was talking to earlier see me right now? How unusual is it to find people who haven’t come up with a detailed goal for their future? “If you don’t have a goal, then you can’t create a strategy and you will find out years from now that you wasted your time”. That’s what I keep listening. I’m getting scared it might be true, and still I can’t find inside -in my “gut”, in my “heart”, in my “soul”- the answer to that question.

I guess, maybe it is so because those answers have never worked out for me… I remember at some point when I was a little girl, I wanted to become a ballet dancer like Alicia Alonso. That could have been a great dream to pursue in Cuba, where there’s real access to fantastic Arts schools for elementary students, but it wasn’t realistic for me. My body wasn’t built that way. In order to accomplish a dream, you need more than desire, you need attitude, skills, talent, you even need the right body shape. You must show some qualities you gotta be born with. I also remember I wanted to become an astronaut. That didn’t go far for obvious reasons…

By the time I was 15, I had made up my mind that I would go to the University of Havana to study Journalism. That’s quite a challenge in Cuba, if you consider the odds of actually achieving that. I managed. And once you are inside the uni, the rest is easy. You don’t need any special skills or a super talent to graduate. The classic writing skills, curiosity, love for literature and a certain inclination to public service should be enough.

At Eternity's Gate, Van Gogh

At Eternity’s Gate, Van Gogh

But then life happens. You find yourself in a country with little to no actual opportunities to make a living, to evolve as professional or human. Then you gotta find a way to go… go some place, anywhere. I went inside myself first. I managed to get accepted as screenwriting student at the EICTV, where I found everything and nothing. I found everlasting friends, I found love and hate, I learned about myself, my potentialities, weaknesses, strengths, wishes… I got rid of prejudices and fears. I got introduced to a powerful and wonderful world of telling stories with images, beautiful and emotional images and stories… I cherish every minute of those three years. But that period had to be over, and the way I found to move on was going to Europe to enroll in a master program: the Erasmus Mundus Master Journalism within Globalization, European Perspective, as it used to be called.

And I didn’t go there because I specifically worked for it and I aimed at that particular opportunity and I succeeded… It wasn’t like that, I applied to bunch of programs and I was only picked by that one. Indeed, I was super was lucky it was a great program, but I didn’t visualized myself there. I just wanted to runaway from Havana, from my future in Cuba.

Later when I was in Germany, finishing my research thesis and about to run out of the scholarship money and my student visa about to expire, I was desperate again. I needed to run again to any place in this world where I could go, where I could fit. That’s how I got to Chile. Once more it was about knocking a thousand doors and going through the first one, and only one, that actually opened for me. See the trend here? It’s about taking opportunities, it’s about being aware and observant and willing to turn right or left if necessary.

I’m 32, I’ve been in the USA for more than a year, and I already have the work permit. I need a job. When I’ll get the job, then I will be able to think in terms of a career. Or not. Or something will happen again and everything will change. Maybe the poles melt, Florida sinks, and we all need to runaway again. Maybe I fall in love and get pregnant and mutate into a loving suburban housewife -that’s so not likely, but still… I can’t have a plan if I deeply believe that I need to remain open to changes, and opportunities and possibilities. I tend to think that if one gets very focused on just one way, a beautiful world and great landscapes will pass by and no one will notice. Sometimes I find myself thinking in those remote, isolated places, where I’ve seen the most beautiful sunsets or beaches or trees or abandoned ruins, for a moment, and then have to go… Those places are still there, if you don’t look around to find them, do they exist at all? Would it be my loss instead?

Can someone tell me the words, the right words to answer that question? No one can do that job for me.

However, I am not sure if that question needs to be answered at all. What if we are just different from one another and some of us won’t ever live according a schedule or strategy? I have traveled. I have met people in different countries and I have friends all over. I know I’m not alone in this. And I know that having born as a Cuban doesn’t help, but it doesn’t matter who you are or where were you born, I’m not the only one hitting my 30s and still feeling I’m living without a plan.

The Math of December

Posted: December 8, 2013 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous, Women don't Cry
Tags: , , ,

68870I’ve never liked December, way too much fuzz for me. It brings what I loath and fear, it drives people to shopping sprees, it leads to crazy spikes in energy consumption because of all the lights and Christmas trees, it fuels by the way the nonsense rhetoric of “war on Christmas”, and I can’t avoid making math in my head, balancing where I’m standing against where I think I should be. It brings memories too. Tell me about something more paralyzing at times than memories. Memories and Hope.

Remember Pandora’s box? That box contained all the pains and evils of this world and Hope was at the bottom. Only Hope could be that powerful, strong enough to hang in there, to hold the weight of every other misery.  When I was a child, adults sold me a misleading interpretation of the myth. People told me that Hope was the cure, the antidote for the evils. That interpretation is wrong. Any respected scholar will tell that Greeks identify Hope with a negative feeling, a deceitful one when led humans to believe that things could be under their control.

2013 has been an ugly year for me. I have mourned the death of strangers and close friends. Aaron Swartz killed himself in his Brooklin flat. Ying took her life jumping from a building in Beijing. This year I am a estranged daughter. I’m also missing the answers from a lover who vanished into thin air dragged by his own ghosts. I’ve lost work opportunities. I’ve been crippled, unable to move on at so many levels and hiding from the loved ones because I don’t want them to see. Out there people  may have gotten married and traveled and started new jobs and contemplated the universe from space. But here everything has been tiny and time has run so slow. This December my maths should be horrible.

And then this year 2013, Nelson Mandela died on December 5th. He was 95 and sick, so no shock in his death. I would have liked to be Mandela’s friend. He was a man of missing meanings. Married three times, shady friends like Castro and Gaddafi, but the inspiration against Apartheid, the icon, the living evidence that sometimes impossible tasks are within humans’ hands.

For some reason, even though my December’s maths do suck, the fear I loath doesn’t bite me yet. This time I’m finding some secret pleasure in the fact that the year is actually ending. A new chapter could be open with the new year, a cycle could be closed. And I know Hope is there, waiting at the end, at the bottom, to make believe. And that’s what “it’s in the nature” means I guess, believing once more that things could turn just fine this time.

Running away

Posted: October 16, 2013 by jennroig in English, Fiction, Miscellaneous, Women don't Cry
Tags: , ,
Original painting by ourhouseabstractart

Original painting by ourhouseabstractart

It’s halloween time and deads come to my life. The cross hanging on the front gate has no power.

I’m losing my dream during nights and my heart pounds faster during days. I’m trying hard to run away. I go offline and my phone rings, I turn my phone off and there’s a knocking on my door. I lock the door and then I hear whispers coming from nowhere.

Whispers from my memory, from my estranged father and my nostalgic mother. Whispers from past lovers and fading friends. A cry of a baby that I may never have. Screams from a homeland that I detest.

It’s been almost a year since I got into this land. It feels so strongly that I should be heading some place else right now. But I stay.

Shhhh… Shut it down.

Persistent dream

Posted: July 10, 2013 by jennroig in English, Fiction, Women don't Cry
Tags: ,

I can see you, dressed in white, not a bride’s white, but still with a long tail floating behind you. You don’t walk, you float. It’s a persistent dream. And it’s snowing. It’s snowing in Old Havana.

womanI have also a persistent dream. I’m in a boat, a ferry perhaps. I’m out on the deck, watching the coast line getting smaller. It’s snowing and the sky seems gray, but I’m definitely not in Havana, so it must be someplace else, some foreign northern sea. There’s a guy that comes out to smoke a cigarette, he’s a stranger. I notice him, I like him. He notices me, but he just keeps smoking, and I look away.

grayI’ve always been unable to take initiative.

He remains next to me a long while, even after he finishes smoking the cigarette. We are alone, without words.

I always wake up when he finally decides to come closer.


I was in Italy once when I took a bus that would drive me to a train station. That guy from my dreams jumped in right after me. I stared and he noticed it. He came closer and asked me the hour. He was a Czech, but spoke perfect Italian. So I answered in my not so perfect English. He was a medicine student, and he also wanted to become a pediatrician. Old ladies in the bus were amused to see us communicating in two different languages. He told me his name, but I can’t remember.

I had to get down at the station, he kept his journey downtown.

I stopped dreaming about that boat, on that far northern sea. I have no other persistent dream. And I miss it.

_58260095_painted_faces-5_cjenniferpattisonPuedes decir lo que quieras pero me vas a extrañar.

Ella lo hizo sonar como comentario dicho al azar, pero incluso entonces supe que era una sentencia rotunda. La miré y lo vi en sus ojos. La conocía demasiado.

Fue entonces. No sé si ella me condenó a mí, si la condené yo a ella o nos condenamos juntas. Sí sé que mi viaje a México, aquella despedida, fue sólo un pretexto para romper lo que fuera que teníamos.

Hubiera querido amarla a su manera. Allí estaba a mi lado, con su cabeza en la almohada y los rizos oscuros tan suaves, más hermosa que nunca. Pero yo no la podía mirar como ella quería que la mirara. Si hubo un momento en que quise tener lo que sea que hace que una mujer guste de otra, fue ese, pero no lo tenía. Por eso le clavé el dardo, el más afilado.

Sabes que yo no extraño a nadie.


Mi padre se fue, luego del divorcio.

Mi tía emigró durante la gran crisis.

Mis amigos fueron oscilantes, eventuales, que se fueron con distintos destinos: Miami, New Jersey, Madrid, Lima, Hamburgo.

B se fue, luego de decirme que necesitaba amar, y no había logrado amarme a mí.

Yo también me fui. Me he marchado varias veces, me he despedido hasta de mí misma. Entonces es cuando cierro las ventanas y las puertas y mudo la piel. El cambio de piel me convierte en otra, una nueva para estrenar en otro escenario.

Me vas a extrañar. Extrañar. Muchos piensan que con mudar tanto la piel se pierde la sensibilidad y por eso deja de doler. No es eso. Es que uno sabe que el dolor termina, que se sobrevive el dolor. Es eso.

96369668Acompáñame al cine, ponen Nueces para el amor. Le pedí a B una tarde.

Pero ya la vi.

¡Por favor, por favor! Le he preguntado a todo el mundo. Eres mi última oportunidad, no quiero ir sola.

Está bien. Iré contigo. Pero te voy a seducir.

En la historia una pareja se conoce y se ama, se despide y se rompe el corazón, varias veces a través de los años. Un amor fracasado, persistentemente frustrante. Mal auspicio.

No quiero un amor así, dije. Aunque no creo que sepa amar de esa forma.

¿De dónde sacas eso? Amar es siempre lo mismo.

Mi punto era que nuestra generación había perdido una fibra sensible en algún recodo del camino. Pero B resultó tener razón y yo fui la equivocada.

7027023-sad-woman-with-bag-going-into-the-sea-black-and-white-photo-grain-and-distortion-added-for-conceptLuego llegó otra tarde, fuera de la ciudad y tendidos en la arena frente al mar. Me pidió que no me fuera.

-Adónde quieres que vaya, estamos a mitad de ninguna parte.

Te estoy pidiendo que te quedes conmigo. Mañana, y pasado mañana.

No respondí. Siempre la necesidad de escapar. Me fui de su lado y me sumergí en el agua para limpiarme la arena. Nadé hacia lo profundo, hasta donde él no me seguiría porque temía a lo hondo. Tomé aire y me sumergí. Cuando volví a la superficie, B se había ido. Las despedidas son la antesala de la marcha. A no ser que sea una huida.


ii66g0nlHan pasado años desde que fui a México. Desde entonces he vivido en Hamburgo, Madrid, Lima, Miami. He vuelto a mi vieja cama, y ella vuelve a estar tendida a mi lado. Tiene el pelo mucho más largo, y es el único cambio perceptible. Es una mujer sin edad. Me está hablando, pero no la entiendo. Escucho los sonidos, y me esfuerzo en vano por conectar en mi cerebro el sentido de sus palabras. Pero estoy tan lejos que bien podría estar echada en cualquier otra cama al otro lado del mundo.

La peor parte de la partida es el regreso. Porque no existe. Es imposible volver a ninguna parte, luego de que el tiempo lo cambia todo y a todos. Por eso el regreso es el territorio de la nostalgia.

Pero eso nadie lo sabe al irse, eso se aprende después.