I Am Her, She Is Me… by Lilian Peña

March 20, 2019

I Am Her, She Is Me… by Lilian Peña

We share this powerful experience & story by Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassador & Advisory Board Member Lilian Peña.  

Originally posted on Medium by Lilian Peña:

(Reflections from voices I heard during two 2018 trips to the Texas border with Bay Area Border Relief Team, assisting immigrant families. I had a close encounter with this woman.)

Let’s travel from the present reality which says she can’t be me, to the hypothetical past where she is me because of the countless combinations in the way souls are dealt, but by deliberate assignment. I could’ve been her. This was our journey which I didn’t have to live, but I did, since our hearts beat the same as she came closer, I felt the bold pulse of red blood in hot currents through the caves of our veins, encased in brown skin, colór de canela.

I am her, she is me, made with the last threads of ancient indigenous discernment, preserved in the mosaic stories regurgitated by our ancestors, from levels of time where our warriors hunted and we labored under the God of Sun. We are connected through the Source, the Spirit of Fire that transcends time because it never changes, it blazes an eternal flame, its rhythm entrancing while dancing with the passion burning within our souls, masked behind the desire to soar, to be simultaneously grounded, barefoot on the earth, deathly still among massive movement, planted in the comfort of humble home, mi casa.

She’s the one who got me here, we became each other, united by the persistence of survival resting on each pearl of sweat from our foreheads, of our forefathers at the foremost forefront in the fight for Freedom which called us far and away, not leading us astray, for the taste of Being is not a misguided crime, certainly not the thought that crossed our mind in the pivotal moment we took flight. Our desperation took shape as an invisible hand of resolved action, bending, pulling, dragging our will through the dirt, down the path toward its Sanctuary. Who knew? This ideal would mean finding unfounded courage to pursue it, and to leave it. An illusion in the heat, a frost in the night, nothing tangible, yet seemingly attainable, if only we could catch it by the speed of our calloused feet, even though we didn’t want to budge, we didn’t want to come. The desert wind sanded our emotions raw, when there was no place to hide, only boundaries to surpass.

With the same legs that brought us here, I now stood behind her, a shadow, watching myself, a reflection on the delicate glass through which I contemplate my own humanity, yet it’s an open window into the future, and I hear it all, absorbing the unspoken crisis, I can’t talk, the words don’t explain why I can only see what my eyes will forever convey.

She made the walk, in a skirt, nevertheless, not alone, her child in the deepest part of her heart on the warmth of her back, carried by the strength of her thighs, on the reliance of lonely soles, por la niñez.

Nowhere seemed eternally distant, flanked by arid horizons day-after-day, coping with the longing of water, the thirst for quench.

Yet, we are of the river, the one we must wade and cannot drink, breathing above it, resuscitated by the breeze, as our body flows, carried by its raging ripples, resisting its urge to submerge.

The moon our faint guide through darkened fields, a menacing spotlight depending on the moment in the road, whether it meant hiding quietly under a blanket of thorn bushes or running for our lives from wild animals, from people.

Let no sound come from the mouth of the babe now, may innocence sleep or it can mean the end. Because there’s no returning, we’d gone too far, even before we’d left. The vision had flown us to foreign lands we saw as green with hope. With our dry lips, we whisper a wish for rain on this clay we are, instead like a potter’s vase we are passed through the oven, after spinning, bronzing, hardening, cracking, unbroken, fortaleza.

We are the earth we came from, let it swallow us for rebirth, that we may return as tears for the thirsty, as wings for the weary, as Fire to light the dream.

I Am Her, She Is Me.


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