My body a dwelling between colonized and colonizer, I once carried a shame of my brownness. It was as though my whiteness wanted to purge my mother’s blood from me; I would even pray that I would wake up to find myself not only entirely white, but entirely a “real boy,” because even then, I already knew I didn’t fit in with the gender assigned to me. Contact with my Bolivian/indigenous heritage — whether that was through music, language, food, or literally touching the ground of La Paz — was crucial to undoing this mental fixation, this internalized hatred. My encountering with landscape, my reaching out to it, gave clarity to concepts still difficult to put into/retain with languages. In Mexico, the rules were different: as a child, I could ride deep into the countryside, unsupervised. I became aware of my own longing, isolation, hysterical positioning, while at the same time uncovering a new relationship with (and very disanthropocentric companion in) landscape. It was by this encountering that I found god, godness — this thing in me that was also an excess, indifferent yet total grace, this thing that embraces, hides, moves through what I am, surviving what I am, yet always dying in order to be new (its newness is ancient).

Elysia Crampton

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