Mia Rodriguez talks to Sandra T. about sleeping as self-care, sensitivity to others’ auras, her new book + representation for POC.
“Perhaps then, traditions are meant to conjure the past, connect us and create a space and dialogue with each other but also with our ghosts, possibly even our nightmares and demons, for the sake of family, community, continuity, and a sense of self.”
Latinx people’s relationship with mental illnesses has always been strained. For the people who live with these (un)diagnosed disorders, their sense of shame, embarrassment, or even denial is further heightened by the culture of intolerance they usually encounter within their respective Latin American culture. Before I begin, I want to address that it’s difficult for me to write about the often dangerous and hurtful stigma toward mental illness within the latinx community knowing that I don’t have any first-hand experience with it: I do not have a medically diagnosed mental illness nor does anyone in my family. Therefore, I question the validity of whether or not to speak out about this issue, then, especially because so much of the dialogue surrounding mental illness and stigma is often written by neurotypical, voyeuristic outsiders like me. Instead, what I hope to write about and bring to light with this essay is the air of demonization and denial toward mental illnesses in general that we are all exposed to as children and throughout our adolescence and adult life …
“”If I told you how bad you’d have it back in our country,”she says “you’d cry.” I’m already crying.”