white women with box braids is truly the ugliest look of the season
Pretty early on Mami decided that watching TV was beneficial; you could learn the language from it. She saw our young minds as bright, spiky sunflowers in need of light, and arranged us as close to the TV as possible to maximize our exposure. We watched the news, sitcoms, cartoons, Tarzan, Flash Gordon, Johnny Quest, The Herculoids, Sesame Street—eight, nine hours of TV a day, but it was Sesame Street that gave us our best lessons. Each word my brother and I learned we passed between ourselves, repeating over and over, and when Mami asked us to show her how to say it, we shook our heads and said, Don’t worry about it.
Just tell me, she said, and when we pronounced the words slowly, forming huge, lazy soap bubbles of sound, she never could duplicate them. Her lips seemed to tug apart even the simplest vowels. That sounds horrible, I said.
What do you know about English? she asked.
At dinner she’d try her English out on Papi, but he just poked at his pernil, which was not my mother’s best dish.
I can’t understand a word you’re saying, he said finally. It’s best if I take care of the English."
— junot diaz, “invierno,” this is how you lose her. a lot about the way he writes yunior’s mother, her loneliness, her sorrow, her love, her misery, really breaks me. this isn’t the worst thing that happens to her, in this book and certainly not if you’ve read drown, but there’s something about the subdued delicateness of this, her hope and quiet determination — later he talks of seeing her trying to mouth along with the tv — and the way her children put it down in the unthinking way of little kids, the way her husband shatters it, saying “the average woman can’t master English,” and how hard it is, also, yes, to learn a new language as an adult, by watching tv. she gives so much, and tries so hard, and suffers so quietly, and gets so little, so rarely. she’s part of the reason i don’t have an issue with diaz’s women — because the amount of humanity and history he endows her with, the empathy he extends to her, is so real and raw and painful, even when she’s on the periphery of the story, that you feel you are seeing her, a real person, not a construction. (via isabelthespy)
(beyonce voice) this is so crazy