The town of my birth knew my father’s last name. I knew my last name only as a word mispronounced by my grade school teachers. The town of my birth knew the scandals and riches of the family "Tinajero." I knew none of this. I still have trouble picturing my father. My last name, even if it was simply the word that followed my first name for me, made folklore and rumors for the people of Parrel. One side of my family history was lost with my father’s abandonment. Like a tombstone, my last name was for me without a history or story.
“Tinajero” could conjure up myths, tales and gossip for an entire Mexican region. An adult sister, who I had to introduce myself to, told me about how my grandfather caught his wife cheating on him. She had to leave the town disgraced by her acts of violence and love. Like some mysterious force, her story helped to define me. Part of the reason my father cut off his first family was do to the scars coming from this adultery. He never could fully trust my mother. I only heard this story after I turned forty. Strange how much power stories of love and violence have in shaping us.
Birth and death define us, and yet they remain beyond us. To have faith means belief in an ultimate Yes, which brings love to the present. I, as a believer, eagerly await the final Yes for my existence. I have to trust the ultimate Yes. I also have to acknowledge that it may all end with a no. Knowledge of the last no makes us human. Fear of the last no can makes us neurotic. Birth and death, Yes and No, love and violence thread our stories from end to end. The yes of my birth tells the beginning.
Love and violence have their own intimacies and stories. I gnaw on both as part of being alive. Both give birth to the context of the human condition. They form the Yes and No of life. The human narrative turns on this simply dichotomy. Birth becomes the first yes. Death converts our energy into the last no. Love affirms. Violence negates. What is hate but the desire for the other’s negation? How we negate? We can negate by blaming like Adam and Eve, or dirty the ground with blood like Cain and Abel. Either way, hate aims at destroying or dominating the other. Violence then chooses us, destroying our illusion of control. All that remains is the telling of the story, a sort of remembrance for the those who come after us.
The yes of my birth tells the beginning. (To be continued in Part 2) Part 3