sun room (1998-2015)

by Doriana Diaz

when you walk into the house it’s the last door on the right at the end of the long hallway.

past the bathroom. 4ft beyond the basement door. if you get to the closet, you have gone too far.

the window is at the center of the room. spans the entirety of the wall. it always smelled like eucalyptus oil. the window overlooks the garden. strew with patches of zinnias and sunflowers.


 

I.

the sunroom was

                                                                                                                 my fortress.

it was held together by her backbone.

every visit I burst through the door and ran to the room.

she sat me on her thighs with a precious splendor.

                                                                                                                 we spent hours kissing the sun.

it exploded in a spectrum and stained my eyes with wonder.

she was the reason,

                                                                                                                 for such

                                                                                                                 great wonder.

she cradled my spine as we wrote short stories

about baby girls

                                                                                                                  harvesting yucca roots

                                                                                                                  on lake managua.


 

II.

the sunroom was

                                                                                                                  the first place I learned how to

                                                                                                                  speak with my eyes.

I watched her through the window

talking to her garden in a language only she and the soil understood.



 

III.

the sunroom was

                                                                                                                 the only room my mama

                                                                                                                 and I seemed to be able to

                                                                                                                 love each other.

the three of us.

mama, mama and daughter.

the passing of the bones.

the endurance of the flesh

spanning decades.

lifetimes spun again and again.

                                                                                                                 we all fell in love in the sun room.

met each other at the fingernails.

                                                                                                                 kissed the sweat.

                                                                                                                 tasted the tears.

the neglect was undone

it washed off our foreheads

and we sang inside each other’s mouths.

sun room (2017-present)

when you walk into the house it’s the last door on the right at the end of the long hallway.

past the bathroom. 4ft beyond the basement door. if you get to the closet, you have gone too far.

the window is at the center of the room. spans the entirety of the wall. it reeks of rotting body fluids floating until they decimate and settle. the window overlooks the garden. strew with patches of perishing zinnias and sunflowers.


 

I.

the sunroom is

no longer

                                                                                                                  my fortress.

my toes don’t run to that room anymore.

I walk through the door

roaming around the floorboards -

                                                                                                                  avoiding.

sniffing for eucalyptus oil.

strip searching the cushions for lost pages of the

                                                                                                                  stories we wrote.

I do everything to try not to remember

the time in between the explosions of wonder

                                                                                                                  and the disappearance.

                                                                                                                  it is tormenting.


 

II.

the sun room is

                                                                                                                  contaminated

from unscrubbed blood clots and diseased skin particles.

you have to shine a light to see it.

every drop of her sweet juice has been replaced.

                                                                                                                  the next victim has taken over.



 

III.

the sunroom is

                                                                                                                  a reminder

that once something is taken from you.

it is never the same afterward.

at the peak of your skull

you can only remember the ugly

I can’t reminisce.

                                                                                                                  she would want me to.

                                                                                                                  I’m sorry.

                                                                                                                  I’m trying.

please forgive me.

in conversation with Doriana Diaz pertaining to The Women That Raise Us:

 

 

"...We must move against not only those forces which dehumanize us from the outside, but also against those oppressive values which we have been forced to take into ourselves.” - Audre Lorde. Through experience, this concept has seemed to flow into our relationships with ourselves and our relationships with others, potentially, creating barriers and preventing us from building, supporting, and lifting one another. how can we transcend this construct?

I agree with the statement for a number of reasons. I think that our exterior reinforces our interior and vice versa, part of our life's work is cleansing ourselves from the oppressive forces outside of ourselves as well as inside of ourselves. We must be brave enough to take a look at ourselves, not the surface self, but the deep core of who we are, without judgment. Moving with those forces which dehumanize us requires us to be vulnerable and tender with ourselves. Something I have realized through the process of this statement is realizing that I am tender and I am damaged, and admitting you're damaged is the first step towards liberation of the oppression. We might be damaged for a variety of reasons, we might be broken for, various circumstances, but that is where we access our power, it is not weakness admitting those things to yourself. That’s is the cure.

 

 

"We must be brave enough to take a look at ourselves, not the surface self, but the deep core of who we are, without judgment."

The Women that Raise Us aims to exemplify the variations of women that raise and influence us, directly and indirectly, acknowledging every connection, whether ancestral or distant. Who are the women that have shaped you or raised you? Who are the women that continue to do so?​


My grandmother has been a light force for me in my life. She has helped to shape me, she has influenced my love, my light and my inspiration. When she passed away I felt a huge transfer of energy. I felt a desire to be the women she knew I could be and the woman she would be proud of. She had always been proud of me, but I knew that she was living through me, I am a vessel of her.

Do you consider "negative" and "positive" relationships and experiences with women as a contribution to your growth? Do you consider friends, inspirations, fallen relationships or even the everyday encounters as a contribution to your current self?

 

Yes, I consider every single encounter in my life a contribution to my current self, what happens within our lives shape who we are. My connections and interactions with women in my life are very important to me. I am the most inspired and empowered by women, particularly women of color. I think that that experience is unique.

I think that negative experiences influence my character and identity a huge amount. I learn the most from mistakes or from pain, I learn how to continue the life long journey of loving myself unapologetically. I also am very intentional about the women that I surround myself with. All of the women I keep in my circle are powerful forces of nature.

In what ways can we, as a community, release the stereotypical negative perspectives and ideas of women of color and their roles? How can we transcend these constructs and deepen the interpersonal / intrapersonal relationships with women of color?


I think that sisterhood and building sustainable relationships and connections with women like you is a crucial aspect of breaking down stereotypical perspectives and ideas of women of color and their roles.

Find people that share your experience and expand your circle of women who don’t. I am very intentional about making my circle as intersectional as possible. We transcend these constructs every single day by purely existing in the world. We cannot be touched. We must know our worth, we must reclaim our value through creating spaces within our communities to heal and continue to create and cultivate the magic that flows through us.

"We transcend these constructs every single day by purely existing in the world. We cannot be touched."

How can we lift each other, while we still climb as individuals? How can this become an ongoing practice?


We can lift one another by being supports in each other's lives, checking in on one another and making sure that we have a strong system of love and kindness. We can create a love ethic like Bell Hook’s writes about in her novel All about Love. We must utilize the tools given to us. We know how to love one another. As we love one another we will begin to grow and climb as individuals because we know that we have something we can fall back onto, we know that we have one another.

Doriana Diaz: "I am a poet and a female creative based in Philadelphia PA. I have always written to release myself from pain. I am a Women’s Studies major at Temple University. I am a Afro-Latina and have a strong and undying love for sisterhood and womanhood and the strength and softness both things contain."

SYLA STUDIO.
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