Department of Theater, Dance,
and Performance Studies
SHAME OR PERSONAL BEDFRAME
by Janely Gomez 11.18
November 2018; Class Instructions: “ Most of you are examining the effects of various
apocalyptic traditions in relation to climate change, migration and the border, Native American
land and cultural rights, knowledge production through science, art, and technologies, and
messaging through popular film and media.” - Theatre 121, Professor Marino.
November 2018; 1 Students Interpretation and Application : Most of you are
experiencing the effects of various apocalyptic traditions in relation to climate doom, a wall
wanting to be built on stolen land. Native alterity and violation/genocide of peoples rights,
watered down versions of knowledge and use of fear to highlight the betterness of “dominant”
culture's’ ideals through; Science, Art, Technologies, and Films or Media. Productions (staged
samples) are constantly repeating to ensure dominant ideals govern the atmosphere, and shape
the society we live in through planned miseducation.
I spent all of my High School years, sleeping in the living room of a packed two-bedroom apartment. I shared this space with my aunt, uncle, and my mother. In an already packed apartment in total 11;
Darkness was seldom, uncertainty guaranteed, but curiosity and imagination limitless. I would stay up until 3 A.M. on most school days. Our home was at its quietest during this time before my aunt and uncle, an honorable example to my tired being would rise tired, too. For work they would go in hopes of bringing us forward. Work was sorting through the items we once valued and thought important, until they were picked up to land at Waste Management, the capital of trash, is this the Promise Land for all ?
My elders are a walking denunciation of the ICM explained through Pagans in the promised Land. Ideas that people of my origin do not amount to much, are not intellectually capable and by nature cannot endure apocalyptic times. My family triumphed, motivated by the determination of my elders to continue contributing to the culture of honest work, humility, and intelligence- I wrote, I read, I learned of cultures different to my own reality. I faithfully and enthusiastically engaged with the work “meant” to provide me opportunity, liberation, etc. What I have been forced to learn, instead, is how to celebrate the dominant culture and its ideals. Resulting in the apocalypse of my natural being to advance and comply with the system which denounced my family, myself, and our importance time and time again.
Dominant Culture and Judeo Christianity justify exclusion, denial, and elimination
reflected in the explanation that follows. Newcomb states, “From the conqueror’s own
perspective, he considers himself to have the right to subdue and to dominate, which includes the
right to locate, conquer, possess, and occupy distant lands in the sense of a military and colonial
occupation (73).” It is evident in this quote that Westernized thinking will do anything to remain
the recognized ICM, without any remorse these ideals will continue to be pushed. If these ideals
are at the forefront of society, I must recognize that it is on the blood and backs of Natives and
all people othered by Judeo-Christianity and Westernized thinking, along with all those harmly
miseducated within this toxically trained society.
I could personally mold myself to fit into the cultural categories already established for
me; Woman, Latinx, Young Adult, Daughter, Religious. Yet, I choose to not give importance to
these names. I am made of clay, able to mold and be molded, none and in many different ways.
A chameleon shape, bowl to carry weight, knife to eat and survive from prey. I am forever
changing and do not see boundaries in what I can participate in or not, I am a diver into the all.
My cultural experience is of a human who loves adventure, thinking, communicating,
interacting, diving into passionate and complex, multifaceted ideas, traditions, and actions.
Culture is a combination of all, to label one experience would be an insult to the life of the
I continue by critiquing this quote on the left. It offers us such glory. It promises
that hard work will pay off by some divine order if you work for the Lord.
Although it suggests that work for human masters is secondary, the idea of who is Lord and who is a Human Master are blurred, such that work itself fills in the ambiguity. I believe in a higher power. But the dismissal of one’s natural needs means that the deferral to salvation is internalized on a corporal level. This story is also about my mother. Let me recall the moment for you. You saw the
picture. I showed you the picture where we live. There are 4 of us in the living room. She is coming to the floor. She is not on a bed frame. I see my mom who worked two days straight; 48 hours with no regard for her body, working to the point of death. Sleep can not be recovered. The damage done to the body is not a reimbursed expense.
Yet she worked for two days straight because what you work for is so important that you
are willing to die for it. But what is that belief? I think for her its that we are going to arrive at
this moment when it will not all seem so hard. You have to continue to take mistreatment or
denial of who you are, and that she believes in the Bible and she believes in this Christ and He
will come and He will reward. In Revelations 22:12 it states, “Behold I come quickly; and my
reward is with me, to render to every, man according to his works(48).” This belief becomes
embodied — but what will that reward be for you after two days of work? How is it going to
appear in your life? Is it what you are anticipating when you get to the point to enjoy? Its
harmful to live in anticipation. You are stuck. You are always waiting for this moment of
salvation. A salvation from my reality, the reality I must endure because dominant society has
othered me, divided and compartmentalized me into a culture, attached to ideas of where I come
from and how I am thought to be. These beliefs are so strong they become physical
manifestations, hurtful manifestations because the dominant at all costs believes in its worth
over mine-- it does not see me as equal, it does not think of me compassionately, my existence if
it were up to them would not exist. Dante states, “Beyond this present ill and worse to dread,
lead me to Peter’s gate and be my guide through the halls of Hell” (55). I am a harm, a vibrant
truth, and a living depiction of all the ugliness that has tried to plague me and my people, a
reminder that we have survived, and a strong reminder of all that has been othered in order to be
erased-- Yet, still we rise, alive we still are. Hell does not only exist in the mind when the society
you reside in believes you are the harm.
Although, communities including me continue to be plagued with apocalyptic traditions,
and a constant narrative of subdual and of owings to a master, this narrative is not new yet
equally toxic and murderous as it has always been. I however, continue to push past fear and
continue to fight for my internal divinity and the nature of my being. My life is a never ending
apocalypse; The circumstances in my life and surroundings have more often than not felt like
death, destruction, uncertainty. Yet, my ending could never be an apocalyptic one, for if the end
was not always sitting near- MY being would not be as present, alive, and illuminating as it is.
This is why I want to draw attention to the importance of being able to experience the
glory in the every day and in every moment, and to question: What does this deferral of
salvation produce in the body, in the psyche and for me as a witness? What does putting a Master
over your life and the benefit of that being at your own cost, do to your being? Why is not your
natural instinct more important than a “Divine” who was created by those who did not take you
into consideration as this Idealized Model was created? For as Nayyirah Waheed says in this quote on the right: “I don’t pay attention to the world ending. It has ended for me many times and began again in the morning.” If I choose to wait and live for Salvation, I ignore and continue to dismiss the nature and beliefs that have been carried before me. I accept and prioritize the alterity that was forced upon me through Cognitive Models harmful and power-hungry, capable and willing to kill off all that I am. Apocalyptic traditions and cultural productions are harmful because they are based on ways of thinking not shared by all but by a few who have justified their killings through a “Divine” Savior. Harmful “creators” who compartmentalize and divide everyone to successfully push an agenda of hurt, malice, otherness, and who is constantly justified because of the repetitiveness of it, the strategic planning and delivery of these toxic and deadly teachings. Dominant Society, continues to thrive not because of a Savior but because it is constantly dismissing and erasing anything the Dominant Society does not understand or approve of.
Below, I continue with a poem who reflects another apocalyptic time in my life-- one
which is important because it is a reflection of how I as a Native, can still follow and be obedient
to the promises held by the dominant society. Yet, it becomes evident these promises were not
made for me, these promises were to the Dominant Society and their people who followed, the
ones who disregard and do not believe in the equality that we all are. Even though they count me
out and plague my life with doom, miseducation, and alterity-- I will continue to show up, fight,
live and die over and over again, but always in the morning I will rise for myself and for the
Natural divinity within me and the Human Culture.
Didn’t Even Want To Be Here
In training for work as a Residential Assistant, seen the phone light up and say,
Financial Aid: Where is her social security?
What the fuck do they mean?
Office lady, “You mean to tell me your parent doesn’t have 9 digits to prove…
That will be tuition… PAID IN FULL.”
Miss, I gotta make 18k appear?
Lived on a mattress before this, Now losing it all for a supposed grind.
Yall strip me dry. From the trunk of
my car, once again, Oakland’s
All my belongings in garbage bags; I
ain’t make a plan B, a moron left
Mom keep asking what ima do next?
Don’t answer, can’t get out of my
FUCK, YOU DON’T REALIZE
THEY TRIPPING OFF YOUR
You, not being born here is what got
me here in the first place!
ILLEGAL ALIEN replays in my head.
THIS THE SYSTEM MOMA! FUCKS YOU UP EVEN WHEN YOU GO THE RIGHT WAY.
How can I not believe in UFO’s when
‘Keep aliens out’ rings like a siren coming from the television set
Between the news and my reality
I see Trump on T.V., Gentrification waving “Hi” to me,
The hood is changing, for good? for who?
There goes another dead. There goes my friend in cuffs again. Oh, another pregnancy?
My new semester? Great! Stress, weight loss, does your home need gasoline, again?
Academics is something of the past I tell myself as I see transfer deadlines begin to pass
I’m thinking about eating not sitting in a class who don't recognize how much it’s eating me
You don’t live in a war zone, mom repeats- why you ain’t grateful of that?
As I soak my pillows because I haven’t been able to get myself back.
Letter A’s a dream deferred, depression now fills my head.
I see a Yale alum who grew up in the same blocks- another man probably glad he had made it
His-story: A light in a time when it did not seem us Browns or Blacks were going to make it out
I grab my Mac and begin to type of how I have helped scrub floors and kitchen tops since the age
UC Berkeley, Truthfully- Never thought of you, nor appreciated you, didn’t notice how beloved
A foreign concept to me but a savior to my needs,
would be an acceptance to this University 15 minutes off the I-580.
I already make a home of the streets brought back to me, so letting me in would allow me to be
Thank you if you say, “YES” UC Berkeley for I did not even want to be here.
But if this Plan B goes accordingly at least that means I can continue to eat.
My Dear Moma so sweet, the one who you need,
who gave you a brilliance like ME,
The one who fulfills all your ridiculous needs, who keeps your house so clean-
SHE can finally receive her promised degree.
By: Janely Gomez
For my future to exist I need there to be a communal understanding of cultural existence;
Counteracting pre-constructed ideas of what a culture means. An open mindedness to the
multifacetedness that is the human culture. Lastly, a reality in which understanding is prioritized,
assumption is foreign, and humans become more important than objects, or their physical traits
or capabilities. A break in harmful common miseducation for example knowledge like "science"
and “religion” where survival of the fittest is reiterated but constructed to highlight differences
and "betterness" - creating divisions and minimizing the importance of all beings. Lastly, more
inclusion and application of the things being learned and how that alters our realities. Knowledge
can only come through experience, a thought is not simply enough; We are not detached from
past knowledge and applications, just like today to learn is to be living. Leading me to end on
this, How does an idea harmful to human life as is the Discovery Doctrine, and ICM’s become
accepted while merely being a mental understanding, not exemplified through the physical
world, but definitely justified through physicality? Who and why has this toxicity been allowed,
promoted, and continued to be created-- When will WE be more important than the murderous I?
Newcomb, Steven T. Pagans in the Promised Land: the Roots of Domination in U.S. Federal
Indian Law . Fulcrum Publishing, 2011.
King James Version, Book of Revelations 2:12
Alighieri, Dante. “The Divine Comedy.” The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog , Barnes & Noble
Reads, www.barnesandnoble.com/w/divine-comedy-dante/1100527108 .