Only a relatively short but seemingly extended journey from Puerto Escondido lies a quiet beach town stitched together by one main road. Often described as being bohemian and laid back, Mazunte thrives on the curiosity of tourists and its fame for being a Pueblo Magico. Its waves are ravenous and immediately hemmed to its long dusty road which offers no shade or solace from the blinding sun. In this road, is where I found Cesar, a gentleman whose persistent energy keeps him bouncing on his toes and moving to and fro. Despite our foul attitude fueled by the exhausting sun and aching hunger, Cesar maintained a very friendly demeanor with my parents and me, offering freshly caught fish at prices that could be bargained and a genuinely kind smile. It is after our picky ordering that Cesar, for reasons attributed to the friendliness prevalent in Latin America, sat down with us to chat. One shortened conversation led to a deeper discussion, one that Cesar spilled even more by the minute. Here, I share his story, his brave retelling of an incredibly difficult journey pending an ending.
Original interview in Spanish, but I have translated the interview into English too.
In light of the recent sexual assault victims bravely coming forth with their traumas, I have a little something for you men, who haven’t physically assaulted a woman but daily harass with your unwanted “compliments” or looks.
I am a woman
The strongest being that withstands much more than any man could ever comprehend.
On a daily basis.
And my struggles are not imagined but rather imposed by a society that attempts to fit, in the newsstands, a variety of body shapes into one prototype:
a 26-inch size waist, voluptuous breasts and bums, with hair iridescently shiny.
And what about the rest of us?
When we are constantly pressured to believe these standards are the wanted ones and our bodies are the wrong puzzle pieces.
How do we love ourselves then?
Many of us have managed to slowly remove the gangrenous roots out of our pretty little heads,
to begin accepting what a unique genetic composition we are.
To go against all beauty lessons we were taught.
And it isn’t easy, there are fallbacks
There are moments where a slight frigid comment regresses our progress to our brainwashed state of mind.
But for the sake of time, let’s say we’ve moved on.
As I continue on my trip, which has been both a constant thrill and a gargantuan challenge, I have planned to improve one of my hobbies/interest/skill very dear to my person: photography. And though nowadays it seems that anyone with an apt camera device can be a photographer, I certainly believe it takes more than just pointing, shooting, and filter. For countless years I have more than enjoyed capturing images and through those years I have certainly developed a style, composition, and a color palette preference. Therefore, right this minute, I believe it is the time I proclaim myself a photographer (how strange to actually express the title). Before my trip, I began this series, with the purpose of showing the world the faces that come and go around me. To further expand my street photography interest, I present to you, the many Faces of Mexico.
I write this as an outsider, as an observant visitor whose everyday appetite devours your plethora. I’d like to share my honesty about your children, your inhabitants who I have seen demonstrate raw humanity. I understand they misbehave – all flawed humans do – but for the most part, their core means well. They adore you; your residents speak so highly of you it begins to haze into a grandiose pride that will never quell. But fear not, an inexhaustible pride would be my exact sentiments. And even though their love may not always be obviously demonstrated, there are moments such as the 19th of September, in which your parenting skills shone.