by Josephine Jael Jimenez
We were in the car, my mother, my sister and I. My mother started talking about someone I love and how poorly their life had turned out because they decided not to follow the Lord the way she had. It’s the same thing I’ve heard over and over again throughout my life, but then she started talking about how sad they were sometimes.
“Her depression never goes away because she doesn’t follow the Lord. That’s the only cure.” It sounded better in Spanish, kinder almost, but that’s how they get you down in my grandma’s village. They make ignorance sound so sweet.
My mother and I used to fight all the time, mostly because I was never the kind of kid she wanted. I was never the sheep that blindly followed the shepherd or the kind that went with the other sheep. She was the kind of shepherd that demanded that.
We would fight about cleaning my room mostly, but as I grew up, we started to fight about religion a lot. My parents aren’t the type of people that ask too many questions. If the book says to do something and the guy at the pulpit give it the thumbs up, then who am I to question that? Well, I’m the type of person that asks too many questions, according to my dad. He says I’ve just gotta have faith, I say I like tattoos.
The fights that hurt me the most were always the ones about my depression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that if I truly loved God, if I truly believed he was real and good, then He would take my depression away. All I had to do was ask. I spent a lot of time asking God to make me happy, to take away the demons in my head, but He never did. For years and years, I thought I wasn’t good enough to be healed, cured of my sadness. I thought maybe it was because I didn’t like to kneel, it hurt my knees too much. As I got older, I thought it was because I didn’t clean my room like my mom said. But then when I grew up, I realized that I didn’t need to be cured of depression, I needed to be cured of my expectations and of the image of a God that would choose to leave my brain broken. The cure came after that thought crossed my mind and I found a God that held my hand through the pain and the fog. We all suffer, She would say, and you are no exception. You are not so special that you would be exempt from pain. It’s the same song she’s been trying to get me to sing all along.
I didn’t like that at first. It made me angry because I couldn’t see that I was being selfish and stupid. But I was constantly reminded that other people suffer worse. Would I prefer their suffering?
It was never supposed to be about praying away the illness in my brain, it was about allowing the pain to make you really enjoy the times it’s not there. Joy and happiness are sweeter now. There are no highs without lows. Life can’t be beautiful if it is not also disgusting sometimes. It’s about balance.
My mom went on and on in the car about my loved one’s kids and the lives they chose to lead, judging the success and the happiness that they found for themselves because it didn’t look good to her. She blamed that on not following God her way, too. Normally, I would have blown up and yelled up to high heaven about depression and fate and how you can’t control your kids, but I was tired. I was tired from all the years of having to find peace with God despite the painting of Her my parents had created and hung over the mantel that was my life. I was tired from painting over the image of someone they should have taught me to see the right way in the first place. I was tired from trying to convince them that my painting was also beautiful because it taught me how to see the beauty and majesty in life. But then she said something awful.
“People with depression kill themselves because they didn’t have the sense to ask God for help.” This is when I spoke up, when my God whispered in my ear to offer a different perspective, that’s all I needed to do. So I told my mother she was wrong, again. I told her of the fleeting thoughts in my deepest valleys of how I could get rid of my pain, how easy it was in certain seconds of my life to think of crossing that thin line. It wasn’t about loving God, because I do, it was about seeking help and dealing with the fact that I was a little bit broken, that my brain didn’t work the way it was supposed to and that it had nothing to do with how many times I prayed. She stopped talking soon after, I think the realization got to her. Once your kid tells you they’ve thought about trying to meet God, something starts to click.
The conversation left me wishing that these conversations didn’t need to keep happening, that maybe one day I wouldn’t have to fight for the validity of my ailment. I wish I didn’t have to write a whole dissertation style speech every time someone told me it was all in my head or to just do things that make me happy or to just pray the sad away. Maybe one day we’ll get there, but for now it’s my cross to bear. But who am I to think I’m too special to do it?
Originally published in our IN SICKNESS issue, January 2019
by Josephine Jael Jimenez
There comes a time in every girl’s life where they should finally come to terms with the fact that they’re never going to be good enough. Well, they’ll be good enough for someone, but not for everyone and that’s the part that sucks because ever since infancy, girls are taught to be enough for people. To make themselves enough.
You have to start off as a good daughter. Behave nicely, sit properly, don’t chew with your mouth open, keep your mouth shut unless you’re told to speak. There’s a certain way you should walk and talk and you should always allow people to pull you in a million different directions, especially if they’re men. Don’t look at your brothers or your neighbors or your friends who all happen to be boys playing in the mud. Girls don’t play in the mud, they don’t get dirty and jump off the backs and tops of things. They stay low to the ground, but now low enough to stain their clothes. Daughters are supposed to be pure like that until the day they die.
Then you move on to being a good prospect. You can go on dates, but not too late and your daddy will stand there threatening this boy you like with a shotgun because you weren’t taught to take care of yourself and this boy wasn’t taught to respect you. On these dates, you’re supposed to act demure and like you don’t know what comes next when you know that people follow the same basic pattern, they show the same basic signs. When he finally kisses you, you’re not supposed to kiss him for too long on the first date because only whores do that and women who are called whores don’t deserve respect. Women who have sexual desires don’t deserve love, so you better shove all that down deep while you’re at it. Don’t make any sudden moves, girly. You’ll scare all the men away.
When a boy sticks by you is when you get married and you both become man and wife. Wife first, woman second, in case that didn’t ring in your ears immediately. Cook, clean, give birth to all the babies he wants and cook, clean for all those little creatures, too. Do as your husband says, keep your man happy. Look nice, be nice, never say a word against him because if you do, he’ll find someone new and it’ll all be your fault. Your kids will blame you.
God forbid you have a daughter. You’ll have to teach all this to her, too. You’ll never say it so plainly, you’ll just teach her with different words. Day after day, year after year, you’ll tell you daughter in so many phrases that she has to be something to someone for the rest of her life or else she’s not enough. She can’t be her own person, her own master, her own love because that doesn’t mean anything in this world. She’ll only have worth if she belongs to someone because that’s what your mommy told you.
It’s all a lie, a figment of some man’s imagination. You don’t have to be someone’s anything, you can just belong to you. Women can sit how they want and dress how they want and kiss someone forever if they so choose. They can walk and talk and say what’s on their mind and get dirty if they want to. Women don’t have to be enough, they are enough. Enough is not something you earn, it’s something you are. No matter what your mommy told you, or the way your daddy treated you or what the whole wide world thinks. What they don’t tell you, what they won’t tell you, is that sometimes, your mommy and daddy don’t know shit and neither will you.
Poem by Lorraine Rumson
Digital Illustration by Bryn Riihimaki
by Maureen E. Wolff
By roots untrimmed,
she knows her lack of course.
In boundless youth she sees
that everything is
spinning much too
slow. In daylight, she will watch.
She will wait,
wither and replant
once the moon dances again
‘round her pearl-sifting hoop.
In time, she will welcome me again.
For now, we stand as strangers.
The dark is hers to murmur;
the heads of haunts are hers to light.
Splitting stars will help her mediate
the descending lines
of heaven’s jaw.
For a time such as this,
she keeps a dozen or so stars
in her pockets and the soles
of her shoes, breaking even with
the cascading horizon.
Truth be told, impending hues
are better thieves than I.
Lately, I’ve been swallowing stars whole,
bright orbs collapsing on my tongue,
startling the distant swirl of dust above the sea.
by Brenda Hernández Jaimes
“This analogy of a typical Mexican market was born in my head. This is a market where you will find everything in terms of poetry themes. In these texts, you will see these Mexican colloquial words because I don’t intend to write in a very high-level language. On the contrary, it’s a language that’s somewhat digestible. It’s very casual for those people who aren’t close to literature. Make them interested in reading good, short, simple words, and very natural things of our Spanish language,” Alejandra shares of the meaning behind her writing project, “As for this part of the engine of the heart, I love talking about the body and its organs!”
The words that inhabit this creative-literacy market page are in their natural habitat, therefore, don’t be surprised to find them dotted here and there, talking about anything but what you most expected. “I don’t like this idealized and romantic part of the heart. I like the visceral more and that’s where I write from,” she explains.
Alejandra Cárcamo is a Mexican woman who was born with entangled ideas whose love for writing started at a very small age of 5 years old. She learned to read and write at home due to her mother teaching at the time. “She gave me that tool and it drew my attention to the point that I began to develop and write my own stories,” Ale says. “I always liked the short stories that my parents read and started discovering and reading them on my own.” Her interest in writing was propelled even further by her situation of growing up as an only child. It helped her develop introspection and sensitivity to her environment and world. “When I was alone and not playing with friends or cousins, there was this contact of creating. I used that creativity in my favor to entertain myself.”
Her definition of entertainment was to create her bi-weekly magazine at the age of 7. “I had this early exposure to magazines. We would go to the park and there was a magazine stand and I liked that they bought me magazines dedicated to children with different content. I entertained myself a lot by reading them and observing the drawings,” she laughs. Alejandra shares that she began to create her fictional characters and took it as a personal and serious commitment in her handmade magazine. She would fold blank white sheets of paper and draw her comics, write her articles and once in while feature Lucha Libre characters.
“My only readers were my family because I would give it to them and tell them to read it and ask what they thought. Sometimes it was, ‘oh, how cool’ and nothing else. But for me it was a commitment that I took seriously because I needed to satisfy my curiosity both in writing and reading content that I desired,” she says.
The following years she continued to write somewhat irregularly. Occasionally an idea or story came into her mind and she would write and leave it in a draft. However, it was in her last years of high school that Alejandra decided to take her creativity and make it a career. It was in her senior year that she decided to enter the area of Art and Humanities. But it was in philosophy classes that challenged Alejandra and gave her the tools to develop and refine her writing even though she wasn’t able to understand the subject.
“It was a lot of trial and error, but at least I knew how to start my essays and the words would come out. Then I had this philosophy teacher and I remember that small and simple note that she wrote in my essay, ‘keep writing, don’t stop writing’. In my head, it clicked and I realized why I like writing and it gave me the push to continue down that road,” Alejandra shares with a smile. “Since then I decided to study Communication. It was always latent, I always knew it was there. Over time I went for a more creative side such as advertising and at the same time to explore the options of poetry which is something that fascinates me.”
It was during Alejandra’s time in university that Mercadito Corazón was born. It was 2014 and she had gone through a break up that inspired her to channel all her emotions to writing. She gave her writing another meaning through this catharsis and find the strength to create and take her creativity to another level. “After this relationship, I asked myself what I would do with all this free time. I was tired of crying and decided to make it productive! That was a push. When you close a circle so relevant for yourself and in that manner, there’s no other way, but to evolve,” Alejandra says. “There’s something in those circumstances, it gives you something to turn around and grow in some way. If you want to and are aware, you grow. That feeling that happened to me at that time was what made me want to start writing and help keep my mind occupied. It was also very therapeutic to express my emotions in that way.”
Alejandra began to invite her friends and realized that they connected with her pieces. However, when other authors of writing blogs on Wordpress began to arrive and comment on her poems it took her to the path she’s currently on. “It made me feel good that I was doing something useful and relevant to other people. That was when I took it more seriously.”
Fast forward to 2019 and Mecadito Corazón and Alejandra find themselves in a wondrous liminal space of vast possibilities. “Right now it’s been a very interesting stage because these months have been a lot of self-exploration. Not only in terms of writing but as well in my life,” she says, “I’m in this moment of thinking where I am standing, what I want and what tools I have to achieve it.”
In this self-discovery, an opportunity has risen for Alejandra to begin writing topics that certain life experiences have gifted her to see in a distinct light. “I’m exploring from an emotional and body healing perspective. Speaking a little about personal empowerment and trying to explore even some issues that are currently happening in Mexico. I have entries that speak about the situation of women in Mexico. This stage has been very important for me because I’m reading pieces I wrote years ago and reading pieces from now and I like what I find. Writing is a technique that you never really perfect. However, I like that the texts that I’m finding are very honest and fair with the intention that I want to transmit with them. It’s something useful. I think that this self-discovery sometimes hasn’t been very simple. Nevertheless, it has opened my eyes to find other themes that I never thought would reach me!”
This drive that’s been sparked in Alejandra has also motivated her to make Mercadito Corazón open for collaborators. Both illustrators and writers. She wants to create her beautiful writing market into a collective space that people can have a platform to speak their voices and stories. “The long term goal is to be able to make Mercadito Corazón an independent editorial. When the level of collaborators is stable enough, I would love to work together and have it be printed. Also, do workshops and share knowledge while providing a conversation,” she gushes. “I think that there’s a lot of material to help continue sowing this little seed. Helps you see how art can give you incredible benefits that you never imagined. Both on a personal level, how you can share with others and how you impact other people.”
Another goal that Alejandra foresees for this year is to print her poetry book filled with pieces that are featured in Mercadito Corazón. This poetry book will have a curated theme and follow the same vision of presenting common themes in a new light, colloquial and colorful language that is heard and spoken in Mexico City. A very true mercadito indeed.
To read and learn more
of Mercadito Corazón,
Change is good. Change has always felt good. But a change is coming that I never thought I would have to be prepared for, a change I thought would never present itself in my life. In a few months, I will be getting married.
It should be something to celebrate, it is something to celebrate, but I can’t help but think that this is an end for me. A new beginning, sure, but an end nonetheless. It’s an end to who I was before I fell in love and moved in with a man and bought a big white dress. It feels like I’m at risk of facing the end of who I’ve always wanted to be: A crazy woman with little regard to the walls people have wanted to shove me behind.
I don’t have to let those walls exist is what you’re probably thinking. I don’t have to be a victim of who others want me to be in a role that has always existed. My mind hears you, but my ears are also forced to hear the terms of that role anyway from anyone who thinks they’re allowed to have an opinion. It doesn’t really matter whether I choose to abide by anyone’s terms because I still have to hear them, over and over again for maybe the rest of my life.
It’s maddening to have people ask you if you’re taking his last name, when you’ll have kids, how the wedding planning is going and why I chose a ring that isn’t like everyone else’s. Nothing about this seasons looks like those around me and people can’t stop telling me how different I am. I’m over it.
I’m over it because it wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to travel the world with nothing on my back and was never supposed to worry about a savings account. There was so much art I was supposed to make on every corner of every country, but that’s not happening anymore. My life is different now. Who I used to be is gone. She doesn’t exist anymore. I have traded a life of adventure and little regard for my safety for a life of stability and love that tries to cater to the parts of me that still need to run to somewhere new.
It sounds like I’m settling, but I’m not. I love this life I have built and chosen to live. My wild carefree spirit was only wild because no one held me and kept me safe. I was like a stray dog always running from a new dog catcher in a new town. Deep down, I didn’t think I deserved stability or love. And not to keep comparing myself to a dog, but there were one too many men calling me a bitch to allow me to believe I could be loved. But here I am and there I am. A new me is here and an old me is gone.
And no matter how much I love myself now, I also loved myself then. Back then I was whole and now I am whole. It’s hard to explain, but I still mourn the person I was because I loved her just as much. She was strong and resilient and resourceful. Nothing bothered her and no one had her. She was her own and she knew the world because she wanted to know it all so bad. Despite every circumstance and everything in her way, she was whole and she was fulfilled. But who I am now knows more about her than she could have ever bared to know then.
Her strength was holding her together until she was safe to fall apart. She was held together by bubble gum and toothpicks and they could have held forever, truly and honestly, but there was a better way. She was resilient because there was no other way to survive and she was resourceful for the same terrible reasons. At the end of each day, she was who she was because she wouldn’t have made it any other way. If she had stopped to look at each of her days with as much care as she looked to the future, she wouldn’t have made it. She wouldn’t have led me here.
I fell in love and I fell apart. Who I was finally succumbed to her injuries because it was finally safe. There was someone who was willing to spend the time, a lifetime if necessary, supporting her through the rebuilding phases. There was finally someone holding up the pieces she needed to tirelessly stitch back together one the bubble gum came off. Until my last breath, I will mourn who I was. But I will mourn knowing that she is in a better place.
It was a few nights into the New Year when I passed along the box packed with rice, chow mein, and macaroni to a man nearby. These plastic to-go boxes were essentials at wakes in my new home of Guyana, and I scanned the yard to see that the friends and neighbors of the deceased had been served and were comfortable. Guests slammed down dominoes on little white tables and conversed with one another from plastic lawn chairs. The whole neighborhood crammed into the yard of this house on the corner. Gospel tracks and Caribbean Oldies crooned from the speaker boxes, a soundtrack for nostalgic conversations. This was my neighborhood.
Our elderly neighbor, Frenchie, had died in his sleep a few days before. A staple in the community, I could always count on him being settled in his folding chair on the corner, the daily paper and his dog, Guava, his faithful companions. He would stop every neighbor who passed by just to chat, taxi drivers honked their hellos to him, and old friends dropped off groceries for him and food scraps for Guava. So it seemed the whole city knew when he died. Bus drivers asked me where the uncle on the corner was. School children wondered about his absence. Every time I left my house, my eyes would flick over to his corner, expecting to see the sentinel posted in his chair. But now only Guava was there.
Frenchie was one of my first friends when I moved to the vibrant Caribbean country 16 months earlier. He was a constant in my morning commute. Many stifling, humid mornings I would sit next to him on his stoop, rest my bag on an old cable spool he’d turned into a table, and chat as I waited for my ride to work. And several hours later, on my way home, I would see him on his corner again, sitting, one knee crossed on top of the other, observing the road, waiting for someone to talk with. Maybe he would quote Macbeth verbatim, recount his drug-fueled twenties traveling abroad, or ask me to walk him to the shop for a lotto ticket or haircut. And every evening, in the Caribbean dusk, he waited up until he saw the first star come out so he could say a prayer when he saw it. Frenchie would tell me which of my roommates had already come home before me, who was still out, where they had gone, and whether they’d be back by sundown. He was the neighborhood watchdog and gossip. And he was the one who made this unfamiliar culture and new lifestyle feel like home.
And now, sharing out packages of food at his wake, I saw the entire neighborhood gathered in his honor. The men who played cards every night outside the tire shop, his landlady and house-mates, the man who weed-whacked the trench out front, the quirky locals who had known him for decades—these old friends, a few estranged family members, and neighbors gathered at the house on the corner to swap stories about the legend. I was fascinated by his friends’ stories of Frenchie as a young man, but I could feel the weight of it all beginning to build up. Guyanese wakes can last for several nights, and I could sense my social energy draining on this, the third or fourth night.
Another Christmas away from my family had just passed, and adding the death of a friend to the already somber tone of the holidays was making the humid nighttime air feel even heavier. It was comforting to witness the gathering of neighbors in celebration of Frenchie’s life, but I was physically and emotionally exhausted, letting myself indulge in some level of self-pity. I knew Guyana could never fully be my home, that I could never completely integrate into a culture that was not my own. However, I knew with equal certainty that the cities where my friends and family lived State-side could never fully be home again either. Building a cross-cultural home brings its share of excitement and joy, but it also carries stretches of loneliness and isolation. I don’t really get homesick, but building a new community for myself every year or two can take its toll on your spirit. And now I had lost part of my home, my new community—someone who held his own community together.
And, standing in the yard of so many past conversations, seeing the room where they had found him, the stoop where we had waited for the stars, and flicking my eyes to his corner, I knew I needed to leave the death behind. My roommate always swore that after you leave a funeral or a wake, you can’t go straight home. You can’t let the death follow you back. You must leave it somewhere else. There were plenty of things I needed to leave behind, and I knew just the place to go.
Thirty minutes later, I could hear the muted booming of the salsa and reggaeton tracks as I climbed the steep stairs into the Latin club. A haven. People of all skin colors and nationalities twirled and swirled and salsa-ed around the floor to Marc Anthony and Shakira. Cubans, Guyanese, and Trinidadians blended and jived together with North Americans sprinkled in. I generally balked at places that drew ex-pats and Westerners, but I knew that tonight this was where I needed to be.
In this new home, dance had become a tool for me—an invaluable instrument of expression and self-care. It became a way to deal with the stress of a new season of life, a new job, and new expectations. And tonight I knew I wasn’t just there to leave behind the death; I was going to need to dance with it. I needed to face this loss, hold it close to me, and understand how it moved. So under twinkling Christmas lights strung up around this bar in the Caribbean, this place I had made a home, I danced with the death-scent. I stomped and spun and salsa-stepped. Ice cubes in nearby drinks vibrated to the rhythms of song and dance. I was dancing to understand—to know I lost a part of my home but not all. That night I wasn’t dancing to push away Frenchie’s death or to pretend it hadn’t happened. I danced to grieve the loss of him. The loss of all the many homes and communities I had known before. And I danced to celebrate. To celebrate him, the home I had found, and the homes that are to come. I swung my hips in gratitude, rocked back and forth with loss, and flicked my eyes to the corner.
Brenda Hernández Jaimes
If there’s one thing I love, it’s seeing my Latino community thrive and it’s even more beautiful to see my friends’ career flourish. My high school friend, Julio César Ramírez, found success where many people seldom dare to tread. Not many resign from a full-time job and a steady paycheck to dive into the unknown of opening their own business. He did just that. Alongside his business partner, Luis Eder Bayuelo Gonález, they were able to co-found and grow Rasca Mapas, a map business that ultimately was able to obtain an investment of 1.5 million pesos in Shark Tank México.
This success story didn’t happen overnight and it hadn’t been Julio’s first goal to become an entrepreneur. His dream upon studying Communication at The Acatlán School of Higher Education of The National Autonomous University of Mexico was to be a sports journalist.
“I love football a lot and my team is Cruz Azul. It was always my dream to work in sports media and it’s something that I’ve always loved, but things change. You realize that even though you love something that might not be your path. Then you start to see more for your interests, for what you think and feel that will work. My dream of being a sports journalist went down the drain when I went to university,” Julio laughs. “I no longer liked that the Mexican media paid poorly and being a journalist here is unprofitable. That's why I decided to specialize in digital marketing and focus on organizational communication. You grow as time goes by, you prepare yourself and that’s where Eder and I are taking it for now.”
Julio and Eder met while studying Communication at FES Acatlán UNAM and it was January of 2017 when Eder created his version of scratch-off maps. Even though this product is well known in the American market, Mexico at the time offered very few options and without territorial boundaries. Eder took it upon himself to create scratch-off maps with a division of the 2,558 municipalities that are in the Mexican Republic and with that, the company Rasca Mapas was born.
“Eder suddenly went to Cuba on vacation, without asking permission, and his job fired him,” Julio says. “All the liquidation that he received from his job was used to create the design of the maps and produce prototypes. He called me in December to join him and I said yes. I wasn’t losing anything and I gave my investment. He then called me early in the morning in January and said, ‘I can’t do this alone anymore. Quit your job at the marketing agency and come.’ And so I did, I quit,” he says with a smile.
“The idea exploded! Our idea was that we would only sell 50 maps to recover everything we invested, but we sold 5 thousand just last year. The idea was to only recover our profit and investment and profit, but we saw that it had potential and from there Rasca Mapas was truly born,” he declares.
Rasca Mapas proudly has two goals, promote national tourism and make the learning process of geography more fun for children and young people. Their maps are sold for $500 pesos and they offer maps with Mexican municipalities, countries of the world and they currently have scratched off maps for Mexico’s 121 Pueblos Mágicos. Rasca Mapas wants you to Check-in Real Life and keeps track of all the places you’ve visited during your life.
“We’ve always had the idea of contributing towards something positive to the welfare of Mexico and our product may not have so much a social impact, but it has managed to encourage domestic tourism. Our main motto is to encourage domestic tourism and as a Mexican, you should know your country first before traveling to Europe and not only know the beaches like Acapulco, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta but also know the Pueblos Mágicos and its incredible gastronomic and cultural experience,” Julio says.
He also shares that the vision for Rasca Mapas is to introduce their product in the American market and a medium-term goal is to transfer their physical maps to digital and create an app. This would also go in a place with their future projects of participating with companies or forging alliances with the Mexican government to create a tourism campaign.
Now that they’ve received 1.5 million pesos in investment from Mexican entrepreneurs: General Director of Grupo Financiero Value, Carlos Bremer and CEO of Startup México, Marcus Dantus, the projects of Rasca Mapas are closer to becoming reality. Originally Rasca Mapas was going to participate in the third season of Shark Tank México - but the company only had a month and half of operations under their belt. Luckily they were able to appear in season four. Julio and Eder agreed with Bremer to start working on kiosks in shopping centers to increase their maps position. The founder of Genomma Lab, Rodrigo Herrera, offered them to get their product duty free at the stores of the airports in the Mexican Republic. While Marcus Dantus and Patricia Armendáriz offered them a meeting to see how they could help them.
“It’s very gratifying to follow the advice of the most important entrepreneurs in Mexico. It’s a unique learning experience. We recently had a meeting with Arturo Elías Ayub at his office and he advised us many ideas for us to implement and many business ideas to monetize more of. It’s taking them into account because he’s such a qualified person! All are very good, but the lesson is to not get stuck, you have to keep innovating because if you don't keep learning then you either create or die,” Julio says.
One of the many ways that Julio keeps learning and updating his skills is to visit entrepreneurship events and conferences where he can meet other young Mexican entrepreneurs to share ideas and advice.
“As an entrepreneur, I feel I have a responsibility with my country because it’s not only creating something from my mind, but that we’re all able to create something and materialize it. The entrepreneurship industry in Mexico is developing and we’ve met people who want to make a change in Mexico. Meeting them in these events helps you a lot, from listening to their advice and having mentors helping you. You meet people with the same passion as you - and they might not sell much, but they believe in their project and they believe in themselves and it's a very good community because we all support each other,” Julio gushes. “We understand each other very well and you know that you’re not alone, that you’re not the only one who thinks the same way or that you have zero pesos in your bank account! It motivates you to work with a sense of happiness and constantly believe in your project. That’s when you realize that the ideas from Mexicans are all incredible,” he states proudly.
As for the future of Rasca Mapas, Julio is happy to announce they recently met up with the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico City to propose experiences around their scratch-off maps that will be released in Easter Break of 2020.
“The next step for us is to not only sell maps and make videos, but also encourage an experience where several businesses, companies, and the government participate. We’re planning to make a rally so you can begin a tour of Mexico City’s 16 delegations. You have your map and go to the places that are marked on the map. We want to create that experience and movement within the city of not only visiting Downtown, but to know all of Mexico City and its delegations,” Julio says.
He also encourages any young person in starting their own business to just do it. We live in the digital era where everyone can learn and prepare themselves through online and videos on YouTube. Excuses are not knowing how to gain skills is no longer the wall that is stopping us to create.
“I believe that the next generation, and we’re seeing how children are born with cell phones and it seems it’s another part of their body,” Julio laughs. “They know how to take advantage of that!”
“I would have loved to have a department of entrepreneurship development that would have instilled the culture of teaching and advising you of the bases of creating your business. But if you have an idea, just do it. You don’t need the investment of millions of pesos to make your company. One thing Eder and I’ve been told is to always validate your product, create a prototype, sell it, and with that you start your company. Starting a business with money is different, but if you don’t have it, it’s not impossible. Many things can help you. You don't need to have thousands of pesos. It's having an idea and believing in it. Put into practice, leave the indecision behind, work it and don’t rest until it’s built. It’s all about consistency, not despairing, and having love for what you do.”
To purchase your Rasca Mapas visit rascamapas.com and follow them on all their social media platforms.
YT Rasca Mapas
Todo empezó por un proyecto fallido…
Un coleccionista amigo mío me dijo que quería organizar una exposición -grande e impresionante-. Hace más de 10 años hizo un proyecto donde junto a artistas mexicanos y españoles con el objetivo de enseñarle a la CDMX algo nuevo y diferente. Sin embargo, después de eso, el trabajo lo consumió y a pesar de que su buena relación con coleccionistas y artistas no volvió a lanzarse a un proyecto tan grande. Ahora que me conocía (y por medio de mi a una nueva generación de artistas), tenía unas ganas enormes de arrancar un tipo de décimo aniversario de ese primer proyecto. ¿Mi misión? Poner mi obra, seleccionar artistas y armar juntos esto.
Conocía solamente por IG la obra de Mateo Pizarro y se me hizo una buena oportunidad el proyecto para conocerlo y ver su obra en persona. La visita fue fascinante de principio a fin. Mateo aceptó el proyecto y empezamos a tener reuniones de inmediato. Vimos la enorme fábrica que nos darían y anonadados nos volteamos a ver diciendo this is it. Pero los días pasaron y el coleccionista y su partner tardaban cada vez más en contestar los mensajes relacionados con la expo diciendo que estaban cargados de trabajo. Los días se volvieron semanas y entendimos que jamás sucedería. Para mi fortuna, Mateo no quería dejar las cosas así y me mandó un mensaje diciendo -¿por qué no la hacemos nosotros?-. ¿Por qué no?
La planeación de Expo Pixán empezó en Julio de 2018. En Septiembre empezamos a elegir a los artistas. Tenían que ser artistas que aunque no conociéramos, nos fascinaran. A la mayoría ni siquiera los conocíamos pero empezamos a mandar mails y DMs. Había desde quienes mostraban completo desinterés hasta quienes nos mandaban foto de sus nuevas obras pero no nos convencían. En Octubre se cerró la lista -Floria Gonzalez, Tatiana Camacho, Ariel Orozco, Jorge Rosano, Francisco Esnayra, Miguel Ángel Carrera, Jerónimo Naranjo, M. Marcovich, Mateo y yo (más tarde agregamos a Whitney Lewis-Smith). En Noviembre inició la búsqueda de espacios. Nada nos convencía…. Ya sea que fallaran por las dimensiones, la renta, calendario de galerías, etc. Recordé que en el 2017 había tenido una exposición en una casa espectacular en Bucareli con un colectivo y en cuanto encontré la dirección exacta en internet lleve a Mateo de inmediato. Nos volvimos a ver como aquella vez en la fábrica del primer proyecto this is it. Los siguiente meses se volvieron planeación y planeación. También queríamos anexar un proyecto para alguna fundación y decidimos realizar las dos series de obra en beneficio al Comedor Santa María en Parras.
Ese proyecto lo iniciamos en el estudio de Mateo con el fotógrafo Marcovich. La primer serie constaría de 6 mujeres que estuvieran impactando su contexto:
Patricia Conde Promotora del arte mexicano. Es pionera como galerista en el campo de fotografía y su galería Patricia Conde se ha consolidado como referencia de la fotografía mexicana a nivel internacional.
Carla Fernández Autora y diseñadora de moda mexicana conocida por su trabajo con comunidades indígenas
Floria González Artista plástica mexicana que explora varias áreas de expresión artística como la fotografía (principalmente), video, pintura, instalación y performance.
Ana Elisa Mena Primera bailarina en la Compañía Nacional de Danza de México. Ha protagonizado en ballets como El Lago de los Cisnes, Giselle, El Cascanueces, entre otros.
Norman Listman Chef y artista mexicana. Ambas prácticas son mezcladas y dirigidas por su patrimonio.
Domitila Bedel Galerista de Machete y Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo.
Creo que es importante exponer a cada una de ellas porque cuando tratamos de construir el mundo en el que vivimos, necesitamos algo que nos importe. Historias de personas reales que de una manera u otra encontraron la forma de salir adelante en los días difíciles, que aprendieron a trabajar en equipo, que impulsan el talento mexicano y dijeron “lo logro por que lo logro”, y que abogan por un país mejor. Por el otro lado, la segunda serie constaría de retratos de los niños del comedor Santa María intervenidos por diferentes artistas -Natalia LaFourcade, Sabino, Ricardo Luevanos, Studio Madera, Helena Garza, Edgar Solorzano, Rodrigo Roji (artista), Rodrigo Rojo (actor), Alejandra Alarcón, Pablo Cotama, Monica Collado, Miguel A. Carrera, Jorge Rosano, Eduardo Ramon, Irene Aretia, Mariana Magdalena, Densa, Citlali Haroy y Jorge Carrera.
Para estos retratos nos escapabamos Floria González (quien tomó los retrato de los niños), Rodrigo Rojo y yo a la fundación en Parras. Donde convivimos todo un día con los niños del comedor. Es difícil describir lo que vivimos conviviendo con los niños. Desde que nos bajamos de la camioneta, después de dos horas y media desde Monterrey, escuchamos fuertemente a los niños cantando. El comedor está en un área de extrema pobreza y el 30% de los niños lo que comen ahí es su único alimento. En muchos casos, el único momento del día donde se pueden sentir queridos, consentidos y seguros es en el comedor. Espacio donde no solamente comen sino que hacen nuevos amigos, son abrazos, festejan su cumpleaños y aprenden de sus emociones. Le pedimos a los niños acercarse después de comer para poder tomar sus retratos, traíamos como prop una de las famosas esferas de astronauta que Floria ha usado en diferentes de sus series fotográficas. Se acercaron primero los más valientes. Aquellos niños que con todo pulmon gritaron “¡Yo primero!” y poco a poco llegaron aquellos que agarraron mi mano y en una voz que apenas podía escuchar me susurraron “¿puedo tomarme una foto?”. Después de varios retratos en el comedor y sus alrededores fuimos a 4 casas de algunas de las familias. Aquí no encontrabas a los niños cantando… entre basura, ropa sucia y muchos pero muchos animales. Nos topamos con pequeños que nos robaron el corazón. Nos fuimos de Monterrey decididos en ayudar de la manera que pudiéramos a este débil sector de nuestra población -los niños.
El 1 de Septiembre fue el opening de la exposición. Pusimos en la invitación que el evento empezaba a las 7:00pm y desde las 6:00pm ya estaba llegando gente. Hubo varios momentos durante la noche en que todos los cuartos de la casa estaban completamente llenos. Tenías a Mabe Fratti tocando el chelo mientras cantando, cautivaba al público del área de escaleras. En el pasillo principal veías a Lupe Blazquez sacando el saxofon, mientras que en el cuarto azul empezaba el performance del cuarto de Floria González. Mientras tanto, en la parte de arriba estaba Jerónimo Naranjo haciendo una demostración de su instalación “Piano Kinesis”; entretanto, Mateo y yo explicabamos las obras del Comedor Santa María junto a Maria Rivero González, y Regina Campos (nuestra gestora cultural) cerraba ventas de obra.
La noche fue surreal. Los artistas que había admirado durante años venían a mi diciendo lo felices que estaban de participar en esta exposición. Gente nueva y extranjeros decían que hace mucho no estaban en un espacio tan bien curado y con esta calidad de artistas. Amigos lloraron diciendo que todavía recuerdan mis primeros dibujos y ahora están ante mis nuevas piezas. Mateo y yo lo hicimos. Y es lo que pasa cuando crees en un proyecto. No tienes que ser un coleccionista privado, una galería grande o un curador con años de experiencia para poder lanzarte a hacer algo de gran calidad. A veces solo tienes que ser un artista joven con mucha pasión y juntar un equipo que crea en la visión que tienes.
Exposición Pixán seguirá abierta hasta el 28 de Septiembre en Bucareli 69. Y todos los días tenemos visitas para tours privados. Si estas en México, espero puedas acompañarnos.