Saturday, November 24, 2012

Living In a Cloud of Brandy, Rules, Lollipops and Denial

Lately a lot of  random people from the media have been contacting me to discuss the drug war, interview me on my thoughts on the drug war or ask me to blog about the drug war. Everyone seems to want me to get more involved and talk about it. I guess that may seem natural and I do understand that I have a voice and opinions that can contribute to the topic. I've mentioned it here and there throughout this blog to discuss how it's affected me personally. But I've just got to say... I don't want to say much more than what I've already said. I'm not trying to be another body hanging off of a bridge on the border with a fucking warning note pinned to my eyeball. Social networking can kill; don't get it twisted. The cartels can do what they do, y yo no me meto. I'm just here, riding it all out.

It's no secret that drugs have been a huge part of my life. I'm an addict. Everything I do. I'm excessive and obsessive and addicted to everything. Even though I haven't done drugs in almost 7 years, it remains a huge part of my life. That addiction is always hanging over my head, reminding me of what could be or what could have been. I've just somehow managed to limit my current addictions to things that are legal. That's it. The rest of my past and my thoughts and my chemical makeup don't go away. Even though I have this crazy past and experience to draw from, I just can't say anything more. My husband and I set some ground rules before we moved to the border and I guess I'm just writing this so that I can refer people to it in the future when they ask to interview me on stories about the drug war. I get pushed and pushed to be involved in projects that I simply can't be a part of. My family's safety and well being is more important than any story.

I want to be a voice for Juarez but I also want to represent a different part of Juarez and provide a different perspective of life on the border, and life in Mexico for that matter. I try to keep it light because that's what I want my life to be like. I want to be happy. I don't want this blog to be some sad, depressing place that people come to for murder statistics. That's not my goal. I know that people think that my attitude towards border life is skewed and misrepresents life here, but I'm no fool, nor is my stance a rarity here in Juarez. Of course there are murders here. Of course there is a lot of crime and violence here. It rages throughout Juarez every day. I don't deny it. I just can't talk about it.

When I hear about another homicide on Canal 44, I am very quick to assume it was the result of cartel violence, or criminal involvement or someone who didn't pay the quota. People are quick to be offended by my assumptions, noting that many people are mere victims of the current situation. I do not doubt that. Let me say it again. I do not doubt that there are innocent victims in this drug war. I'm not an idiot, and I know that there are countless individuals who are just random bystanders in a shoot out, or mistaken for another person, or are victims of car jackings or robberies or kidnappings. I get that. I'm not saying those things don't happen. What I'm saying is that in a large percentage of occasions, we aren't reading about innocent victims being decapitated. We aren't reading about innocent victims who have driven for 20+ hours across the Mexican desert just to be burned to death. We aren't talking about innocent victims who were shot to death by almost 100 bullets to one body. Most of the time, there is a method to the madness.

Disagree with me if you will, I don't care. Call me ignorant if you will, I don't care. For me, at the end of the day, it benefits my emotional well being to think of this drug war in a black and white manner. My standpoint has allowed me to create and live by a set of rules that give me a sense of control in this crazy world that is the Borderland. I can tell myself that if I don't do drugs or involve myself in criminal activity or associate with people who do, I'm going to be okay. If I don't pass judgement or make flippant remarks about the cartels, I'm going to be okay. I'm so quick to make the assumptions that I make because it is my method of coping with the violence. Thinking in this way makes me feel like it's all going to be okay. It's my Teddy. It's my security blanket. It's my comfort food. It's my mother's soothing words after I wake up from a nightmare in a pool of sweat.

Could I be murdered in a car jacking tonight? Sure. Could I be caught in the crossfire at a random shoot out in el mercado tomorrow? Sure. Could I be confused with some other overweight guerita that likes to blast Bob Dylan albums from her car but just so happens to traffic cocaine? Maybe. Probably not. But if that's the way I'm supposed to go and I die here in Juarez because of some random coincidence or chance run-in with the cartel, so be it. I refuse to live my life in fear of the possibilities. What kind of life is that? Regardless, I will follow my rules to my grave.

My view isn't skewed. My view is what I want it to be. Life is what you make it. Maybe it takes some denial and lollipops and brandy and rules. So be it. Para mi, ignorance is bliss. And that's all I gotta say 'bout that.


  1. Good post. You do what you gotta do to make it and be with the one you love. And that's all there is.

  2. If these are members of the English-speaking American media, I would just say "how DARE they guilt you into taking risks that they will never face?!" Two of the things I've learned through this whole immigration mess are 1) a lot of reporters hold the parasitic view that a "story" is more important than the lived experiences that it details, and 2) normalcy is precious, and the people least likely to understand that are the most likely to judge you for seeking it. Your story is yours to tell on your own terms, and their privilege is not your problem. Stay safe and do what you need to do.

  3. I love your blog and im proud of you because you are fighting for what makes you happy keep safe.

  4. Emely could you please tell me if the company your husband works for they are hiring peolpe?
    my husband will be moving to juarez and he will need a job, please help us we will need all the help we can get.

    1. They aren't hiring right now but there are over 300 maquilas here. Someone always seems to be hiring. Does he speak English?

    2. Hi Emily yes he does speak English could you maybe give me the names of sme maquilas, thanks for your reply