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Las Mata Maridos

by Las Matamaridos 6 months ago in literature


I wanted to take a moment to tell you a bit about myself before we delve into the countless stories that will follow. My name is Arlene Sanabria. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, California, 90022 and the barrio life is like a prison tattoo of goals and dreams. One may not know how they are going to achieve their dreams and it definitely will not happen the way it would if you were from Beverly Hills, California 90210. It can happen nonetheless, it will just have a spanglish way of becoming reality. I have always lived for storytelling both telling my own and listening to someone else. Growing up, I wrote a great deal of stories but not until my thirties did I write what has become the great love of my life. Looking back on it now I was searching for something that I could not pinpoint exactly. That certain thing that drives an individual to be creative in their passion no matter what that passion may be and I was at a point in life where I was lacking that spark. Then one random weeknight all that changed one night and "The Women" were born.

The idea behind the women came from a set of music videos my brother and the group Casa De Calacas. The band was composed of family and close lifelong friends. The first CD self titled Casa De Calacas redid 2 Mexican classic songs by Jose Alfredo Jimenez among their other original tracks. The first idea video plot, if memory serves me well is the down on his luck drunk loses his lady love to another guy and she has the nerve to flaunt it in his face. He was to sing the first song (Ella) surrounded by loads of girls. The all call for girls was promoted on Myspace which back then was the social media giant sure to work and by the time it came to actually recording the video the production company "Mexfound Ent" might even have to turn hoards of ladies away.

My only intention in regards to this music video was to hide in the background and at the same time show support and solidarity to my brother and cousins. I had also asked my soul sister, Itza to accompany me. We got all done up in the theme of the video which was to highlight the Mexican classic that this remake was going to be. Never once thinking we were going to be anything more than background characters, we really dressed the part. We arrived and waited for the shooting to begin and after a while one thing had become crystal clear… She and I were the only two “girls” for this video! I really wrestled with this back then as the reality of the moment began to sink in. While I intended to hide in the back and maybe get lucky enough to catch a glimpse of us far off in the distance somewhere and then catalogue that memory in my brain for old age. I blinked and suddenly I was right up in front sitting to the right of my cousin, the lead singer while my friend sat to his left. I had to make my peace with all my insecurities in regards to my plus size body and just bite the bullet and get it done. The guys needed us and we were not going to let them down. Filming the music video "Ella" turned out to be such an amazing experience. Being among so much talent as well as such an abundance of love and appreciation for music totally outweighed how huge I would look seeing myself in the final product onscreen. In fact, shortly after the first video was complete, "The Women” made an appearance in the continuation video, “Y Andale” The plot followed our lovable love sick borracho right to the steps of the home belonging to his lady love, bringing her a traditional Mexican serenade in attempts to woo her from her new suitor.

It was on that first night of shooting that the little seed for Las Mata Maridos had been planted and very quickly had begun to take root. The main idea centered around the strength of friendship, empowered women and the network they could build alongside a trusted soulmate who served as their gatekeeper, guarding their secrets and cloaking them in protection. I immediately talked over the idea with my brother and after much encouragement from him I proceeded to write a rough draft faster than I had ever written anything in my life. It just flowed through me like something that has always been inside of me laying dormant until the proper incentive had come along to wake it up. Once I was done with writing the story, I still procrastinated before before showing it to anyone. Not one to ever be cocky about my writing, I was in fact terrified I would be mocked and made fun of. With the exception of my brother I held off from showing it to anyone else. I feared rejection and humiliation more than the desire to live out my life dream. While I was sitting and waiting to grown a pair, I began to weave little bits and pieces of “the women” into other stories I had begun writing and the more I wrote the more attached became to the murderous duo.

For a very long time I let them hibernate off for a very long time, my chicken shit fear and the daily struggles of life got in the way. Till my bubble burst and I was made to take a good look at myself and pick up the pieces of the shattered mirror and took a good hard look at myself. In the years that followed I experienced a traumatic miscarriage, a divorced and an emergency hysterectomy. I felt my sanity and good mental health was holding on by a thread and was about to tear. I made the decision to start the process of putting me first. I began to take stock as well as action of what was truly important in my life and what I wanted it to represent. It was time to take that leap, make changes and act without fear. The Women and telling their story was at the top of the list.

The idea was to do a podcast and bring them from the shadows and into the light. I had modeled these women after my role models I had growing up. These strong females are made up of several women in my life that have made an impression or taught me a valuable lesson about life. A t the heart of who these two really are my grandmothers. I grew up hearing small pockets of their lives and struggles and marveled at how they could accomplish all the things they did on such limited means. Migrating to a new country, one alone and one with children and making their lives work and strive to get ahead by any means necessary! Both my "abuelitas" lived to their 90's, They were both no nonsense, no bullshit and utter legends. It is my life's goal to tap into and channel in my golden years. It's that very spirit that inspired the creation of the women and for that I could not be happier. Luz and Cielo are my tribute to Yolanda and Maria de Jesus. I will impart a bit of my Oscar style speech and tell you all that their legacy was buried deep in my soul and when my spirit is its dimmest, it is their ora that lights my path and it is then I know I can overcome anything.

If the living through a pandemic has taught me anything, it is that life is uncertain. Our day to day is not like anything we are used to and our tomorrows are a thing of the past. Therefore we can and should only live for today. Find the thing that drives us and push our way into making it happen no matter what or how many times it takes to get it right. This podcast I am currently working on is a reboot. I took a crack at it a two years ago and was at a loss with what to do next and how to progress from where I had begun, wasn't happy with it. During COVID, I made good use of quarantine. I went back to where I had left off in the podcast and started changing certain components for the second season. I sought to fix the areas I thought it was lacking and now I'm back for a second round and I am very excited and hopeful about that. I have added a component I am very excited about. I have lived in East Los Angles my entire life. I know the importance of highlighting small and local music and businesses. Casa de Calacas was very dependent on word of mouth and major support of family and friends getting the word out. But there are some great local bands and some amazing local businesses that do not have the same support or a way to get their passions out to the public. I want to help get the word out. It is my plan to promote and bring attention to my beloved community and as time goes by branch out into the surrounding areas, such as Boyle Heights, City Terrace, South Los Angeles, etc... community. I also plan to take suggestions from listeners as far as who they would like to see highlighted. The next few steps are ones I am taking completely out of my comfort zone, but if I do not do it no one will be there pushing me to follow my dream. Its cliché to write that life is short, the older I get the more that phasing resonates. I can only be grateful the spirit that embodies these two characters always gives me the strength I need to keep pushing ahead.



Las Matamaridos

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