Today’s episode is a continuation of episode 2 of our podcast. In that episode, we spoke with Mireya S. Vela about the life experiences that were the soil that nourished her book, Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays, published by The Nasiona.
Vestiges of Courage is a collection of personal essays that explores inequities and injustice. Raised between two cultures and two languages, Mireya S. Vela discusses how the systems in her family and in society worked to create an abusive environment that felt crushing, confusing, and hopeless. In her book, Ms. Vela delineates her experience of living through sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. This book is much more than a collection of experiences, though. Ms. Vela wants to know how and why abuse thrived in her family. She digs deep to understand why these things happened and how she survived.
In this episode, we share four essays included in Ms. Vela’s collection. And, though her stories are very much hers, they are, in a way, also stories about what it means to be a woman. In light of this, we gathered four women to recite Vela’s words. Though personal, her words are also universal.
Act 1: “Legacy of Rape,” originally published by Not Your Mother’s Breast Milk and read by Andrea Auten.
“Legacy of Rape” is the story of a family that is built on rape—and how that family, the women in particular, make rape expected and acceptable.
Act 2: “Doctores,” originally published by The Nasiona and read by Monique Shutt.
When people are marginalized, their doctors are, too. In “Doctores,” Ms. Vela remembers her childhood and the decisions she and her family made.
Act 3: “The Bridge,” originally published by Collective Unrest and read by Anuja Ghimire.
“The Bridge” is an essay about how a language splits a person and splits a family. This story is also about the inequities families undergo in the United States.
Act 4: “Touch : Tocar,” originally published by Miracle Monocle and read by Aïcha Martine Thiam.
In “Touch : Tocar,” Ms. Vela contemplates the word “touch”, what it means in Spanish, what it means in English, and how they come together for a girl and her body.
Please be on the lookout for Ms. Vela’s book, Vestiges of Courage: Collected Essays, due out later this month.
The Nasiona Podcast shares stories that explore the spectrum of human experience and glimpse into foreign worlds. We focus on stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López.
Want more of Mireya S. Vela? Here are some interviews.
MIREYA S. VELA is a creative non-fiction writer and researcher in Los Angeles. In her work, Ms. Vela addresses the needs of immigrant Mexican families and the disparities they face every day. She tackles issues of inequity and how ingrained societal systems support the (ongoing) injustice that contributes to continuing poverty and abuse. Ms. Vela received her Bachelor’s degree in English from Whitter College and received her Master of Fine Arts from Antioch University in 2018. She is also a visual artist.
Featured image: Mireya S. Vela, “Syringe.”
Julián Esteban Torres López is a Colombian-born journalist, researcher, writer, and editor. Before founding The Nasiona, he ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize nominee and 1st place winner of the Rudy Dusek Essay Prize in Philosophy of Art. He has authored several books, including Marx’s Humanism and Its Limits, which was BookAuthority’s Best New Socialism Book of 2018, and Reporting on Colombia: Essays on Colombia’s History, Culture, Peoples, and Armed Conflict (forthcoming, 2019).
Go here to inquire about his editing services.
ANDREA AUTEN is a writer and a visual and performing artist. A writing specialist for Antioch University Los Angeles, she is an Associate Managing Editor for Lunch Ticket Literary and Art Journal. She lives with her husband, sons, and beloved writing partner, Dusky, the family cat, where she is currently working on a collection of short stories.
MONIQUE SHUTT is an alumna of the University of New Hampshire. When she’s not teaching English in a small New England town, she is nurturing her children with outdoor adventures and the arts.
ANUJA GHIMIRE is from Kathmandu, Nepal. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she writes poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Her chapbook Kathmandu is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. She works as a senior publisher for Education Galaxy and lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two daughters.
Aïcha Martine Thiam is a trilingual writer, musician, artist, and an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press. She will quote obscure film facts at you, unprovoked. Some of her fiction and nonfiction can be found on The Rumpus, Medium, Lamplight, Metaphorosis, and Bright Wall/Dark Room, among others.