La Vida Más Chévere: Through the Childfree Latina Lens

The Healing Power of Storytelling and Reframing Motherhood with Talia Molé {Re-Release} - Ep 51

December 12, 2023 Paulette Erato Episode 51
La Vida Más Chévere: Through the Childfree Latina Lens
The Healing Power of Storytelling and Reframing Motherhood with Talia Molé {Re-Release} - Ep 51
La Vida Más Chévere
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Storyteller Talia Molé, an activist, anthropologist, and artist, shares her journey confronting societal pressures, the impact of language on reproductive rights, and her mission to redefine motherhood. From fighting for a hysterectomy to battling for debt forgiveness, Talia is a powerhouse.

In this re-released episode, we dive deep into the significance of storytelling, dismantling patriarchal narratives, and celebrating various forms of motherhood and family. While emphasizing the need for storytelling as a vehicle for healing and social change, Talia also touches upon how society's narrow definition of motherhood undermines the varied forms of support and love that individuals can offer to their communities. As the conversation unfolds, Paulette and Talia emphasize the importance of giving voices to different forms of motherhood beyond traditional perceptions, fostering solidarity and acceptance within their communities.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Embracing the concept of "child-free" over "childless" empowers individuals to recognize their freedom and choice, instead of framing their lives as lacking something.
  • Challenging the dominant narrative of motherhood involves elevating diverse forms of motherhood, resisting societal restrictions, and sustaining life through creative practices.
  • Through storytelling and artistic expression, individuals can advocate for bodily autonomy and work towards social change, offering healing and support to their communities.

More about Talia:

Talia Molé believes in the artist as a rebellious and revolutionary teacher whose purpose is to disrupt the status quo inspiring conversations that lead to greater questioning and awakening within a communal body. As an artist, she has dedicated her time to understanding social change through different social spaces and disciplines within academia and beyond. She molded and polished her role as an activist/scholar with the help of a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance, an M.S. in Counseling, and a PhD in Anthropology and Social Change. Her field of research and exploration revolves around lived expressions of mother/motherhood/mothering, within marginalized populations, that serve as a radical remembrance of matriarchal ancestry, lineage and community.

Talia is the founder of "We are Phoenixing" a creative consultation business dedicated to mentoring creative practitioners.

For more about Talia, check out the extended show notes and transcript at PauletteErato.com/shownotes. This is episode 51.

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How to reach me:

[00:00] Paulette: Buen dia mi gente, and welcome to La Vida Más Chévere, the podcast where child free Latinas y Latines are learning to dismantle the toxic cultural bullshit we all grew up with so that we can live our best lives instead. I'm your host and resident child free Latina, Paulette Erato. This episode is part of the back catalog when the podcast had a different name.

[00:25] Shout out to all the listeners that were here when it was still called The Maker Muse. But why am I re releasing this older episode? For a couple reasons. First, is that it's December, and it's a good time to reflect back on what's come to pass. Second, is that it's also the holidays, and we all deserve a little break.

[00:42] So this is mine. Third, and in the spirit of full transparency, the reason I need a break is that I'm still technically not done moving in here in Puerto Rico, so I need a little more time to produce new content, which will be back in January. And if you're watching this on YouTube, number three is also why there's no video for this.

[01:03] We didn't record our video for this episode, only the audio, and my current space is not yet ready for filming. As part of the 50th episode celebration last month, I mentioned a few key episodes that really helped shape this podcast into what it is today. This particular episode with anthropologist, artist, creative spirit, and child free Latina, Talia Molé, is the one where we discussed the magical power of storytelling.

[01:30] Stories are how we learn about ourselves and about the world around us. Whether we call them oral histories, traditions, gossip, or even fiction, stories are what connect us. And when I asked my connected listener community over on Substack what they'd want to hear, this was one of the winners. In fact, it went to a tiebreaker over on Instagram and TikTok.

[01:53] If you want the opportunity to vote on future episode topics too, connect with me on Substack and follow me on social media. All of these links are in the show notes. Right now, I'm doing a series behind the scenes of us adjusting to life in Puerto Rico. You can catch a new video every night at 7 p. m. Atlantic Standard Time, all of December on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

[02:16] Back to this episode. about storytelling with Talia. You'll hear her bio in a moment. To give you some context for this interview, though, we recorded this in the summer of 2022, a mere five days after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

[02:33] So even though the focus of this episode is on storytelling, we do discuss other topics like hysterectomies, bodily autonomy, and disrupting the idea of motherhood as only one thing, plus the power of chosen family. The child free Latina discussion is prudent here because, as Talia states, being from the Dominican Republic, a very close neighbor proximately and culturally to Puerto Rico, the idea of legacy and being child free isn't common.

[03:04] And given that I live in the Caribbean now too, this colors the entire experience in a new light for me as well. So the toxic cultural norms we're rebelling against today is the continued dismissal of women's autonomy, and the idea of motherhood is only one thing, plus more. See if you can identify them all.

[03:22] As I was reviewing this episode, I got excited all over again for it because Talia's mission is also dismantling the patriarchy! You know how much I love that. So let's get into it.

[03:33] Today, I'm chatting with Talia Molé, activist, artist, and anthropologist. Let me tell you, discussing child free latinidad with an anthropologist is a trip. It's a different lens through which to view the experience. And wow, is it fascinating. But what I was really struck by is how warm and inviting and quite frankly, motherly Talia is as a person. When she calls herself a mother to ideas and a midwife to the creative processes of other artists, it's really easy to believe her.

[04:03] In fact, due to technical issues, we didn't have the cameras on during this interview. So all I had to go on was Talia's voice, which I found really soothing and comforting. Very motherly energy, which I think comes through rather clearly in this interview. But a heads up, we are going to talk about hysterectomies again and touch on forced sterilization and forced births.

[04:24] It's a significant part of Talia's story and life's work, so we jump right on into it in the first five minutes.

[04:30] Today, I am joined by activist, artist, and anthropologist Talia Molé. Talia, thank you for being with us today. Hi, how are you?

[04:39] Talia: Good, good. Thank you for having me, Paulette. Thank you.

[04:42] Paulette: This is very exciting because not only are you triple A, kick ass, you do work centering this kind of experience, right?

[04:53] Talia: Yes, I do. It actually, you know, you asked the question about how does being child free, uh, inform people, especially Latinx female identifying people. For me, it was the beginning of my work.

[05:09] I, I actually was going through an ailment. I was sick for a while and I was looking for a hysterectomy and because of my age. And I believe, after my research, I understand this to be that also because of how I present, uh, physically, as a cisgendered woman, and possibly I am a bit darker, but not but passing.

[05:35] So, I am possibly the body that people want to, like, try to have babies, you know? I was denied a hysterectomy, left and right, even though I was bleeding every single day, even though I was in a lot, a lot, a lot of pain. And it wasn't until I was finally 36, because you have to be 35 or over in order for some states to allow the hysterectomy.

[05:59] So I was finally granted the hysterectomy at 36 years old. And when I was getting my PhD, I wanted to focus on that. I wanted to focus on why is it so hard to have full autonomy over my body, even though I knew I was born understanding that I did not want children. I did not want to have a child in my body, a human being in my womb.

[06:24] Why was that not respected? And so it was actually during my research that I came to this idea that first of all, I'm not childless. There's nothing missing in my life. I'm child free because it's a choice and it liberates me. And yeah, I kind of took it from there. You know, I, I started to, to just go into the readings because obviously when you're doing a PhD, you have to have a literature review.

[06:52] And so I went into the readings of what it meant to be child free. But then it came to understand that that's also not necessarily the legacy and the conversation of people, that are of my ancestry and my lineage. So as, um, we were saying, I'm a Caribbean immigrant, Afro, Taina, European descent. I was born in the Dominican Republic and my mom's Cuban.

[07:17] And we come from an ancestry and a legacy of people that are not quote unquote. Accepted.

[07:27] Paulette: You can say that again.

[07:30] Talia: So, um, I, I started to shift the, the language from child free to really just focus on, um, the mother aspect. I wanted to de biologize briefly the idea of mother, motherhood and mothering. And for me, it was important to contest language, especially as an immigrant child.

[07:55] I, my first language is Spanish and I was always translating. And that doesn't change once you grow older. And once you learn English. I feel that I'm always in translation. Yeah. So for me, pushing language and the barriers and the boundaries and the oppression of language and narrative is very important.

[08:13] It's part of my work. And so I started as I was doing research on mother and motherhood and mothering, I realized that people that are of my background of my ancestry, many of them were, uh, sterilized by force, you know, or even without knowing. It's still happening today. And so in many cases, having children, if you're of our ancestry, is actually the radical act, right?

[08:36] That's the rebellious act. And that still didn't change that I didn't want children, right? But I wanted to honor that legacy. And this is, this is why my work or how my work evolves in this concept of de biologizing or suspending biology from mother, motherhood and mothering. So it's not solely this idea of this predetermined biological relationship, you know.

[09:01] How else can we be mothers? Because honestly, I feel like I was born a mother, you know, I am a mother. And I feel like I've had many children in my life and they're not just human children. It's beyond the human. I birth ideas as an artist, I birth stories and I birth relationships.

[09:17] And I've been a mother to my friends and to my lovers and to my family members. And I also noticed to me that this, this, uh, reclaiming of mother, motherhood, and mothering was acting as a radical remembrance of the matriarchal lineages that we're from. Tainos were matriarchal peoples, and so were my African ancestors.

[09:41] And so for me, it's not just about, oh, do we, how about we don't use the term mother? Right? It's, it's actually about reclaiming it and understanding it as a whole, completely different paradigm. You know, it's not, it's about entering into relationships in a horizontal way. Seeing people as my equal and being inclusive in all the spaces that I create.

[10:04] How do I center love and life? And so, yeah, that's how being childless landed into my work and it's how I move.

[10:15] Paulette: I love that what you said is that it's child free because it's freedom and a choice, not childless because it's not less than, and that is also where I stand on the, the subject matter of the language. Because I know for different people it's different things, but as far as I am concerned, like you, I was born this way. And I am not less than. And I hope that most of the, if not all, all of the women I've spoken to this season feel very firmly the same way that this isn't, and this is what I'm trying to show is that just because it's a difference from what is common does not make it any, it's not weird, it's not wrong, it's not abnormal, it's natural.

[10:55] And that one does not have to actually birth children, create other human beings in order to be a fulfilled person or to be a contributing member of society either.

[11:07] Now we're going to dive into the meat of Talia's doctoral work and what the queering of motherhood means. It's fascinating. As you heard her say, she pushes back on language and the common idea of motherhood.

[11:19] So she uses the fluidity of language to her advantage while actively working to center motherhood in her communities and spaces. What I also find interesting is how she, as an academic, elevates the oral histories not only of her communities, but also of her ancestors. Western society puts little value on the unwritten word.

[11:39] We like our words codified and indexable. Whereas Indigenous traditions are passed by word of mouth and persist only because of the elders in the community. Again, this is a trip.

[11:50] Talia: Well, the Motherhood Phoenixing, which is what I am now turning into a novel was my dissertation. And I realized in this search, right, for who else. is going through this experience. I arrived to a very dear community, which is the LGBTQ plus community. And so queering motherhood in this sense, in one sense, it was centered in the LGBTQ community to elevate voices of other forms of mother, motherhood, and mothering that are existing and resisting in, in patriarchal capitalism, but they're not recognized or they're not legitimate.

[12:33] They're not seen as legitimate forms. So the queering motherhood in this aspect was to elevate those voices and to make them visible, but also queering motherhood was the invitation of we're pushing back on a dominant narrative that claims that the only thing that is legitimate in this country as far as mother motherhood and mothering is concerned is a particular body.

[12:58] And that body clearly is cisgendered female, white, middle class, Christian, Protestant, heterosexual. And so the queering motherhood in that aspect, it was a direct contestation. It's like, wait a minute. Okay. This is what you're claiming it to be. And I'm going to show you along with all the voices that shared in this project that this is simply not true.

[13:23] And so, that work for me was really important. I did two autoethnographies, one centered in Miami, with a wonderful group of my friends here, part of the LGBT community, and we wrote a 15 page poem where I just, um, overlapped experiences, one line from each person. And I did something called a prose play script where I brought in my theater practice and I, I wrote a play script, but I also mixed in prose in it, into it.

[13:54] And then the other autoethnography, I was able to center the wonderful house ballroom community in New York City and showcased how the house ballroom is an incredible familial kinship. And at the center is a mother. The center of each house is a mother. And this is usually a trans person or a gay man, and the members of the house are the children.

[14:21] And that relationship is such an incredible relationship that fosters such incredible, deep, strong bonds, that there's no way, when you are in the presence, of that interaction that you cannot claim it as motherhood. And, uh, so basically my work centers about around that. And now I am wanting to sit with a lot of the ideas that I just mentioned to about remembering as a radical form, you know, a radical act as we remember our legacies and our ancestral messages on how to move through community and how to move with the earth.

[15:03] All of that is inspiring me to turn my dissertation into a novel. It's probably going to be a spec fic. I wanted to do the popular version of the dissertation, but I'm not, I want to be more creative, you know.

[15:14] Although it was very creative to do this. I'm not saying it wasn't, but I am missing the freedom. And just letting kind of the, the creating characters and scenes and that bit. So that to me is now my, my full focus. That, and working with other creative practitioners, I mentor and support creative practitioners through their creative practices.

[15:35] So, and, and really, you know, believe it or not, I, I center the idea of motherhood. I, all the spaces that I create, I want them to be. Mothering, and I want them to feel like motherhood. You know, if we can take characteristics of what it means to be a mother, somebody that's in the service of elevating life and sustaining life and creating spaces to hold contradiction with respect, and, uh, compassion, these are the spaces that I create.

[16:07] And so I definitely feel at times a mother. I feel at times a midwife to other people's creative processes. And so, yeah, I feel like I practice motherhood all the time.

[16:18] Paulette: I don't think that I've ever heard it put quite so beautifully and quite, uh, in those terms. But I think that that is something a lot of the audience can relate to because as we are all creative, we all also support other creatives in our space.

[16:36] I would hope, that is the whole purpose of community. And so while some of us might actually not recognize it in ourselves, we do have that aspect to give when we offer support. And that's, that's a beautiful way to put it. And I love the way that you have described motherhood as something other than the common trope.

[16:58] Talia: Yes.

[16:59] Paulette: And we wouldn't even fit in that trope if we wanted to.

[17:02] Talia: Absolutely.

[17:03] Paulette: Even if we were mothers, because we're not that.

[17:06] Talia: Yes. Yes.

[17:08] Paulette: As Latinas, we're just not that.

[17:10] Trigger warning, because we're going to talk about hysterectomies again. Like you heard, she had a similar story to another guest, Breanna with the difficulties of even being approved for one.

[17:20] Here, she talks about the aftermath and the bingos that came with it. Like the viciously disgusting question of feeling like less of a woman. Her response was brilliant, but also stop asking this stupid question.

[17:36] Talia: That's also, I think, a reason why it was so important for me to push back on language. Because especially after my hysterectomy, I came to a lot of weird backlash, not from my family, but from this weird community or people in society that felt that they had to chime in and ask me weird questions of like, well.

[17:54] Oh, well you can always adopt, like that kind of stuff. And I'm like, but you, you're just kind of like flabbergasted. Did you not hear what I said or, or even things of like, you do, you feel less of a woman. And I was like, what makes a woman like what whatcha talking about? You know? So for me, I really wanted to take this notion, number one, to honor the people that are going through a lot of pain and suffering and oppression when it comes to forced sterilizations and all these things, right?

[18:25] The erasure of generations from our ancestries. But also a way to say, yeah, like what you just said, like, hey, there's other ways of being mother. I'm going to show you. And if you don't like it, um, it's okay. Language evolves and there will be somebody that will pick up on this and enough of us will talk about it. And eventually it'll stick.

[18:48] Paulette: My favorite part of these interviews are when I learned something new about the world through the eyes of my guests. Here Talia schools me on the house ballroom community and illustrates their function as a form of protection for the community.

[19:01] I want to go back to something else you mentioned about your group in New York, house ballroom. Are we talking about like a dance genre?

[19:10] Talia: Yes, so I think the easiest thing that I can share at the moment so that the, your listeners can say, Oh, aha, is the show Pose. Have you seen the show Pose?

[19:20] Paulette: Okay. Yes.

[19:21] Talia: So House Ballroom is basically a, uh, it is a performance dance circuit, right? They have competitions and events. And at the same time, it is also a familial system. A kinship in many ways where the LGBTQ community steps out to help their own when every day they're being persecuted. And so they created these systems called houses. They mimic very much, you know, the couture houses fashion. And at the center of each house is a mother, and the members are the children, and the children take the last name of the mother, so it's very mother centered.

[20:09] And also, it is a system of love and protection. It is a system that is dedicated to their survival, mutual survival of their community, of their children. So it's, it's yes, there is this performance quality to it, because it is very performative. And at the same time, it presents an incredible example of what it means to be these things that we're discussing.

[20:36] You know, even what it means to be a child, uh, and what it means to be a mother. So that was, that's the community I, I worked with in, in New York.

[20:44] Paulette: I love that we can take all of these ideas that, you know, exist in one way in the culture at large and turn them on their heads and they're no less valid.

[20:54] Talia: Yes.

[20:54] Paulette: It's just different.

[20:56] Talia: Absolutely.

[20:56] Paulette: And again, the whole concept of, of being a woman, let's say in this society and what all of the burdens that are given to us the moment we take that first breath of life.

[21:07] Talia: Yes.

[21:07] Paulette: Whether or not you follow down this preordained path. And how disappointing it must be if you don't, if you don't adhere to this life script. And yet so many people exist, so many societies exist outside of that narrative that we don't, you just educated me on this significant population that I am I'm ecstatic to learn more about, but just further proves that the lack of representation for all aspects of Latine women and Latine people, it is something that we have to work on eradicating. Because I am tired of it. I am tired of, of the options being, you are J Lo or name another Latina.

[21:56] Talia: Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

[21:57] Paulette: You know, the way that you described all of these different things that you do really resonates because it wasn't so much that you were seeking a way to be a mother.

[22:08] It's that you knew you had these mothering qualities. that were going to play out because you knew you weren't going to have children. So has there been any pushback? You mentioned that you didn't get pushback from your family, but what, what do conversations around that look like for you?

[22:27] Talia: Well, the, you know, I, my mom is Cuban, exiled, so quite a progressive thinker. And my father is an artist and also very progressive thinker. So I, thankfully, both of my parents have, they're divorced, so not together, but in their own way, have always instilled in me to do whatever makes me happy. I am so grateful for that. You know, I have never met my parents or with any disappointment. You know, I don't think that that's something that they even think about when it comes to their children, really, and definitely the idea of having children or not.

[23:14] I mean, you know, my mom was probably like a little bit sad and, you know, she wants to be a grandmother but my little sister went ahead and she had my nephew, I call him my nephew son and you know my mom has her grandkid and one's just enough. So I thankfully I, I know that this is not the norm. And I don't come from a, let's call it traditional stereotypical Caribbean family, although there are definitely maybe some patriarchal tropes that I do believe were all purging. But, uh, when I say patriarchal tropes, I mean like what it means to just be quote unquote a woman and I'm, you can't see now, but I'm using scare quotes.

[23:58] But like to the child component of it wasn't an issue and, um, I mean, to tell you the truth, I'm, I'm glad I'm still going to be me and I wasn't going to have kids just because, you know, my parents say so or whatever. But, um, I'm actually quite surprised that it was other people and sometimes just strangers that for some reason or other felt that they had the right, because they certainly didn't have the invitation, um, but yeah, they, they felt that they had to put in their two cents. I had some cousins, you know, kind of tell me like, Oh, but you're going to regret it. And I'm like, Hmm.

[24:44] Paulette: Still waiting for that boat of regret to pull into port.

[24:47] Talia: In my many lives over, I'll probably be like, Nope, still waiting. So no.

[24:54] Paulette: Still waiting.

[24:56] OMG. I forgot to mention this. We recorded this interview a mere five days after Roe vs. Wade. So of course it entered our conversation. And with an activist like Talia, how could it not?

[25:09] Yeah, it feels like, especially in light of what is happening here in the U. S. these days, everybody gets an opinion about what you do with your body.

[25:18] Talia: Yes.

[25:19] Paulette: How do we change that conversation?

[25:23] Talia: Well, I'm going to tell you what was the hardest thing about my dissertation. The hardest thing was actually the literature review.

[25:34] The literature review, I sat with historical pieces, if you will, of understanding which bodies in this country are legitimate and which ones are not. And I know that this is probably going to be hard for some people to hear, but when you realize that a lot of the laws that a lot of us are living under are either made to, well, they're literally made for the satisfaction, for the access to a particular person, and that's white.

[26:13] And. Many laws are actually made against the person that is contrasted to this white person, which is The Other.

[26:24] Paulette: Right.

[26:24] Talia: And so when you say something like Roe versus Wade, I cannot not think about the fact that we are fighting for a particular body to have children. And so what happens there is that we are still living under an administration that again, is forcibly taking the wombs out of people of color, either they, whether they know it or not, you know, against their will. And so I feel like it's very complex and multi layered in that sense. For me, It really is a matter of how the hell do you undo patriarchy? Because at the end of the day, it's the, the patriarchal man that deems, okay, I want this particular body to have the babies for this country, right?

[27:11] And this one to just not. So how do you do that? You know, I don't know, I don't even know if I have an answer that makes sense. But it's, for me, the way that I am sort of combating against that is by entering into a whole paradigm shift, and I believe in practicing matriarchal practices, you know, and, and kind of going back to my ancestry, my lineage, you know, of um, just living and being in the world that allows me to distance myself as much as I can from patriarchal ways of being and knowing. So it is a standing firm in community. It is, if somebody is going through a particular type of trouble, whatever it is, how do we as a community come to their aid? How do we practice mutual aid and gift economies?

[28:00] How do we provide a home for the people that don't have a home? How do we provide food for people that don't have a food, food? Um, I know that this is something that a lot of us will say, Oh, but the state has to do this for us. And sure, I agree with that too. And at the same time, I'm still searching for ways that I can distance myself from the dominant system and culture that we're living in right now.

[28:23] The fact that Roe versus Wade was overturned to me is honestly was not surprising. Because as an immigrant in this country that has faced such terrible experiences of racism and of erasure, I know who the higher ups benefit. You know, and, and I know that they are all out for the, the upholding of a particular narrative, you know. And I think that we're seeing that as a collective right now with the overt racism and overt, almost like cult-like religious fanatics. And when you look at the history of this country, I mean, that is how this all started. So, and I'm speaking as an anthropologist here, you know, I just want to make that very clear. I don't know. I don't want to cause a lot of problems on your podcast.

[29:12] Paulette: We are here for problems, Talia. Just give it all you got.

[29:16] Talia: This is a historical fact. Actually, I would love to plug in this one, that wonderful book. It's called Reproductive Justice: An Introduction. It's a fantastic book by Loretta Ross, who is one of the founders of Reproductive Justice Movement.

[29:30] Paulette: Well, that was an awesome plug. We'll definitely have that in the show notes.

[29:34] Talia has been talking about legacy the whole entire time, so her response to the question about it should not be a surprise at all. Still, I didn't want to put words in her mouth, so let's listen to how she reflects on it some more.

[29:45] I can tell you're very passionate about this, so I can almost guess what your response will be to the next question. But one of the sticking points, I guess, in the conversation that always plots child free people against parents is, what is your legacy going to be if you don't have children?

[30:06] Like it's, it's completely unthinkable that a legacy can exist without offspring. I have a feeling you feel very strongly about that.

[30:15] Talia: Well, yeah, I think that's a very good question about the legacy and, you know, again, going, if I think in a matriarchal way, I think as a collective. So I don't think in patriarchal ways as the individual.

[30:31] If you think of yourself as an individual, then yes, you want to like, birth other individuals to pass on your, your, your legacy to keep you alive, if you will, you know. Because it's all about you at the end of the day. But in this matriarchal context, I think about my communities, and I think about what are the gifts I'm leaving.

[30:50] That's what I think of when I think of a legacy, and I hope that the gifts that people will remember me by is that I cared, that I fought the good fight, that I loved, and that I showed up. And so, I forgot what show it was that I was watching, but there was something very beautiful that they said there that...

[31:14] It was actually a gay couple and they were going to therapy and one of them was having kind of like an existential crisis. He was Catholic and he was like, well, you know, I was taught that if you're gay, Catholics go to hell, you, you go to hell, you know, that's what Catholicism shows you. And I liked what the psychologist told them and he said, you know, I believe that hell and heaven is how people talk about you when you're gone.

[31:40] And so if people are talking about you in these ways. It got me thinking, right, if people are talking about me in these ways that I helped, that I was there, that I was lovely, that I supported people when they were there, that I showed up, all these things that I mentioned, then I'm still alive. You know, my body might not be there, but I'm alive in the minds and the mouths and the hearts of people.

[32:05] Paulette: Her take on how patriarchal and selfish the whole idea of legacy is, delights me in all sorts of ways. Now we're going to move into how to work with Talia and what it is she does for a living. Plus her whole fight for student loan debt cancellation and even her podcast. So for people who are looking to move in this direction, Talia, do you offer services of this kind or what, you know, how, how do creatives work with you?

[32:32] Talia: Yeah, so I actually created a platform called We Are Phoenixing. It's a little bit off of my research. But uh, We Are Phoenixing is a creative consultation that I basically use to best support and mentor practitioners across various, artistic disciplines who are struggling with emotional or psychological blocks.

[32:55] And basically what I do is that I, I guide my clients through a series of tailored one to one collaborative exploration sessions. And we focus on their specific needs and desired outcomes. And ultimately I, I help them arrive at a transformative breakthrough. And the other thing is I am part of the Debt Collective and the Debt Collective is a union of debtors and we're fighting right now, a very big fight to scan, cancel, uh, student loan debt.

[33:25] And so I would highly invite people to check that out. And there's also a podcast I collaborate on regarding debt matters called The Matter of Life and Debt. So be cool if people listen to that and follow the movement.

[33:39] Paulette: So We Are Phoenixing, Debt Collective, The Matter of Life and Debt, all awesome places for people to come find you, but what is your specific artistic medium?

[33:50] I don't think we touched on that at any point.

[33:53] Talia: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, I, right now at this moment, I am claiming the, what was very evident at birth and to my parents, which is that I am a writer. But for many years, I was a theater practitioner and I taught theater, I directed theater, I acted in theater, that's my first degree.

[34:14] I have a BFA in theater and I wanted to be an actress. And I did all those juicy things, you know, you move to LA and you do all that stuff. And then I woke up and I realized, Oh, no, I don't want to sell myself in this way. So I came back to Florida and I started, yeah, I started teaching at nonprofits. So I was teaching to youth and I was teaching theater and directing plays.

[34:37] I did that for a really long time until I went and got my master's in counseling only to realize that it made me a better artist. Because I all of a sudden had a language to develop really great characters and relationships and conversations. And so I actually was like, okay, I'm going to get my PhD because I want to be a filmmaker because I've always wanted to do that too.

[34:58] And then once I got my PhD, I still want to continue doing films, so I will do that at some point. But right now, I think finishing my book is really important. I think we're living in a time right now where the concepts that arose in, in my research are really important. And I want to do it in a very creative way because I am an artist.

[35:19] My soul is an artist. So like, uh, like most artists, we use so many mediums. Any medium that's at our disposal to push out a message. So right now, the medium is writing. We'll see where, where it goes in a couple of years.

[35:35] Paulette: Is the writing the vehicle for the storytelling?

[35:40] Talia: Absolutely. Yeah, definitely. I also, but you know, it's funny you mentioned storytelling because for me, storytelling is medicine.

[35:48] I see it. And, and, and, and historically I feel that artists were our medicine people. To me, an artist is also like a mother because they're creators. And for me, this is, yeah, this is something that's very, um, it bleeds into the other.

[36:03] Paulette: Right, you can't partition off those parts of yourself.

[36:06] Talia: Yeah, exactly. And I think that because of all those things we talked about earlier before we started that I went to Mexico to do a lot of healing. And one of the healers I was working on me said, but, you know you're a healer as well. And I didn't understand what that meant until I was able to tap into the idea of, oh, storytelling is medicine, and I storytell. This is where I provide healing. This is how I provide healing.

[36:33] Paulette: The archetype of the medicine woman is usually the eldest person in a village, right? Very close to Mother Earth, the ultimate mother. So it just makes sense that the mother is the healer, the protector, and who brings life, who creates.

[36:54] Talia: Yes.

[36:55] Paulette: And thank you so much for putting all of that so beautifully. Because I think, I wish you and I had met about a year ago, because I would have been so much more confident in doing what it is I'm doing, because you have no idea what the last hour of our conversation, what kind of therapy that has been for me. Because you've simply validated everything I have been working towards with this podcast and with my life's work by having a conversation with me.

[37:22] So thank you so much. I look forward to future collaboration opportunities with you, because you are brilliant.

[37:29] Talia: Oh, thank you. And I want to share that with you too, you know, when I, I was reading up on your website and everything, I was like, wow, this is, this is something that we need. You know, we really, really do, especially this community that you're tapping into this idea of visibility, but visibility in, in this light that you're presenting in the way that we choose.

[37:52] Because you're giving us an opportunity to write our history the way that we have lived it, using our own voices and our own words as opposed to having somebody write it for us or tell it for us. So I want to thank you as well for this beautiful work and for having me on.

[38:09] Paulette: Talia, thank you so much for your time today and sharing so much of this with us. I think it, it really throws a new dimension on the topic of being child free where you're also a mother in a different way. That is. So brilliant and so beautiful. So as we say here on the Maker Muse podcast:

[38:29] Talia: That's a burrito.

[38:31] Paulette: Do you got something to say about this week's episode? DM me on Instagram at Paulette Erato. And if you'd like to be a guest on La Vida Más Chévere, check out the guest form on my website at pauletteerato.com, all of these links are in the show notes.

[38:44] While you're at it, can I ask you a favor? I'd really appreciate your helping spread awareness about the podcast, so could you please share it on your socials or even send it to a friend?[38:55] New episodes come out every other Tuesday. You can enjoy them with tacos or burritos. Muchísimas gracias for your support, y hasta la próxima vez, cuídate bien.

Start of replay
Queering Motherhood
Hysterectomies Part 2
House Ballroom
Roe v. Wade
Legacy
How to work with Talia

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