Date of Interview: April 28th, 2017
Name: Fabiola Christina Maria Rondon Delgado, AKA Fa
Location: Washington, DC
Why are you in bubble wrap?
[Laughter] Yes. Bubble wrap. You use it to wrap something that’s very delicate, that can break. Something that’s important. Since I was a little girl I’ve always battled the idea of being saved and having somebody help me in any way because I thought I could do it myself (whatever ‘it’ it). I’ve been thinking the way I think since I was at least four years old, which is really strange. My dad was very abusive. He was an alcoholic; or is? I don’t even know if he’s still alive. he tried to kill me. He tried to kill my mother may times. He had guns, put them on her head. And I never felt like a child, wondering, “Oh what’s happening?” I knew what was happening and I knew that I had to take care of myself. And take care of my brother. And take care of my mom. So it wasn’t until last year – you know I’m 26…27, shit [laughter], that I started mentally proclaiming, “No, actually I am worthy of being protected. It’s not a negative thing.” And as good as feminism is, sometimes you can go too radical and be like, “NO I don’t need a man. I’m super independent and don’t need anyone.” Now I’m more like, “I’m a human being and every human being deserves nourishing and care.” And we’re all delicate, so that’s why I’m wrapping myself in bubble wrap: to very physically feel I am delicate and worthy of protection and being taken care of.
What are you passionate about?
People [laughter]. I like people. Yay, people! I really love talking too. I love engaging in meaningful conversations with strangers. Not just strangers, it could be my roommates and others I know, anybody! Since moving to America it’s been hard to create a family, cause DC especially is so coming-and-going. So I’m passionate about getting to know people: What are their stories? What superpowers they have? [laughter]. I’m passionate about culture in general, and about my own specifically. I’m originally from Venezuela. I miss the Venezuela I grew up in. I saw the change between old Venezuela (where there was a future and it was just a normal country where people lived, and ate, and drank) to the decline. Dictatorship taking over, Chavez taking over. And it was a very visible change, like one day not having electricity, not having water, and not having food. I’m proud of my country, but I miss what it used to be. And it’s scary to think of going back. They kill you for protesting and for the regime it’s legal. I’m actually requesting asylum because it’s really dangerous there, especially for me because of my work in human rights. It put me on the spot, made me a target of the government. I was basically an enemy of the state for wanting basic rights for our people. Have been attacked, harassed, held hostage, almost killed several times, and if you’re an activist, you’ll likely get killed. So I came here seeking political asylum. I’d be terrified if I get sent back.
Do you think that feminism here is different from in Venezuela?
Yeah, it’s a different branch [laughter] mostly because of race issues. Let’s say wage gap: in Venezuela wages are dictated by law, so there is no “Oh, you get paid less than a man for the same job.” No. “This is the law, and you must pay this amount” simple. And everything is upfront. Nobody’s sneaky about how much they make. Over here it’s such a taboo, and I still have issues with it, like how am I going to get ahead if you don’t tell me how much you make, so I know if what I’m making is good or sufficient? And yeah, the racial issues! I can’t say there’s isn’t racism in Venezuela, it exists everywhere. But we’re so mixed so it’s not as blatant, not “black and white” (laughter) Being called black is actually a term of endearment; my grandma calls me “negrita” (little black girl) and that’s cute, not a bad word. What’s bad is if you’re against the government. What we have right now is political apartheid. You’re with the government: you can have food. If you live in a certain neighborhood, you’re probably against the government because it’s an area with protests and marches, so they’ll cut your electricity, water and shut down the metro. That kind of stuff happens there. Anyway, feminism! We suffer more about sexual harassment and the macho culture. Latinos are flamboyantly sexist and they take pride in that, it’s not a bad thing at all. Even some women want to be sexually harassed because it’s like a status symbol. It means you’re beautiful, you’re hot. I’ve seen it and felt it myself.
What do you think of relationships? plutonic, sexual and otherwise.
I love them! I love relationships. I think they’re important. They’re necessary as well. The plutonic, the friendships, the romantic ones, the family ones, everything, as long as they’re healthy. That’s what I think we all desire: to have a good relationships with other humans because we need them and I think that’s also the bubble wrap. I don’t want to be “kept” as in the whining need of ANYONE, I battle internally the idea of needing a man to take care of me, but hey! We all want and need to be taken care of. By ourselves and by lovers, and by a community. I’m sweet and kind and awesome, why wouldn’t I be loved? We all should be loved.
What is something that you’re hopeful for?
Well, I’m hopeful for Lyla Rose. I’ve taken care of this four-year-old magic girl since she was one. Now she’s in school and I babysit sometimes, but it’s kids like her that give me hope: in the future of politics, and feminism, and racial reconciliation. I feel as though all these issues are gonna be in good hands. This kid is amazing. She’s white and has blue eyes and when she asked for a baby doll, she got a black doll. That’s what she liked and it didn’t make her feel anything other than just happy with her doll. It was pure. I love how kids don’t see threats and biases and sexualized versions of anything. When they grow up is when it gets shitty, cause history and culture and ignorance pour poor ideas into our brains. But kids give me hope. I asked Lyla what she was going to be when she’s a grown-up and she said President of the United States. I say “okay, cool and who’s gonna be your vice-president?” (Hoping it’d be me) And she said so decidedly “My wife.” And my only concern was a possible conflict of interest. Then she goes “Yeah, my wife will be my vice-president. Or my husband. I mean you can marry whoever you want, as long as you love them that’s fine!”