I’m an English major. It is a language of conquest.
What does it say that I’m mastering the same language that was used to make my mother feel inferior? Growing up, I had a white friend who used to laugh whenever my mother spoke English, amused by the way she rolled her r’s. My sister and I tease Mami about her accent too, but it’s different when we do it, or is it? The echoes of colonization linger in my voice. The weapons of the death squads that pushed my mother out of El Salvador were U.S.-funded. When Nixon promised, “We’re going to smash him!” it was said in his native tongue, and when the Chilean president he smashed used his last words to promise, “Long live Chile!” it was said in his. And when my family told me the story of my grandfather’s arrest by the dictatorship that followed, my grandfather stayed silent, and meeting his eyes, I cried, understanding that there were no words big enough for loss.
English is a language of conquest. I benefit from its richness, but I’m not exempt from its limitations. I am ‘that girl’ in your English classes, the one who is tired of talking about dead white dudes. But I’m still complicit with the system, reading nineteenth-century British literature to graduate.
Diversity in my high school and college English literature courses is too often reduced to a month, week, or day where the author of the book is seen as the narrator of the novel. The multiplicity of U.S. minority voices is palatably packaged into a singular representation for our consumption. I read Junot Díaz and now I understand not only the Dominican-American experience, but what it means to be Latina/o in America. Jhumpa Lahiri inspired me to study abroad in India. Sherman Alexie calls himself an Indian, so now it’s ok for me to call all Indians that, too. We will read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to understand the horrors of slavery, but we won’t watch her takedowns on white supremacy.
Even the English courses that analyze race and diasporas in meaningful ways are still limited by the time constraints of the semester. Reading Shakespeare is required, but reading Paolo Javier and Mónica de la Torre is extra credit. My Experimental Minority Writing class is cross-listed at the most difficult level, as a 400-level course in the Africana Studies, Latina/o Studies, and American Studies departments, but in my English department, it is listed as a 300-level. I am reminded of Orwellian democracy: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.
“He has a bad heart.
No leaking valves, just a bad, dark purple,
slightly deflated, extra-soft heart.
I found it on the lip of the bathroom sink one morning.
I guess he left it there by accident.
I should’ve given it back.
But it was bad and I thought maybe I could make it un-bad.
I put it under my pillow,
(thinking I could dream it into goodness).
It ruined my sheets, obviously.
I sealed it in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator,
next to a box of baking soda to keep it fresh.
Still, after two weeks, the stench was unbearable.
I washed it off, gave it a fresh bag, moved it to the freezer.
It iced over within a few days and I was terribly
worried about freezer burn.
Finally, I pickled it in a mason jar.
I carry it with me in my bag
alongside all my books and asthma inhalers,
between my favorite poets’ poems.
(I figure there’s no better way to turn a bad heart good.)
He hasn’t come asking for it. I guess he has no idea where he left it.
Maybe he grew a new one. Bright red: solid, with a steady thump.
She was twelve years old the first time.
But since she didn’t say yes, she doesn’t count it.
The boy’s friends stood in the window and watched. They cheered.
Cords bound her wrists, a boy inside her new body.
The tallest of the faces from the other side of the glass,
whooping and hollering; his blonde bangs flapping as he jumped
and applauded. All his glee, watching her two skinny legs
thrash like that.
She started counting.
The chubby boy with the thicket of black curls,
the one with the blue mohawk and armfuls of tattoos,
the Greek one she eventually married and divorced,
she counted all of them.
Most times, she wanted it. Most times, she was hoping for it.
Some say she was filling up whatever hole that first boy left.
(That’s what they say.) She only knows that most times,
she was hoping for it and most times, they gave it to her.
Sometimes she didn’t want it but already had the gift of knowing
what happens when you say no. She took to saying yes.
There was not much more to be learned than the tricky delivery
but always something festering.
She took to whiskey.
Or call it wine. Ale. So long as it burned.
This made the yes easier.
She did, eventually, lose count.
Manipulative types used words like always and love.
The gullible used words like damage and repair.
The word friends became synonymous with cannibals
after Friend crammed fat fingers down her jeans while she slept
and Friend pulled back her vomit hair and crawled up her passed-out thighs
and Friend brought along three other Friends and together,
they pulled her arms straight off her ragdoll body.
(If you look close you can see where she stitched them back on.)
The people made up stories, called them facts.
They stoned her with silence.
Used her name to scold their children.
Today, she lives alone
in a city with a happy name.
She keeps marvelous houseplants,
wears war paint on her legs.
She refuses to speak; writes notes in Braille
on paper napkins with knitting needles. Rumor has it,
she pickled her last lover’s heart
in a mason jar.
Carries it around with her
everywhere.”—Jeanann Verlee, beautiful: a legend (via sofischoices)
Take one side of your cover and slot it into the little side pocket you made. Fold the edges if it’s not fitting right. **Make sure both “aeroplane” folds are equal, or your cover will slightly skew to one side** see, your pocket creases are taken care of!
Repeat on the other side. Trim if needed.
FINALE Step 22
Stick double sided tape behind your cutie mark
FINALE Step 22.5
Cut the shape of the cutie mark out out. Don’t peel it off before you cut
FINALE Step 23
Stick it anywhere! If your cutie mark is delicate (like the strings on Pinkie’s balloons), you’ll see that making your background colour similar to the paper allows it to blend in and doesn’t require precision cutting. The little inside part of the rainbow and cloud was a problem, so I didn’t bother cutting it out and it was okay.
Congratulations! How awesome, you have your own pony wallet.
Be creative, this design is ultra versatile. If you chose not to glue/stick your paper cover in, then it’s removable and you can swap it out for another custom design! Once you get a hang of the digital process, you can create a back design for your wallet as, it’s sure to make your design much more than 20% cooler.
Hope you like your snazzy new wallet. It’s recyclable, biodegradable nd is made from reused materials. Minimize the use of glue and adhesives for minimum waste, and remember that printing can be done on used paper. Have fun changing the design of your wallet based on your whims and fancies!
Take your two coloured papers and glue them together. you have the option of making a more durable wallet by sticking a card based A4 paper in between, HOWEVER THIS WILL INCREASE CREASING. Go ahead with two sheets, it’ll be fine, I chose to use the card stock and 2 papers of the same colour.
*be good to the environment and use recycled paper. I used old school forms with stuff printed at the back for this* TIP: Let the glue dry before you continue!
MAKING THE WALLET Step 2: Determining primary and secondary colours.
Whatever you want the INSIDE OF YOUR MONEY POUCH to be, flip that side up. That means when you pry open your wallet to take those bills out, this will be the colour of the interior. Whatever colour behind this side will be the colour of your wallet when you flip it open clamshell style.
MAKING THE WALLET Step 3
Fold the paper into half to make two A5 sides.
MAKING THE WALLET Step 4
Fold each side inside again until you have a “hotdog”. this is a side top view.
MAKING THE WALLET Step 5
Fold your hotdog into half. It’s starting to look about right! OPEN IT ALL UP NOW. It may crease a little - but don’t be sad! we have a plan for that!
MAKING THE WALLET Step 6
After opening it up, position your card on the 2nd panel of your four long rectangles.
MAKING THE WALLET Step 7
Trace out a card shape pattern. Be creative, it doesn’t have to be a rectangle. Circular, triangular, whatever pattern works, just don’t make it too complicated!
MAKING THE WALLET Step 7.5
I made a square using my card. I find that this has the least areas of stress and hence the most durable, but other shapes I’ve tried were fine too.
MAKING THE WALLET Step 8
Cut the shape out, BE CAREFUL with your penknife. Patience is key, you don’t want to mess this part up!
MAKING THE WALLET Step 9
Now at every fold, make a 1-2cm cut. There should be six cuts. This is an important step.
MAKING THE WALLET Step 10
Fold the flaps in where the card holes are, and the flaps on the last panel. Looks like a diaper doesn’t it, not some other sanitary device. -shifty eyes- We are done for now, get to your computer!
We’ll be using MS Paint and MS Word. Why? Because I’m old-school.
There will be 3 parts to prepare. Your - wallet skin - insert (decorates your card slots) - Embellishments (cutie mark)
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 11.5
You may want to resize the photo if it’s huge, but pixel sizes don’t matter too much ***do not go below 250 pixels in height is all***
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 12 Create a long rectangular wallet skin with your design. This should be easy with paint, just pull your images longitudinally and then select your main image and put it to the RIGHT. Use the colour picker and paint bucket tool to fill in any large white chucks selecting and dragging your picture cuses. Width is not too important except for a little flap you need to make at the side.
*TIP: go minimalist so pulling your images around and filling in the empty spaces with the paint bucket will be a breeze*
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 13
Go the same for your insert. width doesn’t matter again. I made this image from scratch.
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 14
Get your cutie mark ready. If possible, fill the background (bucket tool) with a colour similar to the colour of the paper you want to stick this on.
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 15
All right! copy and paste everything to MS Word! Make sure you are in landscape mode.
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 15.5
Narrow your margins too.
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 16
Make sure your COVER PICTURE is 8.5 cm in height. *your wallet is 7.5 cm in height* *the rule of thumb is overestimation is always better than underestimation!* if you picture is so that trimming it would ruin it, you could reduce your margins to 7.5cm - 8cm.
DIGITAL DESIGN Step 17
Your insert should be smaller. 7cm height is good. Width doesn’t matter too much. Add your cutie mark in, it should be HALF the size of your insert. Print it all out - you can print it on used paper, as long as the back is blank.
Print it all out - you can print it on used paper, as long as the back is blank. Cut em out. You’ll see I made two versions to try out.
CONSTRUCTION Step 18
Place your insert face down on the card slot. *note that you have not flipped your wallet paper and shouldn’t have at all from step 1!* Trim if needed. Fold it all back up again.
CONSTRUCTION Step 19
Fold it all back together again with your flaps folded as said. If you followed the instructions before we entered the digital world, you should have a side that looks like this. If you don’t, try again.
CONSTRUCTION Step 20
Listen close; Fold flap A into flap B’s.. hole? You’ll be left with flap B sticking out, fold it into Flap A’s… Hole..
CONSTRUCTION Step 20.5
If the fit is a little tight (or you didn’t cut them evenly, d’oh), don’t hesitate to dog ear the corners for a better fit.
CONSTRUCTION Step 20.5(point 5)
If you did it right, you should have gotten this lovely pocket to keep your cards in. Creases? No problem, they’ll be ironed out in a bit. If you like, stick a bit of double sided tape on flap B and hold it down. I personally don’t, but extra security’s always cool.
Welp, many people have asked me for a tutorial so here it is in a few parts. i’m sure the way I make mine aren’t the same as other people out there so suit up and lets get crafting!
Who doesn’t love ponies (and crafting?)
Here’s a quick and easy pony paper wallet you can make with materials you have around your house. 100% recyclable, biodegradable and hand made, it’s a functional talk piece for your brony and non-brony friends. Moms and dads, this makes for a great craft time with the kids, just be careful with the scissors and penknife! You’ll get two card slots on the inside (keep your important cards there!) and one more on the two sides of the wallet (great for name cards!). Bills go in the top, and I’m currently working on a coin pouch.
Be creative, swap our ponies for anything you like, it’s entirely up to you and your imagination. Have fun!
Crafting time: 20 minutes Design time: Varies
Materials: - A4 Coloured paper (1 primary colour, one secondary colour) - Scissors - Ruler - Glue (optional) - Double-sided tape (optional but recommended) - Pen knife - Credit card (or any card of that size) - Pencil - Your digital designs (we’ll get to that.) - Inspiration