Search

Annette Torres

Las Cafeteras – Kicked Out

Many of you have already noticed that I am no longer performing with Las Cafeteras. I still get tagged in some post, so many of you still don’t know that I am no longer performing with the group. I want to mention before I start my story that I did not leave the band, Las Cafeteras kicked me out of the band. This is not the final statement I will be posting, you have a choice to unfriemd me if you do not wish to know the truth.

I was kicked out of the band because I spoke up. The men were controlling and abusing the women in the band. There was a lof to verbal abuse from them. In the last three years I suffered from low self-esteem. I lost my voice and I lost myself being part of Las Cafeteras. We were constantly being bullied and criticized mostly By Hector Flores and Daniel French. It wasn’t a safe space to express and voice out what we felt. The women were being silenced at rehearsals, interviews, and shows.

Denise, Leah and I started loosing our right to create, speak, make suggestions, feel safe when the men created the “bro space” for themselves. This happened a little after our CD release of “It’s Time.” They became more desperate to control the image of the band, and everything seemed so fake after that. It was controlled who spoke in front of the cameras, and most of the time Hector Flores would assigned himself. He would event speak on women issues even if we expressed to him that we could sopeak on issues that we were most related to.

Rehearsal were brutal. Hector would constantly make Denise cry at our rehearsals, and always made her doubt her potential in playing her instrument. There was a period when she stopped playing the jarana, because she didn’t want to hear his criticism. The rehearsal space was taken over by the men, and this happened because the men figured out that if they got together it was easier to control us. It became the “bro” space, and eventually it got to the point where none of the women felt safe enough to speak up to or give ideas. If we did speak up Daniel would question us to the point of intimidation. He would use misic language that he knew we didn’t understand just to dumb us down. We were also ignored while the men huddled up and figured out chord changes and music ideas. If we wanted to dance, Hector would criticize the way we were dancing, or Jose Cano would complain that we were interrupting his concentration. Eventually we were too intimidated to dance, and stopped bringing the tarima with us. Jose became very controlling in the arrangements of the songs, and the other men gave him that power. They felt that since he was the one taking the songs home, that he was entitled to have more say in the making of the music. This evenntually was switched uo by the producer, because everything sounded the same. We were never given the chance to present our ideas even if we worked on them at home. The men would always find an excuse to change what we brought to the table. Daniel was also given this power because somehow Hector and David thought he knew more than all of us. The women ended up showing up to rehearsal to take orders, and sit through hours of “bro” arguments that lead to the same conclusion. Hector would throw tantrums if someone had a different idea than him, and he would stop rehearsal because he wanted to discuss why he was so upset. He would argue how he had an idea, and we weren’t following his lead. If one of us women would have a disagreement with one of the men, the other three would get involved, so the argument became one woman against four men. This happened to me a lot of the times, because I would get frustrated and speak up. I was always defeated, and left feeling powerless. There were also some times when I would speak up, and the Denise and Leah would side with the men because it kept them from getting picked on.

Performance were no different. Hector would yell at us on stage if we didn’t do what he wanted us to do. Leah got the worse of this because she was next to him. So he would yell at her the most, or intimidate her with his look if he wanted her to do something. When we would get off stage Leah would break down in the dressing room, because she was fed up with Hector yelling at her. She would also complaint that he would get in front of her, or was careless with his instrument and hit her with it. Denise and I would tell her to bring it up at a meeting, and we would support her, but she never wanted to start conflict. David Flores also knew this was happening, but he never confronted Hector about it. Daniel treated us like his secretaries, and always demanded things from us. When we went to Canada we were given two dressing rooms, and the women decided to get one for us to have more privacy to get dressed, and the men mostly Hector threw a fit because they said we were separating ourselves from them. Denise, Leah and I started getting dressed, and Daniel came in and asked me last minute to give his guest names to the person in charge. I asked him if he could do it, and he yelled at me telling me it was my job. I told him it was our job, and he wasn’t doing anything but eating snacks. He continued to yell at me until I asked him if he could do me a favor and give the names to the person in charge. He said he would do it but to remember that this was my job, and that he was doing me a favor. Before Daniel came into the dressing room Denise, Leah and I were laughing and joking around. When Daniel left the room after yelling at me, it was silent and the women just put their heads down. Later that night during his part in the song of Trabajador/trabajadora he was saying how we needed to give thanks to those who were putting in work, and we needed to appreciate each other. I just shook my head.

The workshops were also controlled by the men. David, Hector and Daniel took lead in the educational component, and didn’t give the women room to feel comfortable to also participate. It wasn’t until the female students at different universities started to speak up when they noticed that we were either on the side or seating in the back. This is when Denise was given permission tell her story in the beginning, and Leah was given permission to lead the last part of the meditation. The men were very critical in how the women would give the workshops. They felt we were too boring.

Hector, Daniel, Jose and other men who came on tour with us were not always very professional with the ladies we would meet on the road. They would hook up with many women even if they were in relationships back home. At times it was awkward because when we returned to the same place, the women would show up, and they would get ignored by the men of Las Cafeteras. Denise and I were most of the time excluded from attending after parties, because Hector didn’t want us to get in his way, especially Denise because of their past realtionship. In New York after one of our shows we all wanted to go to the house we were staying at, and Hector held up the whole group because he wanted to stay up to party. We needed both cars because we didn’t all fit in one car, but Hector threw a fit and was arguing with us in the middle of the street. I offered to go with him, bu he didn’t want me to go with him because I was going to get in the way of him sleeping hooking up with someone. After an hour or so David volunteered to go with him, and the they returned the next morning. It was so uncomfortable because everyone gave Hector the silent treatment the whole day.

As a mother I didn’t feel supported by the band. Even if I never missed a show in town or out of town, the band always had a problem with me having to attend to my motherly responsibilities. The girls were my only reason for missing or being late to rehearsals. Everyone else had other commitments that constantly got in the way of performances or rehearsals, but my commitments to my girls were never considered important enough. When I would be late because I needed to pick up my girl from school, the band would give me the silent treatment. One time I couldn’t make it to rehearsal because one of my girls had a play for her theater class, and Hector dared to question my youngest daughter to see if I was lying.

When Daniel finished grad school and joined the group again, Daniel and Hector started working together. The group dynamic changed again, and these two were trying to gain control of the group. Daniel got out of school with a chip on his shoulder, and was very edgy and bossy. Hector and Daniel started harassing mostly Denise and I, and questioned our commitment to the band. They were not satisfied with the work we were doing, and wanted to add more work days to our week. Daniel suggested that we meet Friday, because he didn’t trust that we were doing the work we said we were doing. So he wanted to keep an eye on us and meet on our only day off which was on Friday. We were already meeting Monday through Thursday, and performing on the weekends. Later Daniel told us that he wanted Las Cafeteras to start making a million dollars a year, and Hector wanted to build an empire. When I spoke up in a meeting about the men’s behavior in the band everything changed for me. I became a threat, because I was no longer staying silent. I was using my voice to point out the unhealthiness of how the men were behaving, and how they were not respecting the women in the band.

On March 26, 2015 I finally spoke up. I was tired. I was tired of all the abuse, and I was tired of all the controlling by the men in the group. Things were getting worse when Daniel French got out of school and joined the band again. He started working with Hector on some of the business deals, and it all felt so corporate. At this meeting I called them both out, and told them that they were being bullies, and that the space didn’t feel safe because of them. I told them that they had no right to question my commitment to Las Cafeteras after Daniel just got back from a two year haitus. I told them that they were the oppressors that they spoke of on stage, and that they needed to practice what they were preaching. The men didn’t like that I finaly spoke up, and got scared that I would get the other ladies to speak up as well. Within two weeks I was out of the band. I was put through hell. I am going to post more during the week. I give you the opportunity to unfriend me if you don’t want to hear my story. I need to do this for me. Thank you for allowing me to share.

(Unedited. I’ve been trying to post something for months, but Las Cafeteras have asked their lawyer to send me a contract where they want to buy my silence. More on this in another post.)

#lascafeteras #socialjustice #education #womensrights #feminist #feminism #speakup #activist #music #band #musician #eastlosangeles #losangeles #tellyourstory #ifyoudonttellyourstorysomeonewilltellitforyou

Featured post

Goodbye 2016

I am still flinching from the lashes 2016 gave us all! Lol..  Seriously, I have never been in such a hurry while hiding under a rock to leave a year with so many lessons.  Many people were taken last year. It was predicted in 2015 that in 2016 the earth was going to be clearing itself of many souls.  Side note: It took many of the good ones! Good one universe.

Anyway, 2016 was not compassionate.  Many of us strayed away from our purpose so it needed to bring us back to our calling.  We have been neglecting and abusing mother earth for too long.  We needed to be woken up and that is why we are stuck with Trump for at least four years. The people who have been going through an awakening and transformation have been doing so for the purpose in cleaning up the mess we have put ourselves into.  We are in need of peace and balance.

Last year it was about letting go.  Numerology number 9 is about letting go, death/dying and new beginnings.  All the break-ups had a purpose and all the people you let go were not suppose to travel with you into 2017.  In numerology, number one is about leadership, individualistic and independence.That is what 2017 is, a number one.  This year is about rebuilding on a stronger foundation.  All that was taken in 2016 was meant to go, because it was going to get in the way of you rebuilding a life that you have been wanting for yourself.  All the things that returned, came back with a lesson. I hope you were listening.

In 2016 the blindfolds were taken off, or we ourselves took off the rose color glasses.  We faced life with the truth, we actually demanded the truth.  It was about taking off the mask and showing your true self.  The people who are still being fake and were not exposed at the end of 2016 will face exposure of their true self in 2017.  We are no longer accepting lies.  Last year pushed us into wanting a more honest world. Thank you 2016 for the lesson.

Evolving

Evolving into one’s higher power is a beautiful gift one gives to oneself.  It means that you were brave enough to face your demons.  It means that you went into battle with yourself.  That is admirable, because sometimes the cause of being so brave can result in literal death.  Facing darkness while transforming can be a lonely place.  Many tears are shed during this stage.  Loosing sleep due to over-thinking. It will feel like you are thrown into the deepest ocean without knowing how to swim only to be expected to stay afloat.  So many end up drowning.  Those who made it out to only find a better version of themselves in their human body should not be considered stronger than those who decided to reach this evolution in their next reality.  It would be selfish of us to condemn in such a way.

When one reaches this evolution it is like no other feeling.  One feels like they can do anything in this life.  You never see the world the same.  You start appreciating all that surrounds your world. Your circle becomes smaller with only the chosen few that really love you.  Traveling seems like flying and getting to know different cultures is a better interest than a 9-5 job.  All you want to do is think of ways you can make the world a better place.  Knowing that you are an example to a better world, so you live with intention.  You live knowing that you are the higher self and the magic comes from your own thoughts.  You become a bit quieter when it’s time to listen to the universe, because the messages will help you maneuver through this life.  You start understanding that life will continue to be a roller coaster and finally accepting the lessons.  Evolving means to stop going against the current and let go.

Life Is Not Suppose To Be Easy

I struggle with this concept.  I always wanted life to be easy.  I’ve worked many years to get to the point where I can look around and tell myself, “life is easy.”  I have not gotten to that point, but I do feel sometimes that I am getting closer.  Everyday is a new layer of emotions that come up and I have to find the strength to overcome them.  I want to be happy even if it’s because I woke up in the morning, or that my girls are all fine and well.  I feel guilty because sometimes it is a chore to wake up and face another day of having to convince myself that I have come a long way.  That is painful sometimes when you feel so stagnant in this world.  Your purpose can seem so clear one day and the next day you feel unhappy with what you thought was your purpose.  This is why I am working on self-love and really diving into it.  I don’t want my happiness to depend on anything in this world.  I want to be happy just by existing, just being part of this world.  So I guess the phrase “life is not suppose to be easy” comes from knowing that there will always be ups and downs, it is how you deal with all that comes with being alive that will determine how easy or hard life will be.  There will always be situations that will happen in life that will turn it up side down for instance a death of someone that you really love.  That to me would be the most devastating news, but it is unavoidable because we will all get there one day.  I am waiting for my uh huh moment, but trying to enjoy the in between space where I find myself.  I am in between one door that closed not yet seeing the door that I can open. The in-between experiences are what I need to appreciate, because those are experiences that will shape me for my next journey.

The Journey To Spirituality

This journey to spirituality has opened up a lot of wounds. It is not easy all the time to walk this path. It is an everyday process, every second, minute and hour. It is very interesting the difference it feels when one is in alignment oppose to being out of alignment. We live in a very painful world so my determination to always being in alignment means that I continue to strip layers of conditions put on me since birth. Even though it has been uncomfortable, it has also been an amazing experience.

I am still struggling with being alone especially on the weekends. Since I could remember I never wanted to be home on the weekends. I had to learn to do that and still learning after so many years. Now that I have to spend it alone it has been very challenging. Even though I have my tarot classes on Saturday, on my drive home it feels very lonely. This is something I am working on and will accomplish it soon. I either attract great people to spend my weekend with, travel, or be comfortable being on my own. I would love a balance of all three, but only when I am confortable being alone.

Last Friday, I went to a women’s healing circle and oh my gosh it was magical. I was in bliss the whole time. It was life changing. We healed through movement, dancing and chanting. We danced alone in our own section of the room and cried out whatever we were healing. We came together and each of us led the movement to the music. This is what I have been needing all my life. I deserve to take care of myself. I love myself that much.

I Am The Creator Of My Life

Since I am the writer and director of my own life, I am the only one responsible for me.  I am responsible for how my life has turned out.  When something negative happens in my life, I know it is me that has to work on me.  I cannot blame my previous partner because this relationship ended.  I cannot blame him for treating me the way he did.  I wasn’t treating myself any differently.  He has his own journey, and the only journey I need to worry about is mine.  The only issues I need to worry about are mine.  Only then will I be in same vibration with people around me.  It is only when  I reach my alignment that I will be able to attract a partner with same vibration.  I really have so much love for myself.  Here is why, I don’t ever give up on myself.  I have been taking care of me these past few days.  I’ve been my own best friend.  It is exciting to awaken, and not blame anyone else for my life.  It is liberating.  It puts all responsibility on me, and keeps me from pointing fingers. It is up to me how I want my life to turn out.

Some videos that have helped me:

 

Daily Prompt: Waiting

IMG_9319.jpgThe Waiting period in life is the most frustrating.  People say it is the period when one as a  human will learn more, and gets closer to its higher self.  Although I know this is true because of past experiences, I also know this is not the funnest part of life.  It is many times painful, and feeling of loneliness can be unbearable.  Depression visits too often, and tears flow to frequently, especially at night when no one is listening. Every morning is a struggle to survive, to enjoy the sunlight shining through your window.  All you have to hold on to are the quotes that keep appearing on your newsfeed, “Love yourself in order to be happy.”  So now you feel like you don’t love yourself, because you don’t feel happy in the waiting period of life.  Then you remember that you have been the only one there for you, and you have been the only one that has gotten yourself out of your misery with self care and love.  So you now took time to convince yourself that you indeed do love yourself, you are just stuck in the waiting period, and that is never fun.

I am currently in the waiting period.  I was part of something that I thought was going to last a lifetime, then it ended and now I find myself not knowing where I am going.  What am I suppose to be doing?  I have days when I have so much courage to go back out into the world, and when I do I am faced with confusion.  Nothing appeals to me.  It is all superficial.  Capitalism is so ugly, and it keeps humans from pursuing their life’s purpose.  We are kept from our magic, and our true powers.  So I find myself sitting still and trying to listen to my guide to my question, “What is my life purpose?”  I don’t want to jump into something again that is not my life purpose.  I’ve been waiting for over a year, and in that time I have gotten closer to my daughters.  I’ve learned so much about my strength.  The painful part of this is seeing people move at a hundred miles an hour, and you feel like you are going five miles an hour.  Everyone looks content with their lives, and I am here still figuring out what am I going to do for the rest of my life.

It’s all good though.  I know I will be alright, and I will come out stronger from this.  It sound so cliche’ but I’ve been here before, and the universe has rewarded me for letting things flow in the past, and working through the pain of the waiting period in life.

via Daily Prompt: Waiting

Women of Color Empowerment/Men in the Movement

fullsizerender

This part is for men of color in the movement fighting for equality. This often means fighting for equality but what comes first are the rights for you. This is for the men who are still engaging in derogatory jokes and language about womxn. And for the men who who continue to use their “celebrity” status in the movement to take advantage of womxn which leads to some of those womxn to loose hope in the movement. This is for men of color in the movement who still refuse to see the equal power that those who identify as womxn have, and our ability to lead. This movement will never advance if you’re still set in your ways and want to hold onto all of the power. I for one will not be contributing to images of men that take away from womxn. I am in solidarity with Che, Malcolm X, Pancho Villa, but pushing these images clearly takes away from what womxn have done. It makes us believe that our leaders are men. We need to shift these images. It is time. #womenempowerment #empowerment #womxn #chingonas #magic #movement #spirituality #worldischanging #womenleaders #solidarity #womenofcolor #menofcolor #peopleofcolor

“Your silence will not protect you.” -Audre Lorde

I want to thank Jessica Natalia​ for sharing my story on Remezcla​. I really enjoyed this article because it ended with great reflection points.

“As people of color who are constantly creating and re-imagining socially conscious spaces, what can we do to avoid the reproduction of oppressive systems? Pues, that is a really hard question. Looking inside ourselves is a start. Liberation begins with asking ourselves the difficult questions, like “What are my privileges? How can I deconstruct and unlearn sexism, racism, and heterosexism? In what ways can I be accountable to my whole community?” A constant interrogation of our own interpersonal lives and the spaces we occupy is vital to creating a healthy and sustainable community. How are we treating our brothers and sisters in the movement? Open and honest conversations are hard, but they are necessary if we want to be what we want to see in the world. Accountability is growth. So like Queen Audre says, your silence will not protect you. Speak up and do it loud.”

#women #womyn #womenstories #speakout #speakup #empowering #empowerment #lascafeteras

http://remezcla.com/features/how-las-cafeteras-taught-us-to-speak-out/

Podcast with El Huateque – My Story

Thank you to Filiberto Nolasco Gomez for hearing me out, and sharing the continuation of my story on his blog, El Huateque. My first podcast where I get to share more of myself, and my experience with violence throughout my life.

http://elhuateque.com/blogs/news/82658118-abuse-on-stage-annette-torres-on-las-cafeteras

#lascafeteras #oppression #violenceagainstwome #mystory

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑