Speaker • Professor • Sociologist • Author • Podcaster • Activist

Episode 57: Embracing Identity and Community: A Deep Dive with Oombi Solis on “Belonging”

Welcome to another episode of the Dismantling Diet Culture. In Episode 57, I had the pleasure of speaking with the exceptional Oombi Solis, a queer, non-binary immigrant poet and licensed clinical social worker whose life experiences have culminated in the moving book “Belonging.” The book is not just a read; it’s an intimate journey through the lessons and triumphs of Solis’ life. Here’s a comprehensive look at the enlightening discussions we shared.

Bridging Cultures and Queer Experiences

Growing up as an immigrant in the United States, Oombi Solis navigated the complexities of their Mexican identity while also exploring what it means to be queer. In “Belonging,” they delve into the vivid queerness of their memories, engaging readers with narratives of love, awakening, heartbreak, and healing front and center. Reflecting on their book, Solis discusses the significance of portraying candid queer experiences, blazing a trail for others who might be seeking their sense of belonging.

Spiritual Imagery and Tribute

A striking feature of “Belonging” is its bold exploration of religious iconography from Solis’ upbringing within their immigrant community. They courageously delve into sexual imagery in religious contexts, like the portrayals of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, to reveal undercurrents of identity and desire. Another profound poem is a heartfelt tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting and the numerous black and brown trans individuals who have been lost to violence, poignantly capturing the sense of shared grief and solidarity.

Beyond the Book: A Call for Wisdom in Connection

During our conversation, Solis didn’t shy away from addressing the broader concerns of our time. They voiced worries about social media’s detrimental effects and the lives lost in conflicts, like those of Palestinians. It serves as a reminder to our audience to be conscious of the realities beyond our screens and the impact of the governments we support. Solis urges us to use social media responsibly to foster genuine community.

Healing and Finding Support

On the podcast, the discussion often returned to the topic of support, particularly for the queer community. Both Solis and I are passionate about providing this support—Solis through social work and poetry, and myself as a community college professor. We spoke about the deep-seated need for accessible therapy and the journey to find therapists who truly understand queer experiences. It’s about finding someone who honors the complexities of one’s gender, orientation, and life story.

Community and Courage

A resounding message from our chat is the necessity of finding one’s community, whether on a college campus, through queer clubs, or in the arts. Solis’s experiences and advice underscore the courage it takes to reach out and the transformation that can happen when you do. I shared my intention to connect more with the pride club and center on my campus, reaffirming our roles in building spaces where everyone belongs.

Pursuing Passions and Challenging Norms

Oombi Solis’ journey to publishing “Belonging” is a testament to pursuing one’s passions at any stage in life. They revisited their love for writing during the pandemic and found new vitality in poetry. There’s a universal message here that it’s never too late to explore a calling and that stepping outside societal expectations to pursue your desires takes immense courage—a notion Solis embodies and encourages in others.

As we wrapped up, Oombi Solis shared not only their literary accomplishments but also their vulnerability regarding family relationships and the power of finding a chosen family who accepts you wholeheartedly. Such honesty is woven throughout “Belonging,” acting as a beacon for those forging their paths in life.

Join us next time for another episode where we’ll continue to undo the knots of diet culture and champion self-acceptance. And remember, rate, review, and follow our podcast for a chance to win a free coaching session. Your engagement helps us grow and share these critical messages with a broader community. Thank you for tuning in to the Hortencia Jimenez Podcast.

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