Dear Desert Girl

The following blog is a letter written to my younger self and to all brown-skinned Desert Girls with magic and fire within them.


Dear Desert Girl,

I remember you. I can recall the days where you wore your hair in long braids. You would spend your summers running barefoot in the grass, starting in the cooler months to help the skin on your feet thicken. It would burn the others not meant for here, but you were. You stand taller here, more deeply rooted, more centered with the earth. The desert winds fill you with the spirit and memories of your fore-fathers and mothers, that held these lands before you.

In the summer time, you couldn’t wait for the sun to beat down heavily, enriching the melanin in your skin. Golden, brown, and proud. Never listen when they warn you are getting too dark, for the deep color is just a reminder that there is resilience deep in your veins.

The monsoons would roll in the fall and there would be magic in the air. Electric magic that would quiet the winds, call the thunder and pour down the rains. You would watch in wonder as the sky danced and told it’s stories. You would be filled with wonder at the strength of the sudden sullen storms that would drown the desert. This will always be your favorite time of year.




Dear Desert Girl,

Time will go on, and you will grow older, and you may start to feel shaken in your place. Those with their light, white skin and bright blue eyes may tell you that this land isn’t yours, that it belongs to them, that you are an outsider. But you know that isn’t true. Your history here, you know your lineage, you know that you belong.

You will always stand out, it is in your nature. You may want to hide behind your shadow, conform to the normality and simplicity. You’ll search for the place where you fit in and find comfort against the discourse you feel. But you will never belong in that life. You will yearn for adventure and life outside this town.

Stand tall in your conviction, hold true to your beliefs. These will be what guides you. Find confidence in yourself and your world will shine brighter. Do not limit yourself by what you see around you, but dream with of all that is within you. Allow your fire within to burn, brighter and brighter, till it can be seen from afar.




Dear Desert Girl,

The day and time will come where you will leave your mother land. Where you will venture off into the world, looking for yourself and for your place. You will discover your passions, your voice, your strengths. Follow them wherever they may take you, however far they may go.

But never forget where you came from, my Dear Desert Girl. Carry the winds within you, take in the sun where ever you are. Burn sage when you need clarity, pray when you need strength, and love when you need love. Return to the desert to walk barefoot in the grass, to jump in the river and take in the magic of the monsoon.

Surround yourself with others who strengthen you – the City Wonderers, The Mountain Roamers, the Ocean Women and the Free Spirits. Build communities and uplift each other. But most importantly create and tell your own stories.



The road may be windy, and you may not end up where you expected, but keep paving your own way. You never know where that resilient spirit will take you.

Con Mucho Amor,

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Photography: Briana Leyva 

Dress: Hob Nob

Location: Superstition Mountains, Arizona





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