Archive for November, 2007
So, I wrote the annual birthday list. And I tell you– it’s looking like this might be the year that I actually get at least 50% of it accomplished. Heck, I am going to go out on a limb and say that I will at the very least complete 20 of the 34 things, but that I am hoping for 24. That would be 71%– pretty incredible. Periodically, I’ll share how it is going on the pursuit of The List. For now, I thought I would tease you with a preview of some of the items on the list:
PS: If you missed the whole birthday list bit and are wondering what I am talking about: catch up here.
What I love about being Latina: mi cultura is tan rico with tradition, values, and diversity. I love that mi familia is so close and when we get together we are the loudest on the block. We travel in an entourage and are very protective of one another. The rhythm of nuestra musica makes me fall deeper in love with nuestra cultura. From Salsa and Merengue to Bachata and Ranchera, our music is as diverse as our people. Me encanta que Latinas come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. We have ivory painted skin, honey-strewn hair, and sapphire eyes. We have chocolate dipped skin, long flowing hair, dark as the midnight sky, and eyes that are warm and as brown as cafe. The scent and rich flavor of Mami’s cooking fills my belly with such love and pride. Love and pride about being who I am. Being Latina. The strong and independent Latina Mami raised me to be.
What I love about being Americana: I am given the choices, freedoms and voice very few women have. I have the opportunity to make changes, reach out to the less fortunate, be a role model and inspire others. I am a fourth generation Americana on my Mother’s side, who is of Lithuanian and Mexican American descent, and first generation my Dad’s side, so I have the best of both worlds. I have the education many only dream of. As an Americana, I can break down the barriers that divide in hopes that the next person will reflect before they stereotype. I recently traveled to my Father’s hometown in Mexico, and nowhere did I feel like such as an Americana as I did there. Although I was wholeheartedly embraced, I felt torn between two different worlds. The world I knew growing up as an Americana, and the one that runs deeper. The one that is the blood in my veins, love in my heart, and spirit in my body. (more…)
I just read Seinfeld’s Three Rules for Living in the November issue of O. First, bust your ass. Next, pay attention. Learn from everything and everyone all the time. Finally, fall in love. Fal in love with your street, your tennis game, a pillow.
I loved Seinfeld’s three rules, and it made me think about what my three rules for living would be (at this point in my life). Here’s what I think they are right now:
What I love about myself: My contagious laugh.
My biggest challenge in accepting my body and beauty: That the female body images I see on TV and in magazines are not only unrealistic to achieve, but often literally un-real. My biggest support in learning to appreciate myself: My husband is my rock. He taught me that I DESERVE to be happy and love myself as I am. I never knew! Beauty is: Having confidence that you are just-about the best you can possibly be, inside and out. (more…)
“One of the areas we experience the greatest shortfall in the mainstream media is the concept of ‘mainstreaming,’” Rafael Olmeda told me the other day. He is the assistant city editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as well as the president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Olmeda continued in a frustrated but measured tone: “Are we included in stories that are not about ethnicity? Tax policy? Health care? Local veterans? We’re part of the American story, my friend. The problem with the larger media is that when they look at Hispanic issues, they look at exactly that: Hispanic issues. Is that fair to us? We have been in this country for years. They only care about Hispanics when ‘Hispanic issues’ are involved.”
From this article by John Friedman in MarketWatch
So, you might recall that I am participating in NaNoWriMo this month (feel free to go here if you have no idea what I am talking about). Here’s another excerpt from the draft (and the main character has a name– Camille, Cami for short):
In the yard, the hot June air suffocates me. I fall into a loose jog, feeling my muscles and joints creek into place. I hate the first five minutes of every run. My body aches, my mind is unwilling, all the forces within and without conspire against me. But then something happens at the five minute mark, my breathing smoothes, my mind surrenders, and my body flows into its form. If I can run five minutes, I can run fifty. I remind myself of this fact as I plod down the driveway to the winding street that will take me away from my ego and hopefully lead me back into myself.
The shade on the street is welcome. I fall into my rhythm, my stride stretching just a bit wider, and my arms moving front and back beside my chest, making me faster. I think about yesterday’s run, how I worked out the details of my departure and reviewed my packing list in my head. A day later, and my run is instead crowded with the panic of crisis. I force myself to think about something else. My mother’s face flashes into my mind’s eye, and my nostrils flair with the sting of tears.
My mother died of breast cancer when I was fourteen, leaving a family that did not know how to exist without her. (more…)
What I love about being Latina: I love the warmth of the Latin culture and the close support of Latino families and friends.
What I love about being Americana: The opportunities available truly are endless. The education and travel that I have been afforded through growing-up as an American have been wonderful.
My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America: My biggest challenge in growing up with a Latina background in the US (other than missing my extended family so much) has been juggling the American work ethic with the Latino appreciation and spirit for life. I feel like I am in a constant struggle to live up to the American standards of success without sacrificing my quality of life.
So, I live in a really cool town with neat, creative, passionate people who do things like shut Main Street down for three nights at the beginning of December for winter festivities, host outdoor movies (with canned food as the admission price) and concerts all summer long, have at least one weekend each year where all of the artists (and we have fabulous painters, photographers, potters, woodturners, jewlery makers and the like) come together on the town green to sell their wares, and start a hometown blog for all of us to know what is going on. The hometown blog has been our town crier, and I was honored to be interviewed by the editor for the “4 Minute Interview” feature. Hear it here.
What I love about myself: Physically, I love my smile, and, personality-wise, I love my warmth.
My biggest challenge in accepting my body and beauty: My husband is smaller than I am which makes me really self conscious!
My biggest support in learning to appreciate myself: My friend Sarah. She doesn’t know it but she is the one when we first started college to make me feel comfortable with wearing strappy tank tops! Now, every time I see her, she lets me know that things look good on me and that I am beautiful. She is also someone who has never had a self-conscious day in her life, or so it seems, so just the way she lives herself helps me to see that I can embrace my self as well.