We all have secrets, things we may not be proud of, things we keep to ourselves because we don’t want to risk hurting someone we love. In Latino culture we are taught from a very early age not to air our dirty laundry. Los trapos sucios se lavan en casa. We are never to discuss in public that which happens behind closed doors even … Continue reading The Stories That Bind Us: How do we tell our stories without telling the stories of others?
*The following was originally published on The Manifest Station. NOVEMBER 17, 2015 By Nancy Arroyo Ruffin The first time I remember experiencing death I was three years old. My uncle Louie lay in a casket at the Ortiz Funeral Home wearing a light colored suit; it could’ve been white, beige maybe. His afro was neatly picked and in my three year old mind he appeared … Continue reading ABOVE THE HIGH: COPING WITH ADDICTION AND DEATH
The red stain on my underwear pierced my eyes. It was the one thing I had not envisioned, yet here I was living my worst nightmare. I’ve never experienced this before so I don’t know what to expect. Yesterday there was a light stain and today too. Everything that I’ve read says that I should be experiencing cramping and that the blood will come in clots. Chunks of my deepest desire flowing through me like a poison releasing itself from my body. That’s what a miscarriage is. It is an abnormality in the fetus. The chromosomes didn’t split properly. Proof that what I believed was my miracle really wasn’t. Continue reading Overcoming Setbacks: Dealing with loss and how we recover
History, traditions, & culture are passed on and it is up to us to make sure that we honor that history and that we preserve it, while simultaneously adding to it so that we leave to our children a legacy they can be proud of. So when I think about what makes me Latina I can’t narrow it down to one thing or to a few things. I am a Latina by how I love and the way I live my life, by the examples set by my family, by fulfilling the expectations of my ancestors and those who came before me. I attribute my latinidad and my desire to help others with the love of family that was instilled in me as a child. You always look out for your family. That’s what I was taught and that is what I exhibit. I want each and every one of us to succeed. If I can help another person succeed, even if it’s in a small way, I will.
My family showed me by their example how wonderful and magnificent life is. They taught me to be orgullosa of my Puerto Rican heritage while simultaneously teaching me to love everything that this great country of ours has to offer. They taught me to love America and value its lesson that great things can be achieved if one works hard for it; with the understanding that success for Latinos or Latinas, or any minority for that matter, doesn’t come easy. We have to work twice as hard and although that struggle did not and does not create a Latina identity, it does inspire how I live my life. I’ve learned that, pride is instilled. It is what you carry with you every day of your life. This is what I hope to pass down to my daughter and future generations. Continue reading Hispanic Heritage Month: On being Latina & how family shapes who we are
I have been writing to you since the day I learned I was pregnant. I have an entire journal documenting every single day of my pregnancy with you. When you born I wrote you a letter on your birthday. Last year I did the same thing. Writing is what I do and it is my way of documenting my life and legacy. You are a part of my legacy. So today I am following tradition and writing you a letter on what is and always will be the most important day of my life. Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: A letter to my daughter on her 3rd birthday
One of the many joys of being a parent to a toddler is witnessing their little brains in action. One never knows exactly what they’re thinking or what they will say at any moment. My daughter just turned 3 and one of my favorite things to do is listen to her speak and share her thoughts. I marvel at how bright she is, at her ability … Continue reading The Mamí Chronicles: #ThingsMyKidSays
The worst thing parents and care takers can do to their children, in my opinion, is to feel sorry for them. As a Brooklyn born Puertoriqueña, I call it the curse of the “bendito”. In my family we have used the term bendito way too many times. From when little Juan falls and scrapes his knee to when Doña Maria’s roof caves in from a tropical storm. The phrase is used in pretty much every situation to denote sympathy or frustration and while some things do garner sympathy the truth is that there will be many experiences we have no control over. We have to teach our children how to rise above their circumstances. Continue reading (The Mami Chronicles) The Curse of Bendito: How to raise confident kids
*The following essay was originally published on MUTHA Magazine* I haven’t always had the best relationship with my mother. There were times when I felt like I hated her; despised her even. There were times when I needed her and she wasn’t there. Times when I wanted her to fight for my sister and me, but instead she chose herself. My father says that we … Continue reading NOT MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER: On mothering and changing my legacy
I knew back then that Georgie was not going to grow up to be like the other boys. Georgie was different. Not because of anything he said, but because of how he acted and how delicately he carried himself. At 11 years old he was already in touch with the femininity that I wouldn’t embrace until I was 18. A self-proclaimed tomboy, I was tough and rough. I never felt the need to be glamorous or cute. Unlike my sister, who has always been very girly, my scrawny body would not be caught dead in a skirt or dress or shoes. I avoided them the way my toddler avoids the bath. I preferred jeans and Jordans. I enjoyed playing wiffle-ball and touch football, and manhunt. I was everything Georgie was not. While I could call myself a tomboy there wasn’t a word that I could use to describe Georgie. Continue reading Struggling with identity: On the lies we tell and how we deal
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ― Franz Kafka Continue reading My week at VONA (June 22 – June 28 2014)