Hispanic Heritage Month: On being Latina & how family shapes who we are

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

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NOT MY MOTHER’S DAUGHTER: On mothering and changing my legacy

*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

On Race, Injustice, and Literary Movements

Literary and cultural movements are often borne as a response to what is occurring in the world around us. Literature and the arts in general are constantly evolving as new movements emerge and speak to the concerns of different groups of people and time periods. Often, our political and social landscape influences art, but most specifically it influences the artist. For the artist the art … Continue reading On Race, Injustice, and Literary Movements

On Bill Cosby, Rape, and why some men just don’t get it

The other day as I was preparing dinner I asked my husband what he thought about the recent rape allegations that have resurfaced about Bill Cosby. His response was eerily similar to the responses I have heard come from other men.

“If these women were raped why are they talking about it now? Why did they wait so long to come forward?” he said.

“Is that really your response?”, I replied. “What if it was your daughter, who years after being raped or assaulted broke her silence and finally decided to talk about what happened to her, would you still have the same response? Does the length of time it takes a person to break their silence make their claims invalid?” He remained quiet. Continue reading On Bill Cosby, Rape, and why some men just don’t get it

How Cancer Saved My Marriage

Music lyrics often talk about how great love is and it is great, most of the time. Sometimes external influences will blind us into believing that if our relationships aren’t like those detailed in the songs or movies then it isn’t love. No one ever tells you that you can fall in and out of love with the same person, or that romance is something you have to work at every single day of your marriage. The stresses of everyday life can become burdensome on a relationship and when there’s bills to pay, children to take care of, and work to do it can leave you feeling exhausted, unappreciated, and even resentful causing one to feel as if they want out of that loving relationship they were once in. Continue reading How Cancer Saved My Marriage

Traditional gender roles, marriage, and the reason I write

A while ago in a writing workshop I was asked what my origin story is. Initially I didn’t have an answer. After giving it some thought, I realized everything I witnessed as a child has influenced my writing. My desire to write comes from the things I wished my grandmother, my mother, even I would have said all those times we conceded to our husbands. I realized that I write so that I never lose my voice or power. I write so that my daughter does not repeat the cycle. Continue reading Traditional gender roles, marriage, and the reason I write

The advice I wish someone would have given me as a kid

It has been two years since my daughter was born and every night while putting her to sleep I think about the person she will one day become. I think about the daunting task parents have in raising confident, kind, and productive members of society. I sit in her dark bedroom and also think about the challenges she will one day face and my heart … Continue reading The advice I wish someone would have given me as a kid