ChingonaFest Fridays: Eliana Mercedes

Welcome to WEEK 26 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purposeLas Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies?  @Ana-Lydia Ochoa Monaco and Ane Romero were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Today’ featured Chingona is a special one and I think you'll like getting to hear more about how the original chingona's fabulous little brain works. I'm featuring Eliana Mercedes today as a nod to my recent inclusion in the From Her Art Exhibit through the El Pueblo National Monument in Los Angeles, which actually just closed up. I am honored to have had my photograph, Mexican in Maine, selected for the juried show, and as the subject of the photo, I thought Eliana deserved a bit of limelight for so patiently dealing with a camera in her face almost every waking moment. Don't forget to follow her on twitter and instagram!

I'd also like to thank Julia Carillo of Soy Chingona jewelry for sponsoring this week's #ChingonaFest post! Check out Julia's sassy line of Pretty Things at Soy Chingona, and follow her on Instagram and twitter! Email at at aspiringmama@gmail.com for details on how your website or business can be featured!

So let’s get to that interview!

My photograph, (The unblurry version, anyway) Mexican in Maine, features a pinata made by the other Mexican in Maine, Paula Daulk, from Mainely Pinatas  --- and to answer your question, YES she ships!

My photograph, (The unblurry version, anyway) Mexican in Maine, features a pinata made by the other Mexican in Maine, Paula Daulk, from Mainely Pinatas  --- and to answer your question, YES she ships!

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Eliana Mercedes: Chocolate

PC: Good. Now that we've proven you are my child, it's time for the next question. Favorite book and why?

EM: Favorite book? I would say I have no idea. Spiderwick?

*Daddy interjects with What about Whatever book I am currently reading?"

Okay. Whatever book I am currently reading.

PC: Yep. That sounds about right/. What's your favorite quote?

EM: Yourself is yourself and who can argue with that? I said that on your podcast. Your friends think I'm adorable.

PC:  We'll have to work on your confidence, I see Describe yourself in third person.

EM: I have no idea what third person is.

PC: And your language arts. Who inspires you?

EM: Everyone?

PC: Are you asking me? Who is it you hope to inspire?

EM: Everyone?

PC: Uh-huh... Do you dream in color or black and white?

EM: Sometimes color and sometimesd black and white. So there's really no pacific answer to that.

PC: No, no I don't sup[pose there would be. What's your favorite dish? Why?

EM: Macaroni and cheese. I think you see why I am saying that, correct?

PC: Because I asked you a question and you decided to answer it with a giant hint telling me I don't serve you enough cheese-covered carbohydrates No, it's okay You don't have to answer that? But this one you do...You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?

EM: Princess Katie. We would eat ice cream. Probably rainbow flavored. I can't have wine because you said it's only for mamas. I'd serve chocolate milk, chilled, of course. I'm not picky. Store bought or homemade is fine.

PC: Princess rock stars are the absolute best. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

EM: I chew it. Doesn't everybody? Chewing is pretty much a human thing.

PC: That's what I keep asking the internet and they keep looking at me like I'm crazy! Why are you looking at me like I'm crazy? Never mind. Describe your perfect day.

EM: A perfect day would be getting a horse, probably pretty reasonably because, yaknow?

PMC: No, not exactly. But m'kay...Would you rather be a unicorn or a Pegasus. Why?

EM: I'd rather be an alicorn.

PC: Of course you would. If you could wish for three things what would they be? And no, you cannot use one of the wishes for three more wishes.

EC: A horse, a unicorn, and a pagasus. Because I could then wish for a alicorn because I'd have a unicorn.

PC: You're smarter than me, aren't you? I'm so totally screwed. What do you want to be when you grow up?

EC: A fairy who has a mermaid tail. Wait. No. Someone who owns a horse.

PC: That's what you get for growing six inches the same summer we bought you a pony that was perfectly sized for you...six inches ago. Moving on...if you were a fairy, what would your magical power be?

EC: The power to do everything, yaknow?

PC: Yeah. I totally know.

Email me at dimelo@latina.com!

Email me at dimelo@latina.com!

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column in Latina Magazine. New questions are being saved for the print magazines, so send me ALL THE GOOD STUFF for the sassy solicited advice y'all love so much that you stop me in public bathrooms to talk shop to dimelo@latina.com.

Think this'll look badass on a throw pillow or travel mug? Cuz You're right!

Think this'll look badass on a throw pillow or travel mug? Cuz You're right!

I've been busy stocking my new Red Bubble shop with lots of pretty awesome stuff! Also check out my blog store under the Pauline Campos Studios tab!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always.

Together… stronger.

 

On Truth and Drumsticks: The Reboot

I wrote this four or five years ago. I'm sharing it today because I'm still trying to get to the point where All of This is moved to the Past Tense portion of my writing repertoire. But I'm human. Just like you. And the one thing we are good at is making mistakes. At least, maybe, the lessons we learn from the mistakes we keep making are meant for more than just me and you. Rinse. Lather. Repeat. 

Crying Girl in Black and White by Pauline Campos

Crying Girl in Black and White by Pauline Campos

"It's time to exercise, baby," I call to Eliana. "Did you want to play or workout with Mama?"' She's in the playroom she has dubbed her "magical land," but immediately joins me at my side and waits for the DVD to cue up. "Are we going to get healthy and strong?"

I smile. "Exactly."

***

When I was a baby, my thighs were so chubby that one of my aunts used to pretend to eat them like drumsticks. It's a story I heard often when I was growing up, usually told with the requisite giggles from my mother and a pinch on my legs from whoever else was within reach. I thinned out as I grew, but I never thought myself skinny. Instead, "big" was how I classified my body. "Big" as in I was five feet one inch tall at eight years old. The same height as my mother and almost every other adult woman in my family. "Big" as in not dainty with curves that snuck up on my when I was 12 and muscle definition that would have put me in the "athletic" category. But that word didn't exist in the Spanglish craziness my family resided in. Instead, children were scolded for not finishing what was on their plate and reprimanded for needing to watch what they were eating, usually in the same breath.

I remember very clearly the day my father notices my new set of hips. I weighed 156 pounds and stood 5'6'' tall. I wore a size 10 and only now realize I only thought that was a bad thing because my mother never shut up about the size 6 she could still squeeze into after five kids. If I could wake up with that body today?

A'ye, M'ijita.

My father, who stood no taller than me, pinched the curve of my hip.

"You need to lose some weight."

***

I started making myself throw up after watching a news special about a woman caring for eating disordered girls in her revolutionary treatment center. The point of the special was to enlighten and educate on the dangers of easting disorders and the needs of those suffering. I took it as a how-to manual.

Sometimes I wonder if my actions are the cause of the body I see in the mirror today. The hypoactive thryroid. The polycystic ovarian syndrome. The number on the scale. I was skinny before when I thought I was fat. Just because I was the only set of ethnic hips in the sea of curve-less white wonders I went to school with, I thought that meant I needed to better control what I was eating. And because I had failed at being an anorexic previously, the consolation prize was closet bulimia. If I didn't have the control to not eat, I could at least force my body to get rid of the evidence.

I should have just opened my eyes.

***

My daughter is three and often confused for a five-year-old. She's built like her father's side of the family; tall and lean. My nickname for her is "Little." And I skip the word "fat" when it's included in any of the books I read to her.

""She's so big for her age," strangers often say when they realize how young she actually is. I always smile and gently correct them, whether or not she is paying attention.

"Yes," I say, "She's very tall."

***

We eat clean; no processed sugar, no processed foods, and are gluten free, to boot. For dessert she'll choose watermelon over an ice cream sundae. (At least for now.) And because I can't control what the rest of the world says or what she will hear, I try to side step any of the emotional triggers adults verbalized when I was a kid.

If she refuses to eat a meal after two bites of food, instead of force feeding, I simply ask if she would like a cookie. If she says yes, I tell her that she has room for more of her meal if she has room for a cookie. If she says no, I believe her and take her plate away. I never criticize my own body in front of her. And I never diet. Instead, we all eat what's best for out bodies.

And exercise?

Maybe the truth behind the sweat and the time commitment is that I would like to lose a few more pounds and firm up my muffin-top belly. Maybe I'd like to feel as beautiful as The Husband tells me I am (and sometimes, I do.)  But I'll be damned if I say any of that out loud to a three-year-old who thinks it's funny to arch her back and stick her belly out after a good meal.

We are exercising to get healthy and strong.

And one of these days, after saying it enough to her, maybe I will believe that myself.

On Thanking My Mother for that Time She Pushed Me Out of Her Vagina

Thanks, MOM! 

Thanks, MOM! 


First I'm going to tell you that I have other More Important Things to write about but I've also been a giant chicken lately about writing anything Of Actual Importance, so I'm going to instead distract us all with typos and literary wit. 

Yes, mine. Don't believe me? I once shanked my BFF and told The Husband I was putting on lipstick for a lesbian dinner, both via text message and very probably on the same day, and they will vouch for my truthiness. Also? neither story is as funny as the time I once wrote myself out of the PR job I was applying for. Turns out referring to oneself as an Expert in Pubic Relations is frowned upon when the job in question actually has more to do with Relating to the Public than it does empowering gynecologists to feel good about their life choices, but whatever. I'd have hired me just for the laugh, but I'm obviously unprofessional like that.

I told you I've got two books coming out with my publisher, right? If not, I do. And if I did, pinch me and I'll bitch slap you but totally tell me it's real and tell me often because surreal is still a ginomormous understatement. BabyFat: Adventures in Motherhood, Muffin Tops, and Trying to Stay Sane is the eventual overnight sensation that took five years to get fucking published, so of course I'm over-thinking All The Things 'cuz wouldn't YOU?

I am sitting here freaking the FUCK out about the very problem I have wished for my entire life to have. I could be writing about So Many Things, y'all. And I will. Just not today because my BabyFat editor just sent me an email that included projected dates for final edits and blurbs and I am so very afraid of forgetting Obvious and Important People in the Acknowledgment Page, like my mother for that time she pushed me out of her vagina. 

I need tips. I want examples. Which books did you love that also had a kickass thank you page? Tell me Everything! WRITE ME AN OVER THE TOP ACKNOWLEDGMENT THANKING YOUR MOTHER FOR BEING BORN RIGHT IN MY COMMENTS JUST TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER.

And Mom? I'm being totally serious about the Being Born thing and the Utter Importance of your vagina in the writing of this book. So, thank you. I love you. Don't worry, I'll call you tomorrow to read this to you on the phone because it's just easier than explaining what a blog is. 

World Water Day: Forgotten Luxuries

My daughter hates to miss out on anything. Since she was teeny tiny, Eliana has fought every nap down to the last yawn. What if something happened while she slept? Something always did, she knew, because shadows move with the sun and love grows with every smile.
She wanted to see it -- all of it. But when it's yourself you are fighting, it's hard to make the call on winners and losers. 

This silk scarf from World Vision is a beautiful reminder for World Water Day, March 22.

This silk scarf from World Vision is a beautiful reminder for World Water Day, March 22.

 

Things got more interesting as she grew. Eliana's determination to Be Present for every moment in every situation made it perfectly clear that this child possesses the bladder of a camel. She can go hours without a potty break and even longer without a drink of water or a bite of food...especially when playdates are involved. We ended up in the emergency room twice because of it. Her body had had enough of this Being Ignored business, and little girl was learning the hard way. Mother Nature and God were very smart in how they designed our bodies to show and tell us when we are tired and when we are thirsty and when it's time to find a bathroom, I told her, but none of it does us any good if we refuse to listen to our bodies when they are trying to talk to us. World Vision recently asked me to participate in World Water Day awareness in a continued effort to bring clean water to the 748 million people who live without it. That's equivalent to nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population. When I learned that one child under the age of 5 dies every minute from diarrhea caused by contaminated water and unsafe hygiene, I looked at my daughter and realized how lucky we both are...and how much work there is to be done.

What if, I thought, it wasn't up to her? What if she went without stopping for a drink of water to quench a never-ending thirst -- not because she was too busy being a kid -- but because it was unsafe to drink?

Take a look at World Vision’s clean water video for an inside look at the impact of the water crisis in one girl’s life. And then stop, for just a moment, and realize how very lucky you really are.

What if, I thought, it wasn't up to her? What if she went without stopping for a drink of water to quench a never-ending thirst -- not because she was too busy being a kid -- but because it was unsafe to drink?

Take a look at World Vision’s clean water video for an inside look at the impact of the water crisis in one girl’s life. And then stop, for just a moment, and realize how very lucky you really are.

World Water Day is March 22. Give, tweet, share an update on Facebook, and make a difference in the life of someone without the luxury of clean water.

* Disclosure: World Vision provided me with one Royal Silk Scarf (retail) value of $95, in exchange for this post. Although appreciative, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Please note that I have donated $50 for the gift of clean water to one person through World Vision to do my part to support World Water Day.

 

 

Because (Truth is Unchanged)

I'm starting to think I need to make digging through the blog archives a regular exercise. Each post is a verbal snapshot showing exactly where I was on the day it was published. I find myself getting lost as I find myself, but not in a bad way. It's more like opening a family photo album and looking up hours later only to realize the day has already flown by. Old family pictures tend to do that.I'm a writer. I paint pictures with words. I'm sharing an old one here from April of 2011. It's amazing how much has changed just as it has stayed the same...

 This is what happens when your little sister's birthday is December 23 and yours is December 26.

 This is what happens when your little sister's birthday is December 23 and yours is December 26.

Because I remember hiding in the pantry as a child to eat my feelings, I tell my daughter every day how much I love her.

Because my father died when I was 29, I finally understood my mother’s loss of both of her parents at the age of 19.

Because my family broke when we buried my father, I came to appreciate those connections that remain for the precious gifts they truly are.

Because I hated the girl/teenager/woman looking back at me from the other side of the mirror until recently, I tell my daughter she is healthy and strong before I tell her she is beautiful.

Because I grew up knowing I was the reason my parent’s got married, I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 15.

Because every time I thought He’s The One I was wrong, I said “I do” to the right man.

Because I was ashamed of my kinky curls, I silence my first thoughts and simply respond with a “thank you, baby,” every time my daughter tells me my hair is pretty.

Because I was left standing on my front porch waiting for my friends to pick me up for senior homecoming, I learned the importance of holding my head high.

Because I once wanted to die, I am grateful to live.

Because I still have dreams to make a reality, I wake up with a reason to try harder.

Because of yesterday, I have today.

From Her: Mexican in Maine goes to Hollywood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, I know it's Saturday and there was no #ChingonaFest Fridays post.

Again. 

Life's been kind of crazy lately and I promise that I tried. All I know is that I'm still figuring out this whole Squarespace business and I gave up after writing the entire post five times only to have it default to the original and unfinished draft each and every time. In the interest of Me and Not Killing Anyone, I opted for Not Going to Prison by drinking wine and saving the headache for next week.

It's all good. Cuz I've got news to share, anyway.

I'm honored to announce my inclusion in the juried 2015 From Her Art Exhibit in Los Angeles! My photograph, Mexican in Maine, will be included in this year's show, running from March 5th through March 22, in honor of Women's History Month -- and I couldn't be prouder. 

Mexican in Maine by Pauline Campos. Pinata by Mainly Pinatas. 

Mexican in Maine by Pauline Campos. Pinata by Mainly Pinatas

Unfortunately, I can't be at the opening to celebrate because I don't own a Tardis and plane tickets don't grow on trees, but a few LA-based friends have promised to attend the event and take a ton of pictures because they love me. 

So, why this piece? For every item submitted, artists were asked for a statement to explain why we felt it was reflective of the for the Women's History Month focus. My artist statement for Mexican in Maine reads as follows: 

As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter that she can go anywhere...do anything. I want her to know that it's more important to create her own space rather than try to fit in. 
We moved to Maine two years ago and do not blend; our olive tones made more obvious by the white snow covering the ground for most of the year. But we are creating our space. In this photo, my daughter, 7, stands in a barn beneath the princess pinata made by a local woman, also Mexican, for her birthday party. 
She is fierce, focused, and stands tall, daring anyone to question her presence, her choices, her right to wear that crown or the cape she says makes her royalty. In this moment, she has claimed her space.

I think this is where I drop the proverbial mic and saunter off the figurative stage. 

Dimelo on Aspiring Mama

The Laundry List is long and overwhelming my frazzled brain as I fight my way to something vaguely resembling Normal after last week's trek to Los Angeles. (The flights were great and the Lifestyle Bloger Network Conference was fabulous, by the way.) The official recap comes in a day or so, but for now, I'm sharing an Almost Latina Magazine #Dimelo Question with you because I bet The Husband $5 that this ain't going viral to illustrate how much I suck at Reverse Psychology.

Don't get all flustered, y'all. The question came in too late to be relevant for online magazine publication, so I cleared publishing the text here with my editor earlier today. Ypu're Welcome.

Dear Pauline,

My prima and I read your #Dimelo column all the time and would like to ask you to settle an argument between us. We watched the Academy Awards and have been debating about Sean Penn's "offensive" joke while presenting Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu with Best Picture.

I think it was funny and a big deal is being made over nothing. Mi prima says I'm wrong and that the green card comment was offensive no matter what Inarritu told reporters Why was it a big deal and why are we all still talking about this?

What do you think?

Sincerely,

The Punchline Police

 

Dear Punchline,

You are referring, I assume, to SeanPenn's "joke" while presenting long-time friend Alejandro GonzalessInarritu with Best Picture for Birdsman during the 87th Annual Academy Awards . Upon seeing Inarritu's name as he opened the envelope, Penn cracked what may end up being the singularly most over-examined joke since the first time anyone asked about the chicken and why it crossed the road. For those who may live under a rock, Penn lit up racial insensitivity sensors when he said of his longtime friend, "Who gave this sonnifabitch his green card?"

Social Media exploded with cries of racism while I laughed my ass off remembering all of the highly inappropriate jabs I've traded with close friends over the years because that's what friends do. A personal favorite is the time I made a big show of emptying the silverware drawers in a good friend's kitchen because his dad liked making cracks about Mexicans and silverware.

No, don't get offended on my behalf because that, Senorita Punchline, is exactly the problem here. The way I see it, if Inarritu is good with the green card joke, then so am I. There's no point in getting our collective 'chonis in  a bunch if Inarritu himself says there's no reason for the outcry.

But who's right? What about those who say it doesn't matter what Inarritu says because the joke was offensive to an entire culture? I'm going in swinging here, Punchline, and probably going to do my own fair share of offending when I say this: The gay white guy hosting the show may have raised a few hackles poking fun at everybody, but he gets a pass because NPH is a card-carrying member of an oppressed minority. As for the rest of us? I think we need to stop taking everything so seriously. -- Laughter is good for the soul

-- P 

 

Pauline Campos is Latina Magazine's #DIMELO advice columnist and founder of the #ChingonaFest community. Email her your questions at dimelo@latina.com. Connect with her on her blog, www.aspiringmama.com, follow her on twitter: @pauline_campos, and learn more about #ChingonaFest by following on instagram and tumblr.

 

 

 

 

#ChingonaFest: The Backstory

Photo by Pauline Campos

As a first generation Mexican-American, I was raised to keep my thoughts to myself and put the feelings of La Familia over my own. Considering the emotional baggage I’ve been packing since childhood, I’d say that line of thinking didn’t turn out so well.I’m a mother now and my daughter is feisty and brilliant and wonderful. I want to raise her to be a Chingona the Mexican slang term for “bad ass bitch“. It’s a word steeped in history and controversy (and one you most certainly do not repeat in polite company or within earshot of your tios because Aye, Dios, y'all ), but it’s a word author Sandra Cisneros made a case for  in HBO’s Latino List, and one I've come to embrace. I want my daughter to grow up to be the kind of woman who respects herself and others, stands up for her ideals, and celebrates all that she is without feeling the need to apologize for it. Put in plain English, my end goal is for my girl to grow up to be the kind of woman the word  “bitch” is used as a compliment to describe. A real chingona.But this little chingona of mine isn't going to be the bitchy, self-centered, jerky kind, if I have anything to do with it. Instead, my goal is to raise m'ija to be the kind of hell-raiser that radiates sass, self-confidence, independence, and doesn't take sh*t from anybody...but in a totally respectful way. I want to raise a hell-raiser who is respectful of herself and others, yet stands up for herself and what matters no matter what anyone else thinks.I want my daughter to know she has a voice now and that what she says today matters so that tomorrow she won’t think to look for validation outside of herself. I want her to feel and recognize her own value because it took me far too long to realize there are certain things we can only find within ourselves. I want for her to understand that the village is probably doing something wrong, even with her best intentions guiding our every choice. And I want her to know she can speak her mind, even if what she has to say goes against the culturally accepted norm.So far, I'm pretty certain The Husband and I are on the right track. She's seven and has been proudly mismatching her entire wardrobe since she was two, perfected the side-eye around kindergarten, and has no qualms about telling you what exactly she has on her mind. I don't have solid numbers, but I imagine it's not an every day occurrence for field trip-tears and a mommy/daughter heart-to-heart to result in mami writing her Latina Magazine #Dimelo advice column about the exchange. The odds are probably a lot smaller that said column would result in the  creation of a community and podcast encouraging women to find and embrace the unique power of our voices while encouraging the next generation to do the same.

Through the #chingonafest hashtag and twitter, instagram, and Facebook accounts, I share sassy sayings (They say Chingona like it's a bad thing...) and empowering life-lessons with like-minded Latinas. The #ChingonaFest Fridays feature on Aspiring Mama is your primer to the Latina bad-asses leading and inspiring with their own brand of special -- and lemme tell ya -- there's nothing quite as liberating as finding your tribe and knowing you're not the only one dropping well-placed F-bombs into random conversation while bucking those pesky cultural norms. I'm on week 25 of the weekly feature and am proud of having featured inspiring Latinas such as BlogHer's Elisa Camahort Page and Lori Luna, #365feministselfie founder Veronica Arreola, and Latina Lifestyle Blogger Collective and national conference founder Ana-Lydia Ochoa-Monaco. (To submit nominees for future #ChingonaFest Fridays -- and tossing your own hat in the ring is always encouraged -- just tag me on instagram or Twitter with the hashtag, or simply email me at chingonafest@gmail.com.) And the #ChingonaFest Project Podcast picks up where the Friday blog feature leaves off with plenty more Spanglish sass and interviews with Interesting People, Actual Conversation with fellow #Chingonas, and Interesting Content Very Probably Not Suitable for Sunday Dinners con la Familia.

Of course, this line of thinking is not just meant to empower mothers of daughters. Hell, you don’t have to be a mom to get in on this party, either. If you’ve got sons, you’re raising the boys who will become the men who will love the women our daughters will become. Teach them and guide them on their path and show them why there’s nothing better than a relationship in which both parties are equal partners.

No kids? No problem. You are an aunt, a prima, a friend, teacher, a sister. You are an inspiration and the motivation to work harder and do better and never give up. The next generation is looking to you just as they are looking to the rest of us. That makes you part of my village. If you are the kind of woman who takes BITCH as a compliment, welcome to the party.

(Best of) #ChingonaFest Fridays: Ana-Lydia Ochoa-Monaco

Welcome to WEEK 25 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purposeLas Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does. Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Ane Romero and  and Veronica Arreola from an Orphaned Earring were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Today’ featured Chingona is not afraid to say exactly what she’s thinking. And I’m not just saying that. Agree or not, you can’t help but respect the kind of attitude that makes Ana-Lydia Ochoa Monaco a true Chingona. Ochoa Monoca is a blogger and founder of the Latina Lifestyle Blogger’s Collective (and the conference of the same name). Connect with Ochoa Monaco on Twitter and instagram.

So let’s get to that interview!

 

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anaochoamonaco

Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Ana- Lydia Monaco: Can I get both…like a soft serve ice-cream…maybe dipped in chocolate and served on a waffle cone?

PC: – Okay there, J.Lo. I’m getting you’d be the diva telling the event managing team handing your concert venue that your dressing room is unacceptable and WHY THE HELL DID THEY NOT REMOVE THE GREEN M&Ms LIKE YOU DEMANDED, YOU PATHETIC LITTLE PEONS, AmIight? No, it’s okay. That  self-satisfied smirk on your face  i kind of a giveaway. What about your favorite quote?

AM: Before I tell you which quote it is, let me tell you how I became aware of it: I was having major problems work many years ago. My boss, using his small brain instead of his big brain, was promoting the laziest and less qualified woman in our team. Being the person I am, I noted his indiscretion and brought it up to HR. I didn’t back down. That helped me gain the trust of my client and the HR team, but major hate from both that woman and my boss. A few days later after venting with a dear friend about this situation, she mailed me a card with a magnet that had this quote printed on it: “Stand by your convictions, even if you’re the last person standing.” That magnet changed my life.

PC: You wave that diva card, Ana. But you should get it laminated if you’re going to be showing it off this often. No, you are welcome. I do it because I care. So, who inspires you?

AM: That’s a hard question to answer because my inspiration comes from many places, people, and the most random situations and things. Like right now. At this very moment I have The Voice playing the background and both my laptop and Princess Maya (my Boston) on my lap. Hearing the passionate voices of regular people pursuing their dreams inspires me. My husband working late while I’m at home pursuing my dreams inspires me to be the best that I can be to make him proud; and to show him that all his hard work is worth it.Having a mother that not only survived stage three cancer, the death of the love of her life (my father), cared for her mother that has Alzheimer’s (my grandma), and has gone through so much to raise four children in an upper middle-class family inspires me. The ocean breeze that wakes me up most mornings, the sound of the waves, the priest in my church, my young college colleagues, the future…all of this, and so much more, inspires me and drives me to do better.

PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?

AM: I dream usually in black and white, but most recently my dreams are literally a

Technicolor rainbow of colors and sounds. Someone told me that the reason my dreams are so vivid is because I am pursuing my actual dreams.

PC: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

AM: Thank you. Can I have another. :)

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

AM: Since I don’t biological kids, I hope that my stepdaughters realize that my advice and suggestions were given in the spirit in seeing them reach their full potential.

PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

AM: You are going to hate me when I saw this, but I really despise Spanglish. Now that I got that out of the way, I promise to tell you this if you keep it a secret from my Real Academia Espanola-thumping family: I think in English.

PC: *blinks* I won’t tell anyone. No one reads what I post here anyway, so..um..I think you’re good. Also? I think in English, too. Unless I’m saying “pina colada or Antonio Banderas. Those come out with the accent whether I want them to or not. What’s your favorite dish? Why?

AM: I am proud foodie, and as such I could in no way pick a single dish. Although I can admit to this much: Truffle. Truffle on anything will make even toast and butter taste like the God kissed your tastebuds.

PC: I was wondering how long I was going to have to wait for a reference to Jesus appearing on a piece of toast. *crosses off bucket list* Do you feel “Latina enough”?

AM: My blog is called Cabeza de Coco. A little tongue in cheek reaction to something I have been called many times over: Coconut (Meaning, brown on the outside and white on the inside. Does that make a Latina or not Latina enough? Not sure. But it makes me me.

PC: I’m officially in love with you now. And I totally knew the coconut reference already. I’m married to one and raising another. We might not be “doing” the “being” Mexican enough part right for some people, but I’m pretty sure you’re my spirit animal so I’ll just hsut up now. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

AM: Lick, lick, bite with my lips, and swirl in my mouth to make sure all my tastebuds explode with the yumminess of the ice-cream flavor.

PC: Oh, the SEO on this answer alone is going to be fucking fabulous. One Latina stereotype you despise?

AM: One? Only One? Thats hard. But, I will start with a big secret. As a Mexican-American, the stereotype dictates that I (should) love, breath and die by Mariachi music. As a Tapatia, Mariachi music should be the music to my soul. As me, plain ‘ol Ana Lydia, I feel nada, zip, not a tingle when I hear the stuff. I am not a fan.

PC: I’m not judging.  Also? I hate lengua. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

I will never forget when my my boyfriend (who is now my husband) told me that “Latinas are good wives.” My claws came out. “What do you mean?” I asked, as he listed every single 1950’s housewife stereotype: “They cook, clean, take “care” of their man.” I hate to admit it, but he was right…and it gives me great pleasure to do so.

PC: Are we the same person? Describe your perfect day.

 AM: In a perfect world I would wake up when my body told me to wake-up, not when the alarm buzzed or my husband nudged me to cook for him. We wake up together, shower together, everything we want to wear is found clean and wrinkle-free. I have a good hair day, my skin glows, I have every single make-up color I need and want. My makeup is flawless. My outfit? Perfect and on point. My hubby says I look hot. He looks mighty hot himself. We do everything together: Shop, cook, see a great movie, go to the beach and watch the sunset before heading back home to cuddle on the couch. (p.s. after typing this I realized that a perfect day has nothing to do with work – but has everything to do with my relationship.)

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me ataspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week's reader asks how to handle the relationship she believes is hurting her. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun'll come out tomorrow, y'all..

Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

 

 

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always.

Together… stronger.

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Ane Romero

It’s WEEK 24 for the Aspiring Mama #Chingonafest Fridays. Last week, I took a look back at my interview with proud feminist Veronica Arreola  and this week, I'm (hopefully) back on track with a new interview! It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

This week's Featured Chingona is an amazing woman I met at the LATISM conference a few years ago when she spoke on a mental health panel I moderated. She is a nationally recognized and award winning mental health advocate, speaker, and trainer She received her B.A. in Political Science and M.P.A from New Mexico Highlands University, where she served as the first female elected Student Body President and was appointed to the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education. Ane is trained and certified in suicide prevention through the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program and has provided training services for schools, communities, including on the Navajo Reservation. And if that's not enough, An also was crowned Miss New Mexico n 2005, she was crowned Miss New Mexico and competed at the national Miss America Pageant.

Check out Ane's blog and follow her on Twitter!

And on to the interview!

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Ane Romero

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Ane Romero: Caramel. I’d eat a shoe if it was covered in caramel.

PC: And I'll call this proof that beauty queens like food. Hell, I'd eat a shoe covered in caramel. Probably why we get along. Favorite book and why:

AR: Oh, this is tough. I absolutely love books, but if I had to pick one it would be “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird” by Henry Miller. It’s a series of short stories and essays about his philosophy on life and a book that I “grow into” as I get older and every time I go back to it I learn something new.

PC: Ya know? I think we need to start a ChingonaFest Book Club. Oprah's had her 15 minutes and ya'll make me want to pick up a new book with these great answers. What's your favorite quote?

AR: Some of my favorite quotes is a line from Vince Lombardi’s “What It Takes To Be Number 1” speech.

“Winning is not a sometime thing, it is an all the time thing. You don’t do things right once in a while…you do them right all the time.”

To me it’s a reminder that when you do something with good heart, pure intention, and give your all—you will never lose even if you don’t “win.”

PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

AR: If wanting equal opportunity for women (or men) to live, lead, and fulfill their dreams makes me a feminist, then sure I guess I am.

PC: Describe yourself in third person.

AR: Well, in 7th grade my history teacher told my dad that I was a, ”firecracker” after I noted that I did not like the term “minority,” because to me it meant less-than and I was no less than anyone else in the room. Then again I was called this in college when I spoke out against the proposal to raise tuition. Some might say “firecracker,” but I like to think more “fireworks.” J Okay…I don’t think I correctly answered this question?

PC: No you sucked at it and it's beautiful because it's honest. I'm totally smiling now. Who inspires you? Those who have overcome adversity in their life and never give up on their dreams.

AR: Who is it you hope to inspire? I would hope to inspire youth, by letting them know just how important and valuable they are. I don’t think our society does a good job at appreciating young people and what they have to offer. I would also like to inspire others through my work in mental health and help breakdown the negative stigmas that often keep people from seeking help. As my former boss Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, says “there is no health without mental health.”

PC: I agree and this is such an important topic in the Latino community. Let's keep working together on this, yeah? But first, do you dream in color or black and white?

AR: Color and sometimes glitter…

PC: Glitter and caramel and word tangents. I do believe I'm in love with you. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

AR: Let’s be friends and do you have Instagram" (because you know any Chingona has a great Instagram).

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

AR: The depiction of Latinas has come a long way, but we still have much more to overcome. The day we have a Latina version of Olivia Pope or with a role as the President of the United States, then I will really feel like we have arrived.

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they've grown and flown the nest...

AR: Empathy. I would want them to know that this quality will enable them to see the beauty in others and with that will follow an appreciation and respect for life.

PC: I think I'd like your kids. One childhood memory that has stuck with you...

AR: The car broke down and so my mom had no other choice, but to carry me in the snow to the babysitter. As I wrapped my tiny arms around her neck I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of pride and love. My mom has and always makes the impossible possible.

PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

AR: I think in “feelings,” if that makes sense? I always try to be conscious of my words, but sometimes nothing really captures the meaning like Spanish. I mean, try translating Mana’s song, “Vivir sin Aire” in English and all the umph just totally goes out the window, but in Spanish it’s a pure masterpiece.

PC: Kind of like "Sana, Sana Colita de Rana" makes no damned sense in English but in Spanish it's all MY BOOBOO STOPPED HURTING MAMA! Right?  What's your favorite dish? Why?

AR: My favorite food is a hot dog with mustard, but my favorite dish is fried papas (potatoes) with thinly sliced onions and red New Mexican chile. I love this dish because whenever I eat it, I know I’m home.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"?

AR: This is hard to answer, because I have never been anything other than Latina. Our culture has so many facets that you can’t just lump it all into one mix. I think that too many times there is this assumption of what “being Latino” is, but none of us who are Latino will ever fit neatly into a “box.” We are linked by a common thread, but I believe the intricacy of our culture is what really makes us who we are. So at the end of the day, I would say yes...even if there is so much more for me to learn.

PC: Wow. Ok, so Ane wins the Internet with that answer. Love it! You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?

AR: My great-grandmother Ane, whom I am named after. We would eat ribs from Silky O’Sullivans. I first tried these ribs on a trip to Memhis, TN and they were so delicious I literally got teary eyed. I would probably pair them with Capuline wine (choke cherry wine) and apple pie made from the apples in her orchard. I never got to meet her, but any time someone talks about her their face lights up. She use to play the harmonica and loved music. She and my great-grandfather built their house with their own two hands, which still stands today. She was independent, strong willed, admired, and respected. Being named after her, I have always felt a sense of responsibility to live a life that would make her proud to carry on her name.

PC: I want in on this meal. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

AR: Hmm…I never really gave thought about it. Probably because if and when I do eat ice cream it’s usually annihilated in seconds.

PC: Especially if served in a shoe covered in caramel. One Latina stereotype you despise?

AR: All of them. Being from New Mexico I can’t tell you the absurd things I have heard whenever I travel elsewhere. The top one being, “what part of Mexico are you from.” The look of confusion on some faces when you note that New Mexico is a state is always classic. I once had to literally show a clerk where New Mexico was on a map, because she said the store could not accept “foreign” driver licenses as proof of ID. She called her manager, who immediately apologized to me. I laughed so hard I cried. J

PC: So I was in the the fourth grade when I realized New Mexico was part of the United States during a social studies report and I was SO mad. I'm still getting over it. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

AR: That we are all “great cooks.” I can’t cook to save my life, but if others assume that I can because I’m Latina, well then who am I to ruin their dream?

PC: Describe your perfect day.

AR: May 30, 2015. That is when I get married, so it doesn’t get much better than being surrounded by all the people you love…and cake. Oh how I LOVE cake!

PC: Is it caramel? And where's my invite? *winks*

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know if she is aiming high enough with her dreams.

Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all.

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6. More designs and products coming soon!

 

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y'ALL!

Oh, and TUMBLR, Y’ALL!

Follow me and validate my existence.

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And stay tuned. The weekly #Chingonafest twitter party and podcast will be resuming soon!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page!

Forward, always.

Together… stronger.

Remembering When: A New Day

This post was originally published on Janyary 17, 2013. Two years later and I'm still working on my new beginning. And I'm okay with this because it means I haven't stopped trying.  

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A strange thing happened today. I didn’t notice it right away, of course. There was no dramatic realization. No being struck by a figurative lightning bolt. It was more like the rising of the sun…

Slow. Steady. And something that, when you stop to think about it, shouldn’t really come as a surprise.

Sleep has been fitful and restless and mostly non-existent. I was lucky to wake up in time to get Buttercup to her morning pre-ballet/tap class. I didn’t bother bringing a book to read. She upgraded me, you see. A few weeks ago, when she first started, I was timidly asked to remain downstairs in the waiting room while she danced. I’m embarrassed, Mama. Instead of allowing herself to fully relax and enjoy herself with her fellow dancers, I think she had been too focused on my opinion of her performance.

So I waited. And eventually, she asked me to leave my book at home.

I sat in the dance studio with the other mothers while the dancers sues-sused and tapped their happy little hearts out. We smiled and laughed as our daughters delighted in the movement their bodies allow and reveled in their own conspiratorial giggles. We clapped, as a proper audience should at the end of a worthy performance, when the teacher announced the end of the class. Then we helped our happy girls change out of their dance attire and into their street clothes and made our way across the studio to go on with the rest of our days.

That’s when I saw my reflection in the studio mirror. I barely registered what I was looking at….there were too many things to do and think about to concentrate on the size of my ass or what my hips looked like. Hear that? Taking the time to criticize myself would have been a luxury. Buttercup was asking questions and we needed to go to Target and The Husband needed me to pick up a few things at the grocery store before we headed back home and I was trying to remember what they were and…hell. If I don’t have time to read a book or watch trashy T.V. or sleep, do I really have the time to stand in front of a mirror and pick myself apart?

And more importantly, is that how I want to spend the few precious moments I do find for myself? Self-criticism and self-directed body hatred as LUXURY like fine velvets and expensive champagnes and rare jewels and days like tomorrow when I can stay home all day in my pajamas and don’t have to bother with a bra?

I met my own eyes in the mirror once more before leaving the studio and that’s when I saw myself through the light of the new day and realized I had sat in front of a mirror for an hour and only concentrated on my daughter, her happiness, and how I hope she grows up stronger than me.

The woman looking back at me in the mirror was smiling now. Maybe because she realized feelings weigh so much less when shared with others who understand.

Am I fixed yet? No. But it’s a new day.

And that’s a start.

 

The Prompted CopyCat: Second Edition

It's time for the Second Edition of the #PromptedCopyCat here on Aspiring Mama.  For those of you just joining in, the premise is a simple one: we start with an image and a story. I'll post one of my original pieces for you to replicate in your own style with your choice of medium and include a writing prompt that ties in to the artwork. You'll have one week to complete your art and short writing from the prompt (500 words or less), and post both completed works on your website, blog, instagram feed, or Facebook account. I don't want this limited to the blogosphere, so I'm open to sharing and connecting on any platform that appeals to you. The Prompted CopyCat is nothing formal. Just an idea to pass on and join in on if it calls to you. Every week I'll post my own completed writing from the previous week's prompt so you know I'm here to play with y'all, too, before posting the new art and prompt combo. Think of it as a living, guided artist journal. Or an illustrated writing journal, depending on which identity you feel more drawn to.

Last week's art and writing prompt asked you to recreate (or create your own spin on) one of my newest doodle pieces, titled Storybook Love, created on an old book page. I asked you to write a short love story, the one you see in your drawing. As promised, here is my own.

Storybook Love by Pauline Campos

"His legs were too skinny. That was her first thought. But he seemed nice enough. And his eyes did this cute wrinkly thing in the corners when he smiled. Alicia liked that.

But the leg thing...

"He has no ass," Alicia's sister said as he walked by the table she and Alicia had set up with linens and silverware.

It was a slow night at the family restaurant, which was why Alicia had arranged to meet with her potential prince charming near the end of her shift. She figured all her options were covered his way. She had the kitchen to disappear to if a quick escape was needed and her brother and sister could pick him out in a lineup if he decided to hide the crazy until the second date. But if all went well with tonight's introduction, her date would at least know which restaurant not to bring her to for a romantic evening.

Her sister, Daniela, smirked as she rolled silverware into linens for the next shift. "I can't believe you asked Prince Buttless to meet you here. Mom and Dad aren't exactly going to offer to pay for the wedding when you tell them you met this one on the Internet."

"This one?" Alicia rolled her eyes. "Dani, you say that the way Dad asks me what I'm going to do with the next stray dog I find. And besides, I knew Mom and Dad were taking the night off. Besides, I met the last one on the Internet, too."

Dani snorted "Yeah, and that turned out just dandy, didn't it?"

"Well," Alicia said, laughing at the memory. Her ex-boyfriend, forgetting where he was, had kissed her in full view of the kitchen. Her father put an end to that nonsense when, mere moments later, he personally delivered a steaming plate of huevos rancheros to their table. The crowning touch, of course, had been the silverware wrapped in what turned out to be a freshly printed Urban Dictionary page explaining exactly why the dish served as a very descriptive warning to keep his hands to himself.  Alicia hadn't been surprised never to hear from him again. "Okay, so not exactly. But who knows? Maybe this one will be different."

This One, who also happened to be the tall, dark, and handsome kind that made Alicia go weak in the knees, was heading back to his seat at the bar, He had one arm hidden behind his back, and on his face, his smile was strained.

"Is everything okay? Alicia asked.

He handed her the small bouquet of brightly colored flowers he had gotten from his car. "These are for you. But can you tell me why the waiter was taking pictures of my license plate?"

***

And now, here's the new assignment: Show me the words at the center of your universe. This piece started out with acrylics and a paintbrush before morphing into my visual reminder of the mantra I repeat to myself as needed. As a rule, I photograph each original for print sales before manipulating the image until I'm happy with the result. I went heavy on saturation and vibrancy in this one and the final punch was the text.

Feel free to copy what you see here (it's best to start with a pencil before moving on to painting), or give the entire thing your own personal spin. All I ask is that you draw a sun, add the words you see here (or better yet, words that make you feel strong, and write 500 words or less on why the words you selected have meaning.

The rules are simple:

1- Always play nice. We are here to create a community, which means we always play nice in the sandbox.

2- Please link each week's prompt on Aspiring Mama when sharing your work online.

3.Use #PromptedCopyCat on twitter and social media outlets like instagram (which doesn't allow for live links).

4. Leave a comment linking to your work and completed prompt in order for me (and hopefully others) to find and support your efforts.

I'll be back next week with my completed prompt and the next Prompted CopyCat assignment!

Hope to see you then!

 

 

Submitted

This Artist/Writer/Photographer thing is still new territory for me. Fear wasn't the only reason I held back from just running with it all because, and let's be honest, it's gonna be a bitch redesigning business cards. I'll deal with that later, though. For now, it's Show and Tell time because I spent entirely too much time making Scrunchy Faces I never selfie'd while over-thinking the Artist Statement portion of a recent art show submission. I apologize to Instagram for robbing you of the chance to point and laugh.

I'm sorry. I'll try to do better next time. I promise.

 

Image by Pauline Campos

As a mother, I strive to teach my daughter that she can go anywhere...do anything. I want her to know that it's more important to create her own space rather than try to fit in. We moved to Maine two years ago and do not blend; our olive tones made more obvious by the white snow covering the ground for most of the year. But we are creating our space. In this photo, my daughter, 7, stands in a barn beneath the princess pinata made by a local woman, also Mexican, for her birthday party. She is fierce, focused, and stands tall, daring anyone to question her presence, her choices, her right to wear that crown or the cape she says makes her royalty. In this moment, she has claimed her space.

 

Photo by Pauline Campos

As the founder of the #chingonafest community, I strive to empower Latinas to embrace (and celebrate) their true selves and voices in the face of cultural dictates telling us to do otherwise. As Latina Magazine's #Dimelo advice columnist, I made some waves of my own when a conversation with my daughter turned into a column on Latina.com called "5 Ways to Raise a Chingona". And as the mother watching this girl grow sure and strong, I hope she never loses the spirit and determination that I was lucky enough to capture in her eyes and her stance when the flash went off.

 

Autobiography by Pauline Campos

I was running behind so I forgot to copy and paste this one but basically I said lots of words and then wrapped it up with "This is my story told on canvas." The end.

 

 

#SheSePuede by Pauline Campos

My goal and my purpose is to inspire women to embrace and celebrate our voices while forging our own paths -- and inspiring the next generation to do the same -- despite a culture dictating we do otherwise. I am the daughter of a Mexican-born father and was raised by my village, including my parents, tias, tios, and Abuelo. I am the mother of a second-generation daughter who is being raised by the girl who grew up to break away from the accepted in order to find myself. I am Chingona. #SheSePuede. Because alone we can, but together, we thrive.

 

(The Best of) #ChingonaFest Fridays: Veronica Arreola

 

It’s WEEK 23 for the Aspiring Mama #Chingonafest Fridays. Last week, I took a look back at my interview with Dr. Helen Troncoso and it was fabulous. Today, the Fabulous continues with proud feminist Veronica Arreola sitting in the hot seat once again. (And yes, for those of you who are actually PAYING ATTENTION, I backdated this post cuz FRIDAY but obviously it is NOT Friday. This is called Full Disclosure and probably has something to do with Using My Authentic Voice. You're Welcome.)

It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Veronica is a a force to be reckoned with. By day, she runs a women in science & engineering program at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Research on Women and Gender and by night she’s a PhD student in Public Administration. I’m assuming that means she earned her veteran blogger stripes (and became a social media addict while doing the public speaking thing) when she should have been sleeping. Oh, and that #365feministselfie thing the entire internet is talking about? Yeah, Veronica founded that, too.(Of course, I’m posting the daily selfies because I like words that start with the letter “F”.)

And on to the interview!

 

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Veronica Arreola

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Veronica Arreola: Vanilla bean.

 

 

PC: So you’re a rebel and don’t like boxes, then. *nods head* Can you tell me what favorite book is and why?

 

 VA: This is like asking me to choose my favorite child! Oh wait, I only have one. Damn…still, you can’t ask a bookworm this.

 

 

PC: I should have seen that one coming. Okay, let’s go three for three. What’s your favorite quote?

 

VA:  “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.” Bella Abzug

 

 

PC: Alrighty then. Um, and now for the obvious. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 

VA: OF COURSE!

 

 

PC: Good. You had me worried there for a minute. Let’s talk about who you hope to inspire.

 

VA: My daughter. She is everything that I had hoped to have as a daughter. Smart, witty, strong, athletic, caring and with an eye on justice. It is an honor to be her mom. Watch out world!

 

 

PC: Sweet. When she’s old enough to say Chingona without getting grounded, send her my way, will ya? But back to you…do you dream in color or black and white?

 

VA: Technicolor. When I was a kid, I often got dreams and real life mixed up. I’d swear things happened and my mom would have to explain that I dreamt it.

 

 

PC: Why am I not surprised? Okay, so, let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

 

VA: VIVA!

 

 

 

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

 

VA:  Hijole! The sad thing is that I think of the awful representations first. SNL’s Cecily Strong’s continuing to play the ditzy Latina, Sofía Vergara’s Gloria on “Modern Family” is like a Latina Peg Bundy without Peg’s sharp wit and then there’s a new Latina character on “The Walking Dead” who looks to be drawn by a 13-year-old boy. ENOUGH! But then we go to the news part of the media and we see Latinas like Maria Hinojosa and Soledad O’Brien, who show our intelligent side. Thank goodness for America Ferrera and Rosario Dawson making movies with strong and intelligent Latina characters..or at least not a stereotype of a Latina which the rest of us have to dispel over and over.

 

 

PC: hmm..I see your point, but I also loved Peg Bundy. But it was probably the sharp wit thing. Anyway, NEXT! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

 

VA: To keep exploring the world.

 

 

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

 

VA: Hard to choose just one! Why do you do this to me, Pauline? OK, so my dad always had pick up trucks when we were kids. I loved riding in the back, especially when he didn’t have a cap on the back. It was heaven. I vividly remember my girlfriends & I tagging along while he want to the auto-part store. We piled in with my boombox, turned up the music and sang all the way there and back.

 

 

PC: Oh that makes me think of my Guelo’s station wagon and the seats that flipped up and telephone poles with signs with phone numbers for the “Yunk Yard.” *sighs wistfully* Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

 

VA: English

 

 

PC: Yeah, unless I’m drunk (and I mean like College Frat Party levels), I think in English, too. So what’s your favorite dish? Why?

 

VA: Cheese enchiladas con mole. My mom use to make the best enchiladas. When I moved out of my parents’ home, I started my now 20+ years of trying to replicate her recipe. No canned mole for my mom’s enchiladas. And since she died 11 years ago, my quest for that perfect recipe so my daughter has the same memories keeps me going. BTW – Anyone know where I can get some California Chile powder?

 

 

PC: Going out on a limb here, but California sounds like a good place to look. What? The door..it was RIGHT THERE. You can glare at me later. For now, I wanna know if you feel “Latina enough”?

 

VA: Not really.

 

 

PC: WHAT? You so NO and leave us hanging? That was just mean. Let’s see what you do with this one: Describe your perfect day.

 

VA: A warm day, full of sunshine, cool breeze, then climbing up a tree. I’ll find a comfy nook, then settle in to read a good book. These perfect days happened almost every day when I was a kid. Now I substitute biking to a park with my family. Still toting a book along.

HT: That we’re family orientated.

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me here or here with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice Column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader wants to know if her husband's lack of sexual desire for her means he's cheating on her.  Also, be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all.

Who likes Pretty Pictures? Check out my #chingonafest (and my non-hashtagged stuff, too) on my newly renamed Etsy Shop at Pauline Campos Studios. and have And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and  more art available on Society6. More designs and products coming soon!

 

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