On Raising a Chingona

First things first: Chingona is a controversial Mexican-slang term for badass chick. And by controversial, I mean Vanilla Vs Chocolate or Which Way You Hang Your Toilet Paper roll controversial (Scroll down to see the column debate on Latina's Facebook page.) That's just so you have some context for the rest of this post. I know. I'm considerate like that.

So why am I talking about chingonas and general bad-assery today? Because I wrote about wanting to raise one in this week's Dimelo column on Latina.com.

My daughter, whom I love dearly, has been driving me absolutely batty lately with her attitude and yanno what? I'm equally cheering the girl who stomps her feet and sets her lips with a determination so fierce that I know she will be just fine when she needs to stand her ground as an adult...just about as much as I am preparing myself mentally for the In Between Stage.

That would be everyday between today and, say, her 21 birthday.

It's gonna be interesting, that much I can tell you.

People might think I'm crazy for wanting to raise a chingona -- for celebrating her attitude and her sense of self -- and that's fine. Think what you want. Eliana comes from a long line of strong women -- of badass women -- who don't take shit from anybody and always follow their own path. And when you stop to think about it, our junior high history books are peppered with stories of the badass women -- who paved the way yesterday for the tomorrows they wouldn't see.

Amelia Earhart comes to mind immediately. And so do Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman. Rosa Parks was pretty badass, if you want my opinion. And so were Ann Frank and and Gloria Steinham.

Malala Yousafzai is another shining example of female empowerment and bad-assery. She's been through hell and now stands strong as one of the most inspiring female figures alive today. That's badass, y'all. That makes Malala and all the Malalas before and those not yet born were, are, and will be chingonas.

I thank them for their spirits and example as I navigate the rocky road between sanity and losing my damned mind while raising a girl into womanhood with the sense to embrace the baddass, the bitch -- within.

Sandra Cisneros (a Chingona herself if there ever was one) said everything I want to never forget in this clip from the HBO Latino List documentary. I'll leave you with the clip. Also? Someone remind me I wrote this in ten years when she's 16, will ya?