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.

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Ana Lydia Ochoa-Monaco

  Welcome to WEEK 19 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? Myrah Duque and Nessi Montalvan 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

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 a very serious question that makes me hope like hell he keeps me updated Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions todimelo@latina.com.

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

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!

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! And be sure to join me on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. EST for the weekly #Chingonafest twitter party. Stay tuned, because the podcast launches IN JUST A FEW DAYS! 

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

Launch Time: #ChingonaFest Project

My BFF Heather always says I am best when speaking only if I haven't rehearsed. Apparently, planning I guess, is just a reason for me to self-censor, and that jut takes away all the good parts, so I try to do that as little as possible. So here's the plan for the Big Thing I've been dreaming up for a few years now:

- Weekly #ChingonaFest Project Google Hangouts at 2 p.m. EST on Sundays

- Weekly podcast stemming from the original G+ show

- Conquer the world, preferably by next Monday.

 

 

 

Inner Strength at BlogHer -- Revisited

 Last year was life-changing. I wore a gold skirt highlighting the ass I can't hide because it's an ass I was told was worth highlighting. And then I strutted down a runway in front of all of BlogHer, the Internet, and Creation.

And I felt beautiful.

We're all about to set foot into a jam-packed weekend with new connections and rekindled friendships and shiny pretty opportunities and Community with the Big C reminding us all why we felt at home when we found the BlogHer Network. But before we do, let me first congratulate the wonderful women who have been selected to participate in this year's fashion show! You'll never forget it.

You'll never want to.

Last year, I got to walk that runway in what turned out to be the inaugural event. And I thank BlogHer for the experience. Good luck, break a leg, rock those stilettos, and just be in the moment.

What you are about to read  was published on August 8 of 2012 on Girl Body Pride.

See you guys on the flipside.

***

Maybe it sounds like bullshit when someone else says that things happen for a reason and in their own time and when they are meant to.

And maybe it’s true but the things you are wanting to happen haven’t happened yet and it isn’t their time yet and they are meant to be but tomorrow instead of today.

I woke up one morning with Girl Body Pride inside of my head and just a few short weeks later it was real. I wished for just a moment that I had thought it up sooner, but time, reasons, fate…remember?

And then Elisa Camahort Page sent an email inviting me to take part in the BlogHer 2012 Fashion Show. And I almost said no are you crazy, and I would never but I stopped myself because this thing that was happening, this opportunity, was supposed to be and at the right time and exactly why Girl Body Pride came to be. Maybe I would never before. But it’s about damned time I did now.

I don’t think I’m beautiful on the outside. But I feel pretty damned good about myself on the inside. And every morning I wake up with a chipmunk-voiced reminder that likes to refer to me as Mama that it’s time to Put Up or Shut Up. She is my reason to quiet the voice that tells me I am not worth my own efforts because she will mimic my actions much longer than she will remember my words. For her, I will pretend I am not broken so she can at least grow up knowing that inner strength is a thing and confidence is not an automatic and every day that I pretend for her (and you), a tiny piece of myself will heal.

I don’t think I’m beautiful on the outside. But I feel pretty damned good about myself on the inside. But for these few moments? I felt fucking spectacular.

This? This is why I said yes.

 

Blogher 13 & The Multi-Culti

It's 2 a.m. and I just sat down. I could be sleeping.

I should be sleeping.

But before I do, I'll tell you about this little party I'll be hosting. 'Cuz you're invited.

 

That's right. It doesn't seem real, but I'm all Giddy about the fact that I've been asked to co-host BlogHer's Multi-Culti Extravaganza at this year's event in Chicago with fellow hosts, Ananda Leeks and Dwana De La Cerna. Read Lori Luna's post about the full lineup of events, including the #MultiCulti here.

No, this isn't THE secret. That one is scheduled to be announced on June 1, so you still have to wait to hear that little bit of Happy. For now, consider this your official invitation to meet up with me, Ananada, & Dwana in Chicago. I'll be the one with too many suitcases, not enough Xanax, trying to look badass while drinking water from my wine glass.

Cheers.

 

Mamavation Monday: A tale of two blog posts

I once tweaked my neck sneezing. This is important to note because two days ago I sprained my ankle.

While standing in front of this...

 

I can't get into further detail because there aren't any. I limped my way through packing The Husband's work cooler, getting his dinner done before he woke up for work, and getting Buttercup into bed. I woke up yesterday morning not being able to walk, kissed The Husband goodnight as he climbed into bed to prepare for another midnight shift, and dropped Buttercup off at a friend's house. That's when HC Palmquist called to give me the same speech I gave her about being a jackass for driving myself to the ER and told me to stop by her place so she could play taxi.

Frankly, I think she was just looking for some cheap entertainment.

Observe:

check-in Nurse: And what are we seeing you for today?

Me: I either broke or sprained my ankle.

Nurse: When?

Me: Last night.

Nurse: Last night? Um, okay. Have you taken anything for the pain or swelling?

Me: *Blinking* Shit. I  didn't even realize that was an option. This is why I'd never be invited to appear on Celebrity Rehab.

HC Palmquist: Um, I think you actually have to be a celebrity for that to happen.

Me: Or shot someone in the head and had my name all over the tabloids. --yes, I'm talking about you, Amy Fisher.

HC Palmquist: *shrugs shoulders* Same difference.

Nurse: *Obviously ignoring the exchange* How did you injure yourself.

Me: I was standing in front of my refrigerator.

Nurse: *waiting.*

Me: That's it. I was standing in front of my refrigerator.

HC Palmquist: Hysterical laughter.

Or this one:

Nurse Practitioner: What did you do to yourself, dear?

Me: No idea. But I can't put weight on my foot.

NP: This happened when?

Me: Last night.

NP: last night?

Me: Why does everyone act like I should have come in right after I made the sandwich?

HC : *snickering* Because that is what a normal person would have done.

NP: (to HC) Thank you. (to me) Made the sandwich?

ME: That's how it happened. I was standing in front of the refrigerator.

NP: And?

ME: That's it. I. Was. Standing. In. Front. Of. The. Refrigerator. I grabbed what I needed to make my husband a sandwich and suddenly felt like comparing the pain in my ankle now shooting up my leg to an unmedicated childbirth.

NP: So, it never occurred to you to take an aspiring for the swelling?

ME: It's swollen?

 

NP: Really?

HC: Hysterical laughter.

Or:

NP: Well, it isn't broken. But you did really hurt yourself. You can see significant swelling on the X-ray.

Me: Thank God.

NP: It is sprained. You aren't off the hook. I'm sending you home with an ankle brace and crutches. No weight on that injured ankle for three days.

Me: That count started yesterday, right?

NP: It might have if you had come in when you almost broke your ankle making a sandwich.

HC: hysterical laughter.

It wasn't until after I sent HC home with a few tokens of appreciation for playing nursemaid all day that I realized I got had. I'm the one who should have been charging admission.

The line forms here, people. You're welcome.

***

The problem with posting on a schedule is that life happens off schedule. Today's focus was supposed to be on Leah Segedie and today's awesome two-year-anniversary celebration for her ground-breaking Mamavation social media health initiative, but then all the crap before the asterix happened. And because it wouldn't be funny on Wednesday, I figured I'd do do double duty and talk about both today.

If you are new to the blog, let me explain. Every Monday I try to post a personal health related update sharing my current experience with the Sistahs of the Mamavation community. The literal ups and downs...no harsh judgement allowed. Just support and open arms for those giving their all to trying to better themselves for their health and their families.

I also serve as an editor for Leah's Bookieboo blog and post weekly. So yes, there is a fair amount of time invested, but only because I believe firmly that Leah has created a fantastic community and love being a part of it. I also love that i can call many of the moms friends and inspirations. Shelley, Kimberly, Kia, Stephanie, and Sue...thank you for being part of this group of Awesome created by Leah.

Happy birthday, Mamavation. Can't wait to see what the next year brings you.