Send Senator Warren a Postcard (Because She Persisted)

"She was warned, she was given an explanation, nevertheless, she persisted."

I dunno about you, but I want this on my headstone. Because, yes.

A good friend of mine suggested sending Senator Elizabeth Warren postcard for Valentine's Day, Then she messaged me to make sure I actually did it. So I did.

This is what's on the shop now, thanks to Janel.

She Persisted, Postcard # 1

She Persisted, Postcard # 1

Show her you support her and appreciate every time she has refused to back down. 

Each card is $8.00, and will be stamped and mailed with your personal message handwritten by yours truly. No novels, please. Yours isn't the only Valentine I'm writing for the Senator. 

Option # 2, Because, obviously. 

Option # 2, Because, obviously. 

 

For every postcard sold, I will donate $1 to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change; a nod to Warren's silencing by Republicans  while reading a letter written by Coretta Scott King, criticizing Senator Jeff Sessions, the nominee for attorney general. Donations will be made at the end of the calendar month. 
 

I should point out that I almost went with notecards, but Janel is predicting I'll be making a rather nice donation to The King Center, which means postcards are faster to open and no paper is wasted on the envelopes that get thrown away.

Clicl on the images to order. I'll get to writing and stamping and mailing as soon as the order I just placed is my mailbox.

Thank you, and thank you, Senator Warren. 

 


Beautiful in Black & White: My Experience with the 4th Trimester Bodies Project

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

It started with a request to sign a copy of my book. She'd be in the same state, after all, and seeing as how I only live four hours north, maybe I could meet up and we could take a few selfies together to prove we'd inhabited the same physical space after years of conversations in 140 characters and status updates. 

"Of course," was my response. No matter that I would be the one driving the four hours. When you're this far north, hotel rooms and rest stops are just real life if you want to maintain contact with real life. Besides, Target and Starbucks don't exist where I live. If I want you to like me in person, I'm not about to ask you to make a first impression while navigating around Amish buggies and breaking for moose standing in the middle of the roadway. If I had stopped there, if nothing more had come out of my mouth, maybe signing a book and laughing over bad camera angles would be all that had happened. But I didn't. I kept talking. "Maybe I should get naked for you, too."

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos/ Book by Ashlee Wells Jackson.  Click here to purchase.  

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos/ Book by Ashlee Wells Jackson. Click here to purchase. 

There was a chuckle in response. Or, I think there was one. I'm a writer. I hear the rhythm of the voice writing the words that would be spoken if the conversation was a spoken one. I fill in the blanks with facial expressions, uuhhhmmm's and ahhhh's, and the blinks that take up the space around the words I hear in my mind. She chuckled when she read my sentence about getting naked; eyes twinkling, probably. She knows my sense of humor. We've known each other a few years now, at least. "Maybe not naked," she said. "Just down to your bra and panties." 

"Only if you buy me dinner first," I shot back. And she chuckled again and I laughed out loud because I actually did Laugh.Out. Loud. I detest the LOL acronym. I know for a fact my sister never LOL's even though every single text she sends indicates otherwise. When I Laugh.Out.Loud, I actually am. Otherwise, I am merely SWMWME (Smirking While Smiling with my Eyes) or LIMH (Laughing Inside My Head). LOL is like the push up bra of the Facebook world. We all know you're selling us more than you've actually got, so let's drop the act and just call it what it is, okay?

 

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

It was all in fun. No commitment. Just banter. But then she said "YES" and I knew the yes wasn't about the dinner joke but about the me getting down to my 'chonis thing because, it turns out, my friend, the famed Ashlee Wells Jackson of the 4th Trimester Bodies Project, had an opening for her Portland, Maine, shoot, and she was sending me a contract to sign and ... and ... 

Holy...

Shit. 

 

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

This is what happens when you make a habit of pushing your own boundaries using thinly-veiled sarcasm. There's really no commitment because a No in response to your Maybe I could can be brushed off as a joke and no one gets their feelings hurt. A Yes still comes with an automatic Out because I was Totally Kidding and can quip about how I never let a date get to third base before the third date, at least, because I have fucking STANDARDS. There's alway a moment of pause when the Yes happens. The window of opportunity to wrap my arms around the Thing I Probably Really Want to Do But am Totally Terrified Of is small. Generally, it's understood that I am verbally agreeing, all semblance of general smartassery lost, because Shit Just Got Serious, y'all. 

I'm signing the contract before I have had a chance to process the ramifications, not because I'm an idiot, mind you, but because posing for a shoot in your well-endowed bra and Lane Bryant panties is scary shit, indeed, even for an outspoken body image activist like myself. If I even stop to think, just for a moment, I'm going to Come to my Senses and say But I was Joking and tell the Ashlee's in my life that they'd better give that  open slot to someone else cuz I'm not about to put All of THIS on the internet -- not when my every day is Spanxed and layered and carefully pieced together so as to maintain some semblance of containment and purposeful form. 

Photo credit: Laura Weetzie Wilson

Photo credit: Laura Weetzie Wilson

 

Even after signing the contract, though, I toyed with the idea of backing out. Eliana didn't know it yet, because I needed to come to terms with the Actual Doing before I got her all jazzed up about a mother/daughter photo shoot with a famous and celebrated photographer, but she would be there, with me, celebrating herself as she is next to the mama hoping she was brave enough to do the same. I wrote a book about accepting the bodies we have right here and right now, the scale and Other People's Expectations be Damned. I have a website celebrating our bodies and ourselves in every possible way (which I suck at keeping updated because the aforementioned book takes a lot of time to write and edit and promote upon publication). I am outspoken about my struggles with mental illness - anxiety, depression, ADHD - and my eating disordered past and ever-present body image issues. Once it's a part of your story, it always will be. But until now, I've been able to hide myself behind words and stories that painted pictures for readers to relate to and see themselves in. 

I’m not important enough for media coverage. No need to find the most flattering dress for my shape to talk about my work on daytime TV. No magazine spreads to hope the PhotoShop Fairy I usually hate sprinkles her fairy dust over to maybe make a few bulges here and a few inches there smooth out and disappear. 

 

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

This is real. Black and white. No tummy-controlling undergaments. No bullshit. 

Period. 

It’s everything I stand for and nothing I’ve been brave enough to make happen. 

Until now.

Before packing up the overnight duffle and looking for a hotel, I told The Husband about the shoot and asked him to check out the 4th Trimester Bodies Project site, and waited for his response. I wasn’t looking for permission, mind you, but maybe I’d been hoping for an excuse to say no. “My Husband is being a giant asshole about this whole thing and I’d just rather not deal with the drama” is way easier to say than “Yeah, I know this is exactly what I stand for, but let’s pass on this round because I’m scared shitless that I won’t see myself as beautiful, okay?” But he only waited for me to tell him why I had directed him to the site to begin with because he knows me and simply nodded when I told him I had been invited to participate in the project. “You know I’d never stop you from doing something like this,” is what he said. So I was left with no way out but through my fear and self-judgement, booked the hotel room, gassed up the truck, told the excited little chingona-in-training what we were doing and why, and listened to her sing Eliana Mercedes Originals all the way to Portland about celebrating our bodies and loving who we are.

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

As we stood in the dressing room at Lane Bryant (because I’m not about to drop my pants for the world unless it’s in brand new undies, my friends), Eliana joked with me about third boobs and very solemnly pointed out the styles of panties and bras she thought fit best and so those are the ones I bought. I mentally patted myself on the back for taking the emotion out of the dressing room and replacing it with logic and reason. My audience was watching my every move and I wasn’t about to taint every future dressing room experience with tears and squished face disgust at what perceived flaws. My todays are building the foundation for her tomorrows, after all, and while I may be far from perfect, I’m working with what I’ve got. 

“Mama,” she asked me while trying on her black leotard at our last stop before we checked in for the night in Portland, “What’s so hard about celebrating our bodies? All we have to do is appreciate what we have.”

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

Photo credit: Pauline M. Campos

These are the words I remembered and held onto that night, because I didn't sleep. They are the words I remembered when I stood before Ashlee in nothing but a bra and panties the next day. The words I held onto when she pointed the camera at me and asked me why I was there during the pre-shoot interview. 

“What made you want to participate in this project?” she asked me.

I looked at Eliana, waiting patiently to join me for the session. She smiled at me because she knows I am not as brave as I say I am, and that’s okay. 

 

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jacskon

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jacskon

Looking into my daughter’s eyes, I responded. “Because perfection is photo-shopped. Because self-acceptance is reserved for the finish line. Because you can’t step on the winner’s podium until after you’ve proven your worth until after you’ve stepped on the scale. Every day, I wake up ready to teach myself love the me that I see again. Because this little girl is my reset button. 

Because there was no reason that wasn’t an excuse to say no and every reason that matters to say yes.”

And then we did it. We smiled and we laughed and we posed and celebrated our way through every shot and then again while working with Ashlee to select the image used for the 4th Trimester Bodies Project. There was a headshot. There was a safe image. And then there was the one where I wasn’t shielding myself with my daughter’s body because I’m the one that’s supposed to be on the frontline helping her find her way, dammit. That’s what you see. This is who I am.

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jackson

Photo credit: Ashlee Wells Jackson

We signed books for each other at the end, as planned. We hugged and smiled and selfies and hash-tagged because we don’t know when we will see each other again. I didn’t even make her buy me dinner. 

Later that night, after hours on the road in between errands on the way home, I saw the status update in my Facebook stream indicating that Ashlee had tagged me on her fan page. There were no tears. No self-deprecating tearing apart of the self I saw standing next to the future I am raising. “Look, Eliana! It’s us!”

“We’re beautiful, mama!” She squealed with pride. She beamed. She looked into my eyes, waiting for me to answer the question she would never dare to ask.

“Yes, baby,” I smiled back and met her eyes because I know this will be one of the moments she look back on as she grows and I need her to see that I believed the words I was saying are true. “Yes we are.” 

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: Vannessa Vasquez

It’s Week Twenty-Seven on #ChingonaFest Fridays! This week's feature is being sponsored by Fed By Organics. Check out their clothing line (and stop in their store if you happen to be in the Tucson area). Don't forget their instragram account. I do love it when a brand actually GETS the social part of social media, don't you?

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 it does.

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 magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Eliana Mercedes shines in her interview last week, and Ana-Lydia Monaco rocked her Chingona status just before Eliana. (Trust me when I say it’s a must read). Today, #ChingonaFest is going Hollywood (again!) with a look back at my interview with actress Vanessa Vasquez, who plays the role of Camila on the popular East Los High on Hulu. The show, which is the first in English to feature an all-Latino cat, doesn't shy away from pushing the envelope, either. In fact, Vanessa's character, Camila, is 1/3 of a lesbian-love triangle.

Who knows? Maybe the No Holds Barred approach has something to do with ELH being nominated for THREE daytime Emmys!

Exactly. This one has #Chingonafest written ALL OVER IT.

Don't forget to connect with Vannessa on twitter and check out her fan page on Facebook. And now! Time for the interview!

I believe a woman's place is wherever she damned well wants it to be -- Vannessa Vasquez

I believe a woman's place is wherever she damned well wants it to be -- Vannessa Vasquez

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanessa Vasquez: Mexican chocolate

PC: Fine then. Maybe I *won't* get you box for Christmas. Let's try your avorite book (and why) ...

VV: Alchemist - story of our spiritual journeys and having faith in our dreams.

PC: What's your favorite quote?

VV: Everything happens for a reason.

 PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

VV: Yes, I believe that women should be allowed to freely express themselves with out judgment. I also believe that a woman's place is wherever the hell she pleases.

PC: To snaps, bitches! Let's move on to who inspires you?

VV: My grandmother and my mother inspire me. They both taught me to always believe and to work hard for a better life.

 PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

VV: I hope to inspire people that no matter the race or social class you are born into. You can also achieve your dreams if you persist.

PC: You're damned right, sister. Also? Do you dream in color or black and white?

VV: I dream in color.

PC: Surprisingly boring answer coming from you, Vanessa, but let's see if you can redeem yourself with the next one. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say...?

VV: Tu madre ( y la mia) ;) 

 PC: *Falls Over Laughing* It's like I think it and you *say* it. Where the hell have you been all my life? Answer that later. (We've got an interview to finish.) Please share one childhood memory that has stuck with you.

VV:  tripped on a sidewalk when I was 7. I remember saying to myself I will never trip and fall again. From now on I will always pay attention to where I'm going.

 PC: How much do you charge by the hour? My 7-year-old trips over obvious thing, like air and her own feet, pretty much on a daily basis. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

VV: It depends on who I'm with. With my family I think in Spanish. Unless I can't think of how to say a certain word then it goes to English. So yeah i guess Spanglish.

 PC: My favorite language of all. *sighs happily*  What's your favorite dish? Why?

VV: My favorite dish is mole de pollo con arroz!!! Mmm I love mole!! My abuelita makes the best.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough"? 

VV: I honestly didn't know I was "latina" til I started in entertainment. That's tough. I can't define that. I just feel like I'm me. I like to eat tacos, I grew up listening to Selena songs I get loud sometimes. So yea I would say so.

PC: No, I get it. It's like when my kid didn't know she was supposed to be afraid of the dark until she read a story about how to not be afraid of the dark. Also? Worst. Picture. Book. EVER. Next Question: 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?

VV: I would want to meet Selena Quintanilla. Honestly her death struck me hard as a child being in the entertainment industry I understand now what people mean when they say she "broke through all of the barriers". I would like to just talk to her and see her smile again. She inspired me so much as a young Mexican American girl also from Texas. It's a different lifestyle out there.

PC: I like that. But make sure you get a table for three 'cuz I'm hanging out for that conversation. What would you order for dessert? I'd totally order ice-cream.  I'm Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

VV: I have sensitive teeth. It just melts in my mouth.

PC: Pretty sure it's *supposed* to do that. Moving on.... One Latina stereotype you despise?

VV:  That we all look a certain way. Truth is we come in all colors.

 PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

VV: I don't mind the sexy, curvy thing all that much.

PC:  Describe your perfect day.

VV: Yoga, and picnic on the beach with my bae.

Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117
Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. 

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

photo(52)
photo(52)

 

Who like Pretty Pictures? Check out my available art right here on Aspiring Mama (just click the Pauline Campos Studios tab) and don't sweat if you don't see what you like. I'm always open to comissions. And, if we're being honest, there's a damned good chance what you are looking for was finished six months ago and I just keep forgetting to list it. And for those who like sassy F bomb quotes like the one above, check out my Redbubble shop for iPhone cases and throw pillows.

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. Oh, and you probably want to Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!  ALL THE COOL KIDS ARE DOING IT. YOU WANT TO BE LIKE THE COOL KIDS, DON'T YOU? You’re *welcome.*

(Thank you, Fed By Organics, for being smart enough to jump on the ChingonaFest bandwagon while I'm only almost famous and still a cheap date.)

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

#ChingonaFest Fridays: BlogHer14 with Lori Luna

It's Week FOURTEEN on ChingonaFest Fridays! I'm not even going to lie to you. Necessity is the mother of invention, and crazed, last-minute, Week Before BlogHer Memory Lane tripping with previously published work is just a nice way of saying It's This or I Got Nuthin'. I used to go all out and try to provide shiny and new material before each conference but I moved beyond the need to drive myself off the nearest cliff repeatedly around the time I figured out 14 pairs of shoes and 50 copies of my unpublished memoir manuscripts are not required packing.

Hint: Unpack 12 pairs of shoes now. Leave the unpublished magnum opus at home. And you can thank me later.

That takes me to my reason for writing today. In an attempt to keep my ChingonaFest Fridays feature going with some regularity, I'm rerunning my kickass interviews with two of my fave BlogHer ladies. This week it's Lori Luna and next Friday y'all get another chance to catch up with Elisa Camahort Page (without having to scroll).

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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Carol Caine shines in her interview last week. Trust me when I say it's a must read.

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.

Lori Luna’s bio speaks for itself. She is the Vice President of Events Operations, overseeing all operational and logistical elements of BlogHer conferences. Since joining BlogHer in 2009, Lori has helped grow the conference business from one annual conference a year to include BlogHer Food, Entrepreneurs and BlogHer PRO, as well as the annual flagship event. With more than 12 years in the event/conference industry and background producing events such as COMDEX, N+I, and ad:tech, Lori has been instrumental in growing attendance for the events, as well as revenue for the company.

And now! Time for the interview!

photo(11)

Lori Luna

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?  

Lori Luna: Always vanilla, I know that is boring to some but it makes me happy.  Vanilla is so versatile and can make anything taste good.

PC: I’ll go with that. Vanilla is kind of the blank canvas of the ice cream world. Favorite book and why: 

LL: Anything that has a political nature.  I love to read autobiographies of political people.  I find it fascinating as to why they do what they do and how they came to where they are whether it was in the past or current.  Another is the Book of Questions…it’s an icebreaking book that asks random questions that both starts conversation and generates fabulous discussion.

PC: So you’re saying the Twilight series is out. Okay, then..lWhat’s your favorite quote?  

LL: Fake it ’til you make it

PC: No wonder we get along. I say that all the time. I won’t ask you how I’m doing till I’ve crossed the finish line. Do you consider yourself a feminist?  

 LL: Most of the time.  There are certain things I am passionate about such as equal pay for equal work and then there are things that just don’t bother me like they would bother someone else. I guess I am an issues oriented feminist.

PC: Issue Oriented? I LOVE that. *Adds to mental Rolodex to use in stimulating conversation* Describe yourself in third person  

LL: Lori is a kind, generous, thoughtful person.  She has passion and fire and that is both good and bad.  She is fiercely loyal and will live and die on principle.

PC: I like the honesty. My fire isn’t always nice, either. Who inspires you?  

LL: Smart people.  When I have the opportunity to meet really smart people who are doing something fabulous I am inspired.  I also just watched the Tina Turner interview by Oprah and wow!  She was very inspirational.  I think I’m inspired in the moment..I don’t have a single person that I think, she (or he) inspires me to be “x”

 PC: *Blushing* It’s okay, Lori. You don’t have to talk in riddles. You inspire me, too. Do you dream in color or black and white?  

LL: Color

PC: ME TOO! But I don’t remember my dreams very often. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?  

LL: Frankly I am tired of how Latina women are always showcased with an accent. As if none of us were born here and can speak without the accent.  I find it annoying!  Oh and there aren’t enough of us!!!

PC: Amen on the accent thing. I don’t think I have one, either, except I roll my ‘R’s’ when I say “three”. Go figure. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…  

LL: I don’t have kids

 PC: And let’s add “a million children running around in diapers” to the Latina stereotype. I’ve got one and the last family wedding I went to, I had tias outright ask me why I only had one. Like I failed the Mexican test, or something. Anyway, one childhood memory that has stuck with you…  

LL: One of my favorite memories is riding in the car with my mom and I was about 5 and Ricky Nelson was on the radio singing Garden Party.  My mom specifically called out these lyrics: You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxdiraVxwkI)  Ever since then I live by the idea that you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself.

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

LL: Sadly I only speak English, what a pathetic Latina!

PC: Stop it right now. Language doesn’t define us. We do, sister. End. Of. Story. What’s your favorite dish? Why?  

LL: Anything my father cooks!  He makes a mean chorizo and menudo and oh, that always makes me feel like home.

PC: CHORIZO – yum! MENUDO- *blech!* Do you feel “Latina enough”? 

LL: Not when I’m surrounded by other Latinas who are fluent in Spanish and doing something in the Latin community…then I feel lame.  I am never ashamed or embarrassed by who I am I just feel lame that I haven’t embraced my culture as much as I think I should.

PC: Stop feeling lame, woman! I used to feel the same way, but now I just focus on my own perspective on Being Latina. Also? You like menudo. That automatically means you earned your Mexican card. Now…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? 

LL: President Clinton! I have had an absurd political crush on him for years.  He is brilliant, charming, charismatic and did I say brilliant?

PC: It takes a special kind of charm to make us all question the meaning of the word “is”, that’s for damned sure. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)  

 LL: No. Chew ice cream???

PC: Okay, then. Just me. MOVING ON! Describe your perfect day.  

LL: Any day where I can be with my dog and just relax – Missy first!

 

Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Two besties made a bet on who I would say is right. For the record? They were both wrong.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com. Don’t worry. I promise to give you a kick-ass code-name that doesn’t rhyme with your own.

photo(52)

Who likes Pretty Pictures? My art and #ChingonaFest related snazziness are available by clocking the following links:

Etsy#MexicaninMaine

Etsy - ChingonaFest

ZazzleChingonaFest (make sure your filter is set to moderate because Zazzle says I’m a badass.)

Society6Pauline Campos

And because I like you so much…

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter! 

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

 

 

#ChingonaFest Fridays: Carol Cain

 Welcome to WEEK 13 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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies?  Lorraince C. Ladish made me look bad two weeks ago (but only because she looks so good and Elisa Camahort Page shined last week because that's what happens when you're Made of Awesome.

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’s featured Chingona is …Carol Cain of Girl Gone Travel.

 Cain is an amazing force on the internet, sharing her passion for discovery in food and travel on her award-winning site, Girl Gone Travel. Trust me when I say that if you aren't already following, that you should be.

And now? It’s time for the interview!

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Carol Cain of Girl Gone Travel

 

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?  

Carol Cain: Chocolate…and a little nutty, like me.

 PC: And the tone of this interview is officially set. I like it. Favorite book and why...

CC: The Illiad because I first read it in college and was so engrossed by the story and how beautiful it told. There are tons of others: Like Water for Chocolate, In The Time of Butterflies, but that is one of my all time favorite.

PC: I love Like Water for Chocolate! I may re-reading that one soon. What's your favorite quote? 

CC: “It’s not that I’m fearless. It’s that I hate being afraid.” It’s actually my own, and a mantra I tell myself over and over to find courage when it fails me.

 PC: You are *so* #Chingonafest material. I KNEW it. Do you consider yourself a feminist?

CC: Ahhhh…loaded question. And, no. I suppose that others will, and have, thought I am because of my strong will, and confidence and outspokenness. But I am not much of a follower and I don’t really love labels, nor the expectations that they set for you. Though there are many feminists of color, I don’t really feel like the movement speaks for me and my lifestyle. That’s not to say I don’t support the women’s movement and female empowerment. I just want to be able to walk around barefoot  and pregnant while doing laundry and making dinner, and my husband supports me and my children and not get shit for it. I want to live my life however I please without having anyone tell me I am lacking in representing any group or movement. So I just don’t claim to and owe no one anything in exchange.

PC: *Nodding head* Sugar Jones had a similar answer in her interview. She basically said Yes, but as defined to suit her own definition. I'm down with that. And I get it, too, now that I am being referred to as a Latina feminist here and there. The label doesn't really fit, but it does sometimes and, oh hell...back to Why Carol Cain Kicks Ass, yes? Describe yourself in third person…

CC: Carol really hates describing herself in the third person.

 PC: I think we should have recorded this one and saved it for the podcast I'm eventually going to make happen. Points for perfectly timing that deadpanned response. Tell me, who inspires you?

CC: My mother. She was the strongest woman I ever knew. I wish I had time to grow into my own womanhood long enough to tell her that.

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

CC: My children.

PC: I love how you share your family with us on social media. Every time I see your boys in a photo, I see their love for you in their eyes. And the kicker is..it isn't sappy, which is surprising, because it *should* be sappy...which just makes it even more awesome. Right? Now...Do you dream in color or black and white?

CC: Color most of the time, but sometimes in sepia.

PC: Pretty sure the Sepia thing is a new one over here. Let's play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…

CC: Confident and brave.

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

CC: According to the media, there is only one kind of Latina…or two. She’s fashionable and really pretty and delicate and is an amazing cook and really sexy – without even trying – and just charming as hell. And Latinas play into that and it sucks. I'm an adventurous, tomboy, non-fashionista Latina.

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

CC: You can do it, and when you can’t it’s OK too.

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

CC: Walking barefoot along the shores of Puerto Rico as a little girl.

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

CC: English, my first language. Unless I’m angry…than it’s Spanish all the way.

PC: Right there with ya, sister. What's your favorite dish? Why?

CC: Rice and beans…with avocado salad. Yum.

PC: Do you feel "Latina enough?

CC: For me I assume, cause really who gives a shit. And yes. I’m enough.

PC: BOOYAH, bitches. 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?

CC: My mother. Sushi and Malbec because I so much to tell her!

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

CC: Ahh…that’s just you, girl.

PC: My mother always told me I was special. *shrugs* One Latina stereotype you despise?

CC: That we are sex-obsessed. That we all want to have children and get married. That we all know how to cook. That we all like fashion and heels and make up.

PC: Okay, I said one...but each single piece adds to the stereotype as a whole. I'll just shut up now. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

CC: That family is everything to us. For the most part, this is very true. Familia sobre todo.

PC: Describe your perfect day.

CC: With my family at home or traveling. I enjoy them so much.

 

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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 with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Two besties made a bet on who I would say is right. For the record? They were both wrong.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com. Don't worry. I promise to give you a kick-ass code-name that doesn't rhyme with your own.

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Who likes Pretty Pictures? My art and #ChingonaFest related snazziness are available by clocking the following links:

Etsy - #MexicaninMaine

Etsy - ChingonaFest

Zazzle - ChingonaFest (make sure your filter is set to moderate because Zazzle says I'm a badass.)

Society6 - Pauline Campos

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#ChingonaFest Fridays: Veronica Arreola

It's week TWO for the Aspiring Mama #Chingonafest Fridays. Last week, Pili Montilla graced the blog as the first Chingona and it was fabulous. Today, the fabulous continues with proud feminist Veronica Arreola sitting in the hot seat. 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.

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out this week’s Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine (this week’s reader says she's twelve and that love hurts like hell. Yeah, y;all. I KNOW...! Send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

#365FeministSelfie: Validation Has Nothing to Do With It

I love me a good hashtag. It took a bit of convincing to get me on board for the #365feministselfie movement, but my friend Galit Breen as a way with words. The eye-rolls have been replaced, every day that has passed since the first one, with just the tiniest bit less bullshit and slightly more unapologeticness. Because that's a word, right?

The ringleader of this little Love it Or Hate it project is Veronica Arreola and I'm thinking we're gonna be hanging out lots at BlogHer14 in California this year. I happen to think anyone who can convince a bunch of random women -- who for the most part don't know each other --  to plaster the selves our significant others don't get to see until at least one good round of crazy sex has to be made of magic. Especially when you stop to consider how much work we put into getting naked to begin with, what with the perfectly applied makeup, hair that took hours to curl, and  lingerie that cost way too much for the amount of time we actually spent wearing it before it got tossed to the floor ... hell, you guys! I think it was six months of dating The Husband before I was comfortable enough to fart.

All this to say that I have issues and we all tend to keep up whatever appearances during our little courting periods before we stop trying so hard.

Maybe we start out with the bells and whistles. In my case, I wasn't about to turn the camera on myself unless I didn't look like shit. And by "look like shit", I mean no bra, no make-up, no clever Instagram filters or photo editing...

 

I've seen some chatter here and there referring to the #365feministselfie as self-serving and a sad reality for feminism. Now, I want to make it clear that until very recently, I hadn't even stopped to consider myself a feminist. But I guess writing columns about raising a self-respecting Chingona automatically got me in the club. And I'm okay with that. I figure I have to be if I'm announcing to the world my intention to encourage my little girl's hell-raising ways.

I also want to make it crystal clear that there is nothing self-serving about this. I'm not posting selfies so you can tell me I'm pretty. Every one of us is taking our own journey throughout the coming year. We each came to it with a predetermined level of individual comfort and we will each have the comfort level challenged as we progress. There's no way I'd have started off with a no-make-up-full-face-allergic-reaction, even if I instinctively knew my friends and readers would come to my ego's rescue and tell me how brave and beautiful I am for sharing because that's not the point.

 It's about dropping the facade, digging deep, letting go of our own self-judgement, and that defining moment when we hit that share button after taking one last big breath. After we pin it and hit publish and share and send on the singular images that, when when combined, reflect who we really are.

You can tell me I'm pretty. You can tell me I'm not.

I'm more interested in what I tell myself as I share that which I would normally hide.