I'm Not Really Here Right Now

Today is the last day of the #365FeministSelfie #SelfieCon and I am actually not really here. Instead, I am (hopefully) making it to the wrap-up events, saying heartfelt good-bye to friends, old and new, hopefully optimistic about catching the C-Train from downtown Columbus to German Village and The Loft Bookstore. Full Disclosure: I'm aiming for a book-signing and for the store to carry BabyFat. Then it's back to the hotel to get our Too Much Luggage and back to the airport to wait for the first of two planes taking us back to Not The Civilized World. 

It's pretty. But we do not have Starbucks. 

Since I am not really here, I am sharing a favorite post of mine originally shared on Aspiring Mama in June of this year. 

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*24 is not enough of anything. Especially when referring to cupcakes and hours. 

* it's 10:36 pm. Good thing I moonlight as a normal human who wakes with the sun and .... What? Not buying it? Yeah. Me, neither. 

* It's entirely possible to get so far behind oneself that's one can check out one's own ass. Beyoncé ain't got nothin' on what I'm looking at right now. Oh hell no. 

* Living in the wilderness is great when avoiding holiday family drama. 

* Living in the wilderness sucks Ginormous Huevos when trying to revise a book, launch a site, homeschool a kid, shower, have sex not involving batteries, or sleep. Why? Because wild moose are notoriously shitty baby sitters and you're left to balance the world on your shoulders. This is harder than it sounds because...

* You're already breaking a sweat trying to keep all the plates spinning with one hand while not spilling any vodka out of the bottle you're holding with the other.

* An iPhone 6 plus is a beautiful thing. (Keep up with me here, people. There's no time to dawdle on pesky details like transitions here.) 

* That Friendly Facebook app I downloaded because it promised to always be nice to me and let me think less is *not* a beautiful thing because beautiful things are not battery sucking vampires.

* Logging into and out of multiple Facebook accounts is a gigantic pain in my bootylicious ass.

* Why's everybody hating on battery sucking vampires? WHAT DID THEY EVER DO TO YOU, HUH??? WHAT???

Relaunching a website that means the world to you while revising a debut book and fulfilling a lifelong dream, while noble, is also proof of insanity and will hold up in court. 

*  All the good things you've ever wanted in life can, and will, happen at the exact same fucking time. 

* All the good things you've ever wanted in life can, and will, happen at the exact same fucking time is actually Swahili for What Else could Go Wrong?

* Only stupid people, usually attached to silicone and questionable acting skills, ever ask that question....

* Right before the serial killer says BOO And they get their totally reasonable camping stilettos caught in the mud created by the sprinkler that appeared out of nowhere, thereby losing their balance and tripping, headfirst, into the wood chipper. 

* The serial killer now feels cheated and doesn't have time to remind you about the BYOT (Bring Your Own Transitions) rule for the parties he hosts.

* Which means there'll be a prequel to explain how his mother loved him a little too much. 

* It should be noted that the wood chipper most likely was stored with the sprinkler. 

SHHHH. stop. Don't think. Logic is not your friend in times like this. 

* Unless you're the only remaining character who is now guaranteed at least one bad sequel.    

* Sleep is for pussies. 

* Motherhood is not for the weak. 

* Why aren't there any support groups with sponsors and 12-step programs called Partners of Creative People? 

* The Husband has forgotten what sex is, which is for the best until the revisions on BabyFat are completely and totally done and my editor signs off on my sanity. 

* I may or may not have called him BabyFat while last in the throes of passion. 

* I hate writers who share updates like Thank You Supportive Family and Friends for Taking Care of my Previously Feral Children While I Revised this Book. 

* And by hate I actually mean I want to be them. 

* Blogs don't write themselves. 

* Writing a book is hard. 

* Revising and revising and revising and PLEASEGAWDJUSTMAKEitSTAHP without losing my shit is harder. 

* I want my mommy. 

* She's pretty badass, having once pushed me out of her vagina and then being gracious enough to let me get all the glory in every anniversary of the day her lemon pushed out a watermelon. 

* I will never eat watermelon again. 

* or cabbage. 

The cabbage thing Jeanne's fault

* Now I want to make a reverse birthday card that reads "Thanks For Pushing Me Out of Your Vagina, Mom!" 

* Tthe last man who said I had all the time in the world for book writing, living in Maine and homeschooling one child, is still living. 

* I have incredible restraint. 

* Thanks to my imaginary court approved insanity defense, the next one is getting a boot up his ass. 

* It's now 11:39 pm. 

* I need to revise.

* I need to plan world domination, which includes a podcast and gaining public interest.  

*i just wrote a blog post instead. 

#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.

#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.