An Aspiring Star

Photo Credit: Sara-ramirez.org

Photo Credit: Sara-ramirez.org

During our annual Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations, we invite Latinitas volunteers, writers, and interns to share their thoughts on Latina entertainment, role models, and what culture means to them . Here’s what Kenia Guerrero had to say about her favorite actress, Sara Ramirez. 

I’m not interested in medicine, but about 6 years ago I found a great show, Grey’s Anatomy… I love everything about it. Especially Dr. Callie Torres, portrayed by the beautiful Sara Ramirez.

Sara Ramirez is way more than just the attending orthopedic surgeon at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital. I’ve always found her character really interesting because of how much her story line changed in just a couple seasons. She was introduced in the second season of Grey’s Anatomy as George O’Malley’s love interest. She later become a regular and had the most adorable relationship with Dr. Arizona Robbins. You have to watch the show to understand everything because I’m not going to tell you!
But, I’m not going to talk only about Grey’s Anatomy because Sara Ramirez success started long before Grey’s. Born in She Sinaloa, Mexico, she later moved to San Diego, California where she found her true love: acting. She went to San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and later to Juilliard. She had the best start! Just in time for graduation, she got her Broadway debut role in Paul Simon’s The Capeman, a year later she appeared in The Gershwins’ Fascinating Rhythm which earned her an Outer Critics Circle Award. She later appeared in several movies and even lent her voice to a video game. It was in 2004 when she was cast as the Lady of the Lake in the musical, Spamalot, and her performance was so good that won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
In fact, she was SOOOOO GOOD that the executives from ABC offered her a role on any series she wanted and she choose….. GREY’S ANATOMY ! She is AMAZING! In 2011, she released on iTunes three original songs performed by her. The real reason I’m talking about her is because she is everything I’ve wanted to be since I was 15. I’ve  always been a huge fan of Chicago, the Broadway musical, so when I found out Sara Ramirez had a role in the musical…. I wanted so bad to be her!
I wanted to be a Mexican actress who performs in musicals, wins a Tony, a role in a TV series , and wins a SAG! It’s interesting how much of an impact an actress can have on your life!  I don’t dance or sing, so it didn’t turn out well. As I grew up, I noticed that, although I love musicals, I want to write. Here I am, Kenia Guerrero, an aspiring journalist.
Want to join in on the fun? Check out the rest of our Hispanic Heritage topics:
http://mylatinitas.com/events/hispanic-heritage-month-2014

Q&A with Gaby Moreno

Gaby_Moreno_en_Acceso_Total_3_CroppedWritten by Sylvia Butanda and Sara Eunice Martinez

With a soulful sound and incredible vocals, Gaby Moreno has received three Latin Grammy nominations in the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist categories. In 2013, Gaby nabbed a Latin Grammy for Best New Artist. Latinitas sat down with Gaby Moreno, Guatemala singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Can you recall your most memorable performance?
My most memorable performance would have to be performing in Paris. It was a dream come true. As an artist, your dream is to bring your music to the world. Being able to perform in Paris gave me the opportunity to do that.

Who would you say your biggest musical influences are?
I went to visit New York City for the first time when I was 13 or so, and that’s the first time I heard the blues… My music is influenced by blues singing and also has a lot of Spanish sounds. I get a lot of inspiration from old school blues artists that were popular before the 1960s.

Gaby+Moreno+14th+Annual+Latin+GRAMMY+Awards+QasuOEdm417lWhat made you get into music?
It was actually my mother who had gotten me into it. At the age of five, she thought that I had a good singing voice. I started singing lessons and at age thirteen, my family went on a vacation to New York That was when we passed by a lady in the street singing to Jazz. I thought that it was so different and beautiful. So that was what inspired me to contribute some jazz into my work.

For those Latinitas who want to pursue their dreams, what advice do you have to them when they’re trying to express their identity in what they love to do?
You know, when you’re little, you can only dream of going to these far away places and one day, there you are. Find what makes you happy and stick to it, no matter how cliché it sounds, just do what you love and be proud of who you are and the rest will follow.

¿Hablas Español?

Photo Credit: blog.unispain.com

Photo Credit: blog.unispain.com

During the 2014 Latinitas Blog-a-thon for Hispanic Heritage Month, Cynthia Amaya and Rebecca Salazar shared their thoughts on how language has influenced their upbringing.

Do me a favor. Take a second and think about the complexity of language. There are so many languages in this world that I think we sometimes forget that not everyone speaks English. Growing up, I thought English was the one and only language. My grandparents spoke this very strange sounding language to me, which I later learned was called Spanish. English is my first language. I grew up with Spanish speaking parents and grandparents, yet I don’t consider myself a fluent Spanish speaker. I understand mostly everything said in Spanish, but when I’m asked to join in conversation, I freeze up.

I never fully committed to this part of my heritage. Conversations with my family sometimes consisted of my parents speaking to me in Spanish and me replying in English. This sounds absurd, I know. Now that I am older and have experienced many things, I realize that I had a chance to gain such a valuable skill. I deeply regret not taking advantage of this beautiful language as a child, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for me. Who says your identity has a beginning and an ending? Embracing your culture is such a beautiful thing, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without all those conversations I had with my parents and grandparents growing up. So I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to embrace your heritage. Don’t be afraid cause you can only grow from here.
— Rebecca Salazar 

 

My first language was Spanish. Neither of my parents spoke English and basically no one in my life spoke English, so I grew up around Spanish and Spanish only. I didn’t start learning English until I was in headstart, a school aimed at children of lower incomes so we won’t be behind when ‘actual’ school starts, and then continued learning when I was enrolled in pre-kinder. By the time I was in kindergarten, I was fluent in both English and Spanish, but I stayed in bilingual classes until third grade, when I took my first monolingual class. Although I was in monolingual classes, I would still have friends with whom I’d only speak in Spanish and, of course, I spoke Spanish with my family. It was just natural for me to be bilingual and switching between both languages. There was nothing weird, offensive, or foreign about that to me.

When I got to high school, I suddenly had teachers who were so offended that I would speak Spanish in my classes. They would get angry and say we were in America and thus, should only speak English. To this day, I still believe that that statement has no foundation or logic. The United States does not have a national language, so I can speak whatever I want. I never knew that speaking Spanish was something that was part of my identity or something that would make me different from my peers. It’s just what my friends, family, and I did. We spoke Spanish and we spoke English and it was fine. Freshman year and on, it was all about the, “GO BACK TO MEXICO” comments coming from peers who had Latino last names. They’re as Mexican as I am and, really, none of us came directly from Mexico. We are all Americans, so how does sending me “back” to Mexico even make sense? I didn’t understand. What’s so threatening about speaking Spanish? Although my teachers never made comments like that, I got threats about behavioral discipline if I kept speaking Spanish. I was perfectly fluent in English and my grades were fine, so why couldn’t I speak Spanish if I chose to do so? WHY IS IT SO THREATENING?!

When I got to Texas A&M, a predominantly white school, Spanish became foreign to me. The first few weeks I was there, I literally (LITERALLY) would never hear Spanish unless I’d call my mom, spoke with my brother who also attended A&M, or spoke to one of my friends from El Paso. It eventually became something that I’d be on the lookout for. If I heard someone speaking Spanish at the store, my ears would prick up and I’d immediately turn around and crane my neck trying to find the source of my beautiful language. I reacted the same way on campus and on the bus. I never even knew Spanish was such a rare language! So many people in El Paso speak Spanish that I just figured it was kind of like that everywhere else. Suddenly I, with my fluency in both languages, was a high commodity. No one was sending me back to Mexico now that they could use my foreign language skills to their advantage.

I truly never realized that speaking Spanish has been and will continue to be a huge part of who I am. I form my sentences differently because Spanish was my first language; I think and learn differently because of it, too. (I still count in Spanish when I’m counting in my head!) Although I’m more comfortable with speaking and writing in English since my Spanish isn’t in use as much, I still love and adore Spanish. It is part of my culture and part of myself. I wouldn’t be me without that language ingrained in my heart.” — Cynthia Amaya

Poetry: Drifting Thoughts

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Photo Credit: Scubaexplorer.net

Drifting Thoughts  by Andrea Barreto

I keep my heart where blue kisses gold,
near sand that sparkles like the facets of a diamond.
Sunlight beats down, reflecting off the constant waves.
These waves gleam golden for the day, then fade to an incandescent glow in the silver light of night.
With every splash against the shore, another doubt slips away.

The night brings darkness, a comforting shadow over droning worries made harsh by the day.
Bright moon and faint light soothe lingering thoughts of uncertainty and self-doubt.
In the dark my senses are heightened,
each grain of sand delightfully coarse against my skin,
and each wave lapping gently against my feet as they wash away the troubles of my soul and mend the wounds in my heart.
The sun will return as night gives way to day, but in this moment I am alone in the dark,
and, with the moon, my uneasiness wanes away.

La Thrasher Extraordinnaire: Leticia Bufoni

DSC_0916 (2)Still challenged by stereotypes and lack of television coverage about who should be skateboarding, “girls who shred” are an elite and ambitious group of young women changing the culture of skateboarding one win at a time.  There are standouts all over the United States and Latin America thrashing at an Olympic level. We were lucky to catch Leticia Bufonia, Brazil-native-California transplant trend-setter and bronze winner in the women’s category at this year’s national X-Games competition in Austin, TX. 

Latinitas: Where did you start skating?How long have you been skating?

Leticia: Started skating at  11 yrs ago in Brazil. I moved to CA when I was 14.  Now, I live in California and I skate in California all the time.

 

Latinitas: What needs to come to the table for women’s skateboarding in the U.S.?

Leticia: We need support. Sponsors!!  Our girls need sponsors.  Coverage.

 

DSC_0889 (2)

Latinitas: What’s the best part of about skating for you?

Leticia:  I meet new friends every time I compete.

 

Latinitas: What would you tell young female skaters

Leticia: Go out. Skate everyday and have fun.

 

Latinitas: Who do you look up to in skating?

Leticia:  I used to look up to Alicia Fillback; she competed for X Games and other competitions.

 

Latinitas: What does it feel  to win?

Leticia:  I am super stoked. I got another medal. I’m stoked.

 

Latinitas: What’s it like behind the scenes? Who helps you be part of these competitions?

Leticia: I have managers – they help me with travel, sponsors, everything.

 

Latinitas: What would you tell “Latinitas” who like skateboarding and want to take it the level you have?

Leticia: Go out and skate!

Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

Quiz: How Do You Handle Conflict?

Photo courtesy from http://counsellingandmediation.com.

Photo courtesy from http://counsellingandmediation.com.

written by Stephanie Hernandez 

Handling conflict can either make you look like a total spazz or as if you are cool, calm and collected. Whether you yell and scream at top of your lungs or excuse yourself to get your thoughts together, what you do says a lot about you. Are you curious to see what category of conflict resolution you fall under? Take the quiz and find out how you handle high pressure situations.

When confronting a problem with friends or family, which are you most likely to do?

a)         You tend to keep your feelings and opinions to yourself.

b)         You speak in a loud and demanding voice.

c)         You use sarcasm.

d)         You express your feelings clearly and appropriately.

Which of the following do you relate to the most?

a)         “People never consider my feelings.”

b)         “I’m right, you’re wrong.”

c)         “Oh my god, I love you……..not!

d)         “I can’t control others but I can control myself.”

 

If a friend talks behind your back, you _____.

a)         Hold in the pain and anger and wait for it to fade.

b)         Confront and yell at them in front of everyone.

c)         Spread a rumor about them.

d)         Talk to them in private and tell them what bothered you, in a calm and respectful way.

 

When your parents tell you to clean your room, but you really don’t want to, you _________.

a)         Clean while mumbling your frustrations quietly to yourself.

b)         Scream to your parents and tell them you’re not doing it.

c)         Tell them you are going to clean it in order to get them off your back, but the truth is you’re not going to do it.

d)         Listen to you parents because you understand that your room should be cleaned.

 

When you witness someone being mistreated verbally, you ______.

a)      Watch and hope that someone else stops the situation.

b)     Get involved quickly and harass the abuser, because that’s what they deserve.

c)      Know it’s wrong but don’t do anything  about it, and you later tell your friends all about it.

d)     Approach the situation in a calm matter and try your best to communicate with the abuser to calm them down.

If you answered mostly A.

You are passive.

Being Passive makes you avoid expression, opinions and/or feelings to those around you. You don’t do well with confrontations, and it means that you do not respond well to anger and tend to hold things in. This buildup of emotion can be harmful if you bottle it in, because it can get overwhelming and might lead to an outburst.

If you answered mostly B.

You are aggressive.

Being aggressive means you mostly care about your own feelings instead of others. Be careful with being aggressive because it may lead to disrespecting others without even realizing it. You tent to be confrontational, but sometimes you can  be physically or verbally abusive to others for the sake of being right/feeling superior.

If you answered mostly C.

You are passive aggressive.

Being passive aggressive is a combination of being passive and aggressive. You do not like face-to-face confrontation, but you act out of anger in subtle and indirect ways — like being sarcastic or making back-handed compliments/comments (like indirectas). 

If you answered mostly D.

You are assertive.

Being assertive is something everyone should strive to be. You are clear about your feelings and communicate them in a respectful way. You make your needs known without violating the rights of others.

Most people are a little passive, aggressive, passive aggressive, and assertive in different areas, but, in the end, most of us tend to lean towards one side a little more than the others. When handling conflict, always remember that you’re never alone. Talk to your parents or counselor for help.

Leading Teens: Title IX

20140412_114233At the age of 16, Priya Ramamoorthy, Kavya Ramamoorthy, Maanasa Nathan, and Smrithi Mahadevanare  completed and presented research on Title IX (law which advocates for gender equality in educational programs) at the National History Day  (NHD) competition. Latinitas interviewed these passionate chicas about their research concerning the NHD competition.

 

What are all your backgrounds – Indian-American? Sri Lankan – would love to share that.
We are first generation Americans with parents from south India. Our parents’ first language is Tamil.

Please, each of you, share your age, favorite volunteer service/community action you like to take, favorite Latino food you like to eat and most important value your parents instilled in you.

Maanasa- I am 16 years old. I don’t really have a preference on community service; I take all the opportunities I get to volunteer and give back to the community. My favorite Latino food is Enchiladas. The most important value my parents instilled in me would be to never forget who you are because the world is always going to be changing, and your personality, morals and values are what are going to define you forever. Basically follow your dreams, but don’t lose who you are in the process.

Smrithi - I am 16 years old. I am head of a non-profit organization called Racquet Readers, where we collect slightly used books from stores and distribute them around the South Austin community. Our goal is to promote literacy by organizing events and setting up libraries in community centers as well as hospitals. My favorite Latino food would have to be bean and cheese Nachos, with sour cream and pico de gallo on top. The most important value my mother has instilled in me is that success does not come easily. You have to work hard for everything, and put 100% of your effort into everything you do; only then can you be successful in life.

Priya - I am 16 years old. I love working with kids of all ages, and through Girl Scouts I volunteer every summer for our Service Unit’s Day Camp -my favorite part is helping out with arts and crafts. My parents have instilled in me the importance of reaching out to others and also the art of communication. I am naturally a shy person, but, through my parents pushing me towards volunteer opportunities that force me out of my bubble, I’ve noticed that I have started to overcome this challenge and be more outgoing. My favorite Latino food is authentic arroz con frijoles.

Kavya - I am 16 years old. Working with others is something that I enjoy. Some of my favorite volunteering experiences have come from working with students and teaching them about programming robots and attending a leadership camp last summer where I was able to work with and meet a variety of groups. My parents taught me to believe and have confidence in myself. When I open myself up to others and carry myself in a confident manner, I find that a world of opportunities open up. My favorite Latino food is churros with hot chocolate.

 

Explain how the four of you got from presenting on Title IX to Voter Registration?

Our research on Title IX for the National History Day (NHD) competition, led us to recognize the importance of grass root organizations like the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for their great efforts in the 1970s and on-going active role in women’s rights today. When we were attending the NHD competition in Washington D.C., we were invited to visit the AAUW headquarters. During our meeting we learned the current initiative of AAUW was to increase women and minorities access to the ballot box. We also got the opportunity to participate in a Voting awareness promotion at the AAUW office. This got us thinking about the importance of voting, a fundamental right and the most powerful political instrument available to every citizen. The 2013 NHD competition enabled us to research voting rights in depth, and we were surprised that this basic tool was denied to many minorities until recently. And 2012 being an election year, got us thinking that we four would be eligible to vote in the next presidential election. Being women and minority voters, we realized that new barriers to voting could impact us as well. We have wanted, ever since, to get involved in helping minorities and the younger generation become registered voters and active participants in our democratic process,” said Manasa Nathan.

 

What’s happening today that discourages people of color from voting?

The recent court case, Shelby County v. Holder, struck down important provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Justices ruled that the trigger formula (Section 4), which decides the states that fall under the pre-clearance measure (Section 5), was unconstitutional because it was outdated, in effect nullifying the clause that guarded against new voting barriers. Many states have taken advantage of this verdict and have passed new discriminatory laws that deter minorities ability to vote, like photo Voter ID laws and gerrymandering plans. Texas has just passed a stricter photo Voter ID law and is in the process of passing a new redistricting plan – a plan to redraw the boundaries for voting districts. The Voter ID law, according to Ari Breman from Nation Magazine, could disenfranchise up to 800,000 people due to the requirement of a government issued ID -an added cost for voters. Cutting early voting days has become a recent trend in some states. The long lines caused by this can deter people from voting. The ever evolving barriers to voting that pop up each day highlight how the fight for voting equality is not yet complete, and it is the task of the younger generations to step up now and take an effort in ensuring that everyone can fully exercise their right to vote,” said Smrithi Mahadevan.

 

In your opinion, is the attack on immigration related to fear of a new diverse voting population?

The attack on immigration stems from various causes, economic concerns of a new immigration group in the workforce, party politics, etc. A fear of a diverse new voting population, in our opinion, is a significant factor in causing this attack. Voting is power. Many see a new immigrant group -based on ethnicity- as a single entity that will vote on certain party lines. For this reason, Texas, being a state with a heavy influx of minorities, is drawing the attention of both the Republicans and the Democrats,” said Priya Ramamoorthy.

 

What were things about voting rights you learned that shocked you? Good and bad.

One vote is one voice. Access to the ballot box grants you the opportunity to raise your voice and be heard on local, state and national issues that affect your life. Citizen coalition groups continue to provide a national voice on minority issues influencing the outcomes of legislation. We must remain vigilant in protecting this basic right because one vote is one voice and that voice must be heard. However, new challenges to the voting arise every election cycle. We, in turn, should honor the legacy of those who fought to enfranchise minorities, by valuing and exercising the right to vote,” said Kavya Ramamoorthy.

 

You can read more about these topics, and view their NHD project, at:

http://76705925.nhd.weebly.com/ - Title IX: Empowerment Through education

http://18602803.nhd.weebly.com - The Voting Rights Act of 1965: One Vote, One Voice

 

The “F” Word

Photo Credit: AAUW

Photo Credit: AAUW

Here’s what Latinitas writers had to say about their experience with feminism:

During my teen years, I remember reading articles and following groups who would protest against the injustice in the work force, or the repression on women having to stay at home rather than work, and I considered that I myself was a victim of it. I really disliked the differences between my brothers and I- like the curfews, the permission to date, the restrictions on what to wear, amongst other things. It humiliated me that someone would consider me weak, when I knew in my heart that I wasn’t. I spoke up, and never gave up a battle when talking about the differences between men and women at home.

Truth be told, what worked the most for me, was to separate my own thoughts and beliefs from that of my family. I began to understand that my concern over the misconceptions on women didn’t have to do much with me, as it had to about others. As I traveled to different places around the world, I came across with women who had gruesome and very difficult hardships. They were in desperate need for change. My heart began to soften, and I became grateful for the fortunes I had in life. I treated the issue of feminism with more desire to unify than to protest.” – Giselle Rosas

I’ve never really considered myself a feminist. But after really thinking about this question and examining my personal experiences growing up, I realized I kind of have had feminist ideals for a really long time.

Something that always angered me as a kid and still continues to do so now is the way my mother does EVERYTHING for my father. Sure, I should mention that my dad because handicapped last year restricting him to a wheelchair, but, even then, my mother does TOO MUCH for my father.  And to my father that is ok because my mother is the “woman” and should be “serving” her husband. 

I constantly get angry that my father asks my mother for EVERYTHING and she does it without thinking twice. I will never forget an occasion soon after where I told my mother how I felt.  We ended up having a heated argument and in the end she told me that by doing all she does, she is doing what she is SUPPOSED TO DO. And years later, I still don’t understand what she meant. Who is the person who sets up these guidelines? Why are women led to believe that they have to SERVE their husbands, boyfriends, brothers, cousins, ect. These stereotypes are NOT ok and they are sadly my experience with feminism. – Ingrid Vasquez

“Feminism has influenced my every day life and has changed the way I view everything. I’m more critical of the shows and movies I watch, the music I listen to, and the literature I read. Identifying as a feminist has given me a new outlook on life and I have to admit that it’s really a much happier one. 

Knowing that I’m a feminist and that I believe in equality for women has made me feel empowered. I really feel that I can do anything I set my mind to it and isn’t that just what everyone should feel? The media often portrays women as weak, defenseless victims who need someone to save them, but feminism has shown me that we can defend ourselves at all times. Feminism has also taught me to reject the other view of women that media portrays: the catty woman. Women don’t hate each other and they really shouldn’t. We’re up against men who think we’re not capable of everything men can do, and we should be supporting one another rather than turning our backs to each other.” – Cynthia Amaya

Through my adolescent experience, I paid no attention to feminism or identifying myself as a feminist. I had moments here and there where I’d talk with friends about double standards about sexuality, not nothing too in depth… It wasn’t until I was around 17/18 that I began to realize how wrong this was and that I shouldn’t let these misogynistic ideas control what I think. I started getting into riotgrrl bands and would think about girl empowerment. You would think that at an all girls school, I would gain a sense of sisterhood but most of the time I felt the opposite. I would think I was better than other girls because of the bands I liked or movies I watched. I realized that this was all wrong. The more articles and blogs I read, I began to finally identify as a feminist because I believed in their ideology. I began to notice all the casual misogyny in every day conversation and try my best to keep my cool.

Now that I’ve researched all the sub-types of feminism, I’ve realized there’s a lot of bad sides to feminism that I do not agree with. More than anything, I identify as an intersectional feminist. I believe we shouldn’t look at women as all one big sisterhood, but we need to realize the struggles of every women in every ethnicity.On a daily basis, I find it hard not to fight for feminism.” – Claudia Delfina

Advice to My 13 Year-Old Self

Photo Credit: AAUW

Photo Credit: AAUW

Latinitas celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a blog-a-thon. Members of the MyLatinitas.com community shared heartfelt advice they wish they were told when they were 13 years old.

Popularity is a big one. When I was thirteen I tried hard to be an extrovert, and I thought being ‘shy’ was a weakness. Whenever someone ignored me or was rude, I figured it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t interesting or cool enough. Then I realized that ignoring people and being rude was a bad trait, and that it wasn’t me who had to change anything about myself, but rather the other person. Trying to be popular through fake behavior, modifying our physique and being hard on ourselves can be stressful.

I’m not sure if hearing someone say this to me at 13 would’ve worked or made much sense as it does now. But the truth is that beautiful and genuinely kind girls eventually blossom into respectable women, especially if they remain honest with who they are. So it’s important to endure through those hard and confusing times, not letting anyone change who we really are.” – Giselle

“When I was 13 years old, I didn’t know how to put on makeup yet and my biggest concern in life was that there must be something wrong with me because all my friends had a boyfriend but I didn’t. I had to start thinking about where I’d go to high school and even college. I was really insecure at the time and constantly put myself down. I always felt like was never good enough for some reason.

I wish that someone had told me not to give into too many of your emotions. So often I make decisions on what I feel rather then what is logically correct and I wish someone told me to follow my head instead of my heart. I needed to hear that I need to put myself before anyone else and become the best person I could possibly be. And most importantly, I wish someone said to spend time with family. It’s so important because you sometimes often get so busy with growing up that you forget your parents also grow old too. I wish someone told me all of this but even if I heard it at 13 years old, I may have been too stubborn to actually follow this advice, but it still would have been nice anyway. ” – Claudia

All I can say is that I grew up ‘too soon’ in a sense that I [didn't have] a childhood, and my teenage years were controlled and spent at home playing video games (sometimes up to 12 hours a day)… You are still young, 13, you still have a lot of time to spend with the family! It is your decision to stay with the family or not, whether you are 13, 18, already in your mid-20′s with your own kids, it doesn’t matter; age is a number and [spending time with your family is a must]. [It's] not a choice.” – Irena

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