Tag Archives: latinas

A las Mujeres antes que yo.

I’m bored.

“Pues pontes a limpiar.” “start cleaning” My inner (mother) voice goes. I look at my surroundings, take out the trash, organize my counter space, and fold my blankets. I look at my laundry, I just did it yesterday but the trick with laundry is it’s never truly done. So I take it the bathroom and start the hand-washing process, filling the buckets with water, adding the detergent and fabric softener, I tie my house dress up to stop it from getting wet( y asi tu sabes que soy una mujer viejita) (and that’s how you know I’m an old lady), and I assume the position, squatted aside the buckets taking my dirty laundry in hands and scrubbing them against each other.

I laugh, if my grandfather could see me now. Laundry day was a day of excitement for him when I lived in Puerto Rico, mostly cause it was the only day he would ever see me clean. He truly believes that I’ll never find a man because I don’t like cleaning and according to him I couldn’t keep a house to save my life…or keep a man. It’s a very antiquated thought process but it’s how he was raised.

Then I start thinking about his mother. Abuela Candita. I’ve never met her, only seen pictures and heard stories. Apparently she was a hard-ass, and I can believe it. The one picture of her that hangs in my grandfather’s house has her in what appears to be the living room, with an expression that just says “Atrevete.” “I dare you”. I think about how she must’ve looked when doing the laundry the way I am now. I wonder if she had a machine or had to do it by hand, and if my memory serves me right I think she had to do it by hand, going down to the river and cleaning whatever laundry she had and hauling it up, then hanging it in the Caribbean sun to dry.

Then I think of my other Abuela. Abuela Carmen. She had four daughters so I wonder if this process was more work or less, women are typically expected to take on the chores in a Latino family. But still, was it the same process?

Abuela Carmen and Myself

At this point I am almost done the laundry, but still thinking on the women before me. My Tia Nilda says the women in our family are Amazons, I’m never sure if she’s referring to the way we are built or our personalities. But I know she means our strength, both physical and mental. The women in my family are incredible, each in their own way, I look at my direct bloodline and I have my triathlete madre, my world-traveling, highly educated Abuela, and the matriarch of our family, the woman who started this line, my Bisabuela Carmen. My grandfather says that I will continue the line of strong women, he says that I remind him so much of my Abuela that it’s crazy, and he says Abuela Candita would’ve loved me for my strength.

And now the laundry is done, it’s hanging to dry in the Thai sun. Maybe the next time I’m bored I take a hint from my grandfather and just watch the day and listen to the birds.

Or just take a nap, like mom

Poder

Women like me aren’t supposed to run for office.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has without a doubt been a massive inspiration to me this year. Why? Well after Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico and left many without electricity, water, and in some cases homes. With the slow responses from both the Puerto Rican and Stateside government many felt abandoned and many died from that neglect. So when I moved up to Pennsylvania and heard that a Puerto Rican woman from The Bronx was running for political offices, it raised hope in me. But in the beginning the hope seemed to not be enough. Living in a small, vaguely prejudice Pennsylvania farm town at the time, seeing a woman of color running for office without massive financial backing and winning just seemed unlikely. I wanted her to win and rise above but after seeing politics in work these past couple years it seemed so unlikely. But then, she won. She brought me hope and renewed my drive, and belief that Latina’s are some of the most powerful people. She was lifted up by her community and she plans to lift it up as well.

Now here I am in Thailand, working with the Peace Corps hoping to lift up another community on the other side. I hope to be able to teach future generations but most of all lift my fellow women, teach girls from a young age that they are powerful, wonderful, and above all, capable of anything they set there minds to.

When my service is done I hope to be able to go to The Bronx, and study International Law at Fordham University. I hope to specialize in women’s rights and help every woman rise up and reach there potential. I hope to inspire women and girls the same way that Alexandria inspired me. I hope to change the game and reinvent the wheel and redefine bravery. I hope to someday meet Alexandria and let her know how much she inspired me and women everywhere. I want to thank her for wearing hoops and red lipstick to her inauguration, and letting little Latinas know that look is powerful for a reason.

And if for some reason, she needs an intern, I’ll be available in 27 months and would love the opportunity.