La Tribu 

   

I remember being a little girl and admiring my grandmother’s strength and aiming to be just like her when I grew up, everything minus the pistol. That’s right my Abuela toted a 38 Special wrapped in a white handkerchief like any true gangster would. The images of Latina women would always pop into my head when I thought about determination, feistiness, power and la chancleta. She was a reflection of the women in her life: Belen, Berta, Ester, Rosalina and Maria. Unlike the women in Sex in the City, these women wouldn’t gather to discuss dating over Martinis. They were too busy trying to conquer issues of upward mobility, raising Latino kids with dual citizenships and identities, and making sure no one’s husband cheated. They were a group of the sweetest old ladies. A gang of gun-packing doñas (yes, they all had pieces) that were not playing any games. And, they had each other’s backs. My Puerto Rican grandmother would send medicine to her friends’ families in Cuba. Ester took care of the kitchen when my grandmother lost her son, and everyone took care of Berta when she was diagnosed with cancer. They were connected in so many ways and would be of support to one another like family even though they were from different countries.

Actually the rapport that they had was more of “The Godfather” than “Sex in the City”. And yes they had their disagreements, chismes and escandolos, but they had a bond and loyalty that any gangster, anywhere would envy. They raised their children and grandchildren together, they guarded our neighborhood and made it a village together and eventually all died together. But what they had was glorious because they created a tribe far away from their homes. A tribe where they participated in a cultural exchange that was incomparable. When old ladies from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua and the DR gather what you get is a beautiful barrel of jokes, colloquialisms, spells, stories and experiences that you can brag about for generations.

That was when I was a little girl.

As I’ve navigated through the many stages of my own womanhood, I’ve had such a tough time finding that Latina village. As a lover of my fellow woman, especially the one that looks like me, talks like me and more importantly, feels like me, it is my natural instinct to reach out and seek sisterhood. Yet, this experience feels like something of the past. I once auditioned for a TV show on a popular Latin network and got feedback that I was too dark and that my Spanish wasn’t Mexican enough. This news came from my own people: Latinos. How about that? Two things that I could never change. But what was most hurtful was that the dagger was delivered by a fellow Latina who was “white” and felt a bit pompous and condescending when she delivered the information. I guess this was something that I was supposed to come to terms with as an older woman who I looked up to explained, “ No esperes el apoyo de tu hermanas Latinas, están perdidas. No te pueden querer si no se quieren ellas mismas”. QUE? I refused to accept as a reality that my number one nemesis would be my very own people. I am Latina and I beam with pride every time Rosario, Salma, Jennifer, America, Gina, Zoe and the rest of them, no, US wins.

We can’t deny the disconnect amongst women because we are socialized to not trust and to hate each other. If all women stood in solidarity we could shut shit down. I believe in Latina power. We are so impactful and colorful, we can move mountains with our hips alone. We dance like nobody’s business, cook like nobody’s business and hold shit together like nobody’s business. Does it matter if you’re Cuban, Nicaraguan or Dominican? What is it that makes us feel that we can’t love Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek? Why can’t we all be pretty whether we have straight hair or pelo crespo? Chica, it is time for all of us to get it together!

So, let’s stay in solution. How do we work on making this pesky nat of a divide go away? Start by looking in the mirror and loving yourself, all parts of you. Yes, even the part with the non-English speaking Grandmother. Read about your glorious history. Not the ever trending headlines about Trump’esque thinkers highlighting the worst parts of us, but books about our rich cultures. We are all connected. Remember girl, your greatest ally can be someone who shares in your experiences and forming partnerships only empowers you despite what you’ve been fooled into believing. Now go and find your tribe, you owe it to yourself!

The Battle with Food Continues!

Food is great!  I hate food!  This is the internal battle that I’ve been having with food since I was a kid.  It really all started with a consciousness that I had never had about eating healthy, then my family jumped off at “Seventh Day Adventism” during their religious tour. Though, I wasn’t cool with giving up my earrings, pants and Saturday cartoons, I was not that bothered by not ever having to eat a disgusting ham steak ever again.  We gave up pork and this made me happy because I never really ate it without feeling disgusting and guilty afterwards, sorry guys.

Today I am on a juice fast and I continue to think about why I am constantly on a rollercoaster with this, when I do these things for my health, allegedly.  I can’t deny that the weight loss sometimes drives me and pulls me through when that Spinach, Kale and Chard juice is looking me right in the eye.  I mean who are we kidding, most women are constantly being reminded of how they should look more times over than how they should feel.  So a good “Juice Fast” is a great way to diet under the pretenses that you are really fighting for good health. COME ON, let’s be real with each other.

It sucks that what is being done to our food, environment and selves can be deadly in the name of profit, I used to enjoy a FRENCH FRY!  I say all of this to say my friends, that I will be juicing on and off for the next two years and I am not happy about it.  I want to eat a burger, but I honestly can’t, because meat makes me extremely sick (it’s pretty unfair).  Kale chips suck ass and green juice does NOT taste good to me, but crab legs are amazingly delicious, and sometimes I can’t cope!  Too much?

Battling with self destructive eating disorders are pretty common and unfortunately many of us do not know that we are in that battle.  It has a lot to do with constant images of these adolescent boy-body built women they continue to push on us as the standard of beauty. I can only speak on it from where I stand, but I honestly remember admiring my grandmother and being comfortable with growing into an old lady and being awesome.  Now, all I am reminded of is how I need to look and stay young forever.  Shit, that’s a whole lot of work for a goal that can never be accomplished.

I’m ranting because I’m hungry, I want to go to PF Chang’s, my favorite Cuban restaurant and McDonald’s all at once.  These are all of the things that I crave when I feel deprived, that I don’t normally eat, but this damn Kale can really get to you.

In closing, keep your head up (especially my ladies), trust me,  you are beautiful just the way you are.  Doing anything to improve your health is a great thing, it’s OK to be honest about dropping a few pounds being a motivator.  Just don’t get carried away and become a slave to this like I have for years!  It’s not worth it, life is worth living and you honestly deserve that french fry every once in a while!

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You Can Do It!

Whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish begins with you.  I love films,  acting and comedy so I create my own way.  I have made movies on budgets that are unspeakable, and still they are completed.  No better film school or training ground other than to actually do it. 
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Oh Baby I like it RAW: DAY 4

Day 4 was interesting for me, I shook things up a little, I get bored easily.  I started my day with another juice, this time carrots, apples and ginger (Phew, that apple makes a world of a difference).  I have a fitness training app on my phone that gives me different work outs and I decided to do one for 30 minutes.  I thought it was going to be a joke because I was doing this with my phone, but the joke was on me:  my AZZ hurts!  It was circuit training (plyometric exercises that make your ass hurt) and all of the exercises were timed.  I had my fruits and veggies during the day, cashews were my snack of choice and it was all good.  For dinner TADA…I had Raw Nachos from my local favorite raw restaurant and raw ice cream, yeah you read that right.    The ice cream was absolutely DELICIOUS!  As a matter of fact, I am still day dreaming about it now.  Check out the pic below, this is how I imagine it.

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Absolute DeliciousNESS!

The Ugly Truth! Detox day 2

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Today was day 2 of my detox and I gotta tell you (as the above picture shows) it got ugly.  I didn’t do so well eating completely raw and my workout was, as they say in New York, nervous!!!  I did half of an Ab workout and quit, I was so weak.  I ate some noodles and popcorn (THIS IS SO NOT GOOD), but I have to keep it 100.  So I tried to balance out the day by drinking lots of water and not eating anything else that wasn’t raw.

There’s is nothing to do but move forward and be real about where we stand.  I could lie to you but the scale would tell me the TRUTH!  I will admit that today I wished that I was in a live game of “Candy Land” so that I could delight in endless gumdrops, peppermints and lollipops.  I know that it’s the addiction to toxins in my body that call for these and am gearing up for the battle.  Now, I will pick myself up by my cross trainers and hit the beat, yet again.  I HAVE A GOAL and it does not entail having a tire between my chest and knees.  Let’s keep going, I promise, tomorrow will be better!