Inner Chingona and Breaking Out the Big Girl Chones


Sometimes there is nothing else to do but work it for yourself.  Inner Chingona helps a lot but, sometimes, you need something else to take you across the finish line.

During the past 24 hours, I had a couple of situations where I had to, straight up, stand up for myself and have the ‘come to Jesus’ conversations that were, no doubt, going to be difficult.  However, there was no other way to go but to ‘go there‘.

Easy to do?  Not.  We talk a good game a lot of the time, “no one is going to walk all over me”, “no way am I gonna let this or that happen”, “does this person know who they are dealing with?”   It is very easy to get caught up in projects and taking care of others that it’s easy to forget to take care of your business, how you deal with people, how people deal with you.   Wait, let me rephrase this:  we don’t forget to take care of ourselves most of the time…we choose not to take care of ourselves.  Many times, this translates into awkward and unpleasant situations where sonsatontapendeja decisions are made and all kinds of pent-up emotions and things fly out of your mouth and you end up looking like one big chillona diva cry baby – which is, sadly,  the drama that people tend to remember instead of the issue at hand.

I knew that I wanted to be confident when I handled these situations so I had to meet with all of my advisers — my Inner Chingona and both of my sisters LOL. Who better to listen to me go on and on, crying, getting all mad, letting me fall apart and then helping me put myself back together?

Fast forward to the next morning…

I practiced what I would say and felt emotionally ready to face the day…so I now wanted to wear my good lipstick, and wear clothes that made me feel powerful and confident on the outside – especially as I was still shaking a little inside.  So I have my clothes all laid out and I start looking thru my underwear drawer.  HijaDeLaFregada…chiiiin…! The day I need to get my big girl chones on and the only underwear clean are the funky, torn-up, thrashed ones.   All of my good underwear are in the dirty laundry basket staring up at me, laughing at me for not handling laundry like I should have.   Now what?  I had to think fast so that I wouldn’t lose my confidence vibe before I left the house.


As I slept on Mama’s bed among all of her things, I thought to myself, “there has to be some of her underwear in here somewhere!” so I start going thru the drawers (no pun intended) and, lo and behold, I find a pair of faded purple ones that I helped put on Mama many times.  I put them on and, I cannot say for sure that Mama’s chones had magical powers or anything, but there was most def a surge of energy when I put them on!  I let out a “yes!’ and started to hear El Chicano’s  classic “Viva La Raza” in my head LOL.  That is the one song that I always hear when I am about to do something important, when I get inspired by  the ‘movement/la causa‘ , when I’m envisioning a successful event,  or simply when I need to get out the can of whoop-ass.  I found my sense of ‘aventada-ness‘, my mevalemadre attitude was back and I left my sonsatontapendeja self at home and went out to handle my business!

I was proud to be able to tackle two of the most difficult conversations that I had ever had and I was able to approach these situations without nerves, cool, confident, looked these people and situations right in the face.  In fact, I stunned myself when I heard my voice asking these really pointed, difficult questions that I was “sure” that I would never be able to pull off without crying or shaking.  And you know what?  It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  So I lost sleep over the whole ordeal, but I’ll never tell them that LOL.   When the time came for me to put on my ‘big girl chones‘ and I literally could not find them…Inner Chingona and Margaret Torres totally worked it to help me take care of business, chones and all!

You better know that when I got home later that day, I took out all of Mama’s underwear which I will save for those times when I’m feeling nervous or  afraid to work it for myself!   I challenge you to find your version of ‘big girl chones’ whatever works for you that empowers you to take care of yourself and handle your business!



Timing: Inner Chingona Sez ‘Todo A Su Tiempo’



For the past few months, everything has felt like such a mess, like as if my life and my goals were flying about in the wind as if they were pieces of paper, and there I was trying to catch these pieces of paper as if my life depended on it.  After what has seemed like loss, loss, and more loss, I feel like I’m being led to a calmer way of life, to really start thinking about what my next moves in life will be, to lose the drama, to,  as a good friend says, “divorce myself from engaging” from people and situations that no longer serve me.

It’s about time!  As I sit here and think about how I’ve lived and loved the past few years — unbalanced, yes.  unhealthy, yes.  fun, yes.  stressful and driven, always.    Some of the decisions that I have made overwhelm me with guilt, remorse, regret.   It’s like I went from living just for me 100% which ended up being straight-up empty to living to do everything right for others — at some expense to myself and my goals.  I wish that I had learned how to honor and listen to my Inner Chingona much sooner so that I would have had a more positive and healthy approach to everything in my life.  Lo hecho hecho esta and I now fully intend to balance what I have to do and still do those things that I love, hang with people who love and respect me, and realign my priorities and goals so that I can live a more healthy life versus a stressful and driven one.  To live more passionately and goal-oriented, to stand up for myself and to stop letting myself down.   I always try to come up with four things I need to work on to get myself together.  My four short-term goals from October 4th (my other birthday) to the end of 2015 are:

-Being there and spending time with my familia is important.

-Believing and having faith that God will guide me to the right path.

-Lose my fear of working it for myself the way I used to do for others.

-Accept that, while I have done and said some stupid things, that I also have done things that do fill me with pride and that I need to own that!

OMG!  Do you see anything that says I must succeed in my career at the cost of everything else?  Not any more.  I’m ready to work hard for something I love, but what would that be?  Sepa … who knows?    Giving up a little of the control-freakness is actually a relief.  Not knowing what comes next is kind of exciting, especially as I intend to embrace anything positive.  All of this loss happened for a reason.  The main silver lining right now is that I have had to start over from zero in many areas of my life and I have come through it all in one piece.   I have a few more rough days as I let go and let God pull me out of negativity and back on the path to living with passion, purpose, and a positive outlook.  Ready, Set, Go!



The ULTIMATE Ten Commandments for Being a Chingona! #InnerChingona Food for Thought.



I loooooove this!   Especially as I’m always trying to channel my Inner Chingona to work it for me in all aspects of my life.   I decided that I wanted to start writing when I couldn’t find my story in any book that I had read.  One summer, I decided to read books by Latino authors from A to Z:  A lot of the great Latina authors, and some of my favorites, were books I read first because their last names ended in A, B, C:  books by Isabel Allende, Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, Denise Chavez, and Sandra Cisneros among many others.  Some books were ok, some I didn’t like, most I totally LOVED.

The books I loved best were the ones by Chicana, Mexican-American authors like Ana Castillo, Denise Chavez, and Sandra Cisneros.  In their stories, I began to hear snippets of “my” story, I began to see in writing, in black and white, English and Spanish written together as well as Spanglish — just like I talked all of the time!  When I started to practice writing, I also started to notice that it was easy for me to write as I thought, that it came out ok, that people understood it, that they ‘got it’, that I lost none of the Latina flavor that I loved — and I felt like I was finally home.

While I have yet to read my exact story, probably because I have yet to write it LOL, I was highly influenced by these authors and especially empowered by Sandra Cisneros:  straight-up Chicana, no holds barred, hilarious, insightful, and she wrote about experiences that I had gone thru like moving out of the house without being married…OMG, I was either the first or surely one of the first in my entire familia to do this so who could really understand what that was like?  Sandra Cisneros put it out there and I so related to it.   

One of the things that I try to do with my writing is to be myself, to be as authentic as possible, to embrace the fact that I am not perfect at all, to try to talk about my experiences in the hope that someone will relate to them, find that little pedacito that they can identify with and maybe we can all do great things by channeling our perspective Inner Chingona.

So when I saw the Ten Commandments of Chingonas written by none other than Sandra Cisneros — I just HAD to share it!  Believe me, there are some of these commandments that I must work on more than others!  But, finally, there is a road map LOL.


How to Be a Chingona in 10 Easy Steps

  1.  Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.
  2. Discover your own powers. What floods you with joy?
  3. Find true humility and practice it.
  4. Keep your palabra, your word.
  5. What are you using to cover or mask your pain? Address it.
  6. Your only true possessions are your actions.
  7. Seek forgiveness.
  8. Live in the present moment.
  9. Depression has a purpose if you use it before it uses you. Transform it to light. Compost it through art. If you can’t do it by yourself, see a professional curandera (healer, therapist).
  10. Listen to your body.
    – Sandra Cisneros


Keeping Our Spirits Up “Mike-Torres Style”


Today was a significant and sad day for us Torres5 and TorresBabies17…one year ago today, Mama had made her decision to stop her dialysis treatments and we then knew that it was a matter of time, we were unsure of how long, that she would no longer be with us.  I have to give it to Dad, he has made it a point to honor Mama in small, yet profound, ways.  He made a beautiful garden in her honor and, what he did during the last couple of days really made us all feel so much better!


Dad, along with the help of our famfriend Mary Rangel Hernandez and sis Kiki, got the ball rolling to remodel and paint the kitchen.  He chose yellow and asked them to match the yellow of one of Mama’s famous flowered plates.   The minute I walked in and saw this, my thoughts instantly flew to Mama!  The kitchen looks great and I also love how he kept the little shelf above the sink with some of the little things that she always had wherever she was:  her little clock that she always needed to see whenever she would lay down,  there was this silver thing, looked like a bolt of some kind, and Mama used it as a paperweight in her lil table like forever, the sugar bowls that we had since forever, some of the lil shot glasses that we would use to put her medicine in, at least I did, so that she wouldn’t drop the pills since she took so many 😦   Just seeing these things make us feel instantly comforted.  Love the new sink and counters too!


Like most rooms in the house, one side belongs to Mom and the other side belongs to Daddy.  These bottles are, of course, his and love that they found a way to display them.  Most of these are gifts from his 80th Birthday party.   But we don’t really need these kinds of ‘spirits’ to keep our spirits up LOL,  we do need, love and appreciate, our Dad’s efforts to keep our familia together, happy and smiling.  Sure, we may have sad days but thank God we have Mike Torres to steady us and keep us going when things get tough for us without Mama.  I do not know what we would have done this past year without him.  God Bless him!


The beginning of my Inner Chingona: From Francisca to Carmen in Three Months


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Every year, on October 4th, I’m reminded that this was the day that I was supposed to be born…Mama always called me to tell me “Happy Birthday” — I was born prematurely on July 16th and Mama’s due date was on October 4th.    2 pounds, 5 ounces.   Lots of premature babies didn’t make it back in the day and I did, so I was one of the lucky ones.  I was born with no fingernails, my ears were folded over, and I’ve been told that I fit into a shoebox.


It was also very touch and go whether I would survive or not.  I was baptized immediately and needed to be given a name.  The plan was to name me Francisca, doesn’t get more Mexican than that LOL, can you imagine me having nicknames like Pancha or Kika? I cannot even imagine it.  The way that I got my current name was via the Mexican calendar – all Mexican calendars come with the corresponding saint name on each day of the year.   The name for July 16th was Carmen so that was the name that I was given.

Fall has always been my favorite time of the year and maybe it was because I was supposed to be born during this season which I love because it gets cooler instead of hotter — well, usually it does, we still have all of the windows open and fans going as I write this LOL.

I had to stay in hospital for three months in an incubator and my family insists that this experience paved the way for how my personality would be.   It was all about learning how to survive and fight my fears alone as my parents couldn’t hold me and could barely touch me – to this day, I am extremely ticklish and have tended to shy away from hugs and things like that.  I’ve always been pretty fearless on doing what I wanted to do with my life.   I’ve also always had a ‘sixth sense’ about people and situations, especially when something doesn’t feel right.   I’ve been that way ever since I can remember.  Now if I walk into these ‘wrong’ situations with the ‘wrong’ people, it is por pendeja or from me not wanting to listen to my Inner Chingona.

I would get two birthday calls every year from Mama and my two birthdays are great days for me to review my short-term goals and to see how I am doing with my life and change what needs to be changed, toss what needs to be tossed, keep what needs to be kept and always count my blessings.   More than anything, this day always feels special to me — like as if I’ve been blessed twice.

Day 15 of Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge: Tomorrow/Mañana #HHM15Foto



As I submit this final entry for the Hispanic Heritage Month Photo Challenge, it is the anniversary of my Grandmother’s passing. I remember that I was on my very first cross-country road trip when I got the news from my familia that she had died; and SHE used to tell me how she used to drive cross-country alone back in the 40s and 50s so Grandma was on my mind during that first trip.

It was exciting and a little scary and I had a blast driving 90mph thru parts of the way and stopped at every rest stop so that I could see parts of our great country, I saw some beautiful scenery along the way.


So for tomorrow/mañana, I would like to plan another cross-country road trip or something similar that will recharge and energize my creative, fun, and aventada self!

This attitude always worked for me in the past and it’s time to bring it back, front and center, to all areas of my life! It’s time to see the world from another window. I’m on it starting mañana! Thanks for letting me have fun with this Photo Challenge in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, photos are Mexican toys featuring ways to travel, horse, cart, car! #HHM15Foto