The Importance of “Pegue”

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I always smile when I hear the term “tener pegue” – I always think of it as someone who works it, someone who is confident and walks thru life with a fun attitude and who is fearless.  I looked up “pegue” and liked this definition from a blog called MySpanishNotes:

Tener pegue” means   to have sex appeal, or charm if you like.  It means you’ve got a way with the opposite sex.

So if someone tells you “Tienes mucho pegue“, well, lift your head up high and smile, because they just gave you a very nice compliment.  Tienes (traes) mucho pegue  You got a lot of sex appeal.  I’ve yet to hear this phrase directed at me, but perhaps you all have better luck and more “pegue” than me.

My Comadre MariaLuisa and I have been friends for many years.  The word “pegue” is very much a part of her vocabulary.  And as you will see in the following examples, it is also a part of her life.  My Comadre is the most personable, hilarious, and natural life of the party.

My Comadre and I got together for lunch at the University Union a few weeks ago.  We’re sitting there eating and talking about life and, like many times at University, it is packed during the lunch hour and people will randomly ask to sit at your table if there is an extra chair.  On this day, it was a guy in his twenties.

Now my Comadre and I are way older than the students at the University but I hope we don’t look thaaaat old!  So when this guy who sat with us was laughing at all of the ish we were talking and he starts talking to us – wait, let me rephrase that, he starts talking to my Comadre, and not just talking with her, like flirting with her!  He gets up to leave and I look at my Comadre who, without skipping a beat, says, “I still got it Comadre, todavia tengo pegue!” 🙂  So true!  I remember seeing this when we were students, this woman would have every guy after her, wanting to hang out with her.  Many of the pretty girls regularly wondered how my Comadre did it.  Even her so-called friends. I also remember one of Comadre’s ‘friends’ telling her, “how do you do it? I mean, I can’t even get anyone to pay attention to me (‘because I’m thin and beautiful’ was what she did not say out loud)”.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago:   I met my Comadre who was at a birthday party in the park, I hadn’t seen her in a while; in fact, I haven’t seen a n y of my friends for a very long time.

My Comadre had invited me weeks ago, and I was tempted to NOT go because, lately, I tend to say “no” automatically. I sent her a text asking if she was still going to be in town, and she responds promptly, “come on down, they have a taquero” LOL — so if I didn’t go for her per se, I was going to go for the tacos! Once I arrived to the party, tacos or not, I was glad that I had shown up. As we walked to the tables, I ask my Comadre how she is, and she tells me “I’m already drinking” and I smile because the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I knew that we would have a fun time.

Within minutes, I was LAUGHING because this girl is straight-up hilarious.  And then it happens again:  all of the guys gravitate toward Comadre, and she’s joking with them all.  Like usual, I’m sitting right by her and watching all of this go down and seeing some of the women give those looks that we women tend to give when our men are flirting with someone else.  She says to me under her breath, “I still got that “pegue”

What does it feel like to have that kind of effect on people?  How do you know that you have it?  What do you have to do to get it, to have pegue?  According to my Comadre, it’s very easy.  Just be yourself, don’t try to be something you’re not.  It’s exhausting to try to be someone you’re not and, at our age, it’s simply not attractive to be all desesperada just to get a man to notice you.   This will allow you to be more confident because you’re not playing games, you’re owning the good and bad about yourself, you’re completely comfortable saying anything you want, you’re not trying too hard.

I also asked one of my guy friends about “pegue”.  He proceeds to tell me how it’s charm, it’s working it, it’s having that confidence to “say out loud what most people are thinking”, to know that you’ve “got it”, to know that you can get anything you want.   Another important thing was to be completely natural, to act like you’ve already got it instead of wondering how you are going to get it.

What I really liked was how he said that he would get in front of the mirror, with or without his daughters, and say ‘daaang we look good, don’t we?  Everyone is gonna check us out when we go out today”, how cool to instill that type of self-love into his daughters.  My comadre regularly tells herself in the mirror, “chingaaao, que buenota eres!” LOL  They speak to themselves as if they are the best thing ever and it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy, what they say they are, they are.

Both of these individuals definitely make an impact upon entering a room, they have that kind of confidence that one needs to get what they want:  a man, a woman, a meeting, a yes.  In short, they make “pegue” work for them, instead of the other way around.  I love that kind of confidence.   Can you imagine if there were a way to bottle that kind of  energy?  Can you imagine the possibilities your life could have if you lived knowing that you had that kind of “pegue”?  Limitless opportunities.  A fun social life.  Walking through life with confidence.  I want that kind of “pegue”.  

Work it for yourself with confidence, with pegue.  A good life goal, don’t you think?

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Learning Life Thru The Eyes of An 8-Year-Old

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I’ve been spending time with my lil 8-year old niece god-daughter lately.  I’m totally that “aunt” or in my family “nina”, as we are all godparents to our kids, most of them know us as “NinaCarmen”, etc..     You better know that I love all of my godchildren as if they were my own.

Don’t ask me why, but a child’s 8th year has always seemed very special to me.   I notice that these lil ones are starting to find out what they like, they start saying what they want to be when they grow up, they’re still not afraid or embarrassed to talk about what scares them, what they don’t like, things that bother them, what makes them happy.  For some, the major issues haven’t engulfed them completely:  drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, negativity.

I feel a huge responsibility to be there for them a lot, to listen to them, to ask them questions, to try to show them that I’m there for them no matter what, to guide them a little, to show them new parts of the world, to have an influence on their young lives, to try to keep them safe and secure, so that when the major issues come along, they may be stronger than drugs, alcohol, sex, gangs, or negativity.

At some point in their lives, usually at 8 years old or so, I’ve brought in my godchildren into my business to show them how things work.  This month, we’ve been promoting an upcoming event:  I’ve been teaching her how to get up in front of people, pass out flyers for the event, we even put flyers on hundreds of car windows in 4 large parking lots and she did better than most adults I know.  I wasn’t sure how she’d like this kind of work but, as we kept on with it, I could see her really working it.

As we drove around in the car, my lil mamita started to ask question after question after question, “Nina Carmen, why…?”and we talked about everything –from why she liked her 2nd grade teacher better than her 3rd grade teacher, about books that she reads at school, random things she’s learning about science, and how she does not like learning fractions this year.  But what really got me was her desire to want to learn how to work it, to speak in front of people, and “how old were you Nina Carmen when you started doing this work?”  Her lil mouth flew open when I said “EIGHT years old”.

I remember how cool it was to be the one chosen to run events when I was that little, granted, I didn’t do that much but it was such a big responsibility to me and it made me feel very special.   I have never lost that feeling of how cool it is to be in charge and to run events.  To this day, it is a rush to see how my events turn out, especially when there’s a full house and when people are having a great time.  And, if any of the TorresBabies get behind a microphone, or start taking charge at an event, the smile is on my face for weeks.

On this day I was “training” this child to promote events.  We were going into businesses to ask them to place some our event flyers near their registers.   I was more nervous than my lil one was and, while she was apprehensive at first, I almost cried tears of pride when I heard this girl give what we in marketing call the “elevator speech”.  Mamita worked it, expressed herself well, was poised, purposeful, confident and she got people to place her flyers by the register :).   She even told me later that day, “Nina, I feel confident”.  I would give every cent and dollar I will ever have that this baby girl always feels confident and ready to work it.  My mamita can and WILL do better than I ever have.

I can go on and on about how I want to change the world.   Being here for all of my godchildren and helping them to feel confident will be the best that I can for them.  The TorresBabies will change part of the world I’m sure of this.  I am happy to step aside and watch them move forward and soar.

But first, I will enjoy watching them live life thru their 8-year-old eyes, learning, having fun, and doing what makes them happy.  Watching my lil one do what I did so many times as an 8-year-old, made me smile.  She was writing down songs that she liked as we heard them on the radio.   It’s amazing, that with so much technology to make our lives “easier”, isn’t it cool that children truly need none of that mess, all they need is a simple pencil and paper to write down the songs/and things that are important to them … and they need to be around people who love them, listen to them, support them.  Hope this never changes.

 

Challenge out of the NoLonjaZone, Phase II

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The journey out of the NoLonjaZone has completed its first phase. I finished the health challenge from May15-June15 where I drank no soda, drank 1 gallon of water per day, did 20 minutes of exercise, ate when I was hungry and tried to cut down on emotional eating. What did I learn?

I learned that I am able to finish what I start.  Not perfectly, but I did complete my goal.  Eventually, I hope to be able to finish e v e r y t h i n g  I start.    For all of my “me” time speeches, it was not that easy to carve out time for myself and for my health.  Now that I’ve completed this challenge, I feel much better physically that I did on May 15th.  I have got to keep making time for my health, especially when I do not feel like working out that day/night.  Every time I walk, jump rope, run, exercise, I always feel better once I’m done…it’s the getting started that I struggle with.

My challenges have been with making time to exercise on the weekends.  If I have an event, my energy is focused on making sure I’m 100 percent into arriving on time, doing the job, and getting home at a decent hour and working out hasn’t been factored in that much.  At least not yet anyway.   The emotional eating was difficult to combat at first but now I’ve tried drinking water when I say that I’m hungry because, many times, I may be just thirsty or bored.   And you better MOVE out of my way when I am hungry LOL.   Drinking the water is getting easier and I swear that I have drunk a lot of the big bottled water in the house just by myself.   It’s easier to drink a lot of water especially in this heat and you will need to become accustomed to using the bathroom a LOT.

Talking about my progress has been what has kept me accountable to the friends who have wanted to take the health challenge as well.  It actually motivates me to keep going knowing that others are with me on the journey of living healthier.  Since my exercise of choice has been walking, I’m really glad that, years ago, I would look for places to walk anywhere along my commute routes so it’s been fun revisiting all of my walking spots.

Focusing on my health has moved off of the back burner in my life.   Taking charge of my health is empowering and I feel like it’s the first step in getting all areas of my life together.     My self-confidence had taken a beating and I have, only now, started to step out of that misery into my life now.  However, my life and my confidence are still out of sync. So unsettling.  Especially as I was always blessed with confidence and with the huevos to make things happen in my life always.  I look forward to stop living my life tentatively and hanging out with my good friend and ally:  confidence.  Making time for myself to work out, to eat better, to live healthier is the only way that I can think of to get my confidence back.

Next steps?  I’ve started Round 2 of the Health Challenge with a group of fun and brave individuals who, like me, are ready to take healthy steps our own way, combining health with busy lives, as we move toward the NoLonjaZone.  It’s been a great feeling of accomplishment to finish what I start.  For once.

Let’s do this!  See details below…we’re on this challenge now June 19 thru July 19.

To be continued…

 

 

 

Tortillas & Your Inner Chingona

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If you make tortillas or, at least, warm tortillas on the comal, the best tasting ones are usually the ones that puff up, light, hot, so good you can eat them plain without butter, salt or anything, right off of the griddle, fresh.  Tortilla perfection before you rip it in half to use as utensils as you eat, before the tortilla is filled with food to make a taco; or topped with anything tostada-style, or cut and deep-fried as chips.    Living at the Ranch has me warming tortillas constantly but I never saw the analogy, the power of la tortilla until I saw this photo.

So maybe we’ve got to be the ones that puff up, proud to be who we are, light:  meaning our baggage is not weighing us down thus allowing us to be light-hearted, sangre-liviana, effective, efficient;  hot:  we are confident, powerful, not afraid to be who we are and yes, for some, that’s hot.  So good that we don’t need any frills to get what we want,  to be as authentic as possible, to work it anytime, anywhere and in front of anyone.

Let’s try to remember that puffed-up sensation when someone wants to fill us with information or judgements that make us feel heavy, not satisfied but brought down by drama, stress, or life.  Let’s work at not letting ourselves be topped with someone else’s issues so that we are not covered in their mess.  Avoid situations where we may be cut-up and deep-fried:  and  become burned-out, spiritually and physically.

Tortillas are the ultimate comfort food and the ultimate journey of loving ourselves starts by taking care of ourselves.   Sometimes taking care of ourselves feels like we are on top of that comal – especially when we struggle with seeing ourselves through another’s eyes and we forget how great and capable we are.  Let’s not forget to puff up ESPECIALLY when the heat is on.   Be light, be hot, be great.

 

Will it be ‘No, ni madres’ or will it be ‘No’?

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Last week, I was in my class learning about making,and more important, having others respect your boundaries. That, many times, we, especially Latinas, tend to let people walk all over us in certain situations: our men: we are always trying to ‘take care of him’, sometimes we do more for him than we do for ourselves; our children: we want them to like us and we want to be cool; our supervisors: we want very much to be known as women who are down, who will do whatever is needed to make it happen at work; our familia/siblings: we don’t want to be called out for not being there for our parents, to lend money, whatever…part of making a boundary is saying ‘NO’ to your man when you don’t feel like doing this or that; to your kids when they ask you for money for the thousandth time; to overtime when you have other things going on, etc., etc., etc.

In class, we were practicing saying ‘no’ with quiet confidence, without an explanation; no ‘I’m sorry’; no “but”, no “ni madres”, nada. Very difficult as it is in our nature to try to help others before we help ourselves yet very effective: as a confident ‘no’ has little emotion tied to it thus it’s easier for one’s boundary to be respected by others. The goal is to learn how to say ‘no’ with confidence so you can keep your power without breaking someone’s spirit or taking their power.

So here I am in class, taking it all in and, thinking I’m all that, I did well in the role-playing portion of the session, said my ‘no’ without guilt, fear, or nerves.

Class done, I then head to the gasolinera and, sure enough, someone comes up to ask me for money. What is the first thing I do? I hear myself say…’oh I’m really sorry but…’ instead of saying ‘no’ like I had just learned and practiced not 10 minutes before! My ‘no’ was far from confident to say the least. Guess I still have a ways to go and, apparently, I’m not all that! There was nothing to do but laugh … and realize that it’s all about practice, practice, and more practice saying “no” without saying “no, ni madres!”

Setting a positive boundary can make you feel empowered.

Working My Way Back: Aventada-ness in Full Effect

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Looks like I may be, slowly be surely, getting out of this funk that I have been in for quite some time…it’s amazing what happens when you take the time to write down what you want goal-wize — one of mine was to REFOCUS and start getting my ish together versus bemoaning my sad state of affairs.

About a couple of hours ago, Inner Chingona started working it and, as I left my oficina, it was waaaay too hot to walk so I decided that it was the moment to start seriously studying for the State Interpreter Exam…

Had a working dinner, organized one of the many binders I have and chose 2 of the Simultaneous interpreting passages…all I could find was the vocabulary lists, not the actual passages, so as I ate, I studied the vocab for these exercises. Stopped at one of my offices (Starbucks), put the headphones on, started the exercises and had my voice recorder in one hand. First time, why lie? it was straight-up awful. But as I kept practicing and listening to my renditions, they started sounding less choppy, more concise, and, dare I say it? more confident.

Then it HITS me…during my entire time at SFSU, although I worked very hard to keep up and succeed in my Interpreting courses…the ONE thing that always got in my way, the ONE thing that never let me claim 100% victory was my lack of confidence. I’ll never forget my department head telling me that he knew that I knew the material, and that I had to tell myself, “yo soy chingona”, before I started each exercise, so that I could find my proverbial ‘huevos’, if you will, to make it happen.

Back to my studying tonight: I got one passage down on FIVE tries! Suerte? Milagro? Perserverancia? Huevos? Proof is on the tape that I did get the vocabulary down…sure I have about 100 more passages to review but, tonight, I do feel like I have turned a corner: that my sense going for it, my sense of ‘aventada-ness’ is coming back, so missed within this past year and so necessary for me to succeed as an Interpreter, Marketing Professional, Event Planner, and as a happier and confident woman. ‘Keep on keeping on’ is starting to take on a more positive meaning for me thanks to God, Jesus, La Virgen of G, Inner Chingona and me! Let’s hope that my sense of ‘aventadaness’ is here to stay!