I Have Nothing, Yet I Have Everything

#52essays2017  26/52

When I arrived at the grocery cashier to pay for my items.  I had cash, but not enough to pay for the groceries.  I needed like $10 and change that would be charged to my ATM card.    And then, just like that, my ATM card was declined.

Luckily, I ended up having cash in my purse.  That was GodJesusVirgenOfG working it for me.  As I left the store with my groceries, I was calm on the outside.  On the inside, a war was raging.  I was near tears…of embarrassment, anger, frustration.  Oh and I did that feeling sorry for myself thing too.   Whyyyyyy?  Again?  You name it, I thought it.

However, by the time I arrived to the Jeep, my fit was over, I remember hitting the steering wheel a couple of times to get out the remaining rage and then I was done.  It was time to have my ‘Come to Jesus’ Moment.  I turned on my music and Sting’s song “Fragile” comes on, perfect song to get me thinking.  Granted, “Fragile” deals with the destruction of our planet, and my issues are but a speck on the face of the earth.  Somehow this realization makes my dilemma more manageable.  I have been thinking for the past couple of hours now, as I cooked dinner for Dad in this super-intense heat, kept repeating the song, I sweated out my rage, and willed myself not to take out my mess on my Dad.  You’ll be proud of me, I did not yell at him at all.   Now as I sit here writing, barely two hours later, ready to connect with JesusGodVirgenOfG to help me out of this desmadre, I’m proud of myself that I have taken more responsibility for my fit-throwing life and, at this moment, I know only one thing:  I have nothing, yet I have everything.

I don’t remember being this financially challenged EVER.  I also don’t remember being this CALM about it either.  When I decided to live my life “freelance” style,  I was nervous.  Gone was the security, gone was the majority of my disposable income, but, happily, gone was that gnawing feeling that something was either left undone or not done right at all after a weekend of events.  In my business, something seemingly innocent like finding pictures of a banner not hung just so was cause for straight-up alarm and could make my Mondays feel like I was being rolled over on coals of fire and could convert a perfect event into the latest nightmare.

Best decision I ever made?  As pobre as I am at this moment, I believe I made the right decision.   My personal drama made it necessary for me to step back from my industry, and, once I had a summer completely off, where I no longer had to work every single weekend, every holiday, and arrive late or miss events with my family, I knew that GodJesusVirgenOfG had put the more important things of life in front of my face:  familia, friends, writing, rest, and relaxation.

I tell my media and event colleagues that I am not the Carmen of back in the day:  the one who SLEPT at work, living and breathing events 24/7 to make events happen.  Don’t get me wrong, I can and do kick ass at the events that I choose to work on, I will never lose that competitive drive completely I guess.  However,  I also remember the Carmen who would work when she was beyond exhausted and almost drove off the Sunol Grade before she, thankfully,  woke up, I remember having to make the very painful decision to leave one job after another in search of my peace.    Little by little, I’ve reconnected with my familia/friends and now live a relatively peaceful life.

Now that my priorities have completely changed, I still need to be able to get over myself and re-do my financial life.  First,  I am done screaming ‘SonsaTontaPendeja‘ at myself – there is no way that I have been the first (or the last) person to have an ATM card declined.  Second, I gain nothing by blaming others for my lack of feria.  Third, it is essential that I get my sense of aventada-ness and hustle back front and center and do what I have always done:  worked it from the minute I put it in writing.   This is not the place for my InnerChillona…it is time to completely work it as my InnerChingona would do.  Find income. Invest in my future. Create more savings. Keep Working That Budget.

My business is seasonal.  As I have no millionario or sugar daddy waiting in the wings with a bolsa de dinero (cash), it is imperative that I get back on my own two feet in order to survive today as well as the slow period (November thru February).  I am intelligent, resourceful, with marketable skills that would be an asset to many.  Now I have to get my huevos together and these suggestions have helped me… maybe they’ll help you as well.

From Ginger Dean, Founder of ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Funds’

How Do I Get Back And Stand On My Two Feet? 

Self-sufficiency is sexy.

Go back to school. Start there. Did you finish college or high school? Do you want to go back to graduate school? What are you passionate about that requires a degree or certificate? Do you need to go back to school? These are all questions that you have to ask yourself if your path to returning to the work force involves going back to school.  For me, it’s all about closing the circle:  Passing the State Interpreter Exam and I have already started researching getting a second BA Degree in Spanish from all of the units that I took at SFSU for Interpretation and Translation, I also want to take some basic design classes to keep up with the young uns in Marketing.  

Start a business. Along the same lines of going back to school, what are you passionate about? Do you see a need in the market that hasn’t been filled? How can you work to fill that need while creating income for yourself? This can include producing your own stuff to sell on Etsy or Ebay as well.  My ideas are good, my ideas fill a need, a lot of this is already in progress, now it’s get the hell out of my own way and really make this happen.   This is the scariest part of moving forward, because there’s nothing left to say, it’s time to work it.

Renew or update your skills. If you’re in a field like myself, then you’ll need to make sure that applicable licenses or certifications are always up to date as allowing them to lapse costs more time and money. Talk to the licensing or certification board within your field and find out what you need to do in order to maintain your skills in this area. If you plan on applying to jobs that require a license or certification then you’ll need to make sure this is up to date. Attend workshops and conferences in an effort to remain up to date with the current trends in your field as well. This also gives you the opportunity to network with others.  My goal of passing the State Interpreter Exam is still very much real and I’ve now added other skills and licenses/certifications that I will need in order to become competitive in my own business.  Pobre or not, I am willing to invest in my new future.

Find Your Sisterhood of Success AKA “Personal Board Of Advisors”

Who supports you professionally when it’s time to make hard professional decisions? Do you have a group of women or even one woman who you can turn to? I take that back, it doesn’t have to be a woman. Anyone who supports you and is able to provide professional guidance will do.  Women are more successful when they have mentors guiding them both personally and professionally. Especially when women mentor women. Great things happen!  This one I loooooove!  I’ve had what I call my Personal Focus Group for years… tons of friends/colegas who are experts in my industry, good friends, in business for themselves, and my badasses who work it Corporate America, Government, and the Latino community.  I’ve also started reaching out to those who can help me as I navigate my way to my new future.  

All of the above is true investment in my future which will require un chingo de hustle and all of the confidence that I can muster.   Can you believe that I actually had a conference call for another contract after my ATM declined, a sign for sure…it may be just what I need right now and the only way that I will know for sure is to put my butt right back out there and pray that JesusGodVirgenOfG see things my way.

Sometimes it take losing everything to realize that all is not lost, even though, at this moment, I have nothing (material), yet I have everything  – family, opportunities, creativity, and dare I say it, confidence.

It’s about time.

Confidently working toward that day when the ATM always goes through LOL.

 

 

QueQUE? WHAT did he just say?

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When life happens to you, which way do you turn?  Do you embrace your Inner Chingona?  Or do you take a detour via Ms. Paz (Peace) and end up at your Inner CHILLONA?  Crying, frustrated, depressed.     I would love to say that we all follow our Inner Chingona all of the time and, sadly, this is not the case.

I love my BFFs.  It’s amazing how empowering it is to be with them, it’s like getting a reality check with love, there is nothing that they do not know, there is nothing that we hold back from each other.    You can only imagine what topics are covered when we are together…When I heard this story, I told her that I just HAD to write about it because, as I listened to the story, and stated my words almost verbatim, it became the title of today’s post,…here is the story, what would you have done?

For this story, I revive 2 of my former characters, Yolanda and Rafa…

 

Things were really going great with Rafa and Yolanda.   At first, their romance centered around Friday nights, where they would usually go out and do ‘couple’ things, away from their co-workers, friends, family.  Come Monday, all would revert back to professional lives:  Rafa as the boss, the Sales Manager of the stations, Yolanda as one of his top employees, cutting deals, bringing in money for the stations’ bottom lines.   Yolanda was relieved that things were going well since there was no way that she wanted anyone to think that the boss was 100% responsible for her success, this was a partnership and she was doing her share of the heavy-lifting.   The sides of the radio roads were littered with too many women who got involved with their boss and lost everything once the relationship went bad.

One Monday, things changed a little.   Rafa asks Yolanda, “I’ve got this family thing on Saturday, think you wanna go?”   “Sure”, she replies.  On the surface, Yolanda was cool but inside, she was a jumble of excitement and nerves.  Meeting family is major and Yolanda could barely concentrate on anything but ‘oh my God, he wants me to meet his familia, will they like me? will they hate me? could I meet him there in case things don’t go well and I’m trapped there? I really want this to go well!  I want them to like me, OMG…”

All week, Yolanda is taking all of her clothes out of the closet and trying them on.   The family thing didn’t sound too formal but Yolanda didn’t want to go all fachosa either.   Rafa keeps asking her if she’s nervous and, of course, she answers, “no, why would I be?” when she was mere steps from having an attack of ‘chorros‘ LOL   “Note:  Make sure you know where all of bathrooms are at all times on Saturday!”     Rafa didn’t seem nervous at all either, Yolanda thought, ‘this must be meant to be, it will all go great’.

Saturday morning comes and Yolanda is nervous but feeling confident on her choice of a skirt and sweater set that, ‘made me look cool, in, young, hot’…but not too hot because you know how Mexican familias are, they are not into showing too much, and the standard is set pretty high for women who are professional with careers, etc.   Yolanda is just finishing putting her makeup on when the doorbell rings…

Rafa’s first words to Yolanda when she opened the door were, “well, I was going to have you meet my mother but not if you’re dressed like that.”  QueQUEWhaaat?  Rafa had seen Yolanda dress this way a million times before and had no problem with it, she was in total shock and her excitement for the day had gone just as if someone let the air out of a balloon.   Now it was obvious that Rafa WAS nervous and, as it turns out, had some expectations for how the day would go…but did not tell Yolanda what these expectations were.

So what happened next?  Does Yolanda listen to her Inner Chingona, leave her outfit on, and risk that Rafa decides not to take her, or that if he takes her, not introduce her properly to his familia?  Does Ms. Paz pay a visit to the situation, and have Yolanda change her outfit to ‘keep the peace’ and leave the pathway open for Inner Chillona to bring tears, resentment, frustration to the mix?  I swear that I forgot to ask how the story really ended, how do I end this story?

#InnerChingona

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