Inner Chingona sez No One Does You Like You #52essays2017

 

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#52essays2017

It is so easy to do things because “that’s the way it’s always been” or “everyone else does it this or that way”.  It is not easy to stand on your own two feet, to stand in your truth, to keep on keeping on, even when others think differently or try to tell you how wrong you are.

I’ve always had an opinion and I’ve always had my big mouth LOL.  I remember being told to shut up, quiet down, you don’t have to say everything you are thinking my entire life.  I would react out loud too, rolling my eyes, shaking my head, saying “whatever” or worse.  If I react silently, my thoughts go crazy complete with cuss words and all.  I have had many vent sessions at the wheel of my Jeep.  I had my own back, I was confident when I needed to be.Embracing my Inner Chingona, listening to my gut, has never let me down, WHEN I have listened.

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And then I found the courage to write these thoughts down and share them with the world.   I was able to expand my thoughts more, I was able to put so many opinions, feelings, thoughts, dreams into words, my words.  I spent years trying to find authors who really sounded like me, I knew that they had to be out there.  I finally found two or three authors that, when I would read their work, I would say “yup!” out loud,  would laugh and cry because I completely got what they were saying.   However, it took Ms. Big and Bad here a little longer to learn how to expect and embrace “constructive” criticism and others’ opinions of her work.  You see, I thought that, by me just be being brave enough to share my truth, that everyone would automatically agree with me. Wrong.   This morning, the following popped up on my “memories” on Facebook.  Below is my 2015 response on Facebook to someone who did not embrace my use of Spanglish in my writing:

I was told that my writing and posts would be much more relevant if I did them in one language versus another and tone down the Spanglish. May I say that, while I am 100% able to converse, read, and write intelligently in either Spanish or English, that my authentic self is bilingual/bicultural and I have NEVER viewed this as a negative thing ever. Spanglish allows me to be at home wherever I am and, most def, has opened doors that might have remained closed to me por no saber español o ingles. It took me many years to find authors who think, therefore write as I do. I’m not even angry about it, soy quien soy and I love to write “slice of life” style and, surprise! many people speak exactly as I do. For me, in writing, keeping it real is always important. How boring my world would be without talking and writing about my aventuras, triunfos, regadas, sonsadas? Someone will read and relate, that much I know. #SiSePuede #YNoMeAhuito#InnerChingona

I still do believe what I said on FB.  However, instead of getting my feelings hurt or offended that someone does not agree with me, what I have learned about my writing is this:  People embrace the effort.  I get comments all of the time about how they relate (or not) to my work, folks may not always agree with me but I love it that they do respect the fact that I have the huevos to put it together and put it out there.  For now, that’s enough. I am very happy when folks take the time to read what I write as I know that, with so much media going on at once in our lives, that it is not easy for one to sit down and actually take the time to read.       Now it’s all about staying authentic, writing,  learning and working on my technique, writing, reading and learning from other writers, writing,  keeping in touch with the world, writing,  and having a journal, a pen, or a laptop nearby so that I can write about life as I see it, and maybe finish some of the over ninety drafts that I have started!

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Find what you love to do, allow others to embrace your effort, and respect the fact that you have the huevos to put it all out there.  No one does you like you.

#52essays2017

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April Writing Challenge, Day 4: Ten Things About Me

about me

April Writing Challenge – Day 4
Ten Interesting Facts About Yourself

These are always fun…

In no particular order:

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1. My favorite color is GREEN. Always has been. I especially like how being around green in nature can soothe me in seconds, how wearing something green makes me feel cool, anything looks better in green.

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2. I am a preemie: I was 2 pounds and 5 ounces at birth 3 months before my due date. It’s also the reason I am named Carmen, no one was sure that I would make it or not so I was baptized and they looked at the Mexican calendar on July 16th – the day of Nuestra Sra. del Carmen thus my name. I was on my own for the first few months of my life in an incubator without a lot of physical contact and since then, I’ve always been very ticklish, I’ve never been very touchy-feely-huggy and I’ve always been able to sense when something is wrong or dangerous in places or people…

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3. I am a great cook with simple dishes, just ask my Dad. I am no gourmet cook but I can work it with carne/chile, beans, rice, simple salad, eggs, fideo, papas – the basics. All of the years that I lived by myself, I laughed because my cooking was just ok so I must have always liked cooking for others.

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4. I love my godchildren niece nephews like they were my own. Different ages, shapes, sizes, all shades of brown, some light, some dark, all beautiful. I really do try to be there for them, they’re all perfect said this Nina always.

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5. I have worked for 13 different radio stations throughout my career. Every station has been a big part of my life and so many stories come with each of them, I’ve been blessed to meet and work with sooo many great people, some legends, some legends in their own minds! One day, I’d like to get all of my crews in one place and take a picture – now THEY were the best and my favorites! I spent more time with my crews than my own fam and friends – there is nothing we have not seen and I know that anytime I get with my radio fam, it will be ON: chisme, laughing, crying, etc. Love my industry. Once in radio, always in radio.

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6. My favorite city is San Antonio. I remember the first time I went there; I did not want to come back LOL. As my familia was not one to go back/forth to Mexico like a lot of my familia and friends did, and we did not speak Spanish at home; going to San Antonio was great – I related and felt at home right away. San Antonio, after all, is, as one of my friends from Mexico tells me, “no es Mexicano, es Mexican-American”, and love how he says it with an accent ‘mes-i-can, am-errr-i-can’! You can feel the vibe of this city, very Latino, Mex Am, Chicano, everyone looks like you, everyone speaks English or Spanglish, and when I heard Tejano radio for the first time: where they speak in Spanglish – I was like ‘whaaaat?’ loved it. I’ve been there many times throughout the years, and it’s still the same feeling. Great place.

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7. When I went to meet the man who would be my boss at the Charter Way Denny’s, I sat with the wrong ‘white man’ LOL I still laugh when I think of the first time I met Mike Murphy. Who knew that he would be my first mentor and champion in radio. I learned so much from him about this industry and about how to conduct myself – no school could have done it better. I miss working with him every day.

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8. Once I owned that I loved to write, my writing got much better. I was very much of the school that to do things by yourself was not cool so, for many years, I did not do them.  Now it is different.  I can get lost in my writing and am trying to write stories that I have never seen or heard before, which sound like me, where I can speak like I always do: in English, Spanish, and Spanglish, which celebrate family, friendship, culture. Part of becoming a better writer is to get to know yourself, working on this every day!

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9. I am trying to pass the State Interpreter Exam for what feels like the millionth time. This past time, I was so close to passing that it really depressed me. But then again, I thought to myself, ‘you got this close/far on your own, by yourself, you can do it again’ When I think of all of the people I know who are working in the field without certification, I think, I should just do that and be done with it. But it is all about closing the circle and finishing what I started on that day that someone dared me to go to the orientation meeting at SFSU, saying that I’d probably not get in … not only did I get in, I was able to hang with my colegas, and I was not afraid to try it ever – even if I messed up. You better know I’ll pass the exam eventually.

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10. I know how to get to a Starbucks in almost every city in the Bay Area, Stockton, Modesto, and Sacramento areas and all ranchos in between. I work very well in these places, they are just loud enough for me to do my Interpreter Drill Exercises, and, once I put on my headphones, I am able to get into a good writing groove and work my ideas out. Sometimes the stars line up and I get a good table with good lighting and it’s not too low or too high or too wobbly and I can get so much done. I have about 10 regular places where they know me, know what I am going to order, and they are always very nice about letting me stay while they close up when I’m on a roll.

Radio Presets Move Inner Chingona Forward

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For well over a year, life happened to me so I had not really listened to a radio station aside from talk radio or Catholic radio…all the more amazing because, working in radio, we radio peeps tend to listen more than regular folks. Ask anyone in radio, every single radio space on the dial is usually completely preset and you better know that all we do is punch the preset buttons constantly. I always have to tell folks in the car what I’m doing, that it’s “work” or “research” or “monitoring” so that I don’t completely drive passengers insane with the constant changes of station.

Ask any radio person what they are listening for…every person listens for a different reason LOL. The Marketing and Sales side of me listens for the promotions – what are they giving away, how can people win, what concerts are they exclusive for, what are their upcoming big events, are my clients’ commercials running right? Are they running at the right time? Is there a competing client/business running right before or after? It’s madness for sure and attention to this madness will indicate whether all is well or whether I will be laying over a serious “lumbre” (fire) shortly!

So on this morning’s drive, I finally got tired of hearing talk radio or no radio at all and started listening to regular music radio in both English and Spanish. Out of pure instinct, I started punching the ‘preset’ buttons and, within minutes, all of my preferred stations are preset. As I continued driving, strangely, I started to relax and breathe easier if you can believe THAT! I felt as if a fog had been lifting over my body, I started to feel connected to the world and, dare I say it? Motivated. Motivated to do what? I do not know yet.

The way I see it, I’ve got a bunch of ‘presets’ to push, to find which station I stay with the longest without punching the next button, to figure out what it is that I want to do next. Will I be speaking or writing in English? Spanish? Spanglish? I’ll keep pressing until I find what it is that inspires and motivates me, this is the ONLY non-negotiable for my future: to support projects and people who inspire, empower, and motivate me.

It’s never too late to start over, to do precisely that thing that scares you, to do the right thing, to take care of yourself, to listen to YOUR Inner Chingona, to make your own set of preset buttons for your life! Work it today!

Milestone Day: My Published Article

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Love Milestone Days!  Got to my folks house last Friday and was pleasantly surprised to see that my article was published!   It’s always fun to see a dream realized and my parents were beyond proud of me, which is also very cool.  This article was an excerpt from a past blog entry on the joys of being Trilingual!   The article can be seen at http://www.joaguinmag.com  or you can read my blog entry below in Spanish, English and Spanglish…hope you like it!

Spanish Sunday Nights: Soy Trilingue

 

Soy Trilingüe:  Hablo en ingles, español, y en Spanglish!

 

Ahora que estoy estudiando, de nuevo, para tomar el examen Estatal para Interpretes, me la paso aprendiendo nuevas palabras y me pongo a pensar en el momento que comencé a hablar en español…bueno, disque en español porque fue una mezcla “mocho” tratando de buscar la manera de sonar natural, que mi vocabulario fuera fluido, donde no tendría que pensar en lo que quería decir…

Al escucharme hablar hoy en día,  a mucha gente le parece increíble que, en mi casa, no nos crecimos hablando en español – fue puro ingles.   Y bien me acuerdo, que de vez en cuando, algún familiar me diría algo como “porque no sabes hablar en español?”   A mí me daba mucha vergüenza – y no porque mis papas no nos hablaron en español sino porque yo quería aprender a hablar bien.   Estoy eternamente agradecida con mi Mama Margaret Torres – siempre nos hablo y nos enseno la gramática correcta en ingles y nosotros los 5 siempre hemos podido hablar y escribir muy muy bien en ingles.  Creo que fue a los 13 años que decidí aventarme a la lumbre y hablar en español, saliera como saliera.

 

Mi Tío Pascual (q.e.p.d.) fue el #1 en darme “carria” por mi manera particular de hablar en español.  Una vez estábamos en una fiesta familiar y me dijo, “si tanto sabes de español, entonces deletréame la palabra ‘Tzintzuntzan’ y lo hice perfectamente!  También me atreví a decirle que yo iba a aprender a hablar el español un día y que si quería ‘bailar’ conmigo, que aprendiera a hablar en ingles!   Me cerré los ojos esperando que me reganara o  algo así, pero no, simplemente se rio y nunca jamás me volvió a decir nada al respecto.  Pero si contaba la historia de “Tzintzuntzan” de vez en cuando con una sonrisa!

Como hubiera querido poder haber conversado mas con mi abuela, Ma’Lupita, sin duda la mujer más chistosa y única que he conocido en mi vida.  Porque yo SE que nos hubiéramos divertido mucho – ella con sus locuras y yo aprendiendo y riéndome.    Cuando sentí que ya estaba aprendiendo a hablar más español, ella ya estaba enferma del cáncer y, para la gran tristeza de todo el Rancho, falleció.

Más de una persona me ha dicho que tengo un buen sentido de humor y que se chismear y contar historias muy bien ya sea en ingles o en español.   El hecho de que pueda hacerlo en español se lo debo a mi papa, Mike Torres, a mi Mama Lupita, todos mis tíos del Rancho y una que otra persona quien nos llego de visita de Michoacán con su manera de hablar tan divertido y singular!  

 

Si tengo que hacerlo, puedo conversar inteligentemente completamente en español o en ingles;  pero a mí me encanta hablar en mi idioma principal, Spanglish, una mezcla de las dos!  Mucha gente dice que no es idioma oficial, que esto es hablar ‘mocho’, que no sabemos hablar ni una ni la otra, pero no es así:  es un producto de los dos mundos donde siempre he vivido y me siento en casa dondequiera que este!

 

ENGLISH TRANSLATION:  I’m Trilingual:  I speak Spanish, English, and Spanglish!

Now that I’m studying, again, for the State Interpreter Exam, I am constantly learning new words and it got me thinking to the time where I started to speak in Spanish…well, it wasn’t really Spanish as much as it was a mixture that everyone would call “mocho”, I was trying to find the way to sound natural, trying to find a way that my vocabulary would be fluid and natural, where I didn’t have to think about what I wanted to say, that I would just be able to say it.

 

When people hear me speak Spanish today, they think that it’s incredible that we did not grow up speaking in Spanish – English was spoken at home.  And I remember that more than one family member would tell me, “why don’t you speak Spanish?”   I would get really embarrassed, but not for the reason that you would think, not because my parents didn’t speak to us in Spanish but because the Type A in me wanted to learn to speak well.   I’m eternally grateful to my Mom Margaret Torres – she always spoke to us and taught us her correct, flawless, English grammar thus the 5 of us were always able to speak, read, and write very very well in English.  I think that I was around 13 or so when I decided to go for it and learn how speak Spanish, and speak no matter how it came out.

 

My Tio Pascual (RIP) was the number 1 person who teased me constantly about my way of speaking in Spanish!  I remember we were at a Ranch party one time and he starts up, he tells me, “if you’re so good in Spanish, then spell this word for me, “Tzintzuntzan”; which I did, and perfectly!  So then I got all bold and told him that I was going to speak really good Spanish one day and that if he wanted to make it a fair fight, that he should learn how to speak English!  Man I closed my eyes just waiting for him to go off on me but, to my surprise, he just started laughing and he never teased me again although he did bring up the ‘Tzintzuntzan’ incident up from time to time with a smile on his face!

 

How I wish that I could have been able to talk more with my grandmother, Ma’Lupita, who remains by far the most unique and funniest woman I have ever met.  Because I so KNOW that we would have had a blast – she with her hilarious self and me laughing and learning.  When I felt that I was learning how to really speak in Spanish, she was already sick with cancer and, to the Ranch’s great sadness still, she passed away.

 

More than one person has told me that I have a good sense of humor and that I can tell stories and do the gossip thing really well whether in English or in Spanish.  The fact that I can do it at all is because of my Dad Mike Torres, to Mama Lupita, all of the aunts/uncles on the Ranch, and random folks who would visit from Michoacán with their fun and unique way of expressing themselves!  

 

Now if I HAVE to do it, I can converse intelligently in English or in Spanish; but my favorite mode of expression is in what I consider my primary language, Spanglish, a mixture of both.  Lots of people go crazy saying that it is not an official language, that it is a bastardization of the language, “mocho” if you will, that we cannot speak one language or the other, but it is not like that:  it is a product of the two worlds where I have always lived in and that has allowed me to be at home wherever I am.

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Hashtaggeando Inner Chingona Style

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Lately, I’ve seen a hashtagging craze on social media.   The hashtags range from straight-up boring to downright hilarious.  I noticed that some of my hashtags always seem to get a reaction out of people, especially the ones in Spanish or, better yet, the ones in Spanglish.

Here’s a definition of a hashtag in case you don’t know what one is:

hash·tag ˈhaSHtag/
noun.  (on social media sites such as Twitter) a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.

I went onto my social media sites and took out some of the random entries including hashtags that always get a reaction and a lot of LOLs from folks.  Hashtags are like having the last word, or giving your statement a punchline, a word or group of words made to get a ‘boom!’ reaction and that relates to what you’ve just posted.  Some folks tend to go overboard with the hashtags, in my opinion.  The shorter, the more down-to-earth, the more real, the better.

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Take this morning for example, I had to get into meetings this morning, bought a medium coffee, and was still extremely drowsy as I drove into the office which got me to thinking the following:

“This café is not helping wake me this AM. If I find out that “el mac donal” gave me DECAF at this hour, va a haber bronca, it will be ON. #TooEarlyForFregaderas

Because, yes, it was too early for fregaderas!

 

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While I do own a hair dryer and straightener, I’m a huge fan of opening all four windows of my Jeep and driving on the freeway to dry and, better yet, straighten my hair.

“My favorite hair dryer and straightener. #estilorancho

 

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Just last week, I wanted to put my room in order as our Ita would be coming over and staying in my room.   I put everything onto the bed and started working through that ‘montonal’ of clothes, books, and junk.  At about midnight, I was ready to toss everything:

“OMG only I would decide to spring clean at night! Kiki came to see how I was and I flipped my middle finger at this mess! LOL. I say I should just throw it all out!#QuienMeManda

 

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Ya’ll know that I’m on the eternal quest to stick to an exercize plan…I love walking outside and, while walking in a park, one is bound to find folks walking their dogs.  One night last week, it seemed as if all of the huge horse-sized dogs were out and I always get nervous around dogs, especially big ones:

“Had to cut my walk short — too many very large dogs — while I wish dogs no harm, ya’ll KNOW I’m not a dog person. El colmo: a dog tamaño horse was sniffing my bottom as I walked, that was it. #EstasNalgasSonMias

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Another day, it happened to be very hot as I walked:

“Good workout but oh so hot – if I could get away with it, I’d drive home in my chones LOL. It’s all about turn the música up and drive home with all windows down.#NoLonjaZone


I love checking out other people’s hashtags, some of the more hilarious ones are by comedian George Lopez, too funny!  My favorite one of his is #CalzonesTodosCagados – I laughed so hard at  that hashtag that I completely forgot what the actual post was about.  I’m been trying to get over writer’s block and MADE myself write about something tonight – just to get back to writing.  Maybe this ‘hashtaggeando’ thing just might do the trick and get me back to my regular writing schedule!  #DejaDeFlojerasCarmen