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!

Little GIRL Lost!

I used to believe that I was adopted, I mean, really believe it to my core. I endured some of the(eee) most backwards shit as a kid, and every single transgression had a gross justification. Take this picture for example, there are two very wrong things going on here. That look on my face is not just depair and disdain, it is also deeply rooted in shame.

Lou Diamond Phillips

I used to have this green jumper, that was offensive, not just to those that had to witness it, but to my vag area. I was a tall kid and this outfit just didn’t fit, it was too short and it downright hurt my “Cu-Co” (as grandma would call it). My mother loved this thing for some reason, as you can see her proudly accessorizing it with Mr. Roper’s scarf.

MESSAGE: Don’t do this to your tall kids, it shits on their self-esteem and more importantly, their self-assessment.

Alright, let’s get to the more obvious. Why the hell do I have a haircut that speaks more to the military than it does to the first grade? Simple: some Latin folk believe that cutting your daughter’s hair, makes it grow back stronger. I really wish I had a better reason like I caught lice at school or had finished my chemo, but no,  this was my mother following the directions of her elders on how to get my hair in that “Head and Shoulders” commercial condition.

So, what do you get when you dress your 6 year old girl in a Soul Train outfit and give her a buzz cut? A baby Lou Diamond Phillips!

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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Happy New Year!!! 2013: Let’s Get It Right

LBLF 2

Disclaimer: This is not a resolution, I have decided to challenge myself and I’m inviting you to join me in doing the same.

The deadline is set, 30 days to a better me! A few years ago we did an awesome herbal detox and fitness challenge via Facebook and over 500 of you joined me in the name of HEALTH!
We’ll be documenting our progress via Instagram and I’ll post blog entries along the way letting it all hang out, literally. I am tired of not being in the shape that I want to be in, EFF!  what everyone else says.  What do YOU think about those love handles and having to turn at a certain angle to get the “right” picture for Instagram?

My goal is to be in ultimate shape which for me means toning my entire body, healthy above all else, creating and maintaining good body karma. My measurable goals are to lose 15 lbs., 5 % body fat and 4 inches off of my hips and waist.

What are your goals for a better you?  Please feel free to share them here in the comments or on Instagram tag me in your pictures @FunnyAida/#FunnyAida. I look forward to reposting your inspirational journeys.

FOOD:  I will be doing a 21 day herbal detox that will consists of taking herbs and eating raw.

EXERCISE: Pilates, Yoga, Cardio and Zumba.

ALSO: 8 Hours of sleep, 64 ounces of water daily, reading and being creative and embracing all things positive.

Excited? When do we start?  For me, immediately, there is work to be done.  Feel free to join me at any time by tagging me in your pictures & sharing your goals. DAY 1, is always the toughest.  Let’s go!!!

 
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