- I hate spiders.
- If all the Disney Princesses tried to take out Wonder Woman in a fight, I’d put money on Wonder Woman. Hands down.
- Real shredded coconut “tastes” like paper to me. Shut. Up.
- When I am out in public here in Maine and make eye contact with another minority, they give me the Nod of Acknowledgment.
- I always nod back.
- Strangers can read anything I write. I’m not afraid of you judging me.
- It took me a long time to get comfortable on my own blog to drop an F bomb. And look at you still reading, you naughty, naughty person, you….
- It was liberating as hell when it finally happened.
- Sometimes I have to pretend temporary amnesia when I write here & my column because now that my family knows what I do, the pressure is on, y’all.
- I swear like a sailor but blush when people say that P word that rhymes with hussy (Hint: smartasses who try leaving comments containing that word will be deleted. Me and my virgin eyes can’t handle it, so don’t try it.)
- I’ll be starting a podcst/Google Hangout session pretty soon.
- I never got pregnancy/labor amnesia. So we got a new puppy. Since my ovaries hate me I guess I don’t have to worry, anyway.
- Related? Only people without kids can say that raising a puppy is like having a child. We used to say it all the time. Then we had a child. All I’m saying is rubbing your kid’s nose in their pee spot on the carpet might not work out so well for you, so I’d advise against being stupid.
- I was 5’1? when I was 8 years old. My mother is 5,1?, which means I was wearing her pants in the third grade. Which also means I have only grown 5-inches in 27 years. Wow, that’s depressing.
- My mother brought me home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking.
- There’s a reason I prayed for a summer baby, y’all.
- I was left standing on my porch, dressed for the senior year Homecoming dance, with mascara-stained tear tracks in my blush, when I realized the high school friends who had invited me to “go stag” with them never showed to pick me up.
- I had my first kiss with my first boyfriend at 16 years old.
- I speak really good Spanish when I’m drunk.
- I never have time to get drunk.
- My Spanish usually sucks.
- My mother dressed me as a clown for Halloween one year and combed my Mexifro out into an afro and sprayed it to look like a wig. She must have done a really good job. I spent the entire Girl Scout party beating Brownies off my head as they all tried to yank my wig off so they could try it on themselves.
- I hate clowns.
- I had a reverse boob job when I was 24. The Husband looked like a proud new father when he told his friends that his wife’s former GG’s were now cute and perky DD’s.
- Eliana fit in one of my old bikini cups when she was born. (Like you wouldn’t have tried?)
- You know that scene in the original Blade movie where the vampires are in the underground club dancing in wild abandon as the sprinkler system showers them in blood? Yeah…that’s the song The Husband and I were introduced to at our wedding reception.
- #26 was my idea. The Husband is still grateful.
- I didn’t know MTV existed until I was 14. i also didn’t realize that our car radio played anything other than Mexican music or oldies stations. My social life? Sucked.
- I’m the oldest of five girls. The youngest two are 10 and 11 years younger than me, and Mom used to make me wake with the crying babies at night and still go to school the next morning.
- My mother is an evil genius.
- I hate it when people refer to how big my daughter is. She’s tall, assholes, not big. Can we talk about how big you are now? Oh right, that’s not polite.
- Milk makes me sneeze. A lot. Which makes me miss ice cream.
- Bananas also make me sneeze. Which just makes me weird.
- This is my third blog. The first two were me trying to write what I thought other people wanted to read.
- Are you still reading?
- My goal in life is to make it onto Graham Norton’s couch & the Top Gear track. I’ve got a think for BBC.
- I typo. A lot. Deal with it.
- I have ADHD and wish people knew that the condition doesn’t just mean I’m forgetful.
- I homeschool and wish people didn’t assume that means my child is locked in a closet all day. We at least let her out for five minutes of sunlight every day. Twice on Sundays.
- I once yelled at my sister for closing the car windows with my fingers in them after I told her to close the window and left my hand there.
- I met The Husband online when online dating was still something to whisper about.
- I was the Mexican Princess Searching for her Prince.
- Chuck it up, people. Chuck it up.
- I queried 45 agents before I got signed.
- My agent never saw my query.
- I’m single again and looking for a new agent.
- I’m Latina Magazine’s advice columnist only because I didn’t think I was going to get the job. Think about that one.
- I write first and think about sharing later.
- I never self-censor words that need to be written. I decide if they should be shared after. But I always write them.
- I choked on water once. In a cup. Sitting at the kitchen table. Yes, I am that talented.
- The End
My BFF Heather always says I am best when speaking only if I haven’t rehearsed. Apparently, planning I guess, is just a reason for me to self-censor, and that jut takes away all the good parts, so I try to do that as little as possible.
So here’s the plan for the Big Thing I’ve been dreaming up for a few years now:
- Weekly #ChingonaFest Project Google Hangouts at 2 p.m. EST on Sundays
- Weekly podcast stemming from the original G+ show
- Conquer the world, preferably by next Monday.
Welcome to WEEK 17 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.
Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Jesenia the Comedic Actress and Vannessa Vasquez were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.
Today’ featured Chingona is too fancy for a last name. She’sMyrah Duque, otherwise known as Coupon Mamacita (or Mamacita! with in italics and with an exclamation point, if she’s feeling sassy)…Duque is a wife, mother, former realtor and PTA President and if you read her about page on her blog, she’s been an “etc.” three times. That last one sounds important.
Duque set 0ut to live frugally after watching a TV show featuring a woman who paid $10 for $200 at a local store with extreme couponing. Turns out Duque has a knack for what she refers to as her “frugal passion-venture”, which, by the way, she happens to share in English AND Spanish. Duque, who has been featured on NBC Latino, Latina.com (a personal favorite.. a*HEM*), among others, is one busy lady.
So let’s get to that interview.
Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?
Myrah Dulque: Vanilla
PC: I like a woman who gives a straight answer. Favorite book and why:
MD: “Remarkable Courage” by Deb Cheslow. This book’s message transformed my negative “I can’t do that” attitude to a permanent daily POSITIVE attitude.
PC: Come to think of it, you are pretty perky. It’ a wonder I haven’t felt the urge to slap you yet. What? Why the shocked face? Most perky people drive me up a wall but you? I like you. So… let’s talk about your favorite quote. Spill it, sister.
MD: “Fake it till you make it.”
PC: *Nods head* A perennial favorite amongst these parts. Describe yourself in third person.
MD: She overcomes difficult barriers. She is strong. She is influential.
PC: Ohhhh you’re gooood. Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?
MD: STRONG MAMACITA!!!
PC: You sassy minx, you. I think I just fell in love with you, Myrah. Do you dream in color or black and white?
PC: Shut the front door! Me, too! But let’s get serious for a minute. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?
MD: Latinas are strong, open-minded mamacitas! We are underrepresented and misrepresented, however that is rapidly changing with the growth in roles social media, fashion, politics, entertainment, sports.
PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…
MD: The sky is the LIMIT! NEVER, Ever, EVER give up!
PC: Okay, perky and…and yet…I still don’t wanna slap you. Maybe it’s the chingona mixed in with the perky that totally make me just wanna ply you with alcohol to see if I’m right, cuz I bet you swear like a sailor when you drink. NO! Don’t say a word. Let me just hold on to the dream for a moment here. Tell me about one childhood memory that has stuck with you…
MD: Relocating to NYC’s Spanish Harlem from Santo Domingo at the age of 6.
13 – Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish? Spanglish
PC: Me, too, Mama. What’s your favorite dish? Why?
MD: Sancocho Dominicano, it’s synonymous of Family gatherings, Family Love.
PC: Do you feel “Latina enough”?
MD: Oh yes! To the bone!
PC: You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?
MD: Hillary Clinton. A nice lavish Sancocho Dominicano with tostones and aguacate! Wine: A tasty Merlot since the sancocho I like has 7 different types of meat in it. Why Hillary? She inspires with her strong, courageous, tough character, leadership skills, handling the Monica Lewisky scandal, who won’t walk away from what is truly important to her.
PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)
MD: Chew ice cream? Say What??
PC: Watch it, sister. I chew ice-cream always. I think it’s a rule. Anyway, one Latina stereotype you despise?
MD: That we are all dark skin. Look at me: Fair Skin, BLonde, blue eyes DOMINICANA. We come in all skin colors
PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)
MD: EL Baile! We hear music, we are moviendo la colita!
And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at email@example.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. This week’s reader is 20 and dating a 45-year-old and SUPRISE….mami is NOT happy. Check out my response and let me know what you think! Also, be sure to send me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sun’ll come out tomorrow, y’all..
Who likes Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!
Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!
The plan was to get my degree in communications with a concentration in journalism because the small university I attended was too small for a dedicated degree. I’d write for a paycheck during the day and head home to pound away at the keyboard, writing the stories that would be rejected until they weren’t, and then I’d pound away some more, rearranging small pieces of truth into the sentences that would turn into the paragraphs upon which my story would stand.
I’d be brilliant. I’d be relatable. I was going places, Goddamit. Until $45 exchanged hands in a generic apartment kitchen with a generic psychic who told me a lot of things I forgot and one thing I remembered. California, she said, was off-limits. She couldn’t tell me why or give me more than a vague why, except to say that Something Bad would happen should I wiggle a pinkie toe over the state line, so it was best just to stay the hell away.
Now, I’m not sure if it was The Boyfriend who became The Fiance who became The Husband’s reaction that sealed the deal, or if it was the social media friends living in the danger zone I would eventually make — after surviving myself, graduating from college, working as a newspaper reporter, getting married, not getting pregnant while everybody else was popping out babies, and finally growing our little second chance at raising ourselves inside of me — but suddenly, where I was going became irrelevant. I suddenly realized I only knew what I wasn’t doing and where I wasn’t going. Who knows what would have happened had I decided to ignore my psychic directive while utterly convinced of its power. It didn’t really matter if I stubbed my toe, lost all my luggage, or if Kurt Cameron grew up to be a giant asshole and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen turned out to be tabloid train wrecks because I wasn’t taking the blame for any of it. I stayed away. I couldn’t be blamed should The Big One finally hit and California fell right off the ends of the Earth.
“Shit.” That’s what I said when I saw the BlogHer announcement that 2014 would be celebrated where it all began. That would be San Jose, California. Obviously, we had an Issue.
“Shit what? What’s what?” The Husband said. After I filled him in on the news, he, too, became pensive. Shit. He said that.
And then we both sighed, defeated by a giant Maybe from a psychic who still needed her tarot card directions. I’d been planning to apply as a speaker and was prepping our pitch with my 2013 MultiCulti hostesses to bring the party back. I had a lot riding on another giant Maybe.
“You’re going to be pissed at yourself if you don’t even try,” The Husband told me.” If you don’t get the stuff you’re applying for, you stay home and we all live Happily Ever After.”
“And if I get it?” I asked him.
“I drop you off at the airport and up your life insurance policy. Either way,” The Husband said,” it’s kind of a win-win for everybody.”
I glared at him while Sugar Jones Facebook-messaged back to my frantic #CaliCurse with threats to follow me around with a burning sage bush just in case and I laughed.
“What if I get psychic clearance,” I asked Sugar. “New psychic. New reading. If I’m in the clear I go. If The End is Nigh I stay home?”
I told the voice on the phone that she could be my Sylvia Brown. Five minute in to our phone conversation, Dr. Lauren Cielo from Gaiam TV, had already won me over. She is warm and genuine and her laughter is rich and comes from deep within. She made me want to laugh with her…at least until she told me that my fist psychic was right.
“Say what now?”
Dr. Lauren went on to explain that the original psychic hadn’t misread me. Instead, she had basically reiterated the energy I had been giving off at the time. I’m not sure if my Energy and Aura had been playing a random and totally subconscious reel of the entire state of California sinking to the bottom of the ocean, but the lesson here, I think, was that what we sometimes mistake for Fate is oftentimes the culmination of our own perceived realities. Because I finally had a reason to question my path again instead of just blindly following along like a character in a book, I had changed my fate. Laugh if you must, but I asked Dr. Lauren to double check and she did, bless her sweet soul, after which she conformed she had “cleared” away what would have happened had I not challenged myself. The new forecast showed only open doors and many, many return trips to California in my long-term future, she said. There was plenty more to the reading, but this is the part that mattered. It’s the part where I refocused on where I was going instead of where I wasn’t.
There was a long flight after an epic journey to the airport via car and bus. There was a little girl winning at social networking with her own business cards every chance she got. There were hugs and squees and selfies and there was me speaking on a freelancing panel and hosting a party with good friends celebrating our diversity and I am so very grateful for all of those things that were because self-doubt is sometimes a good thing if it makes us re-evaluate a future we have mistaken for an absolute.
I am still many things. I am a writer, a wife, a hell-raiser who has realized it’s better not to set my sites on the finish line, but rather, move the mountains in my way and let the cleared path take me where it may. I may not know exactly what I’m doing or have a fucking clue as to what I’m doing when I get there, but I think that’s the point of it all. I’ll wait for tomorrow to get here in its own due time. For now, I’m just going to enjoy today.
Editor’s Note: Welcome to WEEK 16 of #ChingonaFest Fridays on Aspiring Mama. This week has been full of bad news and raw emotions for so many that I’m incredibly grateful for the chance to welcome the weekend with some Happy. Remember my friend Jesenia the Comedic Actress? We first met at Rick Najera’s Almost White book launch in NYC this summer. I immediately fell in love with both Jesenia (and Comedy Girls partner Jenni Ruiza’s) brand of Spanglish comedy and decided we were friends, because anyone who can turn “I Feel Pretty” into the brilliant parody that is “I Feel Crampy” is someone I want on my Christmas card list. (Seriously, click the link. Also? You’re Welcome.)
I consider myself Sort-Of-Almost-Kinda-But-Not-Really-Psychic-Kinda-Like-Sylvia-Brown-But-With-a-Better-Track-Record, so my latching on to The Comedy Girls and their coattails is also a strategic business move. One of us is going to get For Reals Famous eventually…and it’s Most Likely Not Me, so I’m playing nice in the sandbox in hopes of solidifying my Inner Circle status with these two. And I was RIGHT! Jesenia is proudly screaming the news of her first commercial all over social media!
The best part is that there’s MORE and I’m not even trying to talk you an infomercial vacuum while speaking in my Australian announcer’s voice. Jesenia also recently announced partnership with MiTu Network and her Becoming Ricardo web series. MiTu Network is the word’s leading Latino-run YouTube channel with over 42 million subscribers and a total viewership of six billion. That’s why I’m back with her #chingonafest Friday interview!
If you’re new to the blog, here’s the link to the my Latina Dimelo column that sparked the conversation that’s still going strong. The premise is this: I want to raise my daughter to be a Chingona — on purpose, Las Tias and cultural backlash be damned. If you like the column, I’d love for you to share with your social media circles, leave a comment on the link, or whip up a happy lil’ Letter to the Editor telling them how you feel and send it off to Editor@Latina.com. You may not think that kind of thing makes a difference, but trust me when I tell you that it does.
Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Vannessa Vasquez and Lori Luna were two of the most recently featured wonder women. Each week, I’m featuring one fabulous Latina who’s moving mountains and raising hell because their stories are worth telling. Twenty questions will be presented to each and 15 will be answered and presented here to you in a Q&A format, like the fancy features in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing.
Today’ featured Chingona is too fancy for a last name. She’s Jesenia the Comedian, and she’s fabulous. A NYC comedian with a penchant for singing hilarious I Feel Pretty parodies about why getting our periods as teenagers is anything but magical, Jesenia is also a character actress, writer, and a producer. (And this is one of those moments where I reread what I just typed and think something along the lines of And She’s Talking to Me? But back to the funny lady…) Jesenia, who is one of the two ladies behind the #StillNoLatinas hashtag created in response to Saturday Night Live being jackholes about diversity, is a master at sketch comedy and fell in love with Improv after training in Second City. She’s also working on a TV Web series called Becoming Ricardo the cohost of The Comedy Girls Radio Show, along with her The Comedy Girls partner Jenni Ruiza (Warning–the link will start singing to you, so hit mute if you’re at work.) Jenni is up on the Fest next week. But right now? Catch up with Jenenia on Twitter and Facebook.
And it’s time for the interview.
Pauline Campos: Chocolate or Vanilla?
Jesenia Comedian: Nothing but Chocolate!
PC: My kind of woman. Except for when I want to make a milkshake. That *has* to be vanilla. Back to you, though — Favorite book (and why)?
JC: “Chris Farley in Three Acts”. Because it inspired me to continue my comedy career and to appreciate and learn from this life journey every single day.
PC: That’s deep. I always think of his SNL skit when I see a van. Down by the river. *sighs wistfully* So, what’s your favorite quote?
JC: “We all live on this big rock headed straight for the sun!”
PC: I totally didn’t see that one coming. But I’ll take it. Now for something different – Do you consider yourself a feminist?
JC: I love and respect being a woman, but I also love and respect men. BUT respect is the key!
PC: Imma gonna go with you on that one. Describe yourself in third person, please.
JC: Jesenia is totally awesome and sexy and fun and super determined in her comedy career. She loves being a Mom and she has a really awesome dimple!
PC: Oh look at you being all cute and modest! I love it. Tell me who inspires you?
JC: – My Grandfather, Bernardino Rolon – who came to NY with only a 3rd grade education level, yet started his own successful carpentry business and provided his family with unlimited luxuries.
- My Mother, Sonia Rolon – for raising two children on her own and doing great at it! No matter what we lacked – we never felt it, we always felt RICH!
- My Son – for being an amazing soul. For understanding that sometimes Mommies and Daddies are better apart. For helping me appreciate and remember how GREAT it is to be a child and child like!
- Chris Farley – for being my comedic inspiration! Because he lived – I found my comedic voice and not take that for granted!
PC: Very nice. Mama and la familia are proud, I’ll bet. Tell me who you hope to inspire.
JC: Women & Men who aspire to do comedy, but feel its impossible to accomplish due to their life circumstances.
PC: Do you dream in color or black and white?
JC: My dreams are more like full Technicolor human cartoons.
PC: We can talk later about your sharing whatever it is you’re taking. My dreams suck. Next! Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?
PC: You guessed the secret password. That means you’re allowed back on my blog. How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?
JC: We are represented in a very inaccurate way. It’s a shame because this is the year 2014 – but it makes sense because we have never really DEMANDED a correct representation. I strongly feel the only way we will be accurately represented is if we ALWAYS represent ourselves. i.e.: writing, directing, acting. Nobody can misconstrue what you say yourself.
PC: SING IT, SISTER! Accountability for everyone! Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…
JC: Always aim for happiness because you will never regret anything you are happy about.
PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…
JC: Oh my goodness, there are so many! Of course only the bad ones come to my mind right away – but I will not shed any dirty laundry here! My mother would kill me! LOL!!! So, I would have to say…… when I was a little girl, I enjoyed dressing up like a clown and going shopping with my mother. She would always humor me and paint my face and let me wear my rainbow stripped and polka dot dress! I remember feeling so happy watching people look at me and smiling. I’ve always enjoyed making people smile! I guess that is why I ultimately chose comedy – it’s a beautiful thing!
PC: Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?
JC: I think in English. Except when I am angry – I think in Spanish curses!
PC: I learned what “Hijo de la Chingada Madre” means when my tio got cut off on the freeway by another driver when I was a kid. Now when it happens to me, without fail, I hear “HIJO DE LA CHINGADA MADRE” followed by a heavily-accented “Son of a BEEEEETCH!” *Sighs* Good times….What’s your favorite dish? Why?
JC: I love Lasagna because it’s delicious and full of three of my favorite things – meat, pasta and cheese – I love cheese!
PC: I love it when the answer isn’t wrapped in a tortilla. Speaking of which, do you feel “Latina enough”?
JC: I sure do! I’ve always been very proud of my Puerto Rican heritage. I am second generation here and although my Spanish sucks – I am very proud of my people. Also, I like to give the excuse that I am made up of: Taino Indian, African, Spaniard, French and Irish, but I was born and raised in America…….. soooooo – I know my language.
PC: You have the chance to eat dinner and drink wine with one person, living or dead. Who is it, what do you eat, what kind of wine, AND WHY THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?
JC: Of course I would choose Chris Farley! We would eat Lasagna, We would drink a Californian Pinot Noir. He would be the perfect person to pick his brain and I’d ask him if I am making him proud. I secretly talk to him all the time, so I’d ask if he was listening.
PC: I think there’s medication for that. Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)
JC: I totally chew it! True CHUBBY fo life, son!
PC: I think I love you. Wait…did you just call me chubby, Gorda? *raises eyebrow* Gimme one Latina stereotype you despise?
JC: That we are all Mexican!
PC: But we ARE. Obviously, you missed the memo, Maria. One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)
JC: That we’re all MAGNIFICENT in bed. Because, well…. not to toot my own horn but – TOOT TOOT baby!
PC: You may have just answered the last question, but let’s give it a shot, shall we? Describe your perfect day.
JC: Waking up (of course), heading to my own TV studio for a half day of filming my #1 TV sketch show on FOX, that I produce and also perform in. I’d tell you the name of my sketch show, but I know someone will steal it, so you will find that out when I get my show on the air. Then a 4 hour writing session with my writers. Then home to my amazing son, husband and brand new baby for dinner and good times! Each day lived that way – would be perfection!
And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at email@example.com or tweet e with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine and be sure to send me your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who like Pretty Pictures? I’m #MexicaninMaine on Etsy and have more art available on Society6. And because it’s actually relevant, check out my Zazzle and Etsy shops for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!
Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!
I know. You’re *welcome.*