This is what six hours to the airport look like.

This is what six hours to the airport look like.

Before blogging and columnist deadlines — I was many things. I was a daughter, a sister, a college student, convinced of the fact that everything was going to be just fine because I knew exactly what I was doing and where I was going.

My official business travel buddy. And no, those are not *my* business cards she's handing out. Girlfriend is networking for her *own* blog.

My official business travel buddy. And no, those are not *my* business cards she’s handing out. Girlfriend is networking for her *own* blog.

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.

Petty sure it's my kid here who introduced me to BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone.

Petty sure it’s my kid here who introduced me to BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone.

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.

I know. She's adorable. I know I love her. I'll remember her name in a minute, I promise.

I know. She’s adorable. I know I love her. I’ll remember her name in a minute, I promise.

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.

This is how you take a bad-ass selfie with youyr kid and Sarah Fader...

This is how you take a bad-ass selfie with your kid and Sarah Fader...

“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.

 

I figure the odds of getting me, Lizzie, and Alicia to stand still long enough for another one of these shots is up there with me remembering what I was doing five minutes ago...

I figure the odds of getting me, Lizzie, and Alicia to stand still long enough for another one of these shots is up there with me remembering what I was doing five minutes ago…

“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.

Just so we are clear, Latinas come in every shade and shape and I'm just gonna shut up because my kid and Alicia's kid are the Spanglish Bobsy Twins.

Just so we are clear, Latinas come in every shade and shape and I’m just gonna shut up because my kid and Alicia’s kid are the Spanglish Bobsy Twins.

“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 wanna be my kid when I grow up...

I wanna be my kid when I grow up…

 “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.

The Real Life of a Freelancer: Too much for an hour-long panel. Throw me a book deal and we may just scratch the surface. I promise to even let other people share their opinions and stuff.

The Real Life of a Freelancer: Too much for an hour-long panel. Throw me a book deal and we may just scratch the surface. I promise to even let other people share their opinions and stuff.

“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?”

“Deal.”

Go Cavs! Only took me and Erin until BlogHer12 to figure out she was a senior when I was a freshman at the same metro Detroit High School.

Go Cavs! Only took me and Erin until BlogHer12 to figure out she was a senior when I was a freshman at the same metro Detroit High School.

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?”

 

Here' your future, Internet. Meet Hala, Princess of Spain, and Aspiring Eliana. You're *Welcome*.

Here’ your future, Internet. Meet Hala, Princess of Spain, and Aspiring Eliana. You’re *Welcome*.

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.

My #multiculti sisters, Ananda and Dwana. Serious love, y'all...

My #multiculti sisters, Ananda and Dwana. Serious love, y’all…

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.

Best quote of the entire conference? Rita Arens speaking on what a book deal does to change your life: "Unless your a dick, it's not changing anything." And this is why Rita gets a Christmas card this year....

Best quote of the entire conference? Rita Arens speaking on what a book deal does to change your life: “Unless your a dick, it’s not changing anything.” And this is why Rita gets a Christmas card this year….

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.

 

It’s Week FIFTEEN on #ChingonaFest Fridays!

Writer’s Block is Real, y’all.Or maybe it’s more Holy Crash and Burn, Batman, but BlogHer14 kicked my ass. My goal is to get the conference recap online sometime before I turn 90, but it’s one step at a time a time until my braincells have regenerated themselves. Please be patient. I wasn’t running at maximum capacity to before I left for an San Jose so this could take a while.

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 purposeLas 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 it does.

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Carol Caine shines in her interview last week, and Elisa Camahort Page rocked her Chingona status just before Carol.  Trust me when I say it’s a must read.

It seems I’ve added Chingona Cheerleader to my soapbox recently (Mostly by accident but I’m running with it anyway). 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 fres in magazines, only with more typos and less airbrushing

Today, #ChingonaFest is going Hollywood. Our featured Chingona, actress Vanessa Vasquez, who plays the role of Camila on the popular East Los High on Hulu. The show, which is the first in English to feature an all-Latino cat, doesn’t shy away from pushing the envelope, either. In fact, Vanessa’s character, Camila, is 1/3 of a lesbian-love triangle.

Exactly. This one has #Chingonafest written ALL OVER IT.

Don’t forget to connect with Vannessa on twitter, intagram, and check out her fan page on Facebook. And now! Time for the interview!

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Photo used with permission.

Photo used with permission.

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanessa Vasquez: Mexican chocolate

PC: Fine then. Maybe I *won’t* get you box for Christmas. Let’s try your avorite book (and why) …

VV: Alchemist – story of our spiritual journeys and having faith in our dreams.

PC: What’s your favorite quote?

VV: Everything happens for a reason.

 PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

VV: Yes, I believe that women should be allowed to freely express themselves with out judgment. I also believe that a woman’s place is wherever the hell she pleases.

PC: To snaps, bitches! Let’s move on to who inspires you?

VV: My grandmother and my mother inspire me. They both taught me to always believe and to work hard for a better life.

 PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

VV: I hope to inspire people that no matter the race or social class you are born into. You can also achieve your dreams if you persist.

PC: You’re damned right, sister. Also? Do you dream in color or black and white?

VV: I dream in color.

PC: Surprisingly boring answer coming from you, Vanessa, but let’s see if you can redeem yourself with the next one. Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

VV: Tu madre ( y la mia) ;) 

 PC: *Falls Over Laughing* It’s like I think it and you *say* it. Where the hell have you been all my life? Answer that later. (We’ve got an interview to finish.) Please share one childhood memory that has stuck with you.

VV:  tripped on a sidewalk when I was 7. I remember saying to myself I will never trip and fall again. From now on I will always pay attention to where I’m going.

 PC: How much do you charge by the hour? My 7-year-old trips over obvious thing, like air and her own feet, pretty much on a daily basis. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

VV: It depends on who I’m with. With my family I think in Spanish. Unless I can’t think of how to say a certain word then it goes to English. So yeah i guess Spanglish.

 PC: My favorite language of all. *sighs happily*  What’s your favorite dish? Why?

VV: My favorite dish is mole de pollo con arroz!!! Mmm I love mole!! My abuelita makes the best.

PC: Do you feel “Latina enough”? 

VV: I honestly didn’t know I was “latina” til I started in entertainment. That’s tough. I can’t define that. I just feel like I’m me. I like to eat tacos, I grew up listening to Selena songs I get loud sometimes. So yea I would say so.

PC: No, I get it. It’s like when my kid didn’t know she was supposed to be afraid of the dark until she read a story about how to not be afraid of the dark. Also? Worst. Picture. Book. EVER. Next Question: 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?

VV: I would want to meet Selena Quintanilla. Honestly her death struck me hard as a child being in the entertainment industry I understand now what people mean when they say she “broke through all of the barriers”. I would like to just talk to her and see her smile again. She inspired me so much as a young Mexican American girl also from Texas. It’s a different lifestyle out there.

PC: I like that. But make sure you get a table for three ‘cuz I’m hanging out for that conversation. What would you order for dessert? I’d totally order ice-cream.  I’m Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

VV: I have sensitive teeth. It just melts in my mouth.

PC: Pretty sure it’s *supposed* to do that. Moving on…. One Latina stereotype you despise?

VV:  That we all look a certain way. Truth is we come in all colors.

 PC: One Latina stereotype you embrace (or is there one?)

VV: I don’t mind the sexy, curvy thing all that much.

PC:  Describe your perfect day.

VV: Yoga, and picnic on the beach with my bae.

 

Screen-Shot-2013-07-11-at-6.09.16-PM-e1375409462117

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Girlfriend needed a reality check…so I gave her one.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

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Just call me Pollyanna…

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!

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

 

Welcome to WEEK 11 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 purposeLas 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 it does.

 

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Juliana Maulanda and *ahem* … I 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’s featured Chingona is ….Lorraine C. Ladish. 

Ladish is a bilingual, published author of 17 books, a mom, and a self-described social media maven. She’s also the sass behind her new site, Viva Fifty.

You can connect with Lorraine on twitter. She doesn’t bite, I promise.

 

And now? It’s time for the interview!

 

 

 

 

 

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Lorraine C. Ladish

Lorraine C. Ladish

 

 

 


 

 

 

Pauline Campos: Favorite book and why?

 

Lorraine C. Ladish: Wuthering Heights. It was one of the first books that I read over and over as a kid and I can still reread and get lost in it. The main character, Kathy, is a rebel, although she does conform for a bit and actually gets sick and dies because of that. I think we all die a little when we conform.

 

 

PC: Thanks for the spoiler there, sweet cheeks. Unless you run into my high school A.P. English teacher. In that case, I *totally* read it. Six times, even. So…What’s your favorite quote?

 

LCL: Just Do It. It’s the way I’ve lived so far, for the most part.

 

 PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

 

LCL: Yes in the sense that I want equal pay, equal laws, equal opportunities for both men and women. But I also love certain differences between the two genders. I enjoy my femininity and I’m a sucker for a gentleman. 

 

PC: I totally get it. Like my 7-year-old said today, if the world was made up of just Mexicans in America, things would get so BOOORING. I didn’t tell her it would probably have a paleta stand on every street corner, but I thought it. Describe yourself in third person…

 

LCL: I can’t do that! I’m too close to the subject.

 

PC: *Note to future Chingonas, Ladish is sneaky. You, however, get to answer all 15* *AHEM* Who inspires you?

 

LCL: My daughters.

 

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

 

LCL: My kids and women who feel they haven’t achieved their full potential. They can do it. Wait, I also want to inspire myself on a bad day! I don’t always feel as great as it may seem on social media.

 

PC: *Nods head* Totally. Trying to have conversations in 140 characters offline is a surefire way to get tossed in a padded room. Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

LCL: Color, vividly, I remember my dreams every morning and most are pretty trippy. The older I get, the more my dreams are about things that happened in the past.

PC: You’re not old. My mom is just really, really young. Also? Everyone reading this is going “She went THERE?” and is wondering if this is going to go to blows. I, however, know you are laughing your ass off. And that’s why I love you. Now…Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

 

LCL: Kick-ass.

 

PC: How do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

 

LCL: Latinas in the media are usually pigeonholed into these ridiculous roles. But this has happened before to other ethnicities and it’s up to us to change that. How? By telling and showing mainstream America what we’re really like.

 

PC: You mean you’ve never seen Jesus in a tortilla, either? Good. I was starting to feel lonely over here. Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

 

LCL: That I’m ok with whatever they do in life as long as it makes them happy and doesn’t hurt them or anyone else.

 

 PC: I like the qualifier there. One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

 

LCL: My dad and my grandfather, always writing. Books on shelves. The sound of the printing press my family had. The smell of fresh ink, and the glue used to bind the books. I come from a family of writers and publishers.

 

PC: And you just adopted me. I’ll be your sassy and slightly eccentric younger sister. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

 

LCL: All of the above. I switch from one to the other easily. I can’t imagine life otherwise. I owe that to my dad.

 

PC: Show-off. *grins* Do you feel “Latina enough”?

 

LCL: I don’t feel I have to justify my languages, ethnicity or background to anyone. Not anymore. When I was younger I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere, being multicultural and bilingual. I certainly did not feel American enough although I’ve always had that nationality and my mom is from Pittsburgh, Pa.  

 

 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?

 

LCL: First of all, I’d drink a beer, straight from the bottle. I’d eat something easy to handle. I remember being an interpreter and having to eat and talk at the same time. I didn’t enjoy that. When I’m sharing good company and conversing, the food takes second place. Perhaps Michelle Obama. We’re the same age, we have two young girls, and I’d just love to chat with her like a friend.

PC: Eventually, someone’ going to say Me. Eventually. Right? But I’ll take FLOTUS for the win. Describe your perfect day.

 

LCL: Get up at 10 without an alarm. Coffee in backyard with the dog. Write. Walk on the beach. Read a book. Short run and workout. Hang out with my kids. Go on a date with my honey. Write some more. Cuddle with the kids. Read a book. Have sex. Sleep whenever I’m tired (maybe 2 am) and back to the beginning. This is not how I spend my days, mind you, but I’d love to!

PC: And that, my friends, is one hell of a perfect day.

 

 

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 6.09.16 PM

 

And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. Girlfriend needed a reality check…so I gave her one.

 

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

 

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ChingonaFest Coffee Mug by ChingonaFest
Find other Chingona T-Shirts at zazzle.com

 

Check out my Zazzle Shop for Sassy #ChingonaFest gear! More designs and products coming soon!

 

Sign up for The Tortilla Press Newsletter!

 

Follow me on Twitter, instagram, and here’s the FB fan page! I know. You’re *welcome.*

 

 

I know how this is going to sound, but life was simpler when my BFF and The Husband were the only ones aware of the blog. I promise you I’m not crying because I seem to have magically fallen into a giant pot of Exactly What I Wanted, because I know how incredibly fortunate I am to have made it here. I’m a columnist. I get paid to give solicited advice and don’t even have to put a bra on to go to work. Sure, it’s hard to separate Life from Everything else– not like when I worked as a newspaper reporter, anyway. My work schedule was unpredictable because murderers like to keep the rest of us guessing, but I could actually tell you what days of the week I was working — and which days of the week I didn’t have to answer to an editor.

It might not be like this for everyone, but life is as crazy and it is beautiful as a freelance writer. The beautiful comes from the aforementioned Bra Optional policy (don’t worry … I maintain a strict Bra Required in Public Situation Policy. It’s kind of  no-brainer with DDD’s.) I’m doing what I have always wanted to do and get to do it when I feel like it. As long as I turn my work into my editors on or before the deadline, no one asks why I waited until the day before it was due to start a piece I had four weeks to write. I get to homeschool my kid, run errands, and take vacation to visit family and friends — all without having to bank vacation time or worry about getting someone to cover my shift.

I have to make up for it, though. If I want to watch a movie with The Husband tomorrow night, I’m going to be hauling ass tonight to make sure I’m as far ahead as I can be to make up for time lost. The same goes for conferences. I know I’m going to be insanely busy with the Social part of the Media world, so I am always trying to get ahead. The problem is…I never really am. At least, not for long. All I need is one week with a sick kid, three deadlines due back to back, and everything goes to hell. That’ when I’m back to where I started.

The crazy, if you can believe it, is an entirely separate (but totally related) category. Also, this is the part where I tell you how I’m Sort of Psychic.

Let’s jump in the Figurative Tardis and it’s 12 or so years ago and a younger me is explaining to a younger The Husband that I’m working on being Reverse Famous. He’s looking at me, confused, and trying to determine in I’m jut crazy, or crazy and cute and making sense. My theory went like this: Blog Publicly and Keep it a Secret Privately.

It was that, or not bothering at all to begin with.

“I’ll know I’m famous when both sides of the family start getting pissy because I’m writing,” I told him. “The icing on the fame cupcake is that they only start paying attention when the rest of the world is already watching.”

To be clear, when I say “writing,” I don’t mean the by-lined pieces on the front page of the local community paper about the latest boyscout to make it to Eagle Scout — in which I always had to mention how few actually earn this honor — because those were the pieces they could be proud of. Those were the stories that got clipped and handed to co-workers. No, I’m not talking about that kind of writing, at all. What I’m referring to, actually, is the kind of writing many would equate with taking random pages of my diary and slapping them up on the internet for the whole world to see.

To you, that’s maybe…weird. At best.

To a non-fiction writer (a memoirist, to use the Fancy Nancy version) it’s called a fucking essay.

The Husband didn’t ask me why I planned on reverse psychology-ing my way into making my dreams happen. But for the purpose of showing and not just telling, let’s pretend he did. Here’s the pretend answer I would have given had he asked what I was smoking and why I wasn’t sharing:

“If I start out writing with their eyes on every word, I’ll censor everything I say. I need to establish my voice first and be confident in where I’m standing before I have to answer to the peanut gallery. Basically,” I said, “The cat has to be out of the bag before anyone who knows me in real life knows I’ve got a cat to begin with.”

And he totally got it. His ten-year-anniversary gift was a switch to a platinum wedding set because I had said I wanted gold before we got engaged (well, what I actually said was I want gold because that’s what my family wears because heaven forbid I think for myself, so it all made sense.) Don’t forget that I come from a very traditional Mexican-American family and my hyphen is shiny new, being first generation, and all. That saying about the village raising the child is less a saying and more of a cultural commandment.

In fact, I’m convinced the Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation, were modeled off of my family. All of my family. The young are raised to think with and as the group does for the good of all. For the uninitiated (or for those with actual lives), the Borg are a fictional alien race made up of beings who’ve been forced into the “hive mind” and turned into partially robotic drones.  In one episode, a young Borg is found wounded by the crew and nursed back to health by Dr. Beverly Crusher. When asked a direct question pertaining to his person and his person only, the Borg answered with “We do not…” or “We will…” until Jordie and Dr. Crusher explained what the first-person singular is, and why individuality is so very important to the human race. The Borg was named Hugh by Jordie. When asked what his name was previously, his response was Three of Five.

I won’t lie. I kind of wanted to hug him, right then and there. And when Hugh made the choice to return to the hive to protect Captain Jean Luke and The Enterprise? You guys? I may have gotten misty. Because — minus the destroying entire races and planets and playing Dr. Fankentstein with the lefotvers — I could totally relate. I once broke up with a sweet boy in high school because he was African-American and Greek (You guess which part was the problem). I lied and said The Husband gave me permission to get an ankle tattoo when I was 28 to stop the criticism and wouldn’tyaknow, it actually worked. (And yes, The Husband thought this was hysterical. He gets sex on the nights he doesn’t pretend that story is a turn on for anyone other than himself.) The Hive is real, y’all. And it’s as lonely and stifling as it is beautiful and complex.

It’s hard to think for oneself, let alone realize that you aren’t, until you wake up one day, disconnected from the Collective. Suddenly, we becomes I and My family wears becomes I prefer.… Eventually, I could never write that turns into Maybe I can allude to… and Okay, I wrote it, but I can never publish it… becomes Fuck it, I just hit publish. Maybe they’ll never see it? Then they do and sometimes it’s okay and other times it’s not and that’s when I realize that I did something right when I started, because I’m pretty sure becoming a porn star and awkwardly steering the Sunday family dinner conversation away from the damnation of my soul is a walk in the park compared to the non-fiction writer’s reality.

Perspective is as complicated as it is simple. You see the glass half empty and I see it half-full but maybe it’s half empty because you already had your fill and I see half-full because it can never be full enough.

To-may-toeTo-mah-toe…yada..yada…yada.

Maybe I’m sharing too much, you think. Maybe I’m making you look bad, you think. Maybe I’m making me look bad. I’m not writing to make dinner conversation awkward. I’m writing to get it going. By sharing my words, I’m putting them out there for those that are searching for them and fully expect those not interested to let them float on by, for the most part, unheard, like a television left on for background noise.

 

Welcome to WEEK 10 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 purposeLas 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 it does.

 

Have you checked out my past #ChingonaFest ladies? Juliana Maulanda and Lisann Valentin 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’s featured Chingona is ….me.

 

Yes, I realize this smacks of All Things Self-Centered and Self-Serving, but if I tell you that it’s my kid’s birthday week and that her party was today and I decided to say Sure, Princess! when she asked for homemade coloring books as her party favor, and that The Husband and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning manning the two-person hole-punch & ribbon line while the cupcakes cooled enough to frost, you’ll understand the reasoning behind turning this week’s Chingonafest into a dual anniversary celebration for my role as Latina Magazine’s #Dimelo advice columnist. You’ll also pretend to not notice I’m posting a regular Friday feature on a Saturday night because, yaknow, Motherhood.  It’s either now or never, which is also why I’m mentioning the Speaking at BlogHer ’14 Thing for the first time on the blog. It’s time-management at it’s finest.

 

My mad self-promotional skillz are mind-boggling, I know.

 

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t buy me a present. I didn’t even know I missed it until LinkedIn started sending me congratulatory notifications from friends with better observational skills than my own. I probably owe myself flowers.

 

After I put out, that is. For now, though, let’s get to that Talking to Myself thing.

 

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Is a caption really necessary?

Is a caption really necessary?

Pauline Campos: Chocolate or vanilla?

Aspiring Mama: Chocolate if it’s a shake. Vanilla if it’s ice-cream.

PC: Neurotic much? Wait, don’t answer that. Describe yourself in third person instead.

AM: Pauline Campos is neurotic, has a weird thing with ice-cream, including the need to chew it even if it’s plain vanilla, and thoroughly enjoys arguing with her DNA over her love of snow-shoeing. She’s also the founder of #chingonafest and ha that column where she tells people what to do on life, sex, and cultural drama topics. to Oh, and her favorite days are the ones where she gets paid to give solicited advice from the comforts of her couch without ever having put a bra on.

PC: Weirdest. Mexican. Ever. It’s like Freaky Friday but with better dialogue. You do realize there’s a poor Swedish guy somewhere trying to figure out why he felt smug about knowing who Ricky Martin was before General Hospital served as his crossover to mainstream, right? No, don’t answer that one, either. Do you dream in color or black and white?

 

AM: Color. I don’t remember most of them, but when I do, it’s all kinds of High-Def in there. Also? Re-read your last question to me. Now who’s the neurotic one? *blinks* Wait, never mind.

 

PC: You see my dilemma, then. Carrying on…Do you feel Latina enough”?

AM: I’m allergic to eggs, dairy, corn, yeast, gluten, and a bunch of other crazy stuff. What do Mexicans eat for breakfast? Whatever we had for dinner last night scrambled with eggs, wrapped in a corn tortilla, and washed down with Cafe con (a fucking-lot of) Leche. This makes me allergic to my childhood and probably the world’s worst Mexican.

Of course I feel Latina enough.

PC: Let’s play word association. I say CHINGONA and you say…?

AM: FEST!

PC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

AM: Only if I don’t have to burn my bra. Triple D’s take precedence over social and political ideals.

PC: I’ll second that. Do you think in English, Spanish, or Spanglish?

AM: I’m English-dominant now, but as a kid I know I wasn’t aware of when I switched between languages. Now? I’m so concerned I’ll pronounce something wrong in Spanish while sober that I think I’d benefit from an AA meeting and a sponsor prior to any events where my Spanish-speaking skills are a requirement. Also? Spanglish is my national language.

PC: Do you chew your ice cream? (Or is that just a Me thing?)

AM: Seriously?

PC: Okay then. Moving on. Favorite book and why…

AM: Right now it’s Rick Najera’s Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood. It’s so much more than an exploration of Latinos and how we are represented in the media. I’ve been recommending it to writing friends of all backgrounds…because it pertains, dammit. And no, I wasn’t paid to say that.

PC: You don’t get paid for a lot of shit on this blog. But following up to your last answer, how do you feel about Latinas and how we are represented in the media?

AM: It’s equal parts a bullshit and wake-up call. I grew up watching telenovelas at my tias house and all the rich and beautiful were portrayed by the blonde and blue-eyed. If you looked like me, you were the help or the poor villager. While that needs to change — because it’s still an issue — we can’t bitch if we think our job is done simply because we complained.

PC: Opinion much? Who inspires you?

AM: Anybody who has the courage to say what they think and stand up for themselves and what they believe in.

PC: Who is it you hope to inspire?

AM: My daughter, Eliana, is my number one. Right now, she is everything I wish I was growing up; feisty, independent, strong-willed, and confident as hell. Everything I say and do comes from that place where motherhood takes us and the realization that my todays are building the foundation for her tomorrows.

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?

 

AM: My dad, I don’t care, I’m allergic, and because I miss him.

 

PC: One childhood memory that has stuck with you…

 

AM: My mom and me sitting on the front porch in the middle of the night during sticky summers without central air. We’d tiptoe outside and talk for hours, ignoring the mosquito bites, while the house slept. I can’t tell you one thing we talked about, but I’ll always remember the laughter.

 

PC: Quick! One takeaway you want your children to hold onto after they’ve grown and flown the nest…

 

AM: That it’s always perfectly acceptable to leave the house in red cowboy boots, a blue tutu, and a super-hero cape, public opinion be damned.

 

 

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And there ya have it. To nominate a Latina for a future #ChingonaFest Friday feature, email me at aspiringmama@gmail.com or tweet me with the hashtag #ChingonaFest. And don’t forget to check out my latest Dimelo Advice column on Latina Magazine. A non-Latina wants to know how to navigate cultural differences with her employees.

Oh! And be sure to send me your questions to dimelo@latina.com.

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