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Latinitas Hot Topic: Machismo in My Life

I feel very blessed in this area in most ways. My parents always encouraged me to do well in school and encourage me to pursue my dreams and a career that I will love. They let me play sports like soccer, tennis, softball, instead of the dance and gymnastics that I know my mom would rather have me do. They let me climb trees and let my braids out when I was playing. (I still had to endure the comments of my mother saying that it wasn't lady-like, but I was never in trouble for it.)

That said, there were some things I could not do. I remember when I turned 7, I wanted to be able to go across the street by myself to get the mail, because that's when my older brother could. However, I was told that because I was girl, I had to wait a little while longer. That's the first time that I heard either of my parents say that, but it wouldn't be the last. Over the years, I discovered that I couldn't get a curfew extension like my brother did when he turned 17. I couldn't go on a camping trip with my friend's family when I was 15, when my brother went to Hawaii with his friend's family. I could never spend the night at a non-family members house. I couldn't drive to Santa Monica (about an hour and a half drive from my house) in my car without my parents. All this because I was a girl.

While this all bummed me out, I realize now that these experiences only fueled my drive, my desire to succeed and to show my parents and my brothers that even though I am a girl, I can do it all, and better even.

Since moving to El Paso, I almost feel like I'm back in the same situation in some ways. People have told me that they have a hard placing me. That I don't think like they expect. I even once had a male co-worker tell me that he would hate to have a wife like me because I'm too smart, opinionated, and too willful. I took it as the greatest compliment I've ever gotten. I believe that a marriage is not supposed to be one sided. That the man doesn't have to be the decision maker, the boss, the one that wears the pants. It should be a partnership. Where there is a mutual respect between spouses. I don't know why, but that almost seems to be a strange concept to some.

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