Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

     They say it takes a village to raise a child and as I have grown up I have come to see that this more than just a cliche, at least for me. Because my mom was a single parent for the first eight years of my life, she had the job of making sure I was taken care of when she was home and when she wasn't. This turned out to be a great thing however because it meant I was raised by my mom, my grandma and my aunt, my own mini village of strong women who also happened to be Hispanic. Looking back at my childhood, then teenage years and now my young adult life I appreciate how lucky I am to have these amazing ladies to guide me as I find my own way and that I look up to them the most. 

      One of the reasons I look up to them is because they taught me to hold my head up high. I remember my aunt telling me that even if I'm afraid or nervous about something I should face the world head on and try to do it with a smile. I've learned that this is good advice, especially about smiling; sometimes a smile is all it takes to break the ice in a new situation, or stand out among the crowd and make a good first impression. Not only that, but it makes you seem more confident--which helps you actually be more confident and proud of who you are.

     Another reason I look up to my mom, grandma and aunt is because they taught me to believe in life and myself. My grandma has a little "saying" for almost every situation, which can sometimes be funny, confusing or even exasperating if I don't quite understand to meaning the first time. For example when I told her I was stressed about finding a job to save up some extra money for graduate school, she told me that money was jealous. (Huh?) What she meant was that the more you focus on saving and penny pinching, the more desperate you seem to potential employers and the less likely they will see what you actually have to offer; which means no money will come in, kind of like being jealous of a friend or boyfriend. In other words, if you work hard and do your best at achieving a goal, then let things run their course from there, everything will turn out just fine.

     There are many other reasons I look up to these three women, but I will share one more: how they taught me to follow my dreams. From my veterinarian phase, to my lawyer phase, to my final choice of writer/teacher, my mom has always supported my decisions and helped me figure out how to accomplish them, without trying to control my choices. Not only has this been good for me, but it has taught me to be more understanding in general, because after all if you are doing something you hate, how happy will you really be in the long run? I know that if I ever have children of my own I will be there for them when they need me, help them when they ask and let them spread their wings so that they will be satisfied that they set the right goals for themselves and by themselves.
      In short, looking back at my mini village I realize I have many faces to look up to; and I am proud of every one.



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