During Hispanic & Latinx Heritage month, clear your mind of self-doubt over cultural identity. Silence the little voice telling you to self edit your personality, your voice, your laughter and actions.
Violet is right. It is truly exhausting to endure living in two different worlds, not feeling accepted by either because of the way you act or don’t act. It’s time to put ourselves first. We are already successful professionals, already compassionate, giving Latinas with a sense of crazy fun and silliness. If acting this way is inappropriate, then again, why would we want to blend into a world that is not these things?Ep. 57 Life Lnxx Podcast
Welcome to the Life Lnxx Podcast. I’m you host, Consuelo Crosby, just like the opener stated. Always grateful to have you join us each Wednesday to share in the thoughts and journeys of our Latina community.
Today’s episode is what we consider our Pod Club episode where we reflect on what we heard in the previous week from our guest interview. Last week we emotionally listened to Violet Canales share her cultural identity struggle and how she rose above to reclaim not only her identity but her determination to build an accepting Latina community. Today, we are diving into that common feeling of many multicultural listeners, who feel that they are living in two worlds, because of their heritage, and not good enough for either of them.
First, let’s start off with some celebration as tomorrow begins Hispanic Heritage Month here in the U.S. And just like most of us Latinas, we don’t arrive on time, so our celebratory month starts on the 15th of September and goes to? Yes, you got it, October 15, which isn’t leaving the party early, it’s just relocating it.
I hear you in the back… Why is it only Hispanic Heritage and not Latinx Heritage Month? That’s a really good question! Well, it is! And that’s all part of the conversation that we are having today.
In 1968, they were doing their best to celebrate the families here that were rooted in Spain, Mexico the Caribbean, Central and South America. In today’s tempo, the encompassing term Latino, in which we are proudly Latinas, resonates the most. We have a more encompassing, more accepting definition of identity than prior generations.
For instance, my mother, from Peru, came to the U.S. in the 50’s proudly proclaiming herself Peruvian. Period. She aligned with Spain because of her father’s mother, her grandmother, came from the Northern regions there. She would correct anyone who asked her if she spoke Spanish. With her deep black eyes, this little woman would lean into them and say “No! I speak Castellano!” So, it was all about the National pride and the pride of the motherland, so to speak.
So when my own daughter was applying to colleges and checking the box, Latina, my mother went berserk. She saw it as slanderous to our heritage and totally off point. We were not Latina. Of course, I also don’t think she understood how the term is used here. How endearing the term and inclusive the term has grown to be. Although, there is still some rippling about being Latina.
This is what we are talking about today as we reflect on what we heard last week when Violet Canales described her exhausting journey to reclaim her Latina identity after a lifetime of being told she was too white and didn’t speak Spanish well enough to be Latina. If you missed the episode you can always find it on any of your favorite streaming platforms as well as our website at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N, Double X for the Latinas. Also on the website we have the episode transcript and the cheat sheet article if you want a heads up about the episode first before diving in.
But we aren’t getting into the definition of Latina, or Latinx, or Hispanic or any other derivative of an amazing worldwide culture. Instead, let’s gather what we know and, like Violet, forge a greater community of acceptance, both as proud Latinas and allies together.
I was really moved to tears during Violet’s interview and again during the editing time because what she was saying just pulled at an emotional scar. Maybe it was the mother in me wanting to protect her. But honestly, it’s that feeling of not fitting in to your own family, your own community and having to put on a mask depending on what group you are in at any given moment. Having to perform to be a certain personality depending on who you are with.
And just like you heard Violet last week, all the emotions come up, all the feels… from sadness to anger to compassion to outright hilarity. All in attempt for one thing: acceptance, acceptance for who you are. Being able to live your truth “to the bone”, as she said about her dad.
Personally, I empathize with what she has experienced. Many women have, regardless of their heritage or identity. This environment can make us feel inadequate, it fractures a sense of belonging and even worse, it pits us against each other.
And yet, even knowling, with my full support, full empathy, wanting to advocate for Violet to live her true self, out loud ( just like I say on this podcast – it’s in the description!), when I was editing her episode. I had a nasty reaction in editing the episode. It was wicked and I was shocked at my own response.
As I was listening to Violet’s story again and trying to pare it down – now mind you, we talked for 2-1/2 hours! You only heard 45 minutes! There is a lot to cut through to keep the story going – but,I felt the need to “protect” her from the same environment that had told her she wasn’t good enough.
In one sense I was cheering her on, “Yes, Violet! That’s exactly the attitude! Go get that, girl!” And then my next thought was “Oh, no. Will someone think less of her if I leave the conversation as is? Will this threaten her professionally? Will someone question what she is saying?”
It was horrible! My reaction, totally influenced by the very environment she wanted out of, was to pare Violet’s emphatic expressions down. To have her come across as “professional” – can you feel the air quotes? Professional, so she would be accepted.
And then I woke up. No! This is exactly the problem we create by having expectations of what professional should sound like, look like, act like. This is the exclusion we create by stripping down our Latinidad to one version of what a Latina should look like and talk like.
In a demanded desire to stand true to who we are and be accepted as our true selves, the tendency is still to acclimate and blend in. And in an era where this is recognized as patriarchal, oppressive and archaic, there is still the split second pause of self doubt that could lead to self-editing, to “code switching”, to taking ourselves of our truth.
All of this is what Violet spoke to last week, in stressing how exhausted she is from enduring this code switching to move up through the system and how she’s drained from living two different lives in two different worlds and feeling it’s still not good enough.
When I asked Violet to review the edited version of the episode, she also had second thoughts about hearing her true self come out in public, loud and clear. We had a flurry of texts back and forth… first confessing that we dared have those thoughts, then apologizing, followed by a No!, no way are we editing each other! And then a whole shred of power, happy emoji’s.
That voice, the voice inside our heads, that’s not ours. It’s our surroundings echoing that we aren’t good enough, we are too loud – I even have had a mother come up to me and said I laughed was too loud and it scared her baby and if I would just hush it down. I wonder what the baby was used to hearing if laughter made it scared?
That voice. That voice is the same voice that creates imposter syndrome, body dissatisfaction, fear, hesitation and ultimately stuck in our comfort zone. By the time we self-edit our own identity and then put it out there in the world, only to be edited again, what is left of our cultural identity? And who are we, but some watered down version of all the people who came before us; all the personalities pulsing in us; all the DNA showering us in love, giving us the power of compassion, gratitude, strength, the ability to rise above? How can we self edit that only to have it edited again?
Thankfully, AOC’s GQ piece came out the same week as Violet. Coincidence? Not a chance! It was affirmation from the universe that powerful, strong women, who are speaking their truth, should never silence themselves. There are plenty of people who will do it for you. Don’t be the first one.
Instead, speak so you will be heard by the people that need you, that fill your soul, that will join you in creating a world where self-editing is unnecessary and individuality is respected and cherished. Living true to yourself is sustainable. It fuels your spirit. Those around you can trust who you are and how they can engage with you. That creates belonging in both directions. It creates the community that is truly accepting of each other and together becomes stronger.
Violet is right. It is truly exhausting to endure living in two different worlds, not feeling accepted by either because of the way you act or don’t act. It’s time to put ourselves first. We are already successful professionals, already compassionate, giving Latinas with a sense of crazy fun and silliness. If acting this way is inappropriate, then again, why would we want to blend in to a world that is not these things?
As a modern society being redesigned by younger generations, how can we create a true sense of belonging so that self-editing doesn’t occur? How do we break professional stereotypes prior to self editing to blend in?
I think it comes down to asking ourselves, why do we blend in to begin with and who are we blending in with?
As Violet said last week, bring forward the gratitude of our heritage. The spontaneous desire to give, to provide comfort and belonging, regardless of social status, homeland or demeanor. We give without expectation. We give because we care. But, we also speak for justice and equity, even within our own community.
Are we hispanic? Yes! Are we Latina? Yes! And it’s our month to shine and show the world our brilliance, our sassiness and our beauty of spirit and mind.
Create the sisterhood that stands united across countries, across languages, and embrace each other in gratitude. Together we are stronger. Together we are accepted. Together we belong.
And, together we can listen to next week’s guest, Jordana Roman, Founder of The Libra Lifestyle, a wellness and modern lifestyle brand for men, women and the 99%. I absolutely love that tagline. Jordana is going to share her inspiration for founding Libra and how it taught her to care for herself so she could help others.
Empathy in the Latina culture is everything! I was honored to meet Jordana in person, not during the interview, but at a gathering of the We All Grow Latina group here in San Francisco. Now they are worldwide but the San Francisco group gratefully got together. A big shout out to that organization for giving us the chance to meet and amplify the Latina voice.
You can find the links to everyone mentioned here today in the show notes of this episode on your favorite streaming platform, as well as the transcripts and articles found on our website at TheLnxx.com, that’s L N Double X.
Thank you to all the listeners who subscribed last week and gave me such a boost of love and confidence. You loved Violet, but I’m going to ride on her coattails. Hopefully that doesn’t tire her out more.
Subscribing is easy but it is a little different on each platform so check it out on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, whatever your favorite is and while you’re there, could you please leave a review so we can focus in on what you’d like to learn in listening to us?
And there’s always our social media @LifeLnxx, where you get some hints at what’s ahead, inspiration from what we’ve heard and some of my quirky lifestyle thrown in for more entertainment.
Happy Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month! Start it off in style. Take up space! Join together across all the Latinidad and our allies.
It’s time to start the party!
Step into your truth, ladies!