For years, Shakira has let us in on a portion of her fragility. Her songs usually have two extremes. Some of her songs depict cruel moments fueled by heartbreak while others speak about the innocence and excitement of pure love.
Throughout her years as an entertainer, she’s not been one to speak to the public as candidly as she’s done recently. At least, not when it comes to her true feelings.
This was the case during her latest interview – which took place on Televisa – where she spoke about her split with Gerard Piqué. Though there’s been a lot of speculation around the last four songs she’s released, it is evident that what we collectively are witnessing is a woman in pain.
Yet, she’s also using this moment to showcase the strength in vulnerability, which is the core of healing.
During the interview, she said, in Spanish, how she had bought into the story that a man needs a woman to be complete.
“I had this dream of having a family, and my children would have a mom and a dad under the same roof.”
This expectation is not new, especially not to Latinas. From a young age, many of us are taught that our lives will eventually revolve around a man. In turn, you will cultivate the perfect little family, meaning children should also be part of the picture.
I remember being taught how it was important to greet the future (yet very much so imaginary) husband the “right way.” For some reason, their “house shoes” should be readily accessible, food must be ready, and the house had to be spotless. It sounded like a job to me. (A job I never wanted to apply for.)
There is nothing wrong with caring for your partner. But it can distort your perception of what is right and what is wrong.
“I also fell for this fable that a woman needs a man, because I’ve also always been quite emotionally dependent on men, I have to admit,” Shakira continued. “I’ve been in love with love and I think now, I’ve managed to understand this story from another perspective and understand that I myself am enough.”
When an idea is so strongly instilled into our minds, it’s difficult to see the light from the other end. In the past, a lot (but not all) of Latina’s emotional well-being relies on validation from a man. Whether it’s their father, their religious leader, or their future husband, this feeling of wanting to be lauded for their “good work” was constantly present. Thankfully, more Latinas are now being raised with lessons tied to self-worth.
Beyond the fairy tale
But being raised on that mentality is problematic and – oftentimes – dangerous. Not everyone’s reality is the same and some of the tasks asked of Latinas are not possible for all of us. This can cause a lot of heartaches and impact many women’s self-esteem. And this is problematic.
Marriage is not for everyone.
Long gone are the days when self-worth was solidified by a marriage license. Nowadays, unconventional methods of expressing love are more and more accepted. This includes “living in sin,” (please note the sarcasm), which is living with your significant other without being wedded.
Starting a family is not always part of the path.
There are many factors why people don’t start a family. For starters, some people biologically can’t conceive – and there’s nothing wrong with this. However, having the expectation that children will complete your family and gain validation from your partner can be a lot to handle. For others, being child-free is a choice, which is also a valid choice.
Expectations tied to others tend to cause harm to someone’s self-esteem.
There’s no way we can truly live our lives to the fullest if we depend on the approval of someone else. We can, of course, want to make others happy, but our happiness is also important. In fact, making someone else happy while you’re unhappy yourself is a difficult feat. This is why a lot of introspection is important. It is vital we collectively heal and remind ourselves that our mental stability and perception of self-worth should never be tied to anyone.
Being raised with the expectation to cater to a man has the tendency of blurring priorities. Perhaps, a lot of our inter-generational issues are founded on this expectation. And that’s also a problem.
Acceptance is key.
The way we envision life doesn’t always pan out the way we’d hope, but that’s not the end of the world. There are so many things we can contribute to the world. Think of the amazing Latina pioneers, business owners, and innovators that surround us. You, too, can be someone great. If not on a global scale, at a local level, or at your circle’s level.
Unfortunately, trying to adhere to societal expectations may cause some women to develop anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions that can lead to the worst.
Still, it is crucial you remember that you are more than the feelings that consume you due to unrequited love or not receiving the validation you yearn for. So.much.more.
“Not all dreams come true in life, but life finds a way to make up for it,” Shakira is heard saying during the interview. And we can’t agree more with this.
Shakira’s interview can be streamed on Vix Plus.