Latinas are known for their passion, strength, and spirit. We are born fighters. We come from a long line of strong women that silently endure their own struggles to give us a better life. In some ways, the baton has been passed to our generation, but there’s no need to fear. You have others rooting for you.
Modern life is becoming increasingly challenging, as we take on additional responsibilities at home and work. Balancing everything we need to accomplish in a day, week, or a year is a juggling act difficult to master, leaving a lot of us in a scuffle with ourselves.
Latinas are groomed to be the “Jefa in Charge” but also play the good wife. It is difficult managing a home, relationship, family, and career without leaving yourself by the wayside. Oftentimes, sacrifices made will involve the woman cutting out her needs to make it work. This has the potential to create a vortex of resentment, quiet despair, and exhaustion that leads to a lonely place in our mind. Although it can feel like you are the only one, I can tell you, it isn’t true.
I watched my mother give up something she loved to meet other people’s expectations of what a wife and mother is supposed to be. She stopped going to nursing school and did so selflessly, not for others but her children. For years, she struggled to find her identity, placing the entire focus on the roles of mother and wife instead. Decades ago, she did not have a circle of support that included women who challenged the status quo. Going along with a mainstream lifestyle was the only way since making waves could leave a woman out in the cold.
My aunt was a single mother for a long time. Her struggles were different from my mother’s but in no way easier. Raising two boys and girls on her own had its share of hardship, and somehow, she smiled her way through it. A bit of a black sheep, she did not quite fit the mold of a typical woman of her time. She may have well been ahead of it. She was anything but conventional. My mother, as a good sister, supported her in any way possible. The siblings were there for one another, as women should in good and bad times.
Growing up in an entirely different time offered me unimaginable advantages. Divorce is emotionally draining. When mine came, my Latina troops rallied around me. The comfort, guidance, and support provided was invaluable to me, as a woman and human being. Honestly, I cannot imagine surviving the pain without the love of the women surrounding me during the life-changing event.
Latinas are natural-born nurturers, placing others’ needs ahead of our own. Our struggles as women are different from men’s. The instinct to protect, love, and give is stronger than anything, which sometimes gets us into trouble. The demands of the world we live in can make it challenging to stay focused.
Losing ourselves is not unheard of, but somehow there is still the fight to keep a piece of who we are intact. We have complicated relationships with our culture, as we look to hold on to the fragments that best fit our modern lives. Getting the right parts of the traditional while keeping up to date with current times is taxing. Keeping our independence and identity in the midst of playing mother and wife, girlfriend, daughter, or sister creates all types of pressures that can bring us to our knees in moments.
If you are living in a quiet daydream waiting for the struggles to dissipate, know that they will not vanish on their own. You have to push back on the things that bring you unhappiness or discontent. We live in troubling times that force us to raise voices to the things we don’t want for ourselves. Whatever you are grappling with today, you are not alone. We are all having some sort of tug of war, wrestling with financial, personal, or emotional conflict.
Don’t be deceived by the photos on social media or elsewhere. These don’t always speak the whole truth. It can be hard to see the positive when there is so much negative energy swirling around the environment we are living today. Falling prey to the sounds of darkness may seem easier than taking on the immense work required to push off the things that do not serve you, but YOU are worth the fight! If you are ready to take back your life, there are two weapons imperative for you to take with you to battle.
First, know you are the only one that can make this happen. Life is filled with struggles that come in waves. Inevitably, every one of us is going to face adversity but caving into it is not an option. We are born with the spirit of a warrior. You are here because of a strong woman; now, it’s your turn to show courage. You are built to muddle through the hard times. It’s okay to take pause, strategize, breathe! But never lose your passion for life or give up on yourself.
Second, we are rooting for you. Millions of women are supporting each other in different ways, most of them you may never meet, but they are paving the way for you to take place in the success line. Women everywhere are creating opportunities, counseling, donating, giving back to their communities, supporting causes that benefit others, writing, fighting, and bringing awareness about issues that affect all of us.
If you look around, there are plenty speaking up about their own struggles to save others. When you begin to look closely, you may see those that make an impact with acts of kindness and compassion. The invisible hem of support among us gets stronger with every one of our struggles.
Strength in numbers, there is a majority of women cheering each other on daily. Although these may not be the ones singled out in public for their work, we exist. We live in a time of uncertainty, where the only sure thing is that struggles will hit our front yard. The most effective way to cope is to confront reality and find comfort that you are not alone in life’s struggles. We are all in this lifeboat together.