About 3 yeas ago, I had the opportunity to hear Sandra Cisneros speak at Latism. She had mentioned how we needed to embrace our Chingona-ness. Before that I had heard her speak in an HBO special. Her words resonated with me and this was long before I became a leather maker. I was and have always been a writer. An outcast among my extended family and a little weird as my mom still tells me. A little weird, a little defiant (well more than a little), and my own person.
After, I heard her speak at LATISM12, I started really trying to focus on what I was doing and what I wanted. Life got in the way but leather crafting became a way for me to explore my culture. Um..at first…,my designs were really, really pink. I think I was still trying to find my way. It took awhile to define my style.
For years, I was a Chingona and I strode against the norm. It wasn’t until my marriage sort of unraveled that I realized I had lost that woman.
I lost the courageous woman who stood up for what she believed in, who spoke her mind, and who was fearless. Between motherhood and wifedom, I had become a shell of my former self and it wasn’t until my daughter said to me “That daddies are the ones who work” was that I had failed.
I had become someone else and although I love being home with my children. I also miss being a part of something larger than myself. I missed being independent.
I was reading a friend’s timeline and saw a quote from Pauline Campos (Dimelo and Aspiring Mama). It was about how speaking Spanish does not define our culture. We instantly connected and I have been an avid fan. When she came out and wrote ” How to raise a Chingona.“, I knew we would be friends. Then came the comments and discussions about whether Chingona was a positive or a negative word.
To me and where I grew up it was always “Badass Chick” but sometimes it meant “You thought too highly of yourself”. Well, hell yeah, we should think highly of ourselves. I commented, she replied..and the rest is Chingona history. I participated in our weekly Twitter Chats where we met other like minded, strong Chingonas and Chingons. Follow along at #chingonafest.
Although when I think about us getting together IRL, this country song pops into my head:
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Hey, I am Texan remember so Tejano Music and Country Music sort of collide in my veins.
As I said before, I had to rebuild myself now that I am single again. I had to build something for my children. I have to be a Chingona for my two daughters.
We are all Chingonas. Each one of us on a different path towards our own acceptance.When we speak our minds without fear of repercussions, when we write with all our corazon, and when we love and build each other up is when we know we have arrived.
Till then we fight for every ounce and step. Together, we will rise to the top. I will wear Chingona proudly and not like a crimson bade of dishonor.
I designed this cuff shortly after I connected with Pauline and #chingonafest. I modeled it after my Rebel Cuff and thus this beauty was born. You can get your very own cuff at my etsy store.