The images of female friendships we often see in media would portray that women are out to get each other, that women hate each other passionately and passively, that women are competition for male attention.
What I have experienced cannot be further from the truth.
Female friendships are forces to be reckoned with, here’s why.
The dream launcher friend:
Every time I had an idea whether it was starting a blog, whether it was applying for a different job, or moving to a different city there was a female friend there to say do it! This is the friend that you can share your dreams with and nothing is too crazy, too far fetched, too out of reach that you cannot do with this friend by your side. When you succeed, they succeed and both of you are there for the losses and to celebrate the wins.
The partner in crime friend:
Because female friendships are ride or die, your friend that is riding along can convince you to do just about anything and vice versa. This has led to international adventures, road trips through Arizona deserts, late nights dancing, and stranger than fiction moments in my life. You’re not sure of where the journey leads but you cannot imagine better company.
The mirror friend:
There have also been times in my life where I was so caught up in a relationship, a toxic work environment, or other situation that I could not see it clearly for myself. These are the moments when you need a friend to hold up a mirror to your life and help you to make the situation right, whether it means walking away, letting go or simply slowing down. This friend can help us see the error of our ways, reaffirm our identity, and help us to stand in our truth. Without this mirror, our vision becomes myopic, we run the risk of going through life without the reflection we need to be our best selves.
The second mom:
Do not get it twisted. I love my mom! And yet, there are women in my life that have stepped in for me at work, in life and seen me fall and helped me to dust myself off, tell me its going to be ok and helped me hold my head up high. Without these women in my life, I would have taken failure to heart and lost faith in myself and my potential. We need intergenerational friendships to glean from their wisdom and see our lives from a different point of that has been there and done that, and come out on the other side triumphantly.
If this year has taught me anything is that we are wired for connection. May we continue to nurture our friendships and be good friends to others. Who did you think about when you read this post? Reach out, be available, and know it’s also never too late to make a new friend.
I am convinced that in times of uncertainty our true colors come to bear.
Who we are at our core bubbles up to the surface, nationally, as a community and individually.
Nationally, essential service workers who are predominantly people of color continue to show up to work as farm workers, as restaurant workers, as grocery store employees, as shelter workers. Now more than ever, as a nation we need to reevaluate our priorities and ensure that workers that we consider essential to our nation are treated with dignity and respect. A living wage, health care, habitable housing, a path to legalization this is how we show essential workers that we truly value their contributions to our society.
In community, Latino led nonprofits are showing up for each other by providing groceries to seniors, providing masks to farmworkers, addressing income loss for undocumented workers. Learn more about these efforts and how to support them by clicking on links below. Latinos in SF are partnering with the University of California San Francisco to understand how COVID 19 is impacting the health and livelihood of those in the Mission. When we rally to show love instead of shrinking back in fear, we are building resilience in our communities to comes back stronger.
Individually, it can be all too easy to feel overwhelmed, to experience this time as forced isolation breeding anxiety particularly about the future. What it would it look like if we each took this time to reflect on what we matters to us, what is really most important to us and came out of this time with a renewed commitment to the people and dreams that drive us. Let us continue to do good and hope for better days ahead.
Love not Fear fund:
Mission District COVID19 Testing
By: Elisabet Medina
If I were to describe Italy in two words it would be kindness and beauty. Traveling part of the time alone, I encountered so many people that incredibly kind. Even the smallest gestures of telling me where I could catch a certain bus, or taking me out for a drink; left me feeling incredibly cared for. There is something about traveling alone that attracts others to sit with you, hear your story and share theirs. The kindness I experienced filled my heart and in many ways reminded me that kind people exist. Trauma teaches us not to trust people, to put walls up, to have people prove themselves before we let our guard down. Kindness is disarming, like an Italian grandmother that gives you a hug as she gets off the bus.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed says to “Put yourself in the way of beauty”. This is exactly what I did when I went to Italy. Everything from its picturesque windows with flower boxes to its Easter egg colored coastal communities makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a painting. And speaking of paintings, I felt like a kid in a candy store ogling The Birth of Venus and Primavera. The Sistine chapel took my breath away and the Cathedrals in Venice and Milan left me in awe. One of my favorites was hearing the origin story of Michael Angelo’s David. Michael Angelo was convinced that there was a man in the marble that he had to let out. A flawed, discarded block of marble that had been the “headache of Florence” became the priceless work of art treasured by people around the world. It reminded me that even when I feel flawed or overlooked, I am still being shaped. I am a work in progress, I am not finished yet, and I too am beautiful.
Racing thoughts about tomorrow’s presentation, what I am going to say, how I’m going to address questions, rehearsing in my mind that should be on its first REM cycle of sleep by now. 3 am, I try to not to look at the clock on a sleeplessness night because then I start to worry about not being able to function tomorrow on so little sleep. I think about each meeting I have to go to, draft e-mails in my mind while I should be dreaming. And some nights when I do dream there are meetings happening in my living room. By the time morning comes there’s no desire to get out of bed, but somehow I do.
Just going through the motions putting one foot in front of the other. Standing on the train, packed in hot air and shuffling bodies. I can feel the tension in my neck as I sift through the pile of emails each demanding response, a decision to be made or a problem to solve. The avalanche, that even my eyes strained to see through, in the white light of the screen. I literally feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders, pressure and tensions that climb up my neck and like to sit cross-legged on top of my head.
How are you doing? Fine, good, ok these are autopilot responses which don’t require to delve into how I am really doing. There are times when I can’t tell if the other person genuinely wants to know or if they are also on autopilot. The reality is, there are days when I have no idea how I’m feeling because I’m so caught up in the next thing to do. I feel like a human doing instead of a human being. Even my spiritual practices become another task instead of connecting to God who I know loves me.
This is burn out, when you have laid it out all out, when you have nothing left to give, when your Mind, Body and Spirit feel like distant relatives. Recognizing and acknowledging the burn out is half the battle, instead of pretending everything is ok even to myself. Now the real work begins to bring back the disjointed pieces of myself and nurture them back to health; gingerly, patiently and with grace. Now its time to let go of the expectations and release myself from the higher and than high expectations that I have set up. Time to recover, even if for a brief moment from the traumas I have bared witness to.
Time to Rest.
Growing up in church, I heard it repeated over and over that Jesus loves me, died for my sins and redeemed me in this act.
Yet, there’s more to Jesus life than a path to personal salvation. There’s the Jesus we never talk about.
The Jesus who crosses racial lines:
In his interactions with the Samaritan woman at the well. Jews and Samaritans were not to interact because they were different. Jesus did not let these societal issues stop him from showing grace to someone society had rejected.
The Jesus who empowered women:
Jesus elevated women, appeared first to women after the resurrection, and discipled women. Mary sat at his feet and listened to his teaching.
The Jesus who spoke truth to those in power:
Whether it was turning over tables in the table or calling the Pharisees a brood of vipers. Jesus was not shy nor sought political correctness in calling out oppression and exploitation.
The Jesus who spent time with people with sex workers: he ate with them, spent time with them and said they would enter the kingdom of heaven ahead of the religious leaders.
The Jesus showed mercy to the stranger: A Canaanite woman had approached Jesus seeking healing for her daughter. Jesus saw her faith and showed mercy regardless that her people were not his people.
This is the Jesus I want to talk about, the one I follow and hope to be more like each day.
Why do they call it ghosting?
Is it because, they appear in moments unexpected?
Like seeing an event that is coming up and remembering that it was there when we first met listening to Mariachi music.
Remember how I showed up to tell you that it wasn’t going to work out but still had four whiskeys each and kissed like we didn’t care that this was going nowhere.
Remembering the last time I was at a wine bar and how it was the best conversation I had in a long time.
Not trying to get too close to someone because you’re not sure when they are going to leave or when you will leave.
lets be friends when we both know we are not even Facebook friends.
wondering if I already told you this story or was it someone else?
Cooking his favorite dish and feeling like I’m cheating even though it’s been years.
hearing a song and instantly feeling like we are slow dancing.
I wonder if I am someone else’s ghost and if I haunt their thoughts too.
I wonder if they wonder what could have been.
The years feel like fragments, with memories divvied up, a piece for you, a summer with them, and a piece I’m saving for the future.
Not that I would have it any other way. Because what is, is what was supposed to happen. There’s no right way to fall in love.
There’s only the decisions we make and those we don’t. There’s the things we can live with and those that linger because we wouldn't.
The consolation of the ghosted and those that do the ghosting is that we get to make mistakes and fumble our way through.
Our mistakes do not make us any less deserving of love nor does rejection make anyone unworthy. We are infinitely loved no matter what.
Where does it hurt?
It hurts in Gilroy.
Where does it hurt?
It hurts in El Paso
Where does it hurt?
It hurts in Mississippi.
These past few weeks have been a tidal wave of emotions ranging from sadness to anger to hopelessness. Every day a new tragedy meets us with the blare of another headline, the chatter of news commentaries and the slew of social media posts. There seems to be no rest for the weary. In the midst of all this tragedy; there is a part of me that yearns for resilience and healing.
There are moms who are committing acts of bravery simply by taking their kids back to school shopping.
Communities that are courageous in still holding the events that are cherished traditions.
Children that keep going even after their parents have been deported. Young adults going to college, the first in their family to do so.
These are challenging and painful times. There is no denying the pain, no pretending that its not there.
Where we find healing is in each other, in love, in family and community.
I find hope when I see young girls celebrating their quinceañera. I find hope when I see young Latinos graduating from college.
I find hope in activism and seeing women run office and abuelos voting for the first time.
The temptation is to shrink back in fear to allow these events to have power over our community.
The fact is we are shaped by our dreams as much as we are our setbacks.
I am shaped by the dreams of my mother, and the prayers of the grandmother; they have brought wholeness in my life where society deemed I was lacking. Love is the pumada, (the salve) that our wounds need right now.
May we each be brave enough to love ourselves and love one another in a time of hate.
By Elisabet Medina
Daddy I want McDonald’s, Dad would say “hay frijoles en la casa, there’s beans at home”.
Daddy can I go to my friends birthday? Dad would say
“Preguntale a tu mami, ask your mom”.
Dad’s hands are always rough and the only time I’ve seen him dressed up is to go to church, weddings or funerals.
As as a teen if I said, daddy I love you, he would say back, “cuanto quieres?/how much?”. I would ask for $20 then negotiate down.
My Dad collects things-vacuums, blenders, printers. Anytime I need anything chances are he has two stashed away somewhere.
Latino dad’s also have a need to give you a knife so you can defend yourself.
And every time I come home, he can’t resist asking me if I have a boyfriend.
My dad’s hands are rough, he says the most random things. He is a thinker and cares about people in the smallest and biggest ways.
When I was a kid I wanted the dad who would play tea party like I saw in Full House. Instead my dad would take me to Home Depot and the DMV.
What I got was a dad who would work night shifts so he could pick me up from school. What I got was a dad who showed up for the award ceremonies and helped me with Math and told me not to give up even though it was hard.
I got the Dad who said I love you a handful of times but showed it with every homemade pineapple empanada.
Being a sensitive person what I craved was sensitivity and to be understood. What I received was sacrifice and endless acts of service. My dad and I certainly have disagreed and butted heads mostly because we are cut from the same cloth.
Yet now I can look back and see I was most blessed to have the Dad I did. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
By Elisabet Medina for Lucy Medina
1. Ponte un suéter va hacer frío. [Put on a sweater it will get cold]
2. Sana sana colita de rana, pon un huevito para ir mañana [heal heal frogs tail, and lay an egg for tomorrow]
This was said every time I scraped my knee, as she would clean it and put a bandaid on it.
3. Eres campeona para dormir [You are the champion of sleeping in]
Usually said on a Saturday morning, because it was time to start cleaning!!
4. Los marranitos ya están en la cama. [the little pigs are already sleeping]
The song she would sing to me as a kid before I would fall asleep.
5. Para dónde vas? [Where are you going?]
Usually the beginning of the interrogation of where I was going, who I was going with, what time will I be home.
6. Para que si aquí tienes cama? [Why, if you already have a bed here?]
Anytime I would ask to spend the night at a friends house the answer was always the same. Why sleep over someone else’s house you have a bed here. Who can argue with this logic? I sure couldn’t.
7. Porque pagas cellular si no lo contestas? [Why do you pay for a cell phone if you don’t answer it]
Followed by my mom saying its been over a week since our last conversation and she assumed I was dead.
8. No le digas a tu papa. [Don’t tell your dad]
Also works in the reverse with dad telling me not to tell mom. Both responded this way when I showed them my tattoo.
Later I find out, they tell each other everything; this is counterproductive.
9. Dios te bendiga y te guarde [May God bless you and keep you]
I am sure my mom has prayed for me more than any other human being on this planet.
I have to believe that God hears her prayers because in spite of everything I am still here!
10. Te quiero mucho [I love you a lot]
Most of the time accompanied by a cat sticker or emoji, she always knows how to make me feel special.
Our relationships with our moms are complicated, each one of kind. Everyday I find myself turning into my mom, especially with the things she says.
And if I am even half the person she is, I think I am going to be alright.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Latina moms.
By: Elisabet Medina
I first heard the term relational self-awareness on the podcast dateable. Dr. Alexandra Solomon is a professor at Northwestern University and teaches a course called Marriage 101 describes it this way:
”The cornerstone of a happy and healthy intimate relationship is self-awareness. Real love starts with you. Understanding who you are and what you “bring to the table” lays the foundation for loving someone else. Why? Because building an intimate relationship is like shaking a snow globe. Stuff gets stirred up in you—stuff you didn’t know existed, stuff that has been lying dormant for years, stuff you really would rather ignore than look at. But your willing to turn your attention inward and acknowledge the snowflakes that are swirling inside is what creates an amazing intimate relationship. A relationship that is safe enough and strong enough to weather the (snow) storms.” www.dralexandrasolomon.com/
Listening to this podcast episode completely encapsulated what I had been learning and experiencing for myself. Our relationships- romantic, professional and friendships need to be rooted in reflection and intentionality in order to weather conflict. Often I ask myself am I reacting to what this person said or did, or did this person’s words and actions conjure up something my past or present which compounds my reaction.
Love requires a rootedness in ones self and identity honoring of our own emotions, experiences and journey. Only when we hold space for ourselves and honor that can we also fully see another person and hold space for them too. The deepest most meaningful relationships that I have in my life are with people that allow me to myself without judgement. Relationships where I feel seen and heard and can be a container for the emotions I show up, both unspeakable joy and heart wrenching pain. And I show up in the same way for them. We get to be ourselves, we get to be accepted and we get to be loved.