Primer Dia of the Rest of Mi Vida

11196346_1086745594672421_200964261763663895_nHola mundo!

            Today, we’re going to talk about el futuro. With my finals looming around the corner and graduation only 14 days away, I can only sit here and stare at my screen.

As the first person in my family to graduate from a university, I can only feel pride. Estoy orgullosa de yo misma.

Real talk. Now this isn’t me being conceited. I know a lot of people who didn’t step one foot into a school and lead a fulfilling and happy life.

This is me saying that if you want to accomplish something, you need to work for it, and above all, do what’s best for you. Viva tu vida. If you want to be a doctor by all means save the world, but if you want to build seven-layer cakes for brides for their wedding day and that makes you happy – GO FOR IT! You only have one life to live (as many songs like to remind us) so go live it; Don’t live it for your parents, or your siblings, or your friends or even because of the perfect life that you imagined you would have one day.

We all change with time, meaning that our choices change all the time as well. Where I thought I’d be 5 years ago is not where I am right now and I couldn’t be more thankful. Le doy gracias a todo lo que me a pasado.

            I’m writing to you all. My Latin sisters and brothers, my friends and family – to those who read my blogs for advice or a quick laugh. To those who made me who I am today. Gracias. Because of you all, I was able to make a change. It may have been small. It may have gone unnoticed, but I did something I wanted to do. I was able to show everyone my perspective and for a split second make people understand not the struggles of one person, but what many people go through on a daily basis. Regardless of where we all end up years from, we will all know, I was here, you were here and we lived according to our own rules.

 

 

 

On A Side Note

10940407_999820043364977_255331064851689964_nI’m the shit and I know it.

As a child I always said what I wanted to say regardless of the consequences it brought. No me importaba. For some this translated into having confidence; however, it wasn’t until freshmen year of high school that I realized that I had actually been using the facade that others had created for me to cover up the fact that my self-esteem had dropped to an all time low. Olvide quien era. I often found myself thinking that there had to be something wrong with me and that every time someone saw me they knew it too.

Now I realize that these notions were all in my head, but as a 14-year-old, my life was crumbling. I didn’t know how to stop what I was feeling. My friends seemed so confident. I felt that they wouldn’t know how I felt. My own parents would tell me to suck it up. I had no one to confide in and no where to look for help.

Now as a 22-year-old university student who’s about to graduate, I’ve learned many things. I’ve overcome obstacles that some can relate to and some that are new to you. I’ve come to a point in my life where I can understand that who I am today is because of the lows and highs that I’ve been though in the last few years. I’ve learned to become a master of my own confidence.

I never had anyone to talk to, but now I can pass what I’ve learned to the new generation. The following steps have allowed me to understand myself in ways that were foreign and almost impossible to 14-year-old me, but have now inspired me to be so much more. Ahora se quien soy.

1. Reflect on Strengths and Faults 
First, things first. Understand that you do not have to be perfect. No tienes que ser perfecta. Write down a list of five faults that you believe you have as well as five strengths (if you need help, ask friends what they think). Now throw the faults away! Knowing that you have them is important, but realizing that they don’t define you is what really matters.

2. Believe in Yourself
Be comfortable in your own skin, whether you’re short or tall or fat or thin. We all come in different shapes and sizes; our differences are what make us great. It’s not what we look like that makes us ugly, it’s how we act and carry ourselves so stand up and stand tall because you’re the best when you’re just being you.

3. Trust Your Mind and Heart
Too many times I’ve heard stories where we become torn between our hearts’ wants and our heads’ thoughts. Do I look good in this? Should I be with him? Should I get a new job? What should I do now? You know who you are. You know what you like and you know what you dislike. You know your strengths and you know your weaknesses. Don’t get overwhelmed with you choices; do what is best for you.

4. Live Your Life
Your life is just that, your life. I’ve seen many people capture by the lives of those around them whether it be by the actions of their friends or of celebrities or of complete strangers or even of novellas! Stop living your life vicariously through others. You weren’t made to be a wallflower. Go out. Have fun. Use everything you’ve learned and make some great memories. No tengas pelos en la lengua.

5. Grow
You have to remember true confidence is not something that appears overnight or after drinking huge amounts of liquid courage. Confidence is something you have to maintain and work on over time. If you ever fall into a slump, that’s okay because it’s not the fall that matters, but the knowledge you attain after and how you use it to rise again.

WARNING: There is a difference between being confident and being cocky. If you have to put someone down, use their weaknesses against them or lie about your strengths, I suggest you re-do the steps from #1.

TIP: Surround yourself with people who affect you in a positive way and make you want to do better.

Spanish, Lenguaje del Amor

riverak_project2Being bilingüe has always been a huge part of my life.

As a child I always found myself being asked for all the “bad words”. Knowing another language set me apart from others and honestly made me want to hide that side of me. It was hard for me to connect to my background so I blended into American society.

It wasn’t until high school that I realized the major connection the Spanish language created to my familia and cultura.

Too many times, I have met Latinos who can not speak their own language – whether it’s because they were never taught, because it never stuck as they grew up, or because they hid it like I had done for so many years.

My point? Everyone, not only Latinos, should learn Spanish.

Spanish is one of the top three languages used in the entire world and businesses nowadays are seeking out more and more employees who can speak more than one language.

Learning another language, opens your horizons; para Latinos, specifically, it brings us closer to who we are and who we can be. For some of us, it’s the only way we can communicate with our parents or even grandparents.

Learning Spanish not only prepares you for future endeavors, but also allows for a connection to a deep and rich culture.

For me, it has become a way of life. I can speak English and Spanish. I can be Americana and Latina. I am finally able to connect to my proud cultural background and I am able to express myself in a way that is finally truly me.

Learn español; you know you want to!

Americana and Latina

976219_640932345920417_896149015_o“You can be a thousand different women…”
-Salma Hayek, Actress and Activist

My mom is a hard worker. She’s a strong, incredible person. Sometimes I forget what she’s done to be the woman she is today, and what she’s done so that I can be increíble too.

At a young age she left home to go to Los Estados Unidos, to escape an overbearing mother and a distant father. As a young girl I felt like I dealt with the same; yet I understood why she did what she did – and I neither had the resources or the determination to escape to a completely different country. Now as an adult, I know that my life was not hard growing up despite the amount that I whined about it. Podrías echar agua al mal. I admit, I was terca. Despite this I knew my mother just wanted to teach me that I did not have to follow her path or the paths I had seen others take.

“Young women should pave their own path. I find it quite confining to live up to anybody else’ expectations of who you should be”
-Jessica Alba, Actress and Entrepreneur

My mother wanted me to be better. She wanted me to know that I did not have a fit a specific category whether it was Americana or Latina. I could live in both worlds and never sink. I could choose who I wanted to be regardless of what I was told.

“I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say, ‘yes, women can.'”
-Dilma Rouseff, First woman President of Brazil

I hope one day Dilma Rouseff’s words can be true because “yes, women can” – “si, mujeres pueden.” Women can be strong, they can also be weak. They can laugh and cry, fight and heal, learn and teach, rise and fall.

I can be Americana or Latina. I can be the estudiante or the maestra. I want to be everything and anything because I can. Yes, se puede.

Blogger y el Keyboard

Photograph by Gabriella FlaminiHola mundo!

My name? Karisma. My age? 22. My purpose? To advise, aconsejar, though my blog, Yes, Se Puede.
I know what you’re thinking. What could a 22-year-old know? Everything for her should be chocolate y turron.
Let me speak to you on a personal level.

I am currently a senior in university, majoring in graphic design with a minor in advertising. As a full-time student who is also working two jobs, I’ve dealt with many challenges, both personal and social because of who I am and because of how I was raised – in a split world, both American and Hispanic.

Now, I know, I’m not the only one.

I want to show you that there are many different ways to overcome these obstacles. It’s also okay to be confused about who you want to be or where you want to go in life. I want this to be a two-way street. We can learn from each other. After all, that’s the beauty of el internet. In this way, I can reach the entire Latin community – from the young girls who are still learning to the doñas who have been through it all.

After all, often times a child’s first teacher is the community that they are raised in and to reach the whole village you must start at the fountain.

I want to be able to pass along what I’ve learned because without knowledge, we can not grow.

 

*Photograph by Gabriella Flamini