In life people are going to give you advice, tell you what you should worry about, stay away from, and even what they think you should not pursue. For the most part, people mean well, and they really are coming from a good place, BUT you have to make sure that you are critical of the advice that you are receiving and that you aren't internalizing or accepting beliefs that are based out of fear, pain and/ or insecurities. A perfect example is what my father shared with me at a young age.
My father loved to talk, which is where I get it from...lol, and he loved sharing his experiences as well as his wisdom. We were sitting across from each other in the living room having a deep conversation about life, and he warned me that my life was going to be rough because of who I was. He said, "Kayra, things will not be easy for you: you are Black, you are Latina, and you are a woman."
Now, let me give you some background on who my father was...
My father came to the United States in pursuit of the American dream, he joined the American military in Panama, which he had access to because of the Panama canal. Then, he became a mailman (he hated that job), and then he decided to attend a trade school to become a pipe fitter/ steam fitter. My father has a unique look and I believe he struggled with a lot of the same issues of not necessarily fitting in a stereotypical box as it relates to race/ ethnic background. You have to picture an Indian-looking man who spoke English with a thick Latino accent. He would come home complaining that the men at his job were always making fun of him and how he consistently felt discrimination at the work place. Also, he felt that he was always the first to be laid off, and he was never considered for promotions or opportunities of advancement. My father carried a lot of emotional pain from his childhood, issues that related to who he was, and who was his biological father. It's not something that was commonly discussed, but in one of our deep talks, he shared that there was a rumor in his town that his father may not be his biological father. And this may be the reason why he looked different and had a darker complexion in comparison to the rest of his siblings. I don’t know everything that happened to my father in his childhood, but I do know that he carried deep wounds. I do believe that he was someone that could have been served by therapy, but he never received that type of help, and that pain continued to compound into adulthood. Unfortunately for my mother, my siblings and I, we had to experience his inability to cope with his pain, and he had to deal with him taking his frustrations out on us.
There were many times I was hit for something simple or ridiculous like losing my keys and being locked out of the house. Because his temper was outrageous, I knew his anger came from a deeper space of, “I’m sad and depressed and I’m going to take this out on you.”
Now, let's go back to what he told me in that living room. I don't remember how old i was when he said this, but I was definitely in my early teens. I remember thinking to myself, "there is no way I can accept this as truth...and if I’m all three of these things, doesn’t that make me special? Doesn’t that make me unique? Doesn’t that make me connected to so much more and allow me to understand the world around me even better?" So, at that moment my mind drifted, the room went silent while his mouth continued to move, and I made a commitment to myself that I would not internalize what he had just shared because I knew it was from coming from his locus source of pain.
I do believe he meant well, and it actually came from a loving place. He wanted me to know that everyone we meet doesn't have good intentions and that I could run into situations where I may feel discrimination or feel mistreated because of my race, cultural background and gender. I get it. There is sufficient evidence, data, and historical legacies that support the injustice and unfair treatment women, African Americans and Hispanics have experienced in the United States. We have to acknowledge that there is a problem, but we can't internalize these systemic and societal issues as truths about who we are and what we will experience in life. We have to counter this narrative with an empowered mental model that walks around with the conviction that our differences add value, that we are in control of our lives, and that our uniqueness is the most beautiful gift in the world.
Lesson #2: “Do not internalize other people’s crap!”
Outfit Time: I LOVE this sweater dress! This is my first sweater dress of this length and I find it absolutely adorable. I love the mermaid hem! This is a sweater dress that I can wear all winter with different shoes, but since its the holidays I paired it with these glittery holiday shoes. Happy Saturday, and hopefully you get some time this weekend to relax and do something that rejuvenates you!