Tag Archives: birthday

My Birthday with Janis

5 Jul

So here we are … post 35 of 35. *exhale*

I wondered what I would share with you on my last post of this series. Would I have some great epiphany over the last 35 days? Hmmm, for now, I just keep going back to what I said to the first person I talked with on the phone this morning. My uncle Brian called (Facebook birthday wishes are awesome but phone calls rock!). In our conversation I said, “Thirty didn’t bother me but I kinda feel like I should be all grown up at thirty-five.”

Let me share with you a little about my uncle. He is important to me for many reasons. He has offered me sound advice, he listens to me when I talk and has just always been there for me. One reason I am indebted to him forever is because he introduced me to Janis … yes, Janis Joplin.

ahhhh … my absolute favorite song from her!

Here’s where I’m going with this …

Janis Joplin was not cool with the kids in my school when I was listening to her. What was this little Mexican girl doing listening to a gringa sing oldies rock-n-roll anyway? I didn’t care. I connected with her soulful voice and heart wrenching songs. For me, she resembled a unique identity through story telling that anyone can relate to. Nadie cantó como Janis when Janis was singing.

I have made new friends and bonded with great friends over Janis Joplin’s songs. I remember singing “Me and Bobby McGee” at the top of our lungs at parties with a dear college friend. Her Greatest Hits CD was playing full blast on my six-hour drive home from college – on repeat. Introducing others to Janis … yeah, that’s the best. A sweet friend of mine recently sent me a message because she was listening to Janis and she thought of me. She said she actually thinks of me every time she hears a song by Janis.

So today, a new friend shared that Me and Bobby McGee YouTube video. I sat in my home office, clicked play and turned up the volume on my laptop. And when it was over, I clicked play again. Memories came back, I sang the tune with all my heart … I realized that I am grown up. Because when I wasn’t a grown up, it was always the grown ups that would listen to the oldies over and over again saying things like “yeah, that was a good year!”

¡Salud to a ‘Good Year’! Rock on Janis!

Me and my Pearl: The Obessions and passions of Janis Joplin, a biography by Ellis Amburn

Thanks for being a part of my 35 in 35 posts series! 

post 35 of 35 … 

Maybe we are all fireworks!

3 Jul

photo from sxc.hu

Since my birthday is on July 5th, I always told myself that the 4th of July fireworks were really to celebrate MY birthday! And I have since been fascinated with fireworks! I love to see them on holidays, at baseball games, in movies … anywhere! They make me happy.

I found this video on how fireworks work just because I wanted to know.

After watching it, I thought about how we can be like fireworks: a small shell full of explosives. When lit, we can produce something grand and beautiful! The product at times can be breathtaking. Others can see it from miles around. They take photos, they cheer, they Oooh and Ahhh! All for your time to light up the sky. This is what’s possible when you don’t give up on your purpose and dreams because YOU were ‘lit up’ or determined. Others will watch and ‘oooh and ahhh’ at all that you accomplish. What will seem like an instant to others, will be your time to light up the sky.

What happens if we don’t get lit up? What happens if we stop? The worst thing that could happen is we stay in that small shell with all those explosives inside.

“Most people live and die with their music still unplayed. They never dare to try.” – Mary Kay Ash (joyofquotes.com)

In my house, we LOVE Katy Perry’s song “Firework”. In complete honesty, I didn’t know the words to the song before I looked them up for this blog post. We just loved the beat. Now, I love the song even more.

“Maybe you’re reason why all the doors are closed

So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road” (directlyrics.com)

So, if you are lucky enough to watch an amazing fireworks show this 4th of July, I challenge you to think about which fireworks are inside of you that you haven’t lit yet.

And then, go light your fireworks!

 

Katy Perry: Part of Me 3D 

opens in theaters on July 5th.

It’s a story about someone who doesn’t

seem to be living with music unplayed!

Photo courtesy of Paramount

post 33 of 35 … 

Disclaimer: Que  Means What is not endorsing the movie, nor did I receive any compensation for mentioning the movie.  

Mexican-ness Identity Crisis

1 Jun

I have heard of this insane idea of blogging each day for 3o days. I thought “Wow! That would be fun but a lot of work.” This month I am up for the challenge! Not just 30 posts but 35! It’s a special number because it is how many years my presence has blessed this earth. Oh wait, I mean I’m blessed to be turning 35 this year!  So here’s post 1 of 35.

This blog originally began as an “Identity Crisis”. Struggling with my career identity and my identity as a wife and a mother, I realized a lot of it stemmed from my culture identity as a Mexican-

American living in Texas. The best way to describe it is the scene from the movie Selena. Edward James-Olmos, playing Abraham Quintanilla, shares how tough it is to be a Mexican-American. “We’ve got to prove to the Mexicans how Mexican we are. We’ve got to prove to the Americans how American we are. … It’s exhausting. … Nobody knows how tough it is to be Mexcian-American!”  (Just watch the whole movie, it’s one of my favorites!) 

Personally, I dealt less with Mexicans from Mexico and more with Mexican(-American)s in Texas. This felt a bit more tragic as we all lived in the same place but somehow I still wasn’t as “Mexican” as them. I didn’t speak Spanish or ‘know’ many Mexican traditions. (read my Story of  Qué) And you can feel really lost when you don’t know “who you are”. While I love  immigrant stories of Latino families that came to the US, my story isn’t one of immigration. I am third generation Texan from both my mom and my dad’s side of the family. Which means only my grandparents’ parents were born and lived in Mexico.

Honestly, I’ve spent most of my life feeling like a gringa learning about a Mexican-American family. And that is the honest to God truth. As time passed along, I had put this burden on myself to prove my “Mexican-ness” to others.

Maybe if I wear a Mexican Flag Badge??

Now, I’m in a different place. Now, instead of focusing on what it seems I may be lacking as a Mexican-Latina-whatever you want to call it, I celebrate all my Texicana-ness in Spanglish! (English with un poquito Español) Recently, it’s due to a large part of my online community that I have learned to embrace me just as I am. Meeting supporters from mommy bloggers, Latina bloggers, groups like LATISM (Latinos in Social Media), the Hispanicize conference and like-minded people on Twitter  has contributed to me becoming aware and confident of myself and my own “Latina-ness” or “Mexican-ness”.The more people I talked to about my ‘identity crisis’, the more I found that we actually have a lot in common no matter what their background. This makes me want to keep the conversation going!

It has been a moving, hilarious and crazy adventure exploring my “Mexican-ness”.  Thanks for reading and giving me a space to create, celebrate and share my culture. ¿Qué Means What? allows me to explore my culture with emphasis on justice, healthy living, education, family and faith. And I’m not just talking about lessons from the past but also what is relevant for the Latino community today.

Do you have an identity crisis? Or do you know who you are and celebrate your culture? Or how about a little of both?

post 1 of 35 … 

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