A-Camp is right around the corner, y’all! It’s a little over a month away! Can you believe it? Pretty soon you’ll be on a mountain with 300 queers learning, crafting, dancing, laughing, and having a great time.
For those of you who aren’t signed up for A-Camp already, we have one last campership opportunity for your chance to be on the mountain with us! One generous Mexican queer has donated a campership for a Mexican or Mexican-American queer. She really wanted to go but alas, her visa expired, and she won’t be able to renew it in time for camp. “Since I was planning to go anyway, I can’t think of a better way to be ‘present’ than to sponsor someone who can’t afford it but that would benefit from it, even more-so than myself probably,” she says.
How to Enter
1. Be Mexican or Mexican-American
2. Create an Autostraddle profile if you don’t have one already
3. Answer this question in the comments: What’s the best advice your mom/abuelita/tia/prima gave you? It can be any kind of advice — from funny to super serious.
The only requirement is that you have to not already be signed up for A-Camp. Tuition and shuttles in between LAX and the campground are covered; the winner is responsible only for covering their own travel to LAX and/or to the campground directly.
You have until Tuesday, April 28 to comment! We’ll pick a winner Wednesday, April 29.
UPDATE: Congratulations, Mavi! You’re going to A-Camp. Thanks to everyone who participated!
My abuelita always told me make up was for payasos (clowns), so if ya dont work at the circus……..
I was raised by my abuelita from birth to 12 years old (she died). She was the most awesome woman on the planet: she would casually bake the most amazing wedding cakes AND SING with the mariachi AT the wedding (this one time she sang at a Christmas dinner with her apron still on because the oven broke so BADASS!). I loved her fiercely.
She wasn’t with me during my struggle with sexuality and insecurities so it was tough. I barely remember her but she’s always here: we’re strikingly physically alike. I have her eyes, and her spunk. I’m at my happiest whenever someone says “Your abue would be so proud of the woman you have become”.
Whenever life sucked, she would sing me Chiquitita by ABBA. It still works every time!
My mother taught me one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn in life, and that is, Verguenza es robar! Which, roughly translated means “shame is stealing.”
As the child of undocumented/illegal immigrants you grow up a little shy, some of it is your natural personality, but a lot of it is self-preservation; deportation fears were real. However, as the child of parents who spoke only Spanish you also have to learn to navigate the world of grown-ups as a translator, and occasional advocate for your parents. This became my role at a very young age, and I can still remember the feeling of embarrassment that overwhelmed me when my mother asked me to ask her doctor about the surgery to remove her ovarian cysts. I froze for two reasons, we were talking about girl parts, and I was talking about them near my mother and to a man. So when I hesitated she angrily asked my what was wrong. I timidly said, “Mom, I’m embarrassed to talk about this.”
I can still remember the look on her face; if there hadn’t been someone there I might have gotten pinched for saying something so stupid. “Verguenza es robar,” she whisper-yelled, and then made me ask the man her question.
From that moment on I learned my lesson. Shame is stealing, so if you aren’t stealing you’d better do whatever you need to do, and proudly, damn it. My mother might not have intended that lesson to mean as much as it did to me, but I used that reasoning when I realized that I was gay. It never occurred to me to hide it, or even be the least bit ashamed, because I knew my mom would have pinched me and said, “Verguenza es robar!”
“Mija ponte vaporrú”
That ish is the miracle medicine. It works on everything!
Standing before my Tia, the woman who I still respect and admire more than anyone else to this day, and telling her not only that I was a lesbian, but that my “boyfriend” was actually my girlfriend and currently undergoing drastic change to live her life as a woman full time, said to me:
“Wow… Pues quizá hace unos años atrás amor, diría otra cosa, pero después de haber vivido la vida que e vivido, estoy completamente de acuerdo con todo esto que me acabas de decir. En mi vida si e aprendido una cosa es que lo más importante es que vives la vida lo mas feliz posible, sin importarle lo que piensen los demás, y si eso es lo que las hace felizes, las felicito a las dos y tienen todo me apoyo.”
In a nutshell… “You only live once, live your life as happily as you can, and screw what others think in the process”
My Tia was raised strictly catholic and she was 63 years old when this event took place. She has kept to her word since that very moment and has only ever seen and referred to my partner as the woman that she is ever since. Over the past years she has only ever shown support and has even verbally attacked others for ever doubting my partners’ decision to live her life as a woman, or mine to be her life long partner. My Tia is the strongest woman I have ever met, and if I can ever live up to even half of the woman she is, by following all of her teachings, I would consider myself lucky.
I love you Tia
I am not entering the contest (because I can’t afford to go to LA) but I wanted to share a moment with my abueli(Ti)ta. I don’t remember how or why we got on the subject, it was 1997 and I wasn’t aware of my sexuality yet, except maybe I was subconsciously in tune? Anyway lesbians came up in conversation, as they do, (maybe we were talking about the puppy episode?! This seems likely and accurate) and she said in disgust “¡Ay no! ¿¡Qué vas a querer hacer con una lesbiana?!” to which I responded “No sé Tita,¡igual y todo!” :)
What a beautiful opportunity for us Mexicanas to share consejos from our tias, abuelitas or mamas.
My Nina Yolie has been my inspiration and joy my entire life. She gave me my name and the support to love myself, and trust in my culture. The best advice she ever gave me was, “Mi amor, you can do anything in this life; you’re a Valenzuela!” What she meant was that everything I need, I have, and everything I want, I can get, because of who I am and where I came from. She is in my heart every day and continues to be my inspiration to thrive! Muchisimas gracias Nina Yolie!
So amazing! :)
Well this was hard considering my mom’s major things are: don’t get married and don’t have kids.. So I thought about it, because to me it’s very funny, but to others it’s harsh advice. Instead I’m going to share about phrases that really remind me of my mama. One of the many things she says is, c’est la vie. It’s French phrase (my mom is hella mexican, and knows nothing else in French) which means that’s life. She says it to try to find a good perspective on life’s negative/positive events. It’s a phrase that has stuck with me for ages. Personally, I love it. It’s somewhat comforting, because to me it just reminds you of reality and it allows you to be able to move on from whatever is going on.
Another thing I love that my mother says is that she calls me chiquita all the time. Something about it just makes me feel like a little girl again and it’s one of the nicknames she calls me. It also really helps when I’m feeling sad, stressed, and anything else in between.
My mom is blatant and honest, it’s one of my favorite things about her.
Good luck to everyone entering the contest as well!! *crosses fingers for myself tho*