Gracias Mujeres! The Unconventional Ways These Latinas Have Influenced My Life

My mother and I

Image Source: Elsa Cavazos

When I think about the Latinas in my life who have inspired me, there are many who have helped me become the woman I am today. But there are a few who have really helped me shape my mind and soul, little by little, with their knowledge.

Mis amigas inspire me on a daily basis to be a better me. Whether they help me avoid stressing over something, stay positive in front of adversities, or remind me of the "girl boss" that I am, they make me want to be a better friend and a better daughter. It's because of them that I try to be a better woman in every aspect.

It's not easy walking around in a misogynistic world — especially in Latin cultures — without inspiration and companions who are there for moral support and to give us the strength we might need. I am an only child, and my girlfriends have been one of the main reasons my mental health has gotten better over the years.

It is because of those extra pairs of ears that listened to me when I needed to vent that I skipped expensive therapy. It is because of those free hugs I have been able to heal unseen wounds. There is so much I owe to women, and I try to pay it forward.

Another woman whose words have marked my life is Karla Souza. She's a well-known Mexican actress who stars in How to Get Away With Murder. Karla did a TED Talk in Spanish called "Dulces Son Los Frutos De La Adversidad," which translates to "sweet are the fruits from adversity" and reminds us that sacrifice in the end will always be worth it.

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Karla explained how she has been rejected by countless producers telling her she is not "Latina" enough or "hot" enough, and in a very passionate and inspiring way, she says rejection cannot stop you from chasing your dreams if you want them badly. She mentions a motive, a reason, and metaphorically tells her audience to use their motive as fuel to keep going, no matter what. Karla and her speech inspire me daily whenever I need motivation to keep going.

Another big source of inspiration is my mother, who unintentionally and without noticing has said this same speech to me as long as I can recall. My mom is one of the oldest of eleven siblings. She was always considered a rebel (as she tells me), and as a result, my grandma was very hard on her. Eventually, she fled home and went to live with one of her aunts.


Image Source: Elsa Cavazos

My mom learned from a very early age to work for what she wanted and it led her to her goals and dreams. She is the only one in her family who went to college and became a successful teacher. My mom has always reminded me to work for what I want, and to believe in myself. To her there are no impossibles, and I learned from seeing her hard work and dedication that it is true.

She is one of the most selfless women I know, and also one of the most empathetic. My mother taught me to never judge, and to try to put myself in the other person's shoes to understand their situation. My grandma is now the same and in a way — I think she learned to think like that because of my mom.

The women around me inspire me on a daily basis, but being raised by such an independent fighter gave me an outlook on life no one else could. My mother is always positive and never lets stress consume her. I hope one day I get to be at least half of who she is to me.