In 2014 at The British Museum, UK
I have already shared most of this post a year ago in April, but I'm very surprised to find out that I have won second place on the Texas Woman's University: Book-In-Common Contest.
It definitely has lifted my confidence when I needed it most!
This is what I submitted:
During this time of purposeful isolation and quarantine, my family has had to rely on technology more than ever. During this time, I have had the opportunity to watch movies and shows that date to 20 years past. My mind has taken me back.
Two decades ago, I was a newlywed and at the height of my potential profession. I was guided into a path of ultra-conservatism and customs. I admired and desired them for the promises of being included. Since I had been raised in an imperfect family, I saw the gathering of what seemed PERFECT families at churches and wanted to live in EXCELLENCE. I sought ways on how to fulfill the empty emotional turmoil inside me by checking off practices that were deemed MORALLY upright. I hoped that leaders of the organizations would notice but rarely did they take interest. Unknown to me, certain patriarchal qualifications (such as, being of the lineage or male focused) was what was expected of me to join the list of those QUALIFIED. Nevertheless, I gave it my best without ever straying away from what was so obvious – to love your neighbor as yourself or, to love others without expecting anything in return.
Just as my desire to seek approval of imperfect systems changed over the years, so has the technology we now all dependent on, been drastically transformed in the last 20 years. I’m glad to use this technology for good.
I blog to inform and educate of deliverance.
I blog to quickly get the word out so that others should not feel compelled to do the same.
I blog to encourage others that may feel lonely and lost in a system that only aspires to serve their own mold.
Perhaps it was repatriating from England to the U.S. after two years of living as an expat and returning during the 2016 elections. Whatever had occurred while I eagerly had attempted to assimilate as a young immigrant from Mexico was incomparable to hearing my very own ask, “Mom, what is a green card?” after picking up my son from school. At the moment, my heart sunk because I knew everything I had done to protect my children from racist remarks, had not been 100% foolproof.
This is why I blog.
No institution or system has ever considered me to teach or write for them because I don’t, “qualify.”
This is why I blog.
I don’t have expectations of receiving money or titles for my writings. I simply offer plain and honest details of my life.
This is why I blog.
So maybe I’ll write a book or succeed at rightly being included in an organization that truthfully focuses on serving people, someday. But HOPEFULLY, it won’t be 20 years from now.
Until then, I will continue to gather at the table and organize community events as I serve on the Southlake Mayor’s Alliance for Unity and Culture, as well as, Unity Rallies. Bringing the diversity of cultures together while sharing bread and opinions is my forte.
Therefore blogging, advocating and mentoring have always been at the top of my qualifications for COMMUNITY BUILDING. With those interests, Sociology is definitely right up my alley.
To you, the reader I say, not everyone has the patience…but in whatever capacity you find yourself in, I implore you to showcase your cultural background (or others around you) with pride and use it to EDUCATE and bring AWARENESS where ACTION is needed.
This time-period has been consumed of information on self-care. Just about every professional organization that I follow has mentioned it at one point or another. Perhaps due to the consequences of COVID, our lives have been awakened to look inward much more frequent.
Looking back to my young adult life, I can remember being encouraged to give to others of my time, finances and passion. Serving or volunteering became the motivation as I relocated several times and I struggled to find part-time work in my profession. As if being a mom to 3 under 10 was not admirable enough, I looked to belong to something more respectable. I kept at it until I realized that it did not matter how hard I attempted, I would never fit in. I was different in attitude, size, color and passion.
However, it pushed me to look deep into my needs and desires, instead of seeking the endorsement of institutions. I did not have a definition or title for it, but I knew I had to find myself. Some believe that it is selfish. I believe that it is essential, just as air is to the lungs. While I sought representation I came across the term, SELF-CARE.
The simple act of self-care has given me hope and justification to keep going. While others may find themselves early in the process or later, I have been investigating it for the last 7 years or so. Currently, I’m so thankful to broadly hear conversations in our society about it. It is an important aspect of health.
Experts usually attach health and wellness to dimensions that usually involve a person’s mental, physical, occupational, financial, emotional, spiritual, social or environmental state of being. Self-care influences every one of those themes. Now, what does self-care look like? Pause and reflect on the following.
First, it should start with complete awareness of what makes you tick and light up. It should not include people in your life, but they can enhance it. Ultimately, when you are alone, what gives you energy? Look deep in your soul of spiritual being in this step.
Second, be gentle with YOU. Practice empathy and self-compassion on yourself. This cognitive understanding includes your feelings, emotions and intellect. Put aside that inner critic. Be kind to yourself so that you will be kinder to others.
The manner in which you activate these practices look different for us all. Some prefer to meditate, others exercise or paint. Self-care can include a hobby, an activity or pampering. How ever you celebrate self-care, be sure to focus on your necessities, values or interests and not others or material things. Self-care may also require you to practice saying no to some events or people. It may also require you to ask for help so you can partake in it.
Perhaps you had role models that helped you understand self-care early on, but many as I, have had to work at it later in life to embraced it. Self-awareness and compassion has allowed me to love, understand and empathize with others better. Practicing self-care has opened my possibilities in purpose without expectations.
I enjoy sharing meaningful events.
Mona Chavez is a community advocate, volunteer, entrepreneur, world traveler, and blogger.