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First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Hello Bloggers! Welcome to my blog “Atrium of words”. Some of you may wonder what the title even means. Well, first of all, I’m a senior Med Student at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic; from those anatomy textbooks I took the word “Atrium” which are 2: The Right Atrium and the Left Atrium. These are the chambers of the heart in which the blood enters. The Right Atrium receives the deoxygenated blood from the vena cava, while the Left Atrium receives the oxygenated blood from the pulmonary veins. Just like blood flows through these chambers, words flow through my heart as I, since a young age, have been writing all kinds of things.

I’ve never thought of writing in a public space until a Thought Catalog editor named Marissa Donnelly gave me the idea to open a personal blog to have a chance of expressing who I am through the written word. Since I’m always studying at school, I’ll take the chance to write whatever comes up at any time so you can read.

Feel free to comment and share my work!

Welcome and enjoy Atrium of Words.

XO, Gina Ramírez Rosa

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The “hijitos de papi y mami” of DR

The “hijitos de papi y mami” is defined as: girls and boys who enjoy having a huge economical inheritance from their parents and they show so by driving expensive cars, wearing expensive clothes, eating at the most expensive restaurants and going to the most expensive places in Dominican Republic. They all attend similar universities,which are obviously again…the most expensive ones. They are the ones who post on Instagram their pictures at Dubai or their weekend home in Punta Cana; the ones that spend up to 1000 dollars in a club; the ones that go to hippie or hipster places to try to appear “humbling” or “cool” (since the new cool is to be humble after all right?). These are the “hijitos de papi y mami” of DR.

First of all, clearing up my game, I do have a couple of friends who are “hijitos de papi y mami” so I don’t have a problem with them as long as they don’t get up into their own heads. I actually like to observe people in their natural surroundings…them including; and no, I don’t include myself in that category because although I like to dress well, and frequent some places they tend to go, I haven’t got enough money to buy a Longchamp purse yet and my parents don’t even know what a trust fund is…so, yeah, you can say I’m part of the hard working middle class that still hasn’t been displaces from this uneven society pyramid. During my observance during the years, I’ve come to notice that these “hijitos” share an awful lot of characteristics. I will break them down into the following:

  1. They all go to the same universities. Unibe and PUCMM are the most expensive universities in DR, where a semester can cost up to US$2000 (you may not deem it as expensive, but the minimum salary per month here is US$250). These universities are packed with the sons and daughters of the recognized families or with those who have an immigrant, fancy last name along with European like features such as: light skin, light hair color, and type 1 hair (sometimes they have a type 2 but they make it a a type 1 (see: The “whitening” of my latin hair). Don’t get me wrong, attending an expensive university doesn’t automatically make you rich, there are students with scholarships and student loans that attend there too but let’s be real…no “hijito de papi y mami” thinks about going to the UASD, a public state university where students protest with homemade bombs and you can find up to 80 students in a classroom with no air-conditioning, and sometimes you have to find and carry a seat from the first floor all the way up to the third floor because there are no seats left on the third floor.
  2. They all go to the most hip restaurants and bars in the city…and if they’re hip, they are definitely expensive. If you’ve gone to night clubs and bars such as: Moriqueta, Doubles, Maquiavelo, Boca negra, Lulú; Restaurants like: La placette. Pata e’ palo, Laurel…then you’re definitely an “hijito de papi y mami“. Yes, I been to like one of those places before, but I barely bought a drink or too because any more would’ve broken my bank. Places where a drink can cost up to US$20, or charge you double the price for a beer (normally US$2.50-4.50). These kids rarely go for the individual things…they like to share with their friends, and when I mean share, it’s sharing at a great level. Buying 4-5 bottles of Grey Goose vodka, which normally would cost about US$35, but clubs can easily sell them for US$50-55 dollars the unit price, that’s without counting the plate of food that would normally cost between US$50-60 dollars per person at one of those high class restaurants and the cover entry to a night club that can range from 10-15 dollars per person. Easily a group of 10 would spend around US $200 in drinking, US $500 in eating, US $100 in entry fess…which sums up to US$800 dollars a night (approximately, US$80 per person), without counting gas or clothing expenses. On the other hand, if I spend more than US $45 dollars a night, I feel I’m breaking the bank already. Obviously, this is just one day of the weekend. If we do the math and calculate it for one day every weekend (total of 4 days), these kids spend up to US$320-350 dollars a month just on “going out on Saturdays” expenses. We both know that there are people that spend way more than that, but we’re talking about the average Dominican young adult (18-22 years old) “hijito de papi y mami”. 245A409700000578-2893136-image-a-12_1420090217988
  3. They have children of their own: Cars, Passports and Vacation Spots. You never see an “hijito de papi y mami” taking a bus, by foot or taking the train. Hell no! Those Valentino high heels and Oscar de la Renta shirt can get dirty and sweaty. No, the ones that use their parents ride don’t count. I’m counting those who drive Porsche’s, Ford’s, Mercedes and Jeep’s. They flaunt their rides on Instagram with pride and joy. They invest in them , just as their parents invest in themselves too. Passports? Of course! They have that schengen visa since they were 10 years old when they went to Paris for their Christmas family vacations. Pictures at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai? Check! Pictures at the Red Light District in Amsterdam? Check! Pictures at the Ritz Carlton in Hong Kong? Check! Pictures at the Miu Miu Runway at the Milan Fashion Week? Check! Don’t know what to do on Spring Break or that Labor Day weekend? No problem! They can pick between their father’s Yacht in Bávaro, the Beach House in Punta Cana or take a trip around the city in their uncle’s helicopter.
  4. They have nieces too: Clothes and Cellphones. Even though Dominican Republic is the 110th out of 189 most poorest countries in the world, we have the latest technology and the most high couture fashion brands in the world. From Rolex, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Salvatore Ferragamo stores to having the latest iPhone 7 plus on it’s release date on September 16, 2016, Dominican Republic has it all…especially for the “hijitos de papi y mami”. Just the thought of paying US$ 2,800 dollars for an Yves Saint Laurent purse makes me want to faint, but for these girls and boys, it’s like asking for a latte at a Starbucks (if we ever get a Starbucks in Dominican Republic). They obviously don’t have that fear of getting mugged in the streets by the fact that they get driven around by their chauffeurs, ride their shocking Porsche around the Blue Mall (home to the couture stores in Dominican Republic) or even go shopping with their personal guard.
  5. They’re trying that new wave hipster/humbling/organic trend… “Yeah, I like to go to warehouse parties with super unknown Dj’s just drinking some beers and enjoying the culture and music; by the way I bought this Ferragamo purse on my trip to Florence.”…the newborn trend among the “hijitos de papi y mami”. “Yes, I eat totally organic, no Gluten, veggie food, but the only champagne that doesn’t give me indigestion is Moet”. “I’ll go to Haiti to volunteer in an UNESCO project, and I’ll be staying at the Marriott Port-Au-Prince Hotel during my stay time if you want to contact me”. It’s not like they flaunt it on purpose, but since it’s part of their daily routine, it’s normal for them to have access to all the best and comforting things *life gives them (*parents), so they talk about it like if it was what the majority has or experiences, since from their point of view, the majority of people surrounding them are just like them.

The “hijitos of papi y mami” of Dominican Republic aren’t all equal, to be just. Not all of them fall into the hands of money and luxury. To be honest, the few who are rather close to me are the most humble persons I know. I have friends from diverse social statuses and cultural backgrounds, since I like knowing and experiencing different points of views on life with no prejudice whatsoever. If you are an “hijito de papi y mami” I hope you enjoyed the post; if you feel identified, then I’m glad that my observational study has hit the spot; if not, than I would love to hear how different your lifestyle has been than the status quo.

How I went through depression and no one talked about it (part 3)

My mother noticed some signs. I was less and less talkative; I would get home from the university and lock myself in my room. I would be constantly sneaking out to shady places with shady people that I obviously didn’t tell her, but she noticed it through my lying eyes. Her solution: a vacation. She made my sister buy me a ticket to Boston and spend the whole summer there. I didn’t even think about it; I was honestly relieved. I wanted to get the hell away from all the chaos: those guys I briefly dated, that “girlfriend” that received money from some guys to go out with me, him…that guy that once again betrayed my feelings. I wanted to have a fresh start. I was tired of the backstabbing, tired of the faking, tired of the suffering. I wanted to live a different reality.

My time staying in the states was between staying with my sister en Massachusetts and with my cousins in New Jersey. A lot of things happened during that summer of 2012; but I’ll highlight the most important: I lost my virginity. It wasn’t something I consciously planned; it just happened. My sister introduced me to the son of one of her friends for me to hang out with, since she was always working or taking care of the kids. I was 2 years older than him. He had a car and he used to drive me around the town, eat lunch, meet up with his friends and smoke weed in his car. He was a nice, cool kid. During one of his friend’s basement party a friend of his caught my eye: he was tall and tanned, with light brown curly hair and a buff body. I’ll always remember him because he has a Latino last name that coincidentally a Dominican baseball player also has: Acevedo.  By that time, I had that bit of shyness that I usually had and the friend with who I was hanging with noticed that I kind of liked the kid, so he told him; eventually Acevedo asked me out and we went out for a date. He picked me up at the Episcopal church my sister was attending one sunday morning, and we went out to get ice cream; we talked about life and ended up at his place…yes, it was a bad idea.

We eventually ended up having sex…yes, it was my first time ever having penetrative sex. No, it didn’t matter that it was with someone I barely knew; actually it was one of the best things I ever did. Did it matter? Not for me at least, but he apparently gave it importance and bragged about it with his friends, including the one I’ve been hanging out with. To make the story short, my alleged friend told his mother and she ended up telling my sister. So yeah, you can imagine the magnitude. My sister called my mother and my mother called my aunt in Jersey, all because I lost my virginity. I was 19 years old and everyone thought it was a big deal but me (If you come from a Latino family, maybe you’ll feel more identified). My sister sent me the next day to my aunt’s house in New Jersey to spend the rest of my vacations, maybe she just didn’t want to deal with me at the time; I honestly never asked, because I honestly didn’t care.

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The next day I lost my virginity, I was in Jersey. My aunt who auto-proclaimed herself as the family’s therapist (with no professional accreditation whatsoever), tried to talk and reason with me about the occurred. Out of all the things she told me, she even proposed to send me to a plastic surgeon to make a reconstruction of my hymen, that way I could keep “saving myself until marriage” and no one would notice. This was the most bizarre thing I’ve ever heard, out of the other bizarre things she told. During my stay in Jersey, I went through a phase of internal madness and I felt completely powerless, as if my life had to be managed by others, as if my decisions had to be discussed, as if my body was something of public matter. I diluted my feelings by smoking more weed and going out to party with my cousins. I was at a point in where I rebelled myself against what people thought; Oh, I’m such a clean and pristine girl. Yes, I’m a virginal girl that has to wait to enjoy sex until I got married. After all the things I had gone through, I thought I deserved to have some fun. I didn’t care about him, or my family; I didn’t care about those alleged friends that only betrayed and sank me deeper into the mud. I just wanted to be me; I wanted to be free: free from the feelings, free from the opinions, free from the sexual oppression, free from myself.

I dosed myself in marijuana, hookah smoke (first and last time I ever smoked that thing) and vodka. The days passed and all I was looking forward to was going to the next party and hanging out with my cousins.  Even though I decided to stop talking to him, one day I wrote to him on Facebook that I had lost my virginity. I don’t really know why I did that. I was just so mad that I wanted to show him that he wasn’t the lucky one to steal my virginity away as I knew he wanted to. I honestly don’t even remember what he answered.

The last day I was in Jersey, I fucked one of my cousin’s friends; because I wanted to. Because I didn’t owe it to nobody. Because I could do so. That day I felt I was regaining my self-esteem; because I felt wanted, because my feelings will never get hurt again, because I was stronger, because I didn’t need to think about him anymore. The day after I lost my virginity for a second time, I came home, where an ex-girlfriend already had a guy matched for me, and my mother was anxious to tell me: “I am disappointed in you”.

My first Thought Catalog Acceptance

On July 17th of 2016, an article I wrote was published on Thought Catalog. After three submissions, I finally got a publication. Even though some dislike Thought Catalog for various reasons (myself agreeing with some), I see this as my first step into creating my blog. A month after having my article published, I sent another submission but they didn’t see it as a “great fit” for the site; so one of the producers, Marisa Donnelly, recomended me to create a blog as a way of showing readers who I really am; and it was an excellent advice. Thanks to her idea, I created Atrium of words.
Here is my first published piece:

http://thoughtcatalog.com/gina-ramirez-rosa/2016/07/10-things-id-say-to-my-13-year-old-self/

And I’d do it again

It was dark, but I found light

And that light was full of love;

And just when I was about to touch it

Fear told me it was not time.

Fear told me it was imposible.

A light has shown upon all this mess,

A mess that has been burning my back,

A burden that marked me like a cow for butchering,

A burden that made me numb…

Towards people,

Towards life,

Towards love.

It was dark, but I found light

And that light had a future planned out;

And just when I was about to join it

Hesitation told me it was not time.

Hesitation told me that this has happened before.

A light gave me a hand and helped me get up from the ground,

A ground where I had shed blood,

A blood loss that made me lifeless…

Towards family,

Towards friends,

Towards love.

It was dark, but I found a vague light

And that light was confused and uncertain;

And just when he told me to walk away

Love told me not to.

Love told me that this light is my light.

The light that made me trust love one more time,

The last time I will ever need to be in the dark

Because I am too full of light;

And when I am with this light, everything is good,

Everything is posible,

Everything is understanding,

Everything is love…

And if I’d had a chance to meet him in another life, I’d do it again.

How I went through depression and no one talked about it (part 2)

December was a time of solitude; confining myself in my room, laying in the darkness, crying, thinking why these things had to happen to me. I never left the room unless I was really hungry, to get a bite or two. December was the time I discovered good music, the kind of music that makes you either want to be a stronger person, scream from the top of your lungs or cry a bit more. I lost some weight (even though it was Christmas time), I lost a part of myself and had become a totally different person since then. A part of my innocence was crush and at the moment I didn’t want it back. That pressure on your chest, almost as like an angina; it was oppressing and it barely let me breathe. Every time I thought of him it hurt.

The pain was something I’ve never felt before. It was a deep pain in my chest; sometimes I’d get headaches and I didn’t know if it was from all the crying or part of it: the depression. My eyes were swollen half of the time. My cheeks were salty and unwashed. I didn’t feel like bathing or brushing my hair; and makeup was just the furthest thing I had in mind. I barely felt like waking up, since I found some comfort in my sleep; I could avoid facing the reality through my sleep: I was happy in my sleep. My desire at the time was to be asleep for the rest of my life where there was no sadness, no pain, no reality. I found some comfort in “stumbling” (Stumbleupon.com) and found some new, dark and mature music to accompany my swollen eyes; it was the second comforting thing I had. My book and violin were cornered in pile and all interest in friends were dead.

My mother noticed something weird about me that December. She noticed I wasn’t eating as much and that I barely got up from my bed. She had a feeling that it had to be about him because I wasn’t talking about him anymore or going out with him, so she told me one day: “It’s ridiculous that you’re like this because of a guy. You’re so intelligent! intelligent people don’t get sad like this by simple things as boys”. I felt really stupid when my mother said this. How could I be like this because of a stupid guy? I wasn’t like this. I was always professing self-love and high standards for oneself…what was happening to me? I tried at one point in “shaking off” the feelings; maybe it was all in my head. I started thinking in positive things for a few hours. I got up and took a bath. I sat on my bed and started watching a movie…I started crying…Why wasn’t I deserving of love? I thought.Why can’t I be happy?…then it all started over.

Christmas eve, Christmas day, new year’s eve, new years…it was all the same to me. Classes opened and I had to go back to reality. I tried the hardest to avoid him but he magically appeared everywhere. I had to cross these benches to get to the faculty and he was always there. I tried looking to the ground as I passed, looking straight ahead, even faking a phone call just to avoid any eye contact. I thought “How could he be so blantly happy after what he did to me”, “He is a frigging psycho”, “I was just an innocent girl and he took advantage”. My depression never interrupted my school, since I was so strict and obsessed with my grades. My girlfriend at the time was this very manipulative, double life girl I met in biology. I later discovered she had a species of call girl ring, where she introduced girls to rich men and she received some form of payment, while some girls innocently thought she was just being a normal girlfriend presenting her some guys not knowing that she received money because of it. I genuinely thought she wanted me to be happy; to forget him and go out to meet new guys. She used to tell me: “You’re so beautiful and intelligent. You have to meet some new guy. You can’t spend the rest of your life alone”. I started going out to clubs and bars. I started to go out with guys; some of them she found and presented them to me, some of them I met through that period of wandering.

dep

I felt numb. It’s a weird feeling. Nothing anyone says or does provokes any reaction. It’s like the people around you didn’t have feelings. You just don’t care. The guys I went out with were just pieces of human organs put together in a flesh-like box with clothing. A kiss, a hug, the contact of skin to skin…it was all the same to me. I always told them: “I don’t want anything serious. This is just a game”. I never knew if some of them did actually fall for me…I didn’t care. The intimacy was empty…I just wanted to feel pleasure and nothing else; I wanted to placate myself. I felt this false sense of strength, satisfaction and independence. John number one came, then number two, three, four…even I lost count. And each and every one of them I left to wonder about me. When I got tired of them on a random day I would simply block their contact, erase their messages or pretended they were complete strangers as I passed by them on the streets. I could look at them in the eye and make them believe that I was a stranger, something I never could with him.

Around April or May I had him very far on my mind. After all the guys I was with, I thought that I was definitely over him. I had so much things on my mind that I wanted him to know. I felt like he had to know what he did. I felt angry and upset. I felt I was the one that was going to make him know how he made me feel. Five months since we last spoke I wrote him a direct message on Facebook to meet up on campus one day to talk. We met at the cafeteria and I started expressing him everything I felt with what he did to me; everything I thought in that moment was out. I remember I even drank water a couple of times of all the things I said. He looked at me expressionless and moved his head down. He told me he was sorry and wished he could make it up to me. He even had the intention to beg me forgiveness on his knees in the middle of the cafeteria, but I immediately said no; my intention was not to ridicule him, but to forgive him for me so I could move on. After that we went outside and talked some more about various things; we eventually exchanged numbers again, since I erased his, and agreed to keep in contact with each other.

A couple of weeks after, I saw he had a profile picture with a girl and asked him if everything was going well with him and her, and he told me that it was. He told me that they only had a week going out and he liked her a lot and wanted to take it to the next step with her. I jokingly said “You guys have only a week knowing each other. What if you meet someone else on the way?”. I should’ve seen his answer coming…especially from him: the imbecile and jerk person he was: “I’m sorry but since I really like this girl I would really like to maintain something serious and not hurt her feelings. We can keep talking and going out as friends”. So yeah, he thought I thew him an indirect question at him meaning that I wanted to go back to him in some sort of sick way, but since he only had one week meeting this new girl, he wanted to keep things serious from the start. I was disgusted to think that he thought I had the slightest feeling for him still, but the thing that really struck me was that he was able to “keep it serious” with a girl he had met a week ago, but he spent 3 months dating me and and wanted us to just be “fuck buddies” and he even once told me (while we were 2 months into dating) if I wanted to have an “open relationship” in which we were together but he could be with other girls than me and I could be with other guys than him.

In that moment I realized the mistake I had made in believing we could act like normal adults. I spent three days thinking about the occurred. I can’t believe he thinks I still like him. Who does he think he is? I gave him a chance and he screwed it. He spent 3 months dating me and offered me to be fuck buddies and before that an “open relationship”, and now he’s met a girl for only a week and wants to keep things “serious”. 

Summer was beginning and I wasn’t going to let him block the sunlight again.

How I went through depression and no one talked about it (part 1)

​Having depression is something that no one understands. No one can hardly explain the feelings or thoughts that pass through your mind. You hear things like: “Don’t be ridiculous! You’re not depressed”, “Just forget about it and be happy” or “You’re too young to be depressed. Go out and have fun”. I wished I could’ve done all those things but I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t let me, my mind didn’t want to, my eyes wouldn’t let me open them. “I can’t believe you’re like this because of him” my mom said.“There are hundreds of guys out there! You’re young and beautiful” a girl told me.
On a psychological consult 5 years later I understood that it wasn’t entirely because of him, it was because of me; and all the actions that happened after were not the consecuences, they were it: the depression.

I’ll start from the beginning…

I was a young, naive, virginal (in every sense) girl who turned 18 and was just enrolled in her first semester of pre-med. That year I met new people, new ideas, new places, new activities. I met him, I professed the autonomy of one’s body, I visited that bar where I got wasted every month and I learned how to roll up a joint. He was one of my childhood crushes and he coincidently went to my same university and studied the same career. We knew each other because our mothers were friends, but we weren’t exactly friends. I took advantage of the fact that I was new (and didn’t have any friends going to the unisersity with me) to get close to him by asking him advice and asking him to be break partners.

As time passed we got closer. We shared rides in his car with the windows down and John Mayer in full volume, we had long talks at the park and skyped until 5AM. He asked me out on my first date ever and gave me my first kiss. I wouldn’t say I was falling in love with him, but I was definitely in love with the ilusion of having a boyfriend who was so handsome, cool and perfect like him. Looking back now, I was so blind to identify the alarm signals: he once told me that a girl was “begging him” to go out on a date with her at a house party and he, right in front of his guy friends and herself, proceeded to mock and laugh at the “desperate” and “insisting” girl who left the party crying. So yeah…you can figure.

After 3 months of dating, he kind of noticed that I was indeed falling for him so one day he told me: “I’m not ready for a relationship right now. I just came from a long-term relationship and I’m not willing to commit right now”. I pretended to understand him and we decided to stop dating but keep going out as friends. I believed I could do such thing, but every day that passed I kept liking him more. On top of that, the kissing and touching never stoped between us. I naively thought that if this went on, he would probably change his mind and he would eventually forget his girlfriend and I would become his new girlfriend (Remember that I was 18, extremely naive, and virgin with boys, relationships and sex).
December came and I was convinced that he was going to take me as his girlfriend, especially after we took the next step into a non-penetrative act (oral). A couple of days later he asked me if I wanted to be his “fuck buddy”. When I read that on my blackberry, I had no idea whatsoever of what a fuck buddy was. I remember googling what a fuck buddy was and I read: “A sex partner with whom one has sex without any emotional attachment”. My jaw dropped. ANY EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT….so, he didn’t have the slightest feeling about me? After all the things we shared and enjoyed, he wants to have me just for sex? Do I have that less worth to him? He’s known me for years! My accomplishments, my achievements…I’m a good girl. How could he do this to me?
I felt ashamed, angry, stupid…5 years back I considered a fuck buddy as a way of getting sex for free, a degrading title… maybe that’s what I was for him…a prostitute, a bitch, a hooker. I felt crushed about the fact that of all people, he would be the one to degrade me in such way.

Wanting to fuck me and then discard me when he felt like it and keep acting as normal friends afterwards.
I felt crushed. My self-esteem reached the lowest levels. I was a nobody. The person I trusted and knew treated me like debris. December was cold and dark, just as my depression.

8 things every latina with a traditional upbringing can identify with

1.Don’t ever talk to strangers. It could seem a bit contradictory knowing that Latin Americans are very open, welcoming and friendly o anyone. You can literally meet someone at the bank while in line and five minutes later you end up talking about your grandmothers death; but when it came up to our parents dropping us into the real world outside, it was literally 3 things: Don’t talk to strangers, dress appropriately and don’t talk to strangers. Although if you ever bumped into a family friend and didn’t say hi (even if you didn’t remember who the hell he/she was), you were the most uneducated and unfriendly child they’ve ever had.

2.Stay a virgin until marriage. Yeah, some of our parents still believe in this virgin fairy tale (until I stopped being one). All our generations from our grandmothers, mothers and aunts have passed down to their beloved daughters the importance of being a virgin to maintain that “pristine” and “clean” image. They will even scare you or make up some non-scientific facts in order for you to stick to your hymen. Lies can go from:

  • Girls who have sex get a fat ass.
  • Your boobs are going to get saggy.
  • You’ll look old.
  • Sex is a tool to use women and discard them afterwards.
  • Men don’t like “used” women.
  • Being a virgin is a woman’s pride… and last but not least:
  • Our father God tells us to be virgins in the Bible.

When my mom knew that I was’t a virgin anymore she told me that I had “disappointed her” and I “tore my image up”. Of course, it has changed while time passed and I grew older, my mom even goes with my to the OB-GYN appointments, but, it wasn’t that easy for the stigma to go away. I even had an aunt who offered me a “hymen reconstruction surgery” or whatever that is useful for nowadays…

3. Having to learn how to cook and clean from a young age. My case was totally different than the rest. I had the privilege of having a house maid while growing up so I was never forced to do them, and since my mom isn’t the greatest cook, she never taught me how to. Most of my girl friends learned to cook as young as 9 years old. It not rare to know a 13 year old girl who can prepare a whole meal on their own. I, unfortunately like my mother, were never taught how to cook, and were left to figure it out on our own. I barely know how to do an omelette, but I can follow any recipe to a “T”.

4. No sleepovers, no questions asked. Yeah, I’ve never went to a sleepover, EVER! I have other latina friends that have but having super strict, traditional parents sleepovers are always a no-no because of reasons like:

  • I don’t trust young girls by their own your age.
  • What can you possibly do with your friends one night that can’t be done in one day.
  • I have a feeling that so-and-so is a bit weird, probably a lesbian. You’re not going.
  • There are men living in your friend’s house…and those men in your friends house can lead to another common teaching which is:

5. Bad men can rape you (actually, ANY man can rape you). Teachers, friends, colleagues, that taxi driver, your best-friends brother, your cousin…every man is a rapist. Of course, when you’re starting to get older and you start daring, the intensity tones down a bit but the paranoia lays in our subconscious. That’s why I get that adrenaline rush when that Uber driver takes an unexpected different route or when your boss unexpectedly invites you to his house to drink some wine.

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6. Not being able to start dating while your brother or male cousins were encouraged to, simply because you were a “girl”. So one day the four of us (mom, dad and my younger brother) were sitting in the living room having a family talk when my dad told my brother: “You have to start daring a couple of girls to gain experience”, and I said: “So, I can date a couple of guys also to gain experience”(I already knew the answer, I just wanted to trigger him). “No” he said “because you’re a girl”. In our Latin American culture, male chauvinism is very much encouraged and applauded in boys from a young age, while girls are taught to sit with their legs crossed until they reach the age to marry. In my family it wasn’t that oppressing towards women, but some situations and ideas were made with a base in male chauvinism, even if they were made subconsciously. Men are encouraged to not cry, not to do house work, exploit their masculinity and gain plenty of sexual experience while girls are encouraged to d house chores, go to school and keep their legs closed. Fortunately for me, my parents weren’t that determined to turn me into a Bedford wife, instead they helped me get a good education to not need to depend on a man in the future; but like I said before, some situations have a male chauvinism background that is embedded to our genes.

7. Always having to fill your family’s expectations. A lot of our parents and grandparents didn’t have the opportunity in their countries to receive a higher education due to a ton of factors typical of our countries in process of global development, so the only way they knew as a social and economical ladder for their future generations was doing hard work. Girls from my generation and a couple decades older were granted the opportunity to study, go to college, and even achieve a masters or doctorates, which leads us to be the main pride of our parents and the “hope” or “light” of the family. That’s why when your cousin Maria got pregnant at 16, she was the embarrassment of the family…Thank God you’re in Med School! That relieves the family shame.

8. Hating your parents during all the years you’ve lived with them for the strict, non-humanly rules they set you, but realizing afterwards that they only had the best of intentions. It’s not easy to be raised by overly-protected parents, but after years pass by you realize that you didn’t come out to be a bad kid after all. Maybe some of the rules and discipline might’ve been unnecessary, over-the-top or traumatizing, but it made you into the awesome girl you are today (and who your parents keep talking about in every conversation they have).