AROHO, Chingonas, Dreams, Goals, How to be a Chingona, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Ghost Ranch, Greek Myths, and Writing

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Sunset over Sandstone at Ghost Ranch. Gettyimages.

My bags aren’t packed yet for my trip tomorrow to Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, because one of the kids beat me to the washing machine this morning. I’m not stressing though because I am still drifting on a dream.

Last January I thought about my goals for the year. The intention word to myself was “Create.” To make the word more concrete, I found and filled out a printable called “Roadmap to My Dreams.”  In the area “bravery is a matter of belief, and I believe I can…” I listed “…submit my writing for a fellowship, contest, anthology, or magazine.”

In a matter of days I came across the website for A Room Of Her Own (AROHO): A Foundation for Women Writers. One of my writing buddies, Florencia, attended in 2012 and talked about her life changing experiences.  Applications for fellowships would close in three weeks. The chatter in my head kept me thinking about this challenge. There are thousands of writers who would love to attend a weeklong retreat filled with writers, poets, and published authors leading workshops. Should I or shouldn’t I submit for a fellowship.

I reminded myself of Sandra Cisneros’ “How To Be A Chingona in 10 Easy Steps.

Step One: Live for your own approval. Center yourself. Be alone. Create your own space.

There was that word again: Create. That is just what I needed to recharge myself. I submitted my application with a 10 page writing sample and was accepted. Writing is usually lonely and acknowledgements don’t come as often as rejection letters, so honestly, this award surprised the s*it out of me.

As a double bonus, I will be at Ghost Ranch during the peak time for the Perseid meteor showers. This display is named after the constellation Perseus, the hero of ancient Greek myth born from a shower of celestial gold. For three or four nights the sky will be pelted with shooting stars and fireballs.

The big city dweller that I am, I’ve never seen more than one shooting star before. But I can imagine that the expansive New Mexican sky will be sprinkled with brilliant heavenly dust. I’ll thank the stars, the universe, and God for giving me this experience, this impetus to move forward and keep writing.

Perseids Meteor Shower. Getty images.
Perseids Meteor Shower. Getty images.
Art, Chingonas, How to be a Chingona, Latina, Latino culture, Papel Picado, Self-confidence, Self-Esteem, Strong Women, Yreina F.Ortiz

Today I Will be Chingona

I don’t know if this is a coincidence, or not, but Chingona’s have fallen out of the sky and into my lap. Most of you know the definition of a chingona. If not, here’s last week’s post which gives you an idea. For a practical application you can read the 10 Steps from Sandra Cisneros

Yreina Flores Ortiz is a Poeta, Artista Chingona. She used the Mexican folk art craft of Papel Picado to make this artistic piece titled “Today I will be Chingona.” (This is a photo of my own copy).


The designs are cut from tissue paper or by folding the tissue paper and using small, sharp scissors. They are commonly displayed for both secular and religious occasions, such as Easter, Christmas, the Day of the Dead, as well as during weddings, baptisms, and christenings. 


This poem furthers the definition of Chingona.


Today I Will Be Chingona
Today, I will greet the sun as my relative
and give the morning my full attention.
I will say “I love you” into the mirror
and draw my eyeliner extra straight.
I will not call myself fat
because everything in my closet will look good on me.
I will rock my huge Latina hips
like the blessing they are.
Watch out!
I might even wear heels.
Today, I will not hand out one unnecessary apology.
Today, I will be Chingona!
-Yreina Flores Ortiz
You can find this framed piece on Etsy.com. (Please ask for permission to use poem or graphic, it is copyrighted). Click Yreina’s name under the frame to find out more about this talented craftswoman, photographer, graphic artist, and teacher from Indio, CA where the temperature rises to 120 degrees and your chanclas (sandals) melt if you don’t put them in the fridge, like my tia used to do. 

Loving yourself, taking care of you, appreciation for your body, feeling your connectedness to the world, and being your best self is what I find when I read the poem. 

What do you find?