3 Reasons Why I Don’t Listen

Image Credit: Microsoft Art

Image Credit: Microsoft Art

Lately there has been a recurring topic within my conversations in various circles. Whether with family and friends, or colleagues, I have been questioned on my deficiency in listening. For obvious reasons, I immediately take a defensive position and declare that, “I do listen!” However upon further reflection, perhaps I don’t, at least not how others are accustomed. So I propose to them to hear me out.

1. Don’t tell me I can’t do it, because I will. Throughout my acculturation and integration into U.S. society there have been too many instances in which I was told I could not do certain things. “You can’t do that,” was coming from both sides of the border. My Mexican family, while well-intentioned and fearful of cruel consequences, cautioned me many times about the future I was dreaming and working toward. On the other boundary, U.S. society was warning the same because of my native culture. I did listen to the warnings however decided to take tentative, strategic steps forward. There have been many successes, and just as many cruel failures, still I would not be where I am today if I had listened and heeded the warnings.

Though, I have developed my listening. While I may differ with the rationale and/or the status quo, I am better able to respectfully disagree and offer the opportunity to collectively brainstorm to attain a desired goal. The invitation is oftentimes declined, but for the most part it invites the experience of free-association of ideas that lead to a successful outcome.

2. Don’t offer me only one solution. As a consequence of my life choices, I do not represent a preconceived mold. Often times producing comment such as, “Really, you don’t seem Mexican.” Or, “You’re different.” Well, yes, I am different, just as everyone else is. And, I don’t accept one solution for any given question or objective. Just the other day, I was recalling a high school experience that obviously made a strong impression, however filed away with similar impressions to come. The high school counselor, a Hispanic male, well-intentioned or not, offered the only solution to my dream of obtaining a higher education while not having a dime to pay for it, “Join the armed forces,” he counseled. Really? That’s it?!? That was my first and last visit to the school’s counseling office.

I have since developed a habit of “watching, listening and learning.” I intentionally get involved with groups that are NOT like-minded, frequently being the odd, “different” one in the group. While being uncomfortable at the onset, this has giving me the opportunity to learn new skills, mature my thinking, cultivate diverse experiences, and innovate multiple solutions, for myself as well as for others. If one can only offer a single option, then please direct me to another who has the time, energy, and desire to be creative. I’ll listen to that!

3. I don’t quit, so please don’t ask me to. There is one cultural trait that I represent to the tee, that is, I am strong-willed and passionate. However, there was a time during my adolescence that fear and doubt took over when I chose to join the high school tennis team. I was immediately informed that this was a rich, white man’s sport, inferring I, a Mexican, middle-class female, had no business serving up a match. Nevertheless I joined, without a membership to the local tennis club, I learned to play tennis. I wasn’t the star of the team, but I did play well and reliably. I won some and lost some.

A switch in tennis coaches introduced the team to new opponents and new tourneys. Tourneys actually held in nice tennis clubs. It was here that fear and doubt crept in, to the point where I walked off the court and GAVE the match to my opponent. That day my coach GAVE me a valuable lesson. On the court, what matters is skill and tenacity, NOTHING else. Color, gender and money have NOTHING to do on the court, “get your a** back in there!” And so, I did, and have never again walked off a court of any kind ever, whether a task, a game, a role, a job, etc.

Yes, I admit, I don’t listen. A survival defense? Perhaps. Still needed? Definitely! Society has progressed somewhat, still, women and people of color continue to fight for basic, human rights and equal opportunity. My story is not unique. So don’t tell us what we can’t do, don’t give us your only option, and don’t ask us to quit, because listening to this is NOT a solution. I welcome the opportunity to have a respectful and creative conversation to brainstorm diverse, positive thinking for all.

Is the Latino community achieving its civic duty?

logo

My latest contribution to Being Latino. Take a read and get involved!

“Metiche or metichi, the Spanish adjective that negatively describes a person as meddlesome or nosey, is not usually a flattering compliment. In my Mexican culture, I was regularly reprimanded as a young girl for being a metiche, as my constant curiosity and people-watching habit would find me staring, when in public. To date, I cannot read or work out in public as my fascination for my fellow beings is simple intense. However, don’t take it as a critical judgment, it is an admiration for the human condition and diverse perspective. So, yes, I continue to be a strong example of what it is to be a constructive metiche, with a genuine motive for awareness and understanding. Therefore, when invited to Latino community engagements I clear my calendar in order to attend these public events and be the best metiche possible.”

Continue Reading

 

Texas Book Festival announces Fiction Writing Contest for grades 7-12

What a great topic! Boy, do I have several stories “from the back of the truck” to share.  Unfortunately I’m a little older than 12 years old, although not by much. Anyhow, my fellow Tejanos… I am sure you have just as many stories “from the back of the truck” that are worth sharing. Take out your journals and pencils, your laptops, and your reference texts and write the next winning cultural short story!

Send your draft to me, I will gladly read, proof and comment!

¡Buena suerte!  Best of luck!

~Teresa

Topic: “from the back of the truck”

Texas Book Festival, in partnership with the University Interscholastic League, announces its 12th annual Fiction Writing Contest, sponsored by Kirkus Reviews, to encourage and reward creative writing in Texas schools. This year’s fiction writing contest theme is “from the back of the truck.” The topic was selected by Texas Book Festival fans on Facebook, who voted it as their favorite of three choices.

Texas junior and high school students (grades 7-12) are invited to submit a piece of original fiction, no more than 2,000 words in length. Entries must be submitted online no later than July 27, 2013. Submitted entries are considered in three divisions: grades 7-8; grades 9-10; and grades 11-12.

There is no entry fee, and schools are limited to three entries per division. The submissions will be judged by educators, authors, and community leaders. Judges will look for excellence in use of dialogue, character development, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution.

Winners will receive a cash prize: $250 for first place, $100 for second, and $50 for third. In addition, first place winners will be awarded a plaque, will have their stories published on the TBF website, and will be invited to participate on a panel during the Texas Book Festival weekend Oct. 26-27. The Book Festival will provide accommodations for the first-place winners and their family for one night.

Since 2001, the Texas Book Festival has partnered with UIL to host its annual fiction writing contest. The mission of the Texas Book Festival is to celebrate authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. The writing contest serves to promote that culture to students across Texas and to educate them on the opportunities available to writers.

About Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival is a nonprofit organization that celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination. Founded in 1995 by Laura Bush and a group of volunteers, the annual Festival is held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol, and this year will be held the weekend of Oct. 26 and 27. The Festival features readings and discussions from more than 250 renowned Texas and national authors, entertaining and informing more than 40,000 adults and children alike. Thanks to the Festival’s 1,000 volunteers, the event remains free and open to the public. TBF supports Texas public libraries and literacy through its Library Grants and Reading Rock Stars programs, and also hosts year-round events across the state. Texas Book Festival members receive invitations to exclusive author events, priority seating, the latest literary news, and more. Visit www.texasbookfestival.org for more information.

Being Latino | The Values and Challenges of a Bicultural Relationship and Family

logo

The plan… NOT to get constrained or distracted by an infatuation with another. Simple, clear, and safe.  The perfect plan to allow for a professional and successful career as a feminist, Latina writer living abroad, enjoying travel, and living a fulfilling cultural life. I envisioned myself surrounded by children, yet uncommitted. Whose children? Not my own, that’s for sure! That was my plan and I was sticking to it while working on my Master’s degree in College Station, Texas.

Continue Reading