Are we really different?

As a Hispanic (Puerto Rican mom and middle-aged) woman I represent a number of us out there that truly believe or have been lead to believe that when we hit the middle age mark, its done with, it over!

When menopause comes along hitting our doors loud and clear, our down fall is about to begin.  Or so our moms would tell us!

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All Puerto Rican moms are experts telling their daughters all the bad things in life and the things we can’t carry out, if you don’t believe me ask Jennifer Lopez.

We no longer are capable of functioning as a women (if you know what I mean), we will no longer enjoy a sexually healthy life, and will endure menopause as best we can, but believe me when I tell you that we’re not going down quietly.  We make sure everyone in our household knows what we’re going through.

A phrase that has dawned me always has been, “no sirve ya como mujer”.  Or so to say, no longer is useful as a woman.  So, basically it means that we are useful for what?????

Nevertheless, we’re vocal and voice our womanly problems  so we’re sure EVERYONE knows what we’re going through.

On the other hand, even if we are sharing our troubles around, without knowing it we are bonding with our fellow sisters that also are enduring our pains.

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During this point is when our dear husbands embrace the phrase, “out with the old, in with the new.”  Please, note that I’m talking as part of a huge community of Hispanic women.  It’s sad, but it’s part of a reality of many women out there facing menopause.

With such a large inventory of young women the change is quite easy.

Hispanic women are expected to carry the burden of the household even if they carry the weight of  a demanding job outside the home.  On top of that, once our children leave home we drift like castaways without knowing where to go.

These are only small glimpses of what getting to the middle mark brings on us.

As dreadful as it may seem the big picture here is that as all of this is happening,   “BAM” middle age crisis comes around.  Not middle age alone, but middle age crisis.

Hispanic or not, we do have all something in common.  One simple word probably sums it all up: MENOPAUSE!

Probably what unites us all during this time is finding our voices, so we can bond, helping each other along the way.  Creating a sisterhood where not only Hispanics, but American, African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans and any other ethnic group can relate to each other and find common ground bringing to the table every bit of information that will help us get over this turning point in our lives.

It’s all about sharing our stories, so the bottom line would be,

What’s your story?


When Death Becomes a Lady

“Escondete que por ahi esta La Pelona.”

Each time someone dies in my community I usually wait because I know someone will follow.  I usually tell my dad as a joke, “Econdete que te lleva la pelona.”,  which means go into hiding because death is lurking around to see who it can  snatch.

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I find it kind of funny, but he doesn’t (I wonder why???).

About the coincidence of people dying in pairs or even in triplets can be a bit spooky. After one funeral is over, people are expecting another to follow pretty quickly and the weirdest part of it all is that nobody has to wait too long.

I usually tell my mom, wait and see a couple of more people are sure to die in the next couple of weeks, and I’m never wrong.

Why do we call death “la pelona”???  The word refers to death as a woman with no or little hair.  Talk about having a bad reputation.

Part of our folklore is to address the concept of death with a full-blown costume.  We want to make it more palpable, it’s something real, it’s something that can happen to anyone anytime.  Death takes a form, a body, a voice, and a personality.  This is not only common here on our Island, but also across the board in all Hispanic countries in Central and South America. 

We could probably pin it on our African heritage, they sure added  flavor to our culture.

Yet, is it possible for us to elude death?  Can we hide from it?

It seems we think we can, if not we wouldn’t be repeating over and over “escondete que por ahi esta la pelona”.