Millennial girl, in a millennial world.
my mid-twenty woes.
Even if my Mexican, primarily Spanish speaking, mother had taken the time to sit me down at age 9 for the flowery, glittery womanhood speech… It would not have prepared me for the shit show that I find myself navigating through today. Literally none of it would have been relative to my life. She definitely would have emphasized the need to be the ideal mother and wife. You know the one who cooks and cleans and takes care of the children and maintains a full time job and memorizes every single family member’s social security number and somehow still manages to remain married to a hard working, faulty, alcoholic man. You know the one?
Like, being a young woman/mother then was nothing compared to what it is now. There are so many moving parts. Back then, albeit it problematic, shit was simple. There were strong gender roles and clear ideas on what was expected of you. Not to take away from the strength it instilled in our mother’s and their mother’s… but they had a lane, and they stayed in it.
As millennial women, we too have one lane, but think Russian doll vibes. I constantly find myself passing a level of life only to be introduced to a new version of my reality that I never thought I would have to manage.
The universe said: “ALL GAS, NO BREAKS BABY GURL!”
Below is a list of things I wish my mom would have included in her non-existent speech about the type of issues I would face.
1. You have to work extremely hard to build a career for yourself and fight the Caucasian patriarchy in corporate America. I mean, sis! No one ever told me that you have to prove yourself to the white man over and over again when you embark on your journey to secure a stable job. I’m talkin’ 401k, medical, dental and vision. Okay!? *eye emoji*
When people make fun of me for having a “white” voice, I give my sarcastic thanks to corporate America. Because without it, I would speak like your favorite West Phoenix girl hanging out outside in Maryvale. If you know, you know.
I mean, from tailoring my voice, to ensuring I mirror the vocabulary and verbiage leadership uses, so they can take me seriously. To using words like fucking “verbiage”. Side note: I can comfortably say that I had never used that word until dipping my feet into the corporate pond.
Verbiage, fungibility, symbiotic, root cause analysis, synergy, processes but saying it like “process-eez”. I could go on and on. You’re welcome for setting you up for success on your next interview.
Anyway, talk about not being set up with proper expectations as a young Latina girl and being caught the FUCK off guard. You have to learn that these men who sit in higher chairs of power not only expect you to be on your toes 100% of the time, they expect you to allow slick ass behavior to fly. I’m talking about staring at your chest and not looking away once you catch them looking. I’m talking that overly friendly tone in one on one meetings. Those out of pocket text messages that have nothing to do with work at random times in the afternoon. It is a sick world that we don’t speak on frequently, and to be frank, a topic that deserves a book of its own.
If its not an issue with the men, its an issue with the women. I am a 5’9, shapely, pretty faced girl. Not to toot my own horn, but I would definitely hit it. I mean, I personally hit it about 4-5 times a week.
I am your coworker Angela’s worst nightmare. Every job has an Angela. She has been with the company for 20 years. Excuse me- 20 years, beloved? I am deeply sorry to hear. She wears calf length skirts, loose of course. She is sad and frumpy, but she has ties in all the right places and can either make or break your career development. She will hate your guts, sis. She knows you are smart because you would not hold the title you do if you were not. But she will continue to hate you because there is no way you can look the way you do and be respected in her world. No way, Jose.
To wrap it up in a pretty bow, if you are easily discouraged by other’s opinions and cry at weird ass behavior, do not step foot in a corporate space.
2. You have to worry about being a decent mom in the age of the iPad and whatever new platform these kids use to make their dance videos.
LOL, sis. I birthed a baby me. He literally mirrors your taste in music, fashion and food to an extent. He is me. Small, in a male body and slightly cooler though. We have the same favorite rapper and we can dissect said rapper’s most recently released album together. He is kind, sensitive and has the biggest brown eyes + smile. My weakness.
You mean to tell me I get to live with the dopest little human but I have to MOTHER him too? What in the what? I just want to go on trips to Target with him, eat boneless wings in bed together and spend all of my hard-earned money on V-Bucks.
I have to discipline him, teach him to respect himself and others, take him to get a haircut every two weeks if possible, ensure he is caught up on all his shots, that he spends enough time outside, is not on his game system for longer than 4 hours a day… it’s summer, it’s hot out and he gets bored, don’t judge! I have to answer questions about the nation’s president, dinosaur’s digestive system, and not to mention, why his dad did not pick him up today. I mean, sis. Every day is a new adventure and it is tough!
3. Unplanned segue. Yes, marriages fail. Not everything is peachy. Sometimes you are left with a baby daddy and not a husband. Not to mention his difficult girlfriend.
Yes, I low key did him dirty and broke up your family but like… remember that talk my mom didn’t have with me? The one about how to be the perfect wife? *Shrug* When it’s not working, it’s not working. But never did I imagine a split from him would funnel into how he chose to show up for my kid. I also did not imagine that he would choose to procreate with the most immature woman I have ever laid eyes on. I did not plan on her blocking me from calling or texting him. And I definitely did not plan on pulling up to his house and yelling in the middle of the street because my kid could no longer be at their house for pettiness we will not get into.
I did not anticipate having to teach my son the ways of the world for a man. And boy oh boy, there is so much more in store. So many conversations I must cultivate and encourage.
4. You have to worry about maintaining your loyalty to friends. One friend actually, because you are low-key a hermit.
Not just loyalty of course. But also, the space to enter and vent. The judgement free zone when she gets herself into a tough situation. She is there when I express the millionth time I have fallen in love. She listens, so I must listen. We have fallen out a handful of times over things I would have never dreamt up for either of us. I must maintain a level of communication because in the past, we both have harbored unsaid words and it lead to our lowest points.
No one tells you that friendships, no matter how short or long, deserve the energy that you would give to a spouse. Your friend has feelings too, your friend wants to know you love them and will ride for them. You have to learn how to show them that and be the friend you would want for yourself.
5. You actually have to worry about breathing air into all of your family ties.
That means being there for my parents in literally all scenarios. You never know what they may need you for. It could be health insurance forms, it could be to reach something from the highest pantry level, it could be going to get a 30 pack…all cans of course… from the carneceria. You MUST be free, bitch. If not, you are a bad daughter. I’m sorry, I don’t make these rules. My father does!
You also have to worry about being a good sister. If that means watching my baby niece for a bit, making the drive to visit with my closest cousin (prima hermana) and her beautiful children to remind her that I am there for her, sending texts to my out of state brother here and there to remind him that I know he exists even if he doesn’t always send them back. If not sis, you are the worst sister. Absolute trash. You know why? ‘Cause one of them could die in the blink of an eye, and you will never get the opportunity to do all of those things that take time out of your oh so busy day… Ever again. More on that later.
So you also have to find the time and balance to nurture those relationships.
6. LOL You also have to be a bad bitch on the ‘gram. This means, you must portray that you live your best life.
Bikini shots on the beach, stories of the meals I am having, using the geotag on my posts so these people know that I am traveling again. You also have to be available but not too available. That means liking DM’s and not actually responding with words 100% of the time. You can’t be too eager, sis. This means not following the NBA player who just messaged me ‘cause clearly he wants discretion, heaux! That means accepting his video only responses so that he knows whether I am screen-shotting or recording. That means blocking all the D pics from the non-blue check marked accounts. ‘Cause it is only unsolicited when it isn’t an underground rapper from The Bay or a #1 NBA draft pick.
You also need to keep an eye on who watches your stories, block the generic account who only follows you, and ensure your ex-boo is still keeping tabs on you. Yes, beloved. After 3 years, here you are… still creeping. Shit is exhausting!
7. If you failed, and portrayed yourself as too available, you also have to worry about falling into this weird category that men love to keep.
What is, sexualize me and disregard my ability to have feelings for 500?
This space does not just exist in the corporate world, it THRIVES on social media. I’m talking about the DM you got from the guy who just posted his fiancé and their wedding planner. The guy who just said I would need a full body massage once he was done with me. Yes, sis. He is currently planning his wedding to the mother of his two DAUGHTERS. Yes, this meat chunk of a man is raising two daughters, yet here he is. Sliding in the DM to tell me about what he would do to me. Fucking gross, right? Mama definitely did not warn me about him.
You get the guy who thinks he has subscription-like access to you because he made you orgasm last Summer. LOL why am I texting him back at 1 in the morning in response to one of his sporadic invites?! Sis, do better.
You have to worry about the voicemail from that one guy, from that one job. What even? Why is the voicemail 7 minutes long? Why do I have to be the only person he has ever felt this comfortable with? And wait, what was that? I am also the 4th girl he has ever had sex with? Yikes. Where were these feelings when he said he was emotionally unavailable and used me to get over his divorce? Go ahead. Block the number, sis.
You have to remind yourself that you are not dispensable, honey!
8. Speaking of men…Relationships. Fuck.
So you actually fall in love right? You have this amazing partner who has taken the time to learn you, love you and show you how important you truly are. He supports every one of your choices, encourages your dreams and is an emotional sounding board. He doesn’t always get things right, but damn it, he tries!
You have to worry about being a solid partner. Not allowing things from not only the errors you made early on in your relationship, but from faults of previous partners.
You have to push the years of distrust, toxicity and uncertainty aside and make way for this beautiful thing that is taking place before your very eyes.
You have to unlearn all of the unhealthy habits your parents displayed throughout your childhood and embody the woman you know your man deserves, because this love is not like the one that your mom did not talk about.
This love is not based on a casual acquaintance and fake courtship. It is more than DM exchanges, more than random dinners. More than a couple of hours of fake movie watching to make yourself feel better about being at the house of that 1 AM text.
No, no, no sis. This love is something entirely different. This is the love that has you envisioning a future together. The love that was love before you even knew it would ever develop into it. This love is the love that breaks all barriers in your life and is worth fighting for.
And you my dear are blessed with the task to learn how to embrace it. Healthily! LOL. Have fun with that.
9. Health. Mama absolutely, positively, did not teach me a thing about physical or mental health. Which is crazy considering she developed Diabetes pretty early on in my childhood.
There was no mention of the importance of getting your greens in. All of the important nutrients in super foods. Chia seed who?! There was no mention of minimizing my intake of fast food. If we wanted nuggets, we got nuggets. If an ice cream man was heard making his way around the corner, my dad for sure offered his junk drawer over to us. You know the one with all the quarters, loose dollar bills AND home depot receipts. Your dad may have one too, and if he is anything like my dad, along with never ending access to quarters and Sacagawea dollars, you can also find lighters and pocketknives in there. Later in life, maybe even loud weed. I’ve heard, not confirming
Anyway, zero mention of physical well-being, let alone mental well-being.
So here is to you also needing to learn how to nurture your mind. How to acknowledge when there is room for growth. How to acknowledge that you need to unload some of your worries and accept help from others.
Your mom may also be like my mom, and if that is the case. These women are TOUGH. I mean, must have been conditioned with army generals the way that they know how to maneuver through high stress situations with little emotion. Fine, emotions maybe, but without having a mental breakdown for sure!
You have to learn the concept of grace and allow yourself room to fuck up. Because even when you think you have hit rock bottom, you have to learn that you have arms and legs. And you can use those to pick yourself back up. 100% of the time.
With all of that, comes the acknowledgement that my mom could not have prepped me for all of this even if she had sat me down all those years ago. She too needed grace, she too had to navigate through raising a kid in this ever changing (not always ever evolving) world. And if an immigrant woman from Mexico, managed to deal with my dad, make enchiladas and shit for dinner every single night, and then have me as a daughter… bitch, I could do this life shit too!