If you grew up Chicana in L.A., you wanted to grow up to be a full-on chingona. Chingona means a bad ass but it’s a little stronger than that. Actually, it’s not a very nice word and “nice girls” don’t say it. This one does…all the time. For me, it’s been my mantra. I am a chingona. Yo soy chingona.
Why? Because I’ve had to be. I am a stone-cold pocha. A pocha or pocho is a Mexican-American (for giggles, I’ve attached the Wiki description on the word which may or may not be accurate, but you all believe wiki, que no?). For me, it went even deeper. I am super-pocha because my father wasn’t Mexican. Hell, my maiden name is Gleason. Like American to the core with ancestors that landed in Massachusetts sometime in 1638 pinche gringo. Try growing up in a Mexican barrio in East L.A. in the 1960s with a name like Gleason, light skin, hair that turns red in the sun and freckles. You just gotta be a chingona right out of the gate.
To say I’ve had challenges in my life would be an understatement. A battered wife, I left my marriage under cover of night with nothing more than my four kids (two in diapers) and their birth certificates. I had to make a life for myself and I did. I fought, scratched, screamed and yelled and clawed my way up in my career without benefit of a college education. I raised three boys and girl in a haphazard, always absent kinda way because I was always working. I worked every chance at overtime or weekends. I brought work home and through it all I wrote the stories that would keep me sane when my teenagers were driving me up a wall.
I’ve dealt with more bullshit that you can imagine. I’ve dealt with racism, bigotry and smart mouthed kids who have no compunction whatsoever about fighting me at every turn. That nice little girl from the 60’s gave way to a strict, hard-assed career woman who didn’t take shit from anyone. I got a kind of a reputation or being relentless and driven. One boyfriend called me an “emasculating ball buster” and my reply was, “there’s the door, cabron.”
I got sick and lost everything, including my mind for about a minute. I lost my job in the middle of the economy crashing and I had a huge illness to deal with. I had to cobble together a semblance of a life for myself while I fought it. I managed – barely. I had to keep telling myself I was a chingona and would pull through it one way or the other. Three years later, I was back on my feet and starting over. Two years after that, now, I’m faced with another challenge – another potential illness my doctors are testing me for. I’ll beat it if I do in fact, have to deal with some bullshit disease like cancer. Ni modo – soy chingona.
In the meantime though, my body took a beating after the previous illness and I’m soft, fat and weak. That’s no shape for a chingona to be in, especially if I have to go up against a black beast piece of mierda like cancer. Right? Chale, no mamen. This chingona is working out and getting strong. I’m doing it in the best way I know how. I eat right, I walk a lot and I’m using Stephanie McMahon’s Fit Series DVD to get me strong fast. If I’m gonna be a chingona, I may as take some pointers from a super chingona like Stephanie. Have you seen her in the WWE ring? I don’t want to hear exercise advice from Barbie! I want an ass-kicking, hair-pulling, you can imagine her throwing down some mean chingasos in an alley with razor blades in her hair CHINGONA.
I’ll be mean, lean and fit before I know it. This chingona is taking no prisoners.