“I’ve learned that only I am responsible for my life: the good, the bad, the positive, the negative, successes and failures. They all belong to me. They are the result of my decisions, my choices. Once I realized that my life truly means my life, I could say ‘I love my life’ and mean it.”
--Nancy De Los Santos Reza
Nancy De Los Santos Reza – “Loving My Life”
Josefina Lopez – “The Unlovable”
Margo De Leon – The Pillar That Would Not Crumble
Laura De Anda – “My Father’s Daughter”
Susan Orosco – “The Clearing”
Bel Hernandez Castillo – “The Power To Say I Belong”
Joanna Ilizaliturri Diaz – “Que Te Dice Tu Corazon?”
Rita Mosqueda Marmolejo – “Running In Place”
It was Susan Orosco who came up with the idea for a book on how and why she loved her life. Her friend Margo De Leon improved on the idea and suggested they invite other Latinas to also contribute their life stories to the project. They thought of seven Latinas, seven stories, but ended up with eight stories. As the number eight symbolizes power, abundance and luck; plus, it represents eternity and looks like the shape of a woman; they took it as a good omen that they ended up with eight stories.
The stories were supposed to be narratives for a book. Playwright and author Josefina Lopez suggested that they take excerpts from their stories and create monologues to present at her theatre for Women’s History Month (March). The monologues drew packed houses and a favorable review from the Los Angeles Times. They were even nominated for the Imagen Award, aka Latino Golden Gobles, which honors positive portrayals of Latinos in entertainment, and won!
The stories are very real, very emotional, very powerful. We know these women as strong, independent beings, but through their stories we come to realize how much it took, how much it cost them to be the women they are today.
The stories are not for the faint of heart. They are tough and rough, and will make you cringe and cry. After reading the first three, I realized I couldn’t read them all at once without breaking down so I read one a day until the end. That is how I was able to enjoy and connect with these women.
These women overcame abuse, illness, self-doubt and more. It wasn’t until they accepted responsibility for their lives, for their choices, that they finally were able to move beyond their fears and become the women they wanted to be, with the lives they wanted to have. And it is at that moment when they realize that they are where they are supposed to be, that their dreams and desires can be fulfilled, and that they can finally reach up to the heavens and shout out, I Love My Life!
Susan Orosco sums up the book best: “Loving your life is not about waiting until your life gets better before you can love it. When you learn to love your life, you learn to love yourself and to love others….Loving your life is about reclaiming you, the authentic you."
8 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE MY LIFE has become a Latina Spiritual Liberation Movement. To find out more, visit http://8waystosay.com/.###