As we enter a new season, I grab my cozy cobija, pour myself some coffee, and get into my thoughts. October is almost over and the holidays are almost here!
As if they weren’t stressful enough, I’m here wondering how they’re going to be this year. You know, with everything that’s happening.
Since I don’t have an idea of what to compare this year to, I started thinking back on the holidays growing up. One that came to mind was Dia de Los Muertos.
To be honest I didn’t really know how to celebrate it growing up. I mean I knew it existed, but my family never did the traditional celebrations that I’d see on TV. The face painting, sugar skulls, everyone gathering at an altar. None of that. For a part of my life, I thought it was a tradition my family wasn’t honoring.
But something confused me... My grandma always kept a place in the home with photos, candles, and other spiritual objects. We visited our loved ones on their birthdays, whether they were alive or not. My aunt always said people come back to send you messages throughout your life and I 100% believe it.
So if we believed in remembering and celebrating our loved one who had passed away, why didn’t we celebrate Dia de Los Muertos like everyone else?
I mean, I could have just asked my family, but as I got older, I barely had time to do anything other than work or sleep. As soon as I finished high school, I threw myself into working full time and focused on it 100%. I felt if I was busy working, I was doing the right thing.
But something always felt “off”. Working is good and all, I mean you have to pay the bills, but you also need time to stop and self reflect. It wasn’t until I did that, that I felt I was learning more about my heritage. Viva La Bonita came from those moments of looking within myself and asking those real, raw, personal questions. The ones you keep avoiding because you’re scared to know the answer.
It was in those moments that I understood who I was, who I am, and who I want to be.
That’s when it hit me.
We have been celebrating Dia De Los Muertos my whole life! It just looked different than everyone else's, and that's okay.
When we got together with my family and told stories from our past, we spoke of everyone as if they were still here. We were reflecting on the life they shared with us. And to me, that is what Dia De Los Muertos represents.
To Honor, to Respect.
Dia de Los Muertos is a tradition you hold in your heart forever. You don’t need to wait for a specific day to say you miss them. To thank them for watching over you.
When you win, they’re beside you cheering for you. And when you’re down, they’re holding out their hands ready to pick you back up. They’re watching you grow into this beautiful person you are and will continue to help light the path you’re on.
My personal experience is what inspired our Growing through It Photoshoot last year. I wanted to merge the past and the present. A flower can only grow if its roots are planted in rich soil and gets good nutrients. And your traditions are part of your soil. You don’t have to do it like the movies, do it your way. Do what makes you feel good.
Keep growing through it Bonita, I know it's tough. Use your intuition, to guide you to the decisions that will help you grow into the best version of yourself.