Why do we Latinas feel so alone sometimes?
The most popular conversations among the members of the mamaslatinas.com community are "I want to lose weight" and "I feel depressed, sad or lonely." This is especially true among Spanish speaking Latinas. The issue of losing weight is something that has dominated my life since I had my children over 17 years ago. My weight goes up and down like a yoyo. In the last six months, prompted by other mamás Latinas and an acid reflux diagnosis, I have lost over 12 pounds!
The theme of "feeling alone" has largely defined my life as a Latina in this country. I have a very active social life because of work, I'm happily married and I have two wonderful children who fill my life. However, with age, the gap left by not having my family living in the U.S., has grown. Not sure if I have idealized what I left behind. I think Hispanic women who were born in Latin America and have left our families behind share similar reasons that lead to this constant sense of loneliness, even when we are surrounded by people.
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First of all, nothing and no one can fill the void left by our families, the way Latinos define "familia". Secondly, I think the feeling of loneliness often comes from feeling misunderstood by those around us. Although I've been living in the U.S. for a long time, the concept I grew up with of family or community, love, celebration, el calor humano, and many other values and traditions that define our Latin culture are very different to how my American world that surrounds me defines it all.
The third reason we feel alone, I believe has to do with how we define friendship. With age, my definition of "friendship" has changed tremendously. By my definition, I can say that I have a maximum of four people that I count as real friends. And unfortunately, I hardly have time to see them because I spend so much time at work, I have no time and I am constantly tired. This year, I decided that I have to take the time to nurture my relationship with my remaining friends or I will end up all alone!
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