Eight successful, talented and insightful Latinas share their personal stories on why they love their lives in the new book 8 Ways to Say I Love My Life! The book, released in late November, includes stories from notable Latinas, including filmmaker Nancy de los Santos (Mi Familia), playwright Josefina Lopez (Real Women Have Curves), author Susan Orosco (Latino Power: 7 Powers All Latinos Have Upon Which to Build an Empire) and businesswoman/publisher Bel Hernandez-Castillo.
“It’s a self-help book,” Hernandez-Castillo told Mamiverse. “It teaches you that whatever tough times you are facing now, you will get through it.”
8 CHAPTERS—8 LIVES
Each chapter is dedicated to the unique experience of its author. Hernandez-Castillo’s chapter titled The Power to Say I Belong, chronicles her struggles to fit in as she is caught between her Mexican and American roots. Through a career in professional dance in ballet folklórico and later acting, she found her calling and embraced her uniqueness.
Josefina Lopez’s chapter titled The Unlovable, chronicles her struggle to find a good man, as she kept choosing abusive partners. “I was drawn to bad boys, men who needed fixing, men who abused,” she writes, adding, “I lost myself and my innate power as a woman.”
The Pillar That Would Not Crumble is writer Margo de Leon’s personal essay on how alcoholism affects children. She shares how, at the age of three, her family took in her alcoholic uncle, disrupting her life and sense of peace. “Living with Bibi was like being a seedling striving to grow in the middle of the battleground between good and evil,” she writes.
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Other chapters include My Father’s Daughter, by public speaker Laura de Anda and Running in Place by public health administrator Rita Mosqueda Marmolejo.
LATINA STORIES—UNIVERSAL THEMES
Each story, although told from the perspective of a Latina woman, has universal themes to which anyone can relate. The book explores stories of self-acceptance, self-esteem, personal growth and forgiveness. According to Hernandez-Castillo, the book’s message is simple: “We all have obstacles, but we can handle them and in the end we will be okay.”
The book was also recently turned into a play in Los Angeles where three different actresses performed monologues adapted from the book. The play attracted the likes of actor Jimmy Smits and Selena director Gregory Nava in the audience. “They both loved the play!” said Hernandez-Castillo, who was also producer.
Hernandez-Castillo and a few of the other writers of 8 Ways to Say I Love My Life plan on reaching out to different community groups, prisons and colleges to read excerpts of the book and hopefully inspire other Latinos to learn to love their lives, regardless of what they’ve experienced.