This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Buena Vista Home Entertainment. However, all opinions expressed are my own.
Finding MY Inspiration In A Movie About So Much More Than Running, About My Culture #MiInspiracion
Last week I was sent a screening copy of the “McFarland USA” movie, my Family watched it; and I do have to say that I was completely surprised by it and it’s after effects. As a tomboy I am a big fan of sports related movies, especially when they are based on a true story. I knew this movie was based on a true story, but I didn’t really know much more about it. The fact that I am Mexican and the movie is based on Mexican families had not made me more excited to watch it; despite what my friends thought (which was that I would want to watch this movie because it was about Mexican families living in California (hello! I am Mexican, and my family lives in California))
My Husband, our kids, and myself were watching it together. Like with many “popular” movies, I was apprehensive about watching it, trying not to love it at first glance because I wanted to give it a full look before forming my opinion. After the first 5 minutes, there was a scene that caught me, from there the movie had me. It was such a vivid reminder of what life is really like for so many families, not just in McFarland.
It was so realistic. It reminded me of the struggles my Mom would tell me about. About how my Father and Uncles (while being a U.S. Citizens) would work in the fields; as pickers. Growing up in that world gave me such a true appreciation not just for the hard working families that help with all of those crops; but also for the extreme amount of work, sacrifice, and racism that they go through. Listening constantly to how hard they worked, the salary, and all the struggles that came with that life, I grew up with so much appreciation for the field workers and Families.
After my Dad passed away, a new reality set in for my Family; but my Mom never let me forget about the “field life”. She always made sure that we knew what the “field workers’ ” lives were like, we would take drives and look at the fields. She said that my Father, many times; asked her to promise him that none of his children would ever set foot on a “field”.
Fast forward to now, I have been married for 16 years to a US Navy Sailor, and we have 6 kids. We lived in California for the first 12 years of our marriage. I always told my Husband and my kids about my Father, my Uncles, and the life of migrant workers (because the majority of the field workers are). I took them numerous times to drive by miles and miles of crop fields, we pulled over so they could see the people picking the crops. I took them on rainy days, I took them on days where the heat was over 100 degrees; all to teach them the value, sacrifice, and pride of those Families and that life. When we would go on trips to Los Angeles and see the people on the side of the road selling oranges, I would tell them where they came from, we would go to the groves. It’s a life that I want my kids to keep present, and never take for granted what they have and where they live. We have now lived in New York for over 4 years, and we miss the Mexican community, the Family. There isn’t a Mexican community that we have been able to find out here. There are stores that have “Hispanic” products, but no direct Mexican connection.
Watching how the Families came together for several things in the movie, made me miss home so much. It was SO realistic. Many things struck a chord with me. Many things made me miss home. Many things made me want to change how I am currently doing things in my life.
One thing that stood out a lot, was the Family bond. The closeness a community has when they know everyone’s struggle. The way they all came together to support each other’s triumphs and challenges. I took that for granted while I lived in California with “my Family”. I made a decision to change that. To become a community where ever we live. To branch out and reach out to people around us; for the sake of my children.
Growing up in a Mexican Family comes with many traditions and “Rules”. I watched how all the Men in the Family worked and the Women stayed home. All of my Aunts cooked and cleaned and had children. I didn’t experience the house cleaning and the cooking because my Mom had to get a job after my Dad passed away, and my Gramma always had Women to do that for her (but this was only because I came into the picture long after their businesses had taken off); but she would cook for me. It was part of an unspoken tradition.
A month after my Husband and I married, I quit my job. It didn’t have anything to do with tradition, he was about to go on his first Deployment and we wanted to spend all the time together that we could. In my heart I was happy, I wanted to live the life that my Culture lived, I wanted to be a happy housewife and cook and clean and be home while my husband went to work. That didn’t go the way I planned, being a new wife, being pregnant while he was deployed, being depressed; all of those things sent me on a downward hill. A state in which my own Mother was ashamed of me and would tell me that my Gramma was tuning in her grave while watching how lazy I was (THAT my friends, is another post). I still always had that in my heart, that one day; I wanted to be that housewife; that iconic Mexican housewife with a beautifully clean house and food cooked for her Family.
In October we had a house fire (I promise it was not because of my cooking), and we were left with nothing, and no renter’s insurance to help us get back on our feet. We were able to move back into the rental after 5 months of living in hotels, it was a horrible reality. We had nothing. We slept on sheets on the floor, sat on the floor where the couches once were. I made the decision to leave the house and get a job. For years I had been making an income from blogging from home, but this was the first time (since before I was married *1999*) that I was going to work outside of the home.
The pain in my heart for having to leave my kids, the pain from knowing that my little one had to be taken to the bus by the neighbor, the pain of knowing that I was no longer going to be there to see him get off of the school bus and run towards me with a hug.
The pain that I was going to miss my daughter’s entire season of Lacrosse because the job I found was 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. It was unbearable.
I cried daily while I was at work. During lunch I would go to the car and sob. I would text my husband things like:
“I feel like such a horrible mother” and “I have failed my kids”.
Of course my Husband was supportive and would tell me to quit if I wanted to, but I was trying to help. Having this job did help, it helped us get furniture,
and so many things we needed. Because of it we got to go on an amazing vacation to Walt Disney World, it made it possible for us to go out to eat often (which was a rarity before). It was the financial break we needed. But it was costing me my heart, it was costing me precious buy cheap clonazepam online time and memories with my children; time that I would never get back.
While on our vacation, I was very troubled, I knew in my heart I didn’t want to go back to work. I spoke with my Husband and he told me that if I wanted to quit; that it was my choice and he would support me. I told him how bad I felt knowing that we would lose our “fun money”, but he re-assured me that we would be fine. Watching “McFarland USA” reminded me of the struggles we all go through, trying to live on a budget, but I also saw the happiness of the Family eating together, and spending time together. When we got back from our vacation, I came back with a decision.
I wanted to be there with AND for my Family. Before school, during school, and after school. I wanted to be there for them AND with them; like my Gramma was for me. Like my Aunts were for their children, like maybe my Mother would have wanted to be there for me.
I made the decision to follow my passion, the one passion I had cut short months before the house fire; Blogging. It has always been something I love, something I am truly passionate about. Something that not only made me personally happy, but it made my Family happy as well. It brought an income, it brought many opportunities that otherwise would never have; and it brought me to a place that made my “mothering” heart happy; it allowed me to do everything from home and be there WITH my Family.
I had a few days of sadness, I felt like I failed my Family because I took that income away. My kids, from 9 years old to 15 years old, including my Husband; assured me that I had done the right thing. They all had conversations at different times with me, encouraging me to follow my dream. Telling me that they all knew this is what I loved doing and that they were not only happy because “I” was going to be happy but also because once again I was going to be home. They all offered different ways in which they could help me around the house, so that I could dedicate the time I needed to re-launch my blog. From the simplest act of love (my 9 year old making me a sandwich) to the most tedious (my Husband cooking dinner after he comes home from work).
They have all pitched in to help me on this journey. They are my inspiration, they are my reason for making this choice, they are my “traditions in the making”, they are the reason I can follow my dreams.
Another form that this movie inspired me, was that it helped me realize what a celebration truly is.
Stay with me folks 😉
On January our oldest Daughter turned 15, and ever since I can remember she always spoke about having a Quinceañera. Of course we were homeless during her birthday (due to the fire), so she didn’t have the ability to have one. I asked her many times if she could give up her hopes of a Quinceañera for a Sweet 16, because it would take a long time for us to save up the money. She agreed, but I knew it wasn’t in her heart. Watching the scene in “McFarland USA” where the Families came together in a day and pulled off a celebration for the birthday girl; made me realize that I was doing it all wrong. She spoke up during the movie scene and said “That’s what I’m talking about Mommy, a party in a back yard with Family and Mexican Mariachi music”.
After watching the movie, she explained to us that, that is what she had dreamed about for years. A nice party in a back yard, with lights hanging from the trees, Family, Friends; and rich Mexican tradition (food and music). She has had a vision of having a beautiful party in a yard, with lights illuminating farm tables; and because my Mother wouldn’t settle for anything other than a Wedding hall for me; I wouldn’t settle for something my daughter wanted…
because I was trying to give her the best that she deserved.
That? That was the moment it all came to me, having a Quinceañera wasn’t about the glamor and making it as lavish as possible; Celebrating my Daughter’s Quinceañera is about celebrating HER, her turning onto a young lady, and having friends and family close.
That night we made the decision to start planning her late Quinceañera the way she wanted it, the way that described everything about her: simple, humble, vibrant, and beautiful.
Have you watched this movie? In the movie (and of course in real life) there is a kid named Danny Diaz. Danny Diaz seems to be the underdog of the movie as he is a little heavier than the rest of the team. He is teased and really captures your heart. I have a “Danny Diaz” in my life, my 9 year old. He was born at 22 weeks, less than 2.5 pounds, and we were always told that he would not make it; and if he did he would be severely behind. Anthony has beat many odds, he has overcome many obstacles; and now as a heavy boy he is teased a lot. He constantly tells me how kids tease him about his weight, despite my re-assurance he still feels self-conscious. Many laugh at the way he runs (he has a pretty cute & original way of running if I say so myself), yet he keeps going. He loves to run, to play, and to have fun. He said after the movie that he feels like Danny Diaz, and that he thinks that he can run fast one day.
“If Danny can run, so can I huh Mommy?” “Yes you can baby”
I know it sounds very cliché to say that a movie had such an effect on my Family that it literally changed our lives; but it’s true. I was able to validate so many of my heart’s desires, I was able to agree to something that was
huge in my Daughter’s heart, I was able to let go of a job and live my life like I wanted to; they way I had grown up. The way that tradition and culture were shown to me in the truest ways.
Thank you for sharing this moment with me, for reading our story!
Thanks to our Sponsors, I can host a giveaway for your own Blu-Ray copy of McFarland, USA.
Disclosure: No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Giveaway ends June 9th, 2015. Sole Sponsor: Adventures of a Military Family of 8. The prize was provided to me by Buena Vista Home Entertainment and I have been paid to blog and promote the film. Buena Vista Home Entertainment is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ‘Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.’”
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