Last week’s Hijas events kept me in the car—dashing into Charlotte three times in one day on Thursday (just for effect, I usually don’t go into Charlotte three times in a month even) for a television interview, radio interview, newspaper interview, and reading/signing and also to Concord, NC and Rock Hill, SC for book signings. I am usually at the gym most mornings at 7 am, but it is always with sheet marks still on my face from rolling out of bed ten minutes earlier. However, I was up and at ‘em early on Thursday—talking intelligibly—or so my friends tell me— on body image, beauty perception, and ethnic identity at 7:15 am. The radio interview was in Spanish which I had some anxiety about since I have never talked about body image or the importance of sex education in Spanish (I was having flashes of the time I told my parents’ priest that I was pregnant rather than embarrassed in front of their whole congregation), but, fortunately, I didn’t have any disparates. That night’s reading and book signing was especially fun—with all the chairs full (what a relief!) and visitors who ranged in age from 10 to 76. Among the audience was a Boricua who traveled up from South Carolina with her daughter (Thanks, Margaret!), two wonderful sisters who came together (Viy and Noemi), some folks who came from my lil’ college town to hear me (thanks Sherman, Mendee, Nancy, Bill, and John), and two high school friends (one who I haven’t seen in 16 years, easy). I was a total dork again and snuck pictures of my book out and about in the Borders (hence, the picture at the top of this blog—note that Hijas Americanas is in the GOOD READS section!). And then, just like Cinderella, as I was walking away from the register at the end of the night (because heaven forbid I go into a bookstore and not spend good money), my feet started screaming about the heels I had stuffed them into (they have gotten soft since I left the world of academia and only wear flops, clogs, and running shoes), my cell phone started dinging that my brother had called to give me a hard time about the sort of things that brothers give you a hard time about, and I couldn’t remember where I parked my car. In the car, I stopped for a moment and thought about how fortunate I am to share these wonderful women I met with the world, and how lucky I am to have found a way to give voice to these important issues, and then I got an ice cream cone, picked up the phone, and called My Tito back (if you are wondering about that one, you have to read the book!), sliding right back into the dailiness of my life.
A few other notes: On Saturday night, I went into Charlotte (again, yes— I did a total of 5 visits to Charlotte in one week) to meet Carrie Rodriguez, who is featured in Chapter 8 of Hijas, and in the first book trailer, and hear her play a gig. She’s super-talented. Check her out. And on Sunday morning, I awoke at 5 am to go see my sister-in-law in a triathlon. She did absolutely fabulous, but I have to tell you about this 60 year old grandmother who brought me to tears when she came out of the lake at 7 am and ran up the hill to the transition area with her children and grandchildren right beside her, cheering her on. I saw this and lost it. Weeping at the beauty of this strong, vibrant woman, modeling confidence and gusto to all of her family, I was reminded that we can live every day with inspiration and as an inspiration, and, in fact, it’s not just what we can do or should do. I think to get it right, to live the life we imagined, it is what we must do.