De Su Mama

Legacy of Multiracial Motherhood

Time to Shine: DSM Named Top Latina Blogger

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Top Latina Blogger: Owning My Legacy of Success

While in Florida with my family a few weeks ago, I received an email that would alter the way I see this blog forever. After sending in my application, with nothing more than a wish and prayer, I found out that De Su Mama was chosen as a Top Bloguera (Latina blogger) by LATISM.

In my social media circles, I would often refer to myself and this blog as “small”. I would say things like “small blogs can do big things, too!” or “I hope they’re willing to work with small bloggers”. Supporters of my work would get angry, yelling at me that DSM was not small. Compared to them, I am. But what I’ve learned from those amazing women, and after the Top Bloguera’s retreat in New York City, is that my impact is not small. Nor can it be compared or replicated. I learned that I was the one thinking small, putting boundaries on the success and dreams I’m capable of achieving.

I admit that I ‘ve suffered from low self esteem for most of my life. But I’ve never been so low that I didn’t dare to dream. I remember, years ago, after my first love had broken my heart, I ran into his best friend while grocery shopping. I was still in college, unsure of my future. So when he asked me what I wanted to do with my life, I said, “I’m going to write a book. One day you’ll see my name on the shelves of Barnes and Noble.”

I knew the guy I dated for years had dumped me because I was a sappy, clingy girl. I wanted his best friend to go tell him how independent and strong I was; how attractive and sexy I was. While I did (do) dream of writing a book, I was totally faking it that day at the grocery store.

Two days later, the best friend called to ask me out on a date.
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The Top Bloguera’s retreat started off kind of like that for me – I cried on the plane ride there and faked it for most of the first day. I knew my value would be assessed from the moment I walked in. I was terrified, yet determined to look like the legacy of success that LATISM believed me to be.

The organizers at LATISM had secured funding from very generous sponsors like Suaze and Google to completely fund my flight to New York, as well as many nights stay at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue. And while I felt honored and humbled by LATISM’s belief in my work, the ability to let my guard down occurred solely because of the 3 girls I roomed with – Staci, Tiany and Claudya.

As Latinas, we each have varying stories of identity and connection to our heritage. Even still, we connected as a unit, pushing each other to make the most of the trip, cheering each other on, crying together, laughing till 2am, and peeling away the anxieties that we all came to New York with.

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The #TopBloguera retreat was jam packed with informative sessions on business plans, presentations by marketing gurus, film producers and others who are taking their social media presence to “the next level”. But the woman that most moved me was Pauline Campos, the new columnist at Latina Magazine.

Pauline is a writer. She makes no claims to be anything else. With her daughter sitting quietly at the table beside her, Pauline was barely audible during her presentation. I rushed up to the front. I wanted to hear her thoughts on getting published, taking her voice from online to print, and to soak up the wisdom of someone on a path I so desire for myself.

What she said will forever change my life… “Writers are both vane and insecure. You know your stuff is good, or you wouldn’t put it out there, but you are horribly insecure and need constant reassurance. You wonder, ‘why would anyone want to read this?'”

I want to thank Pauline, a complete stranger, for letting me own the most insane parts of who I am – the vanity that allows me to share and the terrified insecurity that shrinks from constant marketing and social media.
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During the retreat, LATISM secured the opportunity to meet with UN officials and tour the United Nations building privately. As we walked into the building that is currently (as in, THIS week) housing political leaders of many nations, discussing matters that really impact our world (like Syria, not Cyrus), I felt my confidence budding. I felt faith seeping into my body. I felt my voice rise from a quiet hush to a yearning to rush home and speak, write and tell anyone that will listen why I am destined to create a legacy of success.

So, to my first love and to my forever love, to my best friends and my enemies, to the social media leaders who support me and to those who have no idea who I am: I am a Top Bloguera and I want to write a book.

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Dear Universe,

I know now why I started De Su Mama. As a Latina married to an African American man, raising multiracial children has come with struggle. Even now, at 3 years old, Alina is teaching me that proactive parenting, when it comes to racial identity and societal diversity, is absolutely necessary. Our Latino culture sometimes shuns this discussion. Conversation of skin color and discrimination are almost non-existent. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can still honor our heritage and family legacies, while prompting authentic conversations on issues that impact our children. I am no less Latino for wanting this; in fact, I believe it makes me more whole. Ultimately, for brown moms raising black babies, we need to nurture our hopes, not squander the dreams we have for our multiracial children. And, dear Universe, I’m asking you to help me achieve this. I’m asking be apart of the change that my children deserve. They inherit two cultures, two races, yet I sincerely believe there is only one identity to build. Perhaps balanced by a hyphen, but one nonetheless.

With utmost respect and the promise to work my ass off,

Vanessa, la Mama de Alina y Sebastian

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24 Discussions on
“Time to Shine: DSM Named Top Latina Blogger”
  • Vanessa, you brought tears to my eyes. I can’t put it into words right now but I *get* you and what you described here. Big hugs to you! I know it all worked out just the way it was supposed to but I wish I had spent more time with ALL of you. What an experience! xoxo! … p.s. that’s me taking the photo of the Human Rights posters at the UN! *smiling*

  • Well done Vanessa! Congratulations on Top Bloguera – it is well deserved and I look forward to reading your book one day! This is a really beautiful post!

  • Me encanto. Que agrado conocerte en el retreat y te deseo todo el éxito que te mereces y que estoy segura llegara.
    Escribir de los sentimientos es tanto mas difícil que hacer recetas. Me saco el sombrero, Gracias!

  • Wow, amo esto! I’ve been a lurker for a while now, and have never commented, but this post really got me. Let me tell you that you are amazing, an inspiration. Everything you wrote I completely get, the racial taboo within our Latino community (I’m Dominican, and it doesn’t get more prejudice than us!). The vanity and insecurity bit, the desire to leave a legacy for our children…beautifully written. Know that when you do write that book, I’ll be waiting in line…

  • Wow. Vanessa….I am speechless. You have no idea how big I am grinning right now or how your words made me feel. Thank you. You just patted the back of the insecure writer who was hoping she was almost speaking loud enough for just one person to connect with my words.
    I don’t say this often, but I’m truly humbled. And I’m grateful for our new friendship.

  • Oh Vanessa, I am in tears of happiness right now! COngratulations on the Top Bloguera, I love your blog an dyou definitely deserved the title! Your blog is wonderful, I am a keen reader of your blog and you always inspire- with your words, with your pictures and with your actions. Thank you for being here, Vanessa!

  • “Sometimes, if you are intimidated by a task at hand, play it like a role – pretend to be someone you admire. To be successful in life, you have to ‘play’ more than you are.” – Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor eloquently advising us to “fake it ’til you make it”

  • Yeah, I got the ugly cry going on… I had no idea that you felt this way upon arriving to the conference. You did not know your worth, I am so glad you are seeing it now. You have so much good to share, to do, to offer. I am blessed by you and our time in NYC! xoxo

    P.S. Now go write a book already!!!

  • Vanessa I am so proud of you. I have been reading your blog for a while and I must say that i’m extremely proud. I can relate to many things you wrote and I was in tears. its such a pleasure to read your blogs. looking forward to see a lot more of your accomplishments.

  • I ***must*** say something here because….as one of the very first readers of De Su Mama, I am in absolute AWE of your growth. I knew this blog was going somewhere, specifically because you were speaking on matters that “count” and “need to be heard”. Your braveness, compassionate writing, and big ole heart had me at day 1. I am so proud to see you doing BIG things with this blog. And when the book comes…I cannot wait! Oh, and where is Emma Kay? She was there in the early days just commenting away along with me! I pray we inspired you back then to keep going… With Love & Hugs , Shay.

  • Oh, and one more thing; I too am THAT insecure writer who dabbles and dips my toes in print work and is petrified of what could possibly come of it. 😉

  • I have been reading your blog for 2 years now and it’s my first time commenting on your posts. You are simply amazing! I have no doubt that you will be a great writer ‘cos you already are. May all your dreams come true and may you be blessed beyond measure.

  • Read these comments. Print them out. Carry them with you if you need. I’m not saying they will take away the insecurity, but perhaps it will help redefine it. Instead of insecurity, perhaps a burning desire to share what you have with the world. To take thoughts and feelings and mold them into words that capture the hearts of people you’ve never met, but who need to hear what you have to say.
    I’m not going to tell you that “you have arrived”, because that implies that this is a final destination. And it isn’t. It is just one step on an amazing, wild, and crazy journey. Throw your hands up in the air and enjoy the ride.
    Can’t wait to read your book.

  • Hi Vanessa- I found you through the Las Vegas Bloggers group. I just wanted to let you know how beautifully written this is! You have a gift for story telling and your success comes deservingly! Thanks for a little piece of perspective today.

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