Monday, February 11, 2013

A Latina’s Circle of Friends is Powerful

As a Latina Still Standing, I often write about the Latina Still Standing motto of relying on Faith, Family and Friends to help us overcome life’s obstacles.

The dictionary defines “friend” as a person with whom you share a bond of mutual affection. To me, it’s also someone you can celebrate with, cry with, confide in and count on when times get tough. I have always found relationships and friendships to be a very important ingredient to my success.

“La verdadera amistad resiste el tiempo, la distancia y el silencio.”

― Isabel Allende, Portrait in Sepia

When someone knows the depths of your soul and who you really are and what you really stand for and still accept you with all of your flaws, then you have found yourself a true friend. I am very fortunate to have several friends that have been in my life for decades. When you are in someone’s life for that many years you are bound to have some ups and downs. You get to experience the highs and the lows of each other’s lives. You build a friendship though life’s experiences and celebrations such as, graduations, weddings, births and sometimes you also experience the painful times, during break ups, divorces, sickness and loss. A long-term friendship is almost like a marriage – until death do you part.

As Latinas, I’m convinced that our circle of friends/amigas, including our tias, comadres and hermanas is very strong within our Hispanic culture and extremely vital to our happiness and our success. We rely and consult with our friends about many of our major life decisions and we provide and obtain guidance and direction and advice from each other on a regular basis. But like any long-term genuine relationship there are trials and tests that sometimes surface, but through it all a true friendship can stand the test of time through loyalty, love and forgiveness.

I am blessed to have several good friends that I have met over the years and I’m also very fortunate to have four really close longtime friends that I have known since childhood. I have watched each of them grow into beautiful Latina women, get married, have children and now some are even having grandchildren. It’s pretty amazing how our closeness has stood the test of time. We have counseled each other, we have laughed and cried with each other -- and yes, we have even argued with each other from time to time – but to this day we remain very close friends.

Recently one of my closest longtime friends went to have a check-up for a minor medical issue and by happenstance a mass was found. The agony of finding out that someone you know and love and talk to everyday may have a cancerous tumor in her body was extremely hard to bear. Thankfully, she is one of the toughest Latinas I know and she held her head high with strong resolve and said to me, “I’m going to beat this and I’m going to be OK, you will see.” And thankfully she was right! By the Grace of God, the tumor was found early and the surgeon removed the Stage 1 cancerous tumor from her body and she is doing excellent.

We all need friends. Latinas in particular take friendship and loyalty very serious. I am proud that I have been a friend and that I have good friends that I can call my “true friends.” Viva la Amistad!