Where EVERYONE is a maker

Episode 24: Choosing Yourself is Sanity with Ana Del Castillo

Episode 17 cover art featuring podcast guest Ana Del Castillo

Ana Del Castillo is a tornado of passion. When not dropping pearls of wisdom to her followers on social media, she’s dropping f-bombs about the fall of democracy. As a Cubana with Middle Eastern and Jewish roots, she’s equal parts relatable and intimidating AF.

Ana’s unique message about being “in rightness with yourself” translates into choosing yourself over the insanity of cutting off pieces of yourself to fit into someone else’s opinion of you.

In that way, choosing yourself is sanity.

As for the topic of being childfree, Ana has lots to say but the most important is: I had a child, and it’s me.

More about Ana:

Ana Del Castillo is a Rightness Expert & Certified Coach with over 20 years of experience working with men and women who have great lives but still always feel like there’s something wrong. By addressing the underlying source of their suffering, Ana creates transformative experiences for her clients so they can own their inherent rightness and feel vital and alive in their skin and lives.

Find Ana online at:

DM me on Instagram if you have questions about this week’s episode. If you’d like to apply to be on the podcast, fill out this form. And join the mailing list to learn about what’s coming in the future.

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[00:00] Paulette: Buen día y welcome to The Maker Muse Podcast, the place where childfree Spanglish speaking, mujeres fuertes are inspired to find their confidence through creativity. I’m Paulette Erato, the Maker Muse.

[00:14] Today, I’m chatting with Ana Del Castillo. And when I say that Ana doesn’t mince words, that’s an understatement. Ana doesn’t suffer fools. I found her on TikTok, throwing down the kind of advice and wisdom that makes her both relatable and kind of intimidating. I love her.

[00:32] Ana coaches people on being in rightness with themselves, on not being insane in their heads or living in what she calls a version of hell. And in a world that sometimes values likability over authenticity, Ana is a warrior woman whose advice we all should follow. Also, we recorded this in the week after Roe V Wade, or as Ana will shortly put it, the fall of democracy. So get ready for an episode full of passionate opinions, lots of F bombs and everything else you love on The Maker Muse Podcast.

[01:04] And today I have the one and only Ana Del Castillo with me here today. She is a rightness expert and certified coach with over 20 years of experience, working with men and women who have great lives, but still feel like there’s something. Ana.

[01:18] Ana: Hello!

[01:19] Paulette: What’s wrong?

[01:22] Ana: Are you kidding me? We’re recording this in the post RO V world, fall of democracy, like losing women’s rights. What’s wrong. Fuck ton of shit is wrong. Let me tell you something right now.

[01:35] Paulette: Maybe the better question is what’s right?

[01:37] Ana: Well, you know, that’s a good start. So given that there’s so much, let’s say it was pre this, right. There are people who walk around with their own fall of fall of whatever it is inside of them. Right? A lot of people have things that have been very dramatic or not even that dramatic, but have affected them deeply. And, and we walk around, we wake up feeling every single day like there’s something wrong with us, something inherently wrong with us.

[02:01] We wake up and we’re like, Oh, God, I did that thing. I like, like, we’re not being loved right. We’re not being like, why did we say that stupid thing? I’m too heavy. I’m too thin. I’m too this I’m too bad. I’m too. Like, we’re just everything about us is bad and wrong. I personally believe deeply that living a life like that is a version of hell that I happen to have a skillset in breaking up in such a way that people’s life circumstances can on the surface remain the same, but who you are and the face of those circumstances changes dramatically in such a way that you actually influence the life you have and it starts to shift. So that’s what I mean by some of what I mean by rightness. And what kind of difference that can make in a person’s life.

[02:56] Paulette: That sounds like a superpower.

[02:57] Ana: It IS a superpower! It is one. It is one.

[03:01] Paulette: What’s your kryptonite?

[03:03] Ana: There’s so many. I am, as you know, Latina. And so I, and I have also a number of other cultures that are like hot blooded. And so I don’t respond calmly to everything.

[03:18] Paulette: To anything or to anything.

[03:19] Ana: No, to everything. You know, I, I respond calmly to a lot of things, but I don’t respond calmly to, to everything.

[03:27] And even my version of calm is way more excitable and excited than sort of like the gestalt that is accepted out there. At like, I just have a lot more room and space and understanding for all of the different highs and lows and everything in between of how people express themselves. But I cannot tolerate, and I do not tolerate the kind of whole hog…

[03:50] I I’m gonna say this and it doesn’t even come close. Narcissistic disrespectful treatment of a hu of a human, like they’re nothing. And the callous behavior around that. And then the violence on every level, I’m not just talking about overt violence. I’m talking about just this week. There was news in Arizona about the 51 migrants that were in that truck.

[04:18] There were so many places before that final violence happened. There were so many places of more subtle covert versions of violence. Of being able to treat people like they are like, they’re nothing. Like, they’re just a box, they’re cattle. I have absolutely no tolerance for that. My goal. I can usually speak eloquently through that, but my, my goal is to be able to moderate myself in such a way that I can know how to manage my own fire hose around that.

[04:48] Paulette: Manage your own fire hose.

[04:50] Ana: Yeah. Everybody’s got a fire hose. Sometimes, what happens is that everybody gets really, really pissed off. Some people get super pissed off. And what happens is they don’t know how to manage their own fire hose. And so they’ll turn on the blast and it just like completely blasts everybody. And then they’re like, oh, I can’t ever use the fire hose.

[05:05] No, you just have to learn how to manage your fire hose. Not every, not every fire needs to, you know, sometimes it’s just like a match and you don’t have to like douse and, and destroy the home with your fire hose. Do you know?

[05:17] Paulette: Yes, because I feel like as I matured, that definitely became part of that maturity process.

[05:23] Ana: Mm-hmm.

[05:24] Paulette: When you first start having these really passionate ideas,

[05:27] Ana: mm-hmm

[05:28] Paulette: you tend to burn yourself out because the fire hose is so strong. And it does, it can cause fear, but it can cause burnout and it can cause all these other things. And it’s like, you don’t have to choose to be passionate or not. It’s not a binary choice.

[05:43] Ana: Yes, absolutely.

[05:45] Paulette: Part of my journey has been that I did a lot of things late in life. I got married late in life. I, I started this late in life later. And, it has been so liberating being this age.

[05:59] Ana: The whole idea that we have to be a certain way. That’s another thing that’s in my thing about rightness. There’s another, there’s a wrong way to be. Even the idea that you started too late. That’s wrong. Bullshit.

[06:11] Paulette: Thank you!

[06:13] Ana asked me to specifically keep in that last part because she wanted to make sure I knew, and by extension you knew, that there’s no wrong way to be. There’s no timeline. You know how I’m always telling you that the life script is bullshit? Ana didn’t even know when she said that, that I actually have a short little book called Benchmarks are Bullshit on that very idea.

[06:35] It was written for my niece when she was going off to college three years ago. I’ll leave you a link in the show notes so you can get yourself your own copy with a little discount. All that to say that even me, the one that’s always shouting it from the rooftops and wrote the damn book, can still use the reminder once in a while.

[06:53] Bringing it back around to you, not me. How do we thrive in this white culture that thinks were too much?

[06:59] Ana: Okay. So I want you to like, especially for all the people who are I’m, I’m assuming that some of the people who listen are either Latin or they’re from different cultures, not necessarily the majority white. And if you are in the majority white and you’re listening to this, I’m gonna say something that you may or may not agree with. Whatever.

[07:18] What brown and black and Latino cultures have in common, generally speaking, is a very powerful sense of community. Like if I’m somewhere and they’re a bunch of white people, but I see a Latina or a Latino, and I say a little something in Spanish, that person is automa— like, like we’re together.

[07:38] Paulette: We’re suddenly on the same team.

[07:40] Ana: We’re suddenly on the same team. White people don’t have that. White people they are conditioned to a large degree on the lone ranger hero/heroine narrative. The superpower that, one of the superpowers that we have is our powerful sense of community, family.

[07:58] It’s also the, not the superpower, but but it IS the superpower in that we have culture and we have family and we have community in a way that, that the white community simply just does not. It’s not that they don’t have family, but they don’t have it the way we have.

[08:12] Paulette: Yeah. That individualism that is really rampant in American culture is part of the reason this pandemic lasted so long, no?

[08:21] Ana: Yes, yes, yes. Yes. And it’s why other cultures, if you notice you have other cultures that come to the United States and because if one person comes over and they make it…my father was the kind of man who he was very successful. And people came to my father and they were like, I have this idea and my father was like, I will help you out.

[08:41] Certain cultures just do that for each other.

[08:44] Paulette: Mm-hmm.

[08:44] Ana: Not so much all the time in the white culture. So that’s a superpower. Another thing is, I wanna say a couple of things is, again, this is one of those things that we’ll be punished for in, in the white culture, but I think it’s a superpower. It is our ability to have more capacity and more room and more expression of emotion. And passion and our sexuality in our bodies and music and every, like, we just have MORE of us.

[09:12] And that is a superpower as much as the other culture might want to tame us down, make us smaller, do that. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. There’s something about being deeply, fully wholly alive in a way that other people are not, that should be, needs to be, has to be celebrated.

[09:33] Has to be honored, has to be like, let’s come around. Let’s actually eat some good food. Let’s dance. Let’s like, let’s sing. Let’s do all that stuff. Like if you’ve noticed it’s actually making its way. I mean, it started with rock and roll, right? The black gospel started to show its way in. It’s a super power of ours.

[09:51] I mean, it goes in line with this archetype of the Latina sort of martyr. And then these, the archetype of the Latina, like NO! You know, that kind of thing. Even the martyr has a little bit of that fire. There’s a way in which we have a lot of fire and we don’t typically go into the woe is me. We go into let’s kick some ass.

[10:12] I will take my fucking chancleta that and like throw it at your fucking head. There’s all kinds of superpowers. I love, I love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love being part of this culture. There’s more that works than doesn’t work.

[10:25] Paulette: Yes, there is with that also a great deal of machismo and…

[10:29] Oh fuck. Yeah.

[10:33] I mean, there are beautiful things to being part of a Latino culture and we’re not a monolith. That’s not what Ana and I are saying. It’s that there are many similarities across all of our different ethnicities and different nationalities that are similar.

[10:47] Ana: Mm-hmm mm-hmm .

[10:48] Paulette: And because a lot of our ancestry can be tied back to the indigenous people of the Americas and the Africans that were brought over by the slave trade, so much of that is intermingled in our identities. That is completely and totally different from the white people who then settle to these areas.

[11:08] Ana: You can’t see me, but I am like, it’s nodding very much nodding my head. Yes.

[11:13] Paulette: And so these similarities make us who we are, but there is also so much passion that is part of the personalities of these cultures.

[11:25] Mm-hmm.

[11:25] And yes, I am proud to have that in my background.

[11:31] Ana: However, however…

[11:34] Paulette: Where maybe we have to take a closer look is at the centralizing of the one way to have family.

[11:44] Ana: Yeah. I mean, now we’re talking about a particular like male-driven man-driven hierarchy and who has power and who has proximity to power. And then how do we orbit that particular sun that is the power center? Do you know?

[12:02] Paulette: And where we are allowed in. Where the gatekeepers will deign to allow people like us in.

[12:08] Ana: Mm-hmm mm-hmm .

[12:10] Paulette: Ana is about to dive into the topic of likability and belonging versus authenticity and being true to who you are. Which is the topic of Latina author Alicia Menendez’s book, The Likeability Trap.

[12:23] If you’re listening to this in the fall of 2022, it’s the book we’re discussing in the podcast book club, which you’re welcome to join. There’s a link in the show notes. Regardless, I recommend reading the book for Alicia’s take after you listen to Ana’s here. Ana is a champion of authenticity or what she calls rightness with yourself, having a relationship with yourself over likability. Here, she breaks down why.

[12:48] Ana: Be too much. This is all about like what I talk about in terms of rightness. It’s like, we’re either going to internalize—in fact, most of us have internalized an outside outward idea of how we’re supposed to be. And then we go to war with ourselves around that. Because we’re also hardwired for belonging.

[13:09] If we don’t belong to a larger group, it shows up in our brains like physical pain. If we are rejected by the larger group, it shows up like physical pain. It’s deeply, deeply painful for us to be rejected. But the problem is, is that we’re either gonna reject ourselves to be part of the bigger group. And if we reject ourselves to be part of the bigger group we’re fucked.

[13:28] And if we side with ourselves, to be in integrity, we risk being rejected by the larger group and it feels fucked. There’s no winning really inside of that. But I have personally made it, my life’s work to be more deeply committed to my relationship to myself than to some…cuz if I have to cut off a part of myself to be part of a group, I’m literally nowhere.

[13:56] Because you don’t really have a relationship with me. And I also don’t have a relationship with me. And so that is the worst of the two. And so I have a deeper commitment to being in relationship to myself. And I don’t mean like a fuck you. I mean like an act of self care and integrity and an active choosing of myself.

[14:19] With all the risks that, that comes with that. And so the “too much lens” is from a we’re only too much because the lens we’ve cut off from ourselves. And we are looking at ourselves from the lens out here that is a, uh, white supremacist, white body lens. Like what Resmaa Menakem says, it’s like the white body supremacy lens of a woman is supposed to look like this.

[14:48] A woman is supposed to be like this. This is how you’re supposed to show up. You shouldn’t be wearing this. You shouldn’t be acting like this. You shouldn’t, you should, you shouldn’t, you shouldn’t. And so to me, the short version of that is throw all that shit out the window and just be fucking you authentically a hundred percent. And figure out moment to moment the, the landscape of, oh God, I’m gonna lose this person. Well, I’m not gonna lose myself here. Let me like, just be here and risk being myself. And the people who are your people will stick. And the ones who aren’t will not. That sounds much easier on paper than it is in reality. I understand that. Right. But I am, I will always advocate for sanity rather than madness.

[15:35] Paulette: Sanity around being comfortable with who you are.

[15:39] Ana: Choosing yourself is sanity.

[15:41] Paulette: Yep.

[15:41] Ana: It might not feel good. And it’s, it’s a, it can cause a lot of pain in terms of like, okay then I, that means a break with belonging. But at least it’s, it’s the step to sanity. Me agreeing with the, with the outside world that I am too much.

[15:56] I’m too loud. I’m too old. I should dye my hair. I, you can’t see me, but I have like a full head of silver and like black, gray and silver hair.

[16:05] Paulette: And it’s gorgeous.

[16:06] Ana: Thank you. I’m too opinionated. I’m too talkative. I’m too fat. I’m too. Whatever the fuck. That is, whatever the fuck that is. If I agree with that, I am insane.

[16:25] And I don’t mean that lightly. I mean, I’m in madness. I can’t be anything other than who I am. I like, I don’t mean this like some, some you must be just, no, I mean, it literally. You can only be you. I can try my damn hardest and look, okay, I’ll dye my hair and I don’t ever wanna do this. And then I’m gonna make sure.

[16:45] And then I gotta tighten myself and now go, fuck. I like, and maybe I shouldn’t have said that. I don’t know if I should have said that. Maybe I’m not, I could be fucking crazy in my brain. And I refuse to, I refuse like part of what I think rightness is, is having a quiet brain. Where I’m not at war with myself.

[17:00] So that’s why I’m like, so if I’m in agreement with some outside thing about how I should be, I’m at war with myself. And fuck you, I would rather be at peace with myself and have a quiet brain. You might not like me, but I like me fine.

[17:13] Paulette: So here’s, what’s really amazing while you were talking. I was like, fuck yes. Fuck yes. Fuck yes. And then I’m like, usually I would say, I wanna be you when I grow up and I’m like, I fucking am.

[17:22] Ana: You are. Yeah!.

[17:25] Paulette: So that’s awesome. Thank you for helping me realize that.

[17:27] Ana: Yep.

[17:29] Paulette: She’s fucking great, isn’t she? So when I asked Ana to expand on how long it took to get to the point of accepting authenticity over likability, you know, how long it took to in her words, get right with herself, you can imagine her response. Listen in.

[17:46] Oh. And by the way, the thing she’s referring to and the leak. Yeah. That’s about Roe V. Wade.

[17:52] How long did it take you to get there?

[17:54] Ana: Oh yeah, sure.

[17:59] Paulette: I mean, come on.

[18:00] Ana: I mean, here’s the thing. It is an ongoing, it’s not like you get there and then you’re like, I’m cooked. Ding. No, I live in the world. This thing happened in the world last week. Am I feeling fucked up about it? Oh my gosh. When the leak happened, I went to…

[18:21] I’m married, happily married. Like I have a unicorn. I’m like completely utterly, deeply, like amazingly in love with genuinely a unicorn. I was like all of this stuff that came up about, about this unconscious conditioning that came up. Men! Why aren’t doing anything??!! Like men are gonna save the fucking day.

[18:46] And that I was part…like some unconscious thing. I was deep inside of that and like running and being at war. And, but where I think of rightness, what I think of rightness is that there’s nothing wrong with me, even when I’m inside throes of how something is wrong. And so I literally like accept all of the spots.

[19:05] And so I went through all that thrash for a little while. How long did it take for me to get here? Lifelong ongoing, still go still happening. I am constantly growing into the human being that I am, and there are always places that come up and go, oh, I, I don’t like that about myself. Like, it’s like a gymnast or a runner.

[19:25] Like, they might have been running for a long time, but every race is a new race. Do you know what I mean? And some races you do well and some races you don’t, but I’m the athlete that I am inside of this is still always training, if that makes sense. But I’m, I’m a pretty good athlete in this.

[19:40] Paulette: Yeah. So the saying is that when circumstances happen, you don’t rise to the occasion, you fall to your level of training.

[19:50] Ana: Yes.

[19:51] Paulette: So you have trained to be who you are and you’re constantly training. You’re like an Olympian. They never take a vacation from having to still try their best. Life is a marathon.

[20:03] Ana: Yes. And I want to, that sounds like, you know, you just do, and it like sounds it can come across as trite and I don’t wanna come across as trite.

[20:12] Paulette: You have come across as nothing close to trite.

[20:16] Ana: But I wanna say this one thing, and I’ve said this before. I’ll say it again, probably until the end of my life. I, at some point of my life made it my life’s mission. I can’t, I like made it my life’s. I could get emotional saying this. My life’s work to bring all the parts of myself that, that had, that had been shattered that were not allowed.

[20:40] Like, I, I disowned that part. That part, I hate that part is wrong. That part, like, we all have a bunch of our parts of ourselves that we just don’t like, and we wish were different. I made it at some point, I didn’t know how I was gonna do it, but I was like, I’m tired of fucking doing that. Every single part of me, I don’t know how I was gonna, I’m gonna figure out how to bring them all home and love them.

[20:59] Even the parts I hate even, I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing. But I made it my mission and I, um, now teach other people how to do that. But what better, like legitimately what better goal is there in life than to figure out how to truly, truly be in the kind of relationship with yourself that is peaceful, easeful, where you can talk to yourself in a way that’s respectful?

[21:29] Where you like yourself? People are always like, you should love yourself, but nobody knows how the fuck to do it. Then they think I have to do my nails and I should get a hot, yes, that’s lovely. But that’s not deep enough for some of the ones of us who are walking around with real self hatred. How do you actually learn how to not walk around in self hatred and be at a relationship where you you’re at peace with all the parts of yourself?

[21:53] And so that’s why I’m like, I don’t want this to come across as trite. I mean to like start a revolution where every, every single woman, certainly every woman is so at peace with themselves, that we turn all the energy that we have about trying to fix ourselves, and we use all that power and we actually put it out in the world and are like, fuck this shit. Children are gonna get fed. No more wars.

[22:18] We’re gonna figure out how to make sure that everybody’s like medically taken care of. We’re gonna be a builder, like a builder of communities. Water’s gonna get clean. Gaia mother earth is gonna be handled. Sorry, mama. I’ve been like dealing with my own neurosis about my 10 pounds that I’ve been overweight.

[22:35] I’ve been my attention’s been on myself. I’m no longer on myself. I got it.

[22:40] I’m on a soapbox.

[22:46] Paulette: I’m right. I, I am cheering all of the flags for you because it’s exhausting.

[22:53] Ana: It’s fucking exhausting.

[22:55] Paulette: It’s fucking exhausting, but I’m right there with you. I’m right there with you. This is why I asked you to come on the program. Your passion for this runs so deep through all of your work, everything that you put out there. I’ve been in love with you since I found you on TikTok. I was like, you’re the heroine that we were all looking for.

[23:13] It should go without saying that Ana is childfree. That’s why I asked her to be on the podcast, duh. But I loved her reaction to actually bringing it up. She just laughed her ass off for a bit and then got into it. Her approach to motherhood and quote-unquote children reminds me a lot of Talia’s take from the last episode, but Ana’s story goes in a different direction.

[23:33] She talks about the parenting of one’s self, something spiritual gurus like to talk about, but have you ever heard someone ever do it? Well, here you go.

[23:43] You don’t have children?

[23:48] Ana: I mean, it depends on what you talk about as children. It’s like, do I have, do I, I mean, I mean, I literally, I have a bunch of children. It’s just that I’d never birthed any of them. Do you know what I mean? I have a bunch of babies. I have creative babies. I have people who I work with that are my ba…like I have a bunch of babies.

[24:02] I have a bunch of children. They’re just not the ones that are like, that came out of my pussy and that I now like feed and, you know, it’s… they did energetically come outta my pussy. I do think that that’s a place that’s like creative, where creative juice is, you know, but no, I do not have, I do not have human babies.

[24:22] Paulette: Was not expecting it to come out quite that way.

[24:27] Ana: Can you imagine someone telling me to calm down? Can you imagine someone telling me to get a little bit quieter? I would, I would implode! That’s why I just want women to be like, just be you be you. Okay. Anyway. No, I do not have children.

[24:39] Paulette: Was that a choice you think you’ve made or was that just biologically who you are?

[24:43] Ana: No, it’s definitely not biologically who I am. I could have had a, a child. I’ve done a TikTok about it where I like, especially in this post Roe V world, it was by choice. I was never one of those women that wanted to have children. Like I know a lot of women who were, who are, “if I don’t have children, my life will be incomplete.”

[25:04] And I think for women who feel that way, absolutely a hundred percent, they should have children. I trust women implicitly. And if that’s their, if that’s their knowing, they should have children. But don’t make me have a child, if that is not my knowing. I did not wanna have a child. And then I was married.

[25:21] My first husband and I, for a little bit I thought, well, I mean, you get married and then you have children. But he and I, I, I’m not gonna have a child with this, man. I have no way. I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no. We, the both of us didn’t wanna have children. And then my husband and I, we just don’t have children and we are grateful for it.

[25:36] I mean, I, listen, there’s so much more what this is like rocket science? I’m giving people a secret that there’s so much more freedom to people who don’t have children? Like, Ooh, that’s a big secret, you know? Yeah. I have a lot more freedom and a lot more choice and a lot more financial freedom. I just like freedom across the board for the, for the fact that I don’t have children.

[25:58] I wanna say one more important thing about this. Because I took myself on so deeply, I raised myself in a way that my parents never were able to. I had a child and it’s me. And I, I think looking back, I would’ve been an okay mother, maybe I’m not sure. But I was a really good mother to myself and it took me a long time to figure that how to out, how to do that.

[26:20] Paulette: Are you an only child?

[26:21] Ana: No, no. I have two brothers.

[26:24] Paulette: Do they have kids?

[26:25] Ana: Yes, they do.

[26:27] Paulette: As you’ve heard, Ana’s work centers the relationship with the individual being in rightness with yourself. So I wanted to dive deeper into how familial relationships can potentially sabotage the one with yourself.

[26:40] So let’s talk about the pull and codependency of family and how to stand up for yourself.

[26:45] Ana: It’s challenging across the board for all families. Hispanic families are particularly challenging because it’s so hardwired into our culture. It’s deeply hardwired into our culture to be for our mothers and our mothers to be for us. The codependency is strong in our culture, in our culture.

[27:11] Paulette: Define for me what codependency is.

[27:14] Ana: The default of forgetting yourself and putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own.

[27:20] Paulette: So when we look at Latin American culture, there’s a lot of the family is the center piece.

[27:25] Ana: Yeah.

[27:25] Paulette: We’re so family driven and that can lead to losing one’s, especially a woman’s, identity in, especially in terms of birth order or being a mother, not being a mother.

[27:36] Ana: Mm-hmm.

[27:37] Paulette: How does that co-dependency, how do we avoid that? How do we overcome that?

[27:41] Ana: You don’t avoid it. You’re in it. It’s like trying to say, how does a fish avoid the water that they’re swimming in? You don’t, you’re swimming in the water. So there’s no avoiding it. There is a way that we can start to become aware of the water. If let’s say I’m your mother and you, when you start thinking about you building a life for yourself, and the first thing that comes to mind is, “mami wouldn’t like that.

[28:07] I can’t do that because mami will be upset.” And you don’t even wanna have the argument, you don’t even wanna have the discussion. You will squash yourself because you’re so afraid of even rocking the boat with mami. That is fairly deep handcuffs, like pretty strong handcuffs. So how do you break free from that?

[28:29] That’s why I say, just start noticing the water you swim in. If every single time, your desire or who you are, comes up against, “yeah, but mami wouldn’t like that. I can’t do that because it’ll kill my mom. It’ll upset my mom.” I want you to start to be aware of how much you’ve internalized your mother’s point of view of who you need to be, rather than who you actually are.

[28:52] Just start there. That is a large lens to start to become aware of. If you start to become aware of that kind of lens, all of a sudden you’ll start to get very depressed. I don’t wanna leave you in depression. I do not wanna leave you in depression. So let me throw you a bone inside of that. When we start to think of the big things.

[29:12] It becomes overwhelming. Like if I’m your mami, right. And you have a dream to go to school, what’s something that’s like completely. When I was younger, I, I, my family did not want me to be an actress or a singer.

[29:25] Mm-hmm.

[29:26] They thought, my father was very clear that that was for prostitutes. And that, and that was not going to be good. Okay. But I, as a kid, I just always sang, like I always sang, sang was something I did, even before I prayed, I knew how to sing. And so song was my prayer to God. Like nobody had taught me, but that was what I knew. And so in school they had choir. I could do that. So when I eventually ended up moving to New York and becoming, and pursuing, acting, and singing and went on Broadway and tour, like I finally did that thing, it wasn’t because I was doing it like from zero to a hundred.

[30:01] No, when you go to the gym, you don’t pick up the thousand pound weight, you pick up the two pound weight. And so, I sang in the choir. I did this. Like I helped my parents along and helped myself so that they could hear that I could actually sing.

[30:16] They could see that I was actually interested in this kind of thing. I eased them in and had those challenging, difficult conversations. But at the end of the day, and this is going back full circle, I chose myself in the most important moments. Because again, even if it’s not the white culture, even if it’s just the culture of my family, I have to not be insane.

[30:40] I have to choose me. That is the most direct, most powerful, most palpable, tangible form of self love is when I go, “I know they don’t like that you’re doing this (and I’m speaking to myself.) I know they don’t like. But I believe in you. And so I’m gonna choose you even though we’re both scared as fuck.”

[31:03] So yeah, that’s what I wanna say in terms of just like, okay, you start to see how much of your life is for other people, even if it’s for your mom, who you love.

[31:10] Paulette: Mm-hmm.

[31:11] Ana: But you’re not gonna live her life. You have to live your life.

[31:14] Paulette: Trigger warning. The next section touches on abuse, of the sexual kind.

[31:19] Ana is going to share part of her upbringing to illustrate the relationship she has with her surviving parent. I kept this part of the interview. Not only to honor her for retelling the story, but also because although it may sound dark, it portrays how she created a boundary to stay in rightness with her self. And what that looks like.

[31:41] Are you close to your mother now?

[31:43] Ana: Oh, my goodness gracious. Well, okay, so this is a bigger story, which I don’t know if you know, like, so my family was, shall we say, deeply challenging. I come from a family of lots of violence, sexual violence, also pathology like malignant narcissism and, and borderline and, and covert. Like it was a dangerous household to grow up inside of. And then on top of that, there was sort of a horrible thing that happened to my father and my brother where they both died in like a really terrible way.

[32:19] And so on top of just the Latin culture thing, I also had a mix of real trauma to deal with, with my family. I have for 20 something, well, my whole entire life, really, but like for the past 20 something years, genuinely worked, tried, tried to talk, uh, did all of the things. And I’m now at the point where I couldn’t quite get in relationship with my mother in a way that I wasn’t sacrificing myself.

[32:55] And so it wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t a fight. It wasn’t something that I was like, don’t ever talk to me. I just literally quietly followed the place that was right for myself. And so it’s not that we’re not talking. I just don’t allow her in my space very much.

[33:14] Paulette: Because you chose you.

[33:17] Ana: Yeah. At each stage, I chose myself. But that’s a very specific situation, right? It’s not just like regular Latin stuff.

[33:24] Paulette: No, it’s your situation.

[33:26] Ana: Yeah. Yeah.

[33:27] Paulette: That’s what we’re here for: your life. Because after listening to this season of The Maker Muse Podcast, what I want most for people to take away from this is that everything you’ve described is quite frankly, universal. It’s not just tied to the Latino experience.

[33:44] There are specifics within the Latino experience

[33:47] Ana: mm-hmm, , mm-hmm.

[33:47] Paulette: That we share, but even from the violent upbringing to the distancing from your parents, from your mother to the choosing you, these are universal things. And so we are just example, individual examples of a life that can be lived. And you consistently and unapologetically choosing yourself because you will not be at war with yourself because you will not put yourself through the insanity.

[34:15] You choosing you is a full holistic fulfilled individual.

[34:20] Ana: Yes. Yes. I want to nuance this a bit. We primarily, most of us, live in a very polarized, not just external world, but also internally. We have, we have a lot of black and white thinking. We have a lot of right wrong. We have a lot of wanting to be the hero in our own lives and hiding the fact that we are terrified crippled birds on a certain level, like, like the victim part of ourselves is just sort of in the back and we don’t want anybody to see that. So we’re constantly externally in a fight and internally in a fight.

[34:54] When I talk about choosing myself, there’s a difference between a reactive version of that, which by the way, is a spot on the map. So I don’t even wanna make that wrong, but real rightness is not self righteousness. It’s not fuck you. It’s not you’re wrong and I’m right. That’s not the color. The color and the nuance is, going back to my mom. With my mom, I want nothing more than to be in deep relationship with my mom. It is feeling the desire around that. It is letting myself even feel the sadness or heartbreak around that. And knowing, and, and knowing that even with all of that, I choose me.

[35:41] Do you understand? There’s like a, there’s a quality to it. That’s a little different than.

[35:46] Paulette: There’s no malice.

[35:48] Ana: Yeah. I’m not, I’m not trying to shove someone’s face in shit.

[35:52] Mm-hmm.

[35:53] I’m not trying to shove face in shit. It’s just a particular boundary that I have and people can come be and play with me. It’s not even just her.

[36:00] It’s like, you can come with me, but this is sort of who I am. And I’m not gonna pretzel myself or cut off a part of myself in order to make me a version that you feel is more lovable. Like I am. I am me. Anyway. I just wanted to nuance that a little bit.

[36:19] Paulette: That was beautiful. Thank you. Thank you for

[36:20] Ana: yeah.

[36:21] Paulette: Adding on.

[36:23] I’ve re-listed to this episode, multiple times in the editing process and each time that last part just gets me. When I call her a warrior, I fucking mean it. I’m fangirled my way into her inbox, asked her to be on this show because I knew how powerful her storytelling is and voila! So let’s talk about how the rest of us mortals can get coached by her and how she’s giving you her legacy. Cuz of course we sneak that into these conversations too.

[36:51] So how does one work with you?

[36:54] Ana: So there’s a couple of ways. Uh, of course there’s one on one and my website. But there, if you don’t have a one on one, there’s also a group program that I’m starting, it’s gonna be an ongoing group program of women.

[37:06] And what we do is we go through, what are the different pillars of rightness? And power, like genuine power, not force disguised as power, not dominance disguised as power. But genuine power where, where you win and other people win with you. And how do you actually have boundaries and et cetera, etcetera.

[37:24] And then we have real world examples and people come with ideas, like the things that are going on in their life. It’s like a dojo. So I do have a group program and it’s like a monthly thing. It’s not very much. And then we also have my husband and I do couples. Things that both of us are about sexuality and intimacy and relationships.

[37:41] And how do you actually be a sovereign human being, but deeply connected with another human being? So there’s a number of ways. And then of course you can always find me on, on the socials TikTok, and I’m constantly trying to pour out all the things that I have, cuz I don’t wanna die with any of it.

[37:56] Paulette: And that’s your legacy?

[37:57] Ana: Yeah, that’s my legacy.

[38:00] Paulette: There was so much that you shared today. Selflessly. You just let it pour out of you and I, I really wanna thank you for that.

[38:07] Ana: I wanna also thank you. I don’t get the opportunity as often as I would like to speak to other Latina women, women who are have unique circumstances, uh, experiences, life, uh, life, that feels… like you and I got on the conversation and it was like, as though we were long lost, you know, relatives.

[38:30] There’s just a particular feel that we have, I don’t get the chance to do that as often as I would personally like. And so thank you for having the courage to say, do I reach out? So thank you. Thank you for having this platform.

[38:47] Thank you for having your voice. Thank you for asking. Thank you for being one more Latina woman who’s doing something and forging the way for all. Like one person helps everybody else. So if anybody who’s listening has an idea to do something, I am telling you both of us and many more are like, go do it, do it,

[39:06] Paulette: Do it! Well, you’re welcome. This was so much more than I could have ever dreamed. So I don’t think that I can say thank you enough. Um, I will say thank you, Ana. And also, I don’t want this conversation to end. So if you want, continue to have open dialogue with another Latina, let me know. You can come back on the show anytime the door is open.

[39:30] Ana: Great. My pleasure. I would love to.

[39:33] Paulette: Is there anything else that you wanna touch on?

[39:36] Ana: If you were listening to this and you, um, have had life beat you up some. If you are sitting in the ,car at work, at home, whatever, listening to this. I am, I get emotional thinking about this. If someone had told me to keep fucking going, I believe in you.

[39:59] I see you. I get you. I understand where you’re coming from. Don’t you fucking give up. We are taught that we are just, we’re nothing on a certain level and I’m telling you that that is not true. It’s just not true. There is a reason for why you are here. I don’t know what that reason is, but if you don’t hang on, you’ll never find out.

[40:21] So just keep hanging on. Follow the things that inspire you. Do the things that light you up. Do less of the things and hang around less with the people who squash you. And just keep deeply, fully, authentically, wholly being you because we need you.

[40:39] Paulette: Amen. So it’s time to end the episode, Ana, would you do the honors please?

[40:45] Ana: Absolutely. That’s a burrito.

[40:48] Paulette: Wanna talk about this week’s episode? Feel free to DM me on Instagram. My info is always in the show notes. And if you’re looking to be a guest in the future for The Maker Muse Podcast, check out the guest form on my website at themakermuse.co. Yes, themakermuse.co.

[41:04] It’s also linked in the show notes. And hey muchisimas gracias for listening to another episode of The Maker Muse Podcast. Are you subscribed? If not now would be a great time to do that. New episodes come out every Tuesday. I’m on Apple on Spotify, wherever you listen. And then can I ask you a favor? Could you please tell all of your friends and family about it?

[41:25] ¿Sus amigues, su familia? Because if you love it, they probably will too. And I’d really appreciate it if you could rate and review it wherever you’re listening right now. ¡Hasta la proxima!

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