Welcome to a brand new episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, where we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
Joining us in this episode is Mark Travis Rivera, an award-winning Professional Storyteller, whose writings have been published in The Bergen Record, Herald News, The Star-Ledger, Fox News Latino, and The Huffington Post. He is also the author of “Drafts”, a collection of poems, diary entries, and personal essays that tell us about Mark’s journey of self-love and self-discovery over the course of fifteen years.
Mark is also a Latinx-Disabled-Queer Femme Activist, TEDx Speaker, Choreographer, and host of his own wellness podcast “Marking The Path”, a space dedicated to paving the way forward by sharing stories about finding our authentic self.
In this conversation with Mark, we learn about what fueled his dreams, about some of the personal struggles in between, and how he realized that not conforming and showing up as his authentic self was a daily decision he had to make.
These are some of the episode highlights:
“After that experience, I shifted my perception about what I can do and who I can be.” -Mark Travis Rivera
From an early age, Mark knew that writing was something that he loved and was good at. That it was something that would be his ticket out of a living area where a lot of violence and addiction took place. And after having his brother murdered, he became focused on changing his circumstances and accomplishing his dreams.
The thing about dreams, though, is that sometimes there are people who can be supportive and others who have the potential of crushing our dreams. And Mark experienced the latter twice during high school, but thankfully, he found the confidence to know he could be more than what people said. If he had listened, he wouldn’t have created the amazing multifaceted career he has now.
“I always show up authentically as myself, and it's not always easy, but it's a daily decision I make.” -Mark Travis Rivera
It’s not always easy to show our authentic selves to the world, especially when we are riddled with fears and anxieties that often lead us to hide or conform. But being authentic means accepting the experience of those emotions and, in spite of them, choosing not to dim our lights but live in our truth.
Through Mark’s stories and the representation he offers to his communities, we learn that showing up as our authentic selves in a given space is a decision we make every single day whether we are conscious of it or not.
“If just one person sees themselves and chooses not to end their life and chooses not to give up on their dreams, then that will be my legacy.” -Mark Travis Rivera
As a Latinx-Disabled-Queer Femme Activist, Mark understands the deep emotional struggles that come along the way as we wish to come out as our authentic selves in a world that seems progressive in some ways but that still has a long way to go. He knows how dark it can get and that many people do not make it.
With this understanding, Mark hopes that his work as a storyteller serves as a representation for at least one person to not give up on who they are and their dreams.
Mark knows that stories are what connect us and humanize us and through his stories, he inspires us to go after our dreams.
Connect with Mark on Instagram @marktravrivera and @MarkingThePath, and you can also find him on LinkedIn.
Have a story to share? Let us know here for an opportunity to be featured in the podcast!