We are highlighting a previous episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, where we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
This particular episode featured Odalys Jasmine. She is a proud Hondureña/Catracha from Southeast San Diego and the PRSA People to Watch Under 30 award recipient who has led 50+ (and still counting) storytelling/personal branding workshops for Bay Area Universities. In her passion for creating spaces for her community to amplify their stories, she created Hella Latin@ Podcast, a space for Latinos to tell their first-gen/immigrant stories and unique experience navigating Latinidad in the United States.
These are some of the episode highlights:
“One of my favorite Jay-Z quotes is, “You can’t help the poor if you’re one of them.” That’s one of my mantras in life because I’m trying to help so many people, all the time, but I need to also turn that energy into me, into my family. I’m in that season of rest and reenergizing myself.” -Odalys Jasmine
Like Odalys, we as a Latinx people have a difficult time pouring into ourselves or even putting ourselves first. Thanks to the hospitality and servitude we learned from our upbringing and perhaps our ancestors, we are quick to put everyone else’s needs before our own. We often wonder what others would say or do should we decide to take a day off or treat ourselves to a well-deserved [whatever you want].
For mothers like myself, it becomes a challenge to squeeze in rest or relaxation because when I do it feels like the household falls apart. This is also a conditioning we’ve learned from our parents and grandparents. The idea of being idle or not working oneself to death is practically frowned upon. It is becoming apparent that not resting or reenergizing ourselves can be detrimental for our well-beings. I know, it took a mental health diagnosis to force a rest. Many of us learn these lessons the hard way, like when our health begins to deteriorate or our nervous systems are out of whack. If we’re lucky, we’ll get a warning but for others it might be too late.
“Earlier in my career, in my first job, I just wanted to talk about salaries because I had no idea. It’s that first-gen thing when you don’t know what you don’t know, so you don’t know how much you're supposed to make. I asked my homie who was in a completely different role how much she makes but she refused to tell me because she didn’t want to put herself in an uncomfortable situation.” -Odalys Jasmine
I, like Odalys, felt compelled to ask my friends their salaries during a game we were playing. As a case manager then, I knew I wasn’t making nearly as much as my tech and educator friends. Like Odalys, I put them in an uncomfortable position and could see their resistance, but it also cleared the air and allowed me to see that I was making crumbs in comparison to them.
Immediately, I knew I had to do something about my situation. I was now aware that I deserved a higher salary. Perhaps not in the same field, but I could no longer accept making less than while also feeling terribly miserable everyday I was there. It fueled me to want to reach for me. Uncomfortable conversations are uncomfortable for a reason however, they are beneficial. These conversations help us fight poverty and the systems that keep us there.
“We need to have some education around how to build these corporations. This is the problem, we are so grateful to be in this space, especially as a woman of color.” -Odalys Jasmine
Modesty will keep us trapped. As women, we want to be reserved and not make too much noise because we’re in fear which then keeps us inferior. It almost feels like we have been conditioned to believe this about ourselves so we may remain humble and subservient. If we are educated and reminded of our worth, we become enlightened and aware of our value. If we have a tribe helping us realize that we are deserving we will be able to tap into our power. We will be able to begin healing parts of ourselves that were taken from us and the more we heal the more change we can create for ourselves and our families.
“Now there’s the room to create change, to inspire, to influence the generations that are to come. Generational stuff we have to heal from. That we are out here trying to break. That’s why it’s important to share knowledge. All we know is passed down from our parents and that was passed on by their parents. We have to pass down the information to our friends, homies, colleagues.” -Odalys Jasmine
If we become enlightened, if we see clearly, we can obtain the power necessary to change our lives and the lives of others. If we pay it forward and continue to teach our tribes, our people, that they too have a power we can cause shifts. And although that’s easier said than done, the very least we can do is share. Share resources, information, contacts, anything that will helps us advance us collectively and that will also help us catch up to our white counterparts.
Odalys is inspiring to change the narrative around professionalism.
Make sure to connect with Odalys on Instagram @ohjaaaasmine and @hellalatinopodcast.
Have a story to share? Let us know here for an opportunity to be featured in the podcast!