By Fatima Ramirez / Coachella Unincorporated
Author’s Note: An incoming junior at Desert Mirage High School, Adriana Torres is a gifted poet and strong advocate for mental health and body positivity. Coachella Uninc. youth reporter, Fatima Ramirez sat down with Adriana to discuss her thoughts on what it means to be a Latina and her feelings about being part of a generation known for its involvement in social activism and advocacy.
FR: Do you identify as Latina?
AT: Yes, because I feel like the word Latina is inclusive, it’s like all of us together. The roots that come with it, all the history behind it, how our ancestors are proud to be Latina. Those are the things I identify with the most.
FR: Are there any stereotypes under that definition that you don’t agree with?
AT: Well just the idealism that comes with being a Latina, like a curvy body, all this hair, and a sassy attitude, bossy. When people use those words to describe a Latina, I feel like it takes away meaning from it, and to me the word Latina means including everyone.
FR: Who do you think a feminist is?
AT: I think a feminist is anyone that believes men and women should be treated equally. I just hate the connotation that people have about feminists like you’re just too sensitive. I hate that because it’s just not what it is, it’s about equality. Some people think we’re just asking for more and more and are so needy and it’s not that at all.
FR: When did you start getting into writing poetry?
AT: Probably around 8th grade. I started reading about it and then in 9th grade I started having more literature classes and more high school experiences of exploring more things. In my school we have a lot of multicultural literature so we’ll have months where we just focus on Latina poetry or African American poetry or Filipino poetry. Right now we’re reading a lot about Michelle Serros.
FR: One of my favorite things about your poetry is that it’s really positive and you talk about yourself with so much self love which is something that’s hard to do when you’re a teenager. How did you start thinking of yourself that way?
AT: I think it’s just acceptance. When I was younger I had all these ideas about what my body should look like but then, growing up you just start to see that it’s just not true or that if it is,it’s a lot of work to maintain and it’s not really a natural thing. Naturally our bodies are not like that. Mentally before, I would just spend so much time worrying about all these things about my body but, then I realized that I was just wasting my time and I had more important things to do and I should just learn to accept myself.
FR: In some of your poetry you also talk about mental health, can you talk more about your experience with that?
AT: I feel like when I was younger, I would just overthink so many things and it would get to the point where I couldn’t get anything else done. I would focus on one thing and everything else would crumble down around me. I couldn’t find a balance. Then, I just told myself to not think about the small things and focus on the big picture and it just came naturally. Lately on the weekends and when I have time I’ve been painting as well.
FR: Your generation has resulted in so many advocates and social activists in everything from climate change to gun reform, what are your thoughts on that?
AT: I think it’s important. Before, you’d never listen to a kid and never expected them to have a say in things or even care about these subjects, but teens now know that it affects them or it will in the future. I feel like some adults don’t see how much we care or just discredit the things we do. If these problems are affecting us we’re going to speak about them, do something about it, make a change.
FR: Environmentally, and politically, it seems like it would be hard to have hope about the future, what are your feelings about the future?
AT: Well yeah, at times it is hard. This year, it’s been (a lot) but I feel like the people who are going against all these terrible things are teens and young adults. Once we get older, when we’ll actually be allowed to make laws and have more control, then it’ll be better. Personally, my general goal is to be happy and I would like to do some thing with politics. I want my voice out there and I feel like we just want to be heard. I feel like, and maybe it’s not the only way, but to bring more solutions to these problems you need to be in those high power positions.