Monday, December 21, 2015

Standing On My Own

I moved the arrow on my computer screen over the “send” option and paused. Will my fellow Afro-Latinas like this? Am I representing myself, my culture, and them in a positive way? Is this even a good idea? At the very last minute doubt crept in, and it was strong. But at that point the thing I’d been working on for two weeks straight (bouncing ideas off of friends, finalizing the header, researching women to feature, compiling article links) had to go out. There was no reason it shouldn’t. It was done, it was ready, I sent it.

“Doubt can only be removed by action.”

The idea to start Es Mi Cultura -a monthly newsletter that spreads awareness of the wonderful contributions Afro-Latinas are making to further advance our presence- randomly came out of nowhere. I had been wanting to start a newsletter all year, but had no idea what purpose it would serve. But now when I think about it, the idea specifically for Es Mi Cultura came to me at the right time; which is why it was perfectly launched during Latino Heritage Month.

The doubt I experienced on launch day was also felt in the days and weeks leading up. My feelings were very up and down. The ups were the excitement of producing something with information I am passionate about. The downs came in the form of self-doubt, at the hands of social media.

These days, social media is the way to go when promoting your work. So having a substantial amount of followers on any social media platform is beneficial. But for someone like me who tries not to live out every life moment online (I only tweet and share when I feel like it), my follower count is not anywhere near where I know it could be. Then came the thought, if they don’t know about me, how will they find the newsletter?

And that made me feel like I wasn’t going to be able to pull this off by myself… I started to feel like I needed a partner. A partner with a big following so the newsletter could be wide-spread or a partner with a known name to bring attention to it. I spent hours thinking about my friends and acquaintances who would be a good fit to partner with.

This is also when I thought back to the early days of my blog and how I didn’t, and still don’t, worry about my follower count and reader numbers. As my blog’s purpose is for me to simply write. I’m not worried about who, or if anyone reads my words. I just have to get the words out of my head and if people are drawn to them, can relate to them, or learn something from them, it’s a bonus. With that I figured I should take the same approach with my newsletter.

But Es Mi Cultura is different. It’s something that needs to reach the masses. It needs to go out to as many people as possible. Afro-Latinos as a whole need as much representation as possible, for people of other races and cultures and for ourselves. So again, I found myself struggling with how to make the newsletter spread like wild fire.

A partner is never a bad idea. But for this, I quickly realized I needed to do it by myself. My passion for Afro-Latina topics might not be at the same level as a partners, or vice versa. Plus, this is my baby, my idea, and my focus. Only I will understand the logic behind the monthly features and content, and that is something I don’t want to compromise on. So I had to put all my fear to the side and just do it.

“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think,
not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe, and have faith that
everything will work out for the best.”

Since that October day when I clicked “send,” I have received nothing but positive feedback. Es Mi Cultura has been a light for those who were in the dark regarding websites, women to follow, and content to read as it relates to Afro-Latinas. Subscribers are happy to see themselves represented, which is exactly what I set out to do.

In addition to all the great feedback, I have realized putting myself out there, alone, wasn’t as big of a deal as I was making it. The newsletter is necessary and I’m glad I pushed passed my doubt and fears and made it happen. And in the process I was reminded that just like my blog, Es Mi Cultura will grow organically. I don’t have to force it because it fills a void, and I know it will end up in the inboxes of those who need it.

Doubt will always crowd our minds when doing something new. Never let outside factors determine your passion. If you feel it’s meant for you to do, do it. The satisfaction you will feel from doing it will be far more worth your while than any amount of social media follower count can bring about.

Subscribe to Es Mi Cultura: HERE

This piece was originally published is Modern Latina's 
10th Anniversary Digital Edition. 
Read it: Here