noun. 1. a Spanish slang term meaning “bad ass woman”
Although the word “chingona” is a Spanish term, it is not limited to Latinas.
A chingona is any woman who chooses to live life on her own terms. PERIOD.
She is the scholar AND the hoe. At the same damn time. OR she is neither.
The point is: she gets to choose. And whatever choice she makes, is the right one.
A chingona is unbothered.
She is not concerned with your opinion about her use of hood slang in collegiate settings,
the length of her skirt at a job interview, nor anybody’s bullshit respectability politics.
Some chingonas are educated and some of us are self taught.
What truly defines us as chingonas is our ability to harness our fire.
Our Chingona fire to be exact. Chingona fire is a revolutionary act.
An act of resistance. It is as much about lipstick as it is about fighting the patriarchy.
Chingona fire is the ability to convey an entire message with your eyebrows alone.
It is switching from Spanish to English mid conversation, zero fucks given
It is correcting the pronunciation of graceful words on lazy tongues.
Chingona fire is running for office and applying for college,
It is loving yourself and taking no shit and refusing to apologize for your existence.
It is raising your voice when others try to silence it.
To be a chingona means you don’t usually need help-
But you also aren’t afraid to ask for it when you do.
It is cruising down Whittier blvd in your OWN low rider
bumping Selena and rocking the darkest shade of lipstick and the shiniest pair of gold hoops you own.
It is showing up to work, every day, to a job you love, because chingonas don’t settle.
To be a chingona means you have your own.
And I don’t mean car, house, or business... yet
but you own something inside yourself that cannot be taken from you.
Something that cannot be given away,
You own your chingona fire.
It is the reason you survive,
Not because of luck
But because the fire within you
Burns brighter than the one around you.
It is the intimacy of chisme around the kitchen table
The sharing of stories that do not belong to us with women who do.
It is the pouring of wine into glasses that will be sipped by lips who have been betrayed.
It is the roast that follows,
The “girl, he was never good enough for you anyway.”
Chingona fire is communal.
It is self-care on Sunday night and beasting a meeting on Monday morning.
Chingona fire is mystical and ancient
Like rosary beads y la santa maria
Like the protection of Oshun and Yemaya
It is the writing of poems and the sharing of them with rooms full of strangers
It is believing in a power greater than yourself.
Chingona fire tastes like simmered onion and garlic
Like the recipes passed down to you from generations
not sweet. but savory. like the foundation of every home cooked meal.
This poem is intended to speak to the chingona in you. It was created to honor the multi-dimensionality of what it means to be a woman of color. It is the woman in me taking the woman in you by the hand, not to lead or to follow, but to walk beside you as a reminder that you are not alone.
You. are. not. alone. I see you, mija. And you are fly as fuck.