This daily #OneGoodThing was dedicated to celebrating extraordinary women I know last December. Many of the 31 bold, beautiful, brave women featured shared stories of perseverance after abuse, addiction, miscarriages, illness, and loss. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. The series was so deeply inspiring that I felt it needed to live on as a weekly feature in 2020. Each Monday, I’ll introduce you to another incredible superhero—including artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses. It’s about finding the extraordinary in each of us!
Gloria Rubio Verduzco is an “artrepreneur,” beadwork artist, and creator of MorninGloria’s – Intricate Beaded Flowers, Accessories, & Jewelry. She has been involved extensively in the SF Bay Area arts world for the last 11 years as an artisan, dancer, choreographer, dance and arts instructor, director, events manager, and arts advocate, and specializes in building online audiences and outreach practices for the arts as a social media manager for arts organizations.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” When I was growing up I wanted to be so many things, from a triple threat… Yes, a singer, dancer, actress… to an architect, to a writer, and then since middle school I truly thought that I was going to be a psychologist. I think I’ve always been interested in things that are creative, and in the workings of the way people are and think. And eventually, I went to grad school to be an expressive arts therapist. Except I only did three out of the four years of coursework for the Ph.D., when I realized that I didn’t want to be a licensed therapist. But I’m still deeply interested in psychology and the arts.
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? What makes me the most proud is how hard I have worked to make my parents proud since they risked so much to come to the United States when I was a baby and give me the opportunity to reach my dreams. Although this is bittersweet because this feels like still a work in progress, but I know that I have exceeded the so-called statistics of being an undocumented immigrant. I’m also really proud of striving to be kind to others and be a good person. It takes practice to be kind… and I strive to be as kind as I can because we are all battling invisible fires that others don’t know about.
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? One of the reasons why I wanted to study psychology was because I grew up with a mom who had paranoid schizophrenia, and that along with being undocumented and growing up with very little resources… whether it was nature or nurture, I myself dealt with severe depression and anxiety. It was hard to stay afloat in this environment and at the time my family was all dealing with their own demons and were unable to help me, and being a child I was unable to help myself. I fell into a deep deep depressive episode where I thought there was no way to get out of, and I nearly became a danger to myself. At the time what gave me the strength was finding out that my mother was pregnant with my baby sister, which gave me the motivation to pull myself out of the darkness because I wanted to be there for her knowing my mother could not be there for me and likely could not be there for her, and I wanted to be an example of perseverance.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? Nowadays, my life revolves around my new little baby so we will likely find me on Saturday at 10 AM either breastfeeding her while juggling a cup of coffee and my cell phone as I try to find moments to keep in contact with my business and my friends…or just cuddling with her as she sleeps on my chest or stomach.
5. What makes you smile the most? What makes me smile the most first and foremost of course is my new baby. Every little thing she does to me is so amazing and she has brought so much joy and light and love and happiness to my life. It’s such an amazing feeling. The second thing that makes me smile the most are special moments with loved ones. And by loved ones I mean family but also friends. It makes me so happy just to be in connection with people. I’m missing that so much right now. Lastly, expressing through creativity makes me smile, whether it’s through my jewelry in seeing other people enjoy my work, or dancing and performing dance… The arts bring me a lot of joy.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? The advice I would give my younger self, besides a lot of practical advice on how to prepare for adulthood, would be to protect your heart a little more. I have always had a big heart and have given it freely, but I wish I had been a little more protective of my heart. Not everyone will take as good care of your heart if it’s completely exposed and on your sleeve. There is beauty in being open-hearted but there is strength in boundaries too. This is the advice I will give my little girl.
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my talented friend, Gloria Rubio Verduzco, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! And remember, kindness is everything!