Lessons From Mom: On Dreaming, Writing, Style & More

Lead Photo: Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla
Art by Alan Lopez for Remezcla
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Mothers are quite literally a lifeline. On this Mother’s Day, we take a moment to honor them and the lessons they engrained in us—shaping our perspectives and entire way of being—whether consciously or not.

I grew up hearing stories of how everything on the isthmus of Panama would come to a halt on Mother’s Day (Dec. 8) at home before the 2000s. No one worked and the mercado overflowed. For countries that celebrate Mother’s Day today (May 10), this one is noticeably different. Everything and everyone is on pause.

We send love to those who have a difficult time with Dia De Las Madres, as well—whether that be because she’s no longer on this playing field with us or the umbilical cord was cut once more in adulthood due to irreparable differences. We also honor not only the women who birthed us but also those who raised and led us.

As we look at old photo albums today and scroll through countless old pictures and tributes on the ‘gram, a few favorites share what mom taught us:

On Style: Jessica Gonsalves

Jessica Gonsalves and her now-fiancée Brian Procell kicked off Procell in 2012 as a passion project. Gonsalves is now the business brains behind the now-beloved, artists’ go-to vintage clothing boutique on the Lower East Side.

In 2018 she told The Cut her definition of “cool,” is “Anyone who is living their true, authentic life,” admitting “it’s hard to be who you want to be.” I see no lies and, naturally, anyone who’s conscious of that, is themselves so. She explains how some of the women in her family, as well as Brian’s, influenced her thoughts on style:

Jess & her mom. Courtesy of Jess.

Growing up, my mother was too busy working to really seemingly care about fashion but she still had style. Although she had more of a uniform of basics, she always wore jewelry. My mom encouraged me to begin reading at a very early age and so I learned more about fashion through that—I read every magazine I could get my hands on when she brought me to work with her at my family’s deli. I fell in love with what I saw and remember declaring that I had to start dressing myself.

As I got a bit older, I met Aracelis, my fiancé Brian’s grandmother. She was always super put together and her hands were always covered in gold rings. I could listen to her stories about New York and her work as a seamstress at coach for hours. when she passed, I was honored to receive some of her rings and discovered we have the exact same sized fingers.

One of the many things I learned from both these amazing women is that your style is for YOU—it can change, it can go through phases or it can be a uniform but always remember to put on a ring or some gold hoops just for yourself.

On Writing & Dreaming: Walter Thompson-Hernández

Walter & his mom. Courtesy of Walter.

Thompson-Hernández’s passion for his subjects of choice and chosen art form bleeds into his written work every time he puts pen to paper. His latest project and first book “The Compton Cowboys: The New Generation of Cowboys in America’s Urban Heartland” is lauded as a “rare, unsensationalized portrait of a community.” After an already rich, short history in journalism thus far, it’s safe to say this dip into non-fiction is just the beginning, too. His mother is a big part of his success, love for writing and more. In his own words:

I’m so grateful for my mama. I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for her. She was the first person to introduce me to writing and reading. She was a literature PhD student at UCLA and would always bring me along to her classes and office hours. I remember sitting in the back of her classes, doing my own school work, but more focused on hers. I’d steal her books — texts by Gloria Anzaldua, Cherie Moraga, and Sandra Cisneros — and we’d get into single mama-son debates about the readings. These were authors who I’d fall asleep reading. They were beautiful times. We didn’t know how little we had but also knew how much we had. I’m so thankful that she introduced me these authors and the love of writing and reading. More importantly, she taught me how to dream.

On Beauty: Lido Pimienta

Lido Pimienta’s music is, in a word, luminous. Her stunning mix of avant-pop and  Afro-indigenous rhythms always feels like a deep affirmation of who she is. Her latest albumMiss Colombia—partially inspired by the 2015 Miss Universe competition, in which Steve Harvey wrongly announced Miss Colombia as the pageant’s winner instead of Miss Philippines—is one of her most profound excavations, and it pushes us to see beyond the history we’re taught, the ideas that shape our countries and the way we conceive and celebrate what is beautiful. —Julyssa Lopez

She shares what advice she’d give her own daughter on the topic of beauty and offers the exact words of wisdom she’d impart to her:

Lido & her daughter. Courtesy of Lido.

If I do my job of raising you well; the biggest love of your life will be yourself. Even after or if you have kids of your own one day, I will make sure that you put your happiness and mental stability before anyone else.

How you feel inside will determine how you and even others will see you, and honestly, I am not worried about you growing up feeling or “looking” beautiful or not, definitely not to those people, because you will be too busy learning how to weave, how to build furniture and how to fly an airplane, you might be too busy learning how the brain works and we will be too busy making tres leches cake for our family and friends. We are simply too booked and busy to worry about “beauty”, and how absolutely beautiful is that?

On Others: Mario Ayala

Mario Ayala is an artist from East LA. His work takes on different forms—from acrylic or airbrush on canvas to sculpture. As is the case for most artists and their work, Ayala’s style and identity are closely connected.

“I’m very proud of my brownness,” he told Andrew McClintock, owner of Ever Gold [Projects]. “And there is no doubt about it always being referential in my work, which engages with a growing conversation dealing with Latinx identity in art in a way that I hope adds to a dialogue of current social issues.”

His artwork—including “Reflection Eternal” pictured below, and a part of “Reintegration”—lives on the latest Supreme capsule.

He takes a moment to shoutout those who helped him get to where he’s at and recalls a favorite:

“Reflection Eternal” 2017. Airbrush and flashe on canvas. Mario Ayala, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Ever Gold [Projects], San Francisco.

I am very thankful for all my friends throughout the years that put me on, showed me love and put up with my shit. I’m especially thankful for the strong women in my life—mom, grandmas and baby sis—I was lucky enough to have learned and continue to learn from all of them.

Heres a consejo my grandma still says: “Caras vemos, corazones no sabemos.”