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This Boricua Psychologist Wants Latinas To Understand The Different Types Of Trauma

Dr. Lydiana Garcia is a bilingual and bicultural (Puerto Rican) licensed psychologist in Los Angeles. She is also the creator and founder of The Beyond Resilience Life podcast which focuses on overcoming trauma and life adversities in order to live a beyond resilient life. Follow her on Instagram @lydianagarcia.

The word trauma originates from the Greek and means “wound” (Online Etymology Dictionary). Although the term was used for only physical injuries, nowadays it is also used to refer to other injuries; such as emotional, psychological, spiritual, etc.

There are many definitions of trauma, but I really like Elaine Miller-Karas, LCSW (Miller-Karas, 2015) definition:

It is an individual’s perception of an event as threatening to oneself or others

Something considered traumatic for one person, may not be “traumatic” for another. This applies to family members, loved ones, friends and in the general population.

One important fact is that trauma happens in the body, as the body created a response to a perceived threat and responded to it.

Depending on how the body interprets the imminence of the threat, then the body either has a mobilized (for example: fight or flee) or immobilized (freeze) response. The trauma responses can happen for perceived threats to our physical safety, our personality or “self,” to our loved ones, what we care about, our beliefs and our dreams.

There are many reactions associated with experiencing trauma.

Some of the most common reactions are the repetitive recollection of the traumatic experience through dreams, thoughts, images and sensations as if the person were back in that time; avoiding consciously thinking about the trauma. Others react to trauma by going to places or spending time with people that remind them of what happened. The heightened sense of needing to be in alert for another possible similar situation (hypervigilance) is also common. And being easily startled, irritability, poor concentration, fear, difficulties falling and/or staying asleep are also common symptoms.

Some people experience a shift in perspective about themselves.

Amnesia, feeling numb, feeling out of the body, or as if the world is not real; depressive symptoms like sadness, hopelessness and some even experience suicidal ideations; interpersonal difficulties including having difficulties relating to others, not feeling close to people, fear of abandonment are also sentiments that people feel when they are dealing with trauma.

The literature on trauma has made reference to different types of trauma including “small-t,” “Large-T,” and “C-Trauma.” These refer to the events or situations that can result in trauma. “Large-T” refers to the typical events most people associate the word trauma with, for example: natural disasters, war-related violence, sexual assault, child abuse, car accidents, and near-death experiences. “Small-t” refers to events that the majority might not consider it traumatic, but the individual did. Some examples of “small-t” include medical procedures, ending a relationship, and moving. “C-Trauma” refers to cumulative trauma that can result from systemic oppression, racism, micro-aggressions, poverty, colonialism and other similar experiences. When someone has experienced several types of traumas, or for a long period of time, this can also be considered complex trauma. Another type of trauma that can be relevant to mention in developmental trauma; this refers to the traumas that happened in childhood and tend to have a significant impact in our attachments; our ability to relate to others and feel safe.

Generational trauma then refers to trauma that has been transmitted from generation to generation.

This refers to the recipients of this trauma, as the “inheritors.” Think of this as a kind of second-hand story that has been invisible, often unacknowledged, but detrimental to our ability to be whole.

Generational trauma can be passed down through our genes (epigenetics), in the womb (during pregnancy), and through psychological and social aspects. One of the ways it is transmitted epigenetically is when a child is raised in the same environment as their ancestors from generation to generation, triggering a reformation of the gene; therefore, creating epigenetic imprinting (Sullivan, 2013).

In your earliest biological form, as an unfertilized egg, you already shared a cellular environment with your mother and grandmother. When your grandmother was five months pregnant with your mother, the precursor cell of the egg you developed from was already present in your mother’s ovaries (Wolynn, 2016).

This means that what your grandmother and mother experienced during pregnancy can be passed down to you. Your inception can also be similarly traced in your paternal line.

The psychological aspects referenced previously refers to the effect trauma can have in an individual that can affect raising a child, not only behavioral but also in terms of psychological factors like emotion tolerance and management, relationships, and beliefs. For example, a mother that experienced complex trauma in her childhood; including her caregivers neglecting her needs and not offering physical affection, might be triggered by having a child on her own that is crying and needs to be changed or fed, and can react by becoming very overwhelmed and anxious about it or the opposite, repeat the pattern. 

The oppression and injustices that many minorities groups experienced can continue to impact the following generations.

For example, the racism that Latinx encountered when they immigrated to the US continues to be present. Some might argue that is less due to their children being able to speak perfect English and attend school in the US, but these children are still being considered different and are mocked and ridiculed regardless of their US citizenship. Their caregivers, in an attempt to protect them from these injustices, tend to also promote values of family unity as a way to keep them safe, being afraid of the police and authority, and not trusting friends or outside-of-the-family people. These factors and more contribute to the passage of trauma experience and reactions from generation to generation.

Many people learn about generational trauma and initially might be shocked about it, but also feel somewhat hopeless in regard to all the things that are out of their control and continue to impact their daily lives. However, others might use this knowledge as part of the beginning of their healing journey by increasing the awareness of their bodies, recognizing what is theirs and what can be a result of generational trauma. Seeking help to process unhealed wounds is another way to take actions to reduce the transmission of trauma to their families and communities. The question is which path will you take?

Works Cited

Baack, G. A. (2017). The Inheritors; Moving Forward from Generational Trauma. Berkley, CA: She Writes Press.

Miller-Karas, E. (2015). Building Resilience To Trauma; The Trauma and Community Resilience Models. New York: Routledge.

Online Etymology Dictionary. (2019, July 26). https://www.etymonline.com/word/trauma. Retrieved from https://www.etymonline.com: https://www.etymonline.com/word/trauma

Sullivan, Shannon. Inheriting Racist Disparities in Health: Epigenetics and the

Transgenerational Effects of White Racism. Critical Philosophy of Race 1(2),

2013, pp. 190–218

Wolynn, M. (2016). It Didn’t Start With You; How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle. New York, New York: Penguin Books.

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Entertainment

The World Can’t Get Enough Of J Balvin, He Is YouTube’s Most Streamed Artist Worldwide

Roger Kisby / Fotógrafo autónomo / Getty Images

¡Mi gente! Your faves could never. Latin music domination continues around the world with the top spots of global streaming platforms being stacked with Latinx artists. What a time to be alive. Remember when we all had to pretend Drake was Dominican to get some kind of representation out here? But when you think about the sheer number of people on the planet that speak Spanish, it totally makes sense that Latinx artists would have such a massive reach. 

And let’s be real, while fluency helps, you really don’t have to be proficient to enjoy reggaeton. The energetic, pulsating beats can compel anyone to move. Do you really think everyone in the United States knew the English translation of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” in order to enjoy it? Music transcends language and so does Colombian trap artist J Balvin apparently. Do you think anyone even noticed that the lyrics in “Harlem Shake” are largely in Spanish? Nope. 

J Balvin is here to stay.

For six consecutive weeks, J Balvin has chopped the global charts on YouTube. That’s a total of 1.26 billion views on the platform. 

“Artista más visto en YouTube Global,” Balvin wrote in an Instagram caption.

This comes as no surprise to Balvin fans. In 2018, Balvin ousted drake as the most-streamed artist worldwide on Spotify. The singer surpassed 48 million monthly listeners last summer thanks to his single “X” with Nicky Jam which streamed over 327 million times. Balvin is in great company on the global charts with Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny, and Ozuna all in the top 10. The trio’s single “China” with Anuel AA and Karol G is currently number 1 on the YouTube global charts and number 2 in the United States chart. However, we’re pleased to note that “Señorita” by Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes is topping the charts in the states. 

Balvin shouts out his Latinx fans. 

“Artista más escuchado en el mundo en @spotify posición #1 que celebro con todos mis latinos y los soñadores. Gracias Gracias Gracias,” Balvin wrote in the caption. 

Our boy is famous basically everywhere?

The top countries streaming Balvin’s music are Mexico with 240 million views, Argentina with 121 million views, and Colombia with 121 million views. The United States is in fourth place with 112 million views, followed by Spain, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Brazil, and Venezuela. But fear not, Balvin has fans in at least 100 different countries according to YouTube. 

We stan a humble king of the masses!

Like, literally could you imagine how this level of adoration and attention would completely warp your mind? I would be a monster. I would build a house out of fan mail and then set it ablaze just to laugh at my stupid fans. I’d have so many, who cares! Meanwhile, the artist, who typically regales his followers with personal messages on Instagram every morning at 5 a.m., knows how to connect with his fans. Balvin even served ordinary people from a coffee cart in New York City the other day. 

“Buenos días , buenos días , buenos días !!!!! ARCOÍRIS TOUR empieza 30 de Agosto en Puerto Rico !! Choliseo,” he wrote on Instagram. 

 We stan a humble king of the masses!

This isn’t the first Latin wave (and it won’t be the last).

In the 1990s, the late and great Selena catapulted Tejano and Cumbia music into the mainstream American consciousness. This ushered in the era of the “Latin Explosion” where legends were born. Ricky Martin, Thalía, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer Lopez made their marks. Hell, even Frank Sinatra personally invited Luis Miguel to record a duet of “Come Fly With Me” on his 1994 album Duets II. 

In the 2000s, there was the “Latin Pop Boom” that saw the likes of Shakira, Paulina Rubio, and Christina Aguilera topping the charts. You may even remember non-Latinx artists trying to ride the wave with Beyoncé collaborating with Shakira on the duet, “Beautiful Liar,” and releasing a Spanish language version of the single “Irreplaceable.” It almost feels odd to call these decades different waves or eras when it is pretty clear Latinxs have been consistently rocking the charts since Gloria Estefan in the 1980s. Since then, in the United States, we have been blessed with many more Latinx acts including the likes of Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Becky G, and Cardi B. And of course, there are all the amazing imports from Latinx countries around the world. If we want to continue this Latinx chart domination, I only have one piece of advice: stream “China” by J. Balvin on YouTube and Spotify!

There’s A Deadly Fungus Spreading Across Latin America That Could Wipe Out The Banana Forever

Culture

There’s A Deadly Fungus Spreading Across Latin America That Could Wipe Out The Banana Forever

Jametlene Reskp / Unsplash

Did you wake up and eat a banana for breakfast this morning? Straight out of the peel? Or maybe you chopped it up into a few pieces and tossed it into a smoothie or over a bowl of cereal?  

Or maybe your abuelita fried a few up and served them with some crema and a side of rice and frijoles? 

Bananas are a staple food item around the world. In fact, we consume around 114 millions tons of them every single year. So you can imagine why many people are freaking out over recent news that a banana killing fungus has taken hold. It could literally spell the end for our beloved banana. 

A deadly fungus has infested banana crops across Colombia.

Bad news for banana lovers: A fungus that’s particularly adept at killing the fruit has finally reached Latin America — a major supplier of the world’s bananas — as scientists long feared it would.

Recently, officials in Colombia declared a national emergency after confirming the presence of this deadly fungus, known as Fusarium oxysporum Tropical Race 4 (TR4), in the country, according to the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA)

This is the first time the fungus has been detected in Latin America. However, the fungus isn’t new — for decades, it has been devastating banana plantations in Asia, Australia and East Africa.

This is potentially devastating news because Latin America was one of the few remaining fungus-free regions in the world.

Although this fungus isn’t harmful to humans, it is a “serious threat” to banana production, according to the United Nations. The fungus attacks the plant’s roots and blocks its vascular system — the network used to transport water and nutrients — and ultimately kills the plant. Once the fungus finds its way into soil, it can’t be treated with fungicides, and it’s very difficult to remove.

So what does this mean for the fruit so many of us have come to enjoy?

Well, the fungus attacks the most commonly exported banana, the Cavendish banana. “For Western countries, the vast majority of the bananas we eat are from the same Cavendish subgroup,” Nicolas Roux, a senior scientist at Bioversity International in France, told Live Science in a June interview.

“What we’re having is an almost apocalyptic scenario where we’ll probably lose Cavendish [banana]” Sarah Gurr, Exeter University’s chair in food security, told Wired in an interview.

Also, side note, the Cavendish bananas which are what most of us buy in the supermarket, are literal clones of one another.

Cavendish bananas reproduce asexually, meaning that the plants are essentially clones of their parents. This means banana crops lack genetic diversity, and infections can spread quickly. That’s not weird at all. 

Virtually every supermarket banana in the world is a Cavendish, a strain chosen for its hardiness and easy cultivation. In the 1950s, it replaced the Gros Michel, a comparable banana that was all but wiped out by the soil-dwelling fungus Panama disease. Also known as Fusarium fungus, the blight blackens bananas from the inside out. Once it’s infected a plantation, its fruit is toast. Even decades after bananas have gone, the spores hang around in the soil, with the potential to re-infect crops all over again.

Colombia is just the most recent outbreak. This fungus has been wreaking havoc globally for years.

For the past 30 years, the fungus has wreaked havoc on banana plantations in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Now, Colombia’s agriculture and fishing institute has declared a national emergency after the fungus was found in the northeastern province of La Guajira in June. Nearly 170 hectares (420 acres) of plantations have since been quarantined

So what’s the plan? How will we save the banana? 

A number of ideas have been proposed to help save the Cavendish banana, including genetically engineering plants that are resistant to TR4. Meanwhile, researchers are trying desperately to find a new kind of banana that can survive Tropical Race 4.

Scientists in Australia have created a fungus-resistant variety using genetic engineering. It’s still being tested and would require government approval before it could be grown or sold. 

Other scientists are looking through nature’s storehouse. Unfortunately, 80% of banana fruits are susceptible to TR4. And none of the fungus-resistant plants are ready to replace the bananas that currently fill supermarket shelves. Most of them are cooking bananas, or plantains. Others are wild bananas with tiny fruit that’s inedible; the pods are full of seeds.

The hope, however, is that plant breeders can take these plants and cross-pollinate them, mating them with other, more commercially viable bananas, reshuffling the genes to create new varieties that are both delicious and immune to TR4.

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