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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.

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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