Journey Series: Valentina

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The Femme Oasis: How do you identify yourself (gender and gender performance)?

Valentina: I identify as a woman. She/Her are my pronouns.

TFOWhat is your current occupation?

V: I am a student at the California Polytechnic University and a manager at Walgreens.

TFOWhat do you do as a hobby?

V: I love to hike.

TFOWhat are some organizations you’re involved in?

V: I am involved on campus through the Black Student Center and the Black Academic Excellence Center.

TFO: What is your dream job?

V: My dream job is to become a nurse for the Stanford Medical Center so I can work alongside my mother.

TFOWhat are the three major stressors in your life?

V: School, work and making sure I am maintaining healthy relationships in my life.

TFOHow do you cope with your stresses (if at all)?

V: I am very vocal with my emotions. I cry. I let everything out. I talk to my mom, my dad. I even talk to random people I run into campus. If I cannot find a way to put my feelings into words, I doodle images that make me happy.

TFODo you have goals you set for your life overall?

V: So far, I do not have any large goals set for my life. I take things day by day. As someone who struggles deeply with mental health issues, I make small goals each day. Making it through another day is my ultimate goal.

TFOWhat is your process in achieving these goals?

V: I take the support I receive from my friends and family to fuel me through my days.

TFOWhat is your daily mantra (if you have one)?

V: I don’t have a daily mantra but on the days I feel unsure of myself, I always look at a particular Steve Jobs quote that I have saved in my phone. He once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

TFOAre you happy where you are in life?

V: It has taken awhile, but yes, I am happy where I am in life.

TFOAre you on a path you feel is right for you?

I am not sure. Some days I believe I am traveling down the right path but others [days] I am unsure about whether or not I am doing the right thing but I truly believe it will work itself out.

TFODo you feel confused or pressure to figure out if you are on the right path?

V: I never feel pressured, but I do feel confused. I sometimes second guess my decisions because who is to say if I am on the right path or not. I find myself asking myself questions like “Is this right?” “Is this how I am supposed to feel?” “What could I do to feel better?”

TFOIf you feel you aren’t on the right path for you, what are your roadblock(s)?

V: The roadblocks I run into are all internal. I am not confident enough in the decisions that I make.

TFODo you feel you can alleviate these hindrances or do you feel they are bigger than you?

V: As I mentioned earlier, my goal is to get through each day. I don’t believe that these hindrances are bigger than I [am], but I need to take the time out of my day to make it a goal to be more confident.

TFOWhat are some pressures of society you wish didn’t exist?

V: In all honesty, I wish society didn’t pressure young adults to go straight to college. The leap from high school to college can be brutal.

TFOWhat would be one thing you don’t have but you want at this very moment (it can be tangible or intangible)?

V: Peace of mind on the days I doubt myself. But I am very happy generally so I guess there is not one thing I am looking for that I need at this very moment.

TFOWhat do you do for self-care (if anything)?

V: After a long day, I will soak my feet in a tub of hot water with Epsom salts, put on a face mask, and watch some sort of comedy.

TFOWhat is something you do well that you can offer society?

V: As cheesy as this may sound, I have a lot of love and support to offer.

TFODo you have goods or services you want to sell or promote to your fellow femmes and women?

V: Nope! I wish. I provide love and advice, though.

TFOWhere can we find you (social media, email, organization etc.)?

V: You can contact me via email: valentina.stafford@gmail.com.  I also have Twitter and Instagram: versusss_