In the spirit of HERS, we sat down with activist, musician and daughter of Grammy-Award-winning artist Carlos Vives, Lucy Vives, about her individuality, Latina upbringing, and staying true to herself.
HS: What is your favorite part about being a woman?
LV: I carry within my identity the beautifully heartbreaking history of my gender’s past, both within my ancestry and outside of it. As a woman, I carry a sense of nature and compassion that fills me with light as long as I don’t ignore it. Women are healers by nature; we are life givers and whether we fulfill that natural ability or not, each of us carries a unique bundle of intuition and raw empathy. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.
HS: How did you discover your own identity, what was your path ?
I don’t believe I ever discovered my identity, definitively…not yet, at least. Part of me thinks I never lost it to begin with. My grandmother always said I was born with a very particular identity that I’ve managed to maintain, at least partially, and hopefully will continue to. However, I believe I discover a little more about my identity with nearly every passing moment. I think the key is to actually believe in yourself and your actions before, during, and after you take them. Even if they fall into mistakes, believing and being aware of yourself is everything when it comes to an identity and a path. Lucy Vives, activist, musician and daughter of Grammy-Award-winning artist Carlos Vives, talks to Ronit from Honeysuckle about her individuality, Latina upbringing, and staying true to herself.
Have you faced challenges with loved ones about identifying yourself?
Family tends to have certain expectations when it comes to “their own.” They often act in ways you don’t understand, out of passion and fear that perhaps you can’t take care of yourself, not be on your own, without them having a say in it—all of it. It’s a natural fear that we often make a reality for our parents when we fall or fuck up and do exactly what they tried so hard to teach us not to do. The beautiful part about family and friends, and humanity in general, is that we are all consistently growing alone and together. We are learning how to react to ourselves and those around us, and we are literally making it up as we go. I faced certain challenges growing up in a relatively traditional Latin, patriarchal family with hints of liberal ideals from my young parents. I was always very much myself, which was a challenge for those around me, but I never had a problem with me. Eventually, they either caught on, or got tired of making something so insignificantly natural and incredibly out of their control, a challenge. As long as I maintain my values, ambitions, morals and at least some of my virtues, we have nothing to argue about how I identify myself.
What would you say to other young girls who are struggling to find their unique individuality?
For starters, I’d suggest they choose their sources wisely. The magazines they read, the celebrities and social media accounts they follow, and most importantly, the role models they choose to have. Though I’ve very much enjoyed the beat of my own drum since I was a kid, I can’t deny that I’m influenced even minutely by the things I like, by my generation, and the frequencies I surround myself with. All this tends to be overlooked when it should be treated delicately and not loosely. Stop reading bullshit magazines, stop following bullshit blogs and all the regurgitated sources the people you went to high school with are feeding you. Do your own thing. Your own thing may be exactly what you’ve been up to all along, or it could be something completely different, but you’ll never know unless you give yourself the opportunity. It’s okay if after that you realize you’d rather listen than play, but now you’ll know what it is YOU want to listen to, and what social media accounts you believe in, what magazines you find interesting, what books and what activities make you happy, independently from everything and anyone else. We’re blessed with a variety of choices and paths, it’d be a real shame to feel like you’re stuck anywhere.
How do you suggest they come out to friends and families who want them to confirm or behave in
a certain manner?
It’s funny, since my last relationship became public and happened to be with a woman, I’ve gotten some passionately aggressive comments on shoots I’ve done with men, or photos I post even nearly suggesting I’m heterosexual: “Wasn’t she gay?”, “Isn’t she a lesbian?” Regardless of how vocal I’ve been about the ambiguity of my sexual preference— and that subjective relativity cares very little for gender, which is extremely unnecessary to begin with—it seems people have an incessant need to have a definitive answer. They want me to be a
lesbian or they want me to be straight or they want me to at least be some sort of vocal bi-sexual person that finds it imperative to speak
constantly about my bisexuality as though it were the most interesting facet of my being.
But I’m not. I’m a twenty-one-year-old Puerto Rican woman, studying philosophy and fighting for the women’s rights movement as a humanitarian activist. I am a writer, and a musician and I love to love, be it a man or a woman. I would resist the need to explain myself if I didn’t have the wonderful platform I’ve been given and the demand for tolerance and guidance regarding this subject in my generation, and the Latin community to be specific. All I have to say is that you do not have you conform to anyone’s label of who you are; define yourself by your actions and how you make others feel. Be as unapologetically honest as possible. Those who love you will recognize the joy and comfort that you feel when you finally live your identity. No matter how long it takes, be patient of tradition, but never apologize for yourself.