Meet Xiomara A. Sosa
Monday, October 24, 2011
Editor’s Note: This inspirational Latina was submitted by Alexia…here’s what she had to say:
“My aunt/Godmom Xiomara A. Sosa helped raise my sister & I and we are both in college because of her amazing example. We also serve on her nonporofit on the youth advisory board and learn so much from her every day.”
Name: Xiomara A. Sosa
Hometown: New York City, New York
Education: BS in Psychology, MS in Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Specialization
Profession/Career: Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Nonprofit Executive
Web sites: www.xasconsulting.com
Where were you born and where did you grow up for the most part of your life?
I was born and raised in New York City.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you “grew up?”
I wanted to be many different versions of the same thing. Ultimately, I always wanted to do something that at the end of the day would help people.
What (if any) adversaries or discouragements did you face growing up?
Growing up I didn’t really face adversaries or discouragements that were on any significant scale. I mostly had people around me who were supportive and encouraging. I did face them early in my career with other Latinas, sadly. These were women in leadership positions who should have been my mentors. They should have been guiding and supporting me to reach my full potential. Instead they did what they could to hold me back and hold me down. That experience was very eye-opening and pivotal to me. It confused me. But I fought through that and took my career and life into my own hands. That’s what I now teach my nieces and their peers to do. Be proactive, be strong and keep your eye on the goal no matter what anyone else tries to tell you or do to you. That’s what I had to do and here I am. In a much better place.
What has been the “proudest” moment in your life”
The proudest moment of my life was when I served in the Air Force and in the Army, especially when I was selected for a prestigious special assignment at the Pentagon.
What does being a Latina woman mean to you?
To me being Latina means being open, taking emotional risks, giving, being helpful, demonstrative, expressive, passionate, and loving as hard as you can.
What advice do you have for today’s young Latinas?
Do not get caught up in group-think. Even we as Latinos get wrapped in that. “If other Latinos are doing it, then we must do it”. I just do not buy into that kind of thinking. I say no, being Latino can’t be the only reason to support someone or something. There must be more substance to it. Don’t follow the crowd just because it’s popular, shiny, glitzy & glamorous. Not just because they are harping on the flavor of the month. Stand out and be unique even if it’s not the popular thing to do. Critical thinking is a necessary asset if you don’t want to fall into that kind of trap.
What Latina in your life has been a major inspiration and role model?
My mother, hands down. She was raised in poverty with no mother of her own. She endured hardships with great lessons to teach. She never used anyone for anything. She struggled with her own serious conditions and overcame them. She never left us for anyone or anything else in the world. She stuck out her marriage for more than 50+ years. She always shows grace under fire and is living proof that living a good life is always the best revenge. By example she taught me that taking the high road when others try to beat you down is always the best option.
If there was one experience in your life that you could do over, what is it and what would it be?
2 things – I would have stayed in the military and retired from it as a career and then started a new civilian career after retiring at 40. And I would have married the love of my life, my soul mate right away instead of waiting 20+ years to do it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I hope to have my private practice from home fully launched exactly how I want it to be, and able to spend more quality time with the love of my life.
Name a fellow Latina, in your professional world, that inspires you. Why?
That’s my problem; I don’t really have one in my professional world. Not very many Latinas are in the mental health profession and if they are, you rarely ever hear about them, much less see them. That’s why I am determined to break down those barriers and negative stereotypes about mental health. People have such a misconception about it and it is so taboo for so many silly and unfounded old fashioned reasons. I want to break all of that nonsense down and get people, especially Latinas to understand that good mental health is equally important as good physical health and you cannot have one without the other. Everyone needs good mental health because when they do not have it, they suffer, we feel, and that affects how we live. Our every minute, day by day existence is affected.
What is your favorite quote or saying that you live by in life?
“To thine own self be true” – Be true to yourself. You have to be; otherwise unhappiness sets in & never goes away.