Scholar Stories: Abigail Tarango

How do you use writing or art in your life?

I use writing in my life in several ways. I write to inform, educate, empower, or advocate for causes or people.  I have written to advance awareness, for advocacy, for equity, and to build up; but also to call out and break down barriers, tear down misconceptions, and to demystify. My favorite way to use writing is to write stories, to tell stories, to become the storyteller. I write to reflect, to reminisce, to remember, to heal, and to grow. Words have so much power and writing can be powerful. I have written to communicate, to document my experiences, to share with others what they may not even share with themselves.  

Writing, in both my professional life and in my personal life, has afforded me many opportunities and has opened doors. Sometimes words and writing have even allowed me access into spaces that I did not know before, meeting people I might not otherwise have met, and developed relationships that I am fortunate to have. 

What lessons/teachings from your family, home and/or community do you draw on in your teaching and/or scholarship?

In my teachings and my scholarship, in my professional and personal life, there are many lessons from my antepasados, mi familia, mi casa y mi comunidad that I have drawn upon. One that stands out above the rest is a classic one. Posiblemente el refrán ‘Dime con quién andas, y te diré quién eres’ es uno de los más conocidos y repetidos. The people around you, your friends, your coworkers, your family, and even your kids impact many parts of your life. Their hardships and their joys affect you. Their attitude, their disposition, their communication style, and their energy all play into how you relate not only to them but to the world. We cannot help but be changed by what we are surrounded with. Notwithstanding the effect, you have on them as well…

What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to be more present, worry less about “the plan”. I would tell my younger self not to be afraid, don’t withhold, don’t hold back. Chase the desires, dreams, ideas that you have deep within. Don’t burry them deeper. Go out and meet lots of people, travel as much as possible, and that it is okay to feel lost. Feeling lost just means that you are being found. 

Advice for new scholars and/or teachers?

My advice for new scholars and/or teachers would be simple: find your passion, then find your voice, and stand on both. Be careful about how you speak to yourself and have lots of fe. Know that you can make a difference. Small things matter for they amount to big things in our lives. 

Anything else you want to share?

 I have been through a lot in my life. I have experienced things that could have changed me -for the worst, but they didn’t. I am overflowing with stories to tell and I hope one day to be able to share them. Until then, I have immense gratitude for the people in my life that have lifted me up, held my hand, blessed me, and helped me. To them, I owe a great deal and in gratitude, I will slowly repay them by paying it constantly forward. Dando la mano para otros que sigan adelante tambien. 

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