In 2014 we are honouring Ambassadors for “The Decade of Lateral Love™ Around the World 2012 – 2022” with a special Interview Series
Lateral Love™ Ambassadors are talking about their life journey especially for you.
Join us as Trina Otero shares some of her life journey with us.
Who are you?
I am Trina Otero.
Where are you from?
I was born March 11, 1987 in Landstuhl, Germany, and now I live in Indiana, United States.
Tell us about your family?
I have my parents, who are divorced and both remarried. I have one older brother, and two younger sisters. The youngest sister is my biological cousin, but we adopted her into our family when she was around 1 years old. As long as I have been alive, we have lived away from our extended family due to my dad’s service in the US ARMY, so my nuclear family is really all that I have. We try to stay close, we have our dysfunctional moments, but I like to think we are trying our best.
Tell us about your early life and upbringing?
My father actually served in the US ARMY for 20 years so I was born abroad in Germany, and then we moved to the US when I was a toddler. I have lived in California, briefly in Arizona, Kentucky, and Indiana. I have very fond memories of growing up in multicultural environments, and I had such a strong desire to learn at an early age. I also asked questions ALL THE TIME. I was so curious, and I still am! I remember wonderful memories of playing outside in nature with friends and my brother and sister, and playing in parks. We were also raised very religious in the Pentecostal faith. So many Universal Truths were instilled at a very young age.
Who played the biggest role in your upbringing?
Honestly, the characters in the books I read. I was a complete bookworm and indulged in novels and children fiction. Some of my all-time favourite authors are C.S. Lewis, Roald Dahl, Madeleine L’Engle, and Sharon Creech. My mother also had a huge impact on me, since she was always around taking care of us while dad worked a lot.
What do you remember about your schooling?
I enjoyed the education on military base. I think there is a huge difference between the quality of education on military base compared to education in the “civilian world.” I was in some advanced and “gifted” programs when we lived on military base. I had amazing teachers, with the exception of one really rotten, mean math teacher when I was in 4th grade. I have no idea why she liked to pick on me so much. My favourite teacher from my childhood is Ms. Nuñez, who was my 3rd and 5th grade teacher, I believe. She loved my writing and stories, and she encouraged me to become a writer. She is definitely the one person from my childhood that saw my gift and gently inspired me. My mother also encouraged my writing.
Are there any particular High School memories that have stuck with you?
Yes, but not on the educational side, my best friend and I were adventurous and loved to sneak out on weekends and dance all night.
Describe your personal life journey to date?
My life has been one big spiritual journey with numerous phases, numerous lessons. It’s as if I knew as a child who I was and what I was meant for, but during my adolescent years I forgot. My memory was suppressed by pain and emotions, and I have spent my adult years peeling off the layers to remember myself once again. It has been a very interesting journey thus far, and beautiful in its own way. It is beautiful to find yourself again, and to love yourself. It is beautiful to seek your purpose with an insatiable thirst and to be strong in your heart.
Can you tell us about some of your work history from your earliest jobs to some of your most memorable ones?
I have worked in so many fields! I began working at 15 or 16, because I hated to ask my dad for money. I didn’t know how to ask him for the things I needed, so I just asked for permission to work. I began working a retail job, at the US store JC Penny. In college I had many jobs, from retail, to jobs at the University Library, a non-profit, an internship with the university, and my own cleaning business. I have worked in mortgage lending, higher education, and I had my first serving job at the age of 24. I realize that I loved – and still love – to help people, so this has been my driving force. My fondest and favourite jobs were at the non-profit helping high school children and my fellowship with the University Library. I had freedom to run with my ideas, to create, to be of service, and to express myself.
Have you experienced Racism throughout your life?
Yes I have. I am Puerto Rican and I was often mistaken as Mexican. Last time was four years ago – I was with my father and he was jumped by some men after they made derogatory remarks to us. They cut my father’s nose open, he had to have stitches. That event birthed a lot of anger inside of me and it took time to let that go.
What forms of Racism have you experienced?
I have been told to “go back to my country,” speak “their” language [English], “swim back across the river,” and other stuff like that. When I was in high school the bus driver separated my friends and I one time because we were speaking Spanish to one another.
What do you see as one of the biggest barriers for Aboriginal people?
The ignorance of others and the ignorance within the Aboriginal communities [keep in mind, ignorance means lack of knowledge or awareness]. Ignorance is the main culprit of most wrong doings in the world.
What do you see as the potential solutions to the barriers you have identified?
Awareness programs, education, leaders speaking truth, networking. I believe that Lateral Love™ is doing a wonderful thing here, and if Lateral Love™ can continue to network with other organizations and people, awareness will continue to spread and illuminate the minds of those who lack the knowledge and experience.
What is the one thing you do to get through the darkest of days when they present themselves?
When I am having a tough time, I pray. A lot. I meditate. I talk to myself to comfort and soothe myself – alone time is necessary to understand why one feels affected by events/people/thoughts. I am as gentle to myself as I can be, because I must take care of myself first if I want to be able to take care of others. I also put on a really good song that sends me high vibrations. I am artistic so I do express myself through poetry or painting as well.
What are your plans for the future?
So far, I know I want to travel and teach people. And write my heart out.
What do you believe are the most important aspects of true leadership?
An amazing teacher is an amazing student – must be open to learn. Humility is needed. A leader needs courage and inner-strength to stand up for what he/she believes in, regardless of what others think. A leader is selfless. A leader needs a warrior spirit!
What is your passion in life?
My passion is to help others, to help them realize the truth about our existence, the truth about their existence. My passion is to help and teach others and to spread Love.
What motivates you?
What do you feel our children must have to reach their full potential in life?
Children must be taught from the beginning about Self Awareness! Children must be taught the Universal Truths – kindness, love, honesty, equality. Education in many forms is the way to teach and guide our children.
If you could create the perfect society what would it look like?
I would love to create a community. Something like a utopia. I would love for it to be fully self-sustainable, with all the food and produce grown locally. There would be outstanding education, free, to every child, and it would be amazing if there was higher education for young adults and older adults. I just believe everyone can contribute to a community – everyone has a talent, a gift, and they can contribute in some way to keep the community running. It would be like a big family. I believe that this is how we are naturally. Humans need this. We need one another. We need love, support, roles, and unity.
What does it mean for you to personally feel culturally safe?
To me, this means that I will be accepted no matter what background I have and treated equally. Also means my culture will not be degraded, demoralized, destroyed, or tainted.
What does your role as a Lateral Love™ Ambassador mean to you?
I believe this is an amazing opportunity to be one more voice for Lateral Love™; to bring awareness to the organization; to bring greater awareness to the reality of colonization and it’s destructive effects; to be an advocate for solutions to the current issues; and to serve as one more leader in the world trying to bridge the gap between other communities so that we can all work together towards solutions and a better world.
How important do you feel Lateral Love™ is for the future of our families and communities?
I think this organization is very important. I read Brian Butler’s story, and so I read about many of the things Aboriginal people have endured, and I see how passionate Mr. Butler is about finding solutions.
Tell us about your community involvement?
In college I was very active and I have not been very active for the past 3-4 years. I believe I became conscious of my purpose and duty to be of service in 2012, and I helped people whenever I could. I was not affiliated with anyone or any organization. I upped my involvement when I began to work at a middle school, and that opened my eyes to the gnawing reality – our children need us. I am looking to become very involved now, which is why I have reached out to Lateral Love and the Green Party of Indiana!
What advice would you offer to a young person who is struggling or having suicidal thoughts?
You matter. You decided to come to Earth. You have a purpose! It is your responsibility to seek out your ‘Purpose’, and in doing so you will be fulfilled! We need you.
Do you believe there are links between youth suicide and lateral violence?
I am sure there is a correlation for some events.
What help you to feel empowered to lead a fulfilling, meaningful life?
When I meet like-minded people I feel empowered. Sometimes I become jaded without realizing it, and the Universe sends someone along to breathe clarity back into my life. Knowing myself makes me feel empowered – the lack of knowing myself would lead to the lack of understanding others. But with the awareness and knowledge of my Self I am able to better understand and serve others through unconditional love. With no judgement of who they are, where they come from, the issues they face, or the flaws they have.
What is your life purpose and when did it come into focus for you?
I am here to teach, heal, and love. This has been an ongoing journey since birth, to remember, but clarity started to come to me in 2012.
“I cover spirituality, women empowerment, healing & health, community involvement, human rights & activism, music, culture, travel, and whatever else comes to mind. This is a place of information, inspiration, and all-around wellness!”