Peru is a country of tradition, so there’s often a fiasco when someone breaks the norms. Overcoming the prejudices takes self-confidence and a strong belief in oneself. Ana tells us about her experiences and how she faces the discrimination.Ana Santillán Muñoz is 31 years old and has made a name for herself as an architect and the president of an NGO, gaining the respect of her peers and employees despite being a young female in positions of power, a not-so-common phenomenon in the Central Andes. Now she faces the jury of social norms once again concerning her long-term relationship with Deiby, seven years her junior. “The hardest part about it has been the prejudices, not only because I’m older, but also because I have more studies behind me and already have an established life,” she explains. “I have a role in society and others have a hard time dealing with me mixing roles.”
They’ve been together for almost a year, yet Ana’s family and friends continue to show their disapproval. Most of the time she reacts in silence or doesn’t pay attention to what others say; other times, she defends herself by reminding the critics that it’s her life. “It’s most difficult with my family because their opinion matters to me,” she explains. “But in time, they’ll see that I’m happy.”The relationship has changed her. “I’ve never been the housewife type,” Ana admits, but now she cooks, does laundry and shops for groceries. “I saw myself in the mirror the other day at the supermarket and wondered what had happened,” she jokes. In the past, she imagined herself traveling all over the world and never saw the need for a house, but now she wants to settle down in Huancayo and have her own space with her partner. In fact, she’s even thinking about having children.
Her advice for people in a similar situation? Have patience and tolerance. “As women, we want to solve things,” she reflects. “But you can’t ‘fix’ another person.” Ana also notes that she and Deiby are the best of friends. “It’s less scary to say the difficult things if your relationship is also based on a friendship.”
How have you been different from the norm and how did you face the ensuing challenges?
P.S. This post was scheduled — I’m still traveling and I’ll be back by early next week! I promise to respond to comments and give love to your blogs when I return! =)