Radio host, author and online personality Sujeiry Gonzalez is one Latina who isn’t afraid to share the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to finding love. For more than a decade, she’s been a relationship coach to countless women seeking advice, including her time as the resident sexpert for Latina Magazine and host of Love Sujeiry on SiriusXM.
While she started her career as a single woman with more than a few self-esteem issues and relationship stumbles (basically every woman on the planet, right?), she has since become a happily engaged first-time mother who is driven to create more meaningful moments for herself, her family and her audience. She launched her website called LoveSujeiry, a place for Latinas and women of color to talk about #allthingslove, as well as her show Love Sujeiry: Talk Served Raw on reVolver Podcasts.
Find out what this audacious and refreshingly candid homegirl has to say about her own personal changes and challenges (from surviving a brain hemorrhage to turning 40), why being open about sex is still “very taboo” in the Latina community and how looking within is the first step to “attain that good love.”
Homegirl Talk is all about keeping it real and you definitely do that. I admire your openness and vulnerability about your life, career, motherhood, the whole enchilada! In the age of Instagram when most people are just trying to share the most perfectly filtered version of themselves, you’ve gone in the other direction. Why do you think it’s important to share such unvarnished truths about your own journey?
I decided that it was more important to remain in the present moment than to share, share, share. It came as a shock to many, including myself! I love to share! I am so open and raw. And I still share a lot of my life on my podcast Love Sujeiry: Talk Served Raw and on my website LoveSujeiry.
Thing is, I started feeling forced to share because I had to keep up for business’ sake. Plus, I was afraid to be forgotten. Before this change, I was always on my phone and on social media, keeping up appearances. Instead of enjoying the moment and memories I created, I constantly captured and archived moments.
It didn’t feel right, especially now that I have a son who is very aware of my phone use. At 18 months, he grabbed my phone from my hand and threw it across the floor before coming in for a hug. His message was loud and clear: Mami, you are missing out on life. So I took a social media hiatus sort of permanent.
Now I only post when my heart desires, when I have to for a gig or when I really want to share something of substance. I am no longer sharing for likes, popularity, for show or for numbers. And it feels damn good.
Over the years you’ve given readers and listeners an earful when it comes to sex talk. Despite our progress, do you think most women are still hesitant to be so free in their discussions about sex? Why do we still have so many hang-ups?
Latinas still struggle with being open about sex. It’s still very taboo. Maybe we need a Latina “Girls” or a Latina “Sex and the City” to lead the way. I do think that the media (both print and TV/radio) lends a hand to creating conversations about sex and relationships.
I was the first Latina on the scene (and still one of the few) to discuss sex openly on my blog and on my radio show. It needs to change, there needs to be more of us. We shouldn’t be ashamed. That’s not to say you have to talk about BJs and your vagina. My hope for Latinas, especially the younger generation, is that they are open about these topics, if they choose to be, instead of allowing ‘el que diran’ and Catholic guilt to censor them.
What’s the most common question or problem women ask you about love, dating and relationships? How do you advise on it?
The most common question I receive is almost always “how do I get him back?” or “how do I get him to love me or appreciate me?” or “why is he not committing?” I usually get emailed by women who are in relationships with men who don’t cherish them, women who are dating men who are fickle or have ghosted them, or women who are in love with men who play games or just don’t feel the same.
My advice usually goes as follows, with some added specifics depending on the question: Love yourself first instead of chasing a man who doesn’t want to be with you. If he’s in and out of your life, he may just need to stay out. If you want to be treated better or differently by your partner, have an open dialogue with him and go from there.
Bottom line, people treat us the way we allow them to. It’s all case by case, but I find that once a woman stands up for herself and knows her worth, the right man and relationship finds her and she chooses healthy love.
Tell us about your “Attain That Good Love” online course you offer and what women can expect to learn from it.
I decided to create a self-paced relationship e-course to help women attain that good love by focusing within. When single, I struggled and had many stumbles. Even in my current relationship I’ve had to confront my self-worth, self-love and issues with rejection and people-pleasing.
I often blamed my environment, circumstances and the men in my life for choosing the wrong men, reacting erratically when there was conflict, and feeling lost, rejected, betrayed and unloved. But in my 30s, after yet another whack-ass relationship, I got real and looked at myself in the mirror.
This is what Attain That Good Love is all about; in this course women pinpoint patterns, take a look at what they do when single and/or in relationships, and in turn, become accountable for their own happiness. It’s self-paced and all online via video, so women can take a minute to simmer when it gets real (and it does).
Women can register for only $47 and receive 9 videos and homework! I don’t grade it, but I do hope that women who sign up do their part to grow and become much more self-aware. Because that’s how to attain that good love.
As a fellow Latina, I am all about promoting other Latinas who are doing their own thing and trying to make a positive impact in the world. Why is being Dominican an important part of your identity?
Being Dominican is just who I am! I can’t explain it, and I am sure many Latinas can relate. When you are brought up with your culture’s food, music and even Spanish dialect and acento, it’s almost impossible not to feel proud of your roots.
My mom and dad came to the US from the Dominican Republic and made a concerted effort to teach their children about their Dominican culture. In turn, I speak, read and write Spanish. I can dance merengue and bachata like a pro. I cook Dominican food. I love visiting Quisqueya La Bella (a pet name Dominicans have for the Dominican Republic) and I feel at home whenever I am around mi gente. My Dominicaness is integrated in everything that I do and that I love.
You once said that you notice men help each other and partner up all the time. They share contacts, give advice and support their bros. But women…not as much. Why do you think that is and how we can change this?
Men do share contacts and support their bros because men don’t hate on other men like women hate on other women professionally. On the contrary, men compete. I believe competition is healthy whereas women are taught that competition is bad for sisterhood and girl power.
Thing is, I don’t have to work with all women. I don’t have to support all women and buy every product a woman sells or see every movie she produces or stars in. I also don’t hate or put other women down. When I choose to work with women it’s because I believe in that particular mujer—her message, her work, her talent. I don’t feel like that about every woman yet women are told that we’re supposed to collaborate with other women despite our feelings. Por que si no, we’re “haters.”
Men don’t receive this message, which is why competition is desired and encouraged, and pettiness doesn’t exist as much in a male professional setting. I believe that if women saw competition as healthy they would be more open to connect with the chicas that they really vibe with and, in turn, share those contacts happily.
Instead, we hoard the opportunities we receive because of mistrust and oftentimes, the idea that we are forced to support one another no matter how we truly feel. That’s unrealistic and very unfair.
You definitely have an East Coast Latina edge to your personality. You’re upfront about what’s on your mind and you have a sense of humor. How did your upbringing influence who you are?
Funny, whenever anyone asks my familia if they expected me to go into radio or write about relationships and sex, they laugh from the shock! I was the quietest, shyest little girl. I was sensitive and cried often. My feelings were always hurt, pobrecita! And I often felt like I was treated like a porcelain doll, like I could break at any moment.
This left me feeling unheard and almost invisible. I didn’t feel seen. I didn’t feel like my opinions mattered. So when I broke out of my shell in college, I let everyone know who Sujeiry was. I refused to filter myself and keep anything to myself. I went from one extreme to another, which wasn’t healthy either.
As I grew and became much more self aware, I found a balance between that timid little girl who cried if someone even looked at her sideways and that rough, blunt, no-nonsense 20-something New Yorker who often hurt others because of her mouth, her own insecurities and a fear of being seen as weak. Now, at 40, I’m tender, vulnerable, funny, candid and authentically me.
You wrote an incredibly candid and impactful piece on your blog called “I Quit. I Always Quit.” In it, you confessed, “I have been running away from responsibility, commitment and consistency—all the things I have craved in my life and that I wanted and now have in a partner—because of the feeling that I am not enough. I thought being famous and on reality TV and on radio would fill the void. I thought being a #girlboss was what I wanted. Only I was still unfulfilled when living my ‘dream.’” What led to this realization and are you still feeling this way?
I’ve always known this about myself, but I didn’t want to confront these parts of myself. What led to this #realtalk aha moment was becoming a mom and a partner to my fiance. I was struggling to find work after losing some contracts due to budget cuts and a health scare after having my son—I survived a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage.
I had to evaluate my life and my direction and ask myself, “Why are you here, again? Why are you always hustling and struggling?” I just wanted to be joyous, especially after what I went through medically.
Media, TV, editorial…it’s exhausting, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. It’s been my sole income for four years until recently. I just began a full-time job not long ago. And it feels good. For the first time in…well…I can’t remember…I am present. I am experiencing life and not checking my social media comments, follows and likes. I am clocking out.
It feels so good to be home or out with loved ones and have a life that is mine to do something with, whether I want to write or record my podcast, or do nothing at all. So yes, I still feel this way.
I don’t want to be a #girlboss. But I know now that I am not a quitter. I can commit and I can be consistent and responsible. Difference is that I am present enough to give my energy and time to whatever I wish without running off or thinking about the next thing to check off my goal/to-do list.
You often allude to God in your posts. How important is faith in your life?
I recently began going to church again. The last time I went to church I was in elementary school! I went back (and found a church near my home) because I felt a void. I needed somewhere to go to feel good, grateful and blessed.
When I was struggling financially, in my relationship, my career and with my health after having my son, I knew I had to connect with God again. He kept calling. He waited. And now I go to church every Sunday and feel Him in my life at every moment. It’s made life easier and brought in so much more positivity and gratitude in my life.
You found your fiance in 2014. Did following your own advice help when it came to your own personal relationship?
Dave and I met in 2014 on Plenty of Fish. I know, how did that happen?! So many women ask and I just tell ’em, it was all inner work, timing, God and a belief that my man would come along and so I refused to settle. That’s what brought us together. And yes, my own advice! As in, refuse to settle!
Stop placing so much pressure on yourself to meet “the one.” Realize that those fantasy-filled expectations don’t do you any favors. Know what you want and speak up to get it. Know yourself and your triggers, patterns, strengths and imperfections. Take accountability for your behavior cause you can’t control a damn thing or anyone but you. Let go. Be authentic. And have fun dating!
You had a major life change in 2016 when your son Evan was born. How did this shift your priorities as far as pursuing your career goals?
When other moms would share how much they changed, grew, sacrificed and compromised for their child(ren), I’d think, “nope, not me. I’m always going to hustle, grind and pursue my dreams full throttle no matter what.” Well, my life has changed since having Evan. I have changed, grown, sacrificed and compromised. I put my needs and desires second to his because he’s my innocent child who needs me to feed him, fend for him and protect him.
With motherhood, I’ve gained perspective and have become much more realistic about what I can do at one time. My emotions are all over the place; I’m tired, elated, overworked, overjoyed. All those things at once. I’ve realized that I can have it all—my dream career, stability, love, kids, financial wealth—just not at the same time.
That’s why I am focusing on my full-time work in education and only pursuing creative endeavors in the media as they come and fit with my new normal. I feel less pressure to live up to this ideal of ‘supermom’ that society, social media and I placed on myself. I no longer care what people think when I share I’m not working creatively full time. What matters is what I want and how it makes me feel. This new chapter feels right.
You also reached another milestone in April 2018 when you turned 40! How has your perspective changed now that you are starting a new decade of life? What has your experience taught you so far?
It’s funny, but 40 does feel different. I’ve realized that time is so precious and that how and with whom I spend that time with matters. At 40, I am much more focused on the present moment, on being authentically me and frankly, not giving a fuck about the little things.
I also take things less personally and I am filling my life with things that I once enjoyed and found no time for: books, close friends and family, TV, walks with Dave, vacations. Speaking of joy, I have found that what matters is to have joy, not happiness.
Happiness is fleeting. Happiness is based on external factors. Joy comes from within. No matter what happens with my relationships and in my career I know I will be fine because I’ve found joy.
Since you’re the expert, what do you think changes about a woman’s needs, sexual desires or even her sense of sexiness after 40?
In my experience, women who are 40 and older take care of themselves more. We take time to moisturize, wear makeup if that’s our thing, smell good and feel good. We practice much more self-care and oftentimes try to slow down. We also know what we want sexually and otherwise.
Most women don’t feel comfortable enough to masturbate or learn their sweet spots until they are older. Oh, and that sexual peak that happens at 40-something? It’s real! It’s true what they say: 40 is fabulous.
If there is one overall message or purpose for the work you do, what is it?
Simply put, know your worth and find your joy being authentically you. Pretending to be someone else is exhausting. Finding happiness in external things is futile. Love yourself enough to know that you are good as you are, and take the time to learn yourself in order to be the best (not perfect) version of yourself.
To find that good love and real talk about sex, love and dating, make sure to visit Love Sujeiry.
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