THE GENTLE ART OF
SEASON 2 HERO CASTING
After losing her dream home in the 2008 housing crisis, Blanca is finally back in a home of her own but has filled it with the belongings from her larger space.
Transformation and Story Notes
At the age of 58, Blanca is starting the next phase of her life and living alone for the first time. This 5 foot 2, mother of three, Latina Chicana powerhouse leads her life with faith, family and a lot of grit. She currently works as a Teacher’s Aid at an alternative school that helps students with behavioral issues reintegrate and thrive in a school environment. She is working on her teaching certificate and is hoping to start working as a special education teacher soon. In addition to her career, she is an active member of her community who volunteers at food banks, assists with fundraisers, and is the first person to lend a hand when someone needs help.
Born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in southeast San Diego, she grew up with eight brothers and sisters. During her childhood she was the victim of sexual assault at the hands of her father. The abuse lasted from the age of five until the age of nine. On a family trip, she stood up to her father and told him that if he kept abusing her she would tell someone. After that, the abuse stopped. She credits this as the first time she realized she was “Blanca Billy Bad Ass.”
Going into her adolescence she started fighting and getting into trouble at school. She dropped out of school after getting pregnant at 16 and married her high school sweetheart. After 10 years of marriage, they divorced and she spent the majority of her life struggling to raise her three children as a single mom. In that time she got her GED, became a citizen, and started working as a corrections officer at a prison.
In 2007, she was able to purchase a home of her own. In 2008 she lost her home due to the housing crisis. At the same time, she left her job as a correctional officer due to seeing the corruption that was happening at the prison and not wanting to be a part of the problem. She cashed out her retirement, went back to school to get her bachelors degree, and started looking for a job. Even with her prior job experience and new degree, she was not able to find a job, ran out of money, and became homeless with her youngest son Zion. Her oldest Alberto took them in with his family for several years until she got her current job and got back on her feet.
Two years ago, with the help of a grant provided by Habitat for Humanity and the city of Austin , she was able to finally move into a 900-foot townhome of her own. Now that her children are grown, this is the first time she has ever lived alone and there is plenty of space for a single individual.
Although she had already gotten rid of a lot of her stuff from her first home , she is constantly buying new things and quickly filling up her new space. She recently got a new storage unit because she can no longer fit more things into the condo. Alberto fears that if she keeps accumulating and doesn’t learn to let go of her items, she is going to be back in the position she was in when they had to clean out her first storage unit. He believes that she is purchasing items to fill the home she had in 2008 instead of the home that she is currently in. He wants her to feel comfortable in her new home, and have a space that is going to allow her to grow into this next chapter in life rather than tie her down.
Losing her first home was such a dark time for Blanca - one she never fully grieved. She went from having her dream home to being homeless and having to get rid of most of her belongings. Now she is in a much smaller condo but she is acquiring things as if she still had her 3 bedroom home.
Blanca has always had trouble focusing on a task. She often starts projects and doesn’t finish them, and her space is a reflection of that.
Alberto and Blanca don’t see eye to eye on what items she should keep and what items need to go. Alberto believes that she is accumulating too many things while Blanca feels that she just needs to get more organized.
Alberto raw interview: https://f.io/evMdGM3E
Boxes of photos that she would like to be displayed in her home
Her jewelry collection that she would like to pass on
Holiday decorations for every season
Her christmas tree that stays up all year
Christmas penguin collection
Arts and craft supplies
An empty fish tank
Multiple unfinished projects
Clothes in piles around the house
Who is getting their stuff?
Jewelry to go to her daughter
A nativity set she would like to go to one of her kids.
Family photos to go to the kids.
Their Thoughts on Death
As a woman of faith, Blanca is not afraid of death. She recently lost her mother-in-law who was like a second mother and was very involved with taking care of her in her last months of life. She’s seen it first hand and has experienced grief, but it is not something she fears.