Date: Thursday, March 17, 2016
Time: 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Location: Hotel Aldea
Ancha de San Antonio #15
Admission: $50 pesos for Literary Sala members, $100 for non-members. Includes wine reception.
An Era in Mexican History and a Painfully Shy Life
By Carole Schor
The Literary Sala on March 17 welcomes two women with tales of power, external and internal.
Mary Margaret Amberson
Mary Margaret Amberson has spent most of her life on the Texas/Mexico border and writes passionately about both sides, uncovering a wealth of unknown facts and stories about Texas, Texans, and now a fascinating part of Mexican history. In her latest book, Maximillian and Carlota: Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico, she tells the story of Louis Napoleon’s installation of Maximilian von Habsburg and his wife, Carlota of Belgium, as the emperor and empress of Mexico. Under the regime of Mexico’s Benito Juarez during the time of the U.S. Civil War when the United States was distracted, France seized the opportunity to claim Mexican lands as their own and proceeded to install a French Monarch and his wife to run the country.
Maximilian and Carlota’s reign, from 1864 to 1867, was marked from the start by extravagance and ambition, beginning with their crowning in Mexico City at the Catedral Metropolitana in 1864 and continuing as they made their home in the Chapultepec Castle with all the luxury and pomp befitting a European royal class. Their royal reign was cut short as Napoleon III abandoned Emperor Maximillian and pulled back his troops in Mexico. The United States, upon ending its own Civil War, sat up and finally paid attention to what was happening with their southern neighbor and decided to aide Mexico by establishing a blockade that prevented French reinforcements from landing. The reign of the last Emperor and Empress of Mexico came to an abrupt end in 1867 when President Benito Juarez executed Maximilian by firing squad. Maximilian’s last words were, “I forgive everyone, and I ask everyone to forgive me. May my blood which is about to be shed, be for the good of the country. Viva Mexico, viva la independencia!”
Carlota had returned to Europe to beg for help for her ill-fated husband, never returned to Mexico, and was declared insane and spent the rest of her short life living in seclusion, denying her husband’s death, on the brink of madness.
There are many different types of mental illness and anguish. Empress Carlotta suffered from paranoia and chose to live out the end of her life in seclusion. Helen Rivas-Rose, author of Brave: A Painfully Shy Life, also suffered from a mental disability, an inner and very painful experience of profound shyness that plagued her throughout her childhood and early adulthood, preventing her from fully experiencing the joys of life, which others find through friendship and close relationships. But Helen, unlike Carlotta, has found her way out of her mental pain and into life, a life filled with friends and adventure and a memoir that garnered her five-star reviews and recognition in the field of memoir, motivation and self-help.
Rivas-Rose has made a dynamic breakthrough out of the shadows and into the world of light and life with the help of her analyst who taught her how to change her introverted, timid restrictive self by utilizing Jung’s “extraverted feelings” that enabled her to communicate with other people and share feelings, values and eventually fun.
“50% of the world are introverts, but only 5% suffer from shyness,” said Rivas-Rose. “Introverts are happy, shy people are not.” Introverts take their strength from the inside, unlike extroverts who flourish in crowds and gain power from outside activity. Now Rivas-Rose can do both, gather strength from the inner pursuit of writing a memoir which has helped her and will help others; and gather strength from outside of herself by singing solo in public, delivering her own talks at Unitarian-Universalist churches, joining drama workshops to expose her childhood pain, and joining a typical socially oriented garden club. Now, her goals are to give encouragement and specific advice to the severely shy, to bring awareness of the condition to the community at large, and especially, to have it included in the DSM list of conditions that doctors will treat.
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The March Literary Sala will be held at the Hotel la Aldea on the Ancha de San Antonio on March 17 at 5 PM. Admission is 50 pesos for Sala members and 100 pesos for non-members, including a wine and snack reception. Membership in the Literary Sala supports not only the literary life of San Miguel including scholarships for teens and reading projects for children in the campo, it also offers attractive benefits like reading groups, discounts at the monthly author readings, as well as discounts and priority seating at the Annual Writers’ Conference. A Membership Table will be available at the March 17 Literary Sala event.