21 Questions: Diana Pastora Carson

woman in front of building

Diana Pastora Carson is a kindergarten teacher and one of two lecturers for General Studies 420: Disability & Society.

“I suppose the question “Tell us about yourself” is overwhelming because there is not enough time to tell you about me which includes all that I am, do, have, love, and have experienced.”

So, tell me about yourself?

“I was made in Spain, born in Maryland, but grew up mostly in San Diego. My father was in the Navy and got permanently stationed here because, at the time, San Diego was the only place that had a school for children with autism. I have many roles: an educator, an author, a public speaker, a disability rights advocate, a mom, a sibling, a daughter, a wife, a friend, a middle-aged woman exploring what it actually means to be ‘herself.’ 

Recently, I have tried not to think so much about how people view me anymore. However, in all honesty, although my awareness of this has greatly evolved over the past few years, I’m not as secure as I want to be. It still does make me feel validated and proud when others think favorably of me. It is a journey toward full self-love. But I’m enjoying this journey and look forward to experiencing freedom from preoccupation with opinions of others. 

I have noticed that people usually think I’m sweet all the time. But in reality, I’m a pain in the ass to my family. I’m really picky about things at home and I’m not always very patient when family members don’t follow my ‘rules’ of cleanliness, order, etc. I do truly enjoy being with people though and learning about their lives. I appreciate people, their journeys, their identities, their struggles, their empowerment, and their victories.” 

Are you family-oriented?

“Yes, very family-oriented. I am especially close to my brother, Joaquin, who experiences significant autism. He is my next-door neighbor and I see him daily. He was institutionalized for a total of 15 years. But my family fought for his return to the community and after a 3-year legal battle, we won, and he is now home. My family’s life revolves around him and his wellness and peace within.”

Who are you listening to right now? 

I listen to Miguel Poveda, Sam Smith, and reggaeton on Pandora. I also listen to lots of podcasts on keto, women’s health, disability, inclusion, and business.

Do you have an idea of where you will be at the end of this year?

“I’ll be enjoying a break between semesters! Also, I’ll probably be excited over the release of a new book I’ve written for educators. It is about how to teach disability awareness from a perspective of dignity and empowerment. I’ll do some gardening in honor of my mother in her memorial garden at my home. I’ll get to sleep in more too.”

What’s on your mind today?

“I’m focusing on how to maximize my health, listening to podcasts on the ketogenic lifestyle. I’m also focusing a lot on how I can shift from teaching elementary school and focus more on a speaking/consulting business after my retirement. In general, I’m mentally planning for a future of health, wellness, and abundance.”

If you could tell your younger self something what would it be?

Don’t believe everything you think. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Enjoy each day. Breathe. Be who you are. Take care of your physical and mental and spiritual health. This life is a journey.
Written by: Jasmine Alexander
Photo by: Jasmine Alexander