Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Ni de aquí ni de allá
I came to the U.S when I was about 13 years old, and needless to say I went through a lot of identity issues. I became an outsider, marked with a "different" label along with a bunch of stereotypes and perceptions. At first I tried to assimilate, "blend in" as best as I could. Then at one point during my high school years, I accepted who I was, embraced and loved my differences. I adapted, but kept my culture close to my heart. I changed those labels to "Mexicana and loving it! deal with it". Those feelings of not belonging seemed to have disappeared, but it didn't last forever.
I started feeling like an outsider within my own culture! That if I'm too blanquita to be Mexican, that I dress "white", that I'm not Mexican enough because I don't listen to banda or regional Mexican music, blah, blah, blah... I've heard this from many people, even family, and surprisingly several college educated people! I mostly get it from Mexican Americans, chicanos born and raised in the U.S. that have this image of "Mexican" , and if you don't fit into it you're not one of them! They think that they're Mexican just because they listen to corridos (that sometimes they don't understand) and wear Tejanas and botas piteadas. They dare to doubt my "Mexicaness", even though some of them have never been to Mexico and I was born and raised there.
Truth is, I didn't even listened to regional Mexican music when I was in Mexico. I've always liked the spanish rock and indie Mexican music. If you ask me about "bandas" I'll talk about Cafe Tacvba, I don't know what "white" people dress like, I wear what I feel comfortable wearing and that doesn't include botas and tejanas! And if my skin is light is because I'm from a region in Mexico where Spanish and French conquistadores settled, killing or kicking out most native indians that lived there. I'm mestiza, like any other Mexican, with Indian, African, and European blood. And I love every single one of them!
At first, it really upset me. I felt like the India Maria, ni de aquí ni de allá. But I know we have had different experiences, I know why they feel they way they do and it doesn't bother me anymore. I know who I am, I love the person I've grown to be, and I'm completely confident with my culture and heritage. I respect every single Mexican in them, no matter how different they are! Because like my abuelito says, "pa' gustos están los colores!" or what's the same, "different strokes for different folks"