Who Am I?
By Paulina Sosa
For most of my life, I didn’t embrace my heritage as a Mexican-American. I didn’t know how, and honestly, I didn’t know what that meant. I grew up in a border town- Brownsville (Tx)- Matamoros (Mx) border, and even though we grew up with the border Spanglish slang and the cultura of the border- it was a gray zone between la cultura pura de Mexico and sweet ol’ Texas in the US of A. I grew up having to balance and juggle two cultures that I never fully understood.
Some of you may recall a clip from Selena, we have to be twice as perfect in English and Spanish, twice as perfect as a Mexican and an American. It’s exhausting! Cierto es!
Up until recently, did I come to appreciate and embrace what a privilege I had in saying: ¡Soy Latina, soy Mexicana! Because the reality is that who I am IS a mix of the different traditions, culturas, languages, and values:
I am Latina,
I am Mexican,
I am American.
And no one can take that from me; no one can diminish my story or my voice; no one can tell me I’m anything different.
In the past several years, I have grown tremendously through discovering and exploring the depths of my ancestry, my history, and my roots. And it is for this reason that I felt inspired, empowered to start this very Latinx Voces en Salud campaign. Through my realization that my voice was muddled by the expectations of Americanas in this society we live in, and the hope that we could all feel empowered to find and share our story, I felt a nagging tug to create a platform that could help others feel that inspiration and empowerment.
Traveling to Mexico, and visiting mi gente throughout different states of mi pais was empowering. A trip I would have never have taken otherwise. And being there built up this sense of pride in mi identidad. Visiting the great ancient city of Teotihuacán, parts of Tulum, Oaxaca, and Chihuahuas all created this deep sense of longing for me to learn more.
Who am I?
I am still learning who I am, but I know this much:
We are here. We are proud.
And we are not going anywhere.
I for too long hid behind the guise of being a perfect Americana. But the truth is that there is courage and bravery in embracing and proclaiming what your true identity is. And for many of us living here in the US of A, we find ourselves struggling and battling our internal instincts to fit in to a culture that is not truly nor solely ours. So in finding my story, my roots, mi cultura- I also found my voice, courage, and perseverance.
We as a comunidad of latinos have so much to offer, so much beauty to share.
So stand up, hear that inner voice of your latinidad roar and rise from within you. And share it with the world.
Unidos somos mas fuerte.