Latinx Column

El Poder esta en tus Manos

By Tanya Soto

Each person carries unspoken troubles—some bigger than others—but in the end, it’s our choice to choose what we gain from nuestros pasado y nuestros esfuerzos.

Briseida Molina grew through the struggle of becoming a young mother. Working to get an education, raising a child, and figuring out how to balance both situations isn’t easy, but “life is a bit easier now that [she knows] how to prioritize.” Her aspirations for the future are “to be independent, learn to do things on her own, and become a Registered Nurse.” In order to achieve her goals she currently enrolled in ROP classes for culinary arts and nursing. Her goals have always been clear: “I remember when I first went to the doctors to see if I was pregnant or not. As I was waiting in doctor’s office, I saw this poster up on the wall stating the amount of people that tend to drop out of school. That poster made me upset. I was mad because I didn’t want to be one of those people. I want to do good, for Matthew and myself.”

And doing good for Matthew and herself is exactly what she’s accomplishing, with a little help from her parents: “I honestly couldn’t do it without my parents. My mom quit her work to help me with Matthew, and my dad works two jobs to afford everything we need at home. They’re just amazing people. At first, they were disappointed, but it didn’t take long for them to accept me. Obviously, I couldn’t go out as much. I have to be responsible, and I’m completely ok with that.” Since Matthew turned three in May and is “smart for his age,” her future plan is to enroll him to preschool next year. She’s “just proud of Matthew and herself for continuing her education.”

Durante sus esfuerzos, Briseida has learned that “everyone has the power to change and do what they desire.” She wants people to acknowledge that “we Mexicans work for a better life, not just for ourselves, but for our children.” She would like to encourage others to “keep working hard, but also not evolve around work. Take advantage of life, you never know what can happen and life is short.”


Somos

By Tanya Soto

 

La sociedad dice que

We are the minority

But we seek comfort en la raza

And we seek comfort en la familia

 

We’re the in between

Yes, the in between

In between red, white, and blue

And red, white, and green

We’re the mouth that speaks

We roll our tongues

Para que las palabra salgan

Y abuelita pueda entender

We’re the mouth that switches languages

Like an on and off switch

 

We are the hips that sway

Until 2 am

We are the voices that sing

And scream todas las injusticias

 

Somos

Si, somos our ancestors wildest dreams

We are what we have achieved

We are what we are

And we’re not going to leave


Machismo

By Tanya Soto

You wake up on a Sunday morning, hungry, and decide to cook yourself breakfast. You ask your abuelita for guidance and she looks at you with disappointment—disappointment because as a Latinx woman you should know how to cook. You should know how to cook un huevo without burning it. You should know how to cook “porque un hombre no va a querer una esposa que no sepa cómo cocinar.” You should know how to cook and clean, not to look after yourself, but to look after your husband because you should also aspire to marry.

Never mind the fact that you’re book smart. Say goodbye to all your own priorities because todos tus enfoques should now consist of knowing how to turn una tortilla and how to clean your kitchen once you’re done cooking. Twirl your hair y ponte bella because a man wants to see your beauty. Make yourself oblivious to your knowledge and your dreams of having a career. Acknowledge the fact that a Mexican family is supposed to be a huge family—with children.

Due to their culture’s machismo, women often grow unhappy because their aspirations of having an education, a career, and traveling the world are impossible—solo porque “esa es la tradición y así debe de ser.” Young women are taught to look hermosas, no para que ella se sienta bien de si misma, sino para agarrar un marido.

Estoy harta. Estoy harta que todo lo que una mujer tiene que hacer es para satisfacer a alguien más. Si quieres casarte, Si quieres una familia, Si te gusta limpiar y cocinar hazlo por ti misma. All the things you want to do shall be for yourself—not for any man and not to satisfy others.


Episode

By Tanya Soto

Mamá dice que el amor vence el odio

Que todo el odio es un episodio

Que a va terminar y no dominar

Mamá says love will conquer hate

That hate is just an episode

That it will end and not dominate

But I see my people’s desperation and devastation

Hungry for liberation

My people tired of having to fit in specific formation

 

Mi gente mi querida gente

My people my dear people

With eyes full of tears

With hearts full of fears

Being promised change now for many years

Guess it wasn’t sincere

Mi Gente

My people

I know you feel like your dreams and hopes are nowhere near

Scared they’ll disappear

My only hope is the new generation

With our intelligence

Maybe later will turn into careers

 

Mamá dice que el amor vence el odio

Que todo el odio es un episodio

Que va terminar y no dominar

Mamá says love will conquer hate

That hate is just an episode

That it will end and not dominate


Con Mi Cultura y Mi Piel Morena

By Tanya Soto

Mi cultura has always been extremely important to me. I always seem to carry a thirst for something real, for something a part of my Mexican roots.  So when I was told that I was going to spend the holidays in my dad’s birthplace—Aguascalientes Mexico—I was thrilled.

After a flight that felt like an eternity, my Tita Maria Elena, with hospitality, received us into her home. Due to the long distance, I’ve never exactly felt a connection with my Tita. Our granddaughter-grandmother relationship really only consisted of short phone calls. So, I took advantage of this trip to try to establish a connection with mi familia, mi Tita, y mi tierra.

The first couple of days, everyone was shy and full of awkwardness. By the second day, tios, tias, primos, and just about everyone, would come to visit and attack me with millions of questions:

“¿Cómo es la vida en los Estados Unidos ? ¿Cómo están todos aya ? ¿Dónde te gusta más aquí o los Estados Unidos ? ¿De cuál música escuchas ? ¿Qué comes alla ?”

Throughout the course of these conversations, I could tell they expected me to be completely assimilated into the “American ways.” They were impressed that I was fluent in español. They were taken aback that I eat huevos con chorizo, frijoles, chiles rellenos, y tamales and not pizza and cheeseburgers all the time. Overall, they were happy that I liked Mexico just as much as I liked the United States; my lack of assimilation helped me connect with mi sangre and helped me gain more self-identity.

Seria. If I had to choose one word to describe mi Tita…it would be seria. She was often serious, but the few times I made her crack a smile make the memories I have of her warm. I felt an actual connection with her—for the first time—when my she, my sister, and I I sat down in our room and spoke for hours. Tita showed us pictures of my Tito (who unfortunately passed away in 2001) and spoke so suave and apasionadamente about him. She spoke about her past and she spoke about all her struggles. She even mentioned—with a little brillo in her eyes— how blessed she was for living so many years. It was at the moment where my thirst for something real was nearly satisfied.

Mis padres always taught me to be proud of who I was; I’m glad they….. I’m glad that I had la oportunidad to reconnect with my sangre. I’m glad that I haven’t and won’t assimilate. Con mi piel morena, mi cultura, and with my head held high, I will achieve great things.

 

One Comment

  • Mr.Z commented on March 17, 2017 Reply

    Thank you for this column. It’s wonderful. Keep representing our culture!

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