This feeling started when I was a young; a feeling of being stuck between worlds. My mother’s family was from Alabama and my father’s family was from Mexico. They came from two very different cultures and upbringings.
My paternal grandfather brought over his family from Mexico for a better life during the Mexican Revolution. My father was born in Austin Texas, raised to assimilate and fit in. I eventually was both in Austin texas too. My mother’s family was born and raised in Alabama and was primed with limited beliefs which led to some biases. My mother was born there as well but soon left without those biases to move to Austin where she then met and married my father.
In early childhood I was confused about my race and ethnicity. I had very tan skin, with a last name that would allow one to think I spoke Spanish. I went through multiple courses of learning Spanish through school, but was raised to speak English, and felt like I needed to hide any kind of accent I could develop.
I wanted to fit with all of my friends and knew that would make me stand out. There were multiple encounters of confusion on if I should identify with my “Caucasian roots” or “Mexican roots” and I continue on that journey today.
I have also always been the youngest of my peers through work as I was promoted to different positions. Even though I had the skills needed to complete the job, I felt as though I needed to prove myself. This was not only because I was young, but because I am female as well. I learned quickly to develop relationships to earn respect from those who may have had a perception or bias of me. I continue on that journey today.
As I grow and mature, that journey I continue on, of who I truly am and want to be, gets a little bit easier. I’ve stopped trying to fit in a box to make others feel comfortable. I can belong to more than one group. I am learning that I should appreciate all aspects of my age, race, ethnicity, and gender. All those things that make me….me, is what’s needed in this world today.