I would love to share this. I had a good friend tell me today she reads my lil’ bloggy, and she laughed at my guilt over not posting (she blogged for a couple of years), but that I should NOT lose my vision or my honesty in posts. She’s right. I also realized that my commitment comes from how it feels to be able to WRITE THINGS OUT. I should probably be seeing a counselor. But, blogging works for me and keeps me happy. Entertained. Important. I am a History Teacher by training, and as a result I know there is something to writing it down and leaving it behind. And so, what I really want to do is share a two part non-fiction post with you. About me. And who I am, a little. Below, PART ONE…
A swirl girl was born over 32 years ago to a Latino, via a Polish woman. That girl was so yellow, the medical field figured she must have been jaundice (although she wasn’t) because she didn’t match the pink tinted skin of her mama. She was a mid-70′s swirl girl, a child, the product of a disco queen and her dancing king.
All MAY have gone well, had this swirl girl’s caramel AND vanilla stuck around…but, papa was a rollin’ stone…and hence, a swirl girl was raised, the product of her vanilla environment…
In early childhood, this swirl girl reminisces over being teased and called a “monkey,” not knowing quite why the neighbors might do that… She remembers, not so fondly, feeling out of place and not being sure as to why… She awkwardly recounts times when strangers asked her mother who she was babysitting and when friends asked her if she had been adopted. Quite literally, this swirl girl was the “black sheep” of her family…
For the majority of the first 17 years of her life, that swirl girl could not pinpoint what was wrong, why she was right to feel out of place, what could help make her feel whole… She had NO IDEA she was different. To tell the truth, she had NO IDEA that she WASN’T white…
Okay, so despite being that swirl baby myself, as I have previously explained, I REALLY didn’t know that I was (I was raised white bread) and I definitely did not understand the ramifications of being swirly. These are things that I would not learn until I was well into college, and I didn’t begin college until I was 17. So, I went through stages that sounded something like this:
1. Confident and secure
2. Confused and unsure
3. Down-trodden and depressed
4. Weary but wishful
5. Confident and secure
Yup. It was a long road. At the beginning of that road I was a white girl. And at the end I was a swirl girl. I mean, let’s face it…learning (text-book learning) about my Chilena heritage was NOT by any means going to make me Chilena through and through. I did not grow up with my Chileno padre, eating pollo arvejado (though he taught me to cook this later in life…another blog story…) or empanadas stuffed with pino (anotherthing I’ve since learned to make, from him…). I ate pierogies and golabkis, and paczkis on fat tuesday.
But by the end of my road, I knew things…I knew about colonialism in the Americas. I knew about the indigenous peoples of the Americas. I knew about racism. And I knew I liked black boys.
Weird? I think not…follow along…
1. I was not a white girl to white boys, no matter how white my insides are (culturally).
2. I was not a latina to latinos, no matter how brown my outside is (I don’s speak spanish fluently).
3. I am brown enough to be swirly, ethnic (read “exotic”) looking enough to be mixed, white enough on the inside and dark enough on the outside to be considered “bougie.”
It just made sense. I spent most of my high school years pining over no love interests because no white boys would bring me home to mom. I wasn’t their taste. I don’t resemble their mothers and their sisters. When I got to college….suddenly boys were INTO me! ME!!! And they were mostly the black boys. No problem. My first crush in high school when away at a summer program at IMSA was a black boy. My mom told me it could never work (insert racism here?). So I dropped it. But in college…no MOM, no PROB!
I dated all kinds of guys. Don’t get me wrong. Mexicano, Boliviano, Irish, European mutt, Half Japanese-half German… but I ended up marrying and having my first two children with a light-skinned black man.
When I married, my mom asked me if I really wanted to do that. I was confused…do what? What did she mean? She meant, put myself directly in the path of racism. Yes. I was sure. I thought I was in love. She thought I could pass for the rest of my life, if I wanted. Marry a white boy, and I could possibly have pink skinned, fair haired, blue/green/hazel eyed children…
I was pregnant within months of that marriage. When I was pregnant, my mom told me there was no going back. I would now have a black child and no white man would want to ever raise a black child with me (WTF? I was already divorced and moving “up” in my mom’s eyes, I think…).
Then I had a second child. Both were boys (ouch, right, Mom? Two black boys???). Eventually, their dad and I separated and I wasn’t sure what I would encounter next…