Sunday, February 13, 2022

Here to Stay

Hello everyone, I'm here to vent. Straight up, I need to let this out because I am so angry and sad and frustrated right now. This matter just so happens to do with being Mexican American like some of you are and is probably a situation that you have or will be in at some point.

Wednesday I went with a classmate/friend from school, we’ve chatted and been friends since we first got into the program together. We were going to meet up with her best friend who is also in the same program and so I could pick up some books I needed from the school. While waiting on the best friend, another girl we knew from our first semester decided to join us.

Getting to the point of my current distress, throughout the day of us hanging out, there were a few comments from the other girls (not my friend) that made me uncomfortable, but I got over the bumps and left it be, since it had been so long since I had been out like that.

The true issue started when, while leaving the school for the last time that day, the topic of discussion came to me being american and my heavy accent. I was asked to say “ferrocarril”, which is supposed to be hard due to having to roll the Rs. I said it just fine. I was continuously called gringa, which I absolutely hate. After having been asked how long i was in the US and responding 11 years I was essentially told that they would stop calling me gringa when i was here in Mexico for 11 years. I've only been here for 8.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with the word gringa. It typically means a white person from the US. It has evolved into meaning anyone from the US, I've seen black americans here in Mexico being referred to as gringos. My problem with myself being called gringa is that I am Mexican.

I am Mexican and I am proud of it. At this point in my life I have made the choice to make this my home, to put roots down. I'm not leaving unless I have to. These girls pretty much ignored me when I told them I am Mexican, they wouldn't listen. I am so frustrated about this because I have fought to stay here. I fought an internal battle with myself when I was younger, one where I nearly gave in and went back to the US. It shouldn't matter if I haven't been here longer than I lived in the US, because I made the decision to make Mexico my home. So to have somebody say that I have to be here the same amount of time that I was in the US so they'll stop calling me gringa, so they'll stop calling me a term that is associated with being American and fully disregard the fact that I am Mexican, it hurts. It makes me question whether other people see me as Mexican or not, or how long will it be until it's not questioned anymore.

I know some of you understand this, feeling like you can’t belong on either side of the border. Getting judged no matter what for the other part of your identity.

When I was telling my parents about this, my mom said she was surprised I didn't walk away and leave, but it was either figure out how to get home by myself or deal with it and stick with my friend that was supposed to help me get back. So I stayed. They told me that if these girls were going to act like this towards me, then I should be mean and rude back. The thing is, I just can't be mean to people on purpose. What makes me any different than them if I stoop to their level?

If this happens again, maybe I will walk away. Show them that it's not okay and that I'm not going to let them talk like that about me. I wasn't prepared for this, I thought that being older, more mature, people wouldn't be like this. I didn't expect to be dealing with the same problems I did in elementary and middle school while being in University.

So yeah, I cried about it after. For some it might not be a big deal, but I'm not one to let go of things that question who I am easily. But things will be okay. Things will get better eventually. Next time I see either of them, maybe ill say something about it, maybe I won't. Either way, I needed to let this out. If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking around.

Stay safe, wear your mask. It's okay to not be okay, I wasn't and now I feel a bit better. <3