I Thought You Knew

You knew, right? I mean, before the BlogHer Top Ten post.

I don't really hide it. In fact, I mention it quite often.

So, I was really surprised that so many people DIDN'T know I was Mexican when I spoke up at the Latinas in Social Media session at BlogHer. In fact, the response was almost hilarious. I always think my facial features, skin color, and spicy attitude give it away, but not even my fellow Latinas knew for sure.

I've dealt with not looking or being "Mexican enough" all my life. My hair is lighter and straighter than the norm. I have blue eyes. I have a ton of kids, but people used to just say that's because I was Catholic (which I'm not anymore), but they never said it about me being Mexican. Odd.

I do know how to dance and I love wearing sexy dresses, but that can be any woman. Still, if you see me on the dance shaking my very Latina bottom... I mean, come on... you have to know! Is it because I don't spend all day in the kitchen? Or do tequila shots? Or speak Spanglish? It's the name, huh??

Well, surprise... I'm Mexican.

Latinas are known for being bold and confident. I hope I come off as such most of the time, but believe it or not, I was afraid to speak up at the Latinas in Social Media session at BlogHer. I was shaking as I stood up to ask my question. SHAKING! Funny, since I practically bribed Laura to hand over the mic. Those near me heard me say, "I'll give you a dollar!" It made her laugh and stop. Then I pleaded with her (as we were running out of time)...

"This is really important."

I don't remember my words exactly. I was sort of stumbling for the right way to say what I needed to say. It was basically this, "I almost didn't come here because I don't feel like I belong. Although I am one of you, I don't always share the same political ideals and I'm afraid to jump into the conversation and know for sure that I don't belong."

I choked up a bit, sharing with them that I have been called Pocha (pejorative meaning Americanized Mexican) and Coconut (brown on the outside, white on the inside) and have been teased by my family for botching some Spanish. It was hard to get out, but I needed to share, surrounded by Latinas. Although I was prepared for any response, I wanted so bad to hear that they understood. That I was one of them.

And that's exactly what they told me.

Later, through hugs, some tears, and amazing conversations out in the halls, we shared, how we all looked different in so many beautiful ways... how all of our upbringings shaped our various perspectives on the world... how we expressed ourselves... and how, with all those differences, we still understood each other. Because we have that one awesome thing in common.

We are all Latinas.


Here's a great wrap-up post by ModernMami: Latinas at Blogher 2010

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