I’m Mexican and Irish. But what you see is entirely up to you! I have yet to find anyone who believes I have Irish blood in me, although they can sometimes tell I am mixed. I have olive skin, black hair and dark brown eyes. I do have freckles! But surprisingly I get those from my dad who is Mexican.
From a very young age I can remember my mom lightening my hair. She kept me out of the sun and ran off all my little Hispanic friends. I”m not saying she gave me a complex. Okay she did. I’m not here to bash my mom. But she kind of deserves it. My dad was no better. Don’t tell anyone you’re Mexican. You’ll get treated differently. Besides you’re not Mexican, you’re American. So while everyone else was celebrating their culture, I was keeping mine on my face. I couldn’t identify with anything. I wasn’t allowed to find beauty in being Mexican. Not only did I feel left out, but I also started to feel bad about myself. I started to think I was ugly and undesirable. In high school, it really took its toll on me. No one ever told me I was pretty. My mom was always telling me I should bleach my hair and that colored contacts wouldn’t hurt me–I have such a pale face sometimes. This hurt me. It still does. But the difference is now I don’t see anything wrong with the way I look. My mom wanted me so much to relate to her, but I just couldn’t. She always looked the “right way” to me. Stone blue eyes, red hair, milky skin. I saw her getting praised for being beautiful, and for so many years I felt like that was the only beautiful in the world.
I got rejected by guys, they told me ridiculous things like their parents would kill them if they brought home a Mexican girl. Oh, but I’m not Mexican, I’m American so that shouldn’t have been a problem. I remember being in art class in 8th grade, and I dropped my picture I painted. My art teacher asked what was wrong with me. I was confused by the question. She said, “What, you don’t speak English?” I was the only Hispanic student in that class. But why would she ask me that? I’m not Mexican. Just a month ago, I was dumping all the change I had at the bottom of my purse into one of those coin star machines. I got my receipt and took it to the service desk. Not only did the lady give me ten dollars when the paper said twenty, but she also turned around to tell a guy that it didn’t matter because I didn’t know English. REALLY?? Are you kidding me? I told her not only do I speak English, but I can count too and I want my ten dollars. She threw my money on the counter and told me in a smart ass tone, “Have a great day!”
At the beginning of my relationship with my husband, I made it really hard for him. I couldn’t see what he wanted with me. Like I wasn’t pretty enough for him. I was the first Latina he ever dated. I figured, “Why wouldn’t he leave me for a white girl?” My first husband did. He walked out on me and my daughter in the hospital the night I had her. He said that her hair was so black. Her skin olive. Oh, he believed it was his child. His family just kept telling him it wouldn’t work, and mixed kids have more problems than kids who are not mixed. Maybe that’s true. He had found someone else. Someone his family approved more of. It was just an excuse to leave, in my opinion. He barely ever comes around to see his daughter.
So I learned what it was like to be a Mexican girl. I’m proud to be both Mexican and Irish. I’m disappointed in my parents for not teaching me things I had to learn the hard way. But I did learn a lot. I can have lucky charms for breakfast, and tacos for lunch. I can put my four-leaf clovers on my Dia De Los Muertos altar. I can speak Gaelic and Spanish. My temper is horrible! I’m not beyond shaking someone! I’m just kidding. Or am I?