Who I am
Am I my long Spanish name?
Or am I the tongues of those who cannot pronounce it?
[Can't I just call you Maria?]
Am I my full, curvaceous, petite body frame?
Or I am those who only scrutinize my shape, paying more attention to what’s below my shoulders than to what’s above?
[Oh she’s got that Barbie booty]
Am I my first-generation college education?
Or I am the cracked, dirt-stained hands, scorched necks, sweat-laden bodies of my people?
[*ha* Of course you got in, you’re Hispanic]
Am I my family of four?
Or am I those who share my blood but not the title of family?
[Do not call that man your uncle]
Am I my Latina, Honduran, Salvadoran, American culture?
Or am I a compilation of passed-down memories, second-rate language and broken experiences?
[How can YOU be considered Salvadoran if you’ve only spent one day there?]
Am I the 1,400 miles between us?
Or am I the highways, landscapes, hills, dirt roads, rain and butterflies on the way there?
[You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into to]
Am I my citizenship?
Or am I the border to freedom, to a better [un]documented life?
[Illegals don’t have a place here]
Am I my strong, bold, soulful, passionate character?
Or am I the constant, drowned-out repetitions of what is wrong with me?
[She needs to fix that face and that attitude]
Am I my feminism and femininity?
Or am I a production featured in the background, in the shadow of man, played by an inanimate puppet with a hushed voice?
[You’re the only one in the world who has those feminist views]
Am I my bilingualism?
Or am I the accent that sounds too white, that sounds too Hispanic, the impossible perfection of two languages?
[I’m going to have to talk sophisticated around you]
Am I my professionalism?
Or I am the long tireless hours in the fire-breathing kitchen, the chlorine-stained and grime-covered cleaning lady’s outfit?
[When they ask you tell them your mother is self-employed]
Am I my suffering?
Or am I my spirit of overcoming?
[We can’t be a family unless there’s peace]
Am I my faith and beliefs?
Or the questioning, ridicule, and unwillingness to comprehend them?
[Oh… you’re one of them?]
Am I my womanhood?
Or I am the shame of periods and not being ladylike, of being told “You blank like a girl”?
[Remember that ladies don’t eat onions]
An open-ended question
A never-ending answer
Am I a concrete immutable noun?
A to-do list half-full, half-empty of adjectives?
Am I definable?