By Kathy Rivera
This piece takes place in my own history, living in a world where someone my shade of color grows up Hispanic.
I am a strange combination: From my Spanish-speaking mother’s attitude, and my abandoned father’s anger. I am a strange combination. I am fifty percent Nicaraguense and fifty percent Puerto Rican. Not many people hear about my kind of mix. I am a strange combination. I can still hear the wind of my mom’s chancleta flying across the room attempting to hit me or my sister to “give us something to cry about!” The waves of her curly Central American hair gave away her lioness. When she tells two out of her three daughters stories about her country, she speaks Spanish. The Spanish that flowed ever so smoothly out of her mouth. We knew she was back home reliving her happiest moments. Looking at the welkin here and looking at the welkin over in the Caribbean, I see myself trying to outlive my grandmother’s life. From teaching me my colors on a blanket with different flowers, to her gossiping to me in Spanish about her old children. It is not flawed to outlive. It is flawed to not try. These two women are important in my life, seeing that everyone else doesn’t count. There are no grandfathers, godparents, or third cousins you can think of that I already have thought of. Out of being from a Hispanic family household, you realize you grow up similarly to other non-Hispanic families. I do not have much of a heritage to uphold, however living with anxiety and instability was the only thing I was sure about up until now. I had to constantly tell my brain as well as my heart that happiness is only a mood and not a destination. Now, being from taboo and controversy, I’ve learned how to walk away with compassion instead of compulsion.
Kathy Rivera is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in Bronx, NY.