Who am I?
Some people have said to me that I have Sofia Vergara’s accent and Kim Kardashian’s looks. I rather think I have fello Boricua Jlo’s look. As I’m Puertorrican, for my mother side and like Jlo I was also born in NYC.
That’s the extent of my knowledge to my roots as I never met my father nor anyone on his family side, have no idea if he was just a dark skin Puertorrican, an Indian, or Morrocan descent man. They stories varied so his name.
All I know is that I’m a beautiful mutt. And happy to be just me, regardless of my Ancestory or genes. Being an inteligent educated openminded woman is enough for me. (Or isn’t. Sometimes I yearn to know more & be more.)
Beside my so ambivalent character I have a constant smile on my face, except when I’m “randomly checked” at the airports and being shoved aside like a criminal by their TSA reps. But other than that I’m someone who is a magnet to others. And I still don’t know the reason for such an unexplainable reaction, except for my pretty good social skills. Being this “different” have many advantages. But also many disadvantages as well. You either fit in or you don’t. Is not as black and white as you’d think.
My personality fits in well, but sometimes my looks or my accent doesn’t quite work well into fitting in with certain people or groups. And I don’t want to have to try so hard to be accepted. Never had that issue in my schools in Puerto Rico. Why I have to face them now as an adult in the U.S. the place I was literally made. The place where I was born.
Now even when I visit Puerto Rico, I get asked at the airports, “What are you?” To which I’m inclined to reply, “Human of course!”, “I’m not an alient” (Pun intended). It is so frustrating that even in your own country one is a foreigner, a total stranger.
All because I may now sound or look a bit different. I get asked that a lot, if I’m from Puerto Rico or Dominican or Arab?! Others assume, rightfully so, that I’m probably Indian. Which they are not so far from the truth according to a dear old Auntie.
So the tell is, I’m part Puerto Rican & part Indian/ Moroccan (Meaning Indian or Black?) A question that remains unanswered, like the title of a old poem I once wrote in my childhood But why is his last name Spanish?)
Fake name. Just like himself!
That all my aunt would say about my biological father, over and over. So at a very early age I came to a conclusion all by myself. That that lump on a log good for nothing lier misogynistic abusive bastard was some kind of Indian/Arab/African man.
A buggy man who’s fake name was not allowed to be mentioned in my home, except for his nick name “the devil”. And I hoped one day to face that devil to tell him few word. One of them was “Thank you!”
(Thank you “Father” for leaving us. For running away from your woman and children. You were no good to us, so leaving us was the best thing you could have done to my late mother and to us. To your children. The ones who forgot existed. The one you lost like my late brother Rob. You were dead to us. For that I thank you! Cause to me, you will always be a ghost and nothing more!)
My present concern is not who he was, is more of “Who am I? ” I know it deep inside. I know that I am a smart gorgeous grown ass woman, who’ve build herself from the ashes, literally, like a Fénix. And I have this strong reassuring inner voice that assures me that I am ok. That I am myself and that’s enough.
I am. I think. I exist!
_Everything will be alright.
We are on the tip of the 20th Century and people still concern themselves over such trivial issues of multicultural relations and racial issues. It’s the area of Hate & Racism. And those problems are not as trivial as they should be. We’ve made them important! Our biased humanity made racial issues the center of the attention.
Now I’m under the spotlight because of that. Being Multiratial and Multicultural is my scarlet letter. My sin.
Someone greeted me the other day this way, “Hey Níger How you doing? Then, Do you work in this building?” (*mouth wide open, eyes about to burt out of its sockets. Twitch on my temples… WTF? almost spat my mouth. Zip it!)
There were two main odd things about it:
- He said “nigger” and he was a Caucasian looking male. A Security guard
I don’t look black. And you don’t go around calling people niger Nigga! He probably thought he was being friendly. But he fucking wasn’t it. That’s not nice, not professional.
I never expected a Security Guard, act like that. His plump tomatoe red face was smiling side to side. His eyes were glassy and glaring at me up and down. I gave him my perfect cowboy stare, hand on my waist as if I had a gun ready to start the challenge and battle him to death.
And he did the same. Locking eyes with me.
I simply said in a defensive almost masculine voice, “What?”
He laughed and began talking like a chatter box, repeating his question, this time around without using insulting N word. This time he did sounded friendlier. And showing me his rotten yellow teeth he complimented me on my shirt. I replied it was my first day at INS. He said you are on the wrong parking area. Imma letting you park there today. Tomorrow park on the second parking garage.
I was surprised to such an odd behavior thowards me. And I was more surprised that there was a freaking VIP garage for executives that I as a regular staff was not allowed into. Was it really a VIP parking garage or we were in some other dimmention where I was back in the sixties where women of color and latinos had to use a different kind of bathroom or entrance?
I took a very deep breath. Everything was fine.
I thanked him for the compliment on my shirt. I had chosen it well and was very proud of my pin stripe shirt and fake black pearls. With a fake smile I wished him a nice day, he politely did the same and left with a wide smile on his face. I still don’t know what the hell was so funny. But he certainly had a great time meeting me. Again, I have an irresistible charm.
I did felt like spatting back. “Btw Sr. I’m not Nigger! You don’t call people that. No matter If they are of colour or black. I have a name and that’s not it. I’m Eve, like Adam & Eve!” I didn’t I rolled my tinted windows up on my sports Beamer and drove away, almost almost scritching my tires. With Ricky Martin ft. Maluma on the radio.
When I was a kid in school I was the Newyorrican. I was called India Taína. And few times was confused for Peruvian. I liked being called India Taína. It was a compliment as Native Puertorrican women were very beautiful prefect women. I was proud to look just like them. But since I never met my dad nor his family, my anguish about me being Alf Indian, Native, or Black made me really really upset.
To this day I don’t know WHO AM I?!
My husband and some of his friends have somewhat confirmed the suspicions, that I’ve kept hidden inside of me for a long time. They think I may be part African American. And there is nothing wrong with being that regardless of some of my own family members that had this terrible wrong old idea that being of color or a darker skin isn’t the ideal or the “typical Spanish beauty standard”.
And to my family, I was the exotic creature. The little Indian. Try and think Pocahontas with a suntan, or a lighter version of Halley Berry. And What does that matter? I always asked them. No logic answer. It affected how I view them and how I viewd myself. Because I began to feel the outcast. Like I was somewhat different. Not the ugly duckling but the little Swan who belonged somewhere else.
People and the media lies. They tell you what matters is the inside, and how you feel about yourself. Your confidence. Not if you are skinny or fat. Black or White. But in reality not everything is black and white. There are gray areas too. I happened to be and feel like a gray empty area.
I wish I could find my true self, know the whole truth about my paternal family. But taking an online DNA test for those sites that tells you have such and such percentages of many races, mostly Eastern European, is not the solution for me. My mother is no longer in this world.
So I may die one day still questioning “Who am I?”
I can truly relate with the adopted and homeless children who have no idea of who they really are. A lot of these then have probably a particular way of defining themselves. And they are happy with that, with no issues or problemas about their racial background. But I’m not. Because I am an answer seeker. And I had enough. I had to speak up about. It’s something that I should’ve dealt with years ago. But recently the fact and fear that I may become sort of an “allien” in my own country, without fully knowing the truth about my existence and past is completely hunting me. Maybe one day I may find closure. But I’m not there yet.