My mom makes her famous Mexican dish, pozole, whenever she wants to sit me down and talk about something serious.
The first time she started doing that with me was in the 2nd grade; she told me we were moving to Georgia. There’s a saying in my hometown in Laredo, Texas, “nadie sale de este lugar, así que vete mientras puedas”, which translates into “no one ever leaves this place, so get out while you can”, but no one ever follows that advice because we’re afraid of change. My whole family was anxious; they kept on telling her not to move. Everyone fears the unknown, but my mom would always rise to the challenge.
When I first entered Georgia, I thought I was in New York -- so new and bright. Sunshine rays pouring down the towering trees encasing around us greeting hello as we drove by. I still remember the air so dense and humid, but when the beautiful breeze blew from the ocean’s tides, I felt the drift revitalize my skin as my body responded with the quick appearance of goosebumps. I was so excited to start my life in Georgia…until I had to register into my new elementary school.
Seven-year-old me was afraid of being discriminated against because I knew I was different; that stuck with me all throughout high school. I tried mimicking friends of mine, forcing myself to fit in with the popular kids just to prove myself. I was going through a complete identity crisis. Everyone was always putting me into stereotypes labelling me as “that Mexican girl” without even knowing where I came from -- merely based off assumptions. Nothing else seemed to matter...