My Identity Mantra

I am not a remedial student.
I’ve got this.
I can write and articulate just as well as privileged peers.
I am not that other person.
I have agency.
I can create spaces of agency.
I know when I am living in a figured world that oppresses me.
I know how to mediate and negotiate oppressive spaces into agentive ones.
I can identify and counter discursive practices that position me as weak, dumb, quiet or submissive.
I have tools that will help me construct the identity I need to achieve my academic goals.
I am not that other(ed) person.
I am who I say I am.

A window to my past…

A few weekends ago my abuelita was in town. I hadn’t seen her in a long while because I have been overwhelmed with my studies and, quite frankly, it’s difficult to travel with my one year old daughter.

We spent the day together. We spent the day cooking, talking, and enjoying each others company…..well, actually, me regañó to the max degree! She scolded me, she nagged me about how undomesticated I am and how little I value the extended family I have in my life, and then she broke out into tears….se le salieron las lagrimas ;(

She reminded me that she grew up with no one. Literally. She was an orphan in Jalisco, Mexico about 60+ years ago. Her older sister went to look for her when she old enough and they lived together for many years. My abuelita reminded me that she had to teach herself everything she knows about life, which included what I lacked, cooking skills to start.

As I was washing dishes she reminded me that, though, I am too busy pursuing a doctoral degree, and she only reached a second grade education, that she is much more educated.

Let me pause…..

I know it seems that I am portraying my abuelita in a negative light, but what I am actually trying to show is a window to my past. Our day together was pleasant. The stories she shared with me and the thoughts about how I am living my life came out of concern and are rooted in the pain she has felt in hers. She was trying to pass down some consejos to me and that is something I can appreciate. The whole day I felt like she was trying to share as much as possible with me about what life has taught her, while at the same time, I know that part of her rambling is due to old age, but still. The woman had something to say.

This post is a perfect example as to why I want my bebita to learn Spanish. Many times when I try to share something, the words that most poignantly describe the thought, story, or sentiment of what I am trying to say are in Spanish.

That particular afternoon, with my Abuelita Cata, could not have been lived had I not known Spanish.

The Bilingual Connection in Texas(Tejas)

The other day I was speaking in Spanish, like I always do with my daughter, and in English, like I always do with my sister. Somewhere between talking to my sister about her studying for the GRE while at the same time chasing my baby girl around the room, I ended up blurting out to my sister, “Toma your pencil.” After I had grabbed it from my 17 month old as she attempted to put it in her mouth, which is nothing out of the ordinary. This is how she explores her world. Apparently, this is how my bilingual world connects, sometimes. They meet in the middle of a sentence. It should really be no surprise that so many people in Texas code-switch, blend Spanish and English, sometimes making a new word using the 2 languages.

This is the bilingual connection. This is Texas!

Identities aren’t static.

My mother is Mexican.
Her mother is Mexican.
Her father was Mexican.
My father was Mexican.
His father was Mexican.
His mother is Mexican.
My bisabuelos on both sides were Mexican.
Their parents were, as far as I know, Mexican.
Mexico is a five hour drive from where I live.
I grew up eating Mexican food.
I grew up hearing and speaking Mexican Spanish.
And even though it all happened on the other side of the border….I still very much identify with being Mexican no matter how you may choose to categorize me!
I am Mexican.
I am American.
I am Chicana.
I am Latina.
Sometimes I am Hispanic.
I am also pocha.
I am mexicana and proud.
These are some of the ways I self-identify.
Identities aren’t static.
They ebb and flow depending on where I stand and to whom I am speaking with.
So please, don’t give me a box to check. It’s not that simple.

Where is the controversy in Franglais, Singlish, or Spanglish?

Where is it? Why does it exist? How can the problem be solved? Is there a problem? The answers to all of these questions really just depends on who you are speaking to and, in my opinion, where they stand.

I will just be frank about my perspective. There are economic, political, and social implications when discussing, in both the positive and negative light, how terms, such as Spanglish, are addressed in regard to people. At least as the term(s) continue to evolve from having a negative connotation to a positive one.

The above is a post I started seven months, but never finished. I remember having just watched a debate between academics about the use of Spanglish. I was inspired. I was many things…angry, curious, intrigued, and again, inspired. I continue to be all of those the further I explore how people use language in everyday speech. For those of you, who actually read my blog, I have to admit that I have neglected to spend more time exploring these issues about language in my life, and those of others on my blog. I have been swamped by all of the demands my doctoral program requires of me, along with mommy-hood, and a part-time job.

So, for now, I turn the question to the readers, or those who happen to run into this blog: where is the controversy in Franglais, Singlish, or Spanglish?