Finding your way

Being bi-ethnic can be isolating


The United States of America: decorated with people from all countries. The country made to be a place of refuge, to be able to live freely without persecution. It’s known as a melting pot, cultures blending together and fusing. However, if that’s the case, why does being from two ethnicities feel so isolating?
My parents always made it known that I was both Mexican and American. It was never something that I felt ashamed of. I was always curious about my Mexican side. I mean, I was born and raised in the U.S. Meanwhile, Mexico is 1,742 miles away from Indiana.
From my younger years until the present, I still feel like I don’t fit in with either culture. Some days, I don’t feel “American enough,” while other days I only feel “Mexican enough” when there’s racist jokes fired towards me. Being bi-ethnic has led to a maze of identity struggles where I can’t seem to find my way.
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about this struggle is not being able to speak Spanish. I’ve always gotten teased for it, but if I had one wish, being fluent in Spanish would be it. Being aware that there’s a whole other side of family to connect to, yet, no way to speak to them from the heart. No way to pour emotions out from the heart to the mouth.
Growing up not bilingual was not a decision that I had a say in. And no, I don’t blame either of my parents for it. My father sacrificed enough to come here. It was a choice made to have his kids thrive and to protect them.
Exclusion is another issue that plagues my mind, as it feels like I am looking through a window of my cultures. I remember that I never really had Mexican friends. It was constant teasing, as if I could just change my genetics to their wishes. White American kids would subject me to racist jokes like, “Where’s your green card?” How was I supposed to find where I belong if no side wants me?
The whole issue feels as if I’m the last piece to a puzzle and no matter how many times it’s rotated, the piece doesn’t fit at all.
Ignoring my cultures doesn’t work either. I’ve tried. One way or another, small reminders of cultural influences pop up. Taunting that there is no running from it and that it should be embraced. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a bad thing. It can be taken as a sign that in this generation, embracing is the only solution.
People can never run from their cultures as it’s a part of their identities. Culture is what makes a person. It gives them their ideas, their mentality. Influences of cultures can be found in their homes, in their hearts or even in food. Cuisine makes me feel a tad bit closer to my culture, like the rice drink Horchata, which gives me warmth of Mexico.
I am done running and trying to avoid my cultures. It is never going to leave me, so why should I try to leave it? Sometimes it may hurt that I don’t get accepted as much as preferred.
Nonetheless, I know that I am still and always going to be both Mexican and American. My mom and dad raised me to always know that and to always be proud of both. I am proud to be who my parents brought into the world. I’m proud to be American. Estoy orgullosa de ser Mexicana.