By LAURA SANCHEZ, Staff Writer
I attended the Cultural Expo on campus last week, and while the event was fabulous (food, excitement about diversity and inclusion, and dancing? Yes, please!), I felt a bit lost in the sea of multiculturalism. I was slightly envious that so many people could readily associate themselves with a culture and the respective customs and traditions that arise with it.
They’re out and proud with love for their ethnic group or culture, or whichever group in particular they choose to identify with. Me?Not quite.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my roots and where I came from. I’m just never exactly sure how to link my roots to my cultural upbringing. The fact that I have two passports does not necessarily mean that I have two countries or cultures to answer to. Sometimes I’m Mexican. Sometimes I’m American. Sometimes I’m a bit of both, and sometimes, a lot of neither. I can be called Mexican-American, a term that sort of declares that I am fifty percent Mexican, fifty percent American, but not necessarily one hundred percent person.
I say that I’m Mexican with pride, and I tend to associate myself with the culture itself
as much as possible. I was born and raised in Mexico for most of my life. I have Mexican relatives and friends and a penchant for the amazing foods and music and customs. But sometimes, among my Mexican compatriots and in the country itself, I feel like American more than anything, in my ideals, actions, and words. I was influenced by American thoughts and customs by my frequent visits to the States throughout my whole life.
The American in me sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of Mexico, and of course, the complete opposite happens here in the States. I associate more with my Mexican side when sometimes I don’t understand Mexican traditionalism, or agree with certain stigmas and ideals. But here in the States, I’m don’t understand what it means to be necessarily American, or understand the Mexican-American culture. I have no knowledge about what it is to grow up in a minority class in the ‘land of the free’. Mexican-Americans in this country have unique experiences that I cannot even claim to understand, because I didn’t live through them.
It’s a weird situation to be in; I feel like I have no concrete place or culture to gravitate to. Sometimes I feel like a tourist in both countries, homesick for a cultural abode that doesn’t necessarily exist. Or maybe it does exist. Maybe all it takes is for me to accept that I am in a mesh of cultures, that I’m weaved into a quilt of multiculturalism. I have complicated stitches and mismatched patches, and thread spun into different directions.But at least I know that it’s definitely not boring: it’s colorful and intricate and rich, and most importantly, my home.