My momma told to never be afraid of anything, but two things
El cucuy and sometimes her chancla.
I was raised in a ear pulling, frijole smelling, cumbia playing
Weekend type of household.
So I wasn’t long before I picked up the moves
And learned how to avoid my ears from being yanked
It wasn’t abuse, just tough love.
But when I realized I wasn’t like my ma or pa.
My attitude mixed with theirs.
My views a blurred image to them.
I was too outspoken for them
So when they learned that my tongue was sharp,
They decided to file it back down.
As I begin to lose myself in the shadow of them,
My voice became a weak echo in their minds.
It only took me a couple of months to hide my culture.
Buried it in the throats of those whose accents was too thick to cut.
Buried it in the hands of abuelas and tias whose hands
Were burned from flipping tortillas
Buried it in the soil that abuelos and tios dug and dug up to hide
The pain they were actually in from the never ending days.
But my culture was too powerful to hide.
So when I spoke a certain word, an accent would play out
Like matachines stomping the ground, making a rhythm that
made their bodies ring.
When my skin would transform, just like momma’s.
Rich and brown.
I knew to never push my culture down.
When music would play and my feet, legs, and hips started to move
With no help from me.
I knew burying my culture was a pot of mixed emotions and regret.
And although to some I still might be too American
Not Mexican enough.
I still wear my flag and pride on my back and no one can take that away from me.
- Naomy Hernandez-Meraz