Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Todo lo que me queda

20 years ago I was in the "front yard" of my "house," helping my mom take out the grocery bags from her black Jeep. Mom was blasting the radio-- a lifelong habit of hers-- and that's when I heard the news of my childhood role model, not just dying, but getting murdered.
No more Selena.
I remember I was bent over the door, reaching for a grocery bag, hearing the news, then just staying there, frozen-- my upper body in the Jeep, my legs limp and hanging out. A limp little 10 year old, body half-hanging out of a Jeep, whose face was surrounded by plastic, brown "Lucky's" grocery shopping bags. That was me.
I didn't cry, I did my typical thing where I'm so shocked by bad news, I just repeat what I heard... but I lack the ability to emote anything... just... I just repeat what I've been told. It isn't until hours later that I react with rage or tears... or my (ridiculously histrionic but) uncontrollable fainting spells.

I hate stereotypes for the most part, and especially perpetuating them... but this is one of which I am unapologetically guilty.
I love Selena.
I loved Selena when she was alive, and I suffered when she died.
I tried to emulate her style, I listened to her music on loop... I annoyed the fucking shit out of my entire family with my fandom.

I loved her because she was hilarious. She was kind. She was talented. She was daring. She did NOT look like anyone else. She was curvaceous and was not ashamed of it... she rocked that shit. Her smile lit up any room, and warmed any cold heart. She was a Mexican-American girl. She was someone I could aspire to be... because, well, she was someone more similar to my background than any other celebrity of the time.

Of my family, I'm the one who looks the least like anyone else. As a kid, I'd look at my features and wonder where the fuck they came from. My siblings would always be told shit like "Oh my god! D looks identical to her great grandmother! That porcelain skin! The dimples! Those huge eyes! Gorgeous!" or "Rafa's just as handsome as his *male relative of some sort*" whenever a person in Hometown would bump into us after not seeing us for a while. What would I get? "Oh... look at you!" Just that. Nothing more.
Hometowners value light skin, light eyes, light hair color, fine noses... anything European... like, Eastern European. My type of Mexicans are the taller, blonder Mexicans, since my part of Mexico was settled by blonder Europeans than other parts (oh boy, the complicated nature of this conversation... but I'm sure my genetic results give you some sort of idea:

... since apparently I'm such an exotic mess). They're not particularly keen on the darker folks/features... and they don't care to be polite about it, either.
I was a tall, dark-skinned, super-dark eyed, brown-haired, flat-nosed (the bridge of my nose didn't become prominent until some time in high school), thick-lipped chubby girl (well, the chub didn't win until 3rd grade. Prior to that, I was a lanky tall kid)... Hometowners had no qualms about letting me know how ugly that shit was.

Then here comes Selena... and she celebrates that shit... OTHERS celebrate with her.
I felt normal. I had hope that hey, when I grow up, I can be just as pretty as this wonderful, talented chick. Thick lips are pretty, thick thighs are fine, and morenas are beautiful.
AnoMALIE, you will be ok.

And then she gets killed... by her "friend."
Yeah... tis life.

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