El Guapo in DC

I am El Guapo. The most Guapo man in all of DC. Mucho Amor

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stone Quirks

I threw a rock into the stream and watched the quick disruption that I caused. It isn’t often that I take a break from life when I actually go out of my way to sit by a stream exposing my thoughts to the nothingness it needs.

“You’re too American.”

It was a comment said to me this Friday that seemed to be bothering me more than I had originally let on. It was a comment that I would have given anything to hear when I was growing up, but now, bueno, it bothers me. Why? I am not sure.

The country that gave mi familia a better life didn’t always make me feel at home. Mi madre’s accent, the different food smells in my house and, of course, the color of my skin. Our skin. We weren’t white. We weren’t black. We were brown. We were the ones cleaning tables, cooking food, washing clothes, we were the dirty ones. There was a time when I was ashamed of my roots.

I wore the Nike shoes, I listened to shitty music and stopped speaking my Spanish. I wanted so much to be American with the American walk and the American talk, but, in the end, I realized that I was impossible to be like my blonde hair blue eyed friends. I was El Guapo, Guatemalan with a budding mustache.

When I became comfortable with myself I also became a happier person, which is what you see today.

“You think like an American.”

When for years a comment like that would have made me smile the smile of all smiles, today, today it bothered me. I side armed a perfect stone across the stream and watched it skip four times.

Then, as I relived that stone dashing across the water, I smiled. I am Guatemalan, but wait, I am what I call a Guatemalan-American. I have the skin, mustache and dancing that don’t lie, but it seems that I have what some of my recent-to-the-US Latino friends feel to be very American quirks.

But, during this very American-movie-like-throwing-stones-side-armed-into-a-stream moment, I smiled. I’m ok with that.

Because at the end of the day, it is all my quirks that makes me, me.

Mucho Amor,

El Guapo


At 9:51 PM, Anonymous restaurant gal said...

You're just you, stones and quirks and all. How wonderful. --The Gal

At 12:14 AM, Blogger valiantqueen said...

I would love to meet you! You're writing is so ... I can't even describe it, but I always find myself checking to see what else you have to express. I have such an ever-changing picture in my mind of El Guapo and his flourishing moustache. Thank you for your blog.
Canadian Queen

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Pickled Olives said...

How wonderful. I think no matter the background we all strive to fit in. When we realize we are all individuals, it's a happier day. Good for you for embracing your true self.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger ADW said...

What is an American? I think what makes us "Americans" is our diverseness.

I was born in Espana, but I am Spanish by nationality, not ethnicity. I am an American citizen with roots back almost 300 years, but I have cousins from Mexico City. I am very pale right now, but I think that is because all people fade in Ohio. My great grandfather was a member of the Choctaw nation but it would be difficult to tell looking at me what I really am - people always get it wrong.

So, swell with pride over your sexy mustache. Live the life that YOU deem fit for you. And most of all, you can never be too American, there is no such thing.

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Namaste said...

Besides, the mustache is just so freaking gorgeous.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger green_canary said...

I consider myself to be a Crazy-American. My fellow Crazies can be found wide-eyed and twitchy everywhere you go. Most try to hide their Craziness, but I say LET IT SHOW! Embrace the Crazy, and you'll be a happier person for it. Vive el Loco!

At 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that's a common feeling, EG. I think what sometimes Latinos don't know is that there are white, blonde-haired, blue-eyed people trying to fit into your culture too. I walked in a little late to a movie showing + discussion of some films from Colombia and as soon as the discussion part started the woman leading the discussion said "I think there may be some people who came in late who don't speak Spanish?" Yes, as a question- a question to me of course as the only white person in the room.
My point is: Some white people also feel self-conscious about the color of their skin, eyes, hair, and just want to blend in, and just like some people assume you don't speak English, some people assume I don't speak Spanish- which is fine but I just want to be part of the group, just like I think a lot of immigrants to the U.S. want to feel "American."
I read your blog a lot and thanks because I learn a lot and like to hear about my city and I usually find it very funny and enjoyable though sometimes you make fun of white people pretty bad- and sometimes it hurts. I think similar comments going the other direction have hurt you- I just want to say that some white, U.S. born people feel the same way about Latino culture as Latinos do about "American" culture- we just don't want to be "different"

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Mary Witzl said...

Most of us really are just struggling to fit in -- even in our own countries.

I look like a mainstream American, but when I grew up people always used to ask me what country my parents were from. I don't know why this was, but we just didn't seem to fit in. When I go back to the States now, nobody believes that I am an American and that makes me feel a little strange. I don't belong anywhere, it seems. I've got ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, and ancestors who arrived in America before the Mayflower. For that matter, I've got ancestors who go right back to the very beginning, when the first Asians crossed the Bering Strait. And yet my fellow Americans say to me 'Were you really BORN here?'

No soy de aqui, no soy de alla..., I guess. And yet, you are right: it's our quirks that give us our identity. I'd rather be an individual than an obvious national of a particular country any day.

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Kim Ayres said...

El Guapo is El Guapo - what finer sentiment could you ask for amigo?

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Jo said...

I've felt that too, and I look white. Hell, most people think I look Russian instead of South American. I hate it that you can't tell be looking at me that I'm latina. It goes both ways I guess. But in the end you get used to it, and come to love that fact that you're unique.

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous girl and dog said...

It's something that affects a lot of us out there. Personally, I DELIGHT in knowing that I am the BEST of both worlds! Look at it in that way, and you'll never feel ashamed of anything again.

At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Amy said...

...And we wouldn't have you any other way, El guapo. :)

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Crankster said...

That is really beautiful, Guapo. Thank you.


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