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.