I am not a Latina. This was something I wrote to the goddess that writes this blog and she wrote back a short email that said, “Yeah, I figured that out 13 years ago!” The fact is, I didn’t even think about that when I volunteered to write here on this blog. I think that is part of who I am. I met one of my BFF’s online through mama blogging. I knew what her name was, I figured she had another ethnicity than my own....but I didn’t even think about it...in fact, I was just pissed I couldn’t spell her last name. (At times I still can’t!) She ended up being an integral part of my life. So when she posted on her blog that she was running this summertime blog series, I volunteered....forgetting that one of the main components was that I share that Latina”ness”. I don’t...but hopefully you’ll read anyway.
I grew up in rural Maine. There wasn’t a lot of choices at the small school I went to for friends. I was the baby of the family to an older set of parents (most of my friends’ grandparents were friends with my parents.) I cried a lot. I lied a lot to get friends. By the time I got to middle school, I had moved up in the food chain to the bottom of the totem pole in the popular girls group. Popularity was built mostly around sports, clothing style and skinniness. I did not play a sport at the time, I wore what my parents let me wear (which most of the time was way out of date) and I was chubby. That put me at the bottom. My middle school years were scarring to say the least. I was teased yet “included” and sometimes, if I was lucky, I was invited over for parties or sleepovers.
As I entered high school, I got involved in sports. I became a 3 sport athlete with field hockey being my strongest one. I lost some weight. I gained some knowledge of style. I moved up in the rankings. Most of my friends liked me because I was the funny one. I was crass, I didn’t care if I offended anyone. I liked hanging with the guys mostly and because I wasn’t thought to be attractive they welcomed me into their fold, mostly for intel on the hot girls that I happened to be friends with. I continued through my high school career trying to prove myself to my friends. If I knew then what I knew now, I wouldn’t have bothered.
College came and went. I barely kept friends, mostly because I was obsessed with men and left a path of broken hearts (mostly mine) and had a slutty reputation. It's weird when I think about it now. But I hated women. I hated the way I always felt as if I was in competition with them and that I always seemed to LOSE that competition.
I got married, I had a child. I started blogging. I started to be introduced to people who didn’t really care about my past but who thought I had something to give to the future. My closest friends live the furthest away. I was separated by miles but felt closer to them than I ever had any of my younger life friends. It made me break down that wall that I had built up between myself and other women. I was encouraged by these new friends to express myself. I was never questioned when it came to my passion or even my own lack of feminism. I know what feminism means....I believe in equal opportunity for all....but I’ve never truly been labeled a feminist. The last time I went to see my friend Roni, I told her that I stood for all that she fought against. I was born white, I was the first to joke about women in my stand up routine, I wasn’t well-read in any sort of feminist theory, and I wasn’t always politically correct.... I said that to her and maybe a day later, she approached me about it. She said that the reason I meant so much to her was because I was ALL the things I was. That I wasn’t a yes person all the time. That I brought about ideas from the other side. She said she appreciated me because of this. She said we remained BFF’s because of this.
Anais Nin once wrote in her diary in the early 30’s that “Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” I believe this to be true. My world could have been stunted by growing up in a rural town where shallowness was bred by more shallowness. Instead, I have developed friendships that will laugh forever because it is a mutual respect, a “new world” that we both bring to each other.
Don't let this post fool you, folks. She says she's crass, but I think you can see that it's just a show by one of the sweestest people I know. And I thought that before this lovely post. ~ veronica