Anything for Selenas

Orale! You are the bidi bidi bom bom for making your way to my blog page, or returning for more chismes! I knew you’d be hooked! Espero que everything is going well with all of you, as for me – I couldn’t be more orgullosa and emocionada about the connections I’m already making, the responses I get from mis chismes and for all the amor y apoyo that we give each other on this platform. Arriba mi gente!

Hoy, it has been a slow and steady kind of day. Rain rain go away <– for starters, y tambien just taking it easy en la casa with los chamacos. I love days like today (minus the weather) and even mas today, porque last night I could not sleep and was in dire need of a chill day. If you follow my IG @mama.poderosa you would have seen my first “unboxing” video shared on my story jajaja Like I’m some kind of Joutoober (youtuber) or algo. Pero enserio, this libro gives me VIDA. Asi que, let’s get into it! Tengo mis Doritos, vamonos!

Bueno, let’s start with this libro I ordered from IG @brownbadassbonita called Mariposa, written by Kim Guerra. En primero, opening it up gave me all the feels. I had been waiting on this book for a few weeks now, and it was finally here! En segundo, I opened it up to find a personalised dedication and autograph from Kim herself!! No pos guuuuaaaaauuu!!! I could have cried over just that. Jaja – Flipping through the pages, I found words that were overwhelmingly familiar, as if she had written and published my deepest secrets and feelings that I’ve grown up with to this day. Increible, I can’t even find enough words to describe the connection I have with this libro, and the author.

Guerra writes about being a xicanx (chicana, aka mexican/american) and the complex role that it entails. She has surpassed every one of my expectations and is a true guerrera. Su arte and writing are the most meaningful words I have yet to read, and I am not exaggerating when I say that it has touched mi alma. Muchas gracias, Kim.

La ultima vez that I got THIS excited about relating to someone and finding something out en el mundo that feels like it was made for me, fue cuando I watched Selena for la primera vez. THAT is how impactful this libro has been for me. Y si tu no sabes who Selena is (not Gomez, ay ay ayyy) we may have some issues here jajaja. Nah, pero enserio if you don’t know (for whatever awful reason), go google her: Selena Quintanilla. <– La Reina.

En 1992, Selena released her 3rd studio album: Entre a mi mundo. I was only 3 years old, asi que I would be lying to say this is what made her big in mi mundo. Digo, this was huge for her, pero para mi not really – at least not yet. Este album had songs like Como la Flor (one of her most popular canciones) y La carcacha. En 1994, Selena released Amor Prohibido. I was 5 ahora, so you better believe I knew all her canciones off by heart (including that ’93 album) and could do the washing machine better than mi mama. Jajaja Just kiding, mama, don’t get la chancla – es una broma! AY!

Amor Prohibido was my ISH. Digo, it was EVERYBODYS ISH. Los Mexicanos went off, los Americanos went off, Los Chicanos went off – everybody going off!! Y aun sigue haciendo asi. Nombre, with el Grammy win in ’94 – TODAS las Latinas were like #GOALS. Pero, en 1995, Selena was murdered. *En paz descansa*

Feel that feeling? Ese, “where did that come from? We were just getting into it!” feeling? Exactamente how we all felt as fans, as la cultura, as la raza. Ni me digas. This was so sad for me, como para los demas. I had someone I could relate to in every way: looks, Spanish accent (my Espanol wasn’t that good yet, “gringa”), a love for mi cultura and embracing it in a time and place where it wasn’t all that accepted, y la muuuusiiiicaaaaaa!! Ay, no – fue horrible. My version of a “Disney Princess” was gone. Y ahora que?

Pues a seguir adelante, chismosos! Que se creen!? jajaja. This only made Latinos bond and unite in numbers and in strength. “They tried to busy us, they didn’t know we were seeds” – Mexican Proverb. <– Palabras para la vida. Y eso was what we did. Numbers don’t lie, go check the score board. Aka Wikipedia jajaja. Selena is STILL helping to pave the way for us Latinas and is STILL one of our biggest and baddest role models we continue to look up to.

Lo mas impactante, para mi, was when Warner Bros released Selena the movie en 1997. A la, no inventes!! Pero didn’t she pass? Pues si, pero no te digo that we are seeds!! Watch out, JLo moved into the scene and this role fue lo mejor for her career. My nightmare had detoured back into a dream and all felt right otra vez. Esta pelicula (movie) was ground breaking!! I not only could hear la musica and dance las cumbias – pero, I could SEE it all. I had only imagined it, and here it was before mis ojos – and it was captivating.

I became obsessed. I wore that deep red lipstick, crop tops and mixed in all the Spanglish jajaja. I knew every word to that movie and every lyric to all the canciones (I still do, obvio). Ademas, this gave mi mama a sense of orgullo and acceptance to really encourage me to fall in love with all that is our cultura. Y I embraced it. All of it.

Dos de mis favourite scenes that I have to share with you are: 1. Cuando Selena is learning to dance by doing the “washing machine” at the board walk with her familia. Y 2. Cuando Abraham (Selena’s papa) is driving and explains to Selena y su hermano that “We have to be more American than the Americans and more Mexican than the Mexicans. It’s twice as exhausting!

Primero, the washing machine scene is the ultimate memory con mi mama growing up. Esta memoria always pops up during summer, when we would have all the windows open, letting the summer breeze blow through our chiquita casita. We would have botanas (esnacks, por supuesto) set out and turn up our Selena musica. I would always change into my crop top jajaja put on that lipstick and we would sing and dance around la cocina while eating los esnacks. Te juro I can still smell that summer air and hear El Chico del Apartamento 512 playing loud, while I struggle to say all the words as fast as Selena jaja.

Segundo, the famous line of being a Chicanx. I wasn’t a Chicana, I was born and raised in Canada – I’m more like a Mexicanadiense pero igual, same idea. Mi mama being Mexican and my dad being Canadian, I always identified with both. I was raised with both culturas being represented and cherished by both mis papas. I grew up in the MOST Canadian city: Thunder Bay (Northern Ontario) jaja It’s SO Canadian. Y mi casa, was SO Mexican. I would go back and forth between languages: Espanol with mi mama, English con my dad, y French en la escuela. <– see how mixed up that is with languages!? That’s the inner workings of mi cabeza! jajaja All the time!

That line from Abraham en la Selena pelicula, described my identity. Cuando ibamos to Mexico every year to visit our familia, I was called la guera (blondie) and I’m not even blonde! I’d be called gringa (white girl), pero I wasn’t even white, I was like a caramelo colour. Mi Espanol *USED* to be with an accent, so obviamente they knew I wasn’t Mexican, Mexican. So I would try, try mi mejor, to be the most Mexican I could be jaja

Back home, I wasn’t like any chamaca en mi escuela. There was not a single other Latina en mi escuela (elementary). Can you even believe that?! NONE. I was the ONLY one. Until highschool, then maybe 2 or 3 others and we weren’t the same age so it didn’t work out de todos modos. Ni modo, that’s how it went for me. Asi que, I would always get the questions about mis lunches – like what’s that? Uh, that’s a tortilla, pende… jajaja Even the elastics mi mama would use in my hair got questioned! Tu sabes which ones: those bolas – the colourful ball ones that would snap back and leave a dent in your cabeza. Jajaja, Hence why I cut my hair, ain’t nobody dealing with that! Pero enserio, I wasn’t Mexican enough, I wasn’t Canadian enough.

ENOUGH! Si, lo soy – Yes, I am. I am enough, MAS que enough. Porque while you sit there and only speak 1 language, I speak 4 (Sign Language too), while you only eat meat & potatoes – I smash tacos with salsa y limon, and while you listen to Avril Lavigne (who is dope, still) I dance circles around you with mis cumbias. Uuuufffff! That felt good. jajaja.

One thing I heard a lot, and aun do: “but you don’t look Mexican” Ay, por Dios. Really?! its 2019 gente! Have you heard of mixed kids? Well, mucho gusto, because I’m one of them. This brings me back to that libro by Kim Guerra – the FIRST page I read (other than the title page and dedication, digo of the libro), was this:

“Today someone told me I don’t look Mexican. What do Mexicans look like? We look like seeds conquistadores couldn’t bury. We are golden like the sun. Our laughter fills this world like fields of girasoles. We are one and we are many. Somos raza y familia. So, yes I look like a Mexican. Me rio como Mexicana, !Porque soy Mexicana, y que!” – Kim Guerra.

If that didn’t make your corazon explode and make you feel like GUUUUAAAAUUU, YAASSSSS GIIIIIRRRLLLLL – then you’re probably not Mexican jajajaja Pero para mi, it was like the epitome of my identity. I can’t get over las palabras in this libro. I feel accepted, I feel empowered, I feel united, – I feel Mexican. Soy Mexicana. It’s in la sangre. Literally. Y nadie can take that away from me.

*Pic from IG @SpinninSoleto shirt design. Book mentioned & quoted: Mariposa by Kim Guerra IG @brownbadassbonita. Artist and Movie references: Selena Quintanilla. Selena (the movie).*

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