Hispanic Heritage Month 2014: Gloria Anzaldua

Gloria Anzaldua is my all time favorite Mexican American author and the first time I ever read her book Borderlands/La Frontera my life changed. The words she spoke truly reflected the way I felt about living within two realms of reality. I was part of two places at the same time.  I am not from there nor am I from here.

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Ni de aqui, Ni de alla. We are no one and someone at the same time. One foot caught on each side where we are Pocho there and Mexican here. The reality is that I am a thirty something generational Mexican American who can trace her lineage to before the Texas-Mexico War.

This melding and meshing of two distinct cultures has forever transformed South Texas. We are forever intertwined and connected. Texas is the only home that I have ever known.

I am Texas and Tejas is me. I have always considered myself a Tejana. It was Gloria Anzaldua who made me understand that the essence of who I was. She began to delve into the notions of all our dual selves. The hidden selves that often contradict the basic societal and cultural norms that we are taught in our homes. Womanhood and personhood are also intertwined as we struggle still for acceptance and acknowledgement. This to me is where the very essence of Chingona was born.

“Wild tongues can’t be tamed, they can only be cut out.”
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

That internal struggle could do two things:

1) Hinder our ability to succeed or

2) Enhance our collective voice.

It was Gloria Anzaldua who allowed me to find my voice as a young women. With my wild tongue and my duality, I was able to embrace the word Pocho. To embrace my dark skin and dark hair, to embrace the indigenous side of my culture as well as honoring the Spanish side of my culture  as well.

Gloria Anzaldua was an intelligent, brave, and courageous scholar who wrote about the issues facing our generation and her words resonate on. I honor her and hope you will pick up her books and keep her legacy alive.

“The struggle is inner: Chicano, indio, American Indian, mojado, mexicano, immigrant Latino, Anglo in power, working class Anglo, Black, Asian–our psyches resemble the bordertowns and are populated by the same people. The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in outer terrains. Awareness of our situation must come before inner changes, which in turn come before changes in society. Nothing happens in the “real” world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”

– Gloria Anzaldua

#tejanamadeHHM2014

 

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