When two nationalities become one, you better get ready for an emotional roller-coaster filled with soaring high’s and devastating low’s. Being Mexican-American is an honor and a privilege but that doesn’t exempt it from having its pro’s and con’s, which are sometimes one in the same. It’s a badge of honor you wear with pride because it shaped you into who you are today- a pan dulce eating, dual-lingo speaking, salsa-twerking citizen of the world. Walking the Mexican-American line like an expert trapeze artist is an impressive feat- one that is as challenging as it is rewarding. You get elote but you also have to learn verb tenses in Spanish, and let me tell you it’s no joke compadre.
1. Inglés Sin Barreras
Growing up your parents saw you as a walking translator, you are the OG Du0lingo. Imagine being the means of communication between your family and the world, you grew up needing to understand not one but two languages.The upside being you can switch in and out of two languages like a word warlock. Being able to get angry in Spanish is one of the most cathartic feelings I’ve ever experienced- the curse words just taste different.
The downside is actually having to speak or at the very least understand Spanish while you were still trying to master English at school. Your brain had to be twice as quick on its Mexican-American feet in order to not be dragged to filth by your Mexican family members when you couldn’t remember how to say “that’s funny”- it’s chistoso by the way, never forget.
In the end you can feel out your rage and happiness in two languages which is as amazing as it is exhausting.
2. María Mercedes And Masters Of None
You have TeleNovelas and Sitcoms, a world filled with Netflix and Univision- Rubi and Masters of None. Your pop culture references are endless. Pro being you learned how to be dramatic and manipulative at an early age through TeleNovelas while sitcoms had you wondering how the mom hadn’t body slammed that sassy child yet.
Being able to play Luis Miguel bangers that had your mom dancing away in the kitchen while also knowing all the lyrics to Lil Wayne’s “A Mili” was a true cultural blessing. The downside being you had to shut up while Walter Mercado told your mom what type of week she was going to have- make it a good one please for the love of Dios.
3. Being A Multicultural Foodie
Oof getting chubby in two languages, a true blessing and a curse. You celebrated the Fourth of July with hamburgers and hotdogs but also carne asada con arroz y frijoles; your stomach didn’t know whether to thank you or move to Mexico. Being Mexican-American meant indulging in all the delicious foods of your patria like pan dulce, elote con crema, pollo asado but it also meant having to fight off American temptations like processed foods and nuggets- the “Kid’s Cuisine” always won.
It’s a deliciously frustrating problem to have deciding between “Chick-fil-a” or tacos de chorrizo con huevo, but we brave it out each and everyday. Or when your dad satrted lighting the bbq pit at noon you knew you were going to throw down on some carne asada at 6 P.M.
4. The Subtleties Of Two Cultures
Traversing the intricacies of two cultures is no easy task. Mexican-American’s know there is a constant internal struggle between both cultures and you have to decide what it means to you. Growing up you felt you had to master English so that people could understand you but you also wanted to learn and love Spanish so you could connect with your loved ones. You had to discover American humor so middle school wouldn’t be such a pain while also learning how to survive Mexican humor which is just borderline bullying.
Let’s not forget that you had to remember the way Katie talks to her parents would have you WWE body-slammed at your casa. The intricacies of culture and values were never lost on you.
Selena Quintanilla’s dad said it best “we have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting!” Truer words have never been spoken.