WHELM - Latina - Abuela Lupe
I hate stereotypes. I never really understood them until I was in high school and even then, didn’t fully get why they were a thing. Latinx stereotypes irritate the living crap out of me especially how we are portrayed on tv. Latinas are either these “spicy” women with big boobs and no brain, or maids. Latinos are in drug cartels, gangs, or jail. Where are the shows and movies of us being educated or how about immigrating to the States for a chance at a better life? Where is the Latinx superhero at? I will say Disney has stepped it up a bit with Coco and Encanto. I love that my daughter watches these movies and dances and sings to them.
I am an Asian-Latina who birthed an Asian-Latina, and I will ensure my daughter grows up proud of her ancestors and proud of who she is. Since my Grandma Leo came to the States on her own from Thailand, I didn’t grow up learning much about the Thai culture or language. I don’t even think my grandma met any of her Thai friends until I was in middle school and that’s when I started to hear her talk the most Thai. She married my grandpa who is Puerto Rican, so she quickly learned how to cook Puerto Rican food. If you’ve ever eaten her food, you already know she is probably one of the BEST cooks when it comes to Spanish food. I grew up eating arroz y gandules y pastellios. My favorite is visiting home and she makes a stack of alcapurrias and pastellios with enough rice to feed the neighborhood for Emilio and me.
I grew up surrounded by my Mexican familia. My Grandpa Manuel (my mom’s dad) is full Mexican, and we visited my Abuela Lupe (his mom) almost daily. My mom and Abuela Lupe were close. They loved and adored each other and when my abuela passed, it broke my mom. We would go to her house daily and she would have fresh homemade tortillas y frijoles ready for whomever to eat. Her house was always filled with my primos and tias. Her door stayed open for us all. She would sit in her chair watching her telenovelas, speaking to us in Spanish. I don’t remember too many of our conversations which I wish I did, but I do remember her beautiful smile and dimples as she watched us all surround her. She was our home as we were hers and I will forever cherish the memories I have going to her house. When I’m lucky, I dream about visiting her. Sometimes she’s there and sometimes she’s not but when she is, she radiates with light and looks so happy.
When she passed, it changed everything. The house became empty, eventually filled with a new family. We didn’t see family I was so used to being around constantly for years at a time. I forgot what the smell of her freshly made tortillas smelled like. I lost a part of me then. I think a lot of my family lost a part of themselves then.
When I met Emilio and started going to his grandma’s house, I instantly felt that comforting feeling. There were always a bunch of his family there. His grandpa who he was very close to, reminded me of my abuela. He sat in his chair watching old cowboy shows and always had a smile on his face when Emilio walked in. I could feel the love they had for each other. It was beautiful. He is someone Emilio and I wish Vera also would have met. His grandma reminds me of my Grandma Leo and Nan. A hilarious, blunt, and beautiful woman. She is the life of any party and if she hands you a shot of tequila, you better take it!
As I type all of this, I am reminded how lucky I am to have grown up surrounded by so many beautiful Latinas and Latinos. We love hard and only need each other to be happy. Oh, and food, can’t forget the food and sofrito! So, when I see these stereotypes of us, I think “How dare they portray us like that when there is so much more to our culture.” When someone yells at us, “go back to your own country”, well why when we spread so much love and have bomb ass food? Pendejos. Those people must have never had a tamale or pastellio before.
Happy One Year to SpreadLaLuz & Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Thank you everyone for your support!
WHELM- Wife, Human, Entrepreneur, Latina, Mother
Mother blog will be up tomorrow, 9/16 at Noon EST!