By Onyx Ramírez
This story only appears in english. / Este artículo solo aparece en inglés.
I often get the sense that my parents have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I get that sense because they often tell me that they have no idea what I’m doing with my life. I used to want to be a doctor, and in terms of bragability, that’s gotta be in the top 5 (top 5, top 5, top 5) most impressive things your parents can brag to their friends about.
They used to say, “Mi niña quiere ser una doctora!”
It goes like this: Nereyda from down the block (who listens in on all of your conversations) gets to tell everyone that you’re one of the good ones and that your family is bendecida, and then everyone rejoices and they thank God because you’re their saving grace. In my experience, once a Latinx child starts showing mildest signs of intelligence, they become the familial saving grace. Everyone tells you that you’re so smart and that you’re going to go so far, and you drink all of that in because it has to be true and because it makes you feel important. Mostly though, because it takes away some of the attention from your cousin Daniela with the good hair and light skin. Anyway, you can only imagine the look on my mom’s beautiful face when I told her something along the lines of “nahhhhhh ma’ I hate science...I’m not tryna be a doctor anymore.”
It was in this moment that I knew my mother truly loved me. If you’ve ever seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” then you know the scene when those two dudes get their faces melted off (it’s gruesome but kinda hilarious). When she, my mother, Doña Cynthia Ramírez, didn’t reenact that very scene in my living room, I knew I was truly blessed. Sidebar: My living room is decked out in the hottest, most exclusive, can only be found in Divino Niñito Jesus digest, religious paraphernalia. Anyway, the words “I want to major in sociology, mom” are not sexy and they probably hold the same bragability as a colonoscopy. In that moment, my mother accepted that her daughter, I, was going to be a failure and yet she showed compassion and restraint upon my poor, worthless soul. That’s love. It’s also the trouble that comes with being a minority; my actions don’t reflect just on me, rather, they serve as a reflection on everyone who comes after me. So, the pressure to not be a hot mess is on “pressure cooker ablandando habichuelas high.”
Personally, however, I feel that the real shame here is that Nereyda has to go tell everyone in the neighborhood that I am not the chosen one. Not only is it a waste of her time, but it’s going to be a huge disappointment to the community, and what am I aiming for, if not to please? Should I give out apology cookies? Offer up a sacrificial lamb to the gods of poverty & vagrancy in the hopes that they’ll spare my family? Send me your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org