Miranda Morales Espinosa on Being Told She’s Not Latinx Enough: “I Am, and I Will Always Be Worthy”
“I am, and I will always be worthy” is a piece based on how some people are told they’re not Latinx enough or they’re not part of the Latinx community just because their Spanish isn’t perfect.
Growing up and being told those remarks really resonate, but it shouldn’t dictate our self-perception of our roots and who we are. We all are who we are. It doesn’t matter what anyone tells us, especially out of spite. If we’re Latinx, then we will always be Latinx.
There’s times in my life where I’d hear laughter directed towards me. Not the good kind where you laugh in harmony, but the type of laughter that makes you want to hide in disbelief with hidden tears. Yes, I’ve been bullied for various insecurities, yet being forced to believe my Spanish is broken is the worst. Talking on the phone with my momma while riding the school bus home. Trying my absolute best to speak Spanish as perfectly as possible...trembling to the point where I knew I was about to hear a remark. My friend sitting next to me started running her mouth the second I hung up the phone.
“Why do you mix your English and Spanish? You don’t even pronounce things right. How can you even count yourself as a Mexican?”
Sitting there, I felt humiliated. I knew I didn’t speak Spanish very well, but she was pin pointing everything I never and shouldn’t have ever been told. How could I as a twelve-year-old dismiss hurtful comments from people who will not be significant as I lay in my death bed. My ears were sponges willing to absorb everyone’s input. I would have to be in the presence of spiteful opinions regarding my Spanish and Spanglish for quite a time until that friendship would fall out. For my better judgment, I don’t criticize myself for hanging onto toxic friendships...I was twelve and didn’t know any better. Now I do know; however, at the time a goodbye with someone wasn’t met with detachment. I could still hear in the back of my head how my Spanish wasn’t good enough…it made me feel unworthy of being a Latina. How could I count myself to be a part of the Latinx community when I couldn’t speak Spanish properly, so I disregarded my Latinx culture altogether. Not knowing how to come to terms with the fact that it’s okay if my Spanish is rough. It’s more than okay, but it took a long time for me to embrace it. Eight years passed by. Eight years until I realized hurt people hurt people. The friend I had when I was twelve was hurt in her own way, and for her own unknown or known reason she led me to believe being Mexican came with its requirements.
But being a part of the Latinx community has nothing to with my language abilities.
I am Latina. It’s in my blood. It’s my culture. It’s my life.
I’ve embraced every single drop of who I am. I used to be ashamed of my Spanglish, but now I take pride in it. It’s just another piece that makes me, me. I hope every Latinx child is brought up to embrace their culture and language...however they may speak it. Or maybe one day they will come across my story, and I really hope they will feel validated because no Latinx child deserves to feel less worthy. We are all more than worthy.
WORDS BY MIRANDA MORALES ESPINOSA
IMAGES BY JORGE MORALES ONTIVEROS
Miranda Morales Espinosa is a self-published writer, student, and dancer. As she’s setting her place in this world, Miranda has found her purpose through writing. It swims through various topics based on personal experience such as love, heartbreak, mental health, friendships, adversities, et cetera. With the encouraging praises from her family, friends, and professors, Miranda found the courage to pursue her purpose. On November 11 of 2017, she self-published her first book, Wonderfully Gracious Woman. It goes deep into a much-needed self-love journey. Miranda published it because there may be people who need it, the message it sends, or to know whatever they are going/went through is valid. Something she believes in is that people as individuals need to realize: their experiences, memories, emotions, pain, and perseverance are all valid.
Follow her journey through Instagram: @mirandamoralesespinosa
Her blog is kind of awesome too: https://mirandamoralesespinosa.wordpress.com/
Bio Picture Credit: Anthony Dionisio