This is adapted from a biographical narrative I wrote for a class during my undergrad career. It’s a bit of an insight of how music helped me find, accept, love, and create who I’ve become today.
They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but in my case – I’m not even quite sure if I’d even qualify as a fruit. My life has always been an intermingled racially ambiguous melting pot of conflicting views from both of my parents with multiple layers and aspects passed down from each of them that have influenced who I have become today. I have been raised in two countries each with a different native tongue and a religion to pair. Needless to say, the earlier part of my life was a bit of a muddled identity crisis where I was constantly trying to figure out who I was in reference to my parents and my surroundings. I was born in the poverty stricken country of Guatemala to a young Red-Headed American Jewish girl who never graduated high school, and a renowned Guatemalan Psychiatrist who went to Harvard Medical School with a complexion so perfect it would make anybody jealous.
I was born into complete turmoil and my parents never got along, they always argued, and they both had to have the last word because they were always right. I can’t really say I’m too far from them, but I’m also nothing like either of them. My entire childhood was spent trying to figure out not only who I was, but what I was. When I lived in Guatemala, I was constantly taunted for being fair skinned. They would call me “cat eyes” and I would go home crying because my eyes were bright green instead of brown, my hair was golden brown ringlets instead of a dark and thick straight mane, and my skin was also a golden brown instead of a deep mocha. Everything was too light and I was inadequate. Everyday I would go home and cry because I was too light. The only thing that ever made me happy was putting on my Selena CD and dancing around my room to Bidi-Bidi-Bom-Bom.
At the age of 6, my mother decided it was time to move back home, to her American home. She would try and tutor me so I could learn English. I wasn’t interested. Why did I need to know a language if nobody around me spoke it? Surely everybody in America would learn Spanish so they could talk to me, right? Wrong. First day of school and I barely had any idea what anybody was saying. Not only could I not understand them, but they all looked so different from the kids back in Guatemala. I looked around and suddenly, my bright green eyes now looked like a dirty dark swamp next to their bright blues. My golden brown ringlets resembled more of a tumbleweed next to their perfectly straight and shiny blonde hair. And my skin? Forget it. I looked like the dirty little kid who hated showering. Once again, I didn’t quite fit in.
It took me all of about 20 minutes to figure out that Spanish wasn’t going to be adopted by all of my peers, so I had to learn English. Here I was in this new country where I didn’t know anybody, I had no idea what they were saying, and all I wanted to do was go home to Guatemala. Unfortunately, that wasn’t really an option. So what did I do? I would go home everyday and listen to my walkman. Every CD I could get my hands on, I would play it over and over reading the lyrics so I would never forget my Spanish. I then began buying English CD’s this was how I taught myself how to read. Of course, things break and get lost and my attention span at the time was that of a newborn puppy so once I misplaced my walkman and I finally had friends, I was all set.
I spent the next decade or so of my life trying to figure out who I was. Why could I never fit in? Why did I always have to work so much harder for everything else that everybody I knew just had handed to them? Why did everybody else know what to do in every social setting, where as I had to watch people to make sure I do anything to draw more attention to myself. Well, I couldn’t be more grateful
Throughout my entire life there was always one thing that remained constant regardless of my physical location or where I was mentally and that has always been music. It has always been what has spoken to me in a way nobody or nothing else could. It helped get me through all of my oh so terrible 14 year old heart breaks, and also served as an outlet where I could escape my life and be transported into a different world. It’s been my forever friend when I didn’t have any real ones because I could never “look the part”. I myself am nowhere near musically inclined but that’s also what I love about it. It’s a gift to me. Music gives me something I could never give myself and I have no idea where I’d be without it today.
I am finally (more than) comfortable in my skin and embrace what I always saw as flaws when I was a child. I’m “quirky”. I bop to my own beat. I do what I want. Music helped me find myself, and countless others around me who share the same love. Music helped me become myself.