Alexa M-A-R-T-I-N-E-Z


There is always an indescribable feeling that washes over when finishing the spelling of my last name. A surname that can make me proud of being Latina/exotic/different while simultaneously infuriating me at the same time. It’s one thing to live life straddling a border, it’s another to be identified as supposedly straddling that border and having no insight into one of the sides a leg is planted on.

Nearly my entire life, people have read my name on documents or on a nametag and followed it with “Tu hablas Espanol?”
And I have responded with a “no” or “poquito”, which means “a little” in English.
Poquito isn’t accurate though because the amount of Spanish I actually know is laughable, and it has been laughed at nearly my entire life.

I have some strange resistance towards learning Spanish, like that will be the thing that seals the deal, not the fact that 50% of my DNA actually comes from a Puerto Rican/Spanish bloodline.

Growing up I was teased. “What, are you Mexican or something?” which I would heatedly defend with an unnecessary ferocity.
“Have you never heard of Puerto Rico? America owns it you know?!”
I even had my first serious boyfriend, playfully (ignorantly so), call me “wet back”, thinking it was funny.
In high school, something weird happened and my butt was completely disproportionate to the rest of me and my hair curled up and kinked just looking at water.

I felt like it would have been easier to embrace my roots and heritage, if I knew a single thing about it.

I stopped counting the amount of times “No, I do not speak Spanish” was followed by a “Dios Mio, por que?” along with a slue of other words in Spanish which I have come to understand as either meaning your parents failed you or an exasperated, hands in the air, statement of “the youth these days!”

Then I am forced to be reminded of how my father left when I was three.

There isn’t an easy way to say that to someone.
“I do not speak Spanish because my father left me before I had a chance to learn”

Say that to an older Hispanic lady? It’s usually followed with a hug and a “Lo siento mucho, mi linda”.

Like a hug is going to do anything to heal a wound. I just awkwardly hug back and continue the conversation in good ol’ English.

It’s an odd feeling, living life knowing you’re different, but not.
I wonder if anyone has really been interested in that aspect of some people’s lives?

I know of people being “mixed race” or “mixed ethnicity” and having a hard time with a feeling of belonging or being stereotyped . Should I associate with them because of my feelings?
I almost want to, but the issue is that I don’t know anything but one side to me.
I only grew up and learned from a “whitest of the white” family. I was and still am the only one that does not have the family name.
The majority of the older generation where I grew up still speaks unfavorably of nearly every single race/ethnicity other than white.
(You’ll notice that I won’t say Caucasian because, if you actually do your research, that’s not accurate in reality and in a way it is self-offensive, if that is a thing.)

Interestingly, I notice that there are a lot of people like this in the world, but especially in the US. I guess that is because we are so blended and broken.
Blended because of the racial and cultural diversity that is present. Broken because so many families break a part.

What happens to the children that are a result of when the blending and the breaking diverge and then fork?

I supposed I will live my life wondering that question. I also suppose I will teeter-totter back and forth with a desire to learn about what really makes me, me (as far as my genetics is concerned) and the me that I am choosing to become regardless.

Sometimes I get excited when I say that I am half Puerto Rican and sometimes saying it leaves me in moments of incredible despair and longing for something I never had.
I think the majority of the sadness comes from the unknown. If I think about every other time in my life, clarity and knowledge has yielded the most transcendence.

As I write, I contemplate what my “food for thought” will be for whoever reads this. I ponder what is the point of the share, and I think, maybe, I just want to know that I am not alone.
I want to connect with other souls who maybe can relate to me, or my story. I want to offer support and maybe get advice.
This is an area that I am more comfortable than ever discussing, but it isn’t like what I speak about the most, which is sex/sexuality/relationship varieties.

In a strange way, this is more personal. Talking about my heritage feels even more vulnerable to share to me then times when I share about having threesomes on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean.

Odd, the things we keep, right?

So maybe, this is my turn to ask my readers for help. I want to come to terms with who I am in more ways than just my sexuality. I want to come to terms with what literally makes me, me? I have never mustered the courage to ask, HOW?

Spicely yours,
Alexa Martinez

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