That Time Concealer Gave Me An Identity Crisis

Sarai Segura, Writer

Gym class during my junior year of high school was one of the better periods I had. I managed to be in a class with a bunch of my friends, and most of the time, we goofed off. One day after gym class, an older girl complained to us about a mark she had. I offered her my concealer, and when she saw it, she told me that she couldn’t wear it. I asked her why, and she jokingly responded that we didn’t match shades. I was a bit embarrassed, but I laughed with her. Then in the next second, I felt shame. I didn’t like how I couldn’t immediately separate myself from a white person.

Describing what it’s like to be a Latina in America has been a question I had always dismissed because I never felt qualified to answer that question. When I was younger, my life resembled something like a Mexican immigration movie (without the threat of deportation). Small apartment, lived nearby many family members who also moved out to Illinois, helping my parents with English documents, living within our means, etc. Around middle school is where I dropped using Spanish. My parents also stopped taking my sister and me to see our family during holidays and birthdays around that time as well.

These are the most apparent factors that lead me to feel like I had failed to retain anything that came from my parent’s culture and, therefore, half of my identity. This is funny because I also didn’t associate myself well being ‘American’ either. I understood a lot of differences between my life and most kids who went to my high school. But not relating to my identity as an American doesn’t feel as wrong. It’s not an expectation that my family and other Latinos have. It was this expectation that had caused me to feel separated from my ethnicity. This memory always resurfaces every year to remind me of that separation.