Chicana Falsa

“Oh, I’m not that kind of Chicano,” he said and shook his head when I mentioned something about a friend who is very into the indigenismo aspect of being a Chicano.

“I’m not like that either… but I think I’m becoming a parody of myself.”

“What do you mean?”

“Some days I think I look like a Chicana who is trying too hard. Just look at the stuff I carry around with me.”

I pointed to the everyday woven morral my mom bought for me from a Catholic charity selling items made by indigenous women in Guatemala or Mexico. I took out my wallet, which features a classic La Sirena lotería card. Next I showed him the Guatemalan change purse I used as a camera case. I didn’t even bother showing him my silver Aztec calendar pendant nor the beaded bracelets and earrings I bought in Morelia.

“But I don’t wear these clothes and bracelets or carry around this bag just so I can prove just how Chicana I am. I just carry it around because I like it.”


4 thoughts on “Chicana Falsa

  1. I used to buy tons of kitsch that identified my specific cultural identity politics when I started moving a lot. Thankfully, moving makes you purge all the crap that we tend to collect as part of this capitalist consumer culture that really only serve as artifacts that give no meaning to who I really am as a person.
    However, don’t get me wrong, I still like to stare at the glitter shining off of mayan calendars sold at the border by needy Mexican vendors.

  2. I find myself doing that too. When I showed my cousins in ES photos of my apt in L.A. they were surprised by all the artesanias I had out as decoration. Maybe I started off doing it as a way to remind myself where I come from, but now I just like the stuff cuz it’s pretty. 🙂

  3. Mercedes says:

    I have the same problem with the added bonus of having been raised a mexicana in Brookline, MA by my Mexican father and my Irish-American mother. So at times I was very conflicted, being raised like we were still in Hermosillo, when we were in my mom’s hometown and this Chicana is about as light as one comes. Strawberry blond, fair skinned, blue/green eyes…a güera all the way. So to feel at home in my skin, I started carrying around things, lotería earrings I bought in Taxco, boots I got to work on the ranch when visiting. I started to carry so many things, I looked like I was trying to prove my Mexican-ness, short of carrying around my passport. It was a tough and someone embarrassing realization. And I was 17. After that I kept my collections at home in my different apartments. Later I realized just in being me, it was obvious to those who counted who I was and where I came from.

    Now I am 33 and way more comfortable in my skin. Well that and I have a calavera tattoo that I adore hidden up on my shoulder. Everytime I see it, it reminds me of my Nana and of home 🙂

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