Today, I was overcome by emotion, those that know the real me understand I feel deeply but rarely show it. At times, I feel so deeply that it overcomes my thoughts and I’m unable to move forward until I let it out in writing.
Today, I chose to get out of my comfort zone, to try to find an answer to what has been plaguing me as of late. Today, I attended a seminar regarding Latino talent retention in the work place and then later in the evening an event for the Latina network. Both events left me with more questions within myself but also with a spark. I took an interest in both of these events because I have been going through my own personal identity crisis. I’m struggling to decide if I want to fight for a cause or throw in the towel. I’m struggling to decide where I stand amidst the chaos of the world.
With the political climate and the state of the world I have been feeling at a loss. I feel, in a sense, like I have lost a label. A label that I never truly viewed as such. I am Latina but I am also an American. I am also a daughter, a mother, sister, wife, cousin, aunt and a friend. I am many things, I am a nurse, a writer, a lover of music and more. Yet, each of those aspects of my life are labeled. Example, I am a Latina but look Caucasian so often I am labeled by my own culture as “gringa”. Is it wrong to be offended? Because in actually that is what I am. I was born and raised in a predominantly white community. I had privileges by simply going to the schools I attended. I was labeled one way by my culture and another by my surrounding community. It’s a miracle I made it this far without having an identity crisis!
I feel that I am in a minority of my own, in a sense privileged by the opportunities I had growing up and the choices I made for myself. Yes, I had choices, an abundance of them and among those choices, I chose to work serving the community as a nurse. I have a privilege or many privileges and I am unsure of what to do with that knowledge and that essence of power it represents.
I struggle. Some days more than others trying to choose the right path for me, for my family and for that sacred legacy we all wish to leave behind.
I am pulled in many directions, often to the point where I feel I lose control of who I am. And, who is Jenny? Technically I was labeled Jennifer at birth but I’ve always known within myself that I am a Jenny. I feel that name has a whimsical connotation and I feel it suits who I am. Yet, many who see me or greet me do not see “Jenny” they see what they want to see or maybe what I inadvertently portray.
I am a female struggling with the multitude of labels that have been placed upon me throughout the years. At times I struggle finding my place, I go about my day to day but in the back of my mind, I ask myself; who am I really?
The answer is actually very easy, I am all and none of the labels that have been placed upon me. I am everything and I am nothing. I have as much power as I chose to believe I have. I have as much a voice as I chose to have. I can be anything I want to be. I am Latina, I am Puerto Rican, I am American, I am a very proud mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a nurse, a writer, etc the list is quite long but most of all, I am human and I am me. There is a place for me in this world and though I stumble across it on a daily basis, I know I am a combination of all my labels all which make me uniquely me. I know what I want out of my life and what sort of legacy I want to leave behind.
Simply put, I am me. I will continue on my journey with an open mind and fight when I need to fight and know when it becomes too much for me to handle but standing strong within myself. Leaving behind that legacy for my child, that I know who I am and helping my daughter find who she is and help her to see that what she dreams, what she believes in is possible.
If I leave my daughter with something in this life I hope it’s with the certainty in her heart that she is loved and that she should always be who she is inside, never letting someone dim the light within, even when this chaotic world tries to confuse you.