I know I am Mexican-American because of my hands.
My hands are brown like café con leche. My hands are soft like a fleece cobija. My hands are smooth like a Cumbia rhythm.
I explain my hands with a blend of English and Español, Mexican and American culture, because I am a living blend. This is how I see the world, through blended vision.
My hands are brown because I was birthed by two parents of Mexican descent. My Pa, a native-born Mexicano, turned Americano from tanto football, hamburgers and City Coding Manuals. My Ma, a native-born Americana, turned más Mexicana after falling in love with my Pa, and thus Mexican bailes. My fiercely loving, hardworking parents raised three little sets of brown hands in the heart of Elgin, Illinois: a city rich with a combination of Mexican and American flavors.
My hands are soft and smooth because of my Mexican ancestors. Not because their hands were this way, but because they allowed their hands to suffer, for mine to be soft and smooth. From my grandfather who picked cotton in California through the Bracero Program, to my great-great-grandmother who harvested corn on el rancho, much of my family developed rough, calloused hands. For generations, my family has been working hard for me to have soft, smooth hands.