My cousins in Puerto Rico called
me a gringa, which means white,
American, Yankee--all of those pejoratively.
It hurt my feelings so much
to be put down that way
because I identify as Puerto Rican.
Even though I know Puerto Rican
born in Manhattan is different from
Puerto Rican born on the island
because it's another way of life,
on the mainland, I'm a Nuyorican,
Latina and woman of color first.
only three times in my life,
I don't know what it's like
to sleep with coquis every night
and I speak Spanish like textbooks
because I learned it in school.
But being a Puerto Rican represents
more than a birthplace to me.
It's my heritage, my life line.
I am puertorriqueña, which means fuerza--
strength. I am boricua, meaning diversión--
fun. I am Nuyorican, meaning hybrid.
Note: My "definitions" of puertorriqueña, boricua and Nuyorican above are figurative/poetic, not literal translations.
This post is also linked to Cate's Six Word Saturday.