I have a tattoo on my neck that reads D I V I N A.
It is the feminine term for divine, in Spanish. You see, I have chosen to affirm my greatness through my body, and I consider this tattoo a proclamation to myself and an affirmation to my female ancestors. I love this tattoo because it is an indicator for outsiders to know who they are dealing with, when they approach me.
Some might say, I hold my head too high.
My perceived pride, is not pride, it is perseverance. But people ask me, ALL the time: WHY DO YOU THINK SO HIGHLY OF YOURSELF? As if I should not be proud. As if I should simmer down…
But why???? I have parents who maneuvered class mobility with an ease that can only be described as perseverance.
When people made fun of me for not celebrating the Americanized versions of Halloween and Christmas, I had to own that reality or crumble under their snickers. I had to accept my culture.
When people questioned why I wore Goodwill/no-name clothes, instead of brand-name clothes, I had to own that too. I had to accept that we were poor.
When children asked me why I was so tall for a fourth grader, without any knowledge that migration kept me from school for an entire year, I had to own my age. I had to accept that my migration story was written all over my face.
I cannot afford to be weak, and I never want to be considered “less than” because I do not see myself as “less than.” Despite outsiders considering my culture, class, and migration status indicators of me being “less than,” I cherish mi tierra natal, my Goodwill clothes were a dream, and my migration means I have an entire family back home who all love me.
So I am not proud, I am simply working hard every day to keep you from erasing me from my story.
So discontinue perpetuating your reductionist ideas of humility onto my Latina immigrant feminism. I do not need it.
-Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez