My mother an Okinawan half-breed, my father a Colombian mestizo.
Though I come from jungle people I somehow ended up growing up in the dry dry desert of Arizona.
We kids were raised by my mum & Mexican stepfather on a steady diet of menudo, chorizo, tamales, white rice, green tea, miso soup, tsukemono, and our favorite, sukiyaki that Grandmother would make for birthdays and the new year. This Grandmother would tell me of conversations she had with frogs, remnants of her Shinto upbringing. She lost both of her parents in the war.
I remember hiding from my bully “Constancia” clutching my cheap violin and a book of fiddle tunes grandfather gave me. The cholas at school called me “Chinita” by way of my exotic eyes, and none of these babies knew where Colombia was, so near to the home of their ancient ancestors we were practically neighbors. Nonetheless we shared the same uniform, baggy t-shirts with low riders on them. .
Walking home in the tumbleweeds from that dreaded school, I would arrive in melancholy and listen to oceanic nocturnes of Chopin or maybe Boys 2 Men while rearranging heavy metal posters on the wall. I gave my dorky crush a Metallica tape, and at the time it never occurred to me that there was any difference between Lars’ angst and the 2pac record I had memorized as a child.
So now I am a big girl, I wear grandmothers kimono, fathers poncho, green velvet when I dream of grandfathers ancestral past…he’s a proud irish man who’s never seen his own land.
I speak the names of my grandmothers, Mitsuko, Uto, Olive, Mary, Carmen, Maria,
my grandfathers, Saburo Asato, Arthur, Orlando, Pedro, Jose,
sitting in the sun singing, wearing dresses and talking to plants, secretly goth with a penchant for blasting Fugazi and driving fast…
half high desert wolf, half happy naked dolphin, my blood memories cry loud and speak stories through my hands.
Oh, to be a strange breed was actually quite difficult for most of my life, but I find its getting easier for this
triple pisces to live in such nebulous worlds, lacking definition while drawing clear lines.
Now I can see that all of our lives are blending, and thats ok with me. We are the strange new breeds….our ancestors speaking through quietude, even when there are no stories left, and some people have no stories left. But they still have their blood memory, and thats all that matters. There is the permission. These days identification is the norm but so rich the soft power found through freedom, fluidity, listening, and humility…
Now is what we all have left, and it is made of everything.
::: Impromptu biography of a cultural chameleon :::