Malcriada

They call me Malcriada, Malagradecida, Berrinchuda, y una Sinvergüenza

I smile and say that to make it in the United States, that double E and double U, you have to be un poco malcriada.

These are dangerous times; there is nothing anyone can say that will placate me. The nightmares that haunted me for months are real, the monster underneath my bed has climbed in and whispered "boo." This election has scared me, this election has brought out the monsters. This country's acceptance of the bigotry has terrified me. But I'm a malcriada through and through, I'll talk back and fight back. The next generation will be better.

These monsters call Mami "Miss Housekeeping," as if they could measure Mami's worth in two words. Mami, brave and young, who crossed the Border by hopping from stone to stone because it was low tide and the Rio Grande had receded. They call me "anchor baby," as if they understood what it really means to hold your own as you navigate cultural oceans they will never cross. They call Papi a "Bad Hombre." Papi, who has worked who works hours upon hours upon hours every week in the freezers of some little supermarket. His hands are gnarled from the cold, bones ache something terrible, but still finds enough strength to smile at me when he comes home. I am the proud daughter of Miss Housekeeping and Bad Hombre. They have taught me what resilience, compassion, and hope looks like.

Mami survived a revolution
And underneath her nails there is blood, sweat, and tears
There is the memory of mountains, lakes, and dictatorship
Try to take that away from me,
And I'll claw your head off.
I'll tell you in the language that I know best:
Que yo soy más que vencedora
En mi madre, en mi padre, en mis ancestros.

To my son I will say:

Never forget that your grandmother was born in a country that saw empires
Never forget that your grandfather didn't make it past the second grade, but he got a manager position at a supermarket.
And he worked hard to prove that he was just as good, just as good, just as good.
Never forget that your mother is a woman, that you are born from a woman and I would rather die than ever hear you say something disrespectful to one.
The day you call a woman a bitch, a puta is the day that I start to bury my own grave.

To my daughter I will say:

The world is already yours.
You come from a lineage of women who cackle without fear-
Who transformed pain into music
And suffering into passion.
The world, mi mujer, is already yours.

Malcriadxs, fight for your families.
All we have left is lucha.