Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

The American Life: Through the eyes of a Native American culture.

A clear defenition of a normal American life is hard to condense into one sentence. What is normal? Who is American?

My mother's take on American life is so much different than what the media portrays. I recall as a young girl my mother telling me, "When I came to the US I was so afraid to step out in the streets. The cars, my those cars sped so fast!Everything was so fast. I felt safer inside."

In the Native American culture a serious face is a sign of respect. So is looking at someone with a dead stare to convey power. Boy, I still have trouble with that even know. Everytime I sit in class, my emotionless face gives others the thought that I am heartless or worse, better than them.

Boy, that is not the impression I want to give off-at all.

I have a feeling being American, let alone having a normal American life would be a challenge to me as I grew up and boy did it ever. My mother instilled a sense of fear in me. Not purposely of course, but I see the ramifications of living in a Native American culture( my mothers) and being labeled mean, and being around an army of neighbors who were Mexican. I am really apprehensive now, to go out and subject myself to traditional dances for fear my stoic look overpowering my desire to dance and subsequently scaring half the people away.

So a normal American life would be to me, being able to respectfully come together with neighbors and communicate, have fun, while roasting hot dogs on a Sunday afternoon. This can only be possible with a college education and a job that maintains a semblence of cash to pay bills and groceries.

My mother is on her way though to a normal American life, I see it. She has been attending grammar school since 1998 to learn English. She technically surpassed elementary, but she can't seem to push herself to take the G.E.D test, just yet. I hope she does. She, like other members of the family feel that mathematics are not our strongest point. I saw her slowly slowly gain the respect from her female classmates when she actually came to class to learn, ask questions, and provide input for the day's lessons. Oh mother, you are an inspiration!

I will become the 3rd girl in my family of 7 girls to complete college this year, along with 2 other of my sisters. The American dream has surely grabbed us all by the heart and is taking us one step closer to our future destinations. I hope with my sister's graduations we can help inspire my mother to take that test already. I promise, she's technically past the 5th grade already!

It's 2013, it's been 15 years since she started school. In the meantime my brothers and I will take care of the groceries.

We will wait for our mother's next step to come along with us, soon, but you know something in the meantime I think a normal American life is nothing, but a laugh. Whoopi Goldberg said it clearer though: "Normal ain't nothing but a setting on a washer machine."

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