There are many things that shape who you are, your identity. For me, it deals with my name, nationality, roots, and family history. They have shaped me who I am today, but it hasn’t always been easy. So, who am I? My name is Ariadne and I am 24 years old. This is my story.
Some say your identity starts with your name. For me, it’s a more personal story. The first time my dad saw me he wanted me to have an original name. The origin of it is Greek and it belonged to a princess who protected the entrance of the infamous Minotaur’s cave. I know most of my professors don’t really know how to pronounce my name and I deal with it every time I get to know someone new. I like my name, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t be mad if I had an easier one. My name shapes who I am, but so do a lot of things.
Finding Strength through my Roots
For the most part of my life, I have attended only Mexican schools. I consider myself a Mexican, even if I was born in El Paso, Texas. My parents and brothers were born in Ciudad Juárez, and, for that reason, my roots are stronger than my nationality. As I said, both of my parents were born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a Spanish colonist who settled in Parral, Chihuahua then later came to Ciudad Juárez to have a better life. Mama Quecha, what she likes to be called, is the “patriarca” of my mother’s family. Mama Quecha was married to my Papa Grande, whose father fought in the Mexican Revolution.
I have Spanish roots from my grandmother, and I must say that I am the only red head with curly hair in the entire family — which I love. My grand-grandfather was a red head with white skin among the indigenas. When my abuelita had nine sons, one of them came out a red head with blue eyes, too. My dad’s family also has some Spanish roots, too, but those roots are not as strong as my mother’s family. My Spanish roots shape my physical appearance and are a part of my identity, but who I am comes from living in a U.S.-Mexico border city and relationship with my family.
Living in a U.S.-Mexico Border City
I had difficulty adjusting to the environment of both cities (El Paso, Texas and Ciudad, Juárez) because the people were so different from one another. My dad used to tell me that he didn’t want me to be like a chicana. I didn’t understand why, but I thought that it was something bad. My dad referred to them as stuck up women covered with tattoos. During my first two years of college, I was able to meet and learn more about the Chicano culture. The Chicanas were so different and nothing like my dad had described them. The Chicanas helped me be confident and not scared of college. Now, I’m a junior majoring in Multimedia Journalism and close to getting my degree.
Even though I wasn’t born in Mexico, my culture and roots come from there. I feel very proud to say I’m Mexican and I’m not scared of my beautiful Ciudad Juárez. I have a lot to be thankful to that city, and I’m not ashamed to say where I come from. I grew up and lived there, I have friends and I even prefer to have fun in my beloved Ciudad Juárez. I’m happy to know that my family has a rich diversity and history in Mexico, but both Mexico and the city of El Paso has helped shape who I am.