Culture, my own, and everyone else’s, I want to learn, share, and celebrate it!
A topic I have been a bit infatuated with for some time now. Growing up as a young child, it was the strum of Mariachi Music and Linda Ronstadt singing in Spanish in a beautiful Chianpaneca hoop skirt while the guitars strummed, and the scent of rice and beans simmering in the kitchen, All while mi primos (cousins) and I chased the gatos en la casa, while my Nana and Tias spoke swiftly in our version of the Spanish tongue.
It was the house packed full with amigos on Christmas Eve after attending the Christmas Eve Mass anxiously waiting to eat enchiladas cooking in the oven while the Italian Wedding Soup Simmered on top. It was a friend sharing turquoise and beautiful beaded work because I was Rita’s nieta. My familial culture made me feel loved when I was a small child and gave me a sense of belonging and security.
Time past…I moved out of the southside of Tucson and stepped into a time in my life where I started to make sense of things I felt and was observing. Suddenly something seemed out of place. The joy I once had for my culture was now something I had to be careful about because it caused ridicule and the sense of being out of place-not belonging.
Somehow I knew without being told; my culture was a part of my identity and something to be valued, not made to be invisible. I learned I would have to teach others how to consider my perspective, because to some, I was only what I appeared to be, but I knew I was more, part of something grande. I was the strum of that guitar or the twirl of the skirt, the focus and patience it takes to bead a necklace or weave a serape; I was all of the beautiful parts of my culture, but I was also important and a part of something much bigger, a community.
Today I know…
My culture is where my ancestors came from, the experiences that I have had, the people who have shared a piece of their heart and soul with me, and encouraged me to continue to share and spread the love and joy it brings. It is those who have grown stronger roots and backbones because it made others uncomfortable. Culture is what made me stand out when it may have looked easier to blend in. It was the realization that blending felt like floating when loving, accepting, sharing, and identifying brought me closer to the ground. It was rooted in the love and pride I knew as a child.
Culture now is meant to be passed on, shared willingly, celebrated, respected. It grows into a community. For that, I am thankful.
Adriana Peeples is a mother of a vivacious 7 year old, a lifelong learner, an elementary education teacher, lover of the arts, and a truth seeker hoping to shed some light into some dark spaces.