“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.” – The Princess Bride
I’ve never thought much about marriage. Though we’re taught as little girls to look forward to our weddings, to dream of white dresses and towering cakes—it just never did much for me.
A big part of it was that I didn’t have a very good example of what a marriage should/could be. My parents were ill suited for each other; there wasn’t much love (that I could see) and there was a lot of fighting. But deeper than that, there was an air of unhappiness, a malaise that hung just below the surface. I could tell they weren’t satisfied by their partnership—though I was young, I was perceptive.
“What have you done today to make you feel proud?” — Heather Small
When I think about all the amazing people I’ve known in my life who identify as LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) I am awed and feel slightly ashamed. So many of these people—deemed as “other” by a large portion of mainstream society—are so open with who they are, so secure, so … proud. There really isn’t a better word to describe it.
And yet I ask myself—have I ever been proud of who I am, really? It seems like most of my life I’ve found things to be ashamed of; shortcomings, flaws, imperfections. Why has it always been so hard to embrace who I am?
Baby steps. It’s taken years to even get to where I am, but still it’s inch by inch, crawling away.
Now I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t blame myself for the choices I’ve made and the mistakes and complications that often follow.
I’ve always felt like there were moments in my life where I could have done something differently and things would have turned out better, or I’d be in a better place right now. If only things had been different—if only I hadn’t invested in my own production company in college with my then close friends, if I hadn’t set out with something to prove on my first big film set and injured my back out of silly pride, if I’d stuck with one of my various diets while I was in high school, if I’d taken care of myself rather than abusing my body…if and if and if, never ending.
March is Women’s History Month, so in that spirit I wanted to explore my own family history, or more specifically, the history of my mother’s family.
My mother was raised in Texas, the youngest of nine children. She grew up in an area that was predominately white, which made it difficult for a Mexican family in the middle of the 20th century. My mom tried her best to assimilate and fit in with the other white “All-American” children in her neighborhood, and was constantly embarrassed by a mother who didn’t speak English and didn’t act like the other housewives.
But what she could not appreciate as a child and teenager growing up in Fort Worth, was that Carmen Gonzales Morales (her mother, my grandmother) was an amazing woman who had defied incredible, unlikely odds, living an impossibly difficult unhappy life and coming out the other end stronger and wiser.