When Julissa heard her secret crush tell her at age 14, “You sound like a white girl,” she took it as a compliment in her Texas high school.
But as a Latina, Julissa later learned that sounding white was the wrong goal. She has since learned to embrace her Mexican heritage as well as her American roots, not caring how she sounds to anyone else.
I’m currently reading Julissa Arce’s memoir, You Sound Like a White Girl: The Case for Rejecting Assimilation. I’m learning a lot from her about the struggles for fair treatment among the Latinx community in the United States.
But as I read, I’m also reminded of something else connected to the whole human race, whoever we are, regardless of where we were born or where we live now:
Accepting ourselves as we are can be hard for anybody.
With or without outside opposition.
Additionally, accepting who we used to be can also be hard. As we age and grow into our fuller selves, we don’t always appreciate our past selves. We can regret things we once said or did or believed.
The famous quote attributed to Maya Angelou rescues me on those days when I time-travel back to an earlier, not-so-good version of myself:
“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
We’ve all made mistakes. We’ll all continue to make mistakes.
But if we’re still trying, still growing, still loving, we’re on the right road. We’re doing better.
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