A Chicano in LA.

February 18, 2014

I'm 16 months old in this photo and oblivious to the fact that I'm chicano - Mexican/American. That doesn't mean alot now but, in San Diego and LA, it was almost like a death sentence. I played and grew up with cousins who, almost all, ended up doing time. They weren't bad, just dark-skinned and from the barrio. 

The first time I really became aware of my heritage was when my mother told me not to speak Spanish in school. She said I'd be laughed at, probably hurt and never have any friends. Possibly an exaggeration, but at the time, not by much. Eventually, I became uncomfortable around my Mexican relatives, alienated by that part of my culture.

My grandma Angie was a curandera with second-sight. She specialised in 'come to me' and 'go away' powder. I can still see her - reading the fortune-telling cards she always carried. I wasn't sure whether to believe what she told me or not but there were many who happily paid for the privilige of her insights. She used to say I was a late-bloomer, that my dreams would not be realised until much later in life. I'm still waiting.

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