The In-Between Spaces and Ambiguity: Finding my Voice as a Writer
by Maribel Hermosillo
I was born and raised in San Antonio by migrant parents from Zacatecas, Mexico. Like many other children in this region, I grew up with the cultura of North Central Mexico but with tendencies of a Tejana. Essentially, this means I existed between two delicious and passionate worlds that moved me to equally love breakfast Tacos and frijoles de la hoya. I moved around a lot (and still do) and unlike many folks from this city, I could never really claim a side of town.
I remember living at La Bella apartments on the corner of Hildebrand and Fredericksburg where my mom and I would wait walk over to the H-E-B or wait at the bus stop. I loved riding the VIA bus because we were always surrounded by people. I remember being obsessed with the nursery rhyme, “The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round” and singing it over and over again. Today, I live about 5 minutes from these apartments and I find myself stuck in the memories of my childhood hoping I can piece together all the parts of my story.
There was a couple that lived on the top floor of the apartment building. I don’t remember their names but I thought they were the coolest people. Every time they went grocery shopping at H-E-B, they brought back candy for all the children in the building. They knew my favorite candy was Fun Dip and, they would bring us the regular sized candy (not fun-sized). We called it, “the good candy.” For Christmas, my sister and I received brightly colored stationery as presents from the couple that lived on the top floor of the apartment building. Looking back, I am sure they were gifts bought at the dollar store but it didn’t matter to us. I couldn’t believe how nice they were to us knowing they also didn’t have much. As I continue to write about my experiencias as a first-generation Chicanita, it has led me on a path of incredible healing. However, it is challenging because I have to remember these memories and use my voice to illustrate how these experiences have shaped who I am today.
19 years later and I am fighting remembering my childhood because I simply do not want to go there. As a writer, I find it a challenge to emphasize my “voice” in my writing but it absolutely reflects my current struggle of not knowing where I am from or where I am going. My intuition and my insight tell me I need to confront the story that shaped who I am today: an impulsive, passionate and critical mujerista who isn’t yet comfortable in the ambiguity of life. This ambiguity is rooted in my very real position in the interstitial space between being American and being Mexican. It is also rooted between living and experiencing all North-West-East-South sides of San Antonio. All parts of me are sprinkled in the tiny in-between spaces that don’t allow me the luxury of choosing a side. However, I do get to sit comfortably in this same space that made me feel loved due to the generosity of neighbors. The stationery that was given to me is a symbol of encouragement to write down my story so that one day I will realize I don’t need anyone to validate my truth.