Brown girl you're fierce
always remember that
y que mereces lo que sueñas!
Mi nombre es Obdulia Zulema Montenegro Lazalde.
Did you just read over that, not even take the time to pronounce it? It's okay, I'll let you take a minute to go over it again.
Perhaps now you hear the faint, lovely sound the "L" makes as it slips from your tongue, and you feel the power crawling on your skin as you role the "R".
That is my name. A huge part of my identity. Is it hard to pronounce? Yes. Was I ever embarrassed by it? Also yes. But I have grown from those weak thoughts and have learned to recognize the strength my names gives to my persona.
As a Mexican-American woman, I know the struggles my grandparents went through all to see the day in which I held up a diploma as the President of my University reads my extremely long name. The years of working long hours in the fields of Southeastern Idaho, as the callous hands of my grandfather sorted filthy potatoes and my grandmother's feet ached after a tiring day of making beds and cleaning toilets in fancy convos of Jackson Hole, Wyoming; I feel their pain, I wipe the sweat off my forehead and I sigh their aspirations of becoming a successful immigrant in this country. I know what it feels like to work hard to prove to others why you belong, why you should succeed, why you are worth it. I am hungry for cultural knowledge. I value the sacrifices my family have made in order to see me succeed. I want to succeed not only for personal satisfaction but for the generations before me who dreamed to do so.
I hold the nopal en mi frente y con gran orgullo. I am a Mexican. Just as much I am American. The drums from my ancestors los Aztecas flows through my veins, and I feel their power like electricity from head to toe.
Am I too dramatic? Perhaps but I prefer the word passionate.
But this is who I am. A brown girl. A Latina. A Chicana. A Mexican- American. An immigrant. A human.