Silvia Moreno-Garcia | You want Mexico but not my Mexico
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You want Mexico but not my Mexico

You want Mexico but not my Mexico. You want the Mexico of Kahlo and Rivera, but ask any child of the TLC what their Mexico was like and we had Star Wars lunch boxes (it’s Arturito not R2D2), the Indiana Jones movies, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. We had Betamax and VHS, although Betamax lasted for longer in the little video store where they sold you popcorn for the microwave and they could pop it there in case you had no microwave at home.

You want Mexico but not my Mexico. You want a guided tour of the streets, exotic displays, alebrijes and sugar skulls. Nevermind we have as many Starbucks, MacDonalds, Walmarts as you do. They put up a giant Coca Cola tree each year downtown but some young people burnt it down one time. They were not dressed as Kahlo, as soldaderas, with sarapes or big hats.

I did not grow up in huipiles and huaraches. I wanted my Nikes as much as anyone else and the boys lusted after Cindy Crawford in my school. They told us the TLC was going to make us rich and then they told us Y2K was going to be the apocalypse. And they played Luis Miguel on the radio, who was el Sol, blond as you can get. If you’d seen Luis Miguel he wouldn’t have looked Mexican, but then no one on the soaps looks Mexican.

You want Mexico but not my Mexico. You want me to put more words in Spanish to give it local color. Would you ask that of yourself? Put more words in English to make it sound more American, more British. What the fuck. And we borrow English words, too. Do you know I started taking English at five? Do you know we took your gabacho phrases and yelled I’LL BE BACK when we played Terminator? I was Batgirl and that boy was Batman, gender roles were what they were although sometimes I was also the sheriff. We read X-Men comic books. I had She-ra’s pink castle.

You want Mexico but not my Mexico. You want authentic experiences and all I offer are the memories of kicking plastic bottles of juice across the road, of listening to the Backstreet Boys. I ate garnachas and tortas but that’s not enough local color for you, that’s not authentic enough, that is not Mexican with the big M. So I must be a little mexican.

The dreams we dreamed were the ones you imported and yet I’m now supposed to feel bad about it. Bad that I am not a Mexican with a capital M, with the M of Moctezuma. There was the subway station named after him,  but that’s not Mexican enough.

You are upset that you can’t classify me. Do I write magic realism or fantasy or what the fuck, why is there no magic system, I don’t like it when the author has no explanation where is the explanation magic just happens and that is silly, why are you silly. Silvia why don’t you write more like whatshisname. Your piece of shit question which ignores Cortázar, Amparo Dávila. Ignores our goddamn literary history of being us, ignores the fact I am trying to find me among the past and me in the now of this thing we call spec lit, we call publishing, we call author. And for your information the spells I cast, my mami and my grandma taught, had no explanation. The rhyme and reason was not laid out like a cookbook, like a Wikipedia entry.  We went to the market of Sonora and bought a horseshoe, hang it near your door, it’ll bring you money. But nobody said speak a Latin incantation ala Harry Potter and wave your wand. Nobody said why it was a horseshoe and not a horse figurine. They put it in a plastic bag from Gigante. Yes. We carry magic in the fucking supermarket plastic bag.

Do you think I have no wondered who I am? That born in a border zone, then living in the capital, these questions don’t pop up? That moving away, taking that plane, that who I am and what I mean and what this goddamn hyphenated name stands for has not kept me awake at nights?

I am not Mexican enough. You want Mexico but not my Mexico, not my me.