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2016 Has Been A Weird Year To Be A Lot of Things

Illustration: Sofia Quintanar / @quintanar_nar_nar_nar

My mom always told me not to have a chip on my shoulder. She’d say, “When I go on an interview I think the fact that I’m black, an immigrant with an accent, and a woman is the reason I’ll get the job. It makes me stand out.” I have taken on this attitude my entire life. Never once did I say they did this because I’m black or said that because I’m a woman. I’ve tried my hardest to see the positives in things and keep my shoulder chip free.

I’m a black Latina woman. There’s a lot of things that could get me down. Most of my life,  they haven’t. This year has been so discouraging  that keeping that positive outlook has been very difficult.

So why am I discouraged? I guess you could compare me to a boiling pot of water. Every incident has caused the heat to rise and I have officially boiled over.

I have never felt the need to come out in defense of who I am. I’m proud to be black. I’m proud to be Cuban. I’m proud to be a woman. Anyone who knows me knows that. So, no need to shout it from the rooftops.

The loudest person in the room doesn’t always make an impact, sometimes they just make noise. So I stayed quiet. There comes a point though when it is not possible to stay silent any longer.

I feel like everything I am is under attack. I dodge one thing being hurled at my identity one day and the next day there’s something else trying to get me down. There was a certain point where things stopped being someone else’s problem and it started feeling personal.

This cannot all be blamed on politics, but there’s no denying it’s a huge aspect. The incidents that have been offensive to at least one part of me are too endless to count. A lot of them start and end with the presidential election.

The current climate makes me feel the need to say that I’m whole-heartedly with her. I’ve held back on sharing who I endorse, but with the election one week away I cannot stay quiet anymore. This has shaped up to be one of the most important and definitive elections of my life so far. I need to stand behind the candidate that can help me keep that chip off my shoulder.

It’s been a really weird year to be who I am. Every single part of me feels slighted in some way. The year’s not even over yet.

xoxo

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