Intergenerational trauma expert and psychologist Dr. Mariel Buqué explores the healing journey to radically accepting your Blackness and embracing the full breadth of your racial and ethnic identity.
If you’re reading this article, it most likely means you are the cycle breaker in your family. The mission you hold can be a heavy one, but remember that your choice to heal has generational ripple effects that will lead your family to flourish in ways you can’t even see right now. Let’s be real – the colorism that exists in the Latine community significantly impacts how Afro-Latinas relate to themselves and their diverse communities. And Dr. Mariel Buqué has shared tips that support your mission to break cycles.
We are neither this nor that – we are all of it.
“Being an Afro-Latina creates somewhat of a cultural homelessness. There’s always been this perception of not being enough for any space because we represent so much in one body. And in the spaces we occupy, there’s a weightless experience of having to work really hard to fit the framework of that identity. One of the biggest challenges has been affirming myself, and affirming the identity itself, so that I could really stand on solid footing around who I am.”
It’s okay if navigating the nuance of your identity impacts your mental health.
“Human beings are built for connection. We’re built for love. We are built to be in relationship with others. There is an inherent fracture in that relationship because you’re not fully granted access to any particular community, whether the Black or Latino community. And what that does is it creates a fracture in the connection that we can have with our fellow humans, and that creates a sense of sorrow, despair, chronic sadness, a sense of not belonging, low self-esteem, low sense of self-worth, and an inability to feel like we deserve love.”
Unlearning mindsets can feel disruptive, but they can also create a sense of opportunity.
“For Afro-Latina individuals, there’s been this identity crisis coming into trying to figure out who they truly are. It’s almost like breaking up with the identity they were raised around and creating a new identity for themselves while alchemizing what that even means for them. When you connect to your roots, there is so much there.”
Breaking the cycle requires deep compassion.
“I have been that person that has been the most prominently proud Afro-Dominican in my family that has brought in the language to a great extent around our Afro-identity. And to put it in perspective, it’s been like a 10 -12 year journey. Once I understood that a person will only be able to connect with you and relate to you at their level of healing, then I was able to empathize with the internalized messages that my family had been holding on to and not feel immense anger or push them beyond where they were able to go. Most people think that when you bring in the language, and it integrates, everybody’s now in this Afro pride. But when you have colonized minds that have been this way for generations, and our families have been indoctrinated into a belief that Blackness is not something that is admissible, desirable, or something that should be celebrated, then it’s going to take time to help them to unlearn that.”
Healing requires awareness of the body.
“Most times when we’re thinking about breaking cycles, we’re thinking about what we can say so that everybody is on the same page, not realizing that we’re also dealing with intergenerational bodies that are coexisting in this multi-generational family. And when we can understand that there is a body element, that bodies capture most of the emotions, and when you push buttons, that is what is really being triggered – not the words or the mind. It allows you an opportunity to connect more deeply to your bodies. This is why a lot of my work centers on how we can settle the nervous system and feel more at ease inside our own bodies.”
Dr. Mariel Buqué
Dr. Mariel Buqué is a holistic psychologist & an intergenerational trauma expert. She is here to help her clients heal from emotional wounds and transition into a liberated version of themselves. To learn more about Dr. Buqué, follow her on Instagram and learn more about her on her website.