As first-generation Latinas & immigrants, we master the art of straddling worlds. Let’s rewrite the narrative of an experience that has felt burdensome to one that offers a greater perspective on humanity and life, even if it means having challenging conversations that allow you and others to expand into your fullest self.
Many of us in this community navigate the act of straddling worlds on the daily. Whether straddling cultures, socio-economic realities, languages, different life perspectives, roles/responsibilities, (insert your situation) – it’s a true art form that invites a deeper exploration of self & humanity.
I don’t know about you, but I often coped with the confusion of straddling worlds by allowing myself to be swallowed whole. Without realizing it, I dimmed the parts of myself that did not fit nicely into the specific world I walked in at a given moment. It was an unconscious choice rooted in survival that prevented discomfort in the short term. However, it inevitably led to pain and disconnection in the long term. The repetitive dimming via code-switching in different environments drew a blueprint for my way of moving through the world.
It takes courage to erase second-nature choices and leave an open space to choose something new to be drawn. And this era of the blueprint redesign is calling for me to speak my truth.
With each year that has passed, my soul’s voice has spoken louder, begging for the blueprint to be redesigned – and I have listened (sometimes reluctantly). It takes courage to erase second-nature choices and leave an open space to choose something new to be drawn. And this era of the blueprint redesign is calling for me to speak my truth.
It has become medicine for the often confusing experience of straddling various worlds. Because here is the thing – the gift of navigating multiple realities is that it offers an opportunity to remove barriers to our thinking. It expands our view on the depth of the human experience – recognizing that truly nothing is black and white. It cultivates a strength to hold multiple truths at once. While it’s more palatable to hold ‘either, or,’ more often than not, situations are “yes, and.”
I’ve had this on my mind lately because I visited my oldest friend last week to bake a flan together. And by oldest friend, I mean we’ve witnessed each other’s evolutions up close and from a distance over our 25 years of friendship. Since I’ve recently moved back to my home state, Texas, I’m grateful to be entering a new season where we get to experience life closer to each other, once again. However, as we began to chat as the flan baked in the oven, I noticed the way we were relating no longer resonated with me and the kind of friendships I had begun to cultivate in the last few years.
Continue reading and join the conversation in the Amigahood!
About the Author
Chantelle Bacigalupo is #WeAllGrow Latina’s Editorial Staff Writer. She is a Bolivian-American photographer, multimedia journalist, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her work focuses on issues ranging across immigration, social & environmental justice, preserving Indigenous cultures, and reproductive justice. You can read more of her pieces here.