Monday, March 31, 2014

Selena



It just came naturally. As natural as the french braid my mother made me as a child to keep my hair from falling in my face. I have been looking up to Selena since I was a little girl, just as so many women my age have. We all sat on our grandmother's living room floor watching "Selena" religiously and memorizing every line. Chris Perez was our first love. We all know "the washing machine" and how important and difficult it is to be Mexican-American. No matter how famous Jennifer Lopez is today, her portrayal of Selena Quintanilla-Perez is still our favorite J-Lo moment. After-all Ms. Lopez would not be who she is now without her... and neither would we.

I moved to Corpus Christi four years ago, a part of me always felt connected to this sleepy ocean city. I think it was her. Her story. Her passion. Her life. She worked tirelessly to pull her family out of poverty and built her success through pure love for music. Her songs are timeless. The legacy of Selena will live forever in our wondrous hearts and 8 year old minds. Maybe it's because Selena reminds us of who we are and where we are from. She's the aroma of grandma's rice, she's the backyard parties with your Tias who dance around in the moonlight, she's the ballgown we wear when we become women on our 15th birthday, she's home. 

When charming souls are taken too soon from us we are left feeling lost and empty. But you see, Selena's life was too inspiring to leave holes in the people she touched. I still feel her, like I always have. I never met her, but I've known her my whole life. She's the woman I want to become. I find myself following her path and goals that reach the moon and stars. Selena gave me ambition, she gave me the courage to push myself up just as she did all those years ago - in her powerful bustiers. 

It was 19 years ago today Selena past away. The thing is, this is just another day in Corpus Christi. La Michoacana Bakery will still sell pan dulce to their loyal costumers, South Staples and Airline will still be backed with traffic come 5:00 and the waves down the shoreline will never resist moving to the sound of the salt air. We never stop here, we never forget, we always remember Selena. 

My first night I moved to this city I had never lived so far away from home. My parents and big brother had just left and I lied on my bed, trying to find something to watch on TV, something to take my mind off the distance of my family. That's when "Selena" came on and I just knew, this, being here. It was right. She was telling me something, she was giving me faith that this chapter in my life will be my path. I haven't shared this memory with many, maybe I haven't because... well, it is a treasured feeling I share with her. My last year in this city is passing me by and I couldn't help but notice I am the same age now as Selena was when she was killed. That word, killed, saying it out loud hurts - but, not as fervent as the feeling of pride I procure when I speak her name. Only 23 years, that's all it took. That's all she needed to become a hero to my generation and a voice for women. A short life is not always a short story.

Selena has always been guiding me to become someone who will touch lives. 
Thank you. I'll be dreaming of you tonight, Selena. 


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