It’s funny, my Mexican grandparents never celebrated Cinco de Mayo. My Mexican-American mom never does either. My generation of cousins always do. Maybe it’s our reason to get together and have a fun party. (There is no party for me today. My day is more Sicko de Mayo than Cinco de Mayo. I’m sick in bed today.)
I know this is a beauty blog, and not a genealogical blog. The reason I’m writing about this is because culture has a lot to do with how I see myself. It impacts what I find beautiful. Culture says a lot about beauty. Being brought up between two different cultures was interesting, and difficult at the same time.
Growing up, I thought I had to choose sides. Be like one or the other. My personality is very much like my mom. Loud, larger than life, and vivacious. My physical appearance is more like my dad. Pale skin with European features. I didn’t know where I fit in. I was too loud to fit in with my dad’s family, and too white to fit in with my mom’s. Thankfully, I got over it and realized I was the only one worried about it. Both sides of the family only see me as Rebecca. Not the half and half.
One thing my mom taught me was not to be afraid of color or style. My mother is a woman of endless creativity, style, and daring. She will break any fashion rule. If she loves it, she will wear it. I know this sounds scary, but it’s not. She has impeccable taste. She has helped me realize that I should always be looking for ways to make an outfit my own with accessories. The Mexican in me LOVES color. Bright colors. All of them. I have jackets and coats in all colors. Bright yellow, lime green leather, sage green, scarlet, burnt umber, pale lavender, camel, black. Most of them are recommendations or gifts from my Mexican mom. She has shown me how to wear color, and not let color wear me. That is just my outerwear, imagine the rest of my wardrobe.
My dad is a very classic American type. Not preppy, just an old school classic. His idea of casual Sunday is slacks, dress socks, dress shoes, a dress shirt and blazer. Dad was the one that made sure I had the classic Ralph Lauren blazers in Jr. High. He got me a very grown up Gucci watch for my 18th birthday when all my friends were still wearing Swatch watches. He was also the one that encouraged me to join the orchestra in college. (I play the harp)
My parents are still married 39 years later, and it’s fun to see them together. My dad is a very distinguished looking man wearing classic styles, and my mom is in bright colors. Like a bird from the Amazon. She knows what best suits her, and has fun dressing.
My own personal style is a mix of the two. Very classic at times, with some fun, colorful, eye catching pieces thrown in for good measure. The one thing I’ve learned from my parents is that being true to yourself is the most important. Even after 39 years, my dad is still the same classic guy. He’s not one to wear bright yellow or orange. My mom hasn’t changed either. She still loves colorful, playful clothes with lots of class. You’ll never miss her in a room full of people.
It’s taken a while to figure out it’s okay to be a healthy mix of both. I don’t have to be one or the other. I don’t have to be the classic girl, or the colorful one. I don’t have to be the white girl, or the Latina. I love the beauty of the “and”. I can be both.