Being a nerd is tough
but being a Latina mom and a nerd is even more difficult. I have mainly been a nerd all of my life. Growing up, I was the oddball, the black sheep of the family. I was a total geek and even looked the part. My nerd origins start back from when I was as young as seven. There was not much of an outlet being a kid in the small town of Laredo, TX. I came from humble beginnings, with little to no exposure at all of television and much less anything nerd. Though because I looked like a geek, I did not have many friends. This bug-toothed kid with specs had little to nothing to work with. Instead, I lost myself in the world of books, music, writing, and art. I became fascinated with reading, drawing, writing, and listening to music.
My love for a little bit of everything
My world consisted of these things until I was about 11 or 12 when I moved to Houston, TX, and I stumbled upon the popular anime Sailor Moon. I fell in love with it immediately, watching every episode that came on TV. Thanks to that show, I was introduced to the world of anime. Sailor Moon was just the beginning of my anime nerddom. Little did I know that type of exposure would lead me to gain an interest in the anime world as I grew up.
Video games were another thing I gravitated to. Growing up, I played the old school Mario games on the original Nintendo. Classic games like Sonic the Hedgehog and Spyro also were in the mix. Later in my teenage/young adult life, I found games like Final Fantasy 10 and Kingdom Hearts, where my love for games flourished.
Music is healing for me. It helps to soothe my spirit at times, but also I like to hear it for enjoyment. No music genre was off-limits for me. I can turn on Tejano one day and jam out to Rock and Roll the next. Nowadays, I jam out to anything I am in the mood for, mostly K-pop, current pop hits, and Spanish music. I’m an eclectic mix of everything, and with that, it can clash with my culture at times.
A clash of cultures
As my love for all things nerd grew, I also became heavily invested in writing. My fandoms influenced my writing back then, which helped to create many stories. My hobbies and interests were not typical of your average Latina. I am anything but ordinary. Sure, I would not be opposed to turn on the novelas on the TV or turn the radio up with some Selena, but me being an eclectic person of sorts, I have a variety of interests. This is where I fall into a grey area; I’m either too Latina or too immersed in another culture. I like to have my cake and eat it too. Being a Mexican-American is hard. People in my culture ostracize someone like me.
It is tough to feel judged at times. They tell you you’re not Mexican enough, that you are too American. The Americans tell you you’re too Mexican, and even if they don’t speak it, they think it. You get those side-eyed looks, and now you are made an outcast. I’ve had my fair share of both ends, so I know better than most. It is hard to face these adversities, but I don’t allow what people say or think to get to me, because I enjoy what I want to enjoy, and that is that.
Nerd parenting 101
For some time, I went through some rough patches in life, and I left all of the nerd things I enjoyed so much behind. I became a mother of two, and for the most part, I focused on my children. I lost a bit of myself- not because of the children, but because I was in a toxic situation. Once I got out, it took me a long time to find myself again. I regained my love for writing, reading, and anime again. Of course, now having two kiddos, I have less time to enjoy them as much as I did before. My solution has been to introduce them to what I can when I can, to enjoy my favorite things together.
The result is amazing! I turned my kids onto the things I loved and grew up enjoying. Before I knew it, my daughter is hooked on Sailor Moon, and my son is a gamer. Though my time for my enjoyment was limited, I am glad that now I get to pass on the things l love to my children who can now enjoy them.
Yes, being a Latina mom and a nerd is difficult. You work all day, come home, take care of your kids, and take care of your household. Life gets in the way of the things that help you escape and claim your sanity. Even though it is hard to take time for yourself, take a few minutes each day where you can have ‘you time.’ Get that writing in, jam out to your music playlist or sit down and enjoy that anime you’ve been wanting to check out. Even if you don’t have a lot of time to enjoy nerd things as much, it still doesn’t hurt to indulge now and then.
Be who you are, no matter what you are
No matter what you are into, you can enjoy the things you love whether they are from your culture or not. Don’t forget who you are and where you come from. Your culture is important to celebrate, as well as the other interests you have. What is important is you do not allow what others say to influence what you like or do. If appropriate, involve your children in what you love.
Have you faced a clash of cultures? Do you feel like you don’t fit in your culture because you are a nerd? Are you a nerd parent too? Come share your stories with us! We would love to hear all about it. You might find that there are others just like me and you. Remember that you should be who you are, no matter what you are.