Growing up in the middle class neighborhood of Curtis Park in Sacramento, I was surrounded by quaint Spanish-style homes filled with middle-class Norman Rockwell families and tree-lined streets where children would ride bikes without a care in the world. Even as a young girl I recognized that I didn't look like my friends – I never knew what or who I looked like.
I attended a small Catholic elementary school a few miles away from my home where most of the student body resembled me – brown hair and brown skin, but I always felt like the odd girl out – a half breed born to a white mother and a Mexican father… they were divorced and I had a second mom and a second dad. Whose child was I really?
Elementary school is filled with memories of the school fall festival and spending hours at my girlfriend Mitzi's house listening to Madonna whom I thought was African-American for about six months. OK, I was also a confused teen.
Now, high school was another story. All girl's Catholic high school – need I say more? My school was the keeper of all vatas locas, homegirls, sistas and some amazing Philippinas. I never felt more out of place. I was a half breed with a father who happened to be the one outrageous local elected official to outlaw cruising… can you imagine?
And I could never explain my love for N.W.A. and Dr. Dre (my favorite song from the Chronic album was "Bitches Ain't Shit") to my parents. It was a super confusing time. I was never Mexican enough for the Latinos and I sure as hell was never white enough for the Anglos.
And when it came to dating… well I knew one thing: I had to date someone who looked like me whether Mexican or African-American. For me, I wanted to be with someone who understood what it meant to be a little different. But let's face it, in high school guys didn't really care what my ethnicity was… I was cute, the mayor's daughter and could get free concert tickets for just about anyone… score!
I tried so hard to get in where I fit in and frankly it all seems like a silly identity crisis now. Now, as 40-year old wife and mother, my only identity crisis is convincing my teenager that I was once a cool chick.