When you hear the term half & half, you know that there are 2 equal sides. Maybe a sandwich, maybe a drink, maybe even relationships. But no matter what, it always signifies that there are 2 parts of equal proportions. However, there are times when those equal parts will go against each other – when the truth is that they can create something beautiful, something powerful, something unforgettable, and something that brings wholeness.

In this story, I’m not really talking about your favorite coffee or pizza split. What I am talking about is my quest to live as a beautiful, powerful, and innovative Mexican-American.

In a world where there is so much inclusion and so much diversity, I have had a lifetime battle of trying to prove to Americans that I’m American enough and prove to Mexicans that I am Mexican enough. The battle between identities has been long and infuriating. And here is why.

If we look at a rainbow, we immediately admire the colors. Each color is individual; yet, each color plays their part in making a rainbow just what it is – unique and unforgettable. If rainbows were of one color, nobody would be excited or enthused about it. Ironically, people get excited about the differences in a rainbow but don’t often enough celebrate the differences in each other.

No matter how hard I tried, I never could fit the mold. When visiting Mexico, I was too American or not Mexican enough. When in the United States, my inability to be seen and respected as an American became weighty and redundant. The sad part is that I openly, honestly, and excitedly embrace the 2 cultures that create the fabric of my human rainbow. Yet and still, I found myself singing “almost doesn’t count.”

I made a decision to love ALL of me, even when others could not. You would think that in the world we live in, inclusivity would be synonymous to a 2nd language; unfortunately, that is far from the case. We live in a world where we are willing to accept others but not often willing to accept our own or replicas of ourselves. So how do we manage? How do we change? How do we get others to see who we are and embrace us?

The answer is simple; we don’t! And I have learned this extremely hard lesson. It is not my job to be Mexican enough or American enough. It is only my job to be ME. And all of me encompasses the heritage of The United States, along with the customs of Mexico. All of me bleeds the food and music of one while intertwining with the other. All of me represents pride, loyalty, love, and joy. All of me is human.

Does it hurt to be rejected by my own? Absolutely! Do I wish that they would see me for me, instead of comparing my Spanish dialect vs. my American English habits? Absolutely! But that’s no longer my business. As a woman who is all about empowerment and unity, I stand proudly to embrace and love and support ALL women.

My only desire is that my ability to lead by example will someday help those that I’m connected to see the bigger picture. I really am capable of representing both races and cultures, with excitement and purity, even when I’m counted out. And so, the equation to be equal amongst my own continues…