If someone were to ask me to describe myself in five words, two of those words would undoubtedly be: Puerto Rican.
I was raised to be proud of my culture. Proud of the people and the island that I come from.
Proud to claim my heritage with confidence—despite the fact that I’m not fluent in Spanish and didn’t actually step foot on la isla del encanto until I was 30 years old.
My pride came from those who came before me, those who passed down our stories, who taught me to love our music, who encouraged me to savor our recipes, who made me fall in love with our history.
This push to know myself on a larger scale, to know myself within a cultural context, is also what gave me the confidence to explore who I am on an individual level and share my voice with the world. Because knowing where we come from grounds us. It lets us know that no matter how far we roam to find ourselves, we will always have a place to call home.
And for me, home is my family. Home is my history. Home is finding myself in words that give me hope.
In honor of Latinx Heritage Month, here are six quotes from Latinx authors that feel like home:
“The world is a turntable that never stops spinning; as humans we merely choose the tracks we want to sit out and the ones that inspire us to dance.” ~
“You can never have too much sky . You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.” ~ Sandra Cisneros
“I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.” ~ Frida Kahlo
“Perhaps we are in this world to search for love, find it and lose it, again and again. With each love, we are born anew, and with each love that ends we collect a new wound. I am covered with proud scars.” ~ Isabel Allende
“Try me means take a chance on me. Try me means I dare you. Try me means don’t sleep on me. Try me is a threat and a promise at the same damn time.” ~ Elisabet Velasquez
“This is who I write about and who I write for. For the girls they were, for the girl I was, for girls everywhere who are just like we used to be. For the black and brown girls. For the girls on the merry-go-round making the world spin. For the wild girls and the party girls, the loudmouths and the troublemakers. For the girls who are angry and lost. For the girls who never saw themselves in books. For the girls who love girls, sometimes in secret. For the girls who believe in monsters. For the girls on the edge who are ready to fly. For the ordinary girls. For all the girls who broke my heart. And their mothers. And their daughters. And if I could reach back through time and space to that girl I was, to all my girls, I would tell you to take care, to love each other, fight less, dance dance dance until you’re breathless. And goddamn, girl. Live.” ~ Jaquira Díaz